DISTORTED MIND by Michael Fortnam


Mental Illness Revealed
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From debut author Fortnam comes a brief memoir about his struggle with mental illness.

As the author states in the introduction to this personal story, “Having a mental illness is complicated, confusing, and socially difficult to live with.” What follows is an explanation of just how complicated, confusing and socially difficult it is. In periods of depression, “There was no feeling of being alive or of myself ever being different or happy again,” he writes, and in times of mania, “In my craze, my knowledge seemed to expand.” Fortnam describes a mental unbalance that led to an arrest and, eventually, time in a mental institution. The narrative moves along in a brisk, disquieting manner as the author goes from being a sad, largely friendless individual to a person of interest to the authorities. After he caught the eyes of police due to an argument with a nonexistent girlfriend, a search of the author’s apartment led to the authorities’ discovery of what they deemed to be an explosive device. With the threat of prison time, the author writes, “My mind raced in silent terror as I waited, not knowing what was to happen next.” Readers follow along while the author provides a steady stream of his inner thoughts as the authorities deem him unfit for society. Though eventually released from his forced stay in a mental hospital, the recovery from such an episode proves to be anything but instantaneous. “I was told it was a process and it would take time,” he says. Brief, at 64 pages, the memoir offers a realistic, unembellished look at one man’s mental struggle. The mentally ill, it can be discerned from this account, don’t necessarily realize they are mentally ill, and they certainly don’t ask for such a circumstance. Most enlightening when describing the author’s actions—such as shopping sprees during manic episodes—the story paints an unglamorous, astute portrayal of being unable to trust one’s own mind.

A brief, readable glimpse into a fractured mind.

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 2012
Page count: 80pp
Publisher: Outskirts Press Inc.
Program: Kirkus Indie
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