Title: Overly Medicated
Author: Shaun Lewisham
Publisher: Shaun Lewisham Enterprises
UK Publication Date: 1 edition (10 Dec 2011)
Welcome to ‘Overly Medicated’: A collision Between One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and Shameless.
Overly Medicated is a social biography based on my life story and is set against the backdrop of the West Midlands. It is set over a period of three decades starting in 1987 and uses Gary Walker as its feature character. The book follows Walkers path through life from hooligan to husband, his battles against drug addiction and mental illness and his attempts to escape the cobwebs of his tortured past. Overly Medicated recounts the story of a man scarred from the break up of his marriage, resulting in him raising their only daughter as a single parent. His own attempted murder and the termination of his unborn child. Walker finally hits rock bottom and is admitted onto a psychiatric unit after a failed suicide attempt. Overly Medicated details his fight back from depression and addiction and recounts his pathway to becoming a Registered Psychiatric Nurse and the manager of a Psychiatric Rehabilitation Home. It exposes the hypocrisy encased in the mental health system and tells the story from both sides of the divide.
Overly Medicated is a story of love, triumph, violence, drug and alcohol addiction, fortitude and friendship. It contains a social narrative on Britain via the author’s individual standpoint and reflects on his political and social development. The book is aimed at making the reader, laugh, cry and ruminate over the experiences of one troubled man. This book is sad, funny, honest and true. Overly Medicated is a rollercoaster of contrasting emotions; I hope you enjoy the ride. (From Amazon.co.uk, 22nd January 2013)
‘Overly Medicated’ is a book based on the authors life and this shines through the writing. All characters have the depth of reality and you get a good understanding of the times, the politics and the life that the main character – Gary Walker – leads. It is a story of ups and downs. Mistakes, achievements, met by more mistakes and yet more achievements. You want to scream at Gary when he starts on yet another destructive path, then pat him on the back when he achieves what would have seemed impossible.
For a female reading this book the football ‘hooliganism’ focus at the beginning is a bit off putting and I think it is more a novel for the males in this sense. But you are dealing with a persons life. And the further through you get the more you understand Gary’s behavior and why he does the things he does.
The novel is eloquently written and you can tell that the author, though having experienced the life of his main character, was always an intelligent men with a true understanding of language.
It is a novel I would urge mental health students and staff to read. Gary’s idea of care is spot on. He learns from his experience of being in treatment the failings of the system and how to combat that. A holistic approach – which many of us will study but not practice.
This is a journey – a rather eventful journey in that. But it is life and life is just that – a sequence of ups and downs. A novel written with understanding, insight and skill.
A read for all interested in mental illness, alcoholism, crime and drug use. Do not be put of with the male angle because there is a lot in this book which will aid your understanding of the above issues.
A 4 out of 5.