There are many books I review before starting a cover design project, and SIT WITH ME WHILE I’M MAD by Milly Thiringer was to this day my most profound.
I’m not a typical non-fiction reader, however, this may be a realm I need to start reading more. Milly’s debut work allowed me to walk into the world of her mind. Where reality is sometimes skewed, memories are more like questions, and her faith and love keeps her grounded when her own mind fails.
For those who have family or friends touched by schizophrenia, SIT WITH ME WHILE I’M MAD is a must read. A true peek behind the layers of their ever changing realities to see the confusion within, while realizing and rationalizing the falsehood of what’s occurring.
Schizophrenia, though, not my reality, has touched some within my extended family. It’s a condition that’s never entirely contained, and easily misdiagnosed. So Milly’s debut Non-fiction work opened my realm of understanding. Especially with her way of bridging the lucid to reality.
I’m honored to present the cover for SIT WITH ME WHILE I’M MAD by Milly Thiringer, designed by Jena R Collins (aka me).
Publisher: Filles Vertes Publishing
Book Title: SIT WITH ME WHILE I’M MAD
Author: Milly Thiringer
Cover Design: Jena R. Collins/ JRC Designs/FVP Cover Artist & Designer
“There are sensors in my hands and cameras in my walls. I’m sure of it.”
But when Milly Thiringer mentioned this to her friends, the only thing they were sure of was that she needed to see a doctor.
Diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia at age nineteen, Milly spent years running circles through the revolving door of the public mental healthcare system, being told to focus on symptom management and coping strategies as no significant improvement in her prognosis could be expected.
She almost gave up. Almost. Along the way Milly’s learned to be her own advocate while fighting through and redefining “recovery.
Here’s an amazing First Chapter Excerpt of SIT WITH ME WHILE I’M MAD!
Definitions: Nominal, or Real?
The ways that we define things inform our responses to them.
When I was diagnosed with schizophrenia, I clung to the words—the label “paranoid schizophrenia”—like a string of solar lights along a footpath to home. My mom, when she was teaching me to drive, told me to focus on the white line on the right-hand side of the road if the oncoming headlights threatened to disorient me. Schizophrenia was my white line. If we treat the disease, I can be well. I can be normal. My symptoms will go away.
As I sit here writing this, on my couch, seventeen years later, I can hear every creak in my house. I take an imaginary walk, past the rattling forks in the dishwasher, through the scratching of my pen on this page, around the popping joints of my daughter’s cradle. I whip through her asthmatic lungs that worry me so well, flit through the frustrated wings of a June bug attempting to escape my bedroom window, and I rest on the buzzing filament of a burning-out light bulb in my bathroom. And do you know what I hear?
“Can I be NOT here?” chhh…. Toowit-tawoo-chhh… The dishwasher is speaking to me and I am on the very edge of making it out. It converses with itself, deciding which details to share with me. President Obama (who is not now the president) has changed our national anthem. I hear this on the radio as well. The radio is turned off. “You are a terrible artist,” Sam says from his perch on the arm of the couch. “Look at those drawings. Disgusting.” My husband, sitting beside me on the couch, separates his upper half from itself and leans in to whisper frightening things in my left ear.
I look over. His mouth is closed. He is unified, not wavering and echoing like an apparition. He looks at me. Smiles. Tells me something interesting about the cycling app on his tablet. I look to my right and Sam is still on the edge of the couch; his taunting eyes make me shrink. He looks as solid as Dave.
I can, in the moment, tell what is real and what is not. I can’t do this in every moment, but right now, I can. The Worm of Paranoia on my spine is asleep, and I hallucinate peacefully. When he is awake, I cannot tell which aspects of my experience deserve fear and which do not. In these moments, I wear my terror like a choking cloak.
Get to know the Author, Milly thiringer!
Diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia at the age of nineteen, Milly’s life has consisted of many and varied attempts to locate reality in the midst of psychosis. She navigates her mental illness with as much honesty as she knows how and tries to remember that no label can define her p personhood. Milly writes to find out who she is, because she’s pretty sure she’s been told wrong. Milly works as a paralegal and a freelance editor, trying to squeeze in time to write around contract work and raising kids. Her work has appeared in Awakened Voices, OC87 Recovery Diaries, and she is a contributor to The Mighty. Her essay, “The Third Plane,” will be published in a forthcoming