Addison publishes book on mental illness

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By Michele Roberts

Mental illness is a subject that has become less taboo in recent years, and a Heath Springs man has written a book on the topic, in the hopes of helping others who struggle with it.

At 67, this is Mike Addison’s first published book, and is entitled “The Life Boat – One Man’s Journey with Mental Illness.”

It chronicles Addison’s 50-year struggle with a chemical imbalance, depression/anxiety disorder and severe obsessive compulsive disorder.

“The title has to do with when I was 18 years old, and looking to take my place on that boat sailing to the great life, and all the opportunities it held,” Addison said. “But due to the mental illness, I wasn’t able to get on that boat. I got on an entirely different one instead. The first five paragraphs in the book explain what the title is all about.”

Addison said he began writing four years ago simply to chronicle his illnesses and effects for himself.

“With what I have going on, it can be very difficult to concentrate,” he said. “So it took me three years to get it all done. I finished it about this time last year, and I decided that I wanted to publish it, in order to help others who are dealing with mental illnesses.”

The first thing Addison did was search for a publishing company that met his requirements.
After researching it, he came up with Tate Publishing in Oklahoma City, Okla.

“I got in touch with them, and explained what I had,” he said. “They were very up front, and told me that generally four of a hundred submissions are chosen for publication. That’s a 4 percent chance. But they told me they would be glad to take a look at it, so I sent them my manuscript.”

The odds worked in Addison’s favor, and two weeks later, the company got in touch with Addison, saying they loved the book and would publish it, at no cost to Addison.

Before the  book’s release on Jan. 29, Addison said some copies were pre-sold and that the feedback on the book so far has been great.

“The thing about this book is that it doesn’t just help the people with mental illness,” he said. “It can be a great help to family members or loved ones who are trying to understand what people with mental illness really go through. There is a really large audience for this type of book.”

The 150-page memoir will be available at retail outlets such as Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com, as well as at www.tatepublishing.com.

Addison will hold a book signing to kick off the release of “The Life Boat” at Books on Broad in downtown Camden on Feb. 2 from 1 to 3 p.m.

“I wanted to do it there for two reasons,” Addison said. “First, because it’s halfway between where I’m from, Heath Springs, and where I’ve lived for the past 30 years, Columbia. Second, I wanted to make sure the local folks who know me know about the book, and be able to come out and see me. I’m really excited about this, and it is wonderful to think that my book might be able to help others who struggle like I have.”