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Detour from Normal

Narrated by: Michael Rubino
Length: 8 hrs and 36 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

On April 14, 2011, devoted family man Ken Dickson stumbles into a hospital emergency room grimacing in pain. What happens next is downright frightening. 

Surgery saves Ken’s life, but improper care sends him spiraling into madness. Unable to fend for himself, his wife, Beth, takes charge. She does her best to save him, but the unyielding stigma of mental illness hampers his recovery at every turn until he is beyond hope. 

Desperate to get Ken the help he needs, Beth makes a heartbreaking decision: Ahe brands the man she loves a “danger to himself and others” and commits him to psychiatric treatment. A police SUV then delivers him to a high-security facility where the real nightmare begins. 

Plagued by the pitfalls of contemporary psych wards, Ken struggles through living hell. Nevertheless, as the days stretch to weeks, he finds solace by befriending the lost and forgotten and helping patients with worse problems than his. 

Featured in Amazon Prime Reading and spotlighted as Great on Kindle, Detour from Normal will touch your heart in ways you never imagined and make you question your faith in our medical and mental health systems. 

©2013 Ken Dickson (P)2017 Ken Dickson

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Wow....just....wow.

This was one of the most powerfully-moving books I've ever encountered. I'm somewhat speechless. I chose to enter a hospital willingly a decade ago in order to be monitored 24/7 while weaning off of a benzodiazepine. That's all I "signed up" for. Once there, I spent 15 minutes with the head physician, and 15 minutes with a psychiatrist. Within 30 minutes, I was diagnosed as Bipolar. Sure, I'd had my share of depression and anxiety in the past, but never anything remotely like mania.

Immediately, I was put on such a long list of medications to treat.... to treat... what? Once I was in the hospital, I was brought to a wing where I thought they'd safely wean me off the benzo safely, with no seizures and no complications, and be back to normal life good as new.

Boy, was I mistaken. The wing I was in turned out to be one of 3 psychiatric wards at the hospital. I was given at least 10 different medicines in my 2 week stay. Everything about me changed. I became a zombie. Prior to entering, I was an accomplished surfer, skater, songwriter, musician, exceptional poet, double-majored A-rated university graduate with Honors; I had a wicked fast wit and an extroverted, outrageous sense of humor. I had confidence. I was good looking. After many years of making a great salary, I bought my own home in my 20's. I had quit smoking cigarettes. I was almost the ideal "me" and I wanted to ensure I was under a doctor's care tapering the benzos.

Fast forward 10 years. In that hospital, every patient was given the same diagnosis - bipolar. I have been on over 30 medications - including 4 additional benzos (maximum 3 at once). I suffer from agoraphobia, generalized anxiety, social phobia, severe depression, addictions, not showering or cleaning my house for months, episodes of cutting, suicide attempts... within 3 weeks of entering that hospital a decade earlier, I gained 30 lbs. By 6 months, 70lbs. I wavered back and forth from "these doctors don't know what the hell they're doing" to "omg, maybe I really AM bipolar!" Yet I had never experienced mania. Ever.

But once you're labeled something, it follows you to for life. Eventually you believe the label, until you become the label. I am constantly fighting an unnecessary battle had the doctors just done what I asked - tapered me off the one benzo.

Listening to Ken's experience was not quite the same as what I'd been through, but it's just another testament to how once you're labeled something in the system, it follows you around. Eventually it wears you down until you just stop fighting. It's easiest just to give in. They're the professionals, right? Right?

I can't tell how moved I was by this book. It just goes to show that things aren't always what they seem, people aren't always who they are told they are by medical professionals. But if a "crazy person" tries to explain bwho they are, no matter how articulately... they're still the "crazy person."

I used to actually get mad at myself - I mean, where was all this great needs-no-sleep, super-productive heroine who could solve long division, while playing hacky sack and the didgeridoo simultaneously? Why was my "mania" nothing but a frustrated, angry, road rage-fueled irrational ball of explosives? If I HAD to be Bipolar, why didn't I ever get the "fun" part?

Is it misdiagnosis? After all, once I left the hospital, there were SO many errors that my drs had made - from my age to my mother being an alcoholic (she drinks one glass of red wine per week - if that - in the 4 decades I've known her). I was aghast at the gaffes. And not one of the 4 subsequent psychiatrists I saw after I left the hospital were any better.

I can go on and on, but then this will turn into a book of its own. If you've ever felt wrongly diagnosed, if you want to get a glimpse into what I once thought would be the "fun" part of bipolar, if you've ever questioned your doctor who sees you as an accumulation of criteria in the DSM-V and not an individual, get this book. If you want to hear some of the things l best narration and voice/accent changes, hey this audiobook. This is Ken's life, but it might as well be my own story.

Don't miss this one. I don't know what to download first: Ken's other book, or other books by the narrator? Both are superb.