Looking for Prince Charles's Dog: Back cover Bookblurb
When the future king of Great Britain’s dog goes missing, Clive Travis PhD, a scientist working on secret government defence projects, goes looking for it (and his beloved Harris tweed flat cap). He soon finds himself drawn into a magical and mysterious high tech "MTRUTH" world of longstanding Anglo-Soviet conspiracy, espionage and the peace process in Ireland. But can, indeed should, he realise this world is no more than the product of his own mind and the condition he is suffering – paranoid schizophrenia? Is it possible for Dr Travis to shatter the delusional conspiracy and make a real contribution to the peace negotiations? And can he find himself in the process? This existential voyage through mental illness in search of a £10,000,000 donation to charity is a right Royal dog hunt and Travis's tour de force.
“This very interesting book makes a unique contribution to our understanding of serious mental illness…In the face of the turmoil of psychosis, there is no easy prescription for achieving collaboration between the patient and the psychiatric services, but this book eloquently makes the point that the first step is engagement in dialogue.”- Peter Liddle, Professor of Psychiatry, Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham
“A fascinating read giving great insight into what it is like to live with the symptoms associated with paranoid schizophrenia as well as the appalling side-effects of some of the treatments for it.” - Helen Finch, Sales and Marketing Manager, MIND
Looking for Prince Charles’s Dog: synopsis
In the early hours of September 8th 1994 I found myself being taken up a dimly lit, winding staircase in the tower of the Fairmile Lunatic Asylum, a gothic castle of doom which had opened 124 years earlier. At the time I believed the NHS had departed some years earlier. It was now part of a network of factories planned to activate following the Berlin wall’s being brought down. The Soviet Union had let itself come into a sociological thermodynamic contact with the west planned many years earlier. Inside this factory the benighted souls of poor human beings were being taken away, stripping them down to their most basic elements. They were now ready to be reprogrammed by Warsaw Pact psychiatrists prior to release whereupon they would infest western society and make it wholly compliant with the Soviet master plan.
Within days of my arrival I had an overwhelming urge to get down in writing what I believed had been happening. Only I, along with the military special forces it seemed, had the resilience to prevent their plan succeeding. British intelligence had its own plan, with me at the centre. They had fitted me with MTRUTH, Mobile Tactical Reconnaissance Unit Telecommunications Harness, the ultimate electronic augmentation for the soldier in combat.
Quite apart from the horror of what was going in the asylum I needed to let the world know for posterity the epiphany of my training for this mission in the months prior to my arrival in the factory. These were months when I believed fully the announced disappearance of Prince Charles’s Jack Russell dog at Balmoral on a wintry day the previous spring was a staged event. This had been designed specifically by the security services to introduce me into this bizarre, chivalrous and heroic endeavour. A £10,000,000 stunt for charity was the least that would do the exercise justice.
While the medication I was given degraded the fantastic delusions it would take some ten years of drug trials, repeated forced hospitalisations and searches for meaning in the search for the future monarch’s missing pet before I really surmounted the delusions to any consistent degree. No doubt alcohol consumption throughout this ten year battle, not with the Soviet Union but with paranoid schizophrenia, the illness I was in fact experiencing, was a major or even vital factor.
I found the illness inspiring and whilst on my one visit to Fairmile I had not yet got enough material to complete the book I found ample inspiration during these years and months. Much of this was in the suicidal side effect misery of what seemed a never ending series of drugs to which I was not suited and which only reinforced my initial delusions that I was living in some sort of Stalinist state within a state, my home country of Great Britain, a country I repeatedly escaped into and went to ground in.
However bad things got I never gave up and always felt I was on to something worth it ultimately if only I could just keep going and get my thoughts down, a task I finally set to after six years of the experience, though I only really got to complete the book, the writing of which was my journey of recovery, a decade in.
I hope the book will assist others in their own roads to recovery. I don’t think I am entirely deluded if I imagine it might save some such a rocky journey as the one I have had to make. I never found Prince Charles’s dog, but I found all one might hope to in such a noble venture, including my mental health. For what I believe I have written is far more than a story merely of medical interest: it is an adventure story, and not one without humour.
PhD Ceremony 1989 (click for larger image)