I devoured this book after hearing about it on ABC Book Club. I think it took 4 days to read which is pretty fast for me.
Mental illness is a part of my family fabric. Bipolar, schizophrenia, clinical depression, personality disorders – all terms I know well as do the members of my immediate and extended family. ‘It’ is in our blood – much in the same way that my Mum says salt water is in our blood because my grandad was a tug boat captain. ‘It’ is there, always, waiting, lurking.
It’s been a few years since I have had to visit a loved one in hospital and I pray that this dry spell continues for a long time. (This dry spell is dependent upon chemical levels within the brain remaining at a very specific level. Any slight change in sleeping, stress or dosage will throw this balance off. Once this balance is off it takes a long time for everything to right itself. The most frustrating thing about this levels tightrope walk is never knowing if an exhibited action or reaction is a symptom of ‘going off’. We, the family, second guess innocuous things.)
I personally have never experienced psychosis but I have seen it first hand and have had to deal with it and its aftermath. It’s never the same for the people that are passively viewing it. We’re watching it and judging it with rational minds but reading Kate Richards write about her psychosis and years of illness was cathartic in a sense. It’s such an emotionally draining experience for the onlookers and I know it’s equally as frustrating for the people that are living it. I’ve never read anyone put the experience into words before and that, for me, was…well, important.
I found myself becoming invested in Kate’s journey through her illness. I found myself sighing when she self medicated or cut dosages because I know what happens when you do that. Read this book if you’re interested in mental illness. Read this book if you have a loved one suffering through it. It will give you new insight.
This book fills me with hope. I hope it does the same for you.