By Anne Brocklesby
AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK
Key Themes: manic depression, bi-polar disorder, medication, empowerment, bravery
A sincere and moving autobiography about a mother of two whose life is turned upside down by post natal depression and bi-polar. Anne suffered severe side effects from taking prozac but fought back through CBT, studying, poetry and writing about her condition. Anne's personal transformation from sufferer to empowered and confident woman gives new hope to fellow sufferers. Anne's bravery is an example to us all, this book is an inspiration to sufferers, carers and professionals alike.
About the Author
Anne Brocklesby was born in 1951 in Epsom, Surrey. She was educated in Wimbledon and Scotland before studying social sciences at Edinburgh University. She has now returned to live in Wimbledon where she has worked for many years in the voluntary sector. She is involved in the Make Poverty History campaign and takes an active interest in mental health issues, trying to promote a more positive image and challenging discrimination and stigma.
I think I developed a separation anxiety at a very early age, and had the enduring feeling that in fact I was an orphan. My mother told me that I was sent for 3 weeks to my aunt and uncle’s house, with two of their children, to spend time being looked after by them when my mother was giving birth to my sister Kay, her second child. Of course I do not remember any of this, but I am conscious of a feeling of separation, which I can only trace to this time. My mother said that when I returned, I looked like a neglected orphan, because my hair seemed a tangled mass, as though it had not been brushed or combed.
Three weeks was a long time to be stationed away from the only security I knew with my mother, to an aunt and uncle who I did not know at all, in a strange house, a journey of some one and a half hours from London. Just see it from my point of view, that on my return, I was presented with a little baby sister, with whom I must have competed for time and attention of my mother. Again, I cannot remember specifically feeling any jealousy towards my sister then, or later, but maybe it was an even deeper feeling that I have never been conscious of. However, throughout my childhood, jealousy towards school-friends always came into the picture. I was the responsible older sister to my two younger sisters, but also liked to laud it over them as the older sister sometimes, when I would chase them around the place, pretending to be a great monster.
My middle sister reminded me of some of these games in recent years, which served to bring them to my attention, as I had forgotten those times. On the whole I remembered always being the responsible, older sister, and trying to keep my two sisters in order, as was expected of the older child. However, I also remember visits to the seaside where I was scared to get out of the car to go for a walk onto the beach with my sisters, leaving my parents in the car, and I always had that feeling that they might not be there when I came back. This feeling was a very strong one and I absolutely felt I had to remain in sight of my parents, so that they could not disappear from my view. It was the only way I could keep some sort of control, but of course it did not present like that, and no one could understand why I would not go and play as my two sisters did. But then how could I explain that sort of feeling to my parents at the time? It all tended to come out the wrong way, and I felt stupid, and understood that my behaviour was silly. Yet at the time I did not associate it with my early separation and anxiety.
Later in my teenage years I developed a favourite character in a book. Perhaps I modelled myself on her. My favourite was Maggie Tulliver in ‘Mill On The Floss’ by George Eliot. Her great need as a young girl was to be loved, and I felt the same, to the extent that I identified with her, feeling that what I needed in my life was to be loved. On one occasion when I had had my nervous breakdown, I remember sitting with my husband in the doctor’s surgery, describing my feelings of need like Maggie Tulliver, but making it quite clear, that that was in the past, and now it was OK. So, although these feelings sunk into the back of my consciousness when I read the book at 15, these bare, essential needs of mine were clearly expressed when my emotions were upturned, and I tried to describe how I was feeling.
Of course, this well-known character had a traumatic end when she died trying to save her beloved brother, and they were both swept away together. I can write now, that it was not the tragic end which I had identified with, but perhaps the way in which she had died did make a profound impression upon me. In the same way I can now associate my confirmation saint with the same tragic end. Saint Dorothy, whom I chose at the age of 9 to be my confirmation name, had died as a martyr for her faith, on my birthday, another factor which had drawn her to me. I did tend to be fairly easily influenced by these emotional strings, which pulled me this way and that. At the age of 10 my mother asked me if I wanted to go off to boarding school in Scotland, but I said no, because I was too scared to contemplate living away from my home. I was not even curious enough to ask anything about the prospective boarding school, as I’m sure most children would do.
'Let's Hang on to Mental Health' by Anne Brocklesby
Paperback / e-Book
This product was added to our catalog on Wednesday 01 November, 2006.