By Susan Splaine
Key Themes: bi-polar disorder, manic depression, mental health services, art, poetry
ALSO AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK
Darkened Light is an epic tour-de-force of a book, an awakening for people who do not understand the mind of a manic depressive. In this book Susan explains the past hardships of her life. She has lived a true rollercoaster of a life with both periods of manic euphoria and periods of suicidal depression. Susan's language reflects her state of mind, illustrated with dozens of her own drawings and paintings; she describes in the minutest of details the thoughts that whirl around her head. Susan is obviously a very strong and brave woman - this is a strong and brave book.
About the Author
The pictures I have drawn for my book show my thoughts, feelings, emotions and sentiments. I describe myself as a dark, mysterious, secretive person. I have had thoughts that I might have been a Viking in a past life, I have tough, violent traits. Three psychiatrists have diagnosed me as suffering from bipolar depression. During my manic phases I overestimate my personal ability. I become deceitful; see a side to me that is manipulative and crafty. At these times I do not have a conscience. I want to be bad.
At other times I am overtaken by a great euphoria. I become obsessed about something; I have delusions about whatever Iím obsessive about. Thoughts and ideas preoccupy my mind and I lose touch with reality. I seem to paint more when I am manic, many of my pictures are similar or on a similar theme.
My good mood does not last very long. After a period of elation my mood goes downhill. I sleep more and comfort eat. I feel the need to be alone and I become withdrawn and isolate myself. I have suicidal thoughts.
I never understand why I feel depressed. Iím mentally and emotionally strong enough to be able to withstand anything life throws at me. After every thing I have been through Iíve never had a breakdown because Iím tough and have the inner strength to survive.
Social workers have decided what my needs are, they have labelled me as somebody who suffers from anxiety and needs help to learn how to interact with people. I have remained undamaged and unaffected by hardship, hard times and trauma.
In September ninety-ninety-three at the age of eighteen, I was out of work. The job centre near where I lived sent me to college in Trafford where people go to do basic maths, English and a job search. The staff working there saw a person within that is bursting to come out. For the first time in my life, people told me that I am bright and intelligent. On Mondays and Tuesdays, I worked in the reprographics department because I was interested in printing/photocopying. I also worked in the library when there was not anything else to do because I quickly finished a dayís work.
I reached the stage in my life I realized that my personality had remained the same throughout my life. I grew up socially withdrawn, isolated, lacking in communication and social skills. At school, I was unpopular because of poor socialization. I made little or no contact with the teachers or other children. I was very unhappy, tearful and withdrawn because I felt ashamed of the funny sounds that came out of my mouth. My mum is a backward retard, has speech difficulties. I believed that I sounded like her. My mumís relatives, two sisters Freya, Griselda and brother Lenny and great auntie June said whenever they saw me that I am like my mum - I cannot talk. My mum would comply by saying something is wrong with her. Looking back over the years I felt cheated of my own importance and self-worth.
I am one of five children! Paddy is three years older than I am and Jasmine is two years older than I am. I am one of triplets and have a sister Abbey and brother Rory. Jasmine and Rory were the two intelligent ones out of the five of us. They were top of the class in Maths and English. Their qualities shined through because of nurturing from my grand parents and uncle Timmy on dadís side of the family. My grandmothers on dadís side spoilt Jasmine and also spoilt and nourished Timmy - those two were the favorites. Paddy and Abbey were in second place. As for me... I was miles behind because I did not crave love or attention. I am unsure if I ever felt rejected.
At weekends and during school holidays Jasmine went to her beloved grandparentís house. Rory mostly went to his beloved uncle Timmy. We took turns going to the grandparents with Jasmine. I hated going because of the close relationship she had with her grandmother. She always brought her new clothes and I had Jasmineís hand-me-downs. During the summer holidays before going to high school relatives told me they do not want me going to their house anymore because I did not talk to them. It was not hurt because I was an outcast. Throughout my school years, I did have few friends where I securely belonged. I preferred to mix with as few people as possible. In Maths and English, I was down at the bottom of the class. My schoolwork suffered because of poor concentration. I day dreamed! I sighed a lot and bit my nails. I did not talk to anybody about my misery or how bad I was doing at school. It made me feel overwrought because relatives and teachers were disinterested in my welfare.
Paddy is the less bright and intelligent out of all of us. In his last three years at primary school he went to special needs school. He did go to normal mainstream school. After leaving school, he went to college to do joinery. Every evening he came home crying and demoralized. My mum would always have his meal ready and he would always throw it back at her. He could not be civil towards his mum. Every day they had arguments. hey argued a lot about food because she is not a very good cook, so he took over doing the cooking. I am unsure what else they argued about because I either just left the house or cut myself off from them. I found Paddy much more annoying whenever he mellowed down and talked babyish to his mum. He does not have any special gifts or talents. He has worked as a joiner but also has been unemployed for years.
NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK
This product was added to our catalog on Thursday 12 April, 2007.