By Suzannah Knight
Key Themes: self-harm, drug abuse, eating disorders, sectioning, mental health services, schizo-affective disorder, bipolar disorder, manic depression, alcoholism, the occult
After a year travelling around the World Suzannah comes back to England to start university. Things start to go wrong as she is tempted into experimenting with drugs. She drops out of university and during her first spell of mania and depression starts to believe in black magic. This is the start of a long and winding journey for Suzannah as she loses all her friends and former lifestyle and leads a dubious existence, self harming and trichotillomania plague and her psyche as she battles with an eating disorder.
Suzannah is eventually sectioned and finds herself in a secure unit battling psychosis. She will not admit to herself she has a problem and refuses to take medication. Lonely and cast adrift she tries to forge a career for herself, but she can not escape the taboo of being labelled mental . Some time later she finds herself in the slums of Darlington, in poverty, and a chronic alcoholic. Overcoming her demons and fighting her schizo-affective disorder Suzannah takes life by the balls and gets herself back to university to finally finish her degree only to once again fall into mental illness, bad relationships and brushes with the law.
With four different diagnoses along the journey and various different forms of medication Suzannah denies her mental illness for a long time and therefore the psychiatrists were unable to help. She loses all her friends through mental illness and any form of normal life until she confronts the problem.
Remarkably and with great character Suzannahs book ends on a high note as she falls in love and marries the man of her dreams to live happily ever after with her son. It is through her own determination and the support of loved ones that Suzannah has changed her life. She will never be totally rid of her illness but with sensible management she has succeeded in finding an equilibrium. This is a fascinating and empowering story which should be a great positive influence to those who find themselves in a similar situation to Suzannah.