Don’t Mind Me


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186 in stock


By Judith Haire

ISBN: 978-1-84747-587-9
Published: 2008
Pages: 73
Key Themes: autobiography, dysfunctional family experience, abusive marriage, psychosis, recovery,



“Don’t Mind Me” is Judith Haire’s vivid account of the terrors she experienced while in the throes of psychosis. She describes how her dysfunctional family background and her abusive first marriage combined to bring her to the brink of insanity. Her remarkable and sustained recovery is told in great detail. “Don’t Mind Me” is an extraordinary story and shows how Judith battled through her devastating illness and emerged a stronger and more resilient woman.

About the Author

Judith Haire was born in 1955 and worked for several years before graduating in Politics from Sheffield University. Afterwards she spent eleven years working in the civil service, in a variety of roles. At 37 she experienced an acute psychotic episode which was to change her life radically. She lives in Kent with her husband Ken and their eccentric cat, Smudge. Judith had her first article published in Mental Health Practice magazine in 2007. “Don’t Mind Me” is her first book.

Book Extract


The phone rang and I screamed. I was filled with terror. My heart began to pound and I started to shake. In my confused mind I had become the deaf dumb and blind boy in “Tommy” a film that had captivated me many years before. I moved my limbs in a stilted and robotic way. I was no longer myself. I was in a different world, the world of psychosis. I was trapped and could not find my way out.

It was l993 and I was thirty-seven. I was entering a severe psychotic episode and this was to change my life forever. I need to take you back to my beginnings and describe how my life unfolded and how the many traumatic events which befell me made this terrifying illness almost inevitable.

Chapter One: Beginnings

I was born in Kent in December l955. My mother had met my father at teacher training college and instantly fallen for his charm. She loved him intensely but he said he would never marry her. My mother became pregnant.
She told me many years later that she had been put under great pressure to have sex and on that particular occasion she knew it was a fertile time of the month for her and neither she nor my father had any contraceptives with them. My father ignored her worries and continued to put pressure on her, saying he would kill himself if she did not have sex with him there and then. She found the pressure too much to resist.

Because my father was studying for exams she hid her pregnancy selflessly for several months and when she eventually told him all hell let loose. His mother insisted it was a deliberate act to trap him into marriage. My father broke down and demanded I was aborted.

My mother felt an overwhelming sense of duty and responsibility and decided there was no option for her but to marry my father. The wedding took place at the end of July l955. My mother had just turned twenty and my father was twenty three.

Once my mother went to live with my father in his parents’ house she saw a totally different side to him. His fury at having to marry her manifested itself in a regime of punishment – moody silences, cruelty and snide remarks. Once I was born, life became even worse for my mother. My father’s abuse of my mother was always unpredictable and would usually occur in the winter months, with sudden unprovoked bouts of rage. My father acted as though I did not exist. He ignored my presence totally. We all shared a bedroom. My mother said those first four years were hell.

My paternal grandmother Maud was, I think, torn in her loyalties and turned a blind eye to her son’s awful behaviour towards my mother, while she was pregnant with me and after I was born. My mother was frightened of my father and vividly recalls her unwilling compliance to have sex when he was in a rage.

My parents decided that if I was born with dark hair they would name me Juliet and if I was born with fair hair, Judith. I was born with golden red hair actually. My second name is Frances. When I was very young my father would tease me that I was baptised “Cess.” My surname was Pool and I felt hurt by this comment.

My mother was dreadfully unhappy cooped up in one room and living in her in-laws’ house. She would often stand looking out of the window, crying and wishing she could be somewhere different.

From what she has said in later years, she certainly never regretted giving birth to me. It was the marriage to my father that she bitterly regretted as it brought her so much pain and unhappiness.

She tried her best to leave my father when I was four months old, taking me in my pram, her belongings hidden inside, but did not get very far before she was consumed with guilt about deserting him and made her way back home.

She had planned to travel to Dorset to live with her mother and father. To the rest of the world my father was charming and nice but to my mother he was not.

8 reviews for Don’t Mind Me

  1. Gill Ansell (verified owner)

    Before reading this book, I had no understanding of psychosis. After reading it, however, I am now aware of what it is and how terrifying it must be to have suffered from it. Judith’s honest account of psychosis is an interesting read and her ability to cope with life after it, and after much negativity from others toward her before it and during it, is to be commended. I recommend this book to everyone who wants to gain an insight to this condition which could affect any one of us.

  2. John McDonald (verified owner)

    judith Haire has been to hell and back
    if you are stuck in your own private hell
    read this book for inspiration
    struggle on, find your way through
    if Judith can do it, so can you
    so can i!!! we will survive!!!

  3. Heather Robinson (verified owner)

    A very personal, honest and heart rending account of Judith Haire’s life and battle with mental illness. Deeply touching and inspiring, it tells the story of Judith’s courage and determination to battle through and finally claim and enjoy the happiness and love she truly deserves.

  4. Lauren Goldsmith Pollak (verified owner)

    Judith Haire has a real talent when it comes to writing. I really tried whilst reading this to remain skeptical and objective but Judith’s descriptions and openness make this impossible. A lot of her book resonated with my own experiences of psychosis and I think its a must read for mental health care professionals as it gives great insight into the sheer terror of psychosis and the sensitivity that is needed when dealing with someone who is psychotic. I felt like I was going through a whirlwind as I read Judith’s book and at the end of it there is a wonderful glimmer of hope. I love Judith’s ability to talk directly into your head.

  5. Jennifer Haire (verified owner)

    brilliant read written with a lot of feeling and understanding it was a very real touching story.

  6. Alison Drapier-Hendry (verified owner)

    Powerful descriptions of what Psychosis really is like. The sheer terror comes home and we realise how it wrecks all confidence. The acute suffering of Psychosis is very poignant.

    Judith deals out some gaffes towards the medics making the reader realise that Psychiatry seems unaware of the seriousness of completely different side-effects as though our bodies are compartmentalzed and not connected.

    The writer emerges as a result of tremendous patience, self-caring and gradually recovers. She relies on mother nature to heal rather than following a life-long medical solution but she always remains realistic.

    You can almost sense the intense heartache which has been poured into this text; A very candid account. Readable and informative.

  7. Donna Muldoon (verified owner)

    I found this a very moving, honest and realistic account of Judith’s life. I found the style of writing easy to read and the pace of the book was good, in fact, once I started, I had to contiue reading until I reached the end. It was un-put-downable…..:). Thank you for offering this to the world Judith and for your unquenchable spirit in life.

  8. Judith Haire (verified owner)

    When I started reading the book “Don’t Mind Me” I thought it would be another book that would tell me what, when and where to do to make my life better or make me less depressed. So I sat down and started scrolling the pages of the pdf and soon I was drawn by what I was reading. Soon I was captivated by the story of a woman, a story that kept me reading for next hours without a stop.
    If I saw that in a cinema or rather as a short TV series, I would say the screenwriters went definitely far too far in their creativity and that so many bad things could not happen to one person. Obviously life writes its own tragic plays that sometimes are beyond belief.
    When I read a book the story telling is very important for me, through the story telling we can see our lives, too. It is crucial to be able to think and learn through the book as well. Definitely this book makes a reader think, sometimes even leaves us in disbelief of how human brain works, how the society and those who should help are unable or unwilling to do so, but also how much one can bear and still survive.
    The first thing that made me think deeper was the behaviour of mother, it was a typical example of the behaviour forced by the society and rules of that. For ages I have been interested in this matter, how much society, culture and religion cause harm in our lives through decisions we take based on the rules forced on us.. The obvious tragedy of a woman who, due to different reasons and decisions, put herself in dysfunctional relationship. I have written about the mother as father’s behaviour, sick and dysfunctional as it was, in my mind was tolerated by the society, especially in the 1950s.
    This led to even more oppressive marriage. At first I also asked myself a question: why didn’t she leave the monster? But very soon I realized how hard it is to do a simple step, obvious one may suggest. What may go through our mind, what excuses we are able to find to justify , in our opinion, staying in even a horrific relationship. I also recalled a conversation with a friend who is a social worker and who told me that about 70% of women who escape the pathological relationships, returns to similar ones!
    I was very happy to read the part of the book from the perspective of a patient, what one can feel and think while observing the outside world, what thoughts and fears can go through one’s mind. That, sadly, also showed me how bad or not good enough the so called specialists are; how little do they know or rather want to feel to help the patient. How important it is for them to feel empathy, not only prescript medications, how important it is to be just humane when trying to cure a human.
    This part of the book is also very crucial to show that recovering from an illness is a process, not a short one and that we should realize the bad days can return, even in the most sudden and unexpected times of our lives. I believe though, also from my own experience, that with each return we as patients are stronger as we know more about illness and our own bodies or functions of our brains. We simply mature in our mental states and can heal faster having that notion.
    To conclude – books like that and this one in particular are telling the story of people who went through hell, but managed to come back. Who were on their knees, but stood up. The book gives us hope that even in the darkest moments we may find the strength to get better and to change the life. The most important though it speaks openly about the problem that is somehow a taboo in any society, but touches countless lives all around the world. By reading the story of one woman, everybody can learn something about their own life too.

    Brygida Biedron, Poland

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