I Stood At The Edge of Space On a Tightrope


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175 in stock


By Elizabeth Oates

ISBN: 978-1-84991-112-2
Published: 2010
Pages: 83
Key Themes: anxiety, depression, seasonal affective disorder



My book is about a journey about myself who used to live with various mental health problems and I now manage them so I can lead a successful healthy family lifestyle. It is a collection of poems I have written from the age of 16 to 30 (present). I thought my problems were quite normal and therefore just got on with life, but it was in 2009 when I thought crossing over to the spirit world would be painless and I could be on a cloud forever. I knew this was not quite right so I decided I wanted to manage my mental health issues.

About the Author

I was born in 1979 live in County Durham. I have suffered from mental health issues since leaving school in 1996 such as bulimia, IBS, seasonal affective disorder and sexual identity crisis. After graduating from University in Bristol I was a summer camp counsellor in New York and then travelled to the Far East.

During this period I self-harmed and drank alcohol to forget my problems and I ended up in hospital on three occasions for self-harm. I went to the GP in 2008 and had different medication tried on me. In 2009 I was advised to go into a mental hospital as I wanted to cross over to the spirit world. Here I was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder and depression and it was then when I decided to accept, manage and live with my problems.

I now lead a healthy-happy family life where I compete in triathlon, duathlon, aquathon, have finished a marathon. Recently I have been told I have a little arthritis in my back and I now try to base my lifestyle around this, with swimming and strengthening. I have raised money for mental health charities and have been in the local media about beating depression by running. I plan to continue with this in the future, especially local campaigns.

I want to be an inspiration to people who suffer from mental health issues.

Book Extract


Hi, my name is Elizabeth and this is my book of about anxiety and depression. I started having problems with anxiety and depression when I left school and started Sixth Form College. Here I developed bulimia until I was at University. I have a twin sister and she developed anorexia as she left school, and she is still recovering today.

I am now 29 and have had these problems since school. At Sixth Form I self-harmed by cutting my forearms. At University I cut my wrist with a broken bottle and was taken to hospital in an ambulance. At 27, I drunk a bottle of vodka in 20 minutes and cut my wrist quite badly with a Stanley blade, and was kept in hospital overnight. I think this was a nervous breakdown. I was off work for three months and returned part-time. I now work full-time. At 28 I developed thoughts of suicide as well as self-harm. My days were taken up by dreaming about crossing over to the other side, seeing the spirit world entrance, and panic. I used to drink in the house a lot during this time and subsequently had feelings of guilt.

One day I was so scared I would kill myself I told my partner and he took me straight to my doctor. My doctor contacted the Crisis Team and they viewed me twice, who then contacted their doctor. He decided it was best for me to go into hospital.

I was in hospital for eight days where they changed my medication and kept me under observation. I was discharged when I was no longer harmful to myself. In hospital I had to talk about my issues, and realised I had a few to deal with. By doing this I felt a great deal better and actually felt like a different person. I believe those eight days changed me for the better.

Since leaving hospital I have lead a different lifestyle – I have had more confidence, more patience, and been more accepting. I have also set many goals like finishing this book, a marathon, duathlon, aquathlon and triathlon. I have done all these and have also won four races and been in local newspapers and on the radio.

I do get occasional bouts of depression and anxiety for a couple of hours at a time. I manage them by setting achievable goals and making steps towards them.


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