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Dark Clouds Gather
     

Dark Clouds Gather

5.0 2
by Katy Sara Culling
 

ISBN-10: 1847477313

ISBN-13: 9781847477316

Pub. Date: 08/08/2008

Publisher: Chipmunkapublishing

Description

This book includes a true story about reaching the very edge, the very depths and heights of bipolar illness, but almost always with a sense of humour. Much like a car crash, people cannot help but look when they spy on these sort of black events. It is a new perspective on manic depression as in Prof K.R. Jamison's

Overview

Description

This book includes a true story about reaching the very edge, the very depths and heights of bipolar illness, but almost always with a sense of humour. Much like a car crash, people cannot help but look when they spy on these sort of black events. It is a new perspective on manic depression as in Prof K.R. Jamison's autobiography about her illness in An Unquiet Mind, but mixed explosively with S. Kaysen's immersion into madness in Girl, Interrupted; except this book feels like it's been written whilst on crack-cocaine and directed by Quentin Tarantino on a blood-thirsty day. This book may be dark but its underlying message is one of hope. Sometimes you have to see the depths of Hades before you can really appreciate life and health.

Being a manic depressive from just 5, then adding in anorexia, bulimia, self-harm and hundreds of suicide attempts, "typical" student substance misuse on the heavy end of "normal," culminating in a long hospitalisation when I was an Oxford doctoral student in clinical medicine. I ended up totally "mad," in a long-term psychotic mixed episode (being both manic and depressed concurrently, and suffering from delusions and hallucinations) and several actual deaths that I was revived from.

This is my autobiographical tale, a girl who came from nowhere "up North" to study medicine at Oxford University and spent the majority of her life quite literally mad, but never stopped laughing about it. This suits a wide audience for personal and professional reasons. I want to reach sufferers, carers, and professionals. I am proof that anything can be overcome, what should not be survived can be, and that nothing is more important in these diseases than hope.

About the Author

Katy Sara Culling was born in Liverpool, North England, in 1975. Daughter of Sue and Paul Culling, her family moved back to its roots in Derbyshire, where she grew up along with her younger sister Beth, in the village of Castle Donington, on the Derbyshire-Leicestershire border. However, even as young as 5 she exhibited symptoms of bipolar disorder. She attended a private school for girls, Loughborough High School, where she was a high achieving student. Unfortunately, due to bullying and also to numb her mania and depression, she developed anorexia nervosa and began to self-harm.

Katy Sara then went to The University of Nottingham, where she studied Biochemistry and Nutrition. She did her (1st class) thesis on alcohol and metabolism, interested in the psychology of Alcoholism. All this was done despite considerable illness including over 60 suicide attempts and purging-type anorexia - and yet more bullying. Her good work at Nottingham lead to an offer of a place at The University of Oxford, where she studied for a PhD (DPhil) in Clinical Medicine. In her final year she became so ill with bipolar disorder that she was in hospital (first as a day patient, then an inpatient, and eventually a sectioned inpatient). During that year and a half she attempted suicide over 300 times, dying twice, only to be revived. She finally, at the age of 28 got a diagnosis of bipolar disorder and the correct medication, and has been mostly fine ever since. She later wrote up her PhD thesis and published her results.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781847477316
Publisher:
Chipmunkapublishing
Publication date:
08/08/2008
Pages:
492
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.10(d)

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Dark Clouds Gather 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
GayalondielMA More than 1 year ago
It is an extremely rare thing to find an honest depiction of mental disorders in literature or media. For the most part accounts are simplified, romanticised, and the implication that a "cure" is readily available is common. Although recent years have seen a number of attempts to rectify that situation, few accounts succeed in providing a thorough, factual or first-hand exploration of the various elements of this kind of illness. Dark Clouds Gather meets all of these criteria and is one of the most painfully honest books I have ever read. Culling writes an autobiographical account of her experiences as a child, teenager and adult suffering from (largely undiagnosed) bipolar I disorder with a host of concurrent conditions. She is a highly intelligent individual who has studied biochemistry, medicine and psychiatry to various levels up to and including a DPhil at Oxford. She is distinguished among sufferers of such conditions to fall at the severe end of the bipolar spectrum and has exhibited attitudes of extreme (albeit quiet) violence towards herself and frequent, sometimes near-constant suicidal ideation. Culling is therefore particularly well, if not uniquely qualified to present the many aspects of her illness with both the awareness of her feelings at the time combined with highly analytical hindsight. She writes articulately about the circles in which her mind could run, exposing without judgement or awkwardness the less desirable view of the world and of individuals that is somewhat inevitable for someone with that condition. Culling also documents the various attempts at help she was offered, highlighting shortfalls in the systems as well as her own unwillingness or inability to take the opportunities offered. A clear theme through the later chapters indicates how institutionalised Culling became during her voluntary committal to hospital of a course of many months. She details thoroughly how she was able to continue self harming and suicidal behaviour on a regular basis despite being in a situation where she should have been safe. Culling does not provide an acquittal or a damnation for the institutions she attended, leaving the reader to form their own judgement. Culling is a miracle - in more senses than one. She is a miracle because she lives, having detailed no less than 443 identifiable suicide attempts in just under thirty years of life. She is a miracle because she has been clinically dead on at least one occasion and possibly more. She is a miracle because her intent with writing the book was to write "the book I needed to read when I was ill," and in doing so has given more of herself that anyone would be expected to give into the public arena. Most importantly, though, she is a miracle because she continues to give to psychiatry professionally in many ways. The final chapter of the book, though hopeful, is tinged with resignation to her illness: the epilogue some years later is brighter by far. While the chapters written about the depths of her depressive periods can be at times painful to read, the sheer relief of recovery in the final pages of the book is one of the most honest elements. Anyone struggling with mood disorders, eating disorders, feeling a loss of hope or lack of self-esteem, and anyone struggling to know how to support and understand a friend or family member in that position, medical professionals, this book is a must. Nowhere else will you find such honesty and understanding.
Gayalondiel More than 1 year ago
Dark Clouds Gather by Katy Sara Culling is one of the most painfully honest books I have ever read. It is written as an autobiography of Katy Sara's experiences as a child, teenager and adult suffering from (mostly undiagnosed) bipolar I with a host of concurrent conditions, as the title suggests. Katy Sara is a highly intelligent individual who has studied chemistry, biochemistry, medicine and psychiatry to various levels up to and including a DPhil at Oxford. She is also distinguished among those people I can name as having been through the most troubling disorders and states of mind that I am aware of. Katy Sara is therefore particularly well, if not uniquely qualified to present the many aspects of her illness with both the awareness of her feelings at the time combined with highly analytical hindsight. She writes articulately about the circles in which her mind could run, exposing without judgement or awkwardness the less desirable view of the world and of individuals that is somewhat inevitable for someone with that condition. I could go on and on about this book, but I will try to keep it brief. Katy Sara is a miracle - in more sense than one. She is a miracle because she lives, having detailed no less than 443 identifiable suicide attempts in just shy of thirty years of life. She is a miracle because she has been clinically dead at least once, possibly more. She is a miracle because her intent with writing the book was to write "the book I needed to read when I was ill," and in doing so has given up more of herself that anyone would be expected to give into the public arena. Most importantly, though, she is a miracle because she continues to give, online, in her work, producing more books (I am aware of at least two further volumes) and she continues to improve to this day. The final chapter of the book, though hopeful, is tinged with resignation to her illness: the epilogue is brighter by far. She continues to brighten, even when she has hard times, and offer support freely to those people who have not yet learned to live with their illnesses, as well as those who have but continue to need help. In terms of readability, Katy Sara's writing style is not my style of choice, but then I like my writing to be quite formal, with a slightly obsessive-compulsive need to have the formatting consistent throughout. The writing style does however reflect the subject matter well and underlines the personal and individual nature of the book. It is augmented by frequent quotations from other writers to provide a break in a narrative that feels at times unrelenting, and supported by extracts from Katy Sara's diaries and her medical notes. The book is by no means an easy read, on the contrary it can be painful, tiring and frustrating in places, sparing no detail save the uncommon knowledge that could provide someone with the means to end their lives. At the same time it is a compelling story and the final chapter provides such a powerful lift that you cannot help but feel that there is hope for anyone fighting the same demons. Anyone struggling with these disorders, feeling a loss of hope or lack of self-esteem, struggling to know how to support and understand a friend or family member in that position, all you professionals out there, this book is a must.