Breakthrough is a collection of poems about a childhood overshadowed by a mother's mental illness. It is about a mother whose untreated postnatal depression gradually deteriorated, leading to her eventual diagnosis as a schizophrenic. These poems explore fear, anger, shame, resentment and rejection that lead to self-recognition, gratitude, hope, love and joy. Breakthrough is a journey of the acceptance of mental illness, the realisation that mental illness is not a choice, the definition of a normal family and society's exclusion of mentally ill people and their families. Breakthrough aims to challenge attitudes and beliefs about mental illness and encourage compassion and kindness.
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About the Author
Determined to improve her family's quality of life, Katerina graduated in nursing from a secondary medical school. After graduation, with the help of her extended family in Australia, Katerina immigrated to Melbourne for further studies; after arriving, she realised that she wanted to study community support services for people with mental illness. Katerina graduated from NMIT TAFE as a welfare worker and, during her studies, fell in love with the Australian way of life and decided to make Melbourne her new home. After years of working in community service, supporting people with intellectual disabilities and mental illness, Katerina realised that she was living in her grief and needed a change.
Currently, Katerina is working as an administrative assistance for the Health Independence Program at St. Vincent's Hospital in Melbourne.
Throughout her life, Katerina has always turned to her notebook to consolidate her thoughts and feelings; writing Breakthrough gave her the opportunity to re-evaluate the way she sees the world and the way she lives her life. Katerina is sharing her story in hope of raising awareness of the effects of mental illness on both individuals and families. She hopes to encourage acceptance, compassion and kindness towards those experiencing and living with mental illness.