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Me and Her: a Memoir Of Madness

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Me And Her: A Memoir of Madness reveals how Karen Tyrrell, a dedicated Australian teacher is repeatedly harassed by parents at her school to breaking point and beyond. In a fit of desperation, she escapes and runs. Police and medical professionals discover her hiding in a lonely motel, forcing her into the frightening world of the psychiatric system. The reader is taken ba Me And Her: A Memoir of Madness reveals how Karen Tyrrell, a dedicated Australian teacher is repeatedly harassed by parents at her school to breaking point and beyond. In a fit of desperation, she escapes and runs. Police and medical professionals discover her hiding in a lonely motel, forcing her into the frightening world of the psychiatric system. The reader is taken back to the classroom, discovering how the harassment affected Karen as we journey through her gradual decline and disintegration leading to her incarceration. Later Karen performs an 'experiment', purposefully stressing over a disturbed student, keeping herself awake at night - all in order to kick-start the creative ideas she craves. Karen reveals her psychic relationship with her psychologist, her pitch-black manic dreams and her two personas: me-wife, mother, writer and teacher, her-manic, psychic, healer to the living, telepathic to the dead, and she's very psychotic. Why did she become so crazy? How did she claw her way back from Insanity?


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Me And Her: A Memoir of Madness reveals how Karen Tyrrell, a dedicated Australian teacher is repeatedly harassed by parents at her school to breaking point and beyond. In a fit of desperation, she escapes and runs. Police and medical professionals discover her hiding in a lonely motel, forcing her into the frightening world of the psychiatric system. The reader is taken ba Me And Her: A Memoir of Madness reveals how Karen Tyrrell, a dedicated Australian teacher is repeatedly harassed by parents at her school to breaking point and beyond. In a fit of desperation, she escapes and runs. Police and medical professionals discover her hiding in a lonely motel, forcing her into the frightening world of the psychiatric system. The reader is taken back to the classroom, discovering how the harassment affected Karen as we journey through her gradual decline and disintegration leading to her incarceration. Later Karen performs an 'experiment', purposefully stressing over a disturbed student, keeping herself awake at night - all in order to kick-start the creative ideas she craves. Karen reveals her psychic relationship with her psychologist, her pitch-black manic dreams and her two personas: me-wife, mother, writer and teacher, her-manic, psychic, healer to the living, telepathic to the dead, and she's very psychotic. Why did she become so crazy? How did she claw her way back from Insanity?

30 review for Me and Her: a Memoir Of Madness

  1. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Puddle

    Once I started reading Karen Tyrrell's story I couldn't put it down. What a brave woman to write a memoir of her mental illness and forced hospitalisation. That takes courage. From what I gather, people experiencing mania are enjoying it and don't think they need help. This memoir gives an insight into the mind of the author while she's experiencing mania and how she felt about her husband's intervention. Not only will this book help people with bipolar, it will also help their family, friends a Once I started reading Karen Tyrrell's story I couldn't put it down. What a brave woman to write a memoir of her mental illness and forced hospitalisation. That takes courage. From what I gather, people experiencing mania are enjoying it and don't think they need help. This memoir gives an insight into the mind of the author while she's experiencing mania and how she felt about her husband's intervention. Not only will this book help people with bipolar, it will also help their family, friends and colleagues. Though Karen was ill in most of the story, her husband and kids suffered too. Maybe even as much as she did as it went on for a few years. My heart went out to her husband, who was battling a long-term illness of his own as well as caring for his family. What a wonderful man. I hope this book will help to stop discrimination against people with a mental illness. This story story shows they can be productive and determined people as well as being artistic. Though the story was sad, I laughed a lot while reading it. Karen Tyrrell is a funny lady. I don't know if she was trying to be funny, but some of her thoughts had me in stiches, not to mention her antics and sneaky ways of finding out things. She'd make a great detective. Though she wrote her notes while ill, she knew she wanted to be a writer. The real Karen was in there for the ride, too, and she wasn't letting anyone stop her from writing. After reading this book, anyone with a loved one suffering from mania would better understand that not all of the things that the patient is doing is part of the illness. The healthy person is still there with goals that are attainable. I love the way she worked out why this happened to her and her determination to publish her memoir. She wrote about her mania, or hyper-mania, but she didn't mention having a deep depression or suicidal thoughts like I've heard can happen with bipolar, though she did suffer from insomnia, anxiety and stress, and did have Post Natal depression years before. Maybe her husband got her the medical help she needed before a deep depression set in. There's so much information in this book for anyone suffering bipolar disorder. And their families will have a guide of what to do, which is great because it would be hard getting someone suffering from mania to willingly go to a mental health hospital. Karen Tyrell is a genius and I'm sure her story will save many lives. I'd give this book ten stars if I could, but I'm only allowed five. Keep writing, Karen Tyrrell!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Charmaine Clancy

    A very touching memoir, this book explores the up and downs (and even more ups) of living with and surviving a mental illness. Even if you've not been affected by someone living with this illness, you'll still be able to relate to Karen's situations and the emotional roller coaster of reactions to the harassment she endured. At times you will even smile along with this real-life character. A very touching memoir, this book explores the up and downs (and even more ups) of living with and surviving a mental illness. Even if you've not been affected by someone living with this illness, you'll still be able to relate to Karen's situations and the emotional roller coaster of reactions to the harassment she endured. At times you will even smile along with this real-life character.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dimity Powell

    Non Fic memoirs are not my normal bedside reading. Did I enjoy this one? How do you enjoy being tugged by the toenails into Karen's tortuous decent of the emotionally confusing and calamitous world of being bipolar? Only to be yanked back to normality again and again. I was often left breathless, like Karen, from the rollercoaster ride of constant soaring and plunging. But that's how I like my rides and reads. So, yes, I enjoyed it a lot. My only regret is that I was not able to make it to one o Non Fic memoirs are not my normal bedside reading. Did I enjoy this one? How do you enjoy being tugged by the toenails into Karen's tortuous decent of the emotionally confusing and calamitous world of being bipolar? Only to be yanked back to normality again and again. I was often left breathless, like Karen, from the rollercoaster ride of constant soaring and plunging. But that's how I like my rides and reads. So, yes, I enjoyed it a lot. My only regret is that I was not able to make it to one of Karen's launches. If the raw and brutal honesty, and the energy and inspiration she manages to portray on each page is Karen, then that would be something else to behold in person. We can all learn from this.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    Raw and confronting, brings Bipolar out of the darkness. It was a raw and honest account of what caused the problem and how it affected every aspect of Karen's life. Well written and totally engages the reader. Karen's journey with Bipolar gave me an understanding of the condition and how people with it view people and situations around them. I can only applaude Karen on her courage in writing such a confronting book. It will be an invaluable source for anyone with friends or family with Bipolar Raw and confronting, brings Bipolar out of the darkness. It was a raw and honest account of what caused the problem and how it affected every aspect of Karen's life. Well written and totally engages the reader. Karen's journey with Bipolar gave me an understanding of the condition and how people with it view people and situations around them. I can only applaude Karen on her courage in writing such a confronting book. It will be an invaluable source for anyone with friends or family with Bipolar and proves that there is light at the end of the tunnel you just have to work to get there. Bravo Karen.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Maggie

    Karen's book gives the reader an insight into the powerful hold mental illness can have on its victims. Me & Her tells the story through both women's eyes, and I give praise to anyone who is brave enough to tell their story in such a courageous and honest way. A compelling read. Karen's book gives the reader an insight into the powerful hold mental illness can have on its victims. Me & Her tells the story through both women's eyes, and I give praise to anyone who is brave enough to tell their story in such a courageous and honest way. A compelling read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Taylor

    This reads like a fast-paced thriller as Karen Tyrell leads you through the twists and turns of her journey with bipolar disorder. If you have bipolar or know someone who does, this is a must-read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    John S

    Well written. Karen Tyrell articulates what it's like to have bipolar and it's devastation on those who suffer from bipolar and on their careers and family. Bipolar wrecks lives. This is a first person testimony from a professional writer who has suffered and is surviving bipolar. It benefits those still suffering from bipolar because it lets them know they are not alone and that there is hope. A common frustration for anyone suffering pain is the inability of others not so stricken to truly ap Well written. Karen Tyrell articulates what it's like to have bipolar and it's devastation on those who suffer from bipolar and on their careers and family. Bipolar wrecks lives. This is a first person testimony from a professional writer who has suffered and is surviving bipolar. It benefits those still suffering from bipolar because it lets them know they are not alone and that there is hope. A common frustration for anyone suffering pain is the inability of others not so stricken to truly appreciate how awful it can be. Well meaning friends and family offer advice that can be demoralizing because it's often evidence they have no idea what it is like to be in a dark pit or on a grandiose high. Reading Karen Tyrell's book is like going to group therapy. The book also benefits friends and family through educating them and helps them be more empathic and supportive - and can help them cope. Lastly, it educates the public at large about this affliction which helps reduce the stigma. I think this book will be on most short lists of recommended reading about bipolar - for those who have bipolar, their families, employers, schools, and health professionals.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Belladonna

    Gripping, raw, real, heartbreaking, hopeful...I was moved by Karen Tyrrell’s brave memoir. ME & HER reveals the shadowy world of mental illness, exposes the fundamental flaws in our mental health systems, and through this brave woman’s journey in battling with the ‘monster’, her memoir offers hope and a light in the darkness. ME & HER is a MUST READ, not only for those of us who have been touched by mental illness in one form or another, but for EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US, because essentially, Karen Gripping, raw, real, heartbreaking, hopeful...I was moved by Karen Tyrrell’s brave memoir. ME & HER reveals the shadowy world of mental illness, exposes the fundamental flaws in our mental health systems, and through this brave woman’s journey in battling with the ‘monster’, her memoir offers hope and a light in the darkness. ME & HER is a MUST READ, not only for those of us who have been touched by mental illness in one form or another, but for EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US, because essentially, Karen’s story reveals what it is like to be human.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    A very open account of one woman's struggle to understand her mental condition. Her bold attitude to understanding brings you on a raw and emotional journey into Bipolar Disorder. I loved the book and am glad that Karen provided this interesting and revealing story to highlight the individual and family angst associated with mental disorders. Well done Karen, a fabulous read. Thank you for sharing. A very open account of one woman's struggle to understand her mental condition. Her bold attitude to understanding brings you on a raw and emotional journey into Bipolar Disorder. I loved the book and am glad that Karen provided this interesting and revealing story to highlight the individual and family angst associated with mental disorders. Well done Karen, a fabulous read. Thank you for sharing.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Madonna

    From the first few lines read I was captivated, intrigued and emotional moved. "Me & Her" was like a novel I couldn't put down, I felt my heart bet hard in my chest as I read though the pages of this Ladies fight for her sanity. Only it wasn't a novel, everything I read in this book actually happened. From the first few lines read I was captivated, intrigued and emotional moved. "Me & Her" was like a novel I couldn't put down, I felt my heart bet hard in my chest as I read though the pages of this Ladies fight for her sanity. Only it wasn't a novel, everything I read in this book actually happened.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ruth Garlick

    "Me & Her" was absolutely amazing! I loved it because a) it was super well-written b) it was intriguing and addictive c) it taught me stuff about bipolar – and I LOVE learning Karen Tyrrell is an extremely talented author – I can't wait to read more of her works! She writes with a passion, which sucked me in. I will treasure my copy of "Me & Her" always :) "Me & Her" was absolutely amazing! I loved it because a) it was super well-written b) it was intriguing and addictive c) it taught me stuff about bipolar – and I LOVE learning Karen Tyrrell is an extremely talented author – I can't wait to read more of her works! She writes with a passion, which sucked me in. I will treasure my copy of "Me & Her" always :)

  12. 4 out of 5

    Juliet Sampson

    You never know where your life path will take you. This is shown in Me & Her. The honest recount of Karen's journey captures the reader. I have never read a story like this before. Thank you Karen for sharing your experience. You never know where your life path will take you. This is shown in Me & Her. The honest recount of Karen's journey captures the reader. I have never read a story like this before. Thank you Karen for sharing your experience.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Marj Osborne

    The Johari Window, developed in the 1950s from the work of Carl Jung, states that there are four ‘sides’ or quadrants to each person. From memory, the four sides to each one of us are: • Open - What you know about yourself that is clearly visible to others; • Hidden - What you know about yourself that others don’t know; • Blind Spot - What others know about you that you don’t know; • Unknown – motives or behaviours not known by the person or others. The journey with another person via a memoir is by The Johari Window, developed in the 1950s from the work of Carl Jung, states that there are four ‘sides’ or quadrants to each person. From memory, the four sides to each one of us are: • Open - What you know about yourself that is clearly visible to others; • Hidden - What you know about yourself that others don’t know; • Blind Spot - What others know about you that you don’t know; • Unknown – motives or behaviours not known by the person or others. The journey with another person via a memoir is by its very nature a subjective biased re-creation of events and emotions. It takes us through several of the Johari quadrants or ‘rooms’, through doorways, from the open areas of everyday life into hidden and blind spots, through areas usually known only to the narrator (hidden), yet at other times there are aspects of actions and behaviour seen by the reader of which the narrator is not aware (blind spots). This can be very difficult territory. Glimpsing inside someone else's mind and shadowing their recreated story is never easy, particularly when they are suffering a mental illness. It would be wrong to say that Karen Tyrell’s “Me & Her” is an easy or enjoyable read. Both the title and the cover image foreshadow the unevenness of the journey we travel as Karen strives to recreate her past few years. The first person voice brings immediacy, compulsion and compulsiveness to both the content and writing style. It’s a bumpy ride as Karen takes us inside the hidden quadrant of mental illness, an uncomfortable and claustrophobic place for many of us. But that’s the point, isn’t it? Those of us who spend time with family members suffering from mental illness may understand how strong the jaws of steel are which hold them, how rough the ride for those who travel beside them. Through Karen’s memoir, we now have some insight into how tumultuous the ride inside is, how claustrophobic for those ‘inside the jaws’. Brave, indeed!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    As a person who was diagnosed with PTSD and Bipolar Disorder, I was so happy to find a memoir from an Aussie female! I was enthralled by Karen's story and the writing was engaging, thought-provoking and importantly, honest. It is crucial for books like this to be written as so many people who have mental illness want to feel like there are others out there who have shared the same experiences, memoirs provide a way to further your knowledge about your own health and well-being. This memoir captur As a person who was diagnosed with PTSD and Bipolar Disorder, I was so happy to find a memoir from an Aussie female! I was enthralled by Karen's story and the writing was engaging, thought-provoking and importantly, honest. It is crucial for books like this to be written as so many people who have mental illness want to feel like there are others out there who have shared the same experiences, memoirs provide a way to further your knowledge about your own health and well-being. This memoir captured me from the first page, the writing drew a picture in my mind of the turmoil faced by not only the author but those around her. It shared the feelings of her family and how they dealt with the effects of mental illness. But most importantly, it shared the struggle to understand and the amazing ability of how a human can survive the a Bipolar episodes. The book provided great insight into how people can use a range of strategies to live happy, balanced lived while living with a mental health condition. Kare, I admire your bravery in writing and promoting such a wonderful memoir. You are an inspiration to so many out there and I wish you nothing but success, health and happiness.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jayne

    A fantastic journey, one of which I would compare to a rollercoaster ride. Karen’s book draws the reader into every moment, following her emotions and wild mood swings – her joy, sadness and enlightenment. It was a true reflection of how a caring, intelligent, dedicated person can morph into what society labels “unstable and out-of-control”. Bipolar creeps up on you and one minute you are on top of the world and the next you are trying to re-establish your whole life including family and work re A fantastic journey, one of which I would compare to a rollercoaster ride. Karen’s book draws the reader into every moment, following her emotions and wild mood swings – her joy, sadness and enlightenment. It was a true reflection of how a caring, intelligent, dedicated person can morph into what society labels “unstable and out-of-control”. Bipolar creeps up on you and one minute you are on top of the world and the next you are trying to re-establish your whole life including family and work relationships. Karen’s book is a great resource not only for people that have a mental illness but those who care and love someone that suffers with an illness. Karen’s book gives insight into a misunderstood illness from a sufferer’s perspective. The story explains the onset of bipolar and looks at different strategies to manage the daily highs and lows to the final stage of acceptance and embracing of the diagnosis. Karen is fantastic advocate for mental illness and I look forward to reading more of her books.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

    This book must be written by a brave and daring woman with an equally brave and indomitable family. My hat is off to all of them. I took the nibble-bait of reading the first 20 pages and then took the plunge with my first Kindle, ibook, ebook or whatever. I am glad that this book was my first. Karen writes with such raw honesty and her simple direct narrative both deconstructs and reconstructs her understanding, and experience, with bipolar disorder. Now I follow up that first with my first onli This book must be written by a brave and daring woman with an equally brave and indomitable family. My hat is off to all of them. I took the nibble-bait of reading the first 20 pages and then took the plunge with my first Kindle, ibook, ebook or whatever. I am glad that this book was my first. Karen writes with such raw honesty and her simple direct narrative both deconstructs and reconstructs her understanding, and experience, with bipolar disorder. Now I follow up that first with my first online review given in gratitude for the experience of reading the journey that is this Memoir. Thank you and well done Karen. The support of Access Arts is paid back 10 fold. I eagerly await the next book in the journey 'Me and Him' - which will add, I am sure, yet another dimension, making it o so clear that each story has way more than two sides. The price is so little and the time spent was worth so much more.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty Mcdowall

    To Karen Tyrrell I really enjoyed your book. You should be proud of what you have achieved. I am glad that you found your way back and that you continue to manage your condition while fulfilling your dreams. It was interesting how you wrote from the point of view of "her" and then later you made the personal realisations that gave you the broader perspective. I'm sure that anyone suffering Bipolar would be able to identify with your descriptions of how you saw the world and because of that know th To Karen Tyrrell I really enjoyed your book. You should be proud of what you have achieved. I am glad that you found your way back and that you continue to manage your condition while fulfilling your dreams. It was interesting how you wrote from the point of view of "her" and then later you made the personal realisations that gave you the broader perspective. I'm sure that anyone suffering Bipolar would be able to identify with your descriptions of how you saw the world and because of that know that they too can get through. The families and friends of Bipolar sufferers would get a helpful insight into the altered reality so could perhaps understand better. It is wonderful that your book is getting such good attention right now. Who knows, it may even become a study guide for students. Congratulations! Kirsty

  18. 5 out of 5

    Vacen Taylor

    An inspiring story! Karen reveals her struggle with bipolar and takes us into the world of Me & Her. By writing this book she's opened a door for us all, helping us to understand the trials and trauma that can be associated with this devastating illness. It feels like you're with her as she takes each step on her journey to recovery. It's a journey filled with countless emotions, glimpses of spiritual connections, real courage, and a mindfulness for healing. Me & Her is an inspiring story and on An inspiring story! Karen reveals her struggle with bipolar and takes us into the world of Me & Her. By writing this book she's opened a door for us all, helping us to understand the trials and trauma that can be associated with this devastating illness. It feels like you're with her as she takes each step on her journey to recovery. It's a journey filled with countless emotions, glimpses of spiritual connections, real courage, and a mindfulness for healing. Me & Her is an inspiring story and one that will be enjoyed by everyone who reads it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    To be honest I don't normally read memoir's but since I've met Karen I thought I would give it a go. I've since finished the book and must admit I enjoyed it. Despite having studied psychology I did not know a great deal about what it meant to actually have a mental illness. So this book really opened my eyes to what people in Karen's situation go through on a daily basis. I enjoyed the book, it was a great learning experience. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to get an insight into me To be honest I don't normally read memoir's but since I've met Karen I thought I would give it a go. I've since finished the book and must admit I enjoyed it. Despite having studied psychology I did not know a great deal about what it meant to actually have a mental illness. So this book really opened my eyes to what people in Karen's situation go through on a daily basis. I enjoyed the book, it was a great learning experience. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to get an insight into mental illnesses.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nicky Johnston

    I was so looking forward to reading the book "Me and Her" by Karen Tyrrell and I certainly was NOT disappointed. It is a story that you simply cannot put down, I actually felt like I was on the journey with her - the raw honesty and detailed emotions I consider to be extremely brave and I applaud Karen in not leaving out the 'hard stuff'. Mental health issues are very real, and experienced by so many. It is very hard to explain to a person who has never been affected by mental illness - this boo I was so looking forward to reading the book "Me and Her" by Karen Tyrrell and I certainly was NOT disappointed. It is a story that you simply cannot put down, I actually felt like I was on the journey with her - the raw honesty and detailed emotions I consider to be extremely brave and I applaud Karen in not leaving out the 'hard stuff'. Mental health issues are very real, and experienced by so many. It is very hard to explain to a person who has never been affected by mental illness - this book is a great insight into how it 'really' is. Thank you Karen for sharing your journey.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Alison Stegert

    Karen Tyrrell's memoir is a must read for anyone who needs insight into the reality of mental illness. She is generous to her readers, exposing her own weaknesses and sharing the painful journey to self-acceptance and recovery. I read almost the entire book in one session; I was sucked in by her honesty and compelled to find out how she managed to find peace and regain her life. I now have an even deeper compassion and appreciation for teachers and other people who work in stressful environments Karen Tyrrell's memoir is a must read for anyone who needs insight into the reality of mental illness. She is generous to her readers, exposing her own weaknesses and sharing the painful journey to self-acceptance and recovery. I read almost the entire book in one session; I was sucked in by her honesty and compelled to find out how she managed to find peace and regain her life. I now have an even deeper compassion and appreciation for teachers and other people who work in stressful environments. God bless Karen Tyrrell--and her lovely family.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Chloe

    What an amazing insight into mental illness! Hats off to this author who suffered, recognised her illness and is determined not to let it rule her life. Triggered by an extremely stressful situation, Karen spins out of control into mania and a roller coaster of forced hospitalisation and medication results. We view bipolar from the suffer's point of view and we also gain insight into how it effects and devastates families and friends. It's confronting, it's raw and yet, there's hope in this memoir What an amazing insight into mental illness! Hats off to this author who suffered, recognised her illness and is determined not to let it rule her life. Triggered by an extremely stressful situation, Karen spins out of control into mania and a roller coaster of forced hospitalisation and medication results. We view bipolar from the suffer's point of view and we also gain insight into how it effects and devastates families and friends. It's confronting, it's raw and yet, there's hope in this memoir.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Robin Adolphs

    Me and Her is an open and revealing account of Karen's personal struggle and triumph over 'madness'. The powerful and shocking first scene plunges the reader straight into the author's private nightmare followed by a big dipper ride right through the book as she struggles to regain her former self. Fast paced,easy to read and brutally honest, Me and Her is informative, highly readable and inspirational. Me and Her is an open and revealing account of Karen's personal struggle and triumph over 'madness'. The powerful and shocking first scene plunges the reader straight into the author's private nightmare followed by a big dipper ride right through the book as she struggles to regain her former self. Fast paced,easy to read and brutally honest, Me and Her is informative, highly readable and inspirational.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Darlene

    Kudos, Ms. Karen Tyrrell, for the courage to tell your personal story and your struggles with your bipolar demons. Having second hand dealings with a mother who had undiagnosed bipolar, I was glad to see that you were able to get the help and support you needed. It is a most devastating disorder/illness. I am glad to have read this and know more of the process of diagnoses and the various coping mechanisms you learned along the way. Thank you for sharing your story.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Behan Debbie

    The title says it all and the message powerful. How a caring teacher is broken down by life's cruel twists. How harassment can destroy the very essence of a person and then, the struggle back from the depths of despair by courageous Me. The title says it all and the message powerful. How a caring teacher is broken down by life's cruel twists. How harassment can destroy the very essence of a person and then, the struggle back from the depths of despair by courageous Me.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kerrie

    I found this book a compelling read on several levels. At times I wanted to yell...."No Karen, don't do it"......It's impossible to read this story without having protective feeling toward the heroine. The fact that it is a true story makes it even more amazing(less) I found this book a compelling read on several levels. At times I wanted to yell...."No Karen, don't do it"......It's impossible to read this story without having protective feeling toward the heroine. The fact that it is a true story makes it even more amazing(less)

  27. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    A brave memoir that takes you inside the confused bipolar mind.

  28. 5 out of 5

    TheCosyDragon

    This review has been crossposted from my blog at The Cosy Dragon. Please head there for more in-depth reviews by me. It is hard to imagine what it is like for a person with mental illness, particularly one as 'bad' as bipolar disorder (manic-depression). The ravings and journalling of Karen while manic provide such a valuable resource that Karen plumbs for information to write this novel. It's those formed into a relatively cohesive whole that allow the reader into a manic mind. This has to be one This review has been crossposted from my blog at The Cosy Dragon. Please head there for more in-depth reviews by me. It is hard to imagine what it is like for a person with mental illness, particularly one as 'bad' as bipolar disorder (manic-depression). The ravings and journalling of Karen while manic provide such a valuable resource that Karen plumbs for information to write this novel. It's those formed into a relatively cohesive whole that allow the reader into a manic mind. This has to be one of the first books I have ever read that is a memoir. I was attracted to it because I have a fascination with mental illness, although not nearly to the extent that Karen does when she is ill. I think it's fantastic that Karen is going out of her way to speak out about her illness, because it is so often stigmatised unfairly. This is a compelling read to an extent. The reader will experience with Karen her ups and further ups! It is amazing how Karen has managed to write so much about a time which she herself does not really remember. The sentence and paragraph introductions into each chapter provided excellent guidance for the reader, and are a sort of springboard. They gave you some idea of what was coming, and to prepare yourself for another psychotic episode. Some parts of this novel were relatively repeditive, and it frustrated me that the reader was not trusted more to remember who the different characters were. Karen's long suffering husband Steve has an autoimmune disease, which we are reminded of multiple times. We're also constantly reminded of the different people Karen has worked or studied with, and their importance, when really I remembered that detail from before. I felt that some of the text was telling instead of showing. I would have loved for some of the memories of the harassment at Karen's school to be included more as distinct flashbacks, rather than rather dry encounters reported to her psychologist. It is confusing that the end of this novel is about actually writing the book. The memories which the reader has accepted as occurring and Karen remembering them for us, are actually fragments that she herself does not remember until her husband tells her. This distances the reader in my opinion, and I got somewhat confused and Some parts of this novel smack of self publishing. There are a couple of unusual line breaks, and some errors in punctuation. It's really very minor, and perhaps that is part of the memoir genre, which doesn't usually attract me as a reader. Something I would have liked cleared up were the ages of Karen's children. Michelle is shown driving, but she still lives at home and seems partially dependant on Steve and, to an extent, Karen. I wanted more of the other characters to shine through, although again I need to keep in mind that this is a personal memoir about Karen only. I struggled with the psychic connections that Karen focussed on excessively. It was not clear to me whether the 'real' Me Karen believed in these things as well, or whether they were products of her delusional mind. I find it hard to believe that wellness living and alternative therapies were the turning point - but then I haven't had great success with those myself. As usual, I have been far better at picking apart the novel than complimenting it on what it does well. I did feel a connection with Karen, and I sat on the edge of my plane seat in anticipation as she went on and off her medication. The language rushed me through just as as if I had mania myself, but I didn't feel a comparable slowness when Karen was 'down'. Lithium and Seroquel are both drugs I am familiar with, although I believe Seroquel is usually the American term for this drug. This book isn't particularly distinctly Australian, but then it isn't particularly American either. It could be almost anywhere that has private and public hospitals and a school system! I wasn't aware of the involuntary commitment regulations, but then I imagine that not many people are aware. It does provide a fascinating insight into what those conditions are actually like - craft days seemed so inappropriate! This is the first ever book I have won, yet I can't give it a completely glowing review. It is worth reading if you are obsessive about bipolar disorder, or have an attraction to memoirs. Also, a number of people on Amazon (I don't normally post to Amazon, but it has been requested by the author) have given it 5 star (for me: buy and reread frequently) or 4 star (for me: reread) ratings, when this was only a 3 star book to me. Perhaps I'm not the target genre. I wouldn't recommend it as precisely light reading, although the language is relatively simple. I received this book as part of a Goodreads FirstReads giveaway. This has not influenced my opinion, because all opinions are my own. Other people wishing to send me ARCs or books for review consideration are welcome to email me. I have a very short turn around time of around a week for most of the year.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jill Smith

    This book begins in a motel, with the door being knocked on by police and Karen being very confused about why they are there. They are asking Samantha to come out. That’s not her name. Even more distressing, Karen is taken away and put into a psych ward. What has she done to cause this? She doesn’t understand. The following chapters explore the process Karen goes through to find herself again. To banish, the other ‘Her’, full of manic behavior which tempts her to become high on being creative. At This book begins in a motel, with the door being knocked on by police and Karen being very confused about why they are there. They are asking Samantha to come out. That’s not her name. Even more distressing, Karen is taken away and put into a psych ward. What has she done to cause this? She doesn’t understand. The following chapters explore the process Karen goes through to find herself again. To banish, the other ‘Her’, full of manic behavior which tempts her to become high on being creative. At the time, she sees herself, ’Her’, as enlightened, intuitive, and productive. Karen discovers that the rambling notes, exploration of the bipolar disorder, through interviews with fellow psych ward patients, doctors, her family and friends, is in fact abusive manic behavior. How did it all begin? Karen is a teacher, a good one. She is facing a nightmare family, who create a great deal of anxiety in her life. The child is abusive and uncontrollable. The parents join in the attack verbally and physically presenting them-selves in her classroom, in her rear-vision mirror when leaving school, even popping up at the supermarket and standing uncomfortably close while she makes a purchase at the deli counter. This causes Karen’s already severe insomnia to get worse. This is one of the triggers. The effect on her family and friends is catastrophic. They stand by her and encourage their Karen to return home. The self-analysis with the help of doctors, relaxation therapy, and the honesty of her husband and children, help her formulate a plan to escape. What triggered these events is the clue to her rehabilitation. Creativity does become her salvation when she addresses the warning signs and keeps the ‘Her’ at bay. Karen should be applauded for writing this book. It shows her darkest days researched by herself. After having had two bipolar attacks, and losing her short-term memory, it must have been confronting and cathartic to complete this project. This is a must read book, as an insight into how easily life can change from normal to abnormal, and how many people around us, go through these difficulties without the world taking much notice. Karen’s battle against ‘Her’ is a tribute to her recovery. Merged review: This book begins in a motel, with the door being knocked on by police and Karen being very confused about why they are there. They are asking Samantha to come out. That’s not her name. Even more distressing, Karen is taken away and put into a psych ward. What has she done to cause this? She doesn’t understand. The following chapters explore the process Karen goes through to find herself again. To banish, the other ‘Her’, full of manic behavior which tempts her to become high on being creative. At the time, she sees herself, ’Her’, as enlightened, intuitive, and productive. Karen discovers that the rambling notes, exploration of the bipolar disorder, through interviews with fellow psych ward patients, doctors, her family and friends, is in fact, abusive manic behavior. How did it all begin? Karen is a teacher, a good one. She is facing a nightmare family, who create a great deal of anxiety in her life. The child is abusive and uncontrollable. The parents join in the attack verbally and physically presenting them-selves in her classroom, in her rear-vision mirror when leaving school, even popping up at the supermarket and standing uncomfortably close while she makes a purchase at the deli counter. This causes Karen’s already severe insomnia to get worse. This is one of the triggers. The effect on her family and friends is catastrophic. They stand by her and encourage their Karen to return home. The self analysis with the help of doctors, relaxation therapy, and the honesty of her husband and children, help her formulate a plan to escape. What triggered these events is the clue to her rehabilitation. Creativity does become her salvation when she addresses the warning signs and keeps the ‘Her’ at bay. Karen should be applauded for writing this book. It shows her darkest days researched by herself. After having had two bipolar attacks, and losing her short term memory, it must have been confronting and cathartic to complete this project. This is a must read book, as an insight into how easily life can change from normal to abnormal, and how many people around us, go through these difficulties without the world taking much notice. Karen’s battle against ‘Her’ is a tribute to her recovery.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Heather James

    The title first caught my attention as I watched with interest how the virtual world shared and communicated the "ME & HER: A Memoir of Madness" book. I had no intention of reading this book initially. That was until I was prompted to read the 20 page preview of the book. Well, even before the end of the preview I was ready to consume the contents of the entire book in a matter of days. It had me hook, line and sinker in a positive way. I love Karen's writing style, it is detailed, descriptive, The title first caught my attention as I watched with interest how the virtual world shared and communicated the "ME & HER: A Memoir of Madness" book. I had no intention of reading this book initially. That was until I was prompted to read the 20 page preview of the book. Well, even before the end of the preview I was ready to consume the contents of the entire book in a matter of days. It had me hook, line and sinker in a positive way. I love Karen's writing style, it is detailed, descriptive, without being wordy or annoyingly overwritten (as I find some inspirational books are). I read the book with ease in just a matter of days from cover to cover, but left wanting more! I am not an avid reader and I personally find it difficult to read books at the best of times. But I couldn't wait to finish the book, to find out what happened, how she managed to overcome and RECOVER from her mental illness and where to next! I loved the honesty about her relationships with those around her from family, friends, doctors and others. I loved the journey, despite its serious and important meaning to help others with mental illness. She is quirky and you really get a sense you "know her" after you finish the book. Like a friend even. Karen's experiences, explanations and research findings are valued by me and I have found myself completely immersed in her journey to recovery. Thank you Karen. Not only did I resonate on a personal level for me as a woman, mother, wife, daughter, sibling, friend and mental health patient, but it resonated with my family mental health history and even on a professional and creative level as well. I highly recommend this book for anyone, it's not just for those interested or concerned with mental illness or health and wellbeing, it is a book for everyone to help break the boundaries and myths of mental illness in our community. It is an inspiring read from start to finish and leaves nothing to question. It is raw and real with every word scribed. Karen, you are an inspiring and remarkable woman with a purpose to help and inspire others, may your journey be prosperous, balanced, soulful and inspiring every step of the way. This is JUST the beginning! Thank you for sharing your journey and look forward to the sequel! Heather James Inspiring Mums® "Where Mums Smile & Shine®"

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