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'I was nearly twenty before I understood that there was a name for what sometimes happened to me. Later, I learned that it has gone by many names - the black dog, the bell jar, the onday demon, darkness visible, malignant sadness - but in my teens I'd just assumed that my fierce highs and days of disproportionate, isolating despair were part of every teenager's repertoire - how else would Morrissey have sold so many records? These pitches in mood were something I didn't speak about to anyone, because I was afraid of two things - either that it was thing serious, and I would be told to pull myself together, or that it was serious, and I would be told that, yes, I was a mental case.' Stephanie Merritt has a career as a velist and journalist, a beautiful son and a supportive family. Why then did she want to kill herself at the age of 29? Why could one, neither the system of GPs and health professionals, r her closest family and friends help her?Reading like a hybrid of Elizabeth Wurtzel's Prozac Nation and Rachel Cusk's more sober A Life's Work , Stephanie's unflinchingly honest memoir explores areas of experience commonly associated with depression such as love, solitude and self-medication through the prism of her own experience. Beautifully written and intensely honest this is an extraordinarily moving, life-affirming book about a debilitating illness that affects one in six people in the UK alone.
Stephanie Merritt was born in 1974 and read English at Queens' College Cambridge. She was Deputy Literary Editor of the Observer and is now a feature writer for the Observer and the Guardian. She has contributed to a number of newspapers and magazines and appeared as a critic and panellist on BBC programmes such as Newsnight Review and Quote Unquote. From 2007-2008 she produced and presented the Talks and Debates programme at Soho Theatre. She is the author of two novels - Gaveston, which won a Betty Trask Award in 2002, and Real, which she adapted as a screenplay for Plurabelle Films. She is currently writing a series of historical thrillers.