Fiona Shaw has a loving husband, a dream cottage in Yorkshire, and has just given birth to her second child. Ten days later she is hospitalized in a psychiatric unit for severe postnatal depression. In this powerful memoir she describes how the "Baby Blues" suddenly developed into something much more serious, and recalls the months of despair which nearly destroyed her. She eventually emerged from the nightmare and produced this startling testimony and regained control of her life and triumphed over the past.
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Fiona Shaw grew up in London and lives in North Yorkshire. She is working on her first novel.Review:
Out of Me is the compelling account of Fiona Shaw's hellish descent into post-natal depression. In a book which has drawn comparison with Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar, she attempts to piece together her shattered identity in a testimony that is both intensely personal yet strangely objective. The journey takes her back to a childhood where, peddled relentlessly to and fro between divided families, she was always the outsider. Increasingly driven into herself, she began to enact more and more obsessive cries for help. The most heart-rending episode tells of a feigned back pain that became a way of gaining her parents' attention. The weeks in hospital turn into months. She undergoes one test after another as the doctors try to determine the cause of her mysterious condition and finally, incredibly, spinal surgery. The terrifying clarity of her words transports you into the skewed world of a desperate child where the line between real and pretend becomes blurred. It is here we see the root of Shaw's terrifying ability to disassociate from herself and gain an insight into a bizarre psychic splitting process that can occur under extreme emotional stress. Perhaps, Shaw wonders, her breakdown came when it did because at last she was in a safe, loved enough place to allow it to happen. Out of Me explores themes of memory and identity, the fragile, fallible structures upon which we base our selves. It is a story of terrible, almost fatal despair but finally one of survival, reconstruction and understanding.' - Rebecca Johnson, AMAZON.CO.UK REVIEW 'Her brave book is hugely valuable...' - INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY
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