REVIEW by Annette Lowe
In ‘Madness: a memoir’ ( Penguin, 2013) by Melbourne author Kate Richards relates her experience of psychosis, psychotic depression with the piercing vividness of a natural poet. Kate’s imagery and spare narrative brings the terror and chaos of psychosis into the comfortable sanity of our world. Murderously cruel inner voices drive Kate towards self –harm. Whisky is her painkiller. Small events and shreds of daily reality reveal Kate’s gentle humour – she is a chocaholic.
She passes through psychiatric hospital, ECT, stopping her medication, relapsing. She begins to work with a therapist, and despite resistances and relapses, the psychologist gradually brings her to accept and manage her illness. The sense of profound relief that comes to Kate is not expressed, but conveyed through their small dialogues, all of them turning points in Kate’s inner life. Kate’s memoir is a landmark in our understanding of mental illness, and flags the arrival of a gifted writer in Australian literature. A novel is Kate’s next project, to be published next year. It too will be extraordinary.
Annette is a Jungian analyst who has been in private practice in St Kilda for twenty years. She trained at the Zurich Institute. Annette is a past-President of the Jung Society in Melbourne and last April was made a Life Member of the Society.
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