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‘When I was eleven years old Mum told me, “One crowded hour of glorious life is worth an age without a name.” Even before I heard these words I was always a child who crammed intense joy into tiny pockets of time.’
One day Sophie Hardcastle realised the joy she’d always known had disappeared. She was constantly tired, with no energy, no motivation and no sense of enjoyment for surfing, friends, conversations, movies, parties, family – for anything. Her hours became empty. And then, the month before she turned seventeen, that emptiness filled with an intense, unbearable sadness that made her scream and tear at her skin. Misdiagnosed with chronic fatigue, then major depression, then temporal lobe epilepsy, she was finally told – three years, two suicide attempts and five hospital admissions later – that she had Bipolar 1 Disorder.
In this honest and beautifully told memoir, Sophie lays bare her story of mental illness – of a teenage girl using drugs, alcohol and sex in an attempt to fix herself; of her family’s anguish and her loss of self. It is a brave and hopeful story of adaptation, learning to accept and of ultimately realising that no matter how deep you have sunk, the surface is always within reach.
RUNNING LIKE CHINA shatters the silence and smashes the taboos around mental illness. It is an unforgettable story.
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