'An extraordinary book: deeply moving, darkly funny and hugely powerful' Robert Macfarlane
Heavy Light is the story of a breakdown: a journey through mania, psychosis and treatment in a psychiatric hospital, and onwards to release, recovery and healing.
After a lifetime of ups and downs, Horatio Clare was committed to hospital under Section 2 of the Mental Health Act.
From hypomania in the Alps, to a complete breakdown and a locked ward in Wakefield, this is a gripping account of how the mind loses touch with reality, how we fall apart and how we can be healed - or not - by treatment. A story of the wonder and intensity of the manic experience, as well as its peril and strangeness, it is shot through with the love, kindness, humour and care of those who deal with someone who becomes dangerously ill.
Partly a tribute to those who looked after Horatio, from family and friends to strangers and professionals, and partly an investigation into how we understand and treat acute crises of mental health, Heavy Light's beauty, power and compassion illuminate a fundamental part of human experience. It asks urgent questions about mental health that affect each and every one of us.
'One of the most brilliant travel writers of our day takes us us now to that most challenging country, severe mental illness; and does so with such wit, warmth, and humanity, that, better acquainted with its terrors, we may better face our own' Reverend Richard Coles
'A record of the bravest, most perilous, most intrepid journey that any human being can ever make. It is stricken, moving, urgent, crucial . . . A luminous, beautiful achievement' Niall Griffiths
Readers of Clare's game-changing memoir . . . will be struck by the fact that a mind so recently dominated by straight-to-DVD fantasies is now capable of reflecting on them with so much gentle wisdom and acute self-awareness. And in such beautiful, witty prose
A shattering journey . . . remarkable
I loved Heavy Light: its honesty, its questing intelligence. I loved Clare's openness to the stories of others - seeking to understand, not to judge . . . Although he has nothing but praise for the carers who helped him through, his description of our threadbare mental health services, and the inhuman pressures on those who work in them, is heart-breaking. We have to do better
What a gift...having such an articulate agent, reporting back from the far edges of the mind
Clare is a wildly endearing narrator of his own turmoil . . . [his] is a persuasive argument not only against chemical answers to his own illness, but also against the hasty (and often permanent) way individuals are labelled with diagnostic categories
Hard-hitting but tender-hearted . . . Clare thoughtfully and determinedly seeks to challenge the status-quo on treatment for mental health conditions
Compelling, beautifully-written and utterly devastating. A balm in itself
Clare brilliantly describes his mania... But he has a wider purpose here. Following his discharge from hospital Clare sets out to explore alternatives to the lifetime of terrifyingly strong medication he has been prescribed
A beautiful, unflinchingly honest book about madness, mania, parenting, surviving and, above all, love and its power to heal us
A brave, lit-up account of going mad and getting better, that forensically tracks the footprints of both journeys towards a settlement with the self
Understanding issues such as depression, anxiety and burnout can be an important first step to coping during difficult times, and helping others do the same. Here is a selection of books that offer clarity and insight into important areas of well-being.