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Description A serious pro-survival, pro-recovery book, written because I have been the survivor of many suicide attempts, not to forget also the person left behind after actual suicides, and the victim of serious self-harm in myself and those I love. I haven't attempted suicide or self-harmed for 8 years and I don't plan to do so again, but I always have my plan to hand. Starting at the age of 11, I have attempted suicide 443 times (sometimes barely surviving, twice dying, only to be revived) and for fifteen years I was a person who self-harmed - cutting and bloodletting, sometimes as self-harm, sometimes as a suicide attempt. The two are definitely linked but not all self-harm is suicidal, not all suicide attempts are meant to kill, and sadly about one million people kill themselves every year, not all of them meaning to. As I have also been the victim left behind when someone I loved took their own life, I really can see the issue from all perspectives. Allow me to fill you in on my personal experience first of all, so you know you are 'talking' to someone who really has been there before herself. Pull up a chair, or sit back in bed, and we will talk. About the Author Katy Sara Culling was born in Liverpool, North England, in January 1975, sharing her birth date rather aptly with Virginia Woolf. Daughter of Sue and Paul Culling, her family moved back to its roots in Derbyshire, where she grew up along with her younger sister Beth, in the village of Castle Donington, on the Derbyshire-Leicestershire border. However, even as young as 5 she exhibited symptoms of bipolar disorder (manic depression) - leading her to be loud and talkative, often in trouble. She also worried a great deal about death to an extent that is very unusual in one as young as she was. Not just her own death either. She attended a private school for girls, Loughborough High School, where she was an extremely high achieving student. Unfortunately, due to bullying and also to numb her rampant mania and depression, she developed anorexia nervosa and began to self-harm. She found that the anorexia and self-harming took over her life and made coping with mood swings easier because she did not feel their full effect anymore. Katy Sara then went to The University of Nottingham, where she studied Biochemistry and Nutrition. She did her (1st class) thesis on alcohol and metabolism, interested in the psychology of alcoholism. All this was done despite considerable illness including over 60 suicide attempts and purging-type anorexia - and yet more bullying. She was bullied for being anorexic by her fellow floor-mates. However her good academic work at Nottingham lead to an offer of a place at The University of Oxford, where she studied for a PhD (DPhil) in Clinical Medicine. Here she was a full time member of Linacre College Oxford and was never bullied. Linacre is a graduate only college. She took part in many cycling events for charity. In her final year she became so ill with anorexia and bipolar depression that she agreed to take time off her PhD (the worst decision of her life) and go into hospital (first as a day patient, then an inpatient on the general ward, and eventually a sectioned inpatient on the general ward). During those two years she attempted suicide over 300 times, dying twice, only to be revived. She also made several trips to the Emergency Room to be treated for either suicide attempts or self-harm. She finally, at the age of 28 got a diagnosis of bipolar I disorder and the correct medication, and had been mostly fine ever since. Her eating disorder spontaneously recovered when her bipolar disorder became more controlled. She later wrote up her PhD thesis and published her results. Katy Sara now works for the Bipolar Foundation - Equilibrium, an independent, international, non-governmental organisation dedicated to improving treatment and understanding of the causes and effects of bipolar disorder ('manic-depression'). Katy Sara

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