Me & Her: A Memoir of Madness

We’re having a complete change of pace today, and I’m totally stoked to play host to my friend Karen Tyrrell whose amazing book ‘Me & Her: A Memoir of Madness’ hit the streets this month.

I met Karen through the children’s writing community and I was immediately struck by her enthusiasm, dedication and how supportive she was of  fellow writers. Little did I know that underneath that warm, bubbly exterior lay a dark story that had sent her to the edge – and it was only through sheer determination that she managed to claw her way back to sanity.

Me & Her: A Memoir of Madness recounts that dark story. It is Karen’s  brave account of how, as a primary school teacher, she reached breaking point after parents at her school repeatedly harassed her. ME & HER reveals Karen’s gradual decline and disintegration, how her illness manifested and how she recovered. Karen shares what inspires and motivates her to write.

I came across this story when  I happened to read the opening chapter on her blog, and was so taken by it that I sent her a message. That message  now graces the cover of Me & Her and I was, and am, very humbled.

Let’s find out some more of Karen’s story…

1.      When did you start writing ME & HER: a Memoir of Madness?

 In 2005, I started writing ME & HER when I was psychotic and manic, scribbling what was happening to me in notebooks and dairies. I interviewed doctors, nurses and patients. In 2006, after I was released from hospital, I joined a writing group and enlisted in several writing courses to learn the craft of writing.

 2.      Why did you want to write such a personal story?

I always knew I had a unique story.  I was determined to discover why I became so ill and how I was to recover. Once I developed a wellness plan that worked, I wanted to share with everyone.

3. Your story strongly echoes Agatha Christie’s story.  Both manic due to unbearable stress, you ran away, registered in hotels under assumed names, and were listed  as missing for several days.  Does that seem as uncanny to you as it does to me?

Agatha recovered and went on to produce the best works of her career after that event. I would hope that I am on the same road.  Fingers crossed!

4.      Did you write anything before penning this memoir?

No. I was a full-time teacher, creating teaching plans and programs. Since my illness, I continually write what I feel passionate about… Mental health stories, children’s sci-fi, adult crime stories and articles for magazines.

5.      How has writing your memoir helped you recover?

I literally wrote my way to recovery. Each time I expressed my angst and emotions on the page, I grew emotionally more stable, able to resolve my issues.

To find out more about Karen Tyrrell and where to purchase ME & HER: A Memoir of Madness, please check out her website:  http://www.karentyrrell.com

or

Late breaking news: 

Announcing:

ME & HER eBook  (kindle) & Print Book

BOTH now available on 

http://www.amazon.com/


WIN a FREE eBook!!

But wait – there’s more! To help Karen celebrate, she’s offering TWO electronic copies of ‘Me & Her: A Memoir of Madness’ – and I’m offering a free hard copy! 

All you have to do to win, is leave a comment and you could be one of the lucky winners!

If you want more of Karen’s story and insights – you might want to check out other stop-off points along her blog tour.

ME & HER

Blog Tour 14th – 20th May

14th May Kaz Delaney- Writing Inspiration https://kazdelaney.wordpress.com/

Prachi S.Vaish – Psychologist – Interview www.hopenetwork.in

15th May Tuesday Writing Tips- Writing Memoirs http://deescribewriting.wordpress.com/

Dr Happy – Happiness after the Gloom http://www.thehappinessinstitute.com/blog/

16th May Sally Odgers – Writing & Editing Process http://spinningpearls.blogspot.com.au/

17th May Gabrielle Sheppard, UK – Bipolar Recovery www.bi-polargirl.com/blog

18th May Natasha Tracy, Canada – Writing for Recovery http://natashatracy.com/

19th May Jill Smith- Book Review & Interview http://authorjillsmith.wordpress.com

Kids Book Review- Mental Health Books 4 Kids http://www.kids-bookreview.com/

20th May Ang Hall – ME & HER Book Review- http://bluedingonet.wordpress.com/

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49 Responses

  1. Thanks so much Kaz for HOSTING the First Leg on my Blog Tour.
    and sharing the background and motivation behind the story ME & HER: a Memoir of Madness.

    I invite your readers to ask questions which I’ll try my best to answer.
    Karen 🙂

  2. You’re welcome Karen. Thank you for being here – and thank you for sharing your journey.

  3. Hi Karen,
    I don’t have a question, but I just wanted to say that I think you’re very brave for telling your story. I’ll be looking out for your book!

  4. I have to say this is the most “REAL” book I have read in a while. Karen you are an Inspiration to people who suffer with a mental illness and also to the people who are experiencing a rough patch in their lives. Thank you for sharing with us I’m sure was a really difficult time in yours and your loved ones lives.

  5. I can’t wait to read your book, Karen. You’ve shown amazing courage and tenacity in bringing your story to the public. You’ve been an inspiration to many people. What is your writing process? Do you set aside time each day or each week to write?

    • Hi Kathy,
      Thanks for your kind words of support.
      My writing process … I write every day after a brisk walk first a page of pen writing to express & unblock emotions… Then I go to the computer to pick up from yesterday.

  6. Karen is such an inspiration. A brave, beautiful woman who shines with courage and will help so many by sharing her story.
    She is knocking down barriers and stigma with her book, Me and Her.
    Rebecca x

  7. Great interview Karen!

  8. From the moment I first connected with Karen, Kaz, she has been an unexpected inspiration. Her zeal, passion for life and flair for sharing intimate experiences and knowledge allow strangers to simultaneously like and admire her. I wish her every success in her chosen path now and look forward to sharing more steps with her. Thanks for your interview. I especially found answer five cheering…

  9. I’m looking forward to reading this book and to hopefully meeting Karen one day, although the thought of reading it also scares me a little. I have recently weaned off my Anti-depressant medication and I know the book will bring me to tears. Karen inspires me to keep writing as a way to deal with my own issues.

    • Hi Helen,
      Please remember as your reading ME & HER, that I’m now well. That my story had a happy ending …Love to meet you too 🙂

  10. Hello Karen It’s so good to know your bok is being published and across the world.

    I have followed your Journey for around three yeas now. Well as best I could I had not realised that your Bi Polar episodes were braught on by Bad Parent’s and your fears for your classroom children. This struck right in to my heart. As at the same time I read this I was prepairing for another worldwide event this weekend I took part in what is called Freedon Rocks. where people who have been abused and our traumatised write messages on rocks and throw them in to water.

    I live with P.T.S.D. I have symptoms of Bi Polar and O.C.D.

    Yesturday’s even wa about valuing one’self and taking your own power back from your abusers, which surely is what you have done Karen and done so incredibly Bravely, Yesturday I took a great leap in my own recovery.

    Part of my multiple traumatic past was the behaviour of one very bad teacher at my first school, at this point Karen take a nice calm breathof air. This Teacher was a one off he done bad things and allowed a very bad pupil to attack me I’m still traumatised by the recuring memory of it. I also endured much more violent abuse in the classroom untill I left at 15 years. So sadly my own schooling was a traumatic experience for me. I would so loke Bullying to be a thing of the past Here in England it’s a big issue Children have taken their own life due to it.

    I wonder Karen if teachers such as your good self got together and worked with the providers of education could you sit equally on their boards and help better direct the services, using your unique insight both on bullying/harrassment and that of Physical/Mental Illnesse’s of which their are to many to mention. Furthermore could you allwork in colaboration across the globe to ensure children are better protected as wel as their teachers. My teachers lived in terror. they never ever stopped violence by unrully kid’s who ruinned my life for sure.

    Karen I have so admired your incredible determination and faith inyour own ability, and now you have deserved ”Success’ Please look out for the next budding Author in the classroom As I might have been as the lonely abused child sitting in the back corner reliving many a trauma even as a child.

    If you had of been my teacher Karen Mylife I’m sure would of been a happy one.

    Please keep writing Karen and dont forget the childrens book’s.

    Paul. England.

    • Thanks Paul,
      for sharing your personal story and reflections. There are so many like you that have an important story to tell.
      Thanks for your awesome support and encouragement. Karen 🙂

  11. Karen, do you still have any recurring problems? You seem to be doing so well.

    • Hi Doz, I’m recovered NOT cured. I need to carefully watch my stress levels and my sleep routines. Thanks for your question… Karen 🙂

  12. Hello Karen, thank you for sharing your story. I’m wondering how long it took you to write this book? Also, do you mind if I ask how long you’ve been on top of your illness?

    • Hi Emma,
      I started writing my book in earnest when I left the psyche ward in 2006, joining writing courses and writers groups.
      I haven’t had an episode since then BUT must constantly monitor my moods for any early warning signs… Karen 🙂

  13. Thanks, Kaz, for highlighting Karen and Me & Her on your blog. I wasn’t aware of this book and I’m keen to look at it now.

    Karen, how brave you are to write about your journey. I’m sure Me & Her will provide much inspiration and understanding to readers. I wish you every success.

    • Thanks Cathryn, for your very positive response to ME & HER. Would you like to read the first #20 pages for FREE … just go to my website and click *Buy the Book*.

  14. Thank YOU Cathryn for dropping by. Karen’s story is amazing, but her initial breakdown is all too common in today’s society. I think that’s one of the reasons this book is so important. There must be a lot of people who need to hear that someone just like them successfully fought back. It surely must offer hope and inspiration? We’re certainly hoping so. xx

  15. Hi Karen, great interview. I really enjoyed it and will be out looking for your book. Kaz? Thank you for hosting Karen. I was intrigued by the Agatha Christie reference. I love AC!

    • Hi Freda,
      Thanks for your support. You can read the first #20 pages on Amazon. I love that AC story too!

  16. Hi Karen! Hi Kaz! Really interesting story. I can’t wait to read it.

  17. Thanks Fran,
    Love to hear your feedback after you read ME & HER! … Karen 🙂

  18. Wonderful interview, ladies!

    Kaz, thanks for highlighting Karen’s book — I’d have never heard about it otherwise and as soon as I leave here I’m off to read those first 20 pages.

    Karen, what an important story you have to tell. I admire your generosity and bravery to share it.

  19. wow my two favourite authors in the one place ..awesome .. as soon as my daughter gets in the door tonight she will be grabbing ME & HER on to my kindle , cant wait to get stuck into reading your story Karen ..its been lovely watching you from the start on facebook getting there step by step its been exciting for me just watching ,you must be over the moon ..Congratulations and well done my friend so proud of you ;0

    • Hi Leah,
      You’ve been there with me all the way!
      Cheering me on from the sidelines ..encouraging me to begin an Author page and MORE …Thanks, Karen 🙂

    • And Leah makes three! I guess we owe Karen a huge debt, Leah. Without her we wouldn’t have found each other again! Hugs honey and thanks for dropping by to share the celebrations. xx

  20. Karen, just lost my post so will try once again. Your book sounds fascinating and I hope it’s a huge success. Here’s hoping for more books too, but without so much pain for yourself. Good luck with it!

    • Hi Annie, Thanks for your VOTE of support. Writing a companion sequel atm … Plus have #4 kids books Plus a true crime novel waiting to be published… Karen 🙂

  21. Thank you everyone for coming to hep Karen celebrate her book. We both appreciate it very much. Stay tuned and we’ll be announcing the lucky winners very soon!

  22. I find Karen’s book to be inspriing and would love my two daughter who both want to be teachers (one secondary and one primary) to read this so they are prepared for some of the challanges that pushed Karen. I think alot of people don’t realise the pressure that teachers are under and this concerns me greatly as my daughters have a genetic condition that is impacted also by stress. I think that Karens brave battle and success in overcoming the odds to then write her story and help others should be “essential reading” for anyone considering teaching and also anyone who has the same condition, for with knowledge comes power as Karen is testimony too. WIshing you much success with your book Karen and hope one day to be able to share it with my girls, your an inspiration and proof that you should never give up. ( I don’t have an e reader so if a winner may I please opt for the old fashioned hard copy 🙂 blessings

    • Thanks so much Anne,
      for dropping by with your heart-felt concerns over your daughters. I wish I had known about how to combat teacher stress BEFORE I became ill … but that wasn’t to be!
      Now, I feel blessed that I’ve recovered and am able to share my story of Hope with others … Karen 🙂

  23. Karen, I didn’t know you were channelling Agatha Christie 🙂

    Maybe the blurb for Sayonar can be “in the style of Agatha Christie..

    Good to see the blog tour is going so well

    • Thanks Steph, the Blog Tour is a HUGE success and its only day #2.
      YES, I love that little known detail about AC… puts a whole new slant on her!

  24. Dear Karen, Having read the wonderful reviews on Amazon for ‘Me and Her’ I am over the moon and so very pleased that you followed your dream until it became a reality. Your memoir has begun it’s journey into the hearts and souls of people around the world. I am not surprised by the media interest and I won’t be surprised when it goes viral. Your story touches my heart, as I too (as a teacher) have suffered abuse from parents and students. Luckily for me I had so many wonderful experiences too, which I remember fondly. I’m cheering you on from the sidelines…GO Karen!!

    Dear Kaz, thanks for hosting Karen’s blog tour. I really enjoyed the post. Looking forward to catching up with you one of these days. Enjoy Writefest.

    • Thanks so much Angela,
      Your words have touched my heart. I understand now why you’ve been in my “corner” for so long as a fellow teacher & children’s writer. Thanks for your friendship.xx

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