Monday 17 January 2011

Bloodletting: A Memoir of Secrets, Self-Harm & Survival by Victoria Leatham

Published by New Harbinger Publications
Distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books

Bloodletting/ -, letting/ n.
1. Phlebotomy, the act or process of letting blood or bleeding, as by opening a vein or artery.
2. Outmoded medical practice used as a cure for illnesses ranging from fevers to hysteria.

Bloodletting is an intimate glimpse into the world of Victoria Leatham as she struggles to deal with a myriad of issues including Self-harm and Depression. Victoria writes openly about her constant battle while dealing with mental illness, and how it is to live with those issues in a world where, especially where self-harm is involved, there is little understanding from those around us. In this book, the author really lays it out on the line as she shares her fears, insecurities and most shameful moments as she searches for something resembling a cure.

As someone who has - and still does - battle with self-harm issues, I was really looking forward to reading this personal account. What I found was a simultaneously heartwarming and heart-wrenching story of a strong woman, in search of something, anything, that could help her to find a sense of peace. Victoria speaks very frankly about her inability to discuss her issues with all but a precious few and also shares what it's like to live with an illness that is still, even in these times, considered a highly taboo subject. Something I hope to change by reviewing such books on my blog whenever they become available.

There are various self-help books when it comes to depression and such, but for me personally, there is just something about reading a personal account from someone who is going through this. It screams out to us that we are not alone in this battle and in doing so, makes it just that little bit more bearable to deal with. Much of this book resonated with me and while certain parts of the book were a little uncomfortable for me, I simply loved this book. It's a book that brings hope to many who practice self-harm and battle depression. Or at least, that is what it brought to me.

I would seriously recommend this book, not just to those who live with self-harm or depression, but to everyone. There is a great deal of stigma that accompanies these diseases or afflictions and that is never going to change unless people read accounts such as these and perhaps gain a little understanding.

Fabulous book. I am so in awe that the author was able to put down her experience within these pages despite how difficult that must have been.


Anonymous said...

I came across this book when I was half-through writing my own...about the issues similar to these of Victoria Leatham.
I, too, have gone through a hell of self-harm, depression, abusive relationships and all that, in my case, was intensified by a few psychotic episodes. I started to write my own book as a kind of self prescribed therapy. Reading "Bloodletting" helped me a lot to come to terms with certain issues of my own life. After reading that I felt even stronger in my own fights with the "demons".
Well done to Victoria for putting an enourmous effort into writing a book. I know how difficult it is to write a story of your own life and well done for decision to publish it. It must have been "helluva" decision to make it public and, as we in Slovakia say, to take your skin to the market. I never had a guts to offer mine to a publisher :((
I really recommend "Bloodletting" to everyone. It should help people to better understand those who chose self-harm as their way of copying with day-to-day reality.
And I would also recommend it to those - sufferers, as it can give them a hope that one day they can learn how to deal with their issues without a help of razors, knives or lighters; and that there is a light at the end of the long and very dark tunnel. Good luck to all..

Charlene Martel said...

Thank you for sharing that Daaa. It's good to know that others out there found this as great as I did.