Three people, each crying out for help
There’s Karen, about to lose her father; Abby, whose son has autism and needs constant care, and Michael, a family man on the verge of bankruptcy. As each sinks under the strain, they’re brought together at Moreland’s Psychiatric Clinic.
Here, behind closed doors, they reveal their deepest secrets, confront and console one another and share plenty of laughs. But how will they cope when a new crisis strikes?
A standalone novel and a follow-up
Nearly two years after the fateful journey from Brighton to London, we pick up Karen’s story again in this follow-up to One Moment, One Morning. But like The Two Week Wait, Another Night, Another Day is a complete standalone novel, so there’s no need to have read either of the two previous books to enjoy this one.
The story behind the novel
People often ask if my novels are drawn from experience, and the honest answer is ‘of course they are’. That doesn’t mean my books are autobiographical; they’re not. My husband didn’t have a heart attack on a train like Simon in One Moment, One Morning, and I’ve never been through IVF like Lou and Cath in The Two Week Wait. Equally, my circumstances are not identical to those of Karen, Abby or Michael in this story. However, I do have first-hand experience of anxiety and depression, and it’s this that made me want write to this book. I also know it’s possible to get better, and that some of the kindest, cleverest, funniest people are touched by madness, so it doesn’t have to be a gloomy subject.
Nonetheless, I feel passionately that mental health should be taken as seriously as physical health. The problems of mental illness are very real and for someone in the midst of a bout, immensely painful, yet all too often sufferers are told to pull themselves together or ‘snap out of it’. This is partly because the symptoms are often not visible, but it’s also because the topic is still hard for many of us to talk about.
This is pretty perverse, given that mental illness is something that touches all of us. Figures such as ‘1 in 4 suffer some kind of mental health problem’ are often bandied about and can be helpful in illustrating how widespread problems are. Still, to view mental illness as something you either have or don’t have boxes people off – and makes it easy for others to keep the lid on that box firmly closed. The result is we live in a world where suicide is rarely spoken of, much mental illness is surrounded by shame and blame, and politicians can make cuts to services whilst we who voted for them turn a blind eye.
Mental illness touches all of us in some way
Instead, perhaps it’s more helpful to see mental health as a continuum – no one is 100% healthy, no one 100% ill – and it’s my belief that we all fall somewhere within this range. Moreover, individual mental health is dependent on many variables – our age, physical health, economic circumstance, relationship status and so on. The list is endless and it’s different for each of us – so where we fall on that continuum will change over time.
Let me put this another way: ordinary people get mentally ill. Michael, Abby and Karen are not bad people or mad people; they’re just people. As are George and Callum and Lillie and the rest of my characters in Another Night, Another Day. They’re people on a continuum, who I hope don’t seem that different to me or you. And if reading about their different journeys helps lift the lid on the subject of mental illness, just slightly, so a handful of people feel able to talk a little more freely or others feel a touch more understanding, then the time I’ve spent writing this particular book will have been worthwhile.
If mental health is a subject that interests you, or you suffer from anxiety or depression, you might be interested in reading more about my Making Friends non-fiction series, or joining the support group on Facebook I founded, via the buttons here.