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Struggling to Breathe: The Diary of a Psychiatric Inpatient

Niamh Brownlee

14 May, 2:00 pm

2 Royal Avenue

Struggling to Breathe: The Diary of a Psychiatric Inpatient

Reading by author Niamh Brownlee of her book reflecting on her mental health journey.

Niamh Brownlee will be joining NIMHAF to speak about her newly published book, 'Struggling to Breathe: The Diary of a Psychiatric Inpatient' and her experiences journeying through mental illness and recovery. She discusses the events leading up to her psychiatric admission, life on the hospital ward and finding her feet again after discharge.

She uncovers the myths she believed to be true before mental illness took over her life, sharing extracts from her book that give a unique and rare insight into psychiatric inpatient experience.

Niamh's diary is a raw account of feeling utterly worthless, but ultimately it is a diary of discovery and hope.
After achieving high academic success, Niamh Brownlee became a primary school teacher, first in Kent then back home in Belfast. But all was not well. Gradually, Niamh became more and more depressed until reaching the point where she just wanted to die. At the age of 24, she was admitted to hospital. Although at rock bottom mentally, she had the presence of mind to keep a diary of the 31 days she spent in two psychiatric hospitals in Northern Ireland. This helped her survive and begin the tentative process of recovery.

Five years later, Niamh has decided to share her diary of those days in the hope that others will feel less alone and come to believe that recovery is possible, and help is out there.

'Niamh's brave account of her depression and time in hospital will be an inspiration to others. It is a painful story, but it is also an important one. Niamh's story brings hope and her testimony demonstrates how, with good support and appropriate mental health services, recovery is possible.' - Professor Siobhan O'Neill, Mental Health Champion for Northern Ireland.


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