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The Dark Threads - a vivid memoir of one young woman's psychiatric treatment

The Dark Threads - a vivid memoir of one young woman's psychiatric treatment [Kindle Edition]

Jean Davison
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)

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Essential reading for everyone who is involved in improving services in mental health. --Dorothy Rowe, author and psychologist

Product Description

A vivid memoir of one young woman's psychiatric treatment in the Sixties which raises questions, that are still relevant today.

Teenage life in the swinging sixties, hanging out in coffee bars talking fashion and pop music, who could wish for more? But in August 1968, growing pains started to kick hard for 18-year-old office worker Jean Davison and adolescent idealism quickly turns to angst and emptiness.

With her home life in chaos, Jean turns to a psychiatrist hoping for a sensible adult to talk to. That’s where her problems really begin: a week’s voluntary psychiatric rest is the start of one long nightmare of drugs, electric shock treatment and abuse which turn her into a zombie.

Losing five years of her young life to the mental health system, Jean finally finds the courage to say “no” to drugs and turns her life around, finds love and returns to the mental health service as a worker.

Balancing quotes from case number 10826, her actual case notes which reveal a diagnosis of chronic schizophrenia, with her own account of interviews with doctors, this memoir raises disturbing questions on the treatment of psychiatric patients, which are still relevant today

Jean Davison, was born in 1950 into a working class family in Yorkshire She left school at 15 to work in a factory. After leaving the psychiatric system she returned to education to study for GCEs. She has worked as a secretary for the NSPCC and within the health service. In 1979 she met Ian who she later married. She later graduated from university with a first-class degree in literature and psychology. Still living in Yorkshire with Ian, she now works in mental health. The Dark Threads is her first book.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling read 18 Sep 2009
This is an absorbing and compelling read from Jean Davison, who paints a vivid, brutally revealing picture of being brought up in a deeply dysfunctional family in the poverty of the backstreets of Bradford and how it affects the choices she makes when as an intelligent but painfully shy adolescent she begins to question the path that her upbringing seems to have mapped out for her. One of those choices led her to a psychiatrist and onto a nightmarish path through the mental health services of the late 60s and early 70s. There are others still trapped on that same path, which in some areas has changed very little in what should be an enlightened age, who found no way off. Written with a wicked sense of humour this insightful book should be a wake up call to those working in mental health, and those who have loved ones using its services, to listen, adapt and improve.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bright Shafts of Light... 14 Sep 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Whenever I'm sitting with a patient, and I begin to get the feeling one of us is mad, my first assumption is that it is the patient" ~ Thus began a psychiatrist giving a talk to myself and fellow Relate counsellors back in the late 1970s. Sadly, that assumption won't always prove accurate. This book, a personal memoir, sheds light on the awful and disturbing chain of events that unfolded back in the late 1960s when a teenage girl made the simple mistake of asking the right question in the wrong place; a mistake that led to five almost unimaginably painful years which threatened to ruin her life.

One of the most fundamental human rights is the right to be unhappy, and one of the most valuable human qualities is the capacity to bear, and voice, doubt. Sadly, this young woman made the mistake of voicing her doubts and unhappiness in a context that lacked the imagination to see these human qualities as anything other than dysfunctions to be treated with copious doses of mind-altering and dependence inducing drugs, and sending electric currents zinging through her brain. Thankfully, she survived the dark tunnel of psychiatry at its most myopic and arrogant, to emerge to recount her tale with a quiet, determined strength and, what must have been a painful honesty. Hers has been quite a journey.

This book is not for the faint-hearted, no easy bedtime treat to send you contentedly off to sleep; but it is well worth reading and the themes stayed with me long after the last page. It is a patient's personal story with much to teach the psychiatric profession, and all who append labels to that which they do not understand, and most probably, regard with fear.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Brilliant 7 Jan 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I highly recommend The Dark Threads. It's an extremely interesting and thought provoking book. Jean Davison has tackled a complex and difficult subject very competently and sensitively and she writes very engagingly with insight and humour. I found the book very painful and harrowing to read in places but at the same time found it hard to put down. The Dark Threads is an absorbing and compelling read. I found some of the accounts of how psychiatry was practised very disturbing indeed. Jean Davison has written a brilliant book; it is essential reading for anyone working in the mental health field and though not an easy read it's a book that stays in the mind.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was a very interesting read - provoked all my emotions, I was near to tears in a lot of places, & at the end of the book I felt so angry that someone could have been treated so arrogantly by so called members of the medical profession. What a courageous young woman to eventually come through such horrors. Certainly provokes the question how many more didn't survive, & are still zombies to this day because of the barbaric way they were unnecessarily treated because "They" knew best. Still makes me angry thinking about this while typing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good book 16 Jun 2011
By Jenny
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a well written and fascinating life story and I found it hard to put down - wanting to know how Jean got herself out of the awful situation she had been pushed into. It's the story of a teenage girl from what we would now call a 'dysfunctional' family who wants more for herself than those around her seem to want. Her family seem to have no ambition or aspirations for a brighter future but Jean does, and through trying to express her needs for more meaning to her life she ends up in a home for mental patients being forced to take more and more drugs for her supposed 'problem'.

My heart was with the author all the way through the book, and I was eager to find how she eventually escaped from all the misdiagnoses of so called experts. Thankfully Jean's story has a happy ending and she was able to pull herself out of the desperate situation by her own efforts.
I would recommend this book to any person, young or old who has questions about the futility of a seemingly meaningless life and I would also recommend it to anyone who has ever suffered from shyness and the inability to express themselves against the more forceful and louder speaking people around them.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just couldn't put it down............. 14 Jan 2011
Simply wonderfully written. The author whisks the reader through her journey into the world of psychiatric services, it's pitfalls, strengths, weaknesses, frustrations and oddly enough, some humorous times too. This is an engaging book and a must for anyone who works in the mental health field. It offers valuable insight into the dark threads of life (from many years ago and sadly which is still very relevant today). It is an excellent autobiographical account from Jean Davison which stimulates the reader's mind to differentiate the fine line between 'normal' teenage development, searching for the answers to the meaning of life, spirituality and (mis)diagnosis of a schizophrenic illness. It's one of those books you just can't put down! Five stars +++++
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A very fascinating read
This is a story of a woman who was misdiagnosed, showing how easily this can happen. A brave woman, who managed to get through this part of her life using her own determination.
Published 11 days ago by L Crampton
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
loved it.. **
Published 12 days ago by Rodney
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Ok bit long winded
Published 14 days ago by Karen Mitchell
5.0 out of 5 stars Uncomfortable read
Highlights the differences in treatments of mental illness and how much has actually changed. Seriously dysfunctional family dynamics but in one respect doctors were just not... Read more
Published 15 days ago by Ireadanybooks
5.0 out of 5 stars The dark threads
What a strong lady this author is, but sadly through a tragedy of a friend with the same problems, things don't seem to have changed so much from the sixties. Read more
Published 24 days ago by Unknown
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
I loved this book and couldn't put it down but is was very sad in places and just proves how easy it is to be labelled and have no control over what happens to you.
Published 1 month ago by C. BEVAN
5.0 out of 5 stars
if only Jean had known the truth about God she wouldn't have ended up where she did. she was right. a loving God would not burn people in hell. JW. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Paula Boddington
5.0 out of 5 stars intresting
Interesting read- thanks for Jean shared her
Case files and life in the asylum.
Published 1 month ago by Bookworm
5.0 out of 5 stars Insight
Beautifully written, I'm a 59 , wife mum and Gran, very much a sensitive people person. It seems that your sensitive nature,along with your cleverness, confused you even more in... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Dorothy March
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark threads
Very interesting and heart rending account, definitely worth a read....I couldn't put this down once I started to read it.
Published 1 month ago by karen parker
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