A businesswoman and dedicated mum has written a book to raise awareness about mental health after an undiagnosed illness caused her to attempt suicide.
Two years ago, Melanie Burnell, 33, of Kensworth, swallowed more than 40 prescription pills in the desperate hope she would fall asleep and not wake up after suffering from psychosis for seven months.
Melanie, who runs her own online company, Artists Info, then spent three months at a secure psychiatric hospital.
She made a full recovery and now lives back at home with her 13-year-old daughter Riannon.
Her book, The Day My Brain Slipped Out My Head And Onto The Kitchen Floor, recounts her experiences and lets others know that there is light at the end of the tunnel if you become ill.
“Psychosis is really scary,” she said. “Your imagination and reality get muddled up and it is difficult to tell what is real and what’s not.
“You can also have hallucinations. I saw a doctor and two psychiatrists but I was too scared to explain my symptoms properly so they just thought that I had depression.
“The inspiration for the title came because for months my brain felt like it was decaying.
“I got to the stage where I couldn’t even make an omelette – my mind had finally fallen on the floor. But I want others to know that you can make a strong recovery.”
Melanie had been a bubbly, happy-go-lucky person, until she started working long hours managing the B Gallery Arts Centre, Toddington, which resulted in her not sleeping or eating properly.
She said: “All the stress of running a business and being a single mum took its toll. I didn’t know it then, but if you get too stressed you can get psychosis.
“It mainly affects 14- to 30-year-olds because we have such busy lifestyles and neglect to take care of our mental health.
“I’d really like universities, colleges or schools to show my book to students to raise awareness, as psychosis is worryingly common. More people suffer from it than contract diabetes.
“I hope it inspires and educates people and if it saves just one life it will have been worth doing.”
Melanie needs 250 pre-orders for her book to be published.
To order a copy for £8.99 visit: https://britainsnextbestseller.co.uk and search for Melanie’s book.