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Thatcham writer features in The Book Of Hope: 101 Voices On Overcoming Adversity, alongside Alistair Campbell, Gail Porter, Zoella, Joe Wicks and Elizabeth Day

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A Thatcham writer’s work has been included in a book about mental health.

Yvette Caster, who has bipolar disorder, wrote about psychosis, depression and her time at a young person’s mental health unit.

Her piece is included in The Book Of Hope: 101 Voices On Overcoming Adversity, which also features writing by Alistair Campbell, Gail Porter, Zoella, Joe Wicks and Elizabeth Day.

Thatcham writer Yvette Caster's work appears in The Book of Hope (48425801)
Thatcham writer Yvette Caster's work appears in The Book of Hope (48425801)

The book was organised by mental health campaigner Jonny Benjamin MBE and co-editor Britt Pfluger.

The editors hope the collection of powerful, hopeful stories will inspire and provide comfort to many after a hugely difficult year.

Contributors include actors, musicians, athletes, psychologists, activists and writers. Miss Caster, 39, is a freelance journalist, writer and speaker who works for newspapers including The Times and who co-hosts Mentally Yours, Metro’s weekly mental health podcast, which she founded three years ago with lifestyle editor, Ellen Scott.

Yvette Caster (48425805)
Yvette Caster (48425805)

Miss Caster said she was honoured to have her work included in The Book Of Hope.

She said: ‘The past year has really taken a toll on people’s mental health, whether they live with longterm conditions like bipolar disorder or not.

‘By writing about my experiences as a teenager - which included mania, a suicide attempt and recovery - I hope other people who are going through a difficult time might see there can be light at the end of the tunnel.

‘I also hope the book offers comfort to the friends and relatives of people suffering from mental ill health.

Yvette Caster (48425796)
Yvette Caster (48425796)

‘Although more people talk about mental health in general these days, it can still feel incredibly isolating and hopeless if you or a loved one are struggling.’

Miss Caster said that lockdown had presented several challenges, including struggling to get medication she required.

She said: "I was extremely anxious about leaving the house because of coronavirus, but I had to queue round the block repeatedly at the Burdwood Lloyds with others who needed meds, in the hope of getting them.

I ended up going to Newbury several times by train, which I was very anxious about as travel was banned and I was scared of getting coronavirus, although thankfully Boots got my meds in eventually.

"What really kept me going during lockdown as a whole was a WhatsApp group - just two friends and I chatting, sharing our dramas and supporting each other. Zoom socials and phone calls with family also helped. I was so terrified to leave the house at one point and very grateful a friend came round to see me (outside, at a distance, with our masks on, of course).

"All the boring things that doctors suggested - sticking to a routine, talking to people, asking for help when I needed it, eating healthily and taking some exercise - definitely helped.

"To anyone who is struggling I would say try to take things one day at a time and try to be kind to yourself. Depression lies - it can make you believe you will always feel that way, and that you shouldn’t ask for help. But things do change gradually. Try to tell someone you trust, and give yourself credit for just getting out of bed or cooking a meal.

"If you have struggled with psychosis or any other mental illness I’d say ‘you are not your illness. You deserve to get better. Talk to your GP. Talk to trusted friends or family. Things can and will get better."

The Book Of Hope is out now, published by Bluebird Books (Pan Macmillan) and is available from most bookshops including Waterstones, WH Smith’s and Amazon.

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