This is the remarkable story of Charlie Bacchus, who was diagnosed with a severe case of viral encephalitis and later with multiple sclerosis and bipolar. This moving, funny, sometimes explicit book charts his life, including recollections of his childhood, the acceptance of his diagnoses and his determination to carry on living to the full.
This book highlights many themes such as the loss of independence and the challenges of hidden disabilities and visible differences. Although the line between fantasy and reality is not always clear, Charlie’s loving personality and hypomania allow him to maintain supportive connections and adapt to his situation.
Charlie’s account provides support for patients who have brain injury and their families. This will be of great interest to professionals working in neurology including occupational therapists, social workers and rehabilitation practitioners.
Table of Contents
Foreword - Michael Kopelman
Preface - Marie A. Beau
1. The Rise and Fall of a Football Star
2. My Free-spirited Family
3. Glories of Mental and Love Ventures
4. MS Awareness
5. Dealing with MS at 38
6. Matters of Acceptance
Addendum - 40’s Birthday Messages
Charlie was first diagnosed with encephalitis, then multiple sclerosis and bipolar. He was an excellent footballer and believed in his career as a professional – when he realised he couldn’t kick a ball anymore. Art and living life to the full became his passion.
Mab came to London to set up the French Music Office at the French Embassy. When she met Charlie, she was training to go back to psychology, her first vocation. Her private consultation as a French counselling psychologist is now thriving.
"This is an honest, sometimes brutally honest, account of Charlie Bacchus’ experience of coping with MS and Bipolar Disorder. It is sometimes an uncomfortable read, sometimes hard to discern reality from fantasy, but always deeply personal, often funny, documenting exquisitely how the unconditional love of family and friends is so critical for survival in the face of a condition that robbed Charlie Bacchus of the future he anticipated. MS, and bipolar disorder, are often described as like being on a roller coaster ride. Charlie Bacchus appears to have been on a monster of a ride, but with the love and honesty of family and friends, an absolute determination to accept who he is, and the opportunity to reflect deeply while writing this book, perhaps he is taming the two-headed monster that is MS and Bipolar Disorder." - Prof Jonathan Evans, Professor of Applied Neuropsychology, University of Glasgow.
"Inflicted by MS and bipolar disorder, Charlie tells the tale of living 25 years with these disorders, and how it affected his relationships, friends and family. With wonderful verve, we see him move from enthusiastic footballer and adventurous young rebel to facing the prospect of decline. This book will be of great interest to carers and patients alike." - Michael Kopelman, Emeritus Professor of Neuropsychiatry, King’s College London, UK.
"This book provides an energetic and unfiltered perspective on life with a progressive neurological condition. Though the story is unique, its themes are of broad relevance: the importance of continuity in sense of identity (including sexual identity, which features conspicuously here), the appeal of storytelling in adapting to disability, the value of long-term relationships with coordinated health services, and above all the power of family resilience in living well with a neurological condition. I don’t think you’ll find another memoir quite like it, and recommend you have a read." - Dr Jessica Fish, St George's University Hospitals NHS Trust & King's College London, UK.