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.
"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.
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
After Brain Injury: Survivor Stories was launched in 2014 to meet the need for a series of books aimed at those who have suffered a brain injury, their families and carers, and professionals who are involved in neuropsychological rehabilitation. Brain disorders can be life-changing events with far-reaching consequences. However, in the current climate of cuts in funding and service provision for neuropsychological rehabilitation, there is a risk that people whose lives have been transformed by brain injury are left feeling isolated with little support.
Because so many of the books on brain injury are written for academics and clinicians they can for the most part be filled with technical and academic language which may be of little help to those directly affected. Instead, this series offers a much-needed personal insight into the experience, as each book is written, in the main, by a survivor or group of survivors, who are living with the very real consequences of brain injury. Each book focuses on a different condition, such as face blindness, amnesia and neglect, or diagnoses, such as encephalitis and locked-in syndrome, resulting from brain injury. Readers will learn about life before the brain injury, early days of diagnosis, the effects of the brain injury, the process of rehabilitation, and life as it is now lived.
Alongside a personal perspective, professional commentary is also provided by a specialist in neuropsychological rehabilitation. The historical context, neurological analyses, data on the condition, treatment, outcome and follow-up, will appeal to professionals working in rehabilitation including psychologists, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, social workers and rehabilitation doctors. Books in this series will also be of interest to students of clinical psychology, neuropsychology and related courses who value a case study approach as a complement to the more academic books on brain injury.
With this series, we also hope to help expand awareness of brain injury and its consequences. The World Health Organisation has recently acknowledged the need to raise the profile of mental health issues (with the WHO Mental Health Action Plan 2013-20) and we believe there needs to be a similar focus on psychological, neurological and behavioural consequences of brain disorder, and a deeper understanding of the role of rehabilitation in making the lives of brain injured people more tolerable. Giving a voice to survivors of brain injury is a step in the right direction.