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Life of the mind: a degree of madness

"Marmite set me thinking about the tyranny of mental health—and how we seem to regard only perfect wellness as acceptable"

By Anna Blundy   January 2017

©Bill Bradford

Driving from Bagni di Lucca in northern Italy to London recently, using my black labrador, Marmite, as a psychoanalyst (he is good—sparing with interpretation but a deeply thoughtful listener), I had two audiobooks on the go. In the first, Alice Hoffman’s Illumination Night, published in 1987, the main character Vonny becomes agoraphobic as her estranged father refuses to contribute to her son’s medical bills and her husband begins an affair with a teenager. Her agoraphobia, which she tries to hide by lying, is treated with…

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