In Memoriam: Katy Sara Culling

Patient Expert

I was going to post about something else today, but this morning I received news that Katy Sara Culling, a good internet friend and a member of our BipolarConnect community, lost her battle with bipolar. She was in her thirties.

Years earlier, Katy was working on her PhD at Oxford when her brain quit on her. This was the beginning of a long nightmare involving endless hospitalizations and suicide attempts. Her 2008 book, Dark Clouds Gather, offers a chilling account of what she went through, but it is also testament to her fortitude and courage. Over time, she learned to live with her illness (which came fully loaded with substance use and other stuff) and reinvented herself as a writer and mental health advocate.

On my blog, Knowledge is Necessity, Katy contributed a guest blog, ironically entitled, The Night I Died. This brief extract:

I continued to force the lethal mixture into my vein, all of this taking less than 10 seconds. I felt a calm unlike ever before in my life, and pictured horses galloping in the English countryside through the pouring rain. At first they were far away, but their gambolling hooves became louder and louder. Perfectly serene, I waited for their smack against my skull, spilling my life force from within. Then everything went black"

Katy worked with the Oxford-based Equilibrium - The Bipolar Foundation. It was through my association with Equilibrium that Katy and I first met online and developed a friendship.

In Sept, 2008, I received the terrible news that a dear personal friend of mine, Kevin, threw himself in front of a train. He was 28. I posted a tribute to Kevin that same day, and I immediately received a condolence from Katy, posted here in full:
So sorry to read this John. I can empathise. In 2002 an ex-partner but good friend of mine jumped in front of a high speed near Oxford. When I was told I collapsed to the floor. Were is not for this ex-partner I would have been dead myself, but apparently I was "too good to kill myself." Pity that thought could not have been applied inwards...With regards to your friend I know you are shocked, horrified, think that that method seems so brutal, and the loss is unbearable - the loss of what he could have done with his life. Suicides are the hardest type of death to bear. (And I am a hypocrite having attempted several times). Cling on to the good times - you were important in his life. Believe that he is finally at peace. And John, look after yourself.

Katy, my friend. You will be dearly missed.