This account of my life is essentially episodic in nature, using William
Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience as a very loose framework. The
story is about the battle most of us face at critical times in our lives between
the contrary states of creativity and destruction, love and hate and living and
dying. It invites the reader to identify with me in my quest to know why I, like so
many women, have felt bound by invisible constraints, held down by authority,
voiceless. What is the cause? Does it matter that we should know?
The exploration is elucidated via the use of diaries kept during and
after a five year period of psychoanalysis, fragments of dreams, and copies
of correspondence between family and friends. Within the theme of Innocent
Beginnings I track childhood memories from the early forties to the early fifties,
describing an awakening to some of the big life issues: illness, betrayal, birth,
sex, death. Within the theme of Experience I move to an exploration of key
authority figures: father, first lover, employers and how they have contributed
to, or countered, long term depression.
The years of psychotherapy were followed by a joyful period of personal
and work fulfilment, marriage and motherhood. I later describe the anguished
times relating to the death of one of my students and some time after that my own
daughter’s attempted suicide. I consider the way these redefining experiences
shape the memoir as they have shaped my life, and have helped to provide,
admittedly tentative, answers to the questions I have set out to explore.