I was Weak, Despairing, Confused': Did Writing a Novel Make me Ill? - Sarah Perry | oneGRAVESvoice

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I was Weak, Despairing, Confused’: Did Writing a Novel Make me Ill? – Sarah Perry


On Christmas Eve 2013, with hail falling on Norwich, I set out to jog three miles through the storm on the path beside the river. The spire of the cathedral was obscured by pearly cloud; snowdrops speckled the riverbank; it was pleasant to feel the little cut of ice on cheek. All this I recall with wonder, for that moment has crystallised in my memory as youth’s last day before, at the age of 34, old age struck me like a brick in a sock.

I cannot say when I first began to realise I was ill, for it came on me surreptitiously, with each new symptom readily explained. I was tired, probably; I was anxious, that was it: cared too deeply about the fate of my debut novel, of the work in progress. Yet by the following Christmas I felt as though I were a badly stitched garment coming apart at the seams.