Writing my way out of darkness

The AccidentToday’s guest blog comes from author CL Taylor who wrote her novel ‘The Accident’ in the weeks after having her baby when she was suffering from PND. We have been lucky enough to read an advance copy of ‘The Accident’ and devoured it in one sitting- it’s gripping and a brilliant read. The novel is published on the 10th April but we have five copies to giveaway. Simply leave a comment on this blog piece to enter.

How writing ‘The Accident’ helped me overcome undiagnosed PND – CL Taylor

I knew I was suffering from PND but wouldn’t accept it. ‘I’m just sleep deprived’ I’d tell CL Taylormy partner. ‘If I could just get a decent night’s sleep I’ll be fine’. Only I didn’t. I didn’t get more than a two hour uninterrupted stretch of sleep for 7 long months. My beautiful, adorable son wanted to feed all through the night, every night. ‘There’s a reason why sleep deprivation is used as a torture device’ the midwife told me when I went to her in desperation. Only I hadn’t broken the law – all I’d done was have a baby.

I’d expected the ‘baby blues’, to be tearful for a few days. But I didn’t expect to cry every day. Or hallucinate the pavement tipping and shifting as I pushed my wailing son through unfamiliar streets. Or to cross bridges and think, ‘If I jumped I’d get some sleep.’

People kept telling me things would get better at 6 weeks, 12 weeks; that ‘sooner or later’ he’d start sleeping through but it didn’t happen. I was breastfeeding and he refused to take a bottle so my partner couldn’t help ease the burden. I felt trapped.

I didn’t share my feelings with anyone. Not that there was anyone to tell. We moved into our house in Bristol when I was seven months pregnant and the other only person I knew had three children and a full time job and I didn’t want to burden her. I didn’t want to tell my partner either. I’m proud and stubborn and I wanted him to think I was doing a good job, that I was a good mum.

I joined an NCT group but none of their babies cried like mine or were so incessantly hungry. And I didn’t trust them enough to open up. They weren’t my friends. They were a bunch of strangers who happened to be pregnant at the same time as me.

Each time my health visitor mentioned her PND checklist I’d distract her so she’d forget. The AccidentEvery PND mother fears their baby being taken away. You know the dark thoughts you’re having aren’t right but you’re damned if you’re going to say them out loud. She told me I should nap when the baby did but it would take me half an hour to fall asleep and my son would wake 15 minutes later. A snatchof sleep is worse than no sleep at all so I’d stay awake instead. And that’s when I started writing ‘The Accident’.

I took every dark thought, every fear and every worry that was plaguing me and I poured them into my novel. I couldn’t pop out for a coffee with a friend so my characters kept me company instead. I listened to their stories and I wrote them down. And with each word I wrote, each chapter I finished, the feeling of hopelessness and darkness slowly began to dissipate. I wrote my way back to me.


The AccidentThe Accident. A fabulously gripping psychological thriller that will have you hooked from the very first page, this is the perfect read for fans of Before I Go to Sleep and Gone Girl.

Published on 10th April by Harper Collins.

We have five copies of ‘The Accident’ to giveaway. Simply leave a comment below and from all comments received by midnight on 30th April we will pick out ten lucky winners. Usual Netmums terms and conditions apply.

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43 Responses to Writing my way out of darkness

  1. Sally says:

    Would love to win a copy x

  2. claire tomlinson says:

    sounds a great read

  3. I would really love to win this, it seems genuinely interesting, next thing to do if I win is find a time when my 5 month old son will let me read! Xxxxxxxxxx

  4. I would love to win this, it seems genuinely interesting, the next thing to do if I win is find a time when my 5 month old son will let me read! XXXXXxxxxxxxx

  5. Lucy says:

    I’m writing a book about my unusual experience now, this could be so inspiring!

  6. Vikki Bond says:

    Would love to read this sounds interesting millions suffer in silence.

  7. kath wilson says:

    What a brilliant way to help yourself back from the darkness into the light…… x

  8. Sandra says:

    It’s very difficult to admit to PND after all what have you got to be depressed about? You have a brand new baby and your meant to be ’embracing motherhood’ Its a stigma we must eradicate and its articles & blogs like this that will help get the message across that it is normal and there is help out there. This book sounds like a brilliant read (I really enjoyed Before I Go to Sleep) and for the author it was clearly therapy in working through her depression.

    Best wishes CL I wish you well

  9. Charlotte says:

    Wow 🙂 I wish I had thought of that. This book will undoubtedly help those of us who have experienced PND and were thrown anti-depressants and given a ‘get on with it’ look. Hopefully this book will spark a huge debate on how women are treated/made to be aware of PND and we can get the help we need so desperately. Good for the author though 🙂 She’s an amazing woman.

  10. Emma says:

    I’d love to win a copy, depression is a still very much a taboo subject in conversations and people believe it can just be snapped out of. I’ve not had PND but suffered from depression after the break up of my first marriage and there is still very much a stigma at this so called imaginary disease.

  11. Katie Dandy says:

    Really want to read this after reading the blog

  12. Jack says:

    This sound so exciting, i would love to read it!

  13. Claire says:

    Thank you CL, you have described how I have been feeling, only I have been very fortunate to have a baby that sleeps brilliantly. As a previous depression sufferer with a lack of trust in others, I know the signs and am hiding them well enough to fool everyone. My son is an angel, it is the loss of self identity that has caused a few cracks to appear recently… the darkness has begun helping me to rediscover my creative writer too.
    I hope that your story highlights the different faces of PND and I hope I win one of your books as it sounds a gripping read… just what I need write (!) now.
    Well done, you are an inspiration, thank you.

  14. N Courtney says:

    I have PND and had a really bad day tomorrow. Feel like it might be the end. Need to break free from this illness. Must be fate to see this competition today. Please let me be the winner.

    • Michelle kenney says:

      Darkness is the right word to be used here. I’ve never suffered any darkness or depression until I had my children and it’s the worst feeling in the world. I can understand now that people who take their own lives are not selfish there brain just cannot comprehend what is going on and the thoughts are not rational. I would love to win a copy having suffered for 5 years with PND it’s a comfort to know I am not alone out there.

  15. Valerie says:

    I suffered terribly with PND after my second child. So few people seemed to really understand. I would love to read the book.

  16. Louise callow says:

    Can’t wait to read this, turning negatives into positives is the hardest thing to do when you have depression and the pressures as a mother you put on yourself are immense.
    Well done for tackling your pnd head on and inspiring others x

  17. fiona says:

    please count me in,looks interesting

  18. sharon dickson says:

    This sounds captivating and I am looking for a holiday read.

  19. Jo says:

    Sounds like a fab read

  20. amanda hayes says:

    OOH this sounds like a great read.. id love the opportunity to read this 🙂

  21. booklover83 says:

    I have heard great things and I review books .I suffered with pnd and mental illness is still a big part of my life x

  22. Pema says:

    Wow. What a brilliant creative channelling out of the most destructive terrifying illness. Thank goodness the author didn’t jump under the bridge and stuck around to share her novel. I can’t wait to read it.

  23. K Gillingham says:

    Glad you found your way back 🙂

  24. Aimee Boote says:

    Such an inspirational blog post, I’m glad you found a light in your darkness.

  25. Lucy says:

    would love to win a copy, haven’t read a good book in ages!

  26. Eve says:

    sounds exciting! fingers crossed i win a copy 🙂

  27. Sandra says:

    Wow this sounds like an amazing read! I have a feeling it is going to help alot of ladies! It is amazing what a good book can do x

  28. Yasmin0147 says:

    Would lobe to read this book

  29. Sam says:

    I’m glad things are better for you now.

  30. caroline martin says:

    Would love to read this. Looks at some really important issues

  31. Jenners says:

    I too had a ‘no sleep needed baby’ (albeit mine was bottle fed) the hidden truth of how I was really feeling just peeping out from the make-up mask adeptly applied when the Health Visitor called, how inspiring and uplifting to read that your strength can come from within when you need it the most!

  32. I would love a copy of this

  33. Sylvia says:

    Yes please sounds a good read.

  34. Martina says:

    I would love to win this book because I think i can relate to this story very well..;-((

  35. Amy Cannon says:

    I suffered with PND and relate completely with what you have said here. I would love to win a copy of the book. 🙂

  36. Maisie moo says:

    Congratulations on your novel! I think it’s great you were able to turn your bad experiences into something that can help other people out there. I have found writing to be very healing, too. I haven’t suffered from PND before but my sister did and I would love to read this to understand more fully about how it affects people’s lives.

    • cltaylorauthor says:

      Thank you SO much for all your lovely comments. You made me cry (in a good way). Writing that article was so, so hard and your comments have affirmed my decision to do so. PND isn’t something to be ashamed of. It’s the darkest, most debilitating illness and you are all incredibly strong women for battling it. Thank you for your kind words. Cally x

  37. Donna Stokes says:

    Would love to add this to my list of books already read, your an inspiration xxx

  38. Sarah Jones says:

    Hmm yeah, what can I say… I read the authors experiences and why she wrote this book and thought she sounds just like me. I could really connect except how she managed to write a novel from it! I’m just intrigued yet impressed and would love to see what her despair has created into a novel. Something I’m really not strong enough to do! Fantastic! Well done you and hope it gets better! X

  39. sharon Kenny says:

    would love to win a copy of your book. Congratulations on your novel. I too suffered from post natal depression. I hid it from everyone and didn’t want to admit it to myself. I also felt very suicidal too.

    I worked in mental health at the time and dealt with this often before I fell pregnant I was very good at putting on a brave face for everyone but inside it was killing me. I was pushing away all the people in my life that I needed help from.

    Hopefully I can relate to things in your book and also learn new things too. May bring back a few memories too. XXX

  40. sharon kenny says:

    Anyone know who won the books. Cant find any info anywhere. thanks.

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