Bloodletting/ - , letting/ n.
1. Phlebotomy, the act or process of letting blood or bleeding, as by opening a vein or artery.
2. Outmoded medical practice used as a cure for illnesses ranging from fevers to hysteria.
Bloodletting is a frank, compelling and at times darkly humorous memoir boldly challenging the silence surrounding one of mental health's last taboos.
A close relative of bulimia and anorexia, it is estimated that up to 1 per cent of the population has intentionally harmed itself - yet for the most part it is a behaviour that goes unspoken, dismissed as the attention-seeking actions of prison in-mates or delinquent teenagers.
If you had run into Victoria on the street during her darkest days you would never have known the torment she endured. Confident, polite and articulate she could have been your sister, your workmate, your friend, your lover.
Yet from her late teens and throughout her twenties Victoria Leatham struggled with the overwhelming desire to hurt herself, a desire that was all-consuming and shaped every aspect of her life. And while not everyone who feels stressed, insecure or depressed will physically turn upon themselves, anyone who has ever felt out of control will recognise the logic that drove her.
Today Victoria is a happy, successful 30-something professional who only occasionally glances sideways at the bathroom cabinet.