Single mum's memoir on her struggle with manic depression

Single mum's memoir on her struggle with manic depression
Singaporean Choo Kah Ying is a former manic depressive starting from her university days in Australia. Now 37 and the single mother of a 12-year-old autistic son, she has survived to tell the tale in a book.

Who: Singaporean writer Kah Ying Choo, 42, who also conducts workshops for caregivers of children with autism.

The single mother, whose partner of five years is in IT, wrote about her struggles with manic depression in the memoir Five Little White Pills... And Then There Were None, brought out in 2008 by Singapore publisher Armour Publishing.

She reads from the book and speaks about raising her 17-year-old autistic son Sebastien on Oct 12, at The Loft, 268A South Bridge Road. Places are limited for the event, which begins at 2pm, and is followed by an exhibition of Sebastien's paintings. To reserve seats, write to Ruth Lim (ruth@armourpublishing.com) by Friday.

What are you reading now?

Anne Lamott's Imperfect Birds. This novel chronicles parents' struggles with adolescents who are hiding their drug usage perfectly from their parents.

I am also reading Fulvio Ervas' N'Aie Pas Peur Si Je T'Enlace (Do Not Be Afraid If I Embrace You), the French translation of a book written in Italian. It was given to me by my boyfriend's mother. The author writes in the voice of an Italian father who takes his autistic adolescent on a months-long road trip from the Western part of the United States to Central America. It is a real-life story but not the author's. He tells the father's story.

Another title is Far From The Tree by Andrew Solomon. This well-researched book on family relationships explores challenging, unconventional relationships between parent and child, through interviews and case profiles of unusual families affected by conditions such as autism, schizophrenia, Down syndrome, severe disability, child prodigies or children conceived in rape.

If your house were on fire, which book would you save?

A photo book consisting of images of Sebastien and me. My boyfriend Jerome had put together this book for me as a surprise gift, maybe two years into our relationship.

It showed his recognition and acceptance of the importance of Sebastien in my life. Having emerged from a marriage in which my then-husband was resentful of the time I spent on Sebastien, I realised that I had found the right life partner not only for me, but also for Sebastien.


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