Monday 29 October 2012

Karen Tyrrell

Today I welcome a brave and passionate woman whose memoirs share a very personal journey. Karen Tyrrell taught as a primary school teacher for over 20 years, specializing in Gifted and Talented classes. After parents at Karen’s school repeatedly harassed her to breaking point and beyond, she developed PTSD and severe bipolar disorder. She was hospitalized in 2005/6. She’s now recovered and sharing her passions for writing and mental health. Here is some of her story.

Writers are sometimes influenced by things that happen in their own lives, are you?
Totally! Everything I write is a direct result from what I’ve experienced first-hand and how those events affected me emotionally.

As a teacher there are many pressures placed upon them. Can you share how these pressures impacted on you.

A violent child was enrolled in my  primary school class who wielded terror against me and my students. What was worse: this child’s parents ravaged verbal, written and psychological abuse and threats against me for over a year. This family disappeared for a while. When they returned I became stressed, experiencing screaming night terrors and severe sleep deprivation. I completely broke down, escaped and ran. Police found me in a lonely motel and incarcerated me into a psychiatric hospital. Thankfully I recovered and reclaimed my life.

You no longer teach but are still involved with schools. Tell us about that.

I teach creative writing workshops to Gifted and Talented classes in schools. I plan to deliver Resilience Training workshops to teachers and to students in the near future.

You are a passionate supporter of mental health issues. What message would you like to spread.

STOP the stigma against mental illness. It’s like any other illness. You can recover from mental illness and live a happy balanced life again. I did.

Your book ME & HER: A Memoir of Madness is very personal journey. Why did you decide to publish it.

I needed to share my personal story of why I became so severely ill and HOW I triumphed over mental illness. I aspired to humanize the face of mental illness and dispel the myths.

You were recently awarded FINALIST in the mental health achievement awards. What does that mean to you?

Everything!  I’m stoked that my peers recognized my memoir, ME & HER and my community work for mental health. This award encouraged me to aim higher, to spread the news of hope around the globe.

 What is next for Karen Tyrrell?

My companion sequel ME & HIM: a Guide to Recovery will be launched next year.
Please stay tuned for tantalizing excerpts and launch announcements.

If you had a premonition you would be stranded on a desert island, what 5 books would you throw in your bag.

The Power of NOW by Eckhart Tolle
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (1947)
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquival

What five words sum you up?
passionate energized risk-taker creative caring

How can we learn more?

My FREE eBook, 30 Tools for Wellness, Happy Mind, Healthy Day is now available from my website

You can buy Me and Her: a Memoir of Madness from Amazon as an eBook or a print book and read #20 Pages for FREE.

Join Karen on Facebook  

Follow Karen on Twitter  

Thanks for joining us today Karen. The very best of luck to you. 

'Nobody can hurt me without my permission'

(Mahatma Ghandi)


  1. Thanks Melissa for your awesome support and understanding what motivated me to write ME & HER. Loved the new angle of your interview questions. Hoped you liked my answers... Karen :)

  2. Your very welcome Karen. I was intrigued as a teacher myself to learn more about your story. People don't often hear about the stress and pressures faced by teachers due to the children and parents that have to be dealt with and the impact it has on their own lives.