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Edges of Me

A Heart-Wrenching Story of Secrets and Co-Dependency ... 

Glass-brimming Jenny (psychiatric nurse) and her new patient, glass-definitely-half-empty (physiotherapist) Claire, develop a lifelong and fateful co-dependent friendship that is scarred by secrets and untimely ends.

Edges of Me is an emotional and thought-provoking read, based on a real encounter between two young women at the start of their adult lives. 

Spanning the period from 1981 to 2019, Edges of Me follows Claire, a young physiotherapist struggling to navigate life, and Jenny, a psychiatric nurse seeking a meaningful purpose. Claire has always felt ‘less than’, Jenny has always wanted to ‘be more’, both are searching for identity: the edges of themselves. They recognise this in each other. 

As an ex-psychiatric nurse, Gaye Poole brings her personal experiences to this fictional tale, delving into the struggles surrounding undiagnosed borderline personality disorder. By drawing upon her knowledge of the subject matter, Gaye creates an emotive and moving story, shedding light on the very real struggles faced by mental health professionals and patients.


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What the author says ...

“I have carried the idea for this book around with me for decades, wanting to play out the imagined life story of a psychiatric patient who, in other circumstances, having made other life choices, may have been a friend, struggling too to find a foothold in life. Edges of Me is about an intense female friendship; how such relationships can be the most rewarding, and also the most destructive, particularly with a third wheel present. In this case, the third wheel isn’t always another person, but is an undiagnosed borderline personality disorder plus a trailer-load of secrets. It is also an exploration of two very different women and their searches for their own identities, which often get blurred together, at times very unhealthily. Ultimately it is a story of how we reframe a life lived and the hope we can draw from other’s experiences. The diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder in the early 80’s was still relatively rare. With hindsight, I look back at patients who were deeply misunderstood and perhaps had undiagnosed BPD. This book explores the possible life some of these patients could have had.”

Reviews ...

Ex-psychiatric nurse and comedienne Jo Brand says of Gaye’s book:

“A fascinating and moving book and, of course, an area and era I am well acquainted with! Gaye Poole has beautifully captured a time and an atmosphere I am very familiar with and the big bonus is it’s an absolutely great read. She captures the essence of the time and pinpoints the tricky area where the professional and personal sit uneasily in the field of mental health care. A fascinating, warm and absorbing story.”

Fellow author Lisa Jenner says of Gaye’s book:

"Poole’s experience as a psychiatric nurse shines through in this insightful debut novel. Edges of Me is a heart-rending narrative woven around the tragic thought distortions of a serious mental health disorder. She beautifully captures both the ordinary, everyday isolation as well as the extraordinary challenges caused by painful delusions and misunderstandings. Almost without you realising it, Poole subtlety invites you to consider that not only are we all on the mental health spectrum somewhere, but also that our place on it isn’t fixed: patient and helper roles shifted, swapped and morphed seamlessly throughout her story. Mental health suffering often comes with a significant ripple effect - a heart-breaking impact on those who try to love the person affected. Poole’s depiction of the painful consequences for family and friends and the sensitivity and resilience needed to stay close was astutely observed. Ultimately, however, it’s her portrayal of their powerlessness that gets to you the most and leaves a lasting impression." 

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