A brutally honest, darkly funny and profoundly moving memoir about the author's global search for a cure to chronic pain
Julia Buckley needs a miracle. Like a third of the UK population, she has a chronic pain condition. According to her doctors, it can't be cured. She doesn't believe them. She does believe in miracles, though. It's just a question of tracking one down.
Julia's search for a cure takes her on a global quest, exploring the boundaries between science, psychology and faith with practitioners on the fringes of conventional, traditional and alternative medicine. From neuroplastic brain rewiring in San Francisco to medical marijuana in Colorado, Haitian vodou rituals to Brazilian 'spiritual surgery', she's willing to try anything. Can miracles happen? And more importantly, what happens next if they do?
Raising vital questions about the modern medical system, this is also a story about identity in a system historically skewed against 'hysterical' female patients, and the struggle to retain a sense of self under the medical gaze. Heal Me explains why modern medicine's current approach to chronic pain is failing patients. It explores the importance of faith, hope and cynicism, and examines our relationships with our doctors, our beliefs and ourselves.
A timely, worrying and extremely important book
Truly fascinating . . . a searingly honest first-hand account of Buckley's journey, both spiritual and physical, and an insightful, deeply researched story of pain from the multiple perspectives of medical science, psychology and faith. An absolute must-read on the subject, what's laid bare here about our understanding of and attitudes to chronic pain is alternatively sobering and inflammatory — INDEPENDENT
An inspiring story about living with pain, and not being believed and never giving up — Natasha Harding, SUN
Buckley's account of her illness is elegant, with apposite literary references. As a welcome bonus, she is bitingly funny in her descriptions of the shortcomings of the medical profession, as well as her unnerving encounters with alternative therapists. Most importantly, she highlights the alarming extent of chronic pain in the UK and the medical establishment's failure to tackle it head on; according to the British Medical Journal, it affects a third of us. Nevertheless, the message from her story is uplifting: however awful your circumstances, there's always hope — Peter Carty, i paper
A raw and unflinching exploration of chronic pain and the human body, Heal Me documents the desperate psychological and physical journey of chasing a cure for an invisible illness. From leading NHS professionals to faith healers in Haiti, Buckley puts her body on the line all over the world in an attempt to live a 'normal' life again, documenting all in honest and often disarmingly witty prose that creates a moving, compelling and timely reflection on medicine, religion and the business of health — ROB COWEN, author of Common Ground
Julia Buckley applies all her considerable journalistic skill to telling the story of her own quest for a miracle - freedom from the chronic pain that she knows is real but so few doctors believe in. It's painfully honest but far from painful reading — DAMIAN BARR
Gripped me from start to finish. At times hilarious, at times heartbreaking and always relatable — HOLLY BAXTER
Heal Me is a wonderful book, vibrant, lively and searching. Julia Buckley weighs the price of hope against desperation, exploring with humour, research and compassion the need that pain patients have for healing. Her quest will take you around the world and through the ether as she crosses light and darkness for a cure — SONYA HUBER
As her pained and broken body is pushed, poked, prodded, measured, X-rayed, medicated, massaged and, more often than not, declared fine, Julia Buckley takes us on a worldwide journey in search of a cure for the devastating pain which rages through her, the legacy of an assortment of ailments and diagnoses and misdiagnoses and guesswork. In prose which glitters with anger, Buckley frequently invokes The Yellow Wallpaper, an important predecessor to her book and one which sets up the theme: women's illness, women's pain, is frequently disparaged, disbelieved and belittled, with deadly results. In the age of rape culture and #metoo, Buckley's memoir is an important and devastating reminder that the oppression and objectification of women exists in many other insidious forms, with just as profound impacts — RUTH FOWLER
This book shouldn't be entertaining and yet, as Buckley recounts her global odyssey in search of a miracle, her rollercoaster journey turns out to be as compulsive as any thriller ... her brave book is a reminder to never give up hope — Stephanie Cross, THE LADY
Buckley's eloquently angry Heal Me: In Search of a Cure homes in on the insidious gender politics that often determine the treatment of female patients — Anna Katharina Schaffner, TLS