A Can of Madness

By Jason Pegler.
Chipmunka Publishing
ISBN 0 95422108 0

Jason Pegler suffers from manic depression and his book, A
Can of Madness
, catalogues how his illness nearly destroyed
him, those close to him and numerous friends and lovers along the
way. Drugs and alcohol come and go, and the slide into addiction,
as an unforeseen consequence of pain relief, is powerfully

This autobiographical work is an outpouring and as such there
are few clear lessons.

At the end, after 10 years of self-harm, Pegler has a recovery
plan – an action plan, put together with the help of his
psychologist. He is in a stable relationship, with hopes for the
future, the same hopes all of us have.

The hidden lesson of the book is that health and social care
services need to intervene early. Not doing so can ruin adult lives
and waste untold resources on reluctant adults.

A Can of Madness is compulsive stuff, and worth reading
to understand better the numbing daily experience many service
users go through.

Like much of social work, it is short of answers and, like
social work, its inherent optimism that life can only get better
keeps Pegler – and the reader – going.

Anthony Douglas is director of social care and health,
Suffolk Council.

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