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In this engrossing memoir, Saks, a professor of law and psychiatry at the University of Southern California, demonstrates a novelist's skill of creating character, dialogue and suspense. From her extraordinary perspective as both expert and sufferer (diagnosis: Chronic paranoid schizophrenia with acute exacerbation; prognosis: Grave), Saks carries the reader from the early little quirks to the full blown falling apart, flying apart, exploding psychosis. Schizophrenia rolls in like a slow fog, as Saks shows, becoming imperceptibly thicker as time goes on.- Along the way to stability (treatment, not cure), Saks is treated with a pharmacopeia of drugs and by a chorus of therapists. In her jargon-free style, she describes the workings of the drugs (getting med-free, a constant motif) and the ideas of the therapists and physicians (psychologist, psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, cardiologist, endocrinologist). Her personal experience of a world in which she is both frightened and frightening is graphically drawn and leads directly to her advocacy of mental patients' civil rights as they confront compulsory medication, civil commitment, the abuse of restraints and the absurdities of the mental care system. She is a strong proponent of talk therapy (While medication had kept me alive, it had been psychoanalysis that helped me find a life worth living). This is heavy reading, but Saks's account will certainly stand out in its field.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
At eight years old, Saks began suffering hallucinations and obsessive fears of being attacked. An adolescent experimentation with drugs provoked her parents to enroll her in a drug treatment program. But Saks' incredible self-control masked the fact that she was suffering from a debilitating mental illness. By the time she entered graduate school at Oxford University, her symptoms were so severe—including full-blown psychotic episodes and suicidal fantasies—that she was hospitalized. Through Oxford, law school at Yale, and a move to Los Angeles to work in the law school of the University of California, Saks struggled mightily to balance her ambitions with her illness, which was eventually diagnosed as schizophrenia. Never wanting to concede to her mental illness, Saks founds calm and comfort in a rigorous work routine. An analyst characterized her as having three lives: as Elyn, as Professor Saks, and as the Lady of the Charts mental patient. As Saks battled to get off medication and leave behind the Lady of the Charts, she fought for the rights of mental patients, and came to terms with her own limitations. Bush, Vanessa
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Arrived on time and in the condition described. This is brilliant. Watch ERS's TED talk, too. She's inspiring for those with (and without) chronic mental health issues.Published 9 days ago by Stacey M Pearson
Courageous but so helpful to try to understand the challenges of psychosis. Congratulations on your academic and personal successes. ExcellentPublished 15 days ago by Cheryl
Although the author does not represent the severely mentally ill, stricken with devastation to their once high achieving lives, I admire her strength and perspective in... Read morePublished 15 days ago by Lainie
A wonderful and awe-inspiring journey into the actual and moving experience of an intelligent individual with psychosis. Read morePublished 19 days ago by Mattie
Excellent story of survival Encourages all to keep trying, there is hope.Published 25 days ago by Laurie R. Philpot