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Mental Health Memoirs


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Initial post: Jul 4, 2011 6:52:11 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jul 14, 2011 3:58:51 PM PDT]

Posted on Jul 5, 2011 1:30:45 AM PDT
Hi Marisa: As you can see, mental illness is not a topic people like to trot out in public, hence the lack of responses to your discussion. I have read a number of memoirs on the topic, particularly on suicidality and depression. I think these books are particularly powerful because they say what people don't talk about with one another, outside of counseling. I think these sorts of memoir are mot effective and powerful when the writer is totally honest on the page, and conveys the universalities of the condition. I think there are shades of the human condition in every disease, including mental illness.
Strange As Angels: A Tale of Mood and Music

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 5, 2011 3:00:08 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jul 14, 2011 3:59:24 PM PDT]

Posted on Jul 5, 2011 9:36:48 AM PDT
What I liked about the mental health memoir, My Mother Killed Christ: But God Loves Me Anyway, is that, like the author, we often forget that mental illness IS AN ILLNESS. This particular memoir described how the author always thought that she and her siblings were bad children because their mother went away each year to a mental hospital. She recalls that until she held her mother's actual hosptial records in her hands and was able to read words like "schizphrenic and catatonic" that it never occurred to her that her mother was going to the hospital because she had an illness. This book was shocking, but poweful and inspiring. We want to turn away from mental illness, but when we look at it head-on we learn from it. Also, a well-written memoir allows us, as a society, to feel the appropriate compassion for those WITH A SEVERE ILLNESS and those impacted by the illness. Shame is associated with mental illness, but if your mother had breast cancer, would you be ashamed of her? We need to learn from these experiences. I say write the memoir about mental health. We need more of them--especially if it is honest.

My Mother Killed Christ: But God Loves Me Anyway

Posted on Jul 5, 2011 1:06:46 PM PDT
Guru says:
mADD man

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 5, 2011 2:03:16 PM PDT
Hi M Henderson Ellis
I think you should read this memoir
Surviving Schizophrenia: A Memoir
Very powerful.

Posted on Jul 5, 2011 2:23:38 PM PDT
Amanecer says:
Read the book reviews on "La Taza Azul" by Ricardo Ali Fernandez.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 6, 2011 12:46:20 AM PDT
A sub-topic that I am curious about: Why are so few memoirs regarding mental illness written by men? I think males are particularly stigmatized when it comes to mental illness of any sort. Most of my favorite books on the topic are by women like Kay Redfield Jamison, though Andrew Solomon's The Noonday Demon does stand out as a superbly written depression memoir. I think men just have a harder time admitting it.

Posted on Jul 6, 2011 2:07:24 PM PDT
rrp777 says:
Manic Episodes and the Dark Side: a Memoir of a Bipolar Life

BIPOLAR HOPE -
Manic Episodes and the Dark Side -
a Memoir of a Bipolar Life.

Always focus on a project. Take a course, write a memoir, etc. My attempt at a book is finally in print. The year-long process was the most cathartic experience in my 34 years as a manic depressive.
It has made friends and relatives much more understanding toward me, as well as helping me understand my own life. I am interacting with my loved ones again instead of being ashamed of past episodes and avoiding the reminder of them.
The book itself may be helpful to you or a loved one, and encourage you to write one too.

Posted on Jul 21, 2011 7:18:11 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Aug 2, 2011 8:26:55 PM PDT]

Posted on Aug 3, 2011 12:53:04 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 3, 2011 12:53:50 PM PDT
"A Mind That Found Itself" by Clifford Beers. That's a classic.

"Gone is Shadow's Child," by Jessie Foy. That is an excellent book that should still be in print.

"And I Don't Want to Live This Life" by Deborah Spungen. That is another excellent book.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 4, 2011 10:27:25 AM PDT
Lisa WB says:
A Fine Line A Balance to Survive A true account of over 20 years extreme sexual abuse praised by leading medical professionals in the UK including The British Psychology Society. This book details the consequences of child abuse, and the ambiguous care at a psychiatric unit, involving police chases, a high secure unit etc. The highlights in the kindle board show where the interest is as well on Amazon.com book page for this. The author has a facebook page called A Fine Line that has growing support everyday. This book has been No 1 in child abuse in the UK since December 2010. The author has been amazed at the response as it has also been No 1 in several other categories. Any insight of true accounts of trauma or mental health can lead to better understanding and management. Most of the time people just needed someone to talk to at a critical moment. Also the discussion about not enough men writing their memoirs was recently discussed in the UK and it is good that more men are coming forward to write about their accounts.

Posted on Aug 8, 2011 3:16:18 AM PDT
I think it's good that more people nowadays feel able to be open about mental health problems and are getting books published about their experiences. I've read a lot of mental health memoirs and feel I have learnt much from them. These books often raise questions and initiate discussion, which is much needed. My treatment by UK mental health services in the 60s/70s was appalling. I was treated in accordance with a rigid adherence to the medical model - very heavy drugs and electric shock treatment - which I feel was totally inappropriate for my problems and very damaging. I appreciate that others may feel they have been helped by this kind of treatment, but one size does not fit all. Of course, the 60s/70s are long gone, and hopefully there have been many changes for the better in psychiatry since then, but there is still no cause for complacency, still many questions to be raised and debated about psychiatry both in the UK and the US.

'The Dark Threads' by Jean Davison

Posted on Aug 8, 2011 3:31:55 AM PDT
Lisa WB says:
A Fine Line A Balance to Survive I agree with Jean, I have heard many horror stories about the mental health system in the 60's and 70's where the treatment could cause trauma and was very ambiguous. Even in recent times the care still needs monitoring and is questionable at times. The more true accounts that can come forward the better understanding and management.

Posted on Aug 8, 2011 5:58:03 AM PDT
Real-I-am says:
In My Mind's Eye, by Justin Marciano

Posted on Aug 8, 2011 10:43:29 AM PDT
Michael Schofield is currently writing about his daughter, Jani. Jani, born in 2002 suffers from an especially severe form of a mental illness. The book is entitled "January First: A Child's Descent Into Madness" and is due in March.

Posted on Aug 8, 2011 2:50:19 PM PDT
Might I humbly suggest my own memoir, Demons in the Age of Light: A Memoir of Psychosis and Recovery, which will be out in October.

I was diagnosed with schizophrenia, but the book is basically about my attempt to find my own interpretation for my experience. If you're interested in the topic of psychosis in particular, Elyn Saks "The Center Cannot Hold" is an excellent account of a law professor who was diagnosed with schizophrenia. "Henry's Demons" by Henry and Patrick Cockburn is a moving account told in alternating perspectives from a young man with schizophrenia and his father, a notable journalist, trying to understand his son's illness. Also highly recommended is Mark Vonnegut's, "Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness, Only More So."

Posted on Aug 9, 2011 7:21:46 AM PDT
Alicia Adams says:
I'd like to humbly suggest my own memoir, The Clouds Are Big With Mercy. I have been diagnosed with OCD, and also Asperger's syndrome.

Posted on Aug 11, 2011 11:30:19 AM PDT
Iowa Reader says:
Although published as a novel, this book was based on the author's own breakdown, and struggles with memory loss as a result of electroconvulsive therapy.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig.

Posted on Aug 20, 2011 8:54:23 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Aug 30, 2011 12:02:41 PM PDT]

Posted on Aug 24, 2011 9:57:32 AM PDT
"The Day the Voices Stopped" by Ken Steele. An excellent book that might even make you cry. Ken Steele was truly a good man.

Posted on Aug 27, 2011 12:03:15 PM PDT
The classic of course is The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath. Also try Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness, by William Styron.

Posted on Aug 27, 2011 10:56:59 PM PDT
Chris says:
DADDY KNOWS BEST

Posted on Aug 27, 2011 10:59:08 PM PDT
Chris says:
DADDY KNOWS BEST

Posted on Sep 12, 2011 1:57:00 AM PDT
JAG says:
The War At Home One Family's Fight Against PTSD
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Discussion in:  Biography forum
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Total posts:  74
Initial post:  Jul 4, 2011
Latest post:  Jul 14, 2013

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