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A taut, powerful memoir of madness, Angelhead documents the violent, drug-addled descent of the author's brother, Michael, into schizophrenia. Beginning with Michael's first psychotic break - seeing God in his suburban bedroom window while high on LSD - Greg Bottoms recounts, in gripping, dramatic prose, the bizarre disappearances, suicide attempts, and the shocking crime that land Michael in the psychiatric wing of a maximum security prison. A work of nonfiction with the form and imagery of a novel, Angelhead enables the reader to witness not only the fragmenting of a mind, but of a family as well. "A tour-de-force memoir. . . . Bottoms writes like a poet, he writes like he is on fire." - Esquire, Book of the Year, 2000 "Angelhead is a brilliant, albeit inconceivably sad book. The fact that Bottoms survived the ordeal is incredible. But the fact that he could write about it with such pathos and insight is nothing less than extraordinary."—Atlanta Journal-Constitution "Greg Bottoms has provided a biographical novel about his brother that may be as close as most of us will ever get to knowing what it is to be truly mad. Angelhead is a story nearly as terrifying as the disease it describes." - Psychology Today
When readers first meet Ben, he is a sweet, intelligent, seemingly well-adjusted youngster. Fast forward to his teenage years, though, and Ben's life has spun out of control. Ben is swept along by an illness over which he has no control - one that results in runaway episodes, periods of homelessness, seven psychotic breaks, seven hospitalizations, and finally a diagnosis and treatment plan that begins to work. Schizophrenia strikes an estimated one in a hundred people worldwide by some estimates, and yet understanding of the illness is lacking. Through Ben's experiences, and those of his mother and sister, who supported Ben through every stage of his illness and treatment, readers gain a better understanding of schizophrenia, as well as mental illness in general, and the way it affects individuals and families. Here, Kaye encourages families to stay together and find strength while accepting the reality of a loved one's illness; she illustrates, through her experiences as Ben's mother, the delicate balance between letting go and staying involved. She honors the courage of anyone who suffers with mental illness and is trying to improve his life and participate in his own recovery. Ben Behind His Voices also reminds professionals in the psychiatric field that every patient who comes through their doors has a life, one that he has lost through no fault of his own. It shows what goes right when professionals treat the family as part of the recovery process and help them find support, education, and acceptance. And it reminds readers that those who suffer from mental illness, and their families, deserve respect, concern, and dignity.
When Susan Schofield's daughter, January (Jani) was diagnosed with child-onset schizophrenia at six, the dreams she and her husband had for their family's future became delusional, much like the illness itself. Their toddler son Bodhi was their hope, a savior for Jani. He would look after her when their parents were no longer around. But this was not to be. At two, Bodhi was diagnosed with autism and began decompensating even with the best early intervention therapy. The semi-sequel to Michael Schofield's book, 'January First' starts at the beginning of Susan and Michael's life together. It chronicles the joys and heartbreak of parenting special needs children, and the chaos that can bring to a family and a marriage. It ends with Susan and Michael finding love and even happiness while their struggle to help their children continues. But, as is so often the case, the journey is more interesting than the final destination
Now in paperback, the exceptionally well-reviewed, "intimate and authoritative...outstanding double memoir" (The New York Times Book Review) about schizophrenia written by an eminent journalist and his son. On a cold February day two months after his twentieth birthday, Henry Cockburn waded into an estuary outside Brighton, England and nearly drowned. Voices, he said, had urged him to do it. Nearly halfway around the world in Afghanistan, journalist Patrick Cockburn learned his son had been admitted to a hospital. Ten days later, Henry was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Narrated by Patrick and Henry, this is the haunting, extraordinary story of the eight years he spent almost entirely in hospitals--and his family's steadfast response to a bewildering condition. Combining Patrick's frank reporting of his son's transformation from art student to mental patient with Henry's raw, eerily beautiful description of hearing trees and bushes speaking to him, voices compelling him to wander the countryside, the loneliness of life within hospital walls, and finally, his steps towards recovery, Henry's Demons is one of the most profoundly moving and revealing accounts of mental illness ever written.
A brilliant and harrowingly honest memoir,January First is the extraordinary story of a father's fight to save his child from an extremely severe case of mental illness in the face of overwhelming adversity.
The severely and persistently mentally ill (SPMI) have been ignored, ridiculed, stigmatized, locked away in prisons, forgotten in hospitals, or left to wander the streets of our small and large cities. Lucy is a mother's story of her daughter's long struggle with a relentless brain disease - schizophrenia - that has no cure and gives no quarter. It's past time to recognize that Lucy and the thousands like her need asylum - places of care, protection, and refuge in a world that's passed them by.
Paul Gionfriddo's son Tim is one of the "6 percent"--an American with serious mental illness. He is also one of the half million homeless people with serious mental illnesses in desperate need of help yet underserved or ignored by our health and social-service systems. In this moving, detailed, clear-eyed exposé, Gionfriddo describes how Tim and others like him come to live on the street. Gionfriddo takes stock of the numerous injustices that kept his son from realizing his potential from the time Tim first began to show symptoms of schizophrenia to the inadequate educational supports he received growing up, his isolation from family and friends, and his frequent encounters with the juvenile justice system and, later, the adult criminal-justice system and its substandard mental health care. Tim entered adulthood with limited formal education, few work skills, and a chronic, debilitating disease that took him from the streets to jails to hospitals and then back to the streets. Losing Tim shows that people with mental illness become homeless as a result not of bad choices but of bad policy. As a former state policy maker, Gionfriddo concludes with recommendations for reforming America's ailing approach to mental health.