From her early 30's until her early 60's, Barbara Hawkins lived cloistered in her family home in suburban Chicago, a prisoner of undiagnosed mental illness. Hearing voices and paralyzed with fear, she was never evaluated, never treated, and refused to leave the house.
After Schizophrenia is the story of Barb's descent into severe mental illness and the healing that has come only in recent years: after her parents' death, when her sister, Margaret, became her guardian. With uncanny grace and humor, Margaret chronicles her family's struggle with Barb's mental illness, the love that carried them through, and the virtual army of healthcare angels willing to come to Barb's aid.
This is an extraordinary story of severe mental illness and the healing that is possible with prompt diagnosis, good drugs, good care, and a fierce belief in the power to get well.
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A Kinder, Gentler Look at Schizophrenia
This book is unusual in two ways – the victim had a mild case which make it easier for her to recover – and the author did a good job of involving the reader in the story – sometimes, too much so, it seemed to me (someone not too skilled emotionally). It took me a while to get through it.
After listening to a number of these case histories – I have noticed that the survivors (only about 1 out of 5) were good at getting help. In this case, she was saved by her sister – who worked very hard at getting help for her. Most refuse help of any kind.
And she was lucky in finding a med that worked. Many never find a combination that works very well – and they end up being arrested and institutionalized, over and over.
Better than I had expected.
Yes. It's a fascinating story of the progression of schizophrenia, and the precarious climb out again. It is also an interesting look at the history of the treatment of the disease in a non-clinical, personal fashion. I was surprised at how well written the book was considering the author isn't a professional writer. It isn't as gripping as some mental health autobiographies out there, but it held my interest.
There are a few biographies like Cult Insanity by Irene Spencer, or maybe one of the Carrie Fischer books, that touches on the personal difficulties of someone's life....that just grab you. I think the topic of mental illness, especially the mystifying symptoms of schizophrenia, interests us all. This book was a well written, surprisingly well written, account of the illness told with love by a sister.
The narrator was good. I'm glad the author wasn't tempted to read her own book as that usually kills a book for me if they aren't professional actors.
Yes. I got hooked. This was a good listen, easy and interesting and I was sorry when it ended...always the mark of a successful audiobook! She discusses the day to day struggles of a family dealing with a member that has a severe mental illness...and she does it in a very matter of fact, low drama way that is still so darn interesting! I mean, we all have heard of celebrities having nervous breakdowns but then what? What is their life like afterwards? And the glimpse into the HISTORY of her sister's life....that was so interesting. Her parents were mortified, and frightened, and there were few treatment options available initially. Not until later does her sister get help, and journey to a spot of peace is uplifting without the offer of false hope.
Get it if you have an interest in biographies or first person stories about mental illness or life struggles...even though this was written by the sister of a schizophrenic, it is intriguing and insightful. I get bored with audiobooks soooo easily, I return them left and right and get so frustrated. I'm glad I found this one and can recommend it.