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The Collected Schizophrenias: Essays por…
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The Collected Schizophrenias: Essays (original 2019; edição 2019)

por Esme Weijun Wang (Autor)

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4001247,402 (3.92)9
Powerful, affecting essays on mental illness, winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize and a Whiting Award An intimate, moving book written with the immediacy and directness of one who still struggles with the effects of mental and chronic illness,The Collected Schizophreniascuts right to the core. Schizophrenia is not a single unifying diagnosis, and Esmé Weijun Wang writes not just to her fellow members of the "collected schizophrenias" but to those who wish to understand it as well. Opening with the journey toward her diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, Wang discusses the medical community's own disagreement about labels and procedures for diagnosing those with mental illness, and then follows an arc that examines the manifestations of schizophreniain her life. In essays that range from using fashion to present as high-functioning to the depths of a rare form of psychosis, and from the failures of the higher education system and the dangers of institutionalization to the complexity of compounding factors such as PTSD and Lyme disease, Wang's analytical eye, honed as a former lab researcher at Stanford, allows her to balance research with personal narrative. An essay collection of undeniable power, The Collected Schizophrenias dispels misconceptions and provides insight into a condition long misunderstood.… (mais)
Membro:twinkelbel
Título:The Collected Schizophrenias: Essays
Autores:Esme Weijun Wang (Autor)
Informação:Graywolf Press (2019), Edition: Reprint, 224 pages
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The Collected Schizophrenias: Essays por Esmé Weijun Wang (2019)

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This collection of essays gave me a totally new way to perceive schitzophrenia and related mental illnesses. The author has an incredible ability to describe exactly what it feels like to be untethered to reality—and to be diagnosed and stigmatized as being untethered.

At times, the endless recounting of medical appointments and prescriptions is rough to get through. But the overall effect of the collection is a very worthwhile read. ( )
  lucyohlsen | Jan 12, 2021 |
It feels wrong to give a book that details the author's experiences with schizoaffective disorder an average rating, and certainly I admire Wang for her forthcomingness on the topic, but I was left a little disappointed by the structure and content of this book. It was unbalanced and guarded; by the end, I didn't feel I had a clear picture of Wang's experience, though I did learn a lot about "the schizophrenias."

The essays felt impersonal, as if I was missing just a few pieces of the larger picture of Wang's life. She weaves in dense discussion of healthcare and research among constant references to her wealth and privilege. She alludes to a family history of mental illness, but never delves deeper; she describes the injustice of Yale's practices with mentally ill students, but never really returns to the topic or explains how she moved forward. Almost every essay ends abruptly. There are many examples of this kind of stop-short writing throughout the text.

On the other hand, there is some beautiful writing, too. I was drawn to Wang's essays "Reality, On Screen" and "The Slender Man, the Nothing, and Me"; perhaps because these essays reference pop culture and recent news, they provide a more accessible frame of reference (Wang can't watch The Hunger Games, because it might be too immersive) that made it easier for me to feel engaged with the text.

I can see why Wang, as both a writer and medical researcher, blended personal essay with facts on the state of American healthcare, but it often didn't flow well and left me feeling confused as to what the book wanted to be. While I'm sure she has good reason to keep the reader at arm's length, it prevented me from really engaging with the story. Overall, though, despite its shortcomings this is a valuable, needed book about mental illness and I'm glad it's out there in the world.
1 vote lindsaycostello | Jul 30, 2020 |
Really an excellent deep dive into the world of schizophrenia from a first person point of view. The writing is excellent, as well as the insight and detail (both hers and historical). Wang clearly did (has done) a ton of research into her own problems to better understand them, and she shares all of that with us, the reader.

A couple notes: First of all, a number of these chapters were originally published as essays in various locations, therefore the continuity (flow) of this book is a little disjointed. Don't expect a linear telling of her history with this disease. (More adept readers of non-fiction would probably not be expecting this, but I, the amateur that I am, found it a little disorienting.)

Second, the last quarter of this book contains a few chapters that don't address schizophrenia itself but some alternate diagnoses that she has gotten over the years as well as her diving into religious and mystical thoughts surrounding the disease. Personally I found these chapters less interesting that the first three-quarters of the book. Still well written, but not really on point (imo). Felt to me like (maybe?) they were thrown in to flesh this book out into (what somebody considered) a proper length, but that's a conspiracy I perhaps too often throw out when I feel that a published work could have been trimmed a little.

However, buried in that last quarter somewhere was this line: "Sick people, as it turns out, generally stray into alternative medicine not because they relish the idea of indulging in what others call quackery, but because traditional Western medicine has failed them." Which felt to me like a powerful statement and propelled me through to the end to fully understand what she has gone through. ( )
  invisiblelizard | Jun 21, 2020 |
At times while reading this collection, I found myself doing exactly what the author describes: Empathizing with and wondering about her friends and family, more than about her. What is her husband's job? What has the relationship been like from his perspective? But these aren't personal essays from the partner of someone living with schizoaffective disorder, and don't pretend to be. They capture something different – how it feels to live inside of a disease that threatens to erase anything you can recognize in yourself. I also felt frustrated that she didn't seem to be exploring her privilege, until I understood that her impressive education and nice clothes are some of the parts of her life that she tries to use to tether herself to reality. This book wasn't what I expected, but I'm glad I read it. It was worth the effort to understand her perspective. ( )
  nancyjean19 | Jun 3, 2020 |
This remarkable collection of essays on schizophrenia, mental illness, and the ways our society both portrays and reacts to such, is written by a woman who has herself been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. Starting with the journey to this diagnosis, and ranging through topics like the failings of universities toward students with mental illness, the loss of autonomy during institutionalization, the stigma of schizophrenia in particular, the mutability of our perception of reality. I did sometimes wish it has a more memoir-like format -- there were themes and experiences brought up in essays that I wish were returned to later in the book. But that doesn't change what an amazing thing that this book is -- the writing of someone with the intelligence, the support, and the resources to weave together her experiences with studies, academic and medical perspectives and pop culture analysis to really challenge our understanding of mental illness. In the hopes that we can be better colleages, caregivers, storytellers, citizens.

An amazing book. ( )
  greeniezona | Jan 20, 2020 |
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for Chris
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for everyone who has been touched by the schizophrenias
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Schizophrenia terrifies.
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Powerful, affecting essays on mental illness, winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize and a Whiting Award An intimate, moving book written with the immediacy and directness of one who still struggles with the effects of mental and chronic illness,The Collected Schizophreniascuts right to the core. Schizophrenia is not a single unifying diagnosis, and Esmé Weijun Wang writes not just to her fellow members of the "collected schizophrenias" but to those who wish to understand it as well. Opening with the journey toward her diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, Wang discusses the medical community's own disagreement about labels and procedures for diagnosing those with mental illness, and then follows an arc that examines the manifestations of schizophreniain her life. In essays that range from using fashion to present as high-functioning to the depths of a rare form of psychosis, and from the failures of the higher education system and the dangers of institutionalization to the complexity of compounding factors such as PTSD and Lyme disease, Wang's analytical eye, honed as a former lab researcher at Stanford, allows her to balance research with personal narrative. An essay collection of undeniable power, The Collected Schizophrenias dispels misconceptions and provides insight into a condition long misunderstood.

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