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The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey through Madness (2007)

por Elyn R. Saks

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1,0803718,950 (4.17)49
A memoir of paranoid schizophrenia by an accomplished professor recounts her first symptoms at the age of eight, her efforts to hide the severity of her condition, and the obstacles she has overcome in the course of her treatment and marriage.
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Mostrando 1-5 de 37 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Fascinating story told by a schizophrenic woman who managed to graduate Yale Law and then become a tenured professor, all the while struggling against delusions and other symptoms. Not a poetic book but it felt very honest and it was a way to get a bit of a clue to what psychosis must feel like. ( )
  steve02476 | Jan 3, 2023 |
One of the best books I have ever read. ( )
  closingcell | Jun 27, 2022 |
I finished this book in tears of joy. I don't know if I can do justice to how much this book moved me as a person with schizoaffective disorder. I've read many books by people who have bipolar disorder and some by parents of people with schizophrenia but this was my first book written by someone who has schizophrenia. That sentence is a mess but I think you can gather the gist.

The fact that Elyn is hospitalized and so greatly affected by her schizophrenia, yet goes on to lead a richly successful and fulfilling life is inspiring. I am picking up the pieces of my life after it was shattered last summer. My goal is to put them back together again and Elyn gives me hope that it can happen. So far, being well enough to work eludes me. But I am determined that my years of getting a graduate degree and working in challenging positions will not go to waste. I am taking classes and volunteering as a start, and while it may be years before I work again full-time, I am not giving in, not giving up on my brain.

Thank you, Ms. Saks (if you ever read this), for putting yourself out there when stigma and shame are very real and threatening. You are an inspiration. ( )
  Tosta | Jul 5, 2021 |
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Elyn's recitation of her life and struggle is both pragmatic and incredulous. I found it to be a very straight forward read and one night, when I finally had time to really sit down and dig in I poured through over a hundred pages in what felt like minutes.

Portions of her story are significantly disturbing, including her parents' overreaction to her "drug abuse" and her subsequent "treatment" which sets her up for medication failure in the future, the blase way her concerns are at times brushed aside as just another sign of mental illness, and her treatment at the hands of several hospitals. These experiences should make us all take a deep, grim look at what we think is "right" for those who suffer from mental disorders.

Despite how disturbing it was, I also found it very refreshing. Elyn has found great success in her life in comparison to anyone, not just your average schizophrenic. She has a huge support web which really helps her through many tough times and stresses the importance of such people in everyone's lives. It's also notable that not once does she discuss the cost of these treatments, but for most people her good fortune wouldn't be possible due to the huge financial constraints your average middle class American now faces. She repeatedly thanks her own intelligence and hard work for getting her through but also credits her doctors who she often sees on a daily basis, without once seeming to worry about the cost.

That said, I do think there is a take away from Elyn's life, beyond "be able to afford excellent medical care." Elyn battles her disease, her prognosis, and her medication for a large portion of the book. She goes off her drugs multiple times. This isn't some internal flaw specific to her - getting your patients to stay on long term medication is difficult at best, and even harder when it carries a stigma in the form of admitting they have a mental illness. Elyn's epiphany that her medication is not a sign of failure, but rather more like insulin for diabetes or a crutch for a weak ankle, is a pivotal turning point and hopefully something more people will find helpful. Our disgust with mental illness and the treatment of mental illness has turned it into a damned if you will or damned if you won't affair, but the relief Elyn feels after accepting her disorder and her medication is great to see and hopefully will persuade others that they too are just fine taking the medications and accepting the therapy that they need.

All in all a great book which helps present what is actually going on in a schizophrenic's head and hopefully will convince more people to ignore negative stereotypes and help those in need wherever they can. ( )
  lclclauren | Sep 12, 2020 |
I learned a lot about schizophrenia from this well-paced autobiography, and it rekindled my love for psychoanalysis. Definitely one of my favorite reads of 2019. ( )
  jasoncomely | Dec 3, 2019 |
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Elyn R. Saksautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Cuervo, AlmaNarradorautor principalalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Kooreman, MarjaTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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A memoir of paranoid schizophrenia by an accomplished professor recounts her first symptoms at the age of eight, her efforts to hide the severity of her condition, and the obstacles she has overcome in the course of her treatment and marriage.

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