- Introduction: What works when nothing has worked? / Peter D. Kramer
- Editor's note: Overcoming institutional failure / Lee Gutkind
- Foreword: Beyond despair: the gift of recovery / Karen Wolk Feinstein
- Playing cards with Mr. Newman / J. Timothy Damiani
- Hope nurtures the dream / Ronald Bassman
- Inside / Don Tomasulo
- Paradise/Lost / Jennifer Lunden
- What would my mother say? / Annita Sawyer
- The dictator in my head / Kurt Warner
- In Minnesota, once: on anorexia, masculinity, and recovery / Owen Vince
- Jeannie / Miriam Mandel Levi
- An American boy / Candy Schulman
- I'm not a noun either / Tom Mallouk
- Indistinguishable chairs / Cassie Eaton
- Salvaging parts / Olga-Maria Cruz
- Hitbodedut / Catherine Klatzker
- Live a little / Ellen Holtzman
- Illusions of wellness / Katherine Sheppard Carrane
- Stalker / George Drinka
- No hope? Don't believe it / Sharron Hoy
- Came down a person / Ella Wilson.
Despite all the talk of mental illness in the media today, its stigma remains. In an editor's note, Gutkind, founding editor of Creative Nonfiction, cites some remarkable and rather sobering statistics. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in four adults, or roughly 61.5 million Americans, experiences a mental disorder in any given year. Worse, some 60 percent of those adults will not receive treatment during that period. To further compound the tragedy, Gutkind adds, there is a serious scarcity of psychiatrists in the U.S. And yet this excellent collection offers hope for those seeking help with depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, and dissociative identity disorder. Many of the essays are written by therapists who offer their own perspective on a failing system. Despite the often high odds against mental health patients—institutional failure is a common refrain here, as is misdiagnosis or over-aggressive treatment—these tales from the mental health front lines are stories of recovery. As the writers fully vent their feelings, readers will empathize. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
People suffering from a wide range of mental illnesses, from depression, bipolar disorder and OCD describe their personal stories recounting the challenges they had to overcome and highlight their relationships with their therapists and how they were given hope. Original.Review by Publisher Summary 2
In any given year, one in four Americans suffers from a diagnosable mental illnessand yet there is still a significant stigma attached to being labeled as mentally ill.” We hear about worst-case scenarios, but in manymaybe even mostcases, there is much room for hope. These frank, often intimate stories reflect the writers’ struggles to overcomeboth as professionals and as individuals, as current therapists and as former patientsthe challenges presented by depression, bipolar disorder, OCD, and other mental disorders. These dramatic narratives communicate clearly the rewards of helping patients move forward with their lives, often through a combination of medication, talk therapy, and common sense. Collectively, these true stories highlight the need for empathy and compassion between therapist and patient, and argue for a system that encourages human connection rather than diagnosis by checklist.