Me, Myself, and Them: A Firsthand Account of One Young Person's Experience with Schizophrenia Paperback – Oct 15 2007
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"Like a Sea World underwater view, Me, Myself, and Them provides a riveting peek into the world of schizophrenia for parents like me who yearn for understanding. For young people with schizophrenia, like our son, the book orients a frightening illness. For both families and persons with mental illness, this book is laced with hope, something in short supply in most other books."--Mindy Greiling, Minnesota State Representative and Executive Board Member, National Alliance on Mental Illness
"This beautifully told personal story provides an innovative platform for solid information about schizophrenia and its treatment. Highly informative to persons struggling with the onset of psychosis, and to families, friends, and mental health workers who struggle to understand and help."--William T. Carpenter Jr., M.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacoogy, University of Maryland School of Medicine
"I strongly recommend this book to patients, families, clinicians and researchers interested in a first hand account of how schizophrenia changes the way the world looks, feels, and behaves. It is very moving and very informative. From compelling descriptions of changes in mood, cognition and perception to explanations about how the brain is affected and how drugs work, this brief but detailed personal statement and review of the state of the field is invaluable."--Daniel R. Weinberger, M.D., Director, Genes, Cognition and Psychosis Program IRP, NIMH, NIH
"The authors provide a first rate resource for anyone whose life is touched by schizophrenia. Through solid, easy to understand language, the manuscript provides useful guidance for others coping with this disease. Highly recommended." --Ming Tsuang, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego
"Me, Myself and Them: A Firsthand Account of One Young Person's Experience with Schizophrenia is a straightforward and marvelously lucid retelling of Kurt Snyder's battle with his demons. Not only does it show us the experience of psychosis, it also explains, in jargon-free language, what each element of that experience means. Compelling and eminently readable, a book like this ought to be required reading for all high school and college students, demystifying as it does an illness all too long shrouded in misunderstanding, confusion, and fear."--Pamela Spiro Wagner, author of Divided Minds: Twin Sisters and Their Journey Through Schizophrenia
About the Author
Kurt Snyder is a database administrator for the state of Maryland as well as president of his local volunteer fire department. Rachel Gur, MD, PhD, is Professor of Psychiatry, Neurology, and Radiology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, where she has acted as Director of the Neuropsychiatry section and the Schizophrenia Research Center. Linda Wasmer Andrews is a freelance health and psychology writer based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is the coauthor of Monochrome Days: A Firsthand Account of One Teenager's Experience with Depression as well as the author or coauthor of numerous other books, including Stress Control for Peace of Mind. Her writing has appeared in magazines such as Self, Parenting, and Psychology Today.
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The patient, Kurt, tells his story in a very serious and straightforward way, with a lot of candor. Unfortunately, just when his story would start to draw me in, it would be interrupted by various vignettes, statistics, and case studies written by the book's co-authors (Raquel E. Gur, MD, PHD, and Linda Wasmer Andrews). I actually found myself skipping entire sections just to maintain the flow of Kurt's story. Despite having the disease over a period of years, Kurt's experience with schizophrenia is very condensed, and very little focus is put on the details of his hospitalizations, which is something I was curious about.
This book serves its purpose as a rudimentary resource on schizophrenia; however, if you are looking for detailed memoirs of someone who suffered with the disease, this may not be the book for you. If you are curious about the mind of a schizophrenic patient, I would recommend The Quiet Room: A Journey Out of the Torment of Madness by Lori Schiller and Amanda Bennett, or Center Cannot Hold, The: My Journey Through Madness by Elyn R. Saks, instead.
Kurt Snyder, the author of this volume, tells his story of developing and recovering from schizophrenia and does so from multiple points of view. It is his story but he does not ignore the fact that there are millions of people in the US (and elsewhere) who are also faced with this challenge. Like many with schizophrenia, he initially refused to take his medications and mixes his personal account with the big picture. While hospitalization is a not too pleasant experience for anyone, he points out that there may be times when it is required and lists the positive benefits to be achieved from being in hospital.
What he does emphasize on P 89 is that schizophrenia is a very treatable disease. The fact that Kurt was on medication for six years at the time of writing and was able to put his life back together again, should serve as a positive example for adolescents or anyone struggling with this issue. What is also important is that he reports that side effects of prescribed drugs have been infrequent. That is often one reason that people refuse to take what is prescribed.
My only complaint is that the title is too close to the film Me, Myself and Irene which presents the old myth about schizophrenia as being multiple personalities. A companion piece to this book might be the DVD Cutting For Stone which presents a realistic view of an adolescent's descent into schizophrenia and its impact on him and his family.
Author of Schizophrenia: Medicine's Mystery - Society's Shame
It is hard to find anything much to criticize in this book. If I have one very minor criticism, it is that more hasn't been done to address the issues of stigma and stereotyping in connection with schizophrenia. These issues are not ignored, but they are dealt with rather fleetingly toward the end of the book. My own feeling is that these are very important matters that should have been raised earlier and dealt with more thoroughly (but this doesn't stop me from giving the book a five-star rating).
As I see it, Me, Myself, and Them offers the reader two major benefits. First, it mixes personal experience with explanatory detail in a very readable way. Some of the background observations tend toward the technical, but they are offered in a straightforward and readily understandable way. The book also offers some guidance on legal and financial matters, thus adding another dimension to its more practical aspects. This book strikes the perfect balance between specialized medical description, advice for sufferers, ordinary everyday narrative, and emotional involvement.
Second, and perhaps more important, is the fact that this is a very positive, optimistic book. It clearly gives the message that schizophrenia is treatable. While it cannot actually be cured, substantial recovery is achievable. With treatment matched appropriately to the individual, a sufferer can go on to lead a very full and rewarding life, with the condition downgraded (potentially, at least) to little more than an occasional inconvenience - I certainly wasn't previously aware that such a positive outcome was possible.
Me, Myself, and Them is primarily aimed at schizophrenia sufferers and their families, but it is also invaluable for anyone who wants to get away from popular misconceptions and gain a better-informed understanding of what schizophrenia is.
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