on June 2, 2010
As a person with Bipolar Disorder, I found this book very validating and appreciated how the book went into great depth about day-to-day life with having a mental illness. I especially appreciate the great detail she went into in her daughter's experience with medications. The author has a balanced view about medications and indeed, they are an important part of recovery; however, as was shown in the book, it's not as simple as 'getting treated' and living happily ever after; there is lots of trial and error and often just as many ups and downs as with the illness itself.
I found this book was very insightful and learned things I had never read before. I was interested to see how this illness affected the family, and applaud Susan for being so proactive in her passion for educating people on mental illness and promoting support for other families.
on March 18, 2010
A powerfully moving and disturbing account, written by a mother, of her family's struggle to save their youngest daughter from the onslaught of schizoaffective disorder.
Susan Inman's story deals with the loss that accompanies having a family member suffer from a severe mental illness. It is heartbreakingly familiar to all who have lived it. The subsequent lack of awareness, even in the upper levels of professionals working at hospitals and in the field of mental health, is frighteningly common.
Finally, a book that tells it how it is. This is what families and the ill individuals go through every day in Canada and their frustrations, as well as those of the professionals who get it and are trying to help in a flawed system.
It's a reminder that if 'it takes a village to raise a child,' it will take a herculean strength and determination to educate that village on how to raise a child coping with severe mental illness.
on May 12, 2010
I work in the mental health care system that Molly and her family travelled through. Once I started to read the manuscript, I could not put it down. I found it to be a very courageous and very personal account of one family's experience with the emergence of serious mental illness in a beloved family member.
Inman outlines their struggles with an underdeveloped and fragmented health care system, where a comprehensive and well-organized continuum of support through diagnosis, treatment, and recovery from mental illness is not yet available. Her sense of vulnerability and frustration were palpable through the chronological account of the unexpected challenges they encountered. Yet we also saw the incredible strength of family bonds that held close and nurtured the individual family members as they tried to find the help they so desperately wanted and needed. Where help was not available, they created it. They connected with others in similar situations and constructed a new system of support for themselves and for those who would come after them. Inman, and others like her, having found themselves in desperate circumstances, used their strengths, skills, creativity, and sheer determination to effect change in the system from the outside. She has continued to be part of a movement
that is working collaboratively with consumers, policy makers and health care providers to design a better mental health care system.
A tragedy and a love story with a beautiful ending of hope and inspiration for a new and different future.
Dr. Anne Howson, PhD
Vancouver Coastal Health
on March 11, 2010
After Her Brain Broke is an insightful first-hand account of a journey through schizophrenia from the perspective of a mother.
Through her personal account, the author illustrates how schizophrenia affects both the sufferer and his or her family. Ms. Inman's story not only describes the mother's relentless struggle to help her daughter Molly, but constitutes a very valuable resource for families struggling with having a member suffering serious mental illness. Throughout her book, Ms.Inman demonstrates the importance of establishing a collaborative relationship between mental health professionals, community resources and the consumers' families.
Susan's account reveals how parental involvement and education on mental illness is crucial and, in many cases, this knowledge is what can provide families with the necessary tools to collaborate with the professionals in the treatment plan. The author advocates for approaches that educate, empower and mobilize families.
Ms. Inman's experiences in navigating the mental health system highlights the need for adopting an approach that involves the family members in the treatment. Molly's progress with those mental health professionals whose approach involved the family as part of the treatment, challenges the misguided view that some mental health practitioners have about blocking any family involvement in the treatment of consumers. Susan's account constitutes an eye opener to the deficiencies that still pervade the mental health field where some practitioners' poor training in serious mental illness can result in poor management practices for their clients and serious obstacles for their progress. This account leaves the readers wondering how come unprofessional behavior is not accountable.
Susan's account exposes the limited resources in the community for helping consumers and their families deal with the challenges embedded in the daily lives of people with serious mental illness. However, she does not respond passively to this lack of resources but takes a proactive stance and works in envisioning innovative ways to tap existing resources and use them to help her daughter. Susan becomes Molly's "case manager" and organizes a rehabilitation program for her daughter involving university students studying health care whose involvement in Molly's daily life would provide her with a "constant invitation to try to rejoin this world". Susan also brings a novel element to courses taken by consumers and families by stressing the importance of inviting consumers who have recovered to present their stories to other consumers and families who are in the midst of their difficult journey. The author's creation of a Mothers Group, where mothers of consumers meet to share and discuss their experiences, is another example of Susan's commitment to envision creative ways to help families of consumers.
In addition to presenting readers an inspiring and engaging account of her personal journey navigating through the system and learning about serious mental illness, Ms. Inman offers medical and literary perspectives on mental illness, She explains the workings of psychotropic drugs, giving an account of their effects. Susan provides the reader with excellent resources and a bibliography.
on March 23, 2010
I picked this book up and could not stop reading. Then I fell asleep and dreamed about it all night, and when I awoke I picked it up again and finished it.
Fascinating, informative, heartbreaking and inspiring, After Her Brain Broke details the determination of one family, one mother, to navigate their way through the rocky, uncharted waters of severe mental illness, and a health care system that flounders in its well-meaning attempts to understand and treat this appalling disease. Susan Inman is a true pioneer. Her courageous and indefatigable energy to push through and break down the obstacles that she encountered over and over, be it uninformed professionals, outdated psychiatric attitudes or limitations of the health care system, demanded the care and attention that eventually led to some peace for her daughter and her family. For mothers, this book is a terrifying read, yet it inspires us to confront head on whatever may stand in the way of what we know instinctively our children need. I simply cannot imagine what would have happened to Molly had Susan and her family not persevered in finding a way through the health system maze, and in keeping Molly at home, for the most part, during the worst moments of their ordeal. There is no doubt that their journey was agonizing, exhausting, disillusioning at times, but this book is written in such a straightforward, positive manner with no trace of self pity or complaint, that it is truly a must read for anyone who ever doubts that love is not the answer!
on November 21, 2011
My daughter (11) is suffering from Major Depressive Disorder and Severe Anxiety and is hospitalized. This story, although hard to read, made me feel not so alone and also reinforced to me that I have to be my daughter's advocate - always. It is also a story of hope - and I sure need that.