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A Memoir

by Arnhild Lauveng translated by Stine Skarpnes Osttveit

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-61608-871-2
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

A "former schizophrenic" now working as a clinical psychologist describes her experiences and treatment.

A danger inherent in any memoir about overcoming schizophrenia lies in the delicate balance of providing insight into the illness without misleading readers into thinking that this narrative represents a universal experience of the illness. Pains are usually taken to be clear that one person's subjective experience might not match up with another person's, but many people turn to this sort of book to find commonalities, to gain strength from knowing someone else has had the same experience. Lauveng addresses this duality at length in her memoir of living with schizophrenia, drawing on her own terrifying experiences to address the carefully constructed definitions and understandings of the disorder. She challenges some entrenched ideas about schizophrenia, especially the idea that she had to live with her condition for her entire life, and she deconstructs and examines in different combinations the ideas of how it affects different individuals. Her own hallucinations involved wolves, a "Captain" that gave her instructions and two large rats. Medical professionals were sometimes helpful, but more often not. “I don’t believe that my story is anything more than my own story,” she writes. “But it is a different story than what people first diagnosed with schizophrenia may be told; therefore, I find it important to share.”

Emphasizing a personal approach to clients is not unique to Lauveng, but this chronicle of her specific experiences carries extra weight.