A carefully curated anthology of short passages by mental health patients and their families from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness has worked for years as an advocacy group for those affected by mental illness. This anthology comprises brief confessional blocks of writing by its members, presenting a group portrait of the consequences of living, and sometimes dying, with severe mental illness. The writing falls into twelve thematic categories that include both anticipated topics—“Your Child and Mental Illness,” “Family, Friends, & Mental Illness,” “Drugs, Alcohol, & Mental Illness,”—and unexpected themes—“Encountering the Legal System” and “Living & Working with Mental Illness.” All authors are anonymous and write engrossing stories about their personal and family tragedies. Experiences range widely, but several commonalities emerge: Chronic drug abuse often triggered major bouts of mental illness; afflicted individuals frequently say their descent began with hearing one or more self-destructive internal voices commanding them to take anti-social action; and many parents write angrily about the failures of school administrators and judges to take seriously their child’s disorder. Told with dignified understatement, these narratives offer several stunningly uplifting tales of courageous individuals and families that, with knowledgeable and compassionate medical and psychiatric help, were able to successfully manage their condition. Adding to this book’s value are practical self-help hints and a list of Internet and print resources.
Families affected by serious mental illness will find useful resources and a sense of connection within these pages.