Pros:An indepth,fascinating story of schizophrenia.
Cons:None for me personally.
The Bottom Line: A gripping true tale of the highs, lows, and suffering due to schizophrenia, and the long road of courage it took to control it. A must read.
On a trip to the book store with my daughter I was browsing through the shelves and came upon this book. Once I started reading it, it was very hard to put down. Lori Schiller guides us through her life with schizophrenia. It is sometimes horrifying, but her struggles are well written. She takes you into her mind and shows you what her voices did to her.
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In the forward Lori explains how she used some family members, friends, and doctors to accurately as possible tell the parts she could not remember. The chapters are mostly written by Lori, but each chapter heads with who is telling that part of the story. I liked it that way as we could see what her parents and two brothers saw and thought of her illness.
Lori was a extremely popular, smart, pretty, talented, funny girl all through her childhood. Both of her brothers looked up to her and her parents adored her. Lori tells us that sometime in her senior year in highschool while away at summer camp, she has her first experience with the voices. She thinks she is under a lot of stress, so for the time she ignores them. Lori goes home and prepares for college. She is still hearing the voices, but not as loudly. She describes an incident at home where she is watching the news with her family and Walter Cronkite begins talking to her, telling her all the killings and bad things in the world are her fault and she needs to fix them. She is scared, but still heads off to college.
Lori seems to do okay in college. She holds a high grade average, although she is still hearing the voices. She tries her hardest to hold normal conversations with people, but frequently ends up going to her room to be alone. Her roommates begin to notice a change in Lori's moods. From high, highs, to real low lows. Her roommate writes a chapter on the changes she sees in Lori. When they rent an apartment together after college, this is when Lori's symptoms become worse. This is also the first time of many suicide attempts. The voices command Lori to kill herself. They tell her she is no good and that she must die. She goes through several hospitalizations much to the dismay of her parents, who keep hoping the problems will cure itself. Lori also becomes addicted to cocaine as a way of trying to cope. She gains a lot of weight, and feels she is garbage and wasting everyone's time. She goes through several different combinations of drug therapy with awful side effects to no avail. She also gets shock treatments and a lot of time in the quiet room.
She finally ends up in a long term health care facility and meets a couple of women doctors who she feels she can trust. They try a new drug, clozapen on her and start to see a remarkable change in Lori. After years of trying new things the drug works. Lori is able to get her own apartment and a job helping others like herself. She tells us she still hears the voices, but they aren't as loud and she has learned to control how she reacts to them.
Her story is remarkable. Lori tries to deny she is sick for so long, as do her parents, but she finally reaches out to get the help she so desperatley needed. Once she realizes she wants to fight the disease with the new drug, her recovery is like a miracle. Lori does a great job taking us inside her mind and telling us what the voices say and what they make her feel and do. It's hard to imagine having to live that way. I found myself cheering for Lori at the end. Don't start reading this late at night, because it is a hard book to put down.
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