Ben Behind His Voices: One Family's Journey from the Chaos of Schizophrenia to Hopeby Randye Kaye
Pub. Date: 09/16/2011
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
When readers first meet Ben, he is a sweet, intelligent, seemingly well-adjusted youngster. Fast forward to his teenage years, though, and Ben's life has spun out of control. Ben is swept along by an illness over which he has no controlone that results in runaway episodes, periods of homelessness, seven psychotic breaks, seven hospitalizations, and finally a… See more details below
When readers first meet Ben, he is a sweet, intelligent, seemingly well-adjusted youngster. Fast forward to his teenage years, though, and Ben's life has spun out of control. Ben is swept along by an illness over which he has no controlone that results in runaway episodes, periods of homelessness, seven psychotic breaks, seven hospitalizations, and finally a diagnosis and treatment plan that begins to work. Schizophrenia strikes an estimated one in a hundred people worldwide by some estimates, and yet understanding of the illness is lacking. Through Ben's experiences, and those of his mother and sister, who supported Ben through every stage of his illness and treatment, readers gain a better understanding of schizophrenia, as well as mental illness in general, and the way it affects individuals and families. Here, Kaye encourages families to stay together and find strength while accepting the reality of a loved one's illness; she illustrates, through her experiences as Ben's mother, the delicate balance between letting go and staying involved. She honors the courage of anyone who suffers with mental illness and is trying to improve his life and participate in his own recovery. Ben Behind His Voices also reminds professionals in the psychiatric field that every patient who comes through their doors has a life, one that he has lost through no fault of his own. It shows what goes right when professionals treat the family as part of the recovery process and help them find support, education, and acceptance. And it reminds readers that those who suffer from mental illness, and their families, deserve respect, concern, and dignity.
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Table of ContentsForeword
Snapshot: The Turning Point
Part One: Warning Signs
2. Ben Drops Out
3. There Must Be a Reasonable Explanation
4. The Wailing Wall
5. The Black Eye
Part Two: Chaos, Trial and Error
6. Frightening Thoughts
7. Almost Arrested
8. The Last Resort
9. Psychic Vampires
10. Diagnosis Roulette
Part Three: Dealing with Catastrophic Events
11. Almost Hospitalized
12. Finally, Sick Enough
13. Frozen: Hospitalization Number Three
14. Hospitalizations Four and Five
Part Four: Recovery and Acceptance
15. He's Still in There
16. Baby Steps to Normal: Realistic Expectations
17. Ordinary Miracles
18. The Drum Circle
19. Relapse and the Road Back
20. You Can't Reason With Mental Illness
21. Love: the Positive "Second Hit"
22. No Secrets: Fighting Stigma
23. Never Give Up Hope
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Let me begin by saying that this is one of the best books I've read this year. It touched me deep inside both as a parent and as a professional. I'm a Special Care Counsellor, and I have encountered mental illness both in my extended family and in my field. I quickly realized as I began reading that this is an important book, which is one of the reasons I made a request to the author to review it. I had no idea what to expect when I received it, but I didn't think it would be so good, so well-written, and so insightful. Although non-fiction, it is a highly readable book and almost felt like I was reading a novel. It gripped me from the first page and I was riveted throughout. The pace, the dialogue, the added information boxes, and Randye Kaye's own writing is amazing. She builds a portrait of her son, Ben, from early onset when no one really knows what is going on with him to his diagnosis and subsequent recovery. The flow of the story is smooth and I easily had a mental picture of the progression of the illness. I appreciated the fact that although the author is a well known radio personality, she did not stray from the story of Ben and how schizophrenia affects a person, their family and their lives. This book is not about her, but about a mother trying to help her son who is eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia. It is a story any person, whether a sufferer or a relative, can relate to. It made me appreciate the role of family in helping a person recover from mental illness and it made me love my children more. It raised my empathy for families who deal with mental illness. Most importantly, it raised my awareness of schizophrenia, a mental illness that still has a stigma attached to it and is little understood. Early detection is so crucial and thanks to Ben's story, I now know what some of the signs are for detecting schizophrenia. I want to thank not only Randye Kaye for this very honest portrayal of her son's illness but also her son Ben for allowing us to glimpse at his personal struggles, his fears, his pain, his mental anguish. As I read this book, my heart ached for Randye and for Ben, as well as Ali his sister, but it also rejoiced with them for their successes, their courage, and their advocacy. It is a hopeful book, and one that I will actively promote to all I know. I already have a list of friends waiting to read it as I have been highly recommending it to everyone. Whether you are a parent, educator, or a reader simply interested in learning more about mental illness, please read this book. It will change you. It will help you understand the world of mental illness, and if you are dealing with someone with mental illness, it will help you see the light at the end of the tunnel. Note: There are a few f-words (2 or 3) in this book during high stress scenes but I barely noticed them. And that's a first for me.
I just finished reading Ben Behind His Voices. I couldn't put it down. It's a powerful, brutally honest and ever so poignant book. I really came away with an understanding of a family's struggle with mental illness...and I think the tools and resources included in this book would be very helpful to someone with a family member suffering with schizophrenia.