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For thirty-two years Ken Steele lived with the devastating symptoms of schizophrenia, tortured by inner voices commanding him to kill himself, ravaged by the delusions of paranoia, barely surviving on the ragged edges of society. In this powerful and inspiring story, Steele tells the story of his hard-won recovery from schizophrenia and how activism and advocacy helped him regain his sanity and go on to give hope and support to so many others like him.His recovery began with a small but intensely dramatic moment....
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For thirty-two years Ken Steele lived with the devastating symptoms of schizophrenia, tortured by inner voices commanding him to kill himself, ravaged by the delusions of paranoia, barely surviving on the ragged edges of society. In this powerful and inspiring story, Steele tells the story of his hard-won recovery from schizophrenia and how activism and advocacy helped him regain his sanity and go on to give hope and support to so many others like him.His recovery began with a small but intensely dramatic moment. One evening in the spring of 1995, shortly after starting on Risperdal, a new antipsychotic medicine, he realized that the voices that had tormented him for three decades had suddenly stopped. Terrified but also empowered by this new freedom, Steele rose to the challenge of creating a new life. Steele went on to become one of the most vocal advocates of the mentally ill, earning the respect not only of patients and families but also of professionals and policymakers all over America through his tireless devotion to a cause that transformed his life and that of countless others.The Day the Voices Stopped will endure as Ken Steele's testament for all who struggle with this heartbreaking disease.
1. Descent into Madness
2. Further into the Abyss
3. The Big City
4. Welcome to Bedlam
5. Caught in the Revolving Door
6. Closing Other Doors
7. Second Chances
8. The Day the Voices Stopped
9. Other People's Stories
Afterword: What Needs to be Done
Posted June 20, 2001
It reads like a Stephen King novel, opening with a pinnacle of life reveled in, and proceeding to draw you quickly and deeply into a world of gruesome horror, murderous voices, and personal pain so vivid it takes your breath away. In truth, the most frightening aspect of this book is that it is not a work of fiction, but rather the last great gift of an amazing man. I knew how difficult it was for Ken to retell, and hence relive, so many of the episodes that made up his 32-year odyssey battling the constant haranguing of the delusional voices that tried so desperately to steal him from us. I did not know, however, how his book would so finely detail the suffering, pain and anguish that made up so much of his life. Over the summer of 2000 as he was reliving his past, Ken, in a weak and tired voice would tell me, 'Joseph, you have no idea how hard this is.' He was right. I cannot for a moment fathom what it would be like to spend more than 3 decades resisting voices steadily outlining all your suicide options, and cannot imagine the fortitude required to relive it so that it could be shared around the world. Perseverance is high on the abundant list of things one takes away from Ken's story. But there is another that really struck, and stuck. More than 30 years of living a life that virtually no one understood resulted in a man of near-complete understanding. Not in the sense of patience, for many know how little of that Ken possessed (he was making up for 30 years of lost time), but how the global and societal view of mental illness had led him to the lowest depths a person can reach, how it could be changed, and what he did to ensure his experiences were not those of others who follow. Six months have passed, and I still think of him every day. While reading his book, there were times I could hear his voice. That wasn't what gave me the chills. I got those when I read several passages in which Ken described efforts to bring about change he hoped would occur in his lifetime. He died six days after finishing the book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 21, 2001
I knew Ken Steele for two years as his young assistant. I witnessed the pain he went through while writing this book, reliving a journey filled with mistreatment and neglect. Like Ken, I am a paranoid schizophrenic. He gave me hope when I was hopeless in the mental hospital and asked me to work for him. The voices he heard were different from the voices I heard that no one else could hear, trademarks of our mental illness. Steele¿s voices commanded him to do the unspeakable. They were with him night and day for over 30 years, most of his life. It was remarkable the day his voices stopped because he wasted no time and began his work as a legendary advocate for us, the mentally ill. The Day the Voices Stopped is a personal and realistic account of what it's like to live with schizophrenia. It's inspiring for all readers as we can see through Ken Steele that the disease is treatable and recovery is possible.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.