A Road Back from Schizophrenia: A Memoir
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A Road Back from Schizophrenia: A Memoir

by Arnhild Lauveng
     
 

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For ten years, Arnhild Lauveng suffered as a schizophrenic, going in and out of the hospital for months or even a year at a time. A Road Back from Schizophrenia gives extraordinary insight into the logic (and life) of a schizophrenic. Lauveng illuminates her loss of identity, her sense of being controlled from the outside, and her relationship to the voices she

Overview

For ten years, Arnhild Lauveng suffered as a schizophrenic, going in and out of the hospital for months or even a year at a time. A Road Back from Schizophrenia gives extraordinary insight into the logic (and life) of a schizophrenic. Lauveng illuminates her loss of identity, her sense of being controlled from the outside, and her relationship to the voices she heard and her sometimes terrifying hallucinations. Painful recollections of moments of humiliation inflicted by thoughtless medical professionals are juxtaposed with Lauveng’s own understanding of how such patients are outwardly irrational and often violent. She paints a surreal world—sometimes full of terror and sometimes of beauty—in which “the Captain” rules her by the rod and the school’s corridors are filled with wolves.

When she was diagnosed with the mental illness, it was emphasized that this was a congenital disease, and that she would have to live with it for the rest of her life. Today, however, she calls herself a “former schizophrenic,” has stopped taking medication for the illness, and currently works as a clinical psychologist. Lauveng, though sometimes critical of mental health care, ultimately attributes her slow journey back to health to the dedicated medical staff who took the time to talk to her and who saw her as a person simply diagnosed with an illness—not the illness incarnate. A powerful memoir for sufferers, their families, and the professionals who care for them.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In her new memoir, clinical psychologist Lauveng writes about overcoming schizophrenia and states that one-third of schizophrenics recover with no ensuing problems. However, she offers no research to support her claim. The thrust of her memoir is that people should be treated as people and not identified by their illness. She chastises the medical profession for irresponsibly diagnosing mental illness in people who express their perfectly normal needs in a different way. People with mental illness desire understanding, acceptance, and control over their lives, just like everyone else, and this is a valid demand. However, schizophrenia is defined literally as “cleaved mind,” and for ten years Lauveng experienced horrible hallucinations, in which someone called the Captain viciously berated her. Schizophrenics can become a danger to themselves and/or others, warranting admittance to a psychiatric hospital. Unfortunately, readers don’t find out what happened to the Captain or to Lauveng’s illness. Oddly, she isn’t telling.

Verdict A fine addition to a mental illness memoir collection but not a replacement for classics like Joanne Greenberg’s I Never Promised You a Rose Garden.—Nadine Dalton Speidel, Cuyahoga Cty. P.L., Parma, OH

(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews
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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781620879139
Publisher:
Skyhorse Publishing
Publication date:
11/13/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
802,415
File size:
422 KB

Meet the Author

Arnhild Lauveng studied at the University of Oslo, and now works as a clinical psychologist. She is a successful Norwegian author and a popular speaker. She was awarded the Mental Health Prize in 2004 for her openness in discussing her battle with mental illness.

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