I Don't Want To Be Crazy

I Don't Want To Be Crazy

4.1 22
by Samantha Schutz
     
 

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A harrowing, remarkable poetry memoir about one girl's struggle with anxiety disorder. This is a true story of growing up, breaking down, and coming to grips with a psychological disorder. When Samantha Schutz first left home for college, she was excited by the possibilities -- freedom from parents, freedom from a boyfriend who was reckless with her affections,

Overview

A harrowing, remarkable poetry memoir about one girl's struggle with anxiety disorder. This is a true story of growing up, breaking down, and coming to grips with a psychological disorder. When Samantha Schutz first left home for college, she was excited by the possibilities -- freedom from parents, freedom from a boyfriend who was reckless with her affections, freedom from the person she was supposed to be. At first, she revelled in the independence. . . but as pressures increased, she began to suffer anxiety attacks that would leave her mentally shaken and physically incapacitated. Thus began a hard road of discovery and coping, powerfully rendered in this poetry memoir.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Leslie Wolfson
"I can't believe/no one else can hear/I am screaming/inside my head/I am going to die/I am going to die/I am going to die. So begins the memoir of Samantha Schutz who has written about her anxiety disorder completely in verse. There is little variation throughout the 280 pages, which describes the minutia of what she feels as she experiences frequent panic attacks and interacts with friends, boyfriends, and family. The memoir has no plot and only one three-dimensional character—Samantha herself—while others appear as undeveloped, supporting characters. The book starts out with Samantha graduating from a private girls' high school in New York, which is when she first exhibits signs of her disorder. Readers follow her through four years of college, including a semester abroad in France. She takes medication and goes to counseling, which only temporarily eases her symptoms. She has one loyal friend, Rebecca, who is sympathetic to her plight, and several men who drift in and out of her life, who either do not know about or do not notice her "crazy" behavior. Her parents seem clueless, and it is unclear how much they know about her disorder. Finally, as Samantha learns to manage her condition, there is a ray of hope at the end. Readers may wonder what caused her condition in the first place or what causes anxiety disorders in general. The author never explains either, nor what finally helped her to manage her condition. Although the main character is in college, the language is simple enough for younger teens. At the end is a list of sources for teens who want to learn more about anxiety disorders.
VOYA - Amanda MacGregor
In this moving memoir, Schutz details her struggle with anxiety disorder. She has always been a perfectionist, thanks in great part to her parents' constant pushing. Shortly after beginning college, Schutz starts to experience strange symptoms-shaking, sweating, racing thoughts, and feeling trapped in her own body-which turn out to be panic attacks. The fear and discomfort of the attacks rule her life. She relies heavily on medication to regulate her days, but worries that she is only able to cope with her disorder because of the medication. Even with pills and therapists, Schutz battles fear, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. Her illness bewilders her, at one point even forcing Schutz to wonder if she is doing it to herself. Schutz worries that perhaps she needs this disorder, that maybe she does not want to get well. Schutz vacillates between feeling as if she has conquered her affliction to being right back in the thick of it, feeling alone, scared, and desperate. The ending seems hopeful, but given her past, it is hard to be certain that she has overcome her demons. Written in verse, this memoir successfully conveys what it is like to suffer from panic attacks. The intense tone often feels frantic and breathless, pulling the reader into Schutz's frame of mind. Her story will have a wide appeal thanks to both its content and form. Once readers pick up this insightful debut, they will not be able to put it down.
School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up
In this "memoir in verse," Schutz comes to terms with an anxiety disorder that surfaced and plagued her throughout and after her college years. Readers accompany the author from the summer after high school, through college, on a semester abroad in Paris, and into her first job after graduation. Typical early-adulthood issues such as boyfriends, sex, drinking, grades, and family are woven throughout her struggle with physically and mentally debilitating panic attacks. The author had the courage and wisdom to seek professional help and embarked on a long and often bumpy road to treating her disorder. The decision to write in verse proves fitting; in the scenes in which a panic attack is approaching, for example, the short lines of text echo the breathless terror described within. Though the book begins to feel repetitive toward its conclusion, the repetition simultaneously reflects the cyclical nature of Schutz's disorder and one's college years. Aptly, the book ends without absolute closure, and while luckily not all teens will find themselves in identical situations, many young people transitioning to adulthood will find a part of themselves in this overwhelming, and seemingly never-ending, search for self-identity.
—Jill Heritage MazaCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780545231725
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
02/01/2010
Sold by:
Scholastic, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
408,465
File size:
181 KB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Samantha Schutz is the author of the acclaimed memoir I Don't Want to Be Crazy, which was a New York Public Library Best Book for Teens and Voices of Youth Advocates Poetry Pick. You Are Not Here is her first novel. Samantha lives and works in New York City as a children's book editor. For more about her, please visit www.samanthaschutz.net.

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I Don't Want to Be Crazy 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When i was younger i suffered from a lot of anxiety and it basically took over my life and my childhood. When i read this book my Samantha Schutz i was impressed and so thankful that she had the courage to write this book based on her journey through panic attacks because people need to understand that anyone could get it. Her storyvis insightful and wondweful. Thank you Samantha!!
Pr_Mico More than 1 year ago
When reading this book, I got mixed emotions when the author described her battle with anxiety. Of course, I felt bad because she feels she doesn't have control of her life, but then I feel she's overreacting and just freaks out about any little thing. Obviously, it's hard to relate to if you don't go through anxiety but it’s understandable when you read about the struggles. Interesting read if you want to know what it's like to deal with anxiety.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really loved this book. It was an interesting read and I could really relate to the main character. This book helps you to understand that some people have struggles that they have to deal with in their everyday life and it is really difficult for them. I don't want to spoil the book at all so I'll just leave it at that.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Angelb4u77 More than 1 year ago
I’m no expert on free verse, but I’m not certain that taking everyday sentences and breaking them into stanzas  counts as poetry.   Perhaps I was expecting  a more eloquent voice, and while there are gems here,  most of this memoir reads like a shattered paragraph. That said, there is courage in these pages.  Living day to day with a mental illness such as Anxiety Disorder takes a special kind of strength, a strength that many people who’ve never had a panic attack might not appreciate.  Samantha Schutz takes her bravery to the next level in this frank memoir as she talks about a very painful time in her life.  Are you one of those lucky people who’ve never had a public meltdown?  Or maybe you know someone who has?  Schutz will walk you expertly through it, from the shaking hands to the hot and cold flashes to the overwhelming certainty that everyone in the room knows how crazy she (thinks she) is.   This memoir follows Schutz through four years of college, starting with her first panic attack freshman year while in Writing Seminar, continuing with a disastrous trip to Europe, and finally leveling out post-graduation, all the while she thoroughly documents her therapies and medications.  Strong focus was given to the situations which make her feel especially vulnerable, such as a crowded lecture hall and the cafeteria (or any situation where there’s loud chatter and crowds and social expectations).  There is lots of talk about parties and friends and making out with boys and wanting to break away from parental authority.  And this is fine—for the first quarter of the memoir.  But then things start getting REPETITIVE.  Over and over, she has to leave a party/dinner/random event early because of panic; she wonders if this boy or that boy will ever call her back; and, of course, will she ever get over these incessant panic attacks?  And then…rinse and repeat.  More parties, more boys, more panic.  Because of the concise but clipped narrative (poetry), we don’t get a fully fleshed out world or relationships, and so one overwhelming party becomes the next, one nervous dinner is indistinguishable from all the rest, one person the same as the other, another therapist prescribes another drug.  And so on and so on and so on, until the thoughtful truths and genuine issues presented get muddled down by the reader’s need to just have it end already.  And okay, yes, there is a certain poetic symmetry to this—as each panic attacks piles onto the last, Schutz just wonders if it will ever end.   But aside from feeling as if I experienced a panic attack myself while reading it, I don’t feel like this memoir had a strong message or a particularly inspiring resolution.  I think writing it and getting her story to the world was an important and brave step in Shutz’s recovery, and undoubtedly there are people out there who will relate to this book and find it valuable.   If you suffer from Anxiety Disorder and need to feel like you are not alone, this memoir is for you.  If you know someone who suffers from panic attacks, but you can’t quite understand what it is they’re experiencing, this memoir is for you.  If you are looking for a page tuner or eloquent poetry, if you are looking for an in-depth and detailed look at the causes, issues, and aftermath of mental illness, you should probably look elsewhere.  Instead, I recommend Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen. Best Lines: “All I can hear is my voice in my head telling me things are not right—that I am not right.” “I am the cure and the disease.” “Passing out makes me think about death—about the moment before dying and how it must feel to be pulled away from everything you love and have no control.” “The only thing that makes me feel better is the thought of slightly stiff hospital sheets, the scent of disinfectant, and a tag on my wrist.” “I fear my whole life will be exactly like this—seen from behind my eyes, never touching.” “I’ve built myself safety nets, but they bind me like a web.” 
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. As someone who has Clinical Depression, I can tell you from experience that this is a realistic book. It is also interesting to read, and it is over before you know it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SydneyR More than 1 year ago
Sam is a troubled teen who wants to be perfect and normal. This book takes us through Sam's moving away to college. Away from her boyfriend and family, Sam becomes troubled with parties and boys along her way. As Sam progresses through college, she starts having anxiety attacks. She gets red, hears voices tell her she is not ok, sweats, and watches the world seem to move in slow motion. Jean, Sam's psychologist, gives Sam some pills to help with the attacks. Unfortunaly, the pills do not help Sam much and her attacks worsen. Sam goes through everyday trying to be perfect, and normal, and appear to be not crazy. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about troubled teens. I thought this was a very well written book. I enjoyed the psychology factor of this book talking about the anxiety attacks. I think Samantha Schutz is great young writer. The only problem I had was the layout of the book. I didn't like how the text was laid out on the pages.
anj_v More than 1 year ago
this story is very informative and goes into quite detail about how a girl comes to realize her problems and the challenges of dealing with it in college/family. i really enjoyed reading it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is very life like. I fell in love with this book very fast. i read the first page and was hooked. This book is about a girl who goes off to collage and from all the stress starts having anxiety attacks and has to deal with them all through collage. She meets all diffrent people and guys. She is happy and sad to be away from her "boyfriend" Jason. He played with her emotions all the time, but she didn't want to leave him because he gave her a since of saftey. I recommed this book to everyone that enjoys true stories. This book is written in a poetry memoir.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Shelby3lizabeth More than 1 year ago
This book was not my favorite at all! It was just a bunch of events in a persons life that didn't even go anywhere. I wouldn't recomend this book to anyone.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Millions of people suffer from anxiety disorder (panic attacks) on a daily basis. Most suffer needlessly, either due to lack of medical treatment, misdiagnosis, or ignorance of the condition. I DON'T WANT TO BE CRAZY is one woman's brave confession of her struggles with the debilitating disorder.

Samantha Schutz was first diagnosed with anxiety disorder at age seventeen, after years of suffering with the problem. She uses this memoir to describe the devastating effects of the condition on her life and her relationships. The book chronicles the ups and downs of Samantha's life from age seventeen until she graduates from college and gets her first job in the publishing industry.

Told in verse, the story reveals everything from the gripping terror of the attacks to the many therapists she consulted for help. Samantha titles her entries with the current drugs (Klonopin, Serzone, Xanax, Paxil, etc.) and the dosages she was prescribed to treat her condition. She also explains her attempts to stop the medications, and her belief that things would get better, only to relapse with increasing frequency.

Samantha's honesty is evident throughout. She doesn't promise miracle cures, and she truly marvels at the support she received from her family and most of her friends. This is an inspiring book for anyone living with or connected to someone living with anxiety disorder.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this deeply touching novel, Samantha Schutz writes about her struggles with anxiety disorder throughout her college experience. An amazing summer read for anyone who is looking for a book that will change the way you see things. Five stars!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was so good, I couldn't put it down! The author's story is so real and different from other books that I have read. The way she wrote it(in verse) made it seem more real like I was experiencing it as well. I talked about this book for my english seminar-it deals with lots of important issues. Not just mental disorders. So everyone read this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Millions of people suffer from anxiety disorder (panic attacks) on a daily basis. Most suffer needlessly, either due to lack of medical treatment, misdiagnosis, or ignorance of the condition. I DON¿T WANT TO BE CRAZY is one woman¿s brave confession of her struggles with the debilitating disorder. Samantha Schutz was first diagnosed with anxiety disorder at age seventeen, after years of suffering with the problem. She uses this memoir to describe the devastating effects of the condition on her life and her relationships. The book chronicles the ups and downs of Samantha¿s life from age seventeen until she graduates from college and gets her first job in the publishing industry. Told in verse, the story reveals everything from the gripping terror of the attacks to the many therapists she consulted for help. Samantha titles her entries with the current drugs (Klonopin, Serzone, Xanax, Paxil, etc.) and the dosages she was prescribed to treat her condition. She also explains her attempts to stop the medications, and her belief that things would get better, only to relapse with increasing frequency. Samantha's honesty is evident throughout. She doesn't promise miracle cures, and she truly marvels at the support she received from her family and most of her friends. This is an inspiring book for anyone living with or connected to someone living with anxiety disorder. **Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka 'Readingjunky'
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this was a very interesting book. I was glad that I picked it up that day in the library. It was the title that got me, then the reviews in the back. Seeing that Ellen Hopkins had made a comment, gave me more reason to read it. And i'm glad I did, this story is full of emotion and distress. It put you in someone elses place everytime you opened the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
samantha schutz makes you realize the pain of living with anxiety disorder. it gives a unique peak inside the author's head to the most personal thoughts that you would never imagine hearing outloud. it is a deeply personal and touching memoir that will change the way you see people.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Samantha Schutz's book, 'I don't want to be crazy' is an amazing and vivid portrayel of a young woman's struggle with panic/anxiety disorder. I am positive this book will help many young women who are experiencing similar struggle. Further, I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a fascinating and impressive read! A wonderful first book for this author I look forward to more publications.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi my name is Reagan, I read the book I don't want to be crazy, author by Samantha Schutz. It's a very interasting memore book on something you, me, or teens would like. The book is intense you don't know what's going to happen. I can say i loved it, on how it's a true story of a girl growing up, and breaking down. She was normal like me and you she had problems, boyfriends, graduated, went to college, did some drugs, but there was just one thing she was unsure about. Something strange was happening to her, something unsual. She didn't want to worry about it or tell her parents.She kinda thought it was from smoking weed but was unsure it was alot of pressur on her with school an making sure she wasn't crazy. Every thing would be fine untill out of no where her body took control an she would be mentally shaken . I scale this book a nine from ten being the best. It kept me wanting to read more an more, an as for me I don't like to read books but this one kept my eyes on the pages.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The summary of the book caught my eye in the bookstore and I thought it was a book I would really find interesting. Instead, it was a teenage angst story about drugs. It was not something I could relate with or find interesting.