Me, Myself, and Them: A Firsthand Account of One Young Person's Experience with Schizophrenia

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During his second semester at college, Kurt Snyder became convinced that he was about to discover a fabulously important mathematical principle, spending hours lost in daydreams about numbers and symbols. In time, his thoughts took a darker turn, and he became preoccupied with the idea that cars were following him, or that strangers wanted to harm him. Kurt's mind had been hijacked by schizophrenia, a severe mental disorder that typically strikes during the late teen or young adult years. In Me, Myself, and Them ...

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During his second semester at college, Kurt Snyder became convinced that he was about to discover a fabulously important mathematical principle, spending hours lost in daydreams about numbers and symbols. In time, his thoughts took a darker turn, and he became preoccupied with the idea that cars were following him, or that strangers wanted to harm him. Kurt's mind had been hijacked by schizophrenia, a severe mental disorder that typically strikes during the late teen or young adult years. In Me, Myself, and Them , Kurt, now an adult, looks back from the vantage point of recovery and eloquently describes the debilitating changes in thoughts and perceptions that took hold of his life during his teens and twenties. As a memoir, this book is remarkable for its unvarnished look at the slow and difficult process of coming back from severe mental illness. Yet Kurt's memoir is only half the story. With the help of psychiatrist Raquel E. Gur, M.D., Ph.D., and veteran science writer Linda Wasmer Andrews, Kurt paints the big picture for others affected by adolescent schizophrenia. Drawing on the latest scientific and medical evidence, he explains how to recognize warning signs, where to find help, and what treatments have proved effective. Kurt also offers practical advice on topics of particular interest to young people, such as suggestions on managing the illness at home, school, and work, and in relationships with family and friends. Part of the Adolescent Mental Health Initiative series of books written specifically for teens and young adults, My, Myself, and Them offers hope to young people who are struggling with schizophrenia, helping them to understand and manage the challenges of this illness and go on to lead healthy lives.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal

Adult/High School
Snyder has been living with schizophrenia for all of his adult life. He recounts the early stages of his illness while in his teens, when none of his family, friends, or coworkers, and especially he himself, knew what was happening. The sometimes long journey from being healthy to recognizably sick is part of what makes this condition so horrible: broken relationships, lost jobs, the sense of not being in control without knowing why. One of Snyder's symptoms was paranoia that he was being followed by the government or that he might even be part of an alien experiment. What makes this book so powerful, especially for someone young and only just beginning down the same treacherous path, is that he offers hope that there is light, not necessarily at the end of a tunnel, but within the tunnel itself. This is important for family and friends as well the sufferer. Understanding and accepting this lifelong disease are the first steps toward living with it. There are tips for coping with stress and change; handling social situations, school, and work; and finding support from professionals. Snyder and his coauthors, a doctor and a writer on health issues, put a lot of faith in drug therapy. They also clearly spell out practical solutions for getting through an average day, which seems all the more precious after reading this book.
—Will MarstonCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

From the Publisher
"I strongly recommend this book to patients, families, clinicians and researchers interested in a first hand account of how schizophrenia changes the way the world looks, feels, and behaves. It is very moving and very informative. From compelling descriptions of changes in mood, cognition and perception to explanations about how the brain is affected and how drugs work, this brief but detailed personal statement and review of the state of the field is invaluable."—Daniel R. Weinberger, M.D., Director, Genes, Cognition and Psychosis Program IRP, NIMH, NIH

"The authors provide a first rate resource for anyone whose life is touched by schizophrenia. Through solid, easy to understand language, the manuscript provides useful guidance for others coping with this disease. Highly recommended." —Ming Tsuang, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego

"Me, Myself and Them: A Firsthand Account of One Young Person's Experience with Schizophrenia is a straightforward and marvelously lucid retelling of Kurt Snyder's battle with his demons. Not only does it show us the experience of psychosis, it also explains, in jargon-free language, what each element of that experience means. Compelling and eminently readable, a book like this ought to be required reading for all high school and college students, demystifying as it does an illness all too long shrouded in misunderstanding, confusion and fear."—Pamela Spiro Wagner, author of Divided Minds: Twin Sisters and Their Journey Through Schizophrenia

"This beautifully told personal story provides an innovative platform for solid information about schizophrenia and its treatment. Highly informative to persons struggling with the onset of psychosis, and to families, friends, and mental health workers who struggle to understand and help."—William T. Carpenter Jr., M.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology, University of Maryland School of Medicine

"Like a Sea World underwater view, Me, Myself, and Them provides a riveting peek into the world of schizophrenia for parents like me who yearn for understanding. For young people with schizophrenia, like our son, the book orients a frightening illness. For both families and persons with mental illness, this book is laced with hope, something in short supply in most other books."—Mindy Greiling, Minnesota State Representative and Executive Board Member, National Alliance on Mental Illness

"The firsthand account is realistic."—Jim Greiling, diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 21, now 29 years old

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195311228
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/3/2007
  • Series: Adolescent Mental Health Initiative Series
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 179,153
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 5.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Kurt Snyder is a database administrator for the state of Maryland as well as president of his local volunteer fire department.
Rachel Gur, MD, PhD, is Professor of Psychiatry, Neurology, and Radiology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, where she has acted as Director of the Neuropsychiatry section and the Schizophrenia Research Center.
Linda Wasmer Andrews is a freelance health and psychology writer based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is the coauthor of Monochrome Days: A Firsthand Account of One Teenager's Experience with Depression as well as the author or coauthor of numerous other books, including Stress Control for Peace of Mind. Her writing has appeared in magazines such as Self, Parenting, and Psychology Today.

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Table of Contents

Foreword     ix
Preface     xiii
A Fragmented Mind: Overview of Schizophrenia     1
My Story     1
Delusions of grandeur     1
The early days     4
The Big Picture     8
So what is schizophrenia?     9
Who gets schizophrenia?     10
Where does schizophrenia come from?     11
What are the early warning signs?     16
First Encounters With Them: Symptoms and Paranoia     19
My Story     19
A change of plan     20
Being watched     21
A new opportunity     23
An unanswered message     26
Too many coincidences     28
Uncertain assumptions     34
An imagination run wild     37
The Big Picture     40
What are positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia?     41
How important are cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia?     47
Are people with schizophrenia aware of how sick they are?     48
What are the different types of schizophrenia?     48
In the Grip of Them: Losing Touch With Reality     53
My Story     53
Getting away     53
Glasgow, Montana     56
Intrusion     59
Lockdown     63
Returning home     65
The Big Picture     67
How does schizophrenia affect everyday life?     68
When and why is hospitalization helpful?     71
What are the ins and outs of inpatient care?     74
Where can you get help outside the hospital?     77
Naming and Facing the Enemy: Diagnosis and Treatment     79
My Story     79
The delusions intensify     80
Back to the hospital     81
Back to the outside world     82
Giving Them a name     83
The Big Picture     84
How is schizophrenia diagnosed?     84
What conditions often coexist with schizophrenia?     86
Why is professional treatment so important?     89
What medications are used to treat schizophrenia?     90
How does psychological and behavioral therapy help?     96
What is the outlook for the future?     100
Beating the Enemy: Recovery from Schizophrenia     103
My Story     103
Accepting schizophrenia     105
A new direction     106
The Big Picture      109
What are psychosocial rehabilitation programs?     110
What types of training and support are available?     111
How can you cope with schizophrenia at school?     115
How can you deal with schizophrenia at work?     119
What are options for living on your own?     121
What are tips for handling social situations?     126
What are tips for coping with stress and change?     130
Putting the Pieces Back Together: My Life Today     133
Epilogue to My Story     133
Frequently Asked Questions     137
Glossary     143
Resources     149
Bibliography     157
Index     159
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2013

    This book tells the remarkable story of Kurt and his experience

    This book tells the remarkable story of Kurt and his experience with schizophrenia.
    This book is a unique read because its main story is about Kurt but he also includes traditional research on
    the latest treatments and knowledge of the mental disorder. Through out the book are short stories of other people's
    Experiences in battling schizophrenia. It really gets the point across of how case to case specific this disease is. 
    I enjoyed the variety of information because it allowed me to get a feel of the reality of the disease through
    someone's eyes and it informed me more about the disease as Kurt was experiencing it, through his traditional
    research. However I did not like the short stories through out the book because although they did give me a
    different experience,I felt like it took away from Kurt's story and I sometimes got the stories mixed up with each other.
    I think someone should read this book because it widens your knowledge about mental illnesses and schizophrenia
    in specific, it will also allow you to get a feel for what they are going through and you wouldn't have to jump to drastic
     conclusions. Overall this was a good book. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 13, 2010

    AMAZING! perspective is awesome!

    Having a teenager just diagnosed with schiozphreniform... this book was awesome and inspiring...having had no experience with mental illness, this book was an eye opener. I appreciate how similar his story was to my son's. It's amazing the "paranoia" that is present and clearly the need for meds is continually echoed. I gave my copy to my son and sent another copy to my older boy (who will probably end up being his caretaker eventually) in NY. THANK YOU!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2008

    This book reminded me of me

    I was diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder-depressive type this year. I'm 17 years old, and this book made me happy to know that I'm not alone. I would recommend it to anyone who has had delusions, especially teens.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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