The author, an ex-Marine, family man and scholar - stark naked in an encounter group at Esalen - first confronts the horror of a psychological condition that has haunted his life. It does not yet have a name. This fascinating memoir follows the author (now in his eighties) back to the early childhood experiences that shaped his pathological isolation, through desperate and doomed efforts to connect with the world and, at last, to liberation from a schizoid personality disorder. It's a great read, but Freeing the Imprisoned Self is far more than a personal history.
"Dr. George Eastman does for the schizoid personality what Andrew Solomon did for clinical depression in The Noonday Demon. One comes away from both works with deep understanding of a terrible mental disorder."
~ John V. O'Leary, Ph.D., William Alanson White Psychoanalytic Institute.
George Eastman grew up during the Great Depression in poverty and isolation. His mother died when he was a toddler and his grieving father forbade mentioning her name in the house. The boy battled cataclysmic loneliness assembling model airplanes in a frigid attic while true sanctuary, and the onset of pathology, were found in his fantastic "inner world." Young Eastman got to college via the Naval Reserve and served two years in the Marine Corps. He was easily accepted into a graduate program at Princeton, but feeling lonely and insecure, fled to teach high school and earn an MA in counseling. Soon, he eloped with an impressionable young girl and found himself with a wife and two children - on a fast-track career in academia. Under stress, the cracks in his carefully constructed façade of social skill and relatedness began to show. A long road to recovery stretched ahead.