More than 57 million Americans suffer from a diagnosable mental illness, and yet there are still considerable stigmas and a great deal of misunderstanding surrounding even the most common diagnosesschizophrenia, biopolar disorder, autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, clinical depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and dissociative identity disorder.
This groundbreaking collection of personal essays written by sufferers or their family members aims to break down those biases and stigmas. Rather than analyze the diagnoses and symptoms, these first-hand accounts focus on the very essence of a psycho-emotional breakdown, and respond to the mental, physical, and emotional turmoil it inevitably causes. What does a mother do when her teenager son's personality suddenly fractures, creating five new people? How does a police officer cope when his employer refuses to provide adequate care until he can prove his PTSD is work-related? How do children grow up under the care of a manic father whose illness lands him in and out of medical and social incarceration?
Raw, honest, and painful, these essays communicate disappointment and despair, but also courage and compassion. They are a lifeline for sufferers, and a strong shoulder for their friends and family, and they are a step towards changing the attitudes that plague mental illness
With a foreword by respected physician, bestselling author, and renowned speaker Dr. Gabor Maté, Hidden Lives gives readers a place to turn, and suffers a platform to share their struggle.
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About the Author
Lenore Rowntree's writing has appeared in several Canadian literary journals, including Geist, The Tyee, The New Quarterly, Room Magazine, and Other Voices. Her play The Woods at Tender Creek was produced in 2010 as part of the Walking Fish Festival in Vancouver, and her poetry was included in the anthology Best Canadian Poetry 2010. She was shortlisted for a CBC Literary Award in 2009 for the essay "Flat Champagne," written about her sister's childhood schizophrenia. Lenore currently resides in Vancouver, BC. Please visit lenorerowntree.com.
Andrew Boden's articles on mental illness have appeared in Open Minds Quarterly and Other Voices. His stories and essays have appeared in The Journey Prize Stories: 22, Prairie Fire, Descant, Vancouver Review, and the anthology Nobody's Father: Life Without Kids. Andrew is vice-president and director of the Institute for Cross-Cultural Exchange, a Canadian children’s literacy charity, and has helped build homes in Mexico. He enjoys cave exploration, especially on Vancouver Island and in the Chilliwack region. He currently resides in Burnaby, BC.
Born in Budapest, Gabor Maté immigrated to Canada at the age of twelve. He spent some time working as a teacher before returning to university to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a doctor. He ran a popular family practice for many years, and spent twelve years working in Vancouver’s downtown eastside, caring for patients suffering from mental illness, drug addiction, and HIV. In the 1990s, Dr. Maté was a regular medical columnist for the Vancouver Sun and the Globe and Mail. He is also the author of four works of non-fiction. His most recent book, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction, won a Hubert Evans Award in 2010. In addition to being a physician and bestselling author, Dr. Maté is a highly sought after public speaker. He has three grown children and currently resides in Vancouver, BC, with his wife. Please visit drgabormate.com.
Table of Contents
Foreword Gabor Maté, Md 1
Introduction Lenore Rowntree 3
Aftermath Fiona Tinwei Lam 7
Bad Day Joel Yanofsky 10
The Path to Sanity Jamie Johnson 18
The Last Call Jill Sadowsky 29
Stormtrooper Dell Catherall 37
Raising Julie Sara Demeter 46
Into the Bell Jar
Elm Shane Neilson 56
Over and Overcoming Yaho-Hanan Fiwchuk 64
Atlas & the Cheese Cube Catherine Owen 72
Bipolar Babe Andrea Paquette 80
Committed Addy S. Parker 84
Code Three Scott Whyte 94
Crazy: One Woman's Gail Marlene Schwartz 103
Search for Sanity Late Summer, Early Fall, as Told to the Dead of Winter Meredith Darling 113
Life with My Mongrel Lynne Van Luven 122
The Biology of Human Starvation Laura Ingram 132
Rainy Day Clarissa Hart 138
My Brother, My Sister
In a Quiet Room Andrew Boden 148
On the Way to Here Judy McFarlane 159
Haunted Lauren McGuire 165
Pennies in My Pocket Laura Trunkey 176
Stories of My Brother Only Love Taps Nicole Melchionda 186
Times Long Past
Covering for My Father Douglas Todd 196
Lessons from Uncle Charles Jennifer Crowder 204
Hindsight Erin Hart MacNair 216
Flying Wounded Susan McCaslin 221
Dislocated Tongues Kevin Spenst 236
Belly Button Jane Finlay-Young 244
One Girl in the Crowd Beth Rowntree 252
Flat Champagne Lenore Rowntree 260
Afterword Andrew Boden 267
Notes on Contributors 270