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The Centre Cannot Hold (original 2007; edition 2007)
by Elyn R. Saks
The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness by Elyn R. Saks (2007)
Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 140130138X, Hardcover)Elyn Saks is a success by any measure: she's an endowed professor at the prestigious University of Southern California Gould School of Law. She has managed to achieve this in spite of being diagnosed as schizophrenic and given a "grave" prognosis -- and suffering the effects of her illness throughout her life.
Saks was only eight, and living an otherwise idyllic childhood in sunny 1960s Miami, when her first symptoms appeared in the form of obsessions and night terrors. But it was not until she reached Oxford University as a Marshall Scholar that her first full-blown episode, complete with voices in her head and terrifying suicidal fantasies, forced her into a psychiatric hospital.
Saks would later attend Yale Law School where one night, during her first term, she had a breakdown that left her singing on the roof of the law school library at midnight. She was taken to the emergency room, force-fed antipsychotic medication, and tied hand-and-foot to the cold metal of a hospital bed. She spent the next five months in a psychiatric ward.
So began Saks's long war with her own internal demons and the equally powerful forces of stigma. Today she is a chaired professor of law who researches and writes about the rights of the mentally ill. She is married to a wonderful man.
In The Center Cannot Hold, Elyn Saks discusses frankly and movingly the paranoia, the inability to tell imaginary fears from real ones, and the voices in her head insisting she do terrible things, as well as the many obstacles she overcame to become the woman she is today. It is destined to become a classic in the genre.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:21 -0400)
Highly articulate and self aware, the author offers a moving insight in to the world of a schizophrenic. A memoir of paranoid schizophrenia by this accomplished professor recounts her first symptoms at the age of eight, her efforts to hide the severity of her condition, and the obstacles she has overcome in the course of her treatment and marriage. She writes about her struggle with schizophrenia in this unflinching account of her mental illness. She draws readers into a nightmare world of medications, a misguided health care system, and social stigmas. But she would not be defeated. With a strength and force of will that most can only imagine, she reclaimed her life and went on to achieve great success.
(summary from another edition)
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