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This is a memoir by a lawyer who has severe schizophrenia and talks about struggling to deal with it while getting through school and then using her unique insight into it to help others with mental illness If anyone likes TED talks I know the author has one where she discusses it also I enjoyed the TED talkthan the actual memoir mostly because TED talks force you to cut down to the most important events or ideas but the memoir seemed to drag in a lot of places It s interesting but at t This is a memoir by a lawyer who has severe schizophrenia and talks about struggling to deal with it while getting through school and then using her unique insight into it to help others with mental illness If anyone likes TED talks I know the author has one where she discusses it also I enjoyed the TED talkthan the actual memoir mostly because TED talks force you to cut down to the most important events or ideas but the memoir seemed to drag in a lot of places It s interesting but at the same time a lot of it felt like it didn t need to be there to help the reader understand Saks and her struggle any better It s on the higher side of 3 stars or lower side of four stars for me, the writing was really good but again a lot of the book just didn t feel like it imparted much insight I would suggest checking out her TED talk and if you still want to learnthen reading the memoir as well I recently visited a few high school English classes to introduce Nic Sheff s first novel, Schizo In Schizo, the main character, a 16 year old boy, tries to learn how to live with Schizophrenia After I explained that I felt that it was very important for us to work together to reduce the stigmas often associated with mental health disorders, one of the students enthusiastically recommended Ms Saks book.I have never been disappointed with a book that a student recommends. I have this fascination for mental health memoirs I ve read about a dozen or so, among them Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, which is brilliant, one of the essential books of my life Memoirs of My Nervous Illness by Daniel Paul Schreiber Awakenings by Oliver Sacks, thisof a multi persona biography than a memoir William Styron s Darkness Visible Kay Redfield Jamison s An Unquiet Mind Andrew Solomon s The Noonday Demon Frigyes Karinthy s A Journey Round My Skull and The Co I have this fascination for mental health memoirs I ve read about a dozen or so, among them Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, which is brilliant, one of the essential books of my life Memoirs of My Nervous Illness by Daniel Paul Schreiber Awakenings by Oliver Sacks, thisof a multi persona biography than a memoir William Styron s Darkness Visible Kay Redfield Jamison s An Unquiet Mind Andrew Solomon s The Noonday Demon Frigyes Karinthy s A Journey Round My Skull and The Collected Schizophrenias by Esm Weijun Wang The last here is a recent publication and completely enthralling Wang led me to Elyn R Saks Interesting so far is the early collapse of Elyn s social world The early adulthood onset of schizophrenia is so brutal She s barely 19 and attending Oxford on a Marshal scholarship when she turns resolutely inward, meaning silent She s a philosophy major Saks has a rich emotional memory She remember strings of dialogue, but also the succession of her emotional states I have that skill, too Every humiliation is so readily recalled Her first experience of any sort of mental health care was in England, where she was never restrained In England she found affordable psychoanalysis from a talented woman It saved her She graduated Oxford with honors, finished her treatment with Mrs Jones, the analyst, and returned to the U.S as she was about to undergo a severe intensification of her illness At that time, 1981, psychoanalysis, though it was the only treatment she responded to, was out of favor, and the next generation of antipsychotics had yet to come along Oliver Sacks, who blurbs this book enthusiastically, wrote Awakenings which discusses the dreaded side effects of some of the first generation antipsychotics like L DOPA Author Elyn Saks was finally diagnosed with chronic paranoid schizophrenia with acute exacerbation Her prognosis was termed grave She was now attending Yale law school and spending much time in its mental health facilities It was Yale New Haven Hospital that Saks was brutally restrained for the first time She argues convincingly that such restraints were for the convenience of the staff, not for her own well being She suffered inordinately Ironically, it was also in a Yale operated psychiatric hospital that Esm Weijun Wang, author of The Collected Schizophrenias, would be ruthlessly manhandledthan a generation later It s when Saks begins to help mentally ill people like herself, that the story becomes doubly interesting Today she is a professor at USC s Gould School of Law Please look for her TED Talk Astonishing is her achievement when you consider that many with schizophrenia spend their adult lives playing with their feces or babbling or screaming much of the time An early lesson Working with a fellow student, she advocates for a young man to be released from some back ward somewhere who then goes on to burn his mother, father and sibling to death in their trailer So she has herself gone from powerlessness to being the possessor of formidable legal tools that can be used for good, certainty that s her goal, but which may have an unknowable downside, too.The prose here is very flat, direct, without subtext Everything is on the surface The primary objective is communication One tires of her up and down struggle with her medication, of her refusal to believe she is mentally ill despite the Mt Everest of evidence Yet the medication has the possible side effect of Tardive Dyskinesia, a wretched jerking and plodding manner of walking and bodily movement that is irreversible She rightly fears it because of this So she keeps going off her meds whereupon she has a psychotic break It s a dreary repetitive cycle that lasts for years In the meantime I love this she completes all the publications necessary to be awarded tenure at USC But her psychiatrist is dismayed at her stubbornness Finally, he threatens to end treatment with her if she goes off again She has an epiphany about her maladaptive stubbornness Thankfully the new generation of anti psychotics appears It has its downside, too, but it s minimal compared to the old drug She subsequently suffers breast and ovarian cancer in two separate episodes This woman s will despite madness and grave illness is astonishing This is the first story about high functioning schizophrenics I have ever read It s a remarkable document that changes one s thinking entirely Hmmm, this was.interesting Rather poorly written emotionally flat all through, often repetitive and very cerebral the outer sensuous world almost entirely lacking The middle part, where she describes a full scale breakdown resulting in restraints and involuntary medication, is harrowing, and should be required reading for medical students, legal students, and indeed psychiatric caregivers However, her insistence on always having been the best at everything, ever I was valedictorian Hmmm, this was.interesting Rather poorly written emotionally flat all through, often repetitive and very cerebral the outer sensuous world almost entirely lacking The middle part, where she describes a full scale breakdown resulting in restraints and involuntary medication, is harrowing, and should be required reading for medical students, legal students, and indeed psychiatric caregivers However, her insistence on always having been the best at everything, ever I was valedictorian.I wrote the finest exam at Oxford.he said my memo could be a paperI was in the 99% of the bar exam resultsI won tenure c c becomes annoying after a while Her decades long resistance to medication finally ends and it s quite clear she is able to do what she does only while on medication, but she still places all her emphasis on talk therapy not surprising she went on for psychoanalytic training Given the extreme stigmatization of schizophrenics think any episode of Law and Order, practically , the writing off of the mentally ill and the continental shift from therapy to medication, her experiences and viewpoint are important But it may be a revelation of my venal nature, or just a side effect of over twenty years with bipolar disorder and no insurance, but I was left wondering how she paid for or who paid for apparently nearly two decades of intensive, top drawer, near daily intensive psychotherapy This is never hinted at in the book Given how severely mental illness disables people, and how much of her work was originally with the very poor, very mentally ill, this seems a sizable omission, especially in such an honest and thorough recollection She makes it clear that she had a large and devoted support network of coworkers, dear friends, doctors, and family members, and makes it equally clear she wouldn t have been able to survive let alone flourish without them, so that makes the invisible money supply evenodd In fine I guess I feel a little bit about this the way I feel about the old Helen Keller question When you asked people what kind of a loving God would send people into the world blind, deaf, c in itself a question that would probably not be asked now, heh they used to point to Helen Keller Look at everything she accomplishedand so on, and while she did accomplish amazing things, that doesn t somehow erase the existence of everyone disabled who was not Helen Keller A friend of mine calls this the SuperCrip phenomenon like those people who think the legless runner with carbon steel prostheses has an unfair advantage over the competition No, because he doesn t have feet Obviously, because schizophrenia is severely disabling, because it is so stigmatized and the treatment for it so poor, and the people it attacks are often isolated, broke, and often warehoused or shoved out into the street, it takes someone like Elyn Saks someone with extreme intelligence, determination that could probably change planetary orbits, insurance and or enough money to find and keep good treatment, and all her other advantages to write this book, and she knows it The main thrust of her book is to tell people who are not mentally ill, Schizophrenic people aren t monsters I m just like you But we should also remember all the others not like her the ones not blessed with her gifts, the ones not able to earn her considerable achievements the ones teetering on the edge, or dead, or so silenced they might as well be dead Despite her lengthy training and considerable talent at advocacy, Saks can t speak for them nobody can Even for he that hath ears to hear, their stories are silent also this book has just a terrible terrible title Yeats yes yes still worthy, if terribly overused but the book makes it clear this isn t a journey through madness madness WTF that she has schizophrenia, and she ll always have it You don t get through that The Center Cannot Hold My Journey Through Madness by Elyn R Saks This is a remarkable memoir by Elyn R Saks An inside peek of the experiences she had while going through mental illness Elyn R Saks has recounted many years of her life, in detail Instead of falling apart and giving in, Elyn fought back and this helped her to continue to live a fulfilling life The HUMAN BRAIN comprises about 2 percent of a person s total body weight, but it consumes upward of 20 percent of that body s oxyg The Center Cannot Hold My Journey Through Madness by Elyn R Saks This is a remarkable memoir by Elyn R Saks An inside peek of the experiences she had while going through mental illness Elyn R Saks has recounted many years of her life, in detail Instead of falling apart and giving in, Elyn fought back and this helped her to continue to live a fulfilling life The HUMAN BRAIN comprises about 2 percent of a person s total body weight, but it consumes upward of 20 percent of that body s oxygen intake, and it controls 100 percent of that body s actions This book is recommended for everyone as we all know of a person, a family member or a friend, who is either going through this suffering or experiencing all these symptoms As Elyn R Saks states multiple times throughout the book, people with mental illness situations are often plagued with stigma and also discrimination Hence, it is encouraged to go through this memoir to get an understanding and it will help everyone to becomecompassionate and most importantly, will stop judging My only concern was if, in the title, the word Madness could be replaced with another word because, for sure, you are not mad Thank you, Elyn R Saks Don t take my devils away because my angels may flee too This book is written by a friend mentor of mine at USC It was extremely bizarre to read something so intimate by about someone I know, so my experience of reading it will be different from the experience of others That said, I think it s quite powerful What Elyn is able to pull off is describing, from her currently sane place, what it feels like to be severely schizophrenic Her bridge building into that experience is rare and worthwhile, and can move a reader s empathy for the mentally i This book is written by a friend mentor of mine at USC It was extremely bizarre to read something so intimate by about someone I know, so my experience of reading it will be different from the experience of others That said, I think it s quite powerful What Elyn is able to pull off is describing, from her currently sane place, what it feels like to be severely schizophrenic Her bridge building into that experience is rare and worthwhile, and can move a reader s empathy for the mentally ill to a new level at least it did that for me It s inspiring to see someone struggle with extreme illness and still somehow create a happy, successful, full life for herself For me the main downside was reading it before bed was stressing me out and giving me bad dreams, especially the parts about forced hospitalizations and being in four point restraints Maybe don t read it in bed .DOWNLOAD BOOK ⚆ The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness ♭ 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 lifeSaks was only eight, and living an otherwise idyllic childhood in sunny s 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 hospitalSaks 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 wardSo 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 manIn 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 Wow This was wonderful and terrifying But mainly it was incredibly eye opening. There s days I feel guilty for feeling so goodDamn, this book left me speechless If you or someone you know copes with a mental illness, then read this book Heck, even if mental illness has played no role in your life, read this book To me, Elyn R Saks embodies the epitome of resilience the ability to bounce back and keep going when things get difficult She is a TED speaker, ivy league graduate, renowned academic at the University of Southern California Gould Law School, plus a totaThere s days I feel guilty for feeling so goodDamn, this book left me speechless If you or someone you know copes with a mental illness, then read this book Heck, even if mental illness has played no role in your life, read this book To me, Elyn R Saks embodies the epitome of resilience the ability to bounce back and keep going when things get difficult She is a TED speaker, ivy league graduate, renowned academic at the University of Southern California Gould Law School, plus a total bad ass And she accomplished all this while coping with schizophrenia, a thought disorder characterized by delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized speech Throughout the book, though Saks is uncertain about her future, she has a passion for legal studies, philosophy, and as an undergraduate, admires the rigorous and prestigious life of her professors Her experience with mental illness also enables her to deconstruct problems with a creative and compassionate lens a skill that will play a critical role in her future career While not being the best indicator of healthy self esteem, school work gives her a tangible way to gauge her self worth and in some ways, academia becomes her saviour Given its strong emphasis on academics, impostor syndrome, and mental illness, this book is valuable for students In my experience, almost every single student I have known has experienced some type of mental breakdown Academia is rewarding, but it is also competitive, strenuous, and like the Hunger Games IRL just as gruesome, but less bloody Yes, Saks is a renowned academic, but her journey did not follow a linear progression There were even periods she had to take breaks from her academic studies to enter treatment facilities Despite her chronic psychotic episodes, she denies having a mental illness for years Sometimes for people with mental disorders, admitting you need longterm help is just as difficult as the actual illness itself Without acknowledging a problem exists, nothing remains to be solved, and mental illness go untreated We want to see ourselves as fighters for coping with these inner demons, and we are, but we cannot fail to acknowledge them as illnesses that need medical attention As Saks mentions in this book, taking medication is not cheating If you broke a leg and needed a crutch, would you refuse to take it I don t think so In this book, Saks is nothing but her raw, talented, and honest self She never sugar coats the debilitating nature of her mental illness Yes, she has extraordinary grit and access to mental health treatment, but if somebody offered her a magical pill that could get rid of her schizophrenia, she would do it in a heart beat This passage hit me hard Writer Tennessee Williams affirmed,If I got rid of my demons, I d lose my angelsBut Saks believes her demons are so bad that they make her angels fly away too I suspect many will see themselves in Saks She is awkward, struggles to focus on her work, has trouble forming meaningful friendships, and despite achieving success, continues to doubt herself It made me feel like I was not alone in my awkwardness Sometimes when I read books, the popularity and social skills of the people astounds me Like how can people be so cool And I m here struggling to form coherent sentences I hope everybody gets the chance to read this book It helped me come to terms with my own struggles, and how I can continue fighting and moving forward despite them For me, reading The Center Cannot Hold My Journey Through Madness was inspiring As clich as it sounds, Saks helped me confirm that even in the most dismal circumstances, there can be light and something worth fighting for The Center Cannot Hold offers a rare peek into the raging mind of a schizophrenic While the author is anything but a case study she is brilliant and accomplished even by mentally intact standards, whereas schizophrenia is usually accompanied by low IQ and functional impairment her uncommon mental clarity enables her to shed light on an otherwise inscrutable disorder.Of the several memoirs of mental illness I ve read, this book offers the most convincing dialogue of psychotic and depressed cha The Center Cannot Hold offers a rare peek into the raging mind of a schizophrenic While the author is anything but a case study she is brilliant and accomplished even by mentally intact standards, whereas schizophrenia is usually accompanied by low IQ and functional impairment her uncommon mental clarity enables her to shed light on an otherwise inscrutable disorder.Of the several memoirs of mental illness I ve read, this book offers the most convincing dialogue of psychotic and depressed characters It also offers an unflinching and disturbing view of the Freudian psychoanalytic tactics used to treat the mentally ill From a conversation with the author s psychoanalyst, Mrs Jones The author I am in control I control the world The world is at my whim I control the world and everything in it.Mrs Jones You want to feel in control because in fact you feel so helpless.The author I had a dream I was making golf balls out of fetuses.Mrs Jones You want to kill babies, you see, and then make a game out of it You are jealous of the other babies Jealous of your brothers, jealous of other patients You want to kill them And then you want to turn them into little balls so you can smack them again Are you trying to kill me I hissed I know about the bombs I can make a bomb, too You are the devil You are trying to kill me I am evil I ve killed you three times today I can do it again The author s compassionate treatment of the mentally ill does a great service to readers She assumes the role of educator and advocate She convincingly makes a case against the American mental health system, which too often confiscates the autonomy and dignity of its charges, and argues passionately against the use of physical restraints among even violent mental patients Her push for broader emotional therapies for the mentally ill in tandem with pharmacological treatment as opposed to the solely pharmacological approach found too often in the US is powerful and, with luck, will change the minds of medical professionals.As a book, however, the memoir is imperfect The author arranges events in strict chronology, and gives every event the same narrative weight her high school experimentation with mescaline, her major psychotic episodes, her first day at law school, the occasions on which she meets minor characters She probably intends to imbue each incident with the same emotional value, to showcase her normality along with her abnormality Unfortunately, it has the effect of diluting the plot even a memoir must be propelled along some trajectory.Evenunfortunate, however, is the author s tendency to reveal her own impoverished capacity for sympathy and insight Resentment clouds her portrayal of her long time psychoanalyst He d rejected me, he d betrayed me She also describes her parents growing remoteness with the kind of thoughtless confessionalism one might expect from a reality show contestant It is clear that the author has omitted her role in the deterioration of those relationships, and fails to understand the damage her indiscretion will cause to the people in her life Worse, neither of these accounts are relevant to the development of the characters or to the progression of the memoir rather than meaningful revelation, they smack of careless slander.Ultimately, the book reads not as a cohesive memoir but as a diary, circumscribed by the author s own very limited perspective, occasionally muddled, but extraordinary nonetheless