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First Person Accounts of Mental Illness and Recovery

First Person Accounts of Mental Illness and Recovery

Craig W. LeCroy (Editor) , Jane Holschuh (Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-118-22024-5

Sep 2012

516 pages



In First Person Accounts of Mental Illness, case studies of individuals experiencing schizophrenia, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, substance use disorders, and other mental ailments will be provided for students studying the classification and treatment of psychopathology. All of the cases are written from the perspective of the mentally ill individual, providing readers with a unique perspective of the experience of living with a mental disorder.

"In their book First Person Accounts of Mental Illness and Recovery, LeCroy and Holschuh offer the student, researcher, or layperson the intimate voice of mental illness from the inside. First Person Accounts of Mental Illness and Recovery is a wonderful book, and it is an ideal, even indispensable, companion to traditional mental health texts. I am grateful that they have given the majority of this book to the voices that are too often unheard."
—John S. Brekke, PhD, Frances G. Larson Professor of Social Work Research, School of Social Work, University of Southern California; Fellow, American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare

"This is absolutely a must-read for anyone who has been touched by someone with a mental illness, whether it be personal or professional. It is imperative that this book be required reading in any course dealing with psychopathology and the DSM, whether it be in psychology, psychiatry, social work, nursing, or counseling."
—Phyllis Solomon, PhD, Professor in the School of Social Policy & Practice and Professor of Social Work in Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania

A unique volume of first person narratives written from the perspective of individuals with a mental illness

Drawing from a broad range of sources, including narratives written expressly for this book, self-published accounts, and excerpts from previously published memoirs, this distinctive set of personal stories covers and illustrates a wide spectrum of mental disorder categories, including:

  • Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders
  • Mood disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Substance-related disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Impulse control disorders
  • Cognitive disorders
  • Somatoform disorders
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Gender identity disorders
  • Sleep disorders
  • Disorders usually first diagnosed in infancy, childhood, or adolescence

Reflecting a recovery orientation and strengths-based approach, the authentic and relevant stories in First Person Accounts of Mental Illness and Recovery promote a greater appreciation for the individual's role in treatment and an expansion of hope and recovery.

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Acknowledgments xv

Introduction xvii

About the Editors xxxi

1 Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders 1

Schizophrenia 6

The Best Medicine 6
Susan A. Salsman

Recovery as Discovery 9
Paolo Scotti

Understanding Health as a Continuum 14
Leslie Greenblat

Psychiatry and Oppression: A Personal Account of Compulsory Admission and Medical Treatment 19
Benjamin Gray

Powerful Choices: Peer Support and Individualized Medication Self-Determination 25
Corinna West

Schizoaffective Disorders 38

Snapshots: The First Symptoms of Psychosis 38
Kristen B. Fowler

Why Having a Mental Illness Is Not Like Having Diabetes 43

2 Mood Disorders 49

Depressive Disorders 53

Depression: Disease, Loneliness, Social Isolation, Suicide, Negative Thoughts . . . 53
Bec Morrison

My Confession: My Life Had Come to a Stop 57
Leo Tolstoi

Willow Weep for Me: A Black Woman’s Journey Through Depression 61
Meri Nana-Ama Danquah

I Wish I Had Gotten Help Sooner: My Struggle With Postpartum Depression 66
Marcie Ramirez

My Journey Through Postpartum Depression 72
Jessica Rodrigo-Dunican

Bipolar Disorders 76

Living with the Dragon: The Long Road to Self-Management of Bipolar II 76
Peter Amsel

On Madness: A Personal Account of Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder 91

Random Scribblings on Bipolar Disorder 97
Michael Napiorkowski

Being Bipolar: Living on Both Sides of the Coin 101
Susan Michele Vale

3 Anxiety Disorders 105

Panic Disorder 108

You Have Anxiety? 108
Kelly Orbison

Susan’s Story 115
Susan Ludeman

Phobias 122

On the Outside Looking In 122
Daniela Grazia

Mysophobia 133
Catherine Taylor

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) 142

Flux 142
Frank R. DeFulgentis

Rituals, Routines, and Recovery: Living With OCD 153
Jared Douglas Kant with Martin Franklin and Linda Wasmer Andrews

“It’ll Be Okay.” How I Kept Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) From Ruining My Life 160
Shannon Shy

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) 175

Emotional Triangle 175
Blazie Holling

Panic, Anxiety, PTSD, and My Experiences of Healing Through Multiple Avenues of Psychotherapy 181
Catherine McCall

The Demons of War Are Persistent: A Personal Story of Prolonged PTSD 189
Art W. Schade

4 Personality Disorders 197

My Path to Recovery 199
Melanie Green

A “Classic” Case of Borderline Personality Disorder 203
Lynn Williams

Loud in the House of Myself 207
Stacy Pershall

5 Substance-Related Disorders 215

Goodbye, Johnnie Walker 217
Neil Davidson

Untitled 228
Aaron J. French

A Nurse’s Journey Through Loss, Addiction, and Recovery 232
Michelle Walter

6 Eating Disorders 237

Dying by Inches 239
Emily Troscianko

Big Little 263
Priscilla Becker

Binging and Purging to Stay Alive 276

Life With an Eating Disorder 281
Laura Bette

7 Impulse Control Disorders 285

The Numbers of My Obsession 286
Mia Zamora

Memoirs of a Compulsive Firesetter 294
Sarah Wheaton

Dan’s Story 298

8 Delirium, Dementia, and Amnestic and Other Cognitive Disorders 303

Before It’s Too Late 306
Jane McAllister

Poor Memory: A Case Report 310
Malcolm L. Meltzer

Parkinson’s: A Patient’s View 317
Sidney Dorros

9 Somatoform Disorders 323

A Psychosomatic Study of Myself 325
F. Wertham

Bigorexia: Bodybuilding and Muscle Dysmorphia 339

Hypochondria 341
Heather Menzies Jones

10 Dissociative Disorders 345

Coping Strategies 348
Ruth Dee

Family Talk 358
Barbara Hope

Fractured Mind, One Heart? 361
Robert B. Oxnam

11 Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders 365

Sexual Pain Disorders 369

Vaginismus: The Blessing of Botox 369

Paraphilias 374

The Armed Robbery Orgasm: A Lovemap Autobiography of Masochism 374
Ronald Keys and John Money

Gender Identity Disorders 377

A Rose in Bloom 377
April Rose Schneider

Time for a Good Transgender Story 388
Kam Wai Kui

12 Sleep Disorders 401

An Insomniac’s Slant on Sleep 404
Gayle Greene

My Story of Narcolepsy 414
Patricia Higgins

13 Disorders Usually First Diagnosed in Infancy, Childhood, or Adolescence 421

Pervasive Developmental Disorders 426

Communication Impairment 426
John Elder Robison

Alien: A Story of Asperger’s Syndrome 431
Stephanie Mayberry

The Experience of Infantile Autism 440
Tony W.

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) 444

The Only Me That We Have Ever Known 444
Katy Rollins

Tic Disorders 450

A Tourette Story 450
Rick Fowler

Searching for Answers 455
Crystal Thomas

Index 467