Surviving Mental Illness
In an era of revolutionary progress in science and medicine, knowledge of the biology of mental illness and psychopharmacologic treatments has increased greatly within the past few decades. Unfortunately, during this same time frame, the experiential side of mental illness has been almost completely neglected by researchers and educators. However, leading authorities are becoming increasingly aware that the personal experiences of people with severe mental illness can reveal the most authentic--and perhaps most helpful--information on their behavior.
This book examines the subjective experiences of patients with multiple diagnoses, including schizophrenia, bipolar illness, major endogenous depression, and other disorders with psychotic features and long-term disabling consequences. Numerous personal accounts are drawn from research reports, newsletters, journals, spoken reports, and observed behavior to shed light on the inner worlds of people afflicted with severe and persistent mental illness.
The book covers a wide range of topics, starting with disturbances in the sense of self, in emotions, relationships, and behaviors, and in the ways reality is experienced by the mentally ill. Material is presented within the conceptual framework of coping and adaptation and self theory; in addition, considerable attention is given to the patient's perception of which types of personal and professional relationships have been helpful or not helpful.