National Alliance on Mental Illness
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NAMI Bookshelf: March 2011

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Diagnosis: Schizophrenia: A Comprehensive Resource for Consumers, Families and Helping Professionals
By Rachel Miller and Susan E. Mason
Columbia University Press (2011; 2nd edition)

Thirty-five young people, recently diagnosed with schizophrenia, talk about their illness in this book, while two specialists address everything from medical science to medication side-effects. It is a very good resource for individuals and families seeking a roadmap to recovery.

The authentic voices of individuals who actually live with schizophrenia discuss being stigmatized, relapsing and how they cope, while the clinicians help provide structure and background about positive and negative symptoms and other key facts. Woven together, the result is not so much a book as a lively conversation that offers many insights and suggestions-including a "top 13 list" of tips for staying out of the hospital.

Chapters such as "Why Me?" "What Will People Think of Me Now?" and "Who Am I Now?" explore powerful feelings common to anyone who experiences the onset of serious mental illness. Some believe they have learned much about themselves through illness and have grown stronger. Others see recovery as "a never-ending process." Overall, the book provides perspectives that can help a person find their own path through mental illness.

Climates of the Mind: A Bipolar Memory Including the Therapy Journals
By Jerry Jewler
iUniverse (2010)

This self-published memoir is notable because the author, Jerry Jewler, a popular professor at the University of South Carolina who lives with bipolar disorder, was not clearly diagnosed until after his 60th birthday-even though he had long struggled with anxiety and depression. He recounts his family history and stages in his own life with an eye toward identifying clues that might have signaled the diagnosis. The narrative alternates with journal entries written shortly before or after meetings with his therapist.

Reflections on self-doubt and feelings of worthlessness-despite all evidence to the contrary-convey a painful cognitive dimension that sometimes gets overlooked in the discussion of bipolar disorder. The book provides insights into what a person living with mental illness may be thinking or feeling, while making the point that mental illness can be treated and overcome.