The Center Cannot Hold

The Center Cannot Hold

My Journey Through Madness

Book - 2007
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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.
Publisher: New York : Hyperion, c2007
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9781401301385
140130138X
Branch Call Number: 616.898 S158c 2007
Characteristics: 340 p. ; 22 cm
Alternative Title: My journey through madness

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wiredonjava
Aug 10, 2016

Elyn was an amazing individual, with schizophrenia, under the best possible circumstances. She acknowledges that her supportive upbringing, affluence, opportunity for psychoanalysis, extreme intelligence and sheer determination are valid factors contributing towards academic success, not being homeless or institutionalized indefinitely and having the ability to form friendships and meaningful relationships. While a struggle to incorporate the three indwelling entities (her as a doctor, her as the 'Lady of the Charts', and her as a person) that made up Elyn Saks, she manages her symptoms finally after years of denial, with submission to medication. Through her experience during hospitalization, she rightfully challenges and changes laws such as forcible confinement with use of restraints, and, more confusingly so, fighting for the rights of people with severe mental health issues to refuse being medicated. This book was an eye-opener for those in the helping industry, if one ever wanted to understand better, by reading a frightening and detailed account of the torment someone with schizophrenia goes through while in a psychotic state. You will also learn more about post Freud psychoanalyst Melanie Klein http://www.melanie-klein-trust.org.uk/kleinian-technique

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sbryant124
Feb 15, 2015

She is incredibly lucky to have the intellectual, financial and interpersonal resources that she did/does

l
lizapierce
Oct 31, 2013

Such a great read. A view into schizophrenia that even mental health workers do not normally get to see, and one that provides a lot of understanding.

penpencil22 Jun 24, 2011

the book provides a lot of insight into the development and living with schizophrenia.

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