Summary from Goodreads:
Powerful, affecting essays on mental illness, winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize and a Whiting Award
An intimate, moving book written with the immediacy and directness of one who still struggles with the effects of mental and chronic illness, The Collected Schizophrenias cuts right to the core. Schizophrenia is not a single unifying diagnosis, and Esmé Weijun Wang writes not just to her fellow members of the “collected schizophrenias” but to those who wish to understand it as well. Opening with the journey toward her diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, Wang discusses the medical community’s own disagreement about labels and procedures for diagnosing those with mental illness, and then follows an arc that examines the manifestations of schizophrenia in her life. In essays that range from using fashion to present as high-functioning to the depths of a rare form of psychosis, and from the failures of the higher education system and the dangers of institutionalization to the complexity of compounding factors such as PTSD and Lyme disease, Wang’s analytical eye, honed as a former lab researcher at Stanford, allows her to balance research with personal narrative. An essay collection of undeniable power, The Collected Schizophrenias dispels misconceptions and provides insight into a condition long misunderstood.
The Collected Schizophrenias is an outstanding collection of essays about living with schizoaffective disorder and later chronic Lyme disease. Wang provides a glimpse into an existence that is harrowing at times but also so rich and filled with life. She brings into sharp relief how poorly she was treated as a person having delusions and disassociative episodes (particularly by her college) but contrasted with her love of fashion and vintage clothing which she uses as a way to present herself as a “well” person. She writes about living with a “slippery brain” (a term taken from the last essay, “Beyond the Hedges”) and how to tether herself to reality. If you liked Sick by Porochista Khakpour, you’ll like The Collected Schizophrenias.
The Collected Schizophrenias is out today in the US.
Dear FTC: I received a paper galley of this book from the publisher.