Miriam Feldman’s wonderful book will be released tomorrow, and I highly recommend it.
Ever since my book was released (when there were very few memoirs around that dealt with schizophrenia in a child) they now seem to be everywhere. I have read many of them, and Miriam’s memoir stands out as not only relatable (I marked so many passages I almost ran out of ink) but also poetic, artistic, and funny. Miriam is an artist (murals and more) by trade, and her artistry definitely extends to the written word.
Plus she made me laugh out loud – something you wouldn’t think you can do when your heart is broken by a devastating, unrelenting illness thrust upon your beloved child. But you can, and we must.
Miriam Feldman takes us through the facts, the loneliness, the strength, the love, and the roller coaster of hope and heartbreak.
You will fall in love with her son Nick, and grieve the loss of what might have been…and hope for what might be. As I do every day with my son Ben.
I felt such a kinship with Miriam that I interviewed her (and Robert Kolker, and Laura Pogliano) as part of my “Power of Kinship” conversations.
and Laura Pogliano, SARDAA Chapter President and Board member, mom of late son Zaccaria, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 17.
We cover, among other things:
What, if anything, has changed for families dealing with schizophrenia – and what has to happen next to improve the current situation? We touch on: Early Detection and Treatment Need to fund and advance research and find a CURE Four Pillars of Recovery Stigma – is reducing stigma enough? (no!) Schizophrenia as a brain condition, not a psychological issue the sibling experience Hidden Valley Road and the Galvin family current disabled mental health system need for education, NAMI Family-to-Family …and more.
And still, the myths – and lack of attention to research – continue. As fellow author and advocate Feldman points out in her forthcoming book and a recent guest blog post for Pete Earley,
A huge question looms:
"Why is bringing those with schizophrenia (and other serious mental illnesses) simply to a state of zombie-like compliance considered a success?"
I have my theories, one of which is this: many don’t see people with schizophrenia as save-able, or – worse – worth saving. Because the illness often robs them of so much besides reality: their joy, their charm, their ability to empathize.
Still, those of us who love someone with this devastating illness, who knew them before it took hold, can attest to the fact that they are worth saving. They are locked up inside that shell. We love them, and occasionally we see what could be – if only we could find a CURE, not just a management tool.
Right now, as we all struggle with our own kinds of isolation in this covid-19 surreal life, imagine what it might be like to feel that isolated all the time. In the words of Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman, ATTENTION MUST BE PAID.
Let’s hope these three works of art will propel us toward the changes we need to see – and help bring our loved ones with schizophrenia the respect, love, and CURE that they deserve.