Tag Archives: memoir

Noah’s Schizophrenia: Review

Like many memoirs about a mother’s experience with her son’s schizophrenia, this rang true on so many levels. The love, the shock, the despair, the hope, the searching for support…all of us with loved ones struck by the brain illness called schizophrenia will nod our heads in solidarity – the club we never wanted to be in.

What sets this apart is how the author weaves information and resources into the story: read it to understand acronyms and issues such as AOT, CIT, NAMI, Board and Cares, homelessness, drug use, conservatorships, IMD, Clozapine….a primer for the vast education a family needs to cope and help.

For me, this may not have been the easiest read on this day when my own son’s Court Hearing to apply for right to commit and right to medicate is happening in a few hours. I face the difficult decision, as does the author Kartar Diamond so many times in this story, of refusing to let me son move back in with us. Her son Noah cycled through so many forms of alternative housing…what will happen to mine?

In one terrifying and frustrating scene, she shares her thoughts as Noah’s symptoms worsen: 

As a small boy, he made a Mother’s Day card that read, “Don’t ever die I love you so much.” Now, 25 years old, suffering from schizophrenia and fueled with crystal meth, he wants to “crush my skull” because I didn’t bring him ten dollars.

Minus the threats, we have been there. As for the threats? Well, you just never know. With treatment, Ben’s sweet nature abounds. When he refuses meds? I don’t know how long before the voices take over.

The author’s son Noah is a talented musician (mine a promising writer, a grim reminder of what this illness steals from the world as well as from the person diagnosed with it and his/her family). This is not sugar-coated at all; it reveals the disparities in the mental health system through the frustrated eyes (and pocketbook) of one mother who loves her son with all her heart, but is left almost helpless by the illness and the system that is supposed to help. It also ends with some hope, and a look at what can happen when the system does work.


I can relate. You, I hope, will too. She searches for “the truth” throughout this book, and all of us hope and pray it can be found.

 

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Mental Health Awareness Month, Mothers’ Day, and Memoir Readers

mental health awareness monthMay is days away – bringing both Mothers’ Day and  Mental Health Awareness Month. This has me thinking about wonderful readers who have taken the time to share their thoughts with me – and not only those who are affected by mental illness in their families (one in four families, btw- we are “the 25%”), but also those who see Ben Behind His Voices as, to quote the Library Journal review, “a darn good read for memoir fans.”

Sure, I wrote the book to open eyes to the issues surrounding mental illness and the family, and to help others going through it – but under it all, it’s also the story of a mother (and a sister) who refused to give up on someone they love. I don’t have to have

mothers day gift
a gift from Ben, Mothers Day 2011

shoveled coal to appreciate Angela’s Ashes. And I’m glad that many family members in “the 75%” not directly affected by mental illness in a loved one are still writing to say how much the story of family love and strength means to them.

Here are some recent comments. Thank you!!!

Randye Kaye has touched my heart with this book. It’s not just about battling a disease, it’s about a mother’s love for her family and her relentless crusade to help her children to be the best that they can regardless of what obstacles in life are placed in their way. Randye brings you into her family circle and writes with such emotion that you feel that you are experiencing every high and low with her. It’s a story of courage, of never giving up, of hope. It is a story of inspiration that leaves you feeling that although life does not always turn out the way you hope, it can be ok. This book is not just for families of children battling mental illness, it’s for all parents who face different challenges with their children. I could not put the book down once I started it. Such an incredible story. I hope there is a sequel so we can see how Ben is coping a few years from now. Great book for all, I would highly recommend reading it. – ESM, latest customer review on Amazon

It isn’t often that I spend a little more than a day finishing a book. I usually have 2 or 3 books going at once and I finish them as the spirit moves me…I was truly moved by your story. – MS, Chicago reader

What strikes me most about the story is the reserve of human endurance and the depths of love and resilience of the family…And Ben: how courageous he is and what it takes to manage the disorder comes through on the pages. Continue reading Mental Health Awareness Month, Mothers’ Day, and Memoir Readers

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