About the book
I began hearing voices when I was thirty-one years old, after over a decade of struggling with depression and soon after the suicide of my first cousin. The early voices were infrequent, merely curious, and largely benign. But as I began paying more attention after my husband and I moved to Connecticut, they grew more frequent, and darker. By Halloween day I had become so paranoid that I smashed every light bulb in my living room searching for hidden cameras.
Encouraged by family to seek help, I committed myself to a psychiatric hospital, where my paranoia escalated. I signed out against medical advice, but my terror mounted and I admitted myself to a second hospital, where I allowed the doctors to treat me. I was diagnosed with schizophreniform disorder and placed on Haldol, which stopped the voices. But the side effects were crippling. I wrote of that time, “On Haldol I could find no joy in anything. . . . I felt like a piece of heavy rubber with a heart and soul of wood that was going through the motions of being human.”
Over time, under my psychiatrist’s supervision, I tapered the medication and eventually weaned myself from it. I was doing so well that in 1986 my husband and I decided to start a family. But in 1989, when our only son was not quite three, I again spiraled into psychosis and very nearly committed suicide. My responsibility for and to my son kept me from following through.
Hearing Voices, Living Well chronicles my journey through depression, psychosis, and an unmedicated recovery. Throughout this period, thanks to a habit of self-guided and professional therapy, I learned to challenge my demons and negotiate the conditions that ultimately allowed me to regain control over my mind and life, even while continuing to hear intermittent voices. I attribute my success to my dual desires to be fully myself and to live as fully in the world as possible. The communities I have built around myself—family, friends, work, and faith—have allowed me to stay the course.
I will donate a minimum of twenty percent of my royalties to promote the development of more social, psychological, and integrative approaches to the treatment of psychosis.
For more information about Jessica Kingsley Publishers, please visit their website, http://www.jkp.com