The Collected Schizophrenias : Essays
by Esme Weijun Wang


Overview -

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 Esm 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.

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More About The Collected Schizophrenias by Esme Weijun Wang
 
 
 
Overview

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 Esm 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.


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781555978273
  • ISBN-10: 1555978274
  • Publisher: Graywolf Press
  • Publish Date: February 2019
  • Page Count: 224
  • Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.65 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Literary Collections > Essays
Books > Psychology > Applied Psychology
Books > Biography & Autobiography > People with Disabilities

 
BookPage Reviews

Collected Schizophrenias

Esmé Weijun Wang delivers stunning insights into the challenges of living with schizoaffective disorder in The Collected Schizophrenias. Wang provides glimpses of her journey toward understanding herself with deliberate, sparkling prose and exquisitely fine-tuned, honest descriptions filled with intimate details of her struggles.

Wang describes herself as an overachieving child; she wrote a 200-page novel in the fifth grade and assigned herself essays to write during school vacations. In high school, when she told her mother that she was considering suicide, her mother suggested they do it together. Later, after she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and accepted to Yale, Wang fled to the East Coast college, where her life began to fall apart at a rapid clip. 

Wang finally received her diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder eight years after she experienced her first hallucination. She admits that she finds the diagnosis comforting, as it provides a “framework, a community, a lineage. . . . [A] diagnosis says that I am crazy, but in a particular way that has been experienced and recorded.” Once Wang receives her diagnosis, she probes every facet of her illness, sharing her insights with us along the way. Wang brilliantly explores the relationship between herself and her psychosis, writing, “[I]f I am psychotic 98 percent of the time, who am I?”

The Collected Schizophrenias easily takes its place among the best memoirs about illness and the transformative power of embracing it.

 

This article was originally published in the February 2019 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
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