After Schizophrenia: The Story of How My Sister Got Help, Got Hope, and Got on with Life after 30 Years in Her Room
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After Schizophrenia: The Story of How My Sister Got Help, Got Hope, and Got on with Life after 30 Years in Her Room

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  54 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Schizophrenia affects more than 3 million American adults. Despite being classified as a severe mental illness, a brain disease that can be treated, it remains misunderstood. Schizophrenia still carries a stigma that too often devastates and silences families.

For 30 years, Margaret Hawkins' sister Barb lived cloistered in her family home in suburban Chicago, a prisoner of...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 1st 2011 by Red Wheel/Weiser (first published August 6th 2010)
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Schizophrenia is probably one of the least understood mental illnesses, as much because the diagnosis is based on observation of behaviour rather than any specific test such as blood. Also because the symptoms vary, and can show up at various points in a person's life. In the case of Barb Hawkins, the illness remained dormant, or perhaps hidden for much of Barb’s young life. Beautiful, vibrant and intelligent, young Barb appeared to have every gift. At college she met and married professor Karim...more
This book is not so much about finding Barb, but about how Barb's brother and sister sat back for thirty years while their parents allowed Barb to stay in her room at their house without any treatment for her schizophrenia.

The book is readable, but basically repeats the same thing over and over. The author wasn't really around her sister very much for many years while she was away from home at school. Later she lived in the same city but only visited infrequently. So she often writes, "I can im...more
I wish I hadn't read the foreward before reading the book because I feel it made me question things I rather would have thought about on my own. Mental illness not only takes a toll on the ones afflicted but the families also. With propert treatment, some people with disorders like schiphrenia and bipolar can lead almost normal lives. Barb missed out on decadeds of her life because she wasn't given that proper treatment. We all have our own prejudices, fears and ways of dealings with things, esp...more
Wonderful read about a sister who develops schizophrenia at age 30 and kept home by her parents who don't like doctors for 30 years until her sister becomes her guardian after her parents die. Granted the sister was stubborn and refused help but the parents and perhaps the time they lived in were unable to help much. The author begins tennatively to ask for help since she cant stay in her parents house, she has her own home and family, and the sister wouldn't leave the house she was in. A social...more
I liked the book. It portrays the social stigma of mental illness, in the 1960s, displayed in the interactions and lack of intervention or action on behalf of Barb's parents. A very codependent relationship to say the least. However, when Margaret (her sister) becomes her guardian (after the deaths of both parents)she intervenes. Margaret allows Barb to maintain her self-determination which is vital to treatment success. This book was well written and an easy read for a layperson (not in mental...more
I think the author could have done without so much detail in the beginning. Because as she admits, she wasn't around when Barb first began her downward spiral. In many instances, she says, "I imagine my parents felt this way..." I think she could have just spent 20 pages detailing those years and then went into her father's death and how she handled her sister from there. Because that was the real meat of the book.

Overall, I found it to be a very interesting and enlightening tale. I ended it fee...more
An amazing personal memoir of Hawkins' schizophrenic sister who changes from a vibrant young woman to a woman who spends most of her life inside her parents' home. It speaks to anyone who knows someone or has a family member with a mental illness, raising all the questions about how and why and what choices are the ethical ones and who gets to make those choices. It is at once heartbreaking and uplifting.
Excellent, absorbing book about a family's experience with a daughter/sister who developed paranoid schizophrenia and how that affected everyone in the family, even when they chose not to deal with it.
Margaret McCamant
Another story (true) of a family and illness: this time a woman with 30 years of un-diagnosed and untreated schizophrenia.
Another quick read. Interesting story on a family coping (or not coping as the case may be) with schizophrenia.
Fascinating. Extremely well written. I couldn't put it down.
Focuses on Barb's schizophrenia from her sister's viewpoint.
Fascinating and very sad at times.
Jo Kearney
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