This is volume one of the awesome memoir of a young man growing up in France in the 1960s and 70s. David's older brother, Jean-Christophe, suffers fro...moreThis is volume one of the awesome memoir of a young man growing up in France in the 1960s and 70s. David's older brother, Jean-Christophe, suffers from intractable epilepsy, sometimes suffering multiple seizures per day. When all medical science can offer is doping Jean-Christophe into catatonia or risky surgery that could lead to blindness or worse, David's parents start to seek answers in alternative medicine and spiritualism.
The artwork and storytelling is truly impressive. David's complex black and white drawings range freely over the page, slotting into new configurations, and the story itself ranges widely in time as well.
I am really looking forward to reading the second half of this memoir.(less)
Psychiatric and Behavioral Disorders in Israel is not exactly a recreational read, but it will prove to be...moreThis is a LibraryThing Early Reviewer book.
Psychiatric and Behavioral Disorders in Israel is not exactly a recreational read, but it will prove to be an excellent tool to those studying psychiatric disorders. Perhaps most helpful and interesting are the papers on anxiety disorders, PTSD, and mood disorders that tend to specifically be related to high-stress environments. Israel is the sort of place where it would be difficult to live without being exposed directly or indirectly to war and social turmoil, and thus it is in some ways a perfect laboratory for the study of the real life effects of the aformentioned disorders. This book offers an excellent survey of the existing literature relating to these disorders in Israel.(less)
I really enjoyed this book, which records one year of treating a woman addicted to Vicodin. It really isn't "Lucy's" story, however; it's really a med...moreI really enjoyed this book, which records one year of treating a woman addicted to Vicodin. It really isn't "Lucy's" story, however; it's really a meditation from Stein on the nature of addiction and its treatment, and the role of the doctor in this situation.
Lucy's story really isn't all that special. Really, she is just an in, a focal point for Stein's musings. The book as a whole is fascinating reading, though, particularly for the window it gives into the though processes of one doctor. I love knowing things like what it's like for a male doctor to give a female patient a physical exam, or what it's like to give a physical exam, period. Small things, like trying to observe all one can in the first pass, lest one cause undue stress by focusing on one part of the body more closely ("he looked at that spot on my arm a second time -- there must be something wrong!"). Reading a patient's body language to learn what their boundaries are. Those are the things that were most interesting about this book. I would recommend it to those who enjoyed Atul Gawande's books; those who are interested in addiction and its treatment will find it interesting, but probably not as informative as they would have liked.(less)
An interesting book, but as it turns out, not precisely what I was looking for. It's much more philosophical and not so readily applicable to concrete...moreAn interesting book, but as it turns out, not precisely what I was looking for. It's much more philosophical and not so readily applicable to concrete situations. Still, if you're interested in how Freudian psychology has evolved and how it relates to personal relationships, this is an interesting read.(less)
This is a biting, sarcastic, and incredibly honest portrayal of depression. Brampton refuses to pull any punches or give herself any slack. She descri...moreThis is a biting, sarcastic, and incredibly honest portrayal of depression. Brampton refuses to pull any punches or give herself any slack. She describes how she was openly hostile toward treatment (with sometimes hilarious results -- as someone who's been tempted to derail Cognitive Behavioral Therapy out of sheer cussedness, I couldn't stop laughing about her stubbornness in group therapy), was frequently a dangerously noncompliant patient, and very nearly derailed everything by developing a massive drinking problem along with her depression. She also really gets at the physical feelings that accompany depression; the way that it feels as though not only one's mind, but one's body is rebelling.
Other reviews have mentioned that the author behaved selfishly, foolishly, and was incredibly self-absorbed. Yes, yes, and yes. This is one of the reasons I loved this book. It really gets at the simultaneous self-loathing and self-centeredness that characterizes severe depression, and I applaud Sally Brampton for having the guts to portray herself as thoroughly unpleasant.
The only real flaw in the writing is that this book could probably have stood a little more organization; Brampton occasionally jumps around in time, making it a little difficult to discern which hospitalization she's talking about, or how long many of her issues persisted. It's not nearly as bad in this regard as Teri Cheney's Manic, but it could still stand some tightening up.
My only other issue is that she describes her depression as medication-resistant -- which definitely happens -- but doesn't really make a strong connection between the meds not working and the fact that she was drinking enormous amounts of alcohol at the same time. I have to wonder if, now that she is sober, she might have more success with antidepressants. On the other hand, she has found other effective ways of coping with and controlling her depression, so I can't really blame her for not wanting to get on the meds-go-round again.
Oh, one last comment -- this is really random, but I loved that she pointed out that meditation, while very effective for doing mental housecleaning once one is in recovery, can actual be detrimental if one is in the throes of a deep depression. A great number of people have suggested meditation to me as a means to heal my depression, not realizing that someone who is deeply depressed is not particularly adept at clearing their mind and thinking calming thoughts, etc., and it may actually just offer an opportunity for uninterrupted destructive thinking.(less)
This was a bit heavy on psychoanalysis for my taste, although I've read that Miller eventually distanced herself from psychoanalysis (as opposed to ps...moreThis was a bit heavy on psychoanalysis for my taste, although I've read that Miller eventually distanced herself from psychoanalysis (as opposed to psychotherapy) as a viable method of treating mental illness. Miller seems to believe that most forms of mental illness result from childhood trauma, a view I'm not particularly comfortable with, as I believe most if not all mental illness has a biological component. Still, there are positives here, as well; Miller's exhortation to both parents and mental health providers to examine one's childhood in order to avoid projecting problems onto one's own children or patients is a point very well taken. Still, I am uncomfortable with the idea that if one has mental health problems, one must have suffered some kind of abuse (either emotional or physical), whether one consciously recalls it or not. I think it is helpful to reflect on the past and realize that the unspoken lessons we learn in childhood have long-lasting ramifications, but I also think that there is ample evidence that one does not have to have been damaged by one's parents in order to suffer from depression or anxiety. (less)
The more I think about this book, the more impressed I feel with how useful it is. So often, information about avoiding danger that is given to people...moreThe more I think about this book, the more impressed I feel with how useful it is. So often, information about avoiding danger that is given to people, particularly women, is unhelpful, dangerous, sexist, and/or serves only to feed into paranoia.
De Becker, in contrast, draws a strong distinction between the culture of fear that we live in (where TV news and email forwards cultivate fear of dangers that are unlikely to occur), and fear as an instinctive tool one can use to protect oneself. He points out repeatedly that there is a difference between helpful fear and anxiety/worry, and that one must learn to quell the voices of paranoia that (for example) tell one that every individual walking down the street is a potential attacker, so that when one encounters someone who actually is a potential attacker, one can "hear" one's fear.
In addition to advising the reader to listen to his/her fear, de Becker also gives helpful tips regarding behaviors to watch for. Does someone refuse to accept "no" for an answer, after it's clearly stated? Do they seek to allay your discomfort by creating camraderie where there is none (using a lot of "we" statements)? Do they seem overly interested, or supply way too many details for someone you've just met?
De Becker doesn't just focus on encounters with strangers or near-strangers (such as dates one has just met). He also spends a great deal of time discussing domestic abuse and child abuse and the way fear functions in these relationships. There is also a great deal of information on workplace violence and ways it can be avoided, which should be required reading for any manager or hiring officer. The only time the book seemed somewhat irrelevant was in the later chapters, where de Becker discusses celebrity stalking and assasinations/assasination attempts. These chapters are interesting from a human behavior standpoint, but are less readily applicable.
Overall, I would recommend this to everyone, but particularly to women like me who sometimes have trouble balancing safety with the desire not to let anxiety rule their lives.(less)
I'm not real huge on self-help books, but this is a very intelligently written book for people who suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Dis...moreI'm not real huge on self-help books, but this is a very intelligently written book for people who suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, and/or Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, and is refreshingly free from typical "self-help" talk. In fact, I'm not sure I would even class it as self-help, seeing as much of it is concerned with finding the right help in treating anxiety issues, and the benefits of professional help are definitely stressed. The author gives equal time to all the major methods of treating these disorders (medication, diet and lifestyle changes, cognitive therapy, etc.) and is very clear on the fact that combining several of these treatments tends to be the most effective way of minimizing anxiety issues. His description of the way cognitive-behavioral therapy works is one of the clearest and most helpful I've run across, and overall I just thought this was an excellent book. (less)
I totally loved this book, and found it almost impossible to prevent myself from reading sections out loud to my husband or anyone else who would list...moreI totally loved this book, and found it almost impossible to prevent myself from reading sections out loud to my husband or anyone else who would listen. There are many fascinating anecdotes about both animals and autism, and for the most part the notes and bibliography allow one to follow up on some of the more striking stories.
Temple Grandin believes (and I admit, I also hold this believe pretty strongly) that animals must be met on their own terms -- it's not fair to treat animals like humans, and it causes us to miss things or do the animals disservice. At the same time, it's also a mistake to underestimate animal intelligence and the depths of animal experience.
I also deeply respect Grandin's work in making meat packing plants and feedlots more humane and less unnecessarily frightening. In particular, her discussion of commonsense ways that these plants can be inspected more efficiently and with better results presents an astonishingly simple and effective way to decrease accidents and animal suffering. I would have liked to have her address the meat and dairy industries in a little more depth, however. I'm not a vegetarian, but I do care about animals, and I would have liked to hear more about her feelings on whether certain methods of raising beef and dairy cattle lead to a less traumatic life for these animals. It's sort of a mistake in a lot of ways to ask whether raising a dairy cow one way or another is "more natural," since these animals have been domesticated for food production for thousands of years, but I would like to know whether she thinks grass fed animals lead better lives, etc.
One weird thing that other reviewers have mentioned is her conviction that albinism or even patches of unpigmented skin/white fur lead to ill health or behavioral problems. I've found some support for this in my own research; for example, Lethal White Syndrome is a genetic disorder that plagues white-coated offspring of "frame" patterned American Paint horses, and there are a lot of other cases of white-coated, blue-eyed animals having birth defects or genetic disorders. However, these seem to by and large be physical problems, rather than behavioral. Elsewhere in the book, Grandin discusses the problems that can occur when humans breed animals specifically for one characteristic (such as breeding collies for a narrower head, or selectively breeding for coloration), and it may be that what she is getting at is that breeding animals selectively to have white coats can cause other, unanticipated problems. Still, if that's the case, she's overstating it quite a bit here.
At any rate, this is a really fascinating book, and while I've spent a lot of time on a perceived flaw, it's really a pretty small part of the book. I highly recommend this to anyone who is interested in animals and how they think, and also to anyone who is interested in gaining insight into autism.(less)