PsyBlog reviews a new memoir about living with schizophrenia. The book is Schizophrenia Explained: The Center Cannot Hold by Elyn R. Saks. It refers to a theme we’ll be exploring next week: the diathesis-stress model, which holds that mental illness emerges as stress affects a predisposition for the illness.
Battle. Fight. Struggle. These are all words Saks uses to describe her experience. Nothing sets off these battles more effectively than transition points. When she leaves home to go to university, when she returns home from university, when she begins her academic career, when she has to present a paper at a conference. Each time she’s forced through a period of change or stress, her illness gets worse. Again and again she retreats to the barricades of her mind, sometimes winning, sometimes losing and ending up in hospital.