Mad House: Growing Up in the Shadow of Mentally Ill Siblings

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9780140274349: Mad House: Growing Up in the Shadow of Mentally Ill Siblings

When the Boston Globe first published Clea Simon's cover story on growing up with her two schizophrenic siblings, the response was overwhelming. "Healthy" siblings constitute that silent majority of people who have grown up in dysfunctional families and, largely due to their age have often stood on the sidelines as the tragic consequences of a mental disorder claimed either the health or life of a brother or sister. For Clea Simon, the experience was shattering as first her beloved, older brother Daniel, the brilliant Harvard freshman started hearing voices and dropping out of school when his schizophrenia made functioning impossible. And then again as the same illness claimed her sister Althea, who has bounced around from one state institution to another after her parents eventually gave up on helping the daughter who refused their help.



The issues "well" siblings face run the gamut from guilt (why do I deserve to be OK?), fear (what are the chances that I have this disease, or that my children may inherit it?), to the burden of caring for a sibling (am I my brother's keeper?), and overcompensating in the family, or its converse, acting destructively to get attention. In talking to hundreds of other siblings and experts in the field, Simon has written a comprehensive book that combines the best of memoir writing with the kind of practical advice that should ease the pain of any brother or sister who has felt helpless in the face of a sibling's mental illness.

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In classic books such as "Girl, Interrupted" and "When Rabbit Howls," the mentally ill depict their own harrowing worlds. In Mad House we have an account of the devastating effects of mental illness on the lives of those who share their world

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In classic books such as Girl, Interrupted and When Rabbit Howls, the mentally ill depict their....

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