Reading a book with a friend

I mentioned that I was reading Robert Whitaker’s book Anatomy of an Epidemic and a friend Barbara said she was interested in it, too. I had just seen the movie Beyond the Medical Medical and written a blog entry about it. Whitaker was also involved in the movie. And at the First Unitarian Society there was a line in a song “Don’t be afraid of some change.” There were all kinds of old and new people I wanted to connect with at the service, so maybe this would be part of the change.

I had not been part of a community reading group since taa daa, yes, I was part of a Unitarian group. Anatomy of an Epidemic asks a simple question: why?There seem to be more people labeled as chronically mentally ill. More people are taking medication for mental illness. Psychiatrists have never found a specific gene that they can point to as the cause of mental illness. There is a growing body of evidence that people recovery from mental illness without using the medical model. And some people who become long time users of medications actually achieve worse outcomes.

The first chapter of the book begins asking these questions and lays out the data giving examples of parents whose children developed symptoms of mental illness when they were very young. And their outcomes were strikingly different. The first question I will be asking my friend is what is her interest in this subject? For me, my family has a history of mental illness. My mother, my sisters, my brother and I have all had experiences that were on a continuum. What alternate explanations were there for your behavior? I think that I was responding to my environment and my body. I am not surprised that these problems arose when I was very young. Now that I am older and more experienced, fewer things bother me. How do you use your understanding of this experience? In my work as a peer specialist and in my writing this blog I try to make sense of what I have learned.

Those are some of the questions and answers I am going to start sharing with my friend. You may also respond, my faithful reader.


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