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Recovery from Panic Disorder by
Call Number: RC535 P67 2003
Publication Date: 2004-01-01
A woman awakens in the night gasping for air. What could be happening? "Recovery from Panic Disorder: A Therapist's Transformation as Both Patient and Healer" is a gripping look at a psychotherapist's personal trials with and success over her own Panic Disorder. Ms. Portner offers promise for well-being to those battling this ruthless opponent. Narrating this true story of personal success over adversity with humor and empathy, Ms. Portner gives a complete look at this frightening life challenge--from fear to diagnosis and finally to inner wellness and personal transformation.
What Doesn't Kill Us: My Battle with Anxiety by
Call Number: RC464 N53 A3 2011
Publication Date: 2011-11-05
When I was 38, my charmed life began to unravel. By 41, I had developed Generalized Anxiety Disorder. At 44, I was hospitalized for seven weeks following a catastrophic suicide attempt. This non-fiction book begins on the Saturday morning I received the call that ever after divided time for me: the news of my mother's accidental death. It describes the additional hardships - infertility, layoffs, a cross-country move, divorce - that led to the day I took a razor blade to my throat. It follows my journey from Atlanta to Athens, Georgia; central Oregon; and finally back to my roots in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, as well as my emotional journey from happily married stay-at-home mom to divorced secretary and single parent. Most importantly, it chronicles my battle with an insidious mental illness, my experiences in two psychiatric wards, and how I fought my way back to health.
The Girl Who Doesn't Talk by
Call Number: PN3448.A8 K54 2012
Publication Date: 2012-12-21
Susanna Klein never meant to insist on silence. But after the shy and sensitive little girl entered school and rarely spoke out loud, she was labeled as "the girl who doesn't talk." Helplessly trapped within her quiet world, Susanna taught herself how to talk without moving her lips. Sadly, no one understood her suffering or her condition: selective mutism.
In her compelling memoir, Susanna shares not only her powerful life story, but also her painful yet authentic journey inside her innermost thoughts as she details how her profound shyness permeated every area of her life and held her back from many of life's best experiences. As she embarks on a coming-of-age journey into adulthood, Susanna soon realizes she is stuck, unable to move on in her relationships or career. Desperate for answers but without any idea of where to turn, Susanna has no idea she is about to be saved by a sunny, golden little boy.
Antisocial Personality Disorder
Bad Boys, Bad Men by
Call Number: RC555 B53 1999
Publication Date: 1999-03-25
Bad Boys, Bad Men examines antisocial personality disorder or ASP, the mysterious mental condition that underlies this lifelong penchant for bad behavior. Psychiatrist and researcher Donald W. Black, MD, draws on case studies, scientific data, and current events to explore antisocial behavior and to chart the history, nature, and treatment of a misunderstood disorder that affects up to seven million Americans. Citing new evidence from genetics and neuroscience, Black argues that this condition is tied to biological causes and that some people are simply born bad. Bad Boys, Bad Men introduces us to people like Ernie, the quintessential juvenile delinquent who had an incestuous relationship with his mother and descended into crime and alcoholism; and John Wayne Gacy, the notorious serial killer whose lifelong pattern of misbehavior escalated to the rape and murder of more than 30 young men and boys. These compelling cases read like medical detective stories as Black tries to separate the lies these men tell from the facts of their lives.
Darkness Visible by
Call Number: RC537 .S88 1990
Publication Date: 1992-01-08
A work of great personal courage and a literary tour de force, this bestseller is Styron's true account of his descent into a crippling and almost suicidal depression. Styron is perhaps the first writer to convey the full terror of depression's psychic landscape, as well as the illuminating path to recovery.
Unholy Ghost by
Call Number: RC537 U546 2002
Publication Date: 2001-03-06
Unholy Ghost is a unique collection of essays about depression that, in the spirit of William Styron's Darkness Visible, finds vivid expression for an elusive illness suffered by more than one in five Americans today. Unlike any other memoir of depression, however, Unholy Ghost includes many voices and depicts the most complete portrait of the illness. Lauren Slater eloquently describes her own perilous experience as a pregnant woman on antidepressant medication. Susanna Kaysen, writing for the first time about depression since Girl, Interrupted, criticizes herself and others for making too much of the illness. Larry McMurtry recounts the despair that descended after his quadruple bypass surgery. Meri Danquah describes the challenges of racism and depression. Ann Beattie sees melancholy as a consequence of her writing life. And Donald Hall lovingly remembers the "moody seesaw" of his relationship with his wife, Jane Kenyon.
Speaking of Sadness by
Call Number: RC537 K367 1996
Publication Date: 1996-01-04
"Even though depression has periodically made me feel that my life was not worth living, has created havoc in my family, and sometimes made the work of teaching and writing seem impossible," writes David Karp, "by some standards, I have been fortunate." Indeed, depression can be devastating, leading to family breakups, loss of employment, even suicide. And it is a national problem, with some ten to fifteen million Americans suffering from it, and the number is growing. In Speaking of Sadness, Karp captures the human face of this widespread affliction, as he illuminates his experience and that of others in a candid, searching work.
Songs from the Black Chair by
Call Number: RC464.B365 A3 2005
Publication Date: 2005-03-01
How this child of privilege came to find himself at home among the homeless of New York City is just one story Barber tells in Songs from the Black Chair. Interlaced with his memoir, and illuminating the nightmare of mental illness that gripped him after his friend's suicide, are the stories of his confidants at Bellevue and the mental health shelters of Manhattan,men so traumatized by the distortions of their lives and minds that only in the chaotic aftermath of 9/11 do they feel in sync with their world. In the intertwined narrative of these troubled lives and his own, Charles Barber brings to shimmering light some of the most disturbing and enduring truths of human nature.
Thin Enough by
Call Number: BV4910.35 C78 2006
Publication Date: 2005-12-30
The teen and college years are a crucial time for girls, when positive or negative views about their bodies often become manifest. Written to eating disorder sufferers who are at this critical age, Thin Enough provides hope that, through faith and trust in God, they too can rise above the living death of eating disorders and arise as God’s daughters, full of life and with a promising future.
Sensing the Self by
Call Number: RC552 B84 R45 2002
Publication Date: 2002-10-15
Hearing about the destructive compulsion of bulimia nervosa, outsiders may wonder, "How could you ever start?" Those suffering from the eating disorder ask themselves in despair, "How can I ever stop?" How do you break the cycle of bingeing, vomiting, laxative abuse, and shame? While many books describe the descent into eating disorders and the resulting emotional and physical damage, this book describes recovery.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Web of Lies - My Life with a Narcissist by
Call Number: PN3448.A8 T38 2010
Publication Date: 2010-12-27
Web of Lies takes you on an emotional roller-coaster, experienced through the eyes of Sarah Tate, an intelligent, young newcomer to Switzerland who is swept off her feet by an older, more experienced company manager. Within weeks of their meeting, Bill impresses her with a courtship vastly unusual in modern times. He lures Sarah with his intellect along with numerous gifts, expensive restaurants, and trips to luxury hotels. Sarah, who is searching for not only love but security, quickly finds herself falling for the worldly but sensitive and caring man Bill represents himself to be. In Web of Lies, she describes the highs and the lows of what it is like to be involved with a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, how to come to terms with the abuse, and most importantly, how to escape.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
A Quiet Voice by
Call Number: RC552.P67 H37 2007
Publication Date: 2007-10-01
The year is 1968. Eugene (Tree) Hairston, an eighteen year old from the ghetto in Portsmouth VA, joins the service to get away from his abusive family. Serving in Vietnam, Hairston runs headlong into blatant racial discrimination and angers his superiors by reporting it. A sergeant, who loses a promotion because of the report, has Hairston bound and beaten, takes him up in a helicopter, and shoves him out into Viet Cong territory, to his probable death. Miraculously, Hairston is rescued three days later is given the option to leave the service.
At home, his untreated Post Traumatic Stress Disorder completely overtakes his life; the only way he is able to cope is by using drugs and alcohol. Unable to support his family or his habit, he turns to criminal activity and eventually becomes a successful drug dealer. His many attempts to get clean and sober fail; eventually he serves three prison sentences: for burglary, armed robbery, and drug dealing.
Abnormal Psychology, PSY245
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the phenomenon of psychopathology and to the field of abnormal psychology which attempts to understand and treat it in its many forms. The course will provide students with a basic understanding of this field and survey a number of the more common psychological disorders that have been explored within it such as clinical depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and personality disorders. Assessment, diagnosis, and treatment will also be addressed.
Divided Minds by
Call Number: RC514 .W165 2005
Publication Date: 2005-08-01
Growing up in the fifties, Carolyn Spiro was always in the shadow of her more intellectually dominant and socially outgoing twin, Pamela. But as the twins approached adolescence, Pamela began to suffer the initial symptoms of schizophrenia, hearing disembodied voices that haunted her for years and culminated during her freshman year of college at Brown University where she had her first major breakdown and hospitalization. Pamela’s illness allowed Carolyn to enter the spotlight that had for so long been focused on her sister. Exceeding everyone’s expectations, Carolyn graduated from Harvard Medical School and forged a successful career in psychiatry. Despite Pamela’s estrangement from the rest of her family, the sisters remained very close, “bonded with the twin glue,” calling each other several times a week and visiting as frequently as possible. Carolyn continued to believe in the humanity of her sister, not merely in her illness, and Pamela responded.
The Well by
Call Number: RC514 .W45 2010
Publication Date: 2009-12-01
The author's account of his life with mental illness. "Though having been stricken with paranoia and schizophrenia his entire adult life, he has succeeded in illustrating an array of challenges posed by the complex and widely misunderstood mental disease"-
The Eden Express by
Call Number: RC514 V593 1975
Publication Date: 1998-10-01
The Eden Express describes from the inside Mark Vonnegut's experience in the late '60s and early '70s-a recent college grad, in love, living communally on a farm, with a cherished dog and prized jalopy-and then the nervous breakdowns in all their slow-motion intimacy, the grim despair they afforded, and the taste of mortality and opportunity for humor they provided.
The Quiet Room by
Call Number: RC514.S332 A3 1994
Publication Date: 1994-06-01
At a summer camp in 1976, a 17-year-old girl suddenly hears a voice in the night. Booming out through the darkness, it makes her bolt awake. It says things that she has never before imagined. And it will be with her for years to come, tormenting her, robbing her of her sanity and very nearly her life. Lori Schiller was the perfect child - bright, affectionate, and joyfully alive. The firstborn and only daughter of a close-knit family she led a carefree, tranquil life, unaware that within her a secret illness was taking root. Then, at age 17, she began to hear voices in her mind. She told no one. Although the voices became more frequent and sinister, she still managed to graduate from high school, go to a good college, even begin a career. By 23, the voices seemed to take total control: Lori made her first suicide attempt. Soon she was pulled into the mental health care system, beginning an ordeal of institutions, halfway houses, relapses, more suicide attempts and a screaming, full-blown schizophrenia that seemed beyond the reach of any cure.
The Center Cannot Hold by
Call Number: RC464.S25 A3 2007
Publication Date: 2007-08-14
Elyn Saks is a success by any measure: she's an endowed professor at the prestigious University of Southern California Gould School of Law. She has managed to achieve this in spite of being diagnosed as schizophrenic and given a "grave" prognosis--and suffering the effects of her illness throughout her life.
Saks was only eight, and living an otherwise idyllic childhood in sunny 1960s Miami, when her first symptoms appeared in the form of obsessions and night terrors. But it was not until she reached Oxford University as a Marshall Scholar that her first full-blown episode, complete with voices in her head and terrifying suicidal fantasies, forced her into a psychiatric hospital.
So began Saks's long war with her own internal demons and the equally powerful forces of stigma. Today she is a chaired professor of law who researches and writes about the rights of the mentally ill. She is married to a wonderful man.
Dissociative Identity Disorder
The Magic Daughter by
Call Number: RC569.5.M8 P48 1996
Publication Date: 1995-10-01
Jane Phillips began writing The Magic Daughter, a memoir of her experiences with Multiple Personality Disorder, as a suicide note. She wanted to leave behind an account of her existence with a fragmented mind: the daily struggle to maintain consensus among a variety of selves; the awkwardness of encountering people who seemed to have "met" her but of whom she had no memory; the constant fatigue brought on by having to complete tasks several times in order to satisfy her various selves that a job is done; and the fear that somehow she will blow her cover and appear as something other than the college professor that she is.
Instead of dying, Jane Phillips became fascinated with the task she had set herself. Instead of dying, she wrote this exquisitely crafted account of her life as a multiple and her journey toward being "just-one."
A Mind of My Own by
Call Number: RC569.5.M8 S594 1989
Publication Date: 1989-09-01
Her story, told in the movie The Three Faces of Eve and the author's 1976 autobiography, I'm Eve, has fascinated millions. Here is Sizemore's personal story of the integration of her several personalities into the woman she is today.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Broken Mirror by
Call Number: RC569.5.B64 P48 2005
Publication Date: 1996-10-17
Jane is an attractive woman in her mid-thirties, tall, thin, and stately. She believes she is breathtakingly ugly. Tormented by what she sees as her huge nose, crooked lip, big jaw, fat buttocks, and tiny breasts, she has not left her house in six years. Though she lives in the same house as her mother, she once went two years without seeing her. When relatives come over, she avoids them, staying up on the third floor of the house, even on Thanksgiving. The one time she left the house--forced to see a doctor--she covered her face with bandages. Eventually, she attempted suicide. "I can't imagine any suffering greater than this. If I had a choice, I'd rather be blind or have my arms cut off. I'd be happy to have cancer." Jane has body dysmorphic disorder, or BDD. In The Broken Mirror, Dr. Katharine Phillips draws on years of clinical practice and detailed interviews with over 200 patients to bring readers the first book on this debilitating disease, in which sufferers are obsessed by perceived flaws in their appearance.
Shattered Image by
Call Number: RC569.5 B64 C83 2013
Publication Date: 2013-08-01
Brian Cuban is a successful lawyer, activist and TV host is living with an enemy that haunted him for over 30 years - his own reflection in the mirror. Through a series of very personal, witty and poignant anecdotes, the younger brother of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban opens up about his personal battle with a mental disorder known as Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) in which the sufferer is preoccupied with a distorted sense of self-image and is often afflicted with eating disorders, depression and addiction. In the book, Cuban illustrates the ongoing nightmare of (BDD) that has permeated his thoughts since childhood, taking the reader through the painful journey of childhood bullying over his weight, rejection and the behaviors that slowly developed as a young adult which took him into the abyss of depression, alcoholism, drug addiction, steroid abuse and eating disorders, nearly causing him to take his own life at the age of 44.
Call Number: RC553 F83 J65 2011
Publication Date: 2011-09-01
Dody Johnson has written a remarkable account of a woman awakening to a radical revision of her own life. A flood of memories triggered by a phrase arising out of nowhere challenged Johnson s conception of her childhood and of the 45 years she lived in a protective bubble of forgetting. This memoir depicts the powerful rupture caused by childhood abuse and the mysterious phenomenon of the fugue state as a mechanism of survival. Johnson s straightforward and disarming account of recovering disruptive and painful memories testifies to the human capacity for change.
Call Number: PS3561.A6929 Z4683 2009
Publication Date: 2009-11-03
Lit follows the self-professed blackbelt sinner's descent into the inferno of alcoholism and madness—and to her astonishing resurrection. Karr's longing for a solid family seems secure when her marriage produces a son they adore. But she can't outrun her apocalyptic past. She drinks herself into the same numbness that nearly devoured her charismatic but troubled mother, reaching the brink of suicide. Lit is about getting drunk and getting sober; becoming a mother by letting go of a mother; learning to write by learning to live.
My Own Worst Enemy by
Call Number: PS3619 T4356 M96 2011
Publication Date: 2011-01-28
Addiction is a gripping disease to which one can either succumb or overcome. Here is the story of a man who has done both with equal passion and despair. Join him on a journey as he finds himself lost in the deepest throes of substance abuse and later scaling the mountain that is recovery. My Own Worst Enemy offers a harrowing look at the very face of drug and alcohol addiction and the glory that accompanies one addict's vindication. Ronnie shares with the reader his most intimate trials and victories, from a childhood of abuse to the birth of his first child. At once painful and beautiful, his story is a testament to the strength and enlightenment that comes with sobriety and gives hope to those still struggling that they, too, can find freedom from addiction
Call Number: RC569.5 S48 F58 2013
Publication Date: 2013-07-02
Sharp is the story of a young man who began his life with a loving family and great promise for the future. But in his early twenties, David Fitzpatrick became so consumed by mental illness it sent him into a frenzy of cutting himself with razor blades. In this shocking and often moving book, he vividly describes the rush this act gave him, the fleeting euphoric high that seemed to fill the spaces in the rest of his life. It started a difficult battle from which he would later emerge triumphant and spiritually renewed.Fitzpatrick's youth seemed ideal. He was athletic, handsome, and intelligent. However, he lived in fear of an older brother who taunted and belittled him; and in college, his roommates teased and humiliated him, further damaging what sense of self-esteem he still carried with him. As he shares these experiences, Fitzpatrick also recounts the lessons learned from the broken people he encountered during his journey—knowledge that led to his own emotional resurrection.
Perfect Chaos by
Call Number: RC516 .J64 2012
Publication Date: 2012-05-08
The Johnsons were a close and loving family living in the Seattle area - two parents, two incomes, two bright and accomplished daughters. Then the younger daughter, Linea, started experiencing crippling bouts of suicidal depression. Multiple trips to the psych ward resulted in a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, and it took many trial runs of drugs and ultimately electroshock therapy to bring Linea back. But her family never gave up on her. And Linea never stopped trying to find her way back to them.
Perfect Chaos tells Linea and Cinda’s harrowing and inspiring story, of an illness that they conquer together every day. It is the story of a daughter’s courage, a mother’s faith, and the love that carried them through the darkest times.
An Unquiet Mind by
Call Number: RC516 .J363 1996
Publication Date: 1997-01-14
As a founder of UCLA's Affective Disorder Clinic and a co-author of a standard medical text, Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison may be the foremost authority on manic-depressive illness. She is also one of its survivors. And it is this dual perspective -- as healer and healed -- that makes Jamison's memoir so lucid, learned, and profoundly affecting. Even as she was pursuing her psychiatric training, Jamison found herself succumbing to the exhilarating highs and paralyzing lows that afflicted many of her patients. Though the disorder brought her seemingly boundless energy and mercurial creativity, it also propelled her into spending sprees, episodes of violence, and an attempt at suicide.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
The Man Who Couldn't Stop by
Call Number: RC533 A273 2015
Publication Date: 2015-01-20
Have you ever had a strange urge to jump from a tall building or steer your car into oncoming traffic? You are not alone. In this captivating fusion of science, history, and personal memoir, David Adam explores the weird thoughts that exist within every mind, and how they drive millions of us toward obsession and compulsion.
Adam, an editor at Nature and an accomplished science writer, has suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder for twenty years, and The Man Who Couldn’t Stop is his unflinchingly honest attempt to understand the condition and his experiences. What might lead an Ethiopian schoolgirl to eat a wall of her house, piece by piece, or a pair of brothers to die beneath an avalanche of household junk that they had compulsively hoarded? At what point does a harmless idea, a snowflake in a clear summer sky, become a blinding blizzard of unwanted thoughts? Drawing on the latest research on the brain, as well as historical accounts of patients and their treatments, this is a book that will challenge the way you think about what is normal and what is mental illness.
Told with fierce clarity, humor, and urgent lyricism, this extraordinary book is both the haunting story of a personal nightmare and a fascinating doorway into the darkest corners of our minds.
Everything in Its Place by
Call Number: RC533 .S86 1999
Publication Date: 1999-10-04
As the host of Nickelodeon's Double Dare and Family Double Dare, two of the sloppiest game shows on television, it was Marc Summers's job to be cheerfully splattered with goo. While smiling on the outside, however, inwardly Summers was consumed by anxiety. It wasn't until preeminent psychiatrist Dr. Eric Hollander appeared as a guest on Summers's Lifetime talk show that the source of his distress became clear: like an estimated 6 million Americans today--that's one in forty adults--Summers suffers the effects of obsessive compulsive disorder.
Rewind, Replay, Repeat by
Call Number: RC533 .B45 2007
Publication Date: 2006-12-28
The revealing story of one man's struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and his hard-won recovery.
Nagging doubt: It's a part of everyday life. Who hasn't doubled back to check on a door or appliance? But what if one check wasn't enough? Nor two or three? And what if nagging doubt grew so intense that physical senses became all but useless? Such was the case for Jeff Bell, a husband, father, and highly successful radio news anchor—and one of the millions of Americans living with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Bell's frank and forthright memoir recounts the depths to which this debilitating anxiety disorder reduced him—to driving his car in continuous circles, scouring his hands in scalding water, and endlessly rewinding, replaying, and repeating in his head even the most mundane daily experiences.
Washing My Life Away by
Call Number: RC533 .D43 2005
Publication Date: 2005-05-01
How many of us double check that we really have locked the door or switched off the iron? For some people, such mundane everyday worries can become life-ruining obsessions. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) affects one in fifty people and one of them was Ruth Deane. In this frank and personal account she shares her own experience as an OCD sufferer, from the first innocuous signs of onset to the devastating effect of the condition on her relationships with her family and friends, her self-esteem and her marriage. Ruth Deane takes the reader on a moving, honest and at times light-hearted journey, from washing her hands until they cracked and bled, to hospital admission and eventual management and recovery from OCD.
Call Number: RC533 W67 A3 2012
Publication Date: 2012-03-27
In his brilliant memoir, the author takes us on an intimate journey across the psychological landscape of OCD, known as the “doubting disorder,” as populated by God, girls, and apocalyptic nightmares. Wortmann unflinchingly reveals the elaborate series of psychological rituals he constructs as “preventative measures” to ward off the end times, as well as his learning to cope with intrusive thoughts through Clockwork Orange-like “trigger” therapy. But even more than this, the author emerges as a preternatural talent as he unfolds a kaleidoscope of culture high and low ranging from his obsessions with David Bowie, X-Men, and Pokemon, to an eclectic education shaped by Shakespeare, Kierkegaard, Catholic mysticism, Christian comic books, and the collegiate dating scene at the “People’s Republic of Swarthmore.”
Borderline Personality Disorder
Sometimes I Act Crazy by
Call Number: RC569.5 B67 K743 2004
Publication Date: 2004-02-25
A source of hope, expert advice, and guidance for people with borderline personality disorder and those who love them. Do you experience frightening, often violent mood swings that make you fear for your sanity? Are you often depressed? Do you engage in self-destructive behaviors such as drug or alcohol abuse, anorexia, compulsive eating, self-cutting, and hair pulling? Do you feel empty inside, or as if you don’t know who you are? Do you dread being alone and fear abandonment? Do you have trouble finishing projects, keeping a job, or forming lasting relationships?
If you or someone you love answered yes to the majority of these questions, there’s a good chance that you or that person suffers from borderline personality disorder, a commonly misunderstood and misdiagnosed psychological problem afflicting tens of millions of people. Princess Diana was one of the most well-known BPD sufferers.
Girl, Interrupted by
Call Number: RC464 K36 A3 1993
Publication Date: 1994-04-19
In 1967, after a session with a doctor she'd never seen before, eighteen-year-old Susanna Kaysen was put in a taxi to McLean Hospital. She spent most of the next two years on the ward for teenage girls in a psychiatric hospital Through her own experiences (augmented by pages from her medical record) and those of her fellow patients, Kaysen opens up the world of the hospital and questions the social and emotional assumptions that divide people into deviant or normal.
Get Me Out of Here by
Call Number: RC569.5.B67 R45 2004
Publication Date: 2004-08-04
Borderline Personality Disorder. "What the hell was that?" raged Rachel Reiland when she read the diagnosis written in her medical chart. As the 29-year old accountant, wife, and mother of young children would soon discover, it was the diagnosis that finally explained her explosive anger, manipulative behaviors, and self-destructive episodes- including bouts of anorexia, substance abuse, and sexual promiscuity. With astonishing honesty, Reiland's memoir reveals what mental illness feels like and looks like from the inside, and how healing from such a devastating disease is possible through intensive therapy and the support of loved ones.
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Look Me in the Eye by
Call Number: RC553.A88 R635 2007
Publication Date: 2007-09-25
Ever since he was small, John Robison had longed to connect with other people, but by the time he was a teenager, his odd habits—an inclination to blurt out non sequiturs, avoid eye contact, dismantle radios, and dig five-foot holes (and stick his younger brother in them)—had earned him the label “social deviant.” No guidance came from his mother, who conversed with light fixtures, or his father, who spent evenings pickling himself in sherry. It was no wonder he gravitated to machines, which could, at least, be counted on.
After fleeing his parents and dropping out of high school, his savant-like ability to visualize electronic circuits landed him a gig with KISS, for whom he created their legendary fire-breathing guitars. Later, he drifted into a “real” job, as an engineer for a major toy company. But the higher Robison rose in the company, the more he had to pretend to be “normal” and do what he simply couldn’t: communicate. It wasn’t worth the paycheck.
It was not until he was forty that an insightful therapist told him he had the form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome. That understanding transformed the way Robison saw himself—and the world.
Born on a Blue Day by
Call Number: RC553.A88 T36 2007
Publication Date: 2007-01-09
Daniel Tammet sees numbers as shapes, colors, and textures, and he can perform extraordinary calculations in his head. He can learn to speak new languages fluently, from scratch, in a week. In 2004, he memorized and recited more than 22,000 digits of pi, setting a record. He has savant syndrome, an extremely rare condition that gives him almost unimaginable mental powers, much like those portrayed by Dustin Hoffman in the film Rain Man.
Daniel has a compulsive need for order and routine -- he eats the same precise amount of cereal for breakfast every morning and cannot leave the house without counting the number of items of clothing he's wearing. When he gets stressed or is unhappy, he closes his eyes and counts. But in one crucial way Daniel is not at all like the Rain Man: he is virtually unique among people who have severe autistic disorders in that he is capable of living a fully independent life. He has emerged from the "other side" of autism with the ability to function successfully -- he is even able to explain what is happening inside his head.