Personal Stories Library


F E A T U R E D    A R T I C L E

Book Review: Living Independently on the Autism Spectrum

August 28th, 2014
Lynne Soraya grew up in a world that did not always make sense. She did learn to make her way through, but it was difficult. As an adult, she was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome — then life began to make much more sense. Soraya’s book, Living Independently on the Autism Spectrum: What You Need to Know to ...

Healing from Neglect: When Those We Love Don’t Love Us

BOOK REVIEW.
It is an emotion that has inspired the rise and fall of empires and that influences the very foundation of our development. But how you approach love is dependent on your past and present associations with it. The belief that love is a many-splendored thing falls away when we step back and evaluated the collateral ...

Lessons from my Depression

Lessons from my DepressionI was in a hopeless, dark place about seven years ago. I was living in a single room on the thirteenth floor of a building. One day it felt like it made more sense to jump from the window than to find the ...

The Fog of Paranoia: A Sister’s Journey through Her Brother’s Schizophrenia

BOOK REVIEW.
When a loved one develops a mental illness, we sift through the sands of memory looking for clues. Running our hand through the fine grains, we examine past events, vague memories, comments made in passing. As we home in on a recollection, we ask ourselves: Was this the moment we knew something was wrong? Or ...

Is That Me Yelling? A Parent’s Guide

BOOK REVIEW.
"I never imagined that I would have a child who talks back to me and thinks she’s the boss of everyone. How did that happen, and what am I supposed to do now?" So asks Brice, a psychologist and parent of a 7-year-old child, in Rona Renner’s Is That Me Yelling? A Parent’s Guide to Getting Your ...

The Gift of Adversity: The Unexpected Benefits of Life’s Difficulties, Setbacks & Imperfections

BOOK REVIEW.
With a title like The Gift of Adversity, Norman Rosenthal’s new book seemed like it would be a boring recount of life’s hard situations — something trite with a “get through it” message woven in. Instead, I was surprised to find it a rather interesting read. Rosenthal is a great storyteller, and that’s key. A clinical ...

Book Review: Lifting the Veil

BOOK REVIEW.
When I began reading Lifting the Veil, it seemed clear that the main theme was dissociative identity disorder — previously and popularly known as multiple personality disorder. The book appears to be a first-hand account of one therapist’s experience in treating a complicated patient. It is an interesting disorder to treat and to write about as ...

Where Are the Obsessions?

Where are the Obsessions?It seems to me that obsessive-compulsive disorder has become the mental illness du jour. Every day new celebrities announce they have the disorder and the topic seems to be popping up on primetime television shows as well. After all, OCD does make for ...

Back from the Brink: True Stories & Practical Help for Overcoming Depression & Bipolar Disorder

BOOK REVIEW.
“We are lonesome animals. We spend all of our life trying to be less lonesome. One of our ancient methods is to tell a story begging the listener to say — and to feel — ‘Yes, that is the way it is, or at least that is the way I feel it. You’re not as ...

Shadows in the Sun: Healing from Depression & Finding the Light Within

BOOK REVIEW.
Every family has its secrets. They appear in those silent moments of conversation, the extended pause followed by the hasty explanation. History is written, then rewritten, and even the present revised, all to try to preserve a semblance of normalcy for the future. For years, Gayathri Ramprasad was her family’s secret, the symptoms of the undiagnosed ...

Mastering the Art of Quitting: Why It Matters in Life, Love & Work

BOOK REVIEW.
One of my earliest childhood memories is of me at three years old sitting on my mother’s lap while she read from the The Little Engine That Could. Originally published in 1930, the story is meant to inculcate children with the values of persistence. Hence the repetition: I think I can, I think I can. It is precisely ...

Oppositional Defiant Disorder: A Mother’s Survival

BOOK REVIEW.
Are you the parent of a child with aggressive and rebellious behavior? Do you find yourself feeling exhausted after homework time, reinforcing rules and boundaries, or dealing with negative school behavior?  If so, you can probably relate to Zenia Marsden, the mother of a child with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and author of Oppositional Defiant Disorder: ...

Trouble Is a Gift: A Story of Addiction, Recovery & Hope

BOOK REVIEW.
“But finally, there I was alone in this apartment, sitting in a chair, staring at the radiator waiting for the little guy to crawl out from behind it. Knowing the bottle was going to be empty in another minute. Wondering how I’m going to get money to buy a new one or if I should ...

Better Days: A Mental Health Recovery Workbook

BOOK REVIEW.
“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.”  ~ Albert Ellis, PhD Mental illness is a tricky beast in which the problems in one’s life seem ...

Retelling the Stories of Our Lives: Everyday Narrative Therapy to Draw Inspiration

BOOK REVIEW.
This book began as a project between author David Denborough and the creator of narrative therapy, the late Michael White. Denborough worked alongside White for 15 years, then carried the book to fruition following White’s death in 2008. He has written an excellent work that provides guidance in how to both tell and change your ...

Bullying Under Attack: True Stories Written by Teen Victims, Bullies & Bystanders

BOOK REVIEW.
I heard my share of mean comments about my weight, height, and personality while I was in school, but as someone who has never truly been “bullied,” I always just saw it as part of the growing up process. Thus, I never truly understood what bullying is and the impact it has. As a result, ...

The Riddle in the Mirror: A Journey in Search of Healing

BOOK REVIEW.
Author Jayni Bloch was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, during the era of apartheid, and that painful period is the context for her story of psychological and spiritual growth. Having grown up myself in the segregated American South, I found Bloch’s story particularly interesting. Not only were there racial divisions in South Africa between black and ...

The Bliss Experiment: 28 Days to Personal Transformation

BOOK REVIEW.
Would you like to change the world in 28 days? How about something more manageable, like becoming a more relaxed, gracious, and loving person? Sean Meshorer’s The Bliss Experiment: 28 Days to Personal Transformation is designed to guide the reader through 28 bliss-enhancing practices. While the book, and especially its tone, did not earn my ...

My Struggles with OCD in Recovery

My Struggles with OCD in Recovery"Are you being crazy again?" My wife, upon noticing my awkward and all-too-familiar hand gestures, has asked me this hundreds of times. I will complete an apparent pantomime audition of mere seconds, starting with a short series of pronounced arm movements and ...

The Department of Lost & Found

BOOK REVIEW.
Allison Winn Scotch’s The Department Of Lost And Found is a captivating read that depicts a young woman battling breast cancer. However, Scotch’s words are inspirational. She relays the message that once we take life into our own hands and hone in on our most authentic selves, we can grasp what’s important and ...

Your Best Life Yet: A Journey of Purpose & Passion

BOOK REVIEW.
“There I was, on a Broadway stage. Naked with the rest of the cast of Oh! Calcutta! The drugs and alcohol must not have been working because I was literally crawling out of my skin.” So begins the preface of Marcia Ullett’s book Your Best Life Yet: A Journey of Purpose and Passion. This sets the tone ...

The Spirit of the Heart: Stories of Family, Hope, Loss & Healing

BOOK REVIEW.
You never forget your first patient who dies. When I entered medical school, I knew death would be part of my education, that not every patient could be saved. I was in my third year of medical school and had recently come back from talking with a patient, assessing him for a possible surgery, when the ...

How Do You Grab a Naked Lady?

BOOK REVIEW.
Before they fell out of vogue, roughly 40,000 lobotomies took place in the United States. “Took place” being a rather passive, arm’s-length way of saying that, on 40,000 separate occasions, a person with an advanced medical degree decided to slice another person’s brain. Often, against their will, and sometimes, with an ice pick through the ...