Out of the six I have mentioned Kay Redfield Jamison and Elyn Saks on this blog. Jamison is the author of Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide as well as An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness. Elyn Saks is a law professor at The University of Southern California and author of The Center Will Not Hold My Journey Through Madness. I earned my masters in clinical social work degree at USC so I was familiar with her name at that time.
Charlie Rose - The Brain Series -The Mentally Ill Brain - Part 1
Charlie Rose - The Brain Series -The Mentally Ill Brain - Part 2
Charlie Rose - The Brain Series -The Mentally Ill Brain - Part3
Charlie Rose - The Brain Series -The Mentally Ill Brain - Part 4
I appreciate this segment on the brain. I'm not a fan of Charlie Rose per say as I do not find him to be a profound interviewer. Even so, he often has intriguing guests on his show.
Before I go any further I'd like to take a brief moment to touch on the issue of Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) or Shock Therapy as it is simply known. ECT in this piece was mentioned as something that often gets a bad rap. This a valid concern. ECT is a last resort but to my knowledge some doctors have recommended it earlier than I would have suggested. Some doctors speak highly of its benefits however, there are side effects that are not helpful.
Let it be known that receiving ECT is not an immediate prescription. A patient must give consent and if a patient cannot do so due to their low level of mental functioning, a court appointed guardian or conservator must give consent.
I may speak further about ECT in separate post.
This part of the brain series has significance for me for a variety of reasons. One reason in particular is that I am familar with the work of Kay Redfield Jamison and Elyn Saks. Jamison is diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and Saks with Schizophrenia Disorder.
Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide is the best book about the topic I've come upon thus far.
The book delves into the history of suicide, easy to follow statistics, stories, and scientific facts about suicide in families and in twins, gender disparities, and the impact of the seasons and times of day. Jamison presents poems, suicide notes and stories of individuals who have committed suicide which offer a personalistic viewpoint of those who are suffering. Jamison also scolds the media for actually promoting and maintaining preoccupation with suicide amongst at risk persons.
Below are two excerpts and a poem from the book.
"Depression in most suicides probably impairs the capacity for rational thought while at the same time inducing suicide impulses."
"We know that suicidal acts are often impulsive; that is they are undertaken without much forethought or regard for consequence. More than half of suicide attempts occur within the context of a premeditation period of less than five minutes, and many researchers and clinicians, as well as patients who survive medically serious suicide attempts occur within the context of premeditation period of less than five minutes, and many researchers and clinicians as ell as patients who survive medically serious suicide attempts, lay stress on the role of impulse in the decision to commit suicide. (Although many suicidal patients have well formulated plans for suicide, the ultimate timing and final decision to act are often determined by impulse.)"
Elyn Saks is a law professor at The University of Southern California (USC). Below is her most recent publication entitled The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness.
Below are two excerpts from the book.
"Schizophrenia rolls in like a slow fog, becoming imperceptively thicker as time goes on. At first, the day is bright enough, the sky is clear, the sunlight warms your shoulders. But soon, you notice a haze beginning to gather around you, and the air feels not quite so warm. After a while, the sun is a dim light bulb behind a heavy cloth. The horizon has vanished into a grey mist, and you feel a thick dampness in your lungs as you stand, cold and wet, in the afternoon dark."
"Consciousness gradually loses its coherence. One's center gives way. The center cannot hold. The "me" becomes a haze, and the solid center from which one experiences reality breaks up like a bad radio signal. There is no longer a sturdy vantage point from which to look out, take things in, assess what's happening. No core holds things together, providing the lens through which to see the world, to make judgments and comprehend risk".
To learn more about mental illness and available resources visit NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) or NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health).