The Center Cannot Hold

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Abnormal Psychology

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The book “The center cannot hold: My Journey Through Madness” written by Elyn Saks is a gripping and eye opening story about her personal battle with the lifetime sentence of Schizophrenia. The book starts out by telling about her childhood in Miami Florida. She lived a normal life, for the most part, with a normal family who loved and supported her. Though even from an early age she knew something was off. She was a quirky, paranoid girl who almost seemed at times to have obsessive-compulsive disorder. She often thought people were outside her house waiting to come in and abduct her.

These strange feelings were not all that plagued Elyn in her childhood; she also had a struggle with anorexia. The first time she was put in any sort of treatment program was in high school, “the center” as they called it, after she admitted to trying marijuana on a school trip to Mexico. She stayed in the centers program for the duration of her high school experience. Then Elyn began attending Vanderbilt University. She was highly successful in her academics but always fought with odd thoughts and voices telling her terrible things, “demons” as she refers to them. This sort of mental battle went on for the duration of her time at Vanderbilt, little did she know this battle within her mind was just beginning.

The next phase in Elyn’s life was attending oxford to study philosophy on a Marshall scholarship. The psychosis began to really come on heavy while she was in England. In was there that she first began to receive psychoanalysis from a woman who would become a monumental part of her life, Mrs. Jones. Treatment with Mrs. Jones brought a newfound freedom for Elyn, being able to release her violent and disturbing thoughts to a therapist was a luxury she never had. She completed her education at Oxford in 1981; it took her two years longer than anticipated due to her, still unknown, illness. She decided to live...
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