This paper was prepared for Pyschology 440 (Abnormal Pych), taught by Dr. Siefert
Lori Schiller’s story of her struggles battling mental illness is frightening yet inspiring. Lori’s childhood was incredibly normal if not better than the norm. She grew up in a very affluent, wealthy family that were also very loving and supporting. Lori was also a straight A student that was accepted to some of the best universities in the country. Many people have the notion that mental illness only happens to children from bad families or the homeless but Lori proves that stereotype wrong. Mental Illness can happen across all spectrums when there are very few if any risk factors.
Lori begins hearing voices at the age of 17, while working as a counselor at a summer camp. They are frightening and threatening in nature, the voices constantly boomed commands into her ears, telling her to do horrible things including killing herself. She starts to go for days without sleeping at camp, becoming aloof and depressed. When she goes home from summer camp the voices continue, but she carries on with her normal day to day activities. She is determined to carry on her life as normal. At first she related her symptoms to being possessed perhaps. But later on she started to wonder if the threatening voices in her head meant she was mentally ill. Along with the voices in her head she started becoming paranoid of televisions and phones, thinking they were out to get her or talking directly at her. Lori who had always been outgoing and full of life was seeing herself slowly becoming more and more withdrawn from friends and family. Many days she wouldn’t even get out of bed or properly groom or shower. She described her moods as highs and lows, on the high days she would be almost manic, having lot’s of energy and going for long drives or make impulsive decisions, the low days would be the ones spent in bed, skipping class.
Lori continues to get good grades and goes on to a prestigious college. She is afraid to tell anyone so she keeps the voices a secret. After college she moves to New York City at age 23 and after a slow decline the first major event in her life with mental illness occurs, she attempts suicide by downing all her medications. She reached a plateau, ending up in the hospital surrounded by family, friends and doctors it was impossible to continue to keep her frightening secret. For years she continued in and out of hospitals and psychiatric wards, suffering from severe auditory hallucinations, oblivious to external stimuli and often angry . She goes through quite a lot of ups and downs, self medicating with cocaine and even attempting suicide again. Lori’s life turns around when she accept that the voices don’t need to control her life. Eventually Lori started to recover with the help of a drug called Clozapine, a then experimental drug. Eventually with the help of Clozapine and a strong support system Schizophrenia no longer rules Lori’s life.
A major theme in The Quiet Room was voices, while there are many characters in Lori’s story, the most consistent and present are the voices. Of all the ways Lori’s illness manifests itself the voices have the strongest effect on her. The voices are always negative, effecting her self- esteem and causing her to lose sleep or even be able to have conversations with other people. The voices will command her to kill herself or harm others. Lori mainly describes the voices with no particular identifies, apart from The Narrator, who makes observations on Lori’s life and narrates almost everything she does, often in a negative light. The majority of the book revolves around Lori’s battle against the voices. She at first reasons with them but to know avail, sometimes they die down for awhile but they are always back with vengeance. It...