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"Voices Inside Me" is a real-world dramatic account of author William Stride's life and recovery after a psychotic break. The night he was beaten by the Boston police and thrown in jail marked the beginning of a complete and total upheaval in Stride's life, caused by an all-present and advancing mental illness. Following his initial psychotic break, he was homeless twice and spent two years in Massachusetts state mental hospitals as well as numerous stays in private hospitals. On five occasions, he engineered dramatic escapes. This is a gritty, intense, and fast-paced account of Stride's fight to regain the life he once had. His story is about action-whether it be one of the many escapes from treatment or abiding by a treatment plan that could still allow him a degree of freedom. He digs deep to understand his illness, the role of psychiatry, and what it means to be human. There is no silver bullet to cure mental illness. Recovery is hard work and demands full-time vigilance. Schizophrenia is an illness that calls without invitation and cannot be told to go away. It brings on a life of desperation, loneliness, sorrow, and sometimes suicide. Schizophrenia forced the author to travel a road he would not have chosen voluntarily. However, with the help of medications, caregivers, and sheer will, he found his way back. This is the story of that journey, from being a promising young man just out of college, to psychotic break and subsequent recovery.
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“This well-written and compelling story joins the increasing number of recovery narratives becoming available as more and more people reclaim their lives from the ravages of mental illness. Persons in distress, family members, and practitioners alike will be inspired by William’s courageous struggle and his willingness to share it so openly with us.”
Larry Davidson, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychiatry and Director, Program for Recovery and Community Health
Yale University School of Medicine and Institution for Social and Policy Studies
Editor, American Journal of Psychiatric Rehabilitation
“Voices inside me” is Bill Stride’s harrowing but inspirational account of his journey as one of the approximately 3 million adults living with schizophrenia in the US. Bill went from being a young man with a bright and conventional future ahead of him to living through a terrifying period when he dealt with the unforgiving symptoms of an illness that distorts reality and fabricates enemies where none exist. He got to meet wonderful people who helped him along the way – Sally, the maternal fellow patient at Met State, John, the Met State mental health worker, Dave Gendron and Les Havens, two wonderful psychiatrists at Cambridge Hospital, but he was also set back by the many shortcomings of this country’s chaotic and underfunded mental healthcare system and the powerful sting of ignorance-fueled stigma. As he poignantly writes, mental illness robbed him of “so many things.” However, he also reminds his fellow travelers and those who love or care for someone with a mental illness that there is light at the end of the tunnel and much to be gained from even the most traumatic life experiences. Bill eventually learned to understand his illness and how to manage it, and he is all the wiser as a result of this journey – he is a deeply engaged and caring member of society and a champion of the many whose lives have been upended by mental illness.
Marcela Horvitz-Lennon, MD
Physician Scientist and Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
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