Possessing Me: a memoir of healing is an autobiographical account of Jane Alexander’s seventeen year battle with mental illness. Chiefly: schizoaffective disorder and post traumatic stress disorder. Schizoaffective disorder is a combination of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
This is not a memoir about a conditional recovery or temporary remission from mental illness. It is not a book about a continued struggle to survive mental illness. It is a book about how one woman found herself and healed herself of her suffering; essentially curing herself of all mental illness—in just five years.
In her own words:
I am the child of a mood disordered parent. My symptoms started at age six and got progressively worse as I got older. At some point during my teens things got bad enough to seek help.
Help or ‘treatment’ turned out to mean being doped to the gills on psychiatric so-called medications. I say ‘so-called’ because these treatments did not work for me at all. In fact, being on psychiatric drugs basically made living with mental illness much much worse than not being on them.
So I discontinued meds as soon as I gained the legal right to refuse and because I was poor I went without therapy and I struggled very hard. I nearly died by my own hand several times. There were some extremely difficult years as a young adult coping with my unmanaged mental illness.
At some point, as I was recovering from a near-death experience that I had during an OD, I decided to take full responsibility for my life, my moods and thoughts. I ceased to blame my problems on my genes, chemical imbalances or my karma. I realized that I was mentally ill. The problem was with my mind. So I concluded that I needed to get to work on fixing my mind if I was ever going to get a chance at having a life worth living.
This started a years-long journey of self-healing through diligent lifestyle and stress management and dedicated practice to mind-body disciplines. The result: In just about five years all my symptoms went away. It’s now been over fifteen years since I’ve tried to hurt myself.
I am not in remission. I am not holding myself together through force of will. I am no longer the same person as I was when I was long cycling and rapid cycling. I am changed. I am completely cured of bipolar disorder and my early onset schizophrenia.
While there are a growing number of mental health recovery memoirs as well as some interesting claims of cures involving herbal supplements or finding religion or having faith in a higher power, we believe this work to be the only book currently available in which a person with multiple mental illnesses was able to effect a self-cure without the use of psychotherapy, psychiatric drugs or perpetual dependency on mega doses of vitamins and minerals. In fact, the only agency involved in curing Jane of her mental problems was Jane herself.
When you hear or read in the news that children from dysfunctional homes get picked up by case workers for Child and Family Services and placed somewhere—have you ever wondered what kinds of places they were referring to? Jane takes you to some of those placements and frankly shows you what life for her was like in them.
In Possessing Me: a memoir of healing Jane grants the reader a first-person perspective of life as ward of the State caught up in the juvenile mental health system. She gives us a revealing tour through psychiatric hospitals, group homes and foster families seen through her eyes as a teenage patient, resident and foster child. We meet the social worker from Hell and follow Jane as she tries at various turns to outwit The System to her advantage.
Not Only About Mood Swings
This is not simply a memoir of mood swings, but a self-documentary from someone who was institutionalized as a minor. As such it is a unique resource for people interested in going to work professionally in the mental health field as behavioral clinicians, psychiatric nurses, residential counselors, LCSWs as well as others who work directly with troubled teens or come into contact with children and adolescents in the mental health or family court system.
Mental Health and Children
Every day kids get swept up into the juvenile mental health system, labeled for life, medicated and warehoused out-of-sight somewhere until they reach eighteen. Most have little, if any, say in the matter of their placements or the drugs they are coerced to take. It’s really quite common, even endemic in our society right now. But it’s just not talked about very much.
Creating Dialog About Mental Health
We as a society do not have an open dialogue about the reality of this fringe world that tens if not hundreds of thousands of children in the country exist in. Most people, unless they work in the system, never hear about this state-funded and often privately-run underworld for children and teens except through the media when something really spectacular happens that is related to it; such as when we heard that Northern University of Illinois shooter Steven Kazmierczak had spent some time in a group home for emotionally disturbed teens.
Possessing Me: a memoir of healing offers us a rare and insightful glimpse into the life of someone stuck in and struggling with a system that is much larger than she is, while simultaneously trying to cope with existing trauma and serious mental illness.
Mental illnesses like depression, post traumatic stress disorder and schizophrenia afflict millions of people around the world. Right now in this country we are experiencing an explosion of bipolar disorder diagnoses, a veritable epidemic of the condition. And as the conflicts in the Middle East slowly wind down, many of our returning service members, citizens and family are burdened by the things they’ve seen and done.
If you know someone who is an adult survivor of child abuse, abandonment, institutionalization or you are someone who is struggling with the treatment-resistant version of mental illnesses like manic depression and schizophrenia as well as comorbid conditions like anxiety and PTSD, then you may find this book to be both helpful and hopeful. In an era when people with similar diagnoses are told they have a lifetime incurable condition that they need perpetual maintenance treatments for—this book reveals that that is not necessarily always the case for everyone.
Possessing Me: a memoir of healing is now available at Amazon.com