Stephen Seager M.D.

BrainTalk

"Crazy: A Creative and Personal Look at Mental Illness"

Debunking the myth of mental illness thought word, art and education

Posted Apr 02, 2016

Recently, a book came to my house in the mail. Snail mail. An actual book. Old school. Analog. I’d been asked to review the book, “Crazy: a creative and personal look at mental illness” by Michael Hanna and Tami Leino Hanna. They run a non-profit organization called, “Adam’s Place.” Adams Place, they say, is “dedicated to debunking the myths of mental illness through word, art and eduction.” In my life as a psychiatrist, writer and film maker, being sent books, articles and blog posts, is a fairly common occurrence. I wasn’t expecting much. But I was wrong. Very pleasantly wrong.

CRAZY, the liner notes say, is a collection, or a collage, of expressions through art that give an inside view of living with mental illness. Four years in the making, CRAZY includes hundreds of pieces of art and text from more than 150 artists and authors - all of them impacted by mental illness in one way or another.” And after a thorough reading, the people at Adam’s Place have done exactly what they set out to do. CRAZY is not only visually stunning and impactful - splashy, vivid, jarring - it is also full of honest, heartfelt stories of young people’s struggles with their mental illness. In a world of Facebook posts, memes, tweets and soundbites, it isn’t often that you have an opportunity to slow down and read in detail about the personal, real, heart-rending stories of young persons who, often, have had their dreams and hopes dashed on the craggy rocks of a serious brain disease. 

CRAZY is not a book about the politics of mental illness. It’s a book about the humanity of those who suffer from mental illness. CRAZY isn’t a book about promoting different theoretical agendas. CRAZY is a book that simply recommends treatment. CRAZY isn’t a book about complaining or bemoaning one’s fate. CRAZY is a book about 150 young people explaining themselves. Explaining how they deal with their illness. How they deal with their family. How they deal with work, love and life. 

As one young woman says, “She’s defensive and cries easily. It’s as if an alien came and took away my daughter.” to which the reply is, “It’s all in here. Hiding in plain sight. A battle in your own backyard.” 

For the parents of those who struggle with the mental illness of their children, to those who feel alone and isolated, who feel that they are the only ones who suffer, to those who might want to become educated about mental illness - CRAZY includes facts and figures about brain disease -  I cannot recommend CRAZY highly enough. Get a copy. Visit Adam’s Place website: www.adamsplacecrazy.org

The authors say, “CRAZY is an award-winning art book created by youth for youth…The art and writings in CRAZY are personal and real, based on first hand experiences of youth living with mental illness…(but) the best part of CRAZY is good news about recovery - yes yours - and how to get there… So  if you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness, pick up CRAZY, open it’s pages, and find you are not alone.”

stephen seager
Source: stephen seager

Pick up a copy from their website: www.adamsplacecrazy.org. You will be moved. You will learn. You will be changed. 

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