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I bought this book for my son who loves Kurt Vonnegut, has bi polar disorder and is in med school He finished it in a little over a day without sacrificing his studies and promptly bought a copy for me and my husband also bi polar I was concurrently scared and hopeful as I read Vonnegut s account of his disease Living with the disease in my household, I still don t understand what s going on most of the time I appreciated the author s assertion that most people do not realize the heroism I bought this book for my son who loves Kurt Vonnegut, has bi polar disorder and is in med school He finished it in a little over a day without sacrificing his studies and promptly bought a copy for me and my husband also bi polar I was concurrently scared and hopeful as I read Vonnegut s account of his disease Living with the disease in my household, I still don t understand what s going on most of the time I appreciated the author s assertion that most people do not realize the heroism needed to survive mental illness Vonnegut writes with humor, honesty and hope This is the latest book that I am recommending to almost everyone I know my rating is horribly harsh so sorry, mark vonnegut it s just that your memoir tells me nothing it tells me a bit of what it s like to be psychotic, but that s not hard to get knowledge it also tells me a bit about what it s like to have been a doctor before and after the advent of managed care that s easy to get knowledge too it tells me a little bit about kurt vonnegut and being his son, but i am not very interested in that a kurt vonnegut fan might be, but she might want to be warned t my rating is horribly harsh so sorry, mark vonnegut it s just that your memoir tells me nothing it tells me a bit of what it s like to be psychotic, but that s not hard to get knowledge it also tells me a bit about what it s like to have been a doctor before and after the advent of managed care that s easy to get knowledge too it tells me a little bit about kurt vonnegut and being his son, but i am not very interested in that a kurt vonnegut fan might be, but she might want to be warned that there are just little vignettes, not all of them meaningful i like fragmented, episodic, disjointed writing like the next person, but it s a hard style to pull off not because it s hard to write in fragments but because it s hard to preserve a sense of narrative, coherence, and unity throughout the fragmentation i m not upholding the ideal of aristotelian unity, just a sense of what it is like to write writing is stringing ideas together the thread doesn t have to be visible or strong but it must be there, because that thread is what constitute meaning fragmentation and meaning are opposites, even though the latter can never overcome the former.i am sympathetic to the tragedy and humiliation of so many four psychotic breakdowns, and admiring of your success in the face of such challenges i also thing you turn out a good sentence i just wish i had gotten somethingout of your book i don t like, typically, reviews that address books authors, but i have discovered to my great embarrassment that authors read these reviews nooooooooooo so, if i have to write a negative review, i want to make sure i address the author, and say how sorry i am not to have liked gotten his in this case book ETA i changed my rating cuz i felt an eel In the 1960 s, Mark Vonnegut, son of iconic author Kurt Vonnegut Jr., went to British Columbia to start a commune He dropped a lot of acid, went crazy, and ended up on the psych ward getting electro shock treatment and Thorazine His first memoir,The Eden Express A Memoir of Insanitychronicles all that.After the book was published, Mark recovered well enough to get into Harvard Medical School and is a practicing pediatrician till today That may sound like a happy ending, but no life wra In the 1960 s, Mark Vonnegut, son of iconic author Kurt Vonnegut Jr., went to British Columbia to start a commune He dropped a lot of acid, went crazy, and ended up on the psych ward getting electro shock treatment and Thorazine His first memoir,The Eden Express A Memoir of Insanitychronicles all that.After the book was published, Mark recovered well enough to get into Harvard Medical School and is a practicing pediatrician till today That may sound like a happy ending, but no life wraps itself up in a perfect bow Dr Vonnegut did crack up fourteen years later even though he was living the Harvard certified life of an accomplished physician This memoir, written decades after the first, covers that breakdown and recovery with plenty of social commentary sprinkled in Some Goodreaders found these asides too choppy, but I value Dr Vonnegut s insights, particularly into how insurance is ruining the practice of medicine I d trust Dr Vonnegut with my own kids What other doctor knows both sides of drugs and mental illness so thoroughly As a memoir,The Eden Expressis the better book This one tried to fit muchtime into far fewer pages Still, it was a worthy follow up Dr Vonnegut has maintained his 1960 s idealism while trimming off its excesses He s middle of the road on the practice of psychiatry skeptical of medications, but a harsh critic of R.D Laing s drug free approach If you care about mental health and according to Mark, we re all challenged in that department read both books in chronological order The first book will enhance your appreciation of the second Just like his father, Mark Vonnegut has the measure of our culture If your child were sick, would you choose a 60 year old pediatrician who is a former commune starting hippie, is the son of a famous author, came from a somewhat dysfunctional childhood, got into Harvard Medical School despite poor grades, and most important of all, is certifiably crazy I think I would I believe that if I were to meet him, I would really like and trust this guy.Mark Vonnegut first wrote about his battle with mental illness in a 1975 book, The Eden Express This followup came If your child were sick, would you choose a 60 year old pediatrician who is a former commune starting hippie, is the son of a famous author, came from a somewhat dysfunctional childhood, got into Harvard Medical School despite poor grades, and most important of all, is certifiably crazy I think I would I believe that if I were to meet him, I would really like and trust this guy.Mark Vonnegut first wrote about his battle with mental illness in a 1975 book, The Eden Express This followup came many years and one additional psychotic episode later Although this is less autobiographical than his first book, the doctor is still very open about his life, about what happened to him in the intervening years, about living with mental illness, alcoholism, and a family where both seem to be hereditary trait However, it is also about his thoughts on the current medical system in America, treating teenagers who have a drug habit, a little bit of philosophy, and a man who wants to be useful, normal It is about what mental illness feels like from someone who knows.The advance uncorrected proof that I read is a short and easy read at just over 200 pages There are a few awkward sentences that may stay as they are or perhaps will be changed Some of the quotes that stuck with me may change in the published edition Medical care has become a lot of crust and precious little pie.I can pass for normal most of the time, but I understand perfectly why some of my autistic patients scream and flap their arms it s to frighten off extroverts.There are no people anywhere who don t have some mental illness It all depends on where you set the bar and how hard you look What is a myth is that we are mostly mentally well most of the time.And this, which is one of the saddest sentences I ve read At my most pathetic, when I felt lost and very sorry for myself, and was no longer in charge of making breakfast and packing lunches for my boys, I set up a bird feeder on the ledge of my apartment overlooking a parking lot and no birds came.This is engaging read for anyone who would like a glimpse into the head of someone determined not to let the voices in his head win And although it is not necessary, I was glad that I read The Eden Express before I read this book.I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for review Strong first two thirds, wandering last third Powerful description of psychosis and the slide into it Having finished it, I still flipped back and reread page 48 because it s honest and beautifulchokengtitiktitikchokeng 47 48 Part of getting better from being crazy included the realization that my life might be a lot longer than I had thought and that I probably wasn t going to get out of anything by having the world end of Western civilization collapse.It was too bad I was twenty five, hadn t taken the right cour Strong first two thirds, wandering last third Powerful description of psychosis and the slide into it Having finished it, I still flipped back and reread page 48 because it s honest and beautifulchokengtitiktitikchokeng 47 48 Part of getting better from being crazy included the realization that my life might be a lot longer than I had thought and that I probably wasn t going to get out of anything by having the world end of Western civilization collapse.It was too bad I was twenty five, hadn t taken the right courses, and had this mental health history I had a mental health history, the way other people might have a suitcase.My illness became a compass of sorts I could ask myself whether something was leading me away from or closer to being crazy There was less of the six of this, half dozen of that that had made up so much of life.If you take good care of any disease by eating well, sleeping well, being aware of your health, consciously wanting to be well, not smoking, et cetera, you are doing all the same things you should be doing anyway, but somehow having a disease makes them easier to do A human without a disease is like a ship without a rudder.Being normal with a vengeance was a big step up from being mentally ill, but it wasn t without its problems.Everyone needs reassurance that the beast has been contained If you re going to go nuts over and over, why bother to get an education, a job, or a date for Saturday night A book with no segues I m not sure if it s just Mark Vonnegut s style, or if this indicative of someone living with mental illness, but the writing had this staccato quality Ideas jumped from one paragraph to the next There would be sentences in the middle of paragraphs that didn t seem to connect to much around it.It s kind of like the old timey comedians whose routines were Set up, Punchline, LaughterSet up, Punchline, Laughter lather, rinse, repeat Except this book isn t exactly fun A book with no segues I m not sure if it s just Mark Vonnegut s style, or if this indicative of someone living with mental illness, but the writing had this staccato quality Ideas jumped from one paragraph to the next There would be sentences in the middle of paragraphs that didn t seem to connect to much around it.It s kind of like the old timey comedians whose routines were Set up, Punchline, LaughterSet up, Punchline, Laughter lather, rinse, repeat Except this book isn t exactly funny It was small anecdote, pithy sentence, small anecdote All this is wrapped up in chapters that revolve around an event or idea.That s not to say that there aren t great, quotable sentences in the book I was just hoping forof a narrative to the musings.I m always interested in diseases of the brain, insights into how that lump of gray matter functions, and particularly stories of how it can all go wrong Things have gone wrong in Mark Vonnegut s brain he s a highly intelligent guy who also happens to have bipolar disorder He s suffered several major breakdowns, although not for years, and he also grew up in a weird, somewhat abusive family And yet he s been able to become a practicing pediatrician, have a family, recover from alcoholism It s that recovery and coping I was most curious to read about You do get a few insights into the doctor s life and coping mechanisms Unfortunately, you also get long, multiple rants about the poor state of the US healthcare system, particularly insurance companies You re preaching to the choir, Mark.Funnily, those medical rants were the most coherent and well strung together parts of the book This book is amazing Mark Vonnegut is Kurt Vonnegut s son He has what has been diagnosed as bipolar disorder After 3 psychotic breaks in early adulthood requiring hospitalizations, he thought, What did I want to be before all this happened His answer a doctor He applied to 20 medical schools and was rejected by all but one Harvard He s now 62, a pediatrician, a husband and dad, and the author of two books, including this remarkable, clear and authentic memoir I love books that provi This book is amazing Mark Vonnegut is Kurt Vonnegut s son He has what has been diagnosed as bipolar disorder After 3 psychotic breaks in early adulthood requiring hospitalizations, he thought, What did I want to be before all this happened His answer a doctor He applied to 20 medical schools and was rejected by all but one Harvard He s now 62, a pediatrician, a husband and dad, and the author of two books, including this remarkable, clear and authentic memoir I love books that provide a window into people s unique experience this is a very special one &Download Kindle ↶ Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So ⇻ More than thirty years after the publication of his acclaimed memoir The Eden Express, Mark Vonnegut continues his remarkable story in this searingly funny, iconoclastic account of coping with mental illness, finding his calling as a pediatrician, and learning that willpower isn t nearly enoughHere is Mark s childhood spent as the son of a struggling writer in a house that eventually held seven children after his aunt and uncle died and left four orphans And here is the world after Mark was released from a mental hospital to find his family forever altered At the late age of twenty eight and after nineteen rejections Mark was accepted to Harvard Medical School, where he gained purpose, a life, and some control over his conditionThe brilliantly evoked events of Mark Vonnegut s life are at once perfectly unique and achingly relatable There are the manic episodes, during which he felt burdened with saving the world, juxtaposed against the real world responsibilities of running a pediatric practice At times he felt that his parents lives would improve if only they had a few hundred bucks in their bank account, while at other points his father s fame merely heightened expectations that he be better, funnier and crazier than the average personUltimately a tribute to the small, daily, and positive parts of a life interrupted by bipolar disorder, Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So is a wise, unsentimental, and inspiring book that will resonate with generations of readers There are certain books you read during your life that stick with you For me, one of those is one I first read while still in college, Mark Vonnegut s The Eden Express A Memoir of Insanity First published in 1975 and reissued in 2002 , the book is a frank and compelling story of a young man s descent into schizophrenia and his recovery from it.In the introduction to that book, Vonnegut, the son of author Kurt Vonnegut, described himself as a hippie, a son of a counterculture hero, a B.A There are certain books you read during your life that stick with you For me, one of those is one I first read while still in college, Mark Vonnegut s The Eden Express A Memoir of Insanity First published in 1975 and reissued in 2002 , the book is a frank and compelling story of a young man s descent into schizophrenia and his recovery from it.In the introduction to that book, Vonnegut, the son of author Kurt Vonnegut, described himself as a hippie, a son of a counterculture hero, a B.A in religion with a a genetic biochemical predisposition to schizophrenia He and friends established a commune in a remote area of British Columbia but the mysticism he sensed he was experiencing led in 1971 to his hospitalization in a psychiatric hospital in Vancouver for what was diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenia Eden Express details that journey, two subsequent hospitalizations and his efforts toward recovery.Although Vonnegut has since come to believe what he really suffered from was a combination of what is now know as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, his recovery has been equally remarkable Not only did he return to normal life, he attended Harvard Medical School and has been a practicing pediatrician in the Boston area sine the early 1980s With his follow up memoir, Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So , he takes takes readers on that journey and his fourth psychiatric breakdown when the voices came backthan 14 years after his last breakdown.As a fan of Eden Express, I must admit I approached Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So with a bit of trepidation I didn t want anything to take away my favorable impression of the first book although rereading it before the new book arguably have increased that risk Yet the new book drew me in as much as the first and I found it just as compelling Not only does Vonnegut he again provide insight into the lives of those who confront mental illnesses, the book gives us a real glimpse of the type of person and doctor he is, his bout with alcoholism, and a look at how the practice of medicine has changed in the last 25 years Every bright idea that was supposed to improve medical care has made care worse, usually by increasing costs and restricting access Eden Express was marked by its frank yet conversational tone A similar approach helps make Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So as good as the predecessor The two books, though, are different The new one break the story into smaller segments as opposed to lengthier chapters It also hasechoes of his father s style and wit For example, if he s been doing so well, why does he continue to see a psychiatrist His response is a simple, Vonnegutesque one Over the years I ve come to care about Ned and, and I think I go mostly to make sure he s okay Or, he notes at one point, I have so many original thoughts I have to take medication for it This approach enhances the readability of a story that gives an idea of the life of a regular person dealing with existing or quiescent mental illness and how easy it can be to slip into a manic depressive or schizophrenic state.Still, Vonnegut never suggests he possesses some unique quality or strength that gave him advantages in recovering.None of us are entirely well, and none of us are irrevocably sick At my best I have islands of being sick entirely At my worst I had islands of being well Except for a reluctance to give up on myself there isn t anything I can claim credit for that helped me recover from my breaks Even that doesn t count You either have or don t have a reluctance to give up on yourself It helps a lot if others don t give up on you.Yet even that doesn t ensure there will never be recurrences In fact, Vonnegut s fourth breakdown found him taken by police from his home in a straitjacket when he tried, unsuccessfully, to run through a third floor window to prove to God that he was worthy of saving and not just a selfish little shit Vonnegut says that when the voices he heard in the early 1970s came back, it was like we picked up in the middle of a conversation that had been interrupted just a few minutes earlier The manic part of his bipolar disorder manic depression makes it that muchdifficult Vonnegut describes the slide into mental illness as a grammatical shift Thoughts come into the mind as firmly established truth The fantastic presents itself as fact Once again, though, the hospitalization, together with medication and support, allowed Vonnegut to return to a normal life, including the practice of medicine He forthrightly examines not only the role of medication but the treatment he underwent in the 1970s and explores the extent to which family heredity can play a role in a person s psychiatric state Fortunately, Vonnegut did not just return to the practice of medicine but also to memoir Taken together, Eden Express and Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So are an excellent survey of a life affected by mental illness Yet with its style, tone and frank manner of addressing serious issues and events, Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So earns a place on anyone s bookshelf on its own merits It is the most insightful and enjoyable memoir I ve read in a long time Originally posted at A Progressive on the Prairie This is a nice little romp through the life of Kurt Vonnegut s son Mark He was diagnosed with Schizophrenia in 1971 when he had three psychotic breaks in a short amount of time He didn t have his fourth break until 14 years later In those 14 years he managed to get accepted to Harvard medical school and become a pediatrician Not bad The book covers topics like mental illness and addiction, but not as extensively as it might seem from the title The bulk of the focus is on what s wrong with This is a nice little romp through the life of Kurt Vonnegut s son Mark He was diagnosed with Schizophrenia in 1971 when he had three psychotic breaks in a short amount of time He didn t have his fourth break until 14 years later In those 14 years he managed to get accepted to Harvard medical school and become a pediatrician Not bad The book covers topics like mental illness and addiction, but not as extensively as it might seem from the title The bulk of the focus is on what s wrong with the health care system in America Mark has the unique perspective of having been a patient and a doctor During his fourth break, he was taken in a straightjacket to the hospital where he did his residency Yikes Quotes The biggest gift of being unambiguously mentally ill is the time I ve saved myself trying to be normal The only thing I really had come to believe in,than any specific therapy, was the medical model itself, which got rid of shame, blame, and other hurtful voodoo Scrubs were not made to be worn outside the OR, where they were always covered by sterile gowns, but as soon as the first absentminded surgeon went out of the OR in scrubs, fashion history was made The beginning of the end was when we were told we couldn t give out advice on the phone any everyone had to be told to come in and be seen Ninety percent of what gets treated in today s ERs at a cost of billions of dollars, zillions of unnecessary tests, and eons of waiting would go away if people could just talk with a well trained senior resident It s probably possible to gain humility by means other than repeated humiliation, but repeated humiliation works very well It s not easy to go from being one of the seven righteous pillars holding up the planet to being just another mental patient The process whereby one gets to be a doctor is one where you pretty much have to be a grade and approval junky This eventually has unfortunate consequences The courage to do the right thing in the face of disapproval is often lacking Beyond a certain point, gathering further evidence of the hurtfulness and shortcomings of one s family, employer, et cetera is like eating the same poisonous mushroom over and over and expecting that sooner or later it will be nutritious Peace of mind is inversely proportional to expectations Addictive drugs take all your little problems, like having a difficult family or feeling insecure, and trade them in for one big problem, having to have drugs