Break: A Memoir of Psychosis is about the author’s experience with a mental health disorder. The book begins just before the onset of symptoms, placing the author in his milieu as a 25 year old who has just started a film company while finishing an MBA in entrepreneurship. The memoir recounts how the author, not recognizing himself to be mentally ill, struggles to keep his life and career on track as he is increasingly beset by delusions and other symptoms. Readers are given a candid, first-person account of a literal descent into madness that worsens over the course of four years. During this time, the author believes himself to be perfectly sane and refuses all treatment.
After years of decline, the author finally begins to recover with forced medication. Over the course of several years, the author adjusts to the debilitating side-effects of treatment and his new identity as a person with a mental illness. Throughout the narration, the socio-economic structures and policies governing those with mental health issues are subtly critiqued.
The memoir ends on a hopeful note with the affirmation that, despite the damage and despair wrought by serious mental illness, life is worth living.
I remember sitting in the dining room one evening eating my usual dinner of two veggie burgers without a bun and some canned hominy. I thought back to one of my trips abroad. One that found me sitting at the Bar Hemingway in the Ritz Paris, drinking a perfect martini and talking with members of the European nobility. At the time, I had imagined that that my life was going to be like that from then on. If someone had said that in five years I would be locked in a mental institution where even a hamburger bun was a luxury too dear to be provided, I would have laughed. Yet, there I was. As I write this, the precipitousness of my fall still dumbfounds me.
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