This book encourages self-help and realisation leading towards the development of strategies with thich to cope through the fog of mental distress'.
The Madness of our Lives is a worthy contribution to the literature on first person accounts of mental distress and illness. Its strength is in the range of experiences it canvasses, and in the freedom given to interviewees to tell their own stories. This is a highly readable and informative book.
Journal of Mental Health, April 2007
The Madness of our Lives consists largely of transcribed interviews with people who have undergone "madness" and to a greater or lesser extent achieved "recovery". It usefully opens both of these terms up to scrutiny. The book is harrowing but hopeful. It is also frequently moving and through-provoking...In giving advice to people who have experienced madness; the book performs, firstly, a powerful political/ethical gesture. Those interviewed by Penny Gray recount painful experiences of being misunderstood, derided, bullied, abused - in their personal and professional lives and, not least, during treatment; there are numerous accounts here of unsympathetic or negligent GPs and mental health practitioners. This is shocking and compelling material, which needs to be aired
The Journal of Critical Psychology, Vol.7, Spring 2007
This book comprises a collection of eleven first hand accounts of breakdown and recovery. It is both a fascinating and insightful read with an equal emphasis on recovery and breakdown. The book is aimed at a wide audience of those who have experienced a breakdown themselves and those who care for someone who has experienced breakdown including those in the mental health sector. It certainly would be of interest to all of these groups and the reader would take away a better understanding of the diversity of causes, diversity of experiences and diversity of means of recovery. Importantly, the book is an opportunity to give voice to those who have experienced breakdown and recovery.
The Encephalitis Society
This is a superb book documenting the 1st hand accounts of people who have experienced mental health issues. It not only is fascinating from an anthropological perspective but also in respect of their service experiences, each of which varies...This book should be compulsory curriculum reading for anyone studying or working in this sector. The most valuable lesson that it provides is that one mental health service user's experience is not necessarily another's and therefore services must be person-centred, creating services for people, and avoiding the urge to make the people fit the services. The book would also be of interest to anyone interested in narratives following poor health or disability.
Healthcare Counselling and Psychotherapy Journal
Since counselling is fundamentally about listening to clients, this book represents a refreshing return to first principles...We all need to be reminded to listen well and to wear our theory lightly. If we need a reminder that people are active self-healers and the best we may be able to do is to accompany them (and not get in the way), we could take this book as essential reading.