Rating: 5 / 5
I’ve seen a lot of love for THE COLLECTED SCHIZOPHRENIAS by Esmé Weijun Wang on BookTube and Bookstagram. It was one of the discussion books for The Reading Women Podcast’s August Chronic Illness and Mental Health theme and it made their shortlist for the non-fiction Reading Women Award. Being a fan of the podcast and their book recommendation it seemed a great book to finally read for Nonfiction November.
Esmé Weijun Wang is a woman who has been diagnosed with scizoaffective disorder, one of many diagnoses grouped into the “collected scizophrenias”. This essay collection explores her diagnosis and the evolution of her disease. She shares glimpses of her everyday life living with the symptoms and labels that come with this stigmatizing disorder. She addresses people and organizations who seek to help those who have been diagnosed, though not always in the perfect way. She talks about the ways the medical community doesn’t have a full understanding of the diagnosis and doesn’t agree on how and when to label an individual who meets criteria.
As I have mentioned before I work for a mental health agency so have seen some of the issues that Esmé Weijun Wang discusses first hand. That said, this #ownvoices perspective was amazing to delve into and I really appreciated getting that first person perspective on so many topics. For anyone wanting to know more about mental illness in various forms and the intersection with daily life and functioning, this is an excellent collection to pick up!
I love to see more books coming out to destigmatize mental health issues and get more conversation flowing about this important topic. This collection is highly approachable and so very well written and I absolutely recommend it for Nonfiction November or for any other time of your reading year!