“I am sleeping in a flophouse. An actual flophouse. Single. Room. Occupancy. The kind of joint where heroin addicts and transient alcoholic men sleep. The kind of joint twenty-eight-year-old women with master’s degrees from the University of Chicago should only encounter on the pages of a fifty-year-old pulp fiction paperback procured from the rare book store on the corner of Belmont and Sheffield. I am sleeping in a flophouse. Well, not sleeping, really. Crying, shaking, shuddering with disbelief at how this could possibly have happened to me, yes. Sleeping, no.”
———So begins UNHINGED: A Memoir of Enduring, Surviving and Overcoming Family Mental Illness . Mental illness pervaded journalist and author Anna Berry’s formative years at all levels, from her parents and siblings to her grandparents to a long line of lunatic, suicidal ancestors. And that long line of lunatic, suicidal ancestors would find its latest, youngest addition in Anna Berry herself.
Despite all her best efforts to break the cycle of catastrophic, destructive patterns of mental illness so many in her family had suffered before her, in the spring of 2002, Berry found herself at the end of her rope—unemployed, penniless, homeless and in the throes of a psychotic episode that threatened to destroy her life.
Despite these setbacks, however, she went on to become a successful journalist and author who now helps educate the public about mental health through her writing, while also serving as her mentally ill mother’s court-appointed legal guardian.
This powerful memoir chronicles Anna Berry’s life as both a casualty and survivor of family mental illness, from her point of rock-bottom to her own recovery, as well as her efforts to help her still-afflicted mother and brother find hope and healing. An innovative blend of personal memoir and self-help, Berry uses her experience as a tool to teach others how they too can survive and thrive despite the hardships of chronic, family-based mental illness.
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NEW: An audiobook edition of UNHINGED will be released in late 2014 by Amazon Audible. Stay tuned for links and more information.
Advanced Praise for UNHINGED:
This is a moving, incisive memoir of intra-familial mental illness, personal recovery, and recommended treatment paradigms when multiple family members are afflicted.
Anna Berry’s gripping, poignant account of her own and her family’s struggle with mental illness is both harrowing and uplifting. This is a brave story of resiliency in the face of the debilitating effects of mental illness, and [Berry is] living proof that recovery is not just a dream, but a reality.