I’m excited to announce the release of my third book, “Lee: Odyssey of an Unsound Mind,” later this year. The memoir is a deeply personal account of family life witnessed through the fractured lens of mental illness. My brother, Lee, struggled with schizophrenia all his life. It was a struggle out of which long tendrils would thread all those who knew him into his tortured story. He’s not alone. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 2.5 million Americans suffer from schizophrenia. Mentalhelp.net puts the number even higher, at 3.2 million or 1.2% of the U.S. population. Worldwide, 20 million people live with the condition. (Global Burden of Disease, 2017).
But mental illness isn’t a solitary affliction. It often strains and tears at the relationships of loved ones even to the point of destroying families, friendships, and careers. If you have a friend or family member struggling to cope with mental illness, you, too, understand how their battle can become your own. I hope my new book will help illuminate the dark corners of our conversations around mental illness and provide some comfort to the many families and friends who may feel alone, empty, or misunderstood in their own struggle to support a loved one living with an emotional or psychological disorder.