Foreword. Preface. Prologue. 1. Background and Early Years. 2. College. 3. The Graduate. 4. Searching for a Career. 5. My Father's Death. 6. Transitions. 7. Marriage. 8. Discovering Family and Heritage. 9. Jean. 10. Anger and Shame. 11. Early Voices. 12. Pineywoods. 13. Waiting for a Yale Bed. 14. Yale-New Haven Hospital. 15. Finding a Career and Recovery. 16. A Skirmish with the Voices in Europe. 17. The Working Mother. 18. If It's Just a Metaphor. 19. The Power of Love. 20. If You Start to Get Scared, Stop Listening. 21. Divorce. 22. Finding Community and a Measure of Faith. 23. Growing Up with Paul. 24. Arthur. 25. Tilting with the Shadows. 26. Understanding the Voices.
Vivid account of one woman's experience of auditory verbal hallucinations and how she has learned to live with the condition
Claire Bien is Associate Director of Communications at The Connection, Inc. in Middletown, CT. Claire is also a trained facilitator at the Hearing Voices Network, which advocates the human rights of those who experience auditory hallucinations. Claire has experienced hearing voices for most of her adult life. She lives in Connecticut, USA.
In this candid, informative memoir, Bien, a trained facilitator for the Hearing Voices Network, describes experiencing auditory verbal hallucinations throughout much of her adult life. Having eventually learned to manage this condition, she aims to bring hope to others in the same circumstances. Bien details the most difficult and embarrassing periods of her life, including the deaths of close family members and her two troubled marriages, both which ended in divorce. The book chronologically documents Bien's life from her early years, through college, to her struggle to find a vocational calling, alongside the time line of her voices: their first appearance, her first hospitalization, and her subsequent recoveries. Bien's tone is matter-of-fact and often rings flat throughout her comprehensive accounts; the sentences are mostly declarative and devoid of much emotion. Bien is lucid and calm in looking back at her life and battles, displaying an admirably unflinching self-awareness. She's able to understand how she "was primed to hear voices" by biological and life triggers associated with her condition, and her journey will appeal to others struggling to overcome or better understand the same affliction. -- Publishers Weekly This is a revolutionary book, written by Claire Bien, who has experienced and dealt with auditory hallucinations-latterly without medication. Now living with a son and successful career, it tells of her determination not to let the disease beat her. ...Some of the book can be graphic, as Claire provides a full picture of the 'degree of horror' such a condition can engender; however, she also provides hope of recovery, 'even the most horrifying and bizarre beliefs are not sign and symptom of an irreparably broken mind.' -- New York Journal of Books Remarkable and inspiring. In a clear and resonant narrative voice, Claire Bien tells how she struggled and eventually surmounted auditory hallucinations and severe emotional turmoil while living a full life: maturing in the first generation of a Chinese-American family, marrying, working full-time, and nurturing a son in a supportive family and community. -- Selby C. Jacobs, MD, MPH, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Public Health, Yale School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry Bien's memoir witnesses to the resilience of the human spirit and her determination to live a full life, thus illustrating that a person is more than a diagnosis. Therapy, medication, relationships and work are all critical components that enable a person to regain a life despite debilitating symptoms. She is a woman of courage. -- Nancy Kehoe RSCJ, PhD, Author of Wrestling with Our Inner Angels: Faith, Mental Illness and the Journey to Wholeness