The Quiet Room: A Journey Out of the Torment of Madness
Grand Central Publishing
, 1996 - Psychology
- 270 pages
At a summer camp in 1976, a 17-year-old girl suddenly hears a voice in the night. Booming out through the darkness, it makes her bolt awake. It says things that she has never before imagined. And it will be with her for years to come, tormenting her, robbing her of her sanity and very nearly her life. Lori Schiller was the perfect child - bright, affectionate, and joyfully alive. The firstborn and only daughter of a close-knit family she led a carefree, tranquil life, unaware that within her a secret illness was taking root. Then, at age 17, she began to hear voices in her mind. She told no one. Although the voices became more frequent and sinister, she still managed to graduate from high school, go to a good college, even begin a career. By 23, the voices seemed to take total control: Lori made her first suicide attempt. Soon she was pulled into the mental health care system, beginning an ordeal of institutions, halfway houses, relapses, more suicide attempts and a screaming, full-blown schizophrenia that seemed beyond the reach of any cure. As a chronicle of Lori's madness, The Quiet Room offers a rare and powerful look into a terrifying shadow world. But The Quiet Room is even more remarkable because Lori herself has been able to describe her ordeal. In 1989, she began to emerge from the darkness - driven by her own will to survive and an experimental new medication that gave her the first inner peace she had known in years. Drawing on Lori's own diaries and fragmented memories, as well as accounts from her family, friends, and doctors, this book takes us into the terrible "quiet room," the isolation chamber in which she was confined when the voices overtook her through the therapy sessions and relapses all the way to Lori's triumphant recovery. Perhaps the most important book ever written about schizophrenia, The Quiet Room is as powerful today as I Never Promised You a Rose Garden was in its time. It offers hope for anyone touched by mental illness - and is a lesson in survival and courage for us all.