Autobiography of a Schizophrenic Girl


For those who have never experienced it, schizophrenia is a bit of a mystery. Symptoms of the disease can be very severe and extremely disruptive to a person's life, and it is impossible to fully comprehend what a schizophrenic person is experiencing. In the last decade or two, accounts of schizophrenia have become more common. There are books and blogs written by schizophrenic people, as well as movies like A Beautiful Mind that explore the symptoms of schizophrenia and their impact on a person's life. One of the first memoirs of a schizophrenic, however, was Autobiography of a Schizophrenic Girl: The True Story of "Renee."

Autobiography of a Schizophrenic Girl was first published in 1951, and is a memoir of a young woman who suffered symptoms of schizophrenia beginning at age 5. One of the first books to truly show a schizophrenic's perspective on her illness, it is considered a classic in the field of mental health literature. Many people find that Renee's account of her illness provides a good deal of insight into what it is like to experience schizophrenia.

It's important to remember, however, that the initial publication was in the 1950s. The latter portion of the book was written by Renee's psychoanalyst, Marguerite Sechehaye, and her interpretation of Renee's illness is quite dated. Treatments for schizophrenia have evolved significantly in the decades since Renee's case, and the Freudian method employed by Sechehaye is no longer considered an effective form of therapy. If you keep these limitations in mind, however, Autobiography of a Schizophrenic Girl may be a good read to help you to view schizophrenia from the perspective of someone with the disease.