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These books explore the experience of members of the disability community.
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In 1976, Ben Martini was diagnosed with schizophrenia. A decade later, his brother Olivier was told he had the same disease. For the past thirty years the Martini family has struggled to comprehend and cope with a devastating illness, frustrated by a health care system lacking in resources and empathy, the imperfect science of medication, and the strain of mental illness on familial relationships.
Throughout it all, Olivier, an accomplished visual artist, drew. His sketches, comic strips, and portraits document his experience with, and capture the essence of, this all too frequently misunderstood disease. In Bitter Medicine, Olivier’s poignant graphic narrative runs alongside and communicates with a written account of the past three decades by his younger brother, award-winning author and playwright Clem Martini. The result is a layered family memoir that faces head-on the stigma attached to mental illness.
Shot through with wry humour and unapologetic in its politics, Bitter Medicine is the story of the Martini family, a polemical and poetic portrait of illness, and a vital and timely call for action.
Finalist for the Triangle Awards, Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry, 2015
Shortlisted for the ReLit Award, Poetry, 2016
In Bodymap, Lambda Award-winner Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha sings a queer disabled femme-of-colour love song filled with hard femme poetics and disability justice. In this volume, Leah Lakshmi maps hard and vulnerable terrains of queer desire, survivorhood, transformative love, sick and disabled queer genius and all the homes we claim and deserve.
Everyone can live a happier life, especially those with chronic illnesses. Brian Orend’s smart and accessible guide for people with illness, injury, or other challenges provides both a satisfying look into happiness as well as practical steps for living a measurably happier life.
When Brian Orend began having debilitating seizures that his doctors couldn’t explain, he began a quest to learn how he could be happier, even despite his challenging circumstances. He dove into the research about happiness, only to realize that much of the advice about happiness was aimed at “everyone” ? failing to take into consideration the significant obstacles and circumstances faced by those with chronic conditions.
Orend realized that the advice required for augmenting happiness needs to be tailored for those experiencing ongoing health challenges. And so he wrote Seizure the Day ? a smart, accessible guide, grounded in the latest scientific research, that tackles not only the background of happiness, but also provides concrete how-to advice for living a happier life.
As Seizure the Day demonstrates, people confronting challenging circumstances can make themselves measurably and sustainably happier. A better life, for each of us, awaits.
A memoir, told through illustrations and text, of one family’s journey through mental illness, dementia, caregiving, and the health care system.
Olivier Martini and his mother, Catherine, have lived together since he was diagnosed with schizophrenia thirty-six years ago. It hasn’t always been a perfect living situation, but it’s worked ? Catherine has been able to help Olivier through the ups and downs of living with a mental illness, and Olivier has been able to care for his aging mother as her mobility becomes limited, and Olivier’s brothers Clem and Nic have been able to provide support to both as well. But then Olivier experiences a health crisis at the exact same time that his mother starts slipping into dementia.
The Martini family’s lifelong struggle with mental illness is suddenly complicated immeasurably as they begin to navigate the convoluted world of assisted living and long-term care. With anger, dry humour, and hope, The Unravelling tells the story of one family’s journey with mental illness, dementia, and caregiving, through a poignant graphic narrative from Olivier accompanied by text from his brother, award-winning playwright and novelist Clem Martini.
Imagining the lives of nineteenth-century women asylum patients, Nadine McInnis charts her descent into, and recovery from, depression.
In the afterword to Two Hemispheres, McInnis describes her first encounter with the remarkable photographs that illustrate this moving volume. Patients of the Surrey County Lunatic Asylum, these women’s names and stories are lost to history. McInnis imagines their experiences of mental illness as she explores her own journey through clinical depression, and finds in these haunting photographs solace and community.
“In the medical world, the body is often described metaphorically as a machine. Physician-poet William Carlos Williams invoked a similar metaphor when he noted that a poem is a machine made of words. What intrigues me about Nadine McInnis’s insightful collection of poems is how the mechanics of poetry serve to explore what can happen when we as human machines break down. Equally captivating in these evocative and sometimes disturbing poems is the historical impetus for their creationVictorian medical photographs. Two Hemispheres truly acts as a causeway between past and present, health and illness, and the supposed vastly different worlds of arts and biomedicine.” — Dr. J.T.H. Connor, John Clinch Professor of Medical Humanities and History of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University, St. John’s, Newfoundland