The Day the Voices Stopped: A Schizophrenic's Journey from Madness to Hope

The Day the Voices Stopped: A Schizophrenic's Journey from Madness to Hope

The Day the Voices Stopped: A Schizophrenic's Journey from Madness to Hope

The Day the Voices Stopped: A Schizophrenic's Journey from Madness to Hope

Synopsis

For thirty-two years Ken Steele lived with the devastating symptoms of schizophrenia, tortured by inner voices commanding him to kill himself, ravaged by the delusions of paranoia, barely surviving on the ragged edges of society. In this powerful and inspiring story, Steele tells the story of his hard-won recovery from schizophrenia and how activism and advocacy helped him regain his sanity and go on to give hope and support to so many others like him.

His recovery began with a small but intensely dramatic moment. One evening in the spring of 1995, shortly after starting on Risperdal, a new antipsychotic medicine, he realized that the voices that had tormented him for three decades had suddenly stopped. Terrified but also empowered by this new freedom, Steele rose to the challenge of creating a new life. Steele went on to become one of the most vocal advocates of the mentally ill, earning the respect not only of patients and families but also of professionals and policymakers all over America through his tireless devotion to a cause that transformed his life and that of countless others.

The Day the Voices Stopped will endure as Ken Steele's testament for all who struggle with this heartbreaking disease.

Excerpt

Ken Steele and I first met in 1981, when he was a homeless, psychotic man living in an alleyway in San Francisco. I have no real memory of that first encounter—Ken was just one of the hundreds of foul-smelling, unshaven, psychologically disorganized men and women I worked with day after day. Most were on the streets, in a desperate exile forced on them by overpowering voices and hallucinations. As a psychiatrist, I did what I could to help, but I faced the depressing reality that many of them would live out their lives in institutions or, worse, return to the streets.

Many years later I was in New York, helping to produce a video on rehabilitation: Ken was also involved in the project, and I was introduced to him again. He struck me as a remarkably intelligent and thoughtful man, so much so that I was alarmed to hear that he had spent decades hospitalized for schizophrenia. I actually suspected that he may have been . . .

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