Finally, there was a breakthrough during her college years when she was first diagnosed as bipolar the summer before she left for New Haven. And then when her medical records were sent to Stanford she explains, “In the referral authorization itself, I was listed as having two diagnoses: schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type and idiopathic peripheral neuropathy. There was no mention of fibromyalgia, complex PTSD, dysautonomia/POTS, chronic Lyme disease, or any of the other diagnoses I’d received over the years” (185).
Esme Weijun Wang’s 2019 essay collection The Collected Schizophrenias is an engaging journey that deals with a serious topic. The book does a thorough job of educating the reader in this area of health that is commonly misunderstood. The relationship between the author and the text is beautifully captured by including both clinical information and her own personal struggles and triumphs.
Wang also mentions her years at Yale. During this section of the book, she writes in a way that will leave you with the realization that even within a prestigious university, help is challenging to find. In "Yale Will Not Save You," Wang mentions, “It isn’t clear whether the officer was given crisis de-escalation training, or any kind of training at all in dealing with mentally ill students” (67). Also, Yale told her that she had to leave immediately because “psychiatric illness is punished by colleges and universities that instead ought to be accommodated students under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Rather than receiving help mentally ill students are frequently ordered to leave” (73). To Wang’s credit she found the personal strength to develop herself in other ways. Wang doesn’t share the year when she shared the ways she developed herself.
The Collected Schizophrenias is not just a collection of essays; it is so much more. Wang inspires her audience by telling her story to mental health professionals at conferences and now in writing this collection of essays. She inspires and gives hope to those that struggle with these disorders.
Her book is an honest letter to those who live with a mental disorder and also to those that love them.