Patrick J. Kennedy, the former congressman and youngest child of Senator Ted Kennedy, details his personal and political battles with mental illness and addiction, exploring mental health care's history in the country alongside his and every family's private struggles.
On May 5, 2006, the New York Times ran two stories, "Patrick Kennedy Crashes Car into Capitol Barrier" and then, several hours later, "Patrick Kennedy Says He'll Seek Help for Addiction". It was the first time that the popular Rhode Island congressman had publicly disclosed his addiction to prescription painkillers, the true extent of his struggle with bipolar disorder, and his plan to immediately seek treatment. That could have been the end of his career, but instead it was the beginning.
Since then, Kennedy has become the nation's leading advocate for mental health and substance abuse care, research, and policy both in and out of Congress. And ever since passing the landmark Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act - and, after the death of his father, leaving Congress - he has been changing the dialogue that surrounds all brain diseases.
A Common Struggle weaves together Kennedy's private and professional narratives, echoing Kennedy's philosophy that for him, the personal is political and the political personal. Focusing on the years from his "coming out" about suffering from bipolar disorder and addiction to the present day, the book examines Kennedy's journey toward recovery and reflects on Americans' propensity to treat mental illnesses as "family secrets".
Beyond his own story, though, Kennedy creates a roadmap for equality in the mental health community and outlines a bold plan for the future of mental health policy. Written with award-winning health-care journalist and best-selling author Stephen Fried, A Common Struggle is both a cry for empathy and a call to action.
©2015 Patrick J. Kennedy (P)2015 Penguin Audio
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Absolutely! Already have re-tweeted, re-posted many times. I'm in recovery & I felt like he did a brilliant job of respectful representation.
I have often searched for books by and about people in recovery and have usually found that, either, they didn't actually "work" the program & are full of misinformation. Or, they are just trying to exploit what did not work for them as a way to get a "book deal" - bad motives. Kennedy did neither of these. He was always respectful of the "anonymity" factor in our traditions, and, told his own experiences with humility.
A little of both - happy tears that FINALLY - the country is having a conversation about this deadly disease that is killing our kids. Now, maybe we can truly begin to get past the stigma of it all and get on with the solutions!
I would encourage ANYONE that is either fighting their own demons, or, that knows someone who is to read this book. Great gift!!
"Good story, but slow moving at times."
Fascinating read for a person in recovery and/or with "mental illness". The history of the battle for mental health parity legislation is dull but reveals how and why some laws get passed (quite sad, actually). Peter S.
"Personal & educational"
Patrick Kennedy's story wrapped within that of his parents and extended family is one in common with so many not as famous or advantaged. The lives of the Kennedy's are tabloid popcorn so that is of interest but this book educates us about the many forms of brain illness- alcoholism, drug addiction, mental illness and post traumatic stress. Patrick turned his personal illness, a "lemon" into lemon aid, a life's work for mental health parity.
"not very good"
no wonder we have such a pitiful congress! we have people like him running this country!
Patrick told his story openly and honestly and his work is changing the way America sees mental health and addiction issues.
the depth of his journey left me in awe of him and admiring the person he has become . The narrator read with the same emotions that Patrick had written it. At times I had to remind myself that Patrick was narrating this book. This is one book worth listening to again.
"I love it"
very informative, when I thought I was fighting alone, this book gave me hope. I can live a normal or try to live a normal life to the point of enjoying it.
Patrick reminds us that we grow from what hurts us, as well as from what loves us. Problems get fixed, messes get managed.
Perhaps JFK had Patrick in mind: Profiles in Courage. Love more. fear less.
I truly healful, eye opening ! My daughter is biplar 1 and an addict, very helpful. thank you Dawn
"Downfall and redemption"
For much of this memoir, Kennedy comes across as a spoiled rich kid, blaming his family for his problems (a serious mental illness and a series of addictions) but in the last chapters he finds redemption and a new life as a (more or less) ordinary person in an ordinary family.
The fact that he has become an advocate for mental health/addiction and physical health coverage parity. I also appreciated seeing evidence that he finally grew up.
Not unless it was another book by a Bostonian.
The writing is uneven and needed better editing.
With all its faults, it's worth reading.
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