Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So, by Mark Vonnegut

In this wonderfully titled memoir, Mark Vonnegut writes of his college years in the late 1960s: "At Swarthmore I majored in religion with the idea of going to divinity school and then maybe the Unitarian ministry, where I would be a comforter of the sick and disadvantaged but mostly a really good professional arguer who argued against the war and materialism."

Instead, after graduation, Vonnegut set off with friends to set up a commune in a remote area of British Columbia. They figured that saving the world might begin by saving one small corner of it.

Then, in 1971, the wheels came off. Vonnegut had a psychotic break that landed him in a psychiatric hospital in Vancouver. That was followed by two additional breaks in quick succession. The diagnosis was a combination of schizophrenia and what is now known as bipolar disorder. After those episodes Vonnegut's focus, for a time, was not on trying to save the world or even a corner of it. It took all of his energy and determination to try to save himself, or at least to get back to something resembling "normal" life.