Review: Stranger To My Self by Jeffery Abugel

Posted February 23, 2011

“Depersonalization, a feeling of “I am not myself,” puzzles medicine and philosophy. It is a disorder difficult to diagnose, painful to bear and hard to treat. It relates to the philosophical cornerstones of consciousness....

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Review: Stranger To My Self by Jeffery Abugel

Posted by Secondsource Books on February 23, 2011

“Depersonalization, a feeling of “I am not myself,” puzzles medicine and philosophy. It is a disorder difficult to diagnose, painful to bear and hard to treat. It relates to the philosophical cornerstones of consciousness and reality and reveals questions every person struggles with. Jeffrey Abugel’s book arrives, not only as a long-awaited companion on depersonalization for patients, families, and mental health practitioners, but also a companion to the part of life that involves discovering oneself and shaping one’s identity.

Depersonalization was first described not by a physician or a scientist. It took a poet and writer, Henri-Frederick Amiel, who agonized with feelings of a lost self, to grasp the phenomenon. And now, more than a century later, it took another poet and writer, Jeff Abugel, who himself suffered with full-blown depersonalization, to express the personalization-depersonalization journey for modern times. Poignant and elegant autobiographical prose, reflections of the author’s own experiences of self-inquiry, provide a powerful and revealing understanding of depersonalization. This book proves that this hurtful condition can open ways to realize important aspects of the self and grow towards a deeper, more fulfilling life”.

—Elena Bezzubova M.D., Ph.D., College of Medicine,
University of California, Irvine, and New Center for Psychoanalysis in Los Angeles.