November 2, 2014 |
The traditional view was that schizophrenia, the most devastating of mental illnesses, struck young people on the cusp of adulthood, often without much warning. In their late teens or early 20s, previously healthy men and women would suddenly begin hearing voices no one else could hear and withdrawing from a world teeming with delusional threats. They faced a lifetime of disability even with strong medication and - in a country without adequate care - of increased risk of homelessness, suicide, and prison.
November 22, 2013 |
DARRYLL MARTIN took some NyQuil for his cold and was about to climb into bed about 10 o'clock Wednesday night when his mother's frantic screams tore through the family's Frankford home, setting him on a course to become a hero. Martin, 33, raced downstairs. Dennis "Bam" Hill, a raging, 6-foot-3, 300-plus-pound family friend visiting from New York, had a viselike grip on his own two daughters, ages 1 month and 4 years, and a fistful of sharp kitchen utensils. "He has the two kids gripped up, and the fork and the knife like this," Martin recounted yesterday, making a fist.
November 1, 2010 |
FROM THE BEGINNING, Mildred Barnes' life seemed ill-fated. She was one of 12 children born to parents in Philadelphia who struggled to feed and shelter them. At age 11, she and her siblings wound up in foster care, where she bounced from home to home. She dropped out of Simon Gratz High School in 11th grade and married an abusive husband, whom she later divorced. But Barnes wasn't the type to pity herself. Quite the opposite. "She laughed a lot - she was full of life," said Barnes' son, Tyrone, who described his mother as a free spirit who loved motorcycles and her 1962 Chevy convertible.
September 7, 2010
4.48 Psychosis. Sarah Kane?s austere, deeply disturbing play is about suicide - probably her own, at 28, in 1999; the play was first produced posthumously in London. This dark production, by Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern of Durham, N.C., is perfectly suited to its venue, the beautiful old chapel of the Fleisher Art Memorial. The darkness of both the sanctuary and the material was made moreso by the contrast with the brilliantly sunny, blue-skied day outside. It begins with "I'm charging toward my death.
July 17, 2009 |
Mixing her paints with candle wax and singing to herself like a sorceress devising a transformative brew, S?raphine Louis was a maid, a servant, who spent her long days washing linens, scrubbing floors. And when her hard work was done, she'd toddle back to her tiny apartment in a French village and create magic with brush and board: swirling, vibrant paintings of flowers and trees, almost psychedelic in their intensity, their suggestion of spiritual life. S?raphine, Martin Provost's transcendently beautiful portrait of this briefly celebrated figure in the "modern primitive" school that included Henri Rousseau, is the rare movie that manages to convey the inner soul of an artist.
March 1, 2009
Bad crime math Michael Smerconish ("A tiny group of city residents commits most of violent crimes," Currents, last Sunday) has the right idea, but the wrong math. He is certainly right that targeting the hard core of serious, repeat offenders is a worthwhile strategy. Unfortunately, his assertion that 0.14 percent of the city's people are committing most of the crime misses the mark. Studies in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Philadelphia estimate that 6 percent of the population commits 60 percent of the crime.
February 17, 2009 |
Neena Beber's pretentious Jump/Cut, by Flashpoint Theatre at the Adrienne, could be subtitled "Psychosis for Dummies. " Or "Bipolar Disorder Made Easy. " Or - well, you get the idea. Is there a cheesier, more self-serving assumption than the link between mental illness and creativity? Just because Melville and Rachmaninoff were bipolar, it doesn't necessarily follow that everyone who is bipolar is an artistic genius. The actors, under the direction of Karen DiLossi, struggle heroically to bring this adolescent nonsense to life.
May 11, 2005 |
In what was billed as a Mother's Day gift, the Pennsylvania House yesterday unanimously approved a bill designed to improve care for women suffering from depression during or after pregnancy. The Prenatal and Postpartum Counseling Act would require doctors or midwives to give pregnant women information about the symptoms of prenatal depression, postpartum depression and psychosis and tell them where counseling is available. The bill must pass the Senate and be signed by Gov. Rendell to become law. News last year of a young woman who stabbed her toddler and left her in a West Philadelphia schoolyard prompted Rep. George Kenney (R., Phila.
April 13, 2005 |
The British playwright Sarah Kane took her own life in 1999 at age 28, and her last work, the posthumously produced 4.48 Psychosis, has been called her suicide note with good reason. It is impossible to read in the program the circumstances of Kane's death - the 28-year-old writer killed herself in a psychiatric hospital where she was being treated for severe depression after a failed suicide attempt - and then watch Theatre Catalyst's evocative production without concluding that its eloquent, persuasive examination of the mental and emotional landscape of an unnamed depressed woman contemplating suicide is deeply rooted in the playwright's personal experience.
February 3, 2005 |
Mine Ener was a respected professor at Villanova University until a ferocious bout of postpartum psychosis led her in 2003 to kill her infant daughter, who was born with Down syndrome, and, later, herself. Grappling with how to memorialize Ener, the university this week decided to remove a recently hung plaque from a library study area and, instead, host a symposium to educate the public on the mental illness that led to these tragic deaths. I hope the U.S. Congress will be invited.