About “Demons in the Age of Light: A Memoir of Psychosis and Recovery”

Demons in the Age of Light is my account of a psychotic break I experienced at age eighteen, and my subsequent recovery. After repeated hospitalizations I was diagnosed with schizophrenia, a ‘brain disease’, and told that I’d need medications to lead a normal life. Yet this explanation sounded hollow and inadequate, and the drugs proved nearly as destructive as the apparent disintegration of reality within me. Armed with a few philosophy books and a conviction that material reductionism was not the answer, I realized that the only way to defeat my demon was to confront him directly. In doing so, I first had to face the aspects of my past, my defenses, and perhaps my soul that had allowed such dark forces to enter. By taking this existential approach, I came to realize the incredible power of  metaphors in shaping our lives, or perhaps taking control where we fail to own what we find within ourselves.

Regardless of whether demons are ‘real’ in any measurable sense, as symbols they have lost little of the power they’ve possessed since the age of shamans drumming in the night. Demons in the Age of Light is my exploration of the limits of reason in the search for truth.

 

You can read an excerpt and buy the book from Process Media here.

If you’d prefer an ebook version, it can be purchased in either format from Amazon.com,

Or as an ebook on iTunes.

 

A summary from the back cover of the book:

With the skill of a gifted novelist, twenty-three-year-old Whitney Robinson recounts the harrowing true story of her descent into mental illness soon after she arrived at college. Her doctor labeled the illness schizophrenia, but Whitney felt that she became possessed by a malevolent, seductive entity that attempted to influence her into harming herself and others.

Institutionalized and heavily medicated, Whitney encounters other horrors and mysteries within the walls of a psychiatric hospital. Determined to release herself from pharmacological shackles, Whitney finally confronts and expels her demon through sheer will and alternative methods, including an attempted exorcism and shamanic healing.

“Compelling and engrossing … Robinson is an accomplished writer with a poetic bent, a born storyteller.” — Pamela Spiro Wagner, Divided Minds

 

10 Comments

  1. Leah said,

    I just read your book. It was amazing; I couldn’t put it down! What an amazing first novel!!! :)

  2. sarahallegra said,

    I picked up your book on whim while at a Barne’s and Nobel. I began reading it and could hardly tear myself away from it over the next two weeks. It is beautifully written, and while the pain you experienced greatly saddened me, you were able to turn it into an incredibly beautiful and inspiring positive. I already know that your journey will be inspiring me to create some art about it. Thank you for writing so candidly about your experiences!

    • Whitney Robinson said,

      Thank you for taking the time to let me know that you came across my book–It’s sometimes funny to imagine that it’s actually ‘out there’ in the world, if you know what I mean. I just took a look at your wordpress page and you’re really a talented photographer. I love “The Living Myth” with the woman on horseback.

      • sarahallegra said,

        Yes, I would imagine that would be quite strange! I am really glad I did come across it; your writing is so lush and evocative. I enjoyed your book more than I’ve enjoyed a new book in a very long time. And how exciting that it’s only just come out!

        Thank you so much! That’s actually me on the horse; I do both tradition photography as well and self portraits. Your book has inspired a number of photo ideas I’d like to shoot soon. I just hope I can do justice to your wonderful writing!

      • sarahallegra said,

        Hi Whitney!

        I hope this finds you well. I came across this Ted Talk today about another woman’s experience with hearing voices and immediately thought of you. It may be something you’ve already seen, but I thought it was quite interesting and you might enjoy it if you hadn’t seen it.

        Be well!

  3. Sommer Gilmore said,

    Whitney,
    I cannot put your book down. It’s exceptionally painful to read for me because I recently lost my youngest sister, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia. She was so much more than a diseased brain, which is the unfortunate label, given to describe what people don’t understand. I watched in horror as she had her first episodes and was committed to the first hospital. She said she would NEVER go back to one of those unholy places again. She too was very bright and always seeking to know truth. I appreciate how elaborately you describe your experiences so I can understand hers a little better, although, I know everyone is different. I wish I had gotten a hold of your book before this…maybe it would have helped me help her. Thank you for being courageous enough to share everything. I truly wish for your dark places to continue to be infused with light.

    • Whitney Robinson said,

      Thank you so much for writing. I’m sorry to hear about your sister…I’m glad to hear that my book might have helped to shed at least a little light on what she might have gone through.

  4. Christine Croteau said,

    Whitney,
    Woah…your book was INCREDIBLE! I just wrote a book review for it per request of the National Empowerment Center . Oryx Cohen from the NEC who is the Technical Assistance Director there asked me to write one from the peer perspective, it was an honor to do. I found it quite an empowering and healing experience. So thanks for writing the book. Your writing is truly exceptional and I very much enjoyed your humor and wit. The honesty of your writing is liberating to me and helps chip away at the layers of shame and stigma that have been etched into my psyche over the years. Each time someone tells their story it gives me permission to continue to share mine in the hopes that like yours it will provide some healing.
    I hope you continue to shine as you have sooo much to offer!

    All my Best,
    Christine

    • Whitney Robinson said,

      Thank you, I’m so glad you enjoyed the book. It means a lot to me to hear from people who’ve read it. I’d love to see the review as well!

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