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Losing the Atmosphere, A Memoir


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About the Author

VIVIAN CONAN is a writer, librarian, and IT business analyst who lives in Manhattan. A native New Yorker, she grew up in a large Greek-Jewish clan in Brooklyn and holds master's degrees from Brooklyn College and Pratt Institute. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, New York magazine, Lilith, Narratively, and She received a 2007 fellowship in Nonfiction Literature from the New York Foundation for the Arts and a 2019 Simon Rockower Award from the American Jewish Press Association. Vivian sings with the Peace of Heart Choir, which performs free for communities in need, and has mentored teenage writers as a volunteer with Girls Write Now. Losing the Atmosphere is her first book. Learn more at Jeffery Smith, MD, is the author of Psychotherapy: A Practical Guide (Springer, 2017), Getting the Most from Your Therapy (Libentia, 2016), and How We Heal and Grow: The Power of Facing Your Feelings (Libentia, 2014).


"Vivian Conan has written a real-life medical mystery that is as resonant and profound as an Oliver Sacks case study--but in her case, we see it from the inside. Losing the Atmosphere is, at its heart, a book about what it is to be an imperfect human (as we all are) walking through an imperfect world." --Dawn Raffel, author of The Strange Case of Dr. Couney"In razor-sharp prose, Losing the Atmosphere traces one woman's lifelong journey to mental wellness. Afflicted by two complex disorders and misdiagnosed time and again, Vivian Conan tells her story with poignancy, determination and fierce intelligence. You will cheer for this survivor." --Sally Koslow, author of Another Side of Paradise"A compelling story of a woman struggling to find her identity as she battles a baffling psychological condition that has plagued her since childhood. In this beautifully written memoir, Vivian Conan gives a fascinating account of a woman who, despite having grown up in a close, extended family in Brooklyn, creates a complicated imaginary world to cope with a demanding father and a distant mother. Losing the Atmosphere will haunt you well after the last
page has been turned." --Joy Behar, co-host, The View"Vivian Conan's Losing the Atmosphere gives a powerful, personal account of how recurring childhood trauma can fracture one's identity and result in a deep loss of self. Conan illustrates the little-understood but very real role multiple identities play for children and adults living with MPD and DID. This beautifully written memoir is a testament to a woman's intelligence, tenacity and courage to find herself and make peace with a turbulent, oppressive past. In
a world in which we increasingly rely solely on biochemical solutions, Conan proves that education, self-advocacy, and hard therapeutic work can lead to self-discovery and true healing." --Christina Chiu, author of Beauty and Troublemaker and Other Saints"Vivian Conan's memoir is what self-help, genuine self-help, feels like. Sensing the problem. Grasping the problem. Grappling with the problem. Overcoming the problem. This is quiet heroism." --Mark Goldblatt, author of Twerp and Finding the Worm"Losing the Atmosphere is an engrossing and highly informative memoir about how a child faced with an environment that is incomprehensible, sometimes terrifying, and psychologically unmanageable creates an illusory world to sustain her and develops different identities as a way of coping. It is first the compelling story of how this all began, then the uplifting narrative of how Ms. Conan learned to process and integrate experience that had been overwhelming--to mourn, forgive, and finally re-engage with the world as a full person. As a window into the experience of a person who developed dissociative identity disorder and found ways to heal, Losing the Atmosphere is a must-read for mental health professionals.It is a remarkable story and a fascinating read for everyone else." --Elizabeth F. Howell, PhD, author of Understanding and Treating Dissociative Identity Disorder and Trauma and Dissociation-Informed Psychotherapy"Losing the Atmosphere is a heartbreaking account of life with a rare psychological disorder and the events that broke a budding mind to pieces." --Claire Foster, Foreword Reviews"A potent, heartfelt life story."--Kirkus Reviews

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