Breaking the Silence

A Journey Deep Inside the Mind

Non-Fiction - Memoir
268 Pages
Reviewed on 01/01/2022
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Author Biography

DARA SANANDAJI graduated from Dartmouth College in 2000, where he earned a B.A. in Economics and studied abroad at the University Autónoma de Madrid. He then graduated from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 2006 and later worked in the financial services sector, where he earned his Certified Financial Planner (CFP ®) designation in 2011. A few years later, Dara transitioned into writing and filmmaking, and since then he has written, directed, and produced two feature-length documentary films. Dara has also authored the title Mirror for the Mind: A Tribute to the Wisdom of Humanity, and hosted his own independent radio show, "The Big Picture Radio Show," in Chicago in 2014.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Breaking the Silence: A Journey Deep Inside the Mind is a work of non-fiction in the memoir, autobiographical, and psychological/medical subgenres. It is best suited to the adult audience owing to some references to sexual activity and mild profanity and was penned by author Dara Sanandaji. Raw and highly emotionally charged, this is an account of the collapse of a psyche following years of suffering from psychological symptoms such as plaguing voices, dark whispers, and extreme inner turmoil. But the work also goes on to explore how, after such a collapse, the mind has an incredible ability to repair and heal, and goes on to recount the author’s cathartic process of recovery and stability.

Author Dara Sanandaji delivers some truly powerful autobiographical writing in this heartfelt account of the intense troubles that psychological disorders can cause us. Whatever your experience level of mental illness, there is great insight to be learned from individual journeys, especially when the author is eloquent in expanding beyond their personal experience to encompass the wider themes of our purpose in life and how we must carry on and overcome, no matter what is put in our way. Sanandaji portrays a fascinating and often highly emotional inner dialogue that resonates deeply on these wider themes, and I felt that the honesty of the author came through in those moments very profoundly. By the time you finish reading Breaking the Silence, it feels as though something very private and important has been shared with you. A highly recommended read.

Vincent Dublado

A memoir with an emphasis on one man’s psychological profile, Breaking the Silence: A Journey Deep Inside the Mind by Dara Sanandaji tells about the author’s descent into hearing voices inside his head and offers his own interpretation of the phenomenon and how he coexists with these voices. The story begins as he traces the origins of his malady. It starts with how he developed a sort of duality in his high school days by maintaining friendships with kind and responsible kids in his classes while transforming into party boy mode on weekends. Following this are years of psychological symptoms where he becomes a hearer of voices, and the narrative pays particular attention to the context of sanity, attention to thoughts, and the importance of making sense out of something that is perceived to be odd by most.

The phenomenon of hearing voices has been a subject of interest both clinically and socially. Dara Sanandaji doesn’t pull any punches in revealing the travails of his psychological burden to bring to the forefront the manifestations of his self-awareness. Sanandaji’s grasp on the nature of his condition is both profound and enlightening, and anyone can learn a thing or two on the causes and effects of Auditory Verbal Hallucinations (AVHS). If man versus himself is one of the most powerful conflicts in fact and fiction, then Sanadaji’s bout with his inner turmoil is one for the books. There is insight in the way he deals with his demons, in the way he defuses the pressure by ameliorating it rationally. Breaking the Silence is an inspiring read, a confession of suffering with appropriate information for anyone to understand mental disturbance and the need to consider more perspectives.

Foluso Falaye

Breaking the Silence narrates Dara Sanandaji's turbulent journey through life, which includes a serious case of mental disorder and an earnest effort to connect with the world around him—both the seen and the unseen. We also see how Dara struggled with several other challenges, including substance abuse, contemplating humanity's regressive ways, finding love, preparing for school exams, and making a living. Thankfully, Dara survived and thrived despite the tough cards life dealt him. Breaking the Silence offers several insightful lessons about communicating, humanity, recovering from addiction, achieving goals, and the important values in life. Written by an author who transitioned from living on the wild side of life to starting a non-profit organization for the good of all humanity, the book will help readers avoid some significant traps and setbacks in life and discover the value of being fully conscious.

You simply cannot read Breaking the Silence without being transformed in a way. This refreshingly honest, highly detailed, and deeply introspective memoir reached the deepest parts of my soul and left me significantly enriched in wisdom. Its deep questions, observations, and contemplations about life's contradictions and hurdles remind me of the most influential philosophers in history. What makes Breaking the Silence special is that Dara takes us through his deepest challenges, including the most embarrassing details, and the reader is made to feel like they're a part of the journey. Dara Sanandaji's story proves that nobody is beyond redemption, no matter how far gone they are. The book's message about making conscious decisions for the good of all humanity is certainly what the world needs. What a truly inspiring and educative experience!

Rabia Tanveer

Breaking the Silence: A Journey Deep Inside the Mind by Dara Sanandaji is the author’s memoir about his life that was unbearable at times. This is a perfect book for those who either struggle with a disturbed psyche or have someone in their lives who suffers from a mental illness. Author Dara Sanandaji takes readers into his mind as he recalls his darkest hours. Dara heard voices, but that wasn’t the only psychological symptom he suffered from. While the voice whispering in his ears was worrisome, nothing could have prepared him for how his mind would simply give in. Although times were stressful, Dara wasn’t a quitter. Hard work and determination helped him rebuild his life and his mind. Dara found his path by fighting every second of every day to fully reclaim his being.

Powerful writing paired with an empowering story, Breaking the Silence is a testament to resilience. Don’t get me wrong, at times Dara Sanandaji’s journey had me on the verge of tears. The author’s story is emotional and exceptional. A powerful individual to the core, it was heart-wrenching to witness how difficult living became for Dara. I was surprised at how eloquent he was when talking about some of his most troubled moments. He was open, vulnerable, and unafraid to share his struggles with the world so that other people can take courage from his experiences. The narrative is not restricted to mental health. The author touched upon every aspect of life and how overcoming one hurdle allowed him to become better and more capable at everything else in his life. Reading this book felt like having a private conversation with a friend. Dara is an inspiration for thousands!

Tammy Ruggles

Breaking the Silence: A Journey Deep Inside the Mind, by filmmaker Dara Sanandaji, is a deeply moving and important memoir shining a light on mental health issues, including psychoses and bipolar disorder, via the author's own life story. It doesn't hold back in its intensity and coverage; it's what people need to read to understand the dynamics and what one person can go through mentally. It describes how the mind can crumble under pressure and circumstances, but it doesn't stop there--it shows how healing can take place. The author looks inside at his journey and shows it to those who are interested in learning or connecting. He describes hearing voices for years, and this is just scratching the surface of the psychological torment he endured.

Sanandaji has written a book that addresses not only those suffering from mental health symptoms, but also the family, friends, and professionals who work with them. The general audience will find this book deep and informative, even those who don't deal with mental health issues on a daily basis. If you've ever felt on the edge of mentally breaking apart, or know someone who has, this book is for you and for them. You can't really know unless you read a book like this, or sit and listen to someone's history. There are mild references to sex, a little profanity, and trigger warnings apply for some of the tough psychological content, which is strong but has a positive impact. The mind is an amazing thing, and this author's personal story shows you how recovery is possible. If you're looking for an honest and open account of what it's like for the mind to go to the brink and back, the book (and film) Breaking the Silence: A Journey Deep Inside the Mind, by Dara Sanandaji, is for you.