About Schizophrenia

     ‘Surviving Schizophrenia’ chronicles a path where biochemical intervention is not the sole factor relevant to mental illness.. Varied ‘world views’ – Christianity, Maori Pacifika lore, or the credo of a New Age – which have influenced myself – demand a broad approach to mental health.. Reckless prescription of drugs should not substitute exclusively for alternative therapies. As schizophrenia frequently appears in early adulthood, recognition of the vice of youth – alcohol, sex, drugs – should impel professionals to tackle the degenerate social effects of mental illness – alcohol abuse, drug abuse, itinerancy, prostitution.

     Stereotypes of the mentally ill are perpetuated by reports in the popular media. But diagnosis of mental illness does not necessarily implicate any tendency towards violence, antsocial behaviour or deviancy. There is, contrary to popular reports, much more violence, antisocial behaviour and deviancy in the greater population. 

     What is schizophrenia? It is a word: one of the ugliest words in the language; it has a rasping sound to it.  It designates a mental illness characterized by bizarre symptoms – hallucinatory voices, delusional phobia, hyperbolic mania, inexplicable ideas of magical influence. In short: madness! ​​ The prognosis is frequently a lifetime of dysfunction. Unemployment, alcohol or substance abuce, itinerancy, prostitution, petty crime. A mentally ill proletariat occupies the lowest social rung in any Western nation. The experience of disenfranchisement is not foreign to this author. Although I have maintained the benefits of a supportive family, a professional education, beneficent health care providers and care givers, and, at times, the social security net provided in the West.  Yet I have never received a conviction for contravention of the law.

     The limitations of psychiatric care have become part of folklore, like Hollywood's One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest.  And the fact that mentally ill people are commonly non-violent, law-abiding citizens has come to be more accepted as the norm (Ordinary People, The Snake Pit, Rain Man, A Beautiful Mind, The Notebook).  Surviving Schizophrenia Is offered by the author in the literary tradition of providing new perspectives from a unique viewpoint.