Hi, there. Thanks for visiting. I'm starting this blog as an advocate for mental and physical health. I'm a freelance writer and also own a home based medical transcription business. I was diagnosed in 1978 with paranoid schizophrenia and started to become acutely ill three years prior to that, unmedicated, frightened, confused, and in trouble with the law. I graduated from university with distinction the year I became ill. I've never regretted learning how to think at university. I struggled with my illness for 35 years and have reached the top of the mountain now, I think, or the other side, where the grass is greener and the path easier. There's hope for all of us, the whole human race, and never think there isn't hope or joy no matter your circumstances. I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences with mental illness in all its forms: depression, brain injury, autism, schizophrenia, bipolar, anxiety disorders, etc. and your positive experiences as well as those lies and half truths society and even therapists would have us believe about ourselves.

We are different folks, and we are beautiful. The whole human race is beautiful. Let's celebrate life.

Friday, September 24, 2010

My Way

I was thinking about what Austin said that I'm unusual in that I'm working yet have schizophrenia. Most schizophrenics are on a pension and find working too stressful, I suppose. I was wondering why and thinking back, I've had some wonderful bosses who understood when I told them I had trouble getting up in the morning and/or getting to work consistently. They were truly wonderful people. There was a time in the 1980s when I took temp jobs because I couldn't devote myself to a full time job. I always did what I could. The University of Alberta was very good to me when I couldn't work in 1990. I tried to quit and they wouldn't let me quit, and insisted at the time that I sign disability papers. My psychiatrist worked in tandem with them from the psych hospital and although I insisted "God would take care of me" she finally convinced me that was God's way of taking care of me! So I signed the disability papers and was able to have an income from long term disability until I got on my feet. I usually worked part time also, and my wages were taken off the disability payments, but I was raised as well with the work ethic and didn't consider a life time pension although I could have had one. I have one very special delusion and obsession to thank for my dedication to becoming better. I thought if I became well I would be acceptable to a particular person. She was like a star. And I thought for most of that time I may be gay, but I'm convinced I'm not. I don't live that lifestyle and I don't have those inclinations for other members of my sex. It's simply a delusion and it was an obsession to become better so that I might be acceptable to someone who offered me help at one time. I now have a plan, hatched with the help of my therapist, that if it should happen again (the delusion and obsession about contacting this person) that I will contact my therapist and/or my family doctor, and/or a good friend here, and will work it through that way. I now have tools at my disposal and I'm so glad. The obsession tortured me for almost 35 years and now it's over. I did what I did to garner the court case that's now going on, and it worked in a peculiar way...I'm better and realize that I was wrong to pursue the truth in this fashion, but really, at the time in April 2009 I wasn't well enough to realize there were other options. I'm very sorry I created the trouble I did. And I've paid for it I guess, but the truth is more wonderful than any lies I've told myself over the years -- no one wanted to hurt me, and my recent decisions may have made someone happy.

There is a young woman who contacted me yesterday from my 12 step program. She is hurting and needs support. I was less than helpful at the time she called me, being busy with work and also not sure if she would help herself so to speak, but that's not for me to say, is it? I want to call her today and offer what support I can be. After all, it's taken me 35 years and if people gave up on me (which I'm sure they did at the time), they would be happy to know that I'm where I am today. I remember all of them, and I remember the wise things said, and I remember also that I would not take direction, which I interpreted as control, and insisted on doing it my way. Well, I did it my way. So why shouldn't others?


  1. Kenna, I often wonder the diagnosis of schizophrenia. I know often the term is used with paranoia, (paranoid schizophrenia). Then one of my favorite books on psychology is Sybil, which I read twice. I now have a copy again of the book and one of my future goals, is to read it again. Sybil had schizophrenia but hers involved multiple personalities.

  2. Bob, I don't think multiple personalities is considered schizophrenia. There are four types of schizophrenia including paranoid schizophrenia, which I have. There's undifferentiated, simple, paranoid and perhaps one other. You can google it. People often mistakenly think schizophrenia is multiple personalities because of books like Sybil. They may have changed the definitions lately, but previously multiple personalities was not considered schizophrenia.

    You might try a less sensational book such as "A Beautiful Mind" or "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden" or else a good article on schizophrenia which can be found on-line. I don't read a lot about it myself. It's a serious mental illness but I've proven that it can be overcome, and there are other people who are high functioning. If you read some of Austin Mardon's articles or SZ Magazine (a link to both can be found on my blog) it might help in understanding this little understood mental illness. Although "schizophrenia" means "split mind" that's a misnomer.

  3. You might also read "The Bell Jar" by Sylvia Platt. Ms. Platt tragically took her own life shortly after this book was published.

    The other kind of schizophrenia is catatonic, I think. I'm not a medical person but know mostly from personal experience since approximately 1976. Schizophrenia is characterized by hallucinations and delusions. It involves a misinterpretation of reality or a "splitting" from reality. It can be treated with meds quite successfully but compliance is a problem.

  4. Paranoia is not necessarily schizophrenia. There are paranoid illnesses or simply "paranoia" characterized by suspiciousness. Schizophrenics also, Bob, are often very intelligent. It's thought to be genetic but can be triggered by circumstances.

  5. Bob, you might find it interesting to watch this video, which dramatizes what it's like for a schizophrenic to experience a psychotic episode. I believe this was a teaching tool created for demonstration purposes (note the disclaimer at the beginning). It may be too intense for some to watch.

    Hope this becomes a live link, but if not, cut and paste.

  6. I just finished watching the video. It was a good almost 3-D depiction of Paranoid Schizophrenia, where (the print media - esp. if in helvetica or arial font) can really do you in, making you think it's about you). I am always amazed when Linda & I are talking and the announcer repeats what we said, happens quite a bit.

    I know there is more to schizophrenia than just paranoia such as multiple personalities, but very good movie clip!