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My Schizophrenic Life: The Road to Recovery from Mental Illness [Paperback]

Sandra Yuen MacKay
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 28 2010
Vancouver artist Sandra Yuen MacKay has an abnormality of the brain - a disease called schizophrenia. As she says, "my life is schizophrenic because I have schizophrenia. It will always be there". Much of her life has been a struggle to cope with the symptoms of her disease and the side effects of the medications required to keep those symptoms in check. Early in her life, Sandra started to exhibit the typical symptoms of this disease which came as a surprise to her unsuspecting family. Her book chronicles her struggles, hospitalizations, encounters with professionals, return to school, eventual marriage, and success as an artist, writer and advocate. "Remarkably compelling...the book takes on a life if its own...a gripping narrative" Library Journal "There are precious few people who have experienced psychosis and can convey it accurately, clearly,and concisely. Sandra MacKay's story is an important one for all of us in the mental health field --doctors, patients, and their families. It is imperative that we take in the lessons she is imparting to us all, on how to manage, and in many ways, triumph, over chronic mental illness." Julie Holland, MD author, Weekends at Bellevue: Nine Years on the Night Shift at the Psych ER., New York city

Frequently Bought Together

My Schizophrenic Life: The Road to Recovery from Mental Illness + After Her Brain Broke: Helping My Daughter Recover Her Sanity + The Quiet Room: A Journey Out of the Torment of Madness
Price For All Three: CDN$ 40.71

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Review

remarkably compelling....MacKay's enlightening portrayal of her illness, hospitalizations, relationships, therapeutic activities, and quest for recovery will hold readers captive.... --Library Journal Online August 15, 2010

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational Oct. 25 2010
Format:Paperback
'My Schizophrenic Life' is a memoir about Sandra Yuen Mackay's experience of living with schizoaffective disorder. It is ultimately a book about how Sandra has coped with the illness and more importantly the lessons she has learnt from it and how she has been able to recover, although the author does still suffer from symptoms but has now been able to find a way to almost control the effects. The book is a fascinating and compelling story giving valuable insight of the view of the world from the perspective of someone with a mental illness. Sandra's story will definitely benefit anyone who may be currently living with a diagnosis or suffering from any type of mental illness, as Sandra has described how she was able to seek help and find different techniques to stop or reduce the severity of some of her symptoms. This book will also help anyone living with or caring for a relative or friend who may be suffering from schizoaffective disorder.

Sandra has told the story of her 30 year battle with the illness. At first she was diagnosed as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. It highlights the fact that mental illness is something that is very difficult to diagnose, as there are many different symptoms and each individual suffers in different ways; the triggers for the symptoms will vary from person to person.

In many ways this book is important as it breaks down a barrier of ignorance about mental illness. Here we are told a story by a very intelligent, creative woman who works as an artist and writer and has used her experience of suffering with this disorder to help others, by taking part in talks and public speaking.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Educational Feb. 16 2012
Format:Paperback
Sandra Yuen MacKay's account of personal recovery effectively dispels the myths associated with schizophrenia. Determined to succeed despite the overwhelming stigma attached to this disease, her words are seeds of hope for those who suffer, directly or indirectly, from the ravages of schizophrenia. This book belongs in the educational system.
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5.0 out of 5 stars insightful Jan. 12 2013
By EB
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Well written and easy to read with a hopeful message. The importance of family and friendship support is highlighted as part of the recovery porcess.
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Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational Oct. 25 2010
By Maria Savva - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
'My Schizophrenic Life' is a memoir about Sandra Yuen Mackay's experience of living with schizoaffective disorder. It is ultimately a book about how Sandra has coped with the illness and more importantly the lessons she has learnt from it and how she has been able to recover, although the author does still suffer from symptoms but has now been able to find a way to almost control the effects. The book is a fascinating and compelling story giving valuable insight of the view of the world from the perspective of someone with a mental illness. Sandra's story will definitely benefit anyone who may be currently living with a diagnosis or suffering from any type of mental illness, as Sandra has described how she was able to seek help and find different techniques to stop or reduce the severity of some of her symptoms. This book will also help anyone living with or caring for a relative or friend who may be suffering from schizoaffective disorder.

Sandra has told the story of her 30 year battle with the illness. At first she was diagnosed as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. It highlights the fact that mental illness is something that is very difficult to diagnose, as there are many different symptoms and each individual suffers in different ways; the triggers for the symptoms will vary from person to person.

In many ways this book is important as it breaks down a barrier of ignorance about mental illness. Here we are told a story by a very intelligent, creative woman who works as an artist and writer and has used her experience of suffering with this disorder to help others, by taking part in talks and public speaking.

Sandra's symptoms began when she was a teenager, and I found it fascinating to read about the way she would hear and see things that were not there and have profound delusions and paranoia. In some ways there are so many things from Sandra's memories of her teenage years that everyone could relate to. Paranoid feelings, delusion and depression are things that we have all felt to some degree in our lives, but the way these things would manifest in Sandra's mind shows just how frail our vision of reality can be and how easily it can be distorted when there is a chemical imbalance in the brain causing mental illness.

By reading Sandra's story I personally feel that I have learnt a great deal about how Schizophrenia can affect someone's life, and her story has illuminated for me a subject which seems to carry an unworthy stigma. I have always believed that mental illness is just like any other illness and yet the mentally ill are generally feared and treated as if it is almost their fault that they have this illness. I felt that the way many of Sandra's therapists spoke to her when she was a teenager showed a general ignorance about mental illness.

Sandra Yuen Mackay's book is very important as a bridge to understanding how a mentally ill person feels. She is a great advocate and has put her story across in a way that is compelling and easy to understand. I would recommend this book to everyone. Its worth is not only in helping to dispel certain myths surrounding mental illness, but it's also the story of a person who has overcome great adversity and is now successful and an example to us all.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching and Honest Sept. 30 2010
By J. Knox - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a very straightforward, honest and personal account of one woman's battle with schizophrenia.
As a person who has seen what this illness has done to people I love, I was particularly drawn-in by the subject matter, and I am therefore probably extremely biased. That said, there's no denying that MacKay wrote a very enduring and important book about the topic, one will strike an emotional cord and open the eyes of those of us who are currently not afflicted with the disease. A memoir that raises empathy and tells a good story always has my support
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful Message of Hope Oct. 17 2010
By STUART MCCALLUM - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Sandra Yuen Mackay's memoir, `My Schizophrenic Life' is a courageous and moving story of living with the (seldom written about) mental illness schizophrenia. The author does a wonderful job of sweeping the reader into her world, beginning with the confusion as a teenager when the illness entered her life, through the many challengers of trying to cope while living in the anomalous world of schizophrenia.

Having experienced psychosis as a direct result from epileptic seizures, I was personally drawn into the content. I found the story easy to follow and informative. For anyone who would like to know what it's like to live each day with a metal illness, I highly recommend, Sandra Yuen Mackay's brave and ultimately uplifting story.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Compelling Memoir From a Courageous Young Woman Jan. 27 2011
By Laura J. Schultz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Most of us never think about the possibility that the world as we know it one day would suddenly ceased to exist almost overnight. And if suddenly what once was, appeared to be totally different, who could you feel safe with to explain strange occurrences that you either felt, saw or heard? That is exactly what transpired in the life of author Sandra Yuen McKay. One day she was a fairly happy, though shy young teenager dealing with issues that most young girls deal with such as school, friends, family etc. Seemingly overnight she heard voices of people she knew, speaking to her in ways that were foreign and threatening to her and made no rational sense, but she was unable to decipher what was real or not.

The author is able to adeptly explain in-depth what she saw and felt during the time she believed people were peering at her and developing unseen plots against her. Her vivid memories and feelings are so poignantly described that the reader feels everything that is occurring, in a deeply meaningful way. At first,no one was able to validate how she was feeling nor was she able to explain it to others in a way they could understand. So she felt more and more isolated and alone. Such is the plight of anyone who experiences schizophrenia or for that matter many who suffer from mental illness. The feelings of isolation and fear set in and it becomes difficult to trust anyone for help or believe that there really is anything wrong.

After suffering for many years and finally being diagnosed, she then endured the often unequipped system of treatment and various specialists who were often not as empathic as one would hope in order to help their clients recover in a warm trusting environment. Some even blamed her for not seeking help more quickly and made her feel more guilty and uncomfortable. This is part of the tragedy of living with mental illness when others who are supposed to know better, blame the victim. Though Sandra endured many challenges once within the mental health system coupled with the stigma attached to a diagnosis of schizophrenia--she never gave up her dreams of living a fulfilling life and becoming independent. And her family was a critical component in her road to healing, as they never stopped loving her nor gave up believing in her which greatly aided in her recovery. Her magnificent artistic ability helped to heal and propel her into a life that blossomed and evolved. She was able to trust again, marry a loving,supportive man and began to pursue her dreams.

This book is alive with Sandra's feelings and experiences documented in words that are genuine and heartfelt-- filled with love and hope for others who are still suffering from mental illness. But it transcends the world of mental illness as well by giving us all hope that no matter what we might have to deal with in life, we too, can learn to cope and not merely survive but learn to thrive! Kudos to Sandra for writing this wonderful book that is insightful and profound!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Educational Feb. 12 2012
By I. Zibin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Sandra Yuen MacKay's account of personal recovery effectively dispels the myths associated with schizophrenia. Determined to succeed despite the overwhelming stigma attached to this disease, her words are seeds of hope for those who suffer, directly or indirectly, from the ravages of schizophrenia. This book belongs in the educational system.
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