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 the disease (now rediagnosed as schizoaffective disorder) 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.
A STORY OF TRIUMPH WITH LESSONS FOR ALL
"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
COURAGEOUSLY TOLD,FAST PACED, INTERESTING AND READABLE
"A fascinating perspective of growing up and developing a mental illness early in life, courageously told! Sandra MacKay has written a fast-paced, interesting and readable experience of learning to live with a complex mental illness; the more so with the dual aspects of a psychotic and mood disorder. She writes with keen insight so that the reader is part of the experience and learns from it simultaneously. The ongoing dialogue between Sandra, her family and her caregivers offers the reader a sense of the rollercoaster ride in dealing with the mental health system and shows also her transition to the road of recovery. This is an authentic and honest journey through an illness experience that teaches us the value of individual effort and the recovery process.
Sarah Sinanan, BA, BSc. OT
Coordinator, The Art Studios Vancouver, BC
ARTICULATE, HONEST AND INSPIRING
A compelling and immensely interesting story of the author’s journey to recovery after being diagnosed as a teenager with a serious mental illness. Sandra’s insight and intelligence shines through in this well written exploration of the impact psychosis has had on her life. She recounts her experience in a way that allows the reader to understand and grasp the challenges of mental illness on an individual, family members, and friends. Sandra’s story is articulate, honest, inspiring, and engaging - a ‘must read’ as it helps us to understand that people with mental illness are more than their diagnosis - they are people who, with tremendous courage, tackle the challenges and stigma of mental illness and show us that there is a path to recovery, to hope, and to realizing the meaning and purpose of one’s own life.
Linda Proudfoot, B.Ed, Regional Coordinator for Vancouver/Richmond, BC Schizophrenia Society