‘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 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.
Suffering schizophrenia for thirty years, I sojourned from the depths of madness to the sobriety of recovery. Plagued with hallucinatory voices, hyperbolic mania, irrational phobia, and inexplicable ideas of magical influence, I entered psychiatric institutions on numerous occasions. I traversed the New Zealand public health system – hospitals, outpatient clinics, hospice services. I spent nine months in a forensic hospital. Despite these trials, I have never received a conviction for contravention of the law.
Graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Management Studies from the University of Waikato, I have since participated in the consumer advocacy movement of former ‘clients’ of mental health services. In particular, I was a supporter in the 1990s of the The Schizophrenia Fellowship NZ (now known as Supporting Families); The Aotearoa Network of Psychiatric Survivors; and Psychiatric Survivors Auckland Inc.. New Zealand, with Great Britain, the USA and The Netherlands is a leader of mental health consumer advocacy..
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