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My Schizophrenic Life: The Road to Recovery from Mental Illness Paperback – August 28, 2010

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My Schizophrenic Life: The Road to Recovery from Mental Illness + What a Life Can Be: One Therapist's Take on Schizo-Affective Disorder.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 210 pages
  • Publisher: Bridgeross Communications (August 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0981003796
  • ISBN-13: 978-0981003795
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 9 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


While clumsily written and in dire need of a professional editor or perhaps even a ghostwriter, this volume is nonetheless remarkably compelling. The book takes on a life of its own as MacKay relates her lifelong struggles with severe mental illness. In particular, she illuminates the ways in which schizophrenic delusions can hijack one's life. MacKay vividly re-creates her world of schizophrenia, introducing readers to a whole new stratum of perception. Significantly, MacKay finds her salvation through art and writing, as she learns to capitalize on creative insights gleaned from her bouts with mental illness. Verdict MacKay's enlightening portrayal of her illness, hospitalizations, relationships, therapeutic activities, and quest for recovery will hold readers captive despite the elementary language and disjointed structure of the memoir. Like Kay Redfield Jamison's more eloquent An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness, this slight piece provides a surprisingly gripping narrative that will appeal to Jamison aficionados.--Lynne F. Maxwell, Villanova Univ. Sch. of Law Lib., PA -- Library Journal Advance on-line review, August 15, 2010

More About the Author

Sandra Yuen MacKay has a Fine Arts Diploma from Langara College and a Bachelor's degree in art history from the University of British Columbia. Her stories, articles and poetry are published in Front Magazine, The Bulletin (a mental health magazine), The Prairie Journal and other publications.

In My Schizophrenic Life: The Road to Recovery from Mental Illness, her memoir, she describes her struggle with schizoaffective disorder. Hell's Fire is a sic-fi novella.

She is a visual artist and speaker on mental illness. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. To view her blog, read reviews, listen to interviews, and find links to her art, visit:

Sandra is the recipient of the Coast Mental Health 2012 Courage to Come Back Award in the mental health category. Also she was chosen for the 2012 Faces of Mental Illness campaign held by the Canadian Alliance of Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH). In 2013, she received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 7 customer reviews
And she openly shares those gifts with us all.
Sandra Yuen Mackay's book is very important as a bridge to understanding how a mentally ill person feels.
Maria Savva
Kudos to Sandra for writing this wonderful book that is insightful and profound!
Laura J. Schultz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Maria Savva on October 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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. Knox on September 30, 2010
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
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By STUART MCCALLUM on October 17, 2010
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Laura J. Schultz on January 27, 2011
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.
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