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Recovered, Not Cured: A Journey Through Schizophrenia Paperback – May 1, 2005


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Recovered, Not Cured: A Journey Through Schizophrenia + Me, Myself, and Them: A Firsthand Account of One Young Person's Experience with Schizophrenia (Adolescent Mental Health Initiative) + The Quiet Room: A Journey Out of the Torment of Madness
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Allen & Unwin; 1 edition (May 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1865089745
  • ISBN-13: 978-1865089744
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #171,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* The words in this small but mighty account verbalize the essence of mental illness, and McLean's graphic illustrations crank up the volume. The Australian's raw candor and stirring clarity in both words and images make this a rare nonfiction gem, with a power that grips the reader as if by the lapels. McLean's first recollections of paranoia come from adolescence, when he heard voices from the other side of the backyard fence. Soon he was picking up "messages" from automobile license plates, radios, and disembodied voices. Not unlike many who suffer from schizophrenia, to escape the torment of a constantly shifting reality, he self--medicated with the usual drugs of youth, alcohol and marijuana. Despite plunging ever deeper into mental illness, he managed to graduate from university, hold a job, and travel throughout Europe, thanks to the emotional support of family and friends, who often excused his bizarre episodes as personality quirks. Frequently at a loss to understand McLean, they nevertheless provided opportunities for him to conduct what he calls reality checks. The happy ending is that professional medical care has brought his illness under control, and he lives on his own. The price he pays is a life that is "less interesting" but offers hope for thousands who either suffer from mental illness or know someone who does. Donna Chavez
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

"This is a powerful, quirky and important book. . . . It outstrips anything else I have read about schizophrenia for its insight into the nature of psychotic thinking and behaviour." —Anne Deveson, author, Tell Me I'm Here

More About the Author

I am an artist, illustrator, author, research fellow and art teacher.

My artistry began in childhood and continued years later with the completion of a Bachelor of Fine Art from Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne, (Drawing), with a minor study in ceramics.​

It was during and after this phase that my art practice took a different turn-with the digitisation of my work, and co-inciding with the onset of schizophrenia when I was 20 years old. After some time I returned to study completing an advanced diploma in Computer Aided Art & Design. (CAAD).

The art I made during this time was published in the autobiographical account of recovery, in 'Recovered, Not Cured, a journey through schizophrenia', (Allen and Unwin, 2003), which was awarded a 'Highly commended' from the HREOC, and nominated SANE Australia's 'Book of the year', prompting a long relationship with the organisation.

Not to be held back from my illness, after much travel and more study, I was employed by 'The Herald Sun' and 'The Age' newspapers respectively, specialising in news graphics and illustration. It is in this time I wrote my first book.

In 2008, I published a collection of his works in the book 'Strange Currencies of Ego and Soul'. As a spiritualist, soul is heaven, ego reflects the darker side of human nature, for it's corruptible condition, I think the book reflects both these themes.

My private art practice did not stop, however, and I have constantly been exhibiting in solo, and group shows, since 1995. At one point I utilised the computer based medium to diversify into short film-making.

The sideline from my artistry reflecting periods of 'dis-chordancy', led to the filming of a documentary on my life and visual practice, by The Dax Collection. Entitled 'Collected Thoughts 3', the film is distributed as a resource mostly for young people in Australian Secondary Schools as a teaching resource.

I spoke publicly for many years on the role of art and recovery from, and coping with schizophrenia, doing countless radio interviews and public lectures. Its taken me to such diverse places as Australian Parliament in Canberra, to Dubbo in outback New South Wales, and The School of Religious and Philosophy studies, in Montreal, Canada, where I also exhibited.

I have also spoken extensively with The Mental Health Research Institute (MHRI) on my experience of art making and life experiences with high school students. In 2009 I lectured to national body of the Victorian Curriculum Assessment Team, (VCAT), in which I used my life experiences, and art, to help decide and direct what is appropriate for school curriculum in Australian High Schools.

Talking about the images was always a good starting point and insight of the time, which people were interested in, and sufferers could relate to. My speaking role also helped a lot of people I think, and was very cathartic, but now I spend my time solely on art practice, and studying my Masters in Education, without involvement re-living obvious trauma of years gone by. I'm looking forward. I'm excited by the future.

I have since moved on from public speaking and the role my past art played.

My new body of work from 2011 was celebrated at Kingston Arts Centre, and entitled 'Back to Basics', of which a catalogue is available here on amazon. It was a return to the traditional sensibilities of drawing - form and space, using subjects reflecting on circumstance, metaphor, bayside location, and utilising social realism, symbolism and drawing upon my personal experiences.

These drawings represent my joy of image making, also the rhythmic dynamics of light and dark in both a metaphysical and visual sense. Of late I am exploring character making in the now published children's book, 'Grogan the Monster in...What do you Love?', also available here and is planned to support raising funds for The Royal Children's Hospital.

In Feb 2012, I held another solo show, 'Because I like to draw - Return from Pessimism', at Gasworks Arts Park, in South Melbourne - a lighter look at localised urban environments within a traditional context that welled from a much more positive space.

I am currently a Research Student in a Masters in Education via creative project at Victoria University, Melbourne, in 2012 within a visual interactive art context.

Customer Reviews

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I found this book to be very well written.
jellyfish
I recommend this book to all readers interested in learning about the symptoms of schizophrenia, how to seek treatment and how to learn to cope with the disease.
Simon Cleveland
Richard has successfully given of his own experience with his struggle through schizophrenia in a unique and vivid manner.
Ross Leonard

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I stumbled accidentally on this book. Running a search through the online database at a local library branch, the title popped up on the screen. I cross-referenced it with the opinions of other readers from Amazon.com and decided it'd be an interesting overview of this incredible disease - schizophrenia.

I found out after checking the book out that it won the Australian Book of the Year for 2004, which intrigued me further. Having read it, I am also of the opinion that it deserves the award. The book is short and easy to read (in terms of narrative), but it reveals the complexities of the disease. The author narrates his experiences from the moments the symptoms appeared to the medication phase that restored order in his daily existence.

The book is written in snippets of experiences and often the reader is hurled one story after another of the patient's psychosis, paranoia, search for codes or deciphering of codes and secret messages, the delusions of voices the author heard and his reactions to them. In addition to these experiences, he inserts numerous e-mails from other schizophrenia patients he'd received or read on mental illness-online boards, as well as messages from family members of mental patients and how they coped with them. Since he is a graphics designer by trade, he'd added plenty of visual representations of his internal torments.

I recommend this book to all readers interested in learning about the symptoms of schizophrenia, how to seek treatment and how to learn to cope with the disease.

-by Simon Cleveland
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By jellyfish on March 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
I read this book to get a better understanding of my brother, who is diagnosed schizophrenic and is obviously having a very hard time, though he rarely talks explicitly about what's happening to him. I was glad to stumble upon a book written by someone with schizophrenia (as opposed to a doctor or researcher). I think this 'inside view' has been really helpful in my coming to understand my brother better, so that I can be supportive towards him and catch warning signs of when he's entering a delusional episode.

I found this book to be very well written. It would likely be interesting even to people who don't have schizophrenic loved ones. The author has included his own artwork interspersed throughout the book as well as poems and notes he wrote while he was delusional. The artwork is very interesting, the poems and notes are a bit disturbing, as you'd expect.

It is heartening that though the author has a severe mental illness to deal with, he was able to put together such an excellent book.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A. Bennett on January 4, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book to make a recommendation to the Psychology teacher at the high school where I am the librarian. The teacher created an assignment for her classes where groups of kids would read a book together on a psychological condition in a book group type setting. I read many books on all different types of conditions over a fairly short period of time and then selected twelve books or so for her students to read. This book made the cut. I thought it was a very accessible book on the topic of schizophrenia in terms of language and length for high school students.

I have talked to several of the students who were assigned this book and all seemed to think that the book did a good job explaining one person's story with schizophrenia without boring them with a lot of psychological/medical terminology.

I will recommend this book to students who come to my library wanting to learn about schizophrenia.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Ross Leonard on July 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
A must read for all friends, relatives and sufferers of what we term 'Mental Illness'. Richard has successfully given of his own experience with his struggle through schizophrenia in a unique and vivid manner. He draws upon his talent as an artist/musician and the resource of the internet chat lines for fellow sufferers points of view and comments on what it is like to experience a psychotic illness. His drawings express emotions and a state of mind which words can not.

Easy to read and unlike many other books on the subject the outlook for the sufferer is not all doom and gloom.

Richard's story is living proof that there is a recovered 'normal' life from schizophrenia.

Thankyou Richard as you have helped me immensely with my journey through schizophrenia.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By S. N. Rivera Burgos on May 28, 2007
Format: Paperback
I like to read personal accounts of mental illness. This book is an artwork. It is a pleasure to hold, read, and look at. It is well organized, very entertaining with many drawings made at different times of the author's illness. I felt he was very honest, humble and friendly.

I like the fact that he is a young writer. I guess the book was written when he was just 30 years old, so many young readers can identify with his art and music.

There are many reasons he recovered. Among them his supportive family, supportive friends, he took up humble jobs along his illness even though having a university degree, modern medicines, he was able to balance the pros and cons of his medicine's side effects and keep taking them, ...

[...].
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Batgirl on August 21, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is excellent at showing what it is really like to be schizophrenic. Recommended for families and friends of people with schizophrenia so they will have some idea of what their loved one is going through.
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