If you’re not up to speed on my story quite yet, please allow me to offer some exposition.
About ten years ago, while teaching English as a Second Language in Korea, I developed late onset schizophrenia. The first signs of schizophrenia usually manifest in one’s teenage years or early twenties. My case, occurring when I was in my thirties, is something of a rarity. Another unusual aspect of my case is that I went a whole year in acute psychosis without help or treatment. And a very long, wild year it was…
I have written two books about my experiences with schizophrenia. The first book is entitled Way Out: A True Account of Schizophrenia. It includes many stories from my life and especially deals with the year during which I traveled abroad and in the USA during my psychotic break. The second book, The Boon: Thoughts of a Schizophrenic in Remission, is available now through the CreateSpace Estore and on Amazon.com as a paperback or (cheaper) for Kindle. It also includes experiences from my life and from my psychosis, but does not linger on ground covered in the first memoir. Instead, this second book focuses primarily on my recovery and my thinking about understanding and languaging the disorder and how to go about the process of healing oneself.
Occasionally, hoping to find out how accessible various pieces of information about my books (and now my petition/campaign/protest/advocacy materials on MI stigma) are to casual users of search engines, I ‘google’ my name – Eugene Uttley. Often, I have at least one wonderful surprise. Years ago, in a forum dedicated to the computer game series Starcraft (of all places), I found a delightful posting about Way Out, which I would like to share with you here:
“While researching some more info on schizophrenia, I came across this memoir written by an author chronicling his battle with and recovery from schizophrenia. I figure, opportunities to learn about this rather mysterious mental illness this in-depth come few and far between, so any of our members interested in psychology might find this an interesting read… I was surprised to learn some new strategies for coping, that certain thoughts I have are actually common among schizophrenia, and that my strategies I already have for dealing with the disease are actually quite effective… If you are coping with the disease like myself, or know somebody who is, or are just interested in abnormal psychology, you’ll find this an interesting read.”
The person who wrote this post went on to provide a link to the memoir as a google .doc, which I had provided elsewhere. Responding to some replies to the initial post, he/she went on to say this:
“It’s given me comfort and made me feel happy for a change… and for that I am grateful. Indeed, my psychotic symptoms have all vanished since. Not sure what to make of that… I strongly recommend anyone interested in mental illness and human psychology read this book… it truly helped me come to terms with my own mental state, and I’m sure those unafflicted by mental illness could learn something about a new, unusual perspective on life from it.”
Obviously, this testimonial is my dream come true! I am thrilled to know that my work was meaningful (and apparently even therapeutic) to a fellow-sufferer. I have had other positive feedback on the manuscript in a forum for mental illness support. One person wrote, “I read this memoir and it was touching and well portrayed. Anyone who feels alone should read this. Anyone who needs to see that there is indeed hope should give this book a try.” Reading reactions like this to my work is greatly gratifying and makes me feel like I am making a difference – one reader at a time.
Way Out is published under the name Arthur Thomas Morton, so it appears less frequently in google search results for “Eugene Uttley” than does The Boon. The Boon expands on the autobiographical material in Way Out, and explores my thinking on the disease now that I have been stable for a number of years. The Boon is chock full of quotations and excerpts from poetry, prose, and song by some of my favorite thinkers and artists, and also contains and discusses work which I produced (creatively) in the years building up to my onset.
Sometimes, I find sites offering one or the other of my books free for download. That happened today.
So yeah, they’re stealing my book. Buy hey, I found a couple of gems in the search results today, too. Like this PrettyFamous page… loads of old posts and comments… And this old review, tucked away on thebookmarketingnetwork.com:
Disclaimer: I was given an e-copy by the author in exchange for an honest review.
I’ll start by saying I hold a Master’s Degree in Forensic Psychology, so when I was approached to read and review this book, I jumped at it. Schizophrenia was one of the many different topics throughout my coursework, and I’m always eager to learn more about anything Psychology-related. I thought back on my different classes, and while we discussed all sorts of things about Schizophrenia (symptoms, effects on the individual and family/friends, therapeutic treatment, drug treatment, etc.), I don’t recall having ever read an anecdotal account from someone with the illness, and I think it’s just a fantastic idea.
While this book is very long, it’s well worth the read if you’re either like me and are interested in Psychology, or if you either have or know someone who has Schizophrenia (Sz for short). Reading this book gave me all sorts of personal insight into the illness that you just can’t find in a textbook, and I’m sure it would greatly benefit anyone who is affected in their life by Sz in some way. I found the opening philosophies on God to be very interesting, as it was a new way of looking at the topic for me, and it really drew me in to see what all Eugene believed, had been through, is going through, etc. The various quotes from song lyrics, psychologists, other Sz memoirs, and numerous other sources really worked to convey just what Eugene was thinking and feeling, especially the ones pulled from his earlier writings.
As I said, I would definitely recommend this to anyone who has Sz in some form of their life: either themselves, a family member or friend, therapists, social workers, etc, as well as those who are studying or just interested in Psychology. First-hand accounts are few and far between, and I feel I learned more about Sz, its effects on the mind as well as the idea of “remission,” from this book than I did throughout my coursework.
5 stars for its ability to suck you in and keep you reading and learning, no matter how long it is =)
Kristen A. Kim 1/8/13
Hey, if you’re up for doing me a solid, go ahead and type “Eugene Uttley” into Google and click through to something or other. Nothing like a little traffic to firm up some results. I’m not seeing anything about my MI petition, campaign, or posts yet. That’s a drag…