Thursday, October 10, 2013

Mind Without A Home: A Memoir of Schizophrenia, Kristina Morgan


Today, October 10th, is World Mental Health Day.

I find it appropriate that I am sharing my review of Mind Without a Home today. Mind Without a Home is Kristina Morgan's memoir of her life with schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia is a heavy and intense mental disorder. Schizophrenia is no joke.

The life that our author has led has been heavy and intense. Her family history, her trips in and out of in-treatment facilities, hospitals, doctors, therapists, psychiatric wards ... I could go on and on and use so many other words to describe what she lived through.

But for a true take on her experience you need to read the words that come directly from her.

I don't usually quote excerpts when I do book reviews. It's just not my style of reviewing. But today I make an exception. For Kristina I think you need to hear what she went through from her, directly.

Things got bizarre. Looking back, I know I did bizarre things, but at the time that I was doing them, I didn't consider them bizarre. - p. 125

I first tumbled in my late twenties and was diagnosed as schizophrenic in my late thirties. It took me a long time to believe I had schizophrenia, and sometimes, at forty-five years old, I still don't believe it. - p. 203

I find myself pleading with her. I don't want to be sent to the loony bin. I guess that's why she is here, asking me questions, trying to figure out if I'm crazy. "I'm not crazy," I blurt out. "Please." 
"Please ---"
"Please let me go home." - p. 35

As for mental illness, I struggled. The plague had yet to catch me completely. I thought of it as a Stephen King novel. I knew it was there, I knew something was happening, but in the first 300 pages it had yet to reveal itself. I was on page 150. I still had time before my heart was cut out and my mind completely poisoned. - p. 91

Whew, right?

SO much. So very much.

I honestly requested that I read and review this book, and asked again when it was all filled up. I needed to read it. Maybe it's the social worker mindset that had me extremely interested in the peek inside the mind of a schizophrenic woman? Maybe it's human curiosity? Maybe the book just seemed like it would be a great read?

Honestly? I think it was a little of each. All of the above and then some.

Kristina Morgan's life was not easy. Her telling of her story had to be extremely difficult for her, and yet, she did it. I often turned the pages, mouth open, head shaking, amazed at how she somehow persevered. She's a powerhouse, in my opinion. And good for her!

I will admit that because of the intensity of her life story and "secondary characters," I had a little bit of difficulty following along and remembering who was who. She used her family members names (I assume they are real, but wouldn't know if they weren't) and referred to her mother by first name, so on occasion I found myself skimming backwards to remind myself if it was her mother, her sister, her niece she was talking about. That did slow down my reading experience some, but I would imagine if I told her this she'd get it. She'd recognize how the various aspects of her family melded together some, and overlapped a bit, and could seem a little confusing to an outsider. At least I hope she would and that she'd take it as a comment, and not a criticism.

Anyway, that's neither here nor there. She is who she is, her family makes her who she is, as well, and she shares her story in such a way that I found myself wanting to call her up and say, 'Holy sh*t, woman, you've been through hell and come back fighting each and every time. Rock on.' But I can't do that - so consider that the call, okay?

Now, TLC Book Tours has offered me a copy for one of my readers. So if you're interested in reading this book, just leave me a comment and let me know. I'm not in the mood to deal with Rafflecopter today, I just want to hear from you. What makes you want to read it. What makes you not sure you want to read it but curious enough to throw your name into the hat anyway?

And remember, it's World Mental Health Day, and so many people around us, in our circles of family, friends, loved ones, they suffer daily from mental illness and you don't even know it. You don't, and you know what? They might not, either. Please consider reaching out to them. Show your support. Give them a hand, a shoulder, an ear, a hug. Give them a reminder that they're not alone.

And if they cry for help? Help them.

Try. It's not on you, I know. They have to help themselves. But they sometimes need a push, a shove, a reminder. A solid presence in their world that shows them that they are valuable, that they are loved.

Ms. Morgan tried to end her life many times. She did not succeed. Someone you know may be suffering similarly. Extend your hand, even if you're scared.

And if you or someone you know is at risk, take this number down. Save it in your phone. It's critical. It could save a life. 800-273-TALK (8255) Or head to the website. Find a therapist, a lifeline, get help.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Band Back Together: Suicide Resources

Kristin Brooks Hope Center

Motherhood Unadorned: Crisis Resources


* I received a copy of this book from TLC Book Tours to facilitate my review. 
All expressed opinions are strictly my own. 

Interestingly enough, I just checked and World Mental Health Day 2014 will be focused on schizophrenia. I might try to speak with Kristina Morgan before then. I should have done so for this post, but I was too slow in trying to do so. Oops. Hindsight really is 20/20! 

4 comments:

The Dose of Reality said...

Well, you know I love your book reviews, and this is a FANTASTIC one. I cannot pick up this book fast enough. My husband has a cousin with schizophrenia and it has been so hard for him. Our mental healthcare system is just broken, and many people don't even seem to care because of the stigma of having a mental health disorder. I'd love to read this to have a better understanding of what it's like to live with.

And THANK YOU for the reminder about World Mental Health Day. People with mental illness *are* valuable and they are loved. They need to know that. We need to support them.

Fantastic and meaningful post. --Lisa

Anne-Marie said...

Have you seen Eleanor Longden's TED Talk on living with voices inside her head? It's a very inspiring perspective. Mental illness can be debilitating and it is an extremely difficult thing to learn to live with. However, we rarely hear how it can be a positive influence in a person's life. I found her candid humor and her words to be strengthening. Mental illness isn't always terrible. http://www.ted.com/talks/eleanor_longden_the_voices_in_my_head.html

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Thanks for the reminder to pay attention to those around you and to reach out when you are even slightly concerned about someone.

Thanks for being a part of the tour!

Erin G said...

I am one of those people walking around with a mental illness and you might never know. (A type of schizoprenia, actually - schizo-affective disorder. That is... not super public, so don't talk to me about it on fb or anything okay?) Anyway I would LOVE to read this book and get her perspective.

And hey! If I win, it's an excuse for us to finally hang out in real life, if we use hand-delivery as an excuse for a coffee or dinner!!

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