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  • Writer's pictureJames G Yeo

The Author's Corner: Voices of Reason

In the absents of light darkness will rule.

Picture yourself in a large crowd with hundreds of people talking at all different levels in a conference room of a large hotel. All around you, you see people and inside you are beginning to panic. This is something that I deal with when I am having a bad day will my Schizophrenia.

On a normal day I see and hear three. It is hard for me to know who is real or who isn’t. I do have ways to figure it out sometimes, but it doesn’t always work. This is one of the symptoms of my illness. Every day I take pills that make it easier for me to function, but they make me feel intoxicated all day long. At times I have had situations where the illness has progressed to the point that it took me out of the career that I loved which is the Culinary Arts Field. I would not wish this on anyone including my enemies as my mind is my enemy.

With all mental illness there is a stigma that we are to be feared because that is what the media and movies want society to believe. Over the past many years since I was diagnosed in January of 2005, I was told that I would never work again and I would most likely end up being in and out of hospital for the rest of my life.

In the years after I was released to my parents in the spring of 2005, I have returned to work and I have held full time employment until September of 2020 when I had to retire. I have only been back to the hospital twice and the last time was in 2010. The one thing that I have done is come to the plate for people who suffer from mental health issues saying that we can do anything that we put our mind to. I took to writing as my platform because of the difficulty level and it will always be available for everyone to read. With some books published and a few interviews that I have had, I have shown that the mentally ill can be a positive part of society.

The road hasn’t been easy for me as I go through times when I want to end it all and just let the negative outlook that society has for the mentally ill rule the common belief for everyone. I have been met with all kinds of challenges to the point where I want to work, however I can not get help when I am unable to work which does happen. Out of the first fifteen years I have probably missed over two years of work because of sick days. Most employers do not like to hear that you have one of the most feared mental illness, which is Schizophrenia, during an interview where I have to tell them.

Most people feel that if they are getting their rights and freedoms taken away from them, they are being punished. Unfortunately, with people who suffer from mental illness they have to follow a different set of rules which is the Mental Health Act. It varies from country to country what happens to those who suffer. I am lucky that I live in Canada where even though I have to follow our Mental Health Act that I can still have a voice and live a good life. The only down part is that I have to see my doctors on a regular basis and take my pills.

If I stop taking my pills I will end up in the hospital again, if I miss an appointment with my doctor I better have a good reason. To be honest most people who are diagnosed with a mental illness they give up on their life and that is because they become just a number in the system. At times I have thought of giving up on life and it is something that I have tried, the reason why I have continued to live a full life is because it is just a diagnosis and it does not have to be the end of the world.

The one thing is that mental illness comes in all forms and sizes. It does not see colour, race or sex. It is the mind that is affected which is what makes it so hard to treat properly. The doctors are only making an educated guess with the pills and they react differently with each person. As every day comes there is a movement that is slowly taking to the media about those who have mental illness.

In the past there were doctors doing all kinds of experiments on the mentally ill and I do not want to go into it because it pains me to no end. The one thing is that most people who have mental illness are extremely intelligent on all ends of the spectrum. Some, like me, are into the arts, others run their own companies or are CEO’s of major companies and these are the ones that are not noticed because they seem normal to everyone around them. It is time that society sees us for who we are, we are just people that have our own battles.

I know that for the first five years after I was diagnosed, I had given up on life. I was drunk all the time because I did not want to face the fact that I had an illness. It took the doctor that I was seeing to show me a future that I would end up being hospitalized for the rest of my life if I did not stop the drinking. After I stopped, I took it on myself to do some soul searching and I started to write a journal which is when I decided to write a book series loosely based on my life of dealing with my illness. It is the An Individual’s Innocence Series.

With all my writing, I want people to know that we, the mentally ill, have a voice to and we deserve the same treatment as someone who is considered normal. We have feelings and some of us have extreme thoughts, however, we should be able to have the same quality of life as everyone else.

With this being said, you can make your own views on the matter because we do not want you to change your mind, but maybe open your perspective on what we deal with in our lives.

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