That’s the name of Mindy’s book. It’s a memoir about her struggles with schizophrenia, her journey of recovery, and how she wants to change the way people think and talk about mental illness.
After I was hospitalized, I started thinking of what I had as a brain disease. Therefore, I was able to talk about schizophrenia like any other health condition. My brain is broken—not me as a person.
Mindy lived a relatively untroubled life until she was 28 years old. Then everything changed. She lost her job, broke up with her boyfriend, and moved into a new place with new roommates. She didn’t know how to live on her own, was anxious about everything around her, and started having auditory hallucinations and engaging in delusional thinking.
I didn’t know what I had nor did I have the words to describe what I was experiencing. My friends, though noticing the difference in me, didn’t know what to do, didn’t want to ask me any questions because they wanted to respect my privacy.
After being taken to an emergency room when she was 30, Mindy was referred to a psychiatrist. She started taking medication, but it didn’t completely control her symptoms. This went on for six years as Mindy continued to go to work and go on as best she could.
But Mindy decided she wanted to become pregnant, so she stopped taking her medications. Her symptoms worsened. Ultimately, she ended up at McLean Hospital, where she was formally diagnosed with schizophrenia and received inpatient and outpatient treatment.
My experience at McLean was a really positive experience for me. I felt safe to focus on my confusion with what was happening to me. Having a team of doctors and nurses is a blessing. Having the right psychiatrist is also very important.
Since her time at McLean, Mindy has had her symptoms under control. She takes medication daily and visits regularly with her psychiatrist and therapist. Mindy credits her care team with helping her get on the right track, but she is also grateful for the support she has received from her friends.
I’m very fortunate. I have a great group of friends who I met when I was young. It’s amazing how people who know you well can spot when something is wrong. What a difference it makes! I wouldn’t be here today without my friends.
With the help of her treatment plan and the support of her friends, Mindy is trying to increase understanding and support for those with mental illness. She regularly volunteers for medical research, helping investigators study the brains of those with conditions like schizophrenia.
Also, Mindy wants to continue talking about mental health through her writing. Now, she is working on a second memoir, this time about a single woman without kids who is still happy with her life. She also plans to write a novel.
I realized that not everybody who has schizophrenia is able to articulate and communicate their story. I am lucky enough that I can talk about it, so I want to make sure that I share my story as much as I can. I really want to add another voice.