My Schizophrenic Life: The Road to Recovery from Mental Illness is published by Bridgeross Communications and distributed by Ingram. Available at: (also available in Kindle)
Odin Books 1110 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC

Vancouver artist Sandra Yuen MacKay has an abnormality of the brain - a disease called schizophrenia. As she says, “My life is schizophrenic because I have schizophrenia. It will always be there." Much of her life has been a struggle to cope with the symptoms of her disease (now rediagnosed as schizoaffective disorder) and the side effects of the medications required to keep those symptoms in check.

As a teenager, Sandra started to exhibit the typical symptoms of this disease, which came as a surprise to her unsuspecting family. Her book chronicles her struggles, hospitalizations, encounters with professionals, return to school, eventual marriage, and success as an artist, writer, and advocate.

Foreword in the book:

What a timely and inspiring publication; an easy to read book that will attract those who know about mental illness and those who don’t. It is easy enough for kids to understand, and is inspiring enough to engage experienced gurus. It certainly is a book not to be missed. Toward Recovery and Well-Being: A Framework for a Mental Health Strategy for Canadians is one of the important publications that will shape mental wellness of Canadians in the 2010s’. It speaks to two very important areas that our society has to face, promotes recovery for people living with mental illness, and reduces the stigma on mental illness. My Schizophrenic Life: The Road to Recovery from Mental Illness provides real life illustrations about recovery from mental illness and a candid understanding of mental illness which de-mythicizes the stigma that goes with the illness.

This book beautifully captures Sandra’s experiences and reflections along her journey to who she is today. In addition to narrating her personal story, Sandra also provides readers a comprehensive view of what mental illness is. Not hiding anything about mental illness and how the illness influences her daily life, Sandra powerfully speaks to the importance of hope and the recovery of mental illness. Her sharing also casts light on the importance of self, family, society and community in fostering hope and enabling recovery. It gives perspective to all of us on how we all should embrace such illness.

One of the advantages of writing a foreword is being one of the few people who can enjoy the book before everybody else does. I enjoyed reading Sandra’s journey, her style of writing, and her courage to live daily life to the fullest. So dig in, and welcome to Sandra’s journey of her heart, the term coined by Patricia Deegan. I hope you will enjoy this book as much as I did.

Michael Lee, Occupational Therapist, Certified Psychosocial Rehabilitation Practitioner, Clinical Associate Professor, University of British Columbia.