Recovery in the Media: #68. Henry’s Demons: Living with Schizophrenia, A Father and Son’s Story

Henry's Demons

This story by father and son tells the truth about the struggles and recovery process of schizophrenia.

68. Henry’s Demons: Living with Schizophrenia, A Father and Son’s Story by Patrick Cockburn and Henry Cockburn

Schizophrenia is a disorder that many people know about but few fully understand. People with it are characterized as crazy, murderous, vicious, impossible to interact with, etc. However, there is much more to these people than those negative conotations. Awhile ago, I wrote a review of A Beautiful Mind. For this Media Monday, I decided to focus on another recovery-focused work about suicide, this time a book titled Henry’s Demons: Living with Schizophrenia, A Father and Son’s Story.

Synopsis: What can be worse than receiving news that your 20-year-old son followed the voices instructions and tried to drown himself? Patrick Cockburn and his wife experienced this with their son Henry, who was later diagnosed with schizophrenia. This book, written by father and son, rides the ups and downs of this family’s life with this life-altering illness. Mother and father fight for their son to improve while he tries to convince the world that he is not ill. This and many other tensions fill this fascinating memoir.

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Recovery in the Media: #58. A Beautiful Mind

A Beautiful Mind

Living a normal life with mental illness can be hard but also beautiful, as this film depicts.

58. A Beautiful Mind

Every since I first heard about this film, I longed to see it. However, some doctors cautioned that I might have schizophrenia. Anxiety about this caused me to shy away from anything associated with the illness but also raised my curiosity. Plus, my mother let me know that several scenes would be upsetting to me. Thus, I left this movie on my list of films to watch but made little effort to find it. In Oxford, A Beautiful Mind was chosen to watch for a movie night. Nervous but intrigued, I decided to at least see the beginning. Right away, the story sucked me inside and left me touched emotionally. Because it deals with a mental illness and focuses on living a normal life despite that condition, I chose this movie for Media Monday.

Synopsis: John Nash is brilliant. Strange, perhaps, but certainly brilliant. His life seems fairly normal at first – finishing school, falling in love, starting a family. However, things take a strange turn when this mathematician is called in to help the government. After he begins breaking Soviet codes, people start chasing and following Nash. Suddenly, his life is spinning out of control to the confusion of his wife. Continue reading

Dealing with Voices Inside Your Head

My first memory is from when I was two-years-old and heard a voice singing outside my window. The instant that I looked around for the voice, no one was to be seen. That moment terrified me more than anything else in my life and impacts me still today. For years, I continued to hear music when alone. You can read more about that here.

Around the age of twelve, voices joined in with the music, leaving me confused but oddly peaceful. When I finally told my mother, she panicked. Dozens of medical appointments and tests followed where professionals attempted to understand what was wrong with me. Finally, a doctor diagnosed me with depression with psychotic.

Looking back, I am not sure what to think about the voices and other noises that I heard. Was it my vivid imagination? Did they have a purpose in my life? What was the proper response to them? I will probably never know. However, this video about voices impacted me strongly.

 

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Recovery in the Media: #38. January First

January First

This book, told by the father of a schizophrenic daughter, is honest and eye-opening.

38. January First by Michael Schofield

When I picked up the book January First, I did not know what to expect. To be honest, I almost sent it back to the library several times without reading it. The cover did not appeal to me (yes, we do sometimes judge books by their covers unfortunately), and I have little time to read with school. However, something made me keep it. After reading it, I am so thankful for giving it a chance. From the first page, the book held me captive and entranced. Many reviews for this book hated Michael Schofield’s response to his daughter as chronicled in January First, but it touched me deeply. As it addresses schizophrenia, this seemed like the right choice for Media Monday even if it has some controversy attached.

Synopsis: January was always a special girl. Her imaginary pets controlled her, temper tantrums made her uncontrollable, and her intellect soared far above the average three-year-old. However, Michael Schofield was proud of his daughter and believed her simply highly creative and smart. If only his wife and he could find other children like her, everything would be fine. This book is the true story of how Michael helped his young daughter through schizophrenia while trying to hold his family together.

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