W I T H O U T M A S K
I was born on January 26, 1964, one of the coldest months on the calendar year in Ontario, Canada. I came into the world innocent, imaginative, artistic, sensitive, and curious about my social environment as any child should be. I must have been born with the usual dreams and hopes, but in a twist of horrific events, my life took a turn for the worst right from the very earliest years of my life. My mother, Juliana, who suffered her own mental anguishes throughout her entire life, abused me in every way imaginable right from the start. I guess she was incapable of bonding with me because she had, herself, suffered relentlessly at the hands of her own mother, my grandmother. As a result of the sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, I developed Post Traumatic Disorder, Anxiety & Panic Disorder and Depression prior to being diagnosed with Schizophrenia.
My parents soon separated at which time I was placed in an orphanage for six months when I was about four years old. Eventually my mother took me back home where she continued the abuse. And, as though things couldn't get any worse, she married a pedophile who, of course, abused me, too. These perverted family dynamic's resulted in my being diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic by age fourteen.
However, it was really when I was only nine years old that I entered the private world of the schizophrenic, with the voices, the delusions, and the hallucinations. It happened all in one day when my stepfather sodomized me and my mother assisted him in his perversion. This was the day I realized that they both knew what the other was up to all those other times, too. This was the day my mind actually split.
My story, though, is not just another story of incest or of childhood abuse, although, they were the major contributing factors to my illness. It is a simple story of triumph over the most complex mental condition known to man. The majority of experts say complete recovery is not possible and so, in effect, they predict defeat for their patients. But not me. I found a way to reach complete recovery all on my own. What was my hope? As silly as it sounds, it was the color green, for it represented hope to me as well as courage, rebirth and strength. Even as a toddler I loved the color of the grass because, somehow, it helped me to see past the emptiness, despair, fear, and loss of identity that was so much a part of my existence.
For twenty-one long years I searched frantically for my true self. But in the end I found, hidden beneath layers and layers of suppressed emotions and forgotten memories, me. In WITHOUT MASK I reveal the world of the schizophrenic and take readers on an unusual journey through the entire human process in the development of schizophrenia. I then show them how recovery happened to me and how they can make it happen for them.
WITHOUT MASK will inspire sufferers and their families with hope and help professionals realize the great potential for assisting their patients to find a way out of schizophrenia without the aid of medications or professional therapy. It also shows the strength of the human spirit even in a very young child, and our need to address the spiritual side of ourselves in order to realize who we really are and what we have to give to the world.
©Tracey May 2001