MACKAY, Sandra Yuen

Author Tags: Health

From an early age, Sandra Yuen MacKay has coped with an abnormality of the brain now called schizoaffective disorder. Hoping to inspire and inform families and the general public with her story, Sandra Yuen MacKay describes her battle with paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions in My Schizophrenic Life: The Road to Recovery From Mental Illness (Dundas, Ontario: Bridgeross $19.95). “My life is schizophrenic because I have schizophrenia,” she says. “It will always be there.” Sandra Yuen MacKay subsequently received the 2012 Courage to Come Back Award for Mental Health from Coast Mental Health.

Sandra Yuen MacKay was born in Vancouver, BC in 1965. She currently resides in Vancouver, BC. She is of Chinese descent. She has articles, stories and poems published in Front Magazine, The Bulletin, The Prairie Journal and other print publications. Besides being a writer, she is an artist and public speaker on recovery. She has a Fine Arts Diploma from Langara College and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of British Columbia, majoring in art history. She has taught creative writing. She also has experience as a columnist then editor of Majestic, an online newsletter for, a writers' forum.


My Schizophrenic Life: The Road to Recovery From Mental Illness (Dundas, Ontario: Bridgeross 2011) $19.95 978-0-9810037-9-5

[BCBW 2012]

My Schizophrenic Life: The Road to Recovery from Mental Illness.

While clumsily written and in dire need of a professional editor or perhaps even a ghostwriter, this volume is nonetheless remarkably compelling. The book takes on a life of its own as MacKay relates her lifelong struggles with severe mental illness. In particular, she illuminates the ways in which schizophrenic delusions can hijack one's life. MacKay vividly re-creates her world of schizophrenia, introducing readers to a whole new stratum of perception. Significantly, MacKay finds her salvation through art and writing, as she learns to capitalize on creative insights gleaned from her bouts with mental illness. Verdict MacKay's enlightening portrayal of her illness, hospitalizations, relationships, therapeutic activities, and quest for recovery will hold readers captive despite the elementary language and disjointed structure of the memoir. Like Kay Redfield Jamison's more eloquent An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness, this slight piece provides a surprisingly gripping narrative that will appeal to Jamison aficionados.—Lynne F. Maxwell, Villanova Univ. Sch. of Law Lib., PA