MIND WITHOUT A HOME: A memoir of Schizophrenia ~Kristina Morgan
MIND WITHOUT A HOME is a remarkable memoir and I am sure it will stick with me for years to come. I believe we are learning a great deal about mental health, treatment and the brain’s functioning by having these remarkable human beings share with us their stories and their journey into living as fully present as possible. Kristina Morgan is a person who is not stuck and works to move forward, to find the meaning in life, and to have the correct facial expressions and words to connect to others and share her love.
At six feet tall and very beautiful at age 18 changes are beginning to happen to Kristina which are not very comfortable to live with or endure. She has always been a quiet child who holds herself in the shadow not looking for attention now the hum in her head has become voices and she uses alcohol to self-medicate. There are also hallucinations that others in her life do not see. She tells no one about the voices and the images and begins a pattern of suicide attempts using large amounts of Tylenol and alcohol. She does not want to have a mental illness or anyone to know; Kristina is determined to gain control herself and not to tell anyone thus making the diagnosis hard to find.
One of the very earliest lessons she learns is about physical exercise and AA meetings. She spends a large portion of her day walking to AA meetings and doing the work. She can find control and keep moving forward, until some stress sets the hum into loud voices demanding she move into the fourth dimension and join them in another reality.
In MIND WITHOUT A HOME, Morgan tells us that she has a very hard time with roommates and keeping a job and she spends a great deal of time searching to find her pillar of strength support person and someone to love her and for her to love. She has many friends and a Grandmother who just holds on to her with all her might. With all the family problems and moves, it takes her quite a period of time to figure out the structure she needs to find success and progress. She is finally able to tell the professionals about the voices and the hallucinations and work with drugs to find the right cocktail to keep her steady.
I want to share some of Morgan’s words because the rhythm of the book is quite different. It is similar to journal entries and poetry mixed with tremendous insight. Let me share a few of my favorites
“I don’t know that careless is the right word. It appears to all that I could care less about life. But I don’t think this is accurate. More the truth is that I care greatly. So greatly that I can never measure up.”
“I have spent little time learning about myself. I have spent most of my time on basic survival in a world that is as foreign to me as a brick to a monkey.”
“My success was worth very little without having someone to share it with.”
As Kristina was caring for her dying Grandmother – her caregiver: “I told her I wouldn’t be sad only to learn not being sad was impossible. Grandma didn’t want me to crack up because of her dying. I really wanted to do that for her, but like dew in winter, it is impossible to keep it from the grass.”
The book is also full of words of thanks for those people who cared for Kristina and helped her get through college, write a successful play and go on to get a Master’s degree in fine arts.
One of the most important pieces of information sharing I appreciated in this great read, was Morgan’s words about everyone must hear voices in their heads assumption, and it was appropriate behavior not to talk about these voices, because no one did. We do not know what we do not know. The writing is wonderful in this memoir and I believe you will be warmed by reading MIND WITHOUT A HOME.
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