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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.

tlc logo Claire McKinney PR, Hazelden Publishers and TLC online book tours sent me a proof copy of this book for review.  It was a privilege, Thank you

Kristina Morgan
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Related Reading:
The Fault In Our Stars 
Son Of A Gun
I Never Promised You A Goodie Bag
On Reading A Memoir

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14 Responses to “MIND WITHOUT A HOME: A memoir of Schizophrenia ~Kristina Morgan”

  1. Laurie Buchanan Says:

    Patricia – This book hits very close to home as my father is manic depressive, paranoid schizophrenic. A very difficult row to hoe not only for the person with mental illness, but the people in their life.

    You can be sure I’ve added this to my reading list. Thank you as always for the book review.
    Laurie Buchanan recently posted..I Married a Cereal KillerMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    Laurie-
    Yes the author does say that it is a very difficult road indeed for all of the family. Her whole family has a great many problems including alcohol for all of them.

    I think we learn a great deal when people can break through as in this memoir and let us know what is going on inside. Which is what happens when the author finally starts to get solid help at age 38.

    I am also thinking about My Stoke of Insight by the neurologist who had a stroke and shared her recovery and then all the folks with Aspergers who are now sharing their lives and stories with others with Autism.

    Then all the brain scans are assisting also.

    It is well worth the read and then I would like to know your thoughts about what she shared.

  2. Talon Says:

    This sounds like a beautiful read, Patricia. I know someone who might really benefit from knowing they are not alone in their mental illness. As always, a beautiful review.

    patricia Reply:

    Kim,
    I think many people could benefit from this book. I have shared it with several mental health professionals I know – they were excited about reading it.

    Thank you for your kind words.

    Braided Grass – is an amazing poem you have posted today. I shared it with Laurie and her readers…

    Talon Reply:

    Thank you, Patricia. That’s very kind of you. I hope you have a lovely weekend. Couldn’t be uglier weather here – rain and wind. UGH!
    Talon recently posted..Unshackle MeMy Profile

  3. Alien Ghost Says:

    Hi Patricia,

    “everyone must hear voices in their heads assumption, and it was appropriate behavior not to talk about these voices, because no one did.”

    I was amazed when I read this part of your review!

    One of the things that stop people from realizing they are different is that we all assume that everybody else must be in the same situation that we are in. I know because for almost five decades I thought people must live, see and perceive things the same way I did, and I just couldn’t understand why then I was different, until I discovered that I have Asperger’s.

    Only then I could start seeing the differences between other people’s minds and mine, and thus understanding why of the differences.

    Definitely this book is must a read!

    Thank you for your awesome reviews :)

    Raul
    Alien Ghost recently posted..Aspie World 12 – WhistlingMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    Raul,
    It is a very powerful moment when one realizes that they are doing things differently. Communication skills are such powerful tools for healing. One of the author’s problems was she was certain that she must not get on medications or tell anyone about the voices and the hallucinations – once she told she was able to learn a great deal of control and management, and yes it took medications.
    She talked at AA about drinking but not to the counselors, roommates, family, etc.

    Trauma victims and PTSD folks also start by feeling they should not tell anyone – the military are trained not to talk about what is going on – weakness.

    If we could communicate well – we might not have war?

  4. Sara Says:

    This was a great review, Patricia. You make me curious to know more about Kristina and her life. It sounds she accomplished so much and I know it couldn’t have been easy, but she did it anyway.

    I like strong characters who overcome obstacles and find their own way. I realize Kristina is a real person, but that makes this book all the more attractive.
    Sara recently posted..SPC: What Did the Chickens See?My Profile

    patricia Reply:

    Sara,
    I think we will learn a great deal about life and skills when we learn to talk about what is going on and what we are thinking and feeling. It is a very powerful read.

    I think this kind of disability is very hard on the caregivers and family systems. Morgan’s whole family is alcoholic and there are signs of other addictions and mental illness.

    How do we change these dynamics and how do we help others have a full life?

  5. Sam Juliano Says:

    Exceptional review of a book that would surely have interest to many in all walks of life. There is no divide between the mental issues in the sense that these issues affect people in all regions and all professions. I am tempted to say there may be some insecurity here, but as the author explains it’s more of a situation where she would like to share with others. It’s hard to find fault with that.

    patricia Reply:

    Sam,
    This is a powerful study and also a good example of how drugs abuse and alcoholism can just make mental health problems so much greater. I think many folks could benefit from this book and I think it could be quite a early warning system for schools and families.

    Self medication is not the way and yet when we don’t communicate it is often the choice.

    Once again, thank your for your kind words about my words.

  6. Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours Says:

    “everyone must hear voices in their heads assumption, and it was appropriate behavior not to talk about these voices, because no one did.” Wow, you are so right that we don’t know what we don’t know. What an amazing lesson.

    Thanks for being on the tour. I’m featuring your review on TLC’s Facebook page today.

    patricia Reply:

    Heather J
    Thank you – it was a privilege to read this book and to have Kristina share this information with all of us

  7. Kristina Morgan, author of Mind Without a Home, on tour October 2013 | TLC Book Tours Says:

    […] Monday, October 28th:  Patricia’s Wisdom […]