THIS book is about Living with Schizophrenia and the daily hell which that involves. It is largely a Carer’s Story: one which sets out to show the extent of parental and sibling ignorance of mental illness; the initial disbelief and reluctance to face up to its emergence in one’s genetically ‘sane’ family; the awful domestic disruption and disharmony which are brought about; the conflicting and confusing advice meted out to beleaguered parents; and both the historic, and often still today, social stigma which ...
THIS book is about Living with Schizophrenia and the daily hell which that involves. It is largely a Carer’s Story: one which sets out to show the extent of parental and sibling ignorance of mental illness; the initial disbelief and reluctance to face up to its emergence in one’s genetically ‘sane’ family; the awful domestic disruption and disharmony which are brought about; the conflicting and confusing advice meted out to beleaguered parents; and both the historic, and often still today, social stigma which causes many families to be ashamed to acknowledge it and thus to seek to conceal it from public view. For them, social awareness of madness in a family is the ultimate degradation. And the smaller the society, the deeper that perception will be. The book is also, essentially, about the sufferer, the victim, violated cruelly by forces apparently beyond control and not yet fully understood by either science or medicine. It is the carer’s fate to be immersed in and to suffer from the sufferer’s suffering. The sufferer, however, is beyond insight into the turmoil within, or its devastating effects without.The American composer Charles Ives (1874-1954) wrote a piece for orchestra enigmatically entitled The Unanswered Question. The music suggests that he didn’t attempt to. Should I? Indeed not. But I know some other unanswered questions. Like, for example, the relationship with or connection between, dreams and hallucinations. Sanity, if you like, and madness; as viewed from the adjacent edifices of parental detachment and total involvement. A hopeless contradiction.T 18th century English poet John Dryden wrote: "Genius and madness are near allied And thin partitions do their bounds divide." I don’t have any pretentions to genius, you will be glad to know. But when I dream – as I did the other night – questions arise: why did the dreaming occur, what does it mean and what should I, the dreamer, conclude from it?
In the dream, I was in Bangkok at the headquarters of Thai Broadcasting, seeking out Chris Venning, a former Fiji Broadcasting Commission chief announcer and BBC radio play producer. Yes, they said, he is here, but is currently unavailable. Can you come back tomorrow?
‘No. Never mind. I’m flying out tonight.’
But I didn’t. My flight was delayed once, then again and finally cancelled. I spent an uncomfortable night in the departures lounge, while other passengers arrived and departed. By first light, my head ached; and my wallet, passport and tickets had gone. There was white powder in my shirt pocket. Two policemen approached, menace in every step. I jerked myself awake, tortured but relieved, the nightmare over...
The trouble is that I have never been to Bangkok, apart from transitting its airport. I have not spoken to Chris Venning for 20 years; have no reason to seek to do so; and think it highly unlikely that, having retired from the BBC, he would now be working for Thai Radio.
Why then, those dreams? Were they demons in disguise seeking to imprison me? I don’t know. But you could surmise that they wished to get their revenge: on someone bent on exposing them in this book for what they are – destroyers of mental stability and sanity.
Can such venomous, malevolent, psychotic influences really exist? I am afraid so. If you think otherwise, I hope that you will read on to find out, as we did, that they do.
Easy to Remember
So Hard to Forget – Popular Ballad.
An excellent portrayal of the anguish and suffering that patients and carers face when the system charged with providing help is inefficient and inept in its responses. As a professional, I found this story extremely insightful and moving. It reminded me of the responsibility we have as workers and advocates in this field. Vivian’s story, though distressing at times, demonstrates the hope ans survival that is possible and that must be made available to all sufferers.
Majorie Wallace, CEO SANE
A harrowing and compellingly readable insight into the daily problems facing carers with
mentally ill children. The sheer unpredictability of the illness with its mood-swings and lapses into incoherent rage and violence renders normal life impossible as much for the family as for the sufferer. Extremely moving and beautifully written, Kenneth Bain’s book ought to be required reading for all mental health professionals—psychiatrists, general practitioners, nurses, social workers
Patricia Rhymer Todman PhD
This is a wonderful book. The writing has a rhythm which makes it compelling reading. …This book is among the best personal narratives that I have read, and will be a treasured find for families, mental health professionals and members of the public interested in learning more about schizophrenia, its course and its treatment. Its revelations will help to combat prejudice and the social stigma of mental illness in every society, large and small.
I read The Demons of Schizophrenia in 24 hours last week. The writing is astonishingly vivid. I am still reeling. I can hardly think of a book I have read which knocked me down and then lifted me up to such an extent.
Verna Penn Moll
This is a book of enlightenment……It is as compelling as it is passionate, revealing the trauma, hell and suffering through which schizophrenia takes the victim, the carers and the family. The agony grips the reader in a way that makes it impossible to rest the book until it is completed. This is a book of courage, taking us right into the hidden depths of pain and suffering.. The book throws the secrecy and stigma into a wide open sphere of truth, discussion and hope.
Kenneth Bain was born in New Zealand in 1923, and educated at Auckland Grammar School, Auckland University College and Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He was appointed to the Colonial Administrative Service in 1946 and assigned to Palestine as an Assistant District Commissioner in Gaza. After transfer to Fiji in 1949, he began his long association with the island peoples of the South Pacific, the Caribbean, and South Atlantic; and has travelled widely throughout all three regions.
He was Secretary to the Government of Tonga 1953-56; Commissioner, British South Pacific Office in Fiji, including responsibility for Pitcairn, 1965-70; Deputy High Commissioner for Fiji in London 1970-75; a Director at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London 1975-80; then for five years, Financial Secretary and , for a period, Deputy Governor in the British Virgin Islands. He has also been Director of Studies in Financial Management at the Royal Institute of Public Administration in London.
In close to 60 years, Kenneth Bain has written eleven well-received books. They include seven with worldwide island themes, including three on the South Pacific Kingdom of Tonga and its people. There is one each on Fiji military coups, St Helena, British Virgin Islands, and Pitcairn, together with books on schizophrenia, Doggerel Ditties in the style of Ogden Nash, obituaries he wrote for the London newspaper The Independent, and Gaza, his Palestine mandate diary 1946-48.
He now lives on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, where he and his wife were made Honorary Belongers in 1985. His wife Margaret Anga’aefonu is part-Tongan; their three children were born in Tonga and Fiji.
He was awarded the OBE in 1976, and appointed by King George Tupou V of Tonga to be Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Queen Salote Tupou III in 2010.