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The Schizophrenia Oral History Project: An Introduction

In this project, we collected life histories of people with schizophrenia. Their stories reveal insight into their condition, talents, compassion, ethical systems that guide their lives, and a deep desire to contribute to the world they live in.

Tracy McDonough

on 18 November 2014

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Transcript of The Schizophrenia Oral History Project: An Introduction

The Schizophrenia Oral History Project: An Introduction
Lynda L. Crane, PhD
Tracy A. McDonough, PhD

Special thanks to:
Holly Riffe & Tara McLendon (NKU)
Kory Phelps, Sara Vice, Dolores Santillan, &
Sami Ives
Sean McDonough
Beverly Massey
Talbert House
Tender Mercies
PLAN of Southwest Ohio
Greater Cincinnati Behavioral Health Services
Interact for Health
All of our narrators, especially:
Amber Alice Paul
What is
Schizophrenia and violence
"...change perception and you change the world."
- Jean Houston
"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." - Maya Angelou
T: Is that why you don’t want to go out?
A: Yeah. ‘Cause I get made fun of.
T: Even now, sometimes?
A: Yeah. And um, and I might have to catch a bus home today, but, um…I don’t like catchin’ buses home because that…people on there make fun of me.
T: What do you do when they make fun of you?
A: I go home and cry.
L: What would you most like other people to know about you and your life?
A: Um, that I’m a good person. Just because I’ve got this illness doesn’t mean I’m not a good person. Um…and that I’m not… I’m not dangerous. That I’m just…a human being…with a problem.
L: Um, what are the, some of the things that are the worst in your life? What, what are some of the things that are hardest?
P: Regression. Regression. Umm…regression, that’s a big part. You have to overcome the beatings, the, the prejudice, the put-down. You’re, you’re worthless, you’re, you’re on entitlements. You know, uh, I work so many hours a day. I’ve worked, so…why… where do you just sit there and call the radio stations up, give your opinion when you…..second-class citizen stigma. A second-class citizen stigma. A stigma of being second-class citizen. Hell, a lot of it’s true.
If people need their vices, people… Like bummin’ a cigarette. I mean, I could, I could find any, any number of excuses not to give her a cigarette. Is that gonna to stop the fact that, you know, maybe she’s going through a lot of pain ‘cause she don’t have any income and… I give her a cigarette. So, some people would consider that kindness to be a weakness. I consider it to be reinforcement. If I have somethin’ and I willfully withhold it, just because of greed or spite, that’s on me. That’s wrong. So if I have it to give, I’ll give it. Uh, discerning, that if you give somebody…to discern, to discriminately learn. I discern, uh…get this in my memory banks that this, this usually leads to that. If somebody is excessively, sociopathically, excessive, exploit, takes just for takin’, um…that, that’s I stop. That I don’t do.
For growin’ up, I was in and out of the hospital. I didn’t go to the hospital since I was 24 though, because I, I don’t want to be one of those people there. You know, the people that walk around in circles, and they just look down at the floor and they have nothin’ to look forward to. I don’t want to be one of those people. I want to have somethin’ to look forward to. I don’t want to be one of the people that give up and give in to schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a fight, and you have to fight it all the way. And I am 110% prepared to do that.
T: What about just your dream for your life in general? What types of things would you like to have?
A: I just want to live a normal life.
T: And what’s that?
A: A normal life. I want to be able to go outside by myself. I want to be able to have people look at me and not have that paranoid feeling. I want to be able not to hear voices for one day.
T: So, every day you hear voices?
A: Yeah.
T: Okay.
A: I, I just want to… I just want to live a normal life. Just be a normal person. You know, be able to go outside. Be able to go for a walk. I, I can’t even go for a walk by myself anymore.
Goals of the Project
Provide a forum for narrators' voices
Promote public understanding of narrators' lives
Shared humanity
Full transcript