My Psychosis Story: A Story of Fear and Hope Through Adversity by Emmanuel Owusu
|My Psychosis Story: A Story of Fear and Hope Through Adversity by Emmanuel Owusu|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: A very moving account of one young man's psychotic episode and subsequent recovery. In parts hard to read but also informative, hopeful and tremendously touching.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 146||Date: June 2017|
My Psychosis Story recounts Emmanuel Owusu's journey into and eventually out of psychosis. In late 2014, during a visit home for Christmas, he found himself exhausted, anxious and unable to sleep. Symptoms persisted and soon he was suffering from noise sensitivity and intense headaches. Various visits to A&E failed to diagnose a physical cause. Things deteriorated further and possible diagnoses of anxiety and post traumatic concussion were suggested. And still things got worse. Eventually, Owusu's condition deteriorated so far that he was suffering from delusions and hallucinations. An ambulance was called and he was detained - sectioned - under the Mental Health Act in 2015.
Today, Owusu is completely recovered. A medication regime and careful therapy, including some CBT, had set him on the road to full mental health. He has written My Psychosis Story in an effort to destigmatise this frightening illness - for fellow sufferers, their families, and for bystanders like me who really could do with some education.
The book opens with some background information on psychosis. It then goes on to describe Owusu's experience with this illness - how he felt, what he believed, how easy it was to miss the signs or attribute them to something else. He includes testimony from relatives, so that we can understand how this illness feels if you are watching a loved one suffer. And the book offers more than personal testimony - the final sections provide some of Owusu's medical notes and interviews with mental health professionals. The whole thing is interspersed with Owusu's sketches throughout the period of his illness. And they speak volumes - more even than words can manage, at times.
My Psychosis Story is both brutal and touching. Owusu does not flinch from honest depictions of his psychotic episodes and I think his willingness to be candid is tremendously courageous. These can't be pleasant memories and to share them in an effort to inform and help others is as generous as it gets. Likewise, the contributions from his family are truthful and frank in a way that will prove invaluable to readers who are worried about relatives of their own but don't know what to do or how to help. I get the feeling that Owusu has a wonderful family around him and thinking about that makes me smile.
I also found Owusu's sketches to be truly moving. They begin as bright and fizzing during the opening sections where the brain is being described, turn dark and ominous during the crisis period of illness, with light and joy returning in recovery. You can chart an emotional journey through these drawings, you really can.
My Psychosis Story comes at a time when public awareness of the stigmatising nature of acute mental ill health is increasing in leaps and bounds. It is a valuable contribution to an important topic because we do need to reduce that stigma. And it's inspirational too - showing that people can and do recover. Psychosis isn't an automatic life sentence and Owusu is testament to that. Christian faith is something that Owusu makes very clear is important to him throughout the book and so I will end this review by saying, "God bless, Emmanuel, and thank you for sharing this experience with such generosity."
If reading testimonies from people who have suffered mental ill health and come out the other side interests you, might also look at Who Is It That Can Tell Me Who I Am? by Jane Haynes, an honest and revealing account of psychotherapy, from the point of view of both the therapist and the client.
You can read more book reviews or buy My Psychosis Story: A Story of Fear and Hope Through Adversity by Emmanuel Owusu at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy My Psychosis Story: A Story of Fear and Hope Through Adversity by Emmanuel Owusu at Amazon.com.
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