Lori is a Clevelander, and has used her life experiences to write a book that she wants to help others.
Lori was diagnosed with schizophrenia and has dealt with the disease most of her life. She would like her book to help others and the change people’s opinions of those suffering from schizophrenia.
Hello wordsmiths, welcome to fall, I can’t believe summer’s over. Hopefully all you writers out there got all your writing goals done in all your readers got all your reading goals done, because hey, we’re into the end of the year now. We’ve got Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and then New Year’s all coming up, bam. And before you know it, I know that’s how summer kind of went for me. Bam, right? So today, we’ve got a special episode. Earlier, in the podcast run, I had someone on ran, who talked about mental health, and dealing with mental health and had written a book. This time, I’ve got another author who has been dealing with schizophrenia. And she has written a book about it to help others and her life struggle and what she’s learned from it. So it’s a hard subject. And a lot of times people don’t want to deal with it and talk about it. But that’s what we can do with our writing. We can bring these subjects to light we can bring them out and help others learn and become more comfortable about it. Because if you’re more comfortable about it, you can talk about it. So Laurie has a lot to say about her book and schizophrenia in general. And we have a good discussion about it. So before I ramble on for too long, here’s Laurie. Lori, welcome to discover wordsmith podcast. How are you doing today?
Okay, how are you? Good.
And just of note to everyone that’s watching the video, you’re at the local library, they offer rooms, and you can rent to get video meetings and do these types of things. So I’m a big proponent of pushing the library. So it’s good to see some things that the libraries do that people may not know about. So they have meeting rooms and all sorts of great things. Right. Laurie, tell us a little bit about yourself, who you are, where you’re from, and what you like to do outside of writing.
I am from I was born in Lawrenceville, Ohio. I’ve lived East I’ve lived West. But my favorite is the east side. I like the east side. And right now I live in South Euclid.
All right. What do you like to do besides writing?
I like to read Actually, I actually love to read and I love to write. With my book, I was able to create a book because every thing that have life experiences I’ve had in my life, I was able to make a book out of experiences that I’ve been through. And I love to write. Okay, that’s how the book came about is I just had experiences that that were able to create a book.
When did you start writing? And then what made you finally start or want to write this book?
You know, like I said, I had things I went through, like different experiences. And I would write them down. Like I would write like, write down things that happened to me. experiences I’ve had, like I said was a was making me able to create a book.
Have you written all your life? Or is this recent?
Well, I’ve written my whole life like things that have happened to me. But I didn’t create a book until 2015 is when I started to create a book. My first book was titled what is the schizophrenic supposed to look like? And, and the reason I titled it that is because people would see me on medication, you know, doing really well on medication, and they’d be like, how could you have schizophrenia? You don’t look like you have schizophrenia. So then I was like, Okay, well, I was like, Well, what is the schizophrenic supposed to look
like some stereotype movie thing?
Yeah. And then a lot of people there honestly, there is so much stigma with the name schizophrenic. Like if you say schizophrenic instead of schizophrenia. People have a problem with that, you know, calling yourself a schizophrenic. They, you know, they prefer to say a person with schizophrenia. So I decided that the first book, I was going to retire the title, and I changed some of the content in the manuscript, and came out with the new book, schizophrenia, your guide to surviving and thriving, the things that have happened to me, have been able to make me um, you know, an expert on schizophrenia with things that have happened to me.
And you mentioned, schizophrenia versus schizophrenic explain what the differences would be and what people get so upset about.
I don’t know I, I guess because it, you know, but you know, they used to have groups like Alcoholics Anonymous. So, I’ve never really had a problem calling myself a schizophrenic. But a lot of people I’ve dealt with, they have a problem with saying, or calling themselves a schizophrenic. So that’s why I change some of the content in the title to schizophrenia, your guide to surviving and thriving because, you know, people were so offended, you know, when I would call myself schizophrenic.
I find that interesting, because my one step son has autism. And my wife who has dealt with it her whole life, or his whole life, she’s dealt with it, that she’s had people get mad at her, because she said, He’s autistic. And they’re like, No, he’s, you need to say he has autism. And they get mad at her when she says, I’m an autistic mom, they’re like, No, you can’t say that. It’s demeaning. And she’s like, What do you mean? So I just find it interesting. It’s, it’s kind of across the board.
Right? And there was just so much stigma that I had to kind of change the whole structure of the book. Okay, so but then the new book I’m very proud of, it’s my favorite one night, you know, the whole books I’ve done. And I feel it’s very helpful. You know, it explains, you know, different things that can help you survive and thrive with with this illness.
Okay, like, like, what give us some examples of what’s in the book, because obviously, it’s not a fiction book, it’s nonfiction, it’s based on your own life, it’s not really a memoir, it’s more of a handbook, a guide a self help with, well,
you know, it’s a little bit more, and it’s a little bit self help, okay. So it’s kind of a mixture of both. Okay. Um, but I talked a little bit about how important it is to find a psychiatrist that you really, really like, I’ve had some doctors that I wasn’t too crazy about. But the doctor I have now I will add a very happy with. Sometimes, you know, you may have to go through a few doctors before you find one that you really connect with and that you really like. And so I talked about, you know, finding the right doctor, I talked about how, how to improve your health, you know, through vitamins and supplements and exercise and eating right. And I give like, you know, different tips of places, you can go and see if you have a mental illness. They have a bunch of wonderful places you can go that I mentioned in the book. I was a volunteer for Nabil, on the psychiatric ward for two and a half years. Oh, wow. And it was very interesting to be on the psych ward, because I was able to talk with the patients and able to help them and connect with them.
So did that help you shape the book and do rewrites?
Because I had, I have experience Oh, I’ve been hospitalized myself, six months of my life, three months and 1990 and three months in 1991. Okay, so I’ve been in the psych ward, you know, six months in my life. But when I was on the psych ward, you know, after I was stabilized, and I was volunteering on the psych ward, I was really able to help some of the patients and give them advice and tips on how to stay out of the hospital how you know, so that they don’t have to stay in a hospital.
You know, a lot of times I asked what made you want to write this book, but that’s obvious. What made you want to write this book. It’s very personal book. So it’s traditionally published Is that correct? It’s why traditionally published
No, I actually Self Publish.
Okay, okay, I’m sorry. That’s what I meant. Yes, go ahead. Yeah, I
actually self published through Amazon. And I had my book journey is is kind of strange how it happened. I’ve always wanted to write a book. And I was never sure like, what title of what kind of book I was going to write. Because I always wanted to write a book. So I actually ended up going to a writers group. Before I even knew anything about publishing or anything, I just started out in a writers group. And that’s how I met you through Dave Van Horn, who was the one who ran the writers group before I was even published, okay, so and then after that, after the writers group, I left the writers group when they moved, they used to be on the east side, and then they moved downtown. Yeah. And I wasn’t able to get there anymore. So I stopped going. But I had a friend of a friend that had his own publishing company. And he knew how to download manuscripts to Amazon, the Amazon website, because you have to download your manuscript and get it approved. He actually helped me do that. And he was a friend of a friend. So I paid very little to get the book published. Unfortunately, the original publisher that did the self publishing, died earlier this year. That’s a shame. But he It was really cool knowing him and meeting him, because he actually, he actually had a job on the psychiatric ward. So when he helped me publish my book, he had already had experience with mental illness because he was actually a worker on a psych ward. So and he told me a lot of stories that he went through. And he wrote some books too. But like I said, fortunately, he just died a couple months ago. So but he’s the one that got me started. And then somehow, I came to the event at the south Euclid library, which is they have it’s a writer’s Center, the library in South Euclid. And they had a lot of writers conferences and writers speakers. When I went to one of the speakers, I ended up re hooking up with Dave Van Horn, who was from the the writers group, and then he’s been helping me market the book. Okay. So it’s kind of like, it just kind of happened. And I had, you know, no clue. All I knew is I wanted to write a book, I just didn’t know like, how it was gonna happen, or, you know, or things like that. So, but I’m very, I’m very proud of it, I feel I could really help people. And that’s my goal is to help people. And that’s why I volunteered on the psychiatric ward. You know, because I just like helping the mentally ill I have compassion understanding. It doesn’t always have to be a negative thing. It can turn into a positive thing. If you take your medicine and surround yourself with the right people.
What has been, besides people telling you to use schizophrenia instead of schizophrenic? What’s been the feedback from other people with this book,
there’s no there’s always people that like it, and there’s always people that don’t like it. And they’ve just told me that’s just how it is. Some people like it some doubt, I wrote the book to help people. So that’s my goal. I try to make it a positive book, not a negative book.
It’s available on Amazon anywhere else. No. Okay. So it’s strictly on Amazon at the moment. Do you have plans to expand to other outlets?
I’m sorry, what?
Do you have any plans to expand it to other outlets?
You know, Dave is helping me market it. But um, when you self publish, it’s very hard because you have to do all the marketing yourself. Right. So it’s, it’s very hard to promote it. But I also attend Nami groups, and I’ve sold a couple of books of the Nami groups I go to Nami is the National Alliance for the mentally ill. Yes. And, and they have wonderful groups and programs on mental illness.
Okay. And do you have any plans for a follow up book?
No, I think I’m done. I think I’m done. I mean, I, every day I still run into experiences in my life with stigma and stuff, you know, like, you just have to be like really careful how you disclose your illness. Because a lot of people when they hear the word schizophrenia, or schizophrenic, they just like, you know, they, they treat you differently. You know, so there is still a lot of stigma. I, you know, in the book, too, I mentioned that, you know, my first book, what is the schizophrenic supposed to look like? Is that, how do you know, who has schizophrenia just by looking at them? You know, I mean, it could just be someone in a crowd. And it’s like, the only way that you really disclose your schizophrenia is when you talk to yourself in public, like, if you’re not on medication, and you were to talk to yourself, that would be like a clue that you would have schizophrenia.
But even then, even then, I would think that’s not a definite, you know, I mean, I, I’ve been known to talk to myself, and I’ve never been diagnosed. It’s just sometimes I, you know, I’m thinking about something. So I think part of our problem is sometimes people want to self diagnose others, and then they have a stigma attached to them, when it may not even be true. And I assume there’s like different intensities or levels of schizophrenia, is that correct?
Well, some people are actually more high functioning than others. And that’s because maybe the doctor is not the greatest, or maybe that there’s different anti psychotic pills you can take. And I’m on the anti psychotic clothes of pain, which is the best of the best, okay? So you know, because I’ve tried all different kinds of anti psychotics. And that’s the only one that worked for me and gave me my life back, you know, but there’s many anti psychotics out there is just finding the right one for your chemistry, and your system. So but some of them, like I said, are better than others, like some of the older, anti-psychotics aren’t as good as the newer ones are much better.
You mentioned, you talk about all these different types of things. So anyone that may be suffering, or even somebody who has a loved one that’s suffering, they can refer to your book and get some information on that to help them out.
Yeah, and you know, a lot of people sometimes they get mad at me that I tried to push medication, you know, because people don’t want the side effects and stuff. But with schizophrenia, there’s no cure right now. There’s like no cure. So your, if you don’t take medication and the right medication, your quality of life is just not as as good as it could be. If you took medicine, I still push medication, even though people get mad at me, that I’m pushing medication right here. And that’s the only thing that can control it.
It’s one of those things, I think, I’ve dealt with some of this with my family, certain family members, various issues, not schizophrenia, but some other mental health problems disorders. And you’re right, there’s a big stigma in our country. Sometimes these things aren’t like you can have a cure, not like you’re going to take a regimen of medicine and be cured or have an operation and be cured. You know, they tried that back in the day with lobotomies and things like that, and it didn’t work. So sometimes the best you can do is learn how to deal with it and handle it the best you can and most of the time for these type of issues, that involves some medication. And if you don’t take the medication, you know, it makes your life a lot worse.
Right. And there’s many illnesses out there that require medication like high blood pressure, yes, cholesterol, yes, on, you know, different different things that you might need medication for. And the medicine is there to help you not harm you. So you can cope with whatever your illness says.
Yes. And I think in our culture, it’s still like you said a lot of stigma on some of these things. So there hasn’t been as much research as much testing to see how to help some of these problems. People just want to ignore it and don’t want to deal with it. And I think books like yours, help bring that out
to light more. Right and and just like for me being on medication for the rest of my life, unfortunately, I have to take it for the rest of my life. There’s other ways you can be healthy, you can exercise you can eat healthy, you can take healthy supplements, and still Help me staying on your anti psychotic men, you can still
be healthy and being healthy overall, I’m sure helps Anyway, I’m sure your doctors probably told you, you know, eat right exercise, get good sleep, it just helps the medicine help you. When the medicine has to fight because you’re tired, or you’re not eating the right foods, it lessens its impact. And
well, like for me if I wasn’t if I didn’t take my medication every night before bed, I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep at night. And that’s when you know, people with schizophrenia. When they’re when they’re having an episode and they’re not on medication, they can stay up all night and not sleep at all. I was up all night, you know, before I got diagnosed with schizophrenia, I was up like all night, like really late at night getting no sleep. So sleep is very important. And now that I’m on meds, I used to get like, you know, five hours of sleep and feel great. But now I meds I need 12 hours of sleep. So some of the so the side effect of my med is it makes me really tired. And I need 12 hours of sleep. But you just work around you know work your schedule around the sleep that you need.
Going back You said you like to read and you do a lot of reading this. Should I take this mask off? Yeah, that’s probably I don’t know what else is. Right? Yeah.
you said at the beginning that you’d like to read so what are some books you’d like to read and some authors you like,
um, I love like true stories or self help books. Um, you know, like exercise diet and, and I’m also into beauty books. I before I got ill in high school, I took cosmetology and I got don’t ask how I did it, but I got a nail technician license when I was like, you know, before I was right before I was diagnosed with schizophrenia. So it was very hard for me to go to school and get that license that manicures license. So but I’ve always like you know, the beauty field and I kind of like to read like beauty magazines or beauty books or you know, things like that, that’s just like my, my little hobby I like to do is just, you know, read books like that. And I like to read books about mental illness and other people’s stories and, you know, how they coped and what they did. You know, there’s, there’s a lot, there’s a ton of books on schizophrenia, you know, it’s hard to see them online, because they have so many. Everybody’s journey with schizophrenia is different. So, you know, reading a variety of books, you know, could be a good thing because you hear other people’s stories, too.
And besides the library, do you have any bookstores you like to go to?
I actually love the bookstore. I love the library, and I love the bookstores. I like Barnes and Noble. Okay. I like Half Price Books, they always have great books. Yeah, you know, I love to read love to read and write. So Good,
good. All right, before we go, get done with the first half of the podcast, we’re not completely done yet. But tell people, all the people out there that may be interested in your book, or may have someone that is suffering from the same problem, why they should get your book.
Because I can give them some insight on having the illness myself I can give insight to you know, different problems that they could, you know, come up with struggling and the main thing is your, your family has to understand your illness. And unfortunately, my boyfriend has bipolar. His dad just, you know, he’s he just doesn’t understand mental illness. He doesn’t think that he needs medication. And he said, you know, you never used to be depressed and, you know, but then his mom is very supportive, and she went to the Nami classes to learn about it. So luckily for me, my mom was very, very supportive and helpful. She would visit me every day and then on the psych ward, I was in the hospital, she visit me every day. It’s sad when you don’t have family members that can’t understand your illness or help you. So anytime we talk about mental illness, to have He just doesn’t get it. So we just don’t even bother talking and he still takes his meds and you know, and he’s my boyfriend’s the same way I am. And he has to take he’s on this class of pain as well, as he has Schizoaffective, you know, plus bipolar. He takes the class of pm to, you know, he’s on the same one I am in, you know, he’s doing very well, too.
Right? Well, you know, I appreciate you taking some time talking to everybody about this. It’s a tough subject for people sometimes, and they don’t want to talk about it.
Right. And also, there still is a lot of stigma, like I had, one of my boyfriend’s neighbors found out that I had schizophrenia and that I wrote a book, and she read it. And she was like, Oh, yeah, it’s a great book. And I asked her, I guess she knew someone who was blogging, like doing blogs. So but she told me, she says, If you call my friend and discuss doing blogs, she said, Don’t say that you have mental illness or schizophrenia, just say you want to start a blog. So right then and there, that was stigma right there. Because she read my book. And then she turned around and said, you know, if you ask my friend about blogging, you know, don’t say you have a mental illness, right? Yeah. So I was like, kind of, very upset about that. It was almost like she had a stigma to, you know, but so and she was kind of just a stranger, reading my book, because I guess she came over my boyfriend’s apartment and saw my book on the on the desk, and then that’s when she wanted to read it. But you see what I’m saying? How, even now, after I’ve written the book, I’m still having experiences, where people are, have the stigma, you know, like, Don’t mention you’re mentally ill, you know, right. So you see what I you know, you see what I’m trying to say?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I like I said, I’ve got some family members dealing with a few similar issues, not schizophrenia, and it’s rough with that, too. No matter what it is, it’s, uh, you know, people look at you different treat you different. So yeah,
right. And that’s the main thing is how do you disclose your illness? Because sometimes when you tell people too soon, or you know, like, if they don’t know you, like, if you tell someone too soon, like strangers and stuff. There’s definitely some people that are actually scared of, you know, they don’t know how to how to take it when you tell them that. I bet. So but that’s my goal is to get rid of the stigma. But the main thing is, is medication because you just can’t have a good quality of life. If you don’t take medication. And then like, after you take the medication, and you’re stabilized on it, you can look back and remember some of the weird things you said with medicine. So when you’re at medicine, then you think clearly again, you know, all right, well, I
appreciate you talking about all of this. Everybody, just stay tuned. We’re going to have a second half. We’re going to talk some more author stuff. So thank you.