How I Emerged From the Shadow of Schizophrenia

I first knew that something was wrong when I was about 7 years old. I was at a summer picnic at my grandparents’ house and I suddenly knew that I was different from the other kids. They were all playing and I didn’t feel like playing. Something was wrong and I called it the “shadow.”

The shadow followed me throughout grade school and high school. Some of my teachers sensed that something was wrong with me. I seemed troubled, depressed. But since we lived in an isolated part of the country, the remote Upper Peninsula of Michigan, there were no mental health services, especially for kids, and teachers were not trained to look out for this kind of thing. My friend Sharon W. was always getting beaten up at home and coming to school covered with bruises, but that wasn’t caught either. We were both silent victims.