Blogs by Patrick Joesph Schnerch
Book Review / The Peaceful Warrior
9/22/2010 4:53:49 PM
IP Book Reviewers
The Peaceful Warrior: Memoirs of a Damaged Mind and Soul is not a conventional read. Neither is the author. Patrick J. Schnerch is an advocate for the mentally ill in his native Canada and the author of the crime novel, 'Adrian.' He is also living with bipolar disorder and alcoholism. In his memoir, Schnerch opens the door to his life and beacons the reader to view his struggle in the raw. It is a opportunity to see mental illness from the inside that most people, outside of mental health workers. are not privy to. It is also an act of courage.
"Alone, I would weep for death to come and take me. For over thirty years, death was very much welcome in my heart, even today, the wish has not gone away." This book begins with the author recounting the events in his early life that lead to the manifestation of mental illness and the development of his dance with alcohol. After spending the first twelve years of his life living with the people he believed to be his parents, Schnerch is introduced to his biological father and mother. While his birth mother is not able to care for him as she suffers from mental illness herself, the author's biological father regains custody from the aunt and uncle who raised him from six month's old and brings him to live with him after marrying. It is during this traumatic transition that the first signs of mental illness appear. Schnerch becomes isolated in a home where very little affection is shown and he begins his habit of self-mutilation in the form of cutting. From there he describes lengthy hospitalizations, foster care, a brief military stint, marriage, and submission to illness.
The author's journey follows the same path as many who struggle with dual diagnosis. Symptoms emerge and a variety of diagnoses and hospitalizations with medication mixed in follow; then self-medication with alcohol and/or some illicit drug ensues. As the book continues; the easily followed recollection of life events is abandoned for journal writings that have been produced during psychotic or drunken episodes. In these passages, the author reveals delusions of grandeur and religious fixations. He also discusses the toll his illness and alcoholism has taken on his twenty-three year marriage. In Schnerch's disclosure, the denial that seems to go hand in hand with substance dependency is also apparent. Even though the author appears quite knowledgeable about his illness and the events that trigger his symptoms, he struggles with accepting the impact of alcohol in the cycle of wellness and decompensation.
The Peaceful Warrior: Memoirs of a Damaged Mind and Soul is not an easy read, particularly the passages that allow entry into the confusion and delusions associated with the author's bipolar disorder. While the audience for this book may not be for the recreational reader, for those who work with and provide daily care of the mentally ill and substance dependant, this book provides some insight into what the dually diagnosed are dealing with and why becoming well is a battle that must be fought on-going.
for Independent Professional Book Reviewers
Sunday, January 14th, 2007
Victoria resident Patrick Schnerch has written a book titled The Peaceful Warrior: Memoir of a Damaged Mind and Soul (Trafford: 210 pages: $20).
Schnerch has reached the point of being comfortable talking about his lifelong mental illness and the addiction resulting from his attempts to self-edicate with alcohol. He goes back to his childhood, being bounced from father to uncle. and through the years of denial.
The mind of a bi-polar alcoholic isn't a fun place to visit, but it's instructive for those who are looking at a similar circumstance in their own family or social circle, which was the author's reason for sharing his story. He hopes his own success in seeking and finding peace of mind and freedom from his demons will give others hope for success and encouragement in working toward it.
Schnerch gives credit on the book cover to his editor, Marc D. Baldwin PhD.
By Shirley Roe
Genre: Memoirs/Mental Health
Title: The Peaceful Warrior, Memoirs of a Damaged Mind and Soul
Author: Patrick J. Schnerch
This is not an easy read. Mental illness and addiction are the cynosure of this memoir of a survivor. The title is entirely opposite. This is indeed a battle and the hero a warrior.
Although his early years are happy and fulfilled on the farm, something haunts his memory; something that will drive him closer and closer to the brink of insanity and push him towards the forgetfulness of alcohol. As a young lad, his mother provides all the love and religious morals that a boy could hope for. His father is a hard working farmer that included Patrick in his daily life. So what happens to turn a little boy into a withdrawn, angry young man, who is often bullied? Even a stint in the armed forces, his childhood dream cannot ease his troubled mind. His wife is deeply affected by his mood swings and disappearances and yet she does not leave him. Perhaps she is a peaceful warrior.
Author, Patrick Schnerch shares his troubled life with readers. His unbalanced perceptions of reality enfold the reader into his world with disquieting ease. As a writer, he portrays the difficulties of living life as an alcoholic very graphically. Some of the writings included in the book from times when he was closest to the edge of sanity are very revealing.
This book is part therapy for the author and part documentation of living with a troubled mind. It will enlighten readers but may be disturbing to some. As stated, this is not an easy read. Anyone searching for information and enlightenment on mental illness, bipolar disease or alcoholism will find this an excellent and insightful book.
Reviewer: Shirley Roe, Allbooks Reviews
Available through www.amazon.com and from the publisher: www.Trafford.com
Title: The Peaceful Warrior
Author: Patrick J. Schnerch
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