A Broken Thing


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Tales from the Ebony Cat
By Sarah Banawich

ISBN: 978-1-84991-279-2
Published: 2010
Pages: 51
Key Themes: poems, psychosis, schizophrenia, mental health



Tales from the Ebony Cat is a collection of poems verse and short stories. Sandra tells in the medium of poetry about her experience of psychosis , what it is like from the inside looking out. Her unique perspective describes the symptoms of the illness giving the reader a look inside her head. The short stories are accurate accounts of periods of psychosis that go to make up the label schizophrenia. This is a collection of the various symptoms and different ways that the perception can be challenged during the illness.
The Ebony Cat is Sandra’s way of telling her story through the muse of her pet, who when Sandra is ill acts as a telepathic familiar springing from her younger days when Sandra was bullied as a child and called a witch

About the Author

Sandra Banawich was born in 1964 second eldest of six children; she had an unhappy childhood and was bullied quiet badly. When she was first sectioned in 1991 under the 1983 Mental Health Act, everything took her by surprise, she was totally unaware she was becoming unwell, it happened so fast.
Sandra had married young and had a 3 yr old son with undiagnosed Autism. She had a second son who kept her awake at nights; her second son had to be bandaged from head to foot because of his severe eczema. Sandra also had a young baby who had developed infantile eczema. It all became too much for her to cope with so in January just after Christmas Sandra experienced her first breakdown. That first experience of psychosis was very confusing; she could no longer trust her own thoughts.

When Sandra was released from hospital she decided to train as a Citizen’s Advice Worker, she needed just to prove to herself that she had value. Everything went well and Sandra qualified as an advice worker.
Then things took a turn for the worse her family found it hard to come to terms with her illness.

She fought hard to get her head back together and joined the Labour Party. In 2000 Sandra was elected a local councillor for St Helens. She could finally hold her head up at last. As Chair of Health and Social Care scrutiny Committee Sandra was the first person to give written evidence against the Draft Mental Health Bill in 2004 when it was going through Parliament. Campaigning on mental health issues is something that she continues to do even though no longer a councillor.

Sandra came out in the local press about the problems facing service users and as a local councillor with mental health problems she also wrote an article for the Guardian newspaper on the subject of her Mental Health.
Sandra was reunited with her family Mum and Dad were very proud and old wounds healed.

Book Extract

The Broken Thing

I grew inside me a broken thing
And it did scream and twist and beg
To be beside myself in the garden barren
Still it haunts those daydream hours

Flowers of violet bruise and crimson insult
Sprung from that broken tree
Whispering on the inner child
And disrespecting me

I hear the voices from its feather bed
See visions from broken eyes
I grew inside me a broken thing
Of wants and hollows and fevers it sings

Empty the garden to my soul
Newborn dresses buried deep
Cold the clay that visits me –
Yet it grows great tragedy

In a head left little space
To trace the feelings lost
Of baby blues and giggling pinks
Dangling before me
A broken thing

As a belly once rounded
Now the mind does swell
And in its place
Grow I the broken thing

With no future to foretell
Unspoken anxiety
A ghost in a broken shell
I grew inside me a broken thing

And in the head buried deep
It swerves and clings
To every thought
To hide in my recollection
And still grow I the broken thing.

1 review for A Broken Thing

  1. Helen Almond (verified owner)

    The poems and stories in this book portray both very strong images and emotions shared by the experiences and childhood of the writer. They conjured up both good times and bad of a personal experience with Schizophrenia and offer great insight into the condition. I would recomend it to anyone who wishes to gain an insight into how she feels living with Schizophrenia.

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