Beyond Psychosis


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198 in stock


By Tom McNeight

ISBN: 978-1-84747-339-4
Published: 2007
Pages: 87
Key Themes: autobiography, art, paranoid schizophrenia, philosophy, happiness



“A mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder can seriously affect one’s appraisal of life. Both in a negative way and a positive way. In a negative way, to try to function like a normal adult in today’s fiercely competitive world whilst under the influence of loads of medication, life can be a very hard battle. Believe me it is hard. From a positive perspective, coping with life whilst being schizophrenic can enable one to step back from life and obtain a view of it that most people do not ever have. To engineer one’s life with enough skill and alacrity to ensure one obtains at least some satisfaction from it depends on things I do not understand. Perhaps some people do. But the secret of happiness seems, on the face of it, to be once again a subjective issue. Something only you alone can deal with.”

And this is what this book does: this book is one man’s attempt to imbue life, writing and art with meaning, understanding and happiness. It is senseful, compassionate and creative to an unusual degree.

About the Author

Tom McNeight lives in Wanganui, New Zealand. In spite of his diagnosis as a paranoid schizophrenic, with the discrimination he has often experienced and the many manual occupations he has had to work at, he has lived an interesting and exciting life. This includes such adventures as mountaineering, parachuting, bungy jumping, tramping and working in the bush, and fishing. He has completed many philosophy papers at university and has developed a skill in both writing and painting. He continues to enjoy these activities, frequently holding painting exhibitions and writing new books. His other continuing hobby is fishing.

Book Extract

I am writing this book in order to try to clarify both for my own benefit and for that of anybody else who may be even remotely interested in what one really means when one uses the term ‘mental illness’. In doing so, I hope to write about some of my views on life, God and the cosmos. I feel that what I have to say on these topics will have a lot to do with my interpretation of what it means to be mentally ill. In using the term mental illness it appears as if it would only be natural to suppose that one’s life, one’s religious beliefs and one’s conception of the external world or at best the cosmos could quite effectively be included in that wide range of factors involved in the mind of someone suffering from a mental illness, in particular, such illnesses as schizophrenia and bipolar disorders.

To many people my life may have appeared to be somewhat lacking in clout. Nonetheless I have done what I can despite my limitations. I have had an interesting life, albeit a rather lonely, dismal one. I have climbed high mountains, I have worked on fishing boats in stormy seas, I have parachuted and bungee jumped, and I have hitchhiked across the Australian outback. The reason I tell you this is to try to indicate that in spite of my schizophrenic tendencies I made the most of my situation. I have never married nor have I raised a family. I have little money, my career if one could call it that has been to paint pictures for the last twenty years. I have taught myself to paint in oils and have had a number of successful exhibitions.

The meaning to be got from all this is simply that I believe if one wants to become good at something one just has to keep doing it. As to the meaning of life, from a broad perspective I would say life is a subjective world view that each of us has and it can be open to whatever interpretation one wants to put on it. It is simply up to each individual what one says about it. Whether or not one is correct is not for me or anyone else to say. It is up to you and you alone as to how you see life. Of course if you’re a Christian or a Muslim or a Hindu or whatever, then the argument as to what life really means, is not just confined to yourself, but is between you and your God. But that is how far it goes. No one else can interfere. It is between you and God alone. It is subjective. Confined within your own mind. No one else’s.


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