My Schizoaffective Garden of Eden


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175 in stock


By Anne-Louise Lowrey

ISBN: 978-1-84991-781-0
Published: 2012
Pages: 52
Key Themes: Schizo-affective Disorder, Mental Health, Diary, Poetry

Author Biography

Anne-Louise Lowrey was born in Edinburgh in 1965 and has lived there nearly all her life. She has had quite a lot of contact with the Royal Edinburgh Hospital in Morningside and had several admittances during her twenties.

She was diagnosed with Schizo-affective psychosis, aged twenty two and although she managed to resume some sort of participation in society, it has been a recurring condition that has led her on a circular path, returning later in life to her earlier inspirations and values.

It was really in her forties, after a period of working and studying, she was under a lot of stress, and her illness returned with frightening force. She had to leave both and only managed to avoid hospital, by attending Redhall garden, a SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) project. It was here that she rediscovered and deepened her love of nature and became inspired to write as a therapeutic hobby. She is ardent about mental health awareness as a general modern societal concern, as well as taking a keen interest in therapies and strategies for coping with specific diagnoses, including her own schizo-affective disorder.


This collection is a kind of mood diary of about one year when she was undergoing treatment for anxiety and depression, working in the garden, revisiting her practice of meditation and learning to be at one with the outdoors, human nature and consequently herself.

Book Extract

Mental Health:

I suppose I have quite a lot to say about this, but not necessarily always in an angry or desolate way. The main symptoms I have day to day are feelings of anxiety, depression and paranoia. This whole collection pertains to mental health, mental illness and stress but hopefully it is not too bleak. I often feel low and negative and find that writing my thoughts and feelings down help to alleviate this. I have a keen interest in holistic health of the body and mind and environment, which is why I am so happy at Redhall, but often become frustrated with my own addictions mainly to caffeine and nicotine. I’ve an extreme tendency to become lethargic and untidy at home and often find it hard to settle into a Tai Chi or meditation session, which I know would be much better for me than a cigarette.

Writing is a good therapy for this, as it’s not a particularly messy hobby and although it keeps me up late sometimes, it’s good for the concentration and can be energising. It is difficult for me to become engrossed in anything as even sitting still for any length of time can be a trial when you are taking anti psychotic drugs. It’s a relief to sometimes forget myself, even if it’s only for 10 minutes or half and hour at a time.

I’ve tried to address and hopefully understand emotions like anger, hopelessness, fear and blame, trying to find some positivity through the experience of these generally quite stressful moods, but at the same time acknowledging that they are there. Gone unchecked, I found that I was experiencing psychosis and needing more medication during periods when I was angry or afraid. I am now finding ways to release tension more healthily by writing things down, as well as by taking part in the gardening work at Redhall.


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