The Diabolic Labyrinth


SKU paperback Category

175 in stock


By Cameron Carr

ISBN: 978-1-78382-030-6
Published: 2013
Pages: 250
Key Themes: Mental Health, Schizophrenia, Memoir


A memoir that gives a detailed look into the damage wrought by untreated schizophrenia and the barren and unsatisfying world the author often encountered while complying with treatment, this book tackles the problems of homelessness, self-medicating with alcohol and financial poverty as well as that of thought and affect.

The author hopes that by sharing his experiences he will shed some light on the disease and its sufferers and will provide hope to others with the same diagnosis and their families.

Hopelessness becomes victory in this story. Ultimately, many may say upon reading it, if he could turn it all around surely I can.

About the Author

Cameron Carr was born in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada, in 1960. His early years were spent in Toronto Ontario. Here he excelled in his studies and athletics and was considered a normal and mostly happy child. His family moved to a small town when he was thirteen and life began to go downhill. He lost interest in school and sports, preferring only to spend his time playing music at which he became proficient. By the age of seventeen things were going drastically wrong for Cameron. At eighteen he was diagnosed as having schizophrenia.

After his diagnosis Cameron bounced around a fair bit, hitchhiking and taking buses from one town to another, finding it hard to settle down. He also found compliance with treatment very difficult during the early, post-diagnosis year. Medicines used to treat schizophrenia were different then from what they are today, with more pronounced effects and harsher side effects. This and a lack of acceptance of his diagnosis had Cameron un-medicated and ill for significant periods of time.

Around the age of twenty-seven Cameron finally accepted his sickness for what it was – something that he would have to make peace with. He has since stuck with treatment.

Cameron now works full time in a busy, fast food restaurant as a grill cook and assembler of food. In his spare time he writes, reads, plays music and works on visual art. He resides in Kingston Ontario with his wife Sue and their cat Buzz.

Book Extract

Sometimes a buzz begins at work and remains there all day. The men get their work done in spite of the buzz and when they leave work it follows. With an envelope that sums up eighty hours of their life they head to the bank, and some, to the tavern. It’s the day they’ve been waiting for. Those who choose to party go all night, eating up booze, good music and strong women. Some were legends, going from Friday until the beer ran out on Sunday. Some of us were pretenders, leaving early and losing our suppers in the ditch.

Yes, I had a job. I worked with the legends. I was one who heaved in the ditch. I wouldn’t often party with the legends or the women they ran with but I had money; biweekly, I had a bit of cash to play with. I remembered the girls who had turned up their noses at me. I dreamed that if they knew how I was putting in my time one of them might come to my level to take in the view. It didn’t happen but it was still a wonder to me that within a week of having decided work was a no go, I was labouring for dollars.

It seemed a good while since school’s melodramatic end, its pinch of promises to stay in touch and cup or two of overdone tears. Boohoo. My life would never be the same. For what it was worth, all signs seemed to point to there being life ahead.

I had a job. I didn’t possess or need any memories of the prom. Life had dealt me a measure of contentment. I kept an eye on myself, making a mental note to guard against becoming too smug. If I was inching close to that place where one is puffed up past the point that the world finds acceptable, I would pull back. If you stand on a pedestal admiring the view someone may be tempted to give you a nudge. I knew all about falls from grace and needed no reminders.
I was working where my father worked. He was white collar, while I was blue. I wore blue coveralls, and a blue hard-hat. Sometimes a blue mood graced my sleeve alongside my blue heart. I was oozing blue.

I was treated like anybody else at work. Nobody held my father’s white coat against me. Nobody knew that if there were trouble at work Dad would likely conclude that the fault lay with me. Nobody knew that and nobody needed to.

During this time of hard labour and, eventually, of disillusionment, I’d spend my evenings walking through the sweet smelling fields with a six-pack and hand rolled cigarettes. Now and then I was with Joe, but usually I was alone. I really wished that my thoughts would be pleasant as I roamed, but they were intent on misbehaving.

My brain could convince itself that people were hiding in the grass, quietly watching me. Sometimes I thought those hiding were men and women that had some control over me.

Sometimes the air attained form. The long green and yellow grass would bend into patterns and hiss. My heart would pick up speed and I’d walk, hurried footsteps making haste. Did I see someone? Did they follow me with their dull gaze? If they ever confronted me would my instinct for self-preservation rule or was flight my only option?

Many nights I saw them, or traces of them. They were a wicked, miserable force. Pathetic outlines resembling women and men, beings without substance. Sometimes I would run hard when I sensed them, half-laughing, breathing heavily while I crashed through the waist high grass and weeds, climbed fences, and sprinted until I could go no farther. By the time I was tired out the spirits would be gone. Sitting very still I’d relish the ale that soothed me.


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