A debut memoir recalls one man’s life with schizophrenia.
Having been diagnosed as a schizophrenic, Osowski explains that he spent years experiencing the Jesus Christ syndrome: “I took on the guilt of the entire world. I took the blame, inside, for the weather, the earthquakes and plane crashes.” Writing in an “attempt to share myself with others,” the author details a mental illness that has often left him in difficult, even unthinkable, positions. From brutal stints in jail (“a certain person might lay into me, punching me, spitting at me, taking all my few possessions”) to the inability to trust his own mind (“I walked around in total fear of what my mind saw, where it would take me next, or if I would ever be able to come back to living in the real world”). The opportunity for disaster was always available. After all, how can Osowski live even a semblance of a normal life when his mind tells him he has committed all the crimes mentioned on the news? Incarceration is a clear result: “I have been locked up for many crimes I did commit and twice for crimes that never happened.” Though such details are telling, some portions of the book might have benefited from greater elaboration. This is the case when the author states rather casually that “I went through three different relationships; and later, started a family.” The reader is left wondering about these relationships. How did they form? What were they like? How did they end? At under 100 pages, however, the story is inherently brief and, ultimately, positive. Writing that “life for me is no longer burdened down with those old delusions and the pain that went along with it,” Osowski radiates a sense that things will get better not just for him, but also for those who can gain perspective from his experiences. The author tells readers to keep in mind many misconceptions about those afflicted with schizophrenia: “We are not terrible people out to hurt anyone!”
An honest, if truncated, account of a long struggle with mental illness.