Excerpt from an essay published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, ca. 1963. Written by Norma Macdonald, a woman who had been re-admitted multiple times for recurring schizophrenia and aggression.
Another excerpt from the same source, written by a different woman, is available here.
I began to see that in schizophrenia I had much more than a handicap, I had a tool and a potential. This sort of mind, controlled and used, has a far-reaching imaginative power, a sharp instinctual awareness, and the ability to understand a wide span of emotional and intellectual experiences. Perhaps in 10 or 20 more years I will be able to control it much better than I do now, and then perhaps it will be more use to me. (…) So far few of my conclusions seem to be practical.
Simplest of all is perhaps the knowledge that this illness rests very definitely upon physical factors. …if I hoped to remain well I must have three square meals, my necessary nutrients, and at least eight hours’ sleep nightly. I know that by going without food for a day or two or by missing sleep two or three nights in a row I could (and do) lapse into a state where dreams worry my mind at night, fatigue sets in, voices begin to pester me, and suspicion of the motives of even my best friends rises up to turn my life into a living hell.