Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


School of Communications and Arts


Education and Arts

First Advisor

Associate Professor Jill Durey

Second Advisor

Dr Marcella Polain


This thesis comprises a memoir and essay on schizophrenia. It is estimated that 285,000 people suffer some form of schizophrenia in Australia. This means, on average, one in seventy people in Australia suffer from the disorder. For males, schizophrenia often develops in early adulthood. For females, it has later onset. There are about five types of schizophrenia: paranoid, catatonic, disorganised, undifferentiated, and residual. The focus of this thesis is on the diagnosis of Paranoid Schizophrenia. There is no cure, but it is treatable. However, people with a treatment resistant schizophrenia can find life difficult. The aim of the thesis is to inform people that it is not a condition to fear, and to dispel the stigma often associated with mental illness. Many people shy away from schizophrenics, as the impression given by media is that schizophrenics are dangerous. Another common myth is that schizophrenics have ‘split personality’, which is not the case. The symptoms do not involve multiple personalities. Schizophrenia derives from the Greek, meaning ‘split mind’, and this is where the myth has originated. The focus of the essay is on the historical, cultural and social aspects of schizophrenia. The term schizophrenia was coined in the early twentieth century. The essay looks at ancient texts, where schizophrenia possibly originated in early forms of psychosis. It also considers other cultures, in many of which schizophrenia is stigmatized. Through demystification, the thesis aims to show that it is a medical complaint, rather than a spiritual one. Social aspects include the need for more community support for schizophrenics. This thesis will, hopefully, help to facilitate greater understanding of the condition by providing a personal perspective.

Access Note

Access to this thesis is restricted to the exegesis.