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Flying with Paper Wings

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SANE Book of the Year 2010
By Sandy Jeffs

Award-winning poet and SANE Speaker Sandy Jeffs has lived with a severe form of schizophrenia for over thirty years. Since diagnosis in 1976, Sandy has experienced periods of depression, suicidal thoughts and psychosis. As part of her treatment,
Sandy has been prescribed countless medications and had multiple stays in psychiatric hospitals and clinics.

With sincerity and candour, Sandy shares her story: from an abusive childhood, in which she witnessed her father beat her mother, to an adolescence torn apart by a traumatic sexual assault, to a dramatic descent into suicidal withdrawal and psychosis at the age of 23. She also reflects on what helps her cope.

‘Flying with Paper Wings offers a privileged insight into the experience of managing a severe mental illness,’ says SANE Australia’s Executive Director Barbara Hocking. ‘Sandy’s story is not one of overcoming adversity but rather of the strength required each and every day to live a full, active life with great good humour and compassion, despite the distressing and often unrelenting symptoms of her illness. Sandy is the most resilient person I know.’

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