WORDS BY CHANCELOR MARACLE
Something happens after you’ve read a book on somebody’s life. Usually, it involves an appreciation and a deep respect for their trials and tribulations. It’s also a way for you to learn more about yourself than about the person you’re reading about. Diabolic Labyrinth, written by Cameron Carr, is no exception to this rule. The grueling details of a gentleman struggling with schizophrenia while traveling across Canada to try and find in himself, others, and substances, a cure for not only his own mental health but from the maltreatment of other people. The book is not only an insight into the horrid interactions that are overlooked by many when it comes to society’s relationship with anyone with a seemingly “abnormal” cognition, but it is more-so a look at how any person can have the ability to overcome circumstance that conflicts with one’s own goals.
“The whole idea that there is abnormal mental health is absurd. Would that mean there is a ‘normal’ mental health? Who decides that? We all have different experiences, we all feel different things, and I am not an exception to the rule.”
Cameron’s novel was written in order to give hope to those who may be facing a similar reality as he had in the past. A life that didn’t seem to give and always seemed to take. His book showcases how someone can overcome confusion and struggling, to live a healthier and more fulfilling life. We have all had problems in our lives, and in reading Cam’s book you can really connect with the character and their struggles even if you have never been through a remotely similar situation. You gain an insight into the logic behind some hallucinations that a person with schizophrenia may be experiencing and that most of us chalk up to “being crazy”.
“It seems like we’ve moved so far foreword with everything since I was young. It isn’t tolerated to make fun of someone’s ethnicity, or their sexual orientation or attraction. But go downtown and see a gentleman talking to himself and you will hear all the comments like “he has to be on drugs”, “he must be off his meds” or “look at that f***ing wino!” while people point and laugh, all while nobody bats an eye! It’s seen as acceptable to really drag the person’s character through the mud without knowing anything about them. I really wanted to shed some light on how people who were in my situation get treated, and still do to this day.”
One of the points that stuck with me the most in Cameron’s novel is about stereotypes:
“…you get used to the personality myth. It’s very easy for people to believe that those who have schizophrenia have two personalities and quite possibly even more.
The truth is that I only have one personality, just like anyone else, excluding those with multiple personality disorder or death row inmates in Texas trying to escape the sting of lethal injection.
It seems that whoever’s in charge likes to sort everyone out; please, no pushing, no shoving, there’s a little box for everyone; if you don’t fit someone will be along shortly to apply a little pressure.” (Pg. 162)
Currently, Cameron is living in Kingston, Ontario with his Cat. Soon he will be leaving to live with his wife in Pembroke. I’ve had the pleasure of working with him over the course of a year, and he even did a guest lecture in one of my Psychology classes at Queens University. His current projects include writing a series of short stories that showcase how people are all different, writing a short story for youth suffering from mental health issues to give them hope, and continuing to do visual arts at his home.