It was absolutely wonderful to have Maxwell McArthur on lifesfinewhine for this interview. His blog discusses mental health and as you guys know I think it’s extremely important to openly talk about mental health to help reduce the stigma around mental health and mental health illnesses. That’s why I was happy to have Maxwell on here to talk a little more about his blog and his experiences with schizophrenia. I really hope you guys take a minute to go over and check out his blog which will be linked below.
1. Thanks so much for being a part of this interview. Tell us a little bit about yourself and what your blog is about.
Thank you so much for having me. I’ve enjoyed reading some of your blogger interviews and I’m excited to be a part of one.
My name is Maxwell MacArthur and I have schizophrenia. My blog explores mental illness and in particular schizophrenia. Outside of schizophrenia, I like to define myself around the things I enjoy which includes writing of all sorts, music, games, and art. I play the piano, guitar, and bass guitar. I enjoy all sorts of games from video games to board games to sports. I say all this because I fear that many people see folks with schizophrenia as a diagnosis when in fact we’re much more than that.
2. When did you start your blog and what made you decide to start blogging?
I’ve loved writing since I was a child. I’ve been writing poetry and stories since at least fourth grade, probably earlier, but my oldest concrete memory of writing and enjoying writing comes from the fourth grade. I felt that blogging would be a good creative outlet where I could further explore my love of writing. In addition to this, I felt that I had a lot to share with the world having the lived experience of schizophrenia.
3. Your blog discusses mental health and in particular schizophrenia which is great because I definitely think we need to talk more openly about mental health. What made you decide to share your experiences with mental health?
I decided to share my experience with mental health in the hopes that I would be able to help others. I have an ongoing series that explores the various symptoms of schizophrenia. I share these because all too often folks with schizophrenia don’t realize they have an illness. This results from a symptom called anosognosia (https://schizophreniablogonline.wordpress.com/2021/02/13/the-negative-symptoms-of-schizophrenia-and-where-ive-been/) or lack of insight. I hope that by sharing the symptoms I can help folks either recognize the symptoms in themselves or their loved ones so that the person suffering the symptoms can get help as early as possible as getting help early is associated with a better prognosis. Another goal of my blog is to end the stigma against schizophrenia. I work toward this in several ways. First of all, I try to get personal with my blog in order to show people that I am more than just a diagnosis. I also have a new but ongoing series of posts where I explore different depictions of schizophrenia in the media. For example, I talked in one post about a children’s cartoon episode called Skidzo-Brainia (https://schizophreniablogonline.wordpress.com/2021/02/21/32/) with thinly veiled references to schizophrenia and tried my best to correct the negative stigmas that the show perpetuated.
4. What is some advice you would give to someone suffering from mental health problems?
I would offer the advice to seek help as soon as they can. There’s no shame in getting help for mental health struggles. Therapy and medication can work wonders for mental health problems by working in tandem, so I would offer the advice to seek out both. There’s a particular stigma around antipsychotic medication and I go into detail in an older post on my blog (https://schizophreniablogonline.wordpress.com/2020/07/04/do-antipsychotics-do-more-harm-than-good/), but I and many other folks with schizophrenia that I have talked to have found that the positives of the medications greatly outweigh the downsides. Of course there are side effects, but the vast majority of people, albeit with some trial and error, are able to find a medication that works for their symptoms with minimal side effects. In short: don’t be afraid to seek help for mental health issues.
5. Has blogging affected your mental health in any way- either positively or negatively?
It has definitely had a positive impact. Writing has always been therapeutic for me so having another outlet where I can write about my experience has been wonderful.
6. Why do you think it’s important for us to talk about mental health more openly and end the stigma?
There are a couple of reasons. First, stigma is what stops many people from getting help. If we can end the stigma that keeps people out of therapy and off of medication, then we can get those people into therapy and on medications that will improve their condition and quality of life.
Second, stigma has and can lead to violence. I don’t necessarily want to get into specifics or real cases here as I don’t want to trigger anyone’s symptoms in any way, but there have been cases of violence against folks with mental health concerns including but not limited to people with schizophrenia. If we can end the stigma, we can end these instances of violence.
7. What is your favourite food?
Sushi! And yes, even the raw stuff.
8. What is your favourite movie?
Interstellar by Christopher Nolan with Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway. Everything about that film is fantastic. Not many films can keep my attention for the whole thing, let alone one that’s nearly three hours long, but that movie is so good I can’t look away when I’m watching it. I’d give special props to things like the music, the acting, the special effects, the story line, but at the end of the day everything about that movie deserves extra props.
9. What are some of your favourite hobbies other than blogging?
I touched on this earlier, but I like writing, music, and games. I write poetry a lot as well as some short stories. I play a couple instruments and listen to music nearly all the time (listening to Chromatica by Lady Gaga as I write this). I also like any and all types of games.
10. Thanks again and please feel free to add anything you would like to share with the readers.
I think you have the bases covered, so nothing more to add other than one last thank you for the opportunity to participate in this.
If you enjoyed this interview don’t forget to stop by Maxwell’s blog by clicking here.
If you would like to be interviewed please send me your name (optional), the name of your blog and a link to your blog via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m a little busy at the moment and have quite a few interviews ready to post so please don’t worry if I don’t respond immediately. I will definitely respond as soon as possible.
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