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Erin Hawkes


Erin Lynne Hawkes was born in Moncton, New Brunswick in 1979. In 2001, while completing a BSc in Biology in Halifax, Nova Scotia, she underwent her first major psychotic break and spent four and a half months in a psychiatric hospital. Nevertheless, she graduated in 2002 with Honours and was recognized with the Hugh Bell award as “most likely to succeed in science.”

After being chosen for an NSERC scholarship, she moved to Vancouver and earned a MSc in Neuroscience at the University of British Columbia, despite numerous hospitalizations and medication trials. She has contributed to a number of academic papers and has published two personal pieces in Schizophrenia Bulletin's “First Person Account” series. When Quietness Came: A Neuroscientist’s Personal Journey With Schizophrenia is her first book.
My Long Road to Recovery From a Severe Eating

My Long Road to Recovery From a Severe Eating Disorder

I have struggled -- and I mean struggled -- with an eating disorder for over 12 years. No one could have conveyed to me how extremely hard it is to give up severe bulimia. But then, no one told me how easy it could be. Every day, many (up to 10) times a day, bulimia took care of me.
07/08/2013 12:14 EDT
Medicate Me, Even When I

Medicate Me, Even When I Refuse

Please, someone, make choices for me when I cannot: choose to give me the treatment that, for me, has worked in the past. Medicate me. Don't leave me to myself; I will play with those knives, and may not learn until I bleed to death what harm I have the "right" to do.
06/03/2013 12:14 EDT

"I Did Not Believe I Was Delusional, Let Alone Psychotic"

The CIA was not spying on me. Nor were FBI agents looking to bring me down. And I was neither the President, Jesus Christ, nor Cleopatra. These, I had heard, are the content of delusions that characterize schizophrenia. Given that logic, I did not consider myself to have schizophrenia. I think that these shallow nuances of delusion kept me in my illness and away from probing psychiatrists.
05/15/2013 12:31 EDT
Learning to See

Learning to See Discrimination

Being discriminated against for having a mental illness is a terrible thing, but -- as the one being stigmatized -- is it
04/12/2013 10:48 EDT
How Schizophrenia Gave Me an Eating

How Schizophrenia Gave Me an Eating Disorder

I have tried to disentangle my bulimia from my schizophrenia, but I can't: I was a bulimic schizophrenic. Not a schizophrenic bulimic, though; I had the schizophrenia because my fundamental brain chemistry was abnormal, while my bulimia was more psychological.
04/08/2013 12:10 EDT
How Medication Stopped My Schizophrenia From Killing

How Medication Stopped My Schizophrenia From Killing Me

In "The Scientific Case Against Forced Drug Treatment" presented by Robert Whitaker in February, Whitaker runs with this, blaming antipsychotics for causing psychosis. Personally, I have been on the receiving end of forced medication. I would never have consented on my own, preferring to exercise a "right to be unmedicated" over a "right to life-saving treatment." While I do not believe that every forced intervention was warranted, without some involuntary treatment I would be at best psychotic and, at worst, dead. Oh, did my voices ever want me to kill myself.
03/24/2013 11:02 EDT
I Thought I Was Too Smart for

I Thought I Was Too Smart for Schizophrenia

People with schizophrenia don't have a Master's degree in Neuroscience. I'm simply too intelligent to have schizophrenia, right? Then why do rats eat my brain, why do voices yell at me, and why am I being stalked by a homicidal man with a sniper gun (I've got proof)? I assume it is normal. I don't have any friends and I have withdrawn from my family so no one but Them (doctors, nurses -- everyone in league with the enemy) diagnose me, treat me. So here are your pills. You would think that after all of this, I would surely realize that I had schizophrenia. I didn't, though.
03/17/2013 11:10 EDT
My Battle With Schizophrenia:

My Battle With Schizophrenia: "Rats Were Eating My Brain"

Over a period of six years (when I was in my early to mid-20s) whenever I was hospitalized for my schizophrenia, restraints and seclusion were used repeatedly, readily, and beyond necessity. Also, I was over-medicated, probably not for my own sake, but to make me a more manageable patient.
03/11/2013 05:27 EDT