My aunt loves her Diet Cokes and always flatters me by calling me beautiful. Instantly, I tell her she is beautiful back. Sadly though, she is also a person who got unimaginably unlucky.

Due to wanting to protect her personal life, my aunt and her brother will remain anonymous.

My 62-year-old aunt suffers from schizophrenia and according to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, “As many as one person out of 100 may experience schizophrenia.”

As I cross the George C. King Bridge and enter St. Patrick’s Island, it isn’t long before I realise just how different this park is to the business areas of the city or even the other parks in Calgary. While Prince’s Island Park is always full of people, here there is barely anyone in sight.

I never imagined I’d one day be confined in a sterile room surrounded by glass windows, wires stuck to my scalp and body with a gritty paste, told to sleep as a panel of white lab-coats watched me.

My phone is plugged in and the almost five-hour playlist begins with Bing Crosby’s tune “Winter Wonderland.” The morning has already been spent hauling the artificial tree and the Rubbermaid bins filled with decorations upstairs from the basement cubby hole. It’s only Nov. 17, but it’s Christmas time at my house. My dad and sister think my mom and I are crazy; we love it.