I was born in 1965 in Edinburgh and spent my childhood between really quite a deprived area and then a very affluent one - roughly half in half. I became mentally ill very soon after leaving school in 1982 but managed to hold out for five years before being admitted to psychiatric hospital for the first time.
Hospital treatment was something I had feared for a long time, and when it happened, it seemed that life for me was over at the age of twenty two. However, as time went by I managed make some kind of a life for myself, resolving to take the medication and trying to cope with the side effects, which became less severe with time. However, I noticed that even with this safety net, I was still experiencing paranoia, delusions, anxiety and depression. I slept odd hours, smoked a lot and became very lethargic and dreamy.
I tried persistently to take part in society through volunteering, paid work and education, but achieving qualifications has largely eluded me. Meeting deadlines and sitting exams still proves to be too much for my constitution.
By the time I reached middle age, I decided that I had gained some knowledge from formal education and began to respect my own judgement and life experience. I had never had conventional adventures, like travel, university and raising a family. Being dogged with illness most of my life, it was a trial to do the simple things like cook and wash.