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Ed’s mental illness started when he was 18-years-old and went to university. He went on to become very unwell, but a combination of support and medication has meant he has, in his own words, “got his identity back”.

Ed explained more: “I started university and realised that I was doing a degree I didn’t want to do, which would lead to a job I didn’t want to do for the rest of my life. I couldn’t see an alternative path and I sank into a deep depression.

“At one point, it became so bad that I was barely able to talk; I started taking drugs all day, every day.

“Passing my driving test and getting a job lifted me a little, but I was still on drugs, and ended up moving to a different university. The drug taking continued.

“I started to become very manic and less able to organise my life. I’d be going shopping at 3am an walking around town in the middle of the night.

“I had delusions of grandeur and also felt I was surrounded by invisible people, who I was struggling to live with.

“A film came out which I was convinced I had already written the story for, and they had copied it.

“I struggled to sleep and one night I was ranting at my parents, screaming and shouting, so they brought me home from university. I tried to run away, and ended up being picked up by the police, who took me to Wotton Lawn Hospital.

“I spent 28 days in there. It’s a place of safety, of community, a place of routine. People look out for each other, help and support each other.

“The nurses spoke to me about where I wanted to get to in my life, and they really believed I could get there, even if I didn’t believe it myself.

“I went onto a new medication, which made a lot of difference and, shortly after starting to take it, I was able to start doing voluntary work.

“Working as an expert by lived experience makes me feel part of the Trust and feel like it gives me a real purpose and identity. I do sometimes still feel on the edge of society. There’s a feeling of not being a whole person. However, I like to be positive about my recovery journey, even though I’ve had setbacks on the way and have had to really rebuild my belief system.

“I find writing to be great therapy and I’m currently writing my second book.”

Ed has bipolar disorder and paranoid schizophrenia. He also has depression and anxiety. He has a dual diagnosis.

Help and support

If you think you may have bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, you should visit your GP who will be able to help you further. If your GP agrees, they will refer you to our services so you can be assessed and given help and support. For further information about bipolar disorder, please visit ghc.nhs.uk/conditions/bipolar-disorder.