People with mental illness are often referred to as survivors, and indeed this is often an
appropriate label, as a lot of mentally ill people struggle to cope with their illness and day to
day living. This isn’t always the case though, and a lot of mentally ill people slowly get out of
their survival mode and over a period of time, sometimes many years, they get more on top
of their illness and no longer function in a barely coping state and go on to lead lives that
are flourishing, as a lot of people do get better.
Bobby ( Not his real name ) is 49. He was first diagnosed with having a chemical
imbalance, then about fifteen years ago, shortly after his mother died he was diagnosed
with schizophrenia, and he spent a short period of time in hospital and his medication was
changed to Olanzapine.
Bobby has been a keen photographer for many years, and as he gradually got better he
gained a City in Guilds qualification in photography, then in 2004 he graduated from
Croydon college with a BA in photo media.
Whilst studying for his degree, Bobby worked occasional shifts in an after school club for
young children, then after he got his degree he began to work at the club each weekday
from 3.30 to 6 Pm.
Bobby is also a Christian and he feels that going to church really helps him with his illness,
as worship, praise and praying lifts his spirits and helps him to feel peace. A peace that
counteracts some of the negative and oppressive thoughts he experiences due to illness.
At the start of January 2011, Bobby secured a full time work placement at a large
insurance company, where he works in the post room. He was initially employed on a one
year contract, but since then he’s now been employed permanently and has been enrolled
by the company into a pension plan.
Bobby also has a passion for music, and having a full time job has helped him to purchase
an upright piano costing two and a half thousand pounds. He also recently invested in
expensive camera equipment, is a member of his local camera club, and he has teamed up
with a filmmaker friend and will be the cameraman on a short film soon, and its likely he
may team up to be the cameraman to make longer films with his friend in the future.
Bobby is an inspiration, especially to mentally ill people, as his life demonstrates that its
possible to achieve high goals and lead a happy, thriving life, despite schizophrenic illness.