An uneventful boy-hood and some Academic achievements saw me through tertiary education, which I completed in 1972. The occurrence of diagnosable symptoms appeared in what came to be my final year, but my course work merited the award of a BA Honours in Combined Humanities (aegrotat)
I was 21 years old.
The slur cast by the nature of my diagnosis ensured that there were no opportunities to sit for any professional qualifications, so my vocation of Librarian remained on hold to this day. Five years passed without Library employment in any capacity, five years punctuated with a break-down, four months’ hospitalisation and continuing treatment for schizophrenia, until Employment resettlement pointed me in the direction of a Library Supplier sweat-shop in Nottingham, where I remained full-time for fifteen years. At no stage did the financial rewards for this engagement creep up above my entitlements as a disabled person!
I have never considered myself to be a drudge, so after being harassed and pushed about by ‘thatcherite insurgents’ in the 1990s, I agreed with the firm’s doctor that I had had a ‘run for my money’ and it was time to abandon ship.
My Liberation was palpable and it is something I can never regret. Creativity had returned after a dormancy of some 21 years. I returned to writing and belatedly, to an interest I had shared with my Father in my teen-age years, Photography.
The lesson from this is never to underestimate the extent to which we all have gifts to express and with the right opportunities, can re-emerge as part of our restitution after the excesses of ill-health have run their course. Facilitators who work in mental health, please take special note!