In my early years I performed well at high school and Adelaide University. I went to a yoga ashram and explored my spirituality. This coincided with my initial breakdown. I got really high and lost contact with the foundation in my life. Mental illness turned my life upside-down – things I depended on before I couldn’t depend on anymore. This was the beginning of a long path in the way of my mental illness.

The first few years of my illness I suffered depression, which seemed to lift for a while thanks to listening to a tune on the radio. Then my illness evolved into a ‘storm’. Actions and thoughts were disordered and disturbed. I felt like I was in a war zone – being attacked left, right and centre by major delusions and hallucinations.

These days I have disturbing feelings to do with thought. But I have better coping strategies now. For example, I have Clubhouse; I have GROW; I have my work and I have my family. They all contribute to my well-being. The good things I have gained from my illness are better friendships than I had before as well as stronger family bonds.

Diamond Clubhouse offers me the chance to participate in a Work Ordered Day, good sharing with Clubhouse members who are my friends and good food. I am sleeping better; I have more weekly routine; my appetite has returned; and I have more interest in my life.