Michael Heald has had a lifelong struggle with schizophrenia and depression but is now not only on the path to recovery, but helping others in the same situation. GEMMA KHAICY reports.
“Recovery is not just a matter of not having symptoms, it’s doing stuff in spite of your illness.”
Speaking about the voices agitates Heald. His breathing gets heavier and he feels an anxiety attack coming on.
Pausing briefly, he soldiers on and talks about the therapeutic approach - cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness - that has helped him come to terms with his condition.
“When practising mindfulness, I ascertain the triggers and thoughts that produce anxiety,” he says.
“If I find nothing, that it’s only just a thought, then the anxiety doesn’t eventuate.”
The voices finally stopped taunting Heald when he started a new medication, called Clozapine, in the mid-1990s.
It was the first of many breakthroughs on a life-long journey of recovery.