If you have more control over your condition, you have more choice. You can’t let your condition run your life

I have a particular type of schizophrenia. My symptoms are lack of organisation, tiredness and my reactions can be quite slow.

I first became ill in 1995. I had a breakdown due to stresses in my life at the time, including bereavements, all of which was exacerbated by recreational drug use. I had a lack of insight about my own condition and did not realise how ill I actually was.

My condition doesn’t affect just me

It has had an impact on my friends and family, who were very supportive. Going through my condition and coming out the other side has brought us all a lot closer.

My mum encouraged me to go on self management uk’s course and, although I was very slow on the uptake, I found it to be very interesting. The tutors were great; they made us feel very secure, comfortable and welcomed. self management uk’s course was facilitated well; everything was clear and easy to understand.

It was exciting and useful. I felt it was a safe place to be, with people in the same situation as me. Mental health issues are still quite taboo, and they aren’t very easy to talk about as there is a lot of stigma around them.

My problem solving skills are a lot better now 

self management uk’s course has mostly helped me get out of my rut. It was a relief to be able to talk about certain things. The tutors were very gentle; everything was taken in ‘baby steps’ and slowly built us up.

I am now a tutor myself. I have been able to go back to work, volunteering for self management uk, training and being a part of the organisation. I also like the chance to have some social time where I can enjoy myself and do things for myself without feeling too guilty. This enables me to feel more confident and comfortable in my own skin.

I am more active, and my mind and life are more structured. This is the best way to manage my condition and model it for others, and having the ability to talk about it is key.

It is important to know about your own condition

...so that when you go to the doctor you are clear and can give them more detailed information. self management uk’s course makes people more aware of how their symptoms/condition affect their day-to-day health and wellbeing. It’s interesting to see how many people, who are managing different conditions, have similar symptoms.

If you have more control over your condition, you have more choice. You can’t let your condition run your life