'Recovery is a journey'

Richard Shrubb talks about living with paranoid schizophrenia.

I had a massive breakdown in 1996, but didn’t get to see a psychiatrist until 1999. To my family my breakdown appeared so gradual they didn’t realise I had finally lost the plot. To them I was just a weird alcoholic angry waste of space. 

Although I began experiencing symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia from 1996, I had been going downhill for a good five years before. 

Getting to grips with my diagnosis was the hard part. Admitting to yourself that you need help is the tough first step to recovery – if you don’t, suicide is a real risk. 

Take all the support you can and listen to care staff. Listen to fellow patients too. Recovery is a journey and there will be ups and downs, but hold on to the idea that you can beat it and you will. 

Recovery took me five years before I did an MA in broadcast journalism and went freelance. I will never stop fighting, but will always take a positive attitude to it. I am disabled, but am a fighter.

This article reflects the experience of the individual. It is not health information from the Men's Health Forum under the terms of the NHS England Information Standard.


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In the UK, one man in five dies before the age of 65. If we had health policies and services that better reflected the needs of the whole population, it might not be like that. But it is. Policies and services and indeed men have been like this for a long time and they don’t change overnight just because we want them to.

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