Mum and I get on well now, but childhood was difficult for me and my elder brother. Dad was around but a lot of time away in the army. By the time I was 15 Mum had overdosed twice, their divorce had come through and ten years later I was smoking and drinking heavily, five pints of Carling daily.

It came to a head in 2006. I had an interview for a permanent job with Marks and Spencer and loved the job but there were till errors and I ran up £1000 on a credit card on drink alone. For a while, I stopped living at all. But I was sick of being a slave to the drink and cigarettes and decided at the New Year to make a new start. When I came out in a shirt and tie my girlfriend really did a double take.

I told E for the first time and the result was anger with my Mum so that I could now stand my ground with her. I gave up my girlfriend as I came off the drink and the voices began:

‘When are you going to come and see your kids?’ I slipped into psychosis, frightened that they wouldn’t stop and waited outside school to see if the kids were real and there. Mum called the police-I was sectioned.

What followed has been a long, hard road for me in my battle with the voices.

It has included hospital assessments, five months in the Cedars where I began to feel safe and secure (even if I was feeling like I was in hell and my brother had cut himself off from me) and a trust in E in the Russell Clinic who helped to spell out reality for me and to get to the other side. It took one-and-a-half years. After a spell in the community in a supportive house with good friends and six months with Mum (she was now a different person, I was a different person and we could now respect each other), Liz helped me to come here.

Several things have helped me to get to this point. My own wish to get through; Liz; C from the STEP Team and E from the Russell Clinic (who was sterner with the voices and helped me to answer back, shaking me out of myself)

I have made friends here, I see Mum and my family more, I go out with staff, Liz sees me every month and I am taking my time. Slowly but surely I am recovering.

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