Rob attributes the happiness in his life to his relationship with Gill, his wife of 24 years. They met when Rob was in a psychiatric hospital in Northampton. A whole food cooperative - Daily Bread - employed patients from the hospital, and staff to support them as a way of aiding their recovery. Gill was a member, and Rob was one of the patients she supported.
Living with schizophrenia can often be very frightening and can be enough of a barrier in itself to sustaining relationships without the added stigma and discrimination. None of us are immune to mental ill health and we have a human duty to show solidarity, open-mindedness and compassion for those who are living with mental health problems.
Through her own struggles, Yvonne has one clear message about success for those going through mental health issues: "You can have a life, second to none. It can be as simple a thing as having a physical condition that you manage on a daily basis. You might have mental health issues, but it's not the final death knell that it once was. It's just a door into another type of future, and it could be a future more enhanced than your past."
I love performing my show, mostly because of the second half where I have the privilege of sitting on stage and letting the audience take over to ask, answer or discuss whatever. For those 20-30 minutes it feels like I'm with my people that we're the same under our fronts with all our vulnerabilities we need to hide.
Imagine being unable to stand everything about yourself. Your voice, your thoughts, your body, your personality. I can't now. Though years ago, I came pretty close. And if Jonny Benjamin can be honest, then so can I... It's several years ago now and feels like a different lifetime. I've been a happy person, getting even happier year on year since. But back then, after hitting rock bottom, in order to survive, I drew a line under these experiences and locked the memories away. I shoved them all in a box, along with my Shadow Self, so that they - and it - couldn't hurt me or anyone else anymore.
Forget the 'mental' and just think 'illness'. I was ill, seriously ill, three times in my life. I was in hospital for three months on each occasion and took a long while afterwards to convalesce. But now I have been well for many years. I do not take medication. I am capable and active - I am married, with four wonderful children, a career and a happy, fulfilling life. Ergo, I am better.
Whilst I'm in the shower, Dorothy starts talking to me. Dorothy is the voice I currently hear. Thankfully, she's also the only voice I hear at the moment. I've only been hearing her for a few months but she's very similar to other voices I've heard in the past - nasty. Dorothy tells me that satellites are watching me whilst I shower.
It's not been easy reliving what led me to attempting suicide. But it's also been something of a revelation. Looking back, I had always thought it was receiving my diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, a combination of schizophrenia and depression, which had caused me to want to end my life. But there was also a secret which I was hiding from everyone around me that I also could no longer bear to live with.