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.
It takes a particular kind of creative, self-obsessive, imaginative, observant and courageous person to bare their very soul on stage. It is not always funny either, the image of the sad clown and smiley face, sad face masks of comedy and tragedy are emblematic of the tortured genius that inhabits some of the world's greatest comedians.
On 14 January 2008 I travelled to Waterloo Bridge to take my life. It was a bitterly cold, grey Monday morning and the rain was beginning to fall when I stepped onto the edge of the bridge, ready to jump. I can't remember all the many thoughts and feelings buzzing around my mind as I stood there looking down to the water below. All I can recall is a feeling of total despair. The very next minute of my existence seemed too painful to bear. I don't know how long I was standing there for before I heard a man's voice behind me say: "Please mate, please don't do this."
Seven years ago, the monster called schizophrenia introduced itself to me through an auditory hallucination (a voice). At first, this voice was reassuring and calming. After a short while, it became apparent that this voice was a wolf in sheep's clothing. It wasn't a voice that reassured me or calmed me down anymore.
Many of us are choosing a greener lifestyle, and that goes for medication too. Holistic therapist Sorrell Robbins explains "The idea of alternative medicine - namely herbs - is to help moderate and balance the individual alongside medical and/or psychiatric care and not to cure conditions that mainstream doctors were unable to".