This piece is all about the quiet heroes in my life; the ones that stood by me through the indescribable horrors of my condition.
They saw a boy cry himself to sleep, a teenager fall apart and a man's fight for recovery but the consistent correlation was they stood by me.
Life wasn't easy for my parents, Bob and Penny; their lives were made up of constant reminders of the impact that mental illness can have on families. This reminder didn't stop at home. They worked long hours helping the young and old who suffered from mental illness at work in the underfunded NHS mental health services.
From the start my parents always knew from their careers that my climb would be a lot steeper, in education, in social situations, and in life generally, than other children my age. Despite this they always kept a solid belief that with love, hope, and compassion (and eventual action from government) that same climb would be possible.
When I was thirteen I remember asking my Mother why I deserved my mental illness. She smiled and explained: "You don't. But I believe you were given this challenge to make you a stronger person". She was right.
My father a man with good principle had to deal with a lot of emotional turmoil when I stopped talking to him due to the thoughts in my head telling me well. I saw the huge emotional effect on my father, but he had a resilience I had only seen in one other person; my mother.
They decided not to tell family members. My parents could have easily taken the route to further support but they didn't because of me; because of my worry of how my extended family would see me. Even though I know my family now: they would have backed me all the way to recovery.
So through the years my parents went into school knowing they would hear about bad behaviour that was actually mental illness. They knew they would watch me play rugby and see me miss a scoring opportunity because of a ritual I had to do because of my Obsessional Compulsive Disorder (OCD). They would see me trapped housebound for six months because of my Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD).
They were and still are my champions and the still the ones that look over everything I am doing as I take the fight for better mental health services.
After 35 years of mental health service they will retire this week. I think of all they have seen throughout the time they have spent our NHS and the change they have seen from the 80s Fruedism, through to the action hopefully beginning in our government.
We are fighting for a modernised mental health system, a dream that can turn into a reality with action, it's our moment to act, so that no child is left crying themselves to sleep, so that no teenager drinks heavily because of a long waiting list in our mental health services, an adult who drops out of work because there is no hope of support in their office.
In 2015 35 years after my parents, the silent heroes, started in mental health services; it's time to finish the work they and many other hardworking mental health workers started.