Malky lives with his wife in Larbert. He is retired but occasionally does part-time gardening work.
"....when I needed them most, they weren’t there. If I had had a broken leg they would have been there. They couldn’t have hurt me more if they had hit me over the head with a baseball bat..."
About 20 years ago Malky was working as a landscape gardener in Falkirk. He found it hard to say no to jobs and worked flat out, gardening all day and catching up with paperwork in the evening, sometimes into the small hours. One day, out of the blue, he felt awful. He suddenly got very dizzy and out if breath. Malky thought it might be a heart attack or brain haemorrhage and managed to flag down a passing police car. He was taken to hospital but by the time Malky got there he was feeling better. After a few tests, Malky was told ‘it was just a panic attack’ by the nurse. Malky was sent away feeling terrible. “It was as though it wasn’t something serious and I wasn’t offered any advice on how to cope if it happened again. It did happen again, and again, and again.”
Pru has experienced mental health problems since she was 25.
"Life is for living and the skin you are in is the one that matters, so find something that helps you believe in that and stick with it."
Following a very stressful period in life (high stress job, living in London, traumatic relationship) Pru had a breakdown and was admitted to hospital. Pru felt that this period of her life was the “wilderness years”. She was given a cocktail of drugs, received ECT which caused memory loss and was passed from psychiatrist to psychiatrist.
“She didn’t look at me and think about my mental health problem. Instead she saw all the talents and skills that I had to offer”.
In her fourth year of high school Diane was diagnosed with mild depression and anxiety. During this time her friends knew nothing about the difficulties she was experiencing. So when Diane started spending a lot of time trying to express her feelings to her guidance teacher, her friends, and even other teachers, reacted by making fun of her, assuming she was constantly in trouble. No-one asked her directly if anything was wrong or if she needed help.
James first experienced psychosis in January 1999. He began hearing ‘messages’ from people and from the television.
“I thought that if anyone would stick by you it would be your family. I felt that they had deserted me.”
Following his diagnosis James found it difficult to accept that he was ill and blamed doctors and medication for his behaviour. “In the beginning, I stigmatised myself. It took me six months to come to terms with the fact that I had a mental health problem. During that time I didn’t talk to anyone about what was going on. I’d seen what happened when people I knew had experienced mental health problems. Other people treated them differently, not just the general public but health professionals too.”