A few years ago, if you had said to me that I would be celebrating the publication of an academic research paper, I would have laughed. In 2007, attempting my MPhil nearly broke me, and this, amongst other life pressures, caused me to have a psychotic breakdown. I was in and out of hospital that year, and was eventually given a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia. That diagnosis felt like a death-sentence, and I felt hopeless about the future. My wife and kids and my faith kept me going, but my life was very different now – unpredictable psychotic episodes, plus medications that clouded my thoughts, made me feel emotionally numb and sedated.
It was in December 2010 that a key-worker in a mental health day-centre I was attending approached me with a leaflet looking for service users and carers to be trained in research methods and design. The course…
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