As I sit here this evening, the moon beaming high above the rooftops, its rays’ reflections glinting on the frosty ground, I count my blessings as I treasure the love I have for my child sleeping soundly upstairs. It was not always this way. I was once living a hellish life, shunted between psychiatric hospitals and mental health units, my fragmented mind struggling to cope with the ravages of a severe mental illness that I now know as Schizoaffective disorder.

I had a dazzling life, a successful career as a teacher and part-time musician. I was young, free, single and living the high life. Life was full on, non-stop drama and action. I lived every moment in full, never stopping to breathe or relax. The stress I was under was immense, but I worked through it, thriving on the high-tension schedule, never stopping. I thought I was untouchable, unbreakable. Boy was I wrong!

I was 29 when I had my first episode. Can you remember how old you were?