Equinox Nine Lives, Keith’s story:
“Alright, my name is Keith Giles. And my age is 50 years old. I was born in Lambeth North and I weigh 2.14 ounces. And I was so small, my grandma who passed away recently, she said ‘nurse, is he a normal baby?’ Nurse: ‘he’s alive and kicking.’
“Oh my life, oh wonderful. I enjoy going on holidays. I enjoy working. I worked for the biggest meat market in the world, we call Smithfield meat market.
“Mental illness started when I was about 24 years old, when my family split up over here, my Mum and my Dad, in the middle of a winter. I didn’t even have nowhere to go. I’d just started my job with Smithfield and I was really stressed out. Mental illness is like the cold weather. I can’t take the cold weather. One morning I went to drive and I couldn’t even spin the wheel on the car. And this lady, actually, Melanie, she actually find a space for me in the Maudsley hospital.
“I could go to my family anytime of the night or day and knock and get a welcome. In my life, I enjoy listening to music. I remember there’s a song that I really love.
“Many rivers to cross
And I can’t seem to find my way over
By the river I’m lost as I travel along
White cliffs Dover
I’ve been washed, licked up for years
And I merely survive because of my pride
“My smile mean a lot to me. I always smile. Always smile. You know what pop style mean, do you? Pop style is like, showing off. Cos my gold tooth, I’m showing it. No, no, I’m a happy man. I’m a happy going man, you know. You want to pave the way, make people enjoy what you say and what you do. Yeah.”
- Read the full story about the Equinox Nine Lives mental health campaign in 2014