Equinox Nine Lives, Amazing’s story:

Equinox Southampton Way logo“My name is Amazing Grace and I am 47 years old. I lived in many areas, but mainly I spent my life in my youth in Nigeria.

“It’s confusing I must tell you. Because I remember as if I was a baby in the pram, hearing voices. You know a baby, can you imagine? Not even 1 year old, can’t walk, can’t crawl. I was hearing voices.

“I trained as a journalist, I think, by then I was 18. I was doing well academically. 100% A in 4 aspects. I went to Oxford University and I got first class in media studies and advanced technology for the postgraduate.

“I felt tired. I felt angry. Then my GP said, ‘you’re suffering from stress, mental stress,’ which means schizophrenia.’

“So when I was told that I was a bit sad, you know. I felt I don’t need all this. But then, I was coping very well.

“When I became unwell, the doctors said, ‘don’t do any study or jobs anymore’. Of course, I didn’t listen to them. I went on to college, did well, went to get jobs, you know.

“Hardest thing? The voices, the tiredness, the side effects, because I have cancer as well. But I have done very well in terms of how I’ve dealt with the schizophrenia in particular.”

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Equinox Nine Lives, Keith’s story:

Equinox Southampton Way logo“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.”

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Equinox Nine Lives, Marc’s story:

Equinox Southampton Way logo“My name’s Marc. I was born in Guy’s Hospital, you know Guy’s Hospital? Bermondsey, when I was little, I was born there. I used to collect coins, old coins. My uncle gave it to me when I was little. All old Victoria and stuff like that. Loads of old coins.

“I suffer from delusions, false beliefs. I get scared and suicidal sometimes. I try to go outside to motivate myself. Go outside and do things. Yeah, helps to try and get more motivated and take part in activities. My concentration levels are better. I’ve got to try and be more patient though, that’s part of my illness, I’ve got to be more patient.

“I love my family and they support me and look after me. My Mum, my Dad, all my family.”

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