Raising The Roof with *Hercules B

We have a gargantuan Roof Raiser today: *Hercules B!

*Hercules’ experience with Mental Health comes in the form of Schizophrenia/Personality Disorder. Originally diagnosed as having Bipolar *Hercules continued to struggle with his diagnosis. Following five years of treatment for his original diagnosis he was reassessed and was diagnosed as suffering with either Personality Disorder or Schizophrenia.

Hi *Hercules B,

Your diagnosis is obviously a massive thing to contend with, the stigma with all of those is disorders is still incredible; what is the biggest difficulty you face living with this?

It has been very difficult at times certainly, but gradually I feel I've got the control back and it is easier to deal with once there are care plans put in place.

Do you have a strong support network around you?

I have a medical team, so a Psychiatrist and Psychologist that share treatment responsibility that I see every few months, and there is also the backup Crisis Care Team that’s available to all mental health patients at any time nationally. 

In terms of the more personal I tend to shy away from sharing things, people can't relate and they worry when they shouldn't, so whilst friends and family are supportive I choose not to rely on them. However, I do have one friend that I talk to about things and who I would trust if they had concerns about my wellbeing.

Despite doing this interview I'm actually quite insular about it all as it’s only really me that can relate to my illness and know what I need and when I need it.

How does it affect your life having these difficulties?

It affects everything; I have to confirm people are real sometimes, you have to be really good friends with someone to ask them if someone else is actually there. Then there’s the depression, the mania, the disruption of life through appointments, the pills that make you ill all the time, the stigma, and the way people react. It’s so much to deal with but I guess you just learn how to survive, then how to live again.

Do you find that, aside from the appointments and medication, you can live what others would deem a "normal" life i.e. socialising, holding down a job, getting a job etc.?

It’s difficult at times, I had a very bad time for a while with my last employer but I'm self-employed now, though getting a job is hard; I can see the reaction when I tell them I have a mental illness, which by law I have to do. I lead a very normal life in most respects it’s the stigma that causes me more trouble these day than the illness, I've learned to live with my mental health problems to a large extent and have action plans etc. in place for the times that are difficult.

Do you think that with the progress being made in the support services for the mental health, society is behind in accepting it?

This government has declared war on people with mental health issues with huge funding cuts, cuts for those who are involved with the benefit system, a gagging bill that restricts charities and action groups from lobbying them, things are going backwards. My local centre where I go for appointments is utterly over run and struggling to meet demand.

Also the media continue to show Mental Health issues in a very bad way, and people refuse to accept that abuse can happen in what they say and do. As long as terms like “mental”, “psycho”, “nutter” etc. exist it’s not going to get any better. 

Schizophrenia is often considered one of the most severe Mental Health problems to have; people can often be afraid of those who suffer with it because it is such an unknown entity. Do you find that you have to deal with this reaction often, if so how do you deal with it?

Yeah people react, they try not to show it but there is fear associated with the diagnosis. I just try not to let ignorance upset me; it’s their prejudice not mine, however when that fear affects my life it’s difficult to not be angry with them.

What is the reality of dealing with your mental health issues? 

The reality is that I live a life where nobody will judge me by who I am, everything they see and think about me is seen in relation to my illness. I can't just be having a grumpy day, it’s always a symptom.

People are also scared of the labels I have.

However, it’s also very difficult to know that I can cause hurt and distress by being ill or in the way my condition affects my responses and social skills at times. As well as putting those who care about me through a lot as they have to watch me suffer and can do nothing at times. 

There’s the guilt as well from the things that have happened, always the guilt.

Despite all of the difficulties you face with your Mental Illness and the stigma that comes with it you obviously lead a "normal" life with being self-employed etc. How do you keep the positivity to maintain "normality"?

I just try and follow the warning signs of illness, and if I start to slip I try to break the cycles but there’s not much I can do to be honest. Being self-employed helps in some ways, but there’s no security of sick pay etc.

What would you say to someone who is afraid or unsure of people with Mental Health illnesses?

They should be more worried about people who drive cars, they are far more dangerous.

I would say that their fear is unfounded, that nearly all mentally ill people pose no risk to anyone but themselves. Their fear is a prejudice of the unknown but it’s also a fear that hurts and holds back millions of people for no reason.

If you had the opportunity to have a heart to heart with somebody who is going through what you went through at the beginning, what would you say to them? 

Learn to accept it all.  

Thank you *Hercules!

If you are struggling with a Mental Health issue please don’t suffer in silence. If you need unbiased support please contact one of the charities below:

Talk to The Samaritans

Call: 08457 90 90 90 (UK)
Call: 1850 60 90 90 (ROI)
Or email: 

Rethink Mental Illness

Call: 0300 5000 927

The Mind infoline

Call: 0300 123 3393
Or email 

Remember, you are never alone; there is always someone who will listen to you. I will listen to you.
Please feel free to email me on beckiatexplorer@gmail.com if you want/need to chat or to find out how you can get involved with Raising the Roof on Mental Health.

Remember; there’s strength in numbers….Raise the Roof loud and proud! 


  1. "They should be more worried about people who drive cars, they are far more dangerous." - perfect and made me chuckle inside.


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