SANE Peer Ambassador Cameron was one of the participants in the two-part SBS documentary How 'Mad' Are You? We asked Cameron, who lives with schizophrenia, to share his thoughts on taking part in a series that questions society's assumptions about mental illness.
I've just received an email from a former colleague, telling me what she said in a referee statement.
'I talked about the value you add to a team through creative thinking and said you are that rare person who combines exceptional creativity with solid administration skills. I told them they'd be very lucky to have you'
By the time I've finished reading, I'm sobbing.
I am the woman you want on your trivia team. I have an obsessive memory for facts. I thrive at work because I can draw on obscure documents I read four years ago.
I remember the birthdays and phone numbers of people I went to primary school with. I learn things quickly. I rarely get lost because I can look at a map and it imprints on my mind.
But about ten years ago I noticed something.
When I was in high school I visited my brother at university. I remember reading a sign that said, 'Feeling homesick? Feeling lonely?' and listed support services.
In my naivety I asked, 'How can you feel alone when you are surrounded by people?' Little did I know, three years later I would find out.
There was a girl. Her brain was set alight with the burn of silent agony but a smile was seared on her lips.
She was drowning, lost in a sea of confusion and distress. The waves of emotion washed her closer and closer to the shore of death, but she fought. Every day her mind and body grew weaker, her defences bruised and battered.
But she fought.
For some people, being diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a huge shock.
It's frightening to find out you have 'personalities' in your head and they've been there for years, or there are alters present and you haven't known about them.