Finding his voice: Our Region, Our People

NEIL Oliver refuses to let his mental health condition define him. 

"I'm just like anybody else, there's just an imbalance in my brain and I need medication to keep me on track," Mr Oliver said.

He rathers to use the term 'lives with', rather than 'suffers from' schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

Now 52, Mr Oliver started his schizophrenia journey in his early teens.

Neil Oliver loves spending time with his birds to help with his mental health. Picture: GEMMA ROWLEY

Neil Oliver loves spending time with his birds to help with his mental health. Picture: GEMMA ROWLEY

At the time, he started hearing voices and they got to the point where they were so loud, he didn't know who he could trust.

"I didn't realise what was going on at the time because I was so young," Mr Oliver said.

Growing up in an abusive and neglectful household, Mr Oliver explained to The Guardian that the confusion also began because the voices he'd hear, would be voices he recognised as family or friends.

"I'd be hearing their voice saying awful things, but at times when no one was actually speaking," he said.

"It's very confusing and very scary, especially when it gets to the point where the voices are so loud that you physically can't hear anything else that's actually going on around you."

To read more of this story, grab a copy of the October 10 edition of The Guardian. 

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