Dream of Everest

'Everest on Fire'

Everest (mount schizophrenia) South Face at Sunset. 'Everest on Fire' Photograph taken by Stuart Baker-Brown. From Mount Kalar Pattar.

In 2003, after winning a Winston Churchill Travel Fellowship, I travelled to Nepal and trekked to Everest Base Camp. This was with the purpose to try and promote recovery from my diagnosis and challenge the stigma associated with schizophrenia. It was also a journey of self discovery.

From a child, I had always held a fascination with Mount Everest and Sir Edmund Hillary. I was also fascinated with stories of the mythical creature the Yeti. I had promised myself for many years, that one day, I would like to see Mount Everest for myself and travel to the mystical lands of Nepal and Tibet.

In 2001, I was starting to feel in control of my life once more. I had found some much needed hope! I was inspired to try and promote my own recovery by the Film ‘A Beautiful Mind’ and understood the importance, stories of recovery and leading a meaningful life, could offer people such as myself!

I just wanted to try and do my bit! So I decided to try and combine the two, the promotion of my recovery and the fulfilment of a dream! With the aim of trying to also challenge the unfair stigma towards schizophrenia.

I viewed ‘Everest’ as symbolic of my journey with my diagnosis and ‘Everest’ became my ‘Mount Schizophrenia!’

And so, the process of finding a way to make it happen, began.

I believe it’s very important for everyone with a mental health diagnosis to find a positive structure and a goal in their life. We all need something to dream of and a reason to carry on and it’s these things, which too often do not exist in the life of someone diagnosed with schizophrenia. I wanted to do my ‘bit’ to help people realize, dreams can be reached, and a positive life changing experience, can happen!