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This story is true as far as memory allows and illustrates the difficulties one family contended with in a bid to live well with a mental health illness. Steven is an intelligent and unique boy who grows into an anxious teenager and a mentally distressed man. The many labels given to him - Aspergers, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Bipolar, Personality Disorder and ‘just an alcoholic’, illustrate the battle for consistent effective and holistic care. His story is written with candour and black humour. The suicide attempts, the hospital stay where he is handcuffed to the bed, the disappearances - he relates his descent into mental illness and alcoholism. He tells of his interactions with mental health professionals who couldn’t seem to engage with him or earn his trust. Twice married, he finally returns to his parents for his last chance at a life without fear or alcohol. He tells of his love for his many friends and his passion for music making. In between, he describes the difficulties of living with a wife who was determined to suck him dry, emotionally and financially. His mother has taken up his story and ‘filled in the gaps’ that his disturbed mind either forgot or deemed unimportant. Finally, it is a Mother’s story about grief, loss and wasted potential and the battle to find the best mental health care and support in an impoverished NHS. 

Steven Midgley:Not Just an Alcoholic

  • My experience with mental health illness and distress is gathered from both personal and professional experience. I have spent more than 20 years working with distressed individuals as a private therapist using Bach Flower Remedies and Clinical Hypnotherapy. My breadth of experience comes from supporting my son Steven. From the age of 11, he suffered from mental distress and my knowledge was gained during the time my husband and I looked after him until his death at 31. The many labels applied to Steven provoked me into learning more about each named condition.

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