Michael Richmond

Author and co-editor of the Occupied Times of London.

Michael Richmond was born in London in 1986.  He had a happy childhood, growing up in a loving home with his parents and older brother.  He always liked school but was equally occupied with enjoying life with his friends and family and continuing his lifelong romance with Arsenal Football Club.  After A-Levels, Michael travelled around India, Southeast Asia and Australasia for 6 months before attending the University of Sussex.  He felt in his element being at university and living in Brighton.  He was growing, working hard and making wonderful friendships.  

However, halfway through his second year of university, in February 2007, he had a very sudden and unexpected onset of what was later diagnosed as Anxiety and Clinical Depression and later still with a form of OCD.  Within the space of a week he went from being a very confident and successful student to being unable to leave the house that he was living in with friends in Brighton.  Michael had to move back home to his parents' house in London, dropping out of uni and giving up his third year place at UC Berkeley.

Michael has had various talking therapies and medications over the years he has been unwell, some of which have been very helpful, others distinctly unhelpful.  He began to read avidly after the first year of almost catatonic depression.  He has also tried to learn Spanish and Portuguese and has taken up the piano.  He wrote Sisyphusa when he was 23/24 over the course of around eighteen months initially inspired by a strange dream and by the anger he felt after attending a psychiatric day hospital for six months.

Michael has felt a stark rupture in the way in which he has experienced life before and after his breakdown.  He is no longer housebound as he was in the first couple of years, thanks in large part to his Cocker Spaniel puppy Milo who demands constant walks and attention.  He has fewer crises, and with the help of his family and caregivers he has learned more effective ways of managing his symptoms.  He's pleased to be able to share his work with a wider audience and to add his voice to the many thousands fighting against the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Michael works at Unpackaged and is one of the editors of The Occupied Times of London