A middle aged man who faced a serious battle against mental illness has told how writing a comic book has helped him turn his life around.
Aaron Moran was once so paranoid he felt he was being spied on through a webcam, so that he took apart his laptop and buried it in a field.
He was neck-deep in a severe mental health crisis, that he had to be treated for psychosis for five years.
He was a Creative Arts student, and his former university recently published his own graphic novel – which he hopes will help break the stigma surrounding mental illness.
“I’ve been suffering from mental health problems for some time,” explained Aaron, 34, who works at Sainsbury’s and lives with his mum in a caravan at Seaview Holiday Park in Whitstable.
“It was a bad experience I always kept thinking I was being framed for crimes I wasn’t doing.
“I was worried there was someone watching me through my Webcam, it got so bad, I actually took my laptop apart and buried it in a field.
“I’d bang my head against the wall, and just generally break down.”
But in spite all this paranoia and anxiety taking hold of his life, he denied having this health problems for a long time.
I think the toughest decision is understanding and admitting you need help,” he said.
“it was not until i saw what it was doing to my family and friends and their mental health, most especially my mom- that i decided to get help.”
Upon visiting specialists, Aaron was with psychosis and Asperger’s, and he was placed immediately in the intensive care of Psychosis Service.
“Psychosis is basically the inability to sense the difference between what’s real and what’s not,” he explained
“I started thinking of things where happening even though they weren’t.”
During therapy, Aaron’s doctorshelped him discovered his passion for art.
“I’ve always been a creative writer and I love comic books” said Aaron.
“My mum once told me I always drew everything and didn’t utter a word until I was five. My therapists encouraged me to use my abilities as a form of self-meditation.
“I got into drawing and writing about my personal experiences, So one day I looked into what I have been writing and i thought to myself ‘actually, this could be something.”
Seven years after, Aaron’s first novel – Whispers: A book about mental health – has was published by Markosia.
“The two main personalities in the novel are at different stages of mental health problems – the author is going to therapy, while the character he’s writing about is just beginning to admit he has a problem.”
“The book has helped me understand mental illness, and I hope it helps others too.”
He urges people suffering from mental health issues, to draw motivation and relief from what they love doing.
“It’s not a cure, but creative art really can help. I’m still on medication and still have moments, but I’m very comfortable with who I am now. I’ve realized I’m not psycho, I’m not weird – I just do things the way I want.
“There is definitely a big stigma around mental health problems – but you should never feel shame in it.”