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Meet Josh! (he/him)

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alternate text 47Josh is 41 years old, he is married to Jasmine and they have just welcomed their first child Archie into the world. He loves the outdoors and just recently moved with his family to a small coastal town so they can be closer to the beach.

Josh works part-time at the local council as a youth development officer and he really values community work. In his role he advocates for youth mental health and is a peer mentor for young people who are experiencing mental distress or addictions. To switch off, Josh enjoys engaging in his hobbies such as surfing, skating and jamming. Recently he has joined a local band with his mates, which he thoroughly enjoys and they have started playing gigs on the weekends.

Josh began hearing voices at 21 years old when he was out partying with his friends - they'd drink and experiment with drugs together. At first the voices would wear off after a big weekend but gradually they become more present and persistent throughout his week. He spiralled into a rollercoaster of addiction and depression. His voices became more dominating, critical and threatening. This resulted in a number of hospital admissions and traumatic experiences where his safety felt threatened and he didn't feel in control.

Josh began attending a hearing voices recovery support group and he found connecting with other voice hearers and talking freely about his experiences life changing. He still hears voices but they don't bother him as much anymore.

Sometimes when Josh is stressed his voices become more critical, loud and intrusive. When this happens he does his best to manage stress by engaging in his hobbies, practising breathing techniques, cooking for the family and enjoying some downtime watching TV with his wife. When his voices become too demanding he finds it helpful to test out their power by setting them menial tasks like delivering him doughnuts or doing the washing up. When they don't deliver, this reassures him that he is more powerful than them and he feels more in control.

Josh carries a lot of guilt about his past addictions but is now proud to be 6 years sober, is in a job he enjoys, has healthy relationships, hobbies and a family that he adores.