Before I experienced mental illness for myself, my knowledge of mental illness was zero. That all changed in 1997, when I found myself in a very dark place. A lot of unpleasant experiences occurred at the same time, which resulted in my feeling that I could no longer cope with life. This resulted in a mental breakdown and began a journey which lasted for about 10 years. There is no doubt that I was severely mentally ill. However, once I was aware that there was hope for the future, the recovery process began.