Mind Palaver A Conversation on Mental Health


Elle grew up in Scotland in the distilleries of Speyside, and later on the Moray Firth coast.  She moved to Edinburgh to study medicine, and has been here ever since.  She still marvels at her city – it suits her moods….

Like many people with bipolar disorder Elle’s diagnosis came relatively late.  In retrospect all the signs were there from her teenage years.  But after working in Accident and Emergency for 18 months on a hypomanic wave of energy, she achieved her dream job as base doctor for the British Antarctic Survey, and worked on one of their research bases on the Antarctic continent for 18 months. The weight of mental ill health grew too great on her return, however, and she hasn’t been able to work since.

In 2017 Elle heard an interview with John on the BBC. Always keen on interesting chats with interesting people she reached out a friendly hand by leaving John a note after one of his Fringe shows in town.  They shook hands, grinned and started talking. ‘Let’s blog this!’ said John…… ‘I’m too nervous!’ said Elle….. ‘Get writing!’ said all of Elle’s friends.


John hails from the Lothians of Scotland (Bonnyrigg for those interested) Born in 1970 he is one of five siblings and son to Dorothy and John. In his life he’s worked as a tradesman, a social carer and finally, as you find him today, a comedian and writer. John first had acute mental health problems when he was 24. At the time he was misdiagnosed with schizophrenia. After a few years, and a bit of a struggle, it became obvious John was suffering from Bipolar disorder. He is now correctly diagnosed with Bipolar 1.

In his comedy career John has taken his routines as far away as Australia. He has performed warm up for many of his comedy heroes, including Stewart Lee and Jerry Sadowitz. In more recent times he performed the word of mouth hit show Delusions at the Edinburgh Fringe. The show focused in particular on the five years John’s mental health was misdiagnosed. Many mental health service users attended the show and provided John with great support and feedback.

It was during a performance of Delusions that John became aware of the other writer of this blog Elle after she left him a friendly note.  From some initial correspondence it became clear that both Elle and John had much to say and many  tales to tell regarding their experiences with mental health issues. And so with that it was decided we should start this blog. You’ll find out a lot more about us as we get on with things, hopefully some bits will end up being helpful to others in similar situations.