Bipolar sufferer and hoarder Mike Val Davies, from Exmouth, spends around £500 a month to fuel his obsession with newspapers and books. In talking about the impact his obsession has had on his life, he hopes to challenge the stigma and prejudice too often attached to mental illness. Twelve years ago he was diagnosed with Monocausal Grandiose Delusional Disorder and prescribed a cocktail of anti-psychotic drugs. His diagnosis was changed to bipolar disorder, or manic depression, just four years ago, but rather than suffer the extreme depressive lows characteristic of the disorder, Mike says he’s only ever experienced the euphoric highs. Mike’s hoarding is fuelled by his fascination and obsession with current affairs and history. He assures me his hoarding is purposeful: he has plans to write a book one day using all the information he has acquired. Mike likely has the mind of an intellect, but this has sadly been overshadowed by his obsession and subsequent hoarding problem, blocking him from actually being able to use his intellect in the workforce. It is clear that Mike’s hoarding problem has had a massive adverse impact on his life, financially, practically and socially.
“I’d be in jail for stealing newspapers if it wasn’t for Disability Living Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance. It’s taken over my life – I spend more on newspapers every week than some people have to live on.
“A neighbour wrote me a note the other day and said, ‘you’re a very weird person’. I wrote back to her and said, ‘I am a weird person – you’re not the first person to call me that’. She apologised afterwards.
“I’m a complicated person, but I feel misunderstood.
“I hoard newspapers because, as the cliché goes, they’re the first draft of history. I realised as a young boy, that within my grandparents’ lifetime, Britain had gone from being the most powerful country in the world, to falling into a crisis state, and I wanted to find out why.
“I wouldn’t let anyone take my papers away. I want to put them in the right order, and then go through them. And I need to fulfil my life’s work, which is to write my book finding a solution to the world’s problems.”
Read the full interview here: