This had a good effect on him, though his pictures were dark and menacing.
It was only gradually that his talent fully returned and only this year that he felt distanced enough from hospital and psychosis to portray them in a series of 10 paintings published here for the first time in a three-part series.
The book – comprises alternate chapters by Henry and myself and a long excerpt from my wife Jan’s diary. Henry was then living in a halfway house in Lewisham and by no means fully recovered when he wrote his chapters.
In the last lines of the book, much commented on by reviewers, he wrote that “it has been a very long road for me but I think I am entering the final straight.
When Henry first became ill, I found that most of the population knows nothing about mental illness and its treatment, but a large minority knows all too much.
At the time Henry was rescued from Newhaven estuary, I was part of the ill-informed majority who believe that schizophrenia and bipolar depression are distinct diagnosable illnesses like typhoid or polio, though in fact they are a set of fluid symptoms that may change over time.He moved into his own flat in Canterbury in 2017 where he lives entirely independently, though still taking medication to which he sees no alternative.Henry drew and painted with vigour and originality from an early age and always wanted to be a professional artist.Other pictures portray grim experiences: his near drowning in Newhaven estuary, solitary confinement in a locked room in hospital and his forcible sedation by hospital staff.These are depressing subjects but ones which Henry paints and writes about with surprising buoyancy and vivacity.Henry at his worst, was very mad indeed, yet against the odds, he did live through full-blown schizophrenia from which Jan and I despaired at times of him ever emerging with his personality intact and capacity to live a creative life restored.