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Adrian and Cynthia Bowler

A recurring theme among MIFQ members is the desire to banish stigma and challenge conventional beliefs.

Adrian and Cynthia Bowler have successfully pushed that particular envelope, and then some.

 

Both diagnosed with schizophrenia they built a remarkable life together, starting with their marriage in 1990.

“Psychiatrists tend to advocate for people with schizophrenia not to marry,” said Adrian.

“We were considered too unstable to have permanent relationships, and unable to cope with the usual stresses and strains of living at close quarter with another person.”

And if the marriage itself wasn’t courageous enough, they also had children – both who are now grown up and building their own successful lives.

“We actually knew people who had their children taken away, because people feared they couldn’t look after them,” said Cynthia.

“The professionals thought we would have a hard enough time looking after ourselves, let alone a child, but if anything I was more vigilant with them – I just knew I had to be extra careful.”

“I was very aware of the support I got from my family and friends, who stepped in at times when I wasn’t well - it was so important to have that network of support for those odd difficult times.”

Adrian met Cynthia at the MIFQ social club.

Over the years, they have given much of their time to help others with mental illness. Adrian in particular, has been recognised for regular talks he has given to many and varied groups in the community, and at major events.

Adrian’s mother, Frances wrote of one particularly memorable speech.

Cynthia and their children were in an audience of 2000 people to witness Adrian stroll onto the stage of the Queensland Performing Arts Concert Hall in a most casual fashion and give a brilliant speech on living with schizophrenia. Adrian said that he was so terrified that at the end he felt as if he had just climbed Mt Everest – without oxygen!  Sometime later he was talking to Lifeline counsellors and a member of the audience came up to him and said he had been in the orchestra that night at the Concert Hall. He told Adrian he was full of admiration for him as he gave such a good speech and seemed so calm. If only he knew!

Doctors were clearly full of admiration for Ädrian and Cynthia. After dating for four or five years, Cynthia fell pregnant and felt confident they could make it as a family unit.

“Mum’s attitude was why not?” said Adrian.

“And somehow the doctors saw something in us in a couple and they believed we could do it – which was unusual.”

Adrian and Cynthia are thankful to MIFQ for supporting them throughout their recovery.

“I believe that the greatest education you can get is from your peer group, not the professionals,” said Adrian.

“In those early days, MIFQ was everything to me - it taught me how to survive schizophrenia, which is no mean feat.”

Adrian Bowler is a Founding and Life Member of MIFQ, and he and Cynthia are long time supporters. In 2011, Adrian’s mother Frances, published “Simply One Life”, a collaboration of her moving personal story and Adrian’s powerful poetry. To purchase a copy, please contact us on (07) 3358 4424 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .