Here Comes the Sun
Jeremy Oxley was diagnosed with schizophrenia aged 22, at the height of his fame as singer of the popular band Sunnyboys. Terrified and in denial, he tried to hide his diagnosis from family, band mates and friends, who attributed his erratic and sometimes terrifying behaviour to drug and alcohol abuse. Following harrowing experiences with the woeful mental health services of the day, Jeremy took himself off his prescription drugs and self-medicated with alcohol, gradually alienating friends and family alike till he became a hermit living in a small town in New South Wales, shut off from any kind of life or support. A Sunnyboys fan, Mary Griffiths was a nurse who had been widowed for five years with young twin boys. After being shocked to discover how Jeremy was living, she and her sons determined to find him and help him. At their first meeting, Mary was able to see through Jeremy's illness and recognise signs of the sensitive, beautiful and frightened man within. Her boys instantly loved him and he in turn was immediately calm around them. Jeremy's willingness to get well under Mary's guidance was driven by a deep desire to have the things we all mostly take for granted: a loving family, security, and control of his health and life. Slowly, painfully, but together, Jeremy and Mary put everything into reclaiming his life and building a family. That struggle is told here for the first time by Mary and Jeremy, whose distinctive voices trace Jeremy's remarkable journey from darkness to the light, and from the depths of despair to hope and love. It will move and inspire all who read it.
Jeremy grew up in the northern NSW coastal town of Kingscliff before moving to Sydney when he finished school to attend Alexander Mackie Art School. Within that first year, he dropped out of art school to play music full time, forming Sunnyboys with his brother Peter, school friend Bil Bilson and Richard Burgman. Sunnyboys enjoyed rapid success with hits 'Happy Man' and 'Alone With You' from their debut album, which quickly went 'gold'. The band toured relentlessly and put out three albums until the band's sudden demise following Jeremy's diagnosis with schizophrenia at 22. For the next ten years, Jeremy lived in Sydney, dabbling in music, trying to keep busy, but was plagued by the crippling effects of his illness. In the mid 1990s he moved to the country to enjoy a quieter life and began painting prolifically. In 2008, he met Mary, who helped him become successfully medicated for the first time and he slowly rebuilt his life. In 2011, the couple married. In 2012, the original band reformed and have been enjoying great success once again...Mary was born in Brisbane. On finishing school, she trained and qualified as a registered nurse before relocating to Redlands south of Brisbane enjoying many roles in nursing. Mary married local ambulance identity John 'Griffo' Griffiths in 1994 and had twins Lachlan and Kieran in 1998. Sadly, Griffo passed away in 2003 from an aggressive brain tumour. Mary continued on with her career and as a dedicated mother to her young boys. In 2008, she met Jeremy Oxley. The couple fell in love and with Mary's guidance, embarked on the lengthy journey to rebuild Jeremy's life and the start of their active and creative life together. In 2011, the couple featured, along with Jeremy's brother Peter, in the documentary 'The Sunnyboy' directed by Kaye Harrison about Jeremy's struggle with schizophrenia. Since the film launch in 2013, Mary has made over 20 appearances as a guest speaker and is an active advocate for Mental Health reform.