Tag Archive: Distress


Joanna Moncrieff is an academic psychiatrist who recognises that meaning is lost and marginalised with the medicalisation of distress.

Joanna Moncrieff

People have used psychoactive substances to dull and deaden pain, misery and suffering since time immemorial, but only recently, in the last few decades, have people been persuaded that what they are doing in this situation is rightly thought of as taking a remedy for an underlying disease. The spread of the use of prescription drugs has gone hand in hand with the increasing medicalization of everyday life, and a corresponding loss of the previous relationship that people had with psychoactive substances.

Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel Mary Barton was originally to be named after Mary’s father John Barton, a working class factory hand addicted to opium (1). The novel depicts the unimaginable poverty and exploitation of industrial Manchester that made opium-induced oblivion an appealing escape. Although Gaskell clearly disapproved of John ‘s addiction, the reader is left in no doubt that opium use in 19th century Britain was a symptom of…

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Managers’ Hearing 19.11.2013

One of the things Dr Moldavsky said was that past behaviour is a guide to future behaviour, and he was talking about the fact that I had taken an overdose of paracetamol over 10 years ago.  He thinks I might do the same again, so he says, if I am off medication.  I was four years off medication recently and didn’t even consider suicide, and I decided years ago that I wasn’t going to overdose or anything else like that again.  I said that in the meeting.  It seems as if I am dealing with a determinist in Dr Moldavsky.  I doubt him, I don’t think his presentation was altogether honest.  It certainly was full of put downs.  He said I was trying to hide things and was guarded.  I have the right to decide how much I can psychologically and emotionally cope with saying to whom, and I do not choose to say the same things over again to a psychiatric team just to have them dismissed as delusion.  I have said it is like forced marriage.  It is life rape and I want it to end.

This Is Madness

I’ve read a bit more of this book and I’m finding it very interesting.  For me one of the most important things it says is that with physical illnesses diagnosis starts with something happening in the body and ends up with the diagnostic concept, but with ‘so-called’ mental illness it is the other way round, that it starts with a concept and mental conglomeration in the minds of physicians and they then go looking for people who fit the concept, like crusaders.  The concept is fleshed out in committee and applied to individuals, rather than subjective symptoms first being recognised in the individual and a remedy sought.  That is my memory of what was said in the chapter called ‘Diagnosis’.

I’ve just ordered another book as well called ‘Untrain Your Parrot’ by Elizabeth Hamilton.  It is a well grounded and often humorous approach to Zen.  The book is in the Multi-Faith room at the hospital but we are not allowed to take them out, and sometimes no one is there who can unlock the cabinet where the books are kept.  It makes sense that the books shouldn’t leave the room, it keeps them available and in good condition.  I have found that when I have spent time reading it in there I approach things in a better and lighter mood.  I’m looking forward to having my own copy because I think it is something that I will read and dip into more than once

I’m a lot more open and self-controlled on the ward these days, but I still feel angry, hurt and frustrated at what I see happening with other people.

I’ve got a bad cold at the moment.

We have started making approaches to accommodation.  It seems to me it could move either very quickly or more slowly than I would like.  I would like it to move quickly.

I’ve been reading a few ‘Freshly Pressed’ selections and really enjoying them.  They are so interesting.  I just read one called ‘There was no escaping his father’s words’ which made quite an impact on me.  It’s about a man who meets up in later life with his father who had told him that he was going from fad to fad and I felt those words from his father had partly shaped the man’s life.

I don’t feel able to write much more today.  I am generally feeling quite upset and that I need to cry.  That is what I usually feel inside.  I’ve had no intimacy for a very long time now, and I feel very much that I am getting old.  I am nearer death than birth.  For a wonderful period in my 30s I was unafraid, but now I feel a bit wobbly.  I’m not sure if I’m a real Christian, and I have been taught and believe that only Christians go to heaven.  I have not been taught to be a liberal, and my emotional attachments don’t really allow it.  I have been taught, and believe, that there is a hell for people who are not Christians.  I know to some people that will make me sound really archaic.  I have found myself praying that love and mercy will be my judge in the end, that love (God is love) will save me at death.  There is also the teaching that not everyone will die but Jesus will come back and some people who are living will be caught up to Heaven.  I suppose many people want to believe they will be among those who do not die.  I would like to live beyond 80, even to 100.  I’m afraid I will die much sooner.  I’m really afraid that I might go to hell, and I’m afraid that there will be no one who cares for me intimately when I die.  I have no children and no partner, and the only member of my family I am in contact with is my mother.  I would like not to feel so tired and worn out, and upset and vulnerable, and as if my time now is not worth anything and won’t be, that I have passed a point where there was a point.

All Over the Place

I’m all over the place today. and was yesterday as well.  Should I go to church, or contact the media, or make contact again with my uncle?  Last time I went to him he turned me away.  So has everyone else though, at different times.

Who is the least to blame for their hacking of my computer and telephone?  Who can I least condemn for that and justify the most?

Life on the ward is violent and angry.  It runs completely counter to my life choice.  I was on a section 3 until I finally moved all my stuff out of my temporary accommodation on the Friday, then my section was rescinded on the following Monday, so technically I could leave, but I now had no home.  After a period off my section but feeling really distressed by the violently broken nights, when I tried to discharge myself they didn’t seem to know, between them, what they were doing, but they put me back on a section 3.

This place, patients and staff alike, are hurting me. Being here is making me very unhappy and repressed.  I know this place is bad for me, but they are telling me I need to be here.  I know I don’t and that it isn’t good for me to be here.    It isn’t good for anyone.  The kind of relationships that exist in a place like this, doing what they do, can only be diseased.  I can’t even discharge myself at the moment into the ‘really bad’ hostels they say exist here.  At least if I could do that I would be taking responsibility for my own life.  It might be easier if housing seemed to be doing something, like offering me accommodation.  I can’t remember the date I was interviewed, but it is over a month ago, maybe 2.  Even if I am offered accommodation I assume that the lifting of my section 3 won’t automatically coincide with that.

I keep coming out of my room to see staff members immediately change the expressions on their faces, when they see me.  There is something wrong with this and I am frightened.

All My Stalkers

All of my stalkers and blog readers are pawing over me affecting intimacy and the right to identify and instruct, and not one of them is making proper committed contact.  Is it any wonder I can’t cope with life?

I just got up.  I went to the toilet.  My upstairs neighbours started fluttering over me and expressing signs of distress – because I’m going to the toilet?  Next thing I know, I’m thinking about what I want to say about it on my blog and am trying to approach it kindly, when savage voice zhena (woman) cries out again, straight into my head.

This is constant, I need it to stop.  My eviction procedure has gone into its second stage and so far I have not felt able to touch it – because I just can’t think straight.  So I’m naming names.  Nick Clegg, you lovely boy, don’t just bang about on your podium, imitating, as you think, the banging from my neighbours (assuming that you have read my blog and that was what you were doing yesterday).  Do something!  I emailed you, and you didn’t reply.  Now DO something other than a dramatic presnentation in parliament.  Contact me properly.  Please.  If that is appropriate and not taking what is properly a legal issue and making it a party political issue.

And while I am on the subject of parliament, for the past two days it has been impossible to watch it live streamed on the internet.  What is going on?  I suppose I can safely assume that I am not important enough for it to have anything to do with me.

I’ve sent Joan Ruddock, my MP, all the emails connected with my eviction and asked for replies.  I have received none.  I did this at the beginning, over a month ago.  From something that was said, by her, I think, it appears she is on strike over me until she gets the gratitude she believes she is entitled to, as if I have to prove myself to her.  The first time I went to see her she wouldn’t let me talk and all but threw me out of her surgery.  She stood up to dismiss me in a way which made me feel that if I didn’t go, the next step would be calling the police.  I have mixed feelings about her, I think she has tried to be nice, and I’m really upset about this. 

I was thinking about how I wanted to word that last sentence to most accurately express my feelings and say what I wanted to say, when my neighbours upstairs banged, leaving me with so great a feeling of desperation and outrage and enormity I didn’t know what to do.  Whatever words I had, or connection with the feelings I wanted, they went, as always. I continue to assert it is their awful mix of hallelujahs and violence and personal invasiveness which is causing this.  I say this kind of constant occurence is the result of their witchcraft.  I’m terrified.  I feel raped in my soul.  I feel as if I can’t speak without speaking to them.  I am effectively their hostage.  Or am I just hostage to my resentment and fear of all the prejudice and discrimination I face here continually, because of the way I am dressed and the way I look?  Security people in supermarkets relax when they see me get my money out, and I think that is gross.  Where before they have marched me and commanded me as if I am beneath them.  But I get my money out and suddenly I am not.  I was in Sofia a few weeks ago.  I wanted to be taken to a hotel in a taxi, and several drivers rudely and aggressively refused.

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