Tag Archive: Illness


Laura Delano on Recovering Myself

I posted this talk on my Facebook page last year and it has come up as a memory today.  When I saw how long it was I wasn’t sure if I could be bothered to listen to it again, but I am glad I did.  It’s about 50 minutes long, but absolutely engaging throughout.  I find I am able to identify with her on so much of what she has to say.  She seems obviously nervous, and I think she is very brave, it is an incredibly painful subject for those of us who have been through it and find it continues to add to the pain that exposed us to it in the first place.  I hope you will listen to it.  I’ve heard a lot of it before and agreed with it, and thought the same things myself.  It’s hard for me to say what I thought myself and what I picked up, but it doesn’t matter, it’s not important.  In my opinion, this talk – wow, she’s amazing!  All power to her.  I’m glad she has found freedom from this monster called the psychiatric system.  Now I want to, once and for all.

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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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Update 28.07 2013

Last night I didn’t sleep much, I was too hot.  Then this morning the team on night duty (Mandy, Sylvia, Reward and Aka) started bashing and banging at about 5.30 am – Sunday morning and all.  Out in the real world they might have been reported for disturbing the peace before 7 am.  And they shout down corridors all day, they don’t go up to people and speak to them.  Everything sounds loud and singsongy.  I was in the shower this morning and when it came to washing my hair I felt sick and giddy.  This is common for me here.  Apart from anything else I am having to judge how much water I can use if I want to do the job properly.  I went out this morning and felt ill, too ill to walk.  I had been heading for church, but I could hardly keep my eyes open.  I thought in terms of I might not be ill, it might be the Holy Spirit making me feel that way.  I wanted to get to church and collapse.  I was convinced in the end that it was God but decided to go back to the hospital anyway and try to sleep.  I was afraid in case I tried to get help at church but they were unable or unwilling to accommodate what was happening to me.  I thought they might call an ambulance or something.  I came out again this evening heading for church, but I’ve stopped off at a hotel for a drink and to use the internet and write my blog.  I feel really bad about that, unforgivably so.  It’s lack of faith and trust  I’ve put writing my blog before going to church.  Going to church feels like the right thing to do, but in spite of what I want to happen and what I want to be communicated by me going there, I have little confidence that it is going to help and I was afraid, earlier, that keeping on going and not responding to appeals might cause tensions that might explode on me.  John Pettifor was speaking this morning, and something is happening with the interns tonight.  People talk about an open heaven.  If feeling positive about how it would be if I went and bad about not going is an open heaven, I suppose that might be what I’ve had today, and I’ve gone against it.

I just had ‘tea’ at the hospital.  Kiran was serving.  As soon as I sat down and started talking to someone else she adjusted her voice upwards in relation to mine, then she started talking to people like children and babies.  It always upsets me when she or anyone else does that, because to me they are not part of the equation in a conversation with someone else sitting at the table with me once they have served the meal.  I explained to the person I was talking to how it made me feel angry and hysterical when Kiran does that, and how it was made even worse because if I confronted her with it she would deny she was doing it, even though it seems obvious to me that she must know.  I asked another patient how she found her and she said OK, but when I told her what she does with me she said she does it with her as well.  If it is deliberate and she knows I don’t like it why doesn’t she stop?  If it is a problem she has and she can’t help herself, apparently, why can’t she get it sorted out when she knows it upsets me, at least?  I came out feeling as if my head had been kicked in.  I sneezed in my room and someone copied me.  I sneezed twice, they followed up with exactly the same thing.  This place is making me desperate.  Then I blame myself for being unkind in my reactions, or failing to have a sense of humour.  I tell myself it proves I am really selfish for it to bother me so much, and that I see myself as superior to other patients.

I’ve noticed that staff sometimes touch their ears, as if adjusting their hearing or something.  Chantelle used to do that a lot, she would do it at a distance, and she would stare into my face every time something strong and confident came out of my mouth.  If she was behind me a little way off she would put herself in my face to do it.  I find this outrageous and am afraid of people who don’t seem to think it isn’t and do it, who are also calling me mentally ill.  I can’t cope here anymore, I am desperate.  I really can’t cope.

Update 26.07.2013

I’m in a pub in Bulwell again and not very focused.  Jim went off ill soon after the bust up entry.  I’ve been told he has injured his back.  We have had quite a few staff on who are not normally on our ward.  The only thing really on my mind is an incident a couple of weeks ago where R was told to clean up her own vomit.  R is in a wheelchair, she has told me she has MS.  I spoke to the shift manager that day and said I was concerned about it because this was what I had been led to believe but after thinking about it thought perhaps her wheelchair was a concession to a delusion or something.  Obviously he wasn’t free to discuss her with me, but I expressed my concern and he said things aren’t necessarily as I have been led to believe, but even that can’t be seen as a definite because that would have been discussing her with me.  I have thought though that even if the wheelchair was a consession to a delusion, to confront it that way seems to me cruel and brutal, but I don’t know what has gone between them before.  She is quite big as well, and a lot older than me.  Having been 3 stones heavier than I am now and knowing how hard it was, and sometimes still is, for me to bend and get up, I expressed concern, but basically said the bottom line for me is that she is in a wheelchair and that it was distressing to me to have had to witness this.  Personally I have been uneasy if this was a way of confronting a delusion.  I talked about the time that I vomited in church and my stomach was hurting and a woman came up with a bucket of water and cloths or something and I said thank you, and she said ‘I’m not doing it.  I’ve seen this before’.  It seems she assumed I was drunk or something.  I can’t remember if I cleaned up or not, I know I was in a dreadful state after being sick.  I supposed that R must have felt the same way.  I haven’t submitted a complaint.  I haven’t named the staff involved.  Personally I have tried to have a good relationship with the person concerned, it isn’t my purpose to name him.  I feel bad even about going this far.

Relaxation Tape

I am listening to a tape that started off by saying that any sound would add to my relaxation.  I’m sure she can’t have meant doors slamming deliberately like bombs dropping.  This happens here every day.  I’ve reported it to the nurses and the nurses have talked to the other women involved but there has been no change.  I’m beginning to think about stopping respecting the night.  I can also do slamming doors.  The nurses aren’t here, they are in a building across the road.  They would have to get out of bed and walk over there (Oh no, there is a phone in the hall).  This shared NHS house is hell for me, as I thought it would be.  But one of the nurses told me they have done it to people before, and said it isn’t me or my fault.  So why aren’t they ejected if they are making people this ill and unhappy?  I told one of the nurses today that things are so bad in here I can’t cope and I want to pass out and collapse when I am out.  One of the people involved across the landing from me won’t even acknowledge me when I say hello or ask if she is OK.  Somebody I was talking to the other day (not about this) said it was obvious I was being abused.  It’s a shared house on an open ward and the treatment I am getting from the people I am sharing with is making me feel sick but all the nurses ever do is say they will talk to them.  I’m afraid to go down and cook and it is affecting my appetite.  The door slamming is unnecessary and violent and it shakes the house.  I’m even getting pain in my stomach when I try to eat.

Some people would say this is the result of unforgiveness . . .

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