Current Events: Trick Feelings, Small Gifts, and Beast Clouds

faithangelFaith Rhyne: “What is helpful to me, when I feel like I might have some damnable disease the morose outcomes I sometimes anticipate, in full technicolor imagination with emotional scoring and extrapolative bearing of the weight of every possible consequence and heartbreak upon giving up, being defeated, with the feelings in my body like lead and scissors, like concrete and black ash, and the laughter of men, the crying of children, all of it unfurling in my head and heart as I quietly and calmly sweep the floor, perhaps with an involuntary grimace at times, maybe a gasp, with the sun beautiful outside and the day full of things to do and an amazing fatigue and unwillfulness, disdain, laying in my bones like a film…

What is helpful to me, when it really does feel like depression, is to write.

When I am not able to write, all of this piles up, with everything else that is real and possible and I simply become overwhelmed and sad…a frustrated child, beating her fists against the wall, breaking her own wrists because she can’t be heard.”

PROOF OF GOD! ...and other tragedies.




We can carry a lantern’s light from one room into others…
But, sometimes the light is just much too bright.Be wary of leaving certain light behind and be sure the people who lead you into the dark know where they are going and why they are going there.

Kindest Regards, Your Friend –


I was getting ready to do that thing that I do, where I deposit the recent week’s letters and 1/2 finished non-essays and other various communicated ephemera of the past few days.
So, I searched for letters to me, from me, but I must’ve added a comma or made some other error because gmail only offered up two results, one from December of 2009, which was right at the beginning of the year that changed everything. The message seems to have been written to…

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Why I resigned from NHS Forth Valley


“From that time on my professional life got tough. I wrote an account of my concerns called “Peter’s Lost Marbles” the transcript of which I turned into a short film. This transcript and film were praised by the then Chief Executive of the Mental Welfare Commission and by the then Lead Policy Officer for Alzheimer Scotland. Both these National leads suggested that the transcript should be published in a journal and that the film version be used to encourage wider understandings of the complexities involved in the early diagnosis of dementia.”

Hole Ousia

I resigned from work on the 6th June 2014. Some folk have been wondering why. Below I offer briefly the background to my decision to resign and why it was a matter of more than just principle.

I have worked for NHS Forth Valley as a Consultant in older adults in Clackmannanshire for nearly 13 years. This has been hugely rewarding for me and indeed a privilege to share in the lives of the wonderful elders of Clackmannanshire often in a time of need. The team of which I was part worked with dedication, compassion and professionalism even though at times we had to make difficult decisions due to the demands placed on our service. The support from colleagues in primary care, social work and third sector was greatly valued and our joint-working a source of satisfaction long before integration of services was ever considered.

I also wish to…

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Somebody has to change by @fionacmcqueen

my response to this blog post by @FionaCMcQueen
“I agree about the walking and am fortunate to be able to walk without a stick, considering I have a 6 inch metal plate on my right fibula, from 3 fractures when just walking down a stair in March 2005, aged 53. I found out recently that the antidepressant venlafaxine can cause bone loss for older people on maximum doses. 2002-4 I was one of those older people on maximum doses of venlafaxine that didn’t work to lift my mood and gave me on occasion suicidal impulse. I was put on lithium to “augment” the antidepressant and that didn’t work either. So I took charge of my mental health, tapered the drugs myself and made a full recovery.

And I agree that “somebody has to do something, and that somebody is us”. It’s up to each of us, as individuals, to manage our physical and mental health, and to speak out when necessary so that others can learn from our experience. For we are all experts of our own experience.

The issue unfortunately in mental health care is that we are not always allowed to have a voice and are not deemed to have the “capacity” to think for ourselves. As an aside, I don’t agree with the Carstairs decision and think that the patients in this institution should be allowed to smoke if they want to. Prisoners have that choice so there should be no difference with the locked up “mentally ill”. I think it’s discrimination to force this on to them.

My youngest sister is on clozapine and venlafaxine, aged 47, and walks with a stick but she does get exercise despite this and walks round the block where she lives. However it is a balance issue that she has, due to the clozapine, and I know of many other women who have been in receipt of mental health treatment over many years to be walking with sticks. My mother was the same. The other issue is the lack of motivation when on certain drugs, especially psychiatric drugs.

I am very fortunate to have got off all the psychiatric drugs and to be able to walk, swim and do weights at the gym. I know this. My independent spirit and unbelief in mental illness helped me resist the lifelong disability prognosis, and to leave mental health services behind. I think that we have to remember that not everyone has the strength or resilience to take charge of their own health and wellbeing. Whatever gets people through is the thing and how I now see it.”


Consequence of behaviour

Everett Julyan’s recent blog on kindness in the workplace got me thinking about society’s attitude towards health and how this impacts on those of us who work within NHS Ayrshire & Arran. MoneyRecent headlines on health have been interesting; NICE saying that £90 000 is too expensive for giving women an extra five months of life; and the recent Court of Session ruling on Carstairs being smoke free.Smoking

As a society we seem indignant if the establishment restricts spending on drugs that we want, or our freedom to do things that we want to do – even if they are harmful, cause illness and makes us outraged when the government won’t fund those expensive drugs when we become ill as a consequence of our behaviour……

Those of you who have glanced at my blogs will pick up a theme I come back to frequently; the fact that…

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Staying a person within the mental health sector

@sarahkreece “But I guess I don’t want to be a professional. On the other hand, I do need to make a living. And there’s the clash. I do need to understand and work within the legal and cultural frameworks I’m presented with. I haven’t found a path yet. I’m still hacking at the jungle and hoping there’s a way through. I’m still trying to get out from under the paralysis that trips me up when I feel like success is as much a threat to me as failure.”

Sarah K Reece

I’ve just read this article 20 Ways to Combat Rankism, by Robert W Fuller, and it resonates with me. I’ve been talking about this issue of what I’ve called a class divide in mental health. I’ve watched organisations that started as peer based, consumer-led, with a lot of flexible cross over between the service users and service providers become dramatically divided into distinct classes. The service users and providers become totally different from each other in dress, language, culture, attitudes, expectations of behaviour, and places they are permitted to access. Most of the power in this unequal relationship resides with the providers, who also bear responsibility for ensuring good outcomes to justify funding. These groups become rapidly polarised when mutual relationships are not holding them both aware of their shared humanity. The roles of provider and user can each be rigid and dehumanising. Those of us who are service providers…

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Ageing is Truth #Omphalos: Time passes. Listen. Time passes.

Ageing is truth from omphalos

“Time passes. Listen. Time passes

 Sculpture: “The Ageing stone” by Dr Peter J. Gordon

Track: “Truth” by Hue & Cry

The Latin inscription (copied and translated below) was carved on Mavisbank house in 1724:

Concedatque Deus, Nunquam Vel Sero Senescas
Seroque Terrenas Experiare Vices
Integra Reddantur. Que Plurima Saecula Rodant
Delui Et Ut Serio Pulchrior Eniteas.

And may God concede that you grow old either never or late,
and that you experience earthly changes late.
And may what the numerous ages erode be restored intact,
and may it be granted that the older you are,
the more beautiful you may shine.”


This Life Assembled in Recent Letters


[the draft of family heraldry]


PROOF OF GOD! ...and other tragedies.

9:58 AM (13 hours ago)
to me


‎I’ve been writing a lot of letters lately, but not to the people I oughta be writing letters to, not at all of them anyway.
The small drawings overlaying two of these pages were done by my daughter, whose biggest barrier to art is the thought that things ought to look a certain way without seeing that the way the bird looks up is pure and brilliant.
I haven’t finished most of the letters I have written, or one in particular, a significantly long letter, that is a mix of emails unsent and words penned on paper that is soft and taupe, curved at the corners. The paper was on clearance at the copy shop, where I went to make flyers on a Sunday afternoon.
So, I guess I’ll just put these here, so that there is evidence that they were written. They…

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Update on NHS registers of interest (Scotland)

Hole Ousia

From: Gordon Clark
Scottish Government Health Directorates
Pharmacy and Medicines Division
St Andrew’s House
Regent Road
Edinburgh, EH1 3DG

Our ref:2014/23079

5 August 2014

Dear Dr Gordon
Thank you for your email of 7 July to Alex Neil MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing about NHS registers of interest. You have also copied correspondence between yourself and Dr Iain Wallace, Medical Director, NHS Lanarkshire. In your email, you state that you have not had a reply from the Scottish Government since 15 May. I have searched our records, however, I’m sorry to say that I have found no record of correspondence from you on this issue since March. If you would like to send copies of the correspondence you had in mind we would be very happy to receive it.

As stated in my letter to you of 17 April, we are aware of your interest in these important…

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akilter: crooked, out of alignment, askew; (figuratively) twisted, dysfunctional

Since the discriminatory incident 10 days ago I’ve been considering the implication of stigmatising mental disorder labels and how they impact on family members. Like a blow to the guts. Throwing us out of kilter or akilter as a friend described it.

Here are some facebook comments just written:

does psychiatry and therefore society see those of us with mental illness labels aMad_Science_Logo_3D_M-1024x853s akilter?

science: “a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws”

Psychiatry doesn’t deal in facts or truths rather in subjective opinion, observations and hearsay. Therefore it isn’t and can’t be “scientific”. They don’t brain scan or mind scan their patients. Looking and labelling isn’t scientific. Even when in an altered mind state I knew this was daft.

And here is a quote from an Email written to a friend, earlier:

“sociologists said that science wasn’t about truth but was about relationship, having power over something. Naming it, as in the botanists naming plants etc. This struck a chord with me.”

seeing the label and not the person – stigma and discrimination, alive and kicking

Something happened on Friday which demonstrated that unfortunately stigma and discrimination is alive and kicking in Scotland’s mental health world.

It happened to a person with a “mental disorder” label/diagnosis on a work placement who was targeted by a mental health professional behaving unprofessionally.   Discriminating against the person because of the diagnosis, breaching confidentiality and data protection.  

I had made a complaint about this mental health professional back in January 2013 and here they were behaving badly again.

Targeting a person who I am close to.  Their pain is my pain.  And I am very unhappy about it.

The stigmatising behaviour was further compounded by another senior professional in the workplace who listened to the unprofessional professional and followed their lead rather than standing with the person who had the label.  

Seeing the label and not the person.