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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