Nothing is Stirring @SteelySeabirder

Isle of May National Nature Reserve

Your not my mum Grey Seal pup saying hello

Seal pup looking Inquisitive even at an early age

Mum and pup1 Sleeping babies and watchful mums

second coater only 3 weeks old, coat moulted and now independent

Sunday 29th November comments: As December approaches the Isle of May is slowly closing down. The seabirds are halfway through their winter retreat having been away since August whilst the island closed to visitors at the end of September. And that just leaves the Grey Seals.

Since mid-September the Isle of May has seen huge numbers of Grey Seal pups born across the island (over 2,400 last autumn) although we are now heading towards the end of their breeding season. The last of the pups will be born in early-mid December and then the island will close down, and nothing will stir, not even a mouse.

However one thing will keep going; the blog! I’ll be making occasional visits out to the island (so watch…

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One of the main themes of this petition is genuine transparency

Hole Ousia

What follows is a transcript of a letter that I have sent to the 
Scottish Parliament on my petition for a Sunshine Act for Scotland:

Scottish Parliament Public Petition PE1493 on a Sunshine Act for Scotland

Letter from the petitioner, Dr Peter J. Gordon, 20th November 2015

Dear Members of the Petition Committee,
I thought that it might be helpful to give you a brief summary on matters relating to my petition.

The Scottish Government has commissioned the Scottish Health Council to undertake consultation with the public. This is underway with ten separate discussion groups with somewhere less than 100 participants overall.

As petitioner I met with the Scottish Health Council in June and was asked to provide a summary to help in preparing information to act as the basis for the discussion among the participants. I was asked by the Scottish Government if I wanted to review the…

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Putting relationships at the heart of recovery from psychosis: Prof Andrew Gumley @rcpsych Nottingham 20Nov15


and my comment on the presentation:

Nice presentation Andrew. I particularly like the photos, of mothers and babies, human and animal. The nurturing, secure base and safe haven which has been my experience of family life, both as a child and parent. It meant that I could recover from psychiatric treatment, and so could the other 7 of my family members who had no choice but to engage with psychiatry. Providing a safe haven and secure base was my way of helping my family to recover from psychiatric abuse. The psychoses were not the problem, rather they were, for me and my family, a natural occurrence and way of coping with the trauma of everyday existence, the ups and downs of life that happens to all of us, at some time or another.


Here Come the Boys! @SteelySeabirder

Isle of May National Nature Reserve

1 stand off GD Bull Seals starting to fight (Graeme Duncan)

2 Bull fight Violent fights are common place (Graeme Duncan)

3 Bull seals At 40 stone would you mess?

blood bath The aftermath; blood on the jetty following a fight

Friday 20th November comments: The season continues to change and the number of pups has now peaked across the colony but it’s not all sweetness and light…the boys (known as bulls) are here.

Slowly and surely the Bull seals, some weighting as much as 40 stone have been arriving on the colonies with only one thing on their mind…its soon the mating season. Bulls will defend a harem of cows with violent fights and serious injuries common place. Towards the end of the lactation (about 20-21 days) the cow seal will become fertile and will mate although implantation is delayed for up to three months.

The gestation period is nine months and the end result is of pups being…

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Medication Mechanization: Microchip Sensors in Abilify to Increase Medication Compliance [Reblog]

Michael Cornwall, Ph.D.

This entry first appeared at Mad In America on November 10, 2015.

I felt a chill go through my body when I read that the FDA has agreed to review for possible approval in early 2016 a new form of the drug Abilify that contains a microchip sensor capable of sending a message that indicates the exact time a tablet dissolves in the stomach. The message is recorded by a skin patch – along with data such as the person’s body angle and activity patterns – and, according to a press release from Proteus Digital Health, the developer of the device, “this information is recorded and relayed to patients on a mobile phone or other Bluetooth-enabled device, and only with their consent, to their physician and/or their caregivers.”

The Japanese drug giant Otsuka teamed up with Proteus Digital Health in 2012 to create this potentially profitable new “chip in a pill” just as its patent on Abilify…

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Lights, Camera …. Clinic! by @ailsaweir1


Travel to France or Spain quicker

ArranSometimes I feel living in a remote area of Ayrshire with that added barrier or benefit depending on how you view it, of an 11 mile stretch of water allows us to look outside the box when it comes to providing more local patient friendly services.North Ayrshire

Patients who live on the island of Arran with a variety of cardiology conditions had to previously travel to Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock on the mainland in order to have an appointment with their cardiologist, Dr Chong. This journey could also be particularly difficult for some of his patients not only because of the distance but due to the nature of their disease and chronic symptoms.

A typical journey for a patient to travel to Crosshouse by public transport could involve a 15-45 minute bus journey to the ferry followed by an hour’s ferry crossing. At Ardrossan, there…

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the shame of psychiatry; the rape of the Sabine women

I realised as a child that there was something bad happening in my family from an outside source.  And it was to do with my mother.  We lived in Dunsinane Drive, Letham, Perth, at the time.  My grandparents were at number 81 and we were at number 57.  Prior to this we had all lived in a house at Kingswell Terrace.

I would be about 7, old enough to go on the back of my Uncle Ian’s scooter, holding on tight around corners.  Making me forget the distress back in my granny’s house, the family confab.

My Uncle was a sailor and had brought back a tape recorder from his travels.  Wooden Heart by Elvis Presley was one of the tunes played:

And I stayed with my grandparents for a while.  Then later when my parents went to London in preparation for the three of us going there, to be near my dad in his job with the Daily Express, scriptwriting Jeff Hawke with creator Sydney Jordan.  I remember telling all my friends at school that we were moving to London.  However I don’t think my mother took to the big city although she did try it out and told me stories of her experiences.

When they were away I broke my left leg, dancing on wet grass, ended up in Bridge of Earn Hospital with a full leg plaster (my right leg got a fractured fibula 3 places 2005, titanium plate).  Didn’t get crutches, I was very disappointed, just a stick and a rubber shoe which slowed me down at Caledonian Road Primary School, going up the girls’ stairs to the P3 class.  My parents got me a black and white cat, Tubby, to cheer me up.  But after we moved to Pomarium flats, 4th floor, it wasn’t suitable for a cat.  Also I used to dress him up in doll’s clothes and he used to hide.  So my grandparents got Tubby and he got tubby with porridge and milk every morning for breakfast.  They also had Fergus the Scottie dog who I took for walks, stopping at every lamppost.  I soon got bored and preferred the large brown poodle belonging to someone in Paradise Place.

About 6 months after my youngest sister was born, in 1966, I was 14 and a half, my mother became unwell again, wasn’t sleeping, and my father also was distressed.  I think because by that time he’d also been a psychiatric patient in Murray Royal Hospital, Perth, and knew the score.  What happened behind the closed doors.  The shame, the force, the ritual humiliation of mad women and their consorts, the men.  Shock treatment over many courses, drugs and agency taken away.  Psychiatric workers complicit.  Becoming mad themselves in the process.  A community of mad people.  So that society could feel safe.

My father said to me, what should we do?  We were in a 4th floor flat and my mother’s perceptions were altered.  There was nothing else for it.  I said that she would have to go to hospital.  The decision was made, by me.  Because I have always thought that people in an altered mind state, or psychosis, need support as soon as possible.  The issue is that we need alternative ways of supporting people in psychoses.  But until that is available we have no choice but to enter the psychiatric system and try to withstand the force, emerge with our dignity intact, regardless of what has been done to us.  Or that’s how I look at it.

In 1970 I made my first visit to Murray Royal, aged 17, and saw the locked women’s ward Kinnoull, the distressed women, and met with male psychiatrists who said I had an old head on young shoulders.  I just thought they were mad like the patients.  And didn’t think I would ever be a mental patient.  Because I was resilient and had insight.  But painful, tortured childbirths, meant I did have to go through the psychiatric system.  In solidarity with my mother and sisters.  Similarly my 3 sons.

Forty-five years of engaging with and resisting psychiatric treatment, the shame and the force.  It hasn’t got easier and in fact in some ways it’s much worse.  Care in the community or coercion and control (Prof Tom Szasz wrote of this).  More recently I had a real fight on my hands, against NHS Fife and their use of a seclusion room at Stratheden Hospital, to “manage” patients.  No toilet, no water to drink, locked in for hours and left.  A disgrace and an abuse of human rights.  That had been going on for decades.  Unchecked.

I eventually “won” an Ombudsman case 30 months after starting to complain and got a grudging one line apology in a letter from Dr Brian Montgomery, interim CEO at the Fife Health Board (BUT they didn’t stop using the seclusion room until after the SPSO judgement, and NHS Fife were awarded £4.4million from Scottish Government for a new psychiatric unit. We got nothing.).

Despite the indignity and disrespect I continued to spectate at board meetings until June this year when I got scunnered off by an attempted invasion of my space, in full view of others, a senior male demanding a hug.  A step too far.  No doubt a planned manoevre to be rid of me.  It worked.

Space invaders.  Takeovers.  Abductions.  Betrayals.  Battles.  Resistance fighting.  Recovery.  Remission.  Mental Illness.  Psychiatric drugs.  Big pharma.  Profit.  Money.  Victims.  Pain.  Justice.  Reparation.  Reconciliation.  Take your pick.

I got involved in January 2008 because I believed that people in the Scottish Recovery movement were serious about shifting the paradigm and creating a fairer system, giving psychiatric survivors and people who use mental health services their rightful place.  At the centre.  Unfortunately it only took a few months for me to cotton on that it was more about money, fame, position and hierarchical shenanigans.

Good luck to them.


Siberian Science @SteelySeabirder

Isle of May National Nature Reserve

All the way from Siberia... (Alan Lauder) All the way from Siberia… (Alan Lauder)

Friday 6th November comments: The curious tale of modern day birding. In late September a very pale Chiffchaff was discovered on the island and was caught and ringed by the team at the Low Light (Alan Lauder, Julian Osborne, Ken Shaw et al). During the process a few feathers were shed by the bird and these were sent off for analysis.

Thanks to the great work of Professor Martin Collinson, the DNA results revealed that the bird had come from a core Yenesei range (central Russia) and indeed the bird was a confirmed ‘Siberian’ Chiffchaff.

‘Siberian’ Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita tristis is not a full species (not yet) and as the name suggests they originate from a large area north of Kazakhstan, central Russia and further east. There have been reports of birds over the years but with modern day science this is…

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