Thursday, 24 December 2015

the isolation and cost of caring and campaigning; it ain't over till it's over ...


St Andrews, Fife, 22Dec15

I wanted to write something about the cost of being an unwaged carer and at the same time having to campaign against psychiatric abuse.  The isolation of taking a stand, exposing the truth and parts of yourself for the sake of justice.  Alienating friends and family in the cause.  Being blamed in notes and bullied by "professionals".  Particularly poignant at this time of the year when consumerism reigns and we are exhorted to be jolly and spend, spend, spend.

My thoughts are with other carers, psychiatric survivors and activists who are continuing the fight for justice in mental health matters.  It can be a lonely road even if in solidarity with others.  Any victories are slight in comparison to the wounds inflicted.  The grudging one-line apology I received from NHS Fife in 2014 after "winning" an Ombudsman complaint against the health board was like an insult, considering their failure to protect vulnerable patients in Stratheden Hospital.  Over decades.

I ran out of steam last summer.  Came to a dead end.  Had to pick myself up and take charge of my own physical and mental health.  Self management so as to survive.  Dealing with the anger felt at the injustice of a system which rewards the abusers and punishes the whistleblowers.  Or so it seemed.  

I went on a therapeutic journey, supported by a few, friends and family, by way of swimming pools and renewed craft activities, which are still ongoing.  Engaging with people and feeling human again.  Taking risks.  Crying and laughing.  Exploring places and options.  Not acting my age.  Realising that life wasn't over even though a pensioner.  Revisiting youth and middle age, in stories and in mind.  Getting fit.  Planning for the future.

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