Since sharing my "recovery" story in the public domain through the organisation entitled "Scottish Recovery Network" (a government arm), believing in the message "meaningful involvement of experts by experience" and the Peer movement, I have experienced varying degrees of disempowerment and discrimination by people in positions of power or who think they are above me in the hierarchy, looking down. People paid to play a tune, to toe the line, aiming for empire medals and pats on the back. Others with an axe to grind or a chip on their shoulder. Having to resist their bullying behaviour.
It has cost me to speak out as an unbeliever in mental illness and biological psychiatry. To campaign against human rights abuses in psychiatric settings. To stand with family members and advocate for them at clinical meetings, resisting bullying and badmouthing, being blamed in medical notes and reports for causing psychological harm when it was paid workers doing the dirty, treating patients like sub-humans. My family blowing the whistle, game over. NHS Fife getting £4.4million from Scottish Government as a reward. Patients benefitting. Glad some folk are.
The challenge for me is not to get bitter at the injustice and unfairness of it all. To offload the negative feelings in various places so as to sleep sound and wake up refreshed, ready to fight another day. Getting back into creative crafts has been very therapeutic, returning to knitting and sewing, baking, picking up my guitar again and singing, going to the gym and swimming, out on the bike. Not having a car now, can't afford it, after 40yrs of driving, was difficult to begin with, living rurally, but we are adjusting, getting fitter. Managing to food shop in different ways. Trial and error, getting there.
I am thankful to be naturally resilient, learned behaviour from a happy childhood when I bounced back from adventurous play and broken bones, falling off a piler, dancing on wet grass, aged 6 and 7. Plaster casts, hospital stays. Not telling doctors and nurses everything so as to get home quicker (did the same in psychiatric settings, didn't tell, least said, soonest mended). Getting the belt at primary school and learning not to get caught. The best thing about school was the playtime and the holidays although I did well enough in class when necessary and very well at the 11-plus IQ test.
This year I want to focus more on creating safe havens and therapeutic communities in Scotland's mental health world for people in psychoses or acute mental distress, while still speaking out against psychiatric abuse and coercive drug treatment. We deserve to have treatment choices when in an emotional crisis, a range of talking therapies and person-centred care. I am fed up with having to rescue family members from an abusive system which blames mothers for a failed patriarchal paradigm.