An experiment in unstructured living for people with mental health problems: Critical Psychiatry blog post 7 April 2017, Dr Duncan Double, and my comment:
"unstructured living": not a good idea in my experience of psychosis and having to survive psychiatric treatment in 1978, 1984 and 2002. It required planned action firstly in resisting coercive drug treatment to which I was forced to conform on each occasion. Then, when strong enough, tapering the antipsychotics and taking charge of my own mental health. I couldn't have done this without structure and the support of family. You might describe it as being like a campaign or strategy. An end goal with steps to achieve it. Recovery the aim.
|Courier article 7July15|
I experienced another psychosis in 2015, a physical and mental health breakdown after years of campaigning for justice following my youngest son's abusive treatment in Stratheden psychiatric Hospital, Fife. Despite winning an Ombudsman case and apology from NHS Fife I didn't feel that justice had been done. Scottish Government awarded £4.4million to the Fife health board following my whistleblowing about the locked seclusion abuses, to build a new Intensive Psychiatric Care Unit, which is now up and running, about half a mile up the road from where we live. The bus we take into Cupar goes by the new unit, stopping to let psychiatric patients on.
My altered mind state or reactive psychosis in the summer of 2015 did not require psychiatric inpatient treatment. Rather I was supported by family and virtually via Email with clinical friends, a doctor and psychotherapist. Both of these men listened to my ramblings non-judgementally, with mutual sharings and humour, a life saver. Social networking was a useful outlet. Plus I took Lorazepam on two separate nights to get my sleep pattern back on track, removing any stimuli like TV and books from the bedroom. Not sleeping through the day even if tired. I took up various activities again, to relax, including knitting, sewing, swimming, fitness, eventually cycling which I hadn't really done before, seriously. Now I have 3 bikes.
|at Drayton Park 19Jul16, Shirley on left, Hannah on right|
Regarding the Philadelphia Association Community Houses in London, I tried to visit them in July 2016, via Dr Bruce Scott who I know, in preparation for my PhD research into Safe haven crisis Houses, starting this September at the University of Edinburgh, Clinical Psychology department. However this wasn't possible. I did manage to arrange a visit to the Drayton Park Women's Crisis House, Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust, meeting with Shirley McNicholas who developed this resource over 21 years ago and is still the Manager. This was a positive experience, seeing the facility and learning about the organisation. I've also visited the Leeds Survivor Led Crisis Service, back in 2011, and hope to revisit during my research, which will be to evidence good practice, a mixed methods approach, qualitative and quantitative, hearing stories and gathering information about management and leadership styles, budgets etc. Focused research and a larger scoping or mapping exercise.
I want to see alternative (to psychiatric inpatient treatment) respite crisis support for people experiencing psychosis in Scotland. Choices of therapy, not just medication/drugs. And support in tapering psychiatric meds by psychiatrists, psychologists and peer workers, people with lived experience of coming off prescription drugs and making a full recovery. As I did and others have done. Our testimonies should be an important part of the mix, at the table during clinical meetings, alongside diagnoses and drug prescribing. Rather than on the periphery in blog posts and tweets, or in case studies and "vignettes".
Thanks for listening."