Monday, 17 June 2019

Twitter is like having penpals ...

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Tayside legacy of groundbreaking sci-fi comic strip which even predicted the year of the moon landings @thecourieruk

In the online Courier newspaper today:

'Tayside legacy of groundbreaking sci-fi comic strip which even predicted the year of the moon landings' by Graeme Strachan:

Chrys Muirhead with the books.
Chrys Muirhead with the books.

'Tayside legacy of cult sci-fi strip' Graeme Strachan @thecourieruk 15Jun19 #JeffHawke #WilliePatterson

In today's Courier:

My quote in newspaper article: 

my Dad Willie Patterson c1963, a selfie taken in our home, Perth, Pomarium flats

An Email sent this morning: 

"Dear Graeme 

Thank you for writing such a true representation of the story, in the comic strip and told by me. ....

Your article makes me want to go and read more of Jeff Hawke, the mention of the National Portrait Gallery in London, the alien estate agent and the Englishman on the moon in a Mini Cooper! ... 

Well done for bringing the sci-fi stories more alive and to the Courier readership.  Much appreciated.

Regards, Chrys"

These Jeff Hawke 1986 and 1987 Titan Books editions sent to me by Sydney Jordan after my Dad's funeral, October 1986:

Inscription in Book Two:

from Jeff Hawke Book Two Counsel for the Defence, Titan Books Ltd, Pub 1987


I donated copies of the 2008 republications of Jeff Hawke stories by Titan Books to both Fife and Dundee Libraries, the latter copies went into the Local History department, and I will be donating books also to Perth Library:

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Peer Support, Navigating the System, Safe Houses for Psychosis ...

Some of the mental health initiatives I wanted to be involved in setting up in Fife and Scotland since 2008 when I organised Celebrating Recovery in Cupar, April, creating vol org Peer Support Fife and my own website Chrys Muirhead Associates in the January.

I organised this event voluntarily & many others subsequently
Peer Support Fife website archive

link to mental health matters page (website to be updated)

I'd made a full recovery after psychosis and psychiatric treatment 3 times, 1978, 1984 and 2002, so was really keen on helping others to do the same, by promoting peer support or mentoring, ways of navigating the psychiatric system and latterly safe houses for psychosis.  But there wasn't the appetite for it and the agendas of others took priority.  I'd been a "one man band" or "force of nature" (both descriptions given about me by MH managers) when running various events from 2008-12 then exposing locked seclusion room abuses, singlehandedly supporting my son, having got abandoned by MH services after raising complaints.  

I didn't choose to be a campaigner but I couldn't let them abuse my son and get away with it.  Although they did get away with it, up to a point, protected by the health board and their social work colleagues who ganged up against me.  It's a thankless task being a whistleblower about human rights abuses in psychiatric settings.  There's no profit in it or medals to be awarded.  Best not to get bitter about the unfairness.  I've got a life to live, other stories to tell, if time (and God) allows ...


Photos from today in Dundee:

selfie by son Daniel 😊
Perth Road

Sunday outing to Edinburgh and Rosslyn Chapel:

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

watching Grandchildren play hockey for Harris Academy at DISC Dundee 26May19

Granddaughter playing in under 12's, having already played for Harris Academy under 10's, following in her brother's footsteps:

Grandson, number 74, playing in under 14's for Harris Academy:

Friday, 24 May 2019

Let's cycle .... puncture!

Yesterday my son Daniel and I took bikes in back of car to Dundee for a cycle along by River Tay, Dundee Port to the Ferry:

Och well, it was worth a try!  Thanks to my son for taking wheels off bikes to put in car and then building them up again, for noticing the puncture in my back wheel ... then helping get them back to our car at the Tesco Riverside.  In future I will take the red Pinnacle Lithium hybrid bike into Dundee by train as I enjoy the rail journeys and visiting train stations.

Saturday, 11 May 2019

out of the frying pan into the fire

"The phrase out of the frying pan into the fire is used to describe the situation of moving or getting from a bad or difficult situation to a worse one, often as the result of trying escape from the bad or difficult one. It was the subject of a 15th-century fable that eventually entered the Aesopic canon."

I remember as an 18yr old thinking of this phrase in regard to a situation I found myself in, 1971, and had to consider whether to go on or retreat.  I weighed up the situation and decided to go on.  

I don't regret it.


Daniel 3 New International Version (NIV): The Image of Gold and the Blazing Furnace

Joseph Mallord William Turner
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the Burning Fiery Furnace

exhibited 1832

"Turner exhibited this picture in 1832, with a passage from the Bible (Daniel iii, 26). This told how Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego emerged unharmed from the fiery furnace they had been thrown into for refusing to worship Nebuchadnezzar's idol (visible in the distance)."


Photos of me from the 1970's:

Muirhead farm c1973

Black Isle c1973
Aberdeen c1974

Crieff c1975

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Built on the Clyde #omphalos film; These are the Hands 🎵

Built on the Clyde from omphalos on Vimeo.

From the album: These Are The Hands by Alexander McCall Smith & James Ross. Released 1st May 2019 on Greentrax Records.


voluntary psychiatric inpatients, coercively drugged, at risk of abuse

Email sent last night with strapline "my 3 sons & I were always voluntary psychiatric inpatients, coercively drugged, at risk of abuse, from 1978 until 2012" also tweeted to Scotland's Mental Health Minister Clare Haughey:

"Since 1978, in every decade, in 5 different Scottish Health Board areas, I and my 3 sons have voluntarily entered psychiatric wards as patients to be coercively medicated/drugged with neuroxins, because we experienced "psychosis".

Latterly in 2012 my youngest son had to sit in the grounds of Stratheden Hospital, 1 February, trying to get support from psychiatry, after a month of being suicidal.  He had a CPN, met with a Stratheden Doctor, but they kept turning him away.  He wanted help, went in voluntarily early that morning, was let out of the ward in the dark by a Nurse, the Police brought him back again.  The rest is history, front page news, Scottish Sunday Express 5 October 2014.

Maybe we are in the minority but that doesn't mean we are "less than".  The only treatment for psychosis in our experience has been antipsychotics, neurotoxins, forced in if resistant.  These drugs are toxic chemicals which cause disabling side effects in the short term and longer term disability and damage to the nervous system, shortening lives.  I had to taper them myself, against the advice of psychiatry who tried to make out as if I had "lifelong mental illness".  I've helped my sons to do the same, although it's more difficult the longer a person is on these neurotoxins, as the body becomes addicted or used to having them.  I've told my family and friends not to take antidepressants, too risky, and to taper down to one neurotoxin if on a drug cocktail. 

In my experience it has gotten much harder to recover from "mental illness" because of polypharmacy, the challenge of coming off a neurotoxin drug cocktail.  Much easier in 1978 and 1984 when only forcibly drugged with Chlorpromazine.  Just the one drug to taper compared to a cocktail of Risperidone, Venlafaxine and Lithium 2002-4.

I've had to take my 3 sons into psychiatric wards when experiencing psychosis (from 1995 to 2012), they went voluntarily with me, it was very hard because I knew what they would have to go through, having gone through it myself, the forced drugging and risk of abuse.  But there were no alternatives for treating psychosis and the same is still true in Fife and Tayside.  No safe houses for psychosis."


A Correction sent this morning: "my sons and I were in 3 different psychiatric wards, in Fife, Tayside and Lanarkshire.  It was my Mother and sisters who were in other psychiatric hospitals, where I visited them, in Murray Royal Perth, Gartnavel Glasgow and the Royal Edinburgh"

Tweets this morning to our Mental Health Minister:

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Revising the Charter of Patients' Rights and Responsibilities 25Apr19 @ALLIANCEScot

Springfield rail station 25Apr19 at 7.30am
On Thursday I attended an event at the Health & Social Care Alliance building Charing Cross, Glasgow, led by Scottish Government on 'Revising the Charter of Patient's Rights and Responsibilities'.  The present Charter was first published in October 2012.  Here's a link on the NHS Inform website.

I set off from home to Springfield rail at around 7.15am, change at Haymarket for the Charing Cross train which took over an hour, the total journey nearly 3hrs travel.  

There were 3 women leading from ScotGov and a small group of event delegates, maybe around 8 of us, plus 2 Alliance staff.  One lady left at the beginning, not happy because we hadn't received the draft revision document in advance.  I understood her frustration, we should have been informed beforehand so as to prepare our responses.  However I'd travelled a distance to be involved and decided to stay and have a voice, reading quickly over the document.

One of the first things I noticed was inaccuracies about "mental disorder" and spoke out about this:

I also spoke out about being a whistleblower in Fife, exposing human rights abuses in psychiatric ward, locked seclusion room with no toilet, light or water, and how I was blamed in an Adult Protection Investigation Report led by the Fife Social Work Services with input from Police and NHS staff.  That I had been labelled a "troublemaker" and others present were not surprised at this, spoke of their own personal experience challenging poor and bad medical practices in Scotland.  

I felt that my voice was listened to at the Alliance event and that the Scottish Government civil servants behaved appropriately and professionally.  However I wasn't confident about the content of the Patients' Charter in respect of the human rights of psychiatric patients.  I am still of the view that entering a mental health ward as a patient, even when knowing what your rights and responsibilities are, does not guarantee that your voice will be heard or your human rights upheld.  This is based on my life experience since 1970, engaging with psychiatry in every decade as a carer or patient.  It hasn't got safer over the years, in fact it got worse in recent years for my family members.

I still believe that Scotland needs alternatives to psychiatry, for example Safe Houses for Psychosis, respite for people in emotional crisis without coercive medication, a place of respite and person-centred care.  Which is what I provided for my son after discharge from Stratheden psychiatric Hospital, April 2012, singlehandedly, having been abandoned by community MH services after raising complaints.  

with son Daniel 24Mar19 Springfield

After the Alliance ScotGov event I walked to the Mitchell Library, a favourite place, for a cuppa, then set off back east as it started to rain quite heavily:

I don't go to many mental health events now as it's costly for me in time, energy and money.  In January 2008 I got fully involved in MH matters via Scottish Recovery Network, thinking that my lifetime experience of recovering from psychosis and psychiatric treatment would be valued.  But it wasn't and neither was I.  

Fortunately I don't believe in mental illness or the mental disorder diagnosis labels which were thrust upon me and my family.  I consider them to be a work of fiction just like the Notes written by Stratheden IPCU Nurses in February 2012. 

Saturday, 27 April 2019

off the buses

This week I've been getting used to driving again after more than 3 years without a car living in Springfield village.  At times it has been very challenging due to the behaviour of bus drivers locally (I've raised complaints and experienced retalitation), especially since Moffat & Williamson took over the 64 bus route into Cupar via Stratheden psychiatric Hospital.  The company use Strata Low Floor buses with poor suspension, noisy and uncomfortable seats, especially for passengers with restricted mobility and health conditions.

I will still be taking buses in Dundee after driving there to swim most days at the Olympia and we plan to move to the city in the future, putting down roots. 

Here's a blog post I wrote after collecting the car from Arnold Clark, Dock Street, Dundee:

Easter Monday wheels! 🚗

"After more than 3yrs of bus travel we have got another car! Thanks to family for funding our wheels, a new Vauxhall Corsa collected today in Dundee. Photos taken in Cupar:

Looking forward to taking a big towel for swimming in Olympia, to going around supermarkets and on walks without carrying heavy rucksack and wet swim gear, to spending a lot less time at bus stops ..."

Friday, 12 April 2019

out and about this week in Dundee ...

By bus, on foot, uphill, in parks, by castles, water and on beach ...

The Ferry  
Claypotts Castle

Mains Castle

Clepington Road, Stobsmuir Reservoir  
Stobsmuir Park
Reres Park
Broughty Castle

Water Tower near the Law

coming down from The Law