Monday, 22 June 2020

in lockdown and social isolation for 8 years

This time of Lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic has been challenging although not as much as it might have due to having been in a kind of lockdown and increasing social isolation since the human rights abuses perpetrated by nurses against my son in Stratheden Hospital IPCU in February 2012.

I began speaking out about it from 1 February 2012 in Emails, just checking back and I wrote many, many Emails on a daily basis to a variety of people in high positions, mental health wise, including Dr Donald Lyons, CEO of Mental Welfare Commission, and George Brechin, CEO of NHS Fife, both men I knew and had met.  None of them did anything to stop the abuse of my son in the IPCU. I was on my own, raising complaints, advocating for my son, his Named Person under the Mental Health Act, and his Carer.

They had locked him in a room with no toilet, light or water for hours on end, unobserved.  Social isolation and a denial of basic human rights.  He's asthmatic and prone to collapsed lungs, had another pneumothorax in 2017 and lung operation in ERI.  He could have died when face down restrained by nurses in the locked seclusion room after being left to defecate in the dark, punished for doing a dirty protest at their neglect and abuse. 

I have spoken and written often about this, how we were abandoned by community mental health services after his discharge from Lomond Ward, Stratheden Hospital, at the beginning of April 2012.  I didn't realise this until months later, having completed a Carer assessment form, thinking that we would be supported.  I didn't know that Mental Health Officers were trying to find evidence that I was to blame for nurses abusing my son in the IPCU until about the August 2012, doing an FOI request to get a copy of the Adult Protection Investigation Report.

It's all water under the bridge.  

I won my Ombudsman case against NHS Fife in September 2014 and received a written apology from Fife Health Board who had been awarded £4.4m from Scottish Government, under Civil Servant Geoff Huggins, Head of the Mental Health Division, to build a new IPCU, Hollyview Ward, opened in 2016 by the Minister for Mental Health, Maureen Watt.  Neither my son nor I were invited to this opening.

Over these 8 years since becoming a whistleblower, exposing human rights abuses in Stratheden psychiatric Hospital, it was similar to being in a lockdown, increasing social isolation and coming to terms with independent living, doing things on my own, speaking out as a lone voice and eventually finding peace of mind, enjoying the freedom.  There have been many challenging events and space invasions by others who didn't like my speaking out or resistance to their takeover, manipulating behaviours.  I've had many stories to tell, at the time and in hindsight, making sense of them.

I do enjoy travelling around, taking selfies and photos on the move.  I take many selfies and think of my Dad who did so too, way back in the early 1960's in our 4th floor council flat at Pomarium, Perth.  I hope to study my Father Willie Patterson's Jeff Hawke stories which he scripted and wrote, many from our council flat, on an electric typewriter in the living room, at his big wooden desk, which I still have and use now as a dining and craft table.

My son and I are looking forward to a fresh start and new life in Dundee after we are awarded our own council accommodation there, separately but hopefully near each other, for support.  I have been wanting a move there since 2012, putting our names on the Dundee City Council Housing list back then but no offers for 4 years and in 2016 I forgot to renew the application, too busy trying to survive and keep caring.  I had no car, it was a challenge keeping fit, foodshopping and attending events as far away as London, to speak out.

I've inserted many selfies into this blog post from different settings in Dundee, to demonstrate both my social isolation and enjoyment of the city.  A juxtaposition.  Since 2018 I've been travelling there to swim and walk, to become more familiar with the streets, parks, River Tay, castles and various places of interest like libraries and museums.  It reminds me of my happy childhood in Perth and all the actitivies I did there which made me into the person I am, thanks to my loving Mother, Father and extended family.  

my Dad William Cunningham Patterson

Saturday, 20 June 2020

sexual abuse by nurses in locked seclusion room

Was the hardest thing to get over, to recover from, over the years, since it happened on 8 February 2012 in Stratheden Hospital's IPCU/Ward 4.

I didn't know the full story until after my son was discharged from Stratheden at the beginning of April 2012.  However he did speak out about anal rape after nurses abused him, we all heard him say this when visiting.  And my son tried to speak to Police about it, phoning them up, but the Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist cancelled the appointment saying that my son had "no capacity".

A Police Officer came to my home early one morning when I was still in my pyjamas, wanting to speak to me, so I let him in.  This was around 16 February 2012 and he asked me about the anal rape claim made by my son.  I didn't have any details to give the policeman for my son hadn't gone into any detail about it, naming names.  For how could he?  My son was a detained patient under the Mental Health Act and had no power to speak out, for fear of retaliation, worse abuse by Nurses.

Two policemen eventually did come into the IPCU with an Appropriate Adult at the end of February 2012 but by this time my son's spirit was broken, he had been forcibly injected with Haloperidol following the dirty protest in locked seclusion room, restrained face down in his own faeces and urine, sexually abused, his anus penetrated, his bottom slapped.   So by this time my son was unable to speak out and we were both in the ward that day, waiting for his transfer to Lomond Ward out of the IPCU/Ward 4.

I had to keep a close eye on my son in Lomond Ward that March 2012, firstly getting his bed moved away from the ex-con patient who was on the sex offenders register (only found this out recently).  The ex-con was a bully and had the run of the ward.  On one occasion I saw him go down the long corridor into the female dorm at the end, no nurses around, he was wearing rosary beads around his neck, crossing himself and chanting.  I heard a female patient cry out and then the ex-con came back up corridor, followed by an older woman walking with a stick (she took her own life in April 2012 after discharge).  I asked her if she was OK and she just looked at me, said nothing.  It was only later that I recognised her photo in newspapers and heard her husband making an appeal on STV.  My son knew her, they had both attended horticultural therapy at Stratheden prior to this.

I knew this ex-con in Lomond Ward March 2012 by name as he often spoke to me in the ward, telling me that he was waiting to go to court on an assault charge, hence the rosary beads, as he feared another prison sentence, had a scar on his face, a big man.  He used the phone in the staff room and even climbed into bed with female patients on occasion, kissed a girl in the ward who I assume was visiting him but I only witnessed this, didn't have any details.  I hold the Nurses responsible for not curtailing this patient's behaviour and for failing to protect vulnerable patients from the risk of exploitation.

My main objective in March 2012 was to advocate for my son at clinical meetings in Lomond Ward, Stratheden Hospital, and to protect my son as much as possible by ensuring he was not bullied or abused again by Nurses or by patients.  I was bullied by male nurses that month, they slammed the staff room door in my face and invaded my space by standing very close to me, which I found intimidating.  These were the nurses who had bullied and assaulted my son on 1 February which led to his incarceration in the IPCU/Ward 4 locked seclusion room on at least 4 nights, in the dark.  

However I stood my ground and raised complaints in Emails from 1 February 2012 onwards and constantly to senior managers in NHS Fife, Fife Council Social Work, Mental Welfare Commission, Scottish Government Mental Health Division and others.  I was well known to many of these leaders, having ran Peer Support Fife voluntary organisation since January 2008, organising many events on the topic of mental health recovery and user/carer involvement.

Peer Support Fife website

Scottish Sunday Express 5 October 2014


Friday, 19 June 2020

"maybe they deserved it"

Said a retired Mental Health Officer (social worker) and Committee Member to me in March at the Clepington Gardens & Allotments Association, Arklay Street, Dundee, at their shop when I was buying compost, about mental patients in Murray Royal Hospital, Perth, in the 1960's who got many courses of ECT/shock treatment against their will for externalising their mental distress.  

He was speaking about my Mother.
She didn't deserve it.

2 April at allotment, being sworn at
Then on 2 April when I went looking for water as the taps hadn't been turned on, I was told by another gardener and Committee Member to go back to the mental hospital, and following this my plot was invaded by urine, faeces, broken glass on onions, screws taken out of my gate.  I left the allotments on 18 April because my son wanted me to and I'm his carer.  It was lockdown and too risky to remain, to have my space invaded, at risk of infection or injury.

Someone obviously thought I deserved to be bullied, intimidated, harassed for some reason.  I reported the incident to the police on 2 April but nothing was done.  I was told that they cannot investigate bullying.  I wasn't surprised.  The police did nothing at the beginning of February 2012 when I reported my concerns to them about my son's treatment in Stratheden IPCU.  I spoke to 3 of them at different times in Cupar Police Station and on another occasion one of them visited me at my home.

I had raised complaints from 1 February 2012 about my son's treatment in Stratheden Hospital to NHS Fife and Fife Council, eventually escalating this to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, winning my case for "unreasonable treatment" against the Fife Health Board.  However it was really human rights abuse, sexual, physical and mental abuse of my son by Nurses in the locked seclusion room of Ward 4/IPCU.  

He didn't deserve it.

In August 2012 I received a copy of the Adult Protection Investigation Report led by a Fife Council Social Work Service Mental Health Officer after making an FOI request for it, as I wanted to understand why they found nothing wrong with the dehumanising treatment by NHS Fife staff in Stratheden Hospital.  And I read that instead of investigating staff they tried to find evidence that I was to blame for Nurses abusing my son in the locked seclusion room.  I was accused of causing "psychological harm" to my son and the MHO had asked a Psychiatrist and CPN about my character.  

No doubt these accusations against me would have come from Nurses who justified their sub-human treatment of my son in Notes, saying that I was a "difficult and demanding Mother" and quoting "family history of Schizoaffective Disorder", the "diagnosis" label given to me by Dr Stephen Carey in 2002, to justify his drug prescribing which caused me to overdose on Venlafaxine (suicidal impulse side effect) and eventually to have bone loss when on max dose after the menopause, 3 fractures on right fibula, 6in titanium plate March 2005.  I didn't fall or trip, the bone just shattered when walking down a stair after job interview at Cupar Library.

The Mental Health Officer role is meant to be one of safeguarding the psychiatric patient under the Mental Health Act.  This didn't happen in February 2012 and they failed to protect my son then tried to frame me for Psychiatric Abuse.  They stood with an abusive system against a Mother and her son.

History repeating.  My Mother had a lifetime of being treated as "less than" because of a Schizophrenia "diagnosis" and witnessed her daughters going through the same, as I did with my sons.  Well done to the both of us Mothers for resisting the stigma and discrimination of abusive psychiatric treatment and lifelong "mental illness".  My Mother is my hero, a wonderful woman who I cannot speak highly enough of.  She was a faithful mother to the end of her life on 19 March 1998 and a great example of overcoming, surviving.


23 April 2020

Even when tending my Mum's grave I hear stories and on that day it was about Lunardi Court Care Home, Cupar, from a dementia unit resident who didn't have dementia yet had been in there for 4 years.  She approached me when I was pulling out Lavender to put in Petunias.

After we move to Dundee I plan to bring my Mother too, when possible.

Thursday, 11 June 2020

Notes from Here and There: omphalos film

Notes from Here and There from omphalos on Vimeo.

"Holmhill House, Dunblane where extraordinary charity began.

Grace Donaldson raised thousands of pounds for charities and alongside financial legacies, left on her death, the park of Holmehill to the children of Dunblane. 

Holmehill house was demolished in 1980

For Grace Donaldson and all her ilk.

Music Credit: 'Boy Child' and 'On your own again' sung by Jarvis Cocker and Susanne Sundfør - from BBC Scott Walker revisited.

This film features Big Ted who was knitted entirely by hand by the wonderful Chrys Muirhead and given to me as a gift. He is lovely!"

Sunday, 31 May 2020

reflecting on allotment, coronavirus, social distancing, space invasion & exit

Here are a few reflections on the 3 months I had a plot, number 77, at Clepington Gardens & Allotments Association, Arklay Street, Dundee, which began so well and quickly deteriorated after the coronavirus pandemic struck, social distancing measures coming in on 23 March.

I'd been getting to know my female neighbour who would sit on the fence near my shed door and chat. She had told me about issues she and other female gardeners had experienced, including screws being loosened on her shed door and SLUT written on another woman's shed, after a relationship with male gardener broke down.

On 13 February she had taken me on a visit to a community garden nearby and wanted me to also get a plot there but I told her I was too busy to take on another allotment.   

She told me stories of her childhood and upbringing, of coming to Dundee as a young woman and relationships she'd had since then, not positive tales, but she was doing well despite the tampering with her shed at Clep Gdns on Arklay Street.  She had a mental health diagnosis and took medication.

However as the pandemic became serious I told my female neighbour that I'd have to keep socially distant, withdraw from socialising.  She wasn't happy about this and one day kept shouting to me in my greenhouse, wanting attention, so after this I asked my oldest son to build me a fence at back door of shed for more privacy.  

24Mar20 back door allotment shed screen

My youngest son is asthmatic and is prone to collapsed lungs so it was imperative that I maintained social distancing and withdrew from close contact with fellow gardeners.  The female neighbour would hammer constantly at times and complain to the committee member who eventually bullied me when I went looking for water 2 April, telling me to stay in my garden, or to go back to the mental hospital.

I reported that incident to the police but said nothing on social media at the time.  The bullying incidents increased, as written about in previous blog post, and I was told by Committee Secretary to get off plot 77 by 19 April. 

after emptying greenhouse 18Apr20

I eventually received £270 reimbursement from Allotments Committee by cheque through the post after handing keys into Millar Hendry, Ward Road, Dundee, solicitors for the William Neish Trust who own the land on which Clepington Gardens & Allotments Association has plots. 

on Ward Road, outside Miller Hendry 18May20

This negative experience has not put me off getting another allotment in Dundee and I hope to do so as soon as the Coronavirus Lockdown ends, and my son and I get a move to Dundee, which I've been wanting since 2012.

Sunday, 10 May 2020

Loam and Wart - Lomond Ward

This is a blog post about Lomond Ward, Stratheden Hospital, by Cupar, Fife, an acute psychiatric inpatient ward which, together with the old IPCU/Ward 4, sums up everything that's bad about mental health treatment, in my experience of 50+ years.

Lomond Ward - my plan for internal redesign sent 17Oct12 to Management

My first experience of this ward was in 1995 when I took my oldest son in there, sent by our Cupar Doctor/GP.  My son was in a "psychosis" and needed help.  No other option but psychiatry.  I was broken-hearted when my son phoned me at Discovery Christian Camps (Dundee), out at Glenshee, and I realised what he would have to go through, because I'd been through it myself, twice, in 1978, 1984, as a psychiatric inpatient in Hartwoodhill, Lanarkshire.

However I had no personal experience of Stratheden Hospital in 1995 although we lived on Elmwood College Farm and had often walked through the old asylum grounds with our Jack Russell dog Toby, bought sweeties from the shop, played tennis on the old courts, past the mortuary.  My oldest son practised driving through the grounds before gaining his license, aged 17 in 1993.

selfie taken 14 April 2020 on walk through Stratheden Hospital grounds

I became aware of the failings in Lomond Ward when my oldest son was a patient, particularly in 1996 when they gave him one shock treatment/ECT which led to a critical incident, ambulance to Ninewells Hospital and we were sent for.  Fortunately he survived and we didn't have to raise complaints with the Mental Welfare Commission although I did complain to the Lomond Ward Senior Charge Nurse about poor nursing care.  She eventually became SCN at Weston Day Hospital, Cupar, her husband the General Manager at Stratheden Hospital.

I have no doubt that my raising a complaint in 1996 about Lomond Ward nursing practices meant that it was very risky for me as an inpatient in March 2002 when my two older sons took me in there, experiencing a menopausal "psychosis".  My card was marked "Troublemaker".  

You have to go through it to know it.  I've always said this and it was true for me that week of being a mental patient for the third time.  Voluntary then detained for 72 hours until I swallowed their toxic chemicals, Risperidone antipsychotic.  I was warned that if I didn't take their drugs then I wouldn't get out.

Stratheden Hospital signposts 14Apr20 - no Lomond Ward notice

In March 2002 the Nurses put me in the end female dorm down long corridor where there was a young male patient in single room opposite and I remember waking up one morning to see this man coming out of his room, no nurses around.  I slept in my clothes, the Nurses wrote this in the Notes as if it was a sign of madness, whereas in truth it made complete sense.  Antipsychotics are strong sedatives, given to control mental patients, against our will if we resist.  I had capacity when experiencing psychosis and retained this when drugged by psychiatry.  I count myself fortunate to have good recall, managed to avoid ECT in 1978 when it was rife in mental hospitals.  I'm a survivor of Psychiatric Abuse like my Mother before me, also my 3 sons, my Dad and two wee sisters.

I swallowed the Risperidone under coercion as a Loam & Wart inpatient in 2002 because I didn't want forcibly injected with antipsychotics which could render me more vulnerable to predatory behaviour.  I knew this from my previous inpatients stays at Hartwoodhill, observing how female inpatients formed liaisons with male patients, having unprotected sex outside in bushes.  Very risky behaviour then and now, patients without full capacity, women being taken advantage of.  You might describe it as free sex, unpaid prostitution.  I do believe that some men become inpatients for that very purpose and can name one of them from 2012.  Predatory men and uncaring nurses, a recipe for disaster.  

Clinical Psychology had been training the Loam & Wart Nurses in Mindfulness/ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy), I heard this from the Senior CP based at the hospital.  So the Nurses were trained to switch off in 2012 when I witnessed various concerning behaviours, putting patients at risk of space invasion, of absconding and ending their lives before time.  It was one of the reasons I persisted with involvement in DClinPsy user/carer groups at both Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities, to speak out and to witness what went on, to try and see the training materials, to understand why psychology had taken the wrong path in Scotland.  I only caught a glimpse of Edinburgh's ClinPsy training programme, never saw the Glasgow stuff although I did read enough of the Professors' "academic" articles to know it was gobbledegook or nonsense language.

I am sure that many women will have left mental hospitals with sexually transmitted infections, maybe not knowing how it happened, where they caught it, being out of it on psychiatric drugs.  Men also but I'm more concerned about the women, mothers, sisters, daughters.  A SAMH supported accommodation Manager said to me at a St Andrews "peer support" event a few years ago that many of the women they worked with couldn't remember what happened to them when Lomond Ward inpatients.  I believed it.  A travesty of healthcare treatment.  A scandal.  An outrage.

I got no response from NHS Fife General Manager Stratheden Hospital regarding my plan to redesign Lomond Ward internally, to make it safer for female patients although the Estates Director Jim Leiper authorised many external improvements to the former asylum grounds and to the fixtures and fittings inside.  But they didn't change the internal workings, I think because it would have been an admission of guilt on their part, for having allowed scandalous behaviours to go unchecked in their "healthcare" buildings for decades.  

And so the statutory agencies in Fife did their very best to frame me for Psychiatric Abuse, investigating me rather than Nursing practises, and accusing me of causing my son "psychological harm" when I advocated for him in both IPCU/Ward 4 and Lomond Ward/Loam & Wart in February and March 2012.  Ten years after they put my life at risk as an inpatient due to poor nursing care.  Nurses used the diagnosis pinned on me by Dr Stephen Carey (after I overdosed on Venlafaxine, suicidal impulse side effects) to justify their sub-human treatment of my son in the old IPCU/Ward 4 locked seclusion room.  Saying I was a "difficult and demanding Mother" and that there was a "family history of Schizoaffective Disorder".  

Express article Sunday 5 October 2014

Summing up as to why Lomond Ward and other inpatient psychiatric wards are such toxic environments.  It was a gateway to worse treatment, in the locked seclusion room IPCU Ward 4, then being a long stay patient in rehab wards or death by suicide.  I have to be honest, speak plainly, no beating about the bush.  My sons and I could have been statistics, very easily, there but for the grace of God sort of a thing.  If any one of them had died and I was left then my life would have taken a much different turn, no rest from campaigning for justice and until the culprits were arrested and locked up for their crimes against humanity.  If I had been taken then eternal rest.

cross-stitch I did in 1990's to 2002 before needing specs, now I knit, sometimes sew

into handknit socks these days ...

Sunday, 3 May 2020

from school to university, marriage to motherhood, faith & surviving psychiatric treatment/abuse

Series of tweets this morning:

photo taken by my Dad Willie Patterson, after Caley Road School, Perth, c1963

class photo Caledonian Road Primary School, I'm wearing a party dress!

"Could have gone to Uni after 5th year at Perth Academy but didn't know what career to go for. Made the wrong choice, twice. Accountancy, Primary Teaching. MA/BA Aberdeen Uni/College. So got married instead, became a Homemaker then Mother. Farmworker, Shepherdess, Craftswoman.

[Default position worked out for the best. Still here to tell the tale.]

1970 on my BSA Bantam 175cc, Perth
possibly at the Black Isle, by Muir of Ord c1973

"1976 became a Mother. 1981 became a Christian. Lifechanging experiences. 1978, 1984 survived Psychiatric Treatment/Abuse after tortuous labour by oxytocin injection to deliver at 3pm. Both times got off antipsychotics within a year. Made a full recovery.

Isle of Gigha 1980 with oldest son Edwin, was on Krypton Factor that year
"2002 Psychiatric Treatment/Abuse much harder to overcome, recover from. Drug cocktails. Life threatening side effects. Scary stuff. Took me longer to regain self control, taper, get off prescribed neurotoxins. Added risk of Lomond Ward, Stratheden Hospital, bad design, history. 

"Loam and Wart/Lomond Ward. Mixed gender. Dormitories. Female wing, long corridor with male patients in single rooms opposite. Drugged up. No Nurses around. Sharp exit. Emergency door at end of corridor locked. Cruel trick, game. A matter of survival. Resisting space invasion.

photo booth snaps with sons Edwin & Angus 1979

"You would need to be there to feel the fear. Going in voluntarily then detained 72hrs until you swallow their toxic chemicals. No escape. Resistance futile. To be forcibly injected more risky. I knew the score from 1978/84. Forewarned is forearmed. Plus oldest son in there 1995/96.

"I'd complained in 1996 about treatment of my oldest son in Lomond Ward/Loam & Wart. My card was marked. Troublemaker.

oldest son Edwin with youngest son Daniel, Rigside, 1985

"I knew this when inpatient with menopausal psychosis March 2002. Had full capacity. I knew the risks. Scary time having to swallow Risperidone antipsychotic. I knew it would clinically depress me. I didn't know about Venlafaxine risks which were even greater. Overdose. Bone loss

"Risperidone was worse than Chlorpromazine. Caused relapse. I got better then got worse. Hellish drug IME. Led to prescribed drug cocktail including Zopiclone & Lorazepam, eventually Lithium when they said I had Lifelong Mental Illness. Enough. I had to take back control. Not easy.

"September 2013 did Befriender training with MH project LINK. Jan14 I volunteered with Barnardos charity shop Cupar then Express Grp Fife, NEFAMH, FEAT. Got myself up in morning & out the door even though I felt like sleeping all day due to drug cocktail. Menopausal sweats severe.

"I sweated buckets. Carried Tshirts to change into. Wore lightweight jacket in winter, never felt the cold. Drugs affected my body temp. Eventually I began to feel more motivated, started tapering max dose Venlafaxine. Psych had taken me off Risperidone then dumped/transferred me.

at my middle sister's wedding 1999, I was Maid of Honour

"Psychiatrists like us to be dependent on them. It goes with the territory. They control us with drugs. He dumped me when I started to take back control. Similar I suppose to domestic abuse/psychiatric abuse. I didn't have this issue in 1978 or 1984 Lanarkshire. Interesting.

"Dr SCarey transferred me to Dr Stefan Clos (same name as footballer, diff spelling) in "community". Now Clos fancied himself & so did many of the female nurses & day patients at Weston, Cupar. Not me. Could never fancy a Psychiatrist. Yuck.

[It's a No No for me, regardless of what they look like.]    

"The guy came downstairs at Weston in full bike leathers. When I recognised him I caught his attention & told him he got it wrong about my Lifelong Mental Illness. His response? It wizny me or similar. A copout. He was locum Psych, getting paid bucketloads, no accountability.

"Psychiatric System is corrupt. From top to bottom. Profiteers galore. Patients & Carers suffering, picking up pieces, some playing the system to their advantage yet still paying the price. Doctors raking in the money. Nurses following orders. Dehumanising treatment affecting all"  


A series of recent selfies: 

Murraygate, Dundee

Swanny Ponds, Dundee
St Andrews
Cupar country walk
in Dundee for DWP PIP assessment with son Daniel