It's the last day of the year, Hogmanay for Scottish folks, and as usual I am glad to see it going. Looking forward to a better one in 2014, more battles to fight and bullies to resist, in the movement towards a paradigm shift in psychiatric system thinking. It's as much about the process as the outcome, the journey and the small gains. Being optimistic is useful, resilience another strength, and most of all having a sense of humour that can laugh in the face of anosognosia that seems common among psychiatric "professionals" and mental health workers.
Here's a top ten list of my New Year hopes, for Scotland's mental health world, in no particular order, some of which are achievable, others of which will no doubt take longer:
- human rights focus in psychiatric treatment
- mental health act safeguards that are safe
- alternative ways of working with people in psychoses
- peer run crisis houses
- meaningful user, survivor and carer involvement, participation and leadership
- critical voices allowed, listened to and acted upon
- schizophrenia label laid to rest
- a range of talking therapies on offer and not just psychiatric drugs
- no more stigma and discrimination of the so-called "mentally ill"
- an end to forced psychiatric treatment
My side of the bargain is that I will continue to keep up the pressure as an activist and campaigner by writing wherever an opportunity arises or a thought occurs, to the people in positions of power and sharing with people of like minds. I will not be downhearted at locked doors because in my experience there are always other open doors to be found, and if not then windows.
Being an older person and a grandmother is an advantage in the war of words and internet action. Been there, done that, seen it all. And then something happens to shift and widen perspectives. I pull some more knives out of my back, the scars soon heal, a few choice swear words help. It gets easier with time and experience to stand up and speak out. Here's tae us, wha's like us, damn few an' they're a' deid!
A guid new year to ane an' a'
An' mony may ye see,
An' during a' the years to come,
O happy may ye be.
An' may ye ne'er hae cause to mourn,
To sigh or shed a tear;
To ane an'a baith great an' sma'
A hearty guid New year.