Wednesday, 26 February 2014

I prefer to be the organ grinder and not just the performing monkey

excerpt from an Email sent yesterday:

"A few years back in Fife I was brought into speak at a workshop as a "performing monkey" by a local mental health organisation.  I wasn't involved in the whole show, just doing my performance, talking about "lived experience".  

Unfortunately in Scotland's mental health world the professionals prefer performing monkeys, service users who will tell them what they want to hear or if saying anything at all critical that it may be accompanied by positive stuff also. 

At last year's crisis network conference I was involved in leading, speaking and presenting a workshop at the event.  No performing monkey in sight.  This was thanks to a clinical nurse manager who dared to have me involved in this way.  

Well, the outcome was to be expected.  I was targeted in the feedback, named and shamed, criticised in the workshop when I was facilitating it, by my co-worker a psychiatrist.  Then bullied in Emails from that point on, until the meeting we had the other week where the bullying continued until I was forced to leave the group.

That's what happens when the performing monkey becomes an organ grinder."


  1. What a terrible experience. I really hope that something was done about it.

    1. Michelle thanks for your comment.

      I don't know what other folk have done about it but I did stuff about it. Wrote blog posts, Emailed high heid yins, made sure everyone knew my side of the story. Moaned and grumped, didn't internalise it. Until I felt better. And then moved on with other stuff.

      I'm 61 now and have experienced other situations like this in life. However I have to admit that since getting "meaningfully involved" in Scotland's mental health world since 2008 I've had a lot of stuff like this happening. It's been quite ferocious at times. But as with anything you get used to it after a while. Develop a tough skin. Get over it quicker. Blogging has been a great way for me of having a voice. Plus developing my writing skills.


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