Saturday, 28 May 2016

'Coercion, Psychosis, Medication & Power: A personal formulation of liberation' @MinoritiesGroup 5July16 London

The Minorities in Clinical Psychology Training Group’s Third Annual Conference 5 July 2016; British Psychological Society, Tabernacle Street, London

My presentation strapline (thanks to Guilaine Kinouani):

Coercion, Psychosis, Medication & Power: A personal formulation of liberation


"I was very fortunate to have a mother who was a homemaker, seamstress, knitter, gentlewoman, a good listener, kind, bonnie, had a sense of humour, intelligent, financially astute, hardworking, organised, and who lived with a Schizophrenia diagnosis and a Depixol depot injection every 3 weeks for over 20 years until the day she died with dignity in March 1998, aged 68, before her time.

My family are in solidarity, 8 of us in 3 generations over 60 years (that I know of), having experienced psychoses and coercive drug, and shock, treatment, taking each other in and out of psychiatric hospitals because we had no other choice: my mother and father, two younger sisters, three sons and me.  

I will speak about the pain of living, expressing pain through psychoses, being silenced by psychiatry for feeling pain and being forced to take the medicine if resistant.  The patriarchy of psychiatry which claims to act in loco parentis, takes away agency but fails to protect or keep safe their offspring.  The infantilisation of their conscripts.  Patients and staff.

I don’t believe in mental illness after seeing my mother in the locked ward of our local mental hospital in 1970 when I was 17.  Distressed women shut in together, including a mother who had killed her child.  I came away from visiting crying myself.  Meeting with male psychiatrists who said I had an old head on young shoulders.  I probably told them what they wanted to hear.”



Friday, 27 May 2016

Rising Prescriptions, Rising Disability - Is There a Link? Video 11May16 @UKParliament

"Published on May 27, 2016
The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence held an event on 11 May 2016 at Westminster to discuss evidence of the link between the rise in disability claimants and the record level of antidepressant prescribing. The event was hosted by Paul Flynn MP, co-chair of the APPG.

Robert Whitaker, the Pulitzer-shortlisted science journalist and author, presented global prescribing and disability data, as well as research which shows how long-term use of psychiatric drugs, including antidepressants, can lead to worse outcomes for patients.

A group of panellists then responded to Whitaker's presentation, consisting of Prof Allan Young (Royal College of Psychiatrists), Dr Joanna Moncrieff (UCL), Baroness Stroud (Centre for Social Justice) and Dr Andrew Green (BMA) and Prof Sami Timimi. The event was chaired by Prof Peter Kinderman, President of the British Psychological Society and included a service user perspective from Mr Paul B."

Sunday, 22 May 2016

resilience: we owe it to ourselves to give it oxygen; good parenting

my Mum at home in Perth c1960's
I was just reading an old blog post I'd written about my mother who died in 1998 aged 68: 'resilience: nature or nurture?' and noticed the last paragraph: 

"So I believe that resilience is natural and requires nurture to keep it alive and strong.  We owe it to ourselves to give it oxygen."

Today is my father's birthday, he would have been 87 years old but died in 1986, 30 years ago, in the October, in London.  

Blog post 1May15: 'remembering my father Willie Patterson: author of sci-fi strip Jeff Hawke; one in a million; 1986 dedication Titan Books'.

my Dad at home in Perth c1963
"Resilience is that ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever. Rather than letting failure overcome them and drain their resolve, they find a way to rise from the ashes. Psychologists have identified some of the factors that make someone resilient, among them a positive attitude, optimism, the ability to regulate emotions, and the ability to see failure as a form of helpful feedback. Even after misfortune, resilient people are blessed with such an outlook that they are able to change course and soldier on." Psychology Today

Granny & Grandpa Patterson 1964
I think I'm a resilient person, having survived puerperal psychoses twice, separated from my babies and children, forcibly drugged, had to stop breastfeeding, and then again at the menopause when leaving my childbearing years behind.  Making a full recovery after each episode, under my own steam, with the help of family and friends. More recently taking up cudgels as a mental health writer, activist and campaigner, to challenge psychiatric abuse and support my sons in mental health recovery. 

I have to thank my parents and grandparents for passing on the resilience genes/characteristics, the ability to bounce back after adversity, the stubbornness of character, the determination to stand fast and to not back down from a fight.  They fostered those traits and allowed me to develop into an independent thinker, to take my time in growing up, to remain a child for as long as possible.  Providing a safe haven and secure base from which to fly the nest.  I was fortunate.


June 1986 Titan Books (my copy)
April 1987 Titan Books (my copy)

Jeff Hawke: Overlord; Amazon UK

Jeff Hawke: Ambassadors; Amazon UK

"Widely considered as one of the most important sci-fi comic strips ever published, "Jeff Hawke" is a benchmark in intelligent, adult-oriented storytelling!Jeff Hawke's not your average space-hero; focused on reasoning, diplomacy and moral virtues instead of brute force, he is frequently forced to be the ambassador - rather than the saviour - of mankind! His universe is populated with alien species that meet humankind by accident or for commerce, but hardly ever for invasion.Patterson's subtle wit makes the strip's plots and characters as fascinating as they are amusing, and Jordan's highly expressive style fully captures the strangeness of the weird and wonderful aliens of Jeff's universe!"

Saturday, 21 May 2016

remembering the day I found out they'd labelled me with schizophrenia

It was at an eye clinic appointment in our local hospital in Cupar, the Adamson, around 2006, when a nurse taking my details said to me, something like: I see you've got schizophrenia.  I said "WHAT?". 

News to me.  For I'd made a complete recovery in 2003/4 after a menopausal psychosis and coercive psychiatric drug treatment, having to taper the drug cocktail of Risperidone, Venlafaxine and Lithium under my own steam.  Against the advice of psychiatry who said I had a "lifelong mental illness".  I said to the psychiatrist Dr Kloss that I didn't believe in the DSM which he quoted to me at the time.  So I reduced the 800mgs of Lithium per day, the last drug to taper, by 200mgs a month, got off it all, got back to paid work and got back on with my life.

I was very annoyed at being labelled with schizophrenia, a very stigmatising "diagnosis" that is given to people for whom the "treatment" doesn't "work".  Failed paradigm, blame the patient then blame the mother for passing on defective genes.  Family history of.  Then write about them both in "notes" justifying psychiatric abuse.

So I hotfooted it round to my GP surgery and asked about my schizophrenia "diagnosis".  At the time my doctor was a woman I'd known for about 16 years, she'd been there when my mother had died, a mother herself, of triplets.  She told me that they didn't have a database box for "schizoaffective disorder" just schizophrenia.  I didn't know that disorder label was in my medical history, the psychiatrist hadn't said at the time when he pinned it on me.

So I went up to Stratheden Hospital on the way back from the GP appointment to see if I could catch Dr Carey.  I did manage to get him and I wasn't happy [an understatement].  He said that he would write to the GP about it.  I told him that I'd already sorted it.  But of course it wasn't sorted and the disorder label is still sitting in my medical notes despite being inaccurate and stigmatising.  For once they label you with a mental disorder, to justify their coercive treatment, it sticks like glue.  Or like dog's mess on the sole of your shoe. 


Some photos from yesterday on the East Sands at St Andrews, a therapeutic interlude:

finishing off an ice cream 99 cone

St Andrews harbour

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Setting up a safe haven crisis house development steering group

'Innovations in psychosocial rehabilitation' event Glasgow 13May16; Prof Paul Lysaker #Psychosis

'Innovations in psychosocial rehabilitation' event in The Lighthouse, Glasgow, 13 May 2016:

"You are warmly invited to attend a one day event exploring opportunities for innovation in enhancing recovery outcomes for people experiencing severe and enduring psychosis. This is a fully subsidised event with places available for representatives of all stakeholder groups. The programme includes presentations, panel discussions, and Q&A sessions from the perspectives of experts by experience, researchers, clinicians, and carers. 

Keynote Address 

We are delighted to include a keynote address by Professor Paul Lysaker, Professor of Clinical Psychology, Indiana University School of Medicine, USA. Paul is an innovator in psychological approaches to understanding and treating psychosis. The title of his talk is: 

"Treating the whole person with serious mental illness: Contributions from the study of metacognition"

Doors open from 9am | Start 10am | Finish 4:30pm
Capacity is limited so please book your place early.  

The Lighthouse: views
Enquiries can be directed to Dr Hamish McLeod: or Prof Andrew Gumley:

The Lighthouse - 11 Mitchell Lane, Glasgow G1 3NU, United Kingdom - View Map"


Psychotherapy and recovery from schizophrenia: A review of potential applications and need for future study, Paul Lysaker et al, Psychol Serv. 2010 May 1; 7(2): 75–91. doi:  10.1037/a0019115

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Psychiatry in Scotland @RCPsychScot; The Blind Leading the Blind

Here is a screenshot of a painting I captured and captioned after reading a blog post via @RCPsychScot this morning, also some tweets at the time:

The Blind Leading the Blind: Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1568


I found it upsetting to read the trainee psychiatrist's take on his work, the medical gaze, the assumption that people in crises have mental illness rather than the person struggling to cope in difficult circumstances.  The scientific gaze, the person like a specimen on view, to be examined, a source of entertainment.  Reductionism in action.

Who is responsible for the teaching of Scottish psychiatrists, passing on bad habits and reinforcing stigma?  Who is to blame in psychiatric academia for reducing people/patients to symptoms and behaviour management?  Why are so many academic psychiatrists in cahoots with Big Pharma? 

A doctor friend said to me "It is harmful nonsense. No wonder I am scunnert!".  I agreed.


or Auntie Bash ...

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

the loneliness of the long distance runner

Is the phrase that came to mind on waking.  On being a psychiatric survivor activist in Scotland, campaigning for the human rights of the "mentally ill", a concept which I don't believe in yet which is a reality because of psychiatric treatment.  A cause I've been fighting for decades, in one form or another.

I was scunnered yesterday with the kowtowing and politicking of certain folk.  It got me in the gut, like a low punch.  Still feeling the effects this morning.

But I'll get over it.  Eventually.

"Colin Smith: Running was always a big thing in our family, specially running away from the police. It's hard to understand. All I know is that you've got to run, running without knowing why, through fields and woods. And the winning post's no end, even though the barmy crowds might be cheering themselves daft. That's what the loneliness of a long distance runner feels like."