Sunday, 16 December 2018

through the looking glass

Since 2008 when coming into mental health matters from the "lived experience" perspective or as a Psychiatric Survivor I've often felt like this:

More so in recent years as if being in a sort of Truman Show peopled by actors and performing wildlife; I've got used to it, fortunately, the isolation becoming independence and freedom to speak out as I see fit, regardless of what others think.

Nothing is confidential or private these days.  Technology has moved at such a fast pace that all of us have the gadgets to be secret agents or spies, recording devices, cameras, google glass etc.  To have our space invaded and lives on view.  Big Brother.  CCTV everywhere, giving the illusion of protection but in reality it only works for those in power or who own the cameras. 

But I'm not worried or anxious, usually sleep like a log!  Exhausted from travelling around to buy food or swim, keep fit, getting out of Springfield and Fife when possible, engaging with folk on the way.  I do enjoy life, grateful to be mobile and on the ball mentally despite years of being bullied, excluded, marginalised and manipulated by people on big money, in positions of power.  

I feel very privileged in my parentage and being born and raised in Perth, Scotland, in an era when families lived in the same house or nearby, supportive and protective, although I know this wasn't the case for everyone, and was aware of inequalities even as a child in the council house schemes of Letham 1950's and when living in Pomarium flats 1960's.   

My Dad Willie Patterson was a writer, I thought he was a journalist, told my friends this.  He travelled back and forward to London by sleeper train, staying there, at one point we were going to move to the capital, before my sisters were born but that didn't transpire.  We also looked at a showhouse up Cherrybank but instead moved to Pomarium, a flat came up, not long after they were built.  Easy access to train station and shops.

Jeff Hawke 1986 Titan Books
Jeff Hawke: Overlord on Amazon

I didn't read my Dad's stories until recently and now find these book cover illustrations comforting as if my Father is still watching over me.  Which of course He is.

called this my "faith cubbyhole" in October 2015, still there
Monkey on bedside table Dec14; had him since a baby 1952

Saturday, 15 December 2018

my wonderful Mother: Anne Ferrier Patterson/Dewar 🤗😍😇

my Mum & me 1953 Kingswell Terrace, Letham, Perth, Scotland

Friday, 14 December 2018

a divided self

Tweeted this last night:

about staying here in Springfield but having something of a life in the city of Dundee.  It will involve travelling by bus most of the time, which I've got used to, carrying stuff, easier when spring comes with warmer days and lighter nights.

I can always use a case on wheels if need be, when the load gets heavy, because I would like to do wild water swimming, gym weights, sports, and this will require carrying more equipment.  I've got a large pink holdall with wheels which I may start using.  Can put it in the boot of buses or luggage rack in trains.  Fortunately I'm able to lift heavy weights, have got muscles!

Photos from 1973 on the Muirheads farm near Douglas, Lanarkshire.  Had strong shoulders even back then 😊


Thursday, 13 December 2018

Email sent to my MSP 13Dec18

Dear Mr Rennie

I am writing to ask you for a comprehensive list of your surgery dates in North East Fife in the near future.  I would like to meet with you to talk about council housing issues.

Regards, Chrys

Chrys Muirhead
writer, storyteller, swimmer, cyclist, photographer, gardener, traveller, whistleblower, human rights campaigner, mental health activist

on being a £4.4million pound fundraiser for NHS Fife:

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Curing the Therapeutic State: Thomas Szasz interviewed by Jacob Sullum July2000

Curing the Therapeutic State: Thomas Szasz interviewed by Jacob Sullum July2000


"The collaboration between government and psychiatry results in what Szasz calls the "therapeutic state," a system in which disapproved thoughts, emotions, and actions are repressed ("cured") through pseudomedical interventions. Thus illegal drug use, smoking, overeating, gambling, shoplifting, sexual promiscuity, pederasty, rambunctiousness, shyness, anxiety, unhappiness, racial bigotry, unconventional religious beliefs, and suicide are all considered diseases or symptoms of diseases—things that happen to people against their will. Szasz believes this sort of thinking undermines individual responsibility and invites coercive paternalism...."

"Reason: How would you describe your approach to therapy?

Szasz: I see psychoanalysis as a contractual conversation about a person's problems and how to resolve them. I tried to avoid the idea, which seemed to be particularly pernicious, that the therapist knows more about the patient than the patient himself. That seems to me so offensive. How can you know more about a person after seeing him a few hours, a few days, or even a few months, than he knows about himself? He has known himself a lot longer!

To me the whole idea of calling it "therapy" is crippling. So there was a kind of understanding between the other person and me that we were having a conversation about what he could do with his life. That obviously involves adopting different tenets of sorts—different ways of relating to his wife, his children, his job. The premise was that the only person who could change the person was the person himself. My role was as a catalyst. You are making suggestions and exploring alternatives—helping the person change himself. The idea that the person remains entirely in charge of himself is a fundamental premise. .."

Poppy & Phil Barker with Tom Szasz [from Tidal Model website]

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Future Islands perform "Balance" - Pitchfork Music Festival 2015

positive feedback in tweets about #Stagecoach bus drivers

Some tweets just now with positive feedback about Stagecoach bus drivers:


Wednesday, 5 December 2018

my Email feedback re Digital Health & Social Care Conference 28Nov18 Glasgow

I kept receiving reminder Emails asking for feedback on the Digital Health & Social Care Conference I briefly attended on 28 November 2018 in the Technology & Innovation Centre, Strathclyde University, Glasgow.  So I sent this response earlier, copied in to my MSP, MP and CabSec for Health at Scottish Parliament:

"Dear Kathleen

I left the conference during the panel session when Angiolina Foster started speaking.  I could not thole any more as an unwaged Carer, activist, human rights campaigner and whistleblower about the locked seclusion room abuses at Stratheden Hospital.  I thought the event was more about selling products, apps, jargon, and scaremongering about elderly people, who in my experience have a lot to offer society but are stymied by negative stereotypes and seen as burdens rather than assets.  Hal Wolf in particular was peddling his wares just like IHI Boston, Mass, have done via Brian Robson, Jason Leitch et al.  Scotland deserves much better, in my opinion.

For nearly 7 years I have singlehandedly supported my son Daniel after Nurses locked him in the Stratheden IPCU seclusion room without toilet, light or water, for hours on end.  He had to defecate on the floor because no Nurses heard him shouting that he needed the toilet, this was on the 4th night they locked him in, 8 February 2012.  Because I raised complaints we were abandoned by community MH services and Fife Council Social Work together with Fife Police and NHS Fife tried to frame me for Nurse abuse.  I didn't even know they were investigating me until asking via an FOI request for their Adult Protection Investigation Report in around the August 2012.  I got a paper copy handed over in Cupar social work office and upon reading found out that my raised concerns had resulted in me being under the spotlight, not the NHS staff who for decades have been using this cell to "manage" Stratheden Ward 4/IPCU patients.  It was human rights abuse perpetrated on vulnerable people in need of care and support.  I never even knew they had a locked seclusion room despite engaging with that hospital since 1995.

I'm not doing the evaluation form, not a good use of my time.  I had hoped for this event to be innovative but I saw no evidence of this in the Keynote presentations.  I could not identify with Anna Fowlie's take on internet engagement.  I did Algol computer programming 1969/70 at Perth Academy, also 6th year studies Maths.  In the mid 1980's at Rigside, Lanarkshire, where I did grassroots voluntary community development work, all that decade, along with other Mothers like me, we got an introduction to computers in the Rigside community hall (now the school is based there).  I'd learnt touch typing in the 1970's then in 1994/5 I did an HNC Office Admin at Elmwood, best student, taking extra units, then going into 3rd year BA Admin Management at Fife College 1995/6, again best student, where we learnt about the global village, Charles Handy, database management, corporate planning, many other interesting topics, I was 44.  This is the best academic course I've ever done, the topics suited me very well, doing the degree in 2yrs instead of 3.

In 2008 aged 55 I dived into Scotland's mental health world to promote peer support, recovery, because I had survived 3 episodes of psychosis and coercive psychiatric treatment, making a full recovery, tapering, coming off the drugs myself.  I thought my Lived Experience would be of use to the likes of Scottish Recovery Network, Penumbra, SAMH and others.  But within a few months I met with resistance and was put in my place by people with far less life experience, qualifications, knowhow or intellectual ability.  Soon they excluded me from events, resorted to bullying and intimidation.  And that became the pattern over the years because I wouldn't fall into line behind stupid people.  I have to be honest.  I would never have survived, recovered from psychiatric abuse if I was a follower rather than a leader.  I don't believe in mental illness and think it's a psychiatric construct to justify failures in the system to heal patients. 

I've recounted something of my story (I'm now 66yrs young) in this Email to demonstrate my breadth and depth of life experience, digital/computer/online abilities.  I update my website using HTML, having learnt it by cut and pasting, after my son set up Chrys Muirhead Associates in January 2008, to my design.  I don't update it much at present, do more blogging although even that is sparse as I'm concentrating on keeping fit, swimming most days in Dundee which involves two buses there and back from where I live in Springfield.  We have no car now, hope soon to move to Dundee, where it will be easier to have a life on a low income.  There is no money to be made in whistleblowing about human rights abuses in NHS settings in Scotland.  No justice for the psychiatrically abused.  We are on our own, fighting the system.

Regards, Chrys"

copying in my MSP, MP and CabSec Health

Chrys Muirhead
writer, storyteller, swimmer, cyclist, photographer, gardener, traveller

Thursday, 29 November 2018

no more Safe Houses for Psychosis; removing references

I'm in the process of removing references to Safe Houses for Psychosis as I don't have any support for it since being abandoned by the Clinical Psychology academics.  I can take a hint! 

Ten years of being sidelined, bullied, excluded, badmouthed, impoverished, for not believing in mental illness, for surviving coercive psychiatric drug treatment and whistleblowing about human rights abuses in the locked seclusion room of Stratheden Hospital.  

It's been a very challenging time, being isolated for speaking out and saying what I think.  At one point I felt very alone but I've come to terms with it.  Even those who were my "friends" weren't really there for me.  I remember thinking, with friends like that who needs enemies!

I'm glad to still think I'm worth it after being treated as "less than" by so many folk.  Just as well that I don't have any mental health issues 😊.

new specs 29Nov18 costing £88

Ye Jacobites by Name @ChrysMuirhead

Inspired by The Corries, having heard them in concerts 1970's in Perth and Aberdeen.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

3D model of St Mary's Cathedral (Episcopal) in Edinburgh #DanielMuirhead #Sketchfab

An example of my Son Daniel's 3D modelling on Sketchfab:

3D model of St Mary's Cathedral (Episcopal) in Edinburgh

screenshot from Sketchfab by me!


Dundee 2018-10-17 McManus Gallery on Daniel's Flickr

screenshot from Flickr by me!
my son Daniel 😍

Monday, 26 November 2018

written apology from Graham Wark @LACDundee 26Nov18 about my Olympia complaint


Sunday, 25 November 2018

Applying for a Council House in Dundee

couch potato watching Jools on iplayer 😄
A series of tweets 25Nov18 about applying for a council house/flat in Dundee, moving to the city, earning a living, writing books, keeping fit, cycling more, shopping around, caring: 

"I could more easily get a paid job if living in Dundee. Also have more time to write & self publish books. I spend a lot of time travelling to swim, to keep fit. I'm also very fed up taking buses to get out of Fife. Not a good use of my time. I could cycle more often in city."

"I need to be more financially self sufficient. This would be easier in city. Shopping around for food. Not having to take buses & put up with grumpy drivers. Carrying bags of shopping & avoiding sudden braking, wet bus floors. Risky business. No work for me in mental health."

"I spent 10yrs promoting MH Recovery, peer support, helping many people in their campaigns, promoting their work. It cost me time, money, energy. Many of them far better off financially than I. No paid work in MH Lecturing despite my qualifications & 40yrs survivor experience."

"Water under the bridge. Survival of the fittest. Just because I care doesn't/shouldn't mean I'm a pushover."

"A new year beckons. 
New beginnings. 
I won't be changing my ways just because others have taken advantage. Their loss not mine. 
Looking forward to changes & a new home in the city. I've lived in a flat before & can do it again. There are allotments where I can garden."

"I don't have any animals now so that's not a consideration."

"I shall ask for help in completing application form, make an appointment with housing in Dundee."

Sunday, 18 November 2018

space invasion

A few thoughts about the topic of space invasion in relation to psychosis or altered mind states.

31 July 2015 I experienced a physical and mental breakdown which resulted in a bladder prolapse and at one point I thought I was having a stroke, brain clenching, eyesight affected, couldn't drive, difficult to watch TV, feelings of being watched.  Secret agents.  

I got through it by getting fit, swimming and weights, eventually getting into cycling properly for the first time, on and off road, taking my bike on trains to various cities, on ferries at the west coast, growing in confidence.

Queen Anne Gardens Stirling Castle 23Jul18
As I cycled more I swam less and this summer was into visiting historic buildings via membership of Historic Environment Scotland and the National Trust.  However by the end of July I had a sore back, muscle strain down left leg into hamstring, and got back to swimming in the Olympia, taking out monthly direct debit membership, which I hadn't done before.

The swimming has improved my fitness, eased the muscle strain and I've been losing weight around the middle, eating less and more active, on the go, walking.  Aiming for wildwater swimming and a novice Triathlon in the future, if possible, logistically.  I don't have a car so it's not viable at present.

Then on my oldest son's birthday 26 October a number of things happened and I changed my Red or Dead glasses which I'd bought at Specsavers Glenrothes, Fife, 21Apr15, to the spare Gok Wan pair, and have been adjusting to the change since then, tomorrow collecting a new pair of specs from Govan Optometrists, Dundee, with reactive lenses, the Winter Fuel payment of £200 will help to pay for them.

Interestingly the vertigo I had for years has now gone and I can now climb the spiral stairs in the Olympia to the flumes no bother, tried them out for the first time 3 November and then a week later, giving feedback about what I observed and my experience of the red flume on both days.  Ironically this has resulted in my exclusion from the Olympia and having to raise complaints about Leisure staff.  Swings and roundabouts.

I am even more convinced that Psychosis is a natural reaction to space invasion of one sort or another.   And that mental illness is a psychiatric construct to justify coercive drug treatment.  Surviving psychosis/psychiatric abuse was hard, much easier avoiding psychiatric interference, less damage done.  Turn of the screw. 

Excluded from swimming in Olympia Dundee pool again

Friday, 16 November 2018

in memory of Luke Hutton

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Face the Music in Dundee is doing well!

Well done number one Son!

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

handknit socks on show

With the colder, changeable weather I've started wearing layers of clothes, not trousers which if wet due to rain can be chilly and uncomfortable.  So I wear a sort of uniform: above the knee skirt (covered by long length thick jacket/coat), shorts and tights underneath, with my Berghaus walking boots, sports and handknitted socks which are coming into their own!

I'd already bought a few skirts in 2017 after getting the boots, however I fell in Princes St when running wearing the boots, accompanying my son on buses to ERI for his lung op, cracked my ribs, eventually going to A&E to get it checked out, because it got worse before it got better!  Didn't know this, hadn't cracked ribs before.  Cracked and broke many other bones over the years since childhood, being an active child and person.  Liking a risk.

Here are the socks I've knitted, now wearing in boots:

First pair of socks knitted, Tiffany diamond pattern, 16Apr16
Alpine sock, 29Jan17
Jacobs 4ply pure wool 14Mar17
Austermann Step 4ply German wool zigzag pattern socks, 9Jun17
2nd pair of Austermann Step socks, 8Aug17

Here are some recent tweets of layered outfits before setting out for the 94 bus from Springfield rail station to Leuchars rail station for the 99 to Dundee and swimming lengths in the training pool at the Olympia, Dundee:

I'm still altering kilt skirts to fit and plan to make some others with dress materials I bought from Remnant Kings, Argyle St, Glasgow in 2015/6.

Monday, 5 November 2018

nomadic lifestyle, in transition

Since the end of July when I had back strain after visiting historic sites and went back to swimming weekdays at the Olympia Dundee I've adopted a sort of nomadic lifestyle, travelling there and back, gradually shopping in Dundee for food and clothes.  My two older sons live there, my oldest Grandson, Granddaughter (other Grandson in Lousiana who I've yet to meet, he's now 7).

I've had some very negative experiences on buses, especially since the 64 route to Springfield past Stratheden psychiatric Hospital has been taken over by a new company which has no tracking App or active Twitter account.  So you don't know if or when the bus will appear, if it will be early or late.  The buses are not well made and neither drivers nor passengers are comfortable in transit, rattling along over ruts and speed bumps.

In 2012 I asked our then MSP Rod Campbell SNP to help us get a council house in Dundee but he said he couldn't.  So I tried to get an exchange, also put our names on the housing list there but we were way down the list, not enough points to ever be offered a house similar to what we now have, terraced, gardens front and back etc.  

I also considered private rented accommodation but that's not secure and much more expensive than council housing.  We've been in this house since Easter Monday 1998, shortly after my Mother died in the Adamson Hospital, Cupar, and I felt this was a God-given house, good neighbours, handy for parking, we always had a car until end of 2015.  But the psychiatric abuse of the locked seclusion room and the deterioration of nursing practices scunnered me of living here, continually reminded of what they did to me and my sons, their £4.4m new IPCU a reward from Scottish Government.

In 2002 I had remarried my husband (he said Yes) after getting caught up again in Psychiatric treatment following a menopausal psychosis/spiritual experience, going voluntarily into Lomond Ward Stratheden to be forcibly drugged with toxic chemicals.  He stood with me at Psychiatrist appointments, the father of my 3 sons.  Well done to him.  We separated in 2011, he still supports me financially which I appreciate or we'd be even worse off.  It's not easy when mental health treatment is still in the Dark Ages.  Blaming Mothers for Mental Illness, the Church of/Biological Psychiatry.  Call it what you will but it's way off track, down a dead end street.

The neglect by Fife Council social services of my neighbour of 19yrs whose husband died, she was lonely, isolated, demented, was very scunnering, and to see her in a "home" without her rescue dog, in 2017, the smell of urine in the building, locked in, other "residents" sleeping in chairs, was terrible to witness.  She had worked hard all her life, a forces veteran, paid her taxes, her husband latterly a lollipop man for years in the village.  Yet antisocial behaviour by tenants is rewarded with more support.  There's something far wrong with this equation.  

I'd previously seen another elderly neighbour also be isolated in her home, very little social services support going in.  And that's just near where I live, no doubt replicated elsewhere in Fife.  What are elected members of Parliament doing about this?  I don't know.  I've spectated at health and social care meetings, it wasn't positive.  Action is required, not just talking about it.  

Getting back to swimming, it's helping me get fit, toned up, improving my digestion without having to change diet, just eating less due to being on the move more.  I lift weights by way of shopping bags and rucksack, swinging over my shoulder, side about, saves having to go to the gym.  I've also been walking miles in Dundee city although pavements can be rough on the feet!  Need to toughen up.  On Saturday I tried out the red flume in Leisure Pool at Olympia.  Survived it and the wild waves, will go again, would like to jump off diving boards also, eventually do the faster flumes. 

It's about the long game, life.  

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

A blot on the landscape. They should have closed it down.

My thoughts earlier when about to cycle through the grounds of Strathden psychiatric Hospital:

I've heard too many stories of abuse. 
Fed up with politicians & civil servants rewarding abusive health boards while disadvantaged folk, unwaged carers/Mothers are bullied, blamed, targeted. 
It's very scunnering.

overcoming psychiatric abuse & psychological manipulation

Up early, having retired last night before 10pm, as I'm out the door these weekdays at about 7.25am for the bus to Leuchars then Dundee for swim in Olympia.  Listening to Later Jools which was on last night, catching up on iPlayer.  I'd rather just chill out but wanted to write something about the scapegoating and marginalisation I've experienced because of speaking out about Psychiatric Abuse and Psychological Manipulation.  

link to presentation
I've always been aware of the misuse and abuse of power within psychiatric settings personally since 1978 when I went voluntarily into a mental hospital, Hartwoodhill Lanarkshire, and was forcibly injected with toxic drugs because I resisted.  However it's only in recent years that I've become aware of the issues with Clinical Psychology in practise and academia, through engaging with them since 2004 in Fife and 2009 with Glasgow DClinPsy then 2011 with their Edinburgh chums.  I was continually marginalised and sidelined, it started with the Fife CP and was perpetuated by his cronies in academia.  I believe he is still influential although retired.

Going in for the PhD Clinical Psychology at Edinburgh under Prof Schwannauer took a lot of energy and cost me.  It was toxic.  But it was a useful experience to find out what it was like engaging closeup with these highly paid academics.  I also saw the teaching materials at Edinburgh DClinPsy which I thought were narrow, focused on attachment theory, targeting families, no doubt the influence of Prof Gumley, from his own childhood, blaming Mothers for mental illness.  He shared some of his story with me when we engaged virtually 2015/16 as I was coming through another psychosis.  

link to presentation
I had more insight not less although it was risky for me sharing personal information with his university Email.  I was aware that we weren't really "friends" although I'd befriended the Professor after thinking he had something wrong with him, 25 June 2015, when he was waiting outside 50 George Square, Edinburgh, after a Schizophrenia event, no-one else around.  He behaved oddly, left his phone in the taxi, looked like a lost boy.  I spoke to my doctor friend about it at the time and later.  

2017 was a difficult year engaging with, and exposing, DClinPsy academics, also because of my son experiencing another collapsed lung, operation at ERI and painful recuperation, plus our old neighbour lost her husband and became demented, going into a Home, and we got a new antisocial neighbour, dogs barking, malicious letter from solicitor and police visits.  Glad to say that things have settled down in the neighbourhood, having raised complaints about Housing staff to a Stage 2.  My son and I have both recovered healthwise.  My thyroid cyst was benign and viral throat receded, cracked ribs healed. 

I don't appreciate being manipulated by a boy/man and his cronies then being banished by McLeod for no good reason, bullied at the Edinburgh DClinPsy meetings by misogynists because academics fostered it.  I am still angry about it and have every right to be angry.  I've got 40 years of lived experience surviving psychosis/psychiatry, resisting toxic drugging and making a full recovery from mental illness.  My life and voice are of value in Scotland's mental health world and I should be invited, and paid, to teach and facilitate learning on DClinPsy, Mental Health Nursing and Psychiatry programmes.  I also hold Scottish Government civil servants responsible for failing to support my meaningful involvement in these educational settings.  

I've demonstrated in my own life that it's possible to make a full recovery from a mental disorder (Schizoaffective), tapering a neurotoxin cocktail myself, and have supported my 3 sons in and out of psychiatric settings when experiencing psychosis, helping them to live productively, being an example to them of resisting and overcoming.  I deserve respect for these attributes, skills, abilities, and for surviving psychiatric abuse, three times in 3 different decades.  I will continue to demand respect and to speak out as I see fit.  This is a statement of intent.

1976 with oldest son Edwin in Perth photo booth

left to right, Edwin, Daniel, Angus
Edwin holding Daniel 1985
Edwin wearing BMX jumper I knitted him, of his own bike
Angus wearing BMX jumper I knitted him, of his own bike
Daniel wearing basketweave jacket I knitted him & his sookie shawl

1999 at my sister Frances's wedding, I was Maid of Honour
me with son Daniel in Cupar Crossgate
with Grandson in 2014, Dundee
with Granddaughter 2016, Dundee
in Dundee 27Sep18