Friday, 27 April 2018

the benefits of having a good Mother with a Schizophrenia diagnosis

my Mum & me 1953 Perth
A wee blog post in praise of my Mum, Anne Patterson, who was a fine example to me in so many ways.  Not least her managing to live productively on a Depixol 3wkly injection and the stigmatising discrimination of a Schizophrenia diagnosis when she didn't hear voices and wasn't a threat to anyone.  I couldn't have done it, put up with the continual constraint of neurotoxins going through my body.

I knew aged 14 in 1966 or so, after my youngest sister's birth, that my Mother was having another nervous breakdown, wasn't sleeping, and needed support, for we lived in a 4th floor flat, in the town of Perth.  She didn't want to go into Murray Royal Hospital, cried, saying that my Dad just wanted rid of her.  He asked me what we should do and I made the decision for her to go.  Where she would be forcibly shocked and drugged until compliant, ready for discharge, home again.  I didn't know that, then.

By 1969 my Father was permanently living in London, having lost his job with
Overlord Jeff Hawke
the Daily Express, writing Jeff Hawke, didn't come back home to Perth.  Then in 1970 my Mother had another nervous breakdown, summer holiday time, ending up in the mental hospital, and I visited Kinnoull locked women's ward, we both cried, another mother was in there, had killed her child.  Psychiatrists, men, said I had an old head on young shoulders. 

I never thought that I'd have a nervous breakdown, was a resilient, happy child, well adjusted, sporty, did well at school, had many friends, different ones at different times.  It was painful, induced childbirths which led to me experiencing psychoses, and voluntarily entering Hartwoodhill psychiatric ward, to be forcibly treated because I resisted just like my Mother.  And I was able to resist lifelong mental illness because of my Mother, seeing what she went through.  I did this 3 times in 3 decades, latterly coming off a drug cocktail of Risperidone, max dose Venlafaxine and Lithium, 800mgs/day, self managed, resisting negative prognoses.  It wasn't easy.  Family helped, as ever, and I've helped my sons when they experienced psychosis/psychiatry, when they asked me to.

My Mother had a good death in Adamson Hospital, Cupar, March 1998, didn't have much pain, was at peace, we had time to say our goodbyes.  I wasn't a writer then, was on a postgraduate Community Education course at Northern College, Dundee, graduated in the July.  We moved into this Springfield council house after my Mother died, having brought her out of Adamson in the car to see the house, first buying her an ice cream cone out of Luvian's, Cupar.  She wanted buried, this was in her Will, her Father's family, Dewars, came from this area, latterly living in Auchtermuchty, on Newburgh Road.  So, in a sense, it was a homecoming.

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