Friday, 24 August 2018

focusing on getting fit again

at Stirling Castle 23Jul18
In July I went on various outings, latterly to Stirling Castle on 23rd then Edinburgh Castle on 25th, taking public transport, bus and train, then walking up the hills, with the result that by 27 July I had a sore back, muscle strain going down into my left leg and hamstring.  The titanium plate on right fibula (3 fractures March 2005 caused by max dose Venlafaxine 2002/4, bone loss) tends to strain muscles on other side when overdoing it.  And I lost fitness after the stress of 2017 (PhD withrawal), the viral throat and thyroid cyst, caring for my son after his collapsed lung and operation in the November, and the careless discharge.

It was painful even when sleeping and I did wonder if it was my joint, couldn't
Olympia 21Aug18
jog as usual, and so I decided to get back to swimming in the Olympia, Dundee, on 6 August, taking out monthly membership through Leisureactive at £15/month for over 60's (Silver), which I had last year but stopped going when becoming unwell and caring duties increased.  I occasionally took Ibuprofen for the pain so as to walk without tensing up, exacerbating the strain.  A pulled left hamstring in September 2016 has also been acting up. 

I take 2 buses to Dundee from Springfield and have been trying out different times in the Olympia training pool to see what suits best, aiming for 3 times a week, Mon-Frid, hoping to eventually swim more lengths as the muscle strain fully recovers.  I can now jog a bit and have bought a new, smaller rucksack so as not to put so much strain on my back when walking distances or up hills.

Offroad cycling to Ladybank by railway track:

The hot showers at the pool are very useful as I only have a bath at home, and I can swim then come out to stretch under the shower, go back in and swim some more.  I would like to do a Novice Triathlon and plan to train for this, even although it's unlikely that I could participate due to not having a car now.  I've found this to be a barrier also to taking part in Sustrans Scotland groups which often meet in car parks.  Because I live in a village with only occasional trains it means I cannot get to certain places without cycling a distance.  I'm not a 50 miler. 

However I'm not going to let that put me off getting fitter, cycling and swimming more, practising running which I'm not very good at.  Can jog a bit and do a spurt to catch a bus but I've never really been a runner, more of a weightlifter and swimmer.  Never say never so I will aim to increase my running abilities by using the fitness studio aerobic or cardiovascular machines.  Maybe attend some classes which are free on the Leisureactive Silver membership

It's not been easy, the marginalisation by DClinPsy academics, others favoured, and I've externalised my distress about the way I was unfairly treated so as to keep mentally strong and confident.  It doesn't pay to be a whistleblowing, unwaged Carer and survivor Mother activist.  NHS Fife profited with a £4.4million award from Scottish Government after I raised complaints, exposing the locked seclusion room where Nurses shut my son, in the dark, no toilet or water, for hours on end, for at least 4 overnights, his broken hand untreated, February 2012.  Then we were abandoned by Fife Council Social Work and MH Services as they tried to blame me for psychiatric abuse in an Adult Protection Investigation Report.  It should not and cannot be forgotten.

I think it's about keeping a balance, in terms of campaigning work and mental/physical wellbeing, and at 65yrs young I do want to keep fit and be re-energised, enjoying life in the moment, engagements on the move, while looking ahead and preparing for other writing opportunities.  Listening to stories and telling stories.  Making the most of being a mature woman, Mother and Grandmother, celebrating old age and the valuable life experience it brings.

Huntingtower Castle 17Aug18
with son Daniel, Springfield, after he met me off the 94 bus 20Aug18 😊

Sunday, 19 August 2018

is my word not good enough? on being a secret agent

Remembering Prof Ian Reid who asked me in Emails at the time as to why I didn't secretly record the goings on in Stratheden Hospital Feb/Mar 2012.  But why should I have to?  My word should be good enough.  

Started writing this blog post when I got up and at the same time was writing Emails to a friend, recounting stories and it took me on to memories of my Mother, how she survived abusive psychiatric treatment, courses of ECT and incarceration, for experiencing psychosis or nervous breakdowns as they were called in the 1950's and 1960's.  

And so I decided to check on my Mother's grave to see how the plants were doing, taking the 12 bus on the 64 route, now run by Moffat & Williamson, a Strata low floor 22 seater bus which is a noisy and uncomfortable vehicle, particularly on speed bumps, the seats less cushioned than any bus I've been on, making the 3ml journey into Cupar unpleasant especially since I've got a sore left leg and hip just now.  Have been raising complaints about it.

It's now late evening and BBC Proms is on TV in the background as I struggle to remember what it was I wanted to say first thing this morning.   Which was about being congruent, open, telling the truth as much as possible, being true to myself, speaking out when necessary and standing with others who may not have a voice.  I care about others who are becoming isolated due to health issues, bereavement and old age.  It's an extension of my mother heart.

On experiencing another psychosis in 2015 secret agents were in my imaginings, strangers in the street, and I reasoned them as looking out for my welfare, making them part of my story.  One of the times I was meeting someone for lunch in Edinburgh and it was a difficult meeting which is probably why I had the feeling of being watched.  This person didn't treat me with respect on that day, beforehand and subsequently, whereas I showed them compassion.  I did well to come through the psychosis and the long engagement, mostly virtual, with my confidence intact.  It has been strengthening and a learning experience, grist to the mill as a writer.


Tuesday, 14 August 2018

can't afford to do action research or visit safe haven crisis houses

I've had to admit it.  I'm too impoverished to visit safe haven crisis houses in the UK to do action research or gather information.  The trips I'd booked to Ireland and Wales, to network and research, didn't come about because of ill health (viral throat, thyroid cyst) and I lost money on it, which I cannot afford to do.  Glad to say that thyroid issues were not serious.  I did wonder if it might be, was prepared for the worst, considering the difficult year I had in 2017 with the PhD withdrawal and antisocial neighbours.  These took a toll on my health over the winter, also my son's 4th collapsed lung and operation in the November (careless discharge), at the same time I fell and cracked my ribs in Princes St, Edinburgh, when accompanying my son on buses into ERI for surgery.

I'll be 66 in September, on a basic State Pension, with some financial support from family which is likely to decrease as time goes on, so I will get poorer as I get older.  There is no chance of teaching and being paid for it.  I tried for years to get lecturing work in DClinPsy and MH Nurse training programmes at Abertay, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities, since 2009, to no avail.  I had teaching work at Abertay but it was temporary back in 2012 and I only got one day's teaching at DClinPsy Glasgow MH & Wellbeing Unit, on Psychosis module, filling in for Prof Gumley, for which I received an honorarium and travel expenses, and was expected to be grateful for it.

I'm well qualified with postgraduate diploma in community education, 1998, and postgraduate certificate teaching qualification further education, care subjects, 2008, and have delivered training to groups since 1980 in Lanarkshire when working in communities with children, young people and adults in a variety of settings.  There's no reason as to why I couldn't teach except for the fact that I'm now a whistleblower about psychiatric abuse after what happened to my son in the locked seclusion room of Stratheden Hospital Ward 4/IPCU in February 2012:

link to Express article, written after "winning" Ombudsman complaint against NHS Fife
At a meeting in January with Dr Margaret Hannah, Director of Public Health, NHS Fife, and Julie Paterson, a senior Social Work Manager, Fife Council, I was asked by the doctor how long I'd be a whistleblower.  An odd question I thought.  How long is a piece of string? As long as it takes.  The social worker then spoke of a new build crisis house, mentioning John Mills, Head of Housing at the council.  The implication being that if I stopped whistleblowing then there could be a safe house.  No deal.

["If you decide to hire me as an independent MH consultant in Fife then there shall be No gagging clause or coverup": in Email to social worker and others 21May18]

I was also asked by the doctor in an Email what justice would look like.  Another difficult question for how would I know until it happened and could be identified?  I used to have this quote by Thucydides on Emails in 2015: 
"There will be justice ... when those who are not injured are as outraged as those who are".  We're not there yet.

Then recently the doctor came and sat down beside me in a train to Edinburgh, after which I wrote an Email to her about mindfulness:

Wednesday 8 August 2018: minding your own business; whistleblowing isn't a career choice

"Please don't come up to me again in a train and ask to sit down next to me, just so that you can go on about retiring early on your big pension and then going on to lecture, write books and help your husband in his business.  Next time I will say No. ..."

It was like rubbing my nose in it, just as the Nurses did with my son after he had to defecate in dark cell/locked seclusion room with no toilet, light or water, when they had left him in there for hours, unobserved, asthmatic and prone to collapsed lungs, with a broken hand untreated.  They never came when he shouted for help so he did the toilet then a dirty protest (which confirmed their neglect and helped win Ombudsman case) and the Nurses held him face down in his own excrement, penetrating his anus with something, we don't know what, it wasn't written in the Notes.  After which my son got a glandular infection and bad verrucas on his feet, requiring antibiotics and podiatry for months after hospital discharge.  His broken hand also required checkups.

There are no human rights guaranteed behind the closed doors of psychiatric settings and no justice for whistleblowing and speaking out about the abuse.  Rather I have been bullied, badmouthed, excluded, undermined, marginalised, disrespected, laughed at, manipulated, patronised, banished.  Blamed by social work, police and NHS in an Adult Protection Investigation Report 2012 for causing "psychological harm" when Nurses were abusing my son in Stratheden Hospital.

What does justice look like?  I don't know.  Haven't witnessed it yet, in respect of what happened to my son in 2012 and what's happened to me since then, for speaking out about it.  I will keep campaigning for justice and for safe houses for psychosis like I provide for my son who lives with me, we share a house together, at present.  We are both financially poorer after engaging with psychiatry.  He is continually targeted by DWP to justify his existence as a mentally ill person with a Bipolar condition, putting pressure on him, exacerbating his mental health challenges.  I get no carer allowance now since a pensioner and we receive no support from MH services since raising complaints in 2012.  

It's not been easy and it's not getting any easier.  I don't like being financially poor, who does?  I have various health issues which I self manage and these include a bladder prolapse and metal plate on right fibula which causes muscle strains on left side.  I cycle and swim to keep fit, also walk, take public transport, as we don't have a car now, had to give it up in 2015.  Fortunately I'm in good mental health, having survived coercive psychiatric drug treatment 3 times, getting off a cocktail of neurotoxins in 2003/4 after a menopausal psychosis in March 2002.  

I've a lot to be thankful for.  It's about the long game.


A selection of selfies!

home back garden

Springfield 64 bus stop

Dundee rail station

Glasgow bus to Queen Elizabeth Teaching & Learning Centre

one of my Dad's selfies from around 1963 at our home in Pomarium Flats, Perth, he was about 34yrs old; my Father died in 1986 aged 57, in London [in recognition of my Dad Willie Patterson; scriptwriter of Jeff Hawke; Daily Express & Titan Books]:

and a close-up photo he took of me, aged 10 or 11, at around the same time:


Thursday, 10 August 2017: on being an independent voice, leader, educator, survivor: Safe Houses for Psychosis

Monday, 13 August 2018

big pay packets are like anaesthetic

Just said this in a tweet, regarding the behaviour by DClinPsy (clinical psychology/psychological therapy) Professors and academics towards me since 2009, and "they are experts at blaming Mothers for mental illness & making sure our voices are silenced in the places of power ".

Prior to this I'd tweeted:

My action research about safe haven crisis houses won't be possible due to being financially impoverished ie I've not got the money for it.  The plans I had in 2016, slide from Minorities Conference 5 July 2016, have not materialised:

 However my vision is still the same, Safe Houses for Psychosis.

Friday, 10 August 2018

Handstands in the Dark: Janey Godley

I read this book very quickly which these days is unusual for me.  I said to a friend in an Email that the book had made a difference to my life.  It was both a confirmation and an inspiration.


Thursday, 9 August 2018

retaliation: what does it look like?

son Daniel & I in Crossgate Cupar 17Sep17
Since becoming a whistleblower about human rights abuses perpetrated on my son in February 2012 when a psychiatric patient I have become something of an expert in retaliation.

I've been faced with it in many different forms by people in positions of power who don't like a survivor Mother speaking out, the repercussions, and take it out on me.  It's not been pleasant but I've got more used to it, and prepared for it.

It can be subtle, undermining, softly softly approach, difficult to discern until afterwards, upon reflection.  Folk taking the high ground and making the point that I'm on the low ground.  Rubbing my nose in it.  

It has meant that I've become more of a lone ranger and independent traveller as it's easier to resist retaliation when I don't have to defend a friend or companion who may get caught in the crossfire.  

I see it as grist to the mill.  What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.  And take every opportunity to write about it, in blogs or on twitter.  Maybe eventually in book form.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

playing the system

Was tweeting this morning about antisocial behaviour getting the attention and it being a system issue:

It was concerning to hear the story of antisocial behaviour disrupting the peace of an elderly couple from Stirling, how it had affected their health, the 79yr old woman said this and her 84yr old husband spoke of his son-in-law putting up a 6ft high fence.  And so they use their bus pass to travel around Scotland to different places, in each other's company, the woman now walking with a stick after a fall in town, getting pins in her hip.  

They have 3 children, 13 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.  Well done to them!  We enjoyed our chat, wished each other well, hoped to meet again some day, in the passing.


Wee video on the move 3 August in Dundee after swimming at the Olympia, before meeting elderly couple in McDonalds:

then tweeting afterwards: 

minding your own business; whistleblowing isn't a career choice

Email just sent to Dr Margaret Hannah, Director of Public Health, NHS Fife:

"Dear Dr Hannah

This is an Email about mindfulness.

Please don't come up to me again in a train and ask to sit down next to me, just so that you can go on about retiring early on your big pension and then going on to lecture, write books and help your husband in his business.  Next time I will say No.

I'm really not interested in your ability to earn money while I get financially poorer because of being a whistleblowing, human rights campaigner in Fife and an unwaged Carer for my son who was abused by Nurses in the locked seclusion room of Stratheden IPCU, NHS Fife, in February 2012.  Fife Health Board got richer, to the tune of £4.4million, and we got nothing except targeting by DWP and bullying for speaking out about psychiatric abuse.

After I said to you about my hopes of teaching and earning some money, on DClinPsy or MH Nursing programmes, being dashed you showed no compassion at my plight, which I think demonstrates mindfulness perfectly.  A switching off to the other person's situation.  Being unable to feel compassion at their circumstances and sacrifices.

Copying in others, for their information and as witnesses.

Regards, Chrys

Chrys Muirhead
Safe Houses for Psychosis
writer, researcher, activist; cyclist, photographer, gardener, swimmer

BA Admin Management (best student); Postgrad Dip Community Education; Postgrad Cert TQFE (care subjects, 2008 Stirling University)

Monday, 6 August 2018

Prof Schwannauer 3May17: "I remain inspired by your motivation and energy for it"

link to Express article 5Oct14
I was reflecting on the failed PhD Clinical Psychology journey alongside my continued promotion of Safe haven crisis Houses for Psychosis, based on the experience of supporting my son in his recovery from abusive psychiatric treatment in February 2012 in Stratheden IPCU, Fife, and coming off Haloperidol which was forcibly injected in the IPCU locked seclusion room.  My son lives with me, we share a house together.

I remembered how Prof Matthias Schwannauer in his final Email to me said that he was inspired by my endeavours regarding Safe House alternatives:

And that Prof Andy Gumley had offered to be my academic mentor after giving a supportive reference for the PhD, saying:

"In terms of her abilities, I have no doubt as to Chrys’ analytical abilities, her ability to work independently, to make arguments or her industry, interests and motivation. I have been very impressed by the level of independence, energy, speed of thinking and commitment that she has brought to her campaigning and activism and this directly corresponds to the topic area of her PhD":

And then after my PhD offer was withdrawn I heard via Emails from Dr Paul Hutton about the bullying culture within the DClinPsy programme at Edinburgh, how he had been undermined, as I had been, and this had affected his confidence, also having to defend his students when in tears.  And so I approached Judy Thomson, NES Director of Psychology, about these concerns, and subsequently raised a complaint, reassured by her responses indicating support (which didn't actually transpire).  This was a very difficult time, it took up a lot of my energy, time and commitment, but it seemed the right thing to do.  I'd talked it over with my son after having second thoughts, deciding to go ahead with the complaint.

I know about mentoring and had previously worked 2006-8 in Fife College setting up and running a student mentoring project, was involved with the Scottish Mentoring Network and with a partnership of colleges and universities working in the area of mentoring.  I have supervised students at college and in voluntary sector and statutory agency posts, in a variety of disciplines, including community education and social work.  I knew what to expect from a supervisor and a mentor, and I didn't receive it from the academics involved in my PhD.  For whatever reason.  This was a big disappointment. 

My vision for Safe Houses in Scotland for people in psychosis is still ongoing.  I cannot afford to undertake visits to safe havens and crisis houses to gather information and network, as I'm on a low income, a pensioner and unwaged Carer receiving no allowances.  However I will continue to campaign for safer alternatives to psychiatric hospital inpatient treatment for people experiencing psychosis, altered mind states and extreme emotional distress. 

I will do my best to focus on the positive comments by Professors Schwannauer and Gumley about my motivation, energy and commitment, even though the PhD didn't happen.  They are busy men with their own projects and research areas.  I don't suppose my campaign from the survivor Mother perspective was a good fit.  My childhood was a happy one and I enjoyed bringing up my boys.  Many happy memories of achievements, shared adventures and experiences:

Angus & Edwin

Angus, Daniel & Edwin

Daniel & Edwin



me & the boys at my Sister's wedding, I was Maid of Honour 1999 😍

Thursday, 2 August 2018


Said this in an Email to a friend the other day:

"I thought of inciteful/insightful, how being the latter leads folk to accuse one of the former.  Also troublemaker/troubleshooter.  Exposing fly chancers and bully boys does not make me the baddie."


me aged 3 or 4 in kilt
Go to your Room! blog post 29July18

"Another story was of when we used to stay in Dunsinane Drive, Letham, Perth, 1950's, a council housing scheme, and the Dobie brothers bullied me when playing out in the street, and I'd go running in the house, greetin (crying).

I'd be about 4 years old so don't remember this.  My Mother said that my Dad taught me to box so as to defend myself from the bully boys and after this they ran in greetin tae their Maw.  And then she complained to my Mum about me bullying them.  She was very proud of my ability to stand up to the bully boys and to girls who would challenge me to fight in the Caley (Caledonian) Road Primary School girls playground.  This happened a few times and I had a seconder, a friend who stood with me, but the challenger never turned up to fight."

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."