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