Thursday, 31 January 2019

ordinary people doing extraordinary things are the stars

Blog posts written today via my Wordpress blog: on 94 bus to Leuchars on way to Dundee Olympia for swimming

'ordinary people doing extraordinary things are the stars'  

I hear stories and witness actions when on the move to Dundee, at bus stops, in cafes, when swimming, engaging in online social networks, of folk who are doing their best for others, family, friends and strangers, and it is inspiring, encouraging and hopeful.

They are going the extra mile because they care and it makes the world a brighter place for all of us.

View from our front door this morning, the last day of January, upon setting off for the 94 bus at Springfield Rail Station. Of the crescent moon with Venus on the left and a smaller Jupiter on the right.


'knitting, sewing, chillin ...' (written on x54 from Dundee back to Cupar)

I fair enjoy knittin on these wintry days and nights, at home and out 'n' about on travels, keeping fit, engagin wi like minds. Also sewing, recently getting the Singer out to alter and adapt skirts I'd bought from charity shops plus another handmade skirt from some green cord material purchased Remnant Kings Glasgow back in 2015.

Sock heel turned
Dressmaking table on Sunday past

Aran gilet completed
Tartan material panel added to denim skirt back seam
Today in V&A Dundee. Grey DK wool to knit a jumper ..

Today wee bit sock knit in V&A. Drifter DK Maryland shade 25% cotton mix.

my Mother's Singer Sewing Machine instruction booklet

Sunday, 27 January 2019

walking from Scone to Perth Isla Road by Annaty Burn 12Jan19

Arrived at Perth bus station with Pomarium Flats as a backdrop, my bedroom looked out on here, 1960's, 4th floor of the big block:

by the old Caley Rd Primary School where I went 1957-64, now flats
Went to Perth Leisure Pool Health Suite for swim, sauna, steam room by 3 buses via Dundee than a bus to Scone and a walk by the Annaty Burn:

leaving the Pool with an iced Calippo!

Scone Old Parish Church

Isla Road Perth, walking to A94 junction
Path from Scone by Annaty Burn, to Isla Rd/A93

Saturday, 26 January 2019

what does Justice look like?

I was asked again recently what Justice would look like, in respect of what happened to my son 7 years ago in Stratheden psychiatric Hospital, the locked seclusion room abuses, for which I got blamed in an Adult Protection Investigation Report by the Fife Police, Social Work and NHS.  Eventually receiving a written apology from Fife Health Board after winning my Ombudsman complaint in September 2014.  

NHS Fife got £4.4million from Scottish Government to build a new psychiatric unit, Hollyview Ward, to replace the old IPCU/Ward 4 which contained the locked seclusion room with no toilet, light or water.  After I won the Ombudsman complaint staff stopped using this room to "manage" patients.

At the very least Justice would mean a comfortable home in Dundee, like the one we have in Springfield, a council house, where we have lived since Easter Monday, 1998.  I tried from 2012 onwards to get a council house in Dundee, was on the housing list for 4 years but we weren't offered anything and our MSP at the time, Roderick Campbell SNP, said he couldn't help.  Since the end of 2015 we haven't been able to afford to run a car and this has made living here much more difficult.  

The local bus goes by Stratheden Hospital into Cupar where I buy food, get buses elsewhere, eg to Dundee, swimming most days in the Olympia.  I gave up the Cupar pool in 2015 because psychiatric nurses swam there, one of whom had assaulted my son 1 February 2012.  Because of my health conditions (including metal plate right fibula March 2005 as a result of max dose Venlafaxine, being prone to muscle strains, and bladder prolapse from August 2015, a breakdown after the years of campaigning) I need to swim daily to keep fit and mobile, which means 2 buses from our village.

me after swim in Olympia 25Jan19

My two older sons live in Dundee and my 2 grandchildren, living in the city without a car would be much easier for food shopping, fitness, cycling, socialising, visiting libraries, accessing learning and many other activities I cannot get to on dark nights, at weekends when less buses.  I'm 67 this year and would like to spend more time writing rather than waiting at bus stops, on buses to swim, to network.  I was born and brought up in Perth, was used to easy access to facilities, then passed my driving test when living in Crieff, have driven for over 40yrs, latterly had new cars when working full-time until 2008 coming into Scotland's mental health world as a person with "lived experience", to promote peer support and recovery.

Peer Support Fife website

My son avoids the local bus past Stratheden Hospital where he was an inpatient in 2005/8/10 and the final episode February to April 2012, after which I singlehandedly supported him, listened to the flashbacks from the abusive treatment in the IPCU.  He walks a mile to catch a bus at Clushford Toll, across a busy road.  My son lived with me then, as now, and was with me when we moved into this house 13 April 1998, nearly a month after my Mother died in the Adamson Hospital, Cupar, she's buried in Cupar graveyard:

I'm not getting any younger and want to move from Springfield while still mobile.  Having been an unwaged Carer since 2010 and a mental health human rights campaigner since 2012 has financially impoverished me.  I have worked very hard to promote improvements to local mental health services, at cost to myself in time, energy and money.  I get no Carers Allowance since 2015 when receiving a basic State Pension.  You don't give up caring just because the money stops.  It's a lifestyle choice, caring for others.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Broughty Castle, beach & Reres Park 10Jan19

Uploading photos and videos from mobile phone, these from Broughty Ferry, Dundee:

Alice Merton - Lash Out

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Autism diagnoses for damage done by prescribed drugs & coercive treatment?

This tweet seemed to garner a bit of response:

I wonder if there's a pattern here?

Friday, 18 January 2019

the risk of retaliation when raising complaints

I happened to catch a tweet from the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland about their latest Visit Reports:

and had a look through the report on the "announced" visit by MWC to Lomond Ward, Stratheden Hospital, and noticed some of the same issues that were there back in the days when my son was an inpatient, in 2012 and before that in 2010.  I raised a number of concerns in 2010 which included poor nursing practice, the lack of OT activity and the risks to female patients on this mixed gender ward who were uninhibited due to their emotional state, maybe exarbated by prescribed drugs.  I copied my Emailed concerns at the time to Scottish Government's Head of Mental Health Division, Geoff Huggins, and to the CEO of MWC, Dr Donny Lyons, as well as other MH leads in Fife statutory organisations.

I do believe that raising concerns (also speaking at a MWC workshop in 2011 about Lomond Ward issues "anonymously") led to my son not getting crisis support when suicidal for a month from Xmas 2011 and then the abusive treatment on 1Feb12 in Lomond then IPCU/Ward 4.  I was labelled a "troublemaker" and attempts made to blame me for causing "psychological harm" when Nurses locked my son in the seclusion room with no toilet, light or water, for hours on end, unobserved, with broken hand untreated.   

Since then I've raised other complaints in different settings when faced with unfair treatment, bullying, risky behaviour, and it has resulted in different forms of retaliation, most often exclusion, in mental health matters, including academic clinical psychology.  Fortunately that's not been the case in other settings where fair play is more likely, the balance of power more equally distributed.  

It's not put me off making complaints when necessary although it can be time consuming and energy draining.  I can understand why psychiatric inpatients are careful not to criticise MH Nurses when interviewed by the likes of MWC staff.  Nurses can write things in Notes justifying dehumanising treatment, I found this out in 2012 when they said about me "difficult and demanding Mother" and "family history of schizoaffective disorder". 

on Wednesday 16Jan19 at Dundee Uni student union bar after swim 😊

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

"people don't talk about it ..."

Today in the showers at the Dundee University swimming pool I was chatting with a fellow female swimmer about Blood Pressure pills and side effects, how I got diarrhoea when on Lisinopril, thought I had irritable bowel sydrome.  I remember saying this to the GP a long while back, she never contradicted me, or said it could be a side effect of the BP pill.

It was only after feeling lightheaded, faint, having to call paramedics, in 2014, following the bullying Email by Scottish Government's Head of Mental Health Division Geoff Huggins, that an A&E Doctor at Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy, advised me to change the BP pill to another, because of the side effects I was experiencing.  So I went on to Candesartan, eventually came off it myself, maybe in 2016, can't remember, was fed up taking them, should never have
cycling to Queen St Station Glasgow 25Oct17
been on them, anyway I was much fitter by then, cycling, swimming.

When I mentioned the diarrhoea side effects, having to carry spare clothes around just incase, had a car back then, the fellow swimmer said that people don't talk about it, experiencing embarassing side effects.  I didn't at the time, couldn't manage long bus journeys incase of accidents, would use the train.  Since coming off the BP pills I don't have that issue anymore, neither do I get lightheaded or palpitations.   

My opinion is that I should never have been on BP pills.  When I got tested, wearing a machine for 24hrs, I was very busy that day, rushing around, no doubt affecting the readings.  In my experience Doctors are quick to put you on these pills and very reluctant to take you off them.  As with neurotoxins you have to do it yersel.  

after swim at Olympia Dundee 15Jan19
These days I'm much fitter than I used to be 10yrs ago, not as heavy, less stressed, walking more due to not having a car, swimming most days, cycling in warmer weather and lifting weights, either dumbbells in the house or shopping bags.  I would go to the gym if I lived in Dundee but it's difficult to carry trainers and sports gear as well as swimming stuff, food shopping, rucksack with knitting, torch, hairbrush, battery charger for phone, sweeties, other odds and ends when travelling around all day.  

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Launch of the 'Wee Cat Diaries' Sunday 9 March 2008

My first foray into blogging was starting up this blog about our cats at the time, Zena, Gypsy and Sooty, now all gone, lived to a good old feline age, I miss them ...

link to wee cat diaries blog
The main reason for doing the blog was to ease the pain of not being allowed to have our grandson to stay overnight, he was 3yrs old by this time and my husband and I enjoyed spending time with him.  His other grandparents in Dundee had him to stay all the time from when he was a baby.  It just didn't seem fair.  

When my husband and I separated in 2011 he said that the main reason for his bad behaviour, resulting in the breakdown of our marriage, for a period of 18mths before this, was that he had given up hope of seeing his grandchildren.  Our other grandson was in America.  Sooty was his cat and she stayed with my son and I, after our separation, eventually died at age 20, in her last years becoming devoted to me:

June 2013, Sooty sitting on my knee, watching over me as new kitchen going in
After Zena died in 2013 Foxy adopted us, appearing in our back garden when my son was out late one night, in the wind, and staked us out for about a week, so we took her in, she was a lovely cat, it was devastating when she was killed by a car on our street on 19 March 2016, a hit and run [remembering Foxy]:

Foxy 13Mar16, just days before she was killed on our street

I've filed for divorce from my husband in Dundee Sheriff Court after more than 7 years of a separation.  It's taken so long because in the early days I was too busy supporting my son after abusive psychiatric treatment and raising complaints about it.  We won't be getting back together again so it made sense to become single again. 

Cycling Cupar to Cupar Muir 13Jan19

Saturday, 12 January 2019

"This is Psychiatry. Punishing sons for the bad behaviour of their fathers."

This morning on x54 bus to Dundee: 

Wanted to capture these tweets in a blog post, having noticed this man at bus stop and going over to engage with him.  I used to often see him at Dundee bus station with his Mum but haven't seen her for a long time.  We were volunteers together at LINK MH Befriending Project East Fife, first meeting each other at the training course in autumn of 2003 in St Andrews when I was still on psychiatric drugs, at the beginning of my recovery, getting motivated with voluntary work.

This Mother attended the Celebrating Recovery event I ran in April 2008 under the auspices of Peer Support Fife, funded by Scottish Recovery Network, although I did all the work.  She was always hopeful and supportive of her son getting better, mental health wise.  He did look better today than what I've seen him and it was good to witness this.  I think that will be about 30yrs that he has lived with MH challenges and many of these in Stratheden Hospital, surviving psychiatric abuse.  

There has to be a better way of working with men in mental distress.  I've had 3 sons engaging with the psychiatric system, experiencing psychosis after leaving home for university in the city.  All of them were induced to be born, overdue, I was put on oxytocin to bring on contractions.  They must have surely felt safer in the womb?  Forced to come out into the world and then experiencing a rite of passage from youth into adulthood, after leaving home and their good Mother.  

wee trip on bus to Granite City revisiting the past

After swimming yesterday morning at Olympia I decided on spur of moment to take Citylink bus to Aberdeen, and jogged to Seagate where Megabus was about to set off. Only 3 passengers on the 1hr 20min journey. Front seat top deck:

I was heading for Devanha Terrace where I stayed in digs 1st year on MA Accountancy degree. My Auntie Margaret, Dad's big sister, organised this accommodation and went with me to visit, summer of 1970. I didn't know who my room-mate would be or that the others in the digs were 2 men who had trained for the priesthood in another twin bedded room and 2 Catholic women in single bedrooms. I only found this out after starting at university on my 18th birthday, 28 September 1970.

That first freshers week I joined the weightlifting club and the OTC (Officers Training Corps). These were the activities which appealed to me from all the ones on offer. My Mother was in Murray Royal mental hospital Perth all that summer and my Granny had died in the July. My Dad was sequestered in London since 1969 after his contract was terminated at the Daily Express scriptwriting Jeff Hawke. So my Auntie had brought the Social Work into our family and wee sisters were fostered temporarily, 9 and 14yrs younger than I. No-one consulted me about it.

On Devanha Terrace recalling student digs experiences 1970/1.

View from McDonalds on Union Street having lunch.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

on a Dundee Library PC writing ...

after swim at Olympia
[written today at around midday, saving it on pen drive] 
I’ve been for my usual daily Mon-Fri  swim first thing at Olympia Dundee and got the bus to Broughty Ferry Library to try out writing a piece on a PC here, booking it with my library card, to see if it might be a way of working with words, away from the home environment.

I’d really like to start creating fictional short stories or prose, weaving in some of the happenings I’ve experienced on travels and throughout life which are better suited to flexible storytelling with room for imaginings.  Even experimenting with science fiction which my Dad Willie Patterson was known for, as scriptwriter of Jeff Hawke, created and illustrated by Sydney Jordan, late 1950’s to 1969.  

As a mental health activist, campaigner, blogger and whistleblower, I’ve become a writer to have a voice, and in 2012 when writing on Robert Whitaker’s Mad in America blogging website my prose took wings, in a sense, because of the battle I faced, exposing the human rights abuses of the locked seclusion room at Stratheden Hospital IPCU/Ward 4 and supporting my son.  I retired from blogging on MIA in September 2015 after experiencing a complete breakdown due to the years of campaigning and no real justice.  And I got back to swimming and fitness, taking buses in Jan16 to the Olympia as we had to give up running a car in the December.

I’ve got a PC at the window, looking out at the Ferry rooftops, can hear workmen with tools and inside the occasional murmur of staff and visiting pre-school children with mums.  I used to bring my Grandchildren to this library at that age, sitting on comfy seats, reading stories from books to my Granddaughter while my Grandson took his time perusing the non-fiction section, interested in vehicles, science, action topics.  When younger he liked Bob the Builder on TV so we got him a toy tool belt and a selection of trucks for playing inside and outside in sand, earth, stones.  Now he’s a teenager and into team sports, scoring goals.

7Mar17 Stamford Bridge
I’ve watched my Grandson playing hockey, rugby and football, and in 2016 we visited Hampden, Glasgow, together, then in 2017 I went to the Chelsea Stamford Bridge site to look around, saw the Shed Wall, took photos, got stuff for him out of the fitba shop.  I was in London for a book launch at St George’s, on Psychiatric Nursing, as I’d written Chapter 3 together with a mental health nurse who didn’t attend.  Ironically they described me as a nurse in the bio too.   I’d written from the psychiatric survivor perspective and my input seemed to be in demand by the editor, Prof Mary Chambers.  I’m not in contact now with my co-writer who was also my supervisor on a PhD Clinical Psychology at Edinburgh University which didn’t transpire.  It wasn’t a good fit.  The Chapter we wrote together was entitled ‘Developing and maintaining therapeutic relationships’.  Another irony ...


view from inside Broughty Castle grounds today
sticky sand on Broughty Beach today 😉

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

blogging on the move: V&A Dundee; French pleating; swimming for motivating muscles

Three posts written on my Wordpress blog via mobile device, Galaxy 8, when in Dundee today:

V&A Dundee bonnie views & sock knitting

Sitting with favourite tipple of diet coke iced, in the Dundee V&A, looking out on the silvery blue Tay and road bridge, sock knitting tae hand, chillin! Braw.




French pleating

Since growing my hair I’ve been pleating it for swimming and when on the move, on bike or walking. More recently it’s got long enough for weaving into a French pleat. Last time I did this to my own hair would have been 30yrs ago, 1989 when a returning adult at Lanark Grammar doing Highers in Music and Classical Greek. The year before I’d achieved As in Higher English and Maths.

I’ve practised the hairstyle at home and on the move in buses and trains!




Swimming first thing best for motivating muscles!

Yesterday I tried a different exercise programme, going for a 3 mile walk in Dundee, from South Road to Balgay Hill and down Blackness Road first thing then going to Olympia for a swim. However I struggled doing lengths and later had aching muscles, a sore back, so today went back to the usual: 94 bus to Leuchars then 99 bus to Dundee for a 20-30min swim.

Feel much better, enjoyed swim again and relaxing muscles under hot shower. Very good!

this morning after swim