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


on being a troubleshooter

(A wee blog post written when out and about on my mobile device 😊)

Someone at swimming this morning called me a "troublemaker".  I said No I'm a trouble shooter.  There's a difference.

"a logical, systematic search for the source of a problem in order to solve it, and make the product or process operational again" Wikipedia
"Troubleshooting is the process of identifying, planning and resolving a problem"

That's what I'm about, especially since getting "meaningfully involved" in Scotland's mental health world, having to expose systematic psychiatric abuse in Stratheden Hospital and resisting bullies. 

V&A and Discovery ships today

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Emails 23Aug12 re Adult Protection Investigation Report accusing me of causing psychological harm

Have just been recalling the attempts made by Fife Council Social Work Services Mental Health Officers in their Adult Protection Investigation Report to blame me for the locked seclusion room abuses in February 2012, allegations that I caused my son "psychological harm" and a Police Officer's maligning testimony about my character after he didn't do his job properly.  Here are two Emails from 23 August 2012 after I received a copy of this Report, having had to do an FOI request to get it:

"From: chrys muirhead <>
Date: 23 August 2012 06:59
Subject: complaints - adult protection investigation - MHO team
Cc: Roseanne Fearon <>, Phyllis Turner <>, Julie Paterson <>, Lesley Weir <>, John Smith <>

Dear Mr Moore

I am writing to complain about the adult protection investigation into my son Daniel Muirhead's treatment in Stratheden Hospital in February this year. Undertaken by investigating officers John Smith and Lesley Weir, MHOs, between 27 February and 18 May.

My son and I got a copy of this report yesterday afternoon by Phyllis Turner, Team Leader, at the Cupar office. It was the first time we saw the complete report and realised that I - mother, primary carer and named person for my son - had been under investigation. As a 'cause for concern'. On the say so of PC Michie, who didn't know me or my relationship with my son. Who said on 15 March that I had prevented my son from providing statements about his being assaulted by a nurse in Lomond Ward. Whose comment about me "It also appears that Chrys Muirhead likes to portray a measure of control over anyone she comes into contact with and this is detrimental to her son" was accepted by the MHO team as being accurate. And a reason to investigate me and malign my character.

I contend that this allegation about me, accepted by the MHO team, meant that the investigation into my son's treatment was not carried out effectively. I was the one who raised concerns about my son from the 1 February onwards, in many Emails to Fife Council staff. I was the one who said that he has been assaulted by a nurse in Lomond Ward on 1 February. I visited him regularly in the IPCU and highlighted the human rights abuses in the ward. And yet the MHO team decided to investigate me, on the basis of an 'opinion' of a police officer who hadn't done his duty properly.

I work in mental health as an activist and campaigner, and take part in many national mental health groups, in different disciplines. I also guest lecture at Abertay University on the mental health nursing programme. I am well known to the Fife Council Social Work managers, having been funded by them to run events which their staff have attended. Phyllis Turner and Lesley Weir attended the Mary O'Hagan event I ran in St Andrews in March 2011 where Roseanne Fearon gave the opening address.

I contend that Phyllis Turner, MHO Team Leader, knew me well, my character and commitment, and should not have accepted the false allegation made by PC Michie on my character. That I was causing my son "psychological harm" (phrase used p36). This slanderous allegation diverted the investigation from its proper task which should have been to look into my son's treatment.

I also want to complain that the investigation took more than 3 weeks to begin. Time in which my son's human rights were abused. He was locked in a room in the IPCU with no toilet or water, on more than 3 occasions, overnight, left with his broken hand untreated on the first night. He was denied freedom of expression. I was not allowed to visit by the front door of the ward when other visitors were. I had to go in the back door.

I contend that the MHO Lesley Weir knew the conditions in the ward and my concerns about my son's treatment from the beginning of February. And nothing was done about it by the MHO team until the end of February. By which time my son was about to be transferred to Lomond Ward. I was the only one standing up for the rights of my son, through February, and yet the MHO team decided to investigate me. I ask you who is going to investigate the MHO team? When they are not doing what they should be doing. Standing up for the rights of patients under the mental health act.

As my son's carer I should have been treated with respect by the MHO team. The mental health act is clear about the place of carers. "Principle 7. Respect for carers - Those who provide care to service users on an informal basis should receive respect for their role and experience, receive appropriate information and advice, and have their views and needs taken into account.". I was also my son's Named Person. Which should be a safeguard under the act. I had the right to support my son and protect his interests. Which I was doing rigorously from his going into Lomond on 1 February to his incarceration in the IPCU to when he was discharged on 18 April.

I also want to complain about MHO Lesley Weir and her sharing of personal information about her son who is a psychiatric inpatient in a locked ward at Murray Royal Hospital. She did this at a meeting with my son and I in the Social Work department at Castlehill, around May time. It was very distressing for my son to hear this. It has meant that he is not keen on meeting with Lesley Weir or with any of the MHO team. Because of this he didn't want to go ahead with the direct payments claim. It meant that he and I were further isolated and devoid of support in his recovery. It's not good practice for social workers to share this type of personal detail with clients. It is unprofessional and detrimental to their clients' wellbeing.

I will have more to say on this as I study the adult protection investigation report in detail. I have started a complaint against PC Michie. I am concerned for other carers in Fife and for the support, or lack of support, they may be getting from Fife Council Social Work Service. I am concerned for patients in psychiatric hospitals in Fife and their rights being upheld under the mental health act. I am not confident that the MHO team is doing their job properly. Which is resulting in human rights abuses in psychiatric care. I want this to be investigated.

Regards, Chrys

Chrys Muirhead





[Stephen Moore was Director of Social Work, Fife Council]

adult protection investigation - "cause for concern that Mr Muirhead's mother is causing him psychological harm" - respect for carers or character defamation?

chrys muirhead

Thu, 23 Aug 2012, 15:19


Phyllis Turner <>
cc:John Smith <>,
Lesley Weir <>,
Julie Paterson <>,
Roseanne Fearon <>,

We are beginning to work our way through the adult protection investigation report and already note a number of concerns.  Inaccuracies and misrepresentation. 

In particular the accusation made by John Smith about me causing "psychological harm" to my son, in the report written by him on 18 May.

"There is also cause for concern in relation to Mr Muirhead arising from the manner in which Mrs Muirhead involves herself in Mr Muirhead's affairs which may involve psychological harm", p33,
"cause for concern that Mr Muirhead's mother is causing him psychological harm", p36.

I am assuming that he is the person that coined this phrase?  Or it may have been yourself, as I notice that you attended meetings with John Smith and NHS Fife staff.  The 'cause for concern' raised by PC Michie on 15 March doesn't mention this phrase. 

Firstly I am astonished that Fife Council Social Work Service should attempt to lay the blame for any harm on my shoulders.  My son was assaulted in Lomond Ward, restrained, secluded and forcibly treated.  Resulting in a broken hand when he was cornered in a room by 3 male psychiatric nurses.  All of this happened when I had gone out of the ward to get some clothes for my son.  Thinking that he was being 'looked after' by NHS Fife nursing staff.

I was the one who spoke the police about my son being assaulted.  An appointment was made for the police to visit him in the IPCU on 7 February but the police didn't turn up.  I met with PC Michie on 16 February at 2.50pm at Cupar police station and again the next day after 4pm at Cupar.  Both times I spoke about my son being assaulted.  Lesley Weir is well aware of this information and there will be police records of my visits. 

And I was the one who advocated for my son at clinical meetings, visited him regularly in the IPCU, arranged for a good friend to share the visiting, a pastoral deacon at Cupar Baptist Church.  I put up with not being allowed in the front door of the IPCU like all the other visitors.  I was discriminated against and disrespected.  I was not allowed to take a photo of my son's injuries, his broken hand and bruising.  Which everyone in the IPCU witnessed but can't seem to remember. 

I ask you - who are the ones causing psychological harm?

I will be sending you a number of Emails about this report which I hope you will print and collate in a file.  Unlike NHS Fife who seemed to have a sporadic record of all my complaints Emailed from 1 February onwards.  It is important for you and your MHO team to learn from this experience.  Of how to work with carers, respect carers and the person they care for.  As mentioned in the mental health act and the new mental health strategy.

Regards, Chrys

Chrys Muirhead






I was very busy that year raising complaints about NHS Fife, Fife Council Social Workers and Fife Police, while also singlehandedly supporting my son after Nurse abuse in Stratheden IPCU/Ward 4, dealing with the flashbacks.  I was also involved in various mental health groups nationally, blogging and tweeting.

Not sure how I survived it.  Well done Mother and Son!

seeing in the New Year 2019!
New Year's walk by Russell Mill & the golf course

Friday, 4 January 2019

Fife's Mental Health Strategy Review: my first thought? a pointless exercise

Received this morning by Email from HSCP (Health & Social Care Partnership) Fife-wide Division Business Manager:

"Fife’s Mental Health Strategy Review
Due to the rapidly changing landscape in mental health services both locally and nationally, Fife Health and Social Care Partnership is reviewing its current Fife Mental Health Strategy “What Matters to You?” 2013-2020.  It is proposed that the new Mental Health Strategy for Fife will be implemented from April 2019 to 2023.
Fife Health and Social Care Partnership are seeking views from a variety of stakeholders, which will inform the Strategy and shape the future for mental health related support services in Fife.  We would be grateful if you would take part in the survey (link below) or use the attached feedback form to provide your comments and views.  This should ensure we undertake as wide a consultation as possible, in the short timescale, and capture the views of as many people as we can. 
The timescale is as follows:
·     Communication plan developed– this has identified all relevant stakeholders – individuals and their families using services, general public through People’s Panel survey, Mental Health Focus group members, participants from Mental Health Engagement event in May, staff (H&SCP, NHS Fife, Fife Council), voluntary sector organisations, Police as well as members of our relevant Committees/leadership groups

 ·     January 2019 – feedback will be gathered from all interested parties through survey questions – available electronically (  or by post if required.
 ·     February 2019 the feedback from the survey will be added to the comments/feedback from our Mental Health Engagement event held in May 2018 as well as the extensive information gathered by Partnership staff about the ongoing and future projects in Fife.  The Strategy will then be drafted and circulated for initial comments.

·     March 2019 – final draft Strategy will be presented to the relevant committees for consideration.

·     April 2019 onwards – Strategy launched and implementation plans drafted to undertake any tasks identified as key priorities within the new Strategy
Thanking you in anticipation
Kind Regards"


My response:

"Thanks ......

My first thought? A pointless exercise."

Thursday, 3 January 2019

"I did not come to bring peace, but a sword" Matthew 10:34

Tweets this morning after waking (with the alarm!)

'Jesus sends out the Twelve' Matthew 10 in Bible Gateway


'The other side of the fence: Iatrogenic stigma.' in Hole Ousia


on Amazon
"The term stigma refers to a mark that denotes a shameful quality in the individual so marked. Mental illness is widely considered to be such a quality. Goffman, in his classic text, defines stigma as ‘‘an attribute that is deeply discrediting’’ that reduces the stigmatized person ‘‘from a whole and usual person to a tainted, discounted one’’. In Goffman’s view, stigma occurs as a discrepancy between ‘‘virtual social identity’’ (how a person is characterized by society) and ‘‘actual social identity’’ (the attributes really possessed by a person)."

"Underlying all forms of discrimination, including psychiatric stigmatisation, is an exaggerated attribution of ‘other-ness’ to certain individuals or groups. There is an assumption (made by the discriminator) of the existence of fundamental differences between themselves and ‘the other’.

The diagnostic lens, which brings part, but never the whole, into sharp focus, is a stigmatiser in itself. It can lead to a situation where the doctor (and the wider world) may cease to see the whole person, and be easily distracted from what else is going on outside any label. Whilst our profession has made great efforts to tackle stigma, a study by Lauber and colleagues found that nearly three quarters of relevant publications report that beliefs of mental health providers do not differ from those of the population, or are even more negative. This would seem to contradict the belief that mental health providers (including psychiatrists) should have more favourable attitudes due to professionals’ knowledge about mental disorders and their daily contact with those suffering from them. They concluded: “Our findings indicate that, while mental health providers are well informed about mental illness, they nevertheless do not always hold positive opinions about the conditions and the people they treat.” Here we may have a seemingly insoluble problem, as classifications of ‘disorders’ immediately labels a person into a category of ‘otherness.’ Those defining the ‘otherness’ must take care that this is not used to reinforce their own power: for one group to have more, another must have less."