Saturday, 31 October 2020

once upon a time - a fairy tale

 Once upon a time there was a gay young prince charming who wanted to have it all - a wife and family, a big house in the country and his gay friend on the side.  And so he cast a spell on a young woman from a far off land whose parents were rich and powerful, and who believed in happy ever after because of the way she'd been brought up.  She also cared, had a warm heart, and this was a bonus.  The gay young prince had hit the jackpot.

A chance meeting on a granite city street saving a life was the Cupid dart, on her side if not his, and the gay young prince began to believe in happy ever after for himself.  For it was all about him, he had learnt this in childhood, how to survive when the chips were down.  And he liked money so it was a perfect match from his point of view and any irregularities could be ironed out, he was sure of it, being such a charmer, as well as a chancer.

Everything went swimmingly until the cracks began to appear and the storyteller isn't party to this breakdown or what led to it.  But the prince did desire a cushy job, undertaking training in the great outdoors where he could swan around in a garden with privet hedges, super hiding places when playing games with friends. (storyteller can understand this, having played hide and seek games in the bushes with friends when a child)

The breakdown seemed to be traumatic for the not so young gay prince, according to his reports, and he got a shock at the treatment he received, broke a tooth, ouch.  However he managed to make more friends being so charming and this helped to pass the time away from his devoted family in the big house, now in a village, not so far distant from her rich parents who had left their homeland years before, to make more money and be more comfortable.

And so his beautiful, rich family grew up and got used to his snapping, pictures and home movies, acting the part of a devoted, rich, beautiful family in a grand house within a picturesque village which had choice emporiums, including a drugstore where he could pick up the potions his wife had organised for him. For by this time she had grown up quite a bit being a mother with her own large income and rich parents nearby.

And all the time their children were also growing up, spreading their wings, getting ready to fly the nest, having had a very privileged upbringing, moneywise and a very good schooling without having to pay for it.  More money in the coffers for the future, whatever that might be, for the story hasn't happened yet and this storyteller isn't a part of it, in any way whatsover.  She was only an onlooker and unpaid confidante, under no obligation to keep secrets, whatsoever, unlike these rich professionals who have made their money from hearing the secrets of others.

This is a story about honesty, transparency, ethics, morality, family matters and confidentiality.  And how a professional can preach these standards but may not be practising them personally.  A double life, double standards, double entendres and a m√©nage √† trois (quatre, cinq, six, sept ...). 

I don't know how it ends, I'm only the storyteller. And this is just a fairy tale.


Listened to The Beatles songs when writing this fairy tale: 

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

"let the punishment fit the crime"

 Tweets this morning:







Sunday, 25 October 2020

to not know your arse from your elbow

Definition: to be very stupid


be​/​go out of your mind
lose the plot
take leave of your senses
go mad
go nuts
have a screw loose
be going soft (in the head)
need your head examined
be​/​go round the bend
be off your head

Macmillan Thesaurus 

Which in my opinion describes some psychiatrists to a T and any of their close associates.

Arse and Elbow - Cartoon - T-Shirt | TeePublic 

from comments I made on Facebook about the failure of some doctors to accurately diagnose:

"they can't tell their arse from their elbow; dementia from a psychosis"



Thursday, 15 October 2020

"there is something on your back"


This Doctor Who episode came to mind today after receiving a host of unwanted Emails about negative mental health topics from Scottish agitators.  This has happened before and when I have got involved with them it's not been a positive experience.  

I can think of many other similar examples since 2008 when I dived into Scotland's mental health world wanting to help promote peer support and recovery, as a person with Lived Experience, because I thought there was a genuine move to shift the balance of power in psychiatric treatment.  

The good thing about setting up Peer Support Fife and organising many events with a range of speakers, including international visitors, and running workshops in other Scottish areas, was that I got a "profile" in mental health and this was a great help in 2012 when exposing human rights abuses in Stratheden psychiatric Hospital.  This has been well documented by me in blogs and on social media.

I'm a caring person, have worked in communities since 1980 with children, young people and adults, to empower and provide opportunities for learning.  As a child growing up in Perth, Scotland, I had many different friends at school and afterwards, at play, and was a natural leader, an independent thinker, however mostly under the radar, not a prefect or teacher's pet, enjoying adventures and a bit of mischief at times.  

photo of me taken by my Dad c1963


I did well at Perth Academy without too much effort, gaining enough Highers in 5th year to get unconditionals at 4 Scottish Universities - Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling. I stayed on to 6th year doing Algebra, Calculus and Algol computer programming plus Higher Geography and dressmaking. Dabbled in German and Physics O-grades but gave them up as wasn't interested.  I also taught a girl in O-grade Maths, getting paid for it, she passed.

I found out about my leadership abilities at a youth leaders' training weekend, Wrangholm Hall, New Stevenson, in around 1981 when we lived at Rigside.  The organisers got us to undertake a range of games and activities to find out our skills, attributes.  One of them was at midnight in the garden, in the dark, in teams tied together with thread, and I eventually took charge after a lot of dithering about.  

Another activity was a game which they videod, of us negotiating with each other to gain points, which I again did well at, although I was very self conscious at being filmed, didn't like watching myself on video.  However I didn't do the Trust games which everyone else took part in. And they showed the One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest film which I'd not seen before.  But I never said anything about having been a mental patient in 1978.  



I'd got onto the Krypton Factor in 1980 at Granada TV after my sister-in-law sent off for the application without telling me.  So I went in for it along with 10k others and 500 of us got interviews, mine was at STV Cowcaddens, then 32 of us got on TV, 8 heats of 4 and I was against 3 men.  

my sister-in-law Vanessa took this photo, she helped me get fit for assault course


I ended up last, the taxi driver won our heat.  And I was last at the assault course, being scared of heights but at least I finished it, way behind my fellow male contestants.

all the assault course heats were held together at an army base 1980

I suppose keeping fit has been a constant through the years from when I joined the Aberdeen University Weightlifting Club the first week of first term, end of September 1970, along with the OTC/Officers Training Corps for which I got paid, a definitive incentive, plus learning .22 rifle shooting which I enjoyed, also the orienteering in the hills above Faslane, although I wasn't so keen on wearing the uniform and marching.

Keeping fit at various times over the decades from then until now has no doubt helped when it feels like I've been carrying others on my back or they have jumped on without asking my permission.  It's one thing to carry your bairns after psychiatric abuse, taking the strain, until they can recover from the space invasion and coercive drug treatment.  But I don't appreciate others taking advantage of my good nature, thinking they can jump on my back, manipulating my time.

Ending on a positive note: today's Bodyjam exercise dance class in Dundee was good fun and very useful for helping sore knee to recover.  I really felt the benefit during and after.  


Wednesday, 14 October 2020

torn knee ligament worse than pulled hamstring

Was reflecting on this fact, how in my experience the medial collateral ligament damage on left knee, which happened at the end of May during Lockdown when exercising at home, has been more problematic than when I fell of the folding bike at Haymarket, September 2016, after the ScotGov MH Strategy meeting in COSLA, caught left leg in bike and injured my hamstring, thigh and hip.  



The pain was worse with the left leg hamstring injury in 2016, to begin with, however it healed quicker with swimming and also had a physio appointment, eventually.  This time with knee ligament injury it didn't feel so bad when it happened but got worse over time, seemed to "go again" after a couple of months, had to get it diagnosed at Ninewells A&E on 31 August.



On 23 September I got a phone call with a physio to discuss my left knee medial collateral ligament injury and this was useful.  Confirmed that I was doing the right thing, in terms of swimming exercises, walking, and was informed that it could take up to a year to heal which I didn't know. 

I'd not had either a hamstring or knee ligament injury before so it's been a learning experience.  And I'm using the knee pain to spur me on to lose weight, eating much less calories, to reduce the stress on my legs as I get older.  I've enjoyed being heavier as a MH activist, campaigner and whistleblower since 2012, resisting the bullies and those who tried to silence my voice.  However now I'm heading towards my 70's I do need to get slimmer, carry less weight.

Monday, 12 October 2020

Dress Smart

Upon waking this morning I was remembering the Dress Smart outlet in Onehunga, Auckland, New Zealand, where I visited in a taxi from the Holiday Inn airport hotel, to recover from the negative experience in the biker motel, when on the Exchange with the IIMHL (International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership) via Mind & Body.

I managed to find the Holiday Inn online when in motel room late on the Sunday evening 1 March 2009 before the internet ran out and the very helpful hotel staff recommended Onehunga trip on 3 March.  Taxi driver was a woman who used to live in London and we had a lovely chat there and back, and it was therapeutic, helping me prepare for the 3 hour flight to Brisbane the next day:

Onehunga photos: 


Holiday Inn at Auckland airport photos:

patio view from room

room service meal, beautifully presented & delivered by kind Maori staff

swimming pool which I didn't try out, wasn't into swimming then

It was a challenging experience travelling to NZ and Australia on my own when I'd only been once out of the UK before, to France in 2007.  I wasn't met at Auckland airport after a 24hr flight and had to find my own taxi, driver from Fiji who was helpful, as was the Kenyan taxi driver who took me and my case from the sub-standard motel to the much better Holiday Inn.


Here are some Motel room photos.  It was smelly, there were stains on the bedcovers and I could have tholed it for the 4 nights if the room door lock didn't burst on the Sunday evening.  It felt safer to find alternative accommodation and was glad to be able to do so, arriving at the airport Holiday Inn Hotel eventually at around 11pm as the taxi driver had difficulty finding it, having recently changed ownership 1Mar09 from a Centra hotel.


fridge full of booze, I don't drink alcohol, there was no diet coke

no duvet, stained blankets, worn bed base

kitchen sink, microwave, kettle as if visitor would be staying for weeks!


The online photos and information about this motel looked nothing like the reality.  My hosts at the IIMHL Exchange were Mind and Body Consultants based in Auckland, and they couldn't have checked this place out for me to stay in. I wasn't happy about this and eventually confronted the owner Jim Burdett at the Brisbane conference after asking NZ folk to point him out to me.

When I complained to Mr Burdett about my negative experiences he said "I suppose I should apologise". I said "there's no suppose about it". Very disappointing that IIMHL should treat Scottish grandmothers so shabbily and disrespectfully.

I determined after this to ensure that any international visitors who I invited to Scotland would be well looked after and when Mary O'Hagan, NZ MH speaker came to Fife twice, at my invitation, to Cupar in May 2010 and to St Andrews in March 2011, I organised her accommodation, checking it out, with a sea view room at the Scores Hotel in St Andrews.  Similarly with Bob Whitaker in November 2011, a guest house room with a sea view on The Scores as the hotel was being renovated.


Robert Whitaker, Anatomy of an Epidemic, public lecture Cupar, Fife, Scotland, 19 November 2011 from Chrys Muirhead on Vimeo.



Sunday, 11 October 2020

Emperor's New Clothes - I kept saying "he's naked"

Tweeting about the Psychiatric System: 


A wee story from motherhood:

I used to get the Ladybird books for my boys when they were wee. We read them together.  Fairy tales, fables which told a truth within a tale, about life.  My oldest son Edwin learnt to read from the Ladybird Jane & Peter books when he was about 3 onwards, I taught him, then got a row from teachers when he started Douglas Water Primary for teaching him.  Which sums up it up exactly, the problem with school and teachers, in my experiences over a lifetime.

first 3 Jane & Peter books

So I didn't bother trying to teach my second son, who followed on 2yrs later at the same Primary school, how to read before he went to school, anyway he wasn't interested, being much more of an action man/boy, on tractors and racing cars as a wee laddie and even now in his 40's.  I remember the teachers comparing my middle son to his elder brother, saying how they were different, as if it was a negative.  Yup, that's teachers for you.  On occasion I had to advocate for my sons at school, protecting them from teachers.  


Back to the main thread of this post which is about Psychiatry, that it's the system which is mad, insane, corrupt and not fit for purpose.  I speak from over 50 years experience of engaging with the System.




1970 summer photo of me on my BSA Bantam 175cc motorbike at the back of the Pomarium Flats, Perth, where I was living on my own, working as an Auxiliary Nurse at Burghmuir Hospital, Letham, old women's ward, to support myself.  I didn't like the work but I needed the money to live off.

My Mother was in the locked Kinnoull women's Ward at Murray Royal mental Hospital and my Granny had died about a month before, she had been helping me look after my 2 wee sisters.  After her death my Auntie Margaret got the Social Work in without telling me and my sisters were fostered on a farm at Comrie, by Crieff.  So I spent that summer nursing old women who had bedsores, needed bedpans and bedbaths, some died but I was spared the duty of washing their bodies.  

Mercat Cross Blairgowrie

Dunkeld Bridge over the River Tay

by Pomarium Flats on Paradise Place

And I visited my Mother in the locked ward where she would cry about the other mother inpatient who had killed her child and then I would cry too.  And I took two buses to Comrie to visit my wee sisters and they cried when I left.  There was a bit of crying that summer and also enjoyment, on the BSA Bantam with my boyfriend or on my own, on a pony trekking holiday with a girlfriend and learning to post on the trot at horse-riding lessons at Errol.

On my birthday 28 September 1970 I left for Aberdeen University myself with case, getting the train from Perth station and that first week as a student I joined the Officers Training Corps [learning .22 rifle shooting, how to strip and clean the rifle, orienteering on the hills above Faslane, marching in uniform, earned money] and the University Weightlifting Club.  My Auntie Margaret had helped me find digs in Aberdeen that summer, sharing accommodation with ex-priests and other Catholic students.

And that's another story of survival ...

Friday, 9 October 2020

"alleged perpetrators were often given more support than victims"

'Church of England failures 'allowed child sexual abusers to hide'' BBC News, 6 October 2020

"The Church of England failed to protect children from sexual abuse, and created a culture where abusers "could hide", a report has concluded.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse's report says the Church's failure to respond consistently to abuse victims added to their trauma.

It added that alleged perpetrators were often given more support than victims.

The Church said it felt "shame" over the failings detailed in the "shocking" report. ..."

Reading this report reminded me of systematic psychiatric abuse and how mental health patients can have their capacity reduced even further by neurotoxin drug treatment, becoming like children, infantilised, and NHS fails to protect them/us/psychiatric patients from predatory behaviours and space invasion.  That's been my experience every time I voluntarily entered psychiatric settings for respite since 1978 and it got worse over the decades, culminating in the 2012 human rights abuses within Stratheden Hospital, Cupar, Fife.



A Clinical Psychology Professor said to me at a PhD preparation meeting in February 2017 at Edinburgh University, in response to my telling of this story, my son being abused in Stratheden Hospital, that "life isn't fair" as if I should get over it.  However I won't ever get over it, rather I have had to come to terms with the fact there is no justice after systematic psychiatric abuse, to have a life after it.  I won't forget it and so I gave up the PhD into Safe Houses for Psychosis because there was no real support from the ClinPsy fraternity who have their own pet projects within the system.

It took me a while to get over their lack of support, it felt like a betrayal, they blocked me soon after for externalising my pain.  Which perfectly demonstrates the work of clinical psychology in Scotland, keeping the status quo and failing to stand with the abused by psychiatry, silencing our voices.

Monday, 5 October 2020

the Muirhead/Patterson experiment - on being sane in insane places

"The Rosenhan experiment or Thud experiment was conducted to determine the validity of psychiatric diagnosis. The experimenters feigned hallucinations to enter psychiatric hospitals, and acted normally afterwards. They were diagnosed with psychiatric disorders and were given antipsychotic drugs. The study was conducted by psychologist David Rosenhan, a Stanford University professor, and published by the journal Science in 1973 under the title "On being sane in insane places".[1][2] It is considered an important and influential criticism of psychiatric diagnosis, and broached the topic of wrongful involuntary commitment." Wikipedia

 "While listening to a lecture by R. D. Laing, who was associated with the anti-psychiatry movement, Rosenhan conceived of the experiment as a way to test the reliability of psychiatric diagnoses.[4] The study concluded "it is clear that we cannot distinguish the sane from the insane in psychiatric hospitals" and also illustrated the dangers of dehumanization and labeling in psychiatric institutions. It suggested that the use of community mental health facilities which concentrated on specific problems and behaviors rather than psychiatric labels might be a solution, and recommended education to make psychiatric workers more aware of the social psychology of their facilities."

"Once admitted and diagnosed, the pseudopatients were not able to obtain their release until they agreed with the psychiatrists that they were mentally ill and began taking antipsychotic medications, which they flushed down the toilet. No staff member reported that the pseudopatients were flushing their medication down the toilets"

The only difference when I voluntarily went into psychiatric settings in 1978, 1984 and 2002 is that I swallowed the antipsychotics after being forcibly injected (1978/84, Hartwoodhill) or coerced to take them (2002, Lomond Ward, Stratheden).  It just meant that I had to be careful when coming off the neurotoxins, plan the taper, most difficult after the 2002 menopausal episode as they had me on a drug cocktail within a short period of time, the Venlafaxine max dose being the most iatrogenic to my system (suicidal impulse, overdose 2002; 3 fractures right fibula, bone loss, 2005).

me in 1980 on Gigha with oldest son, year I got on the Krypton Factor

Krypton Factor assault course 1980, all heats together


[I had made a full recovery after coercive psychiatric treatment in September 1978, escaping ECT, tapering and getting off the Chlorpromazine within the year]

I call this post Muirhead/Patterson because I first became aware of my Mother Anne Patterson resisting going into Murray Royal mental Hospital, Perth, in 1966 after my wee sister was born. I was 14 years old and my Dad, Willie Patterson (Jeff Hawke sci-fi comic strip writer) asked me what we should when my Mum wasn't sleeping, had what was called then "a nervous breakdown".  I said that she would have to go into the hospital for that's where I went aged 7 with a broken leg, to Bridge of Earn, to get a plaster on it.  Of course I didn't know about her getting courses of shock treatment/ECT against her will or forced drug treatment, although she may not have got the latter because of getting the former, and so could have more children.

My Mother died in 1998 so I can't verify the coercive regime she experienced in the 1960's and 1970's, and she didn't speak of it afterwards, just resumed her usual good mothering and housekeeping.  

Mum c1964

Mum with middle sister & Fergus our Grandparent's dog c1963

These two photos were taken by my Dad and you can see the difference, in the second photo my Mother looks as if she has recently been given a course of ECT/shock treatment.  She appears sedated, has a ladder in her tights and her hair is not stylish, her clothes frumpy, her face expressionless.

Here's a blurry photo taken by my middle son at Murray Royal mental Hospital in 1985 when we visited my wee sister in blue jumper who was an inpatient there at the time. Both of us with expressionless faces, hard to smile when coercively drugged.  My middle sister and husband are smiling away.

When I first scanned in this photo it was hard for me to share on social media as I haven't broadcast this image even in photo albums, I don't look at my best and it was a painful time, clinically depressed by the strong antipsychotic drugs, punished by psychiatry for externalising my distress at a traumatic birth and being coerced by our local doctor to go voluntarily by ambulance into the mental hospital to again be abused.

I was forcibly, internally examined after giving birth to my 3rd son a week before.  In this photo you can see I am drugged up, my hair is not stylish, my outfit unco-ordinated, I felt zombie-like, and again I got off the drugs within the year, having tapered under a psychiatrist, making a full recovery.

To be continued ....