Sunday, 4 July 2021

glad that my son is recovering in Ravenscraig psychiatric Ward

My son Daniel wasn't coping with living in Springfield on his own, after I moved out on 10 May, too many negative memories and associations, so he came to me in the first instance for some respite and care on 21 June, and to register himself homeless with Dundee City Council.  He did a phone interview application with a Housing Options worker on 23 June and then started filling in a Medical Advisory Service for the Housing. 

Reliving his mental health issues for the homeless application was stressful and also my son was anxious that staying with me might comprise my sheltered housing tenancy with Dundee City Council for we had been warned about this.  And so by the Sunday 27 June my son was experiencing a MH crisis, feelings of worthlessness, self harm and suicide.  I was very concerned about Daniel and we phoned Carseview who advised us to contact NHS 24 and they eventually put us back to Carseview and an assessment that afternoon.

We had hoped he might be admitted to Carseview but with his tenancy still in Fife they transferred him to Ravenscraig Ward, Whyteman's Brae, Kirkcaldy, by taxi, accompanied by a Nurse.  I was very concerned with how my son would cope as he had been discharged after a short stay there in April into Tarvit Mill Homeless Hostel, in the countryside, without any support, and I had to rescue him.

However I am glad to say that my son has settled into ward life at Ravenscraig and is being well cared for, is now getting out for walks and has twice met with the psychiatrist, a different Doctor from the last time he was an inpatient there.  Daniel does not want to be discharged into Springfield or Fife, he wants to live in Dundee near me and his two older brothers who live in the city.  We are hoping that his homeless application is successful and that he gets more points via his medical form which I completed and Emailed in on 30 June.  

We had wanted a move to Dundee out of Springfield in 2012 after the negative experiences in Stratheden psychiatric Hospital in the February for which I eventually got a written apology from NHS Fife, after winning an Ombudsman case in September 2014 against the health board for "unreasonable treatment" of my son.  I put our names on the Dundee City Council Housing list in 2012 but we weren't offered anything and I forgot to renew it in 2016 because of coping with my own health issues, a bladder prolapse and physical exhaustion after years of caring and campaigning.

I also tried for an exchange and asked family for help in buying an ex-council house but nothing transpired.  Then in 2018 we tried again for council housing in Dundee, looked at private rented, asked family for help, but again we got nowhere, had less income, on benefits and pension, so couldn't get a mortage to buy.  I did get offered a 2 bed sheltered flat in Dundee February 2020 before the pandemic and lockdown but it was an error, I was told, and they gave it to someone else.  During lockdown later in the year I was offered a 1 bed sheltered but was caring for my son, doing the foodshopping, he mostly staying at home, lung conditions, a very stressful year for both of us.  So I couldn't leave my son on his own in the Springfield house at that point.

After going for my first Covid19 vaccine at Cupar Corn Exchange 15 February this year and attempts made to prevent me getting it, by NHS Fife staff, this was very stressful for both my son and I.  On 12 March my son thought his lung was collapsing again and I took him to Ninewells A&E to get it checked out.  And by the time my son got his vaccine a month after me, same staff on the door, he wasn't mentally well and had to go into Ravenscraig Ward, 20 March.  

My son had been mentally well for 8yrs going into the pandemic lockdown, although he'd experienced another lung collapse in 2017, requiring an operation at the ERI and a painful recuperation on strong painkillers.  And that year we also had an anti-social neighbour moving in next door, barking dogs for up to 8hrs at a time, various other stressors.  It spurred us on again to look for Dundee accommodation, to get out of Springfield.  It was the year of lockdown and the aggression I experienced when trying to get my Covid19 vaccination that made it imperative for me to move out of Fife.  I think it was linked to my whistleblowing activities since 2012.

And my son will now need his own place in Dundee which I hope soon happens and that he can make a fresh start in the city, getting back to full health and wellbeing, with my support, and with a range of facilities available which he can access using his disabled bus pass.  And hopefully he can also improve his physical health by taking up leisure activities to keep fit and engage with others.  Much easier to do in the city which also has further education opportunities, my son having achieved an honours Sociology degree at Abertay in 2014.

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photo from when we lived in Rigside, Lanarkshire, in a council house 1980-90:

Daniel aged 3, 1987 at our back door, Rigside

Daniel aged 3 with his brothers, Douglas Water Primary School photo

Daniel aged 4, pre-school photo taken Douglas Water Primary

Daniel aged 4 with older brother Angus, wearing handknit cardi

1995 Nottingham, Daniel Scottish Schools Chess Champion, 2yrs in a row

Daniel in Kirk Wynd Cupar, 2008

Thursday, 24 June 2021

my home is a refuge, shelter and safe place

A statement of intent:

I am a Carer who cares about others, in particular my family, and if they are in need then I will support them, if at all possible, if I have the space and ability to do so.  If they require expert medical treatment then I will help them to access this and help them in their recovery afterwards.  

I will provide advocacy as required, helping them to speak out and to have a voice, to have their needs met.  I do not respond to intimidation from statutory agencies when it comes to my family, in particular my sons.  I will not be asking permission from anyone when it comes to providing a safe space, refuge and shelter for my son.  For NINE years we both tried to move out of Fife to Dundee and got no help to do so, from anyone.  

Then I was bullied by NHS Fife staff in Cupar Corn Exchange when going for my first Covid vaccine on 15 February and this caused my son to have another mental health crisis and hospitalisation.  Unforgiveable.  Sorry isn't good enough.  

I now have a sheltered 2 bed flat in Dundee which I have spent over £2000 (cashing in Royal Mail shares) in carpeting and furnishing, buying secondhand white goods, seating, tables, wardrobe, from Tayside Re-use on Douglas St.  I got no help from the Scottish Welfare Fund and my oldest son paid for most of my new bed cost.  I have very little savings left, not enough to bury me.  It has been costly moving out of Fife.  Now my youngest son needs to do the same, to have his own flat here, nearer me for support.

Lavender

picking Lavender

my potted plants out backie

view from kitchen window

living room window view

living room corner view

my bedroom windowsill

dining table

spare room craft table

making face coverings
 

 

sock knitting, Flutterby pattern, a gift

finished pair, slipped stitch handknit socks, a gift

in Tesco, Kingsway, recently shopping, by bus

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

power in our communities, a catalyst for change ...

 Yesterday I attended an online zoom seminar organised by HIS (Healthcare Improvement Scotland) collaborative communities with a strapline: The Power in our Communities: Catalyst for Change: Celebrating Community.  Not sure how I found out about it but the title drew me in to take part because it's how I am, it's the work I do, and I could identify with it.  Which is ironic as I'm a lone community activist and catalyst for change, in Fife for 31 years and now in Dundee, before that in Rigside, Lanarkshire.  And in the past I have challenged HIS leadership about their behaviour, winning an apology for a doctor because of it.

I cut my teeth on grassroots community development, childrens' and youth work, in the ex-mining village of Rigside where we lived 1980-90, and further afield in Lanark with SPPA and Play committees, and steering groups in Hamilton, Motherwell areas.  Voluntary work as my 3 sons were growing up, having twice made a full recovery from psychosis/psychiatry after tortuous childbirth labours in 1978 and 1984.  

1985 photo of my sons wearing velour jumpsuits (M&S) gifted by my Mother, their Granny, who worked in the Babygro factory at North Muirton, Perth, even although having a Schizophrenia diagnosis and being on a Depixol 3wkly antipsychotic injection.  My Mum was an amazing example to me and my family of overcoming abusive psychiatric treatment (many courses of forced ECT/shock treatment and memory loss).


1980's South Inch Perth

I would not be the person I am today were it not for my parentage and upbringing, and I couldn't have survived 3 bouts of coercive psychiatric drugging, making a full recovery from the treatment and diagnosis, were it not for being the daughter of a Kings Badge war veteran, science fiction writer Willie Patterson and his faithful wife Anne Ferrier Dewar, Dux of Secretarial College who did better at Latin than my Dad, at Perth Academy where my parents first met and became school sweethearts.  


They were a stylish couple, something else I inherited, my Mother a dressmaker, seamstress like her Mother Lizzy Edwards before her, from Auchterarder.  And my Dad's older sister Margaret was a craftswoman. his Mother my Granny a sock knitter, embroiderer, Highland Dancer and teacher in her earlier years.  

 

me & Granny at 10 Kingwell Terrace, Perth

I was named after Granny and Grandpa's favourite flowers Chrysanthemums which they brought into the PRI (Perth Royal Infirmary) after I was born on 28 September 1952, for Granny had wanted me to be named Jessie after her but my Mum suggested Chrys instead as Jessie wasn't a popular name that year.  And so I had a different name, spelling, couldn't be shortened which was useful.

me at around 4, Kingswell Terrace in background, happy wee girl, kilt wearing
 

The older I get the more thankful I am for my childhood, especially the pre-school years spent with my parents and grandparents, which shaped my life and made me the child and young person I became, the woman and mother, grandmother.  I was brought up to be a free thinking, independently minded child, a tomboy who felt equally at ease playing with boys or girls before puberty.  My Dad had taught me to box before school, to stand up to the bully boys on Dunsinane Drive, Letham, Perth, where we lived by the age I was in that photo above.  And my Mum told this story in later years, very proud of my ability to resist bullies and to be my own person.  

It sounds strange when saying it but I didn't know that I would grow up to be a woman and when puberty hit I was annoyed about it for years, how my relationship with boys changed.  I remember one day at our Pomarium flat when my Mum knocked on my bedroom door and said that an older boy was at the door, asking if I was going out .... he wasn't a laddie I used to go about with, rather a Teddy boy, hair slicked back, the older brother of a boy I went about with when at primary school.  I grumped at my mum No!  And I knew that my life had changed, I wasn't one of the boys any more. This was in around 1964, after I'd started Perth Academy.

Eventually in 1970 I agreed to go with my Storey's the draper's Saturday job girlfriend colleagues to the dancing on a Saturday night at the Sally (Salutation Hotel, Perth) and so I made a dress for the occasion, helped by my Auntie Margaret, it was blue and white cotton material, flared skirt, mini, not too short, collared neck, mid length sleeves.  Don't have any photos but I can picture it.  By this age I had made a few outfits, sometimes sending away for cut out material outfits, through the Fab208 magazine eg an orange trouser suit with skirt.  Using my Mum's Singer sewing machine, which I still have, also her instruction booklet ...

in my spare craft room, sitting on Dad's desk
 

 



I bought this old copy of Fab208 from Ebay, 19 October 1968 edition, from the time I used to get this magazine as a teenager in Perth, aged around 16, when I had started to get interested in fashion, style, materials, sewing. 

example of cut out, ready to sew outfit I sent for



And in 6th year at the Academy I took a dressmaking class alongside advanced Maths - Algebra, Geometry, Computer Programming (Algol), also Higher Geography, briefly studying O grade German, Physics and Applied Maths but dropping these as I didn't enjoy them.  I also taught a girl O grade Maths, got paid for it, she lived in a big house up Moncrieff, Perth, and she passed.

Summer of 1969 I worked in the chicken factor at Coupar Angus to earn money, working Saturdays in Storey's the drapers, my Dad by this time was stuck in London, jobless, his contract with the Daily Express scriptwriting Jeff Hawke had been terminated.

1986/7 Titan Books publications
 
2008 Titan Books republication on Amazon

I've still to donate these two Jeff Hawke books to AK Bell Library in Perth, have had them since before the pandemic lockdown.  I've already donated copies to Fife and Dundee Libraries:


 
27 October 2017 in Springfield Mobile Library, Fife


in The Courier 15 June 2019

photo taken in Central Library, Dundee


Sunday, 13 June 2021

pot plants today out backie ... looking good!

My pot plants are flourishing out the backie, getting lots of sun these days, just means they need a good watering every day, carrying can down stairs and out the back, today two watering cans full, it's been very dry recently and warm.


 

Here are photos taken just now, the Chrysanthemum plugs I got in the post after moving in here 10 May, a month ago are doing very well, the Starburst collection from Woolmans:


Chrysanths on right pink table, a collection of perennials on blue table



Lavenders flowering

at front right Crazy Daisy & Sweet William starting to flower

recently bought, Honeysuckle & Clematis climbers

Rhododendron is still flowering, bees love it

 

 

current challenges - getting fitter, restoring energy, being more creatively crafty

That's about a month now living in Dundee and I was very exhausted at times after the flit, it took a lot out of me, energy wise, moving house after 23 years in Springfield, many of which were linked to caring after psychiatric treatment and campaigning about it.  A thankless task being a whistleblowing carer and survivor of psychiatric treatment which in my experience since 1970 has been coercive or abusive and heavy handed.  I still think there has to be something far better for people experiencing psychoses, emotional crises or nervous breakdowns, rather than what psychiatry has to offer.  Maybe I can still have an influence in promoting Safe haven crisis Houses ...

Today I've booked the gym then a swim at Dundee University Institute of Sport and Education, ISE, who have a super Senior membership offer for over 60's, from £10.50 to £20 a month.  I've got the latter which includes swimming, gym, sport and exercise classes, and I'm working towards taking part in all these facilities over time, as I get fitter and make more connections.  I get the bus with my rucksack containing fitness gear to nearby the ISE and walk down town afterwards, covering long wet hair with headband.  We are not getting the use of hairdryers yet due to Covid.

yesterday on way to bus stop from my flat, to ISE
 

I first used the University pool after being banned from the Olympia in November 2018, following my raising a complaint due to being bullied by a Duty Manager, having got stuck in a flume when the water stopped.  I got an apology for that, however 2yrs later, last November, I raised more complaints about a variety of issues in the pool and changing rooms (including algae and detritus at base of training pool, unsupervised lifeguards leading to issues, aggressive male swimmers) and this led again to me being banned.  Leisure and Culture Dundee don't welcome complaints in my experience.  Hopefully that will change and their services will improve.  

I got out on the bike yesterday, carrying it down 2 flights of stairs from the flat and back up after cycling.  Just glad to be strong enough to do this no problem, all the weight lifting, gym exercises and swimming I did in my 40's and 50's helped build up my upper body muscles and strength.  I joined a weightlfiting club at Aberdeen University the first week of term, September 1970, and also the OTC (Officers Training Corps), both groups promoting their actvities at Freshers' week.  The OTC paid a wage for taking part in .22 rifle shooting, marching, orienteering and this was an added attraction back then, as I was on my own, both parents out of action.  Dad stuck in London, Mum in Murray Royal mental Hospital, getting discharged the day I left Perth for Aberdeen on my 18th birthday.

yesterday at Fairview Park

I hope to plan cycling routes in the future where I can avoid busy traffic and having to push the bike.  I noticed laddies on bicycles yesterday weaving in and out of traffic, onto pavements, but they weren't wearing specs!  I have to take more care expecially as I don't know the area from being on a bike, the bumps and lowered pavements etc.  The Green Circular Route would be ideal but I'd have to get there first, have enough energy to cycle it, cycle back and carry bike upstairs to flat.  I'm not there yet!  Hence needing to get fitter with exercise.

I'm still caring for my son from a distance, giving peer support over phone calls and texts, have given him the car to get around more easily from Springfield to wherever, to get back into his photogrammetry work which was halted after a recent breakdown, following the stresses of Covid19 social isolation, lockdown and eventual vaccination.  He's getting support now from Fife health and housing services, also more benefits than when he lived with me.  I'm getting less financial support but that's ok, it will be cheaper to live in the city, to manage on a lower income.  I've got a bus pass and can still get up to the top deck carrying stuff ...


getting bus to supermarket for 20min foodshop then back again

I've been doing a recce of bus journeys from where I live to different supermarkets to see how I can do a food shop, saving money, in the shortest time, sort of a thing! For I'm a busy person and don't want to be in a bus for longer than necessary although I can take photos, read news items, keep occupied on the buses.

However I do want to get back to more craftwork, sewing, dressmaking and of course knitting.  With being so tired after the flit I haven't been doing as much sock knitting but am getting back into it, at present doing a pair of slipped stitch socks for an up and coming birthday gift:


wrap & turn heel, 2 shades of Drops Fabel 4ply wool


Yesterday evening I managed to do a bit of sock knitting, getting back into the swing of it while watching Noel Gallagher on TV, talking and performing ...

 



My spare Craft room is still choc a bloc with stuff from 23 years living in the Springfield house and I hope to sort it out more in the coming days.  My bike is stored in there, also lots of wool, fabrics, haberdashery, files and books from my 13yrs of mental health work, my Dad's old desk to be properly assembled, and so on.  Photo taken just now:


I'm very glad to have settled so quickly in my Dundee sheltered flat, it felt like home right away, unlike in 1990 when we moved to Cupar area of Fife from living 10yrs in the ex-mining community of Rigside when I was homesick for nearly a year, missing Lanarkshire.  I was 31 years in Fife, we moved there to support my sister and then I helped my Mother move to the Cupar area from Perth, and after she died in 1998 I helped my wee sister find a good council flat in Perth and renew acquaintance with a CofS Minister who I met up with at the Festival '99 weekend in the Scotland Hotel, Pitlochry.  I was a Trainer/Counsellor at the Franklin Graham event in McDiarmid fitba Park May 1999, having trained folk in Dollar prior to this, then led a team at the Festival and supported a woman from Perth who went forward at the call, then and afterwards.  A mentoring role.

In 2000 I got a full-time job in Perth at the Gateway, with PKAVS, managing volunteers for the Princess Royal Trust for Carers, and I did other tasks in that post, including independent advocacy, supervising advocacy partners and working with folk requiring advocacy, one-to-one and groupwork.  Mental health, learning and physical disabilities.  That was a great job for me, running with various initiatives, and another similar post I got was in 2006 with Adam Smith College where I ran with stuff, achieved much and got another postgrad qualification, TQFE in Care subjects, Stirling University, self funded.  I had 2 other PT evening posts a the same time, with Fife Council at Newcastle Primary School, Glenrothes, and lecturing on Introduction to Counselling Course at both Levenmouth and Glenrothes campuses of AS College.

These two FT posts enabled me to buy new cars, a Ford Ka, both times, the first time of ever owning my own new car.  And then in 2019 I got another new car, the Vauxhall Corsa, with money from my ex-husband and oldest son.  Now my youngest son has taken over the car and I'm a named driver so can get a shot every so often at the wheel, to keep my hand in and to visit places not accessible by bus eg Kinloch Rannoch where my great-granny Bella Watson worked as a Cook at Dunalastair Hotel, 1896-1900.  And gave birth to my grandpa William Campbell Watson in 1900, her third illegitimate child, in South St, Perth, who became William Campbell Patterson after adoption.

That's another topic of interest which I hope to pursue - family history, genealogy of my Dad's roots on both his Father and Mother's (Doig) side.  My Dad named after his Dad who was adopted by the Patterson family, along with his older brother Alexander Burke Watson (who became Alexander Watson Patterson), both of them with sons who they named William Cunningham Patterson.  And I only found this out after Heir Hunters Fraser & Fraser got in contact 2005/6 with news of an inheritance via the granddaughter of Isabella (Bella) Watson, also named Isabella, and I received a copy of the family tree from 1896 onwards ...

my Grandpa's birth certificate 1900, Mother Bella Watson Cook ...

My Auntie Margaret, Grandpa's oldest child, daughter, said to me shortly before she died, in 2007, that he had a "thing" about having been illegitimate, that it bothered him all through his life, yet I don't remember him mentioning it ... which is interesting.  Both the fact she drew attention to this and that I didn't know about it being so stigmatising for Grandpa.


me and oldest son Edwin Alexander cDec76 when in Perth visiting Grandpa

I didn't know in 1976 that Grandpa had an older brother named Alexander, I'd suggested Edwin's middle name after a favourite uncle of his Dad's, Sandy, who had helped the Muirheads through the years at their small family farm, Douglas, Lanarkshire, giving them cows and other items, from his big farm in the south of England, sending them up by train, I think.  I chose the name Edwin as being similar to his Dad's name Edward, Ted, or Teddy as his sister and brother called him.  Had been watching the Clayhanger trilogy on TV when pregnant in 1976 which gave me the idea ...

Now he calls himself Ed.