I have just returned home from Liverpool with Elizabeth, having attended this wonderful conference which I would highly recommend to everyone.
Unfortunately, when Elizabeth first takes the chemical Clozapine she feels dizzy and this is always the case but I have read that this is a common side effect reported by many. Elizabeth was not feeling her best and so I did not force her to go up to the lectures – it is a shame though that I missed out on seeing lots of people I am in touch with via social media however we did take part in a workshop that was very good – this was held in a different building and Elizabeth felt comfortable to attend. One thing I will say is that this conference was extremely well organised and there was so much going on there – I would have liked to attend more of the workshops. In the Chadwick Building we were spoilt for choice as there were several workshops taking place in different lecture theatres at the same time but when I saw the one entitled “Story Café” with Lisa Rossetti I felt this would benefit Elizabeth and she is here with my right now and in her own words she describes this workshop as “amazing” and it was very interesting to listen to the personal first-hand experience of Lisa Rossetti. I am full of praise for this and was happy that we took part in something. The buffet lunch was amazing and there was so much food. Elizabeth started to feel better briefly but she was still not 100% and wanted to leave early. I would have loved to have taken part in the workshop of Laura Delano and Peter Stasny “Organised self-help and mutual support as alternatives to the traditional mental health system: lessons from history and promising directions” and there were others too. However II am not one to push Elizabeth into going as she clearly did not feel her best that day. We left early and rounded off the break by going to the Cavern Club which is something I wanted to do last time I visited Liverpool.
The only thing I did not like in Liverpool was the SatNav did not work as there were roadworks and when you are not familiar with a place it was a nightmare and there were plenty of one way streets. However unlike London there were many people to help and I noticed how friendly this place and there was plenty to do – Elizabeth liked the Cavern Club which is open until 2.00 am and has non stop bands playing Beatles music.
I am going to read through all the wonderful literature I obtained and I played Elizabeth a dvd featuring Jacqui Dillon (National Chair of Hearing Voices Network in the UK and it was both interesting and inspiring to listen to this – I pointed out to Elizabeth that some of the people speaking at this conference were “survivors” – I would hope one day that would include Elizabeth herself. I have also purchased the book Demedicalising Misery of which Jacqui Dillon is co-editor and I would recommend this book.
I understand the INTAR Conference is held every two years and I will most certainly go again and would recommend it to everyone.
One of the outstanding things that interested me was a table the work of Peter Sedgwick and his classic text PsychoPolitics (1982). Obviously with Elizabeth’s situation I was most interested in this and unfortunately did not get a chance to speak much however I have the email address and am going to write. This will interest all the mothers I am in touch with Organised by Department of Social Work Care and Justice, Liverpool Hope University and supported by Social Work Action Network (SWAN). Asylum the Magazine for Democratic Psychiatry. UCLan Schools of Social Work and Health, Journal of Critical and Radical Social Work. “The Organisers welcome proposals for papers/workshops from academics, service users/survivors and mental health practitioners”. I do not see the word “Mother” written however am most happy to submit my ideas and include those of Elizabeth’s. Thank God there is someone like Peter Sedgwick and organisations such as these and to join their mailing list or submit a paper proposal the email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org. I am going to pass this on to all the mothers who have sons and daughters on never ending sections – it is important not to forget that these people do not have a voice and many are dumped into institutions such as private hospitals and care homes for many many years and drugged to the point where they become too weak to go through a tribunal at taxpayers expense when there could be many alternatives and maybe the drugs and the care is completely wrong for these people. It is disgusting what is going on in the UK. Some of these patients may have had a bad reaction to the drugs as Elizabeth did and that is because nothing is tested properly so how many more could be treatment resistant (poor or non metabolisers) and this is something else that Liverpool University is looking at Drug Metabolism with Professor Pirmohammed and I am going to make it my goal to fight for this programme nationally as with the treatment Elizabeth is having when she is diagnosed as treatment resistant only proper tests can determine just how harmful this is and besides the point when someone has PTSD this should be recognised by the ENTIRE TEAM – it is disgraceful to keep this report a secret from Elizabeth as she has a right to know and I have made sure she knows as I read the documents to her and do not hide the facts. I also do not treat Elizabeth as a complete invalid either. In my opinion she is more than capable and is really trying to get back on her feet and I happen to think that is possible. Getting back to the diagnosis of PTSD there is research to back this condition. PTSD is the correct diagnosis and there should be tests involved that look thoroughly at everything. The Endocrinologist test I wanted was not available in the UK much to my dismay and treatment needs to be updated in line with the States in my opinion. I sought advice from a leading Professor in this field and was most disappointed this test was not even available in the private sector as I wanted one that was 100% accurate.
At the INTAR Conference there was a large room with many tables that had representatives from various inspiring organisations – the SOAP group was one who was represented alongside gallery of digital artwork by local artist Keith Croft and poetry by Val Walsh who I am in touch with alongside Shared Pathways Recovery: the journey not the destination.
I have another course to go on later on in the year. All of this is increasing my knowledge, together with all my new books I have purchased.