Since reading wonderful books such Pharmageddon by Professor Healy, Nutrient Power by Dr William Walsh, Prozac Panacea Pandor by Dr Ann Blake Tracy – just to mention a few, I have gained a greater knowledge of conditions affecting some who are labelled as having mental illness. Eleanor Longden is quite right – she does not see it as illness but as a condition and I went to hear her speak at the Institute of Psychiatry alongside Frank Bruno who I greatly admire and agreed with what he had to say on that occasion. I have since been on a wonderful course at the Bowlby Centre with Dr Bob Johnson who is one of the greatest psychiatrists in the UK and have also seen Dr Joanna Moncrieff speak at the Stuart Low Foundation. Very soon I hope to go to Leicester where Professor Read and other experts will be talking and I am most interested in Open Dialogue.
If everyone was to read the books that I have in my collection they would have a greater understanding. It is all a matter of education and reading the right books and the courses I have been on together with the conferences you can learn a great deal from.
I do appreciate though that unless people are affected personally this is not a subject that most people would like to think about — mental illness and I have come across such ignorance.
In one weekend I have noticed people staring / looking/ smiling. Well they can look, stare and smile as much as they like however when I hear ignorant comments I feel it necessary to address this issue. If I see someone laughing I will also address the issue. I was shopping with Elizabeth this weekend and I would describe the area as – not the best and Elizabeth clings onto my arm when walking and I noticed a reaction from one person I thought to be ignorant and I felt I should address outrightly. I therefore confronted this person and that took the smile off his face.
At one time (some years back now) Elizabeth was running/competing in a team – she did a charity run once to raise money for a good cause. She used to go both to a disabled running club and a County running club and was quite good, even though she was on the drugs but not like she is now though. Clozapine seems to have made her disabled and she is very tired and limited to what she can do now. Since being put on the drug Clozapine she has declined physically to the extent she feels dizzy when waling and that is why she clings onto me and also, the fact that she has been in hospital for far too long has led to loss of confidence in going out places.
I am trying to do the best I can in limited time and encourage her to go out places but not once has she felt up to going out on her own in the local area even though she would know her way around. She has a key and could go out as and when she wishes now – she is not on a CTO or section and technically is free however the treatment she has had has left her imprisoned in such a way she is fearful of going out alone and is fearful of falling and missed out last week on a concert taking place in a local park that once she would have enjoyed. She is worse now than ever before in terms of disablement.
My experience this weekend whilst out shopping has not been the only experience I have had – on another occasione I got the feeling that staff in a local shop were giggling/whispering as Elizabeth was suffering quite badly from the effects of the previous drug – I looked around me and there was no one else around that this attention could have been towards. It soon takes the smile of peoples faces when I confront this kind of ignorance as I feel people need to be educated and it is nasty behaviour. At least the people in the surrounding area very close to where I live are decent and would not do such a thing.
Anyway, I have joined Elizabeth in the local gym and whilst she is not so keen to go I have mentioned that she needs to go to the gym and I have paid for a membership and it will otherwise be a waste of money. There is a personal trainer there who is prepared to come to the house at the weekends and collect her and I am delighted about this.
Every day this week we have been cooking healthy meals. On a trial basis I tried a company called “Simply Fresh” who deliver the ingredients and you get a menu card and you cook and prepare the meals and immediately when I have got home from work we have been doing this and I have noticed the difference in these healthy meals as opposed to getting a takeaway.
This week we will probably do the same and there are no end of recipes I have including a very good book I obtained from the Taste of London.
Next week I am looking forward to going to Alex’s Farm with Elizabeth and I really hope I get to meet Jamie Oliver who could do wonders with people like my daughter under mental health care – Jamie Oliver could be the answer when the care fails because the drugs can lead people to craving for unhealthy food. At one time Elizabeth was a vegetarian and then a vegan and wanted to be a chef herself. When a patient is on these drugs they need to watch all the more their diet as the drugs drain the body of vitamins and nutrients.
The other thing Elizabeth liked was fishing of all things. I have never been fishing in all my life but my previous lodger took her and she enjoyed this and now I have heard of the Angling Acadamy who I may contact as regards Elizabeth to find out what they have going on.
As there is no help in the local area I would like Elizabeth to have her own social life but in the right company and I am also hoping that she will go to college again as she did so well with the floristry course before. I booked this myself as at the time Elizabeth was in hospital and there were people lying around doing nothing – that is the trouble with the care there is nothing going on within the wards at the weekends – nothing to motivate people at all and the main care is drugging. It is no wonder why nothing is working and if someone refuses these drugs if they are sectioned they are restrained and forced to take the drugs and the drugs are not the answer. Even if someone is helped temporarily they should not be used long term because of the effects on long term health and this is something I as a mother am looking into very carefully right now.
It may well be convenient for professionals to carry on drugging for the rest of someone’s life however there needs to be accountability for the fact that if someone is displaying clear signs of physical health problems this needs to be thoroughly addressed.
I must check now to see if Elizabeth is ready for the gym as she got out of going yesterday and it is for her own good. It is also for her own good to do her own washing, ironing and tidy up her room and if Elizabeth does not want to do what I say I cannot force her but I can provide someone else who can motivate her but I am hoping that by ensuring she goes to the gym and encouraging that then this will not be necessary but it is only fair she does her own things as I work full time and it is for her own good. The more she is integrated into society the more chance of her being able to lead a normal life as far as I am concerned.
The Home treatment team are not visiting every night and for the past two days have not been over as I told them that I was aware of the fact that Elizabeth had spoken to them twice now asking them not to call and that should be respected by them – the response I got was that they were worried about her wellbeing so I then arranged for the Police to come round to report on her well being personally as I have nothing to hide. It was getting to the point whereby it was more like harassment as when someone is not on a CTO or a section they should be left alone but that is not to say that there should not be any offers of help! Well there has been none so this is why I am having to help myself but the best people that could help are young people of around the same age as my daughter – not me and I am not the kind of mother who wishes to be organising everything and controlling everything as I would like her to have her own life back but this will take time as it is all about restoring confidence and I am sure that will come in time so that Elizabeth will be out enjoying herself with people of her own age – that would be my greatest happiness.
It is a nice sunny day today in the UK and after the gym I will see what Elizabeth wants to do as I would like to go out somewhere today.