Philosophy of The Big Society

David Cameron gets to be God!

Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Devolution theories and a world slowing down!!!

Cue "Twilight Zone" theme tune!!!

Dr J (who charactateristically has forgotten what he said on the phone last night..that's drink for ya) has informed me that the world is slowing down. In itself that means naff all to me but it does mean we are all going to get an extra second today. Yes one whole second added on to this year. I don't know about you but I am busy planning what I am going to do with it.

Perhaps I should watch The Discovery Channel in perhaps I should start watching The Discovery Channel and then I would have an understanding worth having on the physical happenings of this planet (and more so why) in relation to the other goings on in the solar sytem, universe and eveyrthing else at large and out there.

Not that I trust the scientists that entities that they think exist but don't really know anything about...trying to find that little particle that might answer questions about The Big Bang only the machine (costing millions) doesn't work and may or may not cause a black hole. Is well beyond me.

I tend to try and understand things at a more basic level. Like when a friend rings me because somoene she took into her home and tried to help has beaten her up and Dr J asking me why there has to be loneliness in this world. Those things, I can relate to....I can see and understand kindness and hurt..the variety of situations and emotions people have and more so that vulnerable people are seeming to be becoming more vulnerable. I can comprehend that and although I can't make things better or suddenly conjure up a more caring society...human need and emotions are more important to me than things that I cannot see, feel or are not making things better in the here and now.

And as I have yet to get dressed and have spent the morning on the computer or phone, I actually don't think one extra second is such a big deal to me, after all.

Equality Commission Newsletter


Prison review: Commission welcomes 'honest and rigorous' review into race equality in prisons

Anniversary: Celebrating 60 years of Human Rights

News: Disabled people more likely to experience bullying and harassment at work

News: Gender pay gap widens

News: The Commission welcomes move to make politics more representative

News: Seeking protection for victims of homophobic harassment

Competition: Young Brits at Art

For more info go to

I see there is a video of Gordon Brown celebrating human rights. Considering some of the topics the Commission have written about, Britain doesn't seem to be doing all that well in regards to Human Rights and the Prime Minister hasn't got that much to be 'pious' about.

This ones for Gordy:

There's a waiter in my wardrobe

I was going to put that comment in Marine Snow's latest posting, only for some reason..most likley something technical that I am clueless about.... couldn't access the appropriate blog posting.

I could easily have gone for "There's a fly in my ointment" or "Why am I being served soup at 55 minutes past midnight?". Or "Fekk the soup, at these prices, just give me the bill now!"

Sorry Lola. Will try harder next time x

Why oh why oh why????

After an afternoon of slumping and then resigning myself to most likely having to go to town (tomorrow) on Dad's behalf and try to sort out cock up over his medication...curled up in bed and watched pap on tv. Well, not so much watching as drifting in and out of whatever was on.

Had got to hairdresser's this morning and after 3 hours there (hairdresser flitting between customers) am glad to say there is something to show for it.

Anyway the crux of this posting is that I am really, really, really twatted off because having taken what I thought was my final half loz of the day and then nicely drifting off to sleep, Dr J rang, tanked up, and started talking drunk talk. Something about his cat skulking off to the kitchen, quite possibly because he was cussing away, and if I am really good to him he will get me some NRT. His meaning of me being good is a shag! Sorry to be so blunt but is one thing to have to listen to this drivvle when I am compus but when I am half asleep and he is slurring and talking to me like I am some whore, it makes my blood boil. I am quite capable of getting myself to the GP to get some Nicotine replacement and I certainly won't be party to any trade off. Whatever happened to romance? Okay I can live without that but some intelligent conversation wouldn't go amiss (preferably when I am awake too).

So I am stuck in moo moo land and for reasons that are as obvious as the venom in this posting, I feel a need for a reprise of an anthem, make that the anthem... for the new jilted generation.

Monday, 29 December 2008

Where there is life, there is hope

Such is the saying and today I feel that there is an element of truth in that saying...even for a haggered old sceptic like me!

After a game of charades, in which I was reluctantly participating... going to Dad's and him not answering the door, checking his front window and him not being evident. Me thunked "He must be round the shops". So I headed round the shops. Dr J's Mum was coming out of the grocer's so I asked if he was in there, she said "No, but I think I have seen him in the chemist's". So I went into the chemist's and saw who I thought was Dad at the counter. In typical style I said "Hi there, Dad" (not quietly either). Everyone turned round, including the man who was not my Dad. Oops! Backed, shamefaced, out of the door and that was when I decided to ring Dad from my mobile. Took him a while to answer. He had been in the shower.

All this came to pass because Dad had said he was going round the shops earlier and because he overdid it on the sleeping tablets (night before), he never got there. Stating the blindingly obvious, I should have rung him before I left check on things.

Anyway, in one way it was a positive that I rung when I did because he needed some food, so I went home and got a goody bag before heading back to his.

The usual set up (when I get to his) is that I am walking on egg shells, trying not to say anything that might trigger an upset and after an hour we are both exhausted and I head off deflated. Today was different. He was making jokes. In his words "Sometimes the only thing to do is find humour". I can dig that. We had always been able to spark off each other when it comes to taking the mickey out of life and ourselves and so I was relieved that we were doing something that led somewhere other than distress.

I spent over 3 hours with him and I enjoyed it. We ate our way through a box of mince pies, made headway into some chocolate covered rum soaked raisins and spoke affectionately about things we did with Mum. He even told me a story about how they had got caught in a rainstorm on the way to a guest house and Mum was getting all spooked out but in spite of that she insisted on finding a place to have a fish and chip supper.

Now, this shift may not last but I was chuffed when he said that he had enjoyed my company and although in the past, and because of his states, he couldn't cope with seeing me for very long that he now wants to spend more time with me. As ever, I was cautious and said that all being well I could come along New Year's Day and spend as much time with him then.

I am very much standing by what I said to him on Christmas Day and that is "Let us take this one day at a time" and hoping that one day at a time we can become close again and give comfort to each other as well as take the pxss.

One small step for Dad and one big sigh of relief from Mandkind.

Midwinter and all that

Was it freezing last night or what? I had the heating on and was still cold. Ironically, as I started to write this, Suki jumped up on the window sill and demanded to be let out. Cheers honey!

I guess the positive is that we have had the longest day and so we are heading towards the light..well more of it.

Not much of anything worth writing has been going on. Am just glad I got through the last week and without any additional trauma.

I did get to Woolworth's last day. That was a bit sad...I saw it as a reflection of how things are likely to be in this recession. More businesses going to the wall whilst people pick away at the carcasses. I can't say that I have any loyalty to a particular shop or branch of shops. Business is what business does (and it isn't all hearts and flowers) but I feel more for the type of people that will be seen at these closing down sales. The poorer end of society. And okay so things at really cheap prices are good for those of us on pathetically low incomes but times are not going to get easier for the poor. In fact if we look at history, it is always the poorest that have suffered in recession times. Then again the poorest suffered at the height of the British Industrial Revolution. Perhaps the poorest are damned whatever. Certainly, this Labour Government have done me and my father no favours whatsover and my daughter has had to take on ridiculous debt to continue her education. Yes, she has had opportunities but not without a big price to pay for them.

Anyway, this is part of a much deeper ideology I have which will take up more than one little posting.

Interesting that the government's latest thinking about the poor is that they no longer wish to offer them interest free loans and new applicants for disablity benefits are being turned down (or so my care co-ordinator tells me). When the going gets tough then the tough get brutal! Darwin's survival of the fittest at its worst!

If i think too much about this will have a downer for the rest of the day. So going to look at positives. Well things I can or am endeavouring to do.

Firstly, I have written a letter to the financial director at the local council. Raising concerns regarding the amounts of paperwork and waffle that they send and also to ask for a repayment shedule that is achievable. Like £5 per week!!!!

I got a letter from my MP, who has written to the CEO of the Trust about my father's care. I am going to try and organise a meeting with MP, as this situation cannot continue indefinately. Dad's brother rang this morning and was in quite a state. I was like "Am doing the best I can here but is only me and I am fighting within a system that mostly doesn't care". He hasn't got a passport (it ran out) but I think he is considering getting a new one. Until such time, is down to me and I haven't got the answers!!! Just keep searching for something better in amongst the not much of anything there is.

In another search I came across the local activities timetable and the Seventh Day Adventists are running free evening courses which are open to all. I wanted to do French. Was my favourite subject at school. I rang the number and was told the tutor was on pregnancy leave but that they are trying to get a new tutor and will let me know when the course starts. Something postive to look forward to and in a minute Hayley will be here for card making and chats.

And now is time to get dressed and make myself a strong cup of tea.

Friday, 26 December 2008

Goodbye Ms Kitt

Am getting in a pickle about how to start this posting so I shall say it how it comes. I liked Eartha Kitt. She was out of the box, unconventionally attractive, witty and spikey.

I don't know an awful lot about her and I think that is because she kept quite a bit to herself. What I do know is that her upbringing caused her distress (cos she said so). In one of her last interviews, which I was lucky enough to see, she spoke of the years trying to find out who her mother was and how she had finally found her birth certificate, with her mother's name on it but not her father's.

Many men adored her including Nat King Cole. That affair comes across as more sad than happy (he was married with children)...... And many women (and me) fell in love with her too. I am always drawn to the outsider, especially when they have an unusual or rare talent.

I can't wrap this posting up neatly or with much insight, because I think there is more unknown about Eartha Kitt than will ever be known but that is no bad thing. The mystery, for me, is as fascinating as what I knew of her.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

I Got A Pair of Tartan Trousers

Have wanted them for as long as I can remember. I wonder if wearing them with my tartan Converse will be too much tartan. Maybe but that won't stop me putting them together. I also have a tartan tie, somewhere. Will hunt that out.

I think the trousers will be the highlight of my day, which am hoping is better than yesterday and I can hear the jeers of the local chav posse as I walk about looking like a throw back from 1976.

Didn't get to midnight mass. I did get out of bed and then went home and did some emailing (started to feel worse) and went back to bed again.

Got up for Em and her fella but was in that vacant space where whatever is going on around me seems like it is happening somewhere else. Kept coming to in the middle of convos and attempting to look and sound like I was with it. We made a plasticine Morph (well actually she did because I was in DOH and not playdoh mode) and he looks pretty good. Will try and find a bright enough place to take a photo of it and put it up on here.

After she left, watched 'Pocahontas', which distracted me a while. Then I slumped again and went back to bed. Couldn't sleep so took a whole lorazepam.

Now I feel okay but know that is only because of the sedation. Fair enough. A girl's gotta do etc.

From convo with Dad earlier, which did my downward slump no good whatsoever, doubt he is going to make it to mine so i shall have to put me armour on and get whatever I can into containers to take round to him.

Came across Panic Room's blog earlier. She seems to have some on-going problems with her Dad. A recent post of hers, where she sort of lost it with him struck a chord. I haven't actually lost it with Dad yet...although it reminded me of a similarish state I got in..about 6 month's after Mum died. Dad had given up his job and was sitting in the chair in a zombie state and I lost it then. I wasn't so much angry that he was more that it was the straw that broke the donkey's back. All the grief I had been carrying around, with nowhere to let it out, whilst I read through post mortum reports and organised death certificates and other legal shit that went with Mum's will,paying his bills, trying all kinds of coaxing to get him back to life, hold down my job and make time for Em.

Anyway, PR's the first post I have come across where I felt that I really relate to in a long long time and that is no disrespect to other bloggers I read. I am interested in blogs and more so the people who write them but this posting hit home.

I sometimes feel like I am boiling up and at any minute likely to throw a hoolie..and then Jimmeny Cricket pops up and says "Is cruel to rant at a man who is in no position to rant back". Agreed!

As my care co-ordinator so crudely put it, "Is his human right to do what he wants" (yes even if that is absolutely nothing). She said that in the context of him refusing to do things with the support of MH team (or possibly in response to my concern that the MH team seem unwilling to do that much with/for him). Where the line is drawn in regards to capacity, I don't know but I agree, at least in principle, that it is his right to be whatever he is and I have the right to be fucking angry! I just haven't sussed quite what to do with that anger yet.

So the day has finally arrived, having loitered around since October.

I am resigned to being the meals without wheels lady. At least wearing me tartan trousers there will be something for us to talk about. Ha!

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

The Christmas Spirit - Hmmm

With things winding up or down towards the big day (depending on where people are at and what they have planned), don't want to go too deep into much of anything but whilst hunting for some relevant piccies to send to friends, I came across the above. That kinda covers what 2008 has meant to me. Not that I am a great believer in a New Year = a new dawn for man(dy)....Although I am sure Dawn is a very nice girl!

My plans are to bunker down and comfort eat my way through it all.

Having visited Mum's plot and funkied up her headstone (which is all I need and want to share of that time), I left Dr J to his own devises (ie heading off to the pub) and went walkabouts around town.

Checked out Woolies because I wanted to buy a santa hat. Don't ask me why..I wasn't even sure why, myself. It was an impulse. Managed to get said hat and spotted a bargain bucket (well wire box) and it had masses of cds, dvds and console games for £1 because they didn't have the original covers. That is my kind of sale!!! I bought The Foo Fighters, Van Morrison, Blondie and Maroon 5 cds, The Core and Pocahontas double editions on DVD (planning to have my own kind of Crimbo on Christmas Eve and that involves plenty of Disney singalongs) and The Sims Platinum game for PS2 for Em. Not bad booty for £7. I also picked up a Maeve Binchy hardback at a second hand shop. That will be my Crimbo read. There are times for complex thriller syle plots with even more complex characters but there are times (like now) where I need the comfort of Ms Binchy's slightly quirky but safe characters and a plot that you know will have a happy ending.

So apart from the reading, music, Disney singalong not much else to write about.

I am going to Midnight Mass with Em on Christmas Eve Eve. Not because am hoping to find God (although if he/she/it finds me, I won't be too put out..I just can't see it happening, as neither of us seem to have a great sense of direction). I want to spend precious time with Em and share with her something that is very important to her. I also fancy another singalong to the carols. Must remember to hunt out my thermal vest and ear muffs.

And as I began this posting with a cynic's take on the festive farce...I mean season...shall end it with a bit of warm and fluffy (Looks like the doggy managed to get to the Woolies sale too)

Whatever you do over Christmas, stay safe and look after yourselves best as you can.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

The Dog's Glorious Bits of Ballroom

In a weekend that I hope will sink (as in into the anals of my psyche) quicker than the Titanic, Tom Chamber's show dance has to be one of the best dances I have seen and that includes all the past 'Strictly' series as well.

I love dancing and whenever I get the buzz and energy to go with it, makes life more worth the living.

I even confess to being excited and enthralled when I watched it and that took some doing, I can tell ya!

It kinda served to remind me that people can do things...wonderful things..and the art of learning a new art is not an insummountable task. Gave me a bit of hope that all is not lost to me. Not yet. If I can go with my feelings tomorrow and then survive Crimbo...Ho hum.

Anyway, before I slip back into the bottomless well that is melancholia..time for some action.

Friday, 19 December 2008

6 more lots of paperwork from the local council

I attempted to make sense of it but by page 3 of the first lot of paperwork was getting a nosebleed.

Rang the council offices and asked to speak to the Financial Director. I explained that on the 2 previous ocassions I spoke with council officers I was treated with contempt. The receptionist said that they would try and get me through but chances of speaking to them were not good. Needless to say there was no response from the Director's Office. I was put through to a Team Leader. I wasn't sure of what team but in for a penny in for a pound.

She was as helpful as she could be. She talked me through the took a long long time.

Basically, having been re-assessed again, I now owe £275.00 (this is because whatever excemption I got whilst receiving tax credits and child benefit wasn't valid when Em went to uni and they have back-dated this overpayment to Sept 2007.

It could have been worse. One of the invoices, in amongst all the paperwork, was for £2,881.10. Can't imagine how they would have clawed back that kind of money from the income I visualising a court room with lots of suits babbling away in legal speak whilst I sit there with me eyes glazing over.

Am being sent some paying-in cards and have been advised to pay something (as in whatever I can afford when I can afford it)because, quote "As long as you are paying something no legal action can be taken against you" unquote.

They will get the money back...I just can't say exactly when they will get it all back.

and for some bizarre reason this song comes to mind, although can imagine the stalwart Blairite pretendy Lefties murmering "How dare she compare local councils to a right wing regime?". Mel Brooks knew what he was doing when he wrote this and I know my place in this society!!! Erm, having thought about it I don't know my place...although am constantly being reminded what it should be!!!

Geraline for Christmas No 1 Spot

At the weekend I saw Peter Kaye's spoof reality tv show. Thought it was brilliant. Better than the real thing. Not that I watch that many but love 'Strictly Come Ponced up in Fancy Dresses'.

Anyway, for anyone who didn't see it worth a watch and I think this should top the Crimbo charts. Yep it is cheesey as and nauseatingly catchy but the money from sales goes to the NSPCC instead of into the ever bulging accounts of pappy pop producers like Simon Cowell.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Working My Way through The (S)Hit List!!!

Due to recent goings on, a couple of important 'To Do's' have been put on the back burner.

Have now had time and space, and although still have a cold, am managing to get out of bed and with enough energy (at least for now) to start doing again.

Things that needed my attention

1)Writing letter to head office of credit card supplier in regards to companies being allowed to take money from my credit card without my authorisation. Duly written and in the post.

2) Reponse to the Manager of the Emergency Duty Team (whose email was pretty lame and was basically saying that I was victimising them because they are under-resourced)

3) The paperwork from the local council. That is in the pending file until I get the next lot of re-assessment paperwork.

4) Getting to GP and ensuring I have enough lorazepam to tide me over into the new year. Possibly, in light of discussions with shrinky dink last Monday, I will ask for a month's supply. That way I am not wasting time and appointments (which other people could make better use of) going to the GP every 2 weeks. Will make appointment on Monday to discuss this with GP.

So far so, relatively, good. As in at least I know where I am at with all this.

And for anyone interested in how the saga, in regards to out of hours crisis support is going, this is my response:

Dear ......

I have now read through ............'s(Manager of the Emergency Duty Team) response and wish to respond directly to them. If that is not possible, then could you kindly forward my response?

I will copy you and Acute Services Director into my response and also my MP because I am very disatissfied. In fact, I feel quite insulted by being advised that the Samaritans are an organisation that should/could be contacted in crisis situations. I feel the responsibility for providing the right care, certainly in regards to my father’s situation, should lay with MH services and/or the Emergency Duty Team.

I do think there needs to be a more integrated, comprehensive and user friendly crisis system (network) delivered by BLPT and Social Services. However, from what Acute Services Director told me at the resolution meeting, they are looking into crisis intervention provided by Beds and Luton Partnership Trust. I am satisfied, for the time being, that this provides an opportunity to make crisis care/support a more service user focussed set of services in the future. However, in the present, I am not satisfied that should my father need crisis care, it will be easily accessible to him (and certainly not out of the working hours of his community mental health team).

As I stated before, our situation is, if not unique, quite rare, in that both my father and myself suffer mental illness (without a local family/friendship network) who are able to help us. Therefore, there are times, crisis times, when we have and may well still need crisis care and getting it should not be like trying to work our way through an obstacle course.

I am copying ......MP into this communication as I wish him to be aware that things have not been resolved to my satisfaction and I would like to keep him up to date on what is going on and what I think are the problems for people (like my father and myself) when trying to get appropriate care in extremely frightening and potentially life threatening situations.

Yours etc-ingly

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Beyond the pale and into mirrors and hazes

And just when you think there is space enough to breath easy.

The local counil have re-assessed me (as in my benefits). Got a council tax bill for £509.

Was pacing and veering off into hysterical state and then quite abruptly thought "Ring the council".

I did and asked what it all means and how they expect me to pay this money. The woman put me on hold whilst she went through my records. She came back saying I have been re-assessed again (that is I have been re-assessed after the re-assessment). Another lot of paperwork was sent out from the offices yesterday and should be with me in the next few days which, she reckons, will clarify the situation.

I said, I know I have a disability which could mean that I am missing something so could you explain what this actually means and she said she couldn't share personal information over the phone with me. I have to wait for the next lot of paperwork to arrive.

Is clear as mud to me.

T'is the Season To Be Silly


When I had the Lifeboat I would endeavour to hunt out silly, uplifting and/or funny stories every so often and share them.

This one was sent to me from SSRI Crusaders.

I am not sure if it is supposed to be based on fact...I don't really care. I think it warrants airing and sharing:

Prozac may counter parasite mind control

00:01 17 December 2008 by Ewen Callaway
For similar stories, visit the Mental Health Topic Guide
Parasites getting you down? Then take Prozac – if you're a fish, that is.

A behaviour-altering parasitic worm has been found to stymie its host's production of serotonin – the same brain chemical that Prozac and other mood-lifting drugs ramp up.

While there are no plans to medicate infected fish in the wild, researchers hope to use psychiatric drugs to figure out how trematode worms alter the behaviour of California killifish, which live in coastal estuaries.

"There are whole populations where almost 100% of the fish are infected," says Jenny Shaw, a parasitologist at the University of California in Santa Barbara, who led the study.

Otherwise healthy infected killifish surface frequently, flashing their silver bellies. When infected, they are 30 times more likely to get eaten by birds than uninfected fish," she says.

Mind control
The parasite's effect on the fish's behaviour is no accident. When the birds defecate, they pass the worm's eggs on to water snails, which in turn spread the worm larvae back to the killifish, thus completing the peculiar lifecycle of Euhaplorchis californiensis.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Maybe a little progress has been made

Went with Dad to his meds review meeting this morning.

Don't want to come across too optimistic. That wouldn't be me but got some sense from the shrinky dink. He didn't want to take Dad off of his anti-depressant because it is one of the SSRI groups and, in spite of what the Pharma's have to say, it can be addictive and there is growing evidence that people suffer mega problems when coming off them.

Not good if you are depressed and your anti depressant is no longer effective!!!

The compromise is trying Dad on a different anti-psychotic. The shrink's theory is that on a very low dose it might alleviate certain symptoms and help with the depression.

I am ever cynical of meds but, when the shit has not only hit the fan but it is sprawled all over the place, am aware that there are times when trying something new is better than doing nothing at all.

I said very little during the meeting...deliberately, I wanted Dad to say how he feels and what he sees as the problems and Dad was vocal enough to give a pretty clear picture of how awful he is feeling.

After we came out with the prescription, I took it down to the office and asked if the secretary could pass it on to his support worker to pick up for him. Was agreed and so he should get the new meds on Friday.

We taxi'd back together and went to the local shops where I got some stamps and posted Dad's cards for him, whilst he did some shopping.

He gave me a hug and told me I was lovely. I was quite overcome really. I am pretty loyal and do my best but lovely I ain't. Still, was nice to be appreciated...particularly as I know he finds most interaction difficult.

Said I would buzz him later and then tootled back to my pad.

Have got a cold but is not affecting my mental state. Feel pretty achey and tired and am working my way through a large box of kleenex tissues but apart from that am okay.

No plans for the rest of the day except resting.

Monday, 15 December 2008

All I Want For Christmas

Is Lorazepam!!! and thanks to an understanding Shrinky Dink that is what I am going to get.

Dr J and I travelled to Leighton Buzzard and back on the thanks Dr J for being there for me. Especially as he is the only one that was.

I was quite mellow throughout. We arrived early so I took us for a nice lunch in one of the cafes. I also picked up a digital camera for £4 at one of the charity shops.

I have this notion in my head of trying out a trifle recipe (as shown on the 'This Morning' programme) and want to take piccies as I do, with a hope to creating something that looks as good as it tastes and tastes even better. Yes viewers you could well be sharing my culinary caper.

The meeting went fine, although when my care co-ordinator was contacted she was still stuck in Dunstable and hoped to make it back in time....she didn't. No disrespect to her but that was no loss for me, as I my No 1 prioritiy was getting an agreement about lorazepam that works for me. I got some real understanding from my consultant about the situation, the history and the time of year and how that affects me.

So, am much more at ease now. Not fretting about having to struggle on with pathetic amounts of sedation at my worst time of year.

We have agreed to review this in which time, I expect Dad to either have made some kind of progress with himself (not sure how much that will be aided by MH services or hindered) or for services and him to have plans for a more appropriate long term care provision. Sure I would like to be involved in that..or kept informed but I want to pass the responsiblity for those decisions back to where they really should be made. I know if ever there was wishful thinking that was it!!!

Now, I am going to veg out watching some quality and some duff murder msyteries on the Alibi channel.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

For Wallace

Never Make Promises!!!

Not long before my Mum died, she made me promise to look after Dad.

Now, both of us kinda knew that Dad was a way that he couldn't be openly fragile (because of pride and duty). With some people it all goes on on the inside and, from the outside, all you can tell is that something painful is going on with them.

I made that promise...not at all realising quite what that promise would mean. I certainly never contemplated that Dad would implode after Mum's death and after he came back to me (it took about 5 years after Mum had died) I thought, wrongly, that he had done his grieving and would be able to function better from then on. I knew he would never be the same like we are back there...not long after Mum's departure.

It is fucking horrible! The mixture of emotions, mostly negative ones, are too many for me to be dealing with but I am carrying them around.

Today, I had planned to see Dad. Because yesterday, he was coming across as if the loneliness was his biggest concern and with his incapacity to get out (and no one else wanting to see him) I wanted to help ease some of that.

No Mand, wrong again!!!!!!

I rang him today and asked if I could go round. He said he would rather I didn't. Okay, so then I asked if he wanted me to stay over tomorrow night and then we could get ready to go to the medicine review together. He didn't want that either. In fact, I am not sure he wants to go to the medicine review now.

White flag jobby here. Sorry, Mum, but I can't double guess what he wants. Perhaps he does want to die or be left totally alone. Perhaps he wants people to come in and take control of the decision making but all I am picking up is a couple of extremes. They are stubborness and despair. In between, I get dragged back down a memory lane that I would much prefer to keep in the locked away place inside me. Or I get weird questions about the possibility of parallel universes. I struggle enough in this one..contemplating another one is too much for me.

I was talking, today, with someone who lives close by. Who is moving out of the marital home. And ending for them and an new beginning. Hmmm

And I am once again in a grieving process and whilst the person is still alive. For those who have never experienced is the pits but it is something that is happening...whether I like it or not.

I don't know where it is going to take me, because I have no timescale to work with. No definate. I was a bit similar with Mum. I knew she was dying...she had been chronically ill for a long time but it could have been any day. It turned out to be the 22 December. Hence my aversion to Christmas.

I grieved for her for many years before she died. Only I didn't realise I was. I am acutely aware that I am grieving for Dad now.

Sorry this is such an intense posting but it is where I am at.

As for the GP, unilaterally, deciding that I should only be taking .5mg of Lorazepam a day. They can shove their 'good intentions' in the shredder. I need to be sedate because if I am not...I will lose it.

I don't need to be so aware of how awful things are. I need to be able to live with how awful they are and no 'sensible' talking from MH professionals is going to change that.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Rhetoric and Reality - Part 9,742

Got a copy of The Government's response to the Eleventh Report on Public Services (don't these things drag on until long after any public interest in them has gone?).

Have skipped though it. Actually, from what I clocked there is some level of savvy coming back from the Government. For example, on a couple of occasions, they have been quite honest and said there are service users who are wary of authority, in regards to valid scepticsim and mistrust.

They have also responded to concerns around accountability within the Third Sector. They quoted the 40% of organisations who have no clearly identifiable complaints procedure and believe that service users should have the right to complain and that Comissioners should be on the case when looking at what complaints procedures a Third Sector organisation has in place before funding is allocated out. It was also made clear that service users can go to an Ombudsman should they believe their complaints have not be dealt with effectively. However, it was not made clear who/what that Ombudsman is.

The most important regards to the latest (possibly) rhetoric from the Government is that Third Sector organisations will not automatically get funding. That there is a responsiblity on these organisations to provide evidence that they are best placed to provide a service, better placed than existing public services (such as the NHS) before Commissioners make the choice to give them the funding.

For anyone who doesn't know...although alot of us with prior experience of service user involvement will have had some kind of contact or communications with them....A Commissioner is the middle man with the government funding (tax payers money). They are the ones who decide if the money goes to an existing government organisation..such as the NHS....or more so how much money goes to the NHS and so they will be the ones with the responsibility for deciding how much of that money will go to the Third Sector, in future. Well, that is the theory. That is the rhetoric!

When you are are up

Back from Mo's blog. Certainly reminds me of some of the times in my life when I have been the better end of my spectrum..and before I give the media something else from which to spin a line about how wonderful having bipolar is, the problem, for me, has always been lack of consistency.

Sticking with the pozzies. The pictures on Mo's site are brilliant...witty as and some of the chat is around feeling upbeat when those around blogland are not so upbeat. It certainly isn't a crime although it got me to thinking about one of my stays in acute care. I had gone in with depression, and thanks to Prozac, was lifting pretty damn sharpish. I could be found dancing around the corridors. (earplugs attached)....a bit ironically listening to The Smith's 'The Queen is Dead' cd.

Why am I writing this..well most people in the unit were in dire straights of mental distress. I had gone in there having been fighting a losing battle with depression for months. There is always an air in units, of supression (encouraged by the apathy of staff whilst they make a big show of following policies and procedures...Jobs Worths) but on reflection, I can see how un-empathetic I must have come across. Because I was. I was on a high. When I am on such highs..which is becoming less of a state, the older I get...I am very wrapped up in the moment and the moment is all about putting out energy. As in it is in there and it is coming out.

I do remember some other patients asking me why I was in hospital and not being able to answer that because at the time I didn't care about that...was more interested in encouraging them to join in singalongs. I even asked the staff if they could organise a karaoke. That never came to pass. I think staff get irritated by people on highs. Is not good for equilibrium...everyone has to be flat and compliant. Is custom and practise!!!

Anyway, here's to the good times. Whether they were chemically enhanced or not. I am glad I have (indirectly) been prompted to remember. Remember the sparkle. It is still in me, somewhere.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

It gets worse but thanks to someone special it gets better

It got worse when I opened up the statement from my credit card supplier.

2 transactions have taken place. I am going to name the companies here. ClubPremiere and VP Rewards. These companies (both with the same telephone number) deducted £9.95 from my account.

These transactions took place without my consent and when I rang the credit card supplier, saying that I did not authorise these payments they told me to ring the companies. I got one of those speaking options things. I tried putting in my details but the machine kept saying it could not identify the details. Well the company fekkin well identified my card number from somewhere, well enough to take money from the account!!!!

I did however, get a final option to email both companies.

I rang the local police station and explained what had happened. They said, it definately sounds like fraud and alot of this sort of thing is going on. They gave me a reference number and told me to put that in the emails I sent to the companies with confirmation that I had not willingly subscribed to anything and want my subscription stopped. They also advised me to contact my credit card supplier and ask for a new card with a new number.

I duly did this but the customer service person said that would not automatically stop payments going though. I said I had e:mailed both companies confirming I wanted subscriptions cancelled as of today. That may not stop the companies getting money from my account though. Not until next month's statement, will I know whether or not the companies have continued to take money from my account. Only then, and if the companies are still taking money (unauthorised by me) can I send the copies of the e:mails to the credit card supplier who will then act on them. So, at present I am paying back money to my credit card supplier for monies deducted that I did not authorise.

I rang back the police and said I thought that was unfair. The constable agreed but said if that is your credit card supplier's policy it has to be followed.

I sense that this scam is being run from some room somewhere and even the email addresses I have been given are a scam so is likely that more money will be deducted from my account next month.

At which point, I will be writing a letter to my credit card company saying I want all payments made to this company reimbursed and that I feel there has been a level of coersion from the credit card company in this scam.

Then it got better. As in I received a parcel and when I opened it, it was packed with lovely surprises. I got some soothing slumber smellies, A thai spa scented pillow, a diary (which is essential because I never know from one day to the next what I am supposed to be doing) and some Turkish Delight. How amazing, kind and thoughtful. I won't embarass the person by naming them but they can rest assured that all will be put to very good use and I am cock a hoot full of fluffiness and if they were here right now I would give them a massive hug. They have made my day :>)


Dearly Beloveds...Today's Lesson is all about relying on people

I didn't get a call from Dad's CMHT manager yesterday and nor have I had a call from them, so far, today. There is still a few hours before they clock off so am going to be objective and say that they might contact me in the next few hours.

If they don't then I will be putting my views on that, and the need for an urgent review of Dad's medication, in writing...with a copy to the MP.

I had arranged to go to town with a friend this morning but when the time came, they rang me to say that the repairs on their car were going to go on well into the afternoon. Not their fault but I was relying on them to get me to town.

I braced myself, dropped half a loz and walked to town. Rang another friend for reassurance and just hearing their voice helped. I didn't feel so alone and lost. I did what I had to do and went to Woolies, in search of some bargains. Big notices on the windows saying "Most Stock 50% Off! The 2 aisles I was interested in were music and books. A massive 10% discount was offered on the music and 20% on books. If that is the best that Woolies can do, no wonder they are going under.

I am sad to see such a high profile chain disappear but when people can get cheaper goods in other shops or on the internet (and certainly when there is a recession on) is no wonder Woolies couldn't compete. Their prices were too high in comparison and still were for me today.

So I taxi'd home. I couldn't stomach waiting around for a bus.

You may be thinking that the CMHT manager might have rang whilst I was out. They didn't, I checked my answerphone and no messages were left...I also checked the last number that called me and it was at 9.00 am and a friend.

So today's lesson is that there are very few (sometimes no) people you can rely on and ultimately you have to rely on yourself...and when you are struggling or, as many are right now, going under....even those whose paid responsibility it is to help you are busy doing other things (not sure quite what but I would assume making themselves appear very busy).

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Watch out Legal Eagles...Justice is about to come calling for Serious Untoward Incidents!!!

Daughter wins legal battle over mother's suicide

The daughter of a mentally-ill woman who walked out of a hospital and threw herself under a train has won the final round of her battle for the right to sue the local health trust for damages.

Anna Savage claims the hospital allowed her mother to escape and kill herself and should be held liable for violating her "right to life" under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Today, five Law Lords rejected argument by South Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust that, in the absence of gross negligence, it could not be held liable.

Lord Walker said the Trust was under a general obligation to take precautions to prevent suicides by employing competent properly-trained staff and running a safe system at the hospital.

Health authorities also had an obligation, if staff knew or ought to know that a patient presented a "real and immediate" risk of suicide, to do all they could to prevent it.

Carol Savage, 50, who had a history of mental illness, absconded from Runwell Hospital in Wickford, Essex, where she was being treated for paranoid schizophrenia as a detained patient in an open acute psychiatric ward, in July 2004.

After walking two miles to Wickford station, she jumped in front of a train.

Her daughter sought compensation, claiming that as a result of her mother's death she suffered distress, anxiety, vexation, bereavement, loss and damage.

She argued that the Trust took insufficient care to protect her mother and, as a public authority, was liable for a breach of her mother's right to life.

Her mother had made a number of attempts to leave the hospital before succeeding, it was alleged. Staff at the hospital failed properly to appreciate the "acute risk" she presented and failed to ensure adequate measures were put in place to protect her life.

In December 2006, a High Court judge blocked the claim on the basis that it would need to be proved there was "gross negligence" on the part of the hospital authorities, not merely negligence or something less.

But a year ago, the Court of Appeal held that the case could go ahead.

The court upheld argument by the daughter's lawyers that, in a case where the deceased was compulsorily detained in a mental hospital, the authority owed the same human rights obligations as were owed by the State to someone detained in prison or a prison hospital.

The Trust's appeal against that ruling was dismissed today by Lords Scott, Rodger, Walker and Neuberger and Baroness Hale.


That is my answer to the financial crisis!

I bet they taste foul but needs must:

When tears are not enough

Dad is very tearful of late. For example, when I rung him yesterday I could hear he was choked up. I asked him what was upsetting him and it was because his care co-ordinator hadn't turned up. He said his support worker had assured him he would get a visit yesterday. Hmmm.

Now, I get frustrated when I am told that members of the MH team are coming to see me and then they don't but at least they have the decency (usually) to inform me if they can't make the visits.

Dad told me he feels like he is being left to drown. That was upsetting to me. Firstly, because he is so lonely and in a horrible depressive state and depression is the sort of illness that compounds itself the more it is left to do so. Secondly, it comes back round to me to wonder what I can do for the best for him and I don't know.

I said that perhaps the best thing was to ring his care co-ordinator this morning to ask what the problem was and try and organise another visit from her. I could do that for him but I want to try and help him to be as independant as he can. I feel that in many ways he has infantilised himself. Maybe that is not how it is, perhaps his illness is infantilising him but I do think there is part of him that is stuck in some sort of stubborn cycle and he is craving attention whilst saying he doesn't deserve it. Oh what horrid games our minds can play on us and others.

I thought about going round but when I go round I feel the weight of his illness and I will try to talk him round on certain things, counter his self loathing with reminding him he is loved but ultimately I can't make him stop being depressed. I can't make him do anything. It is a selfish thing to admit but I can't cope with him and if anyone should it should be me cos I understand depression. How cruel and relentless it can be.

I thought about asking him to come and live with me again but I don't want to be battling against whatever it is in him that can't or won't shift.

I thought that maybe he does want to go into a care home but his pride stops him saying that. I do think he wants to be cared for. Well, don't we all in one way or another? He isn't physically incapacitated though, he is mentally debilitated and perhaps if he went into a care home it might be the right place for him. Although I have concerns about care homes and the level of care they actually provide.

The only other non professional who is in regular (phone) contact with him said that she thinks he should go back into hospital. Another hmmmm...because Dad said he was left to rot there the last time and what point going somewhere that is supposed to encourage healing when it does the exact opposite. Then again, my view of acute care is very negative and I my experience is that it is left to the patient to heal themselves (as best as) in these environments and get out of them as soon as possible.

I keep wondering how much longer Dad can handle himself. I wonder how much longer I can handle him. Is not like I am handling him though...more like constant fretting.

I will ring him later and ask him if he rang his care co-ordinator. If not, I will ring her and ask why she didn't turn up. I might even ask her what else can be done because at present I am at a loss.

And for the record I feel like a total shit for not being able to help him in any way that is showing signs of helping him.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

I'll Tell You What I Want, What I Really Really Want

And it doesn't involve any zig a zig arring!

Prompted by having read Mad Dentist's latest posting..which I can relate to in some ways. Not all but some. If someone with the power to actually act on asking me the question "What do you want?, went and asked me that question, my response would be I want to go dancing, not in some nightclub heaving with drunken bodies desiring attention (and mainly in the bedroom department). I want to dance somewhere with space enough to move around freely in but not too big to get lost in. I want to dance in a place where everyone isn't posing about and I can girate away in ways that appeal to me rather than a mass audience. But rather than dance at home, which I do alot, I would like to dance amongst other people who like to dance too.

I would have to go with someone who is not going to fekk off mid evening, either looking for a shag, to get a fix or somewhere to bring up the insides of their stomach and I would also like to get home safely.

Now in this day and age, finding a place to dance (without all that ruddy interferance) is one thing but finding someone who is trustworthy to go, spend the evening, and come home with (and not have to give bits of the self that one would rather not) is rarer than finding a winning Euro Lottery ticket on the pavement!!!

Maybe my view of human nature is bleak but I have sussed in this life that it is all about the payback and if what I have on offer isn't bona fide tender or the kind of tender somebody else wants, then I am stuffed.

Yep, who needs Paxo after all?

Okay, so I have totally gone away from the tangent Mr Mad Dentist was working from but is quite rare that people are asked what they want. Either by friends or by MH services. Is more a case of - this is what is on offer, if it doesn't match your needs - Tough shitski. Yep, you can apply for a Direct Payment for what you actually want but unless you are the bureaucratic equivalent of a trick cyclist, then give up before you hit the small print!

So back from my trip to fantasy land. I have my first visit from the new trainee something or other, based with my Community Mental Health Team, tomorrow. When my care co-ordinator asked me what I wanted them to do with and for me. I said "Positive distraction therapy". Perhaps they will turn up in a tutu and give me some ballet lessons. I dunno but whatever it is, I hope it is better than providing me with a handful of leaflets on understanding anxiety!!!!

Quick by-line about the Local Resolution Meeting. In spite of getting up feeling the heebies, I bussed to town. Met the advocate. Sweet chap who had left his cigs at home, so the pair of us were puffing away on menthols outside the NHS car park.

The meeting went okay. Apologies for me being sent on wild goose chases were given, the procedures on how blood test results are provided to patients were clarified, although the procedures were not applied in my case. Hence, assurances that additions to those procedures are now in place. Something written into discharge letters confirming where the blood test results are being sent..also confirmation that patients will be notified when blood tests are done on how/where they get the results.

I raised concerns, based around respect, and said that I thought there was at least, in part, a staff training issue in regards to how patients are dealt with. Was told that it is a cultural issue (not as in ethnic background cultures) but the culture of the organisation and that needs to change. Yes it does! The rather slap dash approach to dealing with patients is not okay. People being listened to and then what they ask for being acted on is what it should be about. Okay, so I could ask for a cream cake but I know that is not what the NHS provides but if I ask for my blood test results, the very first person I come into contact with should treat me with respect and act on what I am saying. They may not have the blood test results. They might not be the right person to be giving me the blood test results but it isn't that difficult to say "I am afraid I am not the person you need to talk to. The person you need to talk to is.......and they are contactable via......." either that or "I don't have the information but I will find out who has and get back to you". Is not that hard to it? Well, it shouldn't be.

A review of complaints (as in reflecting back and looking for running themes and root causes) is taking place. It is called something like "Learning from mistakes". Could it be, at last, someone in a position of power is clocking how important that is? Gotta live in hope. I said I would be interested to see how that pans out. Okay, so maybe that was cheeky of me but so what, I am a service user with a vested interest in what the Trust does. Cos ultimately it affects me (as well as other people).

I was asked if I would be interested in being involved in some way...I said I am happy to look at things...for things to be sent through to me and happy to share my views and send them back..but not prepared to attend meetings. Not just because I have travel problems but the sort of meetings I have attended in the past have led nowhere of any benefit to me. As in I have seen no positive change for service users from attending them and so I don't want to go back down that road.

After the meeting, the advocate and I exchanged a view that meeting went as well as it could and I said that if the minutes are a true reflection of what was discussed and include those areas of improvement that the Trust rep said were in place, then I would see that as closure for me and not take the complaint to The Healtchare Commission.

I do still have an outstanding complaint regarding the effectiveness and relevance (NON) of The Emergency Duty Team (particularly for people who suffer mental illness and are in crisis) but I am going to have a week or so of unwinding, before I decide what route I am going to take with that but I think, because it relates to Social Services, it will have to go to some Ombudsman or other. It can wait a while.

Time now for chocolate!!!

Monday, 8 December 2008

Friday 9 December 1988 - A very special Day

It was the day my daughter was born and at 13 minutes past 1, tomorrow afternoon, she will be exactly 20 years old.

I have had the pleasure of spending the day and evening with Em. We met in town and padded around the shops. It was nice to buy a few treats for her that she spotted, as extra birthday pressies. We then had lunch in one of the cafes, which served the most divine hot chocolate and went to Wilko's and got a cheap crimbo tree and lights (total cost of £4.30). Have sent the dodgy snowman tree, with the fibre optics that don't work, to a skip. Okay so it will become ground fill but Dr J couldn't fix it and I couldn't stomach looking at it any longer.

Back home she opened her presents and was chuffed with the fairy card I made her..even though, dumb fuck that I am, I forgot to write inside it. I managed to get her a Smith's album on vinyl (Strangeways Here We Come). Not the easiest thing to find but she wanted Smith's vinyl and I am hoping between us she can build up a collection of all their albums on vinyl. What a to die for collection that will be.

After we decorated the tree, and Em put some false nails on (which turned out to be a bit of a drama because the nails seemed to stick to everything but her existing nails), we popped round to Dad's and spent a few hours with him before her fella turned up. Stayed a while longer and then headed back to mine for a Chinese meal. I did offer Dad to join us or that we could all eat the meal at his but he said we would rather not. Shame that but his choice.

So we ordered this mega feast and it was duly eaten as we chatted, then the pair headed off (after hugs).

In spite of my underlying wobblyness, I had a great time. I think it has been the first day in as long as I can remember that Em and me have been down town together, just us, padding about and enjoying ourselves.

Wishing my daughter, the light of my life, a very Happy 20th Birthday. What a babe!!!! X

No evidence to support forcing people to take pyschiatric drugs works

Was sent following link and story

The practice of forcing psychiatric patients to take medication is not backed by evidence, say UK researchers.

Very few rigorous investigations of the use of coerced medication have been done despite it being widespread, the Journal of Advanced Nursing reported.

The dearth of evidence is "unacceptable" and more should be done to find alternatives, the team said.

A spokeswoman for Mind said the threat of forced medication often stopped people seeking help in the first place.

Researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry and City University in London found 14 studies from seven countries on forcing psychiatric inpatients to take medication.

The threat of coerced medication can discourage people from seeking treatment when they need it and may damage the relationship between patients and mental heath professionals

Alison Cobb, Mind

Most of the patients looked at had been admitted involuntarily, and they were slightly more likely to be female and in their 30s, the studies of patients and staff from the UK, USA, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Canada and Denmark, showed.

Most had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or another psychotic illness.

The practice seemed more common in the UK but that is probably because mechanical restraint is used more often in other countries to stop patients harming themselves and others.

There was little detail on the events leading up to the coerced medication incidents and "a complete absence" of investigation into alternatives, the researchers said.

Early intervention

Study leader Manuela Jarrett, a researcher at the Institute of Psychiatry and registered mental health nurse said she had hoped to find more evidence on the factors that lead up to coerced medication, what constitutes a risk and how long the patient has been on the ward.

"We also need more research into early intervention and whether that can prevent coerced medication."

"When you stop and think about it, its quite a drastic step."

She added that hospitals probably had different rates of how often they forced patients to take medication but the figures are not available for monitoring.

The lack of evidence suggests the procedure is taken for granted in psychiatric hospitals, she said.

"We feel that this is unacceptable and more needs to be done to establish sound clinical evidence and viable alternatives to this contentious approach."

Alison Cobb, senior policy and campaign's officer at the mental health charity, Mind, said forcing patients to take medication against their will was "extremely distressing" for them.

"Their freedom is taken away and people are often left feeling powerless, frightened and helpless."

"The threat of coerced medication can discourage people from seeking treatment when they need it and may damage the relationship between patients and mental heath professionals.

"We urgently need to see more studies on this issue, particularly exploring the use of alternative treatments and how to include service users fully in making decisions about treatments."

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Hysteria, Repression, Tears and other crap stuff

I wrote this long post and then realised I am the cxnt round here.

That is all I have to write today

Friday, 5 December 2008

About last night

I can reflect back and see the comical side of it. Of being human.

Although was in Sloth mode and actively seeking to stay that way, friend (Bettie) asked me to go to a hospital appointment with her. Another friend (Barnie) gave us a lift there, which meant we didn't have to negotiate around public transport.

There are times when I really should say "No".

All was ticking along, we got some petrol and the nice man in the petrol station waved us goodbye, until we were travelling up the Dunstable Road and I started feeling weird...panic attack weird. For me it starts off with physical feelings and then the neurosis kicks in. Attempted to deap breathe and do some CBT (NO MAND YOU ARE NOT GOING TO DIE>>REMEBER ALL THE TIMES YOU HAVEN'T DIED BEFORE)but was continuing to hyperventilate, in amongst this was intermittently taking in noise from the front. "Can you turn this heating down is like an oven in here" and "Watch that lorry"

Dropped half a loz and waited for it to kick in. Was still waiting whilst a debate about where to park took place. I was playing neutral. Neither wanted to pay the hospital car park fee so we drove round until we found a space with lower parking rate. Then there was problem over having the right change. It was 60p....hunt for 10p ensued.

I got out of the car, loz still not kicked in. Bettie thanked me so much for going with her. I said "It's really nothing" and she put her arm through mine. Sometimes, I am such a little lier!!!!

We got to the reception area, Bettie signed in...whilst Barnie was telling me how they thought they had caught malaria (on a trip to Lanzarote in 1984) and needed to go to the GP for tests. I laughed. Perhaps it was nerves..that moment when the tension turns to something more ludicrous.

Then Bettie and I went through to the waiting room. Barnie waited outside. We were still waiting three quarters of an hour later. Somewhere in this, the loz kicked in. All was not, mind numbingly, lost though. An episode of Golden Balls was on the tv there. Never watched it before but it is all about contestants who get given golden balls and inside these balls are amounts of money.There are nasty balls, known as Killers. The art of the game is for the winner to get the most money...avoiding the Killers. Yep, I was pretty engrossed. Not much else to be engrossed in...apart from a sea of bored, with underlying worry, faces. There is always an air of menace about hospital waiting rooms. Bettie was called in and I waited another half hour whilst the consultant saw them.

By the time Bettie came out, telling me she would have to wait for test results, I was starving so asked if we could stop somewhere. When we found Barnie he was saying we had to go back to the petrol station because he was £10 down. So the bloke hadn't been waving at us as a friendly gesture then? No he had been waving the £10 note!

Bettie's mobile rang and it was her son. Completely oblivious to the fact she had just had a hospital appointment and asking her for one of his friend's phone numbers. This got her goat and so she was raving about how thoughtless he was.

Was relieved when we got to McDonald's. Sometimes, I need a guilty pleasure. This came in the form of a filet of fish, large fries and a 3 foot container of coffee (slight exaggeration).

Duly stuffed, we headed home. By this time I was feeling a sense of impending relief and we all arrived safely.

Bettie jumped out of the car, said "It's time for 'Eastenders', Bye" and I was left with Barnie. I thanked him for the lift and taking me for food and said I would catch up another day. Normally, would invite him in for a cuppa but I had had it. I wanted the sanctity of my own foor walls.

For some reason, as bizarre as last night seemed, that Frankie Vallie song is going through my head now(Oh What A Night!) but this seems more apt to me.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Warning to the Disabled and Vulnerable...Keep Away From Bedfordshire

Sadly, some of us have no choice!

Published Date:
04 December 2008
By Paul Fisher

Bedfordshire County Council is one of the worst providers of social care for adults in England, according to a new government report.

County Hall was one of 19 English authorities to be given one star by the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI), and was one of just four where 'capacity to improve' was graded 'uncertain'.

The report, published last Thursday, classified one-star councils as 'needing to improve in all areas to deliver good outcomes for people using social care'.

Coun Peter Hollick, county council portfolio holder for community services, said: "We have reservations about this judgement and the way in which the conclusions were made.

"Bedfordshire County Council has improved its performance every year for the past three years. This rating does not reflect all the good work the council and its staff is doing to deliver good services."

Out of the 150 English councils surveyed by the CSCI, Bedfordshire was judged to be equal bottom of the adult social care league table with Cornwall, Surrey and York.

For the past two years Bedfordshire has received two out of a maximum three stars from the CSCI, and has been judged as having promising capacity to improve.

Coun Hollick added: "I am concerned that CSCI may have taken a pessimistic view of the impact of local government review in their judgements this year, which are, ironically, the last they will deliver before they themselves are abolished.

"Services will be delivered by two new unitary councils from April next year, and so, if this is the context, it may not seem surprising that there is a judgment of 'uncertain prospects' for improvement.

"However, I want to emphasise that this judgement casts no reflection on the capacity of the new councils. We are confident that both of them will make social care a priority and will deliver high quality services."

A spokesman for the council said many of the weaknesses identified in the inspection had already been substantially rectified, and the report did not give sufficient credit to achievements.

Bedfordshire's neighbouring counties, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Cambridgeshire, were all awarded two stars or more. Luton and Northamptonshire were given one star, but were deemed to be improving.

Service User Involvement - Are things really any different in other parts of the UK?

Received this article (from an Ulster Newspaper):

Mental Health Services: Innovation Without Change
28th November 2008

The provision and delivery of mental health services in Northern Ireland has not improved with devolution, according to University of Ulster academic Professor Deirdre Heenan.

Speaking at her inaugural professorial lecture at the Magee campus this week, Professor Heenan, who is Professor of Social Policy, suggested that despite the rhetoric, service users still have no real influence over the decision-making process.

`Devolution and Social Policy: More say for the Citizens of Northern Ireland?' looked at the provision of mental health services in the context of devolved administration in Northern Ireland to illustrate how the government's avowed commitment to service user involvement had translated into reality.

Professor Heenan said that while devolution was warmly welcomed – as it was widely believed that it would bring government to the people, putting them in control of their own affairs, – the reality for users of mental health services in Northern Ireland was very different.

"One of the first major decisions of the newly devolved government in 2002 was the Review of Public Administration (RPA). In the broader policy context of modernising public services, the RPA was to ensure help that services were to be driven by, planned for, and responsive to, the needs of patients," she said.

As part of the RPA, Northern Ireland's health and social services have been reorganised but Professor Heenan suggested that this radical rationalisation and centralisation of service delivery may actually have an adverse affect on the responsiveness of services.

She says that whilst there is a consensus that user involvement is desirable, it can be problematic.

"The nature and extent of involvement varies enormously. At one end of the spectrum is the token involvement when a few service users might be asked to comment on or react to an agenda, project or document which has already been developed. The other end is characterised by an ideology in which clients' expertise and knowledge is valued.

Pointing out that involving service users did not necessarily mean that their contribution is valued or used constructively, Professor Heenan continued: "It is possible to argue that user involvement is a sham, something which can be held up as representative of authenticity and reality but something which has no real influence over decision-making. It can be employed by managers to illustrate that they are in touch with users. The ideology of user involvement is a way of illustrating management's empathy and demonstrating that they are actually on the side of the user.

"The story told is back in the `bad old' days, users had no say and were simply told by professionals what to do. Now users are told they can be involved and influence the design and delivery of services. This is in fact a myth because all the decisions about how users are involved are controlled by professionals on the one hand and government and welfare bureaucracy on the other hand. The latter have control over finance which is crucial in all these situations.

Professor Heenan concluded that although devolution should have improved user participation and helped make services more patient centred, in key areas of social policy, quangos have been replaced by super quangos, largely unaccountable, remote and non-responsive.

"User participation is a key theme in policy and strategy development but the nature and extent of this participation is controlled by professionals and for many is synonymous with consultation where the outcomes also controlled by policy makers. The example of mental health demonstrates the difficulties associated with meaningful engagement.

Despite examples of new ways of working based on users experiential insights of distress, professionals and policy makers remain extremely resistant. It is this resistance based on the desire to retain power, status and security that needs addressing in depth if there is to be equality based partnership that could lead to fundamental transformations in services. Without these fundamental changes, service users will remain comparatively powerless and `Innovation without change will continue'.

Self Questioning

Is my life's vocation. I think it goes with the territory but don't want to generalise.

Yesterday, having listened to that horrid interview...the horrid bit being my voice. I started analysing myself. Thinking that I should have said more about how bad things are for people with mental illness. Certainly those I am closest to and why I think that is the case. Then again it really wasn't that kind of interview. In some ways I see it as a wasted opportunity....although if you turn people off they rarely turn back on again..and so it goes. My cycle of self questioning. Damned if I do and damned if I don't.

I even thought I was wrong to sink the Lifeboat. It was a reactive action (self protection), rather than one based on well thought out logic. I can do logic. There is a part of me that is a bit too logical at times. I just can't do it with any consistency. That may be down to having Bipolar or it could be a fundamental part of being me. I dunno????

Anyway, I started thinking I should be jazzing up my blog. Making it more personal, as the Lifeboat was, much more an expression of me (the whole blog) and then I stopped myself, dead. Okay so maybe I should have kept the Lifeboat but I didn't and now I need to be where I am..not reflecting back on what should have been.

Yes, I can update this blog but that needs to be when the mood takes me and because there is something I feel needs to be added or has a fun element that I can relate to. And I don't want to get wrapped up again (as I did at one point) with some feeling of competing....constantly checking hits to see how many I got. Am not saying it is wrong but it can become a negative distraction for me.

My prime directive is to it is when it is..I need to feel that level of freedom when I blog plus there are so many other things that I question myself about and not enough hours in the day.

This song has come into my head:

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Some Days are Better Than Others

Am sort of singing that title in my head to The Smiths' "Some Girls are Bigger than Others". That is on my, ever changing, list of top ten songs (but is always in there somewhere).

As said in previous comments, I didn't listen to the Radio 4 Programme last night. Yep, I woossed out and not just because hate the sound of my voice but I really didn't think I was interesting enough. It wasn't like I was hard-selling blogland, although I do think it is one place where people with mental illness can express themselves freely, if they choose, without pressure to conform to one theology or another. And yes, there will always be opposing views and that is mostly a positive thing (certainly keeps me thinking) and as long as there is freedom of speech, people can write what they want and that is the best thing about it. Whatever the views, there is space to let them out. I should have ended interview with "Viva La Blogland Vida"!!!!

Anyway, back to everyday life, because I was away from home last night decided to alter appointment with support worker and met her in town. It didn't start off so good. When I went outside, palpitations were coming thick and fast and was struggling to breathe properly. I was holding it together until I crossed the main road. I rang my mate and said what was going on. That was helpful because they suffer in sort of similar ways. In the end we joked about the fact that there I am, trying best to look inconspicuous whilst sticking out like a sore thumb. Panic written all over my face and pacing about a bit too much.

I had settled by the time support worker arrived and so managed to enjoy our lunch. That was a real treat for me. I rarely do anything so social as eat in public places. Didn't have any nerves at all at that point. We ate and chatted and it was not so much like a 'heavy' meeting but more about enjoying each other's company.

One thing we did discuss was my next meeting with shrinky dink. I said I wasn't sure there was anything he could do for me. I certainly don't want to try a new medication. I think, overall, I am coping okay on lorazepam. It isn't the ideal (in psychiatric terms) medication for my illness but it is the one that works best for me.So, medication is not on my list of 'to talk abouts' although am sure there will be some discussion around how much sedation I am using...more to check that I am not abusing it... which, I don't think I am. For past 2 days have been back down to 1 tablet that lasts the day and night.

I did say that something that I feel is important to discuss is my relationship with Dad (more so how I deal or don't deal with his illness). Support Worker asked me what I thought about some talking therapy. I was a bit wary. My experience of talking therapies before has meant lots of meandering around and sometimes meandering off into illness or, worse, lots of target setting that didn't seem to relate to me. Support Worker said there is an opportunity for (at least to discuss the option of), some focussed sessions. For sure, I cannot continue to worry so much about is impacting too much on my own well being and if Dad's depressive state continues on indefinately, I need to develop different coping strategies, for me. I know that but how that will be resolved is the big question. There may be ways, through the talking therapy, that I can work things through to a point where I at least feel more comfortable with myself when being with, trying to help...etc, Dad. Is something I am giving serious thought to.

So, after our meet up, I went walkabouts in town. I picked up some lovely items for Em. They come from second hand shops and not afraid to admit that because they are very pretty things and it doesn't matter about the cost but whether the person will like them and I know Em will like them....AND I got the bus home.

After the last few days, was wondering if I would ever do that again but I did and without any flapping. I actually enjoyed the experience because another chap and myself had to run for the bus and the pair of us were exchanging banter on how unfit we were. Then, a couple of old folks were discussing their ailments and I somehow became part of that conversation without having said anything. Sometimes a smile is all it takes. Anyway, my stop arrived pretty quickly so I said my goodbyes and the chap I originally got on with said "See you at the gym" (erm..maybe not). Got off the bus chuckling away to myself.

Yep, a good which I felt part of life and not a spare part.

For those who have not come across the delights of Johnny Marr at his best, this is it:

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Petitioning MH Charities.....The need for more democracy

Have been sent the following link:

The Stratford Declaration, which is the name of the petition, is, I think, seeking to get more accountablity, from MIND, to those with mental health problems. I think it is an uphill struggle but if you don't ever try then what chance of change?

Is important to know that the charity gets £17 million pounds and is not unfair for people with mental illness to ask what is being done with that money to improve their lives. In fact, I think it is important that people with mental illness have a big say in what is done with that money. It shouldn't be left to people who think they know what mental illness means, or people who have careered their way to senior managment positions (without much accountability along the way).

My rather caustic view, based on my experience of the charity, is that if it disappeared tomorrow, today even, it wouldn't make the slightest bit of difference to my life. Proof of the pudding and all that.

Monday, 1 December 2008

What's it all about ...Alfie?

I think I know what it is least the reasons I carry on, in spite of underlying feelings of worthlessness, pissy frustration and entrapment.

It is about some basic motivation (although I don't feel motivated to much of anything) to live. That primal, animal, instint to survive.

Moving away from the basics, there is also a responsibility to and love for my daughter that prevails. A weird kind of responsibility cos is not like I was able to match the responsibility with actions for years but I have always felt (and most probably more so at times when I was contemplating suicide) that she didn't need to have to deal with my suicide. That it would be wrong to lay any responsibility (she might feel) for my taking of my life. Not just that, but I wanted to live for her because she deserved that rather than my death. If that makes any sense. Maybe that was self delusion. I certainly have never felt I was any cop as a mother so is not like I felt she was missing much in not having me but more that I wanted to hang on to the possibility/opportunity to be better for her. I also could sense, again maybe self delusion, that my own destruction would affect ways that might mess her up big time. The end of my life should not be the start of, or continuation of, her having to try and work out what my illness and death means because whatever kind of useless I was....a child is growing and developing and as one of the most central figures in her life, it would have been pretty damaging to her. I think, I don't know.

And our relationship is good. We have grown together in certain ways. We know each other and I feel like a mum. Her Mum. So, even in despairing times, I want to hang on for her.

Anyway, have prattled on there.

Reason for all this is that yesterday was a bastard of a day. I was hammering myself internally. Dr J seemed to be reflecting my own internal disorder and round and round in frustrating circles I went. I got to the point where I wanted to run. That had enough fighting, want to fly, thing. Knew that would be another futile endeavour so took a loz, cried and eventually slept.

Today, well it is not like Miss Marple is going to come round and cut through all the red herrings and resolve the case and the red herrings are actually more the realities of having other damaged people in my life who need, but aren't getting, any real care (outside of the erratic and exhausting bits of nurturing they seek or get from me).

I am damaged goods...more shop soiled than flooded warehouse stock. So, to try and resolve anything is seeming pointless to me. A case of take the sedation and get on with the day..Oh and I have a letter to open from the local council. Bet it won't be a crimbo card with heartfelt wishes of good will and joy to all men/women and children!!!!!