Friday, March 02, 2012

First week of the course completed and my first assignment handed in. I composed a post yesterday after spending a day with one of the most inspirational people I have ever met and I have met a fair few people from all walks of life. She was truly astonishing and one of those women whom you just think "Amazing". I am not given to attaching superlatives to people but this woman just blew us all away. However, her description of her life including systematic abuse left me and, as I discovered today, my colleagues, emotionally stunned. She hears voices and is a leading member of the Hearing Voices Network and is a successful, passionate and staunch advocate for change in mental health services. She received a spontaneous round of sustained applause from a room full of experienced and cynical social workers and nurses.

Much of our work over these next several weeks is to explore the role of the AMHP within the context of current and historical psychiatry. This means looking at & developing awareness of other interpretations of mental health especially colaborating with clients. Given my dissatisfaction with psychiatry over the past several years and how medication / services  has failed so many people this course is the icing on a cake baked over many years.  I have been aware of alternative approaches for many years and I and some othe colleagues try to use these whilst limiting the damage caused by the system. It is easy to feel a failure and consider giving up but that little flame inside plus inspirational people like this woman rekindle that fire in the belly, enough to carry on. Much food for thought and a reminder a why I came into mental health nursing. I just have to still the nagging voice which states
 "You are assessing these people and you may be sectioning some of them you bastard agent of the state and instrument of satan and all his infernal minions". Yes, quite...

However, I am enjoying the course thus far even as I question 'Why am I doing this?' and we have some interesting discussions about it all. We are in the agricultural campus surrounded by agricultural and equine students. I have never seen so many well filled jodphurs, strapping farm hands and tractors. It's great to be here as spring approaches and I might source some well rotted manure if I play my cards right!


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