Saturday, October 28, 2006


A pizza, two bottles of Wychwood 'Black Witch'porter and a good nights sleep...I had to prise myself from bed this morning. I slept 'like a top' (what does that mean?) and nipped out to the market early. I also bought some chocolate and nightnurse for No.1 who is still very unwell. He's been confined to the house because his intent was to join his mates today and 'hang out'.It's raining and it is cold...logic didn't work so parental diktat is now in force. He was coughing last night like a 50 a day astbestos worker. Currently he is drumming away and appears quite happy, courtesy of the chocolate.
My plans today are quite flexible as I now have a week off and I can chill for a bit.The past two weeks at work have been hectic, involving a lot of difficult assessments and lots of travelling. We also seem to be permanently short of staff and my colleagues look tired...They probably see the same in me. Unemployment, failed relationships,debt, alcohol and drugs are certainly potent accelerants if you want mental health to break down. Sadly, we also see some people who are quite prepared to abdicate responsibility for their lives to others, whether that be the family,GP, A&E or the police. It speaks volumes that we get excited when someone with a serious and enduring mental illness (e.g. Schizophrenia; Bi-polar Affective Disorder;etc..)comes our way. That is not to denigrate depression or anxiety, but we do also get referrals from people who want us to 'fix' them. That is, make them happy and all the bad things go away. I am a pragmatist and I am not above being creative as well as empathic in my approach to working with people who are in crisis. But I do believe in enabling the person to address their own problems with the support of myself and my colleagues.So if someone is using amphetamines and has done so for several months, but also stating anxiety and mood problems for the past six months.Hello, do you see the connection here...stop using. We can support people in the short term as they stop and if there are mental health problems. Then a swift referral and onto the appropriate agencies. But to continue using, to steal and rob others to fund this behaviour and to make threats to self harm once the police have caught up with makes choices in life and one accepts the consequences of ones behaviour. That does anger me, the attempt to use mental health problems to excuse bad behaviour.Note I state mental health problems and not illness. The latter I would apply to recurrent depression which makes someones life hell or to someone with schizophrenia. Alcoholism and drug addiction are horrible and, if it was easy to amend then life would be easier all round. It is not easy to address addictions but they can be addressed. Illnesses such as schizophrenia are not so easy to address and take time, resources, commitment and hope. Yes, I know the same applies to addictions, but the answer there can be summed up by the phrase 'Stop using'. What does the young man with schizophrenia give up or stop using? Yes,I am aware that many people with serious mental illnesses use alcohol and/or drugs to cope. If I were in their shoes I would probably do the same.
There are not easy solutions and if I were to explore some I could be posting for the next few hours.Suffice to say it does involve money and resources being used for good here at home rather than for bringing democracy to other countries via the bomb and bullet.But I also think that people need to be made aware that they are responsible for themselves and their behaviour. In mental health good nursing means nursing someone back to good or sufficient mental health where they can then make decisions to get on with their lives. That process involves the patient having to make informed choices, sometimes painful ones but taking ownership of their lives and responsibilty for their choices. If I have the delusional belief that the government is after me (They really are !) and I have paranoid ideas about the council services, DWP, neighbours, etc...any choices or decisions I make will be informed by my paranoid delusional ideas. Hardly a truly informed choice to avoid contact with people, refuse to collect benefits and live on the streets because one is 'invisible' to the authorities. Hunger, cold, illnesses and isolation are the consequences there. But for others whose lives do not match the media drivel, whether on soaps, advertisements or lifestyle magazines...that's life. Unfortunately, children are fed this crap and they grow up with expectations that TV is a true mirror of reality and disappointments can be hard to take. Obesity, alcohol and drug problems, violence, crime, underage pregnancies, declining literacy,etc...bloody hell, I'll never be out of work.
My rant is going off at a tangent so...


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