Friday, June 17, 2016

I saw an article on line which mentioned the above book and I knew I immediately had to buy a copy. It has now arrived and I shall be dipping into it over the next week. Friern Hospital, previously known as Colney Hatch Hospital, was the place where I started my nurse training back in 1985. We half jokingly referred to it as 'The Stone Mother' because it became home to so many people over the 140 years of its existence. When I started there I nursed people on the 'geriatric' wards who had been admitted sixty plus years earlier and had spent their lives there. Reading the old records from pre-world war 1 and the twenties was certainly an eye opener. I recall one patient whom I shall call Q was admitted in 1919. She was a teenager and was admitted for being a petulant and truculent girl with loose morals and her parents had her admitted into hospital. From my recall of the notes, Q had spent time hanging around with soldiers and going to dance halls. At the time of reading the notes I was astonished and thinking of her today, I am again filled with immense sadness and anger that a young girl was robbed of her life because of society values at that time. Q stays in my memory because she was in her eighties, full of life and mischief and she delighted in the company of young students, particularly the men. The above link to Barbara Taylor interests me because we may have crossed paths although I did not work on ward 16 but my friends did. Ward 16 had a bad reputation as a tough and often violent ward to work on. I spent my last year of training based at the Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead but I was often back at Friern for class work, occasional shifts on other wards and to use the cheap staff club / bar.

 The second link is something that matters to me and one I bang on about at work. The lack of social and community support for people with severe and enduring mental illness, the cuts to services and reliance upon cheap, 'quick fix' therapies plus the increasing desire to pathologise normal human emotional responses and behaviours as mental illness. Where I currently work interesting things are afoot to once again reconfigure service provision to provide a better quality service but my gut feeling is that this is driven by a lack of  money and resources. I shall wait and see.

In other related news, the Open University is offering a post graduate course that has got me excited. I have made enquiries about accessing the course and I am giving thought to financing the three years to study for the MSc. I am particularly interested in anxiety, psychosis and recovery so this provides a vehicle for studying, doing some research and adds further letters to scrabble after my name! It impresses employers and other agencies when bunged on one's CV. I have come to accept that I will be working part-time for the next several years to put food on the table, pay for courses and because it is in my DNA. I'll be 56 this year and I still feel young and a need to be in employment plus keeping my brain actively employed.  I shall, in the meantime, await the OU's response to my query. Otherwise, no gardening as the incessant rains have turned it into a quagmire and I am avoiding social and mainstream media again after the murder of the MP and the various fuck nuggets using her death as capital for their respective beliefs. Society is changing and in ways we don't yet understand or expect, so intelligent people calling others names, particularly workers or the less educated, is not the way to garner votes or support. Meanwhile, I'm off to dig my bunker and stockpile for the apocalypse predicted following the referendum. They've not mentioned asteroids or zombies yet but we do still have a week to go!



Blogger Scoakat said...

Great post, Delcatto. I read both the Barbara Taylor links and found it fascinating. Plus I have more insight as to what you actually have done and somewhat do now for a living. It takes a certain kind of person to be able to do what that kind of job requires. Not sure I could handle it myself. Cheers to you!

12:39 am  
Blogger delcatto said...

Thanks Scoakat.
I fell into this job and find that I am fascinated and drawn to it, as well as repelled at the same time. The human mind and behaviour never fails to surprise me.

11:41 am  
Anonymous Blue Witch said...

Indeed, particularly at present!

I wish I could remember which 'mental institution' it was that I visited for 3 days in 1983 that put me off clinical psycholgy in favour of educational. It could have been here...

9:54 pm  
Blogger delcatto said...

If it was I am not surprised it put you off BW. It truly was an institution.

8:11 am  

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