Friday, 10 September 2010

Just what the mad need: Surfing lessons

It's quite extraordinary. For thirteen years the diagnosis has been Bipolar Disorder. Two fifteen minute sessions with a 'psychiatrist' at the 'renowned' hospital and there's a new diagnosis: schizophrenia. Didn't read all thirteen years' notes. Didn't spend any time with him after the end of the episode. Didn't speak to the family but in all the arrogance of his 'position' decides on a new nomenclature. Didn't help him though. Sent him away after four days to the streets with no back-up and no way in which to enable him to seek the required help. What a laugh. You have to laugh, don't you? Otherwise, what? What can you do with these people? Surgeons are up in arms because the European directive on hours worked means that trainee doctors are no longer being trained. Well, what did they expect when accepting any directive that comes out of Europe?

If regular interns cannot be trained in brain surgery, what about psychiatry? How many hours are meant to be spent on wards with the depressed, the psychotic, the suicidal? How on earth will any of these trainees be able to recognise the difference between acute depression and psychosis or elation and drug affected disorders? My nice man at the Crisis Centre was right: the NHS is a whale that's floundering in the shallow waters of the Thames. Now the rumours persist once again of a 'supra-hospital' locally that's going to be an amalgamation of the two largest local hospitals but with only one A&E for the whole area. And, of course, who will be the scapegoat in all of this? Why, psychiatry of course!

Nice to see that in the south-west of the country mental health patients are being given surfing lessons. Really makes my heart happy to see how the much needed funds are being spent. Heaven forfend that beds might be made available or social workers or CPNs trained. I wonder who came up with that brainwave. Who makes these decisions and who passes them on?


jmo said...

surfing lessons, are you having a laugh?!!

sonya said...

I have just finished reading your book and wanted to know how things were with Zach. I have a son that has paranoid schizophrenia, so i was able to understand some of your frustrations. Excellent book and helps to know that we arent alone. There cant be many things that hurt a parent more than having to section their child. Where do you go from here... What's tomorrow going to bring
Thanks for being so honest in your book

Anonymous said...


Thanks for writing to me. I've somehow stopped this blog for the time being because it is all so repetitive. It's the same for everyone who has a child or relative or friend who suffers from mental illness. Nothing really changes, although many people who come to terms with it do take their meds and lead productive lives. Unfortunately the pattern here is repeated endlessly and I feel that I'm going around in smaller and smaller circles until I meet myself, looking older and more haggard, in the middle! The reason that I wrote the book was entirely for people like you so that you knew that you weren't alone!