Archive for February 2012

The CLI Presentation – Words for Now :-)

February 23, 2012

Tracey Holley's New Home 🙂

There’s no doubt about it: anyone finding themselves a patient on a psychiatric ward is in a vulnerable, distressed state. Whether or not hospitalisation has been necessary – or even helpful – is, in this sense, less important than recognising the vulnerability and distress of the person in question.

Whether desperately unhappy; enraged; disturbed or confused, patients are characteristically in a state of overwhelm on arrival; the more so where they have been forced into the context.

Thus the first duty of caring professionals = nursing; medical and other practitioners, is to acknowledge and respond sensitively to the emotive state of the patient at this point.

Sadly this has not been my experience most of the time: indeed, on the contrary, the insensitive, inobservant, arrogant and cavalier conduct of staff in the early years of my experience of mental health services created within me the mission I have had ever since to address it’s traumatising, wounding impacts – impacts that for many, are more violent and repressive than the contexts from which they were taken.

However, outstandingly compassionate and sensitive behaviours by four members of staff stand out from this mellais of disgrace.
The first came within a year of my request for an alternative psychiatrist from the one I had been ‘given’ in 1997 and whose arrogant, insensitive attitude and behaviour had driven me to 2 suicide attempts (none prior to meeting her, none even as a thought, before it).

The replacement psychiatrist was far from perfect (are any of us?) but what he did have going for him, certainly in relation to me, was a transparent humanity and quirkiness that warmed my heart and assisted me to feel as protective and concerned for his own wellbeing as he clearly felt for mine.

His name was John King. He recognised my intellectual restlessness and stretching inquisitiveness, he noticed my creative impulses and achievements; he marked my impassioned love for my children; he found it difficult to get his head around the abuse I had endured from various quarters leading up to and continuing in relation to my personal breakdowns and difficulties in recovering from these.

The second came from a nursing assistant who, by the time of this particular incident, I had met several times during ‘incarcerations’ at Hill Crest Hospital in Reddditch. I am racking my mind to remember her name, I feel dreadful that it isn’t at the tip of my tongue. I ran into her at a seminar only a year or so ago : she is attractive, 40-ish, with dark, curly long hair; vivacious and warm: the very epitome of the kind of nurse that anyone could wish for on a ward.

In 2003 she noticed the painfully distressed state I was in and within a few days she asked me if I would like help to have a bath. Her manner was non-patronising, tender and empathic. She had surmised that I was in serious need of nurture – she couldn’t have been more right. ‘Normally’ I am frighteningly shy and inhibited about my body, having suffered body dysmorphia and eating disorders from my early teens that had affected my growth so that in some respects I appeared barely adult: this was only too evident to me and I tended all my life to hide away from inspection, or indeed, even from being physically noticed.

With her maternal warmth and gentleness I allowed her to run a bath for me and to re-enter the room after I had undressed and got into the bath. She gently washed my back – a form of physical contact that I had not felt able to accept for so long I had no memory of it. Indeed, when I reflected upon it, I had not received such gentle contact from humanity since I was a tiny pre-school child, by one of my grandparents. It was a healing, nurturing contact that catalysed my recovery.

The third person to stand out from the crowd was another nursing assistant who was small, bubbly and loved by absolutely every patient. She worked with the hospital team to advocate for my needs to have contact with my children and she succeeded. She took me away from the hospital for coffee hours where we simply sat and chattered like girls with no reference to ‘heavy issues’: again, my recovery was catalysed.

Finally, I received memorable respect and kindness during my most extraordinary imprisonment last year. It was extraordinary because my distress had been caused directly and almost exclusively by malicious efforts by my ex-husband and his wife to malign me in order for my ex-husband to continue to conceal the truth about himself; plus, by the mental health service who once more, and this time indefensibly, leapt to his aid by ‘rounding me up’ after hot pursuit and declaring me insane for writing a blog and for being ‘over familiar’ with a nurse who I had known (to be ‘over familiar’ himself at Hill Crest where I had first met him) by trying to engage him in music session whilst he was (ininvitedly) in my home…..

…one of the nursing assistants (support workers, as they are now called) took to coming into see me in my room when the ward was quiet, simply to have a chat, to show me her publications, her poetry and to contextualise me in relation to the triggers for her work. This was respect, courtesy, warmth, acceptance, treating me in a manner I could recognise as fitting in relation to my identity..

I hope that this indicates to you the kinds of positive risks these intelligent and responsible and compassionate individuals took and the gains their risks achieved in the journey of one mental health patient. So very risky none of it was – but they took the ‘risk’ of ‘coming out from behind’ real or supposed masks of ‘expertise’ and ‘clinical’ (=cold and heartless and judgemental) reserves of ‘professional identity’ and related to me as fellow human beings disposed to assist me at a point of pain and difficulty in my life.

I hope that you, too, find the courage to work in the interests of ‘shared humanness’ regardless of those pressures you may find to be remote, ‘professionally detached’ and covertly judgemental. Active listening is probably the most important skill any mental health, or any other health, professional can acquire and use.

Welcome, CLI Students :-)

February 23, 2012

Crazy Daisy's Doodles

Many apologies for the lateness of the day in which I upload this for your benefit. I confess, it was written around 3am last night and another, on silencelol, addressing a specific question asked after Mike Smith’s session, did appear around then… I got it into my head that this one, too, had been published, but of course, because it’s just an intro, I’d saved it to draft only.

Anyhow, with no further ado: Let’s begin with this ‘Part 1’ and then later this evening ‘Part 2’ will appear. I look forward to hearing from you in response to the views shared herein – dialogue is the space where ‘collaborative learning’ takes place 😉

Peer Support Organisation: The Best Hospital Out

Well, I’m going to begin this presentation with a response to a question asked of me from one of you as I left Muirhead Tower last week. You will find this response on http://www.silencelol.wordpress.com

(The question was, in a nutshell, ‘How do people manage to handle moving on from mental health traumas, with all the set backs that these are inclined to involve, without being lost in regrets for all the time lost on the journey?’)

And now to the presentation ‘proper’.

My topic is the ‘Shared Humanness’ concept as articulated by Tracey Holley (ex Worcestershire based mental health consultant, now living in Scotland). I would like to explain this concept a little, relating it to the ten shared capabilities which you may be aware of (I hope you are) and then referring to specific experiences that I have had during hospital stays where such values were in place and which have remained memorable and cherished as an oasis within a desert of humanity.

Hopefully, I will gain permission from Tracey to upload a version of her work for general dissemination on this site within the next few days. Til then, let’s just say, the concept derives from an all inclusive perception of sharing those qualities of human value that none of us are excepted by or from and which she proposes should form the basis for mental health practitioners ethos, right across the field.

Necessarily, this approach does away with hierarchisation (?) of personnel, including those at the ‘receiving end’ of services, without removing the care that sufferers may need at any one time.

I promised you a video presentation, so I am going to have to sort that out now. In order to do so it takes a hell of a time to upload it first to my youtube account and then to the website. So bear with us – you may not see it until tomorrow afternoon.

Mmmm don’t think I’m going to make it til the weekend or so.. let’s do a typescript and see if you’re actually listening before I bust a gut for you all shall we? 😉

Tumbling Back into Experiential Living

February 21, 2012

Preparation to Mount Yet Again 😉

– As distinct from reflective and meditative living…

More of the concrete detail about this on silencelol.wordpress.com; here we need to focus more particularly exactly on the reflective, meditative dimensions of experiential processing and learning.

More particularly: I have promised to provide a presentation for the ‘CLI’ (=Collaborative Learning Initiative) group at the University of Birmingham in video form, to be available on Thursday this week.

I’ve accidentally filled in a form for you to use to send feedback to us – happy accident, hopefully 🙂

See you later,
Hugs from the Editorial Team

Rise Again

February 19, 2012
Thanks to sarahstitely

Sun Bejewells Water

Hoping for Glory

At a clear moment of a cloudy day
the sun shot beams of light across the water
like a child skimming stones.
Touching every ruffled movement
blades of brightness hurt watching eyes..

Soon clouds eclipsed the sharp light,
hazy greens and creams drifted about
on the pond.

I, too, would like to sparkle before I fade.

1996

The Alternate Economy Blog: Reblogged.

February 10, 2012

Tracey Holley Escapes to Heaven's Retreat

Think maybe I should explain – this is a reblog (apart from the photo) of a blog called ‘The Alternate Economy’ (WordPress). It is a beautifully wise and passionately hopeful and zealous (in a good sense, where zeal is commonly taken to indicate dogmatism and aggression – this one is the reverse of each). I thought it worth re-blogging, though the manner in which this one is set out, on the home page I think, is far better – my stick and paste just didn’t honour the lay-out. Check it out for yourself, it is a site that advances the more holistic values within which MissionMiraculus (hopefully) falls.

“The following table presents my philosophy in the order it was meant to be read. Please, take the time to investigate my ideas. There are many other posts on this site as well, but I recommend reading these posts first. I hope you enjoy what I have to offer!:-
An Economy of Greed

A Quest for Truth

Balance

Love

Emotion

Outward Expressions

Generosity

Compassion

Hope

Inward Expressions

Passion

A Spirit of Receiving

Joy

Gratitude

Security

Karma

The Procession of Ages

One Life

The Truth

The Idea of Love is best expressed with Balanced Emotions

But how does that translate to our Economy?

An Economy of Generosity

Currency

Employment

Checks and Balances”

A Lot to Report.

February 9, 2012

ZanyJaney 2010; Cannon Hill Pk; Road2Recovery Show

In fact: I don’t even know where to begin.

There is the new theory of mind and body = mergence emerging, not collapsing (qua ‘psychiatry’) to begin to delineate; a new breaking story of almost mind blowing ignorance and stupidity viz stigma and discrimination and small group politics in that (from a local police group) to report and – oh, so much more.

However: where are all of YOU?

In a seven day period we usually see 3-4000 of you popping to see how we are getting on and what we are saying.

This last week has probably seen less than 100 of you clicking in – and even the more light hearted site, silence.wordpress.lol has seen less than a 1000 of you flooding forward.

This is fine re eg ‘Time-to-Change’ and ‘Mind’ – after all, the latter tend to spend too much time asking you for money and the former are inclined to treat you as passive consumers.

But this and the sister site – these are genuinely participatory sites and for two months you loved it. Apparently now you’re bored? Just how fickle are you?

I know you don’t like us criticising you: our tendency to let Janie Greville impact on our identity such that being ‘a bit judgemental’ is pretty much par for the course as a result (thanks for pointing that out intelligent young Lorna Greville, lol) is perhaps something we ought to reconsider : maybe we ought to tell her and her pal Arrabbella to shut up and stop playing about so that we can focus on serious stuff?

If that’s what you think then you are making a cognitive error.

It’s high time that you used the mind that you were born with. Joy and Laughter move along harmonically, contrastingly and intelligently in the learning journey – sometimes by design, sometimes quite by accident.

Then again, we’re also influenced by Janie’s confidence: there are those who like to call it ‘arrogance’. Janie would respond (and believe us, we’ve tried it, she does it every time) by saying: “confidence means : con = with ‘fide’ = trust meaning = with trust (in the beliefs and convictions and information being shared); whilst ‘arrogance‘ derives from the latin ‘claim for oneself’ – 1537 ‘to claim and assume as a right that to which one is not entitled’; ‘to appropriate without just reason, or through self conceit, insolence or haughtiness’… ‘to assume without reason..’

Well, somehow or another, those of us within MissionMiraculus have been persuaded to believe and do intuitively recognise the difference between these two qualities of personal assertiveness and we notice, too that the authority with which Janie speaks (or writes) appears to be challenged most by those who deem her ‘lesser’ because of her mental health status, or because of her economic status or her occupational status or her social status. Janie has sub-culture, under-class status in these ways – we notice it doesn’t bother her and that she seldom if ever attempts to hide or upgrade representations of these ‘status’ driven values. We also notice she is a woman and that this in itself immediately removes from her a right to confidence.

We forward this ‘information’ in order to inspire other women and other ‘sub class’ groups and individuals and other ‘under class’ individuals to rise up and assert themselves in dignity and self trust.

All of us are humans. All of us are part of nature’s great pattern. None of us are exceptions to this. None of us are special in relation to these factors. Let’s stop bowing to status, wealth and ‘knowledge’. Let’s start thinking for ourselves and valuing ourselves – not more, nor less, than others, but equally.

This is equivalent to a mission statement by MissionMiraculus: however, being written by one member without voted agreement it is, until this has been achieved, a personal mission statement by the editor of these blogs:

Jessica Clements.

Desperate Measures in Re: One Monday

February 1, 2012

On the Cross; Being Cross; Crossed; YinYang - The Circle & + of Life.

One Monday. 

This piece of writing, in verse form, uses quite a lot of Christian terminology and referencing. None of the references are obscure – all are widely known from the nursery onwards. However – the point is, the language for reference to the other vis a vis mortality, is Christian in its form. It will be noticed that within this referencing there is acknowledgement of other vocabularies and forms of language for referencing the ‘other’ to ‘mortal life’. This is of fundamental importance since this piece of writing is intended to rise above divisions between us all.

Having said this, let us start over, beginning with the title:

One Monday.

One Monday, after Christmas,
when Christmas was done,
When Christmas was over
Before it began:
The clouds gathered
The heavens cracked:
Father Christmas had lost his sack,
And his workshop problems multiplied
With the minutes

And the minutes went by:
Angels lost their wings
Children gave up on things
Bees lost their stings
And the father lost his strings
On the movement of destiny

In human terms
It was just another bad day at the office

For cosmic ordering
It was a mystery:
Innocence was sent from Eden
Pain multiplied
In her absence –
Anger, resentment, jealousy,
Gripes hugged tenaciously,
Grace sent out of the room
A season of gloom
A portrait of doom
While the Sun was eclipsed.

Grace and Innocence,
Innocence and Grace,
Completed by Simplicity
Stopped knocking at the door
Of Heaven:
For heaven now was
Hell on Earth;
G. I. S floated to Hell
Where heaven on earth
Newly resided

Time passes
And doesn’t exist
In the cosmic balance
Of beauty.

One day we’ll see the Marriage
Of Heaven and Hell
Once more:
How long it will take we can’t tell;
We can’t have our finger
On God’s holy pulse,
‘He’ alone moves in mysterious ways
Loving G I S in his own testy fashion.

They pray and they wait
And potter about
Simply,
Innocently,
Not always gracefully:
They try their best
And surely their best
Is always good enough
To one who sees into
The sincerity of souls?

They lack understanding
Of common humanity
For their innocence limits their understanding
Their simplicity limits their understanding
While their grace protects them from the fall –

They find themselves in burning hell
And are not hot or burned at all:
Their casing of asbestos
Was also provided by ‘god’ above
Who loves all his children

Especially the sinners
Who are pure of heart,
Who are driven by their bodies
To put the horse before the cart;
Especially the sinners
Who are pure of mind,
Who lack a grain of malice
When they’re being most unkind;
Especially the sinners,
Whose souls are made of gold,
Who act like outright bastards
And close their eyes
And won’t be told..

Especially the sinners,
And even more than this:

God loves the lost and bewildered
Following his track
And when they falter
And when they cry
He holds them on his back

While the sunshine glows for them
Flows for them
Goes into every crevice and corner for them;
And even when they’re blind
And they can’t see the way
Even when they stumble and have forgotten
How to play
Even when they lose their faith
And don’t even pray:

‘He’ carries them forward
In his own loving way.

The march of destiny
Beckons us all
We’re heading for glory
Away from the Fall
And all of our lives
Mimic Genesis
And mimic the march
Of Redemption:

All of us climb on our own sorry crosses
Til we’re ready for something higher
All of us struggle with the devil within
Til we fine tune and integrate our bodies and souls:
It ages us all so immensely,
This fight against God
Or whatever’s good

Though once we connect with the cosmos once more,
Once we let go of our fears,
Once we rest in Jesus – or in whatever name we use
To pin our flag of trust upon
To catch our every hope:
We get younger with the years
For our cares are then behind us
and true heaven has begun.

Janie Greville 1st February, 2012

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