Archive for October 2012

Father’s Recovery

October 25, 2012
All singing All smoking

All singing, All smoking

Please read this piece to ‘That’s Life’ by Frank Sinatra. There’s a good YouTube video for it, by the way.

I don’t wish to speak on behalf of my father, but since his death I have had little alternative.

His perception of his life in the final years of it was critical. He felt hemmed in, his opinion of the food didn’t bear repeating, he appreciated the architecture and the tender heartedness of many of the human beings around him but he considered the core culture of health and care to be rooted in stupidity. As a patient and an ‘unqualified’ man no one with any influence took a blind bit of notice.

He noticed he didn’t like being held under lock and key for six and a half years and he yearned for the support he would have needed to bring the NHS to court over his treatment from 2006 until he left Houghton Regis Unit in, I believe, April 2009.

I was one person who should have been more palpably supportive. I make the excuse I wasn’t so well myself back then and until quite recently I went up and down a lot and had my children’s needs to see to etc. But excuses won’t bring my dad back to life. Nor will they give him back his liberty and dignity during the years before he died.

The stories to be found in officialdom will tell a different story.

Pass the sick bucket.

Quote, Unquote, ~Take Note.

October 23, 2012

Keeping head under mud

“What is Recovery?
In our research, we differentiate between personal recovery and clinical recovery in the context of mental illness. Personal recovery is an understanding that has emerged from people who have personal experience of recovery in, with and from mental illness. Many definitions of recovery have been proposed by those who are experiencing it:

…[quotations from ‘user led’ individuals and groups defining ‘recovery’]…

By contrast, clinical recovery is an understanding that has emerged from professional-led research and practice, and involves ‘getting back to normal’ – being symptom-free, in employment or education, living independently, having friends, etc. Our research focus is on personal recovery, not clinical recovery. On this web-site we use the term ‘recovery’ as a shorthand for personal recovery.”

Please note the above, published on the website Researching for Recovery, as a vehicle of the ‘Institute of Psychiatry at the Maudslay’

Is it just us or is this the use of power to keep the reins of power? We wonder how much money the Institute of Psychiatry receives to professionalise and disempower ‘experts by experience’ in the field of mental distress? This is merely our interpretation, of course, and I guess once again – it won’t do our career interests a lot of good… Story of our life

Let us know what you think.

It never rains but…

October 18, 2012
Snowed Under

Snowed Under

…listen dear reader: I know you don’t want to read about my life; I know that you want some continuity between pieces, some grace of flow. Listen until the last piece has been published and then decide.

Am up to my eyes and beyond in practical family entanglements and I’m tangled as hell can be. I’ll be back as soon as I’ve sorted the knots.

It’s all in the words.

Peter Greville 14.7.1930 – 4.10.2012

October 10, 2012
Peter Greville, Photographer, Drummer, Granpa

Peter Greville, Photographer, Drummer, Granpa



The following piece was originally written by Janie Greville as her contribution to the Conference for World Mental Health Day held at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, on 10.10.2012.

“I would like to use this opportunity to say a few words about Hope and Communication in the course of our lives – and in the lives, particularly, of those journeying within the medical health and care services.

In my years of experience as a person suffering a diagnosis of a ‘severe and enduring mental illness’ and suffering distress related to such labelling, I have had reason to focus on the concepts of Hope and Communication in the provision of Mental Health Services. It has only been the experience of accompanying and watching my father suffer and then die, however, that has opened my eyes to the pivotal role that these two dimensions of care play in health care as a whole.

My father was unexpectedly bereaved seven years ago. Perhaps had anyone noticed he had lost his wife and was running mad with grief a more humane approach to him would have produced a happier – and indeed cheaper – outcome for all concerned.

Sadly, in consequence of a health crisis some thirty five years earlier, his abandonment terrors, his separation anxieties, his intensely anxious and agitated response to loss (a double loss, as his small much beloved dog died soon afterwards), his loneliness, his loss of raison d’être as his wife and dog’s carer – were all misinterpreted and  medicalised.

The unfortunate, not to say tragic, outcome of this error led to my father spending the last six and a half years of his life locked up in a psychiatric hospital, bewildered by his imprisonment, effectively gagged by his label, rendered  powerless in almost every regard and frankly.

He simply didn’t receive the compassionate care and support he needed to acknowledge and deal with his devastated feelings in relation to the loss of his wife.

Yet – every member of staff I met had moving humane love for my father; his care was far from devoid of tenderness and kindness. It was simply that no one had the lenses to see the appropriate context. So much got lost in translation that my father may as well have been speaking Japanese – indeed, at least if he had been talking Japanese a translator could have been called!

These reflections follow ten days of acute concern over my father’s physical health before he died with unexpected rapidity following what could be regarded as a small but significant treatment error. Interestingly, since losing his ‘Nth’ tribunal in February this year, and losing hope along with it, he lost his physical voice. My aunt and I spoke to the staff and were consistently reassured that his whispering wasn’t grounded in physical causes. He never got beyond a whisper again.

He was diagnosed with advanced and terminal cancer of the lungs and throat on 28th September and died quietly in the nearby general hospital a week later.

Presumably the death certificate will mention throat and lung.

What killed my father, however, I suggest, was such a prolonged and unalleviated period of voicelessness, powerlessness and most of all, growing hopelessness that he simply no longer wanted to live.  Cancer was merely the vehicle for his escape, its specific placing the poetic expression of his unmet needs.

NB This was written on Monday 8th October in a wave of grief and shock over my father’s death. I shall probably reflect upon and extend it in due course. For now, however, it contains much that I think whilst omitting much additional qualification and additional layering that would alter some of its impressions.

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