UselessCPN here to give you the regular round-up of mental health related blog posts/news. Before I start I’d like to point you in the direction of this petition calling for an Cumulative Impact Assessment of Welfare Reform, Please, if you are in the UK, go sign it. These posts explain why you should better than I can.
On to the main event (contains talk of self-harm):
Seaneen is having an existential crisis:
So, I was asked for an update on my, “fascinating” life. Which is not at all fascinating. For the past few months, my life has only existed internally. I have barely gotten dressed in the past four weeks, and have been- though trying on occasion not to be- at my quietest and most reclusive.I am in turmoil about my life choices, and I feel at a crossroads but have no idea which way to turn.
She was also on R4 last week discussing benefits with Big Issue founder John Bird, you can listen here (about 14 mins in).
The Guardian talks about January Schofield, the child with a controversial diagnosis of Childhood Schizophrenia:
Jani is on three medications: Clozapine, lithium and Thorazine (known in the UK as Largactil). This combination has been the most successful. Are her hallucinations completely gone? No, but as she will tell us, they are not bothering her. It’s like having the TV on in the background, volume turned down, while you’re doing something, and every so often you look up at the screen to see what 400 the cat and other hallucinations are doing. They remain on Jani’s periphery, but she can still function in our common reality.
Nobody knows what causes schizophrenia. The prevailing theory at the moment is that it is a biochemical defect in the brain, possibly a degenerative neural disorder closer to Alzheimer’s. I have struggled to understand how, in the early 21st century, some people, even doctors, have been so unwilling to identify or believe in child-onset schizophrenia.Every day, in some way, Jani’s illness reminds us that it is still there. But every day there are also moments when I see her smile, when I have hope, when I feel at peace with our future, whatever might come our way. These are the moments I live for.
Neuroskeptic talks drunk rats, and proposes an interesting ‘experiment’:
Of course, this is in mice – and it might not translate to humans… we need to find out, and I for one am keen to apply for a grant. Here’s my draft:
Participants: 8 healthy-livered neuroscientists.
Materials: 1 MRI scanner, 1 crate Jack Daniels.
Methods: Subjects will confer to pick a Designated Operator, who will remain sober. If no volunteers for this role are forthcoming, selection will be randomized by Bottle Spinning. All other participants will consume Jack Daniels ad libitum, and take turns being scanned. Once all Jack Daniels is depleted, participants will continue to be scanned until fully sobered up (defined as when they can successfully spell “amygdalohippocampal”).
Instructions to Participants: i) what happens in the magnet, stays in the magnet. ii) If you ‘dirty’ the scanner, you clean it up. iii) Bottle caps are not MRI safe!
Er… seriously though, someone should check.
The Mirror shares Nikola Voce’s story of caring for her husband with early onset dementia:
Walking into my husband’s room, I never know what he will say when he first sees me.On a good day, a huge smile will light up his face and he’ll call me ‘Daddy!’ Sometimes he calls me ‘Mummy’ too and that’s fine.There’s no point in getting upset or correcting him, reminding him that I am his wife.I’m just happy when he greets me so affectionately.Calling me his dad or mum simply means he knows we are related in a close and special way, but can’t find the right word.It’s almost 17 years since I met my husband Steve but so much has changed for us. For Steve has early onset dementia.
My Crazy Bipolar Life has been struggling:
Before I knew what I was doing I had a blade in my hand and had carved deep angry cuts into my skin. There was blood everywhere and two of the cuts were very deep and gaping open wide. I knew it had gone too far and I was going to need stitches so I just kept cutting and cutting until I finally dropped the blade, sat back and burst into tears again.
I tied a bandage around the wounds and the reality of what I’d just done began to set in. I knew that if I went up to A&E around 4pm then there would be a good chance they would phone the mental health team and I didn’t want to see any CPN’s or anything. So I waited until almost 5pm when the mental health team close and then went to the hospital. I couldn’t stop shaking as I went into A&E, scared of which nurses/doctors would be on shift yet desperately hoping it would be one of the nurses who knows me and would just treat the wound and let me go.
Asperger Ninja discusses her superpowers:
In a nutshell, I worked to deal with these monumental outstanding issues instead of leaving them to continue to fester. I finally made a list of things that are functioning in my life and a list of things that are not functioning. I am slowly going through them and am proud of the fact that I am putting the energy behind it.
We all have super powers. We need to remember that we have them and to use them.
The Masked AMPH was deceived:
“Masked AMHP,” she said to me, “There’s something I need to tell you. You know all that stuff I told you about, about that relationship? None of it was true. I made it all up. None of it happened. And when I went into hospital? I just pretended to have those symptoms.”
I didn’t know quite how to respond. I didn’t know quite how I felt. How could she have deceived me so well? And not just me – how could she have pulled the wool over the eyes of all the inpatient nursing staff and psychiatrists?
“Why do you think I did that?” she asked me imploringly. “Why did I make all that stuff up?” She seemed desperately eager for my response.
“Well,” I said at last. “There is a mental disorder called Munchausen’s Syndrome. That is when someone pretends to have an illness, and feigns the symptoms, and often convinces medics that they are really ill. It’s more usually about physical illness. Such people often end up having many operations and courses of treatment.”
“I see,” she said, as if this was a remarkable revelation. “That sounds like me, doesn’t it?”
While advocates say the increased resources are needed, they cautioned that stigmatizing mental illness could make matters worse.“Anything that will increase mental-health services is a very positive thing,” Renee Binder , a professor and director of the University of California , San Francisco ’s psychiatry and the law program, said yesterday in an interview. “The concern is it will increase stigma and decrease people trying to access mental health, because they’re so worried about what the repercussions could be to them.”Binder, who has researched crime and mental health for two decades, said about 4 percent of violent crimes are committed by individuals who are mentally ill.“I think it’s important not to overreact and to stigmatize people with mental illness,” she said.The president’s plan was announced about a month after the Dec. 14 shooting that killed 20 elementary-school students and six adult staff members in Newtown, Connecticut .
Louise at So Sick of Drowning remembers Michael:
When I was in hospital I was befriended by Michael, an ex squaddie who had left the army after a nervous breakdown. He had been homeless ever since. drifting from bedsit to shelter and back again. His chaotic lifestyle was punctuated by visits to the psychiatric hospital.The army was his reason for living and, in his view, someone had stolen that away from him. Now he had nothing. Just a lifetime of desolate acute wards and endless corridors. This was when I realized that the longer I remained on this hospital ward the harder it would be to leave. And that terrified me. Becoming like Michael terrified me. ‘This is like being a prisoner of war,’ he told me. ‘Worse probably. At least they have the Geneva Convention.’
And finally, the Wildcard:
If you are in the UK I hope the snow isn’t causing too much disruption!