I spoke at the BME mental health survivor 'Doing it for Ourselves' conference yesterday. The whole conference was so inspiring and I met a lot of amazing people. I don't know why some people think those with mental health difficulties are weak, because all I see is strength and resilience.
Anyways, I talked about strength in one of the talks I did. Here is part of it:
So you go to the psychiatrist and they give you a label. Schizophrenia? Manic Depression? You become a set of symptoms. You become the illness. Everything else does not exist. Your childhood, your aspirations, your dreams, your likes and dislikes, your quirks and sense of humour become meaningless. Every time you see a mental health professional, they say ‘What’s wrong with you? Anything else about your life is of no interest to them. So is it any wonder that an already fragile identity is lost? If you are your illness, what is the point of hope?
I have taken my pill, so now what? My heart is still breaking, my childhood still broken. My dreams are still in my head. YOU say I am not allowed to dream them. That I have no right, it will make me too big for my boots. Don’t get above your station. You say I am not capable of dreaming or making those dreams come true. My prognosis clearly states: ‘No dreams, no dreams allowed’. I say fuck you. I WILL dream. Your pills won’t stop me dreaming. I will leave you behind. My heart WILL heal. With or without you.
I am lucky to have received a small pot of money from Mental Health Media's Open Up Campaign to make some films about mental health discrimination.
Do you have a story you want told, either in drama or documentary form, about mental health discrimination?
Do you want to learn about film, get training and work experience on a film shoot?
Drop me a line at email@example.com and I will contact you.
Now Mental Health Week is over I can rest for a minute or two before going on to the next thing. Thanks everyone who came to hear me speak. You inspired me more than you will ever know.
The next event I will be speaking at is at THE DOING IT FOR OURSELVES BME EVENT. I will be offering practical ways you can reclaim your life from distress. The details are below. Later xxx
World Mental Health Day Protest: Demanding Alternatives to ‘Chemical Cosh’ Psychiatric Treatment
WHEN: 1pm, Friday 10th October 2008 WHERE: St Ann’s Hospital, Tottenham N15 3rd
WHY: On the 10th of October 2008, World Mental Health Day, a group of campaigners will symbolically escape St Ann’s Psychiatric Hospital in Tottenham. Dressed in pyjamas we will go ‘on the run’ and push a psychiatric bed across North London to Parliament Hill.
The Crazy Bed Pushers will give out wanted posters and pills to members of the public and shout ‘Psychiatry is off its trolley!’ At various points in their journey they will be chased by ‘normality testing’ researchers and a giant syringe to symbolise the narrow-minded drug focused approaches that still dominate NHS mental health treatment.
Many present will be former in-patients who have experienced the use of forced drug treatment as well carers, mental health professionals and others concerned by the emphasis on control in psychiatry and the lack of holistic alternatives offered (i.e. talking therapies, creative activities).
At the summit of Parliament Hill from 4pm - 6pm we will have a “Mad Hatters Tea Party” to celebrate alternative approaches to madness and recovery. Why not join us - Come along in fancy dress or as yourself!
This Great Escape Bed Push aims to honour the life of Daniel Galvin 1979 –2008. In August this year, aged just 29, Daniel died of a heart attack, a problem known to be associated with the drug Olanzapine (a commonly used anti-psychotic drug) that he was given, at times on a compulsory basis for the last 5 years.
Daniel was a bright, gentle young man whose life changed irrevocably when he was given powerful psychiatric drugs at the age of 15 after experiencing ‘unusual thoughts ‘ and sleep problems. Reacting severely to the medication – in Daniel’s own words he was left feeling ‘totally deadened and zombified’ - he was hospitalised in St Ann’s at the age of 16, never recovering from the devastating fallout of his treatment.
We want the Daniels of the future to get real choices about their treatments so that the chemical cosh approach to mental health becomes a thing of the past.
See also: www.bedpush.com
Register your interest on Facebook
Further Information: The principal organisers of the event, Rufus May (seen recently on Channel 4’s ‘The Doctor Who Hears Voices’ – see www.rufusmay.com) plus sister of Daniel, Ana Galvin are available for interview. Rufus May: firstname.lastname@example.org/ 07984480224 Ana Galvin: email@example.com/ 07908 246 575
Hey guys, forgive my previous october ramblings. Although I like to work 100 hours a week, 100 hours and 15 minutes is just too much, and delusions of wotsitism came into being. Well, it wasn't a delusion actually more like feeling like a wotsit. Anyways, back to business.
I am doing a speaking engagement at a Black History Month Mental Health Event in Streatham. Here are the details:
Programme for World Mental Health Day and Black History Month, Monday October 6th. 2.00 to 4.30pm.
2.20pm Welcome Tolu Mojola.
2.25pm Presentation from Kamal Chahal and Jan Oliver “BME perspectives.”
2.50pm Service user poetry read by Matt Ward Actor
3.00pm Music Simon Gent. Beethoven.
3.20pm Presentation from Dolly Sen. “Recovery is possible.”
3.40pm Presentation from Jonathan Naess. “Tackling the stigma of mental illness.”
There will also be an exhibition of service user poetry and drawings, as well as Black History Month displays. All attenders will be provided with a pack containing a range of handouts on mental health issues as well as Black History Month materials.
Venue: Immanuel and St.Andrews Church Hall. Streatham High Road, London SW16 3PY (located opposite Streatham Common and next to Sainsburys).
I be a wotsit I be.
If any of my books get featured on the Richard and Judy Book Club, somebody please take me out and shoot me.