Far be it from me –

Emotions, Depth, and Dropping the Disorder

Me, Myself and Disability

Yesterday it was my privilege and pleasure to speak at the event ‘A Disorder for Everyone’ in Birmingham – find out more here.  Over the past 24 hours, this blog has got a tonne of interest for which I’m both surprised and grateful.  I will have more thoughts on the things I took away from the conference in coming weeks (uni permitting!) – but for now, this is the talk I gave yesterday – if you like this please check out the rest of my blog and leave me comments, suggestions and feedback!


This talk is a rather last-minute affair.

I had intended to use extracts from my previous blog posts to make some point or other, quite what that point was got changed and rewritten and then forgotten in a fog of sheer terror and stage nerves.  I’ve sung to a very high level without worry, speaking…

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What Does Professor Carmine Pariante Think Of Seroxat Making People Suicidal?…

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Making Real Change Happen ISPS Liverpool Declaration 2107


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I said ma-mama we’re all crazy now

Waiting in the social area to pick up the last of my belongings,  I gaze distractedly at a pair of old socks that have been slung carelessly on top of a pile of books.    It’s 3pm and I’vejust been told I can go home, Section 1 revoked: my stay in hospital is almost over.   Clutching Ken’s arm, I carry a handful of Asda  bags for life, as I steer the suitcase on wheels down the corridor and down to the car park where we quickly pack everything into the boot climb in  the car and head for home, a 30 mile round trip, back indoors with a cup of tea by 4pm.   At 4.20pm the phone rings.   The deputy ward manager sounds frantic.  You’ve gone without your medication she shrills   No, I have some left from my 3 day weekend leave I counter,  and surely you’ve faxed my local pharmacy?   No, she says, you’ll have to drive back to hospital and pick them up.    Five minutes later comes another phone call, and in more measured tones she announces that I am not to worry,  the Crisis team will personally deliver the medication to my door the next day.      Starting to unpack the next morning I realise it is 11 a.m. and there is no sign of the Crisis team.   I have enough medication for one evening.   I make some phone calls.   To my GP first.  She can’t help because she has no paperwork from the hospital and needs to know what the prescription is.  Next  the hospital pharmacy.  They can’t help either, they’ve sent my prescription to the ward.   I’ll have to speak to the ward manager.   The advocacy service say they’ll  phone the ward and find out where my meds are.    Next I phone my local ASDA  pharmacy.   They can’t  help.  So back to square one I ring the deputy ward manager.   Haven’t the crisis team been she asks.  Five minutes later  I receive  a very terse phone call from someone called Will.  Brusquely he tells  me that the nature of his work means that he cannot give me a precise time of arrival, but he will be with me within the next two hours, and will bring with him some paperwork, that I can give to my GP at my convenience.

Cheered by this news I finish unpacking the suitcase.    The time is  almost up when there’s a knock at the door.   There peering at me is Will and a lady hovering behind him.   Come in, I beckon and I shout downstairs to Ken who heads  up to the kitchen to see who is here.  Will introduces me to Julie.    I offer Julie a chair but she declines, saying she has been driving.   Will looks me up and down and looks at the chair with the  back rest and asks if it is my chair.   No I say you can sit anywhere.  Ken sits down, Will sits down I sit  down.   And we all stare at each other.   Then comes a series of intrusive, disconnected and personal questions from Will.   He then says  he’s never me me before.    Stating the obvious maybe, but triggering a series of questions in my mind about the very nature of this Crisis team.   How do these meetings work, are  they assessing me?   Someone they’d never met?  Are they going to give me the correct medication if they have never me me before? I steer the conversation round to my medication and ask if I can please have the 7 day prescription so I can let the surgery know and organise it from there.   Did this prescription start in the hospital booms Will.   Yes, I falter.  Well you cannot stop it he says, accusingly   Excuse me?  I never said I was going to stop it, I say,  I said I’d discuss with my GP a timescale for tapering it off.   Julie says very little.   Ken says how tired he is.   I start to fidget and Will and Julie eventually get the message and say  they’ll get out of my hair, and they leave.    How dare these people visit me, offer opinions, quiz me, presume to judge me and act in such an egocentric way?  Six days later normal service has resumed; I am sitting in the safety of my trusted GP’s room.  She and I discuss my options;  she sorts out some appointments.  It is calm and measured.   I’m ok again, I’m back in the real world.    I don’t need the biomedical illness model, I need it like a pounding headache.    I need calm caring people surrounding me, I don’t need crazy.

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It isn’t too late, go get stuck in!

We Are Sheffield Students

First year of University is a lot like riding the Super Tram. At first you don’t really know how to navigate your way around those coloured lines on the map. You can only remember some of the stops as the trams speed around the city and you hop on and off, letting it take you to new and exciting places.

University life is a lot like this; you are given an outline of how your first year should be, you are offered all these thrilling experiences, but, in reality the amalgamation of course deadlines, term dates, lecture times and society meet times, it’s impossible to remember everything going on. In my first few weeks at University, I felt a bit lost. I was struggling to remember when and where I was meant to be.

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Sweden – an unexpected discovery

We Are Sheffield Students

One of the best things about doing a science-related PhD is that travelling abroad to attend international conferences is positively encouraged. These meetings are invaluable opportunities to gain experience in presenting work in front of academic audiences; network with colleagues from around the world; pick up new ideas for future experiments and to scout out future jobs. And of course, it’s a great excuse to visit somewhere new!

A VERY busy, bustling conference!

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Starting the long and windy road to becoming a Doctor – how to survive starting a PhD

We Are Sheffield Students

It is coming around to that time of year again when campus will be crawling with people; excited freshers starting their university experience, 2nd and 3rd year undergraduates back again for another jam-packed year, and let’s not forget, all those new and continuing postgraduates.

It can be just as daunting for a new PhD student as it is for a fresher. Moving to a new city, having to make new friends, starting a brand new course, it can all be very overwhelming, even if this is at least the second time of doing so. But with a few hints and tips, starting a PhD can be such an exciting time for any student.

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And the beat goes on

Spending ten days in hospital wasn´t easy for me and now  I have been discharged I´ve had two GP appointments in three days.    The arrhythmia  following my electrical injury on 31 July,  is not as easy to shake off as I thought.  On Monday my pulse was still too rapid.   Today my BP was normal.

Before I went into hospital I took only vitamins, minerals and  omega oils;   now I must take  a beta blocker and  an anti coagulant each morning and another anti coagulant at night.    It feels strange to be artificially slowed in my movements and thought processes    At best my heart rhythm will settle of its own accord.    At worst I’ll   need an invasive procedure to settle it.      I´m booked in for another ECG in October.

My next GP appointment is on 19th September – to be continued.










Insult to injury?

The how and why is not yet apparent but at around 10 pm on Monday 31st July 2017  I was at home and received an electric shock to my hands and arms from a power socket,. Having phoned 111 and established that under NHS guidelines, electrical injuries must be looked at within 4 hours, I tried to follow the advice of the clinician from 111,  and breathe deeply to stay calm until help arrived.

At 11.40 pm I found myself in A&E department. I was transported there on a stretcher in an ambulance when ECGs carried out in my home, revealed an irregular heartbeat.  The paramedic  had also noted one of  the pupils in my eyes was bigger than the other.

Walking into the A&E department with two paramedics, and my husband we found ourselves at the back of a long queue.   Glancing ahead we saw patients on trolleys, a handcuff, blood streaked patient in a wheelchair, escorted by two policemen, and heard a patient calling out about someone who had been injured in a shotgun incident.    Probably 20 minutes later, my husband and I were led into a packed waiting room and reassured that another ECG had been pre booked.  Staff told us that the A&E department had been getting busier and busier but since the closure of the A&E 19 miles away, what we were experiencing was not unusual for a Monday night.

We found two chairs to sit on; one was a swivel type office chair so I perched on that, while my husband sat nearby.   And we waited.    By 1.45 a.m. I’d had another ECG which thankfully had returned to normal.   Two more checks on my eyes revealed there was nothing wrong.   Subsequently I’ve realised that because I’ve had double cataract surgery I no longer have binocular vision, so that probably accounted for the concerns shown by the lst paramedic.   This is something I will check out with my GP.

By 2 a.m. I was told my obs (Blood Pressure and pulse) were OK.   At this stage the triage nurse asked us if anyone had told us that there would be a long wait to see the hospital Doctor.  No we said.  Well it’s not really their place, came the reply.    The triage nurse indicated that we would be able to see the Doctor by the morning and said it was “my choice”

We waited and by 3 a.m. I still hadn’t been seen by the Doctor.   We’d been given a beaker of water earlier, after the last ECG and we went to get a drink from the vending machine and decided we’d hold on a little longer.    I went to reception desk at 3.30 a.m. and found out there were still 7 patients ahead of us in the system, and the patient in front of us had already been waiting for 6 hours.   Just before 4. a.m. I spotted an email address on a poster ekh-tr.patientexperienceteam@nhs.net and decided I would send in some feedback at a later stage.   I then texted a local taxi company, who sent a taxi to pick us up at 4.30 a.m and took us home, for much needed sleep.


Yes. I’m  counting my blessings; trying so hard not to remember the forced electrical convulsive therapy treatments I’d endured in 1994 and grateful now for paracetamol to ease the pain; thankful to dedicated NHS staff.    Recovering now from my ordeal, I’ve had to phone the duty doctor at my Doctor’s surgery because I had a nagging pain at the top of my rib cage and thanks to a conversation with him, I now understand that when someone has an electric shock and is thrown across the room, muscles contract so I now can identify my pain as muscular-skeletal and can take Paracetamol.  The duty doctor also explained that the lst paramedic had asked me to remove my two magnetic bracelets and my Ladycare magnet, to ensure an accurate reading from the ECG.  It is unfortunate that while being cared for by the NHS in A&E I have been re traumatised by the sights and sounds in the department, and by the memories of ECT that this electrical injury has triggered.   To reiterate, I am grateful to the kind and caring Paramedics, and to the caring Nursing staff on duty that night; they were clearly rushed off their feet and under enormous pressure; but I can’t help but agree with the parting words of the Duty Doctor ; that this government is destroying the NHS.



© Judith Haire 2017












No Child Of Mine by Judith Haire


Don’t talk.    Don’t feel.   Don’t be.  Learn to hide your feelings and thoughts.  Yes that’s better.  Blame the illness on your genes.   You’re mad.   You’re bad.  There’s no hope for you and we told you so.  You can’t blame us  –  you made your choices. We tried to help you when you were a teenager and very depressed.  Don’t you remember?   We took you to see a Child Guidance Specialist.  He gave you Diazepam and Mogadon didn’t he.   Yes it was a shock to us all when you became psychotic.    A cocktail of psychotropic drugs, electro convulsive therapy and shame.  There, that’s the best we can do.  We did come to see you in hospital.   We came every day.  Some days the nurse told us not to bother because you were in your own little world.  The psychiatrist told us he thought you were hallucinating and having delusions.  We were very worried about you when you said you didn’t want to take your medication any more.   Shouldn’t you have been on a maintenance dose?  Yes we knew you had side effects but surely there was other medication you could have taken for those?  Oh and you have cataracts?  Don’t worry we can operate on your eyes – did you take Chlorpromazine by any chance?  We’ll get your sight back.  And your eyes will be like brand new.  


You can’t have your job back you’re dead wood and you’ve taken too much sick leave.

Try to do something useful with your life dear.  Oh you wanted children?  Well it’s probably best you didn’t.  Not with your history.  


It’s not our fault.   We had no idea you were struggling.  We didn’t realise just how far we had pushed you.  Now you say you were in an abusive relationship well we told you to leave.  Yes you did leave and you broke down.  That’s what comes of bottling it all up dear.

No one can hear your headaches you’ve got to find your voice.  

I can hear screaming.  After a moment I realise it’s me.  I’m sobbing.  I shout out “He’s going to get me”  I sit up suddenly. I shake.  


I’m cold.  I wrap myself more tightly in my blankets and try to sleep.  Memories of another day are receding.  Full of self-loathing I promise myself I will seek help tomorrow.   I pick up the phone.  I talk to a well being practitioner.  I  explain  I’m having night terrors.  She tells me that children have night terrors,  I know.  They’ve never gone away.   I can hear her typing.    She doesn’t understand.   I go to one session of counselling.  I go to another but leave half way through.  Still, no one hears my voice;


© Judith Haire 2017

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