For the first 37 years of my life I suffered in silence. Emerging from a dysfunctional childhood and adolescent depression I moved into adulthood only to be come ensnared in a violent marriage which brought me to the brink of insanity. Only by walking away did I postpone for 6 years what was to be a highly terrifying descent into psychosis, a six month stay in hospital, culminating in 6 horrendous treatments of Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT). During the next 6 years I stumbled in the darkness of my soul and insult was added to injury when 10 years after my psychotic breakdown, I was diagnosed with cataracts in both eyes, caused by the ingestion of enormous quantities of neuroleptic drugs. I faced surgery twice and recovery from the second operation was both slow and painful. Seven years after my breakdown I’d given up the cocktail of medication. Withdrawal was far from easy and since 1993 I’ve relapsed on six occasions. I call that recovery. Others do not. Through talking therapies and cathartic writing I have broken my silence and found my voice. No one could hear my headaches or see my optical migraines. Now I know it is my responsibility and mine alone, to ensure that my mental well being remains constant and continual. By nurturing my psyche with good music, good nutrition and company of positive people – and by avoiding negativity as far as I can -I can achieve good health. I understand that the vagus nerve responds well to this regime and blood pressure and heart rate are attuned accordingly. More and more of us are now acknowledging the link between early life trauma and adult psychosis and the move towards demedicalisation of mental illness is gathering pace. Talking about distress and verbalising my pain has helped me process and absorb traumatic events and see, that once delusions and hallucinations have dissipated, the pain is unprotected – and hurts intensely. Without the cloak of madness I am vulnerable and raw, exposed and stinging. Healing comes when crying and talking clear and clean my psyche and allow new and happier memories to replace the wounds with genuine emotional growth – and understanding that it is a sign of strength, not weakness, that I survived those traumatic times and can now move forward, without looking over my shoulder.
Good Enough Psychiatry – 2 July 2013, London
What makes psychiatrists effective for people who experience psychosis?
A joint one day conference for psychiatrists, for people who are treated by psychiatrists and for people who work with them or commission their services – hosted by ISPS UK and RCPsych Medical Psychotherapy Faculty.
Speakers and chair: Kevin Healy, Jen Kilyon, David Kingdon, Rose McCabe, Brian Martindale, Carine Minne, John Read, Elisabeth Svanholmer
Topics: What makes a good psychiatrist?; Experiencing psychiatric care; Ways of talking about psychotic experience; Cognitive therapy for psychosis or just clinical practice; Psychotherapeutic aspects of routine psychiatric encounters; Continuity in discontinuous worlds
Summary: Psychiatrists affect people with psychosis not just through the treatments they prescribe, but through their everyday interactions with patients and colleagues, and through the ways in which they understand and discuss psychosis and its causes. The ‘good enough’ mother described by psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott was ordinary, imperfect and busy – and also able to support her child to reach their fullest potential.
This conference will explore what it may mean to be ‘good enough’ as a psychiatrist.
ISPS UK members: £115
AS OF 24/6/13 SUBSIDISED PLACES AND A LIMITED NUMBER OF FREE PLACES STILL AVAILABLE
Unwaged service users and family: £40 (Please contact the office for availability of £40 places before paying on line)
Please also enquire about free places
Professorial Lecture – Professor Gail A Hornstein -First Person Accounts of Psychosis: Challenges for Mental Health Professionals
Professorial Lecture – Professor Gail A Hornstein
First-person accounts of psychosis: challenges for mental health professionals
Friday 31 May 2013
5 for 5.30pm
Room 9130, Cantor Building, Sheffield Hallam University City Campus
Lecture supported by Sheffield Hallam University’s Department of Nursing and Sheffield Arts and Wellbeing Network
A vast gulf exists between the way medicine explains psychiatric illness and the experiences of those who suffer. Professor Hornstein’s lecture helps us to bridge that gulf, guiding us through the inner lives of those diagnosed with mental illness and emerging with nothing less than a new model for understanding mental distress, one another and ourselves. She will address the importance of listening to the accounts of those who have experienced psychosis as a central component of any mental health practice.
Gail A Hornstein is Professor of Psychology at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts (USA). Her research spans the history of 20th century psychology, psychiatry and psychoanalysis and has been supported by the National Library of medicine, the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She has compiled a bibliography of first-person narratives of madness which now lists more than 1,000 titles. Her new book, Agnes’s Jacket: A Psychologist’s Search for the Meanings of Madness (PCCS Books, UK edition), shows us how the insights of those diagnosed with mental illness can help us radically reconceive fundamental assumptions about madness and mental life. For more information on her work see http://www.gailhornstein.com/
The lecture will be introduced by Peter Bullimore, one of the Chairs of the Hearing Voices Network, and the Chair of the Paranoia Network. Peter heard his first voice aged seven, after suffering sexual abuse at the hands of a child minder. Through the help of the Hearing Voices Network he was able to reclaim his life from the system. The Hearing Voices Network is a voluntary organization that is made up of people who hear voices and professionals who all share the same ethos that hearing voices is a common human experience. Peter has worked collaboratively with Manchester University for 12 years on the COPE course collaboration in psychosocial education. He also teaches at many other Universities and runs workshops internationally on voices and paranoia working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Greece. He is currently undertaking a research project at Manchester University, examining the 10-year collaborative work between the University and the Network.
Places are free and include pre-event refreshments, but must be booked in advance. Email firstname.lastname@example.org