I don't like my labels. I didn't ask for them, and I would certainly rather I didn't have them. But I do. They don't define me, and they're not all I am, not by a long shot. But accepting them, rather than fighting them, has brought me just that bit closer to being able to manage them. So go ahead, label me, it helps. Just don't judge me.
I sometimes meet some of those that attend these seminars in my psychiatric clinic. I take it seriously because a lot of people think it's a bit of fun and it's not - what it is - is exploitation of people with low self worth and often extreme naivety coupled with the hope that it's the answer to their dreams.
There is nothing wrong with having "a dream", of course. The incentive of a final goal may help us focus and cope with some of the trials that life throws at us. But the narrative of life is often fractured and essentially unpredictable, so living with the only purpose of arriving in a particular predesigned place is a bad strategy.
"I believe", Mary told me at her house in Cork, "the biggest issue around this is human rights. The human right to decide what you want to do for yourself. " Regarding Electroshock in Ireland, Mary told me that the capacity to consent is not there because there are two words planted around it, 'unable' and 'unwilling'.
When I'm depressed it's really pronounced - I can go from ok to dangerously low to barely contained anger in a matter of hours. When I'm well, my mood tends to follow those around me - if I'm with people who are in good form, I'm in good form. If there's stress or angst around me, I take it on. As Therapist described it today, I'm a chameleon when it comes to mood.
The MHA should only be used as a last resort as a safeguard for any forms of harm as it deprives an individual from their liberty. If a patient is well enough to return home to their own freedom and independence, then they should have that option. I have strong views on this, having experienced it first hand.
When people visit the IMAX or the South bank centre they may be dimly aware of being overlooked by a lovely red brick Victorian building. The lettering on the front identifies its original purpose: The Royal Waterloo Hospital for Children and Women. Few will realize that they are passing one of London's most sinister landmarks.
One mental health issue facing misrepresentation and discrimination is anorexia nervosa. When portrayed in the media, anorexia sufferers are often depicted as obsessive teenage girls who made the choice themselves to stop eating, or celebrities driven to starvation through their strive for perfection. The reality is far more complex.