BPD Modern Acceptable Collateral Damage
Eddie looked down at his boots and they were caked in mud. He strode on angrily stamping through the sodden ground with no care to the japs of mud now splattering his trouser legs. He had just endured painful confirmation that he and his kind were modern cannon fodder. Their suffering and deaths considered acceptable collateral damage as far as the powers that be were concerned. His life and so many others who would be unlucky enough to follow in his BPD footsteps were going to suffer and possibly die because of a lack of imagination or a willingness to invest or attempt new approaches to treatment.
He wasn't a British Tommy trudging through the fields of the Somme in 1916 but a middle aged man walking to his car through the building site- come car park of a hospital in 2016. The powers that be who were so casually writing him and his life off as acceptable collateral damage were not indeed the callous General Staff of Lord Kitchener but the mental health services of N Ireland.
He had just endured an assessment session in a crumbling old red brick building hidden at the back of the hospital. He had thought on the way in it made sense...keep the loonies well out of sight from the main hospital. Although having been in the system for over five years because he had moved to a new area Eddie was being treated as new patient. He was going to have to go through this assessment and then another with a consultant in two months' time just to get access to the very basic care and support he needed to stay safe. As for any additional treatment the apologetic community psychiatric nurse told him there was a waiting list of over a year.
There was only one snag.... Eddie had no intention of quietly becoming another statistic or part of anyone's idea of acceptable collateral damage. He had been a fighter his entire life. First he had fought against the drunken brother ten years older who would stumble home at weekends and regularly take out his frustration on the young Eddie by beating him black and blue and occasionally breaking a brush shaft over his young defenceless back. When he had reached the age of 15 Eddie had started weight training and finally fought back nearly killing the drunken tormentor of his childhood. Having won that fight Eddie moved on to fighting social and family expectations by becoming the first in his family to go to University.
Now he had the most challenging fight of his life on his hands against the pathetic lack of support and care for himself and others with mental health problems faced in a supposedly modern N Ireland of 2016. If he could finally beat the monster from his traumatic abusive childhood he could and would take on this new enemy and win.
It was not a battle he had chosen but one he had been placed in by his own experiences as a patient left to the tender mercies of the system and it was not a battle he was fighting just on selfish grounds. He was going to win this battle for every other poor bastard who would have to follow him through the nightmare of mental breakdowns and suicide attempts. He also reluctantly admitted to himself that there was a strong set of statics that proved his mental problems could be hereditary.
With four sons of his own Eddie was damned if he was going to let them have to go through what he was going through if they were unlucky enough to suffer depression or any mental health problem. They would not have to come up against the same institutionally callous and woefully underfunded system he was being forced to battle with if there was anything he could do about it.
With his own black dog clawing away at him Eddie knew he couldn't guarantee he would win this fight but he did know he would scrap it out to the bloody end.