Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, To the last syllable of recorded time; And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player, That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more. It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing. Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, Act 5, Scene 5.   Hi there. It's your normal, average paranoid and delusional man here. I've been gone for a while, but not to worry, it wasn't anything serious, just a case of, perhaps, I couldn't be bothered. For a while now I've been living a bit that way - not being bothered, that is. Having been discharged from mental health services, and with the voluntary work I once did largely disappearing, and with  my mum's death around two years ago, you could say that I've become somewhat isolated, which has probably led to this n

The Wind Done Gone: The Opening Salvos of the Culture Wars

So, as I raise my head above the parapet of my Coronavirus isolation, I note that, as a friend of mine recently said to me, “it’s kicking off everywhere.” With the brutal killing of George Floyd by police during an arrest in Minneapolis on 25th May, protests against such violence towards black people erupted across the US and internationally. The “Black Lives Matter” movement soon spread into the cultural arena, with protests not merely against present institutional racism, but seemingly an entire past of discrimination and subjugation. In Bristol in the UK, the statue of Edward Colston, who made most of his fortune as a member of the Royal African Company (RAC), which had a monopoly on the West African slave trade and branded slaves (including women and children) with its RAC initials, was torn down by angry protesters and unceremoniously dumped into the docks. At Oriel College in Oxford, the statue of Cecil Rhodes (Victorian imperialist and proponent of white colonial domination), wh

Is This the End of The British Stiff Upper Lip?

Not so long ago, Prince William, already an advocate for the promotion of better mental health, gave a warning to others in an interview, stating that "keeping a stiff upper lip" should not be "at the expense of your health." Indeed, with the death of their mother, Princess Diana, in 1997, both William and his brother, Prince Harry, seem not to be strangers to the swinging scale that mental health can sometimes be. Harry has said that he went for counselling after repressing his grief over his mother's death, a bottling-up of emotion which ended, he remarked, in two years of anger, anxiety and "total chaos." Indeed, it might be said that Diana's funeral was not only a turning point for her children, but for the nation as a whole. The massive outpouring of grief shown on that day by the usually restrained British public perhaps marked the end of the era of the British stiff upper lip. As grown men cried in the streets, all notions of British reserve

Behind the Mask.

It was recently reported that a former contestant on "Love Island", Sophie Gradon, aged only 32, tragically took her own life. After finding her body, her boyfriend, Aaron Armstrong, even younger at only 25, also later took the drastic action of ending his life. According to reports, only two weeks before her death, Sophie was said to have been in "good spirits", and there seemed to have been no cause for concern about her welfare. It was, then, a massive shock to her family and friends when her suicide was revealed. Indeed, Sophie, in any purely outward assessment, would appear to have had a pretty good life. Blessed with good looks and a burgeoning career as a reality TV star, on the surface everything would have seemed rosy. However, she had been on the receiving end of many hurtful and unsavoury remarks from online trolls, and indeed, had spoken about bouts of anxiety and depression. All was not, then, as it may have first seemed through the happy glare of tel

As the State Shrinks, Is Society Really Becoming Bigger?

"... in terms of opportunity, this would mean mental health professionals perhaps becoming involved in helping people achieve a life beyond mental health services by, for example, aiding them in gaining some form of employment or just engaging them in some form of meaningful activity. This may also have implications in terms of stigma and discrimination, a major barrier to opportunity, as service users would, perhaps, be able to rely on psychiatrists and others of professional capacity to join the fight against stigma." From my blog post, "Dave's Progress. Chapter 100: The Road to Recovery." Looking over my blog the other day, I came across the above, now apparently rather optimistic comment, and I was struck by just how much things have changed since I wrote those words. The post concentrated on the transition in mental health services to a more recovery oriented model, where the social rehabilitation of a service user would be seen as perhaps just as

Is Increased Awareness of Mental Illness Resulting in the Trivialising of Very Real Problems?

I don't know about anyone else with enduring mental health problems, but my own have resulted in me having an excessive amount of time on my hands. As I wake relatively early, I often fill this time in the mornings watching TV, and during more recent times I seem to have developed a liking for "The Wright Stuff", Channel 5's morning talk show where various celebrity panelists discuss the day's issues alongside host Matthew Wright. At least it keeps me away from Jeremy Kyle on ITV! However, while this programme may provide a mild distraction from other more prurient fare, it does often discuss problems which I find relevant and of interest, and the other day the subject of mental health was raised. In the first instance, a young woman rang into the programme saying that she'd read an article in the "Daily Mail" which dealt with the recent flood of accusations of sexual misconduct, which began with revelations about movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. The a

Then They Came for Me.

"Then they got rid of the sick, the so-called incurables. I remember a conversation I had with a person who claimed to be a Christian. He said: Perhaps it's right, these incurably sick people just cost the state money, they are just a burden to themselves and to others. Isn't it best for all concerned if they are taken out of the middle [of society]? Only then did the church as such take note. Then we started talking, until our voices were again silenced in public. Can we say, we aren't guilty/responsible?" Martin Niemoller, in his speech for the Confessing Church, Frankfurt, Germany, 6th January 1946. The German Lutheran Pastor, Martin Niemoller, (please forgive the absence of an umlaut over the "o"), from whom the above quote is taken, is perhaps most famous for his poem, "First They Came...", which deals with the rise of the Nazis and the apparent lack of protest against their evil policies. The poem's main theme, then, is how per