In 1996, after I had met my future wife Rebecca, we moved from Exmoor to Dorset. During my 4 years living on Exmoor, I was in touch with the local GP. I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression and prescribed Prozac. Schizophrenia was mentioned and I was offered ECT and asked a few times if I would admit myself into a psychiatric ward but I refused.
I refused, because I always believed I was strong enough to sort out my own mind and because of the very poor reputation of psychiatric wards.
As soon as I moved to Dorset, I registered with my new GP straight away and within weeks I had been referred to the North Dorset Mental Health Team. I opened up to the psychiatrist about everything, my psychic activity, what was going on in my thoughts. I told the psychiatrist I used an imaginary spacecraft to fly out into space, a visualization method to help me relax. I told the psychiatrist about my father and about my grandfather and their reputation with psychic activity. I told about my own psychic activity and about my fears with the KGB and I felt I was being followed and spied on.
I was asked plenty of questions about anger and the frustrations in my life. At this time, I did not realize I was being assessed. I treated the conversations, as just conversations between two people, expecting the psychiatrist to give me answers. I did not realize how much I was being judged, or how the information being shared to the psychiatrist, would work against me. I was very open about the anger I felt in life and how I sometimes feared everyone, and sometimes linked everyone to the secret services.
Little did I know, my openness about anger, would cause the 'psychiatric services' to tell me they viewed me as a potential threat to society. I have never been a violent man and have no history of violence, no police record, no complaints and only expressed my anger with life to the psychiatrist, because it was very unusual for me to feel so angry. This was internal anger and not anger expressed outwardly. I was angry out of fear and anxiety, I wanted them to help relieve it!
On the second meeting, I was told that I had schizophrenia and I was one of the severest undiagnosed cases the psychiatrist had come across and I was being assigned a psychiatric nurse, who would monitor my symptoms and my condition, with use of anti-psychotic medication. At no point was the impact of medication discussed.
I met with my psychiatric nurse very soon after the initial meetings with the psychiatrist. The meeting with my psychiatric nurse was life changing in a devastating way. I was informed my title was ‘service user’ rather than ‘patient’ of the NHS. My partner 'Rebecca' was not a partner but labeled as my carer. When she became my wife, she was still called my carer. I was told by my psychiatric nurse, that it was very likely ‘I would never work again in my life’ and that the rest of my life would probably be about ‘fighting' to keep my schizophrenia under control.
I had never contemplated not working again and had always assumed, that I would gain control over my symptoms and one day, sooner rather than later, be able to return to work. My immediate response to my nurse telling me I had to accept I could not work again was simple-but I want to work! I argued with him, telling him I want to work!
But I was informed about the mental health act and as far as the psychiatrist and the mental health team were concerned, I should not work.
I was very unprepared by the treatment from the mental health services towards me. These statements made by my nurse, threw me completely and more was to follow from the mental health trust. My psychiatric nurse stated to me that I had ‘to prove’ I could perform as a normal member in society and that I wouldn’t be ‘a threat’ to anyone.
I questioned what he was saying to me, knowing I had never been a threat but I was told I had to be viewed as a potential threat and that was the way it had to be! I was very confused. These people were supposed to be the experts and all of a sudden I was being told who and what I am. I was being told of my expectations in life. Suddenly, I was this potential character that was alien to my true character.
Yes, I expressed I felt anger in life. I told the psychiatrist about an incident when driving a few months before I was diagnosed and about a dangerous driver on the dual carriage way in Devon, who I chased in my car, wanting to take him to the police for his reckless driving. She asked me if I felt anger, in which I replied ‘yes I did’ I was very angry with him and because I told this story, it was used against me. It was never taken on board, that I was trying to be a responsible citizen and I was very angry with this mans driving because he was causing clear danger to others!
I must add, in later years, I have written apologies (2008) for some of the misreporting of my life events by the psychiatrist who diagnosed me and an apology (2003) for the treatment received from my psychiatric nurse. But the damage had been done many years before.
Psychiatry knows how to manipulate in many ways. This was one of the first times I had been told their decision was made in my own best interest! And presented to me, as though I was clueless about my own best interest!
I suddenly felt powerless, as though my equal standing as a fellow human being had been swept away from me. There was this body of people telling me who and what I am. Telling me, I needed anti-psychotic medication and I would not survive without it.
They were telling me I was very unwell, even telling me my future. They treated me as though, only after a few meetings with me, they knew my character better than me. They treated me, as though I did not know who I was at all. They took away my identity; they took away my beliefs, my life and everything and replaced it with a profile of a man who suited their own needs and not mine!
The demoralisation I was feeling had now become complete, and soon after my diagnosis, I entered into my darkest depths. The lack of correct care and understanding of my needs by the ‘Trust’ and being treated more as a condition that needed controlling, over a person that needed understanding, made sure of that!