Pursuing natural health & thinking beyond the superficial. Deconstructing Culture.

Posts tagged ‘Mental Health’

People with ‘Mental Health’ Deserve the Right to Euthanasia and Patient Assisted Suicide too, not just ‘Physically/Terminally Ill’ People

People with ‘Mental Health’ Deserve the Right to Euthanasia and Patient Assisted Suicide Too, Not Just ‘Physically/Terminally Ill’ People

I used to hear automatic words, mostly God names and certain people’s names on loop and I used to feel like I was under threat, like something bad would happen, that they would make fears or make the fears I had happen. This happened for years, I learned to fight it back by forcing myself to breathe deeply and trying to think about something else. They weren’t necessarily panic attacks because they could last for days at a time. It would become a physical pressure. There was a couple of times when I was making a sandwich and all of a sudden I’d be pointing the knife at my heart and almost daring myself to kill myself and feeling my arm pushing towards me, something telling me (not in words but just a feeling) that I was wrong, bad, guilty, a failure, a shame, worthless, no good at anything and should be dead. Those occasions didn’t last long but I’d be crying and fighting my arm and this strange sudden consciousness to pull back and leave me alone. They were traumatic.

Obviously in the last 16 months this has become full blown voice hearing and hallucinations. Overall in the long run I’m not getting any better and all of the practices I’ve learned and keep learning to help are simply temporary fixes that the older I get don’t last long, at this point in my life they only last 2 days max. But I still try, why? Because there’s euthanasia and patient assisted suicide aren’t legal in this country. I’m pretty much over the whole I need to protect and look after those I love and feel obligated to, I’ve had enough and need to rest in peace.

I hear my own voice played at me loudly like a tape recorder but I’m not allowed to think in it, when I try to think I’m silenced.

I’m tired of being “inspirational” to people as I was told today and providing coping strategies because I’ve tried and developed so many, I manage to touch people and give them renewed energy but there’s no fix for me. I’m not sick of helping others, I’m sick of being sick. I’ve been ill probably my entire life, obviously since I was 12 but likely beforehand given the major hair and memory loss between the ages 5-10. It just gets worse, today I ate a meal and it became the body of my best friend, my dead best friend. Then it was put inside me and vomited out (if it’s not put in one orifice then its put in another if not all of them), that was after seeing him hacked to death once again and again and again (and his orifices aren’t safe either).

In the last 16 months it’s like I’ve been internally explaining to a child the risks of every day of everyday things like ‘be careful of this, that does that, this does this’ etc but because this ‘child’ is a cruel, nasty, evil thing disguised as a child (group of them actually with ugly faces and mannerisms) instead of knowing these every day things as low risk or unlikely, they’ve become risks that shouldn’t have to be. Just being careful and knowing with gentle guidance isn’t enough, I can’t even touch some things/others anymore such as sharp objects, instead of being able to look at the toilet I’ve been made to ‘want’ to stick my head in there and eat the contents. I hate my condition. I hate being called a whore and beggar all day. I hate everything about it, there’s no redeeming or easy to manage features at all. Everything has become a disgusting risk that I have to take too seriously.

There’s no end in sight.

And then if/when I get ‘better’ how much possibility will there be of a relapse? That it’ll hit me when I least expect it and damage me even worse?

I want retribution on these ‘voices/characters’ but I can’t access them and I probably wouldn’t want to, I’d need someone to do that for me, but how can retribution or even revenge even be gotten on such ‘things’ especially if they’re not real. I didn’t choose to be born like this, for these things to happen, I didn’t have any real opportunities no matter how many I tried to make and pursue, there’s always been trauma and too much to deal with, why should I have to live let alone like this?

It’s not just the ‘mentally ill’ either, no one ever asks what about the abused, raped, prostituted, molested, violated, beaten, slaves, other trauma experienced people? What if they say “I’ve just had enough?”

Let us die in peace, legally, without pain/difficulty, without recourse to those who may have helped or known about it, and cheaply for goodness sake.

People with Mental Health Issues are at the Forefront of Self Control

That might be a strange title but people who are aware that they have any kind of ‘mental health’ issue (be it anxiety, depression, stress, cognitive disorder, anti-social, fear of being around others or mixed mental/physical dis-ease) are people who have to face the struggle of gaining or re-gaining self control and to a much more enduring level than ‘regular’ people. (Bear in mind most people will experience mental health ‘deviance’/issues at some point in their lives or at least know someone who will.) This ever increasing number of people are constantly struggling to be in more control of themselves and at peace and positive – ‘peace and positivity’ sounds very zen/yogi doesn’t it? Well it is. Yoga practitioners/healthy living fans are not the only ones trying to achieve self control, mental health sufferers are more on the level of initiates trying to achieve a level that sometimes seems superhuman or divine. Why is that? For sufferers it’s because they’re seen as dangerous or a threat and start believing it themselves with intrusive thoughts and stigma which turns into self-harm and/or introverted-ness, much public perception sees them as linked to criminal behaviour and that’s a common yet extreme stereotype. For spiritual practitioners and religious people who are not Masonic/club members the ethos is that we can’t control our surroundings or society but we can control ourselves and we reach within ourselves to be at peace with the space without. Gaining or re-gaining self-control doesn’t mean that you’re dangerous to society, no one thinks that of priests/equivalent public/civil figures that way until they realize the scale of molestation, punishment and discrimination that goes on in most organized religion not to mention that religion is constantly used as a tool/excuse for resource grabbing and ethnic cleansing i.e. war, they are seen as the forefront of and to spirituality. Gaining or re-gaining self-control just means you’re trying to achieve it consciously rather than unconsciously e.g. trying to modify or get rid of a habit or addiction such as food, smoking or alcohol. But unlike spirituality (‘positive mental health’ where people are happy or comfortable being aware of and perhaps reaching out to people and places we can’t see) people with ‘negative mental health’ (where they’re being overwhelmed) struggle an every day battle with every thing; they might love something/one very much but have horrible thoughts about them or feel propelled to do something they don’t want to do so are constantly fighting it, trying to make peace with it, trying to control the ‘urge’. The point is they know they don’t want the pressure/’desire’ to think/do these possible things and so they’re constantly trying to be stronger to make sure they don’t, perhaps even making it so that they can’t do those things.

Terms I use:

(Obviously ‘mental health’ just means your mental health but it’s become a phrase that mean problems with your mental health and associated with illness.)

Positive ‘mental health’ – people who are ok with being called and/or calling themselves psychic, medium, spiritualist, priest, very religious person (meta-narrative believer), person who hears/feels comforting presences, person who purposely trains/opens themselves up to be aware of more (a part of Hinduism and Buddhism for example).

Negative ‘mental health’ – hear/feels/sees presences and/or thoughts that are not welcome.

Both are the same thing, both are aware of something else or a deeper part of consciousness whether mental, physical or both (imo they’re interconnected, I don’t believe the body is just temporal or merely a ‘suit’, I believe it to very important and capable of memory/consciousness, I don’t think it’s all in the brain where many think the mind is based, I think the mind is all over) but both don’t have the same effects for people.

There’s also the problem of ‘fantasy’ – believing in something that differs from general sensory reality such as believing in miracles and miraculous people/beings in religions or having a psychosis on an individual basis doesn’t mean it’s all fictitious. It’s easy to say ‘oh that’s their belief’ or ‘that’s their psychosis’ and the more time that passes and if the belief system becomes normalized we are able to see it as less threatening (remember when most religions or new branches of religion comes into being there is conflict and usually bloodshed). It’s part of their fantasy, it didn’t really happen, it doesn’t happen, they’re paranoid, susceptible, gullible, open to persuasion, a somnambulist etc. With one label the whole experience can be discredited or made easier to ignore, we assume that we understand their situation because we associate them with the things we’ve come across but that isn’t necessarily fair.

It’s a quandary; public opinion is becoming more informed and slightly more tolerant of people who hear voices for example (and many people do and will hear them at some point in their lives, not constantly but will hear a voice now and then and rationalize it ‘oh I thought I heard something, must have been this or that’, put it down as one of those strange experiences and possibly forget it) so the name ‘schizophrenia’ for example is met with a bit more compassion. However in the medical industry the labels and even diagnosis of ‘schizophrenia’, ‘multiple personality disorder’ and such are being discouraged with the general term ‘psychosis’ preferred partially because there’s so much about the mind and consciousness that we don’t know and that can affect us all in different ways. There are overlying patterns but it has to be seen on a more patient by patient basis rather than a one-size-fits-all model. But the word ‘psychosis’ hits a fear trigger in public, it’s compared with ‘psycho’, ‘socio’, ‘off-kilter’, ‘problem’, ‘dangerous’ etc so there’s a conflict between public and medical/associated institution perception which doesn’t help sufferers. That’s a factor of labeling in general and affects everybody in some way, we all fall into groups and classifications but ‘psychosis’ is pretty controversial in public even if common in healthcare.

I was told specialists that my sympathy and empathy are a ‘gift’, “a really beautiful gift that can’t be developed or learned easily, it’s not a talent in people it’s something you just have or don’t, a beautiful gift” (because I’m an easy crier and very easily relate to people and am able to get them to relate to each other) but when it’s taken advantage of such as in my situation it can be detrimental to me [or/and not to those who’d benefit]. That’s not to say I shouldn’t be but it has taken over. Another told me “what you’re going through is no judgement on you, you have to constantly remember that, it’s not judgement on you, this is not who you are or what you’re like, it shows, it really shows that it’s the opposite of you, these things playing out so horribly shows that you care so much about everybody and everything and that you have so much love.” I innately know that but it means so much to be told. My psychosis takes needing to know that I’m still a good person and a beautiful person, always have been and always will be to another level – it’s such a deep trauma and hurts so badly, like I’ve known nothing but war and home invasion my entire life and I just need respite and my privacy respected and to know that I’m not a bother, a burden nor an embarrassment and I don’t need to be hidden away either. I know how terrible it is for people to feel awful, in so much pain and in practically a merciless/pitiless position over physical beauty and identification let alone how I feel most of the time. This whole situation with ‘William’ (in regards to older blog posts) has made me feel like I need to be reminded that I’m actually a really likable person, I make people laugh, feel better about themselves, I want to know about them, to comfort in a deeply humane way and can easily understand their frustrations and am willing to in the first place. The problem with ‘William’ is that it was a romantic scenario and so has left the usual chasm of needing to be loved/knowing that you’re loveable, that ‘he’ should have loved me but didn’t. Ironically I didn’t need or want it to begin with and then I gave too much and he didn’t actually show me any love me at all, quite the opposite and tried to make it so that I couldn’t talk about what was/is going on. I’ve also been told by specialists that my case is “exceptional” and “extraordinary” (not in a good way), extremely frightening for me but not in a way that reflects badly on myself (something that ‘William’/his ‘people’ have done to/made me feel as if I’m bad, dirty, disgusting, ugly, ignorant, cybernetic/nothing but a tool, a ‘mark’ etc). My case is even harder to explain than ordinarily but not singular in a way that makes me more of a ‘threat’ – as society is led to see us – than one of the many other people in similar undiagnosed ‘psychoses’.

To transition on a slightly satirical note: I recently came across an automated system that asks you “if are terminally ill or have less than 6 months to live please press 1 otherwise please press 2” and in the circumstances it was just so insulting that I had to bitterly laugh and thought “no but I’d like to be so just so I don’t have to put up with this anymore”. That’s no disrespect to the terminally ill or prescribed as close to death but when you’ve got ‘mental health’ (that should actually mean you’ve got good health because you’ve got a healthy mind, our language is backwards because instead it sounds like you’ve got something contagious and bad) you are put behind those with ‘physical [ill] health’ and not seen as as much of a priority though we have similar and the same horror stories about dealing with institutions as those with ‘physical illness’ as a norm plus ‘physical illness’ causes ‘mental illness’ and vice versa. Come on when so much ‘mental health’ leads to self-destructive thoughts and vulnerability aren’t we eligible for the whole ‘living and possibly dying with dignity’ debate as well?
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Insanity as a symptom of humanity?

https://www.sott.net/article/358932-Nepal-Its-now-a-criminal-act-to-force-women-into-menstruation-huts

Nepal: It’s now a criminal act to force women into menstruation huts

Source: RT, Thu, 10 Aug 2017 21:28 UTC © Prakash Mathema / AFP

Nepalese women sit by a fire in a chhaupadi hut.

Nepalese women sit by a fire in a chhaupadi hut.

The Nepalese government has made it a criminal act to force women into cowsheds while they’re on their periods. The ancient Hindu tradition sends menstruating females into the sheds to keep so-called “impurity” out of the home.

Although the practice – called ‘chhaupadi’ – was banned by the Supreme Court in 2005, it remains common in Nepal’s remote west.

However, the government has now made the practice a criminal act that could come with jail time.

“The parliament has a passed a new law that makes chhaupadi a criminal act,” lawmaker Krishna Bhakta Pokharel, who headed a parliamentary panel that finalized the legislation, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Anyone forcing women into seclusion during their period can now be sentenced to three months in jail.”

The new law will come into force within a year, according to Pokharel, as authorities want to spread awareness of the legislation before cracking down on offenders.

Some Nepalese communities believe they will fall victim to misfortune such as natural disaster if females are not sent into isolation while menstruating.

However, the practice – which exposes them to rape by men and attacks by wild animals – has led to the deaths of several women.

Just last month, a 19-year-old died from a snake bite while she was staying in a shed in the district of Dailekh. In December, another girl suffocated to death in a poorly-ventilated shed in the Achham district.

[Sott] Comment: Nepali teen dies from snake bite in ‘menstruation hut’

In addition to sending females into isolation, some communities also ban them from drinking milk and feed them less food while they are on their periods.

The law against banishing women to cowsheds has been praised by the National Alliance for Women’s Human Rights Defenders, a local Nepalese activist group, which has called the practice “inhumane.”

The group’s head has called on community members and activists to “remain vigilant and report any case of chhaupadi.”

“Such vigilance will force the government to strictly enforce the law,” Renu Rajbhandari said, as quoted by Reuters.

The ban comes after the United Nations joined up with the youth-led organization Restless Development Nepal in April, in order to push for an end to the practice which the organization said subjects women to “cold and isolation, often at risk of illness and animal attacks.”

The ancient and ongoing demonization of women is something else; I knew females were banned in temples and from even doing home pujas, even touching religious iconography at home but thinking natural disasters occur if they’re not shamed/isolated from the community and basically warning the entire community that they’re on their periods? And from one of the most spiritual places on Earth with some of the most enlightened learning and on the flipside fighting. It just highlights the hypocrisy and elitism of learning of the initiated. Hinduism and it’s later offshoots such as Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism are linked to vast amounts of knowledge on consciousness, how we function biologically, nature, space, how to live etc and yet these places somehow have and still have complete depravity, degradation and domineering behaviours. How are the rest of us supposed to cope if they can’t get it right?

It reminds me of people around the world who used to think it was bad luck to have females aboard a boat and blame misfortune on them and yes it included storms, hurricanes and being sunk. People are insane, what passes for ‘normal’ is based on how many of us are doing the same thing at any given time.

Gallery

‘Eleanor you’d be better off with cancer, because cancer is easier to cure than Schizophrenia’

I agree with her view about being compassionate with yourself and others suffering in such situations but I disagree with showing compassion to voices – whether your own, those that sound different or ‘others’ (as some believe e.g. cultural/religious) that want to, claim to and do you harm let alone extreme harm. I don’t believe people create voices externally or internally to mimic trauma and extreme shock they’ve been through, it sounds like memory and repetition but not recreation as new characters. If it was the old ‘people’/experiences in your life or even continuing people/ones, you don’t always hear them as current, it’s easier to deal with such voices in/as past tense.

From most of the research I’ve done the more compassionate you are, the more consolatory and placatory/diplomatic you are with ‘them’ the more aggressive and malevolent they get, for longer. Once you give up the ‘fight’ which includes working on trying to lead as normal a life as possible and make yourself feel content as well as not working with/going along with the voice(s), they take over and you lose yourself.

The people who get on with voice(s) tend to see them as ‘angels’ or past loved ones, even ‘djinn’ style friends/allies.

P.S I’d also note – don’t listen to ‘answers’ voices give you like she did on an exam 😉 that could be cheating like she says even though some would argue you’re just listening to yourself/part of yourself and many authors/singers/creative people cite their works being dictated to them but imo the voice(s) could/can always be wrong and quite frankly, less intelligent than you.

That said she expresses herself very well, her horrifying circumstances, her methodology and her achievements. Well done Eleanor. I shed tears listening to that, what a brave person and I’m so glad she had helpful and loving people in her life.

An interesting experiment (reminds me of a documentary where ‘regular’ people sat in a room and each was surrounding by three to four other people talking at them to the point of feeling like being harangued, it only lasted a few minutes but it was devastating for some):

Gallery

Takin’ Over the Asylum – A Touching & Humane Drama Ahead of its Time

Takin' Over the Asylum DVD Review Ken Stott Eddie McKenna David Tennant Campbell

Run time: 300 min (6 episodes)
Age: 15 (I know the pic says ‘U’ under the TBC; the serious plus sometimes disturbing content made some say 15)

Takin’ Over the Asylum was a BBC Scotland mini drama series that aired on BBC2 against live football on BBC1 and Soldier, Soldier on ITV in 1994 and then quietly repeated in Australia but never shown again; only due to persistent support did it finally make it to DVD in 2008. Featuring the fictional but realistic stories of a group of mentally ill inpatients at St Jude’s Asylum (patron saint of ‘lost causes’), with a focus on one person per 50min episode, the show had a rough time making it to TV in the first place. Executives at the BBC were nervous about how it would be received and portraying mental illness in a serious yet everyday light in a time when stress and mental dis-ease were not commonly talked about and seen as abnormal, an ‘Us and Them’ situation – people that fell into that category were seen as rare and strange. Much of the time they were easy targets for mockery on TV and the extremes focused upon, they weren’t and couldn’t be people like you and me; even when traumatic things happen to people all the time.

Despite its bare bones budget and focus on the storytelling/acting without extras it was an overwhelming success winning praise from mental health charities and a BAFTA award for Best Serial and Best Editing. The execs were still reticent though and only decided to release the DVD after the whole show was put on Youtube which seemingly did the trick.

CHARACTERS AND PLOT, An Unravelling

Eddie McKenna (played by Ken Stott – Vice, Messiah) is a frustrated, mid-life almost in crisis, double glazing salesman whose outlet and hobby is being a DJ. He finds a position at the local psychiatric hospital for an in-house musical aficionado to liven up the place a bit and bring a little joy, akin to a school radio station and takes the job but keeps it as quiet as possible. He’s hanging on by a thread as it is at work finding it tough to make commissions, deal with a forthright ‘encouraging’ boss and hyena/vulture wannabe colleagues of the type that aren’t always willing for their prey to ‘naturally’ drop dead. It wouldn’t do for his side job to become known and potentially shame his company’s reputation. Sales is a tough business and caring/charity doesn’t or isn’t supposed to bring in the flash suits and cars.

He doesn’t know what to expect, is a bit anxious but hopes he can share his record collection and make the most of the old fashioned equipment provided along with a fair bit of directorial freedom – what he finds is great friends and tough truths.

Campbell (played by a very young David Tennant, yes the David Tennant who became the ‘Doctor’) is a bi-polar, manic depressive teen with a lot of energy. He convinces Eddie to let him help out and quickly becomes a co-host adjusting like a duck to water; his charisma, ideas and zeal taking them on a road Eddie thought wasn’t possible but it’s not without conflict and hard decisions… It’s arguable that Tennant stole the show but I think that without the partnership and the sombre setting he may have seemed ‘too much’.

Eddie and Campbell make up the main duo; with Eddie being pressured by his grandmother a proud of their Lithuanian heritage wanting Eddie to ‘settle down’ with a ‘nice girl’ and get married, and Campbell being a youngster who was unable to fit into traditional schooling and living away from home under the threat of being sectioned. The two of them make for an interesting show but their journey is the running theme seaming together a myriad of lives and experiences. Other main characters include Francine (Katy Murphy – Dangerfield, Mike & Angelo) – a long-term patient who gives off a feeling of being trapped manifesting itself in self harm; the actress does a great job of expressing a person both restrained and lashing out like the classic clown that’s crying on the inside. Fergus (Angus Macfadyen – Soldier, Soldier; Braveheart) – a very personable, easy going, schizophrenic electrical engineer apt at escaping & returning to the asylum and who becomes very helpful to the technical side of the radio station. Rosalie (Ruth McCabe – Silent Witness) – separated from her husband and suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder before OCD was widely acknowledged and recognised in varying degrees as part of many people’s lives/personalities. All these characters interweave yet have their own distinctive tales to tell – and I found it quite an achievement managed with gravitas whilst keeping enough of a pace to get through it all, move the story along and alternate feelings of melancholy to elation in 6 episodes.

The show charts the progress and at times backwards nature of things e.g. the extremely sad situation where a patient is no longer deemed eligible for ‘help’ and is turned onto the street contrasted by the rapid yet tenuous success of Campbell’s radio presence (tenuous because his ‘mental issues’ have to be left out or played down). On one hand we see an old lady alone and homeless in a cold street at night and on the other we see how success in society can mean a lot of compromise and straining/sacrificing bonds.

We also see how sometimes people rise to the occasion in Eddie’s transformation as harassed character at work to faired haired boy yet at the same time ironically an outsider to the asylum but wrought by alcoholism and falls apart when forced to face that his dream of being famous may really be what he thought he’d already accepted as a unrealistic folly of the past. His friendship with Campbell brings this to light but also his feelings for Francine with whom he embarks in a relationship. It turns out ‘normal/everyday’ is also a very needy and precarious way to live but some of us are locked up and many of the rest are medicated or living with fears and burden.

OTHER THOUGHTS, It’s an upside down world

Takin Over the Asylum - David Tennant Spike Milligan

Cameo appearance – Spike Milligan

The show managed to capture the idioms truth being stranger than fiction and art imitating life well in my opinion; when outside the asylum everyday situations are shown as having rules imposed by ‘walls’ that we put up for the sake of nicety, comfort or hierarchy. Moral, financial and diplomatic dilemmas are highlighted poignantly in this short series. What’s the difference between many loonies in the loony bin, normal people under duress and perhaps not realizing it because it’s normal, and decision makers disconnected or disassociated from those not on their level yet whose lives are in their hands?

The only thing that stood out as forced or ‘extra’ in the series to me was Eddie’s and Francine‘s relationship, it seemed perhaps included for the sake of a love interest and didn’t blend as well as the other story arcs. Many serious issues were covered in the show but not in a way that felt raw/unpolished, except this. It felt too fast and too much for Francine’s already fragile situation. Eddie was getting on in life, lonely and under pressure but in the balance of the two he had the duty to be responsible and though I dislike the phrase ‘damaged individual’ I think she needed to just be loved as a person without the strain of a romantic & physical relationship. She didn’t seem comfortable yet didn’t want to lose him at the same time. Perhaps it’s just me, I can see it’s hard to be patient or put our feelings/needs on the backburner or even forget about them altogether but I’ve never been one to want to force others through healing; whether it be a slap for hysteria or the pushing of boundaries like in the classic romantic drama Frankie and Johnny (1991) where I thought the forcing of one mentally and the other physically to be detrimental and for the sake of settling rather than love. What’s wrong with being dependable; a rock that can mysteriously grow arms and hold as gently or as tightly for those that need it let alone those you love?

It would be remiss not to mention that every episode was named after a song by The Beatles, and since the main duo were DJ’s popular music made up a fair bit of the background ambiance.

Episode titles:
1) Hey Jude
2) Fly Like an Eagle
3) You Always Hurt the One You Love
4) Fool on the Hill
5) Rainy Night in Georgia
6) Let it Be

CONCLUSION – “We are loonies and we are proud!” Damnit!

That doesn’t sound particularly sensitive but as with many great portrayals of sensitive issues a streak of humour and cheer ran through this one, and in my opinion it was done very well even if it seemed over the top at times it fitted in well with Campbell at least, who did most of it. It’s hard to get a balance like that and I find it’s not always necessary or appropriate but if it’s done by those going through the situation rather than those outside it can help rather than laughing at them or telling them they should laugh. It can endear us, make the situation easier to relate to and make the bouts of tears shorter. Sometimes being talking about a situation, if possible, especially without having to hold back can help and suffering in silence can be worse. (“We are loonies and we are proud” was the radio’s slogan, and later shouted in the BAFTA acceptance speech.)

Whilst it’s not very graphic like modern dramas it is still gritty and has the classic British ‘Grey’ filming style (and quite similar to a lot of older Aussie shows), where everything/one looks/feels real, close range and bittersweet; perfectly suited to dark humour – before everything became really colourful, lush and glamorous aka US style and all that coupled with the need to be as loud, shocking and innovative as possible due to competing libraries of media at our fingertips. That said from what I recall I don’t think it’s too dated other than David Tennant’s age and perhaps seeming a bit naive/caricatured in parts but overall still very watchable. It’s true that it was different in its time but now I think it would appeal to those with who like ‘slice of life’ drama and storytelling whether they’ve experienced or known anyone’s whose experienced the subject matter or not. It doesn’t throw you into the deep end of mental illness and the way it’s treated and administrated but it does give an insight and puts us in the shoes of another enough to appreciate that this was a rare gem.

As someone who has always been hurt by other people feeling uncomfortable around or by the thought of the disabled or ‘mentally ill’, let alone those who are the targets; be it not wanting to sit near someone on the bus, being scared of someone talking to themselves or finding it awkward to talk to someone even just for being slower/more thoughtful or even small in stature – I saw this once and never forgot it. I know it’s difficult on both ‘sides’ especially with people concerned with health and safety and violent crime always around, it’s difficult to balance being sensitive and practicality but it’s important not to forget.

Trivia – The filming within the asylum were set at then Gartloch Psychiatric Hospital in Glasgow. Many of the extras in these scenes were ex-patients who gave their opinions on authenticity, some of it shocking to the show makers and apparently the director dubbed over an extra’s voice so as not to pay for a speaking part, such was the budget.

Campbell: “I don’t have to conform to vagaries of time and space…I’m a loony for god’s sake!”

Of course not, Doctor. 😉

Takin Over the Asylum - Eddie Campbell David Tennant Quotes Dr Who

David/Campbell foretelling his future like a ‘destiny’s child’? – Pic from Pinterest.

RECOMMENDATIONS?

It was a bit hard thinking of similar films/shows but I think there’s some crossover between Takin’ Over the Asylum and the following:

1) Patch Adams (1998) – starring Robin Williams as a doctor with a more holistic approach to healing patients, well at least treating them like people first and patients second.
2) Whose Life Is It Anyway? (1981) – starring Richard Dreyfuss as an artist who loses the use of his hands; art being his life and the everyday loss of essential independence being too much to bear begins the fight for his choice – euthanasia.
3) The Dream Team (1989) – more on the silly side of the subject but Michael Keaton manages to help a group of inmates (also well known actors) escape the atmosphere of their confines/sanatorium to go to a baseball game and they discover life outside can be just as ‘crazy’.
4) Monk (2002-2009) – Here Tony Shalhoub takes his ability to play offbeat characters to yet another extreme as a Sherlock Holmes style detective with almost crippling fears and trauma (the ‘defective detective’)– another balance of serious vs comedy but more intense than Takin’ Over the Asylum.

Advantages: Thoughtful and ground breaking show about people with mental illness. Kind yet humorous too and great cast.

Disadvantages: Not much other than perhaps adding too much to the story.

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