When I call myself a patient and a doctor, they seem like two opposites, two sides of the same table. In mental illness they are often perceived very differently – one with knowledge and power, one suffering and in need of help. They don’t join together well. They make a whole with an empty centre, … Continue reading Lived experience of mental illness
I think I have always experienced anxiety. Not all the time, in that I’m not always anxious, but it has always lurked in the background, waiting to spoil things. I don’t know how much anxiety is normal though, and perhaps mine is a sensible and healthy amount. No anxiety at all would be quite a … Continue reading The worried doctor
Psychiatry and psychiatrist are powerful words. They stop conversations, and create awkward gaps. I try not to say I am a psychiatrist in social settings, sometimes muttering something about being a doctor, and usually wriggling out of anything further. Conversely, in a clinical setting, I always tell patients that I am a psychiatrist, probably because … Continue reading The word “psychiatry”
This is a question frequently asked, and unsatisfactorily answered. I don’t know the answers, and I won’t pretend to, but I find it quite a difficult dichotomy – along with many others in the field of mental illness. I once worked for a psychiatrist, years ago, who took the trouble to reassure me that he … Continue reading Biology or psychology?
We all have a personality, but, when you move into the realms of psychiatry and mental health, this term can take on a rather different meaning. It is often also very difficult to discuss, something which is hardly surprising, given the fact that personality disorder can be seen as a punitive diagnosis, one of exclusion … Continue reading Personality
I used to think that being present in any particular situation ensured accuracy. By this I mean accuracy of observation and also of recall; that standing witness to events was always reliable. As a child, I thought of the years as a climbing staircase, with different events, schools and holidays marking out the way. In … Continue reading Memory & more
I have been a psychiatric in-patient on quite a few occasions. I am also the psychiatrist on an in-patient ward. There are differences: I work with people with addictions, whereas my times as a patient have been on general psychiatric wards with severe depression. But there are also similarities, and most of my admissions were … Continue reading Being an in-patient