Diary of a Psychiatric Nurse – Career Patients

Sacrilegious as it may sound, our patients were often incredibly skilled at dodging personal responsibility, even to the extent of putting more energy into the avoidance of the task, than its completion. Indeed, avoidance was really a longstanding attitude, rather than a skill, which had developed over many years of what the consultants called ‘inadequate personality’. Biographically, most of them were disinterested at school, withdrawn at home, intermittently employed at best, and over-reliant on parents, relatives or partners. They were generally self-centred, easily stressed, often melodramatic in relation to their needs, and characterised by a ’learned helplessness’ which ultimately led them into professional care situations. As one old timer put it, this was ‘his job’; a psychiatric career which had spiralled from vague anxieties and depressions about life’s challenges, to a full-on evasion of society through the psychiatric system. In many ways, it was the forerunner and quintessence of the modern ‘soft touch’ state, where benefit fraud and manipulation, lawsuits and compensation, voluntary unemployment, and spurious sickness and disablement have now become commonplace abuses…….www.windowsofmadness.co.uk


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