Work Phobia

Yes, ‘work’ had become the forgotten word on our unit, even though most people recognised that occupation, purpose, creativity and achievement were amongst the most important things in life. Of course, many seriously mentally disordered people (and others) were unsuited to the individualist ‘rat race’ of a stressful, competitive capitalist society. Sometimes, no amount of ‘rehabilitative’ shopping trips, visits to pubs or excursions to museums would provide the necessary attitudes and skills for them to succeed in mainstream life. But this did not suggest to me that our residents should instead languish in front of T.V. sets all day, or chain smoke themselves into an early grave, or go for endless circular walks like retired greyhounds. It suggested instead the desperate need for a living, productive community which expected all its members to participate in safe, constructive, mutually-supportive activities. Communal approaches of this sort were once normal (sensible) practice, but during the community care ‘revolution’, this baby had been thrown out with the bathwater.
In fact, nowadays, the mother couldn’t even remember what the baby looked like……


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