Archive for mental health nursing blog

Solipsism or Bust

Posted in Biographies and Inside Stories, Blogging, life and modern times, mental health, social work and social policy with tags , on May 23, 2014 by leovineknight

On my way down the street, I noticed the old lady brushing the pavement in front of her house again, while the two post-punk wastrels were once more spending their valuable time taunting the old dear with monosyllabic insults and girlish tittering. Without further ado, I arranged for these fine young people to be escorted to the public toilets by four nightclub bouncers, who carefully supervised them cleaning the urinals with cotton wool buds, before enlisting them in the army. I then marched steadfastly on towards the council estate – ready to face my greatest challenge.
Happily, my super powers did not fail me, and I surged through the streets erasing graffiti, repairing fences, replanting shrubs, replacing broken windows, and sweeping up seas of glass shards and rubbish, like Robocop on a mission. The blue police lights were again illuminating the sky above the pubs and shops in the centre, and I observed an embattled young constable trying to control a mass of braying half-wits by wagging his finger at them. It was time for real action, and I transported the policeman to a safe position outside the estate, replacing him with a battalion of seasoned commandos who easily rounded up the gurning thugs and took them away in cattle trucks for a year’s moral retraining on Dartmoor. One jug-eared oaf temporarily escaped, and complained:
“This ain’t fair! They must be breaking some law doing this!”
Pointing out his hypocrisy in seeking shelter from the very law he had flouted with contempt all his half-life, I sent him spinning towards his whining chums with a contemptuous flick of my finger. The last truck moved off with shrill piglet screams emanating from the back, and rousing applause echoing down the streets as grateful residents reclaimed their lives for the first time since 1991. Handing my garlands to a young girl with large green eyes and raven ringlets, I then quitted the estate like Elvis Presley leaving Hawaii, and set sail for home at last.
A heady combination of fairground lights, perfumed air, and the stentorian boom of my own heartbeat, propelled me along the roads of Edwardian houses and down the gentle slope to our little ‘neighbourhood watch’ retreat. I put pink spots on the matching silver cars, introduced the workaholic man to his workaholic wife, and changed our three bed-roomed house to a four bed-roomed villa so that the copyists across the road would have an interesting experience the following morning. I strode into the house, found Carol waiting patiently for me in her dominatrix outfit, and gratefully accepted a glass of vintage claret which she handed across to me, whilst winking a welcome at my hump-fronted trousers.
“Welcome home esteemed husband. May I give you succour?”
“By all means, my dear.”
I settled back and watched the hypnotic grind of her athletic white flanks, while Motorhead played sweetly through my headphones, and a Cuban cigar sat snugly behind my right ear.
“I’m going to discharge myself, in a minute” I said.
All was well with the world; and perversely I slept.

“Wake up” said a distant voice.
The problem was, I couldn’t. I really couldn’t.


It’s Catching

Posted in Biographies and Inside Stories, Blogging, jobs, careers and work, mental health with tags , on April 1, 2014 by leovineknight

Seeing a staircase, I walked up it and searched around for something familiar I could pin my rather confused senses to. I spotted Richard’s office and pulled open the door, seeing before me a massive wall of bulging filing cabinets totally blocking the way in. From his perch on the top cabinet, Richard looked down on me, and grinned.
“Ah, hello old boy. We’ve finally cracked it. Everything that’s ever happened in this unit in the last fifteen years has been documented on these forms. There’s even a file for how many times staff have farted since their contracts commenced. The inspectors should be absolutely thrilled.”
“Yes, things are well in hand here alright” I agreed, as I carefully pushed over the nearest cabinet and watched the whole lot fall like a house of cards, burying Richard up to his crimson neck.
Taking a coloured divider out of one of the files, I marked it ‘ Waste of Space’ and popped it neatly between Richard’s trembling jaws, pressing the top of his head like a hole-puncher, before closing the door quietly as I left.
“I’m sorry, but I’ve had enough” I said.
More than enough.
And with adrenaline flowing through my veins like rocket fuel, I suddenly realised that I had somehow been given the power to overturn this insane world, and trample its vacuous conventions into the dust. I could turn my thoughts into instantaneous action, impose my will on every situation, and imagine the wildest scenario and see it happen. I was imbued with supernatural strengths and transcendental powers. I even had the ability to make something vaguely sensible happen for once.

Individualism: Query

Posted in Biographies and Inside Stories, Blogging, mental health, satire and humour with tags , on March 17, 2014 by leovineknight

Nearly there, I passed the house with the ’his and hers’ matching BMW’s, went a bit further, and almost turned in at the wrong gate. The next-door neighbours were so fascinated by our trail blazing consumerist tastes that they had spent the last three years unconsciously echoing them. We had finished up with similar black cars, similar gravel paths, similar house paint jobs, similar fences, and even similar house names. His wife had an identical hairstyle to my wife’s, their kids changed bikes precisely one week after ours, and they appeared to be equally interested in ‘Next’ catalogue clothes.
There was certainly no need to bother with genetic cloning in our street because we achieved the same ends by cultural means, and I toyed again with the idea of equipping our family with yellow plastic Macs and top hats to see if the neighbours would start copying that too.
This was cuckoo clock culture, where every social action was repeated through the weeks with fiercely guarded pinpoint accuracy. Cars were washed on Saturday, gardens tended on Sunday, wheelie bins emptied on Tuesday, dogs walked at 0600 and 1800 hours, nights out were arranged for midweek, houses and cars were changed every two years, and people always died five years after retirement. I could already feel the invisible wooden rod pushing me out through the tiny door as the clock struck nine, and I prepared for conjugal warfare.


Posted in Biographies and Inside Stories, Blogging, mental health with tags , , on March 11, 2014 by leovineknight

The street was like a building site as usual, with people constantly competing to distort their homes with as many horrendous extensions as possible, apparently aiming to swallow up their entire gardens and meet in the middle. In another ten years the place would be like some Fritz Lang megalopolis, with every ‘detached’ house linked by a series of arches and tunnels, and every window within a metre of somebody else’s; the owners glaring at each other like fighting cocks, and their children wondering what ‘green’ used to look like. Everybody in the estate seemed to be basing their lives on a series of glossy magazine articles which helpfully told them what to want, and then led them down the main shopping street with Saturday metronome regularity. On average, each household now had one and a half children, three cars and a permanent skip.

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Posted in Biographies and Inside Stories, Blogging, jobs, careers and work, mental health, social work and social policy with tags , on November 18, 2013 by leovineknight

Yes, in one hour the night staff would be here, and for the sake of my sanity I refused to consider the possibility of another late sick call. Cecilia had begun to kick the walls and punch the doors, but it was all a bit half hearted and within twenty minutes she had settled for her chain-smoking norm in the tiled lounge, happily stubbing out her fag ends on the latest vinyl chair arms. I laboured through the care plan write-ups and tried to put a slightly different angle on the patients’ repetitious behaviour by using a few different synonyms, the odd novel phrase, a daring piece of interpretation; anything to break the soul-destroying dirge of recording the same non-events every working day. I had Cecilia’s short-lived agitation to report, of course, and I prepared myself for the forest of ‘very concerned’ faces which would greet the news at hand over, even though she lost her temper virtually every evening now, and it had become just another normal abnormality. Then there was the cash to count, and we would prepare one or two of the remaining patients for bed, as a traditional favour to the incoming staff.
Although some of the patients went to bed ridiculously early, some didn’t want to go at all, so we now had the rather difficult job of cajoling one lady to leave her chair and don her night-dress. She played the game like a chess grand master; initially ignoring our requests, then postponing her decision, humouring us with praise, arguing that beds were unnecessary, and finally screaming abuse. Our nostrils told us that she was badly in need of a wash and change anyway, and we knew that her arthritis would worsen if she remained sat in the cold all night, so we hovered about riding the storm. Eventually, the irritation of our continuing presence outweighed the annoyance of getting changed, and she gradually edged towards her bedroom at the sort of pace which would have pleased a Victorian photographer.
Get my free enovel (Looking Through the Windows of Madness)at

Our Glorious Leaders

Posted in Blogging, jobs, careers and work, mental health, satire and humour, social work and social policy with tags , on October 16, 2013 by leovineknight

There was a new notice on the board:
“It is important that all service managers and first line managers involve themselves in the workshop so that the balanced scorecard for the area is developed to meet your needs to manage your service and stimulate greater performance across the Trust.
This will be the first of many workshop sessions, which are expected to scope the needs of the services, and I am sure you will find it invaluable in terms of understanding performance indicators and their relationship with blue star ratings.”
Feeling slightly heady again, I took the bold step of ripping this jargon-riddled nonsense of the wall, and cutting it carefully into shopping lists in front of my astonished colleague.
“Steady on” he said.
“Don’t you occasionally feel like being yourself, and saying what you think?” I said impatiently.
“Yes, but……”
“It’s the ‘but’ that’s always the bloody problem. That’s why we’ve finished up being surrounded by all this unadulterated, mind-numbing bollocks!”
“W-w-well….for God’s sake…..why don’t you just leave Steve, if it’s all so crap?”
“To pay the mortgage with what?”

A Halo Drops and a Penny Too.

Posted in Biographies and Inside Stories, Blogging, mental health, satire and humour with tags , on September 18, 2013 by leovineknight

It was time for a community meeting again, and I was once more scouring the unit for unwilling participants. I prevailed on six or seven patients to leave their beds, but then noticed them forming a disorderly queue outside the door to the blocked stairs, where David stood feeling around the woodwork and muttering to himself. This was one of his regular obsessive-compulsive rituals, which tended to appear whenever he anticipated a stressful event of some sort, like shopping for fish and chips, or having a bath. I was dangerously short of patience these days, so I dispensed with the professional, politically correct pleasantries and simply bellowed:
“For God’s sake David, will you stop arsing around and get yourself downstairs.”
This always worked much more effectively than a lifetime of psychotherapy or drugs, and he instantly broke out of his reverie and moved downstairs, freeing the bottleneck. But before I had time to congratulate myself on a rare effective intervention, a nearby toilet door creaked open and out tumbled Richard, with a face like thunder.
“Oh…er…. I thought you went home hours ago Richard.”
“Yes….well…..I fell asleep on the toilet if you must know. I’m almost dead on my feet with all this extra work.”
“Yes, indeed. You certainly wouldn’t call Adolf Hitler entertainment” I said, pointing to the Large Print edition of ‘Mein Kampf’ dangling from his left hand.
“Hmmm….that’s besides the point Steven.”
“What is the point” he continued “ is that I overheard you berating David in a grossly unprofessional manner. I believe the exact expression you used was “stop arsing around”?”
“Oh…yes….er…..sorry about that.”
It was a golden rule in psychiatric nursing that staff should keep patients entirely insulated from the rough and tumble of social life, and then wonder why the patients couldn’t cope.
“It was most reprehensible.”
“Abominable in fact.”
“Well, from the first of next month there will be a total ban on all rectal jokes, and the penalties will be severe.”
“Oh….but I didn’t mean……”
“Yes, I would have no option but to issue an official verbal warning which would be entered on your records and retained for a period of six months, after which the matter would be reviewed annually.”
“Luckily for you there are still three days to go before the new rules are implemented, so I will make the warning unofficial” he smirked. “But from now on please avoid rectal jokes at all times, no matter how provocative the patients are.”
“Oh…er…yes….thanks, Richard.”
“And remember, we’re still waiting for the inspectors’ final report, so we can’t be too careful….. Especially you, Steven.”
“Er…yes…of course.”
“You’ve got a relative’s complaint hanging over your head for a start, and that little outburst in the inspectors’ meeting won’t have exactly endeared you to senior management.”
“I realise that…”
“They could throw the book at you.”
And the Trust book could only be a heavy one.

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