Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

Since you all like cats so much….

December 31, 2008


Here is a cuddly one of young and old together………


Famous people with mental illness…

December 31, 2008


Here is something to ponder on over New Year.  (With acknowledgement and thanks to Mental Health Awareness blog.) 


Mental Illness is not confined to any particular ethnic, racial, religious, or financial group. Anyone can get it, at any time.  Even though most mental illnesses have devastating effects on the lives of those affected, many have found that these illnesses can produce extraordinary clarity, insight, and creativity as well.

Below you will find the names of many famous people who felt not only the devastation, but also the extraordinary creative potential, as well as the courage to use it. It’s quite a list. Please take the time to browse it thoroughly.


Abraham Lincoln

The admired sixteenth President of the United States suffered from severe and incapacitating clinical depression which sometimes led to thoughts of suicide as well.

Virginia Woolf

The British novelist who wrote To the Lighthouse and Orlando experienced the severe mood swings of bipolar disorder which included feverish periods of writing and weeks spent in the gloom of depression. Anthony Storr wrote about her story in The Dynamics of Creation .

Lionel Aldridge

As a defensive end for the legendary Green Bay Packers of the 1960’s, he played in two Super Bowls. During the 1970’s, he suffered from schizophrenia and spent two and a half years homeless. Before he died in 1998, he gave many inspirational talks concerning his battle against paranoid schizophrenia.

Eugene O’Neill

The famous playwright, author of Long Day’s Journey Into Night and Ah, Wilderness!, is documented as having suffered from clinical depression.

Ludwig van Beethoven

The brilliant composer is documented as having suffered from bipolar disorder, in The Key to Genius: Manic Depression and the Creative Life by D. Jablow Hershman and Julian Lieb.

Gaetano Donizetti

The famous opera singer suffered from bipolar disorder.

Robert Schumann

The “inspired poet of human suffering” lived with bipolar disorder, as one of many creative people discussed in The Dynamics of Creation by Anthony Storr.

Leo Tolstoy

Author of War and Peace, Tolstoy revealed the depth of his own mental illness in the memoir Confession. He suffered from clinical depression, hypochondriasis, alcoholism, and substance abuse. His experiences are discussed in both The Dynamics of Creation by Anthony Storr and The Inner World of Mental Illness: A Series of First Person Accounts of What It Was Like by Bert Kaplan.

Vaslov Nijinsky

His autobiography, The Diary of Vaslov Nijinksy, documents the dancer’s battle with schizophrenia.

John Keats

This renowned poet’s mental illness is documented along with the illnesses of many others in The Dynamics of Creation by Anthony Storr and The Broken Brain: The biological Revolution in Psychiatry by Nancy Andreasen, M.D.

Tennessee Williams.  The playwright wrote about his personal struggle with clinical depression in his own Memoirs, and his experience is also documented in Five O’Clock Angel: Letters of Tennessee Williams to Maria St. Just, 1948-1982; The Kindness of Strangers: The Life of Tennessee Williams by Donald Spoto; and Tennessee: Cry of the Heart by Dotson.

Vincent Van Gogh

The bipolar disorder that this celebrated artist suffered from is discussed in The Key to Genius: Manic Depression and the Creative Life by D. Jablow Hershman and Julian Lieb and Dear Theo, The Autobiography of Van Gogh.

Isaac Newton

The English mathematician and scientist who formulated the theory of gravitation is suspected of suffering from bipolar disorder, as discussed in The Dynamics of Creation by Anthony Storr and The Key to Genius: Manic Depression and the Creative Life by D. Jablow Hershman and Julian Lieb.

Ernest Hemingway

The Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist’s bouts with suicidal depression are examined in the True Gen: An Intimate Portrait of Ernest Hemingway by Those Who Knew Him by Denis Brian.

Sylvia Plath

The suicide of this poet and novelist was caused by her lifelong struggle with clinical depression, as discussed in A Closer Look at Ariel: A Memory of Sylvia Plath by Nancy Hunter-Steiner.


The Dynamics of Creation by Anthony Storr discusses the mental illness of one of the world’s greatest artistic geniuses.

Winston Churchill

The quote “Had he been a stable and equable man, he could never have inspired the nation. In 1940, when all the odds were against Britain, a leader of sober judgment might well have concluded that we were finished,” was written by Anthony Storr about Churchill’s bipolar disorder in Churchill’s Black Dog, Kafka’s Mice, and Other Phenomena of the Human Mind.

Vivien Leigh

The British actress of the 1950’s & 60’s, star of Gone with the Wind and A Streetcar Named Desire suffered from the mental illness bipolar disorder, as documented in Vivien Leigh: A Biography by Ann Edwards.

Jimmy Piersall

The Truth Hurts, written by the baseball player for the Boston Red Sox, detailed his experience with bipolar disorder.

Patty Duke

The Academy Award-winning actress revealed her bipolar disorder in her autobiography and made-for-TV move Call Me Anna, and in A Brilliant Madness: Living with Manic-Depressive Illness, co-authored by Gloria Hochman.

Charles Dickens

The clinical depression of one of the greatest authors in the English language is documented in The Key to Genius: Manic Depression and the Creative Life by D. Jablow Hershman and Julian Lieb, and Charles Dickens: His Tragedy and Triumph by Edgar Johnson.

John Forbes Nash

Mathematician, author of the game theory of economics, winner of the 1994 Nobel Prize in Economics, he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. He was also the subject of the book and movie “A Beautiful Mind” !


This is the link to the host site:


12 days of Christmas

December 18, 2008

This may raise a smile in quiet moments…

12 days of Christmas

Charity Trustees – a comment

October 20, 2008

In relation to your post about the Trustees of Charities I would like to consider a further dimension of the situation.  Do the Charity Commissioners, or indeed anybody else, check what the connections might be between the executives of an organisation and any one, or all of the Trustees.  I have known of a Charity in which the Chairman of the Trustees was a previous client of the Chief Executive in a professional service.  Another in which a Trustee had worked with a Chief Executive in an earlier professional capacity.  It seems to me that in any matter involving conflict between the Chief Executive and an employee in these situations the latter would have very little, or any chance, of obtaining an objective and neutral resolution from the Trustees. At its worst this implies corruption.  So does anyone check?   



Book Prescription Scheme

October 17, 2008

Updating the Book Prescription Scheme

 I recently had the opportunity to talk to Dr. Neil Frued at a conference in Powys. I provided him with some feedback on The Book Prescription Scheme – a scheme that many people have benefitted from, some whilst on a waiting list for counselling.

I stated that although the scheme had received lots of positive feedback in terms of GPs, many people found that some of the books were too complicated, or that they were not very easy to read. I also talked to him about the lending library in the Monmouthshire Mental Health Resource Room, where service users and carers can borrow many books, videos and DVDs. I proposed that videos and DVDs would be a good idea for people who have lower levels of literacy, and also people who find concentrating for a long time difficult.

Dr. Frued took these comments on board and asked me if I would help him to get feedback from service users on books which they felt had helped them in their understanding of mental health and illness. He said he was currently in the process of looking at updating the Book Prescription Scheme with the Welsh Assembly Government, and would welcome the views of service users to guide him to the most appropriate materials.

I have send Dr. Frued a list of the current resources available in Monmouthshire, but would like to take people’s individual recommendations on what has been useful for them.

Please can you either reply to this thread via the SpeakEasy in Mons web-blog, or by e-mailing   

Many thanks in advance for your help.

Kind regards,


Andrew Pugh

Senior Mental Health Development Officer

 Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisations (GAVO)

Ty Derwen, Church Road, Maindee,

Newport, NP19 7EJ.

Tel: 01633 241572




sometimes you just want to…….

February 15, 2008

cry!   Try as I might I just could not get the format of the timetable in the post below to behave itself.   Sorry, but with patience it is clear enough.  Some days or nights…..! 

Room 101

December 1, 2007

While generally immersed in matters of public health you may like to know about my visit to my surgery recently.    A little ‘tongue in cheek’ but basically the following is how it went.   The surgery is fine, but maybe public health service employees are a bit overworked?

I arrived at the surgery ten minutes early for my appointment.   Nothing important really; a cholesterol check – but when you haven’t been inside a surgery for nine years you are understandably preoccupied with the anxiety that this will be the termination visit – the one where you are found to be ‘falling apart’ in all bodily functions and advised to go home, finish any outstanding diy, and wait for the inevitable – which would not be long coming.  I wished I had brought a book to occupy myself, and distract me from the rain and wind outside – surely a portent of things to come – when another patient arrived. He brought his bicycle in with him, its’ wet tyres making neat patterns on the worn carpet, and announced to the room that he wasn’t going to ‘bloody well leave it outside for the yobs to take’.  Several heads nodded in understanding and I noticed that the two receptionists were not going to argue.   He then parked his bike across the doors to two adjoining examination rooms and I waited with some excitement to see what happened when those using them came to leave.  But the fun was spoilt when he left as quickly as he had arrived, scraping the waiting room benches as he went and knocking into an elderly woman, who responded by swearing at him.   Not a place for the faint hearted, this surgery, and I made a mental note to practise a fierce expression for the next time I came – if there was to be a next time.   The receptionist informed the room that he had come on the wrong day, and the several heads nodded again.   A potentially difficult situation had been avoided by a mistake in reading an appointment card.  It could happen to anyone, but I was guiltily sad that no-one had tried to leave the consulting rooms before the bike was moved. 

All this, and the interesting sounds of an argument between a bus driver and a jaywalking pedestrian coming in through the open door, distracted me from hearing the unintelligible intercom system that summoned individuals to their place of treatment.  I had noticed, with some apprehension, that at four or five minute intervals a steady procession of men, women and two children were called to Room 5.   What was going on in Room 5?   Obviously not ante-natal, or a bunion clinic, and I didn’t notice them coming back – but that was probably because by now I had found a Maplin brochure in which to lose myself and my anxieties.   Then it was my turn, and also to Room 5!   Perhaps it was where everyone got the ‘bad news’ – but that didn’t seem right.  

I followed the arrowed signs down the corridor, and then to the left.  Immediately I came into a small room with only a nurse in occupation, and not the group session that I had imagined.   Funny, isn’t it, that when you are anxious you tend to make jokes to ease the tension?   Well, I just said that judging by the number of people coming up to Room 5 and not apparently coming back, it should be renamed Room 101.There was a silence.   Then, “I called you a long time back”.  I thought this strange as my appointment was for 10.25 and it was now 10.28 and I had not arrived until 10.15.  Were we all meant to arrive at 9am?   I muttered a sort of apology, saying that I had difficulty in understanding the intercom due to noise in reception, but my attempt at defusing the tension only seemed to make the situation worse, and I could see from the jut of her jaw and piercing stare into my face that I could be in trouble here.  

“Have you kept to the 12 hour water fast?” 

“Uh, err” 

“You HAVE fasted for 12 hours?”.  

“Sorry, I was not told that”. 

She clearly did not believe me and had decided I needed to be put in my place.   

“What did you have for breakfast”  

 “Nothing, except a cup of tea.” 

“What was in the cup?” 

I wanted to say “a tea bag and water” but decided against it. 

“Just tea with milk.  Skimmed milk.” 

“So when did you last eat?”

“Last night.” 

“Yes, but what time last night?”

“Oh, about 6.30pm”. 

“Nothing since?”


“Why don’t you eat breakfast?”

Now that one floored me – I didn’t have an answer – and didn’t see why I should explain myself.   Lack of eating breakfast wasn’t likely to increase my cholesterol and didn’t seem relevant – but another look at that face and I did answer.

“Because I don’t usually eat breakfast.”.

Another silence, and then a curt order “Roll up your sleeve”.

“Which sleeve?”

The needle was hovering and I decided to roll up the nearest sleeve before it was inserted through my shirt.    It was over in seconds.  Two strips of extremely sticky plaster were stuck fiercely over the maximum number of hairs she could find on my arm, which was several thousand.  I stood up to leave.

“One minute.   What is you date of birth?”   I gave it to her.   All was not well.  

“That is not what it says on this form”. 

She tapped her biro on the desk top in a way that reminded me of a long forgotten school teacher.   I stood accused.

“Well, it can’t be changed now or you will not get the correct results”. 

 I was about to say that I had a name as well as a birth date, but the interview was over.   

“Tell Reception that it is wrong and must be changed”. 

This was not a request, not even an M & S request.  The next patient was being called before I left the room, and my ‘Goodbye and thank you’ received no response.  The Receptionist asked “Have we made you older or younger?”


“Right, if it had been younger we wouldn’t have changed it” and there was a smile in her eyes.  Nice to see a smile.  But there again, if I had been sticking needles in people’s arms every five minutes since 8.30am I would probably have been a bit short tempered too.  If the results are OK maybe I won’t have to go back for another ten years.