Feeling anxious? Try this breathing gif

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Edited to show Giphy as the source of the graphic.

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The Quest For The Creative: or, I’m Still Here

This insightful, articulate account of what it’s like to have your creative fluency peeled away by medication should be compulsory reading for prescribers. Not as a comment on how unfeeling they are or holier-than-thou about knowing best – although some undoubtedly are – but as an indication of the costs, the intellectual losses, that often accompany treatment with brain-affecting chemicals. It is always a balance and there must always be choice that doesn’t alienate either party from the other.

Shoshana Kessock

Let’s talk about depression. Shall we call these depression updates?

In the grand scheme of the universe, being someone who is bi-polar comes with a lot of funny side effects. If you’re unmedicated, there’s a lot of bouncing around when manic and symptoms that come with it, and the depressive slide that comes with the other end of the spectrum. When you are medicated, however, there are side effects. And the trade off one has becomes a part of your life.

We are approaching eighteen months of me being on medication for my bi-polar disorder. For the most part, things were extremely wonderful on the medication. I had a hump to get over initially that was difficult – going from the frenetic energy, the highs and lows, that you have to manage without medication was strange. But then I ran into the biggest issue: the dampening of the creative drive.

There’s…

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Thorpe Park: Royal College of Psychiatrists’ open letter

If you’ve been following the Thorpe Park ‘Asylum’ debacle, this open letter from the Royal College of Psychiatrists may help illuminate the problem. Thorpe Park has, all along, been asked to change, not to close, its ill-advised attraction; so far with no response other than bland platitudes. One hopes this latest reasoned request will finally get through to them. http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mediacentre/pressreleases2013/openlettertothorpepark.aspx

For catch-up, much of the debate can be found here where onward links further fill out the debate. The twitter thread, #AsylumNO, has attracted considerable support and inevitably its detractors. Some of these I have found to be reasonable people who, after many exchanges, have become less entrenched in their view that Thorpe Park’s portrayal of ‘mental patients’ may not be harmful. Some though, have been quite astonishing in their capacity to extrapolate beyond the ridiculous, and others have been hateful, offensive, unreasoned attackers. I personally had several exchanges with a person who eventually claimed to be the designer of the ‘rape fantasy experience’ at The Scare Kingdom Scream Park in LancashireHe told me that the Daily Mail had mis-reported, something I am disposed to accept, and said they had many complimentary comments. I asked him to tell me what the experience really was and to point me towards those comments, so that I could pass this along – I’m no more interested in unjustified entertainment-bashing than I am in letting truly horrific and harmful material go by unchallenged – but he chose instead to revert to attacking the objectors.

The RCP open letter is the most recent, and arguably the most high profile, response to Thorpe Park, and one hopes the company will finally be listening.

Supporters of  the ‘Asylum’ maze argue that it is ‘only a few’ who do not see it as fantasy. Mental illness is largely invisible, with people often feeling too stigmatised to talk openly about it. But it affects one in four of us, so maybe it’s only a few till it’s you.

Thorpe Park: the tricky wiki bit they removed

I should have taken a screenshot but I intended to post this clip so I copied it for pasting. The last sentence of the first paragraph along with a summarising link, has been removed [2 below which now points elsewhere]. See Halloween: What’s wrong with evoking the “scary mental patient” stereotype? for an update.

Thorpe Park is a theme park in ChertseySurrey, England, UK. After demolition of the Thorpe Park Estate in the 1930s, the site became a gravel pit. Thorpe Park was built in 1979 on the gravel pit which was partially flooded, creating a water-based theme for the park. The park’s first large roller coasterColossus, was added in 2002. Merlin Entertainments own and operate the park. In 2012 the park received 1.8m visitors, down from 2.0m visitors in 2011.[1] In 2013 Thorpe Park attracted a wave of negative criticism from mental health campaigners for its ‘Asylum’ attraction, which appears to depict people with mental illness as frightening and out of control, reinforcing negative stereotypes around mental health.[2]

Halloween: What’s wrong with evoking the “scarey mental patient” stereotype?

This is an articulate and well-argued presentation of the current (19/10/13) situation regarding Thorpe Park’s ‘Asylum’ experience which is testing the civility of many of us in responding to comments largely, we hope, based in ignorance. Sadly, there are other businesses prepared to offer the same sort of hideous material; the rape fantasy experience – exactly, me too – you’ll see in the post. There’s also Farmageddon which offers both ‘insanity’ and ‘psychosis’ experiences, and at Dinosaur Park, there is an ‘Insanitorium’. Twitter is using #AsylumNO to make its point.

 

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Halloween (2) SEP 2013

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Update: Scroll down for new additions (flagged with the handy yellow update picture), including links to numerous other people’s posts, a defence by a theme park enthusiast & an overview by a theme park industry website

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On Thursday, it came to the attention of the lovely twitter people that one of Britain’s major theme parks, Thorpe Park, had a “scary mental patient” experience as part of its Halloween offering. It was called Asylum. Just as when, a few weeks ago, Asda, Tesco and Amazon marketed their “mental patient fancy dress costumes”, the mental health twittersphere exploded in protest.

Why? Take a look at this video to see the stereotypical “scary mental patient” scare story played out. “Watch your back as you weave your way through The Asylum, a maze of dead ends and hidden corners.” Who are you to watch out for? The Thorpe Park…

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Dear Thorpe Park: re shockingly insensitive “Asylum” event

This is live on twitter now. Please Hashtag AsylumNo to tell Thorpe Park that this is unacceptable.

 

purplepersuasion

Dear Guest Services,

I understand that you plan to plan to run a Fright NIght event entitled “The Asylum.” Your website promises “a chaotic environment of noise, light and like action” where guests must “watch [their] back as [they] encounter dead ends, hidden corners and eyes that watch you from the shadows.”

I was deeply shocked when I read this, and expressed concern to your Twitter person, who replied, “The Asylum represents general chaos and scary fun and was never meant to cause offence.”

Do you have any idea what asylums are really like?

I grew up in a village next to a street called Hospital Road, but the older people grumbled because they knew it as “Asylum Road” and they didn’t like change. If you walked along the road for a mile or so you came to a gothic Victorian structure built as an “asylum”. By the time I…

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