Virginia Art


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175 in stock


By Anne E Watmough

ISBN: 978-1-78382-266-9
Published: 2016
Pages: 116
Key Themes: Mental Health, Abuse, Psychiatry, Memoir


This is the story of Anne who from very humble beginnings in post war Britain during the 1950’s where she was raised by struggling working class parents went on to experience a colourful childhood. Not without happiness and love but where she encountered troubles and sexual abuse and dangers throughout school and a six week stay in an orphanage run by nuns.

She recalls the swinging 60’s as a teenager going onto join the army and later in her early 20’s becoming part of the 1970’s Manchester jet set.
There came along job opportunities and travel to Italy working as an au pair but from the age of 17 and for the rest of her life she suffered from mental ill health. Nevertheless although being trapped within the psychiatric system from the age of 23 onwards in 1979 she settled in the beautiful town of Newtown in Mid Wales and was married for 33 years to a manic depressive and brought up a wonderful son who has struggled with his own mental health issues.

This book is about the story of Anne and the experiences she encountered before and after being embroiled in psychiatry, the way her condition has affected her life and how it actually feels to find yourself having heightened states of reality and emotional overwhelm. She reasons out the complexities of a lifetime with mental health issues the treatments and the effects of how a person can be totally changed and the direction this may lead a person’s life to become.

Book Extract

It is a June summers day and I am outside sitting in my fragrant smelling garden. The weather is warm but rain is now threatening and I will have to go indoors soon.

My late husband Mark was a gardener by profession and with what he taught me and since his death I have made myself a beautiful garden. I find my solitude and peace there and it is an ongoing work of love. It is a place to escape from the realities and unrealities of my life.

I now live alone except with my lovely cat for company. He is pure love and no messing and I feel I am lucky to have him.

At present I am in the process of attempting a meeting with a hospital manager, to be accompanied by an advocate, with a complaint to the hospital about my treatment that I received whilst a patient there. It occurred when I was kept in solitary, known as the area of High Dependency.

I am looking for, at the most, a written apology. When I refused my medication, believing that my life was in danger, I was forced onto a bed and my knickers were pulled down and I was injected against my will into each buttock. Once with Lorazepam and once with Haldol, which are anti-psychotics. This happened three times and by two male nurses and three females.

I was prescribed by my psychiatrist tablets of Haldol, Lorazepam and Valium 2mg three times daily and I felt so awful physically I knew my life had to be in danger. So I refused to take the tablets. Then they injected me and I realized afterwards that the injections, because of the way I was feeling, were probably a purer form of the medication. So I told them they could continue to inject me but I would not take the tablets. I was then 60 years old and was quite aware of what was happening to me and what they were doing.
During Christmas 2011 whilst I was in solitary, two men in uniform who looked like armed guards came into my room and said I had to go with them immediately. So I dressed quickly in what clothes I could find and with no underwear on, my pyjama top and wearing damp jeans they whipped up my belongings, some of which had been soaking in the sink, and whisked me into a state of the art security vehicle.

They took me from Shelton Psychiatric Hospital in Shrewsbury to The Priory, Cheadle Hulme in Stockport, Manchester. Where I became a patient from Stokesay Ward onto the Pankhurst Unit.

This happened around the time I was applying to go to tribunal to contest my Section 3 of the Mental Health Act l983, which I was detained under at the time.

Reaching Stockport was kind of like returning home, because my mother was raised there and it was where she grew up. She used to take us by bus to visit my aunty and Granny every Xmas when we would all receive presents.
My Granny and aunty lived in the house where my mum grew up with her 11 sisters and brothers in the area of Reddish. Although I never was given access to walk the grounds during my months stay on the Pankhurst Unit I felt close to the area which used to be home.

Pankhurst Unit was not unlike a high security prison and not what you would expect a hospital to be like. You might be asking yourself what my particular crime was? Was I a danger to myself or the public? My crime? I became overwhelmed with fear and I called the police out on numerous occasions, because I relate police to protection being a law abiding citizen.

I thought I was being stalked online and that somebody or some people were going to harm me and my son. I couldn’t figure out why anyone would stalk me because although I access radical feminist websites and buy books on this and psychiatric books I am nothing at all special. There was no threatening emails just an intuition and feeling I was being watched online. No evidence at all. Just the odd thing would happen to alert my suspicion. It so pointed to my craziness but I know it is real.

I was exchanging emails with Ginger Breggin and sometimes I felt that certain ones I had posted to her she was not receiving. So one Saturday afternoon I sat down and checked. It took me two hours of actually sorting which had been sent and which she had responded to and in fact the ones that were most important to me she did not receive.

Also I could not get any messages posted on the comments pages of any feminist website. I posted comments on around five websites and none got onto their pages. I asked my son and brother and they said this was quite normal. That thousands of people comment and send messages and sometimes they do not get received because of faults in the system. But my suspicions were alerted. Simply because on one website titled RadFem the prominent article writer FCM in her private box says she does not respond to strangers but your message may or may not get through to me. And I felt that none of them were. Because one was actually printed on their page. Its contents were about the second movement which I was involved with in the 1970’s and a feminist elite Kameraderie commented beneath it and thanked FCM for drawing her attention to this Strong Original Thinker. Which was me! So this threw me. Why just one comment printed if what I was saying was worth reading?


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