I loathe interviews. I really don’t see how they help in recruiting people for jobs. Sure, if you are a complete slob or insane then that may come across but really, I find them somewhat degrading.

The thing is now however, I’m at the stage where I let interviewers know what I think of their questions.

Yesterday for example;

” What would you do to improve performance?”

My response was “well, that is a somewhat vague question, what do mean by performance, what do you measure ‘performance’ by? How would you know if you were performing or not?”

“Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

“I don’t do 5 year plans. I’m suspicious of those that do to be honest. Chairman Mao and Stalin had 5 year plans”.

I think the underlying hostility from me can be simply pin pointed at the fact I really don’t want to work in mental health any more. The whole thing just bores me to tears. If somebody mentions working with violent people, my natural inclination is to say, well no thanks.

Indeed, I fully expect to be saying ‘No’ to any job offers coming up anyway. I know this goes against everything that is sensible, but for me, theatre has to come first.


Never go back?



It seems to be something of a given that a football manager who returns to his club whereby once he was successful will only return to ignominy and defeat.

I am at present being asked to return to a place where I formerly worked. I’m never convinced about such things.  Would Kenny Dalglish make a success upon his return to Liverpool? It certainly seems doubtful. How about Kevin Keegan on his second spell at Newcastle? Howard Kendall returned to mediocrity at Everton after a fabulous earlier period. There were even thoughts of a third spell too.

Of course, I am not a football manager. I’m even terrible on the computer game versions of them.  I think these days I’m a pretty crap mental health nurse. I’m just not interested anymore. I’m sure there are only 7 or so types of people in the world and I feel like I’ve heard all their stories before.

I’ve been looking for jobs but I need something that actually fits with my acting commitments. Given that I’d rather be an actor than a nurse.




Psychiatric not Psychic

Still waiting to hear on my redundancy so at the moment I’m going through the motions of the job. It does tickle me though that people seem to think that just because I’m a mental health nurse that I somehow have some deeper insights into the meanings and whyfores of the human psyche.

For example, yesterday I was asked about why a person would prefer a custard donut over a jam donut. I don’t recall Freud writing  his thesis on donuts…I’m sure he could have though, especially the ring ones!

People seem to think that I can provide answers for any disaster that befalls a person in their life or that I see hidden meaning in the most innocuous behaviour. Surely after reading this blog I would hope that you see I am a plonk and that the fact I’ve done my time in mental health means that I’m as crazy as the next man.

When I first qualified I went to a party and my father told the people there that if they weren’t careful I would ‘psychoanalyse’ them. I remember one girl who hid her face away from me. As though I had power to peer into her soul by seeing her nose.

It’s all nonsense. It really is.  I tend to chat and listen..thats all it is!

Lie to me

It’s a relief to know that soon I will not have to undertake the huge psychological game that is known as psychotherapy. Psychotherapy at best leads to mediocre change, at worst it simply reinforces the inflated ego of those participating (therapist and client).

This morning whilst running a mental health drop-in I met two people whom did nothing but tell me endless lies. How did I know they were lying? Well they couldn’t keep their stories straight and were evasive on questioning. Pretending to cry at one stage or over-dramatising their tales.

If I were an analyst then I might reflect on the transference that was occurring, but I’m not. I just felt utterly bored by the experience. My code of ethics prevents me from being judgemental but really I want to be, I would love to be free to be open and honest with my clients and blow them away!

“Mrs X, the reason your son is behaving the way he is, is frankly down not only to your lack of intellect, wit and parenting skills, but I do wonder how on Earth you managed to have sex in the first place, and what made you think you could manage to raise a healthy well adjusted child?”

“Mr Y. You are a deeply boring man, you too must realise this at your core. Your voice is anodyne and reflects you dead, empty soul. I suggest you cure this by taking vast amounts of cocaine and then degrading yourself at the feet of professional escorts. I suggest you travel Africa and become a photojournalist. As it is, your tedious and mediocre existence simply offends those who have to meet you”.

As it is, I am directing my drives to the characters in my novel.

I know nothing

The death knell is ringing on my career. I welcome it too. Mental health isn’t anywhere near as fun as it could be. Patients and nurses aren’t encouraged to have relationships that come close to friendship any more. Instead people are force fed CBT (Cognitive behavioural therapy) and medication and nurses are sent away to learn how to promote rationality.
I don’t know anything about life. I am particularly ignorant when it comes to the lives of others too. I can hear their stories, and wonder about them, I can see them in their homes or their workplace, and see their drug taking but really who knows anything?
I am still interested in personality and people and the work of change. I just think that encouraging rationality is a bit of a cop out. It lacks a certain imagination and creative flourish.
“Life is islands of ecstasy in an ocean of ennui; after 30 land is seldom seen.” said Luke Rhinehart in his book ‘The Dice Man’.
Who can honestly say, what is sane and what is in-sane? Who can really differentiate between rationality and irrationality?
Is a man sane because he wears a suit and works in an environment where the price of soyabeans is speculated upon? Is a man insane because he one day decides to wear a ginger wig and speak in a language he has made up that afternoon?
Is rationality so cherished that we do not tolerate the uncomfortable anymore?
I really don’t know. In fact I’m beginning to wake up to the fact I know nothing.

The waiting game

I haven’t been in the best of spirits this week, perhaps understandable given my discovery of a lump of my testicle. The thing is being a nurse, I tend to make worst case scenario diagnoses without any diagnostic equipment. So far this week I’ve planned my eulogy and thought about top tunes to play at the funeral (Look out theres a monster coming by the Bonzo’s and Come on up to the house by Tom Waites).

Stupid and irrational I know!

I’m still waiting to hear anything about my appointment. I know it’s only been a few days, I don’t expect miracles but believe me it has been a long and dreary week.

The nurses I work with share my depressing views on self-diagnosis too. I think it comes with the job. I’ve nursed a few nurses in my time (no I do not mean wet-nurse) and we always make dreadful patients. We don’t just sit there and take a passive role. Nursing theory teaches us that healthcare is not a paternalistic experience, that the patient is essentially in-charge. However, the realities of nursing on a busy surgical ward mean that this is given lip-service. 4 staff nurses on a 30 bedded ward and one can see how care planning becomes more institutionalised by necessity.

Of course I am a psychiatric nurse and frankly at the moment my job is a doddle. Hence one of the reasons for applying for redundancy.  However, if the news is ‘bad’ then I will rescind my application as it would be better for me and the family for me to still be in the NHS.

Such fickle things eh?

I hope that by the end of the week I can look back on these past posts and laugh out at my insanity.

Buddha hates screws

I’ve been listening to a lot of ‘mindfulness’ stuff recently. It’s all rather interesting and I’m quite keen on a bit of meditation.  I can see how it would help my clients etc etc.

However, even big belly himself would love to kick a prison officer. I went out with one yesterday, a former prison officer who was a pugnacious individual to say the least. He offended everyone I work with in minutes of meeting them proffering his views on immigration and travellers. I took him to see Skid row, to see where asylum seekers live and where some traveller sites are. I really wish I hadn’t. I felt somewhat embarrassed to be in his company.

The thing is, in my own limited experience I have yet to meet a prison officer whom I have considered to have any redeeming qualities whatsoever. Cold, arrogant and lacking any kind of empathy or compassion.

Does prison make one that way or is it a side effect of the job? I’ve been wondering the same about mental health nursing recently. Considering the fact that almost everyone I’ve met or worked with over the past 20 years has been damaged, neurotic or psychotic then how do I know what is ‘normal’ any more?

Well I think my career in mental health may be coming to an end. Sadly not with a position at the RSC or rep theatre but instead as a health visitor!

We shall see…

Bonzo the prophetic dog

Huge fan of Vivian Stanshall that I am, one is oft apt to read through some of his lyrics, and by crickey I think the Bonzo Dog band summed me up with their ditty “I’m bored“.

Indeed, it has recently been noted that I lack passion, zeal, enthusiasm for anything much. Whilst I point out that I do enjoy a good play or hacking jacket by and large they are right. I think almost 20 years in psychiatry has dulled the senses somewhat.

A young lady telephoned me today seeing if one would be interested in a job working with eating disordered clients. I think she too felt the full force on my apathy.

“Well darling, it’s an impossible job as most of them die anyway” was my reply. Also the money was abysmal. The private sector hasn’t got a clue when it comes to wages.

Joy experiment

Why today was more interesting than I initially predicted. First off I went off to visit a chronic alcoholic who wants to die, I did laugh when I found out that the visit was cancelled due to him being hospitalised.

However, after publishing my promise to cheer up yesterday I decided to continue my quest for human happiness with a visit to a chap who has just been released from prison, but he couldn’t stay long as he had to sell some hard drugs. Ever more determined I then went to see a chap with no legs whose house has been burgled by some thieves who wanted his pain killers. The day soon went into a fit of hedonistic joy at the womens refuge whereby a young lady asked for help in arranging a termination of pregnancy.

Why after such a happy morning I went to the office filled with a sense of optimism and fair play.

In the afternoon I gave some food parcels to a couple of drug/alcohol abusers who had spent their giro that very morning and forgot to buy food. I did laugh when one of them complained he didn’t like pasta.

Top Trumps: Psychiatric style

Hee hee! I’ve been writing a lot recently (at work) about mental health/psychiatry/anti-psychiatry and so have been revisiting diagnostic manuals etc.
Today I met a really rather textbook psychotic gentleman. I noted his textbook mannerisms and language with the sort of relish that one would normally plop onto a hamburger.
I doubt much can be done to help him, but one wonders after a while wether or not it is invenitable that one plays ‘Top Trumps’ when meeting people. chap has ‘derailment’
“ooh that beats my Knights move thinking”.

I doubt there’s a market for such a thing though,