Thursday, 26 July 2012

Mr A goes mad - GUEST POST

Hello all,

Mrs Atkinson has been banished to the bedroom this evening (to pack for our trip to Lincoln tomorrow) so I - Mr Atkinson - have taken her blog hostage for one night only so I can scratch the blog itch that has been irritating me for sometime. Katie raves about it and gets a strange and becoming glow about her when she is blogging and even more so when she is reading others so I am assuming it must be, in someway, good for the soul. ANYWAY, introductory ramblings aside I am actually here to discuss something serious, but so not to scare people off I will call it 'semi serious' and hope you all come along for the ride.

Jon Richardson: A Little Bit OCD

Those of you who pay close attention will be aware that my beautiful wife is to begin her training as a mental health nurse in September. She is an incredibly brave and courageous woman to be embarking on a career such as this and it make me very proud that she is going to be doing something so worthwhile and that many would not even entertain. For this reason we have tuned into the '4 GOES MAD' season with keen interest. Not only because of my goodwife's future career goals but because I have had a 20 year on and off relationship with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and I was keen to indulge my own ego and see if I had indeed been as successful with my battles as think I have.

Interestingly - to me anyway - this linked nicely with '8/10 Cats' star Jon Richardson's documentary on the subject where he would address his own obsessive compulsive tendencies and come to a concrete understanding of his own 'quirks' and 'foibles' to see whether he did or didn't have a mental health concern. Tuning in I was very excited as I have always been a strong believer that mental health - in any form - does not get the coverage that it deserves and the only champion of the mental health cause is Stan 'I kicked Ulrika Johnsson's head in' Collymore (perhaps not the ideal candidate to raise the profile.) However, I was in no way prepared for what I witnessed. I found the show a difficult watch and a periods during the show I found myself feeling awkward and uncomfortable at what I was watching, not because the show was badly made, presented or produced (as I half expected) but because I was in a situation where I have to face up to my own behaviour and actions of the last 20years. For someone who does not enjoy attracting attention or thinking about themselves (although this post probably suggests otherwise) this would exceptionally difficult, in the most part this was because of the guilt that I felt at having being able to re-establish a fulfilled and functional life whereas the cases I was witnessing on the TV were those of people who had not been so lucky.

Through the course of the show Jon Richardson showed himself to be an incredibly genuine presenter and demonstrated obvious care, compassion and respect for those who he was talking to. He also was wary about self diagnosing and showing the disorder in a comical light (which in all honesty would be quite easy.) The stories in the show were moving and showed that more needs to be done to increase awareness of mental health as a whole and not just box it away in a file marked 'awkward' and never talked about it again. Through a lifetime it is said that 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health issue so why is it so rarely discussed and why, when it is, is it talked about with such scorn and dismissed as not important or not real?

My only concern with the Channel 4 series on mental health is that the shows have been put on a times that are not accessible to many and (actually I have a second concern) the titling of the series of programmes as 4 GOES MAD. But if the response to the shows are strong enough I would hope that the themes could be revisited by many channels and in other ways.

Ranting and rambling in a nonsensical and incoherent way is something that Mrs A has become use to and the fact that she puts up with it and me (I wouldn't) shows that I am a very lucky man. How in the land she does it I will never know.

If you found this vaguely interesting please follow me on Twitter @ja1507 and below I will post some links that may be of further interest to you.



@ocd_memoir - A great tweeter aiming to raise OCD awareness.
OCDACTION:  - The only OCD charity

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