Thursday, 13 November 2014

Last nights Broadmoor Documentary.

Last night, and indeed last week, my husband and I watched with great interest the Broadmoor documentary on television. It gives a fascinating insight into life inside Broadmoor and the patients and staff that are behind these mysterious walls. My heart goes out to anyone that has suffered from mental illness, but I was also absolutely amazed by the standard of care and the professionalism of the staff and doctors, who are often working in the most dangerous of situations, with people that are extremely ill. The compassion and understanding that they showed was second to none and it made me feel extremely proud to be living in a country with such a wonderful national health service and such dedicated health care professionals.

Here is what I noticed. Without exception, all of the patients had troubled childhoods and were often victims of sexual, physical and emotional abuse. They quite often had been institutionalized from a very young age, so they had been in care or quite often in prison before their illness became paramount.

Secondly, almost all of them had suffered from an addiction which included alcohol or recreational drugs and sometimes even both as part of their illness. This then exacerbated the condition and massively contributed to a worsening state of mind often leading to delusions and then a psychosis .

So what came first the illness or the addiction? Was the illness a symptom of the addiction, or was the addiction responsible for their emotional disorder? For me its hard to say and the documentary so far has not given any leads. However its hard not to see the correlation between the two issues which often go hand in hand with the suffering person and will only worsen any illness.

The other thing I noticed when the patients were talking about their personal history, and is something to bear in mind if you are a parent, and that is they all spoke about feeling 'unloved' as a child, a nuisance even, and that made me feel incredibly sad as I contemplated how they must have felt during the early years of their life. You could almost sense the loneliness as they spoke and the sense of isolation that they had felt.

If there's anything to learn from this, it has to be that human beings need and deserve unconditional love during the most formative years, and it is this love which will prevent a change in brain chemistry and can help us become balanced and stable adults there after. We can literally prevent mental illness by flooding our children with love and affection or simply by making them feel secure.
 For further reading on this fascinating subject I would read ' WHY LOVE MATTERS by Sue Gerhardt who is amazing psychotherapist and  who really has proven that affection can actually shape a baby's brain.

 For extra support, Alcoholics Anonymous - 02078330022
OR Narcotics Anonymous - 03009991212

Stay well and cuddle your children loads.

Suzi x

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