Lets say you have an accident and lose half your body functions; you sustain severe brain damage (but not enough for you to be oblivious to what\u2019s going on) and have to relearn how to talk, shave, walk (if you can) and discover who the hell you are. Well, the health service\u2019s \u201cresponsibility of care\u201d might fork out for a short while for you to recoup enough to do some of those things. Then, when you\u2019re just about progressing from nightmare to a semi-functional, semi-stable reality, in this strange place full of strangers, nowhere near your home and family, the health budget will be rescinded and they will find that their responsibility of care has been fulfilled. You have brain damage, not a mental illness. The ball is now batted to social services. You are the ball. So, off to a residential home you go because that is all social services can afford. No physiotherapy, no nursing or intensive support, but you can smoke outside, if you can get out there and you can have a television and radio. Resources don\u2019t stretch to you having any privacy, so, you have to share all your ablutions and indignities in a room with a complete stranger, amongst all these new complete strangers, in a place even farther away from your family and your local authority, which can now wash its hands of you. Nobody wants to wash your hands or cut your nails and who are they anyway? Your long-term memory recovers sufficiently to remind you, you used to be a different person, so what the fuck happened to you? Naturally, you can\u2019t stand this prison cell, but you overhear someone say they have no legal responsibility to lock you in, so in the middle of the night, (when there\u2019s no one around that can drag you back), you trash the crap you\u2019ve been lumbered with and make your bid for freedom. Of course, since the physiotherapy stopped helping you on your feet you have to piss in the street, from your chair, using your one good hand. And so the cycle of escape, recapture, sectioning, being banged up in a police cell, eventual release and becoming an increasingly ungrateful burden on your hosts ensues.
Eventually, because you are regularly exposing yourself, so you\u2019re now considered a danger to yourself and others, they lock you away in a secure mental ward and take your cigarettes off you. If you behave yourself like an unquestioning child, after a few months, maybe years, they might let you out into the twenty-four by twenty-four foot high-walled uncultivated courtyard, for a little fresh air and to walk around in circles, since you are a circular peg in a square hole. You cannot smoke. It\u2019s in the hospital grounds. By now, this whole process has stretched over five years and you live to stare up at a piece of sky between blinded windows. You can self-harm but you mustn\u2019t be suicidal. That\u2019s why you cannot have a lethal weapon like a radio, television, tie or shoelaces, but don\u2019t despair because they will let your nails grow to three inches and your hair grow long enough for you to hang yourself, if gouging your throat and wrists doesn\u2019t work. You have no right to be angry against all these professionals and experts who are prepared to hold you illegally to fulfil their \u2018duty of care\u2019 for you, or your new neighbours, who want a piece of you. So, you fight silently with yourself, decaying tooth and curly nail, to not vent this to anyone, because you know you don\u2019t belong there. You\u2019d rather disappear and live in a tent in the middle of nowhere than be such a burden.Don\u2019t give up though, because they have consulted all parties and done psychiatric
assessments and they agree you don\u2019t belong there. Your reactions are circumstantial, not mental, but if you kick off you\u2019ll never get out. The only policy of resentment, integrity and protest you can adopt is silence. At last\u2026 everybody else can relax.
Relief of all relief \u2013 an angel of mercy! One of your siblings, with experience in caring, is willing to uproot from a different part of the same country to care for you at home, if the council will supply a suitable accommodation near your family. Sorry\u2026 computer says no. The council cannot provide a home because your relative comes from outside their jurisdiction.
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