Tuesday, 25 September 2018

4.48 Psychosis, by Deafinitely Theatre

 Playing between 18th Sept and 13rd Oct 2018 (a week after Suicidal Awareness Day, on 10th Sept www.iasp.info, and World Mental Health Day, on 10th Oct http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/world-mental-health-day), Deafinitely Theatre possibly picked the best of times to launch their newest production Psychosis 4.48 http://www.newdiorama.com/whats-on/448-psychosis for the benefit of mental health awareness in the D/deaf community and some D/deaf awareness in the mainstream fields.


4.48 Psychosis is the last play written by Sarah Kane before she took her own life. The play was staged for the first time in 2000, about 18 months after Kane passed away. Since then the script has reached several theatres around the world, adapted in several languages and variations.

This is the very first time that this play is produced primarily for the D/deaf public, whilst remaining also accessible to the hearing ones. It offers a combination of voice, captions, BSL (British Sign Language) and VV (Visual Vernacular); just how ideally every play should be delivered, in my opinion.

With this said, it must be added that there still are times of “language voidance”: the wording gets either lost or uneasy to follow, just the same way the mind becomes scattered during psychotic states.

In contrast to the rambling words, the beautiful visual bursting of feelings and emotions expressed in the acting, fully immerse the senses and attention of the spectators. The constant turmoil of emotions is so vividly expressed, whether it is anger, paranoia, frustration; the anguish of the mind can be sensed almost incessantly for the full length of the play.

Deafinitely Theatre Director, Paula Garfield, has bravely produced a very innovative version of this play. Casting two hearing (Jim Fish, Matt Kyle) and two Deaf (Adam Bassett, Brian Duffy) actors; here there are these well-defined Yin & Yang forces on the stage, doubled up by two. There are the dark and the light ones; the warm and the cold ones, the male and the female ones (although there is no specific gender referencing in it).

Are all these characters really representing the natural cacophony of personalities within one same individual in an altered, anomalous state? It’s lovely seeing a seemingly perfectly paired couple in appearance, with Fish and Bassett on stage, especially when, as if swapping roles, the fine line of differences separating the Doctor and the patient, momentarily vanish.

Brian Duffy, a professional wrestler among his acting career, offers glimpses of the exceptional bouts of the manic force; that supernatural force hard to be contained by a simple body, while the mind is taken over by the shades of the brain.

There is not right or wrong interpretation of the play of course. Each viewer will take in what they capture more strongly out of it, with possibly very differing responses and emotions stirred among survivors/patients, mental health professionals, carers, family members or friend of a patient.

Everyone seems to fit in this short category, although understanding of the content may vary.

From a survivor/ex-patient point of view, I couldn't fail to sense the claustrophobic and oppressive feeling of being locked into a sickly-sterile space; the uneasiness of dealing with often fake-and-emotionally-absent or domineering-hostile members of staff (tip to the real world: this can never be a care attitude that gain success - not wanting to generalise either, as some nurses are caring indeed), and the warm camaraderie of peers, going thought the same ordeal.

Massive congratulations to Deafinitely Theatre for touching such a delicate subject!

Especially, as mental illness is still covered by stigma, ignorance and neglect in either, the D/deaf and hearing world alike. Also of fundamental importance is the action of breaking those barriers where men, often more than women, are so reluctant to open up and deal with their emotional anguish and turmoil, or seek for help.

A series of post Show Talks & Discussions have been planned (FREE, BSL Interpreted events

www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/deafinitely-theatre-10641135155), hosted by Deafinitely Theatre Director Paula Garfield, joined by academics and professionals in the deaf mental health field on the theme of mental health and deafness.

For more information about Deafinitely Theatre

Deafness, Communication and Mental Health

There are many reasons that may trigger mental uneasiness in anyone, such as anxiety, depression and stress. It's fundamental that everyone takes the right precautions to take care of his or her wellbeing.

However more profound life experiences, marked by severe trauma, abuse or neglect, if not dealt with the adequate care, can lead to signs of mental illness.

Some mental illness seems to be socially produced, mostly due to the inequalities of life conditions that people experience. However there are a myriad of symptoms masquerading and being (mis)diagnosed as mental illnesses, when the root cause might have an emotional,  physical or spiritual origin.

People generally ignore or downside the importance of hearing in ageing and how it affects people wellbeing. Apparently there's links of people manifesting signs of dementia as their hearing deteriorates while ageing. Isn’t this alarming?

Apparently by the age of 70, 70% of people have hearing loss

No wonders that many people live in isolation due to their difficulties in hearing.

Other than age related, deafness may be originated from a multitude of causes. It can be either congenital or acquired through life in an accident or due to an illness.

Then we have the Deaf and the deaf. Anyone wanting to expand that (why not?), here there’s some dedicated description of it www.bbc.co.uk/ouch/opinion/d_or_d_whos_deaf_and_whos_deaf.shtml

The rest can all be variable uncertainties, in my opinion ;)

There certainly is a higher incidence of mental health distress suffered by D/deaf people of any age, compared to hearing peers, as in many occasions D/deaf people end up living in abusive relationships, experiencing exclusion, isolation and discrimination. The language/communication barriers generally cause the difficulties, especially when adjustments necessary in work places are not taken into account. 

Sadly bullying and discrimination are often experienced since younger ages, with D/deaf children being easier targets to be taken advantage of.

NDCS (National Deaf Children’s Society) is a good place to start to contribute towards a better World for those perhaps needing some deaf awareness www.ndcs.org.uk/family_support/communication/deaf_awareness/

In an ideal world everyone would be a fluent signer, not just to be able to sign with Deaf people, but really for the beauty of it, as it is a fully expressive form of communication.

Among other things, the advantages of using a signed language, rather than a speaking, are being able to communicate in: noisy places, even far apart, across a large room; through windows; underwater; while eating/with a full mouth and more!

It is fundamental that everyone does his or her part in taking action towards improving everyday life. It’s not only going to benefit our own wellbeing; society at large can function better when everyone efficiently takes fair awareness and responsibilities into account.

Last December the United Nations declared 23 September International Day of Sign Languages

Perhaps time for non-signers to learn some fingerspelling, just to get started?


If you are feeling suicidal or know of someone who needs help, browse Help to find a crisis centre anywhere in the world.

For a round the clock, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year port of support The Samaritans are available via phone, e-mail and slow mail and at local branches. If you need a response immediately, it's best to call them on the phone (FREE to call). You don't have to be suicidal to call for a chat www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help-you

NHS 111 can also be useful for emergencies of various natures. It also offers a BSL interpreter service and the typetalk or textphone facility

SignHealth psychological therapy services for BSL users

Please, bear with me for any grammar or content inaccuracy. Not intending to lecture anyone here, but wishing to offer some hope to those that may be feeling vulnerable or seeking for help.

We are never alone. Thanks for reading!

Monday, 3 September 2018

September Newsletter

Dear Friends,

It is with profund sadness that we share the news of the passing of two dear friends that have contribuited to FEEL over the years, wishing to send our condolescence to all their friends and family members.

Kevin Zdaniecki (1952-2018) (Cons. Drs.CPsychologist AFBPS Chartered Member BPS DCP) led a talk for a FEEL event at Kingsley Hall in Nov 2014 and supported FEEL work ever since. Kevin's funeral will take place on Tue 11th September 2018 at 9:30 am at the City of London Cemetery and Crematorium, Aldersbrook Rd, Manor Park, London E12 5DQ.

The brilliant Jazzman John Clarke (1948-2018) was one of FEEL favourite MC at several Poetry events we shared some real memorable times with. A legendary figure in many poetry circuits around London, Jazzman is being remembered and celebrated widely at some of the spots where he was seen performing regularly. 
Here to follow a few tributes organised for him so far, while the funeral still has to be arranged. 
- Tue 4 Sept 7pm, Eastbeat, Kingsley Hall, Powis Road, E3 3HJ London
- Thu 6 Sept 7:30-10pm Earl of Chatham Pub, 15 Thomas St Woolwich, London SE18 6HU
- Fri 7 Sept 19:30-23:30; Bingo Master's Breakout, The Betsey Trotwood, 56 Farringdon Road EC1R 3BL London
- Sat 27 Oct, 5-10:30pm, Altogether Elsewhere, Kingsley Hall, Powis Road, E3 3HJ London. Please contact Vyvy on Vyvyemail@gmail.com if willing to contribuite to the special zine dedicated to John being collected together for this event (deadline for submissions 15 Sept. More info at the bottom of the page).

Our monthly FEEL meeting for September will be taking place at LARC on Monday 17th, 6:30-8:30pm. Do join us if you can. More events and news listing to follow.

"A Disorder for Everyone!" - Challenging the culture of psychiatric diagnosis
Thu 6 Sept 9am – 5pm, Amnesty International 25 New Inn Yard London EC2A 3EA
Contributors for the 10th event of AD4E will include Dr Lucy Johnstone, Dr Jacqui Dillon, Prof John Read, Clare Shaw, Dr Akima Thomas, Laura Delano, Jo Watson & Nollaig McSweeney. To book: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/a-disorder-for-everyone-challenging-the-culture-of-psychiatric-diagnosis-and-exploring-trauma-tickets-41295898143
Twitter: @dropthedisorder; AD4E website: www.adisorder4everyone.com;  www.jowatsonpsychotherapy.co.uk


Fight Disability Discrimination on Public Transport - Crowdfund by a group of Paralympians and disability rights activists who are raising the money to set up a legal fund to help disabled people bring court cases to challenge discrimination they face on public transport.  Pledge and share! 24 days to go


NSUN London Digital Leaders Lab
NSUN invites representatives from user-led member groups across London to a free networking, sharing and design programme on 4th, 5th and 6th September 2018.
210 Borough High Street London SE1 1JX. To book and more info: E: info@nsun.org.uk Ph. 020 7820 8982 


Bobby Baker's Great & Tiny War
Friday 7 September to Friday 9 November, 133 Sidney Grove, Newcastle upon Tyne
Great & Tiny War is an ingenious, immersive, multimedia audio-guided installation set to transform a house in Newcastle. Commissioned by 14-18 NOW, this major new work is peppered with happenings of unpredictable proportions. It's inspired by real stories, passed down through Bobby Baker's family and shaped by the domestic and emotional labour of conflicts. Book tickets here: https://wunderbar.org.uk/gtw/great-tiny-war/


News from Nowhere Club (leaflet attatched)
‘I Ain't F***ing Doing That!’ Working with People No One Wants to Work With. Speaker: Charlie Weinberg  
Saturday 8th Sept, The Epicentre, West St E11 4LJ
Charlie is Executive Director of Safe Ground, the award winning national charity using arts education and therapeutic group work to challenge people in prison, professionals and policy makers to do relationships differently. She will talk about how working with people who struggle to trust is a lifetime's mission.
Entry only from 7.30pm Buffet, 8pm Talk. Free entry / donations welcome / raffle / all welcome / no need to book Enquiries 0208 555 5248


NETWORK MEETING London Hearing Voices Network incorporating Paranoia & Beliefs Network 
Monday 10th Sept, 2pm - 5pm Conway Hall 25 Red Lion Square London WC1R 4RL
Speaker: Roz Austin, Research Associate at York University and founder of the Educational Voice Hearing Network based at St Catherine's College, Oxford. Roz will speak about 'Emily's Voices' (available to buy from Amazon).
 Network Meetings are primarily a chance for Hearing Voices Group Facilitators to meet other facilitators, share successes and gain support around challenges. Meetings are open to group members too, so please print the details and hand them round at your Hearing Voices Group meetings. We are happy to welcome people not currently involved with a group, but please contact LHVN (email: lhvn@mindincamden.org.uk or call: 020 7241 8978) first as a courtesy.  


Mental Wealth Festival
Mon 10th & Tue 11th September. Happening between City Lit, The National Gallery and Houses of Parliament.


Survivor's Poetry (every second Thursday of the month) 
Thu 13th Sept 8 – 10.30pm. Arrive 7.30pm to sign up for floorspots (1.50 floorspots / 2.50 concessions / 3.50 the full ticket)
The Poetry Cafe, 22 Betterton St, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9BX
An evening of Poetry and song. MC George Tahta, Featured Guest Colin Hambrook


Sanity, Madness and the Family, Season 2
Fridays (2nd or 3rd - see website) Aug - Dec 2018 at The Pholadelphia Association, 4 Marty's Yard, 17 Hampstead High Street, London NW3 1QW
Doors open at 6:30pm; Film starts at 7:15pm, followed by group discussion. Free entry.

Institute of Critical Psychiatry – Inaugural Conference
Monday 17 September. Buckingham House, Murray Edwards College, Cambridge 

57th Maudsley Debate: ECT by Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience
‘This house believes that electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) has no place in modern medicine.”
Wed, 19 Sept 6:30-7:30pm, Wolfson Lecture Theatre Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King's College London 16 De Crespigny Park London SE5 8AF

Funzing Talks: Mental Illness as Shamanic Initiation
Wed 19 Sept 7-9 pm BBB19-23 Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch, London, E1 6LA (talk starts at 7:30pm)
This talk by Jez Hughes ( teacher and practitioner of Shamanism) will explore whether it is possible, or beneficial, to approach mental illness from a psycho spiritual perspective in a society that doesn’t value the spiritual conditions that give rise to sickness and is stuck in bio-chemical causation model.


WORKSHOP: Deconstructing Borderline Personality Disorder, by Mind in Camden 
Tuesday, 25 September 10am - 4pm Diorama Arts Centre 201 Drummond Street Regents Place NW1 3FE London
Led by Flick Grey is a Mad Studies academic, Intentional Peer Support facilitator, Open Dialogue practitioner. 

Inside - Short Film 2018 - FUNDING
Is it time to listen to the Voices? A film about psychosis by someone who's been there.
INSIDE is the second part of Dolly Sen´s Mental Health awareness trilogy. Dolly is a filmmaker and artist with a unique perspective and powerful message about psychosis. With some money already raised we are looking for funding to cover costs to complete the film

Rachel Rowan Olive: coloured by austerity
This showcase was published as part of Dolly Sen’s guest editorship on Disability Arts Online.

CALLING OUT: Everyday Psych Victims Project
A new platform has been created for Survivors for sharing personal negative pshichiatric experiences online.
Experiences can be shared anonymously at PsychVictims.com


NotTheAnarchistBookfair 2018
The London Anarchist Bookfair has been a crucial fixture in the anarchist calendar since 1983. This year the bookfair is on what -we hope- a very brief hiatus. To go some small way to filling the gap, Freedom Press and Housmans Radical Booksellers have got together to organise a decentralised anarchist festival on the 20th - 21st of October, and we'd like you to get involved!
#nottheanarchistbookfair crew, @anarchistfestival (Twitter) OR anarchistfestival@riseup.net (email) FB: https://www.facebook.com/events/226899004670917/


 NSUN Members Event and Annual General Meeting: Theme 'The Future of Peer Support'Thursday 25 October 10am-10.15am arrival 4.30pm finish. The Roundhouse, Roundhouse Road, Pride Park, Derby DE24 8JEIf would like to secure your place please email info@nsun.org.uk with the subject title Members Event 25.10.18 booking. https://www.nsun.org.uk/Event/nsun-agm-and-members-event-2018-future-of-peer-support


Open Dialogue Event
25th October 9.30am to 4.45pm, Green Rooms Hotel, 13-27 Station road, Wood Green, London, N22 6UW. Tea, coffee and lunch will be provided! Places will be offered and secured on a first come first served basis. Closing date for applications: Friday 13th September if wishing to register to attend the OD Event at a cost of £10. Email to: camilla.giachero@nhs.net & steven.livingstone1@nhs.net


'Altogether Elsewhere'- A Memorial Tribute Event for Jazzman John
Saturday, 27 October 5-10:30pm, Kingsley Hall Community Centre. The Title 'Altogether Elsewhere' comes from a recent book of poems featuring Jazzman John: https://sampsonlow.co/2017/01/26/altogether-elsewhere-jazzman-john-robert-clarke/  
Doors open: 5pm (please come and bring some food and drink to share before hand and take a moment to write in the journal in memory of John - will be stored at Kingsley Hall) Tribute performances: start before 7pm (see below for performers) Event ends: 10:30pm
VIDEOS & FOOD: If you are able to bring some food or drinks to share or have any videos you'd like shown on the night please contact Noel O'Halloran at mindchangestherapy@gmail.com or https://www.facebook.com/noel.ohalloran
PERFORMERS: If you are interested in performing during the event please contact Phillip Goodman at https://www.facebook.com/phillip.r.goodman or email him at goodmanphillip@googlemail.com or you can contact Marina Young at https://www.facebook.com/marina.young.96
TRIBUTE ZINE: If you would like to contribute some poetry, words, and or images for inclusion in the free zine which will be created in honour of Jazzman John please contact Vyvy on Vyvyemail@gmail.com