P and I both wanted to write about people who had changed our perceptions of Mental Health so I’m kicking off with a lady I became very fond of whilst in the psychiatric unit.
Dribbly Linda was, well, dribbly. She often had half chewed food down her chin and top or her long skirt tucked into her knickers.
Realistically, a psychiatric unit was not the correct place for her; I think she would’ve been more comfortable in a less volatile environment and with specialist care to her needs
When she first came into the unit, she was sometimes aggressive particularly to another patient who was no angel and who gave as good as she got. Gradually over time and as she became more comfortable, I noticed that she would tidy up after people and start to strike up conversation. Sometimes you couldn’t wholly understand what she was mumbling or it didn’t make any sense but when she engaged and laughed, she had a smile that made her face light up.
She made me realise that the dribble, the food, the incessant talk about things that made no sense didn’t matter. What mattered was that she was a kind, warm and generous person who had some problems.
And the thing that made me particularly fond of her…the fact that she would always, always ask how W was, no matter how bad her day was or if I hadn’t seen her for a while.
I really hope she is getting the support she needs and think about her often.