Tag Archive | mental health

Review: ‘Lunatics, Imbeciles and Idiots’, by Katheryn Burtinshaw and Dr John Burt

Published by: Pen & SwordLunatics, Imbeciles and Idiots

Publication Date: 3rd April 2017

I.S.B.N.: 9781473879034

Price: £15.99

Click cover for link to publishers page.

As ever, I was sent this book in return for an honest review. Thanks to Alex and Pen & Sword for sending me the book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blurb

In the first half of the nineteenth-century treatment of the mentally ill in Britain and Ireland underwent radical change. No longer manacled, chained and treated like wild animals, patient care was defined in law and medical understanding, and treatment of insanity developed.

Focussing on selected cases, this new study enables the reader to understand how progressively advancing attitudes and expectations affected decisions, leading to better legislation and medical practice throughout the century. Specific mental health conditions are discussed in detail and the treatments patients received are analysed in an expert way. A clear view of why institutional asylums were established, their ethos for the treatment of patients, and how they were run as palaces rather than prisons giving moral therapy to those affected becomes apparent. The changing ways in which patients were treated, and altered societal views to the incarceration of the mentally ill, are explored. The book is thoroughly illustrated and contains images of patients and asylum staff never previously published, as well as first-hand accounts of life in a nineteenth-century asylum from a patients perspective.

Written for genealogists as well as historians, this book contains clear information concerning access to asylum records and other relevant primary sources and how to interpret their contents in a meaningful way.

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University update: Week 2

Well, my second day at university has been and gone. It was an interesting day.

 In the morning workshop three people had submitted work for feedback, including me. I was very impressed by the other pieces, though I only got to read one of them. My writing is positively amateurish compared to everyone else. I did get some useful feedback and information about formatting though which I’ve acted on. I’m going to develop the idea further and possibly use it as my assessment piece. I’ve already written another thousand words on it. The only problem with that is, now I’ve been told it’s funny I’m going to have to stop myself from trying to be funny, because experience tells me that that way leads to tortured prose and no being funny.

My afternoon seminar was not too bad. My poem was out of sync with everyone else, who used the opportunity to write about emotional events. Very well, I might add. My choice of poem by someone else was also not in line with the rest. I don’t think I’m going to get good scores for this module. This week’s homework is to write ten lines about shoes. I’ve done that already and it’s sparked an idea for my assessment for this part of the module.

University is having an interesting affect on my mental state. In the morning I’m aware but as the workshop goes on I begin to get more and more impatient with people. By the afternoon seminar I’m mentally exhausted and I can’t give decent feedback. I’m getting overwhelmed by the experiences the others write about, which combined with the exhaustion means my focus goes entirely. It’s taking two days for me to recover mental stability. I really don’t want to be around people and I’m exhausted still on a Friday afternoon. I had to miss sewing and craft club this week because I just wasn’t up to being around people.

Physically, things aren’t much better. Since I had to walk up to the station in record time on Wednesday morning I’ve been hurting just a tad. The train doesn’t help, the seats are too low and close together so I’m squashed, which doesn’t help my hip or back. The chairs in my work shop and seminar are uncomfortable and they have those tables attached on swing arms rather than proper desks. I’m cramped and can’t get myself settled comfortably in them. 

I’m determined to keep going and I refuse to let my messed up brain and my back injury stop me from studying and doing the best I can. I’m in the process of arranging my DSA assessment, I’m just waiting to hear back from the welfare centre at uni for an appointment. I’m also still waiting to hear about my initial assessment for a psychologist’s assessment with the local mental health team. It’ll all get sorted eventually.

Today I plan to do very little other than sort out what stock I’m taking to the craft fair tomorrow and walking the dogs later on. I might work on the novel although I’m fighting the urge to go and reformat the first two novels and start editing.

14th December 2015 general rambling

Evening all, how are you all? I have a cold, I also have Netflix now. That will become relevant later.

 

Writing Update

I’m working on my novel again, or trying to write every day. The dogs don’t like it, my knee is for their heads to rest on and my hands are for stroking them, according to the Hell Hounds, not for tapping away at my laptop trying to get a novel finished this year. I’m still studying my writing course, but I haven’t been well so I haven’t been working on the current assignment for a few months. The assignment is to write a piece for a travel magazine and to outline another on the same subject from a different angle. I haven’t travelled much so I’ll have to write something about Lincolnshire.

 

‘Netflix’ and other televisual things

Now I have ‘Netflix’ I can watch a few things that I like or wanted to see. I’ve been working on my ‘A Christmas Carol’ watching mission – how many versions of ‘A Christmas Carol’ can I see in December; I’ve managed two so far. I started watching ‘Jessica Jones’ and a few episodes of ‘Grimm’. I’ve also started watching ‘From Dusk ’til Dawn’, the series. I saw the film that the series is based on years ago, and while the story was good, the character played by Quentin Tarantino squicked me out with his sick rape fantasies. I thought the character of Richie Gecko was going to be the same in the series. Luckily, Zane Holt’s ‘Richie’ is a lot less vile (I honestly think that has to do with the actor rather than the character), and the longer format of a series rather than a film allows for better character and plot development. I’ve just finished watching series one, and am moving on to series two this evening.

I’ve been watching ‘The Last Kingdom’, the BBC series based on Bernard Cornwall’s Uhtred of Bebbanberg books. I really enjoyed it, and luckily so did my dad, so I had someone to discuss it with yesterday now that we’ve both seen all eight episodes. We’ve both read the first half dozen books too. I’ve tried to find my copy of ‘The Last Kingdom’ so that I can compare the books with the series, but I can’t find it. It has to be around somewhere but I still haven’t got all my books shelved and organised after moving more than 15 months ago. I still need at least one more set of book shelves; when I get them I’ll be able to arrange my books by author and series the way I want to. As it is I’m wracking my brains trying to remember the plot and characters. I like Brida much better in the series than in the books, as far as I remember, and Alfred is still as sanctimonious as ever. I really can’t stand Odda the Younger, but then I couldn’t stand him in the books either. If I remember correctly he was the same age as Uhtred in the books, and a large man. Seeing him played by a younger, smaller man who looks barely out of his teens grated slightly. It was nice to see him finally die though, the little scum bag traitor. I don’t like Asser either, but then I didn’t like him in the books either. Leofric was also one of my favourite characters in the series. Uhtred is a really good character and I think Alexander Dreymon is a really good actor.

The series is based on books, which mix history and fiction, and the series does the same thing. The distinctive styles of English and Danish dress and hairstyles, the tattoos and make-up, are deliberate constructs designed to separate the two visually. It’s something I noticed in ‘Vikings’ as well. There’s a distinct preference for the Danes in both series; they get all the best storylines, character (Brida vs. Mildreth), clothes and make up. Both also suggest the English didn’t know how to fight until some Dane came along and taught them too. Clearly neither production team know anything about early Anglo-Saxon history. Shields, contrary to ‘The Last Kingdom’ were circular, wooden and covered in leather, sometimes with decorative fittings. They were fairly successful in warfare if the available sources are to be believed. I do wish television and films would stop messing with history; if you’re going to make a film set in a specific period at least get the details right.

If they make a second series I hope they don’t screw up Æthelflæd, Alfred’s daughter, known as Lady of the Mercians (seriously, look her up, she’s cool. The Danes were going to surrender to her, but she died in the early tenth century just a few weeks two soon). Bernard Cornwall admitted in his books that he made the character of her husband, Athelred of Mercia, in to a much nastier character than he was in reality (again if the sources can be trusted).

Mental Health

It has been a funny month so far. I haven’t been great, to be honest. My brain has been more than a little bit scrambled. When someone says they’ll do something for me then backs out it makes me feel worthless and unwanted, like I’m a massive inconvenience to everyone. Rationally, I know that isn’t the case, but my brain isn’t being rational at that point. It took a few days to get over and I’ve had the odd off day since, but I’m not too bad at the minute. I keep getting tired and need to go to bed really early. But if I go to bed too soon I end up waking up at stupid o’clock in the morning. At which point I get up, wander round the house for a while, maybe do some cleaning then go back to bed and sleep until mid-morning. It’s really messing with my reading/writing/sewing schedule.

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