Landlocked – Mental Health in the UK and the Prevention of International Travel, Translation and Foreign Language Education
On the Second of April 1997, at the point of my first contact with the Mental Health Act, I had my life’s dreams shattered. On that day, my parents had been persuaded to take me to see a psychiatrist at the local mental hospital, St Cadoc’s in Caerleon. I hadn’t wanted to attend the meeting at all as I didn’t have any health issues. However, I was forced by my family to go. I spoke with a psychiatrist, a social worker and a GP and they told me that I couldn’t leave the hospital and that I had been placed under Section 2 of the Mental Health Act 1983, a piece of UK government legislation that I had never heard of at all and that I knew nothing about. I was given a bit of paper which told me ‘my rights’ all of which are lies. I had to stay in the hospital for 28 days. I said I can’t do that as I am a university student at University College London (UCL) and also have several business commitments in the Music Industry for my DJing where I have a night at the Ministry of Sound arranged. They said that it was necessary for me to be treated (against my consent) and that afterwards I would be free to get on with my life.
I won’t go into the details of what happened to me medically during this time as that is not the subject of this article but eventually I spent between 2 and 3 months locked in Isca Ward, St Cadoc’s, before I was released into the community. The misdiagnosed condition (schizophrenia) which I knew from the start that I didn’t have at all has led to a pursuance by this mental health system of me as an individual for over 22 years. I never got to complete my UCL studies and had my music career as a DJ (Wez G) seriously ruined. The End Of Terror website is a solution that I devised to fight my corner in what is in essence a war between myself and elements of the British State.
At the point of realising on 02.04.97, that I wasn’t going to be able to get away from this hospital I had a serious think of the impact it would have on my life. The immediate work and study could be dealt with after I got out and it would just have to be postponed. I thought though of the more serious implications. I knew I wasn’t suffering from a mental illness but just thought of the implications of this Sectioning on my health record. It would be there whether I could prove I wasn’t ill or diagnosed or what. I just thought ‘Oh God’ just imagine how it will affect your career plans plus any travel plans. I’m a dual national who also has New Zealand citizenship and have to make regular trips to see family in Australia and New Zealand. My chosen career after I completed my UCL University Geography undergraduate degree was to become an Air New Zealand 747 commercial airline pilot. It’s what I’d wanted to do since I was about 7 years old when a pilot let me have a go in the cockpit of one of these very planes. I just thought there wouldn’t be a chance in hell of someone with any record of psychiatric compulsory detention from ever flying professionally a commercial airplane. So was kind of annoyed and gutted and it didn’t help that I was aware of this prior to the lengthy treatment which was to follow.
When you become a revolving door mental patient there is a lot of disruption to any sensible plans that you might have in life. It doesn’t matter what you do with regards to relationships, family life, work study, hobbies, travel, holidays, anything in fact. It gets quite disrupted by mental health systems.
It was many years before I ever got to get out of the country I’d decided on the spot as they jumped me, assaulted me, six nurses and banged a needle into me that I would pay a visit to the Balkans to check out the effects of the Civil War in that area. Not an intention of mine really prior to the entrance to this new UK system to me, that of mental health incarceration.
I made a short holiday to France with my girlfriend in about 2001 and later with another different girlfriend in about 2003/4. This was a godsend getting over to a civilised country but didn’t manage to spend long enough there really to experience Liberté in all its glory. I was detained for my UK grandfather’s 80th birthday and it upset me so greatly that I wasn’t allowed to see him for that that I vowed to myself that I would move heaven and earth not to miss my other grandfather’s 80th birthday in New Zealand. So, in 2005 I built up and managed to do a lot of international travel across Europe and eventually ended up making it out to New Zealand for my family occasion. On part of the trip when I was returning from Scandinavia the customs officials at Stansted nicked my authentic UK passport (including Serbian border stamps and the rest of the stamps I had gathered on my trip to Istanbul to watch Liverpool FC play football. They said that it was a fake passport. I think there was a problem as that passport had been stolen by a Sri Lankan psychiatrist during my stay in St Cadoc’s one year. Obviously the theft of international identity documents is a serious crime in international law.
Since I returned from New Zealand in 2006 I haven’t been able tp get out of the UK since, despite making many many attempts. What has happened since that point is that whenever I book any form of international holiday I get sectioned away and just have to lose all my investment and insurance doesn’t tend to pay and you just get trashed in the South Wales mental health system and lose all your other life plans etc and goals. I had a nice gîte booked in France for three weeks to the South of Bordeaux one year and after the sectioning that time I got a load of paperwork from the French authorities about court action due to not attending and completing payment of the holiday hire of this little cottage. I still, if I ever do make it across the channel have to settle this legal matter. I had about 3 or 4 possibly holidays booked to Spain and one also to Cuba. Usually on these holidays I booked cheap last minute flights and in addition to losing the investment on these I also completely lost all the money spent on hotels for the arranged itineraries. It’s kind of doubly upsetting when you are sat in a darkened corner smoking cigarettes watching numpty mental health nurses and doctors running around just knowing that you should be on a beach somewhere.
I decided in about 2005 to go back into the formal education sector in the UK in an attempt to get out of the mental health system. The thinking was that if I could prove that I was capable of serious academic work, that it might disprove the allegations made by the psychiatrists that there was anything wrong with my head. I went back to Coleg Gwent in Newport and completed some additional A and AS Levels in French and Spanish with a view to possibly doing a future university degree in foreign languages. In about 2006 I started studying at Cardiff University’s Adult Education centre, LEARN, where I worked on a multitude of foreign languages including French, Spanish, German, Italian, Russian, Arabic and Mandarin Chinese. Unfortunately for me, the psychiatrists got very upset about me being able to do this and a Polish woman called Dr Tyson just terminated all of this rather difficult study. When you do two years of Mandarin Chinese in an official Confucius Institute education centre it is very disheartening and annoying when your old enemies can manage to stop you proceeding. It’s the sort of skill that you can’t just switch on and off. [Dragon Translate is my translation business]
After that disruption I was invited to do a full-time degree in Translation at Cardiff University and I accepted the invitation in 2004 to focus on Spanish and French with a view to afterwards becoming a professional translator or interpreter. Unfortunately this degree has not yet been completed as there has been a very intense continuation of pursuance and sectioning under the Mental Health Act.
When you are seriously studying foreign languages it makes a lot of sense to travel to countries where these tongues are spoken so that you can increase your skill level. This is the reason why, with all this language education work under my belt, it has been so harrowing for me to have then had all my travel plans abroad prevented.
It’s a very difficult situation living in such conditions and with Brexit looming in the UK I can see things getting even worse for people like myself who have to live with such inhumane totalitarian oppression.
I’m still managing to do university Translation study but I just wait for this to be stopped again and don’t hold out hopes for ever completing the course as I’m a realist. Regarding international travel I have passports but don’t really fancy wasting money in booking flights and hotels that simply are going to go to waste, so I don’t bother even thinking of travelling abroad.