Service user blog: meet Patrick

My name is Patrick, and I live at Maypole Grove, in Birmingham.

When I was 11, I attended a grammar school in Leicester. My family then moved to Birmingham and I attended a school for boys. I started a general building course at Brooklyn technical college and I was paid £25 a week. I learnt how to do painting and decorating and I decorated my own house. It took me seven weeks to complete and my uncle paid me £127. I then had another job decorating my Aunties, mother’s antiques shop. That one paid me £115.

Wanting to be self-employed, I saught out accomodation and moved back to Leicester. I would make myself breakfast in the morning, I had an electronic cooker in the bed sit and then I went to work. I did some technical stuff like hanging wallpaper on ceilings and making collage with masonry white paint. I used to do some sketches, I still like drawing.

That was the time when my mental health symptoms started.

I was involved in a spiritual espionage and had a massive hallucination in a police station. I think it is because I was watching and listening to too much Michael Jackson videos and cassettes.

They took me to Leicester General Hospital, and had to take Haloperidol. I was a bit confused, most of the time and I wasn’t sure what was happening. The nurses always insisted: “take your medication Patrick, it might not make you feel 100% always, but it is important you take your meds”.

My mother gave a framed photo of my nieces, I kept the picture on my bedside table in the hospital. Looking at the picture of my family made me feel that life is worth living. I recovered and my mother picked me up with her new car and took me back to Birmingham. God was then pleased with me I think.

I lived with my mum, and I managed to get back on my feet, get up from bed and do some gardening in my mother’s garden. I really wanted my mother’s garden to look nice. I then got a job in a House of Fraser distribution warehouse; I was loading lorries on the deck. I used to do weight training in my bedroom to make myself presentable and fit, it was important to have well groomed hair and clear eyes. The ladies in the office where I was a part of a team could see that I was just a teenager trying to do things, from my own initiative. They found that a good quality.

Later I did a Home Correspondence Course on computer programming. I then worked in administration department doing data retrieval. I was very much respected by the organisation, but then I started getting more hallucinations. I wanted to become the General Manager, designing bank notes. Because my hallucinations became worse, I was taken to All Saints Hospital, Birmingham, and lived in a care home in Northfield.

I found my life very disturbing, I kept calling the police. I went to a hospital in London, and tried to get them to stop issuing Clozapine. I would like to issue a ban on the medication, I would like to make some flyers and posters “No more Clozapine!” – it isn’t a good medicine.

One of the nurses at the hospital in London then brought me to Maypole Grove.

I have lived in Maypole Grove for about three or four months now. The staff here have put me on medication which will help me, and I will blossom. I know I should get up in the morning, brush my teeth, have a bath and put my clothes on. I tend to stay in bed quite a lot but the staff ask me to get into a daily routine. I find it difficult to start my day sometimes. I like it when the staff take me shopping to city centre, it is a very exciting place. I love buying colourful clothes.

I enjoy listening to music while having a bath, I find that relaxing. I have bought myself a golden microphone and I sing karaoke in my room, my favourite song is called Mandy, it is an American schoolboy song. I love doing art, and I have started doing my new art portfolio with activities staff. I feel freedom when I paint. Life can be very magical. I can see a collage of colours, and I like painting it.

I have also taken part in breakfast club and made my own scrambled eggs and toast, and a cup of coffee. It tasted very pleasant. It is important to me to keep in touch with my mother and staff support me with that. I really like animals and I have done animal therapy. I found that interesting, although I thought that a rabbit might bite me but then he behaved nicely.

Staff help me with my money, I get weekly money and manage it by myself. I can use that money when I do my shopping. I have bought myself a bum bag and keep my money in there, around my waist when I go out.

I would like to be able to earn my own wage to receive regular payments again. I have helped staff to sell raffle tickets, and we got a jar full of money that we donated to Alzheimer’s society! Staff have told me I could help with our allotment garden plot and sell some vegetables, that way I could get some money.

My goal in life is to be able to do my shopping trips and some traveling independently and sing songs as I go.