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AS A PSYCHIATRIC social worker, I came up against many cases of psychological conditions brought on by the madness of our social order. A society which puts personal profit above any notion of morality or social benefit, and condemns those who are poor as lazy or incompetent; which sexualises seven and eight-year-olds to sell them clothing and is shocked when paedophiles emerge; and which demands that to be successful, women must be beautiful and men handsome. A society which drives people into madness because they cannot cope, or because they do not conform, or because they have no moral template against which to measure their attitudes or their behaviour. A society in which I was trapped as much as anyone else, and even though I recognised how our social order had destroyed the mental health of its most vulnerable, I would have courted the madhouse myself if I had tried to challenge it. Like so many, I tried to stay in my mental burrow and leave the mad world beyond my doorstep.

But the story I’m going to tell you now is all the more strange, in that, while much of it I could have explained away in terms of psycho-social factors and conditions, there remained beneath the surface strata that I could not comprehend, that were beyond the vocabulary which my training at the University of South-East Scotland had put at my disposal.

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iScot Magazine
April 2018

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