End of an era

Posted: May 2, 2012 in Mental Health

A truly great man has passed from this world, he wont be lauded in the press or canonised for his work but in reality he should be amongst the highest ranked of the legions now departed. For reasons of courtesy I will only say He was called Roger, and to those who knew him it was not a case of needing another half of the name to identify him, for some it enough just to say, Roger said to know what was going on.

BPD is much maligned, often badly treated and professionals usually allow sufferers to act out in order to get a quiet life, Roger didnt hold with that idea, he could seem brutal at times, was accused of being cruel,always unfairly, but most of all he knew how to treat BPD, it was his life’s work and the set up he leaves behind will no doubt continue using his methods for many years helping countless numbers of people, but it will be diminished by his absence. When I had the great honour of meeting him I liked him straight away, not something I can say often and especially during my BPD phase of life. He was brash and welcoming in the same moment, I was pretty wound up and fearful of how I would be received and he allayed my fears with a smile and generous introduction, it was a momentous day at the group but I remember him most easily because I hadn’t encountered anyone of his ilk before.

Throughout my year in the unit he was my lead therapist but he was also the main cause of movement in me and almost everyone else in our group, when he was involved with the larger group he would “throw hand grenades” as we called it, saying things that no one else would have dared but never for effect, there was purpose in his ways and usually any rancour would fade away once the recipient of the volley had realised the truth behind, not alway and he rued those who failed to get it, when I left I remarked that I was likely to be forgotten, not in a negative way but it is the way of such programmes, the doors swing both ways and new faces replace old, he smiled and went on to explain how he could remember every soul who had walked into the unit in his years, some were just faces until he was reminded more but most he could relate back to us if he so wished, it made a huge difference to me and I believe it to be true.

For such a man, who was tasked with dealing with the untreatable he did it with hard headed resolve, where some of his staff would back down or apologise for hurt feelings Roger didnt have to, he would just explain his side of the situation and leave us to behave as adults should, that was his strength to imbue us not with BPD victim status but ask us to be adults, we may struggle in life and he acknowledged this but he wanted us to relate to life as grown ups with value of our own, not given by others but inherent in ourselves, it was a breath of fresh air to me and so many others that it worked its magic and gave BPD sufferers their own lives back.

There are so many eminent men who are lauded for the lives they saved, Oncologists , cardiologists and countless others. anyone in the psychiatric side of medicine rarely gets such rewards, but Roger saved lives, countless lives in fact and not just those he met but many through those he taught to continue his methods, the true number will never be known, the statistics dont tell you who lived so its hard to measure but when it is finally reckoned and his worth worked out there will be so many things in his favour it would boggle the mind. He would rightly point out he was a leader of a team and this is only right to say, there are others who worked with him, his clinical partner is also an amazing woman with a very different but equally effective style, she will no doubt carry on the good fight and his staff did things to the best of the abilities, if they didnt quite match up to Rogers standards that is not to their chagrin, no one could or ever will.

Roger was as true a friend to BPD sufferers as any before or likely to ever be, he will be mourned and remembered for lifetimes to come as the man who made those lives possible, my children will be told of him and so will many others, Rest in Peace.

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