In 2000 Dennis O'Donnell was approached to work as an orderly in the Intensive Psychiatric Care Unit of a large hospital in central Scotland.
'I don't know if I'm the man you want,' he told the Charge Nurse. 'I'm not a fighter.' 'I don't need fighters,' the Nurse replied. 'I need people who can listen.'
The Locked Ward is an extraordinary memoir that sets out to reveal the true story of life in a psychiatric ward - the fear, the violence and despair, and also the care and the compassion. Recounting the stories of the patients he worked with, and those of the friends he made on the ward, O'Donnell provides a detailed account of day-to-day life behind the doors of the most feared and stigmatised environment in healthcare. In doing so, he examines the major mental disorders, their symptoms and manifestations, and how certain triggers such as religion, sex, wealth, health and drugs bear influence; the methods of treatment, by medication, therapy and conversation; the love and support of patients' friends and family members; success stories and failures, and attitudes to psychiatric illness, both by the authorities, by those around him - and his own.
Over seven years O'Donnell witnessed the day-to-day lives of people suffering from the most hair-raising illnesses. What emerges is a document of humanity and humour, a remarkable memoir that sheds light on a world that still remains largely unknown.
©2012 Dennis O'Donnell (P)2012 Random House AudioGo
Be prepared for the thick Glaswegian accent, and abundant bad language! A fantastic book nonetheless; a collection of heartwarming, though at times challenging, anecdotes from Dennis' time working in a psychiatric ward. Fascinating.
I really enjoyed the vivid and humorous accounts of life on ward 25. Usually listen to this in my car on long journeys. Found my self popping to the shop just for a listen
Beautifully narrated and addictive. Great for anyone wanting to work in this area. The difficulties and day to day challenges exposed give the reader an honest perspective of a world that society would rather not see
No; the man has no sense of prose
Under no circumstances.
Vary hard to stay with it.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The author/narrator has a lovely Scottish accent. Dennis O'Donnell is compassionate and does a great job educating others who are not familiar with mental illness.
"Retiring crim atty says"
Interesting as I had served as a medic and lab tech in US Army with some contact with psych wards. I would give a four avg but I couldn't understand the readers dialect. He was bright, interesting and humorous but I have some hearing loss and was at a loss as and frequently rapid strings of words were unintelligible. My British buddy says "don't you Yanks know, we don't share the same language?" But still a good book and the fault of my artillery ears.
Excellent memoir, full of humour, compassion, and interesting facts. The author's wonderful accent lends great expression and character. I really enjoyed this one, and only wish it had been longer!
"Engaging, funny, insightful"
All of it! The story flows beautifully and is worded and narrated like your best mate is telling you a story with passion and animation.
The telling of the suicide attempts. Although a raw subject for myself, it's not at all told in a clinical way, it's raw, but not upsetting. The accent and some of the colourful phrases and slang are excellent.
Code brown! The scene painted where a patient uses his bowels to try to escape restraint is hilarious
Laugh! From a chortle to full belly laugh and sore cheeks. I was thoroughly entertained from start to finish with many of the orderly and patients antics, though told with humour, they aren't mocking.
I just love the accent of the narrator/author. I initially thought I'd have to return the book because the very heavy/thick brogue was initially hard to understand but as the story kicked in I plugged on listening and found I not only got used to it, it became easy to understand and ended up adding to my enjoyment of the book.
"hard to understand"
I read my books in 3 days this one I had to keep replaying and took me 3 weeks because I had to have it on slow mo. frustrated
"Enjoyable and Educational"
I enjoyed this book once I grew accustomed to the reader's (author's) heavy Scottish accent and vernacular. He is a better reader than most authors, on a par with a professional reader. He showed great compassion for the mentally ill subject matters of his memoir of the locked psychiatric ward, as well as a great deal of insight. An all-around good book.
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