I AM challenging behaviour

Busy week for my ‘I AM Challenging Behaviour’ badge. I’ve worn it at the two day NHSE event #LearningfromDeaths, at the brilliant #JusticeforLB Book Launch (you can buy the book here if you’ve not got it already), and for two days now at the MPTS Tribunal into the fitness to practice of Dr Valerie Murphy, LB’s psychiatrist and responsible clinician (live tweets from that here). It has started conversations with several people, those who understand what ‘challenging behaviour’ has come to mean in health and social care, and those who had no idea (like the woman who served me breakfast on Saturday). As a conversational starting point the badge works brilliantly.

I tweeted the following about my badge this morning:

There we have it, even with the best intentions I’d somehow framed it about someone else’s behaviour, even when trying to make the opposite point, that’s it about ‘our’ behaviour, how we listen and hear and experience someone. I try very hard not to focus on behaviour full stop, others, mine, how I experience other people – good or bad. I try very hard not to just listen to those whose voices are like mine, and make me feel comfortable and easy; I try very hard to listen to those whose voices are not like mine, that challenge me, or make me feel deeply uncomfortable.

This week I was accused of ‘selling my soul to the devil’ and ‘being in bed with the NHS’. This came from someone who I’ve tried to support. It hurt, really hurt. I couldn’t just dismiss it, I had to engage with it, however challenging I found that. Having reflected on it far too much since then I feel I have a clear conscience. If working with people in a system, to try and improve that system for others, amounts to selling my soul, then so be it.

I’ve also sat through a whole day of Dr Murphy’s counsel making the most utterly ridiculous claims, challenging me to stay in my seat and keep my mouth shut. Every bit of me wanted to walk out, to just get away from it, but I stayed, to share it with others, so collectively we could witness and challenge that behaviour.

I’m very willing to be challenged and to challenge.

I am, after all, challenging behaviour. I will continue to do so, as long as I have breath in me. I will also do what I can to challenge the dismissal of those whose behaviour others find challenging, or that I find challenging.

If you’d like a fresh new look on challenging behaviours then I urge you to listen to Tom Ryan‘s new podcast series. You can access it here. If you’d like a badge then check out the facebook page here.

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