My Name Is Rachel: Interview With Rachel Waddingham


From BBC Sounds: “Rachel Waddingham hears voices. The first time she heard them she was lying in a bed. ‘You’re so stupid’, ‘they are watching you’, ‘it would be much better if you just ended it all’. She was also convinced she was being watched, that she was at the centre of a conspiracy. She ended up dropping out of university and eventually was admitted to a psychiatric unit. […] I lost all hope. It wasn’t so much the voices that kind of risked my life, it was this hopelessness, this sense that I’d never be part of the normal world’. She tried to escape from the ward and was subsequently sectioned.

Rachel became what’s called a ‘revolving door patient’, in and out of hospital, sectioned multiple times. Each time she became more and more alarmed by what she saw as the lack of humanity in the system. This is Rachel’s story of being sectioned in 21st century Britain. It’s an intimate and revealing insight into what it’s like to be a ‘revolving door patient’. Talking to a consultant psychiatrist, a psychiatric nurse and the lead author of a recent government review of the Mental Health Act, she challenges the status quo and considers how things might change. Rachel asks why she doesn’t have more rights to decide her own care and treatment, and explores how to break the cycle of the ‘revolving door’ patient.”

Audio →


  1. Rachel (if you’re reading),

    I’ve met you briefly maybe twice and you come across as being very dedicated and capable. Like you I was never suicidal until I started taking medication and never suicidal after coming off it.

    I ran into serious problems when I tried to stop taking drugs suitable for schizophrenia but, luckily I did manage to work them out.

    I recovered in the early 1980s in Ireland and have remained well since, and can substantiate this, but in 2002 my “schizophrenia” was revived in the UK via the Severe Mental Illness Register without assessment or discussion. I only found out by chance in 2012!

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  2. From this Rachel–across the Pond–hello Ray.

    I was not helped by my “medicines.” They exacerbated my depression and caused some psychosis I had not experienced before. Going off them has helped “cure” my mental problems.

    No doctor will hear stories like mine. Just those that reaffirm their foregone conclusions. “We don’t know how the treatments work. We just know they do. If a patient says they’re not feeling better we know they’re delusional. Or they ‘resist’ our treatments and need the severe kind.”

    There are many others doctors will not hear. And they try to sweep it under the rug, “Oh, I guess you never were mentally ill in the first place.” How many others would get better if they escaped? That frightens psychiatrists. So they never ask.

    How to get out of the revolving door? If you ride the darn thing in circles you will never get anywhere. So quit riding it.

    My solution.

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  3. According to the bible, the story of the first humans, Adam and Eve, Eve heard temptation from the devil to eat of the tree of knowledge.
    Abraham hearing
    Jesus hearing Satans temptations

    From the movie “Trading Places”

    What do they want me to do here?

    – I’m sure they’ll tell you.

    – What if I can’t do it?

    Just be yourself, sir.

    Whatever happens, they can’t take that away from you.

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