about 12 years ago I wrote a play which deconstructs psychiatry. The play is called Mental, it has a scene about ADHD and rips the construct apart in a knock about comedy manner. Now I find people writing scholarly articles about it which are much more learned, but mine version is funnier. Scene 5: PSYCHIATRY IS EVERYWHERE! Suzannah: My daughter had a problem with an educational psychologist you know. They’re a kind of therapist. The special educational needs coordinator at her school sent her to see one. Mark: What did they say it was, ADHD? John: Or was it Sadburgers, sorry, Aspergers. Mark: Oi, don’t’ be rude. John: Just because you’re a bit of train spotter does not mean you’ve got a disorder. Just a bit annoying, unless you like trains that is. Personally I think a diagnosis of Aspergers is about as useful as knowing what star sign someone is. Suzannah: What’s your star sign John? Are you a fire sign? John: As it happens, I’m Sagittarius. Suzannah: Ah, that explains it. John: Well Suzannah, I’m not really into Astrology, but it’s a lot less dangerous than a psychiatric diagnosis. Mark: Tell us about your daughter then Suzannah. Suzannah: They said she had ADHD. John returns to the Tourettes syndrome symptoms. John: Idiots. Suzannah and Mark look odd at him as if he might have ADHD. Suzannah: The school. The special educational needs coordinator and the educational psychologist wanted to put her on Ritalin. John: Idiots! Ritalin’s all over schools these days, just like head lice. Suzannah: I know, people end up on it for life sometimes. And it makes the children look really drugged up. My daughter kept playing up and getting into trouble, but she hated her teacher and was getting bullied by the other children in her class. Suzannah and Mark sit down and start acting out naughty school children. Mark pulls Suzannah’s hair, she makes as if to hit him, looks at John and sits down. John: ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. He barks it out like a teacher shouting out orders. Mark and Suzannah start sticking tongues out at each other and acting like naughty children, throwing things at each other, getting up and looking at John like he is the teacher. John: Attention Deficit. Mark speaks an aside to Suzannah. Mark: Thinks he knows it all. Suzannah: Oi, Sir, is you gay? John: Now, now, Suzannah, get on with your work Mark giggles, gets up and pushes Suzannah in a bullying way, John looks at Mark. John: Oi you, stop talking to your mate and pay attention boy. Attention Deficit – not paying attention. Well that’s not a disorder. Mark gets up and sneaks behind John, Suzannah stands up and follows him. John: Hyperactivity. Mark stands on a chair and makes like a monkey. John: Right, you, Mark, sit down, over there. And you, Suzannah, sit down, over there. And get on with your work. John: To audience Hyperactivity: Not sitting still, running around. Well that’s not a disorder. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD, its pants. ADHD, yes, ADHD it’s pants. What does ADHD mean? It’s the doctors medicalizing a particular distress. What kind of distress? Well in this case naughty boys. Suzannah: And a few girls. They start acting like naughty kids in school. Throwing things, getting up from the table and looking at John like he is the teacher. Mark: But mainly boys. John: And what do Dr’s do with naughty boys? Suzannah scowls at John. John: And girls. Give them drugs. In this case Ritalin. Mark and Suzannah speak in a speedy way. Mark: I’ve got ADHD me. Suzannah: I’ve got ABCD me. Mark: I’ve got HIJK me. Suzannah: I’ve got ICUP me. The giggle, John gives them a dirty look. John: Is there something you two would like to share with the rest of the class? They calm down, lean over table and get on with work. John: Ritalin has almost the same effect as cocaine. Or speed. But for some reason it slows kids down, probably because it’s poisoned their brains. Mark: He raises his hand. Sir, the headmaster won’t let me in school unless I’ve taken my Ritalin. John: Yes, well the less said about that sadistic idiot the better. Mark: I’m telling on you Sir. I’ll tell the headmaster you called him a sadistic idiot. John: Get on with your work Mark. Suzannah: My mum likes me to have Ritalin. When she runs out of money she takes my Ritalin off me and sells it to her mates down the pub. John: Now I think that is the better option. Drug free children, adults taking responsibility for their drug taking, stimulates the local economy; it’s all good! Imagine if what happens in school happened at work. You have your annual review, your appraisal, whatever. Just you and your manager in a little cubicle, and she says: Suzannah and Mark sit at table opposite each other. Suzannah as manager, Mark as employee. Suzannah: Now Mark, I’m afraid you’ve not been hitting your targets. Mark: Ah, sorry. Suzannah: I’ve been noticing that you’ve been finding it hard to concentrate. We’ve paid for you to have extra tuition on your computer and it hasn’t helped; you keep making spelling mistakes, which, as I am sure you are aware, is not acceptable in this line of work. Mark: Sorry. Suzannah: Also, Sally, the manager in sales says you’ve been wandering in there and talking to John and Sarah. Sally’s put in a complaint about you distracting them from their work. Mark: Oh. Suzannah: I’m going to recommend a referral to the occupational health team for a psychological assessment. John: Next thing you know they won’t let you back into work unless you’re on class B drugs. Mark pretends to pick up a phone. Mark: Hello, is that Unison? My line manager is refusing to let me into the office unless I take Ritalin. I agree. It’s an abuse of my human rights. What can I do? John: There’d be an outcry! Suzannah: Unless you’re a kid of course, when a doctor can give you a dodgy diagnosis and force you to take class B drugs, possibly for the rest of your life. John: Mind you, some people like that! Suzannah: My daughter doesn’t pay attention and plays up when she’s bored or angry. Mark: I wonder if lot of kids diagnosed with ADHD are like that? John: Hey, lets not look at that, just in case someone starts to wonder why the kids are so bored and angry at the world. Scene 6: CAPITALISM MAKES YOU SICK ………….