“God! Has it come to this?” Meet Grace, white-haired, with dementia, being admitted to the daunting asylum with an unwelcome introduction from the student nurse. Then Percy, the crystal radio buff, with depression. Here is Harry, the Japanese ex-POW, whose bath-time is a re-living of battles fought and Walter, with the dodgy and less than faithful, girl-friend. What about Tom, who is getting secret signs from both the Newscaster on the BBC as well as the landlady of the local pub, or Betty who won’t fit in the coffin, and needs a bit of encouragement? But also meet Stuart, the very novice student nurse fearfully working on nights, standing there being strangled, not knowing what to do, or trying to come to grips on his first day on the ward with shaving a corpse. Learn about what goes on in the long asylum corridor & how to survive the laws of the asylum jungle. Stuart has to rely on information from the unlikeliest of sources, the Social Club hard drinkers. Asylum Bound is a wild weird walk through the experiences of a student nurse as he enters the unknown world of the mental "asylum" of the 1970s. It is a bizarre world, a world of terrible extremes. Within this odd place there are Hogarthian characters of varying chaotic hues, some aggressive, some sad, some disturbed and some institutionalised, both patients and staff. It is in this strange world that Stuart begins to understand the origins of psychiatry and its terrible treatments, including lobotomies, E.C.T., insulin shock and even aversion therapy for underwear snatchers. He has to learn about schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, new and frightening conditions that had new and frightening treatments and outcomes. But he finds an asylum coming to the end of any usefulness it might ever once have had. The patients are leaving, the staff are changing, and, thank God, the abuses are declining. It is a different world from anything he has experienced before. It is a very new world. It is a life-changing revelation. For Stuart, what started as a novelty, progressed to fascination and was to end in tragedy. It was the start of a long psychiatric nursing career. It is, sadly, all true.
Stuart Townsend was born in Norwich (UK). After four years at Cardiff University studying theology he moved to East Anglia to become a psychiatric nurse.
His first book, Asylum Bound, covers this period of change, from the dull gathering of biblical knowledge to the exciting and very odd people he met in the asylum of the late 1970s.
Following qualification Stuart specialised in elderly mental illness, working in Norfolk and Derbyshire, before going to New Zealand to set up community mental health teams. Switching to acute mental health, Stuart then worked as team leader in New Zealand and, on return to the UK, in Nottinghamshire. In 2002 Stuart moved into the private sector, managing care homes for people with dementia.
He retired from clinical nursing in 2008, after 30 years front-line work, to teach, train and write.
Stuart married Karen, a specialist psychiatric forensic nurse, in 1984 and they have three sons. His interests are bridge, history and rugby.
You can follow Stuart on Twitter (asylumboundbook) or through facebook (asylumboundthebook)or through the website www.asylumboundthebook.com
Stuart Townsend is a pen name.