John-Paul Flintoff




Encounter at 10 Downing Street

While I was still in psychiatric hospital (but going home at night), I went to a reception at 10 Downing Street. It felt like another planet. Happily, a great friend recognised me…

I’m posting this picture because I’ve been in touch with my friend again today. I remember how wonderfully she responded to me telling her I had come straight from mental hospital.

She laughed, and shared a few things about her own various struggles, over the years.

I felt hugely grateful to be able to laugh.

And for her bravery in sharing her own stories.

The following day I was back in hospital again.

Next time I attend a glitzy reception (if anybody should invite me to one) I will try to remember that the people around me might include psychiatric patients on day release…


Postscript. Farah Tazeen Ahmad died on 6 November 2019. The world lost an award-winning broadcaster, her sons lost their mother, and I lost a dear friend.


Posted: April 17, 2019

Keywords: mental health, public speaking, tazeen ahmad