Archive for May, 2012


9.30am  Alison, ward manager, came to my bedroom to say door would be locked at 10 for 2 hours, as per the policy which has only been enforced since 1st May on the shifts where Jess has been on duty, which has just been in the last week.  Jess is acting according to the ward policy whereas the other staff do not in her absence.  The inconsistency is not helpful, it is a blanket policy which does not meet all needs and runds counter to the needs of some people.  The reasons given are so that domestics can access the rooms for cleaning, and for social inclusion and therapeutic activities.  So the policy is that twice a day we should be made effectively homeless so the domestics can enter our bedrooms without needing to engage with us like mature, responsible adults.  I’ve been 7 months homeless.  How does keeping that feeling going contribute to my mental well-being?

10.30-11am  Male SHO and female nurse wanted to use our private lounge, again, during lock out hours and when meeting rooms designated for their use were available, as they often are, if not always.  They asked us, I objected, and they went, but on his way the SHO, Dr Fahy’s, my psychiatrist, the one’s I had the meeting with earlier in the week, made a point of registering his objection saying did I want to use it at that time.  That is not the point.  It is our private lounge and our doors were locked.  A different group of professionals were in there this afternoon during the afternoon lock out.

Noon-ish  Shortly after a girl in tears was sat down in the dining room by a couple of professionals, thus violating our privacy rights if not hers (I don’t know if she wanted it or not) Alison came in wanting to talk to me in her office.  I can’t remember what led up to it, but I said no and asked what the consequences would be if I refused to do what she wanted.  I asked what iot was about and she said the bedrooms, and I said that affected all of us and we could talk in the dining room with people there.  She was very reluctant but did eventually.  I talked about homelessness and prvacy needs and inconsistency and human rights if we had to see this as home and not being institutionalised even if in an institution, I said it ran counter to my needs and she said it was something that could be accommodated if i spoke to the staff about my situation and gave the impression that she meant my door would not have to be locked.  I told her I had already done that two or three times.  At one point I said I wanted to make a written complaint and not talk anymore, but she continued to impose herself on me, even though I was calm.

Later in afternoon Dr Ali, about my age but altogether bigger and someone I didn’t know, stared me in the eyes so I didn’t look away and he continued for about a minute, until I looked away and he expressed satisfaction.  Because UI was upset about that they said I was too ill to go out, not accepting my version and not taking responsiblility, drugged me.  I got out late.

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Omni-Scramble

What I meant to say yesterday when I said I had been talking in the lunch time about courage of convictions etc was that while I was talking one of the women behind the counter said ‘anyone for bread and butter’ and a man who seemed to be staff of some description who had seemed to be listening to me and being affected suddenly snapped out of it.  I took her to mean that they had to protect their jobs.  Cleaners have been interfering with my conversations, making mocking faces, collusive smiles and things.  I feel softer and more yielding than I should because of the vocal tone of the constant assault on my ears.  It is completely reminiscent of a devoted ‘hallelujah’.  Nurses have been saying things like ‘baby’ inappropriately, and ‘bear with me’, one of them kept repeating in one conversation.  The Malaria/Malaysia man went into a really rough regional accent when I started to speak intimately with another patient.  Normally his accent is quite educated.

I feel bad about the details I put up yesterday.  Of course it could all be complete coincidence – er, what am I saying???  Even if it is, is the fact that I am finding it hard to copew with a sign of my over-sensitivity, or is finding it hard to cope with completely normal?

There I am locked up where I don’t want to be, where reports of harassment have not even received a written acknowledgment, and I have said what I said about namesakes dying to the staff without it being treated as an abnormal occurence in itself, and I live with the shadow of the syringe hanging over me, a constant threat for many years.  Without that threat my behaviour and thinking would not be so weird.  Most people can make mistakes and do or say stupid things without it mattering, but if I do, I am constantly in fear of the medical consequences, even if I am not under a section.  Most people can collapse emotionally without feeling threatened, whereas I am communicating in a way which is almost professional in order to try and prove that I am not mentally ill and to compensate for the lack of professionalism among the staff.  They blank me often.

I was watching the news and it was talking about the need for more midwives.  I thought and said to those with me that the real problem, at least in nursing as a whole, is about attitude and honesty and openness more than numbers.

From what I heard of the nurses conference a few days ago I thought they had a real rabble attitude, like people ringside at a boxing match.  That is also evident on the wards.

Just generalising now, because I can’t remember all the details of what was said, but I think that, instead of being militant and working to rule, etc, we need professionals who will go the extra mile and say ‘yes, we will do that, we are not going to bay, etc, but also we want the changes.  Hopefully that would still receive the same news coverage and publicity.  Some people have a problem realising that their militancy, if it belongs anywhere, belongs in their meetings, and not being manifest in any way towards the people they are employed to care for.  Unfortunately the militancy, where it exists, is often not switched off on the wards, or wherever the profession is worked out.

Staff are meant to be a locus of normality on the wards, but often they wear a mask, even aggressively throw one in your face.  And they don’t ask you questions which might suggest that the things you have said are real and not mental illness.  I feel my staff are operating their own vigilante clique.  I’m wondering at what point it was agreed to do so.  As soon as I entered the ward on the 1st May, even before assessment, people were miscommunicating all over the place.

They regularly use our quiet lounge for their meetings when there are meeting rooms available.  I challenged it once when I was in there, and I was successful on that occasion and they left, even if in a bit of a fluster.  But they haven’t changed the practice.  And our quiet lounge is through the TV lounge, and people can see in and look in, from both the TV lounge and the office on the other side.  There is no privacy in any shared space, all the rooms have big windows.   Staff look in and stare quite obviously and deliberately, I think, and I find that unduly invasive and unsettling.

The excuse I was gven for them using our quiet lounge was that it was more convenient for them when they are short staffed to be right by the office.  Apart from anything else, that to me says there is a multi-tasking mentality even about interviews with patients, and I think it is inappropriate in a situation like ours.

But the other day I came out of a meeting with my psychiatrist, and I was very emotional and shaken because I had just had to fight very hard to communicate with two people who were saying they thought I had an illness that needed treating and they were considering a section 3, and I opened the door and had to walk in that state through the TV lounge where 4 other women were sitting, facing the door I was coming out of.  I felt very uncomfortable.  If there is bullying it can very easily be the walk of shame.  Thinking about it, I think it is a fearful situation altogether.

To me the arts are the best way of dealing with mental distress, especially music.  But we are talking about not having enough money to fund the arts, while people who report harassment don’t even get their letter answered, and are sometimes treated so badly by the police they are reluctant to approach them in time of need, because they, if anything like me, find the anger to which they can be roused in a situation like that if officers abuse their position frightening in its possible consequences, let alone any ideological objections to enlisting the help of the police which some people might have.  People not getting their letters answered or their complaint properly dealt with are put into hospital and drigged or threatened with drugs, sometimes also being abused by the staff and other patients, and it costs about £700 a night, the last I heard.  But we can’t afford to fund the arts.

If people didn’t believe in the drug approach to the distress of a person, hopefully they wouldn’t go for the job in the first place???  Would anyone sell their soul that much for a living?  So how they feel, having chosen the job, is not my responsibility if they will not communicate.  I am my responsibility, and so are those who trust me.  Another woman today told me something similar about her home situation which wasn’t dealt with.

As we know with the Leveson Inquiry, media people stalk people.  Some do, anyway.  Organisations do.  But so does the psychiatric system, and that also damages lives.  And it seems to me that things shouldn’t go that far anyway, and that the treatment and attitude on the wards is what causes a lot of the behaviour interpreted as mental illness.  We are their bread and butter, after all.  They have a vested interest in people being admitted for treatment.  If more time were put into resolving the reported problems in the furst place, including organised stalking, the stalking could be dealt with, especially if their were fewer people afraid of professional abuse and the shadow of the syringe for speaking out and saying they have a problem in the first place.

The way our country deals with its people’s problem’s is unbelievable, Brave New World-ish.  You couldn’t make it up, except someone has, and made it what is supposed to be an accepted reality!

I know that, because I know something of what I am going to write, and people’s reasons will vary.  Personally, when this is posted, I will want to throw up, because I don’t think a decent person would post something like this.

I wrote to someone yesterday and asked for help, saying my alternative was to blog it, because the details are sensitive and involve other people and their tragedies, which have already been in the national news headlines.  I am going to be coupling this with my own plight as someone who has been mentioning this kind of thing to my psychiatrists for years and been told it is probably a coincidence.

I keep hearing murders reported on the national radio news (I don’t watch much tv at the moment and if I did I might find even more cause for concern in the images) which have salient details in common with my life, past and present.  Here are three from the last 2 months.  I have been aware of others which I haven’t latched onto in the same way, but now every time a newreader’s tone becomes serious I listen for the details and am sometimes astounded that it has nothing that I can hear to connect it to me.  Very often it has something I can identify as a part of my life.

1.  The hostages killed over a month ago, Franco and Chris.  My name is Sue, I am a Christian.  Chris is often used in this way.  My uncle’s name is Frank.  They were captured on 12 May 2011, my uncle Frank’s birthday, and slaughtered as I thought I was embarking on a new lifestyle temporarily in Wales.  This kind of coincidence has happened before.

2. Dunford and Julie Davison, one new story.  The first vicar I can remember in Bestwood, Nottingham, where I was born, is/was called Dunford.  The girl across the corridor from me in my hall of residence, who is also 50 now, like Julie Davison, is/was called Julie Davie.  Two people connected with my personal life, linked in the same murder news item.  I reported this one to the area police responsible, over the phone, and said I had had a lot of these coincidences in the past.  The next day someone had been arrested, but I have heard nothing myself in response to my call.  I am wondering if they have decided I am an unreliable witness because I have a mental health diagnosis of schizophrenia, based in the first place on my insistence that this was happening.  Patients on a ward are not regarded as reliable witnesses for each other either and their versions of events are not called for.  This is written in the procedural literature.

3.  The latest thing is the Philpot fire in Derbyshire, which has taken the lives of 6 children, all the children the mother had.  I can’t imagine the devastation this poor woman must be feeling.  The last I heard the police were treating it as arson.  Our next door neighbour when I was a child in Nottingham was called Mrs Philpot.

All 3 of these facts are checkable by asking members of my family who have not, to my knowledge, been certified.   So why haven’t I turned to them to back me up?  Good question.  What about someone who does not have family to back them up in this kind of assertion?  Am I just attention seeking?  I am uncomfortable with that question and its possible answers.

I started listening to Osho teaching on Napster a few years ago.  Shortly after that there was a bombing close to an Osho ashram.  There is much more I can’t remember at the moment.  Some of it might be in this blog already.

My psychiatrists have been saying it is a coincidence.  I am not sure how these families would feel about that.  They are saying it is a coincidence and that I have a delusional disorder.  They have been/are considering treating me under section 3 of the mental health act.  While I was telling them what was happening they were making ‘mumpy’ questioning faces at me, as if I was a child who understood nothing.

I can’t see the responsibility or the morality of making such an assessment and decision about such dense coincidences often repeated, when treating them as serious and me as reliable based on facts which have nothing to do with the creation of my brain might lead to the uncovering of terrorist and murderous gangs.  Apart from the fact that a hospital bed costs the country £700 a night, surely there must be a responsibility to take something like this seriously and investigate it properly, both for my sake and the sakes of those who are losing their lives, and to make it stop.

A few practical details which are trivial in comparison, but also relevant.  I am a vegan.  Meal times are made a battle, and were before I was a vegan, but now I am not getting adequate provision and am having to supplement what I eat with my own purchases.  There is nowhere near enough protein in what I am given to eat.  Twice I have been given a tortilla wrap with salad vegetables, yesterday I was given a carton of rice dotted with peppers and sweetcorn.  These are my concerns which do not seem to have registered.  Someone catering for a hospital should know how to cater for all diets.  You can’t chose a niche hospital as you can a restaurant, and if you are there against your wishes it adds to the distress not to have adequate nutrition and to be intensely aware of that fact.

Nurses are playing mind games with me, and so are cleaning staff.  Fixed smiles, chattering into my relaxed speech with someone else, one nurse, an MA in Art, said that until recently he thought that Malaysia was the disease and malaria was the country.  I thought he was joking but he insisted he wasn’t.  He has an MA in art so it is possible that it is true and that I should give him the benefit of the doubt.  But it doesn’t seem likely . . . .

Nurses keep saying hello and are you ok and that is as far as it goes.  Big smiles, sometimes I feel seething, but that is hard for me to say and be taken seriously.  But I feel, yes, and?  Get to the point or leave me alone.  I experience it as harassment.  People insisting that you engage in conversation in a place where you are held against your wishes and not as a criminal, and never coming to the point of what they want to say or ask, if anything.  Outside I would not have to engage in conversation with anyone I didn’t want to talk to.  Rights are presented as gifts in what might be perceived as a good conversation about something else.  I have been told I could see a dietician but it hasn’t been taken any further, and often when I have knocked on the office door they haven’t even looked up to acknowledge my presence.  I think a lot of patients get this.

The other day I was talking in the dining room about what I thought about the system and wishing people who said they hadn’t wanted the job for what they were being required to do would have the courage of their convictions and find something else, because if they don’t like doing it, they should put themselves in our place and consider how much less we like having it done to us.  My psychiatrist yesterday said that my letter to Nottingham City Homes had been full of self reference, which she says is a symptom of delusion.  I pointed out that I had had no written acknowledgment of the letters I had sent them, and she drew back a little at this.  But by self-reference she meant that I thought the violent harassment from upstairs was being aimed at me and that I was being followed and targeted in my flat, where I know we could hear each other much too well for privacy.  So it wasn’t self-referential, it was referring to behaviour which I believe was being aimed at me as harassment by others who had me in their minds.  Even if I was wrong about that it hardly matters, because the behaviour, whether aimed at me or not, was intolerable and not something I should have been expected to live with.  If I wasn’t thinking straight it is hardly surprising and it should have been dealt with as unacceptable behaviour whether it was considered targeted or not.   I was self referential in that I talked about my confusion about how I should be handling it, but to me that is a sign of honest, responsible communication, not delusion.  It worries me that people who can seize responsibility and power over me in this way can have a problem with that.  I was asking for help to process it.  I can’t see how that is delusional behaviour.  It isn’t.  I don’t think anyone I’ve learned anything from that I value would see it that way.

I’m running out of time and can’t continue much longer, though there are other points I want to highlight.

I want writing to be a pleasure and a development.  But sometimes it has to be work.  Sometimes you have to document and not just create.  I have realised I have to be something in my writing which I have never seen as a necessity, since I have not been in this position since years before I started my blog.  If I am to survive, and if I am to be honest and responsible and fulfil what I believe to be my obligations, I have to start writing like a campaigner and an activist.  I have to see myself as that in a way I haven’t before.

The fact that I have written this is not saying that I don’t trust the person that I wrote to yesterday.  It is my situation and I can’t keep asking other people for help.  I have to own it myself, and if I or others are going to say that what I have written is indecent, I have to own that also.  This is my necessary task.  Let those who will, help me.

 

I??? Think???

Ever tried to write without any kind of privacy in a world where everyone always seems to react to you?

I’m back in hospital in Nottingham.  Section 2.  I’ve been thinking it is more like a boot camp than a place where people can heal, and people are the best managers of their own healing, I think.

Not much time.  I get 2 hours out twice a day.  Having tried to work my way through the anger of impatient and clever-clogs librarians and twitterers, I have 13 minutes left of my original 30.

People want me to come into line, but if I come into line with what I have, they would reject me, orsomething which to me would be meaningless.  So why can’t people just respect my privacy and my right to be who I am in the first place without using their job to do whatever it is they are trying to do which is, in my opinion, in breach of that?

What else was I going to say?  I started off with so much rthat shoulod have filled so much time, now I can’t think how to fill the time I have left.

I was on the bus just now.  Saw a man who looked like Gordon Ramsey.  I wondered if he knew or had been told or if that was what he was trying for.  Then I had a thought I might have had before.  If someone is trying to look like someone else, they might not be happy with who they are.  So saying to someone ‘do you kinow you look like . . . ?’ is not a very helpful thing, even and especially if that is what they are trying to do.  I decided I would not say to people again, with a pleasurable smile on my face ‘you look like . . .’, because even if that gave them satisfaction, it would be satisfaction in the wrong thing, and it wouldn’t last long, because they are not that person.

I decided any pleasurable comment about a person should be about who they are, not who they remind you of.  Also they might be sick of being told they look like someone else and feel about this the same way that I am writing now.  That they want to be a pleasure, or affirmed, for who they are, and not who they remind you of.  At root that is what everyone wants, whether they know it or not.

4 minutes left.  Time to tag and run.

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