Archive for Wednesday, 7th August, 2013


Old ‘Wives Tales

I spoke today to someone who turned out to have been a midwife before her present business.  I told her what had been happening to me in hospital, the forced treatments with PRN medication and the restraints, and I find this hard to believe since the practice is so widespread, but she told me that what happened to me is illegal, but that it happens all the time.  I don’t know if it is equally true for people on a Section 3 or not.  I know where this lady is, she will be there for the long term.

While we were talking I said to her that I had thought earlier, but had forgotten to put it in my post, that the question ‘can I help this person without putting them on drugs’ does not seem to be one of the questions on a psychiatrist’s check list.  I told her I was homeless and she asked me if I was in a hostel, I told her no, I had had problems at home but they had said the problems were just in my mind and had put me in hospital, and she seemed outraged.  I told her I thought I went too quickly and cynically to the political view of things, but she said she thought it was right, and when I said that they always said there is so much call for beds that they don’t keep people in unless they are really ill, she was skeptical about that as well.  In fact thinking about it, of course she should be.  I heard someone say that the psychiatrists are the front men for the drugs companies.  Of course this is right.  Jesus, help us.

She also said that the fact they have acronyms for things doesn’t make them legal.  But if all this really is illegal, how come they are getting away with it?  I can’t understand this.  She was adamant that it is political and not a health thing, and I said that I believed that as well, but that it was different hearing it from a professional.  Of course, though, many people in other branches of medicine have no time for psychiatry, but she said the practices are actually illegal, and this is a different professional perspective for me.  I hope she is right, because then there might be some hope of dealing with this.

While I am here I might as well say that no formal support or counselling is in place to help me deal with what happened yesterday with Kerry and the kicking.  They’ve basically said talk to us if you want to, but they know how I and some others feel about talking to them about anything and it seems to me there should be something solid and more formal with appointments in place.  I have had no support offered with this at all except informally, apart from the fact that a young student took the details of what had happened and said it was to my credit that I had handled it calmly and had come back to the staff.  But it was completely by chance that the woman who agreed to be a witness for me had been passing at all.  I don’t know what I would have done otherwise or how it would have been handled.  One of the other patients told me when I got back on the ward last night to be careful because she thought she was going to try and provoke me again.  No one has followed me up and asked how I am after it.  I think I am more alone in this than I should be.  I would have thought that in a situation like this other disciplines should have been involved as a matter of course.

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What actually happened yesterday was that Kerry had been vocally trolling me all weekend.  She said I was full of myself as well.  One of her friends said I had deserved it when something happened, either that I was forcibly medicated or dragged out of the dining room by staff (I wonder if Kerry knows that I am virtually a Londoner?), and yesterday she was sat outside on the pavement near the doors smoking with Sa and Re, and I passed them to go out and said see you to Sa and Re but not to Kerry.  She took exception to that andsaid something about carrying on like that and I told her what someone associated with my care had told me, that staff on the ward had listened to things I had said and tried to make changes, i told her I had been there 3 months and that many changes for the better had happened because I had fought for them for people like her, and she started doing a really horrible voice at me and I spat in her direction twice.  I was nowhere near her and it had no hope of reaching and obviously wasn’t intended to.  She got up and said I would run away then asked if I was spitting at her and I said yes, and waited as she approached, and she kicked me in the lower abdomen.  Someone was passing that I asked to be a witness and she agreed and she got kicked in the ribs, but we both went back to the ward to report it.  If this woman had not been passing I don’t know what I would have done.  So that is the whole story.

I’ve called this ‘Pastiche’ because i wanted to mention a few things.  I thought there were four but I can only remember three at the moment.  I’ve already covered the first.

When all this started with the mental health system, after my first admission I came back to Nottingham and spent a while with my uncle and going to Church at Talbot Street.  One day in London I bought a card intended for David Shearman’s birthday, a card with dolphins on.  I can’t remember if I sent it or not.  It was in Victoria Station in London, in the days before they had any public seating, and I was feeling beaten up and exhausted.  I bought a bag of fruit and nuts and sat on the floor in front of a store, and I was approached by security guards who tried to move me on.  I said I was tired and didn’t want to move.  Eventually the police were called and it was quite nasty and when I got to the London Transport Police Station I was met by this oldish officer and I was really upset and I told him I hadn’t even been told my rights and he took me by the hair and told me I didn’t have any.  I was sobbing loudly in the cell and when I was released the officer who let me out told me it would be all right.

The other thing I wanted to mention was a girl who was on the ward here, this time around, called Michelle.  She hardly ever spoke at first and when she did start speaking she was quite aggressive, but in the first place i took to her because, as I told Terry, she reminded me of a woman who tried to get close to me when I was working as a volunteer at an HIV respite care centre.  This woman did not have long to live and I left shortly before she was expected to die.  After talking to Terry about it I felt horrified that I had basically walked out on a dying woman that had warmed to me enough to move from a little suspicion to coming to sit next to me, without speaking, if I came in and sat down.  I can’t express the depth of horror and shame I felt as I saw it that way, just about three months ago.

I have my radio on sometimes in the evening and on two nights Michelle, who I didn’t know was the woman next door to me at the time, banged violently on the wall, and I was afraid because I didn’t know who it was.  When I found out sometimes I would vent in my room if I thought she was disturbing me in any way,  and I would vent at her.  So I had gone from being friendly and saying hello even though I got nothing back to being verbally angry with her.  Sometimes she barged into me in the kitchen and started shouting at me.  She was verbally and physically aggressive to other patients as well, and one day I heard a nurse telling her about her behaviour and she didn’t want the police back.  I can’t remember if this was the day she was being generally aggressive and she ended up coming to me and spitting on my hand.  I was so locked up in myself at the time, so depressed, I didn’t feel anything in particular, I just looked and ignored it.  I wasn’t offended, in fact I felt a bit relieved.  I have thought about it over the past 24 hours and realised again, if not for the first time, that that meant I meant something to her, she was angry and she spat at me.  Later on that day or the next I wanted to say to her ‘thank you for spitting at me, I deserved it, and if you feel you want to spit at me again any other time you have my permission, and I won’t retaliate’.  I struggled with that all week, and I never said it, and then she disappeared.  I feel i failed her.  I keep thinking she must have gone to a more secure place or something and that if I had just dared to be vulnerable enough I could have helped her.  I feel really upset about that, and it isn’t a distress I feel proud of.  I failed her, and I resisted God.

Definitely for the first time in the last 24 hours I thought about the phrase ‘hatred is the flip side of love’.  During that period my thinking has been, accurately or not, that that phrase is seen as negative but it could be seen positively and it would be more helpful if it were.  She spat at me = she loved me, she trusted me.  She kicked me in the stomach = she was angry and disappointed because she had a need or positive expectation that wasn’t met.  I heard J John use ‘AHEN’ as an acronym for tracing anger back to its root.  Behind anger is hurt, hurt comes out of an unmet expectation, and expectation comes out of need, in this progression.  Part of me wants Kerry punished, the other part doesn’t.  But I have little hope for the relationship.  I am tired and cannot cope with her needs.  It is possible that I am interpreting her craziness as a deliberate attack on me rather than an attempt to help herself, which it might be.

What I do find difficult about patient confidentiality is that it does separate people who would be friends, sometimes.  You’re not sure what is what most of the time.   It leads to a psychological isolation if you don’t or don’t want to trust or validate the staff approach or system.  Can do, if you are someone like me in my position, anyway, but for the rest of us as well, I am sure.

Here is the fourth thing I was thinking of.  There was something on radio 4 this afternoon on the afternoon play that reminded me a lot of Tommy Boyd on the radio.  I was thinking last night that I wanted to be welcomed back into the fold and that I wanted Tommy to be the one who did it.

I am feeling very soft and vulnerable at the moment, but also angry, possibly, but i find myself wanting to get on with staff and even validating what they have done, and I’m just not sure.  The Bible says let a righteous man strike me it is a kindness.  What does that mean, is it right, or was it just a depressed king talking rubbish?  Listening to Tommy Boyd led me to want different forms of child discipline than smacking, so how can it be right for me as an adult, the restraints, forced medication, etc.  Joseph said to his brothers ‘you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good’, but this is supposed to be meant for good.  I’m sorry, I’m so tired and I feel very tearful.  Probably over-impressed with the depth of my perceptions in this post.  Crying over what a precious and deep person I am.  That’s better, that has made me smile.  What has made me smile?  The thought that Terry might read this.  I stare at him sometimes and I think it makes him feel awkward, and I don’t like that.  I told someone the other day that when I stare at him like that it is because I think he is beautiful at that moment and I am awestruck.  Suck on that one, Tel! 🙂  Much obeisance.  Much love.

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