Edit note 02.06.2017:  This has come up as having been a ‘top’ post today.  Having re-read it I have decided to publish it again.  It recounts one of the worst experiences I had in hospital at that time.  But it was all bad, there was always an undercurrent of aggression.

Today I have decided to use names and hope that, in this situation, it will not lose me my blog.

This morning I went in for breakfast and sat with R.  Sharon and Kiran were serving.  They set up a certain tone and volume of conversation which I felt was harassing and barracking.  I said something to R about them wondering why I trusted others and not them, and that it was because they were not the others and that I choose my friends and my friends are not those who force themselves on me.  R said people who force themselves on you are not friends.  Sharon was picking up on the last ‘note’ of my speech and using it in her conversation with Kiran, in such a way and with such a history with me as really hurt me and made me feel desperate.  Sharon is a burly, loud, ugly mouthed brute of a woman who I have heard become verbally abusive to other patients when she has not been able to get her way, started talking about smacking legs and things to others when she has not had a good response from me.  When they saw I was desperate they were both looking at me and giggling. R said she thought Flora was something I could eat as a vegan so I said I would look at the ingredients, at which point Kiran turned away in a way that I believed to be deliberate.  I was angry about that and said so.  They continued to look at me and giggle, and I brought up that I had seen Sharon push N out of her way with her foot then walk away and say she didn’t care.  Sharon said “what did I effing do to N”.  She was taunting, smiling and staring.  They told me to leave the dining room and I said no and said they should get Jim, my key nurse.  At some point Steve came in.  Steve has given me a hard time while I have been there.  After what he did yesterday when I approached and talked to Jim, which he denied today when I confronted him with it, I had decided that he was not a reliable person and not to choose his involvement.  He shouted at me today, I told him to leave me and Jim alone, that he had jeered and mimicked me when I was talking to Jim yesterday, and he said he hadn’t.  I told him what I thought and what I had decided, saying I was withdrawing everything positive I had ever said to him and that he was not a reliable person, and he said good or something like that.  Eventually Roy came up and started confronting me, telling me to stop shouting and that it wasn’t acceptable.  I told him to leave me alone as he hadn’t been there.  I was shouting because I felt molested and hysterical with their intimate psychological harassment.  If they weren’t doing that nasty mimicking I might be able to cope without shouting, but I have had it almost non-stop while I have been there.  Last night I said to Alex, a female nurse, that I had been thinking of the staff team as a seamless robe, but that I was realising there were some who were OK and others who were not, and she agreed.  But the reason for the seamless robe feeling has been the invasive nature of their harassment.  I had decided to start relating to some and not others.  I started out saying I didn’t want to get close to any of them, but they found this unacceptable and broke me down emotionally until I see them as emotionally important in my life.  I am thinking of hospital as the place that I have to make relationships with staff work and where I can be treacherous and shouldn’t be.

I went outside into the corridor still upset and shouting, and he came and started the same thing again.  Sharon was behind him and I thought he should be speaking to her, not me, so I put my hands on his arms and tried to turn him round.  I thought with him this was OK as he presents himself as a friend who just takes people for walks.  It was his intervention leading to my assumption that it was OK to touch him and try to turn him round to make a point that made things worse.  I wasn’t violent, it was part of a heated conversation.  Sharon was taking the lead in asking him what I was doing to him, and suddenly she descended on me saying I was going to my room. She grabbed my arm and started pushing me, then she started twisting my arm.  I asked her why and she said I was going to my room.  I said she didn’t need to twist my arm to take me to my room.  In the corridor Jim came out of the clinic room and I pleaded with him to help me.  I was saying please.  He had said please in the situation I wrote about in an earlier blog post, and I never managed to have the conversation with him about all the times they ignore us saying please.  He wouldn’t get them off me but came with them to my room.  On the way Sharon was saying do this, don’t do that, like don’t kick the door, but we were nowhere near my room at that point and I wasn’t kicking anything and never had.  They sat me on my bed and told me to calm down.  I asked Jim to get Sharon off me but he wouldn’t.  I said she was abusing me, he said the only abuse he had heard was coming from me.  I told him he was selectively blind and deaf.  I asked him if this was his way or idea of asserting authority.  They are trying to say I have a problem with authority rather than with what I see as abusive, intrinsically.  I told him he was inconsistent, having fun with me when it suited him and joining in something like this when it didn’t.  He said he would have to medicate me if I didn’t ‘calm down’.  I said I was calm, just saying what I thought and angry, and that he couldn’t medicate me for being angry.  I also pointed out that it was Sharon who was sitting beside me breathing fast and clearing her throat.  At some point she loosed her grip and I automatically tried to free my arm.  They began to remonstrate with me and told me not to try, that she had loosened her grip into something called something or other – as if explaining what it was called made the situation any more acceptable.  They had said something about being irrational and I said that trying to loose my arm when someone looses their grip was a perfectly rational thing to do.  Jim said I was affecting other patients, I said I was being affected.  I asked him where he had been when I needed him and was asking for him, he said he was doing medication.  I asked him about yesterday when he had said he would try to find me when I left a note for him about what Sharon had done to N, he said he had looked for me in the corner I had told him about earlier.  When I left the office I had gone straight up the corridor to my bedroom, and they can see the whole corridor from the office.  He said he would be perfectly prepared to talk to me when I calmed down, and I told him I might not be prepared to talk to him.  Roy offered to get me a cup of tea since I had been saying before they brought me to my room that I wanted to get my tea.  I declined it on principle.  They kept telling me to calm down, I told them not to tell me to calm down.  You can’t order someone who believes you are abusing them to calm down.  I said I was going to lie back on my bed and I did, and as soon as I took that position they all walked out on me.  I opened my door and shouted “Occupy, Occupy, Occupy until I die, shame on you”.  I have done that before.  They laughed.  I said it again and said “recognise a gift when it is offered you”, meaning that shame was a gift.  I have said that before as well.  I was shouting why is it OK to force me but not to hug me.  Sharon had been parading in front of me earlier with a smile on her face, which I had said I interpreted as, “come on then, hit me, and see what happens”.  That is the impression I get from their behaviour with all their legalised arsenal behind them.  After I managed to stop shouting I lay on my bed, wanting to go out but not daring to say in case they decided to stop me.  When I eventually went to go out I asked Paul to open the door for me and was upset and felt humiliated at the almost desperate, begging tone I had adopted because I felt so intimidated.  There were four nurses in the office when I went out, Jim was one of them, Steve another.  These two were both facing the window.  As I had walked down the corridor I had seen Jim and said “I have a legal obligation to myself and other people I see you abusing”.  Legal was not the right word, but I still have an obligation.  As I passed the window I said that it was hypocrisy with them having instruments of assault as part of their normal job and treating me the way they had because I got angry at their abuse and harassment.  I said it was an expression of civil war and they knew it, and I told Jim to look at me, twice, but he refused, as they all did.  So in the end I said “don’t look at me then”, and left.  This man who thumbs his nose at me and sticks his tongue out at me as a way of being friendly, to the first of which I reciprocated and the second I initiated, yesterday.  I thought we were OK with each other.  I thought about it later.  That looking down and refusal to engage with me was in itself passive abuse, which is a term I learned when reading a book about boundaries years ago, before I was ever admitted.  I got outside, I was shouting again.  The other night he had been on with someone else who I have felt really helped by this week, and from the office at a certain point  while one of the other patients and I were singing, he had called out “apologise, say you’re sorry”.  When I was outside shouting I referred to that and said “try some of it yourself, when you are ready to apologise to me”.  That day won’t come, it never happens.  The illusion of emotional security is just that, an illusion.  I began to cry and scream walking away from the ‘hospital’.

When I got back this afternoon Tim came and let me in and said “Uh-huh” as he opened the door.  I said just opening the door was fine, I didn’t need a comment, he said OK, I said stop answering me back.  I got to my room, discovered it closed, and went back to the office and said I wanted it opened.  Kiran was there, she chimed “OK”.  I said “what did you say?” and she said “I said OK”.  I said she had a short memory.  She didn’t say anything, asked another patient if she was OK and opened my door.  I said “thank you” but obviously annoyed, she said “you’re welcome”, ignoring my tone and my right to it as they always do, and walked away.  I said “you kids won’t accept correction, will you?” and she chimed back “I don’t need it” and kept walking.  That response was a bit of an eye opener to me as to how much disrespect they actually have towards us.  I had named Kiran in my note to Jim as someone who might have witnessed the incident between Sharon and N.

I am still waiting to be told the outcome of the SOAD report, nearly two weeks on.  I was saying yesterday that I am finding it surreal and disorientating.  Some people seem to be trying to make me feel I am special and cosy up to me and give me what seems to be preferential treatment.  Sharon was winking at me the other day.  She has known for some time I don’t want to relate to her.  I have felt a few times that I am becoming unavailable for patients who are on medication and expressing an objection to it.  I am far too happy in their faces when I myself am not there and seem to be developing helpful relationships with some staff.  Those relationships have today shown themselves to be unreliable.  Even in the conversation with the nurse last night we were OK until she adopted the usual stance to which she referred in what I had thought was a safe conversation, that they ‘have to force medication on people’.  I feel bad about not giving a conversation with Jim another chance before posting this, but I know as always that I am not the only person this happens to and many people could not get what they wanted from such a conversation, and that he could have stopped the whole thing when he saw me begging him to in light of the relationship I thought we had.  He could see I was desperate and upset and not violent.  Whatever my personal feelings I know it is not my role to negotiate and help reform from inside without any accountability from them.  And the last written complaint I sent that I waited several months for a reply to got the response that it was my mental illness that made me perceive things that way.  In a mental hospital awaiting a report from the SOAD I am not different, I am not special.  Sometimes I have so much fun with other patients and some of the nurses but if they decide to medicate me they won’t be stopped, and I am intermittently aware of that and become frightened, and I think what the staff are doing to me in this no man’s land is unfair, whatever their intention.

I have become so confused that I find myself doubting that my position on enforced medication is right and not being sympathetic to other patients.  But I know I am more tolerant and reasonable than the staff have shown themselves to be today.  If they required me to go through what they did today before being prepared to talk to me that is wrong.  Their position seems to be they don’t do what we say, we do what they say, because they are in charge, and they will not undermine or be seen to be undermining each other no matter how treacherous of a relationship that makes them or how unfair to the patient they personally think that makes them.  I have said a few times recently that it is closer to zoology than anything fit for human consumption.  Veterinary practice.  I am the same person happy or enraged.  They would not do this with their relationships at home.  Maybe some of them wish they could.

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