Last Wednesday a group of medical professionals and social workers presented themselves on my doorstep with the police and a warrant.  First they hammered on the door then within two seconds they were making a scene before I even got a chance to answer the door, shouting my name and telling me to open the door.  I shouted back to them to wait until I had time to answer the door and not to make a scene like that outside my home but they just kept steamrollering on, bullying, intimidating and being provocative and rude.  The rest worked out exactly as 100% of these situations have worked out for me in the last 22 years.  I have just thought, what kind of message was that intended to be and for whom?  ALL of us in my home’s area?  They knew about my sister’s death and that I am arranging a funeral, they knew about the upcoming ‘final hearing’ in court to defend my home.  I submitted a complaint for my CPN’s manager’s attention over 2 months ago and instead of any response during that time they have been harassing me with phone calls and threats, and aggressively hunting me down, 3 warrants, 2 executed, one change of locks because I was away from home leaving me needing to pick up keys.  The phone calls came from a man I only know as Neville.  He made lots and they were all urgent and alarmist, and when I asked him for his email address so I could have it in writing and there be some accountability on his side, he forcefully refused saying he did not want to be bombarded with emails.  Last Wednesday I sent an email to my CPN Jennie Wainwright, who the aforementioned complaint was about, to tell her the situation, to tell her I had arranged an appointment with my GP for Friday and ask her to get people to leave me alone in the meantime.  She didn’t answer.  Two hours later this team was on my doorstep.  I was detained on a Section 2 and transferred in the morning to Altrincham Priory Hospital, where I am now.  I was supposed to have my final evidence submitted to my solicitor by that day and had intended to work on it the day before, but it was impossible and I asked my solicitor to get me an extension and I now have until 7th February until the court requires my evidence, which means ideally it should be with my solicitor a day or two before, so in fact I have 6 days from now.

Before they presented themselves on my doorstep I happened to look out of my window and see a stationary car outside my neighbour’s bungalow with two women in it looking at my window.  When they saw me they looked shocked, as if they hadn’t wanted me to see them.  They moved, went round the island outside the bungalows and parked opposite, outside the hedge around the big green space the other side of the island.  They sat there for around an hour with the sidelights on.  I kept looking out to see if they were still there until I decided to close my curtains.  It was some time after 4 pm.  The copy of the warrant I have says it was executed at 5.30 pm.  I had no idea they were from the council.  When I saw them I thought I recognised them as regular visitors to my neighbour, or at least people I had seen before.  I suppose they could have been both, visitors I had seen before and council staff.  The names on the warrant are Fiona Parker, an approved mental health professional and an officer of Nottingham City Council who applied for the warrant and was present at its execution and the police officers PC 1794 Tennyson and PC 4533 Hodgman, one of whom, the older and taller one, harassed me with provocation and apparent misogyny throughout.  The signature of the Justice of the Peace on the warrant dated 21st January is illegible.

My room here is like a hotel room, it is very seductive to me, who has never known such a standard of accommodation in my 22 years in the mental health system.  There is a small double bed with proper bedding, a headboard, a comfortable mattress and pillows.  When I got here the hotel standard white towels, which are changed every day if you want them to be, were professionally folded on the bed.  It is a spacious room with ensuite bathroom and shower.  The shower is strong and the heat adjustable.  It goes off every minute or so but there is no limit to the number of times you can turn it back on.  Two comfortable armchairs, a good wardrobe, plenty of drawer space, a bedside table and lamp, a TV, a big wooden desk and chair, 4 electrical power sockets and internet.  there is a big and comfortable lounge with a coffee machine in that makes not bad coffee, and a TV, DVD player and other things.  Next to that is a small female only lounge with a couple of armchairs in, which I have used a few times to read, listen to music, make phone calls and talk to people.  The well-stocked kitchen is open 24 hours and you can get what you want when you want – tea, coffee, milk, soya milk, a range of cereals in individual boxes, marmite, jam, marmalade, ketchup, sauces, 4 different juices and squashes.  There is even a freezer.  It has nice grounds, an enclosed garden I can go into any time.  A good washing machine and washer dryer.  Lots of physical comforts and some nice people, too, sometimes.

So now the moans.

I have internet.  It is strong and supports audio and video.  Last night I went onto the website of a church I used to watch online many years ago and watched a sermon which, to my surprise, was on Youtube.  I was surprised because I hadn’t been able to get it before.  I watched three other videos afterwards, one with Krishna Das and David Nichtern from two years ago, a more recent one from the Be Here Now Network with Raghu Markus, Duncan Trussell and David Nichtern, and another with Duncan Trussell with someone I haven’t seen before and I can’t remember his name.  But this morning, even after someone said in a group yesterday that they could access Youtube here (I think it was a member of staff), first I went back onto that Church website and the videos came back with a miserable face, inaccessible, then I tried to go onto Youtube and found that wasn’t possible, either.  It says the connection has been reset.  I know that social media is blocked, that is hospital policy, so no Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for me, which are the ones I use, though I have my settings so this post will post to Twitter.  So that is upsetting.

But worse and more worrying, I can’t access my email account, and I want to use it for all kinds of legal things I need to do.  I have been here a week and have told the staff several times that I can’t get my emails and they have said I should be able to, but nothing has changed.  Yesterday I talked to so many non-nursing staff who come in a few times a week, advocates, Occupational Therapy, a chef sorting out my vegan meal plan for the week, my psychiatrist.  I told one of these, the OT or the advocate, that I couldn’t access my emails and she said she would ask on the team for ‘someone techy’ to try and sort it out for me, but 24 hours later I still haven’t heard anything from anyone.  But I have never been able to access my emails here.  What worries me is that this Church site and Youtube, after being accessible and navigable last night, are no longer available to me.

There was a male patient I thought I got on well with, we had some nice conversations including in the restaurant.  The day after I shared this with a male member of staff, who watches my movements closely, this patient was discharged and sent home.  He didn’t tell me how long he had known this was going to happen, I didn’t ask.  I might be wrong in assuming it was a decision sprung on him that day.  Probably am, in fact.  They usually prepare people for this kind of thing, but he went yesterday and until then I didn’t know he was going.  There are staff outside my bedroom door day and night, looking after a patient in the room opposite mine.  But they are non-stop talking and sometimes rowdy.  I made a complaint about the rowdiness, the way, for two or three days, two women would start the day almost ritualistically laughing for about an hour, and that has stopped now.  But it goes on through the night as well.  They don’t seem to know about whispering, and it is right outside my door.  I put my music on, they comment, I’m on the phone, they comment.  Untl yesterday I was on half hourly checks.  Every half hour someone would knock on my door or let themselves in without knocking and demand to have me tell them how I am.  Now it is only hourly, since yesterday.  But it feels more like a ‘you must speak’ time, an invasive imposition.  I have had no leave yet, for a week.  All this has been inescapable, unless I want to go into the garden.  They barge into my space and activities without apology with their own agenda all the time.  Completely opportunistic.  Sometimes I talk to one and they stand around staring and reacting and chipping in or wanting to have their own conversation with me.  I go into the kitchen in my own space and people want to get me there for one thing or another.  I have often noticed that if I go into the bathroom someone will knock on my door immediately for a check.  But this morning was the last straw on that one.  I got out of bed just after 8, put some music on and took the speaker with me and sat on the toilet.  The next thing I knew, which has not happened before, someone was actually KNOCKING ON THE BATHROOM DOOR!  I couldn’t believe it.  After it registered with me I said to her, “I am on the TOILET”.  I was so angry.  I don’t know if what she said was an apology, my music was on, but after a minute or so I was so angry I just said really loudly, “For God’s sake!”.  To me, all the invasions of privacy I have experienced are unacceptable but I think most people would agree with me that this might have been one too far? (Edit note: I have just had a conversation with a nurse at my door and told her this happened and although she started out saying it wasn’t ideal she also said if people have to do checks they need to hear my voice so they needed to knock on my bathroom door 2 minutes after I had gone in with my music speaker on and was sitting on the toilet so they could hear my voice).

Respect?  Boundaries?  Dignity? Privacy? Discretion?

This is no one’s home, not theirs, not mine.  I am an unwilling patient, they are employees. I’ve had words like ‘selfish’ dropped outside my door as well.  Like, no one is telling me of any problem but I am selfish?  I am so disorientated I am thinking it is acceptable therapeutic practice and feeling bad for having taken a week to begin to accept it.  If I had not been so abused by the services for so many years and was not here completely under protest wanting to be reasonably in control of my relationships and experience here would any of it be any more acceptable?  Is this a reasonable way of dealing with my resistance so I will accept their help?  This is not me mouthing off, these are real questions that present themselves after so many years of reading psychology, therapy and self-help books.  But if every communication has an ulterior motive, to try and get me to open up (they never seem quite satisfied with me accepting and responding to their communication on its own terms and leaving it there) that isn’t the way I like to do things.

So what do I do, say too much and lose access to my blog because of that, or not say enough and still lose access to my blog?

I have been bullied by a few members of staff and identifiably, to me, by a couple of the patients while I have been here, one male patient in particular.  I try to be more understanding about the patients when I think about it, knowing they are subject to the same things I am.  Passive aggression, gaslighting (an accepted term professionally and recognised as a form of bullying, doing things to provoke then denying you have done them, making out the other person has a problem of some sort that makes them think that).  I don’t know if this exists but I have recently started to think in terms of active and aggressive passive aggression.  I am a section 2 prisoner.  I know it is not designed to play out that way, ultimately, but I have had no leave now for a week, and if I were to have unescorted leave, or escorted, and abscond, I could be brought back by police.

The other day I was talking to a staff member about something else which was important for me at the time when the male nurse who wanted to take us to the restaurant snapped out a command for me to come, they were ready to go, there were hungry men waiting.  I said I’m a woman and I am also important and what I am doing matters.  Another male nurse two days ago spoke to me as if he was trying to get a dog to obey his command when I was happily and freely expressing myself with a member of staff or another patient, like, here, girl, we’re going to the restaurant.  Like a short, sharp ‘heel’.  I was so shocked and upset.  After a minute or so of silence I decided if the little, shocked squeak I had left as a voice was all I had to use then that was where I would start speaking with another patient going over with me.  So I did, this nurse noticed but said nothing.  This has become so upsetting for me when we go over to the restaurant, being treated that way and the way many staff members cut me dead in these situations, a competent, friendly, sensitive, basically happy person, that after that lunch time two days ago I decided I didn’t want it anymore and would go back to having my meals in my room as quite a few do.  The alternative would be to sit alone but I don’t want to create that scene or have a scene created out of it for me, though thinking about it I am sure some of the other patients who I was going over with would understand and respect me doing that.  I would hope so, anyway.

The thing is, all these staff know I am trying to arrange my sister’s funeral with nothing but a phone, they know the council is trying to evict me, and they are still being abusive and rejecting.  I feel so hurt and frightened and isolated.  All week I have not been offered any bereavement support.  I rang Cruse on the advice of the Samaritans who said I should ask for one of their bereavement counsellors to come here and see me.  Cruse has a 6 weeks or 6 months waiting list and no one can come.  In my opinion there should be dedicated staff here to support bereaved people and I should not have to ask for them.

When I first got here I spoke to a junior psychiatrist and said I didn’t want to be medicated, and she agreed not to medicate me but said if my presentation changed they might have to consider it.  The first time I saw the consultant psychiatrist with her I was afraid he might overrule her and said so.  His response was that this is a psychiatric hospital and medication is what they do, or words to that effect.  I have been told he is very reasonable and in all other presentation have found him so.  I saw him again yesterday and told him having the threat of medication hanging over all my interactions and need to deal with things is making the situation harder for me to manage.  I had told him at the beginning of this second session that I was frightened he was going to medicate me and he said ‘not today’.  Later we came back to that and I said as lightly as I could, because I do not feel negative towards him, ‘not ever, please’, and he restated his position.  I told him I knew about the growing body of critical psychiatry which does not like to see medication as the default route.  After that he didn’t say anything else about it.  But I have been thinking about this since yesterday, and now I am about to write it I wonder if I might be misinterpreting, but I have thought, this is mental cruelty and torture, not knowing if and when he is going to change his mind, me needing to plead my case, etc.  He was talking about having got things from the mental health team in Nottingham and we could go through them some other time and I could answer them, and that felt like a reprieve.  Maybe it should have done, I do not know, but I have felt more, since seeing him yesterday and with my situation as it is, that he is winningly and softly, softly playing for time.  I felt he was confrontational yesterday over the possiblity of meds, and I was sitting there not knowing how to change my frozenness, then I thought just relax and hear it, and I did, and we moved on.  I thought afterwards he was being confrontational on purpose to see how I handled it, and that he had been satisfied, and I thought that was an OK thing for him to have done.

I have arranged with my funeral director to go and choose a plot on Monday.  It is two hours to Nottingham and two hours back, and the appointment itself will take some time.  They have been lovely, very, very supportive and friendly.  They appear to warm to me more each time we speak.  But I wanted to go home and get some clothes as well as part of the day and the psychiatrist is reluctant to let me.  It would be one visit and there would be a member of staff with me and I need my clothes.  Because I thought I would be staying in Nottingham if I was detained I didn’t bother packing any clothes, just left in what I was wearing expecting to be able to go back at a later date, as I had before, and pick up some more.  I managed to find a couple of items in the hospital supply.  I should not have to special plead, but apart from anything else I would like to be able to wear something decent for the funeral, which will happen any time after next Monday, now.  The psychiatrist has told me that both trips to Nottingham can be arranged, for choosing the plot and for the funeral, but that at the end of the funeral I will have to come back to the hospital.  This is not how I, personally, should be being treated and it feels absolutely outrageous and desolate.  And I have just realised, when I go to the funeral I will have absolutely no break at all from hospital staff presence.

I’m sorry, this has to be done.  I feel as if I am being confronted by my own misunderstanding and that I need to take responsibility for the way I relate to people here.  I try, I try to be reasonably assertive and polite, but people make it obvious that they find my behaviour strange for some reason.  I’m not sure if it is my imagination but over the last two days when I have knocked on the office door it seems to have been opened more reluctantly than before.  I knocked today and got no answer.  Perhaps there was no one there.  At least here, so far, I haven’t seen anyone having the door shut in their faces and we can’t see them not even looking up when we knock because we can’t see into the office.  Maybe that makes it easier for them as well.  I am beginning to feel that some of these are really nice and skilled people, different from the ones I have dealt with before, and I am refusing to move back into being prepared to give them a chance.  There we are, that is my agonising out of the way.

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