Tag Archive: Lewisham Hospital


Casualty

Today’s Casualty, Just Because You’re Paranoid

The young doctor, Ruth, who is sectioned for Bipolar Disorder and prescribed Lithium, is the exact image of one of my first nurses, but I can’t remember her name.  As it happens, I bumped into her at St Barnabas Cathedral in Nottingham a few years ago.  The character of Ruth, I would say that her whole reaction was about fear of the drugs, maybe about not being able to walk away, and about the fact that this man Charlie is someone who won’t listen to anything she has to say.  To me that seems obvious.  And in spite of the fact that she makes a perfectly reasonable case for why she doesn’t want this kind of ‘help’, even as a doctor she isn’t heard and respected.  She is on section, and takes lithium.  I suppose a doctor would know that they had a right to refuse, in which case it would be brought up for review (that is what I was told in hospital and how it was for me sometimes), but she took it the same way as someone who didn’t know they had any other choice – resentful and trapped.  And no one cares about your feelings about taking the drug, even if they are so obviousl anti.  That is my experience.  I have’t seen this for a while.  I’m not sure if this is part of a developing story line or how it has been handled so far.

Charlie is P J Charters, who used to be the charge nurse and, the last I knew, worked at Speedwell in Deptford.  He’s not a lot different from Charlie.  I think he also might be asked why he never listens.

They mention a doctor or Mr Jordan.  One of my nurses was called Mark Jordan.  He brought me in some Enya tapes, in this programme they talk about him doing his best schizophrenic, I’m not sure if that is supposed to be significant.

The guy with dreadlocks, the porter, who often appears, is a nurse called Peter.  I daren’t say anything about his attitude, I might be called prejudiced or accused of racism or discrimination.  More appropriate might be classism, but people always go for the obvious.

Christians are supposed to protect people.  Who should I protect, myself and other patients, or these people?  Or all of us?  I could say much, much more than I have.

I can’t remember if I mentioned the time, early on in my experience with the mental health service, when I was listening to the kind of music station, in hospital, that was doing loads of ‘shout outs’, one after the other.  I think it was D J Spoony, and I was thinking of him then as David Shearman.  He was doing all these shout outs, and I thought I recognised the names, and in the end I thought it was about me being demonised and the names of demons I needed deliverance from.  I went up to two dark skinned male nurses, I can’t remember their nationality, and told them I thought I needed Christian deliverance.  I think they just stared at me or something, because the next thing I knew my hands shot out, as if trying to grasp for safety, or recover something.  They both just stared at me and one of them said, ‘those hands could kill’.  I’m not making it up and I didn’t imagine it.  I can’t even remember who they were.  I feel as if I shouldn’t be writing this.  To me all of this feel like coded support, that is why I feel wrong about publishing something like this.

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I Want To Go Home

I really think it’s the right thing to do, I think anything I do here in Bulgaria before or without doing that can’t possibly be right.  But I don’t know how to go or who to go to.

I know that through the legal system isn’t the only way of approaching things, and that some high profile people seem to have tried to make their positive position and kind feelings very clear to me.  I appreciate that and am really sorry for those people if they feel embittered or betrayed, believing I don’t care or am really cynical or despise the reality of what they feel, and because of the responsibility and integrity with which I am sure many of them try to approach their job I am ashamed if I have made them feel that way.

I don’t know what to do or who to go to.  My flat is my home, I have tried for years to insist on that, not only for my own sake but also for that of those who have no other option but to try to make such a place their home.  But I don’t even want to attempt to deal with the problems between me and my neighbours and my housing association.  I have asked the mental health services before, and my housing association, for assurances that I’m not going to be hospitalised or something, and they never answer emails like that.  I think they have viewed me very unkindly and inaccurately, if not cynically.

So where would I go?  I have a home, but I’m afraid to be there.  I need a legally committed communication on this.  I’m sorry, friends, but I really do.  Using the media isn’t good enough.  I don’t understand why you can’t or won’t commit yourselves.

I don’t have the keys to my flat.  My housing association broke in to do some work and has changed the locks and they have the keys.  I don’t know how to get hold of them without telling them my address here, and I don’t want to do that.  That feels stupid, it seems so obvious that there should be no problem for me to do that, but I know how they have acted towards me in the past.  So I might feel clear skies but discover I have delivered myself over, yet again, to a dungeon.  How melodramatic does that sound?

Am I worth anything to anyone?  Should I be?  Should I believe that I am? 

Maybe more to the point, is anyone else worth anything to me anymore?  The truth is, I don’t care.  I can’t care, not after what you have put me through.  You need to rebuild this relationship, it is not my job.  I can accept apologies and an expression of a wish to try again, even if my answer is no, or even a summons, but being put under the obligation of responding to a plea or an invitation is not something I think is fair.

Everything I do here in Bulgaria, I feel as if I am desperately trying to avoid detection.  My first reaction when people shout at me is self-defensive anger and rejection.  But that seems to be the way people here do things.  I don’t expect ever to encounter anything different.  So I feel as if I just have to get in there, if I can, if people will let me, if I can hide my predicament well enough and the predicament they might find themselves in by having anything to do with me, and do my best to hold on, if I can.  If I still have the heart.  If I don’t why would I want to, and why should I try?  And also, of course, I find myself having to cope with the closed and dishonest ways people handle the situation.  These   days when people say they can’t do something, I don’t know if they really mean it or if they are saying ‘go away’.  But you can’t prove it.  But it’s still fear and prejudice. 

I was thinking over the weekend that I need my personal power back.  That if people shout at me or whatever, if I shout back or show any kind of strength in expressing my own anger, it won’t be made an occasion for people to arrest me or use the mental health act against me.  I feel I daren’t express the full extent of my anger in these situations, or my love or my need or acceptance of my own failure in the communication, or an insistence that I am entitled not to be treated that way.  I don’t think that is something I should have to feel, since those who start it are completely unbridled in their own expression. 

I’m not talking about physical force in my reaction or any kind of physical attack.  On the other hand, is there something wrong with grabbing someone by the wrist in that kind of situation and saying, ‘hey, that’s not OK, and I don’t want to let you walk away having spoken to me/treated me like that’?  Because that is the worst thing I have ever done to any of my accusers.  The spectre of the mental health system is always over me in those situations.

His name is Esteban.

I watched the recording last night of last week’s sermon by Kristian Lythe.  I had forgotten his name, I’ve not seen or heard of him for ages.  But Kristian mentioned him in his sermon, he had made a traffic lights illustration.  He was saying something about red lights, among other things.  I don’t know how much of the sermon I would need to talk about to have you understand.  It can be found at http://www.kt.org/media. (note: please don’t be distracted by the shouting and his insistence on having the word of the Lord or anything else you see and hear.  If any of it is true [how much of it can be?] it is still not the point).

I don’t know how they get hold of information like this about people in my life, but it particularly concerns me that they have sufficient information about this man, Dr Gallo, to use a lookalike of him. Maybe my concern and the way I am handling it are stupid, selfish, treacherous and ungrateful.  I was assuming that they had the information through having had direct communication with Dr Gallo, but that might not be true.   But if it is true, although personally and emotionally I would like to come out and patch things up, I really think there is cause for concern here.  They had told me to leave the church.  I haven’t been there for over a decade.

What are they doing with something like this, it is none of their business, and neither Dr Gallo nor anyone else has ever brought this connection up with me. I’ve known for ages they do the same things with close family and past friends and acquaintances.  As I have said before, I do feel love and I do feel loyalty, but this is stalking, in a way the psychiatric team has told me doesn’t happen, or at least, isn’t happening to me, and they have partly based their diagnosis on my insistence that it does and is.

My Christian response is my biggest felt response, but also I need to keep identification with others in the psychiatric patient community (excuse terminology, maybe I should talk more in terms of mathematical sets, for which being a part of one doesn’t necessarily imply relationship)  and recognise that this is stalking, it is a step, or more like several steps, too far in ruling a church and church discipline and discipleship, I need to employ the term ‘heavy shepherding’ because people recognise it, and recognise myself that this is what is happening in this situation.

They and other churches I’ve been involved with have been challenged many, many times by me about this, in emails, through my blog, and emails are not answered and no conversation entered into through my blog.  David Shearman’s church bounces my emails back to me, whether I have mentioned his name or not in the address or body of my email (I no longer send them and have assigned any responses to ones I do send to the spam folder) saying david.shearman@christian-centre.org is not a valid email address.  If this is supposed to be heart talk for please come home, then I am sorry, and it is probably my loss.  That email address used to be valid, I don’t know if it is only me that gets that kind of response, or used to until I stopped emailing.

I’m very, very sorry, but this is awful.  I feel awful for handling it this way.  I’m not even fully convinced that they are wrong to do this anymore, and that is one of the reasons I need feedback and help from people in whom I have expressed trust who might be more convinced than I am.  I am too emotionally caught up to fight, and the way my readers distance me, on the whole, makes that worse. These people know who they are, and some of them know I love them because I believe they are the sort of people who would want to help and not cause injury.

I might be mistaken in my assessment, in fact at the moment I would like to cause injury myself and have obviously felt that way for ages.  I don’t think in a situation like this that makes me nuts or dangerous, even if under extreme provocation and in distress I even employ gestures to demonstrate how I feel when everything else is ignored.  When I was a kid ‘I’ll kill you’ meant ‘you have gone too far’, not ‘you’d better take steps to separate yourself from me and protect yourself’.  It might be crass and it might not be used in the kindest of relationships, but that is still the way it is for plenty of people who are not considered to be in need of incarceration.  I had it said to me plenty of times.  I’ve never thought of considering that anyone who said it should be locked up.  But maybe I should, on hindsight.  It is emotional thuggery if nothing else.

Ps I have heard Christian leaders involved in this say ‘prove it’.  In something like this that is neither honorable nor Christian.  Robb Thompson was one of them.  He might have been talking about something else.

Tommy, I really do believe this is something that needs to be dealt with, not only for my sake, but for that of others as well.  You have taught me well on that and I’m grateful (even if I don’t always feel I like you very much).  It is as close as a church can get to kidnap.  I know even this gesture towards you rather than coming to you directly is enough to break trust.  I feel that and it feels irrevocable. Partly I feel I’m disempowering myself in any way I could relate to you, and I believe you also need me to be empowered in any relationship we might have, as I need it myself.  So maybe this is just useless empty gesture time again.  I am implicating you, but I’m implicating you to try to empower you, if you think that is something I’m capable of.

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Yeah, like, out with the old, and in with the new.  And I really mean that ‘out’.  Just listen how hard I say it, and how quickly I get it into my post.  I think I’m following some bad modelling, it’s what comes of watching too many news type programmes.

Actually, in this context, I don’t mean it at all.  It’s just a time to ritualise hope and good intentions, and little more than a superstitious observation. Very handy though, for some people.

I think of this in the context of what the apostle Paul said in Galatians when he said he feared for them, because they observed special days and times and seasons.  That’s my first reference point.

Then I remember that, in the Old Testament, there were laws for observing different times, if not instructions to do so.  I think it’s probably instructions, but I won’t be dogmatic, because I haven’t read it recently, that part.

Was one of them wrong and, if not, what changed in between times?  And why do we go with the old Jewish festivals instead of taking notice of Paul?

I don’t understand and, if you say you do, why should I believe you?

OK.  I started off in that way because I just read a comment on TB’s blog about sarcasm.  I didn’t want to say any of that about New Year, because right at this moment I really don’t care.  I do care, in that I am not participating in the happiness and I think I’ve just been stubborn and hurt myself.

I was thinking in the shower (as one does), though I have been registering it for a long time, that the most painful part for me of being where I am at the moment is that I think it is all my fault.  I’ve done this to myself.  No one has done it to me.  That’s what I’m thinking.  Rightly or wrongly. On the deepest level, and believing everything I have been taught about personal responsibility, whatever anyone else has done to me . . .

People hit you when you’re down, have you noticed?  That’s why I always try to close everything perfectly, because if I don’t people, including Christians, take advantage of it. They work off what they see here but never see fit to make contact. From Christians it’s worse, because they are the ones who taught me to repent when I’m wrong, and make restitution where possible.  Yet they don’t.  But they keep going for my head.  They just keep talking about it and making observations which ought to lead them to repentance, but in terms of the people they hurt and harm, how many of us do they look out and say something which would at least show willing?  I wonder if they have got as far as putting up physical barricades at their studio doors yet?  Nah, no way.  They don’t need to.  They’ve got the police moving at their beck and call.

I was going to say that these days you have to get past reception first, or was that just something they put me through but don’t do to everyone else?

I was also thinking, before what I thought in the shower, that I want to do what is right.  But also that I have tried, legally, to go by what I believe to be ‘the book’, but it is those in power and authority which have refused to respond to that on the same terms the rest of us, the uninitiated into grace and favour options, have to.  Grace and favour = come on, we’ll deal with it, we don’t have to tell everyone, it’s just our little secret, you’re good, you’re part of the answer?  Rather than dealing openly in the ways provided by the law (which might indeed be open to interpretation, but surely not that much?)  I’ve heard people say the practice of law is an art.  I thought if there are clear rules and regulations it ought to be nearer to an applied science?  People saying it’s an art and open to interpretation has pulled the rug from under my feet when it comes to having the confidence to try to move forward.

They appeal to me with such emotion it makes me feel I know I would not be harmed in any way if I went back to London, and I’m a bad person not to go.  But if that is the case (sorry, but here I go again), why can’t they make a formal commitment to that?

I feel like a cornered animal, or a felon.  Their ability to pull the mental health act on me is always held on to and continually thrown in my face.  How can I do what is right when the people I need to trust are acting in such a perverted way and a way so subversive of the proper process of law?  Is surrender on a point of law legal itself if the people who would be handling it are not acting with full legal compliance and openness and regard for human rights themselves?  In spite of the fact that they hold office and seem to be asking me to come home (or is that just the way the news makes it look?) would I be acting legally myself if I acted on the legally uncommitted emotions of those to whom, because of their office, disobedience is shameful?  I’ve gone almost as far as I can, to the point of almost exhausting the internal options open to me.  I have big reservations about the European Court of Human Rights.  I don’t know how much these people work hand in glove.  I know that not many appeals from the UK are successful, if what I heard on the news is true.  I suppose it must be.

Thinking in those terms, just this moment I’ve had a new thought: does the European Court of Human Rights ‘lose’ people’s files?  It seems to me that, in some cases, they must know well ahead of a person approaching them that that person’s human rights are being breached, and yet if they don’t move to help even before they are formally approached by the people who lack confidence anyway, including confidence in them, what kind of a body does that really make them?  How can I approach a body which I have every reason to believe has looked on for ages and not intervened?  These awful, dishonest, self-seeking, self-protecting traitors, if that is what they have done?  If that is what they do the whole system is an embarrassment to everyone, and especially to those who need it.

I’m assuming there is openness and honesty behind closed doors between the heads of state.  That’s what this meandering is based on. 

Joan Ruddock, my MP, knows.  I’ve asked her senior case worker, if not Joan directly, if I can have a copy of the correspondence which has gone between Joan and my housing association at my request, if that is permissible.  It was at that point they chose to terminate the correspondence between me and them.  That request received no acknowledgement whatsoever, nor has any email I have sent them since.  If I don’t explicitly engage them they won’t engage, and having tried to engage them on whether or not I am allowed copies of the emails between my housing association and themselves, they have refused or failed to respond.  That was about 2 months ago.  Don’t you assume enough of a sufficient working relationship between yourself and your MP to expect that if you forward any obviously distressed emails you have sent to your housing association, even without comment because they are sent in the heat of fighting for yourself, that your MP should respond?  That was what I expected.  I know they have a lot of work to do (people I approach keep telling me that), but I am part of that workload, in some cases I am part of that workload by law, yet they turn to me and say they are busy, or refuse to follow through as they should and as they promised?  And then, in the case of my housing association, they send me an email just before Christmas, having refused to answer the questions and provide the information which might make me feel more secure about going back to live in one of their properties, asking me if I have informed the Housing Benefit people that I am not living in the flat at the moment.  But thinking about it, while the housing association recognises my tenancy . . . no, maybe that’s a loophole.  Maybe I’m not entitled to keep receiving housing benefit.  But the housing association took over everything to do with my housing benefit years ago, without even consulting me.  That’s a nice one to pull out of the hat when you ask them if they have kept proper records of your tenancy and of the accusations made that landed you in hospital and of who made them.  When you say you think it might be illegal if they haven’t kept those kinds of records, being empowered to make the kinds of decisions they do about people without proper consultation.  My housing officer’s boss wrote back to me and said I had been told “numerous times” that the association now considered the matter closed and they are not prepared to talk about it.  That can’t be legal.  That’s not providing a good home, that’s presiding over a prison, an extension of the mental health system right in your ‘home’, they say they have no obligation to get involved, but they get involved, over my head and without telling me, when they want me put away.  It’s actually in my psychiatric notes that, following the accusations from the workmen, I was put in hospital so they would have space to do their work.

That’s another thing, for years I was asking for my notes and being promised them, and I seem to remember but am not sure that some of those promises were made at the prompting of a solicitor.  Repeatedly promised but never given.  All the right forms filled and submitted, no response.  How many years did it take before I got them, I can’t remember.  Maybe enough time for them to be able to try and kid me that it was ‘a long time ago’ and the matter is closed.  Presiding psychiatrist one Doctor Gallo, who on transfering me at my request to another psychiatrist described me as ‘this very difficult patient’.  Dr Gallo, ‘yes, we’ll give them to you, yes, we’ll give them to you’ and no matter how many times I asked and made fresh applications, I never got them.  Why it was suddenly so easy when I asked for them again in the middle of last year, I have no idea.  Dr Gallo, psychiatrist thug from the Ladywell Unit, Lewisham Hospital.  It’s funny, one of Colin Dye’s platform team looks just like him.

So back to what I wanted to say.  I need to make some practical decisions.  I want to move, here in Bulgaria.  But if I do, whether I rent or buy, I’m not sure, I have been given no legal assurance, that if I take something on I will be free to fulfil the contract or to make the necessary repayments.  I can’t believe they would do this, but there is a possibility that someone would want to imprison me or otherwise detain me, and I would end up defaulting on a financial commitment.  So I don’t feel free to make one.  But I also don’t feel safe to go home, given that requested information is being withheld and I am being spoken to and neglected in such ways by my housing association, the police, my MP, solicitors won’t get involved, and in spite of emails sent to the mental health team, one of them asking my present psychiatrist to respond, I have heard nothing.  Nothing, nada, zilch.  They must know what that is doing to me and I’m wondering what they are trying to do to me.  Yes, do to me.  I was going to say achieve, but that would have been just trying to avoid the appearance of what they like to call ‘paranoid ideation’.  If I’ve sent them emails and asked for a response, I should get one.  And I mean a response, not an excuse for an assessment and a decision that it is time to move in.

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