Tag Archive: Medication


Update 31.08.2015

Hello readers, I’m sorry I don’t write so much these days.  Now that I’m not fending for myself in Bulgaria, not homeless and not in hospital I tend not to feel the same urgency to ‘get things out there’, and life has become a bit boring.

I have decided to diet and exercise more.  I have a treadmill which I have decided to use for an hour a day.  I missed yesterday and the day before, but I pretty much stuck to my intention last week.  The nurse I have coffee with told me that it is better to have two half-hour sessions because that boosts your metabolism twice in a day.  I’ve stopped buying chocolate and crisps when I order my shopping, for two weeks now, and I’ve been getting some really intense chocolate cravings.  Sometimes if I am out, like Thursdays with my nurse, I’ll treat myself to something chocolatey, but since I don’t really go out much it’s not too big a problem.

My medication has been decreased with a view to tapering off altogether.  I’m on 20mg of Depixol at the moment.  I seem to be stable still during the day, but my dreams are very chaotic and vivid, I don’t know if that is a withdrawal symptom.  Things are very settled with my neighbours.  We don’t see much of each other and most of the time it is very quiet.  There is one man who often brings my bin back in on a Wednesday.  I don’t know why he does it, I haven’t asked him.  I sort of wish he wouldn’t.

My other nurse, Jennie, who does my depot usually, took me to Ikea the other week so I could buy a wardrobe.  We found a nice big one for somewhere between £100 and £200.  It is the size of two regular wardrobes put together.  That has meant I’ve been able to empty my bags that were stacked on the floor.  It’s nice to have easy access to my clothes again.  I’ve got two bags of clothes that need to go to a clothes bank because they are spoiled.  They are sitting in the otherwise empty side of the wardrobe, when they are gone I’ll be able to hang some more stuff up.  Jennie is going to take me to a clothes bank on Friday.  I’m a bit upset that moths seem to have got to some of my favourite clothes and left holes in two kaftans and a sweater.

Other than all that mundane stuff I am trying to contribute towards the campaign to free Raif Badawi (see my pinned post).  There are campaigners who go and protest outside embassies every Friday, which is the designated day for flogging him.  He has not been flogged since January, though.  No reason has recently been given for this cessation.  His case is back under review and people are hopeful that that is good news.

That’s it for today.  Maybe I’ll try and make my life more eventful then I should be able to write more frequently!

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Joanna Moncrieff is an academic psychiatrist who recognises that meaning is lost and marginalised with the medicalisation of distress.

Joanna Moncrieff

People have used psychoactive substances to dull and deaden pain, misery and suffering since time immemorial, but only recently, in the last few decades, have people been persuaded that what they are doing in this situation is rightly thought of as taking a remedy for an underlying disease. The spread of the use of prescription drugs has gone hand in hand with the increasing medicalization of everyday life, and a corresponding loss of the previous relationship that people had with psychoactive substances.

Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel Mary Barton was originally to be named after Mary’s father John Barton, a working class factory hand addicted to opium (1). The novel depicts the unimaginable poverty and exploitation of industrial Manchester that made opium-induced oblivion an appealing escape. Although Gaskell clearly disapproved of John ‘s addiction, the reader is left in no doubt that opium use in 19th century Britain was a symptom of…

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Medication

I have become acquiescent with medication, it seems to be OK.  But things here are generally peaceful, so there’s not much provocation to make me feel really bad about anything.  The door slamming gets to me, but there isn’t much else.

I don’t know how most of my readers and followers feel about the things I have said, I don’t often get comments.  I suppose I can see the position of psychiatry in saying that people who don’t know they need medication still have a right to it, and detention makes sure that right is received.  I suppose the view is that we still have the right to treatment no matter how cruel and provocative some of the staff are, at least on an acute ward.

My position has been that the cruelty creates the illness and disturbance.  I don’t know, it is hard to say what the position of the staff actually is when they are cruel and harassing and angry.  I still wake up burning with anger and feeling upset at some of the things I remember.

Sharon

I think Sharon must like bad publicity, because she certainly seems to be going out of her way to get it.

She keeps whistling at me.  She also keeps saying ‘babe’ around me.  Yesterday morning when I went into the clinic room because it was depot day, she stood outside for at least 5 minutes like an armed guard.  I felt harassed and demeaned.  She has pushed medication from the beginning.  I saw a film some years ago where a boy went into the headmaster’s study to be physically punished.  When he came out a female member of staff was waiting for him and started to make strong physical advances towards him.  That was what I thought of when I came out of the clinic room in regard to what Sharon was doing.  I went and sat down in the public area in front of the office and she came and sat there as well, and every time I spoke she whistled, or started speaking at the same time or something similar.  She did it twice today as well, once when I went out in the afternoon and I made a face at her in response, and once this evening when I was in my room and someone kept yelling and banging something really loudly and I shouted shut up.  She whistled at me then as well.

When I first met her we were sitting around chatting and she seemed to be misunderstanding everything I was saying about time seeming to go faster when you are older because when you are young you don’t have the perspective of age and things seem to last a long time.  She put it down to impatience if things seemed to go slowly.  Then someone called her away and when she came back she seemed to me to blank me.  I have got used to that happening over the years.  The next day I was making noises like in the Goons and I engaged her in conversation about it and Spike Milligan and she asked me if I was on medication.  I said no I was medication-free and I intended to stay that way.  She coughed very uncomfortably.  I believe I was relatively happy and normally confident at that time.  I felt strong, now I feel weak and vulnerable, more than I did then.  I talked about quantum physics and the fact that it says that everything which is observed is altered by the fact of being observed.  I heard a programme on the radio a little later saying the same thing and that the thing observed seems to know when the microscope or whatever is switched off.  She said it was a load of rubbish and that she knew better than quantum physics.  I was offended because those kinds of snippets are things that I happily and cheerfully incorporate into my view of life and my anti-psychiatry/anti-drugs position and to me it is coherent.  I just accept what they say and she was disrespecting something she didn’t understand.  That attitude frightened and angered me.  I told her with a little strength but not offensively or over-angrily, I believed, to eff off and she started finding fault with me for saying that, but it was just in a throw away fashion it might have been in a not overheated discussion between friends.  Also I had said something about brainwashing, and she said she wasn’t into that.  When she told me off for saying eff-off I said what about all the things they say to us, including the diagnoses, that we are supposed to receive meekly.

A little later the same day, or the next, I was sitting watching television with N and she came up and picked up a newspaper and sat down.  Someone came on the tv I knew from listening to the radio and she said she had been in something or other I had not heard of and I was off and snooty with her and said I didn’t know what she was talking about, which I didn’t.  But I tried to make it clear I didn’t want a relationship or conversation with her.  She answered me starting with the last note of what I had said, saying I didn’t want to have an argument with her, and I said if she wasn’t into brainwashing why was she using the same note to start that I had finished with, after making her silent observation for a few seconds.  It sounded menacing and I felt harassed.  N started shouting at me and as is the fashion no one cared what it was about, the argument, they just told us both to be quiet, like children who can’t communicate, or dogs that need separating.  Sharon sat there while I was there and I got up and went to my room because I believed if I did she would get up and walk away.  She did.  I think I had made it clear after the previous conversation with her where she claimed to know more than the quantum physicists but also was disrespecting my position of valuing their insights and being able to incorporate them into my view of and approach to life that I didn’t want to talk to her.  I told her, when she asked me how I was, that I would feel a lot better if i was being looked after by people who respected people who knew more than them.  This is where the mimicry started in earnest from other staff, I think, and the picking up for something unrelated where I have left off.

I remember Alan McMurtrie, my old English tutor, told a story about the praying mantis and that the female was observed to eat its mate after sex.  But when the observation was moved further away and wasn’t an intrusion, the female stopped doing this.  It’s similar to the quantum physics observation in some ways.

Update 18.08.2013 It’s as if they think they are the ones who should shine.  It seems to be more about them being wonderful people and nurses than about me as a person, what they call patient.  Sharon is calling everyone ‘my swede-art’.

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.

Kicked in the stomach

Today has been a day from hell.  Kerry had a go at me again, staff didn’t help, it escalated, they wanted ME to go to my room, at lunchtime, 30 minutes before I was due to see my psychologist, they brought medication, after 6 women, at least one of which had been nagging me in the dining room to calm down, had been standing around in the corridor near my room.  I said I didn’t want medication, that I wanted to speak to my psychologist with a clear head, and they said if I was shouting I wasn’t going to see him, so I accepted oral medication so that, if unchallenged, I could pretend to swallow it then spit it out.  I decided to hang around the communal area so that he couldn’t be sent away in my absence.

Kerry kicked me in the stomach this afternoon.  I have been told by one of the young students that even if I report it, because it is an acute psychiatric ward, I might not be separated from the threat.  I hope she is wrong.  The staff mismanagement of this has caused this situation.  Yet I feel it is my fault.  I had my door locked on Saturday, for the first time since being there, then told myself my suspicions were racism and my objection to her trolling outside my window was the same.  I told myself she had been risk-assessed and that she would not be on the ward if she was a threat to other patients.  I am tired this evening and have kept bursting into tears.  I feel even if I were to press charges successfully it would be a sign of failure on my part.  As a Christian.  There are no adequate words for my distress and desolation and fear at the moment.

There is a new patient on the ward, Kerry, a tall, black woman who has been harassing me for days and calling me racist every time there is a conflict.  She accuses and abuses me in religious terms mingled with hate words like bitch, says fuck God and Jesus, etc, and when I have taken issue with it the approach from staff has been to tell us both to be quiet.

Jim came back on the ward this week, he is doing nights.  He seems to think that all he has to do is turn his lovely face on me and all will be forgiven.  Or maybe it is just me that thinks it should be that way and I need to free myself from that requirement I have of myself and from the power of the need I want met by being able to do that.

His first night on was last night.  He was on with Sue, the nurse who told me to f off then lied about it and has since been calling me love and darling.  I find that aggressive and mauling, especially in the particular circumstances with her.  Last night (Sunday) I asked Jim if we could have some time to talk.  I was upset about things that had happened in the day (I didn’t tell him that), and he said no, he had things he needed to catch up on, but he would try today, but wouldn’t put anything in the diary because ‘sod’s law doesn’t work that way’.  So everything is handed over to the whims of sod’s law then, is it, with nothing to oppose or raise as a goal?  I noticed that before midnight he had time to sit around the office having casual chats with the members of his team, including one from Eastern Europe, asking her about her family, but he didn’t have any time to talk to me, and he has been away 5 weeks or so.  During this time other senior members of the staff have also been doing duties off the ward, following, it seems, my blog post about the ‘bust up’.  Ruth, the ward manager, approached me a few weeks ago saying some of the staff were hurt and upset about the fact their names had been used in my blog and that she had been advised that if I didn’t remove the names they could.  I haven’t had that in writing.  I think I should ask for it, through my advocate.  I tried to settle to sleep last night and after midnight I found I couldn’t, so eventually I went out to Jim and said I couldn’t settle and needed either ten minutes to talk or some lorazepam to help me settle.  He told me they weren’t allowed to have one to ones after midnight and that I would have to have lorazepam.  Last night was at my request, though a begrudging request.  Tonight they forced an injection on me.

Tonight Kerry kept winding me up and picking on me and eventually Judita, one of the health care assistants, told me she thought she was doing it on purpose to wind me up.  I asked her why she hadn’t tried to stop her if that was what she thought and she asked how she could.  I said she should have told Jim, the nurse in charge tonight.  Kerry started calling me racist, saying she was black and I am white, I told her it was nothing to do with race, it was just that she was harassing me and being a nuisance.  She started saying I thought I was something and saying that everyone was scared of me but too frightened to say so because I had physical bulk.  I said no one was scared of me.  I felt it in my womb every time she started on me and I interpreted it as something to do with her energy and the nature of her accusations (I think now this might have been wrong, that the fact I felt it there was more to do with the oppressiveness of the whole place and power), and I said I wasn’t a prostitute.  She has told me she had been, in what I thought was a good and promising conversation yesterday afternoon, and I felt sympathy for her, because she was on benefits and her father, she said, was a paedophile who had hurt her and her mother had thrown her out.  But tonight I realised she had had no moral necessity to go that way, not everyone who has been a victim of paedophilia does, and I said there were plenty of agencies which could have helped her and that being a prostitute had been her choice which not everyone in her position makes.  She was also saying she wanted a spliff, so I realised she was a drugs user.  Someone else told me they used cocaine, and suddenly I began to wonder why I am here, subjected to everything I get from the staff, whether deliberate or incompetent, when I don’t use drugs, I don’t hear voices, I don’t have a drink problem, and although I can shout when angry to defend myself I am not violent.  When I shout it is because I am angry or afraid or FEEL violent.  It is a substitute for violence, not a lead up to it.  At one point Jim came and told Kerry to behave, but then it started all over again with her being blasphemous and vile, and I was telling her not to attack and accuse a child of God.  She was saying she was Satan, and all sorts of things, then when I started telling her to leave me alone she started to mix in Sarah instead of Satan, out of the Bible.  No one was moving to stop her.  I threw a plastic coke bottle across the room at the floor.  It didn’t hit her, but she jumped up to attack me.  I was sitting down and I put my foot out to keep her at a distance.  I told her I hadn’t thrown it at her and she insisted I had.  Jim came out to tell her to go to her room, and I felt immediately calm and safer.  Then he told me he wanted me to go to my room.  At first I said I would because I wanted to go to the toilet but I said I didn’t want him in my room while I went to the toilet.  Jim said he wouldn’t be in my room, they would be outside.  I went to my room, then got angry at how unreasonable and unfair it was, and kept coming out shouting things, like they had just given Kerry permission to do that again any time she wanted to, that I had been calm when she was taken away from my space but now I was not calm because what they were doing to me was unjust and the dispeace I now felt was a direct result of their actions towards me.  Perhaps it had also, before, been a result of their inaction in what they knew was happening.  They said to ignore her, and I said I couldn’t because I couldn’t just walk away and be able to stay away, I had to keep coming back to it.  I told them they had no comparable situations in their own lives which were not a matter of their own choice, and that it was unreasonable of them to tell me to ignore it.  Staff had said to me on Sunday that they knew she was a problem and that I should tell them if she was upsetting me.

Anyway, I kept coming out of my room and shouting things about respect and dignity and unjustly robbing people of theirs when they had not been the problem, and I kept scuttling back to my room in fear of what they might do to me if I stayed in the corridor, so I came out of my room and confronted it in those words, saying why should I have to stay in my room and not be justifiably angry and say why for fear of what they would do to me.  I think they came and asked me to go to my room again and I refused, saying they were causing my distress by their unfairness.  I was speaking loudly, if not shouting, I hadn’t touched anyone.  Given that the law says I cannot be manhandled if I am not a danger to myself or anyone else I understand what happened next to have definitely been illegal.  They grabbed me by the arms and started dragging me to my room.  Altogether in the end there were about 8 people involved, one of whom was called Mark, who had hold of my left arm.  Adem from Redwood 2 was another.  When I said they had given Kerry permission to do what she liked whenever by what they were doing to me he shook his hand off at me and turned his back and started walking away.  As soon as we got to my room they told me to get down on the floor, and I said I wanted to go to the toilet, and they said I couldn’t.  At first I thought they might let me go but they forced me down face to the laminate flooring and told me to calm down.  I said I had good reason to be angry and that I wasn’t going to become calm for them if this was the way they thought they could enforce it.  On my way to my room I was telling Jim I wanted a change of key nurse and that I didn’t want another, that he was a hypocrite and however proficient he was in philosophy he was not fit to be in charge of this situation.  I told him I would write in my blog.  I also told Kerry that I wouldn’t protect her by using only her first initial as I had for other patients, that I had no legal duty and recognised no moral duty towards her.

At one point I said while I was sitting on the bed before they put me on the floor that I hadn’t been violent, and Mark said ‘not yet’.  I have never been physically violent to people here, even though provoked, as he was provoking me at that point.  When they had me down they wanted to gentle my arms and I told them to stop, saying they should choose between violence and assault and being gentle, but not try to mix the two.  I asked them to turn my radio up because it was interesting, but they wouldn’t.  It said at one point that if we acted in real life as we might in a lucid dream we would act more kindly.  At around that point they withdrew from my room without saying anything.  They kept stroking my arm, stroking my hair, and given what they were doing I completely resented it.  At one point they told me that this had been my choice, when it evidently had not been, they grabbed me and forced me down.  It was their choice.  People who act like this often tell their victim of assault that it was their own choice when that is factually a lie.  They turned away from reason.  At one point someone said something to Mark and he spoke jeeringly.  I said that was what they had done to Jesus.  I said they were evil and that I was not going to make that any more palatable for them.  I told them not to sigh at me but to go and deal with their own relaxation needs away from me.  I called him or them bastards and Mark said ‘that’s right, I am a bastard.’  Something was tickling the bottom of my leg and I told them to move their hand.  I was told there was nothing on my leg.  At the very least it might have been my own trousers.  I called them mental sadists who would swear that black was white then call me racist for using that expression.

They came with medication and offered me tablets or it would have to be an injection.  Bearing in mind I was calm when Kerry was removed, immediately, and that this second distress was their doing.  For them it seems to be all about power and being obeyed and not being seen to back down.  They are very high handed then won’t back down even if their unreasonableness becomes apparent, and they just go ahead obeying orders as a team even if personally they think something else.  In a situation like this I think that is not acceptable human behaviour.  They broke my metal watch strap.

After they had gone I was still shouting, even from the toilet.  I passed the office and Jim was laughing with his colleagues.  They were taking a position of not needing to acknowledge me while I was shouting, even though they had just visited a physical assault on me.  So they sat there pretending, in every way available to them, that I wasn’t there.  Jim seemed to be mirroring the rhythms of my voice with his body language.  While I was on the floor in my room they wanted me to shuffle so that I was properly inside my door.  They said something about my dignity.  I said I didn’t care what they wanted and if they cared about my dignity they could restore what they shouldn’t have taken from me in the first place.

In conversations with people I have been told that Jim does not hold grudges.  I’m beginning to doubt this or that it was ever an appropriate thing to say anyway, as if there were not issues that needed to be discussed and he was blameless.  I think they removed me from that situation because they didn’t want me there calm and rational and back in control of myself without their intervention, but all they did was make me feel worse.  I felt no feelings of violence at that point, the feelings of violence, (against my beliefs and convictions?) and practices, came directly out of their assault on me and everything that went with it.  If they can perpetrate an act of assault and violence on me, why is it not seen as acceptable if I reciprocate?  Even to acknowledge the feelings is to open myself up to detrimental decisions about me from the staff.  This tonight has been a deliberate act, out of control or coldblooded, of subjugation and humiliation.  I feel that something happened after I wrote my ‘bust up’ entry that took so many key staff off the ward for so long.  I think talk about illness is lies, eg back injuries.  One person I do believe, I talked to him yesterday morning (yesterday being Sunday).

I confront with words when I feel necessary.  They react and confront with threat and physical force and injections.  And yet am I to feel I should make exceptions for them and concessions to their so-called humanity?  I am supposed to be protected at the moment at least in my room, let alone I think what they have done tonight would have been illegal anyway, because I wasn’t a danger to myself or anyone else.  Free speech which is not unprovoked defense or harassment should not be seen as being a danger to anyone.  So Kerry is fat-ist, I’m dangerous and violent because I am fat.  How many other people are approaching and judging me that way?  I don’t blank people, I listen, that is my problem.  I listen and think.  Thinking that way is her problem, but her communication is so quixotic it cuts me to the quick.

The time when Jim said please in a way which was so painful to me afterwards, something else came up in the conversation and I said that they weren’t the ones being threatened with the closest thing they could get to gang rape, meaning forced medication if I didn’t willingly comply, on a regular basis.  He put it in my notes that I had merely meant being asked to go to bed so they could clean the chairs.  I don’t want this relationship to be retrievable now, I don’t like what he does.  But for me that is hurtful because he has this knack of making me feel as if it is one of the few that does anything like work.  His responses were visceral tonight, calling both me and Kerry selfish people, for a start, because people wanted to sleep.  But when I continued to be angry until and beyond 12.45 am he made no attempt to stop it, just ignored it, and I believed his appeal to people wanting to sleep had just been self-serving in the first place.  He was unreasonable.  He was telling me to calm down when he had just made me uncalm again, and he himself was agitated.  Unreasonable, unjust and illegal.  I said they should join Mugabe’s regime, that what they had done was so wrong and unjust they must be deliberately and knowingly participating in social engineering.  Also I said I had won by letting them play out the full extent of their savagery on me, because now I can document what happened.  I think Jim must be afraid of me to treat me this way.  I still don’t know why he was calling out ‘say you’re sorry, apologise’ from the office that day.  It had been one of the things I wanted to talk to him about and find out what it was about.  Meeting tonight didn’t happen either.  He didn’t even think it was important enough to insist on making 10 minutes for me.  He told me he had to do an admission.  I’m sure the admission could have waited 10 minutes.

Also the reason it is difficult for me when this kind of thing happens is that my love and trust and obedience kick in just because, for over a year, I haven’t really been touched by anyone else.  I can be sitting next to complete strangers and want to rest my head on their shoulders and maybe look for support.  I want love and hugs.  I’ve heard from the church that physical force is OK and should be submitted to, that it can turn people to obedience, which is where they should be.  I find this situation too cruel for words, and also my own requirement of myself within it.  I don’t go with this anymore.  Adrian Plass said in one of his books that when he had an interview with the main man at work when he was working with troubled children, the man lay on the carpet and let him talk.  Something else as well, he didn’t react punitively to someone who broke a window in his home, or something.  He loved him, from what I remember.  I can’t remember if this is also Adrian Plass, but it is definitely Tommy Boyd, that if someone came at him he would hug them from behind until they calmed down.  Those are my values, the awesome perceptions and right modes of operation, in my eyes.  A hug without further threat, even though seen as restraint, with no further threat, could easily be accepted as love and the kind of physical contact we are made for.  Men who won’t hug me here will restrain me as they did tonight.  I am struggling to recover my humanity.  I’m 52, childless and menopausal.  I feel now as if saying that is just manipulation, but I think and feel that having to feel that way is appalling.

Update 15.07.2013

Last Friday the decision to restart medication was communicated to me, almost 3 weeks after the SOAD interview.  Myself I think this is appalling and I have never experienced it before, and when I have mentioned it to staff in other areas they have said they found the delay a bit strange.

I am still quite disorientated, attaching too much emotional importance to some relationships, strictly speaking and according to current official guidelines on boundaries.  Now I’ve said that I am questioning it, but certainly I don’t think much about the future, occasionally my anger erupts, a lot of the time a lot is being fudged for me.  I feel as if I am being tamed the same way as an animal might be tamed, with punishments and rewards.  Not having much privacy, if any, for writing my blog I’m not doing a very adequate job.  I’m sitting in a Wetherspoons pub at the moment.  Not many people in this section.  I came to download something from the internet.  I’ve just remembered I did make quite a few notes last week which I intended to be for a blog entry.  I haven’t got round to using them yet and I don’t want to use them at the moment.

I spoke to my psychologist this morning.  He was talking about boundaries to protect vulnerable patients.  I know technically he is right.  I just saw something else on WordPress about game approaches to mental health.  I’m not sure if this fits here.  I feel upset and disorientated in this pub.  Jim, my key nurse, is on night shift tonight.

I have been trying to deal with a personal offense between myself and a member of staff.  I have been trying to approach it as a personal thing, not a professional thing,, but so many other people are somehow involved without me having given it to them I feel disorientated and confused.  I am desperate, I want to scream, and I feel as if it is my fault, that I am failing.  And the truth is I am, but also i am getting confused with all the people either inputting or piggybacking or sometimes, I feel, blocking, and I keep finding fault with myself and knowing, when I am alone, that I’m not handling it right.  I’m not feeling great in here, I’m not seeing things straight.  It matters to me, but I feel as if I am trying too hard to do something and that can’t be right or good.  Underneath I am raging because I feel as if I have been manipulated and bullied into this position.  I’m really upset, really tired, quite afraid, and I’m not sure what is happening.  I’ve been suppressing laughter for quite a while out of respect and sensitivity to this situation.  What I am afraid of in this instance is that we are not going to get satisfactory closure.   I’ve seen this person cry.  I’ve seen a few people cry.  Staff.  It seems to matter to me so much I am worried about why.  But in my mind I am contradicting myself even as I am typing.  There is a lot of psychological violence I am experiencing from some staff.  This is not a personal relationship, so how can I handle this powder keg?  We both seem to be trying.  I have thought this person’s tears were about this issue between us but I have realised I might be wrong, and my greatest fear is that if I raise this I might not get any answers.  That matters to me.

I have been trying, sometimes, to respect the office, in general, if I can cope with the person filling it.  But I have realised that, a lot of the time if not all the time, I believe it is the office itself which is evil.  I have been taught to respect the office when dealing with authority and officials.  I have had disturbed sleep for the past three nights.  I am much more distraught than I am showing.  I feel as if I am at home or in church, not a place I hate and despise.  There is so much laughter underneath, and tears.  My sense of humour keeps having a go at me, but often I am afraid to show it, or ashamed.  That will do for now.

PS on the practical side, as well as the delayed SOAD decision and broken sleep caused by noise on the ward, mainly, I think, staff talking and even shouting last night, and slamming doors, on Friday and Saturday morning we had no water on the ward.  I managed to brush my teeth Friday morning but there wasn’t even enough for that on Saturday.  I mentioned it when my psychologist asked me what I do for self-care and he asked if we had been given any warning and i said not that I had been aware.  Also in the shower we get four one minute jets of water for everything we want to do, and they are not awfully powerful.  If I want to wash my hair I have to load my sponge up from the basin and basically give myself a wash down and use the shower for my hair.  Even then I still find I need to put my head under the basin tap two or three times even if I use the shower only to wash my hair.  I think this is a contributory factor to my low mood.  I think a shower should be a pleasurable experience, but at the very least it should be sufficient for everything you need to do in it.  It feels like very basic survival.  I’m in a hotel restaurant now, just had a coke.  I feel like a very miserable and repressed wet blanket.  My mood here has been better in the past.  My psychologist said I seemed vulnerable this morning.  I can’t remember if he said emotionally vulnerable or what.  This morning I was not totally unhappy to be feeling vulnerable.

Going back to the relationships issue, I am getting very confused.  I have started thinking about the role of community in handling what I had wanted to deal with myself.  I’m getting confused because I feel as if the level of expectation of me from myself and others is inconsistent with the fact that I have a diagnosis of schizophrenia and am not expected to be fully functioning anyway.  Something happened last night – I said something, i can’t remember what or who to, then I made a joke of it saying I was speaking to an hallucination, and didn’t the person know I had hallucinations.  I don’t, it was a joke of sorts, but I became afraid it might be taken seriously as consistent with my diagnosis and documented.  What seems strange though was that the shift manager laughed when I said it (oh yes he did).  That seems to me to have been inappropriate.

I feel I have done violence to myself this week by requiring of myself, maybe feeling it was required of me as well, that I stay quite serious.  On Friday I became very upset after an encounter straight after I had been injected with a test dose of the drug they want to use (I have been given no information about it).  I remained upset for hours and no one came to help me until the end of that time, and I found her approach intimidating.  I thought that to leave me in that state, especially at that time, was mental cruelty.  They always have left me.

In Brief

It’s a while since I have been able to update my blog.  We are not allowed computers on the ward.  It was in brief when I started. 

I absconded from Macmillan Close and was 12 days in London.  The last 4 of those were spent falling asleep upright anywhere and everywhere because I couldn’t afford a bed.  When the police eventually picked me up after many close opportunities I was taken to a hospital in London where I was put behind the nursing station and alternately I was told 4 times I could or couldn’t have my door closed.  The nurses were badly behaved all the time I was there, when in the evening I finally got my meal and tried to close the door for privacy a nurse became aggressive and said she would call security.  I was brought back to Nottingham between midnight and 2 am in something which said ambulance outside but was like a police van inside.

When I got to Rowan 2 I was met by two staff, one male and the other female.  I made it clear that night that I didn’t want to get too close to the staff as I was there against my wishes and believed I had a right to protest.

The next day I was lying in bed relaxed, I wasn’t bothered by anything that normally had bothered me, like door slamming and shouting.  Although it was happening it was separate from me and identified it easily as out there and hardly noticed it.  However, during the course of the day 4 groups of nurses woke me to confront me about getting up, and after this happened I realised I was again feeling oppressed by the other noises.  I was afraid of their unreasonableness, and angry.  One of them said it wasn’t fair to the other patients, I said something about care being patient specific and needing sleep.  After 4 confrontations all feelings of safety were undone and any benefit from any sleep I had managed was destroyed.

I haven’t got long to write this so I’m going to try and put in everything I feel relevant but it won’t be particularly ordered.

Today I have an appointment with a Second Opinion Approved Doctor.  The first time he came I was only given 1 ½ hours’ notice and I managed to get it rearranged so I could arrange to have an advocate present.  However, although I am sure that when I phoned the advocacy service last week and left a message on their machine I gave them all the details they needed, when I picked their response up on Friday they wanted me to phone them again with the time.  I’m usually good about giving all necessary details, and even on Friday when I spoke to someone directly she asked me what time it was going to be when I knew I had already told her.  They have a 48 hour call back policy so at the moment I don’t know if I will have an advocate or not.  I am worried about having to go ahead without an advocate because last time he kept interrupting me, said he wanted to ask me 2 questions then after that I could decide whether I wanted another meeting or not, and he asked me if I thought I had an illness and if I thought I needed medication.  I said no to both and he said we wouldn’t need another meeting.  I insisted pointing out he had said it was up to me and that the purpose of the meeting was to do a proper assessment, not just get my opinion of illness and medication.  I was shocked and disturbed by his rudeness and ground shifting and believed it to be deliberate, knowing that even I in his place would not behave as he had.  I shook his hand at the end and he was holding a pencil.  He didn’t even put it in the other hand.

The first meeting I had with my psychiatrist seemed quite friendly and reasonable until I mentioned that my English degree had involved a critical method path of psychoanalysis and reader response.  She looked shocked and nervous, not to say afraid.  In meetings after that she got heavier.  She told me that if I named people in my blog they could or would sue me.  I said good, it’s about time it was made legal not medical.  I’ve thought about it since and thought that must have been deliberate intimidation, as they already have enough to sue me with from before and have threatened it before but have not taken that route.  She often wears a mocking and provocative expression on her face when I am talking to her.  She has told me that because I believe things are happening I need medication, and has said that if I am heard shouting or talking to myself in my room or laughing I will be medicated.  She tried to reinstate a depot the other week.  On the day of the following review my advocate told me that that wouldn’t happen as the paperwork was not up to date and it would be illegal without seeing a SOAD.  I can’t believe she didn’t know that at the time she told me it would be reinstated.  2 or 3 weeks ago she terminated the review because I tried to tell her that what they wanted to do to me filled me with fear and revulsion, and she said she wasn’t prepared to have me speak like that.  She said she wanted to keep it rational.  I have said that when people introduce physical threat as something they believe they have a right to they lose the right to expect reason from the person they are dealing with and to expect to be seen as reasonable themselves.  Recently she has been harassing me, asking me to take just a little medication knowing how I feel about it and that we are waiting for a SOAD.  I have told them that I believe in natural healing, sleep and rest and self-management.  I’ve also said that I am afraid of what they want to do and asked how fear is good for someone’s mental health.  I pointed out that last time I was in London the panel said that in view of my feelings about medication and the fact I had held them for a long time they were not going to force me and were going to end my section, and have said that although Nottingham is a different authority this decision should be taken into account and respected.  This has been ignored.  I am worried that I have heard people here tell me they have been in hospital over a year and up to 3 or 4.  I’ve been in hospital here now since 1st May last year.  I’ve never been in hospital this long before.

I’ve seen a psychologist twice and he has given me the impression he is on my side in things I have said to him, and my key nurse told me as much last week.

I’m on an all women’s ward but we have male staff.  Although I tend to enjoy relating more to the men at the moment I still can’t see why there are male staff on a women’s ward.

One man keeps positioning himself near me and saying ‘My God’.  I have told him I find it offensive but he still does it.

One man, when I had my bedroom door open with a nurse inside one morning, looked straight into my eyes as I was lying in bed with piercing disapproval.  Recently the same man came out of the office and started playfully teasing a patient who interrupts me every time she engages me in conversation and had just done so.  It feels as if they deliberately affirm anyone who gives me a problem.

There is one female nurse who told me that she wished she had a mute button so she could switch me off.  I told her that was verbal abuse and she said she didn’t care.  I said she might not care but I did and thought she should because she had no right to be talking to patients that way.  When I told my psychologist this he said ‘good for you’.  The same woman the next night heard another patient shouting and swearing at me, calling me foul mouthed and evil and saying I should wear a sign round my neck saying I was evil.  She came out of the office and sat in a chair and watched it for about 5 minutes without saying anything.  When the other patient got up and walked away (I hadn’t sworn during the whole conversation), this nurse turned and said to me, ‘See, Sue, nobody likes you’.  I told her she had no right to say that and that it wasn’t true anyway.  She asked me why I had involved her in the conversation in the first place and I said I hadn’t, she had come and sat down, and she told me to F off.  I reported this in a review meeting, it was handed to the ward manager for investigation and I have been told that this nurse denied it happened and the ward manager said she didn’t feel that any of her staff would behave that way.  I had a concert booked one night and I was at breakfast and this nurse was on again.  One of the patients started shouting at me and I said I was tired of her shouting at me and of the nurses letting her.  One of the other nurses on with this nurse, instead of trying to diffuse the situation, made it worse, saying I was rude to nurses.  I was shouting because I was so upset and the nurse who had called me rude threatened me with an injection.  I said it wasn’t going to happen and the nurse who had sworn at me before said to me that I was going to get an injection and that when I did she would be there.  I said she wouldn’t and she said do you want to bet.  When she saw my fear when it was first mentioned she was pleased and laughed, then the first nurse told me I couldn’t go to my concert or go out at all that day and that I was restricted.  This woman has thrown a tantrum several times when she has not wanted a conversation with me, though she started it, and has threatened me twice with an injection when I’ve got upset about it.  Medication has only ever been raised as a foreseeable imposition or threat, never as an offer.  I didn’t go to the concert.  That night the man who keeps saying ‘my God’ around me stood at the end of my corridor singing ‘soldier, solider, won’t you marry me’, and ‘Red red robin’ sounding really upset.  It was two nights after I had been upset because I had been told that a depot was going to be reinstated.  I was saying they were psychological terrorists and rapists.  They just walked around me ignoring me, not offering help or support.  He said ‘bloody hell’ to another nurse and I told him to stop swearing, because they came down on us like a ton of bricks of we swore, and he repeated it.  I was touched by the singing and thought he was going to be on that night, but he wasn’t and I was upset and disappointed.  He was finishing his shift, not starting.  My advocate told me the afternoon staff would have let me go to the concert, but they never tried to communicate that to me.  I was offended by what had happened in the morning and I didn’t want to approach it with them.  I felt it was my own fault that I had missed it for not approaching them.  But I have often felt that they are making me ask for things rather than offering in an attempt to break me, because I have said that I am not playing patient to their doctor nurse and I have a right of protest.  I have missed quite a few meals through a combination of fear of harassment and protest, and in my tribunal the other week one of the members of the panel asked the staff about it in such a way that gave me the impression that they were so cynical about me that they just put missing meals down to a ‘bargaining chip’, that was the terms used.

The day after the missed concert I got to the breakfast hatch 5 minutes before it was supposed to close and it was already closed.  The nurse who swore at me was on and I asked if I could have some breakfast and she gave me a one word answer – ‘no’.  I asked her if she had brought her whip and stilettoes that morning and as I walked away she asked me if I had enjoyed the concert.  As I was trying to answer he she shut the door in my face and I pushed on it to finish my answer to her question, and she suddenly let the door go and I ended up on my back in the kitchen, so I finished my answer from there.  Another nurse threatened to have me removed if I wouldn’t get up but backed off when I said it was illegal if I wasn’t a danger to myself or anyone else.  Eventually she asked me if I wanted breakfast and I told her I had been told I couldn’t have any.  She told me the nurse had said I couldn’t have anything hot, I told her the interchange that had taken place and she said ‘that is what you are hearing’.  I said ‘that is what I am hearing because that is what was said’.  She was trying to put it down to symptoms of mental illness.  I have had this with two other nurses on two different occasions, they refuse to have a normal conversation without putting something they don’t understand down to delusional beliefs.  That’s why I don’t like talking to them.  I talk to other patients, but when I do the nurses interfere with my conversations, start mimicking me, talking loudly over me at intimate points in the conversation, matching my tone of voice to say something in the office.  They have denied that any of this happens, but other patients say it happens as well, and we are all angry.  When my psychiatrist told me I would be medicated if I was heard shouting and slamming doors I said to her that a lot of people feel and act the way I do, and rather than face the fact that the staff might be doing something wrong and need to change, they threaten us with medication on our own in the review, in isolation.  That night I went to bed determined not to let anything come out of my mouth.  I fell asleep and had a nightmare that someone was hammering continuously on my door and I was shouting ‘please stop shouting at me’.  Somewhere between asleep and awake I wasn’t sure if I was actually shouting, and waking up I took myself in hand so that I wouldn’t verbally express the distress of my nightmare.  I felt like a child in an abusive situation who lies quietly in bed as they hear an abuser coming in the hope that if they are really quiet this time it won’t happen, and in fact I have been in that position many times on the ward, but it always does happen, because it is deliberate, but when I say it is happening I am told my belief is a symptom of mental illness.  It’s like a gagging mechanism.  This morning before 6am a man who had been on duty overnight came into the corridor talking loudly and making a sound like throwing up.  That is the kind of wake up we get every morning.  Staff shout, we can’t.  Staff shout at us, and threaten us if we get upset.  If I talk confidently about something I have seen as positive for me that is not ‘treatment’ related, staff nearby laugh in derision.  When they knock on my door they hammer.  They mimic, they walk past ignoring, sometimes with disdain on their faces.  I believe this is an expression of civil war.  Because I made my position clear I feel they have withdrawn service and support and are often deliberately opposing me.  The first time I heard bedding being offered to people I wasn’t offered any.  I had been there about a week.

When I first got there there was a lot of shouting and overt bullying.  I stood up for someone a couple of times.  The shouting has largely turned to boy scout behaviour and uproarious laughter.  A male nurse shouted at a patient outside the office once, went back in and closed the door and everyone in the office laughed loudly.  I thought it was inappropriate.  I have said to my psychiatrist that I don’t want medication and that some people used it for bullying and sadistic pleasure and that it turns into a grotesque theatre of subjugation.  Two nurses have said to me when shouting at me and having threatened me that they will be pleased when I am on medication (taking it for granted it is going to go that way with the SOAD) and that they will be there when I get the injection.  They will also use it verbally and cruelly at other times.  When they first said they wanted to restart the depot I told them I wanted it once a month not once a fortnight, because I know it is available and that I was limiting their access to me.  I have told them that if they force medication on me I won’t co-operate with them over anything else and that it will be an assault.

I was out on leave one evening and a couple of times I was so touched by people’s humanity and vulnerability that I wanted to break down and tell them what was happening.  I didn’t.  But on the way back I thought that I was being roughed up in the name of medicine, and that wanting to break down and tell complete strangers my story was evidence of that.  When I got back on the ward I was upset and told some of the patients what I was thinking.  I got more and more upset until I went to my room and gradually regained control of myself and went quiet.  After I had been quiet for ages I suddenly thought, ‘I’ve got shoe laces in here, and electrical cables.  I could have tried to harm myself, and no one cares to check if I am OK.  This is an acute ward, and they aren’t even checking that I am OK after being upset for ages then going quiet’.  I started shouting that and the male nurse on duty eventually walked past my door and yawned loudly and offensively.  At least, anyone else might have seen it that way, but when I told one of the nurses they said that might be just the way he is and he might not have been meaning to be offensive.  I’ve contacted the police several times since I have been here, including about this incident.  I was given a crime number for this incident.  I’ve heard nothing back.  I have said before and know it is true, that these people can get away with anything and are completely unaccountable because all they have to say is that I am a paranoid schizophrenic and that my perceptions are part of my illness.  I said to a patient the other day when we were talking about having to send our washing away and wait 2 days for its return and I’d been told sometimes things didn’t come back, that I hadn’t expected to be here so long anyway, and a nurse laughed as if it was a funny joke.  The man who says ‘my God’ around me laughed or said something contemptuously when another female patient said she had had enough and was going home.

The staff say things like ‘vain’ and ‘rude’, just throwing the words around, apparently.  They used to say ‘baby’, which seemed to be a stop word, or acted that way anyway.  I confronted it a couple of times and for now it has stopped, more or less.  I hear them talking about other patients by name, gossiping at and after meal times.  I am sure I get the same treatment, and one or two times domestics have had a hard time hiding their outrage at me when I’ve just been relaxed and normal.  On one of these occasions it was followed by an apparently untargeted ‘we all know’, after using the word ‘wee’ which has happened a few times recently.  Patients have started mimicking each other, and one commented that the staff mimicked me a lot, but if I say so it is my mental illness making me think that.  I’ve told my psychologist this and from what he said and my key nurse said, he is on my side.  The person using the word ‘vain’ was a man, and so was the one who angrily and derisively mocked my accent from the office, which I have been told never happened and that the fact I think it did is just more evidence that  need medication.  They look through my slats without speaking and I have said I feel like a lizard at a zoo.  None of this can be good for my mental health.  There are three patients they let shout at me or tear into me in other ways.  They don’t try to stop it or express any concern for me.  I used to like talking to the patients but I have withdrawn a lot now because of staff harassment.

I realised last week that I have been having strong urges to self-harm as a result of all this.  I won’t do anything about them but the urges have been there.  I’ve wanted to cut my hair, even thought about shaving my head.  I’ve wanted to run forks down deep into the flesh on my cheeks.  I’ve thought it would be a good thing if someone would whip me.  The other day I sat upset and rigid in a wooden-armed armchair in the multi-faith room.  I was upset because of something that had been said by a volunteer I had seen as a friend.  I realised I was wanting to self-harm and dissolved the emotion by saying the words quietly out loud as a realisation.  I thought about the electric chair.  I asked myself what would be the worst thing that could happen and I thought I might wet myself and defaecate and fry, but that would be all there was to fear, and it would all be over.  When things first started years ago I used to think a lot that I wanted to go to America and be executed judicially by lethal injection because everything was my fault and if I died everyone else would be free of the problems association with me seemed to bring on them.  Now I am correctly identifying urges of self-harm as a result of what people are doing to me and not my fault.  They don’t need medication, they need a change of situation.  Enforced medication is one of the things that adds to my feelings of hopelessness.

I’ve seen a lot of lookalikes from my present situation on the tv this weekend, and I noticed one woman noticing a lookalike of herself.  It’s the multiplicity and density that makes it unlikely to be coincidence.  I am sure the staff are aware of it and I think they are blaming me.  I have said it isn’t my responsibility to address it as I have been talking about it for years and having it put down to mental illness, and that it is their responsibility to approach me and say they think they might have made a mistake.  I feel I am being harsh and unreasonable, but if they won’t raise it with me and it has been rejected for 17 years . . . I hve said that people who resort to physical assault in the name of medicine have no right to tears around the people they treat that way, but I have started feeling responsible for their emotions and obligated to them.  I think that has been manipulated and what they are expressing at the moment is cruel and puerile cowardice.  I think the same of myself though.  I keep thinking it isn’t about feelings, it is about facts.  Being rude, vain, irritable etc are not evidence of mental illness and a need for medication.  I have been told I am paranoid schizophrenic because I believe that things related to me and my situations appear on the media and that I am being stalked and experiencing vigilantism bordering on and occasionally involving violence.  I see my time in hospital as one of these latter situations.  It is psychologically violent, physical assault.  I have said and meant that it is Nazism and scientific totalitarianism and that it is barbaric and brutal.  I have said I can’t trust people who will operate this way because it is an easy out and I think there is something wrong with them as humans that they cannot or will not see themselves as cruel and unreasonable, especially when someone says that other things help them.  I have said that I don’t want doctors taking serious risks with my physical health without my consent, risks that have been known to put people in wheelchairs as a result of ‘rare’ side effects.  If there is a risk like that, it isn’t right to say it is minimal to a person you are forcing medication on and denying them a right of refusal, while refusing to acknowledge that that person might be one of the people so affected.

I’m also afraid that even if they acknowledge they have been mistaken about this longstanding ‘reason’ for calling me mentally ill, they will shift their ground and insist on calling me mentally ill for other reasons which have arisen as a result of the constant bullying, untruthfulness, misrepresentations, etc, over the years.  I was up one night at 4 am and heard one of the male nurses up the corridor, a constant stream of ‘bastard’.  I have said they are employed to do a job and I have been there on my own time for over a year, but they come down hard on me and others if we swear, although swearing is a part of life.  Enough for now.  Oh yes . . .  My psychiatrist says the expressions on people’s faces don’t mean anything, then sits there with a provocative look on her own face.  A look passed between her and the clerk which knocked me out for the whole tribunal hearing, because I didn’t dare say anything.  I’ve started confronting this, talking about drama training and conveying thought process and feelings through facial expression.  I’ve also said most people disagree with her, and sometimes I have put it stronger than that.  Everything I say is put down to mental illness, everything said about me is used as fuel fir their invalidating, undermining and subjugating theories and decisions.  I have started saying that It is untruthfulness and dishonesty.  I said when first told I would be sued if I named people that it is a humanitarian obligation to name and shame these people, but I haven’t.  Sometimes I have felt guilty that I have protected myself by not writing at the expense of others who need me to speak.  Today I feel as if I am letting myself down and being dishonourable to the staff by writing.  And I’m scared because I’m not going to have an advocate this afternoon.  I have felt it is treated as a sign of weakness and validation of the staff if I don’t write, and also that it is a validation of their position and something they can blame and hate me for if I do write.  I’ve been hoping that if I don’t write they won’t medicate, but I feel they take advantage of my silence and will medicate anyway.  I feel that this strong feeling of certainty and relief that they won’t medicate if I don’t write is a true feeling from God to which I am being disobedient and that by writing I am not trusting God.

Life at Macmillan Close

I am being trialed off my medication at the moment.  I have spoken to the psychiatrist just once in the 4 months I have been here, about two months ago, and he agreed to it.  I told him that I believed I was suffering from grief and trauma issues, not schizophrenia.  I was told by a nurse that if I started to deteriorate they would put me back on the medication.  However, I am still unsupported in grief and trauma issues.  It seems they are watching me without giving me any counselling support.

I’ve had an upsetting week this week, and thought a lot, and put in a complaint.  Since I have been here there has been shouting and swearing and door slamming, from the staff as well as the patients.  When I have complained about the door slamming I have been told that that is just communal living and some people slam doors.  The staff have acknowledged that they do it as well.  In my complaint I said that since we are here against our wishes without the normal choices of communal living I think it is a duty of care issue, not a communal issue.  I said that although the staff’s acknowledgement that they do it as well is disarming, it is still ill-discipline and unprofessional and there needs to be a rule about it, not tolerance.  If this is a place that sick people are supposed to get better a peaceful environment needs to be provided and maintained.  To know you can’t go to the staff about door slamming because they slam doors themselves, and just having to hope for the best, that it won’t happen, is highly detrimental to security of mind and the ability to rest.

Two days ago a member of staff came upstairs calling out my housemate’s name like an excited mate, and when she got to my room and asked me how I was I said I’m not asleep though I would like to be, and if I had been she would have woken me up.  She said sorry she didn’t do it on purpose, and it was 3pm.  I said this is a hospital and sometimes people want to rest and I am 18 months homeless and tired.  This morning I was between awake and asleep when a nurse entered my room.  She didn’t say anything, but when she went downstairs she slammed the door.  I don’t think that is an acceptable way to communicate that you think someone should be awake and out of bed, or maybe she didn’t even think.  I lay there for another hour or two trying to get my mind where I wanted it, then when I got up I thought it would have been better if I had done that in the first place, because I felt better.  But my attention kept darting nervously all over the place, like it would at repeated loud noises and shock.  I’m afraid they are going to want to say that is evidence I need to be back on the medication, rather than recognise that I have said I am dealing with trauma issues and am having to deal with fresh shock and trauma every day.

This afternoon I decided to go to bed and try and sleep a bit before trying to write this blog entry.  Within about five or ten minutes of me lying down ad beginning to feel as if I was pleasantly going to sleep, one of my flatmates started slamming the door downstairs, hard and repeatedly.  I felt a surge of anger and frustration go right up my back.  I lay and listened to what was going on outside, and thought it sounded more like a rough council estate than a hospital, with people shouting and music blaring out, and no one was doing anything about it.  Eventually I accepted the music and felt better about it, but I still thought it is more like a war zone than a hospital.  After a while the same nurse that said it is 3pm two days ago knocked on my door and I didn’t answer.  She came in and saw me with my hands up near my head as if i could be asleep, I felt as if I was in that zone, and she came in and insisted on a cheery ‘hello Susan’, as if insisting that I shouldn’t be asleep at that time.  I believe the recovery experts who say ‘listen to your body’.  It seems to me she has no respect for that, and she isn’t the only one.  These places cause trauma and mental illness, nervousness, fear, anger.  You feel as if you have to keep a lid on your anger and distress because it could well be met with medication, even if your feelings are  justified.  It’s like living with a load of chavs and rebellious teenagers, and that includes the staff.  If a traumatised person feels they need to sleep outside of what might be considered normal hours, they will eventually right themselves if they sleep when they want to during recover – won’t they??  I’m also menopausal.  Rest is good.  It’s natural.  A nurse insisting on making themselves heard by a resting person is bad, unless there is an emergency.

I thought this afternoon that the walls are so thin, people peck at each other in different ways, like chickens, and like chickens our beaks are cut off, by the fear of medication etc.  I get terrified when I show anger, because I know what people have done to me in the past, making notes and putting me back on sections and things.  I hope it is not the same here, but I don’t know.  I was traumatised when I was first taken into hospital, and doors slammed then and people, including staff, shouted and were abusive.  On an acute ward the excuse given was that there were a lot of ill people there.  Here it is not an acute ward and the excuse has been that some people slam doors, that’s life.  I do not feel that this is a place, for me as a traumatised person, to be, especially with the threat of medication constantly waving itself at me if I am not coping.  I am so tired and angry and afraid that I am in survival mode, doing only those things that are necessary to survival.  I’m not washing my clothes or showering.  I don’t go out much.  I have no friends here that I can just go round to their house for the day.  Effectively if I go out other than to shop I’m walking the streets, or having to think where I can go to spend money that I won’t feel too uncomfortable.  Going out already traumatised by your living space is not a good idea.  There are nurses who peer at me and make a big thing of registering the state of my room, like a silent criticism.  Sometimes they seem angry with me.  I have started thinking it is not a good idea to talk too much about things because they would either not understand or not care much.  I’ve started feeling that all they ‘understand’ about us is what they were taught on their psychiatric courses.  As I patient I feel objectified.  There is so much game playing.  I just want to sleep.  I feel as if I have been ousted from my room by the door slamming that happens when I go inside it, and hearing one of my housemates saying ‘ahem’ every time I move.  This particular housemate has been here a long time and she seems to be a bit of a pet with the staff.

People have been talking about the ‘Time to Change’ campaign.  I have thought of getting a tee shirt made saying ‘It is time to change, and realise that some people in mental hospitals have been accused of things that have never come to court’.  Sometimes the staff come on so bright and shiny and super-normal, it seems obvious to me they are trying to prove something about themselves in relation to the patients.  We couldn’t possibly have a heated argument about the rights and wrongs of psychiatry and psychiatric practice.  I realised yesterday evening that we are in the perfect place for a good snowball fight, instead of stressing about the weather.  No one made a move in that direction.  As I said, this afternoon it felt more like a rough council estate, or ghetto or enclave, than a hospital.  One of my housemate told me that te guys next door drink regularly on the premises and the staff know about it and don’t stop it.  If it was me I would get my drink confiscated.  At Christmas I had some non-alcoholic ginger wine and when a nurse saw it on the dressing table she tried to tell me I couldn’t have it because it was alcoholic.  I would love the occasional individual bottle of wine, to cook with and drink.  But I wouldn’t dare.

Stage 2 Medication

Where I am we have stages in medication.  I have just been put onto stage 2, which means I have been given a strip of four bubble wraps, one for each medication time, and my medication is in the bubbles appropriate to me.  I take it away with me at the beginning of the day and I take it, or not, on my own terms.

This is the perfect opportunity for me to not take my psychiatric medication.  I thought about not taking it and took it anyway.  The other stuff I have is anti-inflammatory for pain and stiffness in my upper arms, anti acid to counteract the effects of that, and multivitamins and minerals and omega 3-6-9 oils (vegan, bang the drum and be clear.  Made by a company called Vertese and available at Holland and Barrett).

Today at Macmillan Close

We just moved back (three of us) to our own house on the close after we had to move out two weeks ago for decorators.  Can’t see much difference myself.  It smells of paint and one of my windows has been repaired.

Last week I wrote Dr Leaske, my psychiatrist, a long letter explaining that I thought my diagnosis should be more around trauma and grief and menopause.  I was hoping he wouldn’t renew the section 3 (I thought he wouldn’t anyway) but he did, and he wasn’t at all impressed when I said that I wasn’t violent and that the things from the community were just malicious slander.  He said he had to take them into account.  So white van man with a nasty streak is allowed to dictate the decisions made about my life.  Dr Leaske talked about building up trust, but really it all seems to be required one way.  Even when I gave my word that I would continue to take the poison if he didn’t put me on another section he wouldn’t accept it.

After we moved this morning I had an appointment with my key nurse.  All the time she was talking and reading me my rights, all I wanted to do was cry.  I believe that would be more healing than any drugs they gave me. She didn’t seem to pick up on that though.  Some nurses vent around me, reacting in not their normal voices when I open my mouth and sound relaxed.  One man actually shouts out, like ‘oh’, effectively.  I find that shocking and frightening.  Also abusive.  It is like psychological rape.  I know I’ve said all this before but this saga continues and elicits the same feelings.  It’s control and domination, and its unprofessional, I think.

I feel what they are doing to me despises me as a human and a woman in grief and menopause.  In spite of the fact that he (my psychiatrist) reduced my medication and agreed to let me come off it and see how I got on, they are still defining me and controlling me as before.  I feel normal and happy and positive, under the grief, if they would just leave me alone.  He wants me to see a psychologist/psychotherapist.  We are at loggerheads but I feel as if I am having to come round to seeing some things his way in spite of that.  I don’t want to deal with my situation under the auspices of the mental health system.

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