Tag Archive: Mental Health


Yesterday in my blog entry I said I thought the people I believe are trying to communicate with me and get me to go to them should be coming to me, and I thought I should clarify my reasons for this.  I did state my position on it years ago, from which I have not, by my actions and commitments, deviated very much, although I have given in to emotion and feelings of urgency (mine and others’) from time to time, but my position remains the same.

First, I think it is an abuse of power for people to use media or any other platform to put people on the spot at a distance by identifying them to themselves and others in various ways, while not actually naming them and fully and openly committing themselves to the communication.  They assume the right to do this while giving themselves a get out clause if, for some reason, they don’t like the person’s response.

Second, in my case they seem to be saying that, now they are actually convinced of what I have been saying for years, and now they have read my defences and explanations, everybody’s doors are wide open to me, I am not alone, I have support if I will respond.

a) That should ALWAYS have been there.  Instead, they decided it was all a mental health issue and distanced themselves from me and everything I said.  Apart from that, they are still hiding behind the same stuff they have always used.

b) I believe what they have been doing to me has been a human rights abuse from the beginning, and they are prepared to continue with it if they don’t get the required response from me: the media targeting, invasion of privacy, gang stalking (even if it is from official and so-called responsible people), computer hacking or collaboration with other sites I use (I don’t know how it works, but how else would they get some of the information about my internet activities that they have (see yesterday’s entry re: John Baldock and St Matthew’s Church)?

“I believe that to abuse a person’s legal and human rights until further information comes to light that makes you think it might possibly be time to recognise and respect those rights again as long as the person co-operates with your terms, is neither justified nor reasonable.”

I just made that up.

For everyone they try to convince that they are a special case in the way they are being ‘reached out to’ for restoration (Church terms, I think, rather than legal), there are many others who, for one reason or another, are not receiving the same overtures.  I said years ago that I stand with other involuntary mental health patients whose legal and human rights have been butchered and who have been virtually abandoned and invalidated, along with their perceptions and true assertions, because of the prejudice and stigma which are attached to their mental health diagnosis and are possibly the original cause for it in the first place.  There are many people who appear on tv programmes these days whose voice of gratitude for their diagnoses is promoted.  I don’t know, I haven’t checked this statistically, but I think there are many more who, like me, are not grateful for diagnoses or the ways they have been treated.

I feel a lot of pressure and less-than-honest expectation is being put on me to show a right heart and attitude.  I think I have to question the heart and attitude towards me of the people who do this.  I believe I am showing a right heart and attitude, but I hope it is towards others who have been similarly disenfranchised rather than people who want to secure a nice relationship with the odd individual here and there and come to a loving understanding rather than come clean unilaterally about their abuse (hate crime, if you will) and give proper legal redress, leaving the person, and other people like them who might likewise find redress as a result, free to decide if and how they want to pursue any further relationship or affiliation.

To me this is not a position of pride.  Committing it to a blog entry like this makes that clear to me, although I have often felt as if I’m just being proud and pretentious.  I think it is the necessary position in view of the legalities I believe need to be met.  Rights are not the same as privileges, so I heard in Church.  They are not given and conferred, or even stolen somehow, but are recognised.  I believe that we all have the same rights, and we all have the responsibility to recognise and respect those rights for everyone else.  We may lose privileges, but never rights.

Here I stand.  I believe I should do no other.

Possible Mental Health Assessment

I asked my housing patch manager to get involved with the situation with my neighbour. She spoke to him once before, months ago, and he said there was no problem. On Friday she told me she has spoken to him again and he now says I shout and play my music loud and she thinks a referral for a mental health assessment would be appropriate. That really scared me as, when I was in London, if I dared to say I thought I was being stalked and harassed they would set the wheels in motion without even telling me and turn up early in the morning unannounced being aggressive at my door. I wrote her a long email telling her why I thought it wouldn’t be appropriate which I also sent to my old CPN and my present psychologist, who is against the medical model in psychiatry. The only person I heard back from was my old CPN on something different I had added in another email as an afterthought, and she didn’t even mention what my housing patch manager had said, and I’ve heard nothing from my psychologist on it either. I’ve been really nervous all weekend, while at the same time trying to be relaxed about it and succeeding, I think, to a great extent, and believing I have every good reason to be. I’ve even been scared to write a blog post or Facebook status about it in case that somehow went against me. I’m not sure what is going on or why I have received no answer on the issue and am hoping they are not going to do what they did in London, but I stayed up to slice some bread I baked on Saturday morning and put it in a bag and into the freezer as a way of setting my house in order in case they turn up in the morning. Usually it has been a given that they are going to detain me. If they do, I won’t be allowed to use my laptop in the bedroom and I think not on the ward either, and they didn’t let me go out last time for about 2 weeks. Something to do with getting habituated to the environment but actually they just let me go out once they had completely broken me down and destroyed my confidence. I don’t know why, they just did. So if I get detained, if an assessment takes place, I might be offline for a while. I’m hoping my passport application goes through OK as well and I think I’m supposed to be at home to sign for it, so I don’t know what would happen there. All being well it is due within the next week. If they don’t turn up though I’m going to see my mum tomorrow, as usual. I feel as if I am being silly and making a fuss about nothing. I hope I’m right. The ridiculous thing is, months ago it was ME that told her I was shouting and losing it in reaction to the harassment, and she did nothing. Now she has it from him, though, she is talking about a mental health assessment. Why would she give his word so much power over mine? She did nothing when she heard it from me and he denied there was a problem.  I have wondered if maybe he thought he was giving me a chance and I have blown it.  For the sake of accuracy she did say she would, however, be prepared to talk to me about it again, but I said that I thought we had said all we could and I didn’t really want to have to go through it all again.  So the silence frightens me.  No feedback or discussion at all so far.  If this turns out to be the preliminary to someone knocking at my door I think it is totally wrong.  Having told me she is considering a Mental Health Act assessment I hope she might at least tell me she is going to go ahead with it and maybe even make an appointment, it would be consistent. But no one has ever given me an appointment for an assessment before, it’s always, without exception, been a surprise visit.

Bust up 05.07.2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have I Learnt Something?

Everyone knows the background and experience from which I am saying this, so I won’t go into it again.  I think I’ve learnt that MY life and the way I actually WANT to be treated doesn’t matter to ANYONE.  No one takes anything by faith, they want to see what THEY believe to be evidence first, and even then they insist on their own terms, hiding and justifying their crimes of stalking and corruption.  I’m scared to say this, I feel as if I am committing an indecency and outrage.  My heart is really soft, I’m always aware of my own failures and inconsistencies when I say something like this.  At some point in Church I was taught that we shouldn’t defend ourselves.  That confession of sin should be confession of sin and we should make no excuses.  One pastor, at least, said that as Christians we have no rights.  I suppose that must be ordinary Christians like me, not Church leaders, who seem to feel they have the right to twist and break the law in relation to me and maybe call it discipline, I don’t know what they are calling it anymore.  The expectation seems to be that they call and identify from their studios and platforms and I should respond.  Or are they deliberately trying to keep me alienated by continuing to do something they know I believe is holding onto their corruption and criminality towards me, as a mental patient in particular?  Are they just identifying me to others, in my hearing, should I choose to listen, and criticising my life to hide their own crimes?  Sometimes I really think so, that I think I matter too much if I actually think they are calling me by these methods.  Shouting out and bullying and cowering behind the trenches, wheedling and pleading, bitter, acrid, sugary, anything and everything except send an email or something that puts any power into my hands and takes any responsibility.  I have so many memories.  That’s just the Church, let alone secular media.  And those memories are added to daily.

Edit note: 6:10 pm – Lol, just to make me a liar, it is available now!  This is a recent thing, they used never to become available, or at least, I would have given up after days of trying if they did!

I posted what I thought were some quite significant things yesterday, and wrote some official emails I needed to write to Nottingham City Homes, to whom I have reported my situation with my neighbour and who, in spite of my explaining to them that I am an emotionally and psychologically vulnerable person and find face to face conversations with people who have power in my situation difficult because I often find them manipulative and overpowering, have been insisting that they cannot progress my complaint without a face to face meeting.  This, in spite of the fact that I have told them everything I can, there is nothing more to tell, really, and that I have said I want to keep things in writing for legal reasons.  I asked them in 3 or 4 emails over 2 or 3 days if there was another way to approach the situation, and the person involved kept replying with emails that didn’t answer the question.  In the end I said I was not prepared to trust them in a face to face conversation anyway if they would neither confirm nor deny the possibility of a different approach.  And guess who feels in the wrong?  Muggins, me!  I feel guilty and so unworthy of their kind attention!  Honestly, I’m not being sarcastic.  This must be manipulation at its best, don’t you think?

This is relevant to the title of my post because, for some time now, Premier has been making especially its Inspirational Breakfast unavailable at times when I have written something that, to me seems to be quite significant.  They feed lots of things back to me as well, that they shouldn’t, it seems to me, have access to.  As I have said before, they are not the only ones who do this.  Everyone who is accessing me and withholding from me in this way is making me feel reliant on them and that I should be and am grateful to them and I think that is wrong.

The stalking started with Premier and the Church, over 20 years ago now.  But secular media have been doing the same thing, both to me and to people connected with me.  Some of my Facebook friends have recently posted some very interesting material which demonstrates this.  Music I have played recently has started to feature a lot in adverts, for instance.  A lot, it seems to me it can only be by design.  I am needing to stress and assert this because I know my nurses, at least, read this blog and I am afraid of the actions  they they could take towards me so much I believe I have to do my best to make myself absolutely clear and justify what I am saying.  Otherwise I wouldn’t feel the need to bother doing that.  It does seem to me it makes things quite laboured.  Really it is a form of stalking in itself.  They claim no awareness of what is happening.  Strange, so many other people are made aware.

OK, full stop.  Not going to pad it out or try and write a piece with a good ending today.  Just some factual stuff.  Have a good day.  Thanks for reading.

This is a happy version of me, taken today

1-me-smiling-at-myself-in-the-mirror

This is how I look at someone I feel relaxed with and loved and accepted by and who I also love and realise is amazing. In this case, myself in the mirror!

http://www.courtenay-young.co.uk/courtenay/articles/Phenomenological_Psychotherapy.pdf

This is an interesting and informative article found on the website of Courtenay Young, a psychotherapist in the UK.

Abstract
This paper looks at the practice of psychotherapy from a phenomenological approach, covering areas that are not usually within the more traditional ‘bio-psycho-social’ model, but also include economic, political, cultural, and environmental areas, and possibly several others. It further compares the more philosophical and pragmatic approach of a process-oriented practice of psychotherapy to the biomedical ‘treatment’ of psychiatry.
Keywords
Psychotherapy, Phenomenology, Psychiatry, Practice

It is an approach informed by people like R D Laing, Thomas Szasz, Michel Foucault, Jean-Paul Sartre, among many others.  It is in favour of therapeutic communities like Soteria, founded by Leon Mosher.

I like the fact that he says he likes the writing of Zen Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hahn, on mindfulness, as it is more poetical than some other writing, and that he is also on the board for the body and dance in psychotherapy.  It’s not all about words and science.

The article goes a lot into the philosophy of the approach and although it does use some long words, most of them are explained, and he gives several examples of people he has worked with.

There is a section in blue which lists and talks about the the groupings of “mental and behavioural disorders” (his quotes), found in the ICD-10, the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), which is an international standard diagnostic classification for a wide variety of health conditions.  It is used as an example of how a phenomenological model is used in psychiatry.  It’s not very long, the article quickly gets back to its own subject of a phenomenological model for psychotherapy, saying that “phenomenology has come a lot further than when it was first proposed back at the beginning of the 20th century, and it is not just useful as a classification system”.

The article is 21 pages long so is a long read but, as I said, it is very interesting and informative, and you can download it.  I enjoyed it.  It gives a link to his website and his email address at the end.

Suggested Reading

I have just been reading through my entries tagged Highbury Hospital, and it brought back memories.  I had an awful time there.  I would like to direct new readers (and old) to those posts.  It was not a healing atmosphere, and I believe I was very victimised there, probably in retaliation for my blog and speaking out.  Please read some of them and leave comments.  Click on Highbury Hospital in my tag cloud a little way down on the right.

Coffee With My Nurse

Every Thursday one of my nurses and I go out for coffee, it’s part of the social inclusion programme.  He’s a nice man, his name is Pete.  He helped me out practically when I first moved in here.  We talk about a lot of things, including religion.  This week religion came up because I said I hadn’t heard anything about Raif Badawi this week.  Raif is the writer and activist in Saudi Arabia who has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for his blog on free speech and liberalism in which he criticised some of the clerics, which was taken as an insult to Islam.  (For a petition by Amnesty International seeking to get this stopped please see here).

Pete said it was terrible what was being done in the name of religion, and said the Church used to do the same thing with its witch trials, for example.  The subject of demon possession came up, and I told him about my experiences of being told either that I was demon possessed or that I was ‘heavily demonised’.

The time I was told I was demon possessed was when I was a 12 year old girl in 1973.  I had lost my frightening father to suicide the year before.  Two of the elders of the church I was going to told me that I was demon possessed because I stared too much.  I suppose I did stare.  I stared particularly at one of them, because he was my father’s age and musical like my father, and I wanted to be a part of their family, informally.  He was a father figure.  The other elder – no, deacon – his wife told me that the man I saw as a father figure just saw me as a silly little girl.  They must have thought I fancied him or something (he was 38, I was 12, he was married with 3 children).  When they first tried to pray for me they decided I didn’t want help and told me I wasn’t to go back until I wanted help.  I think they also told me I couldn’t have communion.  The second time they prayed for me the deacon was bothered that I had practised a prayer instead of just praying on the spot, but the man I saw as a father figure said he felt good about it.  Apparently they saw a mouse which I didn’t see, and they told me the demons had gone into the mouse.  All I knew was that I wasn’t allowed to get close to the people I wanted, and I was hurt and upset, and frightened.  That fear left me briefly about 20 years ago, but it quickly came back when I was disrespected at the church I was going to in London.

At the church I went to in London, St Barnabas, Woodside Park in North Finchley, soon after my first experience in a mental hospital, I was so traumatised I was shouting when I was afraid.  I asked the vicar, who at that time was John Coles, what he would tell God when He asked him why he called the police on me, and John said he would say that he was dealing with someone who was ‘heavily demonised’.

I told Pete about both of these experiences and he said about the first one that I was obviously traumatised and they should have been dealing with trauma, not performing an exorcism.  He said it was child abuse, which I agree with.  David Shearman once told me he had been angry when he found out about it.  Unfortunately his anger did not relieve my pain and fear.  I lived for years worrying about demons, and looking into the mirror and seeing something evil in my eyes.  I can’t remember what Pete said about the second time, in London, that I had this forced on me.  But he said it all sounded medieval.  He also said that he thought people were like a piano, with all the notes available, and you just decide what you are going to play.

My worry is, have I misrepresented the Church?  They meant well, didn’t they?  Although I find that hard to believe, given how much anger was expressed.

I looked up the two people involved when I was 12.  One of them died in 2012 (the man whose family I wanted to be part of), and the other is an elder in a Christian Fellowship somewhere.  I didn’t recognise him but I recognised his wife, easily.

Doing Something Different

Today I am doing something I haven’t done in a while – I am sitting in a pub using The Cloud to download.  I have been limiting myself to what my dongle can do, which isn’t very much and is very slow and hit and miss.  Last night I tried to download some Decameron, a folk group, and only one track downloaded successfully.  I have now managed to download the whole album.  Really I wanted Parabola Road from way back, but it isn’t on Napster anymore, which is a pain.  What made me come over was wanting to download some Noam Chomsky, one of his latest lectures, When Elites Fail.  As he says, the easy answer is just get rid of them, but the working answer is harder.  I look forward to listening to this when I go back to my bedroom.

I have a move in date for my bungalow now, it is 15th September.  Unfortunately part of the flooring has been pulled up.  They say it was probably dangerous but it looked fine to me.  I’m going to need some time to be able to replace it, so I hope they are not in a hurry to get rid of me at Broomhill House.  My CPN Jennie Wainwright is looking into a charity for me, and I am going to make another application for a budgeting loan.

There are some great blogs that I am following, they make me feel really boring in the way I write.  I just read an entry from Beyond Meds, about the Red Tent groups.  I wonder if they have them in the UK.  She also talked about yoga and ecstatic dancing groups, as alternatives to clinical approaches to mental health.  I am very much in favour of this approach.  She talked about sound healing as well.  Michael Mish is into that, he studied something called Tama Do.  I miss him.  I had an email correspondence with him for about a year but he broke it off.  He felt I had tricked him.  He said sometimes you try to help people but it goes wrong.  I still listen to his music, I often play I Can Heal to fall asleep to.  I love all his music.  I wish he would get back in touch.  The latest I knew he was trying to sell his house so he could go on the road.  Funny, here’s me needing a home and him trying to get rid of one.  He says on the road you realise how nice people can be.

I’m seeing an Assertive Outreach worker on Tuesday about getting a shed.  He used to work in a place that does them and we are going there.  I have no idea how much they would charge to erect it.  I saw a company that gives an inclusive price for erecting a wooden one, but not a metal one.  This might turn out to be more expensive than I can handle.   I am anxious to get my stuff out of storage, as the part I am thinking about costs me £96 every 4 weeks, and I can’t afford to be leaking that at the moment.  I have thought about getting it out and storing it in the bungalow until I can get the shed, but then heavy and awkward stuff will have to transferred to the shed and it will need 2 men to do it.  I think it is best to do it while the removals people are actually there and available.  My mum is lending me some money for the move but it still isn’t enough.  It would be far easier if I didn’t have my own stuff to move in and get out of storage.  It would be easier if the bungalow were bigger as well, then I wouldn’t need a shed.  I have got used to the idea of living there, it’s not impossible, but there is so much expense associated with it. I need a letter from the council for Housing Benefit, stating address, date of moving and amount of rent, and I don’t think they have given it to me.  They have given me a couple of folders with contracts, but that isn’t what Housing Benefit asks for.

There is one more thing – my self care isn’t good, I feel tired and overwhelmed and incapable.  Every so often they prompt me to have a shower, and last time they said I couldn’t use the kitchen unless I had a shower, so I was two days not allowed in the kitchen.  Last time the person who told me was angry with me, although it is supposed to be a symptom of schizophrenia, so her anger didn’t make much sense, from that perspective.  She also told me there was a conversation documented from that weekend that I had been asked to have a shower, but although the conversation was documented, no such conversation took place.  So if they are lying about things like that, what other lies are in my notes?

31.08.2014

My radio is playing up, it won’t transmit properly without interference unless I’m sitting still in the middle of the room or right on top of it, so I’ve been playing my way through my Napster library (yes, I’m still with Napster) to see why I downloaded the items in the first place.

I don’t normally play my music during the day, but I’ve got a few that I go to at night and play in an attempt to get myself off to sleep, so yesterday and today I thought I’d do a whistlestop tour of everything in my library, except it’s not whistlestop, I’m playing them right through in alphabetical order of artist.

I’ve got some ‘music for deep meditation’ on at the moment called Bansuri.  I’ve had Alfie Boe on, someone called Antman reading the first 29 Psalms, Amy Grant, AudioBible reading of the Gospel of John, Andy Williams (downloaded for my mother) and Arthur Rubenstein playing Chopin’s Nocturnes.  That’s just the first few.  I’m into the Bs now but I can’t be bothered to list them.  While I’ve been listening to all this I have been tweeting and retweeting on Twitter.  I’ve had a few new followers today and I’ve gone over the 200 mark.

I’ve got a move coming up in the next 2 or 3 weeks to an absolute rabbit hutch of a bungalow.  I’m very anxious about it.  There is plenty of garden so I am erecting a shed in the back to store my belongings which won’t fit into the bungalow.  Within 4 months it will have paid for itself as the alternative would be to keep my stuff in storage.  I’m worried that the shed might not be big enough, I’m worried about money, and I’m worried that I won’t be able to find the things I want inside the bungalow.

In my planning I am compensating for not having a lot of space in my bungalow by working towards being able to afford a cheap house in Bulgaria.  You can get something really spacious for about 6 or 7 thousand euros, and I’m thinking of taking my stuff over there with me.  I know it seems drastic but it’s the only way I am going to have my own space, and the countryside is lovely.  Without a landlord breathing down my neck there I should have a different experience from my first one, if I own my own property.  I should feel more secure.  I should feel secure here, but I feel doomed to a cramped and impoverished existence.  Maybe it’s my fault and I’m being too negative and ungrateful.  I can’t honestly see how I can make it home though.

I’ve got the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band on now, ‘Gorilla’.  Tommy Boyd introduced me to that on his radio programme.

The war on grief

Everything Matters: Beyond Meds

by Robert D. Stolorow

traumaThe DSM5, the most recent version of psychiatry’s diagnostic bible, makes it possible to classify grieving that endures beyond a rather brief span of time as a mental illness.

This pathologizing of grief has ancient roots extending back at least as far as the Stoics, whose stern ascetic morality preached a perfect indifference that eschewed all passionate attachments. The ideal of selfless asceticism was carried forth in early Christianity, showing up dramatically, for example, in the Confessions of the prominent 12th century monk, Saint Bernard, who was wracked with guilt over his grief for his beloved dead brother. His brother, after all, was enjoying eternal happiness in heaven, so Bernard could only feel his grieving his loss as a manifestation of a wicked selfishness on his own part.

The pathologizing of grief was continued by the philosopher Rene Descartes, usually considered to be the initiator of…

View original post 391 more words

Broomhill House

In my last post I said the regimentalism here was getting me down.  By regimentalism I meant the 10 am get up time and the slots for meals.  Possibly it wasn’t that fair of me to say that because when it comes to it most people are quite flexible, some more than others.  For the time being this is my home, and it’s not really too bad, all things considered.  There is a lot of banter and humour between the staff and between ourselves and the staff.  However, the serious issues remain, it’s just that they are not looked at very often, and I fear that if we tried we might end up feeling the worse for it.  The serious stuff comes out at tribunals.  They said I was grandiose and had pressure of speech.  They said I lacked insight.

As a Christian I believe I need to be kind and forgiving.  That doesn’t seem to be far away from giving the impression that I am complying happily.  But then the guns come out at tribunals, the guns they have trained on me.  Dismissing me as grandiose, for what reason I do not know.  That is the people who sat on the panel.

The worst thing about sleeping here is the plastic mattresses.  Every night I wake up several times too hot and throw the duvet off, and every morning I can feel the sweat pouring off of me, and my hair is plastered to my back.  I’ve been told that my bedroom is next to the one which is right over the boiler, I don’t know if that makes any difference, or if it is just the weather and the building.  My mother says she prefers the cold weather, because if she is too cold she can do something about it, whereas it is a lot harder if you are too hot.  We haven’t got fans or anything, if we had the noise would be a disturbance.

I’ve thought about going back to the place in Sherwood to ask other neighbours if they heard the woman shouting hallelujah above me.  It seems to me that the psychiatrists want to put that down to auditory hallucinations.  I don’t know how they can be so definite without making proper checks, maybe it is just a delusion in their own heads, subsidiary to their own delusions of grandeur and power and importance.

Maybe this is a period of transition for me.  I no longer have my nice flat apart from the neighbours and the bitumen on the floorboards.  I might not get a garden this time.  I wonder how long it is going to take them to come up with a property for me.  People are saying I’m on priority listing, but there must be others as well.  I was told some Salvation Army flats were being withdrawn from people who were living in them and the number 70 was mentioned as the number of people who would be consequentially homeless.  What with that and the present shortage of one bedroom flats I imagine I might have to wait for a very long time before something comes up for me.  The tribunal said something about wanting to have me moving on by July, but I can’t see that happening.  As much as I am trying to be reasonable and understanding and friendly towards people who are really so different from me, I really don’t want to have to make this my home for a long time.  The humour and banter are just distractions from the very important fact that, ultimately, it is a power relationship that I am on the wrong side of.  I have said in the past that this is little more than an open prison.  For me that is true, being on a Section 3.  I hate coming back here when I go out.  I am trying to work on my tendency to see this as a them and us situation, but it is hard.  I have no choice but to be here, I can’t leave if I want to.  People talk about state kidnap in relation to this situation, and that does feel true at the end of the day.

People have looked at my post ‘Striking Poses’ over the last few days, so I re-read it today and still find it relevant.  Let it be noted that I had problems at Macmillan Close even on medication that I am not experiencing here.  My key nurse asked me if the fact that I am not experiencing the same problems here didn’t suggest something about being on medication, but it is not that simple.

Update 02.05.2014

I had my tribunal on Tuesday and as I expected, I was not discharged.  It was funny though, when I went back in for the result they all looked uncomfortable, as if they hadn’t wanted to reach the decision they had reached.  They didn’t discharge me and they recommended I be discharged into the community eventually on a CTO (Community Treatment Order).

Joanna Moncrieff (and many others) say antipsychotics cause brain damage, within a year.  I quoted Joanna Moncrieff at my tribunal, saying that she had said that medicalising suffering leads to loss of meaning for people.  I am in the process of having brain damage forced on me.

The Council for Evidence Based Psychiatry met with people in parliament on Wednesday.  One can only hope that people in power are going to start listening and making changes to the power relationship.

At the tribunal the hospital staff said I had not made progress while I have been here and that I don’t engage at any depth.  I said I don’t engage at depth because I know what they think and I disagree with them, and that it would cause conflict and I don’t want that.  I said I had a right to be distressed without it being medicalised.

I said that people who say they are being stalked should have that looked into properly and not be put in hospital, because stalking is a crime now, since very recently.  I am shocked that it was not a crime before.  I told them I believed I was a victim of organised stalking, I also told them my brother had been on television following the murder of a child in Bestwood, where we used to live and where my brother had continued to live, and that he has said that if things that have happened to him got out his own life would be put at risk.  I don’t know where he has got that idea from or what has been happening to him, he doesn’t want any of us to know where he is living.  The conversation I had with him was during a chance meeting at the Victoria Centre.  Would they want to write him off as psychotic as well?  He sounded very heavy but if he is living with that kind of fear it isn’t surprising.

Update 26.04.2014

Nearly 3 weeks ago Homelink told my Moving Forward worker Natasha that in 2 weeks they would offer me a place to live, but my new worker phoned them again on Thursday, 2 days after the 2 weeks, and they said they haven’t got anything suitable yet.  So why did they say 2 weeks in the first place?

On May 1st it will be exactly 2 years that I have been in hospital, mainly because of housing difficulties, and I can see myself being here another year yet, that is my fear.  They’ve only recently decided they have a responsibility for me.  They were saying they had no responsibility.

Homelessness here sucks, if I want to go off the ward, unless I ride the buses, which I haven’t done, it involves spending money.  I have no place to go off the ward.  I can’t afford to have to spend money every time I go out.

On the ward I am playing cards and dominoes quite a lot at the moment, I play Patience if no one else is available.  I never thought life would come to this for me.  This is what old people do.  There is a swimming group but I’m not too keen on swimming, especially as it takes me ages to get dressed again afterwards, I wouldn’t want to go as part of a group.

I’ve got my concessionary bus pass now so travel is easier, but before I wasn’t going out because I didn’t want to spend the bus fare, but now I am going out I’m spending more, and I really can’t afford it.

In a couple of weeks I am going to file for bankruptcy.  That costs £525 if you are on benefits, and a lot more if you are not.

In 3 days I have a mental health tribunal hearing.  I want to be discharged from my section but I can’t see it happening.  I hope finding a home won’t take too much longer, I’m sure it is worse living here than living in a hostel.  Some of the staff are nice and try to be kind, but homelessness is homelessness, and I am tired of being in hospital just because I have no home.

This article in The New Scientist details attempts which have been successful over several periods, including a 7-year period, to treat the classic symptoms of schizophrenia using talking therapies and computerised methods without medication, and says that people who are medication-free rebuild their lives more successfully.  It questions the dopamine theory as well.

At the end of this article is a link to another called Antipsychotic drugs are schizophrenia’s hidden gulag, which says that it is a human rights emergency that people diagnosed with schizophrenia are expected to take antipsychotics for the rest of their lives.

I am pleased that these articles are in a publication like The New Scientist and that they detail instances of successful treatment without drugs.  The groundswell against the present treatment of people diagnosed as schizophrenic needs to grow, and that is one reason I write this blog.

These articles were posted by the Facebook group, Speak Out Against Psychiatry.  This is an informative, supportive and active group which campaigns against psychiatry and its abuses.  Please apply for membership.

Broomhill House

I’ve survived my first two days and it’s not that bad.  This morning I met Vince the cook and my care-co-ordinator’s husband.  He got my food shifted to a lower shelf for me. The person below me is a lot taller so he swapped us round.  He also told me that if I wanted to cook properly from scratch they could open the kitchen a bit earlier for me, and that they preferred it when people cooked from scratch.  So what is written is a guideline only.  However, I still wish the kitchen was open whenever we wanted it.  Maybe with so many people it would be harder to manage.

Ben is back tomorrow so I am hoping that we might be able to sit down and talk about accommodation and getting me a bus pass.  I’m going to register with a GP today as well.  One of the student nurses is taking me there.  We went yesterday but it was closed for staff training.  I bought some food yesterday as well – a loaf of bread, honey, a fish pie, a lamb hotpot, some onions, some ice cream and other bits and pieces.

My depot is due today.  I always hate that but recently I have been forgetting about it, so I’m not anxiously counting off the days.

I’m waiting to see some people from an organisation called Framework.  One will be helping me appeal against an over-payment of DLA and the other will be helping me with accommodation.  I spent the over-payment.  It feels a bit grubby saying that, but I did tell the nurses three times that my DLA needed to be stopped and they said they had got in touch, but it still wasn’t stopped.  At the moment they want to take it back incrementally.  My finances are a real mess at the moment, as I have indicated before.

I haven’t really unpacked anything yet.  I have so many bags it’s a nightmare, and storage space in my bedroom is limited.  I have a chest of drawers with 3 drawers, a bedside table with a couple of compartments, and a wardrobe which is half shelves.  We could do with a bin in the rooms, but I don’t have one, I assume I’m not unique in that.  I don’t really have the energy to deal with anything.  The thought of having a shower is daunting, it is so small it feels claustrophobic.  I’ve set my radio and speakers up and also I have my laptop with a lot of my music on which I can also connect to my speakers if I want to.  At the moment I have Radio 3 on and I think they are playing Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, in fact I know they are.  The familiar Ode to Joy theme.

It’s lunchtime now and I have a pot of bean salad to eat, so I’ll be going down in a few minutes.

I’m still waiting for Housing Aid to get back to me with their decision, whatever it’s going to be.  I asked for an idea of how long it might take and received no answer.  Overall I feel quite positive at the moment.  It’s amazing what some good food can do for you!

Moved!

I moved this afternoon at 2pm.  I had no lunch as everything was packed away, I just had a boiled egg and toast for breakfast, to get rid of the egg that needed using up by today.  I was counting on a roast dinner being provided this evening. but when dinner time came round it was just scrambled egg and baked beans on toast.  People had miscommunicated with me by calling lunch dinner.  The roast was for lunch, and I wasn’t there.  Food is provided for us here on Wednesday and Sunday, the rest of the time is self-catering.

I am worried about my food cupboard as it is just one shelf in a cupboard above the sink, and I can’t reach it.  Everything I have cupboardwise is jam packed onto that one shelf and there is a sink underneath it, so nowhere to put the things I would need to move to get at the things behind them.  Although there are 12 of us to feed ourselves the kitchen is locked longer than it is open and mealtimes are regimented into 1 1/4 hour slots after which the kitchen is locked up again until the next designated hour and a quarter.  If you miss it you can’t just eat later.  That means on days I go to see my mum I might miss two meals, lunch and dinner.

My room’s OK.  It’s got an armchair and en suite shower and toilet.  No rails for towels.

The staff seem friendly and have suggested a way to deal with the cupboard situation ie stand on a step but it’s still not going to solve the problem completely.  There is far too little space and things are likely to fall out if I try to negotiate my way around it.  Enright Close was better, this feels like organised chaos and I resent it already.  Ben is here from Macmillan Close and he is my key nurse.  I’ve got a dripping tap in the bathroom and it is really loud.  I turned it so it wouldn’t drip but it has started dripping again.  This is the stuff nightmares are made of.  I know I’m going to be really anxious here.

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.

Christmas at the Asylum

Christmas has definitely started here.  The staff put a tree and decorations up about a week ago and today they gave our bungalow two tins of biscuits and two tubes of sour cream and onion Pringles.  They told us there was tons of food and if we couldn’t see it to ask.

We’ve also got painters in, and they are in the kitchen at the moment, from whence can be heard lots of laughter and giggles.  Last time I saw I think they were laughing at something on one of their mobile phones.  They did the bathroom and shower earlier this week.  They are starting on our bedrooms after Christmas.

At least two of this bungalow’s residents are going to be away for an extended leave at Christmas, and one is possibly going to be gone for two nights, which means I will be on my own in the bungalow for possibly two nights but definitely for a fair bit of Christmas day.  I’m getting used to being here and sharing now, it could be odd being on my own when I leave.  Hopefully it will be nice though, having my own space.  Being able to drink a glass of wine in my home space again will be nice.

All the women in this bungalow get on all right with each other.  There is none of the nastiness that existed at Macmillan Close with the two women who kept picking on me there.  Three out of four of us are homeless, the other has a home but I think some work is being done on it, if I remember rightly.  Something like that anyway.

I can’t remember if I said that my benefits have been slashed by £50 a week to £60.90.  If it weren’t for my storage I could cope with that quite happily, but things are going to be extremely tight.  I can’t afford to go out, so I’ve been staying in.

I’ve also started buying meat, eggs and cheese again from the supermarket.  I decided that if I was going to eat omnivorously when I am out sometimes I should bring the decision home and start cooking omnivorously again.  I am enjoying it most of the time, tastes that I’ve not had for ages, butter instead of sunflower spread, for instance.  I sometimes feel revolted by the fact that I am eating dead animal which stays in my digestive system, and think of all the animal fats clogging my arteries and the increased risk of diet-related cancers.  I’ve also found bowel movements more difficult.  For now though this is the decision I have taken, and am enjoying the variety of tastes and textures that are available to me again.  I have forgotten how to cook meat though, so I find myself looking things up on the internet.

Interesting Week

It was my birthday on Sunday, I was 53.  I got 3 birthday cards, 1 from one of the women who lives here, 1 from the staff and one my sister sent to my mother for me which I got on Monday when I went to see her.  The staff bought me some presents, a snood and gloves, some Laura Ashley smelly stuff and some Milk Tray chocolates.  My mum gave me some money.

On Monday I got a call from Guinness Housing Association about a house in Bacup, in Lancashire.  They sent me an email with an outside view.  I made a mistake, I thought Bacup was in Derbyshire, but I must have mistaken it for Bakewell, because Bacup is in Lancashire.  The outside view is lovely, rolling hills and everything, white house in the middle of a terraced row.  I was a bit nervous about that, these days I am not very tolerant of noise and I want my home to be quiet.  Contrarily I have also wanted to be able to sing in my home, but I think those days might be over.  On the other hand it would be nice to think they were not.  I can see it in Bulgaria, but not here.  Even Bulgaria will take me some time to save up for.

Last Tuesday, the 19th, at the Managers’ hearing, Dr Moldavsky told the panel that I had talked about going to Bulgaria but that he thought it was unrealistic.  I brought that up with my allocated nurse yesterday and she told me he hadn’t said that at the time, but that we would have to talk about it.  I don’t know why he has suddenly decided it is unrealistic but he seemed to want to present it as a symptom of mental illness.  I resent him deeply, and especially the fact that he took that position.  He asks me questions to which I give short but adequate answers, then he eyes me in silence before asking me something else.  Every time I answer him he eyes me in silence, as if what I have given him is not enough or as if it is plenty to uphold the diagnosis.  He does not respect my boundaries because if he did he wouldn’t interpret them the way he does, as indicators of mental illness.  They have been dragging me emotionally through the same stuff with the same kinds of questions and disrespect for nearly 18 years.  Surely I have the right to say ‘no more’, but he won’t see it that way.  He wouldn’t tell me what part of the world he comes from but I suspect him as coming from a culture where people cow tow to professionals and where women cow tow to men.  He doesn’t see me as having the right to reject what he wants from me in terms of self disclosure.  I have the right not to disclose my pain and vulnerability to people who are going to define it in ways I fundamentally disagree with.  I hardly ever see the staff unless I need to ask them for paracetamol or Peptac for indigestion or heartburn, and they always on the surface accept my answer that everything is fine, and last week they said I had neither declined nor made progress, but I don’t think there has been enough engagement for them to make that assessment.  They thought it was positive that I accepted the injection, but I only accept it for fear of the consequences they would visit on me if I don’t.

I’m going to stop now.  I am writing in the lounge where a male nurse has just come in and called me darling and is cutting someone’s hair for her.  He is showing her photographs from his modeling shoot, one of which is for Playboy.  I think it is an insult that people who are prepared to model for Playboy should be contributing a professional opinion on my mental health.  They want him to go to London tomorrow to do some more.  I think it is his modeling agency, not Playboy.  I’m sitting here afraid to say anything about the morality of it and his morality in comparison to mine for fear of the backchat or straightforward lack of understanding it would provoke.  He’s Oh God-ing it now.  I am deeply offended and angry, because they play blind even if they are not.  Actually I should feel sorry for him and not judgmental, because he obviously is blind.  But I wonder if the unit manager knows about his extra work activities?

Emily Dickinson Poem

Much madness is divinest sense
To a discerning eye;
Much sense the starkest madness.
‘T is the majority
In this, as all, prevails.
Assent, and you are sane;
Demur, — you’re straightway dangerous,
And handled with a chain.

Dickinson, Emily (2011-03-24). Poems by Emily Dickinson, Series One (p. 26). . Kindle Edition.

Updated Books Page

I’ve updated my books page today with some books by R D Laing.  I’ve read two and am reading one.  The two I have read are Knots and Sonnets.  At the back of Sonnets are some thoughts in prose which I found helpful.  The one I am reading is Sanity, Madness and the Family: Families of Schizophrenics, which is a book of case studies and transcriptions of taped interviews.  I’m not sure if it is of its time or not, but it is very interesting.  I have provided UK and USA Amazon links for each book.

R D Laing was a leading figure in the Antipsychiatry movement and established some houses in London as part of the Philadelphia Association which provides an alternative approach to mental distress.

Update 02.11.13 Housing

I have had a letter back from the housing association I registered with and because the council hasn’t accepted me as their responsibility I have only been allocated 45 points instead of 1,545 which I could have.  1000 would come from the council accepting me as statutory homeless, and another 500 would come from where I am now at the hospital if I had provided proof, but proof wasn’t asked for, as far as I remember.  My CPN has said that she will try to get the council to write a letter saying that I am homeless but not their responsibility , that would get me 1000 points.  When I first came to Nottingham I was their responsibility because I had an uncle and a sister in the area, but they have since changed their rules so that you have to have lived in the area for three out of five years to qualify for their help.

The housing association I registered with covers a lot of areas in the north and in the midlands, and I have asked for my 6 areas to be expanded so that I can be offered anything anywhere.  Really I want to move back to London or somewhere like Cornwall, Dorset or Devon, but there aren’t a lot of housing associations which, like this one, you can use independently of the council points system and bidding.  Most of them are linked to the bidding system, so I’m going to have to do some research.

Apparently I can get help with a bond and the first month’s rent if I go private.  I read today that it might be social services’ responsibility to offer me help, but I don’t know what is meant by help.  Maybe I am getting all the help they can give me at the moment.  I am in touch with a team from Framework, my CPN is trying to help me.  I’m not sure what else I could or should expect, or how quickly.  I am in hospital, but it seems it is being treated as temporary accommodation.  Although it is shared bungalows it is still hospital and I would have hoped things might go a bit faster.  I am not eligible to bid anywhere at the moment.  The charity/housing association has said it will not be in touch again unless it can offer accommodation, and that if it can’t offer anything within 6 months I’ll be asked if I want to stay on their list. Obviously I’m hoping to be housed before then.

By deciding to see my problems in the community as completely a product of mental illness the authorities have taken away the home that I had as emergency housing with Nottingham City Council and I now have to start all over again, not eligible to bid anywhere.  In the meantime I am still having to pay £140 every 4 weeks to keep my belongings in storage.  I wish now that I had just let my belongings go, it has cost me so much already and I don’t know if I am going to get a big enough place to accommodate them all.  I asked customer services if I could apply for a house or bungalow with two bedrooms, on the basis of a very small flat I saw in Nottingham, nothing like the one I had in London, and they told me I could if I was prepared to pay the extra.  But the letter I have had from them says I qualify for a one bedroom property and doesn’t even acknowledge the covering letter I sent with my application, so I’m not sure what is happening.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-24720069#TWEET937913

This prison is exactly like psychiatric hospital acute wards in the UK, except for the electric shocks, the acute wards don’t do that.  They call people’s credibility into doubt as well in the same way that doubt is cast on a psychiatric patient.  The news story this links to shows a guard being interviewed and acknowledging that electric shocks were given and that inmates were forcibly injected.  There is a man who says he wasn’t a danger to anyone and my own experience gives me no reason to doubt him.  The fact that he is a criminal doesn’t mean his testimony about this isn’t reliable.  A man was injected for complaining about the food.  The guard says that inmates had to be made afraid of them because they are few, even though they knew it was against the law.  Psychiatric hospitals are the same.  Most compliance comes from the fear of the consequences of not complying.  It is torture and terrorism.  Someone has to help us.  Please.

Update 27.10.2013 – Hospital and Housing

I’ve been obsessive about my stats recently and it’s been an obsession that has pushed everything else out.  I could have kept my blog up to date but I haven’t, so here is a bit more.

Last Saturday I sat down and filled in an application for housing with a housing charity, and at the moment I am waiting to hear what points I’ve been allocated.  I am hoping very much that things will move quickly.  There were boxes for six separate area codes and I filled them all in, but even that might not be flexible enough.

Life in the residential hospital is not too bad.  The main thing for me at the moment is that the fridge-freezer is easily big enough for a family, but not for four individuals.  It looks to me as if two of us are doing a weekly shop, and there just isn’t sufficient space really.  It is frustrating that we are doubling up on things and I’m sure there is a lot of wastage because things don’t get eaten quickly enough.  I’m not the one with the least space, apparently, and the one who thinks she has the least space keeps putting her stuff on top of mine, and it annoys me.

Also people doing big sharp knocks on the door and asking if I’m all right when I am trying to relax.  It jolts me out of it.

About two or three weeks ago I had a problem with one of the residents who keeps staring at me when I am focusing on something else.  I asked her why she was doing it and she said she wasn’t, I was being paranoid.  Then she told me to shut up and said I was kicking off when I didn’t like that, so now I’m not talking to her, nor she to me.

The nurses I encounter are nice, usually, but I daren’t talk to them about how I feel about my diagnosis and medication, normally, because I fear they won’t understand.  I’m keeping a low profile at the moment about the things I don’t like which I usually see towards other people on occasion.  I don’t want a repetition of Rowan 2 and other places.  When I become aware of it, normally in the shower (and I’ve self-neglected a fair bit recently), I suppress an urge to scream.  I guess screaming isn’t allowed or looked on very favorably, and I have an iron grip on myself to make sure I don’t scream, I daren’t put myself in that situation here.

That’s all for now.  Thanks to my new followers for following.  Welcome aboard.  I hope it won’t get too boring for you.  I’m pretty monomaniacal at times.

Loss, Mortality And Related Issues

I learned something I didn’t know yesterday.  I was watching ‘That Was The Life That Was’, about the late Sir David Frost, and I learned that ‘That Was The Week That Was’ had its first broadcast on my 2nd birthday.  A year later, 2 days before my 3rd birthday, President John Kennedy was assassinated.  I remember watching News at Ten on that day and I was aware that something serious had happened.  I felt very sad and shocked when I heard that David Frost had died.  I think the first I knew of him was when he presented ‘This Is Your Life’, which I always liked to watch.  I found myself wishing last night that my dad had watched TW3 and introduced me to it, but I was only 2.  The programme last night was followed up with ‘Frost on Satire’, and it showed clips from ‘Spitting Image’.  In its time I never watched it and wouldn’t have known who all the characters were, I think I might have seen it twice.  I recognised some of the characters last night though.

Hearing of many people dying, some of whom are not much older than me, makes me feel bereaved, and also aware of my own mortality.  I know I’m only 52, 53 next month, but I am feeling the fact of my own death coming up and it isn’t the best feeling in the world.  I keep feeling there have been so many missed opportunities.  I keep seeing people who have grown up, in the media, and wishing I was like them, that someone had fought properly for me to be educated when I decided that I didn’t like school so I wasn’t going, after my father died.  I feel no one really fought for my family.

I’m sitting in Costa at the moment.  I’ve just had a large mocha and downloaded the two Frost programmes I’ve just been talking about.

I was aware of David Frost partly because I knew he was a Christian.  I feel really upset writing this.  ‘That Was The Life That Was’ showed clips from things that formed a fair bit of my memory.  I remember the President Nixon thing, I saw ‘All The President’s Men’ when it came out.  I remember being in a prayer meeting at Talbot Street when the Watergate Scandal erupted and Gerald Ford took over.  In the meeting people were praying against sin and for righteousness and I wanted to pray that God would help Richard Nixon and his family, because I felt very sad for him, but I didn’t dare pray that way.  No one else was.

I’m not sure how much of this is sadness, really, over these past events and memories, and how much of it is just displaced sadness and grief over my present situation.  Feelings can re-attach to anything.  I admire people like Ian Hislop so much but know they don’t know me and probably wouldn’t be interested in me if they did, because the truth is I have nothing to offer.  Maybe that is what idolatry is, attachment to so many people who don’t even know I exist and might not be interested if they did know.  It is miserable, painful and embarrassing and fruitless and pointless, maybe that is why God commands against idolatry, because in the end it is so painful.  I am nursing a hope that Ian Hislop and so many others will see this and care.  How silly is that?  But what if?  THAT would be fun . . . !

Maybe that is the skill of the programmes I saw last night, hitting on so many memories for so many people, and bringing them to life again.  I feel a bit left behind and I’m crying for someone to help me catch up.

I’m missing Tommy Boyd as well.  I met him properly once.  We tried to have a proper conversation.  He’s deleted his blog and left Facebook and Twitter.  I never thought he would do any of that, especially not deleting his blog.  I feel lost without him and I feel attached to him.  I thought he was trying to help me.  I never thought he would leave broadcasting, but from the lack of information about him on the web at the moment it seems he has done jut that.  A lot of my stability and courage, when I had it, came from him.  I went to his house a few months ago, after I absconded from Macmillan Close, ad his wife was there and we had a conversation in which she told me he probably wasn’t interested and reminded me of when they had called the police.  I am grieving because I thought he wanted to help me.  I feel hopeless and helpless without him.  He told the story of a gorilla that was castrated for raging and throwing stones at people that used to taunt it.  He said that was what they were doing to us as well.  I identified with that with regards to my situation with the mental health services.  He said he thought it was wrong, that people should have been told not to taunt him and a proper environment maintained for him.  Anyway, he is inaccessible now.  I don’t know if he will ever be accessible to me.  I thought he was going to be.  I thought he wanted to be.  I never thought I would have to abandon hope with regard to him, and indeed I dare not.  I wonder what is going on with him?  I wonder if he is OK?

Paranoid?

One of the questions I used to get asked by psychiatrists was ‘do you think anyone is trying to harm you?’  My answer now would have to be ‘yes, I do.’  The man who viciously slandered me saying I had chased him up the street with a knife obviously has done something injurious to me.  I did not chase him up the street with a knife.  I didn’t chase him, and I never had a knife in my hand when outside my flat.  Other things have also been made up, presented out of context, or exaggerated.  Yes, someone has been trying to harm me, and has succeeded.  He is not the only person.  Other people have spoken and acted injuriously also.  I know what they have said and done, and have documented some of it in this blog.  It isn’t paranoia and shouldn’t be called paranoia.  That is bad practice and a miscarriage of justice.

Am I Just Gullible?

What I don’t like about Szasz is his position that we are all entitled to take drugs.  It seems to me that this is a position that people would have good reasons for opposing, and I myself feel that his argument against institutional psychiatry, which I agree with, is undermined by his position on so-called recreational drug use.  We all know about ‘bad trips’ and I don’t know if bad trips would be eradicated if the supply were officially controlled and therefore ‘pure’.  I suppose no one else knows either, and that because of the effects of ‘bad trips’ it isn’t something that could be tested out on scientific research volunteers or paid people, the risks might be too great.  I do not feel as supported by his argument against institutional psychiatry as I would like to feel because of this.  I myself do not have a history of drug use, and cannot say that I know that people with such a history are not helped by psychiatric drugs.  I wish he did not take this position on recreational drugs.

I’ve also never really read or understood any Foucault, I just know he is a big name in French literature, philosophy and politics, and I’m only using those three classifications to make sure all my bases are covered, because to me he is just a name.  I have got a book of Essential Foucault from the library, though, which I intend to read soon, with my other reading.

Also I get confused at the moment because I am feeling more or less OK and that the only thing which is negative about my present existence is that I am having an injection every two weeks.  I do realise that people could say that I am feeling OK because of the injection and not in spite of it, but my feeling of OK is very limited, because I am a lot more inhibited than I was off medication, and hopeful that people in the hospital will see that I am really OK and don’t need to be on drugs.  I can more or less cope socially and feel that I could before as well, even if things could have been interpreted as being more painful.  There is an argument for saying that other things that break down are sent for repair and things added to them to make them work right, so why not me as a person?  But inwardly I am constantly so much hoping that I will be taken off medication, and I resent the abuses I experienced on other wards that led to the decision to restart medication.  Abuses like being told my problem with door slamming was all because of my mental illness, for instance.

I phoned Richard at Macmillan Close yesterday because I was sad it hadn’t worked out and wanted to tell him so and that I thought he had been really kind to me.  I’m sure it was an easier conversation by phone than it might have been face to face.

There are so many things that confuse me in the Bible.  I was just thinking that Paul says to submit to authority and to obey every law instituted among men for the Lord’s sake.  But Peter and the apostles were told not to preach anymore in the Name of Jesus and Peter told them they should obey the Lord and not men, and preached anyway and got flogged, and imprisoned, and an angel let him out in the dead of night.  I suppose again it is just a matter of confidence or of no confidence whichever of these church leaders give to any one of their people at any time, or opinion as to which they preach to a congregation.  Yet they say obey your leaders as if they really have a divine right.  You can only go so far in obeying your leaders.  Surely honesty recognises that their own denomination probably exists because they or someone before them did not obey a leader?

Mish-Mash Musings 2

In my last post I wrote about how the Church, during the Inquisition, used to ‘relax’ people into the hands of the state so they could be burnt, and wrote about the parallel drawn by Thomas Szasz between this and the mental health movement.  He said that in a religious age ‘heretics’ were ‘relaxed’ into the hands of the state, but in the so-called enlightened age the parallel is that society turns to the mental health movement for the upholding of the dominant culture.  However, the Church is part of the society which does this, and does it itself.  So for the mental patient who is also a Christian, there is no ‘comfort’ for them in religion.  The mental health system is part of the new way of dealing with ‘heretics’ for the church.  The church believes in this, or says it does, and largely it accords the mental health system the same authority as the rest of society does, except for some people.  It might decide that some people are really not mentally ill and try to help them, but on the whole it validates the mental health system and its ideas.  So someone like me can become very isolated since the Church refers me back to the mental health services.  Admittedly I have not been to every existing church, but the ones that have been part of my life to date have all said the same thing, that they believe I am mentally ill, so accepting the categorisation in the first place.  Many other religious bodies do the same thing.  Scientology does not.  I have only recently discovered that Thomas Szasz had links with Scientology.  For some people this will put them off him, but there are others who hold the some of same views who do not have those links, the writers and editors of This Is Madness, for instance, and Foucault, and R D Laing.  R D Laing was ridiculed for turning to Buddhism, apparently.  I was told this by one of the nurses on Rowan 2, I think, and they said how ironic it was that the psychiatric system is itself now looking towards things like mindfulness as a way of raising people’s consciousness.  They wouldn’t call it raising people’s consciousness, but essentially that is what it is.

I’m not on Rowan 2 at the moment, I was transferred to Newark on Friday night. It is a place like Macmillan Close, complete with door slamming!  I’m not sure how I feel and I hope it is not a matter of my choice, because there are pros and cons with both.  I was told at 6.30 pm on Friday evening that the transfer was going to be made and that I had no right to refuse.  Steve, who was on duty, told me it was only temporary and that I am expected to go back some time this week, citing my housing situation and residence in Nottingham a a reason for me going back.  However, the staff in Newark are under the impression that I am here long term and that housing can be dealt with from here.  I’m confused and feel very disorientated.  I said I didn’t want to come because I don’t know Newark, and that seems to me a good reason at the moment.  I have been homeless 2 years now, Friday was the anniversary, and it can’t be good for me to keep being so uprooted.

Mish-Mash Musings

I’m not sure why I have called this Mish-Mash Musings except that I know where I am going to start but not where I am going to finish, which I suppose is OK if I’m not writing an essay but a blog entry, and not hoping to make Freshly Pressed (though I would love to).  I feel like trashing this already and starting again, but I never trash anything I write, so I’m afraid it rests.

The place I am going to start is with an incident I read about in a book called ‘The Manufacture of Madness’ By Thomas Szasz.  The book compares the mental health movement (his term, not mine) with the Inquisition.  It says that the two things are the same, in that first they decided what one was (heretic, witch, mentally ill person) then they went looking for them and treating them as their law allows/requires/demands.  With heretics and witches under the Inquisition he talks about the church ‘relaxing’ heretics out of its own hands into the hands of the law and legal process – a bit like the Jews did with Jesus, because they had no law to put a man to death (see also John 16:2, “Anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God”).

In psychiatry, if the psychiatrist says you are mentally ill and you say otherwise, it is said that you lack insight.  I know this and Thomas Szasz also says so.  He has us down as the people that are called paranoid schizophrenics.  This has definitely been my experience.  Under the Inquisition unrepentant heretics were burned alive, while those who changed their minds were strangled and then burned.  The incident a read about the other day talked about a man who, faced with the fire, said that he would convert himself to the faith of Jesus Christ, and that this was apparently a time of great rejoicing for the inquisitors, where the hugged him and welcomed him back into the arms of the church, then immediately afterwards they had him strangled and burnt.  Thomas Szasz draws the same parallel with psychiatry.  I’m not sure if Thomas Szasz wanted to see an end to all psychiatry or only the enforced kind, but he did say in this book that the inquisitors didn’t want too many heretics to be burnt whereas they shouldn’t have been burning any at all.  The Inquisition was torture, and Thomas Szasz says that so is psychiatry.  That has certainly been my experience.  He talks about having the idea of mental illness accepted by the popular mind, just as heresy used to be so feared and so treated/punished.  Both the Inquisition and psychiatry had two purposes, one for the protection of society and the other for the ‘good’ of the accused/patient.  By putting the word ‘good’ in inverted commas I am staying true to the message and spirit of the book, as well as owing the inverted commas as my own.

I have been reading quite a bit about Transactional Analysis as well.  I’ve read (again) Games People Play by Eric Berne MD, the founder of TA, and I’ve Just started reading I’m OK, You’re OK by Thomas A Harris MD.  Dr Harris points out in the opening pages of his book that not only do the words Parent, Adult, Child have different meanings from usual in this context, but so does the word OK, so I’m looking forward to reading this book to the end.  I didn’t read it when it first became popular because a Church I was in said the message was untrue to Christianity which says we all need redemption because we are not OK.  There is also a chapter in the book about this approach to human relationships in the context of morality, which is a chapter I am looking forward to reading.  Dr Harris advises against just dipping in or reading the end first as understanding is established and built on from beginning to end.

This Is Madness

I’ve read a bit more of this book and I’m finding it very interesting.  For me one of the most important things it says is that with physical illnesses diagnosis starts with something happening in the body and ends up with the diagnostic concept, but with ‘so-called’ mental illness it is the other way round, that it starts with a concept and mental conglomeration in the minds of physicians and they then go looking for people who fit the concept, like crusaders.  The concept is fleshed out in committee and applied to individuals, rather than subjective symptoms first being recognised in the individual and a remedy sought.  That is my memory of what was said in the chapter called ‘Diagnosis’.

I’ve just ordered another book as well called ‘Untrain Your Parrot’ by Elizabeth Hamilton.  It is a well grounded and often humorous approach to Zen.  The book is in the Multi-Faith room at the hospital but we are not allowed to take them out, and sometimes no one is there who can unlock the cabinet where the books are kept.  It makes sense that the books shouldn’t leave the room, it keeps them available and in good condition.  I have found that when I have spent time reading it in there I approach things in a better and lighter mood.  I’m looking forward to having my own copy because I think it is something that I will read and dip into more than once

I’m a lot more open and self-controlled on the ward these days, but I still feel angry, hurt and frustrated at what I see happening with other people.

I’ve got a bad cold at the moment.

We have started making approaches to accommodation.  It seems to me it could move either very quickly or more slowly than I would like.  I would like it to move quickly.

I’ve been reading a few ‘Freshly Pressed’ selections and really enjoying them.  They are so interesting.  I just read one called ‘There was no escaping his father’s words’ which made quite an impact on me.  It’s about a man who meets up in later life with his father who had told him that he was going from fad to fad and I felt those words from his father had partly shaped the man’s life.

I don’t feel able to write much more today.  I am generally feeling quite upset and that I need to cry.  That is what I usually feel inside.  I’ve had no intimacy for a very long time now, and I feel very much that I am getting old.  I am nearer death than birth.  For a wonderful period in my 30s I was unafraid, but now I feel a bit wobbly.  I’m not sure if I’m a real Christian, and I have been taught and believe that only Christians go to heaven.  I have not been taught to be a liberal, and my emotional attachments don’t really allow it.  I have been taught, and believe, that there is a hell for people who are not Christians.  I know to some people that will make me sound really archaic.  I have found myself praying that love and mercy will be my judge in the end, that love (God is love) will save me at death.  There is also the teaching that not everyone will die but Jesus will come back and some people who are living will be caught up to Heaven.  I suppose many people want to believe they will be among those who do not die.  I would like to live beyond 80, even to 100.  I’m afraid I will die much sooner.  I’m really afraid that I might go to hell, and I’m afraid that there will be no one who cares for me intimately when I die.  I have no children and no partner, and the only member of my family I am in contact with is my mother.  I would like not to feel so tired and worn out, and upset and vulnerable, and as if my time now is not worth anything and won’t be, that I have passed a point where there was a point.

Today I’m Going to Write About . . .

The feeling that I can’t write.  No, I’m not, I’m going to write about the fact that my head feels numb.  I should have taken procycledin but I didn’t because Tracy was on and I didn’t want to ask her.  Also I’ve had a glass of wine and I’m about to have another.

I’ve borrowed a book from the library called ‘This Is Madness’.  It’s a compilation by three young mental health professionals from the 90s.  It talks a bit about empiricism – ‘if it works, keep using it’, but that really it is about controlling behaviour on the ward rather than about sickness.  Talks about lobotomies and how neuroleptics (renamed anti-psychotics for political reasons) do the same thing and how they alter the brain.  I should think they also alter experience.  I feel very tired because I didn’t sleep much last night, until I played some Michael Mish on my mp3 player.  I fell asleep half way through but it was around 6 am by then, and people were beginning to move and slam doors.  I had an 11 am appointment which didn’t materialise until 1 pm.  Also it has been decided that doors should be locked at weekends as well as weekdays.  Terry came around saying time to lock up.  That was the first I knew of it.  At first I thought it must be Friday and I had made a mistake, then I thought maybe Terry wasn’t with it and he thought it was Friday when it was Saturday.  But no, we now have to lock up every day.  No rest days.

I’m censoring myself as I write today, because I think I’m being bitchy if I write what I have on my mind.  I’m going to uncensor myself.  I was thinking about Tracy and the time she said I wasn’t powerful enough to ‘have her job’, ie to cost her her job.  It was when we argued about what time the TV went off.  Although there is a notice up now saying 10.30 it often doesn’t happen then.  But it was her attitude, and her assumption that I’m ‘not powerful enough’.  I was told today that there was no reliable witness who saw me kicked so nothing was going to happen about it.  I’m wondering if it is in the same league.  I’m wondering if we are deemed not reliable because we are mental health patients.  If so that is definitely discrimination, isn’t it?

Tracy and Sharon both turn away from me and are nice to other people.  Tracy just ignores me, Sharon is rude to me, all the time.

I feel ill now whereas I didn’t so much before.  I have lost my alertness and sharpness, and a lot of it I can put down to emotional suppression.  I’m ever so tired, and I feel irritable.

I’m hoping I might be moving out of the hospital soon.  I’ve been told that unless I have lived in Nottingham for three years out of five I am not entitled to bid for housing but that I can go through the homelessness system.  If I do I’m hoping that will mean I will get at least a temporary flat and not get shoved in a hostel long term.  If so they have made a real mess of my life, if I end up being shoved in a hostel or B&B

John 14

I’ve just read John Chapter 14.  It is full of ‘I am in the Father and the Father is in Me’, ‘I am in you and you are in Me’, and John 15, which I haven’t got to again yet, starts off with  ‘I am the true vine and My Father is the Gardener’.  It will go on to say that the disciples are the branches.  What struck me the most was the intimacy, like Jesus saying, ‘Don’t worry about a thing, ‘cos every little thing is gonna be alright’.  It makes me pine for the days I had not heard of boundaries, for the simplicity of full surrender, total security in Jesus.  I can’t remember if I’ve ever been taught that forgiveness from the heart is not a contract or a transaction.  The Bible says that from the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks, yet we speak in terms of deliberate forgiveness of others for our own sake and not for theirs, as if the person being forgiven should not also be in our minds as someone who needs our act of forgiveness and who stands to benefit from it.

At the time of year that Jesus was crucified it was customary for a prisoner to be released.  The crowd was offered a choice between Jesus and Barabbas.  Barabbas was an insurrectionist, a revolutionary, it is said that he had killed people, but the crowd. in its manipulated and whipped up determination to be rid of Jesus, chose for Barabbas to be released instead of the Teacher and Healer and Forgiver of sins.  So supposedly Barabbas went free without penalty or any regard to boundaries.  Granted this was Pilate’s decision and not based in good theology.  So maybe this example falls down.

Part of the massive guilt I’ve felt about the way I tried to establish my personal boundaries in Church relationships when I had newly come across the concept has been that I felt at the beginning of that that in spiritual relationships it was different.  The Bible says act justly and love mercy (and walk humbly with your God), but we talk about forgive, but justice still has to be done.  Sometimes I want mercy without someone pursuing justice as they say they forgive, or talking about the consequences being distance and separation.  Certainly in Church relationships I have been afraid of making the wrong approaches in the wrong ways to people who are going to call me proud for seeking them out.  I want this inner crying to stop.  I don’t want to have to live with it for the rest of my life.

Love one another deeply, with a pure heart, fervently, it also says.  Does language like deeply and pure heart really allow for the insistence that love is first of all an action?  It could do, I suppose.  Maybe the action primes the pump.  But what if love, in sincerity, is first of all a feeling expressed in action?  You can tell I’m not a theologian, can’t you?  Or much of anything else.

I’m reading an introductory work to Foucault which has introduced me to the concept, in the chapter on madness, of knowledge as error.   Among other things Foucault was a hero to the antipsychiatry movement.   The writer, Gary Gutting, puts the word ‘creative’ in brackets before error.  It reminded me of the verse that says knowledge puffs up but love builds up.  1 Corinthians 13 says love never fails, although everything else will.

Another Shouting Match

Tonight, for as I write it was tonight, just 1/2 an hour ago since it started, thought by the time I finish writing it will be last night, I’ve just been involved in a confrontation with staff and a patient.  This is what happened.

It is now a minute past midnight, so it happened last night now.  One of the rowdiest people on the ward has just started singing.  I don’t appreciate it.  It is Kerry.  I feel weak and undermined for not daring to tell her to stop, and no one else will.

I tried to have an early night, and for ages I wasn’t able to sleep.  Too hot and restless.  Eventually, around 10pm, I put some meditation music on, and I fell asleep to that.  Soon after it finished People started shouting in their rooms, to themselves, but loudly and angrily.  I don’t think it was anything to do with my music.  There were two of them.  I don’t think this time Kerry was one of them.  I was annoyed because I had been woken up, and I have been absorbing this most of the time for about a week.  Absorbing it has affected me and my level of well-being.  I have felt tired and very upset and lifeless.  The shouting, and the door-slamming, have been horrific.

I shouted back, told them to stop, I was trying to sleep.  I said they were making everyone feel so good, and finally I said one of them was mad.  That is the kind of thing I have had from the staff.  I am vulnerable and impressionable and exhausted.

Some of the staff came round and started having a go at me, saying I should have compassion, people were ill, and people were trying to sleep.  I said I was trying to sleep but I got woken up.  When they adopt a tone and attitude to me the best I can do for myself is shout back, and I found myself out of control in the same way the other women were, but from me it was not tolerated.  Alex said I was unbelievable and it wasn’t worth talking to me.  That’s when I lost control.  I said they were unbelievable, that if this could happen in here it can also happen in the community, but because I have said it is happening in the community I’ve been told it is all in my head and I have had what was my home taken from me because I am in hospital.  They kept telling me I was shouting, but they were confrontational or dismissive and not letting me finish sentences and walking away in contempt.  M involved herself again, saying she was going to call the police and I was waking everyone up and I should be in prison, and she got the ‘darling’ treatment, whereas I was vilified.  I had Alex saying I had a high level of understanding.  She had been telling me there are some ill people on the ward, and I had asked her why she was telling me that as if I was not a psychiatric patient.  She said it was because I had a high level of understanding.  I said just because I have a high level of understanding doesn’t mean I can go on absorbing the rubbish while they normally sit in their office and do nothing about it, other people shouting and screaming and slamming doors.  I’ve started yelling at people to stop because the nurses don’t normally do anything about them, the same as they have left me to shout myself hoarse and upset.  She kept going on about finding it almost impossible to work with me, but there are things she doesn’t want to hear, because I start talking and she talks over me.  Kevin did it as well.  One of them said they were warning me.  How come even when I am upset at being woken up and trying to deal with it in the only way I felt I could, rightly or wrongly, wrongly obviously, I’ve got it from the way I have been dealt with, I am the only one of all the people who are upset who gets short shrift?  Keven said he couldn’t tell what I was saying because I was shouting,but I can tell what people are saying when they shout, and when I lowered my voice he started talking over me, so I raised it again to be heard, then he told me I was shouting.  When I said about doors being slammed hard Alex said the doors don’t shut quietly, as if we hadn’t already had a conversation where I had complained about Kerry and Alex had acknowledged that a lot of other people had complained.  My door closes quietly.  Here on Rowan 2, Highbury Hospital, Nottingham, I am being victimised and am on the wrong side of favouritism.  It doesn’t work for me.

I’m not going to commit suicide.  But some people would.  I don’t want to be driven like this just because people judge (perhaps) that there is no risk of suicide.  If I get distressed to the point of being beside myself and enraged I don’t want these confrontations from the people who have been responsible for it, trying to make out I am a special case and have more understanding than the average psychiatric patient.  Alex says she has often said she doesn’t think I should be here.

Stuck for a Title

Because what they are doing to me is so mean, so opportunistic, knowing I have no one to turn to, it beggars belief.

A few times this week I have gone back on the bus hardly able to sit upright and keep my eyes open, I felt so ill.  Today was one of those days.  My bed has been stripped and I asked if it could be made for me because I was upset and didn’t feel well.  First I was told someone would help me and someone was named, then they completely changed their minds and told me not feeling well wasn’t a good enough reason.  I said I was going to A&E because I don’t want to feel like this anymore.  They were full of sarcastic sweetness.  I didn’t go, because I thought they are all as bad as each other and I would be making trouble for myself.  I have no one I can turn to, no visitors, they have kept the harassment and sarcasm and terseness and rudeness just coming at me.  Sharon has been mainly responsible.  There is a nurse called Helen on today, white British (there is another who is black) and she was really rude to me as I came out.  I was talking loudly because I was upset and she said ‘go on’, gesturing at the door, and started talking really hard at me.  They were laughing.  I can’t take anymore, I am tired and upset and everything they do is designed to undermine and humiliate me.  Terry was laughing.  I saw something between him and Sean I wished I hadn’t seen, at least I saw Sean’s reaction, I can guess the rest.  He had just told Terry I wanted my bed made.  I don’t want to go back to this.  I never wanted to do this, and I don’t want to do it anymore, it is inhuman.  Helen was responsible, as a new person, for moving against me and getting me medicated when all I wanted was to get my lunch in peace a few weeks ago, just a few hours before Kerry kicked me in the stomach.  I’ve still had no support over that, I feel upset every time I encounter hr, and she puts herself in my face.

That’s something else.  I saw John in the car park and he ignored me.  He is one of the OT people.  The other day he invited me to a Moving On Group and I said no thanks, the things I would want to talk about as anxieties for moving on are things I’ve already had dismissed as symptoms of mental illness, so it would be frustrating for me.  He said OK and moved on, then I changed my mind, at which point he told me it was a confidential group and he didn’t want me blogging and describing and naming people.  I said I hadn’t described anyone, he said I had described Kerry.  So it was another bit of opportunism.  Why did he invite me in the first place?  I said I had no legal responsibility to not name anyone, staff or patients, and he talked about common law, whatever that is.  He said if I was going to blog he would have to ask me not to come, so I said I would forgo it.  Anyway, he was there in the car park tonight, silently walking up and down and refusing to get involved, as though angry, hurt women are not to be spoken to.  This is vicious.  It is just vicious.  And talking to me about common law, when legal law is being used to do things to me that I don’t want or need, and as well as that I am getting such inhumanity and cruelty.  And wide eyes innocent insolence and discrimination.  They never take my side or other patients’ sides in a conflict between a patient and staff.  I’m worn out and tired, very very tired, and I thought, I’ve tried to believe, that Terry is a friend.  Sometimes it really looks that way. I hurt him and made him angry by accident, and I was angry as well at his reactions.  But I’ve seen him cry, especially after I wrote him a letter.  He had suggested writing a letter before and I didn’t, so I wrote a letter coming out of that, and his tears were real, I saw them.  I’m afraid of him these days, and at one point it wasn’t like that.  When he is with some of the others, anyway, I’m afraid of him.  I was told he was going on a course for dealing with aggression and I became afraid that he would come back changed.  I didn’t realise it was something they have to do every year.  My experience of him to that point had been that he only needed to put himself in a situation and stand there for things to calm down.  I was afraid he would come back like some of the rest.  They always have to have the last word as well, some of them.  What I wrote about earlier today, Tracy did her normal thing of walking out after throwing something at me and me trying to answer her and challenge what she had said.  She is the one who tells me she can’t be bothered with me.  Sue told me she didn’t like me and didn’t want to talk to me.  Sharon is just pig ignorant (apologies to pigs).  I said I didn’t want to look at something they wanted me to look at this afternoon because I didn’t trust them and would look in my own time.  I was told they didn’t care that I didn’t trust them.  It is wrong.  They are determined not to be nice to me in a conflict situation.  I’m dealing with savage animals here who should be struck off.  That reminds me, someone who knows told me today that Dr Bradshaw is leaving.  Dr Bradshaw leaving, Tony off the ward for about 2 months and I’ve been told they can’t tell me why.  They have said he is still team leader, or whatever his title is.  I don’t know how I feel about him at the moment.  I felt sorry for him at one point.

Dr Alan has gone.  I thought he was nice, as anyone connected with psychiatry could be.  He was on the ward one night saying in ‘that voice’ that he would help any way he could.  I thought he was talking to me but I was afraid and not sure.  I had intended to try and talk to him, but now he has gone.  There are some people to whom I want to say, ‘do you think I can help you and if so, how?’  He was one of those people.

Sharon was taunting and bear baiting today.  She always does that with me.  She has started walking past coughing and clearing her throat at me.  I have become too free in saying this kind of thing.  They rarely challenge me, especially not if I am talking to another patient who feels the same way, but I suppose they are still putting it towards a diagnosis of schizophrenia, as though no one could be doing these commonly done to people things to me, it has to be mental illness, because I live in a pristine, antiseptic bubble where none of the things people do to each other are ever done, according to their theories about me.

I have said over the last two days that these people are brainwashed as to how they think it is OK to treat another human being, and that the rest of us aren’t supposed to have a problem with it.  I have heard it said that many people fear mental illness and wouldn’t talk about symptoms because they don’t want to end up in hospital.  It’s a political rule of fear, if that is true, in my opinion.

Another thing I am still confused about is Ruth.  In the wheelchair with MS.  She is often sitting in the corridor in her chair waiting for someone to help her.  Today, apparently, one of the nurses who did breakfast told her she had legs and she should use them.  I don’t get this.  I don’t like being in the dark about something like this, but they call it confidentiality.  Except that this morning wasn’t very confidential.  I often help her, but I am becoming impatient and reluctant myself because I am thinking the staff must have a good reason for making her do things for herself.  She told me they had taken the spacers out of her wheels.  I don’t want to be unkind but I don’t want to contribute to a problem the staff seem to think is made worse by helping her.

My back hurts and I am upset.  There is nowhere i can go and no one I can turn to.  They are taking advantage of that.

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’.

The Bible says that the devil can appear as an angel of light.  I said that this morning meaning psychiatric staff, but obviously I am aware that it can have as many applications as people want to give it.  So let’s not go there. Maybe for me the biggest angel of false light is that which says ‘it’s nothing to do with me’.  Perhaps a twin would be ‘the experts must be right’.

I was thinking and saying tonight, 16th August, that I can’t understand how someone can, in good conscience, take a job which empowers them to commit acts that in other contexts would be viewed as assault.  I find it appalling that someone can assault you one day and, without apologising or anything, act as if nothing has happened afterwards and put it down to general relationship problems on the part of the patient, or mental illness, if the patient doesn’t go along with that.  If they did at home what they do to us here they might not have a relationship to go back to.  I would certainly find it hard to consider having them in my home,  Do they apologise for major failings at home?  If so, why don’t they apologise to us?  Are they trying to kid us that they really think their behaviour is an acceptable part of a normal relationship, or that they think we think it is, all of us, and that we wouldn’t want or expect an apology?  When Jim grabbed me I wasn’t putting myself or anyone else at risk.  So it really was an assault.  He wasn’t the only one involved.  I’m worried about the reasons for having me on a Section 3 as well, that while I am not a danger to myself or anyone else I suffer from a mental illness of a nature and degree which requires treatment in hospital.  Being mistaken about the reasons for harassment or violence or antisocial behaviour from others does not, in my mind, constitute a mental illness.  And if people believe I am not mistaken all the more reason for them to say, unilaterally and without any assurance of my good will, that they have made a mistake.  From the bits I’ve seen and the much that I’ve heard, we are all over the broadcast media, and it isn’t because of me.  It was happening before I started blogging about them.  It’s been happening to me, to my knowledge, for nearly 18 years.

Saturday 10.08.2013

Well, what a day, and I don’t mind telling you.  I’m sitting in a hotel restaurant drinking a non-alcoholic Mojito, because I wanted to avoid a certain HCA at dinner who keeps insinuating herself on me.  She would probably have been serving.  Today she was playing the ‘how have I upset you today‘ game, as if it wasn’t obvious.  She still has not, to my knowledge, admitted swearing at me etc.  Everything she does to me is out of bounds.  She has a daughter who sometimes works on the ward as well, in the same capacity.  I wouldn’t have thought that was good practice. There is another mother and daughter among the domestics, and a twin set also among the domestics.  I don’t think any of that is OK but certainly I don’t think it is OK to have two HCAs on the same ward from the same family.  That is called nepotism.  How can that be professional?

Police came this afternoon.  Wasn’t really after a statement.  One of the first things he did was accuse me of spitting, as if dealing with a playground fight instead of the complaint of someone who has been physically assaulted.  It was like we have to sort it out.  He wanted to know why I didn’t want to talk to Kerry with him there.  But she lied, apparently, according to him.  She said I assaulted her and she kicked me in self defense, and nothing could be further from the truth.  I never touched her and didn’t move as she came at me.  Apparently the witness has been reported as a missing person.  I told him I was afraid she might have a gang behind her or something but he was insistent she did not.

Went out for breakfast this morning with another patient, then went with her to Boots and Clarks.  Went to the Alley Cafe for a sandwich and a vegan version of Guinness.  Sat in the Market Square for a bit watching the fairground rides and the pigeons.  Passed a lot of police, including PCSOs.  God loves police people, the same as He loves the rest of us.  It’s just their misbehaviour affects people more.  I passed a PCSO this evening and wanted to go and thank him for making himself vulnerable to protect us.  Passed a lot of boisterous and loud people and decided they weren’t all drunk and/or disorderly.  There is a hen night to the right of me.  I feel as if I am raining on their parade, doing this.

Would people run from the police so much if they didn’t expect sass and force?  Don’t know.  Feel as if I need to come back into line with ‘the majority of law abiding people’.  The occasional bit of bad behaviour, inefficiency and violence doesn’t make a bad cop, does it?  Unless I am its victim.  I am very tired again.  Seeing hospital as home.  Too much over-familiarity coupled with fear and anger for straight and appropriate thinking and perception.  I feel really upset and disorientated.  My section ends on 16th August.  I’m hoping they don’t renew it.  If they do it will be for a year this time.  It really is an abusive atmosphere, I’m not wrong.  It takes its own rightness for granted and has too many physical powers, not to say illegality as well.

Who Do You Think YOU Are?

I was told this morning that my key nurse has been changed.  i said I was a bit disappointed that what I had said in anger had been so quickly acted on without talking to me about it.  I was told it was an overall decision that couldn’t be gone into that much.  I wonder if all the changes I have had over the last 17 years have been as a result of decisions of the same nature.

I found out because I asked to speak to my new key nurse not knowing she was my new key nurse.  I wanted to tell her that while I didn’t want to be churlish about not seeing my psychiatrist today, if the only reason she wanted to see me was because I had requested a sleeping tablet to be prescribed for me I had rather leave it.  I said that I was concerned that I had had no structured support since I was assaulted and no one had really asked how I was in connection with it.  I said that I had even been left to myself to decide whether or not I wanted to involve the police, and that since I am meant to be mentally ill I might not be in the best state of mind to decide for myself, and that it had happened on their premises and the woman was in their care, not mine, and that I am also in their care.  I said this is not a one off thing and that I have said things of this nature are happening to me in the community but what I have said has been put down to schizophrenia.  I said I didn’t want to talk to my psychiatrist hoping and believing that she might soften and modify her position in light of what has happened and that the effort should not be having to come from me putting myself in that supplicatory position with an authority figure who might remain distressingly adamant.  I said it should be being treated as an emergency, extraordinary event and that there should be some form of trauma counselling.  I said there had been a witness, as it seemed that this was not known, I was being told that I had said it happened and they had seen the bruising, but it is far too casual.  I’m hoping that on Saturday, when the police come, they will be wanting to take a swab or whatever it is called from my clothing to establish a shoe came into contact with my stomach.  Dr Bradshaw was in the office a couple of days ago when I mentioned it, but her only concern appeared to be that she should see me about the sleeping tablet.  On reflection, she might have been concerned but be trying to maintain confidentiality, but it seems to me to have been a little too opaque.  But perhaps I should go back for the review, I don’t know.

I was shocked and didn’t believe it when my nurse told me there was no provision for trauma counselling as such.  She said I was seeing my psychologist anyway and didn’t seem to pick up that this was a separate event and should have been treated as an emergency.  It also didn’t seem to make an impression that I said the next time I am due to see him is on the 27th as he is on leave for 2 weeks.  She said this is an acute ward and things like this happen, I said yes, but I’m a person, not theory.

I asked her as well, as an adult, that since in any other abusive situation I would be able to take myself out of it, how did it stand in law under a section 3 when I am being abused in an environment where I am supposed to be receiving care, what were my rights.  She asked if I meant being moved to another ward and I said no, there is no guarantee that it won’t happen there as well.  In fact as far as both staff and patients are concerned it has always happened wherever I have been.  I think my experience as a patient in this setting is not unusual.

I can’t afford to keep going out for something to eat but I don’t like having meals there anymore, I feel harassed and intimidated.  Kerry went to the hatch effing and shitting and no one pulled her up about it.  If it had been me it would have been different.  I’m feeling too much guilt about a supposed lack of gratitude on my part when all I really have here, apart from a duty not to be abusive without provocation, when It just comes out sometimes because I am upset and tired and stupid, is rights, a right to protection, a right to respect, which includes a right to be believed, in my opinion . . . .

Pastiche

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 28.07 2013

Last night I didn’t sleep much, I was too hot.  Then this morning the team on night duty (Mandy, Sylvia, Reward and Aka) started bashing and banging at about 5.30 am – Sunday morning and all.  Out in the real world they might have been reported for disturbing the peace before 7 am.  And they shout down corridors all day, they don’t go up to people and speak to them.  Everything sounds loud and singsongy.  I was in the shower this morning and when it came to washing my hair I felt sick and giddy.  This is common for me here.  Apart from anything else I am having to judge how much water I can use if I want to do the job properly.  I went out this morning and felt ill, too ill to walk.  I had been heading for church, but I could hardly keep my eyes open.  I thought in terms of I might not be ill, it might be the Holy Spirit making me feel that way.  I wanted to get to church and collapse.  I was convinced in the end that it was God but decided to go back to the hospital anyway and try to sleep.  I was afraid in case I tried to get help at church but they were unable or unwilling to accommodate what was happening to me.  I thought they might call an ambulance or something.  I came out again this evening heading for church, but I’ve stopped off at a hotel for a drink and to use the internet and write my blog.  I feel really bad about that, unforgivably so.  It’s lack of faith and trust  I’ve put writing my blog before going to church.  Going to church feels like the right thing to do, but in spite of what I want to happen and what I want to be communicated by me going there, I have little confidence that it is going to help and I was afraid, earlier, that keeping on going and not responding to appeals might cause tensions that might explode on me.  John Pettifor was speaking this morning, and something is happening with the interns tonight.  People talk about an open heaven.  If feeling positive about how it would be if I went and bad about not going is an open heaven, I suppose that might be what I’ve had today, and I’ve gone against it.

I just had ‘tea’ at the hospital.  Kiran was serving.  As soon as I sat down and started talking to someone else she adjusted her voice upwards in relation to mine, then she started talking to people like children and babies.  It always upsets me when she or anyone else does that, because to me they are not part of the equation in a conversation with someone else sitting at the table with me once they have served the meal.  I explained to the person I was talking to how it made me feel angry and hysterical when Kiran does that, and how it was made even worse because if I confronted her with it she would deny she was doing it, even though it seems obvious to me that she must know.  I asked another patient how she found her and she said OK, but when I told her what she does with me she said she does it with her as well.  If it is deliberate and she knows I don’t like it why doesn’t she stop?  If it is a problem she has and she can’t help herself, apparently, why can’t she get it sorted out when she knows it upsets me, at least?  I came out feeling as if my head had been kicked in.  I sneezed in my room and someone copied me.  I sneezed twice, they followed up with exactly the same thing.  This place is making me desperate.  Then I blame myself for being unkind in my reactions, or failing to have a sense of humour.  I tell myself it proves I am really selfish for it to bother me so much, and that I see myself as superior to other patients.

I’ve noticed that staff sometimes touch their ears, as if adjusting their hearing or something.  Chantelle used to do that a lot, she would do it at a distance, and she would stare into my face every time something strong and confident came out of my mouth.  If she was behind me a little way off she would put herself in my face to do it.  I find this outrageous and am afraid of people who don’t seem to think it isn’t and do it, who are also calling me mentally ill.  I can’t cope here anymore, I am desperate.  I really can’t cope.

A Slightly Different Update 27.07.2013

I thought, about an hour ago, that my biggest anxiety is not having a home, not knowing where it is going to be, and not knowing how it is going to work.  I thought that, whether it is accurate or not.  I’m 22 months homeless now, and maybe immediate things should be more a cause of concern.  But no one is officially acknowledging any of the things I have said about previous experiences.  I just felt like jumping up and running to Tommy Boyd, but I don’t have enough money to pay the fare.  I wouldn’t have anyway, today.

Relationships and comfort zones with other patients are cooling, and at the same time I’m becoming a lot more fudged in my relationships with staff.  I have made some of them special to me, more honestly, some of them have made themselves special to me by their kindness.  All this stuff about boundaries I was asked to learn by the church, to be used against me, so it seems, seems to be going by the board at the moment.  But that may be only because I feel inhibited about being angry, most of the time, unless I flip and start shouting in my room.  If I say I am having a problem with anyone on the ward the official position and statement seems to be ‘I don’t think so’, or ‘I don’t think s/he is’.  It is never opened up or examined.  So it continues and I can’t talk about it.  I’m still being voice and expression-matched, and I find that so upsetting.  How can doing me back at me be good communication?  I thought that communication was about two or more different and distinct individuals interacting and revealing themselves, being themselves.  Have I lost the plot somewhere?  Have I missed something, a shift in what communication is?  I think copying is about power.

I started out saying that these people, the staff, knew what was happening as well as I did and that it was up to them to say so/stop it, with open commitment, whatever they got from me by way of anger and hysteria.  Now I feel I am softening and thinking maybe now we can talk about it.  But the fact is that in the meantime they have bullied me with mimicry and interventions and put me on medication, all the time knowing that what I have said is true.  It doesn’t augur well for anyone else, does it, if one person has to become reasonable to stop the assault and get the help they need.

I keep approaching this in a general way and not posting a lot of stuff i would like to have posted.  I have thought I should list people by name and their offenses, as I see them.  But I have also thought in the last 24 hours as I have before, that the best way not to be like someone is not to be like them.  But that is just in personal terms.  The relationship I have with the staff is not a cosy, life-affirming personal relationship and never will be.  I don’t think I know the best thing to be or do in this situation anymore, and its effect seems to be that I am developing a distaste for and aversion towards my blog, and an aversion to naming and shaming.  But what is the alternative?  For me personally, it doesn’t make things comfortable by any means, some people are reacting quite badly, but at least I won’t be having painful conversations with people who use their positions to abuse or disengage, from whom I later have to get food and medication and be let off the ward.

I overheard Alex say last night ‘he won’t get anything out of me’.  No idea what it was about.

I’m beginning to think of the hospital as a community run by the nurses, and interactions in public as group therapy.  It’s wild, it’s weird, it’s making my ears ring thinking about it.

Update 22.07.2013

Last night nurses were up and down the corridor all night switching lights on and off.  I heard them with other people but not me.  They didn’t turn mine on.  This morning shortly before 7 Sharon positioned herself outside my door and spoke in a jeering voice.  Last night Sandra, a nurse I haven’t mentioned yet, kept starting her speech on a note I had used just before finishing mine.  She often starts on the last note and last week one day she kept using the last words of my utterances.  I have thought of this in terms of NLP, neuro-linguistic programming.  As I came out this evening and asked Terry to open the door for me I am sure that Alex, a female nurse, spoke straight after me in my rhythm deliberately.  Just before I was restarted on medication she was mimicking me at least one night but denied it when confronted with it.  She was present when I was told I was going to be restarted and I talked about risk and she said the risks I was afraid of were unlikely.  I said that didn’t mean anything and that they were possible and that she should stop hiding from it by using those terms and say every time she told someone they were going to be forced to take medication that serious side effects are a possibility.  Does that make me a bully?  I fear it might.  Am I a bully writing like this on my blog?  A few weeks ago the ward manager told me that if I didn’t remove names from my blog then they had been advised by their legal time that they could do it themselves.  I heard something on the radio yesterday about a right to confront service and trades people who deal badly with you.  I think it was set in 2025 though and am not sure if that law exists at the moment.  I’m sure it must.  This is a safe way to do it without involving verbal and physical confrontation.

All I want to do at the moment is cry.  My eyes are black with held back emotion and the repeated shock of being vocally tagged and mimicked and having no way to deal with it.  I have begun to think my problem with it is my fault because I should know better how to deal with it without getting precious about it, but it isn’t something i should have to deal with anyway.  The people I am happy to trust are the people who have not done this to me, or who used to and have stopped.  That makes about 4 people, off the top of my head.  It is something I experience as so aggressive and violent that my facial muscles feel as if they are spastic as this is imprinted on my fragile psyche.

Last week I said to someone that it is inhuman to keep me in hospital as long as I have been kept in knowing I have no home and no visitors, and that I have felt they have taken advantage of my situation.  There is at least one other person that I know feels as emotionally wretched as I do.  I asked my psychologist if we were allowed to touch each other today, if I could be hugged if I felt I needed it and he said no, it might be OK with a woman.  I asked what if i were lesbian, or just didn’t care?  I then pointed out that I have no relationships that are supportive in this way, that the only really contact I have is hospital care.  We talked about something quite difficult today.  I didn’t go out this morning.  The hospital is my home, and home is a place I want to spend time.  I didn’t know how to approach today at all, whether to go out or stay in.  It was like wading through mud.  I got fed up with myself because I felt it was me that was making it that way, that I was making it heavy weather, but what else could I have made it?

We had no water in our basins from Friday afternoon to this afternoon.  Someone said something about E-Coli.  It’s been a difficult weekend in that respect.  We had showers, but the hassle involved in trying to wash my hair would have been too great.  When I told Gareth, my psychologist, about the shower and what I have to do to wash my hair he seemed appalled.  He said that a bath or a shower is a soothing thing and that that was what we needed, and that I shouldn’t trivialise my dissatisfaction about it.

I find the mimicry and the intimidation/invalidation that goes with it should i try to say anything about it drives every thought and ability to communicate out of my head.  I had things I wanted to say but I have forgotten so many of them.  And when I write like this, as I am in this paragraph, I feel as if I am just being moany and pathetic.

I had a review with Dr Bradshaw, my psychiatrist, last week.  She is talking about trying to find me accommodation and starting me on a community treatment order.  The psychiatrist in the community is a Dr Cheetham.  She is on maternity leave at the moment.  I understand that when she spoke to me last year she recommended that I not be treated against my wishes.

It has been so hot here, as across the country.  I feel so miserable.  I don’t know how much of my tiredness is down to medication.  I have slept almost all the way through dinner time two days running.  Last night I didn’t sleep well.  Last night one of the patients had their name called as if it were a dog’s name, and she immediately got up and responded.  I believe I know that feeling, it is so visceral the safest thing you can do with it is stuff it down.  It was literally like hearing a dog being called.  She hadn’t come the first time.

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.

Update 30.06.2013

Last night the light was turned on in my bedroom at about 2-3 am.  I was asleep and it woke me up and I was very upset and angry.  They told me they had to do it, I said they didn’t and it had only happened about 12 times in 17 years.  They told me to stop shouting.  I said at some point yesterday that if people in our position being treated as we are start shouting in anger and hysteria it should be understandable, but that when carers shout at us it is not acceptable and it is not our fault.  About a week or so ago Sh___n, the nurse who pushed the patient out of her way with her foot, started saying something I have had them say several times down the years, that if you give respect you get respect.  When they have said that they have been talking about patients who don’t get respect because they don’t give it.  I said that is OK among equals but that it is a playground rule, not OK for nurses and doctors and domestics to use against patients.  If we supposedly have mental health problems and are having things done to us we don’t want and being abused as well, we might find it hard to be respectful in our state of fear, anger and hysteria.  Yesterday morning K__h the domestic hammered on my door and presented herself in my room arms up and talking loudly.  I told her that when people hammer on my door it shocks me so much that I don’t answer them.  I asked her why she couldn’t knock quietly like Jim did when he knocked on my door.  She said she was sorry she couldn’t change the way she knocked, it was just her, and I said she could if she knew it was upsetting people.  She grabbed L___a who was passing and asked her to come in for support, and she stood in my room and she said my music was nice and they were having a smiley conversation with each other with Linda standing there exuding security guard and smiles.  I said they wanted me to change but didn’t want to change themselves.  I was also angry that they were in my space presuming to say that my music was nice and I didn’t like the fact that they were doing that.  A few weeks ago Sh___n knocked on my door and I was trying to insist on boundaries with her because she had offended me before.  She asked me something, I said no thanks or words to that effect, and she started commenting on my radio, after having been insistent on her own agenda towards me already.  She asked me where I had bought it from and I said I couldn’t remember and it was obvious I didn’t want to talk to her.  She asked if she could have a look and I said no, but she insisted on coming into my room anyway and touching my radio and ran out.  I tried to remonstrate with her but she blanked me and went to another room then told me she was with another patient.  To me it was about staff respecting my boundaries, as so many issues I have had here have been.  I just thought of the patients’ charter and looked it up as I have been meaning to for a while.  I looked at the section on respect and it said you should be asked whether you want to be called by your first or last name and should have your choice respected.  I was offered that choice once on a general ward, I’ve never been offered it on a psychiatric ward.  In London I fought unsuccessfully for years to have them call me Sue rather than Susan, and ended up really confused about myself and what I called myself, to the extent that I felt I had betrayed my parents by shortening the name they had given me.  I started to feel that Susan was the real me and Sue a false me and I felt superficial and artificial for having called myself Sue for so many years.  I felt ashamed for having decided to call myself Sue and sometimes I still do.  When I insist on it it sometimes feels as if my name is nothing to do with me and nothing I say about anything matters or is reliable.  I’ve often objected here to being called love, duck, darling, dear and sweetheart but no one takes any notice.  They say that is the way they are and they do it with everyone.  Sometimes they seem to be quite aggressive and purposeful in doing so.  There are two of us who sometimes object, that I know of.  When I was in London I fought for years just to be called Sue, not Susan.  I said once or twice I would like to be called Miss Barnett.  No one took any notice.  It’s about boundaries and presumption.  They all assume and presume so much, and for patients in my category that damages lives.  They make decisions with legal implications in my life.  And recently, as I have said, there has been deliberate dishonesty and maybe illegality.  In fact I would say there is a lot of illegality.  They wave section papers at us as if that gives them absolute power, but as well as the legal power of these papers is all the illegal abuse they get away with.  ‘You have to this, that and the other because you are on a section’.  Is that really true?  Do I really have to have my life subjected repeatedly to people who deliberately abuse and lie and misrepresent apart from the powers they have under the mental health act?  Not only that, but some of them seem just plain stupid and thick and insensitive.  Yet they say I have no insight.  They don’t like the insights I have.

Apart from the light being turned on last night (it was the night before as well) There were doors slamming through the night and a lot of shouting almost non-stop between 6 am and 9 am this morning, after which it went strangely silent for quite a long time.  I noticed that when my key nurse had been in charge of the night shift recently there had been no disruptions that I had been aware of for those three nights and we had all seemed to have a peaceful night.  There were no rude awakenings in the mornings either.

I remarked to someone last night that in just the same way that we don’t have to be available to everyone outside, we also don’t have to be available to everyone in hospital either, that healthy people choose who they are going to be available to.  Yet some of the nurses get rude, offended and giggly if you are not making yourself relationally available to them whenever you meet them.  It is disrespectful and not recognising my right to privacy and choice about the relationships I choose to engage with.  They won’t let me be an ordinary person, they are demanding from me all the time, some of them.  I went into dinner on Friday trying to think about and envision meetings I have planned with other staff next week, and rather than leave my head space alone they were smiling at me insistently and when I got annoyed the Eastern European girl who was on started running around and giggling and touching surfaces as I have seen so often since this mental health thing started for me.  They can’t leave me alone.  They won’t request a conversation but the keep grabbing at me and imposing on me psychologically.  It is the same for others as well, they have said so.  To me there is something wrong with that.

I was talking about doing my laundry last night with another patient.  There is a laundry service that your washing has to be sent to and you get it back in 2 or 3 days, but people have said that things go missing so I decided to get mine done at the launderette.  She asked me if it had been OK and I said yes, everything had come out that needed to, and a nurse passing by started uncomfortably.  If that had been one of us and we had said something we would have been told that no, the other person was just talking about washing and why did we think otherwise?  I noticed that all the staff were walking with security guard body language and suddenly ‘realised’ this was deliberate.  Inwardly I turned away from them and when one of them passed me I stayed turned away and not acknowledging her and her body language changed and she looked guilty.  On another occasion she had walked past me a few weeks ago and when she noticed me she looked as if she was going to smile and she literally wiped it off her face and ignored me, continuing with the same hard body language.  They swan and glide and make annoyed or blank faces.  They pitch their hardness against my softness.  It leaves me feeling like a confused and angry mess.

Last night one of the other patients said it was illegal for them to keep her there.  She is a Christian.  The nurse in charge, S___a, came quickly out of the clinic room and looked at her, afraid and uncomfortable.  I encountered my psychiatrist in the corridor during the week.  She rushed past me uncomfortably.  The SHO of another psychiatrist looked redfaced and upset.  I don’t know what is going on but it feels as if it has to be good, from my perspective.  Having said that, I had the meeting with the SHO last Monday and was told he was waiting for the psychologist’s report before a decision was made.  I would have expected on to be made by now, it has normally been a same day decision and action, but no one has told me anything, if there is anything to tell.  I feel as if they are withholding it from me deliberately to keep me on tenterhooks.

I know these things are happening, I still have problems settling on why and what my responsibility is with it.  A lot of the time I feel as if they are desperate and I am wrong and unmerciful.  I told my psychologist that last week.

Update 26.06.13

 

I had the meeting with the SOAD on Monday.  I had no advocate but one of the students came in with me.  I’m waiting to hear the decision from the meeting.  I have been told that the SOAD wants to see the psychologist’s report.

Today at lunchtime I noticed that the domestic was doing what they often do.  She was stood there behind the person serving me with her fists on her hips, dead upright, staring at my face as though she were part of the assessment team.  This makes me feel shame and embarrassment apart from anything else, and I think that is something they like to use.  At least they allow it.  There was no lunch for me, but in the end I ended up with some because one lady had two vegan burgers because someone else had given her theirs, but she didn’t like it and said she didn’t feel well, so she gave me one.  I let it be seen that I was taking in the attitude and body language of the domestic and that I didn’t like it.  I wasn’t acting angrily, but I didn’t hide my observation.  I spoke up for myself assertively, reasonably and pleasantly about not having any lunch when they said I could buy some, asking if I would be reimbursed because I had had to buy.  The nurse went to the office and came back saying I could get a meal from the Co-op but be sure to keep the receipt, but I’d already sorted it out with my fellow patient by then.  At the end I think I heard the domestic say I was proud.  Or someone said it to her and she said, ‘yes, she really, really is’.  But it might not have been about me.  It was about someone, though, and it sounded horrible.  I think it was about lunch.  On a different day it might not have turned out so satisfactory for me and I might have had to make do with potato croquettes and peas and salad.  I heard the same person say a week or so ago that she and all the other domestics were agreed that they were just going to ignore a certain woman who had just arrived.  I heard one of them the other day talking to a woman down my corridor saying ‘come on’ to her as if she was a dog.  When she got what she wanted she said ‘good girl’.

There is a female nurse who talks with an Antipodean twang on the ward.  Today one of the patients was sitting with her back against the door in and out and someone was waiting to get in.  Two young nurses were standing there wondering how to get around the situation.  I went into the small galley patients’ kitchen to make a drink and this nurse came up, looked in the kitchen and said the other patient’s name and said that she wanted to get out to go to the toilet.  She seemed to be speaking pleasantly enough but I looked out and saw her push her aside with her foot.  When she came away she said ‘I don’t care’.  I thought that was outrageous but I didn’t say anything at the time.  I decided to save myself the confrontation.

Some nurses get really defensive around me when I am presenting relaxed and normally.  They even dislike it.  My psychologist said I should build bridges with the staff.  That is not something I am naturally averse to with some people.  I tried last night, and it wasn’t hard or distasteful to me.  But this morning I tried to find out which nurse had changed my bed for me while I had been out, and it was one of the nurses involved in the patient and door situation.  I just asked them which nice person had changed my bed for me, and when she answered she looked hard and annoyed, and I felt and thought afterwards it is their defense against seeing us as anything other than sick because that is how they are going to have to treat us.  They are not open to normality, so when it comes to not missing the moment, many moments either are not there or are missed as the patient and her response is examined under a microscope.  As someone who has no visitors and for whom the hospital is her only home, I find that devastating.  If the person I was trying to affirm last night had been any relationship outside of hospital we might have hugged each other as soon as we saw each other, because we had had a good conversation and encounter about a week previously, and he was obviously upset last night, I suppose from the night before when I got angry after another nurse started pushing me around.  I went to my room and didn’t come out that night, and lay in bed feeling hurt, angry, confused and embarrassed.  Another patient had started shouting for help as she was forced to the floor and I went to see what was going on.  As soon as I saw this nurse I backed off because of who it was and the fact that we have begun to build a relationship.  but eventually in my room I felt hungry and wanted toast but I felt guilty because I thought it would show a lack of real concern for the patient who had been held down.  And I was hurt and upset because I was being left alone with my confusion and embarrassment.  When I saw him last night I could tell he was upset and I wanted to hug him.  I was also upset.  He was doing medication and I passed him saying hello and went to my room.  I wanted to come out immediately and go to him and my instinct was to hug but I thought that couldn’t be acceptable so I stayed in my room feeling guilty for not acting and that the moment of openness was passing.  It is hard not daring to be natural because of their defenses, either assumed or perceived.  This nurse and I parted on good terms last night, with a smile.  Even though when I got to my room I felt so much of my relational experience with everyone last night had been inappropriate.  As soon as I got to my room I exhaled and thought I had been completely inappropriate to say to him, ‘thank you, I enjoyed tonight, it was fun’, but I meant well and he smiled.  Usually I have gone to bed without saying anything to the nurses.  But recently I have been wanting to make him feel good about me.  I’ve felt I’ve needed to make amends to him personally for a particular conflict situation that arose between us involving other people.  I also know I’ve not quite succeeded when I’ve tried and that distresses me, because I want to.  If he reads this we might become very self-conscious and awkward, I suppose.  I don’t want that.  I’ve just recently realised he is my key nurse as well.  He said he told me at the beginning but I don’t remember, which surprises me.

I’m very tired, very confused and I feel guilty for writing, at least a bit.  I’m going to stop now because although there is more I want to say I’m tired and emotional and I’m in a library and it is coming up to closing time.  At the moment I’m very glad I have my blog.

I am very, very angry.  I’ve had a bad and tired day today and that’s not been all my fault.  I’m hurt and very upset.  I got upset with one of the young nurses today because she was doing the usual thing of playing vocal tag, so it seemed, and I said it was harassment.  Not to her, but to someone else in her hearing.  She or others have been yelling and shouting in the corridors like warrior princesses almost all afternoon.  It happens all the time.  I feel as if they are taking advantage of us.  It’s like a battle cry.  I find it intimidating and disorientating.  I called them predatory child-women yesterday.  It really is, to me, like listening to children opening their throats and crying momma.  But at the same time they are so aggressively in my face.  It is wild, it is like hearing wild animals.  I realised today that it is so disorientating that I am beginning to accept and ignore the cries of real distress from patients.  It is becoming background and commonplace to me, and that bothers me.  That’s not an acceptable state of affairs for me.  Usually no one else answers those cries.  Usually the staff leave people vocalising distress.

 

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