Tag Archive: NHS


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.

Nightmares

I had a nightmare last night about John Coles and John Knight.  John Coles was the vicar at St Barnabas, Woodside Park, North Finchley and John Knight was one of his wardens.  John Coles is now someone in St Paul’s Cathedral.  I had a very unhappy time at St Barnabas.  Near the end it came out that John and Anne Coles thought I had tried to harm their marriage.  They never moved from that, they made me very distressed and unhappy.  I wrote them some ill-advised letters, and we were all unhappy, but they refused to acknowledge that there was any problem at first.  I kept saying I was sorry I had hurt them, they kept saying I hadn’t hurt them, so in the end I decided enough was enough and that if they were saying I hadn’t hurt them I no longer had any responsibility for trying to make amends, but when Anne told me that I had tried to harm their marriage I suppose that made it obvious that they thought I had hurt them.  When people prayed for me John Knight used to pull them away.  They set about isolating me.  They said some really hurtful and harmful things to me and I was beside myself with pain and anger.  In the end they told me I couldn’t take communion anymore, because they said I wasn’t walking in love.  I went forward and John Coles just walked past me without even offering a blessing.  There is nothing to say anymore.  I wish there was.  At the very end they even wanted to control where I was allowed to sit, first telling me I had to sit at the back on the right, then telling me I had to sit at the back on the left, and calling the police on me because I refused to sit in the seat they showed me to and moved forward a bit.  They told me I had a choice, to sit in the seat they led me to, to leave, or have them call the police.  I started calling out to John Coles saying it was harassment, and they called the police.  The police took me out and wouldn’t let me go back in.

I’m self conscious about writing this because some of the nurses at Broomhill House read my blog.  If I name names people in other places have got heavy on me, talking about a care plan in relation to my blog.  No photos or recordings are allowed here.  Another waking nightmare is that I’m going to be here for ages and I won’t be rehoused.  Another is that anything they offer me will be really small and not have a garden.  I had a garden in London and was just beginning to enjoy it, in latter days.

When I Absconded Last Year

When I absconded from hospital last year I found it much more helpful to realise I was having panic attacks than to believe that what I was experiencing was a symptom of schizophrenia and not being on medication. I was gone for 12 days only but I was a lot happier with the way I was dealing with myself than the way the hospital dealt with me. I could talk myself through things, calming down and breathing. I was very gentle with myself and I think I helped myself during that period a lot. When I was finally apprehended by the police (I was on the streets, I’ve been homeless for 2 1/2 years) they said they thought the hospital should discharge me because I was lucid.

The hospital didn’t discharge me though, they kept me and reinstated my medication, and I was unco-operative with the psychiatrist who asked me about something then wanted to move on before I was finished. I believe he decided I was schizophrenic and needing medication because I stood up to him. I shook his hand and he had a pencil in it and he made no effort to remove it, the same as once before. I thought he was a very rude little man. I had hoped for better from him.

They didn’t reinstate my medications straight away because the paperwork wasn’t up to date, but they tried to. This little man who came to see me (and he was little, he was shorter than me, and I’m only 5’1″) was the second opinion doctor. It took them 3 or 4 weeks to relay his decision to me, and all the time I felt completely normal and functioning well, except inwardly I freaked out over the fact they might put me back on medication. They didn’t relay his decision to me because he hadn’t relayed it to them. I was open and vulnerable and you hope that is going to count for something, but it counted for nothing.
There is nothing that justifies what they have done to me.  That is my downfall, I keep thinking it is my fault and they are justified. I keep believing in what they have said to me.
They think we don’t understand, they must do.  They must believe that they are best looking after our human rights by killing everything joyful and spontaneous and strong and making us take medication.  I’ve told them I had a woman upstairs constantly screaming hallelujah and making me beside myself but they have decided to believe that what they are dealing with is psychosis.

 

Update 22.02.2014

For the last few days I have been tweeting and retweeting on Twitter, and have gained 22 more followers.

I did some washing and had a shower this morning and it was completely claustrophobic.  There is hardly room to bend without getting burnt on the pipes, there is just enough room to stand under the unrelenting shower.  The curtain doesn’t go all the way down into the tray so there is water on the floor.

I can hardly bear my situation any longer.  I heard someone call someone ‘madam’ earlier.  Talk about respect.  If they called us sir and madam here without joking and if they were really available to meet our needs I think that would do more for some of us than all their medication.  Someone let themselves into my room at 9.55 the other day, while I was still getting dressed.  They said they knocked but I didn’t hear them.  The rule as I understood it was that we had to be up and dressed by 10, but she told me we also had to be downstairs for 2 hours between 10 and midday.  Maybe it depends who’s on and how lenient they are feeling, because they didn’t enforce it yesterday and they aren’t enforcing it today.  Inconsistency isn’t good, it leaves you unsure all the time.

We had a ladies’ meeting the other day and the nurse told me Broomhill House was a family and even when we have left we can come back and do things.  I’m not sure about that.  I know they have an outreach among people who are living in the local community, and some of those people come in during the day.  It seems to have got right away from seeing itself as an institution with legal powers and it seems to want us to not see it that way as well, if we are supposed to see it as family.  Maybe it was just that lady.

The sun is shining and it is forecast to be dry today, which will be nice.  Obviously the flooding in other parts of the country is desperate and awful.  I hope they can get it sorted out and that it won’t be an annual occurence.  They were showing leafy foliage which holds a lot of water, last night on the news.  I suppose the idea is to plant it as a barrier.  They must have other ideas as well.  It must have been a nightmare for these poor people.  I was thinking myself that I might like to live in one of those areas, but the flooding has changed my mind.  They say it is climate change.  They said that in about 200 years some parts of the country will be completely under water.  It looks as if this might be the start of it, if it is climate change.  They say it has been 250 years since we had a winter like this one.  I wonder if people were flooded out then?

I’ve got Gem 106 on in the background, it’s quite a nice station.  I used to listen to Graham Norton on Radio 2 but I don’t fancy it recently.  Radio 4 picked on him a few months ago as an example of what the masses are fed as entertainment.  They found fault with him shouting ‘Oh, Oh’ when he starts.  I don’t really mind that, I suppose it is one way of exciting and bonding with an audience.

I feel a bit sick today, probably nerves about staying in my room and the same nurse who barged into my room being on in the kitchen.  We’re not going to get on, probably.  It’s lunchtime now, and I’m going to go down and get my first cup of tea of the day.  Someone just banged on my door and told me I need to go down now and cook.  That’s a bit off, there’s an hour and five minutes yet before lunchtime finishes.  They probably want to close the kitchen early.  That hasn’t happened before.

Frozen Shoulder 2

I went to see my new GP this morning, as arranged for me by Enright Close.  I told him I had frozen shoulder and told him I had read that it had been helped by HRT.  He said he hadn’t heard of that and wouldn’t want to start me on HRT for that reason, but he could give me steroid injections.  I don’t like injections so I was terrified, but when he offered me one immediately I said yes, just to see how far I could get with allowing it.  I asked him how much of the needle went in and he must have shown me an inch or 2.  I was ready for something so excruciating that I wouldn’t be able to bear it, but he said ‘sharp scratch’ and all I felt was the needle on the surface of my skin, as I do for my depot injection.  I couldn’t tell at all that there was any depth to it, it was really easy.  He said the important thing was to do exercises to mobilise the shoulder, and he gave me co codamol to help with the pain involved in movement.   The painlessness of the injection was a very pleasant surprise after reading about excruciating treatment.  I hardly felt anything.  He told me there were not many pain receptors in the shoulder.

So that was the first of a few injections.  My GP told me it speeds things up.  At the moment there is no change in the way my arm feels, and the sort of movements he wants me to perform with my arm are still very painful.  He wants me to put my hand behind my head and behind my back and I find both movements difficult, behind my back is harder than behind my head.  My fear is that if I can’t cope with the exercises my frozen shoulder is not going to clear up, and that it will always hurt too much to do the exercises properly.  I can’t imagine a freed up shoulder that doesn’t hurt.  The lady I read about who said HRT helped her shoulder seemed to know what she was talking about.  I had been told that steroid injections might or might not help.  Obviously I hope they will help.

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.

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.

This Morning

So, what happened this morning?  R in the wheelchair told me it was either Sue or Sharon who said she had legs, she should use them.  When she told me that they were both sitting opposite me and she just said the one sitting opposite, so that is as close as I have it for now.  They started whispering together and laughing.  It came up about Sue swearing at me and telling me no one liked me again, and she said I had no proof.  They told me I was boring and my blog, which they say they haven’t read, is boring.  They told me I don’t know how to use my brain and that I am paranoid.  Sue said I was paranoid when I was saying about her swearing etc.

OK, I don’t have proof, but she and I both know, and I know she is lying.  She lies even to say she isn’t lying.  What sort of person says that another has no proof when they are expressing that kind of concern and offense?  I believe I should not need proof.  They have almost absolute power over me and I think that I should not need proof in the same way that a person reporting a past sexual offense against themselves does not need it.  We are that vulnerable.  I hope it turns out that I do not need proof.

They were all shouting at me this morning and laughing at me and letting other people, patients, shout at me.  They kept taking their side and using them to have a go at me.  I tried to talk to the doctor about what was happening and they wanted to hang around outside the door and watch, as if I was dangerous, so I said I would talk to someone else.  Jesus said the same thing – why have you come at me like this?

I couldn’t eat lunch, it was too spicy.

Whatever these people want, I will not work with them.  They are Nazis.  I will not have it said that they are working with me by my consent.  I’m not sure what they think they are trying to achieve, if it is not just trying to disempower and humiliate me.  Helen was there again, Steve who was responsible, so I was told, for the decision to not even help me with my bed.  Steve stayed laughing in the background, the women worked me over.

It started because I was told I needed to be out of my room so they could do a cleaning audit, and I let them bully me out.  I wasn’t dressed, I hadn’t showered.  When I pointed that out Sue gave me an empty stare and said ‘tough’.  I’d had a bad night because a woman on my corridor kept slamming the door again, I think it was Kerry, but I’m not sure.  It also could have been staff.  When I wanted to go back in my room Sue was sitting there and she said ‘she won’t come out again’, then we got into an argument about my right to stay in my room, and the fact that they can’t manhandle us out if we are not a danger to ourselves or anyone else.  As I said last night, they know it is the only place I have and they are taking full advantage of that. They were saying the other patients were all out and I said they didn’t have to be because the law protects us.  They were goading me, with complete disrespect.  They stripped me naked and insisted I stay among them in my distress, with them tossing me around on their horns.  I’ve had the hospital as my only home for nearly 16 months.  It has always been untenable.  I told them I would probably be gone within a month because accommodation and discharge is being talked about, and one of them threw up their hands and said hurray, or something to that effect.  Two of the other patients started on me, one said I should be in prison or in a hostel and that they were going to phone the police.  She got on the phone and asked for Scotland Yard.  I told her I would happily be in a hostel but they wouldn’t let me go.  I’ve got to wait until after 4th September when my Care Co-ordinator gets back from leave, unless I can find out from my advocate that there is a quicker way of doing it.

I had a dream last night that I was looking after Brian May’s house for him while he was away.  I also dreamt about the whole of the original Queen cast, but their hair was up in frizzy bunches on each side of their heads, while they were singing.

Oh, apart from putting me in the wrong all the time they asked me if I wasn’t sick of the sound of my voice.

Of course my constant fear about my blog is that it isn’t making the difference I want it to make, that in spite of all the clicks people don’t read it and they do think it is boring.  All I can say is that I am a real person coping,or trying to, with a terrible situation.  And I think I have something to say which should be taken seriously and should make the difference I keep saying I want it to make for myself and for others.

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.

Sandra started off really badly.  I was just enjoying myself dancing to the radio and I walked up the corridor really happy.  Next thing I knew she was behind me saying for my hearing but not to me “what are you . . .? But you have down days as well don’t you”.  Later that day I tried to talk to some medical students about what she had down and she came out of the office and stared.  Then later in the evening a Chinese takeaway man came to the ward and he had a tee-shirt on saying ‘cover me in chocolate and feed me to the lesbians’.  Being intelligent and having a sense of humour I read it out loud and he looked agog at Sandra and Sandra made a ‘oh, just dismiss it’ gesture at the man, but I continued, saying would it be pleasurable for lesbians to ‘lick him off’, and he was nicely embarrassed and Sandra laughed, but it was the three things that went before that were the problem and prejudicial to me.

I don’t talk to people because I expect them to lie to cover themselves, it has happened before.  I just asked Ruth today, the ward manager, if she still believed that none of her staff would tell me to F off and that no one liked me, as Sue did.  She said yes, she had no evidence.  I said that I should be the one protected, not her staff team, and walked away.

Sue and Sharon, and Tracy and Steph had a go at me today.  They are like bear baiters at a circus.  It was lunch time.  Sharon started it.  Then they wouldn’t let me go somewhere else to eat, not even the area where everyone sits and eats crisps and chips etc.  They can start on you at lunch time and you can’t go anywhere for peace.  It’s sadistic.  They are out of order and out of control.  I am not the only person they are doing this to.

Down Time

I am hijacking my blog with complaints about staff and such like, and I think I would like a change of direction.

A few weeks ago I made some notes in my notebook.  I looked at them briefly (that is, the first note), and decided against putting them all up here.  They had been intended for my blog at the time.

One thing I was thinking at that time is that I am honouring the wrong writing voice (for the sake of psychiatric staff reading, many writers recognise more than one voice.  There is a play by Pirandello called ‘Six Characters In Search Of An Author’.  It is something like that and doesn’t call for medication.  They are writing voices, not psychotic voices, whatever psychotic is supposed to mean).  I recognise at least two voices that present as – one a motivation for writing, one a source.  The one I had been ‘honouring’ was a ‘yatter, yatter, yeah, critical’ one.  A follow and reproduce one, not a source.  I felt the one I needed to honour was more grounded and sprang out  of an emotional/devotional relationship to God and love for others.  I’m not sure, in fact I know that I have not always succeeded in going with that perception or even in always believing it to have been valuable.

I will write a few of the notes I made, especially after having put this one in writing.  Some of them were made with my blog in mind, others with my psychologist.  Also I was thinking about Terry at the time, because he had recently given me some time that meant a great deal to me.

~~~//~~~

“My lecturer, on a day like the one I’m having today, said there was a lot of ‘id’ around . . . This always seems to happen when I feel inspired and best able to express myself . . . Everybody around me seems artificially happy and deliberately uncaring.  I’m even feeling as if some people are being deliberately obstructive.  I’m sitting in a cafe trying to write”.

(I then drew a line in a different place and started again with . . .)

“I know I’m not mimicking anyone”.

“The staff are supposed to be here for us, not themselves and each other.  But the way they misbehave then lie about it or get evasive shows they are basically here for themselves”.

“Thoughts, staring, fear and outrage – grief” (That is, when I get a thought I want to let run and chase where it is going, people stare at me, I feel fear and outrage which I suppose to be grief because the inspired thought is stopped).

“Honouring the wrong voice.  Writing voice – spirit”.

“Jim said ‘come on’ when letting me out of the door.  I said ‘no, I’m not a dog’.  Possible misinterpretation of what meant as affectionate support.  Bless him”.

“I love Jim – I enjoy his smile when he sees me”.

“Kiran – mimicry, bubble – I vulnerable, she not – shameless, barefaced liar’OK’ – no – slander and perjury.  She is beautiful and her eyes are full of light – makes me feel i shouldn’t have a problem with it – Mimicry, copying, matching – why is she doing it – I have a right to know – don’t I?”.

“I think the problem here might just be culture shock – I’m not used to Nottingham, I’m from London.  When I’m out I hear quite a few people talk like the nurses”.

“Robb Thompson – what did he say that I just thought of?”.

“My shame is their shame.  Voice?”

“Terry – the way he looked at me – my glory and the lifter of my head” (It was intelligent, appreciative and kind, not to say tender.  That look has passed now.  I kept wanting it again, or somehow to retrieve something it communicated and made me feel.)

The last thought was as far as I got sitting in the hotel restaurant drinking whatever it was at the time.  The rest was on the Arboretum a couple of hours before seeing my psychologist.

I was feeling afraid in the Arboretum for some reason of what people might be thinking of my sensitivitiies as manifested by my body language and wrote this next comment:

“Most of the time our heads are so full of our own thoughts we might not notice the sights and sounds around us, unless for some reason we have become particularly sensitised”.

“William Blake – damn braces, bless relaxes” (I had received that as braces are to be damned, relaxes are to be blessed.  But in recent months, if not years, I have thought of it as ‘damn’ causes you to brace yourself, and ‘bless’ causes you to relax, more often than not, for both giver and recipient).

“This nervousness and ‘no’-screaming resistance when I write like this for a meeting (comments missed out, quite personal) is just anxiety and self-censorship and I needn’t pay it any attention.  I don’t need to worry about its impact on the other person or fear lack of efficacy when notes eventually become communication.  If it serves as nothing else it can serve as a seed or launching pad for later exploration.  What matters is that we trust each other”.

~~~//~~~

I cut my notes a little early, basically I got bored and didn’t feel the others were going anywhere.  I’m bored with it now.  I might come back to this post later and fill in the end gaps.  One thing I said was that I’m not available to people – I’m walking around in a stupid cloud of fear and trauma.  I feel raw and unprotected, undefended.  That was then.  Sometimes it is now as well.

Out here writing from notes feels better than trying to think as I go, but the notes I wrote this entry from were all written in public.  I have given up the idea of ever having a home where I feel at peace and have any degree of privacy.  I feel open to everyone against my will, and it isn’t only because of my blog.  I still feel there are psychic connections between my concentration and disturbances when I am on my own in a room and disturbances happen nearby.  I’m not sure which is the cause and which the effect, but it seems to work that way, much more often than not.

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’.

Bad Afternoon on Rowan 2

Jim has been on for the last two days.  I asked him if I could talk to him and it didn’t materialise either day.  When faced with situations which aren’t presented to him as talking he seems to have two modes with me – one is slightly crazy friendliness – tongue -poking, winking, etc, and the other is grabbing me by the arm and making me go wherever he wishes.  I think I have had another bruise left on my arm today.  I have quite a nice collection.  The one on my stomach remains the most pronounced, from being kicked.

This afternoon Re started on me, being rude, saying I had been kicked in last week and to shut my mouth.  I had forgotten that she had been there and wondered where she was getting it from.  Kiran came out from behind us at the noise and Re started to spin her a yarn and she said ‘I know, darling’.  Jim came out and told her she could go outside (it was my understanding that he asked/told her to move away, and she did.  But then she came back on the phone and I got upset and I thought he had asked her to move for my sake, so I started getting really wound up and they came out and told me if I didn’t calm down I would have to leave the ward.  They might have said I could.  I said something and Jim grabbed me angrily and started forcing me up the corridor.  I think Tracy was involved, Sean was definitely involved, and they grabbed me roughly, and I can’t remember what I was saying but they wouldn’t listen.  I know I said that when I was upset there was a reason, but that one minute they were nice and the next they were doing that to me.  I said they were the ones who were schizophrenic.  I hope there are people reading this who recognise the reason in what I said.

I wanted to go to the toilet, and I told them and they told me the toilet in the corridor was open.  It wasn’t.  I told them I had no money to go anywhere and they wouldn’t open the door.  I confronted Kiran with what she had said and she said she didn’t have to discuss it.  I said she had a duty to discuss something she had done which was an issue to me with my care.  I believe she has a personal duty if not a moral one.  When I got back later they were playing laughing, giggling hostesses.  I said if they wouldn’t discuss it with me then I will tell who I like how I like, and that I chose blogging.  While having dinner I was saying stuff about abuse and assaults and that in any other situation than a mental hospital or a prison I would be told that my first concern should be my own safety and that I should get out or get a restraining order against the perpetrators.  I seem to remember you can do that with the police these days, though I don’t know in what circumstances.

In the meantime I went outside and met the boyfriend of one of the other patients, and he let me literally cry on his shoulder.  I ended up going to the multi-faith room and Katya was there.  We had quite a stormy time.  I felt angry with her for what I felt to be her broad brush approach.  I can’t by any means remember everything we said.  We did a meditation at the end, and I wondered if in any circumstances a meditation with one person would permit them to cry and scream and come out the other side feeling washed, not repressed.  It said something about noticing the sensations in your body and not judging them, and at that point I asked if it would be OK to cry and scream.  I talked about repressing emotions being a way of judging them, because if you didn’t judge them you would just let them happen, even insist on them and your right to express them, as in other situations where social steps forward have taken place.

I went back for dinner and it was as I have said.  Katya had talked about fighting fire with fire and how it wasn’t good, and I said that was the staff, in their relationship with me.  I said I wanted to go out and asked for someone to open my door.  I demanded it, as far as I dared, rather than asked.  Tracy said she would come.  I said I was going to find out whether or not I had an obligation to go back on the ward since I had been forced off.  She wanted to talk reasonably, she said, but I told her I didn’t want to, that you can’t go from being unreasonable to reasonable whenever you felt like it.  I She said when I tried to find out if I had an obligation to go back on the ward to make sure that I told them I wasn’t the innocent party.  She just walked away, went into the clinic room and slammed the door locked behind her.

I talked to my ‘Old Wife’ who very kindly let me have a cup of tea on the house.  Both she and Katya said I should go to the Women’s Centre.  I phoned the police afterwards and asked them if I had an obligation to go back under the circumstances, and they told me there was no bar on me going back and I could go back when I liked.

But I have to go back to the same possibility of abuse and assault all the time.  In any other situation I could walk away and never go back, if I chose to deal with it that way, with impunity.  I’ve had verbal assaults and abuse from staff and patients, but the only physical assaults I’ve had really apart from last week were from staff.  My section is supposed to be coming to an end this week.  I don’t know what they are trying to do with that.  I really would feel safer on the streets.  At least I would have my benefits back, and be able to pay two lots of storage every 28 days without feeling it so much.

I can’t have special people on the staff, i can’t try to make friends of them, because the truth is that when I need them they are either not there for me or they lose it for some reason, regardless of former tongue poking and winking.  Jim did that because he felt like it.  He was really angry and he turned that into an assault he could rationalise professionally, to other people if not to himself.  Terry was on the ward.

Tracy acts as if she is the one who has a right to offendedly and pettishly disengage and not talk.  She walks away and leaves you in pieces behind her.  for me she leaves me wanting to get my own back.  I think the patient has a right to disengage from nurses or staff they don’t get on with, but these people are betraying relationships all over the place.  They overheated and dragged me and pushed me out, with no money and wanting to go to the toilet.  They left me crying on someone else.  When I turned round a nurse was watching me from inside, and walked away as soon as I turned round.

If you express concern for these people and their personal circumstances they take it for granted.  If you don’t who knows what they think, but you might feel less human, until met with a situation like this.  I feel very human in my hatred and distress at the moment, and my deep rage and anger, and hopelessness.  I said to Katya that I wanted to laugh but that there was nothing to laugh about, that it would be belittling it.  I said if they are going to call me mentally ill they should do something to make me feel better and give me hope, not give reasons for considering suicide.  I have something in my religious background that says that suicide is the ultimate act of manipulation, so I feel guilty saying that.  I feel I know better, but I can see no way out of this.   In ordinary situations of abuse and assault you are told that in no way is it your fault, but this is different, we are told.  ‘If you don’t we will have to’.  Like, ‘look what you made me do’, ‘I had no option’.

I listened to Blake 7 last night on Radio 4 Extra.  That was interesting.  It  could have been written about me.  It says rebellion is not a malfunction, but an imperative.  The woman says she hates the system and she doesn’t want to rejoin, that it has murdered her friends and robbed her of her identity.  This is just sci-fi, but it is more than that.  For me it is serious.

What is happening to me in the hospital is demeaning, degrading and dehumanising.  It isn’t about being friends with the staff.  I don’t want their so-called solutions.  I would happily be friends with some of these people, but they are unavailable for friendship, both ethically and by nature of what they do, professionally and not so professionally.  I’ve said it is like living in a gangland and that I would not choose to have such people in my life, and nor have I chosen to be there, but that there is no support or protection.  I don’t act like most of these people and don’t want to.  People have started calling on Norma around me.  I feel like the new Norma.  She said the other day that people should speak to her because she was not allowed to speak or to shout.  She is very quiet these days, i hardly hear her at all, and she used to be very voluble.

I am a victim.  I do not have a victim mentality.  I want to leave and repair my life.  I do not have a victim mentality.  Any more than any other abused group has had.  They have been made victims by other people.  They wave Section papers at you and use it as a cover for all kinds of abuse.

They don’t take Kerry off when she is being violent and abusive or behaving in ways people don’t like.  They let her get on with it.  One of the women who had a go at me last night then got nice had a go at me again today, and stuck her middle finger up at me as I was pushed off the ward.  Tonight she is not going to get such an easy reconciliation, if she wants one.  For me it is heartbreaking, because I didn’t do this to other patients when I first came on the ward, but people who didn’t know me then and how active I was in speaking out are doing it to me.  It seems obvious to me, though it might sound ludicrous, that the staff wanted to use me or silence me, while at the same time ‘treating me as though I am schizophrenic’.  It is obvious to me that they don’t like what is happening and the representations on TV and radio, but they don’t want to acknowledge any of it to say they were wrong about me.  It is hypocrisy and terrifying abuse.

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.

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.

Update 26.07.2013

I’m in a pub in Bulwell again and not very focused.  Jim went off ill soon after the bust up entry.  I’ve been told he has injured his back.  We have had quite a few staff on who are not normally on our ward.  The only thing really on my mind is an incident a couple of weeks ago where R was told to clean up her own vomit.  R is in a wheelchair, she has told me she has MS.  I spoke to the shift manager that day and said I was concerned about it because this was what I had been led to believe but after thinking about it thought perhaps her wheelchair was a concession to a delusion or something.  Obviously he wasn’t free to discuss her with me, but I expressed my concern and he said things aren’t necessarily as I have been led to believe, but even that can’t be seen as a definite because that would have been discussing her with me.  I have thought though that even if the wheelchair was a consession to a delusion, to confront it that way seems to me cruel and brutal, but I don’t know what has gone between them before.  She is quite big as well, and a lot older than me.  Having been 3 stones heavier than I am now and knowing how hard it was, and sometimes still is, for me to bend and get up, I expressed concern, but basically said the bottom line for me is that she is in a wheelchair and that it was distressing to me to have had to witness this.  Personally I have been uneasy if this was a way of confronting a delusion.  I talked about the time that I vomited in church and my stomach was hurting and a woman came up with a bucket of water and cloths or something and I said thank you, and she said ‘I’m not doing it.  I’ve seen this before’.  It seems she assumed I was drunk or something.  I can’t remember if I cleaned up or not, I know I was in a dreadful state after being sick.  I supposed that R must have felt the same way.  I haven’t submitted a complaint.  I haven’t named the staff involved.  Personally I have tried to have a good relationship with the person concerned, it isn’t my purpose to name him.  I feel bad even about going this far.

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.

 

In Brief

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life at Macmillan Close

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

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

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

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

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

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

Esther

She looks at me as if she despises me, every time I see her.  It makes my head feel as if it is being held in a cloud of sedation and I start to feel tearful and like wanting to scream, and I have no way to process all that.  It doesn’t go away, it stays with me.  My housing advocate said she looked at her as if she was angry because she was in her way.  I told her, I get that all the time from her.  If you say anything they don’t take your side and it isn’t helpful to mention it.  I hesitate to say they take each other’s side and all get on your case, because I haven’t really put it to the test.

I was thinking the other day, we have different experiences of our relationship and different approaches.  The staff and I, that is, not Esther and I.  The staff and patients, really.  For the staff, they work with us, and go home.  We have to live with them, no way out.

They talk about flattened affect, but it is our relationship with them,including the constant threat outside, that causes the flattened affect, in my opinion.  And anyway, why is ‘affect’ so important?  What about not being ruled by ‘affect’ and letting your mind come into play?  People are frightened to show their emotions in an unequal relationship.  Either that, or they use them to manipulate, or try and change things whereas the other party wants to keep it as it is.  Try and be yourself in the face of a person in power in close proximity who is telling you you are something negative you believe you are not.  They look as if they feel threatened by your confidence and that bodes badly for you when they are the decision makers in your life.

 

I sent this complaint to Nottingham NHS Trust on 12th August 2012.  I have been promised a reply several times.  The last time I sent an email to them asking for the written response was 28th December as a response had been promised to me for 14th December.  I haven’t received a response to that email so I have just emailed again.

This is the complaint:

This morning at 4.30 am I heard a man coughing in the courtyard outside my bedroom where the cigarette break takes place several times a day.  When I looked outside there was a man I didn’t recognise with the night staff from my ward sitting around the outside table.  I got upset and yelled at them to be quiet, also saying something about promoting sleep, and one of the women started to talk louder and kept it going for about 20 minutes longer, laughing as well.  I was really upset but felt powerless.

 

Noise on the ward happens all the time, even at night, door slamming included, and when I have complained I have just been told that there are some ill people on the ward.  I am also there since my unsatisfactory admission made me homeless from temporary accommodation, and I suspect collusion between the authorities, and I also am becoming ill through sleep deprivation, and also bullying by staff and patients. I can discharge myself when I want to technically, but I have no home to go to, and sometimes I feel as if the staff are giving me a hard time to try to make me leave before I have a home.  I believe they are experiencing problems they have dismissed when I first raised them as I came in and since, and various abuses have taken place which have never been apologised for, including mimicry of voice and gesture and also interfering vocally  from a distance with conversations I have been having with others.
On Tuesday 31st July 3 staff members I have had particular problems with in the past were on night duty and opened the slats on my door at 4.30 am and then switched the light on.  I was already desperate from previous broken nights, and I lay there for a while terrified with my heart pounding as it used to when I was harassed in the night from my upstairs neighbours.  I have had bad eczema on my lower abdomen for weeks, which only happens in extreme stress, and around 5.10 am I was scratching it and it was so uncomfortable I made a noise, and the male nurse and one of the female nurses started a jokey conversation about it in the corridor, as if they were walking along a beach on holiday, I thought at the time.  They have accused me of racism, and the male nurse, who is black [Errol], was then standing in the corridor with the female patient who had been partly responsible for that and who started a major coughing fit when I coughed (part of the mimicry and harassment and domination, she has also sworn at me badly in conversation in the past), then they hung around chatting and he said something about arrogant and she said tell me about it.  Then he went outside and started talking and I was desperate and shouted at him to be quiet.  Then all 3 staff came and stood at my door, one of the female staff, Lucy, with her foot against the door so I couldn’t close it, and asked me if i was going to calm down.  I said i would find it easier if she (Sam) wasn’t nagging me, and she said she wasn’t nagging me, and carried on pushing and they wouldn’t leave even when I said please and said I wanted to sleep.  She is 21 I am 51.  I said she would[n’t] speak to her mother like that.  Everything I said she negated and said she didn’t care.  In the end she said something and I said you do that and see what happens.  She asked me if it was a threat and I said yes. She said she would discuss it with the doctor and I said she would also have to tell him what I was threatening and find it in her head without having asked me what it was I was threatening.  I made it clear, several times, that I had been threatening a complaint.
They brought in a big team, including staff from another ward and started insisting that I took medication.  I said all I wanted was to be left alone to sleep and that my threat had been to make a complaint and that I wasn’t a danger to myself or anyone else.  They offered me a tablet which I rejected so they started making intimidating moves to turn me over and inject me.  At that point I said give me the tablets, and they said OK we won’t inject you because you are accepting the tablet.  I said I am not accepting it, you are forcing it on me, then one of them started to speak roughly and snatched my duvet away, saying right inject her and started moving to turn me over.  It was just perversity and an anger or malice I didn’t understand because I had been clear in what I had said.
They refused to give me my duvet back which was on the floor until I had taken the tablet, then they tried to give it back to me as a gift or concession rather than my right, at the same time dumping it on me.
The next night the same thing happened with my room and the light, but an hour earlier.  It has never happened before and no explanation was offered either night.  I was upset the first night at having been woken then talked about abd they bullied me.
I spoke on the Friday to a solicitor who told me it was illegal to medicate me if I am informal without my consent.
My name is Sue Barnett and I am on Redwood 2 at Highbury Hospital.  I also have other incidents and complaints I need to report.
Yours sincerely
S B Barnett

Employment And Support Benefit

Without having received the letter I was supposed to receive I have been taken off Income Support and put on Employment and Support Benefit.  In the process I have lost £100, approximately, every two weeks.

In the meantime I am still in hospital, and because I have no Care Co-ordinator or social worker I am still paying about £150 a month for my storage, although I am entitled to have it paid for me under Section 117 of the mental health act, which is concerned with aftercare.  Having been on a Section 3 before this one I am still entitled to aftercare following that.

Obviously something needs to be done about this, but at the moment I am not sure what.  I don’t know if I can get an appointment with the benefits advisor.  I don’t know why I’m not entitled to Income Support anymore.  Until now I have been deemed to have a serious illness, in spite of all my own efforts to get them to re-examine my claim and diagnosis over the years.

My New Home With the NHS

Part of the problem with the house is its almost non-existent sound-proofing.  On my side of the house we are right on top of each other bedrooms-wise and the floorboards creak when you move.  This can be heard in the next room.  My next door neighbour/fellow patient can hear when I move and I can hear when she moves.  I get nervous because of the door slamming and wonder what her movement means all the time.  The other lady doesn’t even acknowledge me when I say hello.  The door slamming started 2 days after I got there.  I had told the staff this was a pattern that was following me, but previously it has been insisted that this belief is all a part of what I believe to be my non-existent mental illness.  At the moment I feel weak and tired and my chest hurts.  My blood pressure was taken this morning and a stethoscope held to my back, because I told them I wanted to pass out when I was outside.  She told me to take deep breaths and when I did I started to cough, clearing my airways.  She commented and I felt inhibited.  Coughing and clearing my airways would have been a good start to deep breathing.

I have been afraid/reluctant to write like this about the new place I am in because I don’t want to stir up bad feeling.  But I think the building is largely responsible for the tension in the house.  Doors are made to slam which would not slam left to themselves, and they should be slam-proofed anyway.   It looks as if nothing has been done to make these buildings, which used to be offices, apparently, suitable for the purpose they are now used for.  Also even the largest bedrooms are really small.  Mine is one of the smallest.  It is 2 or 3 paces from my bed to the door.  One of the staff who spoke to me acknowledged that the unit was not fit for purpose, but the acknowledgment doesn’t make it any easier.

It is exactly the same with social housing.  The sound-proofing is appalling. I heard a story on Radio 4 recently where it said that thin walls made bad neighbours.  That is true, definitely. They also make angry, desperate people.  I don’t like to sound strident and political, but the truth is that in the places I have been in we can hear so much from each other’s space it is humanly indecent.  It really is like being packed together like farm animals.

I’m saying all this stuff, but sometimes, when it comes down to it, I feel as if I am being precious and giving myself ‘airs and graces’.  Really I am no different from anyone else except that I have been silenced by intimidation and vigilantism, delivered subliminally.  Knowing that is what is happening makes me too angry to speak.

Relaxation Tape

I am listening to a tape that started off by saying that any sound would add to my relaxation.  I’m sure she can’t have meant doors slamming deliberately like bombs dropping.  This happens here every day.  I’ve reported it to the nurses and the nurses have talked to the other women involved but there has been no change.  I’m beginning to think about stopping respecting the night.  I can also do slamming doors.  The nurses aren’t here, they are in a building across the road.  They would have to get out of bed and walk over there (Oh no, there is a phone in the hall).  This shared NHS house is hell for me, as I thought it would be.  But one of the nurses told me they have done it to people before, and said it isn’t me or my fault.  So why aren’t they ejected if they are making people this ill and unhappy?  I told one of the nurses today that things are so bad in here I can’t cope and I want to pass out and collapse when I am out.  One of the people involved across the landing from me won’t even acknowledge me when I say hello or ask if she is OK.  Somebody I was talking to the other day (not about this) said it was obvious I was being abused.  It’s a shared house on an open ward and the treatment I am getting from the people I am sharing with is making me feel sick but all the nurses ever do is say they will talk to them.  I’m afraid to go down and cook and it is affecting my appetite.  The door slamming is unnecessary and violent and it shakes the house.  I’m even getting pain in my stomach when I try to eat.

Some people would say this is the result of unforgiveness . . .

Jessica Blake (with apologies and sympathy)

Looks a bit like me and a bit like one of the ward nurses, Jessica. I have recently downloaded some William Blake, who I spent a lot of time on when I was studying for my English BA.  The same time PC Blakelock was killed in the Tottenham riots in the 80s after the death of a Mrs Jarrett, which was the name of another lecturer on that course.  I expressed my concerns in an email last year, or via the website, to the police.  That is not the first time my concerns have gone unanswered.  AOL today is the first time I have seen Jessica’s picture, I don’t watch tv in the tv room as a rule, it is too difficult and disruptive/competitive.  I also realised for the first time the other day that one of the Moors murders victims was called Keith Bennett, almost the same as my father’s name which I had told the assessment doctor the day before his mother died.

My psychiatrists, who have done some brutal and inadequate assessments on me over the last 2 weeks since I tried to discharge myself as was my right and they put me back on a section 3, are determined to forcibly medicate me.  They are tapping into the animal desperation in me and I believe there is potential for their actions to do more psychological harm than chemical good.  They are also disregarding the decision of my former trust that I was obviously not going to change my mind so they were no longer going to force the issue.  I had a conversation with one of my key nurses today who said they were seeing t as a fresh situation.  But I am the same person and should be respected for myself and the professional decision of those who have dealt with me before respected.  I have had such rudeness from some of them that I believe this is largely revenge for my blogging.  In spite of the fact I asked for help twice in my situation after I got into it with temporary housing, and didn’t get it, regardless of the fact Iwrote 8 pages saying why we would need help before I was even given the accommodation, on which they eventually changed the locks while I was in hospital without telling anyone, and that none of the decisions they have made have been communicated to me in writing – in spite of what my nurse said are the irregularities of the situation, these unreasonable people want to start again a battle which I have already won, after not knowing the serious and untrue accusations being made against me,with another trust.  My tribunal was successful.

I just walked in to a hotel reception where 4 men were standing, one of them saying ‘have you got any pussy organised’.  These people are animals of the lowest order.  I feel sick and frightened here, this place is evil and alien.  This is a Hilton hotel, but it is just like the worst pub people dressed up.  A few plush seats around, and men giving unwanted attention to an 11 month homeless woman who has no privacy at the moment to use the internet or anything else.

There are abusive relationships on the ward.  I think some of the staff have been willing to turn a blind eye to some of the harassment I’ve had from some patients because they know I am deliberately not naming patients.  Last weekend when I was re-sectioned I stayed in my room and didn’t eat, and they were not too worried about it.  Twice this week I have said that I did not want to go to the dining ro to be served by Errol because of his abusiveness towards me, and twice, including today, I was made to miss a meal because they would not support my attempt to protect myself.  As far as they are concerned, if there is a problem, it is me.  My nurse said that if they had done as I had asked and got my lunch for me it would have been seen as collaborating with me.  I am there involuntarily and under threat of forced medication and not being able to afford to get my food elsewhere, but also not being willing to subject myself to such a negative experience, or fudge and compromise and basically what is brainwashing if I am expected to go through that, and they are paid people employed by the trust.  If I allow myself to be subjected to harassment or assault, knowing that that is what it is, how does that show good mental health?  They said they would be collaborating with me if they enabled me to get some lunch, and they would not let me leave when I had a right without re-sectioning me (which interestingly was on Julian Assange day)and I have been saying repeatedly that my storage costs are nearly £100 per month and I need to stop the payments and have a home.  On the day they would not let me leave, police helicopters flew over the hospital.  That has happened before.  Big Brother re-enacted the Julian Assange situation in the embassy, with Julian Cleary and the woman off East Enders that I have been told looks like me.  I haven’t seen it, but I heard about it on the radio, and several staff came in exuding warmth and stuff at me.  I was angry that night.  I said the helicopters were about me, that it had happened when I first got there.  I shouted ‘God bless Julian Assange’.  For the first time I saw the footage where he shook hands with someone I had spoken to at London Occupy.  I’ve written about him elsewhere on this blog.  I told the staff that they were my captors, not my friends, and that I was terrified of them.

I feel betrayed by everyone who has ever put out anything which seemed positive towards me.  I feel as if they want me with my head psychologically kicked in.  I can’t go through this, and they can’t let me, without damage to my ability to relate to them.

My solicitor got in touch with the advocacy service for representation for me at last Friday’s review meeting.  On Wednesday the advocate phoned to say she couldn’t make it.  A message was left which was not relayed to me.  I didn’t know until Friday morning that no one was available.  On Friday afternoon Dr Fahy’s SHO told me that the next review would be next Friday and that from then I would be medicated, forcibly if necessary.  Today my nurse told me that the review and the medication has been written up for Wednesday, although she said Friday and that is what I have been preparing myself for.

I have submitted a complaint to the address given on the trust website, 3 times now over the last week or 2.  It says you should receive a response within 3 days.  I have received nothing.

I think these people are unscrupulous and will hurt me with compulsory medication if they can, whatever is going through in terms of asking my closest relative to apply for discharge for me (which need not be granted) at the time.  They have said it is not that they consider me a danger to myself or anyone else, but that they believe I have an illness that would benefit from medication, and are worried about what would happen if the same home situation occurred again, as if I had not asked for help and been failed by the authorities.  I said it wouldn’t occur again unless I was failed by the authorities when I asked for help again.  And as for a sickness that might be helped by medication – there are many medical professionals who do not take psychiatry seriously.  But a lay person in their power does not and they go to dehumanise them and denude them anyway.  I have lost most of my life to them, including the last of my reproductive years.  I have no partner and no children and now will not be able to have children.  This is a major trauma and grief for me which will never pass, and they want to add more abuse to it.  This is more like an irrational form of veterinary practice than medicine which should be practiced on a human being In the deep grief of childlessness and knowing that a lot of the blame lies at the doors of the authorities, including the NHS.  Do no harm, is that part of the oath?

Emerging From The Dark Night

Working through the Dark Night of the Soul to emerge as me.

The Elephant in the Room

Writing about my experiences with: depression, anxiety, OCD and Aspergers

The Sir Letters

A Tale of Love

The Seeker's Dungeon

Troubling the Surf with the Ocean

Seroquel Nation

Onward and upward...

We are all in this together

it's gonna be okay.

my last nerve

psychology | psychiatry | neuroscience | n stuff

A Philosopher's Blog

A Philosopher's View of the World...assuming it exists.