Friday, July 19, 2013

Talking about anger turned inward, grief and voices

Those who have read some of my blog, will recognise I do carry a fair whack of anger about certain issues relevant to the mental health system as it currently is. I put all that aside, when I think about love, when I listen to another’s poetry, and, when I’m at work.

                There are definite systems that allow us to exist, while getting us to focus on building things like recovery, hope for the future, alternatives, as well as established, recognised workable therapies. My work place fits well with my ideology, my training as a Transpersonal Art Therapist and also makes my writing and editing diploma relevant. It also makes me think beyond the wrecking-ball, towards building. It is a workplace, that I’m very happy to be in. One of the few work places that see my lived-experience as a skill and insight, rather than a problem.

                I’m delivering a talk, with a colleague, on: Anger turned inward, grief and voices. This topic is something I’ve been working on since January, but have thought a lot about before.

A memoir of mine, Naked ladies, looks at how grief and anger denied and suppressed can lead to voices and unusual belief systems that end up with hospitalisations and psychiatric labels. It also shows how anger and grief can be intertwined. I have, developed my ideas a lot further, though, since writing this action based memoir. I also have a lot better coping strategies.

I’ll mostly be talking about established ways of coping and paradigms of thinking towards being all you're meant to be. There is a lot new material, but it’s not something I’ve done on my own, it’s something I’ve developed alongside many others who have similar experiences. This talk is relevant to health professionals, social workers, carers, as well as voice-hearers and those who want to understand unusual percipience, their own thoughts, theories of mind etc

Bookings are essential and can be made HERE on the Voices Vic website. The talk will be an all day session, held on Wednesday 24th of July 2013 at 211 Chapel Street, Prahran.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Protecting normal people like you, from people like me...

Activist poetry doesn't always have a place in the Melbourne poetry scene, particularly if you're talking psychiatric abuse. The audience tend to not listen and hear anger only. So, I rarely perform this style poetry in venues.

The ODDie poetry night was an exception, it was all about activism.
           These two poems I’m performing are about that shushed voice and the inability of society to listen, when activists speak, to anything but their memory of cruel propaganda campaigns.
The first poem, 'I've been trigger' talks about the idea of psychiatric abuse being justified because of the belief that 'but, they're violent, aren't they?' which is said about any marginalised group that governments wish to crush, or use in a way that infringes on standard human rights. Also the unjustifiable fear of symbolism and creativity, that is attempting to put OUTRAGE into peaceful means of protest, that ends up being called 'wrong' and 'ill' by psychiatrists.

The second poem, 'Unshushable' is a shortened version of this poem. It speaks for itself, or it should. 'We're already LOUD because we have every right to be allowed!'

ODD is a support group for activists, that ran the ODDie night. The ODD group are reclaiming of the term that diagnoses youth for their ability to recognise the need to defy abusive authorities.

Oppositional, disobedient, disordered, but with good reason!

Our outrage has been ignored and hushed for too long. Psychiatric survivors should be allowed to have a voice and psychiatric abuse should not be allowed!

Appreciate though, how difficult talking about this abuse is, because of where society is at, and because of what we’ve been through.

awareness is everything!Psychiatric abuse awareness ribbon by Initially NO
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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Negotiating the psych depot

If you are sectioned under the Mental Health Act, then you will be put on the depot injection, for refusing drug treatment, or complaining too much about the drug treatment, or generally seeming like you are not fully brainwashed into thinking you need the drugs to stay out of crisis. 

Contrary to what most people think, you don't just get sectioned just for harming yourself or threatening another, you can also be sectioned because you 'seem to be mentally ill' and therefore in the psychiatrist's mind are 'at risk of harm.'

The depot injection will damage the nerve endings over time, merely because of the needle jabbing action. The neuroleptic drugs? Well they cause your muscles to stiffen and feel restless and twitch, blur your sight so you can't read, shut down your neurotransmitters so you can learn much, or have much of a conversation with anyone etc... What are the drugs supposed to do? Make you manageable like you're some kind of cattle, or rather fruit-fly, that can't be talked to.

You can be forced to take the depot forever. It's horrible. That's when many suicide. They feel like they have no hope of escaping the pain of the psychiatric drugs and no support in the world for the person they want to be.

People are compliant with the long-acting fortnightly jab, because if they don't turn up to get it, they'll be hospitalised, put on higher doses and things will feel even worse.

The whole act looks benign, to many people. But they're not thinking of how this drug harms the person. Those who think it's benign are also not thinking of how the person is denied their opinion, as well as freedom from torturous acts, such as assault in the second degree.

People who pretends to be okay with the depot, are pretending to be okay with something very, very horrible, they really, really don't want happening. Think of the worst crimes committed on a person's body over a long period of time and the psychiatric depot inject is akin to that. Impossible, that feeling of impossible escape from a society that condemns you for thinking outside their range of understood sense, a society that picks on you when you grieve... then sends you to a psychiatrist... a society that should be better.
Negotiating the psych depot means you have to appear compliant, agree with the psychiatrist, but make well-informed queries into whether the dose could be lowered. Bring along documents that show how high doses can cause the horrible effects you feel. Cite references to psychiatrists who say that lower doses are best. But never, never quote psychiatrists that don't agree with forced drugging.
Negotiating your way out of the life-sentence depot does mean acting compliant. I've found myself somewhat brain-washed after that process, into thinking I do need to take the tablets to stay within consensual reality, believing that... Plus, last time that happened I also really felt door-matted and it's been a slow process to even get myself to not look like something people have an impulse to kick. I mean, I was thoroughly kicking myself, because I'd had that psychiatrist looking at me all year with a face of disgust, during the horrid 15 minutes I had to spend each fortnight with him. I perpetuated his prejudice of me. I'd had him telling me all the things that was wrong with me, disabling everything I did, belittling my existence, shaming me for speaking out against psychiatry in the past. I had to sit there with him and allow him to beat me up, before I took it in the arse. Anyway, over now. You can get off the depot. It just takes thinking and acting authentically enthused by the drugs ability to 'help' you, but recognition that some 'side-effects' of the neuroleptics mean the psychiatrist is legally mandated to change them or lower them, if you insist enough.