Sunday, 10 February 2019
Reflections on oppression...
Oddly enough, being handcuffed was not the issue - I actually felt a degree of calm and relief when I was handcuffed, being as out of sorts as I was, afraid of harming myself or others, and not knowing how to control my body at all times. So no, that was not the trauma. What the trauma stems from was having to report to court all the time, where a bunch of old white assholes would come down hard on me, systematically monitoring me, criticizing me, taking away my rights. Court was very upsetting... when I was a child, nothing scared me more than having to go to court (except perhaps going to the dentist).
In hospital, restraints were used several times on me. Most times, I wish to mention, they were not even used abusively - in fact, they were usually used at my request, when I felt the presence of evil get the better of my mind, as though I would cause myself deep harm, so it was a preventative measure. So now, as I think about it, I am actually not completely against restraints in these places, but I feel there should be far more regulation, far more patient consent... certainly I don't know how I would have prevented a serious injury to myself without them sometimes, since sedatives can take time to kick in. However, the time I describe restraint happening to me in the back notes of "The Psychosis Diaries" was an example of profound abuse. At that time it was forced on me for a very long period of time because I ticked someone off by putting a mattress against the door window of a cell for privacy's sake, my wrists and ankles were black and blue the next day from it, it was awful and completely unnecessary. I suppose they did it because they saw me as a troublemaker due to legal reasons, and wanted to scare me ... it did not scare me so much as enrage me. I don't frighten easily, I am more prone to irritation, something the demon knew well about me when it would irritate me into grinding my teeth and getting aggressive with myself.
It's interesting how the tone of how staff treated me improved slightly after they drew my blood and saw I had no drugs in my system. Seclusion stays became less frequent after that, I guess I had graduated from potential "worthless crack whore" in their minds to "poor crazy woman". Unit 3-5 was particularly rough, and if you slept through the announcements for meals, you would miss your chance at eating at all. One could easily starve.
CAMH's 1001 Queen St West, where all this hell happened, is currently undergoing massive structural changes. I am hoping the new buildings going up, which are going to be nicer looking at least, will inspire change in the staff treatment of clients. The old buildings are sad and dark and very oppressive looking inside... they were like some strange cross between an old folk's home and a prison. I wonder if aesthetically it just made staff lazy about cleaning up and being more attentive? Though I am also aware understaffing is an issue, too.
I really hope I never look back at these places ever again, but honestly, I'm confident that I have recently turned a corner in a major way. Thank god for both my analyst and my psychiatrist, who are rare gems as people go, brilliant, and who very much care about the clients they treat.