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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
keberoxu BS: stay afloat while others don't (263* d) RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't 24 Dec 20


This is one heck of a mixed blessing of a holiday season.

Our patient population has no shortage of adults who cut themselves.
I venture to say that there are some self-harm patients histories
that I don't even know about, to add to the ones I do know of,
since I'm not in a position to be well acquainted with all of us.

This week, however ... of all the distressing incidents here
during my months in treatment, this puts everything else in the shade.

She's still alive, as best I can make out, but she seriously attempted to damage herself permanently --
she did it with a knife that she got her hands on someplace.
Having harmed herself, and shortly afterwards the nurses got to her --
she was being closely watched already --
the ambulance was called, and off she went to the county seat,
miles up the highway, which has
a big full-service hospital with one or two locked units.
She has been there since Tuesday.
And I reckon that she will not be back here, very unlikely,
as her actions are a violation of one of several things that
one agrees not to do upon admission:

substance use, especially NOT to give substances to other patients;
sexual relations with other patients;
and self-harm, that one agrees that if one feels the urge to injure themselves, one goes to nursing right away and speaks up,
rather than actually cutting themselves.

Seriously, had she since died, the whole patient population would have heard about it, because news is travelling like wildfire, and so are
all manner of rumors, some of which had to be squashed
by announcements during community meetings.

So it's anyone's guess what happens after release from the locked ward at the big hospital:
will they send her home to her relatives?
will she go into a state institution (she's already been through that in her history)?
transfer someplace different?
But after this violation, I fear we have seen the last of her at this institution.

To add insult to injury,
there are fellow patients in patient government office positions
of maximum exposure within the collective of the patient community,
who are passing judgment on this, their former fellow patient.
Now things are already ugly here amongst the patients,
there are developments over the past two months which
I thought better of reporting to this thread,
because it's too sickening when patients bully each other verbally or in any other fashion.
But the verbal aggression in the patient community is getting so bad
that I have dropped out of patient government completely after
finishing a recent term of service.
It's the first time, since the month of my admission,
that I have not been serving in patient government committees in any way, shape, or form.

So I have stayed away from the (admittedly voluntary) community meetings and the group sessions.
But my fellow patients know me well enough from my past service,
that when I interact with them in the common areas of the patient residence,
they will volunteer the latest updates, I don't even have to ask.
So I am hearing second-hand, at best, about
how the community meetings are being dominated by fellow patients
who are highly opinionated, strongly biased, deeply insecure,
and who compensate for their insecurities by dominating every conversation.

And this week, when fellow patients speak up in support of the unfortunate former patient who cut herself and
is now in hospital,
OTHER patients interrupt them, shout and scream at them,
pile on to them, and overwhelm the entire proceedings with
their opinions about the hospitalized person's commitment to treatment --
as though this troubled person were attacking this institution on purpose,
and not acting from a sense of utterly desperate isolation,
which is my take on what happened.

I don't have to show up and listen to something so contemptible, I tell you, I really don't have to.
There is a culture at this clinic which doesn't just allow patients to verbally walk all over each other,
it rather promotes their doing so.
I have seen it happen too many times during my treatment here.
And that is one big justification for my disengaging from the patient community, as a collective,
and stepping away from patient government service.

It's roughly ten months I have been here,
and I have declared at periodic intervals that
I question the emotional and psychological safety of
the patient community at this institution.
The utter tragedies occurring this week --
I won't even speak of the OTHER patients who resorted to self-harm and who went to nursing for help recently --
serve only to confirm that something is,
to quote Shakespeare,
rotten in the state of Denmark.

The things that are good here, are very good indeed.
But the things that have gone wrong are inexcusable and indefensible.

No, I'm not running away this time.
I'm going to keep a low profile during the holiday weeks, staying here and staying in contact with staff as required,
and I'm going to take advantage of the holiday period
(when many of the clinical appointments are canceled anyhow)
to think long, hard, and carefully about
how my treatment ought to transition and step down
and get me moving back into the outside world.
Because, so help me, I deserve better than this.


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