When I first conceived of what you are about to read, I thought I was going to write a post about the music that I listened to whilst I was being treated in an acute-care mental health facility. However, without a context to hang it all on, I find that writing articles about music tends to get boring. And if I get really bored with writing something, I usually take that as a sign that what I am working on is probably not worth the effort.
However, I do want to talk about some of my reactions and responses to varying stimuli here. Visits to any hospital entail a lot of sensory stimulation that is of the unwanted or distressing kind. Hence, whenever I so much as leave the house, I make a point of bringing my little music box with me.
Also worthy of note is that I have almost no conscious awareness of the expression on my face. I do not smile a lot, and often the look on my face is one of just sheer… nothing. Only when I am posing for one of my own photographs or experiencing an extreme flow of emotion do I really become aware of the look on my face, and even then it is in a very detached, mathematical, sort of “I do not wish to be wearing this expression” way. I went through a phase in which I would deliberately pull the most ridiculous face one can imagine and take pictures of it. There is, after all, no such thing as a bad funny picture. But there are frequent occasions when an outsider person makes reference to the look on my face, and it is just a little discomforting. From people I know well enough, I can take this. From people whom I do not know from a hole in the ground, however, it can be disturbing. And if I am not comfortable in the company of that person to begin with, then we have a problem.
So when I say that my face does peculiar, weird things whilst I am listening to some musical things, I want my full meaning understood.
Now, during your average stay in a mental health care facility. you are likely to find yourself wanting for things to do in order to stave off boredom. Talking to other patients can help in this respect if they are on the right wavelength to talk to without getting annoyed. Unfortunately, when your intelligence quotient has been variably estimated anywhere from the high 120s to the middle 140s (by comparison normal is anywhere from 90 to 120), that narrows possibilities down quite dramatically. You have to either be really clever or have great people skills in order to really get enjoyment out of conversation with people who are not all that clever. And please do not get me started on people who give the distinct impression that they might be mildly or even legally retarded.
There were a couple of people I could engage in prolonged conversations with during my stay in the ward. But as a method of keeping oneself amused, it was not the most reliable of methods.
Conversations with doctors or the nurses are also a good way to keep oneself out of the boredom abyss for a while. The problem with that, however, is time-rationing. I doubt it comes as a shock to any working class individual that nurses in every specialisation have absurd levels of demand on their time in this conservative day and age. What might come as a shock is that mental health care facilities in this day and age are so undermanned compared to the number of patients they service that the entire daily routine has to be structured around keeping the closest eye on the greatest possible number of patients.
I can only speak for the procedure in the ward I was admitted to. Nurses are often assigned to duties that involve sitting on a seat in a position from which they can see what patients are doing very easily, and watching. Several nurses are assigned this way during certain periods of the day. During my stay, patients attempted to climb up on the roof of a building or acted in a manner that made the staff believe they were about to try and climb a fence.
It is testament to the fact that our intellect serves our emotions, not the other way around, that patients of both seemingly little and seemingly higher intelligence can start doing things like this. I doubt it comes as a surprise to anyone that patients in these wards react badly to news that is not to their liking. And among news that is likely to upset a patient, the news that they are not going to be let out of the hospital for a while to come definitely tops the list. It could even be that doctors give the nurses a little heads-up that they just denied a patient’s request to leave the ward, however temporarily.
Time with the doctor is generally much more difficult to come by. But in my case, I found it a lot more rewarding. With one exception (the nurse I refer to as Glóin), conversations with nurses tend to be fairly limited both in choices of subject and impact upon the treatment one receives. Doctors, on the other hand, can turn the patient’s treatment plans on the tightest possible corner simply after learning an interesting new fact about the patient. Of course, one serious problem is that a doctor’s approach and the patient’s view of or approach to themselves may conflict. In fact, when the patient in question is intelligent but has been very heavily abused in the psychological sense for long periods of his life, a good doctor expects some level of antagonistic behaviour for the initial stages of the discussion.
Doctor Why found herself with a number of challenges where I was concerned. Even during more compliant stages of her talks with me, there was a pervasive feeling on my part that the hospital would in fact do me harm. I think she understood and acknowledged this, and the funny part is that if certain hospitals or doctors in the past had stepped up to the plate and acknowledged to me that they had done wrong, this problem would not be there today. Better yet, if they had done something, however small, to correct their mistake, well… we could go on about this for days.
Where I give Doctor Why credit is that she understood why I was so reluctant and evasive. I was far from the only patient in her charge, so that she remembered how to work around my individual quirks is quite a credit to her in and of itself.
This brings me to a point that I will go over in further detail later, but for now, let us just say that I recently learned a little bit about my hospital stay that unnerves me. A certain friend has claimed that she spoke a couple of times with Doctor Why about me. I believe that I listed this friend as my next of kin when I was admitted, so I am hardly surprised. Suffice to say for now that what I learned has me wondering if Doctor Why reached one of her conclusions through genuine observation of my behaviour and speech, or whether she just derived it from the mountain of paperwork that has been written about me in prior years. I would like to believe that the former explanation is true, but such is my terrible fear of mistreatment at the hands of her profession that I simply have no way of knowing for certain.
Yes, for the benefit of people who have not read this journal before, here is a little fact: being abused psychologically and being autistic before it was “coooool” to be so, they kind of go hand in hand.
At this point, a thought just occurred to me. Yes, psychiatry and psychology are very imperfect sciences that are barely out of a relative stone age. Yes, there is a laundry list of mistakes that have been made in the past and have discredited the professions. But some of the wild conspiracy theories out there with regard to psychology, psychiatry (the two are related but different), and psychopharmacy just make me utterly sick. So as an opening clause, I just want to say one thing. One would think that with the abuses of my mind and body that took place during my childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood, that I would be all about the Scientologist stated goal of completely eliminating psychiatry. Yet, even with a mountain of paperwork that will have some open-mouthed in disbelief, I am not.
So I would like to address this part to one Mykel Board and the verbal diarrhoea he wrote in one article so long ago. No, neurochemical imbalances are not like diabetes at all. I hate it when self-proclaimed advocates use that utterly stupid analogy because it distorts the reality of both. Diabetes, especially the kind I have, entails the more or less total destruction of a vital element in the digestive system. It renders an individual completely unfit for military service. But if you seriously believe, and expect others to believe, that one is phony because it cannot be tested for in a manner similar to the other (yet)? If so, then you are the kind of moron I would take great delight in the genocide of.
If the kind of blood testing I do in order to ascertain the concentration of glucose that is in my blood is your sole criteria for ascertaining the reality of a medical condition, then diabetes has only existed for approximately twenty-five years. (Likely just slightly longer, but home blood glucose testing was a very new thing when I was diagnosed.) Oh, and a nut with an agenda writing a book is not compelling evidence, either, no matter how much you like that agenda. Especially not when measured up against Nazi experiments in which people with more intelligence than sense took a good peep into the brains of unwilling subjects. (These experiments, sad, cruel, and horrendous as they were, resulted in an awesome amount of progress for the science of neurology.)
As you can imagine, there are billions of people in the world I would like to ask why they do not try sticking their head up their arse and see if it fits.
So when I come out and say that between even the psychiatrists and psychologists that abused me without mercy during some of my most tender years and the entire world’s populace of Scienos, the choice of whom to allow to exist comes down firmly in favour of the former, understand my full meaning.
Now, I am going to share with you a pet theory of mine. It is sort of set in the universe that is World Of Warcraft, but it also has a good deal of relevance to my real life. Much of the story in the current expansion of World Of Warcraft, entitled Mists Of Pandaria, revolves around the sudden arrival of both the Horde and Alliance in the continent of Pandaria and the sudden emergence of beings call Sha as a result. Now, the explanation delivered is a bit of a jumble, but Sha are essentially living creatures that are manifestations of negative emotions. Fear, doubt, hate, and so on (oddly enough, there does not seem to be any envy-based Sha). What I find irreconcilable about this story is that the Pandaren seem to labour under the belief that they never experience these emotions. Or did not experience them before the warring factions came to their shore. Bullshit.
My vocabulary is substantial. You have to expect that with a thirty-something man who was once a hyperlexic boy. But a thing I like to keep bringing up with politically-correct asshats is that when a hyperlexic child has been emotionally and physically abused by ignoramuses over his choices of words, he tends to start using words with an exact, precise intended meaning. And the Lucas-ian idea of individuals staying healthy by repressing an entire side of their emotional spectrum is, to be blunt, utter bullshit.
If you have ever met people who attempt to repress their emotions and their biological drives, you know where I am going with this. Emotions and biological drives, when left unsatisfied or held back by their owner, have a nasty way of finding other means of release.
Look, I am going to be straight with everyone here. Even in spite of how I have boasted that I would sooner kill every Scieno on Earth than harm the smallest hair on one of the mental health clinicians who made my life hell during what assholes proclaim are supposed to be its happiest days, doctors scare me. When I went to one doctor and told them I require a prescription for the Quetiapine that I had been told I must take from this point on, I became very confused when they began asking me questions about why. And when they responded to my confusion with a suggestion that I should go back to the hospital, it was as much as I could do to not piss myself with fear. And I told that doctor, flat-out, that I could not continue to talk with him because he had frightened me that badly.
It is amazing what some fukks take for granted. Like the ability to go to a professional about their health and not expect to walk away feeling like they had come close to being subjected to torture. Or the ability to say “black, black, black” to this professional and not have them respond as if one has said “red, red, red”. (Yes, I am being metaphorical here, eat shit.)
But I have never had a dream, because my life is a nightmare. Normalism has been my boogeyman for thirty-five years.
Okay, I will stop with the facetious quoting now. Now, I am sure you will be wondering why I am still focused on this subject in spite of the fact that the hospital visit was weeks ago. Good question. The truth is, letting things go is pretty much an impossibility for me. You might as well ask me to eat pasta. It may be part of the autistic “thing”, it may just be the effect of how I lived my life. But I am very much like the historically-verified William Antrim (“Billy The Kid”) in that sense.
I never forget an unkindness.