A Small Glimpse Back in Time

The hospital grounds houses a museum dedicated to showing the “progress” they’ve made.

It may fool some into thinking all barbaric means of torment are in the past, but not me.

One of the staff on my unit has worked here for over 20 years. He remembers when they used to take patients “up on the hill” for lobotomies.

He said they always came back lifeless.

Lifeless.

https://www.ksl.com/?sid=4280829

https://www.google.com/amp/s/fox13now.com/2018/01/21/uniquely-utah-the-museum-at-utah-state-hospital/amp/

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.deseretnews.com/article/700259466/Provo-museum-is-a-window-into-treating-mentally-ill.amp

Above: The “Utica Crib.”

–via the ghostwriter

Somebody‚Äôs [Not] Watching Me

They are “watching” me now.

It was brought to the attention of the treatment team that I’m barely eating, and have been pouring the Boost drinks down the sink.

My friend contacted them and requested that I be given a multivitamin and/or a meal replacement that I can actually eat.

I’ve lost 21 pounds in the last two weeks. My friend is concerned about my health.

(Contacting the treatment team has to be important, because it always gets their panties in a bunch and causes chaos.)

The staff frequently comments on my weight loss, “You look great, keep doing what you’re doing.”

The weight loss, the encouragement of the staff, the nasty food…combined with the loss of control of any part of my own life…all has contributed to the resurrection of an eating disorder I worked very hard to successfully get a handle on.

They’ve known all along that I’m not eating. They’ve commented on it. They’ve given me Boost to drink, and one time a bowl of cereal to replace meals.

They know.

But they did absolutely nothing until my friend talked to them and expressed her concern.

So what are they doing now?

Next to nothing.

“Watching” what I eat means asking me after I get back from a meal, “Did you eat?”

“No,” I tell them.

Then shouting back to the others in the nurses’ station, “She didn’t eat!”

As if they didn’t already know.

As if they don’t already watch everything I do.

As if they don’t monitor my weight, anyway.

Once they can confirm that what they already know is actually true, I suppose I can maybe get that multivitamin.

Or not. Who knows?

***

I about blew a gasket last night…the staff was tormenting me as a group. Little things, lots of criticisms…it got very old, very quickly.

I can’t defend myself…or restraints.

I discovered punching my pillow in the silence of my dark room actually helps.

Maddening.

We get “credits” for attending groups.

Those credits add up and earn us privileges.

It’s hard to attend enough groups to add up to any decent reward, but I do my best.

I suffer from pretty severe ADHD…which makes the boredom here like triple torture. It also makes it hard to sit down and watch a movie during “movie group.”

(The doctor says I don’t have “true” ADHD, and took away the meds that have always helped me.)

Tonight, I went to movie group and forced myself to sit and watch the movie…over an hour.

I had to leave group early for a weekly meeting. On my way out, I wanted to be sure I was accounted for.

I asked Sharon (staff), “Do I get credit for attending?”

“No,” she said abruptly.

“Why not? I’ve been here the whole time,” I inquired…I hardly could believe my ears.

“Because you weren’t watching the movie.”

“Yes, I was…”

“No! You were NOT!” she snapped back.

Sharon is chronic, boiling bag of anger, like a volcano ready to erupt at any time. I’m more afraid of her than most other staff. I’ve seen what happens when you get on her bad side, and I don’t want that to happen to me.

How can she determine that I wasn’t watching the movie?

First, all that’s required is that I attend, not my full attention to the movie. I was there.

Second, I DID watch every minute I was in there…and it wasn’t easy.

It’s like, reality isn’t real unless the staff says so.

Sharon…who sits on the computer scrolling through Facebook and playing on her phone all the time, instead of doing anything for patients, knows exactly what I was doing better than I do.

***

Taking meds is difficult. Years of purging (eating disorder) have given me a very sensitive gag reflex. The meds taste terrible. I usually get juice to help swallow them and mask the taste.

Tonight, I was given water. I told the nurse I needed juice, but she dismissed my request.

“You’ll be fine.”

I gagged as I choked down the pills, and as I did…she then offered to get me some juice. The pills were already swallowed. Where was the juice in first place?

I fought the puking and held it in, because I know if I do, I’ll get in trouble for it. I have before.

I ask for juice to prevent that whole ordeal...

But it doesn’t matter.

No matter what I do, I simply can’t win.

***

Harry (staff) is one of the “phone Nazis.”

These are the staff who stand by watching the clock to make sure you don’t go a second over 15 minutes on phone calls.

They like to talk to me and ask me things while I’m on the phone, which wastes my 15 minutes…I don’t dare ignore them.

Harry also turns the TV up very loudly while I’m on the phone.

But tonight, when he told me I had a minute and a half left, I expressed my frustration to my friend on the other end of the line. Harry took his clipboard and started banging it up and down the counter…while staring right at me and grinning.

Just purposefully making noise so I couldn’t finish my minute and a half…and not even trying to hide his pleasure.

I seriously cannot win.

All these things add up…and if I wasn’t crazy when I got here, I certainly would be when I left.

–via the ghostwriter

6 Colored Pencils

I talked to a patient from another unit in this hospital during a group today.

She was exhausted from her trip to the hospital yesterday.

Over a month ago, she swallowed 6 full size colored pencils in an attempt to harm herself. She told them about it.

They did an X-ray, and the wooden pencils didn’t show up. So they accused her of lying (for attention), and did nothing more.

Yesterday, she was rushed to an outside hospital for what the staff here thought was her appendix rupturing.

The other hospital did an MRI, and discovered all 6 pencils…

She had an endoscopy to remove them, but now has to deal with tears in her esophagus and stomach…which could have been avoided if the endoscopy has been done sooner.

This happened to me in a psych unit up in Davis County earlier this year. I swallowed one, and they said I was lying because the X-ray didn’t show it.

I swallowed another, same story. I swallowed a third…all while on a one-to-one, being constantly watched.

The staff lied to my friend and said they had a scheduled CT scan. They never actually did a thing until the Joint Commission got involved…my friend didn’t wait around.

I realize swallowing writing utensils seems bizarre…and if we didn’t have this uncontrollable, desperate urge to harm ourselves in some way, then medical procedures to remove them wouldn’t be necessary.

I get it, I get it.

I get that lecture frequently, how everything that happens to me here is my own fault.

But refusing to believe a patient who is attempting to help themselves after an act of self harm is not excusable.

Nor is leaving 6 pencils in someone’s digestive tract for over a month.

They are supposed to be protecting us…

Sadly, this woman is one of many patients who have no one to advocate for them. The hospital won’t have to answer for it, and they will surely do it again.

And again, and again…and again.

–via the ghostwriter

5 til the Even Hour

My diagnosis here is rolled up in the horrific label “Borderline Personality Disorder,” because I self-harm.

Every therapist I’ve ever had outside of hospitals insisted I do not fit the criteria. Yes, I self harm, but the rest of the traits are not present.

Last summer, I was inpatient in a “Dr. Phil approved” facility in California–a whole different world than here–and they also refused to give me that label.

The hospitals here in Utah slap that label on anyone and everyone who self-harms. (As I mentioned in a previous blog, my self-harm began at my stepfather’s insistence. I was made to do it, until it became an ingrained way to cope.)

But Borderline is the fad here at USH.

Because I’m labeled borderline, many of the staff accuse me regularly of doing—pretty much anything—for attention. I get absolutely no respect.

Borderlines are the bottom of the garbage pail, in their philosophy. By the way they act, I gather that they believe attention-seeking behaviors to be far more criminal than rape or murder.

There’s a patient here who punches anyone who gets within a few feet from him. His behavior is far more acceptable than “borderline” attention seeking.

One particularly evil doctor, Dr. Bundy (all names are changed) told me…

“Borderlines need to be ignored.”

Actually, ignoring someone–anyone–is an act of emotional abuse. And if someone was so abused and neglected that they become attention seeking…how is that really going to help?

But in reality, I don’t do much attention seeking. I’m sitting here suffering my starvation quietly. I hide a lot of things. I don’t like being the center of attention–it reminds me too much of things in my past. Even my friends are clueless about most of what goes on inside of me. I don’t trust people…especially the staff here. I’d rather just be left to myself…

Except when I absolutely need something.

Anytime we patients want to brush our teeth, shave, take a PRN medication, or pretty much anything…we have to ask a staff to get things for us.

A “borderline” like me asking for things is labeled “attention seeking.”

They let me know daily that requests–my needs–are unwelcomed, unwanted.

So, if I want to brush my teeth, I have to think good and hard whether or not I want to bother the staff and be belittled or put down for it. Sometimes, I just skip the tooth brushing.

If we ask “too many questions,” they put us on what they call “5 til the even hour” restrictions.

That means I can only ask for any kind of assistance in the five minutes before the even hour. Only then.

And this means I spend most of day watching the clock to time it just right in order to get my PRNs, or anything else I may need.

Angst. Distraction. Feeling like my needs are not important…like I have no voice, and no choice…no control over anything at all.

Except what I eat or don’t eat.

And I can…with full confidence…today say that my eating disorder has been fully resurrected. (More about that later.)

I’m starving myself, but no one does anything to help me…

Because “borderlines need to be ignored.”

In California, they did not ignore me at all. I had full access to a fridge full of food all day long. I could eat whenever or whatever I wanted. The meals were delicious, and I got a grip on my eating disorder for the first time.

In Cali, I had someone to talk to anytime I wanted to talk. I could go outside, sleep, make phone calls…on my smart phone…at my leisure. I had freedom and support.

The facility didn’t even have restraints or security.

And when I left there, I was self harm free…I felt better than I ever had. I was full of hope for the future, ready to take on anything…

Then I moved back to Utah…and they flushed all that recovery right down the proverbial toilet with cruelty and indifference.

I wish I’d stayed in Cali.

-via the ghostwriter

Not my job.

I fell asleep around 7pm yesterday, and besides all the interruptions, it was good, long sleep. I needed that.

I’m a little tired today of having to “mother” the other patients…because the staff sits behind the window to the nurses’ station and ignores us.

One patient was crying quietly in the hall…and another verbally assaulted her…close to physical…for crying.

I had to stop her…no staff in sight.

I told her to leave the other alone, it’s ok if she cries.

“I’m yelling at her because no one ever cares if I cry! No one cares if I cry, that’s why I’m yelling!”

Nonsensical…but strangely makes sense.

No one cares if any of us cry.

But where’s the staff? Why am I always doing their job of de-escalating conflict?

Maybe it’s for the best…they’d probably just restrain them both.