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BS: stay afloat while others don't

09 Apr 17 - 04:53 PM (#3849706)
Subject: extended family woes
From: keberoxu

I'm scared that no one else will understand what this post/thread is about. This is stuff I was brought up not to talk about.

Earlier BS threads from me have been open about my history of treatment for depression, at least I thought I was being open about it. And how it is still a struggle. I'm still under a doctor's supervision and I remain on meds, I really need them. I know that after trying to get off of them under the doctor's supervision. That was really frightening, to find out how chemical my condition is, and how much I need those meds. I was also raised, after all, not to ask for help.

Keeping my distance from my family of origin is essential for my well-being. I have done this fairly completely. There are still financial and legal, what shall I call them, relationships, which it was best not to alter at the time. So I have an attorney and a representative.
I'm holding my own, fairly stable, although I am far from secure, and I remain vigilant about myself.

The thing on my mind now, is that the people I was raised with, the ones I keep a distance from, are going from bad to worse. And I can't help having, inside, an emotional and psychic response, even as I stay as separate as possible.

This sounds so heartless: but I dare not hop out of my own little boat and go after the people in question who are out of control. I don't dare. I know too well that they are not interested in getting the kind of help that I got twenty years ago when I was in pain myself. I am manoeuvering my own boat as well as I do today, because I got help for myself instead of running to the dysfunctional family bosom.

Now there is a blood relative operatically dropping hints about not being able to live with it any more. And another blood relative using drugs, being abusive domestically, and being enabled and protected all to heck -- De-Nial River flows right through that living room.

Some fifteen years ago I broke my silence and raised my voice about the spouse-hitting, and it certainly did set the cat amongst the pigeons. Maybe things got better for a while. Maybe things are not exactly as they were fifteen years ago when I spoke out. But I said my piece. Now, tough as it is, I have to keep myself sane and well, and not get dragged down in the family maelstrom.

Thanks everyone for listening.

09 Apr 17 - 05:25 PM (#3849712)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Senoufou

I am so sorry keberoxu that you've had such tough times. But I admire your courage, as you obviously sorted yourself out sensibly with medication and by distancing yourself from various toxic contacts.

The people about whom you're concerned are presumably adults, and should be left to find their own solutions (or not). You can't be responsible for their lifestyles or their lack of motivation to change.
Not only will you never manage to change them unless they themselves are willing, you risk going backwards with your own progress, which will do nobody any good. Going 'no contact' sounds to me to be the healthy way for you to deal with what's going on with them.

Your thread title says it all, and in my view you're quite right. Don't sink your own little boat trying to pull unwilling folk out of the water!

09 Apr 17 - 08:27 PM (#3849738)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: ripov

Listening and - as far as possible - understanding.
As Senoufou says, the first step is accepting the problem exists. While those round you aren't aware that their problems are within themselves, nothing can help them, and if you try, you will wear yourself down, and achieve nothing; although it is hard to see those close to you hurting themslves. And by trying to discuss the problems you saw, you did the right thing.
Look after yourself first. Then, if circumstances change you may be in a position to offer help. But if you wear yourself out, you will be no use even to yourself.


09 Apr 17 - 10:47 PM (#3849761)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: ChanteyLass

I echo the thoughts of the two previous posters.

10 Apr 17 - 03:34 AM (#3849775)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mr Red

vicarious pain.
Take heart that it is not as bad second hand.
If people ask for help, you will be there. If they don't, all you have is dropping hints about the possibility of solutions.

Don't put yourself between two fighting dogs. You will be preventing them from doing what they do.

As a very insightful GF once said to me "people gravitate towards the familiar" - (not the comfortable). They become inured to it. But you know that surely.

10 Apr 17 - 03:44 AM (#3849777)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Keith A of Hertford

I am so sorry for your trials, and wish for you the strength to stay afloat and be a guide to those around you who are struggling and failing.
Prayers and best wishes (I wish I could offer more),

10 Apr 17 - 10:37 PM (#3849942)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Rapparee

You have your life and you deserve your life. It is yours. You do not owe anyone anything, and I suspect that you've paid dearly over the years. You say there is an attorney involved; let the attorney handle things. This may sound harsh, but it is probably the best way to go.

I've seen this all too often, and all I can tell you is that "the only way to the other side is through." And you can do it, because others have.

11 Apr 17 - 04:18 AM (#3849960)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Senoufou

I've been re-reading your post keberoxu, and just wanted to add the following:-

Regarding the relative who is 'operatically dropping hints that they can't live with it any more', if these are suicide threats, there are so many agencies they can approach for sympathetic help. Most folk know about the Samaritans for example. And if their despair is due to their situation, they can choose to make changes, move away, become more assertive, get counselling, any number of strategies with which to help themselves.

The person who is using drugs and being physically abusive is particularly someone from whom you need to stay far far away. Their domestic victim/s will probably come to the point where they take protective action. There are various aid agencies who can intervene in domestic violence, including the Police. And I have worked as a volunteer with criminal drug users/addicts, so can say from experience that drug use is extremely difficult to address, and needs the professionals. Even then, the success rates are poor. So you definitely shouldn't even attempt to step in there. Without 'seeing the light' for him/herself, the drug user will almost certainly continue to access drugs, and you will end up exhausted and frustrated.

I feel you've done very well so far in 'saving' yourself and it can't have been easy. It sounds to me as if you may have been a bit of a rescuer in the past, and felt such sympathy and compassion for all these dysfunctional folk that you got sucked in, like a boat in a whirlpool. Now you're paddling strongly in your little canoe towards tranquil waters, and I think you should continue going in that direction. Leave the pirate ship to navigate its own course. If it hits the rocks, it's got nothing to do with you.

11 Apr 17 - 12:20 PM (#3850028)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: leeneia

Next time the suicide threat come up, pass your relative a piece of paper with this on it:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Call 1-800-273-8255
Available 24 hours everyday

11 Apr 17 - 12:22 PM (#3850030)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: leeneia

And for domestic abuse:

call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233

11 Apr 17 - 06:38 PM (#3850076)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: olddude

My dear friend. Please know lots of us care about you. You can talk about anything. I am so glad you have taken control of the struggle.
And if anyone lays a hand ever again on you let me know.. I will pay a visit they won't like

11 Apr 17 - 07:45 PM (#3850086)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Cannot tell you how much I needed each and every word from all of you. Heartfelt thanks.

A note to clarify. My post does indeed say spouse-hitting. I'm not the person who was hit, although it is true that the person doing the hitting is a blood relative.

Yes, my extended family has a living room large enough to accommodate De Nial River as well as more elephants than I can keep count of!
The drug user in question is using MDMA -- called something else, on the street -- that I know of, maybe other substances I don't know of.
The addiction elephant has been around for generations. The earliest alcoholic I know of was a direct ancestor who died, at an advanced age, in 1915. Those descendants of his, who were not alcoholics or users, were expected to enable, cover up, and protect everybody from the consequences of their behavior.   There is a self-identified alcoholic in my generation for example; last time I had a conversation with this latter person, we had a big fight and we will probably never speak again. I don't know of any of my relatives, with chemical dependencies, going for treatment or confronting the fact that they have an illness. The whole famn damily is just expected to be sick right along with them.

I am reminded of, I think it was the Nobel-winning Max Planck:

"Science progresses funeral by funeral."

That's true of some families as well. Sorry that is so down, but it's life, at the moment.

12 Apr 17 - 04:33 AM (#3850128)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Senoufou

MDMA is Ecstasy. I expect a user of a 'recreational drug' would be tempted to try other more addictive substances too, as this is the general pattern.
I've seen families with addictive traits 'in their genes'.
You have such a clear and sensible overview of your family and their problems keberoxu, that I reckon you will look after yourself and keep your distance.
Thinking of you.

12 Apr 17 - 07:17 AM (#3850150)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Jack Campin

MDMA (E, ecstasy) is pretty harmless for most people but the ones who get fucked up by it REALLY get fucked up. It seems to start delusional hatreds that can last a lifetime. Anyone who manages to combine a dependency on that stuff with being physically abusive is well beyond communicating with.

12 Apr 17 - 07:40 AM (#3850155)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Senoufou

Loads of clubbers take Ecstasy tablets and seem to come to no harm, as you say Jack. Among the drug users I spoke to, the substances which caused aggression were speed and cocaine. Opiates and cannabis gave rise to torpor and demotivation. Ecstasy merely induces euphoria,
although in some cases it can cause overheating of the body and resultant dangerous dehydration.
I believe some people (and as keberoxu says, it does seem to be genetic) are predisposed to addictions, whether it be alcohol, food, drugs or other substances. I seem to remember an article in which scientists claimed to have found such a gene among quite a significant proportion of people of Irish origin. But of course, social norms and cultures also play their part.

12 Apr 17 - 01:43 PM (#3850221)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

In my decades of seeking counseling, before my counselor changed professions, my anti-depressant meds came from my general practitioner, as they do now. My counselor did not write prescriptions, ever. But this person had to have a working acquaintance of some kind with prescribed substances.

My counselor had this to say about MDMA. Used heavily and consistently over time, it does something that the casual user would not expect. The casual user gets the temporary euphoria, resulting from MDMA engaging with a specific brain activity. But abuse/heavy-use of MDMA affects that very part of the brain in an adverse way, my counselor told me. That part of the brain, which has access to euphoria, becomes disabled instead. My counselor said: "It's a lifetime sentence of depression."

12 Apr 17 - 02:22 PM (#3850233)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Senoufou

That's really interesting! It's as if repeated use of a certain part of the brain over time causes it to be disabled, and it can no longer produce pleasure.
It goes to show that most drug use isn't good for us if done to excess and for a long time.

The heroin addicts I worked with in prisons as a volunteer had managed to get 'clean' quite a few times, but nearly always slipped backwards and started injecting again. In those days (I don't know about now) they were prescribed Methadone or Subutex to help them, but it became obvious to me that their addictions were deep-seated and almost part of their psyche. They seemed unable to function once off the drugs, and only felt 'right' when back on the stuff.
That's why it's best to distance oneself from people who are addicted, and let them find their own path (or not). I gave up the voluntary work eventually as I could see no progress, and left them to the Prison Officers, Health Centre staff, Chaplains and doctors. Poor young lads, I fear they were really doomed.

12 Apr 17 - 02:52 PM (#3850235)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: meself

It seems that substance-abuse is often a response to underlying, and usually undiagnosed, psychological/emotional/mental issues (depression, ADHD, FAS, etc.); hence the term 'self-medicating'. Criminal behaviour is often linked as well. Most people behind bars were probably in desperate need of mental health therapy long before their legal troubles began. Knowing this doesn't necessarily make such people any easier to deal with, though ... you do have to keep yourself healthy before you can help anyone else - and that might necessitate avoiding the people you wish you could help.

12 Apr 17 - 02:57 PM (#3850238)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Jeri

Not the same thing, but...
I smoked for thirty-some years. I had to work at it to get addicted in the first place. I'd quit several times, but always though it was safe to just have one, and went back to consistent smoking. When I finally quit, I spent quite a bit of time thinking about it, and pushing the boundaries. What I learned was that after not smoking all night until about 10AM, when I had that first cigarette, I got a little rush of happiness, like a little bit of euphoria. I suspect any addiction is at least partly due to the serotonin that the drug provokes. When I finally quit, I was quite unhappy/slightly depressed for at least a year. People don't talk about this when it comes to smoking cessation, but maybe they should. It seems like if the "happy" brain chemicals are supplied from outside, the brain forgets how to provide them.

12 Apr 17 - 03:36 PM (#3850245)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Senoufou

I found that all the young men I saw in prison had been sent there for burglary, street theft, shop-lifting, receiving stolen goods etc all in order to fund their habits. Each one caused a mini-crime wave. And what was most disturbing was the amount of Class A drugs available 'inside'. What they told me was hair-raising. They kept some needles in the bottom of the Wing tea urn, where they were more or less sterilised(?) Methadone was passed in plastic drinking cups on dental floss thread out of the windows down to awaiting inmates in the cells below, after being regurgitated, as all issuing of medications was supervised. Heroin and many other drugs was brought in by helpful girlfriends inside The contortions that went on during visits was unbelievable, as the packages had to be brought forth then concealed in the prisoners' bottoms. I realised that the officers knew all this, but let it go on anyway. I felt deep pity for these lads, and if one is a 'rescuer' one can get far too concerned and it isn't a good idea.
I never could decide if the addicts were drawn into this life, or predisposed to it. (nature or nurture) Perhaps a bit of both? But the distress to their families was dreadful. I've sat in the Visits Waiting Area holding the hand of countless mums and girlfriends in awful distress at their predicament. I could walk away, and eventually did. But it was much harder for them, as it was their sons or partners.

08 Feb 18 - 08:29 PM (#3904484)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

well, I could of course open a fresh thread.
It's the same situation ongoing, though.

The blood relative who tends toward suicidal hints, is active again.
I avoid contact entirely with this person, when there is any business -- literally -- to be concluded between their legal situation and my legal situation, there is a combination of lawyers and financial officers who negotiate things. So it has been for more years than I can actually recall.

The caller ID on my telephone shows that this blood relative has got hold of my home phone number and is making repeated phone calls, with their name and phone number larger than life on the ID screen.

It was not I who gave the relative my phone number. It's a moot thing anyhow. What the relative does not take into account, is that after decades -- not merely years, but decades -- of harassment concerning my telephone, and after going through a knothole of responses of trying to evade it or prosecute it or whatever, I have learned ways of coping that I didn't have before.

Were I to change my phone number, that would signal to the relative making the calls that I acknowledge their crossing the line (my blood relatives know that I wish to be left alone). I don't see evidence of escalating behavior, nor of anyone having the aggression to really actually approach me. So from where I'm sitting, changing my phone number, or doing anything territorial to it, is actually counter-productive. Strange as this sounds, the sanest thing to do is to carry on and not give this person the satisfaction.

While this drama-loving relative is NOT the relative who has issues of substance abuse and of domestic violence/aggression, the fact remains that this relative is -- to use a metaphor for the family dysfunction -- the spider at the center of the spider-web. Loves to be a victim who makes victims of others. I truly know better than to fall for any of it this time.

That makes it a little simpler, but not easier, if this makes any sense. Thanks for listening.

08 Feb 18 - 08:45 PM (#3904493)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Steve Shaw

I can identify with what Jeri says about smoking. I didn't consciously work at it to get addicted; I kept going through the initial unpleasantness because smoking was the done thing in my circle. After that I smoked up to thirty a day of the strongest fags I could get my hands on. The first cigarette after several days' abstinence was the most blissful of all experiences. I had to keep stock still for two minutes to maximise the pleasure as I felt the stuff coursing through my veins from head to foot. In the end I just stopped (40 years ago on February 21 at five past eight in the evening). Not once since then has any tobacco-related product been anywhere near me. After stopping, I sighed non-stop for a month, felt miserable for another two and was sorely tempted many times for a year. The tightness in the chest and constant feeling of tension were terrible for several weeks. But I made it, in large part thanks to Mrs Steve getting pregnant with our first-born to be the month after I stopped. I still dream about smoking.

08 Feb 18 - 11:19 PM (#3904503)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Donuel

You have 2 guilt free choices, action or inaction. To keep things simple;

You can do nothing with expectation of likely outcomes.
You can do something with unknown outcomes.

When a person is a real danger to others or themselves they can be committed in 20 minutes.
Signing off on modern electro shock therapy is a worthwhile reset gamble.

Get your own counsel on a choice of action.
Stay out of the line of fire if you choose inaction.

You are not obligated to choose any course of action.
Its easier to choose something only you know you can live with best.

09 Feb 18 - 04:04 AM (#3904523)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Senoufou

keberoxu, it sounds as if you have good strategies still in place for dealing with all of this, but my heart goes out to you as it must be depressing, stressful and exhausting.

It's good that you avoid all direct contact.

I can see your viewpoint about not changing your telephone number, but if this were me, I'd have to take some action about the unwanted calls, as it would make me very jumpy every time the phone rang.
Is there not a blocking system you could use? (We have one here in UK, with BT, and one can nominate numbers which are not acceptable. BT then blocks them for you) I understand you feel this would give them some satisfaction, but your peace of mind is important too.

You sound strong and sensible, and I admire you for it.

03 Jun 18 - 02:17 PM (#3928975)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Greetings from Arizona. I don't live out West now, although this region was my home for over a decade. Have yet to break with my physician though, so I come back here at least annually.

This is a hot time to be here, but being off-season there are compensations. Fewer "snow-birds" and fewer tourists. Off-season prices as a result.

Refrigerated air is as frequent, in buildings out here, as the evaporative "swamp coolers" that simply use water without refrigeration. There are plenty of ways to take refuge from the high heat.
Cloudless sky today; the late Edward Abbey used to write of "deep sky" and I know what he meant by that. Today it is blue infinity.

Had to take a series of three plane flights to arrive here, and, shoot, I'm not as young as I used to be. In my youth it would have been an adventure and I would have been smug about it. Paying for that attitude now...getting the rental car at the airport yesterday, after finally getting my luggage, I felt ready to collapse. Good meal and decent sleep and now much improved.

The ticking time bomb that is my collective birth-family continues to tick away. The earlier reported telephone calls, they went on for the better part of one month, and then there were no more calls. A textbook case of don't-feed-the-troll, it seems.

03 Jun 18 - 02:35 PM (#3928980)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Stilly River Sage

Arizona is lovely, and with all of the light, I suspect there is a photo response that helps with depression. So many SAD folks in my original part of the world (Puget Sound) compared to Arizona.

Any layovers in Dallas? Let me know and I'll run up and greet you at the TSA gate.

03 Jun 18 - 03:28 PM (#3928994)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Aww, Acme, how sweet of you.
And such good news that you are now owned by three dogs again.

One branch of my family is from Washington State.
I don't know where in the state they lived,
before they moved to Whidbey Island.
I visited there once, when the older ones were still living.
Most likely wouldn't go back.

I'll be here for a good two weeks
and I wonder if Senator McCain will last that long.
He's putting up quite the fight, it must be said.

05 Jun 18 - 02:13 PM (#3929317)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

That is really sweet of you Acme
but my layover on the way back
-- since I'm flying on Delta airlines --
is Atlanta, not Dallas.

15 Jun 18 - 06:31 PM (#3931099)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

At this unusual resort,
there are social workers and psychotherapists on staff.
A social worker graciously agreed to a consult for me,
we spoke this morning; a positive, validating experience.

I went into detail, as much as I could,
about the relative who abuses - or could be past tense, abused - Ecstasy.

And the social worker, whose curriculum vitae includes treatment centers,
confirmed that Ecstasy affects that part of the brain
that contains L-dopamine.
And guess what … Ecstasy doesn't increase the L-dopamine, it depletes the L-dopamine.
The social worker went on to tell me --
this is how ignorant I am --
that the amount of L-dopamine a person has
is a limited amount to begin with.

So Ecstasy is capable of taking away the little that one has.

15 Jun 18 - 08:03 PM (#3931106)
Subject: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: GUEST, member as guest, don't want to get sued

Someone today on facebook posted a meme with remarks adding up to "get over yourself and get back on speaking terms with your family." If the person who posted that knew how long we struggled before we realized the only way to stay safe was to stop talking to a particularly toxic family member, they'd understand how naive that meme is.

We literally feared for our lives. He seems to be okay with the general public and he positively dotes on little old ladies (perhaps because they give him money and are classic enablers) but there are family members who know full well that if this sib had a gun handy during one of his outbursts he'd likely kill someone. Probably one of us. We struggled to keep him from claiming any handguns or other firearms from family estates. He is banned from most regional gambling casinos, and we hope his instability has him on a mental health watchlist. Any time there is a story of a stalker shooting in that part of the country I hold my breath until I learn it wasn't this brother. This time. Family members breathe easier when they learn that this brother hasn't been informed about a wedding or reunion.

I'm taking advantage of a mod's willingness to move this in order to post these remarks anonymously. All these years later I know that my disturbed but very smart sibling is probably trying to see if any of us says anything negative about him. So I say it in a way he can't find.

16 Jun 18 - 01:59 PM (#3931255)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Mudcat Member Incognito/a,
this is a good place for support when needed.

18 Jun 18 - 10:17 AM (#3931682)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Charmion

How ghastly, Incog. The Internet has plenty of unsolicited advice that is worth precisely as much as you pay for it -- i.e., nothing. But it is so hard to ignore, especially when introduced with belittling remarks such as "Get over yourself."

18 Jun 18 - 08:51 PM (#3931792)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Joe_F

In my experience, depression pretty much coincides with contact with reality. Sure, it's "chemical" -- so is being sober.

20 Aug 18 - 02:02 PM (#3945202)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Thankfully, the relative with the Ecstasy/MDMA and its consequences
has been preoccupied with I-don't-care-what-else
and so I am not the focus of that relative's attention.

The relative turning my way now
is the drama queen who periodically threatens that
they don't think they can live with the way that things are anymore.

The signals coming my way are
"no more mister nice guy."
Like I ought to be surprised?
It is typical of this relative
to put noisy threats out.

Earlier this month,
an exchange of e-mails took place
between me and a bank administrator,
all very civil and no resistance or hostility.
But the e-mails did reference the operatic relative
who did not make direct contact with me.

"Periodic" is the clearest way I can describe the pattern
that has been established for these behaviors.
There will be a temporary period of intense attention-seeking
and when the period inevitably ends,
an indefinite period of silence.
This alternating pattern has been maintained
for a good thirty years.

The signs are that the moment has arrived
for some more passive-aggressive hostilities.

My own conclusion is that peace is the thing, at this point,
for which sacrifices and efforts are worthwhile.
The old relationship, on the other hand,
is not worth fighting for.

Thanks for listening.

20 Aug 18 - 04:55 PM (#3945236)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: wysiwyg

Have you looked at how family of borderline personality folks stay afloat? That pattern sounds quite familiar; it can absorb everything if you allow it to capture your boundaries.


20 Aug 18 - 05:06 PM (#3945240)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

looked where?

21 Aug 18 - 08:51 AM (#3945352)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mr Red

You are not your brothers' keeper.

Even with a strong will and stamina you can't help people who don't want help. Or worse, they accept help and misuse it, and sap what energy you have.

As one ex-girlfriend pointed out to me people gravitate towards the familiar. Your task is to recognise when your familiar is beneficial or otherwise.

21 Aug 18 - 09:10 AM (#3945355)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: wysiwyg


Not saying it IS borderline personality disorder. Def not saying you should allow closer contact or try to help. But you may be able to glean more possible self care strategies among links here:

Google search: borderline personality family coping

09 Sep 18 - 06:22 PM (#3949334)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

The drama plods on. I'm keeping my head down as much as I can,
and keeping myself to myself.

A warning came my way, though, that
I can expect something in the post.
And it is going to be a passive-aggressive gesture.

In the past I have literally done
"refused, return to sender" with mail from this person.
May have to do it again -- since I know better than to touch it,
whatever it is.

09 Sep 18 - 09:44 PM (#3949349)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Stilly River Sage

"Refused, return to sender" is an excellent way to deliver a message. I've used it a couple of times myself.

10 Sep 18 - 04:02 AM (#3949381)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Senoufou

I agree Stilly.
Don't engage keberoxu, protect yourself and return the thing unopened, or sling it in the dustbin.
Sending you strong and steady thoughts!

08 Oct 18 - 08:01 PM (#3955524)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

I owe you all an update. Thanks for the encouraging responses.

Nothing has arrived in the mail from the person in question.

There was one other thing I did. Didn't tell you about it before now.

Recently, I heard from the bank administrator who
had e-mailed me about my relative.
I mentioned this a few posts back on this thread.

It turned out, that the relative I am talking about
did not want to send anything to me directly
( and with reason, as I have done
Return To Sender with this relative in years past,
so the relative knows to expect this from me)

so the relative, or maybe it was the relative's representative,
contacted this banker and asked if
the banker would ask me if it was all right
if the relative sent me something through the financial institution.

So we are getting more and more indirect and passive/aggressive here,
I guess.

I sent an e-mail, not long ago,
to the bank officer who has been politely sending me e-mails.
And I said:

Look, I have no idea what my relative wants to send me.
I know nothing about the contents, and to me
the contents are no big deal anyhow.
But I have this to warn you about, I said to the officer:
I am aware that this relative has a certain intent,
and the person intends me no good.
There has been contact a while back that was respectful,
and the content was all right.
But recently my relative has had a change of intent
and now it is about manipulating and power plays.

I concluded my message to the bank officer saying,
I reckon that you all would rather not get pulled into the middle
of all this anyway.
I have yet to contact my legal counsel about this;
I am just telling you what I know
and what I expect here.
I am prepared to go
to the postal inspector and/or the authorities
should you ship/pass along something to me
in which no good is intended, and that I object to.

So. I did all that, since my last post to this thread ...

the bank officer did not send a response e-mail...

and nothing has shown up in the post.

Maybe it is safe to exhale?
Thanks for letting me talk about this.

09 Oct 18 - 04:35 AM (#3955578)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Senoufou

Oh well done keberoxu! It's the only way forward - refusing to engage or accept any contact by any means whatsoever.
It is indeed passive-aggressive, and just their way of rattling your cage.
You've done the right thing in my humble opinion.
Stay strong and don't waiver. They'll get the message eventually.
Dew yew keep a-troshing mawther!

09 Oct 18 - 07:41 AM (#3955617)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: wysiwyg

I agree.

It sometimes happens that a toxic person's life deals them (out of your vision) just the right lesson that they needed to find their way to health. They often then have a desire to make amends-- before realizing their need may cause more harm than balm.

It's important to remember that, in the event that is ever their intention-- however grand that might be FOR THEM-- they can never catch up to where you've had to grow. They can never be a partner in any kind of relationship until your own healing is complete and, even then, it can never be close to equal. Their next (healthiest) step will always be to hear "no".


25 Jan 20 - 03:54 PM (#4030176)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

It would have been a better option, this year,
to revive my old thread
and keep the focus on my feelings and my coping strategies,
rather than open a new thread
about the external stimuli which trigger same.
Too late to take that back,
however the new thread can be released to
its inevitable outcome,
while the coping and the triggers are considered here instead.

25 Jan 20 - 06:16 PM (#4030192)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Steve Shaw

Yeah, right.

26 Jan 20 - 04:43 PM (#4030387)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

My attorney once brought up the subject of survivors' guilt,
or is it survivor's guilt,
and she might have a point there.

Until recently I would have denied this,
however it wants looking at, I suspect.

A lot of presumptions give way with careful consideration.

26 Jan 20 - 09:07 PM (#4030438)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Steve Shaw

I've never needed an attorney. Maybe that's the thing.

27 Jan 20 - 11:18 AM (#4030529)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Mudcat member michaelr pointed out -- not in an aggressive way,
just stating the facts --
that my posts/threads have the quality of
someone talking to themselves,
and yes, it did strike a nerve.

The point, as usual, was valid and well taken, regardless.
It must have come as little surprise to michaelr when
my response to his statement
completely proved his point,
demonstrating that interactions with others
expose all my lacks, shortcomings, and character defects.
In short, michaelr was / is right about me.

That's the most I can offer at this point.
If I make any progress,
most likely others will see it before I see it.

28 Jan 20 - 02:23 PM (#4030825)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Beginning the process of application for
admission to treatment.
No, I'm not in crisis, nor am I suicidal.

But I have spent years maintaining on anti-depressant meds,
and if not going downhill,
then have got stuck.
May go downhill if I don't have help getting unstuck.

the place to which am applying is a really good institution.
That means much preparation is in order.
Their admissions dept needs input from
the physician who writes the prescription for my anti-depressants.
They want to hear from my former counselor, and more:
Since my counselor has more experience than clinical credentials,
I have agreed to consult someone in my area with
really heavy accreditation --
have now met with this person three times,
must return for one more consult.
Then this professional will contact admissions
with "clinical context" about the applicant, me.   
Also this latter professional had a fellowship years ago
at this particular center, and knows how the place functions,
not the case with my former counselor.

I anticipate an ordeal; having said that, what is one more?

28 Jan 20 - 02:33 PM (#4030829)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Steve Shaw

Good luck.

28 Jan 20 - 08:11 PM (#4030892)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Donuel

You sound like an avid reader keb. What motivated you to read?
As a child did you ever invent a language of your own?
Are you good at math?
How did you do in geometry?

06 Feb 20 - 01:46 PM (#4032591)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Belated thanks, Donuel,
for passing on katlaughing's welcome to you when
you were a Mudcat newbie like myself.

Gotta watch my physical/lifestyle symptoms and presentation these days.
It's much much more difficult,
in the past week,
to go to sleep at night
or to get out of bed in the morning --
with a clinical-depression diagnosis,
these are always warning signs.

Can I be motivated to move through the resistance
and work with greater dedication toward recovery?

06 Feb 20 - 01:53 PM (#4032592)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Senoufou

keberoxu, I do hope you can indeed work through this. I'm sorry you're 'not feeling too cracky' as we say in Norfolk. It's hard to keep going and get motivated when one is depressed. (My niece has this problem)
Sending you loads of kind thoughts.
(And dew yew keep a-troshing gel!)

08 Feb 20 - 09:44 AM (#4032950)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

The application process has moved forward.
With "clinical context" from a local psychiatrist as input,
the center/clinic has enough information
to consider the in-person interview appointment.
I am advised, by the psychiatrist
(a former Fellow in the fellowship program at the Center,
so has worked there and been trained there),
that the in-person visit goes on for a whole day
and can be "rather tiring."

To be continued.

11 Feb 20 - 04:00 PM (#4033678)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

On the waiting list! And a packet expected in the mail.

11 Feb 20 - 06:55 PM (#4033716)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Senoufou

Hope you don't have too long to wait keberoxu. Not sleeping well can be so difficult, and affects one's daily life.
We're all here for you, and thinking of you, please be sure of that!
Eliza x

14 Feb 20 - 02:00 PM (#4034242)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

The packet was delivered in the mail today.
Still don't have a firm date from this clinic.
The cover letter says that the clinic,
having put me on the waiting list,
is "waiting for an opening."

So, waiting for the other shoe to drop, I suppose.

I am trawling the world wide web looking for
info in layman's language about this particular place.
It has been around for a number of generations, it isn't new.
And info is thin on the ground, for obvious reasons of confidentiality.

It is not difficult, however,
to find sensational things about this place;
comes with the territory.
At the very least, there has been
change and upheaval, and occasional scandal.
It would be imprudent to repeat the stuff here,
but it has been interesting to search and to look at these accounts.

14 Feb 20 - 02:46 PM (#4034250)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Donuel

Reaching delta sleep is restorative to the body and mind.
Some antidepressants interfere with reaching delta states.
In general, antidepressants tend to suppress REM sleep and increase the time taken to enter REM sleep. ... In some studies, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), like sertraline and fluoxetine, have been shown to disturb/fragment sleep.

Its up to you to tinker or rely on nature

14 Feb 20 - 07:14 PM (#4034316)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Steve Shaw

Just leave your huntin' rifle at home, Dan... :-)

14 Feb 20 - 07:22 PM (#4034320)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Steve Shaw

Damn! I was looking at the wrong end of the list of posts. I was responding to something that old dude posted in April '17...

Howya, Dan!

14 Feb 20 - 07:33 PM (#4034324)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

I remember that post!   
I hope olddude is thriving.
It's the Gnu I'm worried about.

19 Feb 20 - 03:02 PM (#4035057)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

The other shoe dropped today, it seems.

Just got off the telephone with the admissions department at the center.
They expect me, packed and ready to check in,
first thing this coming Monday morning!
Reality check!

Don't want to jinx myself by saying this, but
once I agreed to the concession (business metaphor, it stinks really)
of the extra expense of time and money that goes with
a series of consultations with a well-connected local psychiatrist
(nice person, by the way -- made the experience downright pleasant),
so as to supply this clinic/center with the needed "clinical context",
once that was done and in place,
everything moved rapidly and smoothly.

Even the weather is improving for my solitary drive from my home
to the clinic.
I'm going to break the drive into two bits, as I'm able to make reservations to stay the night in places.
The first part of the trip, I will make Friday as everything is closing down late in the day. Stay overnight en route.
Then check out Saturday morning, drive the rest of the way,
and on Saturday at check-in time
I will be, God willing, at a hotel convenient to the clinic.
Check in for two nights, so I will have all of Sunday in town.
Ready to check out good and early on Monday.

Unless something unforeseen surprises me or changes my plans:
Monday morning I will be parked at the clinic, and show up PROMPTLY
for an in-person tour, which tour is always held at a set time and they don't wait for latecomers.
From the tour to the physician's office for the admissions interview.
Lunch break in the dining area for the in-patient, er, patients, which means with attending nurses
(the nurses join patients for EVERY meal if I read right).
By this time some decision will have been reached regarding admissions.
Presuming that all systems are go,
the admissions consultant tells me on the phone
that "the treatment starts right away"
and I will be kept busy all the rest of the day
after checking in.
Sounds like one hits the ground running here.

I ran through all sorts of questions on the phone today,
everything from having my mail forwarded,
to, what nutritional supplements (like my anti-osteoporosis minerals)
am I permitted with in-patient status,
what about insurance pre-certification ...
is there a patient kitchen where
I can put a bottle of unfiltered apple juice
(labeled with my name on it) in the patient refrigerator (yes there is) ...

well, I can't say how far this is going to go,
but it will be an adventure at least. A big step, hopefully forward.

21 Feb 20 - 03:28 PM (#4035414)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

On the road, about to check in, settle in for the night,
eventually a light supper near the hotel.
I haven't got enough luggage.
I have more than enough to put in the luggage,
but I haven't enough luggage.
So my poor car has all my suitcases and tote bags
along with some loosely packed stuff.

Whom am I kidding?
Something or other is always missed, regardless
of what does get packed and trucked with.

I can hardly imagine what is ahead next week.

23 Feb 20 - 12:57 PM (#4035682)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Tomorrow is admission day.
There is a retrograde of Mercury in effect at the moment;
this happens about three times every year.
When it happens, the best laid plans gang aft agley.
So one has to be prepared and flexible.
My hotel reservation, for instance, got all miscommunicated,
but something got worked out patiently at the front desk.

I can't think what else to say in this post.
Such a big thing is ahead.
If it flops I will take it rather hard.

24 Feb 20 - 07:37 PM (#4035952)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

This post comes from the room that has computers for the patients ... adjacent to a sort of community center, and also connected to the big residence for the in-patient population with its private rooms and dining area and nurses' station.

I am IN. All the way IN.
I got run off my feet today! So many appointments and consultations.
So much paperwork and forms to sign. Told the same histories about four or five times to four or five different professionals.

Upon arrival, one is escorted to a private room that will only be home/sleeping for a few days, they call these admission rooms. So one starts there. I got a corner room! It's a little cell of a room,
but being on the corner it has got TWO, count 'em, TWO windows!
The shared bathroom is in the hall just outside.

Two delicious meals (ate breakfast before showing up at the clinic).
I didn't see the entire physical plant/campus but I saw too much as it was!
And there are patient handbooks, and regulations, and ever so much to read...
a complete physical exam tomorrow.
And I met too many fellow patients, how will I ever remember names?

Before the weekend, if I heard right, I will be assigned a room in a different wing of the big residence, and that will be my room throughout the prolonged evaluation period.
What I didn't get much of today, it is yet to come,
is a sense of the patient community, as this is an extremely community-oriented treatment clinic. That is a little daunting. To be a newbie, fitting in ... maybe a lot of acquaintances, maybe a friendship, and then all these group meetings ( not on the first-day patient agenda), they happen every week. I'm as nervous as I would be about an audition in my misspent youth.
Staff are terrific, the consults are hard work and reassuring at the same time.
Can hardly believe I'm here.

25 Feb 20 - 12:54 PM (#4036116)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Senoufou

I just wanted to wish dear keberoxu a very good outcome to her long-term stay in the clinic, and to hope that things are going well there.
I'm sure everyone here is wishing you well keb, and sending you lots of good vibes.
Keep a-troshing gel!

26 Feb 20 - 06:31 AM (#4036239)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Senoufou

Did you sleep well keberoxu? I expect you're quite busy today with interviews and consultations etc.
Still thinking of you and wishing you well.

26 Feb 20 - 08:42 AM (#4036263)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Just saw this. Re your original post, good for you for putting on your own oxygen mask before trying to help your relatives. All the best in your patient-ce!

26 Feb 20 - 02:35 PM (#4036301)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

From that there clinic:
We just had us a fire drill.
Thankfully no rain was coming down; it has rained, so everything underfoot was mud and muck. But nothing falling at that moment, so we stood out in front of the big residence while staff counted heads, and then they let us back in. The fire drill is monthly, and once all of us are outside the building, they work really fast to get us back inside.

Talking of wet, maybe in the near future, the shower will have warm water. My hair wants washing because the shower had nothing but cold water and I chickened out. So of course I reported it. Not a private bathroom, a shared one on the hall; the sink has hot water, but not the shower. At first I wondered if this was on purpose -- would you call that paranoid? Well, this building is remarkably elderly, although on the inside it shows every sign of having been thoroughly overhauled and renovated.

Yesterday it was all that I could do to stay awake, but I managed. A complete physical exam was required, and the very thorough physician thinks that an order for testing for sleep apnea is in order. No rush, but eventually. Sleeping well at night for all that, and every night of better sleep helps matters a little more.

26 Feb 20 - 03:09 PM (#4036309)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Senoufou

I'm a great believer in the restorative powers of a really good night's sleep, so I'm glad to hear you've been getting lots of shut-eye.
Could you maybe wash your hair in the washbasin? (If you have fairly short hair, it might be possible)
You sound so sensible and positive keb, keep on keeping on!

26 Feb 20 - 04:44 PM (#4036315)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: mg

Sounds good. I had not been following your thread. It is good that you got or are getting help. I wish everyone could.

26 Feb 20 - 07:16 PM (#4036325)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Helen

keberoxu, I missed this thread and another kind Mudcatter recommended it to me.

I knew from other threads that you have been stressed but now I know why.

I second what Mrrzy said. Look after yourself first and then decide whether to share your concern with others, if they are open to your gift of caring. If they aren't and have proven that they on their own destructive path, then be proud of yourself for trying but walk firmly away.

I am so glad that you are now in the right place to find a more healing and peaceful self.


27 Feb 20 - 10:02 AM (#4036382)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Ah, community living. As disclosed in a previous post,
my shared hallway bathroom
has hot water at the sink
and cold water, only, in the shower (no tub).

Around the corner and down another hallway in the same wing,
is another shared bathroom.
Thus, I finally have clean damp hair because I ventured to
a different communal bathroom than the one designated for my room.

Furthermore, the question from the nursing care coordinator:
Why didn't XYZ across the hall from you,
whose room is the other designated room to share that one bathroom,
complain about the lack of hot water in the shower before you did?
"Well," I said,
"maybe he knew the shower had no warm water and so
he just went and showered in that other bathroom around the corner
and didn't say anything to anybody about it..."

... it's called examined living. Literally: Examined Living.
Anyway, the care coordinators were formally informed by me that
this bathroom has no hot water in the shower, and
an order has now been filled out and submitted. Sigh.

27 Feb 20 - 10:47 AM (#4036390)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Sounds like progress on several fronts... And backs, and (never mind)!

27 Feb 20 - 06:29 PM (#4036479)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

That local psychiatrist turns out to have served two purposes.
The clinic asked me to meet with said psychiatrist so as to
give "clinical context" to admissions about me, which was done.

Turns out the other way that the psychiatrist was important,
was to contact my insurance, as a provider, and to help insurance determine
how much I needed treatment.
The letter (from the clinic) was formally delivered to me this week,
saying that the insurance would accept the treatment thing.
This means a high deductible and subsequent co-pay.
Without the psychiatrist contacting my insurance as a provider,
I'm not certain how acceptable the insurance would have found this.

So that is good news.
Oh, the shower -- somebody finally solved the mystery.
The thing that determines cold and hot water, and the mix, in the shower,
was installed backwards.
When that happens, the lever cannot just be adjusted the way one does, by turning to hot water and then easing away from it in order to include enough cool water so as not to get burned.
In this case, you have to stand there wiggling the lever back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, and eventually
the shower will cough up some warmth --
but not with the lever in the conventional hot-water position ...

it seems like a dirty trick.
I guess it's just what happens.

29 Feb 20 - 10:51 AM (#4036723)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Haven't been here seven days, and already the patient community
has had send-off gatherings (with refreshments and party vibes)
for two patients as they are discharged.

Last night was the second discharge. I have to speak carefully here.
So I won't give up the gender of the patient, nor the amount of time they were in treatment.
The gathering last night was literally open to all, and the staff who came were
mostly nurses or 'mental health workers' who are not themselves nurses but assist the nursing department.
These are the staff members who eat in the patient dining room with the patients and who do the daily contacts and assessment.
One such staff member cheerfully told the departing patient,
with all of us looking on and listening in, that
they had come a long way in *** number of ****s, if you get my meaning.
And I blurted out " *** ****!!" repeating the amount of time.
Suffice to say this patient's treatment was indeed LONG-TERM.
The charge nurse on the night shift looked over her shoulder at me
and said with a big grin,
"How does it feel hearing that XYZ was here for '*** ****'?"
"They must have needed it very much," I squawked back.

This clinic has, aside from all the hospital protocols,
a patient assessment thingy in place.
The patient assesses themselves on this scale on admission,
and again on discharge;
at discharge, they get to compare the two self-assessments.
And our departing patient volunteered that it was a rude awakening
to see how little self-awareness they had upon admission, and
how blindly optimistic an assessment they made of themselves.
And said laughing:
"I leave here feeling worse than when I came in," partly sardonic
but also partly truthful.

Other treatment places may be different, but in this clinic,
the truth is king.

29 Feb 20 - 03:32 PM (#4036776)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

So you have to wrassle a long hard thing to get a spurt of warm liquid? I am back to the shower trouble.

29 Feb 20 - 03:42 PM (#4036778)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Actually, because somebody [me] spoke up to the nursing station
and had an order put in,
the person who responded to the order
opened up the dial/switch
and moved it to the correct alignment.
And now -- last time I checked, anyhow --
the shower lever works the way it was supposed to in the first place.

29 Feb 20 - 04:09 PM (#4036783)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Senoufou

Well I'm glad to hear that keberoxu! They really ought to have sorted that out immediately.
Still thinking of you and wishing you well.

29 Feb 20 - 05:45 PM (#4036793)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Donuel

Your shower story reminded me of Bill Murry in ground hog day.

29 Feb 20 - 08:16 PM (#4036806)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

ah, but it's leap-year day, not Groundhog day.
The sun shone through the snow flurries today.
Does that mean it won't be spring for six weeks?

29 Feb 20 - 09:50 PM (#4036813)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Helen

The shower thing might have been a test to see how proactive you are at problem identification and notification. You passed that test with flying colours.

Or it might be a dastardly trick to make people more stressed. Nah! Sounds like they are too nice for that. LOL

01 Mar 20 - 02:25 PM (#4036964)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

February, leap-year day and all, is past, and March is here.
And after a cold snap, the weather is headed back to where it was
on my arrival a week ago: unseasonably warm and bright outside.

There is a rhythm in the patient schedule:
all the individual treatments are on weekdays.
Weekends no-one sees a psychiatrist or therapist except when urgent.
As to the peer-driven group activities,
every weekday does have a community meeting;
but for in-patients, both weekend days have group meetings
that are separate from the community meetings.
So, when the professionals disappear from the weekend routine,
the peer groups (with nursing staff) pick up the slack.

This coming week, my schedule will not be bursting with interviews, introductions, and admission assessments as last week's schedule was.
Along with weekday treatment and appointments, my schedule will have time
for the community meetings that I could not go to last week (except for one or two).
Have to introduce more interactions with the other patients into life.

And so, slowly getting acquainted with more individuals.
Young adult women do predominate the patient population, some of them really young adults still close to their parents.
It is sobering to discover how urgently they needed treatment when they got here.
Now becoming apparent that this is not the easiest gig for men.
Those men patients who are more extroverted and gregarious have the advantage here.
I have now got used to the silent introverted men who seem quietly resigned to
the raised voices of the younger women patients.
The men's presence is far from threatening; I like having them around.

Can't say enough good things about the nurses and their fellow 'mental health workers' at the residence. More than one patient has expressed how nurturing they are.
So much so that I don't feel alone or isolated here.

The patients who obviously are most conflicted and struggling
are the ones separated from loved ones,
which of course is not the case with me.
Those patients who are parents of children feel a constant pull.
Some of these isolate from the other patients because of this.

One outstanding feature of this treatment center, which
will take time to understand on my part, is
the role of the social workers in family therapy
and as the contacts to the relationships outside.
For some of the patients,
the relationship with their assigned social worker is a lifeline.
They depend enormously on their work with the social worker
in order to progress.
I've only met mine once, and as my emotions were running high at the time,
there was only so much work we could get done at our first consult.
So that remains to develop and to be seen.

One last detail: the cooking is wonderful.
Died-and-gone-to-heaven wonderful.
Three delicious square meals a day. It's an enormous blessing.

02 Mar 20 - 10:59 AM (#4037113)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Charmion

When everything else in your life has gone to shit or is trying to, good food can be a literal life-saver, and for many patients I'm sure it's the last source of pleasure left. Management at that joint you're in has some good thinking skills.

02 Mar 20 - 08:45 PM (#4037190)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

well, this day has held some surprises.
Went to treatment consults and group meetings as required,
showed up for all three meals (God forbid I miss the food).

A vigorous and diversified activities program is one of the better-known features of
this institution, such that outsiders know about these things.
In this activities program, some people learn a visual-arts medium and end up with their work mounted in a local exhibition.
And then there is the theater, directed by a long-term theater person.
Two plays a year every year. I'm just in time for the spring play.
I had a word with the professional who does this, and said,
Look, I am partly in treatment for sleep-related health issues;
and if I cannot commit to all those nights of rehearsals because
I literally need to go to my room and get some sleep instead,
then that rules me out, right?
And he said no, far from it. We'll work something out.
So tomorrow night already we all start reading, as a group,
and the group will contribute to the decision of which play to perform.
In getting acquainted with each other -- "meet and greet" -- tonight,
we went around the room and said what kind of performing experience, prior to this, we had.
So I mentioned being in my high school play, lo! these many years past; and I went on to add that
I was once a professional musician and did no small amount of performing,
however I wasn't playing any sort of character at the time.
I added that I had been a pianist accompanying other musicians.

So we break up and head our separate ways,
and one of the other patients at the meet-and-greet
(one who has been here for some time, and has already
performed in the plays here last year)
hurried after me to say: excuse me, you're an accompanist?
Would you be interested in playing piano with me, I play cello.
"That was YOU?!" I exclaimed. Because I heard him practicing.
There is a music room conveniently close to this very spot,
the computer station, where I enjoyed myself for hours this weekend;
and many of those hours, somebody was behind closed doors in the music room, practicing solo cello, and playing classical cello music really well.
Well, yes, that was he. So at some point in the future, he is going to pull out some of the music in his repertoire, we will find a piano, he will bring his cello, and I will fight the muscle cramps in my hands and arms from being out of practice for so long.
And who would have thought it!

02 Mar 20 - 11:38 PM (#4037207)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Helen

Playing music with other people is uplifting for the spirit, in my opinion. Please keep us updated on your musical sharing.

03 Mar 20 - 08:14 AM (#4037272)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Sounds great, k. We had no music in my dirst clinic and rhe some we had on the locked ward was super

03 Mar 20 - 08:16 AM (#4037273)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

First, the, and a period after the super. No editing of posts allowed on my phone, only backspacing. If I touch where I want to edit I can't type any more. This is new.

03 Mar 20 - 11:18 AM (#4037301)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Charmion

Congratulations, Keb. Great to hear.

03 Mar 20 - 01:20 PM (#4037322)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Stilly River Sage

That musical opportunity sounds marvelous! I always find I do some of my best thinking when I'm playing for my own pleasure, so hopefully this will be doubly beneficial.

03 Mar 20 - 01:41 PM (#4037327)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Helen

Not only the best thinking, SRS, but playing music is almost like meditation for me. I have seen studies showing the positive influence of playing music on a range of emotional and physical aspects of life.

Don't ask me to quote my sources, because I've been seeing them in the media and in documentaries for decades.

If I am stressed and play music I am able to bring myself into a completely different head space. And playing music with other people is one of the best pastimes that I know. I've said for years that going to parties where people stand around drinking and talking about whatever is not my scene, but make it a party where people are playing music and it's my idea of heaven on earth.

(Please bear in mind that I don't play thrash metal. I'd like to see the studies on the influence of thrash metal on the musicians' emotional and physical well-being. LOL)

04 Mar 20 - 10:53 AM (#4037472)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

The spring play in the drama activities program has yet to be chosen,
it will, however, be Shakespeare.
We are reading through Shakespeare plays as a group this week.
Yes, there is a Shakespeare play every spring, and so when we read,
the plays done in the recent past are ruled out.
There was a recent Hamlet, so no Hamlet this year.

The fellow patient who plays the cello,
is part of the group interested in drama, as stated in an earlier post.
A natural performer, very passionate and emotional; it will interest me greatly
to see in what role he is cast.
There are, it will not surprise you to hear,
more women than men.
The staffperson who runs the drama activity, and directs the plays,
is an older man who is a seasoned director and knows Shakespeare repertoire well.
He really loves working with the patients in their modest theater on the clinic campus.
It will be fascinating to observe what he does to adapt a dramatic production to the abilities of clinic patients.
It is a given that some of the men's roles will be played by women
because there aren't enough men.

That said, there is a method I'm already aware of:
the first people cast in the chosen play,
come from the patient population.
Shakespeare plays can be densely populated, and it is regularly the case
that there are more roles than interested patients.
So then the next phase of casting takes place, opened up to
the local community on an amateur/volunteer basis.
The drama program has been running in this fashion at this clinic
for decades now,
thus there is a dedicated support system at the community level.
When the week of performances takes place, in May,
there will be a good crowd in the audience -- tickets are sold --
and the audience will come from a distance in some cases.

At "community meetings" oriented to the patients -- and governed by the patients -- which take place five days a week,
a heck of a lot can come out. Each weekday has a separate agenda.
Yesterday, the agenda included -- I'm using different terms than the committee/rulebook uses --
infractions of the community guidelines and rules, and disruptive ongoing situations.
There are structures in place, all engaging the patient community,
to look at community problems and issues. It is at the meetings that I realize how ill some of the patients are,
because oddly, in this no-locked-ward, open-community setup,
there is considerable peer pressure to carry yourself a certain way.
You can be withdrawn and uncommunicative, but as long as you are not disruptive,
the community can contain you and your behavior.
Some individuals however have got behavior that is screaming for care and attention, they really need help.
I've only been here ten days. Yesterday's meeting spent considerable time, and a lot of heated exchanges and emotion,
on a person who was absent -- by choice --
who has been a problem for months now. I can't say a lot.
This patient started out sociable and formed friendships.
Then, the deeper into the treatment over time,
the more anti-social the patient has become.
When confronted by the structured committees about behavior,
the patient's hostility increases, the anger and resistance increases,
and there is even more pushing away of people.
This is a patient I have yet to meet in my ten days here,
and I have been introduced to so many fellow patients.

The people I speak to here, who have been here a while and are the most mature and wise in perception (this includes fellow patients), remind me that work of this depth and intensity makes slow progress, gradual forward progress.
I am seeing the drama that goes with someone who really, really needs to be here. And I can see that a full resolution may be a long way off, and it won't be one nice neat package deal.
I feel for the patients who have been verbally attacked by the troubled individual. That's all for now.

05 Mar 20 - 04:40 PM (#4037767)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Did I tell you that the patient activities department and the drama division
have narrowed down this year's "spring play" to
two by Shakespeare:
Pericles (very late Shakespeare), or A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Another reading tonight, and we will see what we will see.
I'm in, for better or worse.
It's definitely going to take a big chunk out of my sleep;
but I realized that
I would really kick myself for letting them do it without me!

05 Mar 20 - 06:42 PM (#4037781)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Helen

I recently bought a Margaret Atwood novel, which I haven't read yet.

It's about a theatre company in a prison, so that doesn't relate to you, but it might have some similarities to the theatre group you are involved with.


"When Felix is deposed as artistic director of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival by his devious assistant and longtime enemy, his production of The Tempest is canceled and he is heartbroken. Reduced to a life of exile in rural southern Ontario—accompanied only by his fantasy daughter, Miranda, who died twelve years ago—Felix devises a plan for retribution.

"Eventually he takes a job teaching Literacy Through Theatre to the prisoners at the nearby Burgess Correctional Institution, and is making a modest success of it when an auspicious star places his enemies within his reach. With the help of their own interpretations, digital effects, and the talents of a professional actress and choreographer, the Burgess Correctional Players prepare to video their Tempest. Not surprisingly, they view Caliban as the character with whom they have the most in common. However, Felix has another twist in mind, and his enemies are about to find themselves taking part in an interactive and illusion-ridden version of The Tempest that will change their lives forever. But how will Felix deal with his invisible Miranda’s decision to take a part in the play?"

07 Mar 20 - 10:24 AM (#4038092)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Two mornings ago, before dawn -- sometime between 4 am and 6 am -- the service entrance at the in-patient residence received a delivery. One large truck/lorry, and one large order at the back of said truck. The delivery men worked rapidly, slamming doors and rolling things on dollys and carts, a great metallic thundering noise.
I ought to know. My second-story admit room is directly above the service entrance. I thought there was a thunderstorm! Then I got out of bed, raised a windowshade, and saw the enormous truck directly below the window. But why take it personally? It made me laugh, actually.

The patient in the room next to mine, well, I can't breach confidentiality, but this patient is physically miserable and with good reason, needs their treatment. And my next-door neighbor took the pre-dawn delivery and the noise, personally -- VERY VERY personally. Poor lamb. Between a rock and a hard place, that one. Can't blame the patient for losing it, when they are feeling so rotten to begin with.

08 Mar 20 - 03:17 PM (#4038353)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

In the in-patient residence at the clinic, there are two wings. Actually this residence is a centuries-old Stately Home converted into a clinic residence. The Stately Home itself had these two wings to begin with.
They have been organized into:
an east wing, which has various community areas on both the entrance floor and in the basement.
The upper two floors of the east wing are 'admit' rooms, for which the newly admitted patients have priority in housing.
a west wing, with two upper floors of larger, more gracious housing. Mostly those west-wing rooms are suites which have got one bathroom shared between two bedrooms, and access to said bathroom is through the bedrooms and no place else. The long-term, settled patients are there, moved there from the admit wing.

I'm in an 'admit room' in the east wing. And, as previously stated, when the delivery truck brings the weekly delivery before dawn during a weekday morning, the service loading dock and entrance is directly underneath one window of my tiny room. Like the other 'admit rooms', my room has got a sink and mirror [NO cabinet to hide meds in], and the toilet/bathroom facilities are in the hallway and are shared by the patients in neighboring rooms.
When the truck rolled up last week, in addition to the long time interval of metallic rolling, engine idling, doors slamming, and so on, there was a moment when a man raised his voice and began shouting, seriously shouting. Well, one makes allowances for the fact that the noise continued uninterrupted, and so, right, the man has to shout in order to be heard above the noise. I had a surprise coming, though.

Community meetings (voluntary, but strongly encouraged) take place every weekday. The meeting held that same day, another east-wing, admit-room patient vented their indignation at being awakened before dawn by the truck doing the delivery ... and went on to volunteer that this person, themselves, had inquired about what reason there could be for a delivery at that hour when people are trying to sleep. And went on to relate 'what the delivery men said.'
I put two and two together, and silently thought:
that was YOU?! A fellow patient?
You got up from your bed, threw some clothes on, left your room, went down the stairs, out of the building, over to the service entrance, and SHOUTED AT THE DELIVERY MEN? You, one of the patients, before 5:30 in the bleeping morning??

Their room and my room are on the same floor of the same wing. I didn't hear doors opening and shutting, or footsteps in the hall, and by the time I heard that shouting, I was quite wide awake and fully vigilant (if disinclined to leave the bed), and my ears were on full alert.

I didn't utter a word at the community meeting, only listened.
In the days between then and now, I have been afraid to venture the topic with the person who volunteered those statements during the meeting. But I have discussed it with the nursing/support/community staff, and at one much smaller group I have brought up my experience among the other patients (which do not include the person I suspect of doing the shouting).

If I want to really put this behind me, I will have to have a word with the fellow patient who spoke up in community meeting... what if I get my head bitten off ... but I am imagining all sorts of frightful things, and I fear that only the facts and the truth will put my imagination in its place.

09 Mar 20 - 01:51 AM (#4038432)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

This clinic, as treatment institutions go, is one with a small patient population;
one which is encouraged to bond together and to form alliances, acquaintances, constructive friendships.
Then we are reminded what treatment entails.

Two different patients have had to be released to the local full-service hospital, to be sectioned, and then to be transferred
to a different treatment facility with locked wards and suicide watches,
which this little clinic decided, in the beginning of its history,
never to do, and has stuck by its decision.
One of the two had their crisis just before my own admission.
And the remaining patients (staff, as well) were still processing this development.
The other such patient had their crisis this past week.

Yet another event that I know better than to take personally.
But there was a time and place, in my own therapy and process,
when I, too, took everything personally.
I remember how raw I felt back then.
Some of my fellow patients are just that raw,
and they take it really personally when a fellow in-patient
suffers a setback, a serious one.
I know better now, but who am I to judge them,
when I was once there myself?

09 Mar 20 - 08:54 AM (#4038486)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

I was mistaken, thank heavens.

The hollering man was one of the night nurses, not a patient. The patient in question had in fact never left the premises, but did the orderly thing and went to the nurses' station. And from there, the night nurse personally went down to the service entrance to, erm, question the delivery men. Then returned to the station, and reported to the patient what the delivery men said to him, the nurse.

So it was all above board, and I let my fears run away with me.
So I have apologized to the patient for suspecting him, he has accepted my apology, and I am rightfully humbled.
And actually the truckers are going to look into adjusting the delivery time. The kitchen staff were unaware that the delivery of the foodstuffs happened THAT early in the day, and it startled them to be told as much. So maybe a compromise can be reached.

09 Mar 20 - 08:56 AM (#4038488)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

You are a person with judgment. Judging is not only allowed, it is required.

When I was in my clinic I shushed a nurse who was positively howling at their phone in the middle of the night when a) people were sleeping but I was up, pacing) and b) we patients weren't allowed phones... Turned out they were on *camera* phone so I turned them in for horrible HIPAA (the P is Privacy) violation. Boy did they get in trouble.

09 Mar 20 - 06:24 PM (#4038629)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

This week, after play-reading,
those of us who signed up for the spring play are to start meeting four nights a week at the clinic's patient activities building,
where the theater space is on the top floor.
And I had to notify by voice-mail message
that I am out, sick. Bummer.
But I started feeling sore ALL OVER, and very weak.
So went to nurses' station, got my temperature taken,
took two Advil, got a little supper,
and am going straight to bed.
And again, bummer. I hope this doesn't get any worse ...

09 Mar 20 - 06:37 PM (#4038633)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Donuel

Just hoping your convalesence goes well

11 Mar 20 - 10:37 PM (#4039137)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Thank you, Donuel; thank you, one and all.
I had some time to rest and got attention from the nurses,
and whatever wearied me seems to have run its course,
as I feel like my normal self again.

Ah, I won't repeat what the fellow patients are saying,
it would be imprudent,
but suffice to say that the topic of coronavirus makes for some
lively conversations in a residential long-term treatment clinic
not all that far away from New York City.
Several of my fellow patients have ties there --
if not residents of the Big Apple, then
they have family or friends who are.
No small amount of gallows humor, dark mordant humor.
Relief of tension and anxiety in a modest way.

12 Mar 20 - 04:45 AM (#4039145)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Senoufou

Oh phew keberoxu! I a tiny bit worried there. :O
However, you seem to have pulled through, thank the Lord.
You do sound upbeat and positive, which is very good.
Lots of kind thoughts coming your way!
love, Eliza xx

13 Mar 20 - 08:06 PM (#4039414)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Still feeling well, no relapse or anything.

This clinic is probably a better place than most
to wait out the coronavirus pandemic.
There are protocols in place should IT manifest on the premises.
The closest I hear of nearby cases:
one town about six or seven miles down the road
has one confirmed adult case,
and said adult has been admitted
to a hospital within twenty miles, for treatment.
Don't know the particulars of this case,
just heard the announcement on the car radio.

Dispensers of high-alcohol-content hand sanitizer have appeared indoors in multiple locations, especially
in the dining area for residential patients and staff.
The kitchen/dining room staff doesn't include waiters,
as there is a buffet area referred to as a "servery" (?).
But such staff as there are,
if they aren't busy in the kitchen during mealtimes,
are standing at doorways,
watching those areas in which eating utensils are picked up or dropped off,
and those areas which have dispensers for beverages like coffee.
Rather than watch us dining patrons as such,
the servers are watching those vulnerable areas,
and when we venture into them
they watch US, like hawks!
There is also one staffperson standing next to the
hand sanitizer dispenser which is next to the kitchen utensils,
politely reminding each individual
to use hand sanitizer
before touching knives, forks, spoons ...

at the end of the day, one's hands are not only clean
but also a little bit dried out.

13 Mar 20 - 11:28 PM (#4039425)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Someone at my grocery store self-checkout was cleaning the touchscreen between customers, great job

14 Mar 20 - 01:38 AM (#4039426)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: mg

i pick up a wipe used for shopping carts and wipe everything in sight

16 Mar 20 - 07:00 PM (#4040036)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Today at the clinic,
there were meetings of the patients
-- in groups no larger than twenty-five people at a time --
about how to comply with state and government mandates
concerning the coronavirus pandemic.

I seriously doubt that this clinic is going to close;
but for all that, the clinic people have to seriously discuss
if and when they MIGHT,
temporarily, close the clinic.
I would guess that admissions are suspended for the moment.

In the meantime, we residential patients may no longer
have buffet-style meals three times a day --
the buffet self-serve approach another object of mandates.
The kitchen is thinking of ways to serve differently
until it's safe to have meals with a buffet again.
No visitors or guests until further notice,
and for us residents, no traveling until further notice.

I feel as safe here as, and safer than,
I would feel in a lot of places.
But everybody, one way or another, is feeling this crisis.

17 Mar 20 - 12:34 PM (#4040238)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Stay well, physically and all, keberoxu.

17 Mar 20 - 02:45 PM (#4040301)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Boredom is NOT one of the things I am feeling right now;
on another day there may be time for boredom, but not today.

The clinic's initial six-week treatment procedure, going up to
the case conference that determines future treatment, includes
psychological testing -- some of it projective,
some of it cognitive, other stuff I don't have words for.
Normally, during those first six weeks,
the staff psychologist who administers the testing one-on-one
will space the testing out over three days in a particular week.
He would have done so with me, had things been normal,
which of course they are not.
The first appointment was first thing this morning.

I ate a good breakfast and went straight to the office building.
In the reception lobby, the psychologist met me and led me up the stairs to the topmost floor -- third story.
Not his usual space, but again, things are not normal --
so he got this conference room set aside on the highest floor.

And up there he asked me, how was my schedule today and
did I have the morning free or did I have commitments after this?
I allowed as how our appointment was for two hours of testing,
and after that my schedule was open. And he said:
wanna get all four hours of testing done today?

If I had known what a toll it would take, I don't think I would have agreed.
However: not normal times, I already knew it was strenuous,
so: yes, we might as well get it overwith.

Get it overwith, we have.
We went two-hours plus before he took a break. The break was short.
When we came back, the harder stuff was ahead, including those infamous Rorschach ink blots,
which initial 'impressions' are followed by going back
a second time through the prints and answering questions.
I was pretty cranky by this time:
whaddaya mean, 'why does it look like a whale'?

So the psychologist and I, with the aformentioned break,
went from 8:30 A to 12:30 A, and were done,
and I staggered back to the inpatient residence for lunch.
Bored? NOT.

19 Mar 20 - 10:21 AM (#4040705)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

A couple of nights' good sleep,
and I feel more like my old self, recovered from the
psych-test four-hour marathon.

While this clinic is the best possible place for me to be,
particularly while weathering the coronavirus pandemic,
there are plenty of fellow patients who disagree with me.

The most unhappy are those who are parents with children.
One patient, a married father whose wife is pregnant,
has said, to heck with it, and is terminating his treatment,
directing the clinic towards discharge,
and heading for home as soon as practical.

Well, naturally, we in-patients are getting on each other's nerves
under the stress and strain of the present,
especially with the future holding
all these threatening unknowns.
Some patients, predictably, increase their voluntary isolation.
When it is mealtime,
they show up at the dining room/kitchen area,
get their meal to-go,
and without further ado they carry the dishes and walk away,
to eat in the privacy of their residence rooms.

And some in-patients are sniping shrilly at the rest of us
because we get closer to each other than six feet,
we sit too close together,
we don't wash our hands with sanitizer to THEIR satisfaction,

20 Mar 20 - 10:44 AM (#4040913)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

We clinic in-patients -- and the patients whose "step-down" treatment plans put them in apartments on the clinic campus, rather than in the big residential building -- are actually very very well taken care of, in spite of the patients who always find something to complain and bleat and moan about.
I have heard no reports of clinic patients, in or out of the big building, showing symptoms of coronavirus or otherwise feeling poorly.

No, the bad news comes from the clinic staff. More than one have developed symptoms or illness. I have heard of these professionals staying at home and cancelling their appointments or what have you. Of course everyone is alert and gossiping as much as their consciences will permit, I mean the patients, sorry, the staff are on their best behavior.
What I have not heard is that anyone has had access to testing here. In this county of the state, there are coronavirus cases; I heard one report on the radio, no name given, but the report gave the name of the town, and it is within ten miles of the clinic, which is the diagnosed person's hometown. This person is now in this county's largest city, where there is a hospital, and in treatment -- and isolation -- there.

I know of no one personally who has experienced someone whom they know dying, yet, of coronavirus; no doubt this too will change.

22 Mar 20 - 02:28 PM (#4041346)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

This high-end clinic takes seriously the consideration of a patient's family. To that end, every clinical 'team' to which any patient is assigned, includes a fully certified social worker. Even I have a social worker here. This is a new experience for me, as I have avoided living with others since I left my family of origin, and I don't have significant others, or dependents, or in-laws, or what have you.

Part of the initial six-week evaluation includes a detailed family history for each patient. The new patient goes over their family history with the social worker in particular. This is going to result in the social worker drawing up something I have never seen before, they call it a geno-gram. Still in preparation, I think I have supplied all of my information but I have yet to see this diagram.

The other thing the social worker does, has two parts to it, and that is the social worker advocating on behalf of the patient to the patient's family.
Firstly, the patient and the social worker decide whether any family member is to have information disclosed to them about the patient's status and treatment, and whatever is decided, a formal agreement is drawn up, signed, and dated, to that end.
Secondly, the social worker contacts the patient's relatives to interview them about the patient's history from the relatives' point of view.

This month, my assigned social worker received my permission to talk by phone with one of my blood relatives, not saying which one. It would have to be, wouldn't you know, one of the relatives who is most disruptive. In the end, it had to be so: it is the family that decides which relatives will manage affairs and monitor communications on the family's behalf, so even though this relative is one of the unbalanced ones, communicating through this person conforms to family expectations -- and is more satisfactory to the family. The thing is, I now have an advocate in this social worker, doing the communicating on my behalf, and this clinician is the one who takes the heat, not me.

I can't even put into words how huge this is for me.
This kind of advocacy is something even my attorney, financially oriented as my attorney is, has not provided for me.
I suppose I ought to be really emotional about this, and pleased about it.
Instead I feel worn out and exhausted. Having turned this corner, so to speak, I'm just so tired and weary -- okay, depressed -- from years of putting a brave face on and keeping the stiff upper lip, and not giving anybody the satisfaction of seeing me show any signs of vulnerability. More than anything, I feel like rest and quiet is what I need.

For these reasons, the coronavirus restrictions pose no hardship for me at all: the clinic campus is my home, the care is excellent, and I can actually rest and relax as I have not done in years. I feel too weary even to weep, although someday the tears will come -- I know there is at least one good cry inside of me, I'm just too weary to let it out.

23 Mar 20 - 03:46 PM (#4041632)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Interesting times at the mental health clinic.
This institution has meticulous and elaborate hierarchies of treatment plans. As patients stabilize, make progress, and become more prepared to ease back into the world outside,
there are ways to "step down" their treatment while not yet going so far as discharge.
The little clinic is organized so that the campus includes, not only the in-patient residence and the building with the conference rooms, offices, and other public functions,
but also some homes that have been converted to 'multi-family', in other words, apartment residences.
In these, patients who no longer require nursing supervision, can check in daily at the clinic and can keep on getting treatment,
while they get the hang of living together outside the in-patient residence.
There are treatment plans in which a patient lives nearby and agrees to treatment less than five days a week, with according reduction in the weekly amount billed to them.
Some hold down jobs as they do so.
And this is all BEFORE discharge and aftercare.

What has this to do with the coronavirus and the sheltering?
A heck of a lot.
Not all of the decisions have been fixed yet,
and a lot of the planning is at the contingency stage.
For one thing --
knock on wood --
we have no patients with symptoms of coronavirus, and thus,
no patients who require quarantine and that sort of nursing.

Four staffpersons, however, including
one nurse and one physician,
are ill and at home, and are being or have been tested;
word of mouth has it that test results for these clinicians here
will come through this week.

In the meantime, contingency plans are being made
in case there are patients who sicken with coronavirus;
such as, which wing of the residence can be closed off so that
only the nurses and other staff are admitted,
while the rest of us carry on in a different wing...

we are supposed to be hunkering down for the rest of March and all of April, but naturally everything is subject to change.
I feel safe and well, but we have some patients here
with anxiety issues to begin with,
and they are NOT happy campers.

24 Mar 20 - 01:08 PM (#4041840)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

I *really* enjoyed taking the Rorschach. Really. My shrink, though, felt sorry for the tester, apparently smart people take foreeever.

24 Mar 20 - 05:01 PM (#4041889)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

The CEO of the clinic, himself a psychiatrist,
sat down today with the "therapeutic community"
-- clinic-speak for us patients with some nursing/mental-health-worker staff -- to bring us up to date on the clinic versus the coronavirus pandemic.

A nurse who was ill, received negative test results, yay!
A staff intern in the clinic admissions office,
who went home ill on 10 March and has not returned to work,
received test results positive for coronavirus.

26 Mar 20 - 04:07 PM (#4042271)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Earlier this week, one patient at the clinic woke, and
had unusual difficulty breathing. Nurses on full alert!
Rushed the otherwise healthy young man to the ER,
got him testing, he was kept for observation.

Today his coronavirus test results returned: Negative.
Enormous relief here at the clinic residence hall.

No other patient at the clinic is symptomatic;
however there have been deaths of friends, from COVID-19,
for a handful of patients here.

This week alone, three clinic patients --
two were in-patients with rooms at the residence,
one was living on-campus in one of the clinic apartments --
have discharged earlier than planned,
largely because they have families they are concerned about.
Then there is one in-patient here who is really fragile, and
just had their clinical case conference.
This patient has to stay for now, because if discharged,
their home area lacks the resources and support they need so much.
However, this patient's children include a special-needs child
and the patient is FURIOUS at being separated from the child.
Tricky and touchy situation, AND this patient is a one of the drama-venting types.

The nursing staff is very stressed and some of them have been insensitive with patients, which makes a bad thing worse.
Most of the nurses, however, know better.
We are actually very well cared for here
and I can't personally imagine anyplace better to be
with this pandemic going on. So I am holding up all right.
No further aches or pains, either, and sleeping well.

28 Mar 20 - 08:10 PM (#4042725)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

The one patient who displayed symptoms reminiscent of coronavirus
has been tested,
and found negative for COVID-19.
Up to this moment, no other patients are ill.
Apparently the precautions we have been taking
are paying off.

As stated earlier, what directly affects the clinic
is illness in the staff.
One physician is at home, positive for COVID-19.

But there are patients who know people who have died of the disease,

29 Mar 20 - 10:24 AM (#4042865)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

An earlier post dated 13 March 2020
reported on the news of a COVID-19 patient in the hospital,
hometown within ten miles of this institution.

The Sunday edition of the local newspaper gave a summary
of the spread of coronavirus in this particular county.
The patient from that town -- name withheld -- was included in the summary.

It seems that there is an ER or urgent-care facility
in the person's hometown,
and he went there first, earlier.
He is a 70-year-old man, and at that earlier time
he allowed that he had had a cough all winter long.
That facility sent him back home, no testing, no nothing.

It was when this older man took a turn for the worse
that a relative of his put him in the car
and drove him, not to that hometown urgent-care place,
but north to the regional hospital.
And the hospital admitted him, tested him, and put him in isolation.
As of today's report,
the man is still in hospital, in "critical condition;"
other cases in the county have either recovered or have died.

30 Mar 20 - 05:42 PM (#4043239)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

This is Week Six for me here at the clinic,
and tomorrow morning is my case conference.
While my case, and I, provide the subject for the conference,
most of this event is done without me.
Not entirely without me, though.
There is a moment, after the conference is well underway,
when my presence is required in the conference room with the clinicians.
I am told that I will be there for less than half an hour, it might be closer to fifteen minutes.
The conference will be chaired by a clinician who is NOT one of the doctors or therapists whom I see on a regular basis every week;
and this chair will interview me before the other clinicians.
Then they will let me go, I will be escorted from the conference room,
and all the team members will wind up the conference itself.

This is a moment on which all of my future treatment will pivot.
It makes for both worry and happy anticipation
because I feel at home here, and am ready and able to continue --
in truth I am fortunate and blessed to be here.
Regardless, it will be a relief to have the conference behind me!

30 Mar 20 - 07:59 PM (#4043258)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Remind them not to sit near each other!

Good to read your news.

31 Mar 20 - 07:29 PM (#4043451)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

They didn't sit near each other.

I allowed myself to show my emotions and express my needs.
Afterwards I could not stop crying.
I am one big ball of hurt.
I slept through supper,
and had a nightmare in which I was weeping and crying for help,
running through a brick building
(NOTHING like the buildings her at the clinic)
asking for someone to please help me,
and everyone disregarded me and shrugged me off.

Maybe if I go back to sleep,
there won't be any more nightmares?

31 Mar 20 - 09:20 PM (#4043464)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: mg

are you getting enough fat and protein? Hard when in a group. Some believe night terrors are caused by a sudden drop in blood sugar and then adrenaline being dumped to compensate. Might not correlate with measurements on blood sugar meter. Wouldn't hurt to have a bit of cheese, meat, etc. before sleeping if available.

31 Mar 20 - 10:56 PM (#4043477)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

This post is coming from a long-term residential clinic,
where the cooking is really good and the meals balanced --
"hard when in a group"? Lost me there.

I'm being very well cared for here,
if I were on the outside it would be a lot more ... iffy.

01 Apr 20 - 11:10 AM (#4043593)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

... so, I went back to sleep
and the weird dreams I had, fortunately,
were very laughable ones,
not saturated with long-suppressed grief like the earlier dream.

Today is April Fool's Day
and it is a magnificent sunny picture-perfect day outside.

Of course the trees and shrubs are bare,
but the air is mild enough for early spring.
Have to go to a meeting shortly about
how the clinic is going to deal with the COVID-19 crisis
as a "therapeutic community."
... well, at least I won't be the only one there.

02 Apr 20 - 04:53 PM (#4043681)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

... no, I was far from the only one at that meeting.
This was a community meeting, meaning that
patients actually run the meeting and its government.
Obviously the clinic staff can and does have its own meetings,
but this was an open meeting for all.

What happened was bound to happen.
Tension has been building among the extended community of clinic patients,
and the staff are stressed and off their own game.
The clinic had already decided this week on discharges
for two patients for disciplinary reasons,
and now the community of patients let their feelings out.
This is fascinating to watch:
how conflict is contained and negotiated for the common good.
Not what I'm used to.

it would be most inappropriate to divulge details.
But this communal hostility towards clinic and staff
had to be heard and given air and space,
before the place could calm down again.

04 Apr 20 - 06:59 PM (#4044026)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

I believe the special word used for a clinic or hospital like this,
in the coronavirus restriction lingo, is
"congregate"    it's an adjective, not a noun.
The clinic is in Massachusetts,
which has a statewide "stay-at-home" order until May 4.
But it's different if your domicile is in the "congregate" category:
they are required to follow
"shelter-in-place" protocols, regardless of the rest of the state.

Therefore, although we patients are not under quarantine
and can take brief walks and such,
we are not to travel except as an absolutely essential thing
(like an ambulance to the emergency room, God forbid).

05 Apr 20 - 02:26 AM (#4044054)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

I think it is a good thing you are having nightmares, keberoxu, they are work being done by your mind, to my mind. I finally had one a couple of nights ago, students just coming into my house without knocking and then treating me like an idiot for minding, and how did they even know where I lived? Looking forward to talking to my shrink about it... even if it has to be over video, yuck. But I was *angry* and that, for me, has got to be a good thing.

I need another phrase.

05 Apr 20 - 07:33 PM (#4044235)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

I moved to a different room in the clinic residence complex.
Did I tell you that when I was admitted (six weeks ago)
I was assigned a little room in the 'admit' wing of the building?
You start over there, and in that wing there are shared bathrooms out in the halls. The rooms are very small and spare.
Initially I was told that I would have to move pretty shortly.

In actual fact:
I was able to stay there in the admit wing for six weeks,
while I got used to being in this institution
and found out how things are done and got acquainted with stuff.
It was made clear to me that living in the admit wing,
for people who stay the course and commit to long-term treatment in residence,
is temporary, and that one is expected to move to the wing on the other side of the residence complex.
That wing does not have bathrooms in the hall.
Either there are two-room suites that share a private bathroom;
or there are a handful of rooms with a bathroom which
does not have to be shared with anyone else.
As you might expect, room vacancies go together with waiting lists.

But what people line up for, are those rooms where you don't have to share.
This is not an issue for me. I do not mind sharing a bathroom.
So I am happy to let other patients compete with each other
about who gets the next private room that becomes vacant.

And then, of course, the coronavirus pandemic happened.
People voluntarily chose to discharge, a number of them,
so as to get home to their families instead of being stuck here.
When that happened there was a great 'musical rooms' shuffle.
Vacant rooms opening up; patients waiting for better rooms,
hustling to move out of the rooms they already have.
And since this clinic campus includes buildings converted to apartments (old large houses),
some patients were permitted to 'step down' their treatment --
while still living on the clinic campus, and still showing up
for therapy and everything,
they could leave the residence for one of these on-campus apartments,
and they would not require daily check-ins at the nurses' station.
Meaning, that some patients remained at the clinic,
but moved out of their rooms in the residence complex.

So you see, there have been a couple of weeks,
the last part of March going into April,
where there was a LOT of moving going on.
And, having decided to commit and stay long-term, I said to myself:
Now is the time to watch closely, and move when the opportunity is good.

Long story somewhat shorter: a suite in the long-term wing opened up. I looked at it last week, then went straight to the station with nursing, and applied to move there.
And now I have surrendered my little room in the admit wing,
and moved into one-half of a two-room suite ...
the other half is unoccupied. And so even though I didn't plan it this way,
I have got a bathroom all to my very own self.
Until somebody moves in on the other side.

The clinic having effectively shut down admissions
while 'shelter-in-place' is in effect for 'congregate' housing,
it may be quite a while before new patients are admitted
and somebody moves in to the other half of my bedroom suite.

Remember all that fuss, a few weeks back, when I was in the admit room
and the delivery truck showed up before dawn and made all that noise?
on account of my room was right on top of the service entrance one storey down?

My new room, while surrounded by other rooms with patients and the the ordinary bits of noise from fellow residents,
is well away from the service entrance where deliveries are made.
And when the other patients are still,
the wing, and the room, is blessedly peaceful!

Mrrzy, I quite agree with you about dreaming
and the mind working on dreams.
My former counselor, years ago, had a word for it --
she said such dreaming was 'productive'!

06 Apr 20 - 09:12 AM (#4044383)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Good to read, k. Stay in and get better.

08 Apr 20 - 09:33 PM (#4044764)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Too weary, and need rest too badly, to post at length tonight.
But will have to eventually update this thread
with a report on the struggle
to switch to a different psychiatrist in treatment.
There are actually a small number of psychiatrist MDs on the clinic staff
in comparison to the more numerous Psy. D.s,
not to speak of the social workers.

Switching psychiatrists -- while 'not an outrageous' request,
as I was assured when I asked --
is therefore not easily done,
but I have done my part to accomplish this over the past four weeks or so.
It is out of my hands at the moment.
There is a senior member on the staff who
heads the department of psychiatric specialists,
and it was necessary for me to ask for a meeting with him
in order to plead my case.
I have now done so,
and I reckon that this department head
has also heard from the psychiatrist with whom I clashed in the first place.

So now I have to keep myself in patience
while waiting for the decision,
now in the hands of the senior staff and of that departmental head in particular.

One constructive outcome of me being pro-active and asking for the switch, and insisting on it,
is I have not had to meet with the problem psychiatrist
for two or three weeks now,
and it has been good to be free of that arrangement.

More later.

10 Apr 20 - 04:12 PM (#4045183)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

ah, well ...

just came from an appointment with
the resident psychotherapist to whom I am assigned.
And I feel as though I had a tooth pulled out of my head.
Strange feeling. It smarts, and yet
I feel better now that it is out. Metaphorically.

It's seven weeks, almost two months, into my treatment,
and my psychotherapist surprised me by questioning
my commitment to working with her and being here.
It was a surprise because, strangely,
I am starting to feel as though
I have accomplished what I actually came to do,
and it might be time to go home sooner rather than later.

I don't know.
This clinician has a very cool, smooth presence,
and at first it was soothing and calming.
Now, she feels remote and ... calculated? phony?
We understand each other well on the thought/intellect level;
something is missing emotionally, in the heart.
She hasn't done me any harm.
But she wants more than I am giving her, and oddly,
part of me is saying: ENOUGH.

I didn't expect this to happen.

11 Apr 20 - 11:38 AM (#4045346)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

I figured out the word for the attitude that my psychotherapist
has been giving me for the last two months roughly.

Entitlement. This psychotherapist reeks of entitlement.
A subtle practitioner, this one.
Nothing overt, nothing in poor taste,
and nothing unrehearsed or unprepared.

In my youth, I too have been arrogant and dismissive of people,
and I have certainly given offense, not once but many times.
I'm not saying that I am superior to this clinician.
But having said that,
Mrrzy was right, in an earlier post on this thread:
As a patient, I am, and must be, a person with judgment.

And it is my judgment that the days of
my relationship with my psychotherapist are numbered.
Of course, this will play out over time
and with much conversation between numerous people,
given that this is a clinic with protocols and procedures.
I can't honestly say that I look forward to all the confrontation.
And yet I know
that I will feel all the worse
if I revert to pleasing everybody and giving them what they feel,
ahem, entitled to.
Well, it's the weekend,
and it will be during the weekdays when IT hits the fan.

So I will enjoy the peace and calm while I may.

11 Apr 20 - 03:22 PM (#4045388)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Hang in there. Accent on the IN.

I never wrote the formal letter of complaint the ward head recommended I write, about the psychiatrist to whom I was assigned in my second loony bin (that I'd been sent to by the first when their time limit ran out and I was still too suicidal to be sent home), for telling me that a) I could not stay unless I let her medicate me and b) there was no access to psychological help on that ward. Both were false, so she both caused me harm *and* prevented me from getting help.

12 Apr 20 - 01:47 PM (#4045642)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

So in my first two months at the mental health clinic,
I am dissatisfied with both my psychiatrist and my psychologist.

The psychiatrist, I have completely given up on.
I don't answer his phone messages now.
No doubt he is still being paid, but I'm not showing up.
And that is about to happen with the psychologist/psychotherapist as well.

I surprise myself doing this.
I didn't know I had it in me.
Many are the times that I have just turned tail and run away from a situation -- I've done that more times than I can count.
This may appear similar, only it feels different to me.
I don't want to leave the clinic now,
and this doesn't take into account
the crisis in the world which is changing everything for everyone.

When my psychotherapist, this week, expects me for the customary appointment
-- in the clinic procedure, these appointments are several times every week
-- I have news for her.
I am going to tell her in so many words:
Your heart is not in your work with me.
Where your heart is, and what you have a heart for,
is your affair.
And it isn't my job to make it any different for you.
You go right on pretending that you are all there,
when in fact you are putting on an act, a performance,
which is empty inside, which has no heart,
and you will lose me, sooner rather than later.
I don't want you taking up any more of my time
with hollow, empty talk.
If you won't meet my needs, somebody else will.

My case conference, which was maybe two weeks ago,
appears to me, now, in an entirely different light.
No wonder I felt such anguish during and after the conference.
No wonder I could not help breaking down and crying.
No wonder it hurt so bad.
I feel an utter fool for not having realized all this much sooner.

13 Apr 20 - 09:40 AM (#4045809)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Within the hour,
I meet -- by telephone -- with my therapist.
I'll be thankful when it's over.
I must be resolute.

I have left a letter for
the director of Patient Care
about my therapist and me,
and about how I can't stand it any more.

13 Apr 20 - 11:10 AM (#4045820)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

The change has started.
It would be incorrect to say, it's done:
no, it has started.

When my therapist and I kept our phone appointment,
I kept control of the conversation,
and spoke more as an independent individual
than with the dependence of the patient.
I stayed calm and stated my case with civility,
and said that we were finished.
I explained that the Director of Patient Care here
now has a letter from me (wrote it this weekend
and slipped it under her office door this morning)
and I will abide by the requirements of the administration.

It's not a question of asking for money back,
and I made this clear:
the therapist, as long as she is
my 'Therapist of Record,'
will have what she is entitled to.
She may have the money.
She simply may not have any more of my time,
because I'm not going back to her.
If she and I have to be present together in person,
I want somebody else there with us.
And she has got to work out her part of the problem
separately from me.

The in-patient coordinator, whom I just spoke to,
tells me that a consultation arrangement is the next step.
A different therapist
will interview both me and my former therapist,
and this different therapist will then report to administration.

Now I have to go and keep an appointment with my social worker.
And, for a time,
I will have to go without therapy entirely.

Fortunately, my plan here,
at the maximum expense level at this moment,
provides the maximum support from nursing,
and so if I need help, nursing can help me in the interim.

Thanks for your positive thoughts.
This is uncharted territory for me
and I feel like I am walking straight into the dark.

13 Apr 20 - 02:05 PM (#4045868)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

The imbalance -- if there is a single word for it, that is the word --
between me and my now former therapist
has layer upon layer of complexity to it --
and that's just the part for which I myself am accountable.
Not even speaking of what the therapist's problem is.
And some of it is inappropriate to burden this thread with.

But getting to the deep festering part of my trouble,
and extracting the splinter of it,
has finally ended the impasse at which I have found myself,
therapeutically, for weeks.

My social worker, whose heart IS in the right place,
was an enormous help with this.
When he and I exposed the developmental issue at the heart of my problem,
and I burst into tears in his office,
the social worker said gently:
"Your therapy begins now."

14 Apr 20 - 04:03 PM (#4046106)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

The Director of Patient Care at the clinic
interviewed me briefly today.
They have no problem with me requesting a switch,
however, it will take time.
The consultation, which features
a therapist different than the one known to
the patient requesting the switch/change,
is the next step.
The psychologist, have to call the person Doctor,
who is the Director of Patient Care,
has got a consultation therapist/interviewer in mind.
Only trouble is, this new therapist
is sheltering at home, and can't come in person.

And I don't have a computer of my own for ZOOMing.
Never mind, something will get worked out.
In the meantime, no therapy,
as I'm not going back to spend one more minute
with my former therapist,
and I'll have to lean on other support (like the nurses)
and carry my own weight carefully for a week or two.

At least the sun came out today.

16 Apr 20 - 12:47 PM (#4046490)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

I told you that the food is died-and-gone-to-heaven wonderful, right?

Lunch today was Swedish meatballs with egg noodles, side of roasted vegetables which were cauliflower and chopped asparagus with some onion.

I went back for seconds!
The buffet, you must understand, is no more.
Infection Control and buffet serveries are a poor mix.
So the long-suffering kitchen staff,
which has run the dining-room buffet for years now,
has to 'plate' our food -- on paper and plastic dishes and silverware
individually, which is completely new for them.

We can still drink out of beverage glasses that are synthetic, washable, and reusable.
Although there are also paper coffee cups
and ceramic mugs.

The social-distancing requirement has completely shaken up
the dining room,
where we used to sit eight to a table.
Same tables, now it is two to a table.
Ultimately it was requested -- and granted --
that all the now superfluous chairs be removed from the dining room,
because if the chairs are still around, then people will sit in them
even if people are too close to each other.
All the kitchen staff wear face masks in and out of the kitchen.

And there is a host of other little fussy changes
throughout the residence complex,
but I won't prolong this post with them.

I am so lucky to be here.

17 Apr 20 - 09:21 PM (#4046733)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

The clinic came one step closer to the pandemic crisis.
With congregate housing under a shelter-in-place order here,
only something urgent would take one of the patients off campus.
Well, shortly before Passover, one patient went
to the emergency room,
was tested, and discharged.
Said patient then went to a Seder observation which was held
in one of the little apartments on the clinic campus
for patients out of the residence and away from the nursing staff.

When this patient then developed 'symptoms',
the quarantine protocol went into effect
while waiting for the test results to be released.
The wait went over one weekend, which made it longer I think.
The patient was quarantined in their in-patient residence bedroom.
The others at the Seder who had had close contact with the patient
also were put under quarantine, meaning
that they stayed in their on-campus apartment building,
and had meals brought to them and everything.

This week the test results came back, negative,
and the quarantine was lifted altogether.
It was a very sobering reminder to all of us
not to be casual or careless, regardless of the fact
that negative test results
spared us being put through the whole pandemic treatment/protocol.

...yes, sometimes I am reminded of those
who need this clinic far more desperately than I need it.

20 Apr 20 - 08:33 AM (#4047192)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Stay in, dude. We love you.

21 Apr 20 - 05:55 PM (#4047503)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Glazed ham for dinner, which I have yet to sit down to --
better get some before it's all gone.
Check in later.

22 Apr 20 - 02:04 PM (#4047643)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

One week later --
after agreeing to be loaned a tablet (from the nurses' station)
and connecting by ZOOM to a clinician staying at home --
I have finally done what the administration required of me.

Just today I participated in a remote ZOOM session with
a senior psychotherapist who interviewed me, separately,
about what went wrong between me and my former therapist:
a 'consultation,' the formal name of it.
It was not easy to do, but it is done.

In the meantime, although I am in treatment,
I go without psychotherapy until it is possible
to switch psychologists, which ... will happen eventually.
I do hope that I am not in for
another ordeal like the past eight weeks.
But all the formalities are being observed in some way or other.

I regret that the past eight weeks were so difficult,
but I am still glad that I came and that I am here,
and I still want to stay and get on with things.

25 Apr 20 - 09:22 PM (#4048467)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Some day,
I will look back on these first two months in treatment
and feel proud of my pro-active stance and actions.
It has to be said, in fairness,
that this clinic had staff at every level
who supported me and advised me in every choice I made;
such is the overall attitude here,
that one has the patient's best interests at heart.

I hope it will be borne out, as my treatment continues,
that going back to the drawing board two months later
makes it worth being here this long.

I have not disclosed to this thread
all the drama that I have been surprised by here.
I told you about the poor fellow with the terrible cough
( did I not mention his cough?)
who I suspected of yelling at the delivery men.
(It was actually the night nurse.)

He isn't here any more.
With the COVID-19 restrictions setting in,
he wanted to go home
to his pregnant wife and their little son.
So he pushed for discharge and left the clinic.

In the meantime,
I was sitting at this computer station late one evening
when two other patients
had this huge blow-up,
and they took absolutely NO notice of me sitting there
and hearing the whole sordid thing.

This took several weeks to be dealt with.
I did end up taking advantage of a staffperson's offer
to act as mediator,
and spoke with each of the two patients
about how startled and frightened I was.

I understand now, having discussed this with staff,
that these two patients,
who have been here far longer than I,
have an ongoing contentious and emotional connection to each other.
This isn't going to die down just because I spoke up.
But the upside is
that there is always someone to confide in
and to be supportive here.

26 Apr 20 - 07:55 AM (#4048577)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Good on yer, keberoxu.

I have started having the itchies again, always a sign of stress with me, but from which I had not actually been suffering these last few years. Hope it is not a harbinger of worse to come...

26 Apr 20 - 01:53 PM (#4048675)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Do consider, dear Mrr,
that with the COVID-19 pandemic crisis weighing on us all,
and darned near powerless to do anything but wait and see,
ANYBODY could come down with the itchies, bless you.

26 Apr 20 - 05:43 PM (#4048736)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Yeah, but I liked being *fine* eh!

28 Apr 20 - 11:04 PM (#4049225)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

We all have to hang in there, in times like these.

I'm interviewing prospective new therapists
and I break down and cry every time.
My throat hurts from choking up.
I sure hope this is worth it.

29 Apr 20 - 05:28 PM (#4049410)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Maybe this lower-the-expectations strategy works after all.
I finished up this week's interviews in my process
to switch to a different therapist at this clinic.
And today: success.
Interviewed a therapist about whom I knew nothing,
not even by reputation.
And we clicked right away: our personalities are compatible,
we are both direct to the point of bluntness,
she has a good serious work ethic,
and she is for real: we can connect on the spot.
So I reported to the Director of Patient Care,
and barring anything unforeseen,
I get to go back to the drawing board -- metaphor for admission --
and really get to work this time.
I was so dreading the decision among three different candidates,
but it has ended up being very simple.
It won't be easy, but at least it won't feel impossible,
as the previous relationship did.

29 Apr 20 - 06:20 PM (#4049417)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Donuel

Sounds like you are stalled on a sandbar. While not technically afloat the sandbar keeps you up. Its better than sinking. The tide will help.

30 Apr 20 - 11:09 AM (#4049564)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Donuel, I read you loud and clear.
Thank you!

01 May 20 - 02:12 PM (#4049804)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Today in the in-patient residence dining room,
my table was shared (social distancing and all)
with a fellow patient who has been here longer than I,
and who started out,
assigned to the same psychotherapist that I was assigned to --
and who also went through administration to switch clinicians.

This patient and I have two very different individual personalities,
and our interests greatly differ as well,
so we don't often have direct conversations,
even though we know each other well enough to speak to.

However, I broached the subject of terminating
with this particular psychologist here.
And we had quite a time comparing notes.
Although each of us took an entirely different approach
in attempting to make the relationship work,
then watching it break down, and giving up
-- it would be inappropriate to go into detail --
we both ended up with much the same impression
of this rather haughty-acting, remote, defensive personality
with which our former therapist confronted us in treatment.

We both think this person is in some kind of trouble:
putting up a front, putting on a performance,
and going on the defensive when
confronted about remoteness and manner.
And, although we two patients are very different,
we both found ourselves shouldering blame and guilt
for how badly the therapist relationship went,
which speaks to why each of us needs treatment, of course!

Each of us, in the formal process of changing clinicians,
had to go through a formal 'consultation'
in which a senior clinician, with whom the patient has no prior connection,
interviews the patient separately,
as well as a separate interview of the therapist.

And each of us two patients
had a different senior psychotherapist for this consultation,
and yet our consultant clinicians
agreed on the breakdown of the therapeutic relationship
and the accountability of the therapist.

This afternoon, for the first time since the initial interview,
my work begins with the new therapist.
We have a lot of catching up to do!
(I get a little weary thinking about it.)

04 May 20 - 08:42 AM (#4050343)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Good conversation. And anything that brings those tears out is good. Tears serve an excretory function- nobody can be well while their brain is stopped up.

04 May 20 - 07:24 PM (#4050532)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Yes, it's good to be making progress at last.
That obstacle in the first two months was a struggle to get past,
but hopefully a lesson was learned from it.
There are leaves on the trees at last,
after all those months of bare branches.
Hope for new inner growth as well.

07 May 20 - 06:56 PM (#4051112)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

The young man who plays the 'cello ...
well, he made his offer
BEFORE the coronavirus pandemic.
He is still here, I am still here,
but nobody has been very music-minded of late.
I don't think he has touched his 'cello since then actually.

However there is a local chorus director (retired singer)
who comes two nights a week to the clinic -- he lives nearby,
and if I hear right, he walks here from his house --
to cheer up the patients with singalongs.
He has good classical-music credentials and experience,
so I got up my nerve and went in to the community room
where he was holding forth at the piano.
I let him stick to the piano,
and I did some singing --
Schubert, Schumann, Brahms.
I haven't made music like that in ages.
He was very gracious about my un-warmed-up singing.

I believe I just might have made a new friend.

10 May 20 - 11:00 AM (#4051629)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Coming up to ten weeks at the clinic,
where admissions were suspended in mid-March
(I just barely got admitted before the pandemic restrictions).

Tomorrow, is the first week
that the clinic is processing possible new admissions.
Because this clinic is all about voluntary instead of compulsory,
right up to the in-person interview with the admissions director,
the potential patient can say No, and turn around and leave.
This week, on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday,
there is a potential admission scheduled for each day.
Because this is a small clinic with a strong emphasis on
an extended therapeutic 'community,' in which
the patients contribute enormously to the 'community,'
the patients as a collective are watching this closely
and some of us have volunteered to assist, as we may, with
making the new patients welcome.

Because all of these first three applicants come to the clinic
from out of state
(one is from Texas which is a LONG ways from here),
each one must observe a two-week quarantine on the premises.
The clinic has hospital accreditation, albeit this place doesn't look like a hospital in some respects.
And so, with adjustments and adaptations here and there,
it is possible to turn the admit wing of the in-patient residence
into a quarantine area, and such has been done.
Three meals a day will be carried to the patients' little rooms.

I checked in, as one does, with an assigned nurse this morning.
She is one of the young healthy vigorous nurses
(some of the nurses are downright elderly), and
I commiserated with her about the extra work with the new admissions in quarantine.
I observed, "You nurses are going to be run off your feet, bringing them three meals a day."
And she laughed and minimized it, saying,
"it's not like we're breaking rocks!"

11 May 20 - 07:35 PM (#4051883)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

The clinic admitted a new patient for the first time in two months.
With the coronavirus orders and restrictions and everything,
first day of admissions is being done rather differently
than it was ten weeks ago when I showed up.

This young (30-ish) woman is a New York native, and as
we are not in New York and she is from out of state,
she must be isolated for fourteen days in the admit wing.
She can go from her little admit room
to the nurses' station on the same floor, and will do tomorrow.
But she can't join us in the dining room for meals.
And when she has therapy / psychiatry /social worker / clinical appointments,
she has to have the sessions remotely, using ZOOM.
I hope the two weeks are not unbearable for her,
it is so different than it was for me.

I am one of the volunteers who helped to welcome her today.
I've never done this before.
Normally on the first day, one of the patients will volunteer
to take the new patient on a tour of the clinic campus --
always it is a patient who is supposed to do this.
Actually, on my first day,
the volunteers were all signed up for patient-sponsor duties,
but the one who was supposed to give me the tour
went all space-cadet and never showed up ...
so an embarrassed member of the admissions staff
gave me a hasty tour, then handed me over to the dining room for lunch!

I've never forgotten that.
So I volunteered, fool that I am, to provide the tour,
so that the new patient today would have
what I missed.

Oh dear. I had a script to work with -- well, okay, an OUTLINE.
This had to be done remotely, as well.
The new patient is in her little admit room,
and she stayed there the whole time using ZOOM on her computer or smartphone or something.
The nurses' station loaned me a tablet,
since I have no smartphone or cellphone myself.
So there I was, marching around inside the residence building
carrying this tablet connected to a ZOOM session,
showing her the inside of the residence areas through the webcam
or whatever you call it,
and keeping a walking commentary running,
answering questions, and so on.
I was all out of breath when it was over,
and it ran maybe half-an-hour or forty minutes.

The poor kid! I hope I didn't embarrass myself TOO much
but she was very polite and good-natured about the whole thing.

31 May 20 - 09:11 PM (#4056366)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

The clinic has five 'newbies' now;
three of them stuck out their two-week quarantine
and are now circulating amongst the rest of us.
The other two are still in quarantine,
having arrived more recently than the first three.

Change of subject:
this is so hard, so very hard.
I can't say much.
Not happening to me, but to other patients.
These other patients have submitted complaints about, sad to say,
yet another patient who has been here for several years now.
The way this last patient is mistreating others
hits all of my deepest triggers.
The clinic's trouble-shooting protocol is slowly creaking its way
through the formal procedure.
As much as nothing has directly been done or happened to me,
I feel so fearful and angry and sad and distrustful and unsafe.

Well, something was bound to trip my triggers in treatment,
and if there is one thing I don't feel, it is surprise.
But I hate that this troubles me so deeply.
Am I talking about my feelings? You bet I am.
My therapist has heard about my feelings,
my social worker, my care coordinator,
the nursing staff (Emergency Services),
the residential program manager,
other patients,
group facilitators, and on, and on ...

I was so happy and trusting here, until this came out in the open.
Out in the open is, of course, where it ought to be.
Some of this on the part of the problem patient
had been covered up for months,
which makes me even angrier and more distrusting.

Donuel spoke weeks ago of a sandbar.
Now I've got more of a
undertow/riptide going on.
No, I'm not going to drown, obviously,
because I'm not entirely at the mercy of the current,
to continue the metaphor.
I am buoyed up to the surface,
there are helping hands,
there are lifelines.
I am far from abandoned.

And it still feels like a nightmare
from which I am desperate to wake up.
Thanks for listening.

01 Jun 20 - 01:12 AM (#4056378)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Helen

keberoxu, when you are in an undertow with other people around you who can talk you through it, help you to make sense of it, and advocate on your behalf, it's a completely different situation than trying to make sense of it all on your own.

Your triggers have probably been tripped, but if you evaluate your current situation, it may not be anywhere near as scary as previous experiences because of that support system and the increased knowledge and awareness that you have gained so far in your life.

I know I've said this before on Mudcat, but when I was in teacher training one of the lecturers said that learning is not walking around and around a circular path, seeing and doing exactly the same things over and over again. It's a spiral going upwards, so when you encounter a situation which you have been in before, you are different than you were previously.

Hopefully you have more awareness or knowledge, even if it feels like you wish you didn't, but every little bit of progress can help you to make better sense of each similar experience when it occurs until finally, hopefully you can walk through an experience with relative ease, recognising what is happening, and making decisions which have more chance of achieving a positive outcome.

By the time I was in a work situation 10 years ago and a bully was holding power over a lot of people, I recognised fairly quickly what the situation was, how the bully behaved, how his hangers-on behaved, why the managers let him get away with it, why other people did not complain about his behaviour, but also what actions I needed to take, and how much determination I would need, but also how it would affect me psychologically and emotionally, even if I won and he lost the battle. That's because I had encountered similar situations over many decades and gradually learned what I needed to know with each new experience.

It's a spiral. Onwards and upwards. Per ardua ad astra.

01 Jun 20 - 10:22 AM (#4056475)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Buoy oh buoy, dearie!

04 Jun 20 - 07:50 AM (#4057159)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Floating this thread back to the waterline...

I googled "buoy jokes" and found some truly bizarre humor. Have some.

04 Jun 20 - 10:39 AM (#4057192)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Donuel

Are you wearing masks?
You are fortunate to be insulated or isolated from some triggers in the larger outside world lately. In such a clinical enviornment one stressful person can seem magnified in significance.

Ha! Helen everythings a spiral over time from tiny DNA to the solar system's trip around the galaxy called the Milky way. As my hair gets longer it too is begining to curl. :^/

04 Jun 20 - 02:32 PM (#4057247)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

In answer to the mask question:

If the entire congregate-housing complex, including the residential unit, had people who were ill, if there were active cases of people ill with coronavirus, then, likely, every person here would have a face mask.

The way that our congregate-housing clinic is complying with laws, orders, and requirements, is to ask patients not to leave the premises; and as patients continue healthy here, the patients restricted to the premises go mask-free.   

It is a different matter for staff. Staff do not reside on the premises; they commute to this congregate-housing campus from their homes off-campus. Staff are required to wear face-masks at all times on campus.

A recent exception has negotiated the social-distancing requirement. Two people who meet for an in-person consultation of some length, provided they have at their disposal a meeting space that is well ventilated, recently cleaned and disinfected, and has sufficient room for the two people to sit six feet apart or further: these two people, under these conditions, may carry out their therapy/treatment/consultation, as long as they stay apart, with or without masks according to their own choice.

The one time when patients in residence at this congregate-housing campus MUST put on face masks, is when circumstances limit the patient's treatment to in-person work in a smaller room. Thus, in a little office not as well ventilated, where the seating cannot be a full social-distancing length apart, both the patient and the clinician go through their treatment appointment wearing masks.

I can tell you that some of the clinic patients
are getting hard to live with for the excellent reason
that they have been separated from their families and loved ones,
unable to have them visit, much less to visit them,
for over two months now.
Phone calls and FaceTime/ZOOM just are not the same,
especially for patients who are parents of young children.

05 Jun 20 - 03:08 PM (#4057537)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

These days, in my treatment,
I am floating on a current of my own tears.
It's tiring, but
I have to trust that I'm making progress.

05 Jun 20 - 04:46 PM (#4057566)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Not backsliding is progress. Even backsliding can serve a purpose, and thus also be progress. Hang in there, k.

07 Jun 20 - 04:43 PM (#4057978)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Here at the mental health clinic,
the new-admissions side of business is gaining momentum
after suspension during two months of pandemic restrictions.
All five potential admissions, during the previous month,
accepted and were admitted;
three have completed their fourteen days of quarantine,
and are living amongst the rest of us patients
at the in-patient residence,
dining in the dining room with us, coming to group meetings, and so on.

Two more will complete their fourteen days this coming week --
one of them, tomorrow, I believe.

And we have two newbies being interviewed this week by Admissions,
and they will head for their quarantine this week if accepted.

The clinic's in-patient residence
had a lot of empty rooms/beds last month,
but if admissions continue at this pace,
it won't last long.

I have heard one of last month's admissions,
a man a little bit younger than I
with a spouse and children,
say that this institution is exactly the right place for him
and that he is inexpressibly grateful to be here.

07 Jun 20 - 04:55 PM (#4057983)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Donuel

There is a psych philosophy that equates tears and such as an emotional discharge that eventually rinses and rids the psyche of distress and angst. I called it curing emotional constipation but it works for many.

09 Jun 20 - 09:34 PM (#4058492)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Update on my post dated
7 May:

going great guns with the local musician who comes to the clinic
two evenings a week to share music with the patients,
usually one at a time.

He has classical music education and formation on the same level as mine, so
we are like peers together.
We take turns -- he plays the piano and I sing,
then I play the piano and he sings.
And it's even okay when we each hit wrong notes and have to
stop and start over again.

He seems as grateful for the chance to
run through high-level repertoire as I am.
One of these days, I think facetiously,
I had better meet his good wife,
so she doesn't get suspicious about the two of us
away from her house!

But then, I AM a mental patient, after all.

13 Jun 20 - 08:20 PM (#4059160)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

A moment of reckoning has arrived.
When the upsetting thing happened at the end of May,
I thought I had heard everything.
I was mistaken.

What is surfacing now, again, is not directly about me,
but about other patients in the in-patient population.
Something happened a year ago, which,
if it had not been hushed up in a particular fashion,
would have resulted in lawsuits and liabilities.
Now, of course, it is all coming out.
And I don't dare expose it here.
Again, it did not happen now, nor to me.
But there are patients who were here a year ago,
who are still here now,
and I tell you, some of them bear scars (metaphorically).

If I had known about this thing, when I came through admissions,
would I have accepted and entered treatment here?
Moot point now, it seems.

So much for the new-patient honeymoon phase;
it was sweet while it lasted.
Now comes the reality check.

15 Jun 20 - 11:47 AM (#4059327)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Don't cash it yet!

25 Jun 20 - 09:00 PM (#4061418)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Don't let
get you down, Mrrzy.
I support you.

About me:
still here at the clinic.
As this particular state eases up on
businesses and local economies,
the department of mental health
is getting even more strict, curiously enough,
with "congregate housing" like this.

Used to be,
25 people, max, in a room;
now, it's a maximum of 10 people,
they MUST wear masks, all of them.
This is inside the institution.

So, walking a fine line between
boosting the local economy
protecting the health of the citizens.

26 Jun 20 - 11:13 AM (#4061519)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Good on yer, k.

30 Jun 20 - 05:39 PM (#4062223)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Helen

keberoxu, your music collaboration is very inspiring. I'm interested to know which music pieces you are practising, just so that I can imagine your mini-sessions more completely.

This week I saw a news item on TV about the issues surrounding using face masks in mental health environments, mainly relating to the difficulties in making personal connection with people who are under stress or emotional difficulties while having half of each other's faces covered. I was only half watching it and I can't find the article. I'll keep searching for it.

30 Jun 20 - 09:14 PM (#4062247)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Well, Helen, since you asked,
I just surprised him with Flanders & Swann's
"The Elephant," about the Elephant's Nursing Home
and being psychoanalyzed.
Of course he was familiar with
"Mud, mud, glorious mud," however
in the USA, few are familiar with much more of F & S than that --
so this was new to him. He was thoroughly amused.

We also went through
"Oh! quand je dors,"
words by Victor Hugo and music by Franz Liszt;
and last week at this appointment, it was
words by Goethe and music by Hugo Wolf.

The latter is comedy/satire, about We Three Kings, the Magi.
Goethe has it:
They like to be feasted when they visit,
they like to drink well,
and they do NOT like having to pay the bill afterwards!
And anyway, they are "Off to see the Christ Child,
The Won-der-ful" -- oops, wrong movie --
anyway, since there is no star standing still overhead,
they must get back on their camels and follow that star now.
Very funny little marching song.
But being a Lied, an art song,
it is much tougher to execute than it is to listen to.

We've also done Schubert's "Der Musensohn," I forget the poet,
a rapid bouncy song about the itinerant singer who goes from place to place
cheering people up with his singing, and one of these days
he honestly would like to get back home where
someone is waiting for him, but his MUSE keeps him wandering.

It's a welcome break from psychotherapy, I promise you!
(The food, however, is still first-rate,
so I always show up at mealtime.)

01 Jul 20 - 04:28 PM (#4062331)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Helen

Hey keberoxu, thanks for your music "Liszt". The only one I have heard of is the F&S song about mud.

I'm Lisztening now to "Oh! quand je dors". Beautiful!

I'll find the other ones too.

(I have some favourite Liszt tracks on a couple of CD's.)

01 Jul 20 - 05:24 PM (#4062337)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Flanders and Swann wrote "The Elephant" for
the singer Ian Wallace, who first recorded it;
the song may turn up on their Beastiary, or whatever that collection is, of their Animal Songs,
along with The Gnu, The Warthog, The Sloth, The Whale (Mopy Dick),
and so on.

Composers Schubert and Hugo Wolf are both Lieder composers,
and I haven't looked up online listening for those songs
but some of their songs, surely, can be listened to online.

Another one we looked at last night
(it was a busy half hour:

a French Mélodie by Ernest Chausson
called Le Colibri (The Hummingbird).

Right now, as I sit at the computer station,
it is thundering and storming outside.
I hope the power doesn't get knocked out
the way it did on Monday, two days ago.

01 Jul 20 - 06:04 PM (#4062346)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Helen

I've found them on YouTube.

I have to admit that this style of song is not my favourite to listen to, but I appreciate the beauty of it.

I'm thinking about refreshing the classical music thread that I started. Wow! I thought I started it a few years ago, but it was back in 2006. The older I get, the faster time flies.

Classical music - what makes you listen

02 Jul 20 - 03:59 PM (#4062500)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

How fast fourteen years fly when you're Mudcatting, Helen!

Meanwhile, back at the clinic:
It was bound to happen. I have stuck out four months before
experiencing this for the first time.
Five days a week, a general meeting is held, by and for the patients themselves, although staff members frequently attend and are welcome to do so. Patients themselves chair/facilitate these weekday meetings. They are voluntary, no one is absolutely required to come [although the patient who is community-meeting chair is elected to that office during a term of time, and that patient had darned well better show up during their term].
I have not attended each and every weekday meeting, myself, during my four months here, so what happened may have happened already during that time and I was just conveniently absent back then.

It's not unheard of for a patient to get up and walk out, although it is discouraged.
The patient who did it today, however, lost their temper before walking out, so we witnessed an outburst of anger and rage during the meeting.
Well, this is a mental health hospital, after all, so why would this not happen?
I suppose the wonder is that I have not seen it happen sooner.

Nor did it surprise me which patient it was, and of course
I cannot divulge too much here. I can say,
this patient has been repeatedly warning us all of two things:
their issues with rage, anger, and temper, which they're working on;
and their growing frustration with certain conditions, let's just say
they are related to the pandemic lockdown restrictions and
an enforced separation from family.
This patient is hardly alone in that latter predicament.
Nor the only one with anger management issues.

It's just that the two combined in an explosive fashion today.
Nobody and nothing was hurt or damaged.
A few people were 'triggered,' not least the poor patient who stormed out.
It certainly made for drama, though.

I'm all right, as I could see this coming, for a start,
and I know how to stay out of harm's way.
I also grasp that in the long run this is a positive development,
and can be used in future to make things better.
The people who had a hard time with this incident, of course,
were the ones who tend to merge with other patients and
who have a hard time letting go once they engage --
some of these were shaken.

So we had fireworks, you might say, before July Fourth.

27 Jul 20 - 08:52 PM (#4066212)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

meanwhile, back at the clinic ...

there is actually a group, with the newly admitted patients,
forming of classical string players.
We do not have, sadly, a true string quartet.
That said, there are three now:
one violinist, one violist, and one 'cellist.
The three of them, when they get a free evening,
congregate after supper (and after the final therapy group meeting)
and they get their instruments out.

On one occasion I attempted something on piano with them,
and on other occasions I have simply listened to them rehearse.

At first there was a lot of sight-reading going on because
we didn't all know the same pieces.

There is an interesting arrangement of an existing piece,
the Bach concerto for two violins in D minor
-- or rather, of its opening movement.
Somebody took the second-solo-violin part,
and the bass line which the cello plays,
and did an ingenious merge, just with that opening movement:
the second-solo-violin part is transposed down an octave,
and blended into the bass line.
And thus, you end up with
a duet for violin and cello.
Not the same without an entire orchestra filling in the chords,
but still you get a spare, clean arrangement of the piece.
It actually works,
and every time the two of them play it, it sounds better.

There is also a Shostakovich Prelude, not very long, which is
a duet for viola and cello --
or, perhaps, a viola-cello arrangement of something different?

Anyway, those two players ran through that one.

Then there was the evening -- this was weeks ago actually --
when the violinist was not free, and the question came up, is there anything for viola, cello, and piano?   It's rare.
And predictably, what we came up with was an arrangement of a differently scored piece of classical music, and what a find we caught:

Opus 114 by Johannes Brahms -- VERY late opus number for him, he was an old man and a fully mature composer, at his best --
is scored for a trio of clarinet, cello, and piano.
And it is arranged with
the clarinet part played by the viola instead.
So we ran to a public-domain computer website
and printed the score and the parts out.

Being as it's Brahms, and ALL of us were sight-reading,
I suggested we attempt the two SLOW movements in the middle?
Well, my intentions were good, and it was still ...
erm ... in a way it was entertaining and fun, but
OH, how we butchered the Brahms! And we kept bogging down and getting stuck.

The other night, the cellist confided to me that although he has not practiced his cello part in the Brahms,
he did find time to pull up online sites where he can listen to the music, which of course he did not know before;
and he could see/hear that this is a beautiful piece of chamber music
and worth working on.

All this, in addition to the ongoing dramas of
treatment at a mental health clinic. It's a change of pace, anyhow.

27 Jul 20 - 10:44 PM (#4066226)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Donuel

I know the concerto well. Once a new conductor at concert time decided to conduct in 2-4 instead of 4-4 to give it some spontaneous energy but the orchestra instead thought it was 4-4 so they played it twice as slow. When the soloists joined in they too went at a lugubrious molassas tempo. There was no hope so I stood up and did my best Jimmy Durante imitation and yelled "Stop the music, stop the music... Now lets play the hell outta this thing, Maestro" then the conductor did a furious 4-4 and we began again. Most people thought it was part of the act.

28 Jul 20 - 04:55 PM (#4066324)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy


30 Jul 20 - 11:53 AM (#4066576)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

I concur, Mrrzy, fascinating on more levels than one ...

remember the patient who lost his temper and stormed out of a community meeting, which one is supposed not to do?
He is in serious trouble now.
I'm not going to say what substance he was 'using' but
suffice to say you're not supposed to use it, or other substances that compare to it.
He had been secretly doing so for weeks, right under our noses.
I'm not even going to specify if the substance is generally illicit or if it is legal past a certain age or whatever.
The point is, he is an in-patient resident living in close quarters with several dozens of other patients, and his actions affected us all, however indirectly.

Having avoided 'substance use' in general for the whole of my life, there is a lot about which I am ignorant.
I was just aware that this patient, always needy and dependent on interacting with others, was presenting in a way that was increasingly conflicted and complex.
With a change to his prescribed meds --
something that happens quite often in a clinic like this one --
he went through a downright euphoric period, and in fact he was insufferable for a while,
because he wanted the whole civilized world to know that he felt like life was worth living again, aargh, which is anything but considerate of fellow patients who may really still be struggling.

Then, with the improvement in his feelings and well-being, came the moments when he could no longer avoid looking at the really tough issues which were his excuse to abuse substances in the first place. And so, he took the path of least resistance, for weeks as I say, covering it up the whole time. And the way he presented, while hiding it, was a different presentation. His volatile temper got worse instead of better. However, instead of demanding attention and being needy, he became wary and guarded, holding people at arm's length or further. This is a troubling combination even to someone like me who does not know what to suspect.

Of course the patient population includes other recovering abusers of substances, and no one had been watching this patient MORE carefully than they had. One of them caught him out, not because he was obviously in an altered state, but because they caught him carrying a certain implement, and: "Is that a ***** ?"   Sooooooo busted.

Eventually these others will sort things out, but right now they are royally pissed-off with this patient, now that they can look back on the last few weeks and recall all the times they socialized with him and what he said, and how he said it, instead of coming clean.

This patient has not been discharged on the spot. He turned himself in, for one thing, after being caught out by his fellow patient. Other mitigating factors. This does not mean that he won't be asked to leave -- just, that it won't happen now if it does happen. First his case will go through a couple of weeks of reevaluation, for which there is a definite protocol and procedure. So whether he continues or whether he receives an administrative discharge, he will have the benefit of sustained, cooperative, care and attention from a whole integrated team of different specialists.

In my months here, I have witnessed this reevaluation process for two previous patients, both of whom were allowed to continue their treatment following the process; it was a wholly positive experience for both of these;
and for one of those earlier patients, whose parents had sort of dragged him here after years of having psychiatrists controlling him with addictive prescription meds, the reevaluation -- following a really scary "discompensation" incident -- was truly a turning point; now he is grateful for the attention that he received when his need was greatest, and he continues his treatment on an entirely different footing: not against his will, as when he was first admitted, but voluntarily and with gratitude and appreciation. That is a beautiful thing to watch, as unnerving as the incident was that was the catalyst for the breakthrough.
Time will tell, with this third patient, how things work out; and meanwhile the patient community is helping each other get to grips with the disturbance and the drama.

Although I am hanging in there, and my treatment is going well and I am working hard and productively at it, I'm starting to think carefully about life after treatment. Which I guess means that I feel safe enough to do so without doing it as an escape or an avoidance of reality. And only time will tell how that, too, works out.

30 Jul 20 - 09:52 PM (#4066651)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Donuel

With the absence of migraine agony, my life feels worth living even more. Perhaps too much for timid souls. I'm pretty sure total trust is not healthy. chant- 'it just doesn't matter'
May you dispense with the useless agony of your choice.

31 Jul 20 - 08:08 AM (#4066692)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Your user fellow-inmate sounds as if they really need to be there, k, so good that they weren't immediately banned, imo.

Meanwhile in other news my son is, as I write, in front of a magistrate for a decision on whether to commit said son involuntarily for longer than the 3-day hold he's already on. That is the independent evaluator's recommendation, and my fervent hope. I am also [after 5 1/2 months] no longer Completely Fine... Considering going back on meds. Sigh. It was a good run, though, and I do still feel *mostly* fine. Some physical zoominess akin to overcaffeination [I consume no caffeine but chocolate], my [mental? Metaphorical?] hamster seems to be getting out the exercise wheel again [I have named it Scaramouche], overuse of brackets, difficulty working on anything tedious... But I have been worried sick about my adult child, too. If he actually gets committed I will feel a lot better, and maybe it will all Just Go Away.

02 Aug 20 - 09:56 PM (#4067070)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Tonight the four of us got together around the grand piano
and had at the Trout Theme and Variations again.
God help me, I sound SO BAD
and they are so nice to me.

The violinist discharges in about ten days' time to go back to school. So if we are going to perform this thing here, we have to do it soon, before we lose the violinist.
Don't know if it will happen or not --
but the violin player is game, and she will talk to somebody.

OH! I didn't tell you about the Trout?! Sorry ...
It's the Forelle Quintette, Forelle is German for Trout.
Franz Schubert. First, he wrote charming music to a truly atrocious poem
about how sorry the poet is to see the angler hook the trout.
Then, he took the charming tune and music
and wrote a theme and variations on it, with NO singing:
double-bass viol,
and piano.

Well, we don't have a double-bass player.
It's just the four of us.
So I play the piano part in one hand mostly
and in the other hand I alternate the double-bass bass line
and the rest of the piano part.
The classical music purists would have apoplexy.
But this makes it possible
for the violin, viola, and cello players, my fellow patients,
to play this spirited music,
and it's worth it to see them enjoying themselves and each other.

We're just doing the Theme and Variations which amounts to
one internal movement out of five movements total:
the entire Forelle Quintette is a long difficult piece,
especially hard on the seated rear end, I can tell you.
But this one movement doesn't last long
(for all the hard work we put into it)
and it's easy on the audience's ears
(if we don't utterly butcher it, that is).

04 Aug 20 - 08:16 AM (#4067247)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

I tend to enjoy things that might cause apoplexy...

05 Aug 20 - 09:53 AM (#4067371)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Should you feel remotely curious about
Schubert's Trout Quintet,
the song "Die Forelle" on which it is based,
and the god-awful lyrics to the song,
there's a thread above the line titled
"my first performance in thirty years"
to document the musical side of things.

If we are actually going to perform with this violinist,
we have barely seven days to do so, as it turns out;
she's very young, she was admitted in May after school let out,
and the plan all along was for her to spend the summer in treatment
and then discharge in order to go back to school.
Which starts, if I hear right, very shortly.
So the best we can do:

is to organize a little performance here in order
to send the violinist off and say goodbye and good luck.
Still don't know if this will happen or not.
But we rehearsed at length this past Sunday,
and we may not be ready for prime-time
but we can probably get away with an
in-patient send-off here.
Oh, my nerves.

16 Aug 20 - 01:50 PM (#4068563)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

The 'first performance" thread in the above-the-line Mudcat Music thread section
will tell more about the performance
here at the psychiatric clinic,
which did happen and was well received, if far from perfectly executed.

The day after the performance, going to therapy and continuing
my usual weekday schedule of treatment,
my emotions, which are rather numb as a rule (depression),
were alive and kicking.
I think my therapist has never seen me as happy as I was in that session.
And then I had to sit through a patient-community meeting later that day.
Providentially, I didn't have to be in the meeting room.
The in-patient residence has provided a set-up to help with the meetings, which, before the pandemic and social distancing,
were in-person meetings with all the attendees crowded into one big room -- and these meetings happen five days a week, EVERY week.
Comes coronavirus and the attendant restrictions,
especially upon indoor gatherings of more than six people.

Now, at the clinic, these five-day-a-week meetings are
mostly in a "hybrid" format.
There is still a physical meeting room which is wired for ZOOM
and can have only a limited number of warm breathing bodies in it.
All the community members who have access to computers of their own
are encouraged to ZOOM into the five-day-a-week meetings from outside that meeting room.
And finally, fortunately,
the clinic facilities department had pity on some of us who can't ZOOM as we don't have computers.
A conference room, smaller than the meeting room,
was wired up for ZOOM with a computer and a large screen monitor.
And there, half-a-dozen people can sit in the room,
without computers of their own,
and ZOOM into that meeting without having to
cram into the big meeting room.

As Providence would have it, that day's meeting had low attendance
and I had that little conference room ALL TO MYSELF.
Which is why I felt free,
when all my buried anger came to life,
to sit there, with the door shut, and the ZOOM link on 'mute',
and shout SHUT UP! SHUT UP! at the ZOOM screen when
certain people who shall not be identified
were hogging the meeting time and doing all the talking.
The fact is that I am terrified of presenting my anger in front of others.
Had there been fellow patients in the room with me,
I would have kept my big mouth shut
and I would have sat there seething.

But I had the room to myself for the whole meeting,
and I could sit there insulting the meeting speakers
and talking furiously to myself
and letting the anger vibrate through me
without letting anybody else see how nuts I am.
It was simply wonderful.

18 Aug 20 - 11:13 AM (#4068733)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

The post in this thread dated 11 May describes
my volunteer efforts to welcome a newly admitted patient,
a big deal at the time because
this state was just coming out of the lockdown period,
during which clinic admissions were suspended for a good two months.

As it has turned out, the new admit described in the May 11 post
is the violinist in our chamber music group,
who ought to be safely back at university this week,
having discharged from the clinic.

We miss her, and her dry, deadpan sense of humor.

20 Aug 20 - 06:18 PM (#4068990)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

... and she misses us, as it turns out.
I never did get acquainted with her well enough
to ask what diagnosis she had,
for what she was being treated.

Having her e-mail address, I updated her with all the gossip since she discharged,
and I IMMEDIATELY received an e-mail response (she was probably using her smartphone to access her e-mail)
saying how badly she misses being at the clinic and in treatment and misses all of us!
Back at university, many of her classes are virtual
and she is spending a lot of time on ZOOM. Not very social.
And she is a fairly sociable young woman, and misses people.

She and I have since exchanged posts back and forth,
and we concur on how well the nurses do their work here at the clinic
and how under-appreciated their hard work is.
So when the chance arose, I told one of her favorite nurses
that I had heard from this former patient, and she was delighted.
When I told her that the former patient confessed
that she missed the clinic, and treatment,
much much more than she actually expected to miss it,
the nurse sighed knowingly:
"I knew it would be tough for her to adjust.
She has jumped from the fire-pit into the flames!"

Draw from that, if you will,
what conclusions you wish about
the presentation for which our violinist was here to have treated.
She is in another state at her university,
and it is hard to imagine how our paths will cross in future,
but who knows? Things might come to pass
in ways that I can't possible foresee at the moment.

21 Aug 20 - 08:43 AM (#4069052)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Keep on truckin' k!

23 Aug 20 - 06:35 PM (#4069386)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Well, the patient who got caught/busted
is headed for rehab, which is to say,
transferring this week to a different institution.
One characteristic of this clinic,
although "dual diagnoses" turn up in applicants and admitted patients all the time and indeed are welcome,
is that this is no detox place.
Before an applicant with "dual diagnosis" issues may be admitted here,
there has to be a successfully concluded detox/rehab elsewhere.
I don't know which institution is this patient's destination.

Sadly, we are counting the HOURS until we see the back of this fellow,
because, well, as much as the patient needed to be here,
we all need some distance from this person,
who has worn out their welcome and then some.
Very bad aftertaste for a lot of us.

25 Aug 20 - 05:41 PM (#4069628)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Reporting from the clinic, facemask in place
before the computer terminal.
One can only guess how much longer the coronavirus pandemic will keep us all, inside or outside the clinic, under siege.

Dreadful as it is, I am steeling myself quietly for
a second spike in COVID-19 infection nationwide.
Is nationwide the wrong term?
According to different regions within the nation,
the infection rate rises and flattens differently.

Here in New England things have, I guess, flattened somewhat,
but the infections could so readily flare up again,
and such might yet happen in the near future.
I'll be an inpatient here for more months yet,
don't even have a discharge date at this point.
Wonder if I will be "in" or "out"
during the dreaded second spike in infection rates?

27 Aug 20 - 08:03 PM (#4069908)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

I feel superstitious about posting this, like saying it out loud.

Before treatment I have messed up so many times
when interacting with people,
expressing myself, saying things that I can't take back.

I've been here six months and I've been working diligently
to allow others breathing space, not to crowd or frustrate anyone.
There have been corrections and feedback from fellow patients,
usually welcome and helpful.

I've been at the clinic long enough to see patients come and go.
More often I have seen patients leaving who were here when I arrived.
And there has been no shortage of conflict, drama, misunderstanding, disappointment.
I hope I have been successful not to contribute to much to the problems.
Sometimes I have to know when to hold my tongue, honestly.

There is a lot of talk, in treatment and at large, at the clinic
about honesty.
The people who chatter the most about honesty, in fact
are likely to be the people
who hurt other people with their big mouths and quick tongues.
They leave hard feelings behind them when they go.

Is kindness or compassion dishonest?
Is it dishonest to keep one's opinion to oneself?
I ask myself these questions nearly every day.

28 Aug 20 - 05:03 PM (#4070002)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Ooh *good* questions. Philosophers, chime in.

I don't consider myself unkind when I fail to respect people's ignorance. Especially nowadays, especially here in Murruca where respecting people's ignorance is how we *got* here.

28 Aug 20 - 05:03 PM (#4070003)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Here being the covid mess, not murrica in general.

28 Aug 20 - 08:18 PM (#4070024)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Neil Miller Gunn, more simply Neil M. Gunn, of Scotland,
is a writer whose book,
The Green Isle of the Great Deep, fascinates me.

"For love is the creator
and cruelty is that which destroys."

And he has written elsewhere, though I could not locate the quote,
that cruelty is the greatest -- hmm, what?
the greatest something ... evil maybe?

And the paradox on which I meditate, is that
honesty can be cruel,
and kindness, dishonest.

28 Aug 20 - 09:26 PM (#4070030)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Found it!

... cruelty is the worst of all human sins.

28 Aug 20 - 10:46 PM (#4070035)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Nicely fished!

29 Aug 20 - 09:44 AM (#4070058)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Charmion

I, too, suffer from a sharp tongue and a tendency to shoot from the lip.

I have often read that personal remarks should meet a three-point standard: Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it kind?

These qualities are highly subjective. My fact is the other guy's blatant lie or misunderstanding. I may think a piece of advice is helpful when the recipient takes it as sheer meddling. And kindness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

Usually, when I have thought it through, I change the subject.

How about them Blue Jays?

30 Aug 20 - 01:30 AM (#4070127)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Maybe someone can help out Charmion and me with this one:
my recall fails me, but I remember
learning THINK years and years ago.
What's missing here?

T is for, is it True?
H is for, is it Helpful?
I ?
N ?
K is for, is it Kind?

Important and Necessary, perhaps?

30 Aug 20 - 05:50 AM (#4070140)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Thompson

Good stuff.

Maybe, too, the secret is not to blurt out reactively from within your own prejudices, but to see the other person, and so sideline your own reactive boorishness. Hard to do, though.

01 Sep 20 - 10:37 AM (#4070345)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Charmion's brother Andrew

"How about them Blue Jays?"

Charmion, should we not both stick to blue jays? :)

01 Sep 20 - 04:06 PM (#4070383)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Hi, Andrew! Nah.

01 Sep 20 - 06:12 PM (#4070393)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Well, you can forget about the Red Sox, I fear;
the Yankees did quite a number on them this season.
Now the locals are eyeing the Boston Celtics,
pronounced 'seltics with an s',
to see if basketball will be any more gratifying.

02 Sep 20 - 10:25 AM (#4070472)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Charmion

I would much rather watch the avian kind of blue jay, to be sure.

Their performances take place free of charge in the tree outside our bedroom window, and are not punctuated by the stadium organ and snatches of rock music played at ear-busting volume.

03 Sep 20 - 11:37 AM (#4070624)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Spending the Labor Day holiday weekend here in the clinic,
and grateful for it.
After months of procrastination, however,
earlier this week I had to take my car
and get it serviced,
which meant driving out of town.
I was so relieved to get the car fixed and come on back.

03 Sep 20 - 02:07 PM (#4070639)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Ooh, your first outing?

03 Sep 20 - 09:56 PM (#4070684)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Second time out, in truth.
In July, before several of us patients began
making classical music together,
I drove back to the apartment which I continue to rent,
in order to get some summer clothing
which I didn't pack out at admissions in late February.

Both times I was relieved to return to treatment.

07 Sep 20 - 07:58 PM (#4071128)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

It's a positive thing, apparently, when people come to group
and talk about suicide there for the whole meeting ...
as opposed to keeping the issue to themselves.

My only real contribution to meeting this evening
was to mention the despair that goes with a long-term pandemic.
Interesting how that dovetailed with the suicidality topic.
What gave me personally a moment of relief was that
one of the group members who had spoke resignedly about suicide
was able to move beyond resignation, with the new topic,
and express vivid rage and anger about the pandemic.
Maybe this is misguided on my part, but it seems to me
that where there is anger, there is, in a sense, hope.

It's the fellow patients who show no emotion about anything
whom I fear for.

15 Sep 20 - 09:34 PM (#4072021)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Meanwhile, back at the clinic ...
better not to dwell on the particulars of the latest drama.
Suffice to say that there is communication which the higher-ups ought to have passed on, about how we are required to minimize the risk of infection ON THE CAMPUS and in the common areas,
which, well, somebody in administration dropped the ball somewhere.

A certain percentage of us patients on campus just discovered said information/decisions this very week,
and these decisions went into effect here three months ago.
There are a select few who knew about this thing.
Nobody thought to tell the rest of us.
But it blew up in the last few days, and some of US blew up as well.
As in,
When were you going to get around to informing the rest of us?

It will sound so trivial if I spell it out. I won't --
i've said enough.
The worst of it is that failure-to-communicate thing.
These are stressful enough times for the healthy people.
We have people here with presentations ranging from
high anxiety to suicidal ideation, getting intensive treatment,
and some of us really, so to speak,
freak out when we get a nasty surprise like this one.

We feel betrayed and we wonder whom to trust, generally speaking.
Of course there are individuals on staff who are
universally trusted, because they have proven themselves,
like the very best of the nurses at the nurses' station.
One of the nurses who retired, this very summer, after working here for thirty-seven years (!),
said on her last day, to this small huddle of patients
who lingered around her, unwilling to see her go:
"You have my utmost respect." And we believed her.

It's those managers and coordinators and office administrators
who pass the buck and cover each other's you-know-wheres,
that's who we are upset with just now.
Things will be negotiated, they always are;
it's just that right now emotions are running really high.
Thanks for listening.

17 Sep 20 - 10:00 PM (#4072313)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Feeling like somebody pulled the plug.
Actually, when someone greeted me with
the how-are-you-doing,
what I told them today was,
I feel like the pencil that wants sharpening --
worn down to a nub.
Such fatigue and weariness.
And so, to bed.

17 Sep 20 - 10:25 PM (#4072316)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Donuel

You sound pissed off. Thats what healthy people do when intimidation, or lack of communication or trust occurs. When you are sure you can trust yourself you can tell them where to go and go into the world, as diminished as it is for everyone now. Wise people can't be intimidated or harrassed or pissed off. Dissappointed maybe.
Anyway it feels like I'm trespassing on your diary.

17 Oct 20 - 08:19 AM (#4075750)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

I'm still in treatment at the clinic.
Will be for months more, unless something unforeseen occurs.
For now, it's all right.

Not sure, though, if I can manage to vote this year.
At this rate, probably not.

17 Oct 20 - 05:15 PM (#4075786)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Yeah, mad is a lot better than apathetic.

Or maybe I should say angry, heh heh.

Les Barker said something like depression is just anger without enthusiasm.

Nice to see this thread back.

19 Oct 20 - 03:45 PM (#4076011)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

The chief in-patient residence at this clinic
does, indeed, store holiday decorations of different types in its storage room boxes and such.

All the Halloween decorations came out yesterday afternoon,
and now the place is groaning under their weight, almost.
The Facilities/Safety supervisor was in the residence lobby
at lunchtime, evaluating the risk of fire hazard. Seriously.

20 Oct 20 - 09:14 AM (#4076126)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

What about suicide hazards? I ask seriously. Depending on what is being used for decoration; my last place wouldn't have allowed most stuff.

20 Oct 20 - 09:38 AM (#4076130)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Yes, Mrrzy, I take your meaning -- seriously.
Well, this clinic, although it has to meet the accreditation standards of a hospital,
does not have a locked unit/ward.
That makes the place, I would say, vigilant after a different fashion.
This clinic has to have good close well-working relationships with the hospital at the county seat, up the road, which DOES have one or two locked units.

As to the decorations themselves, hmmm:
cardboard flat skeletons; big plastic three-dimensional skeletons;
inflatable pumpkins; plastic Jack-o-Lanterns;
some of the skeleton bones are hanging off of fake plastic chains that have been strung from the second floor landing so they
are hanging next to the staircase and the bannister ...
let's see: big phony spiders in big phony spiderwebs ...
I don't see any other hanging stuff,
I don't see how the phony chains, which look very breakable and lightweight,
could be used for suicide...

yes, interesting questions.
All these decorations came from the clinic itself, stored away in a box by housekeeping/maintenance from year to year.

Yes it's a good question, and
one that I had not thought through until this moment.

20 Oct 20 - 02:39 PM (#4076177)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Helen

At my last ever workplace i.e. before I retired, a group of people in a different area to mine decided to decorate for Halloween and went OTT (over the top) with dark and ghoulish props like pretend dead bodies and fake blood etc. It was set up like a murder scene. They were asked to remove a lot of the items because it was not good for workplace morale. I saw the display before it was removed. I realise that they thought it was a clever idea, but it wasn't appropriate for a workplace. Especially a government workplace with strict guidelines on what is or isn't appropriate.

As a result, I interpreted Mrrzy's comment in relation to the possible effect of dark and ghoulish decorations on our psychological state, rather than as potential tools for self harm.

Having said all that, I'm not into Halloween at all. It's mostly viewed here as an unwanted American intrusion into Aussie culture. Sorry!! :-D

22 Oct 20 - 09:44 AM (#4076440)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Oh, no, I meant where I was would not have allowed plastic inflatable anything or chokable-on spiders or anything I could have used to kill myself back when it was all I could think of, which is why I was there.

The ghoulish death stuff would have been great, though. When I was obsessively thinking about death I would have relished a societally-acceptable reason to do so, and especially to have others join me. As it was, it was isolating.

Hope your staff is monitoring, keberoxu, and that you and your fellows enjoy yourselves as much as you can!

22 Oct 20 - 06:56 PM (#4076489)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

The fake spiders, I hasten to explain, are too humunguous (sp?)
to fit in ANYBODY's mouth. They can be measured in MANY inches.
You might bust your jaw just trying to cram them between your teeth ...
(poor Senoufou!)

Well, something actually did get taken down, and
it wasn't what I would have stopped to think of:
there were "fairy lights", as they call them in the UK,
like Christmas decoration lights, on a long electric cord,
except these were orange with black Halloween decorative touches.
The patients who did the Sunday decorating
had wound the "fairy lights" around a stair bannister.
The lights are gone now,
and the bannister is once again un-adorned.

Human skull decorations in every conceivable size are sprinkled about, however,
and somebody could more easily choke themselves
on one of the tiniest skull thingies, now I think of it ...

22 Oct 20 - 10:14 PM (#4076502)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Tell the admin. Better fewer naked skulls than fewer living heads.

But it sounds like fun, enjoy!

25 Oct 20 - 04:27 PM (#4076808)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Stilly River Sage

It looks like some of the cable channels have decided that wall-to-wall holiday movies is the cure for what ails us. I'm seeing ads about them starting this weekend. Most of those movies aren't worth watching, but every now and then a good old one pops up.

25 Oct 20 - 04:51 PM (#4076813)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Well done, SRS. If you want to use this thread to push down the treacle, I'm all for it, thank you so much.

Hmmm. Treacle, and entertainment.

Two successes that come to mind are:

the Dormouse, in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland
... "it was a TREACLE WELL."

Discworld, courtesy of Sir Terry Pratchett.
Many many layers and facets has the Discworld.
On the one hand, you have got four elephants standing upon ... erm ...
what are they standing upon again?
The back of a cosmic tortoise?
Or is the tortoise on the backs of the four elephants?
You must realize, fellow Mudcatters, that
here at the mental health clinic
I have no Discworld and no Terry Pratchett books so I can't look it up.
But then you have Ankh-Morpork and environs,
where there are not merely treacle wells,
but TREACLE MINES! Remember the treacle mines?

I'm wondering if Pratchett didn't start with
Alice in Wonderland's Dormouse, and decide,
Well, if Lewis Carroll can write about treacle wells,
then I shall write about treacle mines. So there.

And I end with the recollection of the sleepy dormouse singing
twinkle twinkle ...
twinkle twinkle ...
twinkle twinkle ...

25 Oct 20 - 05:05 PM (#4076820)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Stilly River Sage

I did pick threads where there was actually something to say, otherwise it would be as bad as the one being pushed down the page. :)

25 Oct 20 - 05:16 PM (#4076823)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

But hopefully they are treacle-free threads to begin with.

27 Oct 20 - 07:48 PM (#4077043)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

In spite of everything, I cast my vote amongst the other early voters in my town.
I had a weekend to drive from the clinic back to where I live,
so I looked up the early-voting schedule for this year's election
which schedule can be referenced on the Internet.
Turned out that early-voting hours had been arranged
for Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning!

So I showed up at Town Hall, duly face-masked,
and there was a policeman on duty by the voting booths.
I filled out my ballot and signed the official envelope, and I was done.
Then headed back to the clinic, which feels more and more,
these days, like my home, than my apartment does.

27 Oct 20 - 11:19 PM (#4077061)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Stilly River Sage

That vote should give a hefty boost to your psyche!

28 Oct 20 - 06:29 PM (#4077161)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Good on yer keb!

30 Oct 20 - 11:41 PM (#4077545)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Well, the predictions of a second pandemic spike
appear to be coming true,
and the clinic administration and staff
are talking about another
'shelter-in-place' -- in other words, another lockdown --
before year's end.

01 Nov 20 - 04:05 PM (#4077778)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Well, the laugh is on me, this time.
I am in my bedroom here; I let myself into the room using my room key on its keyring with the little plastic room-number tag.
So I have not locked myself OUT of my room,
as I am in my room, however:
I can't find the key.
I'm taking the room apart, I know the key is here SOMEWHERE,
but can I find the key? NOWHERE.
Emptied and shook out all the tote bags, handbags, luggage, pockets of everything ...
the only thing left to do is to strip the linens off the mattress, and inspect the stripped bed and the sheets, spread, blanket, pillows and pillowcases ...

I just picked up the room phone, and reported to the nurses' station
that I'm in my room and I can't find my room key.
Do I ever feel STOOPID.

01 Nov 20 - 09:41 PM (#4077817)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

... and, in fact, it was only after stripping the bed
that I looked at the mattress sitting loosely
in an ill-fitting wooden bed frame,
and saw the key lying inside the wooden frame,
above the floor.
I had of course crawled all over the floor looking there for the key.
No wonder I couldn't find the thing.

02 Nov 20 - 10:13 AM (#4077881)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

I am reminded of my nephew losing his keys and not finding them though he had taken the cushions off the armchair he'd conked out in and thoroughly searched, then months later picked up the armchair to carry it upstairs and it jingled. The keys had fallen through an invisible and impalpable hole and were *inside* the armchair, not just under the cushions.

03 Nov 20 - 06:45 PM (#4078125)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Oh, the drama ...
in a way, it's remarkable to have been here for eight months, and not have previously witnessed what just happened.
We were having supper, some of us, in the dining room, when one patient collapsed, hitting the floor practically head first, and really hitting their head HARD on the floor.

It was a seizure, of course, and a bad one.
The ambulance just pulled away from the clinic, taking the patient to the ER and possibly a hospital admission. It took the ambulance a while to get out here. In the meanwhile the dining room was cleared, we all have our dinners on trays so we could pick up and empty the room quickly; it was simply to give the patient some privacy while about four nurses held the person steady and saw to it that no further harm was done. All the way down the hall, away from the dining room, I could hear the person's heels drumming heavily into the hardwood floor of the dining room.

If I wanted to, which I don't, I could not tell you much background on this patient, as I cannot do with many of my fellow patients. Part of being in long-term residential in-patient treatment here, is that one tries to be considerate and discreet. It's a delicate balance between privacy and secrecy. I was not aware that this particular person had a condition that included seizures in their presentation, although it had come out that this is not the person's first hospitalization.

Such diversity even within what is a small clinic and a limited number of patients. Obviously some of us have really serious chronic issues and have much to endure, with a lot of suffering in our pasts. And we all have such different ways of living with ourselves. I don't see why the patient who had the seizure, won't be welcomed back in time, because this patient was working hard at treatment and is not ready to end treatment -- and had not done anything wrong. On the other hand, there are dual-diagnosis patients included, and a few of these people, coping with addiction as well as other conditions, can be remarkably self-involved and waste a lot of time, their own time and others' time as well. Only this week I watched two of these acting out. One turned out to have alcohol in their bedroom, definitely a violation of the rules, and has been discharged and packed off to rehab. The other one doesn't abuse substances in their bedroom, but they are so demanding and hostile towards the nurses that they are just impossible to reason with -- if this person stays the course, I will be surprised.

Stressful times for us all, and humbling to take notice of the situation in this clinic where some people are at their most powerless and vulnerable. That's enough for the moment ... thanks for listening.

04 Nov 20 - 12:06 PM (#4078221)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Seizures are terrifying to witness and must be awful to recover from.

Stayed up till after 3 last night, got up today and listened to all of Waiting for the Hero by our own darlin' Anne Lister / Tabster, and wept absolute buckets. Now I feel better.

...and teach my children's children to love my father's enemy...

06 Nov 20 - 09:20 PM (#4078546)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

My needed service to my car could not be done all at once.
The trip away from the clinic, detailed several posts back,
was the first installment.

This weekend into Monday (first thing Monday morning) is
the second appointment to have my car serviced.

This time it is a manufacturer's recall for defective safety-belt mechanisms.
Not something I want to take chances with.
Also we will fit in part of a service-schedule tune-up and check-over.
Then, if all goes according to plan,
I pay my bill, get in my freshly-serviced car, and drive
STRAIGHT back to the clinic on the other side of the state.

The scariest part, after all, is servicing the car
so close to the Boston area -- near where I rent/live.
But a little bit of relief came my way today.
Massachusetts has just altered their INTERPRETATION of metrics --
not the numbers themselves, mind you, those stay the same,
but the INTERPRETATION has been altered.
And this more subtle and refined, less "blunt-instrument" calculation
results in an interactive map of Massachusetts municipalities
which still shows all the numbers and percentages,
but changes the color coding around.
Grey/White for a number below a certain ratio, the least infection.
Green for a low number/ratio.
Yellow is higher.
Red is highest.

On the old map, my residence town,
as well as the town where the car is being serviced,
both were RED.
On the new map, they are both yellow, not red.
So, nobody is lying to me or concealing anything,
but the interpretation is more flexible.

I listened to an ALL-THINGS-CONSIDERED broadcast with
a little piece inserted for the Massachusetts area
from the station hosting the NPR broadcast.
And the little Massachusetts piece explained
that the number of new cases of COVID-19
is now being balanced/ratioed against the population of each community,
which interpretation was not being used before.

So the coronavirus is definitely out here,
but it's easier to see which areas have more concentration
and which towns still have mostly test-negative citizens.

I'm posting this update from the hotel where I am staying
near the auto service department/center
where my car will be fixed on Monday morning.
Of course it will be a relief to get back to the clinic --
and even greater relief, all told,
should my car be so thoroughly serviced
that it will be several more months
before it needs attention like this again.

10 Nov 20 - 10:38 PM (#4079117)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Well, the recall replacement parts order had yet to be delivered.
The car got the oil changed and stuff.
The recall service must be scheduled in the future
after the parts arrive at the service department.

Back at the clinic and having a very rough evening.
Dis-regulation, they call it here.
Miserable, I call it.
I just read that Sinead O'Connor, having planned a tour,
has called the tour off in order to enter in-patient treatment
for trauma and addiction.
If she feels any worse than I do right now,
then she needs help very badly.
I hope she gets what she needs.
I hope my treatment works.
And gets to me feeling better before the end of everything.

11 Nov 20 - 01:44 PM (#4079232)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Getting help is always a sign of strength.

21 Nov 20 - 09:22 PM (#4080537)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Back at the clinic, and had supper in the dining room.
Mashed potatoes:
the potatoes had been chopped up with their skins/coats still on them, and although the mashed places were creamy and even, lumps of solid potato from the big chopped-up chunks were still in place ... with the torn-up potato skins still attached. Which made the mashed potatoes even more tasty.
The green beans may have been frozen, but they certainly did not come out of a can/tin. They had been steamed, and the haricot beans were thoroughly cooked without being wilted and soggy.
Whatever cuts of beef were ground to make the meatloaf were extremely lean cuts. The seasoning was savory, and the ingredients had just enough fat and starch to make the meatloaf even and light, without making it too greasy.
One of the simplest and most delicious dinners of my long life.

24 Nov 20 - 09:12 PM (#4080872)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

It's unbelievable what you can get used to.

The patient who is prone to seizures has
a strange tendency to have them at suppertime
in or around the dining area/pantry/common area.
It happened again tonight,
and there were one or two nurses there right away.

It's just so weird to be sitting there eating a fish supper
and suddenly,
I hear the hammering of feet kicking the floor
as the patient goes through another episode...

I picked up my supper tray and walked my dinner
to my bedroom
so as not to listen to the percussion serenade.
That sounds terrible.
But again, it's unbelievable what you get used to.

27 Nov 20 - 01:05 PM (#4081142)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Just overheard what I can only describe as a temper tantrum;
I'm sitting at the computer lounge in the residence breezeway/"Connector"
which is like a concierge station,
one can hear everything in both the new annex and the old building.
And somewhere very near the breezeway,
another patient made a scene.

Now, this is NOT the same as a seizure!
We all have witnessed enough of those in the past month.
No, this was somebody who flopped down on the floor
and bawled like a very small child.
Suffice to say that the patient
is NOT a very small child,
just behaving like one, inside an adult body.

I have to hand it to the nurse.
She was thoroughly professional with this adult patient,
talking in a calm cheerful voice,
letting the patient speak about what they were bawling about,
listening and encouraging the person for several minutes,
and then saying in the same calm cheerful voice:

Let me tell you,
the nurses work hard for their money around here.

05 Dec 20 - 09:40 PM (#4082089)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

It's been a challenging week.
I have been expressing my anger and my attitude that
sometimes this place feels emotionally unsafe.
I get a lot of push-back.
I have not backed down yet.
However, I am discouraged enough that I have gone silent now.
I am being extremely careful now of whom I speak with.

I have to be here through the holiday season pretty much.
But I am already considering how much longer I can tolerate
living in a place where every luxury is available,
and everything you want may be asked for,
but you might have to take your business elsewhere
to find what you really need for your treatment.
From now on I have to take care of number one,
and let others go their own way.

06 Dec 20 - 09:57 PM (#4082206)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Careful is good. Stifled is not.

I am beginning to think carbs which are not in chocolate put me in a bad mood.

22 Dec 20 - 03:38 PM (#4084618)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

I wish things were not as they are, sometimes.

Took my younger son, the one with all the issues, some solstice prezzies.

No thanks, not even a smile. He accepted them, though.

But I would have liked an acknowledgement.

And I would have loved a gift.

Sad, but not *depressing* so that is something.

And the quarter of a Valium before seeing him helps.

24 Dec 20 - 04:22 PM (#4084895)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

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.

25 Dec 20 - 02:00 PM (#4084972)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Yes, k, indeed, you certainly do.

Have strength. You are worth it.

26 Dec 20 - 02:32 PM (#4085080)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

My depression is suddenly worsening.
Nightmares have replaced nighttime dreaming,
and all the nightmares point to the helplessness and despair
that are presented in depression.

I'm afraid it will take something more than
a change in my dosage of meds
to intervene with my depression.

I am confident that I will survive this crisis,
but I am not so confident of how
my relationship with this instution will survive this crisis.

26 Dec 20 - 03:43 PM (#4085085)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Oy, k, wish I could visit you!

28 Dec 20 - 02:58 PM (#4085356)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

I'm feeling better now.
There were a few rough days and nights,
but I am back on form.
Most likely will not need to increase meds dosage.
May be saying this too soon,
but feels as though I have bounced back,
and am not stuck.

29 Dec 20 - 07:08 PM (#4085582)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Good to read, k.

31 Dec 20 - 12:45 PM (#4085882)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

This has been one heck of a year.
It's ten months I've been at this clinic.
The self-governing committees and activities
of the collective body of patients
has been the most heartbreaking experience for me.

One-on-one work with clinicians and therapeutic staff
has been the most satisfying part of my treatment,
although it took time and trouble
to switch from an unsatisfactory therapist and pharmacologist
to new clinicians with whom I am happier.

So, not a total loss: far from it.
Still, I am going into the New Year with a lot of sadness and disillusionment,
and seriously calculating the conditions
by which I can transition off the clinic campus.

08 Jan 21 - 08:23 PM (#4087145)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

This week, the bedrooms at the in-patient residence
began getting re-wiring for the telephones there.
Including my bedroom.

The job took two days in my bedroom alone,
not because of what my room is like,
but because they checked the cables going from my room
through the wall down to the main electrical connections below.
And found cable with rotting wires in it,
so the cable had to be replaced ...

09 Jan 21 - 01:20 AM (#4087163)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

That sounds like a good thing.

"Is this supposed to be a good thing, Miri?"

17 Jan 21 - 04:43 PM (#4088479)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Last week there was another failure-to-communicate deal
from staff to patients.

Noise of the conversational variety is still going on
about the patient who was kicked out one month ago:
more generally, this patient has become representative of
all the self-harming presentations amongst all the patients,
and this is a significant percentage of all of us.
Though I say it who shouldn't,
self-harm is not one of my issues --
I have issues, all right,
but I don't cut myself etc etc, as some do,
and I do not have intrusive suicidal thoughts as some have.

So, a communiqué which I will not quote here, went out,
a very bureaucratic memorandum-sounding thing,
in writing and posted where all could see it.
And to boil it down to the fewest possible words,
the staff (group facilitators and program managers, as opposed to
psychiatrists or psychotherapists or social workers)
demanded of the patients:
Help us help you.

And the response from many of the patients is ... unfit to print.
And I for one do not blame them one bit.

At this time a little over a year ago,
when I was admitted to this clinic,
I freely said that I dreaded leaving, that I was afraid to leave.

A year later,
I am afraid to stay.

17 Jan 21 - 06:23 PM (#4088496)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Oh, dear. I can't think of anything helpful to say, but I wish I could help. You have been a sweetheart to me.

20 Jan 21 - 02:49 PM (#4088971)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

I'm going to show up for one of the infamous
Community Meetings today, heaven help me.
Because I probably ought to actually say something,
short and simple.
I will catch all kinds of flack for saying it, as well.

20 Jan 21 - 09:15 PM (#4089028)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

It made me feel better to see
Senator Bernie Sanders wearing his mittens at the inauguration.

23 Jan 21 - 09:22 PM (#4089616)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

It was bound to happen, and now it has.
Nearly twelve months into the United States crisis over
the coronavirus pandemic
(which actually broke out more than twelve months ago),

the twice-a-week testing here at the clinic campus
has yielded positive-for-COVID-19 test results in three persons.
One works in the patient dining-hall kitchen -- yikes!!
One is a patient living off-campus, on a day-treatment plan.
One is a patient living right here in the on-campus residence hall.

Contact tracing began once the test results came out.
At latest report,
NONE of the three individuals with positive test results
have symptoms.
All three, wherever they live, are isolating in their homes.

Here at the largest of three on-campus residences,
not only is that one patient under quarantine,
but TEN other patients are now in isolation in their rooms,
as a result of the contact-tracing work.

The staff in the nursing/mental-health-worker department
are being run off their feet,
fetching meals on trays to the patients who may not leave their rooms.
The kitchen was understaffed already, and now it's worse than before.

Well, the whole purpose of twice-weekly screening tests has been
to catch the thing early so people don't fall seriously ill.
The three people are relatively young in years, and healthy.
Ditto for the ten people in isolation.

We will see ... what we will see.

23 Jan 21 - 11:05 PM (#4089630)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Yikes. I have a stuffy nose... Not a usual 1st symptom, at least.

25 Jan 21 - 11:24 AM (#4089843)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

The weather outside is clear sunny dry and
very pretty to look at,
and bitterly cold today.

My internal weather is dreary with despair and depression.
I better do something.

25 Jan 21 - 07:27 PM (#4089910)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

On second thought,
what I need is a rest cure, and this is a better place than most to have one.
It occurred to me that
I'm recovering from four years of waiting to exhale
while the Trumpasaurus Rex, who did not get MY vote,
was in the Oval Office.
No wonder I feel overstressed.

the hearty extroverted kitchen staffperson
is still out and in isolation after his positive COVID test.
But the patient who tested positive (screening test)
and lives here in the in-patient residence,
has now gotten back negative results from the latest screening test,
and been released from quarantine.
Of the ten contact-traced patients isolated in their rooms,
all but three have gotten back
the negative results from their most recent tests,
and been released from isolation.
The other three, I gather, are still waiting for test results
but are asymptomatic.

Better too much caution than too little.
My latest screening-test results just came back negative (whew).

27 Jan 21 - 05:21 PM (#4090247)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Water started tasting horrible so I got scared, but then read the fine print on the antibiotic rinse I am using till allowed to brush again, and it says Don't rinse with water or it will taste horrible.
Whew again.

08 Mar 21 - 10:12 PM (#4096753)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Things are better now.
The weather is improving, not so bitterly cold or snowy.
We have sunny days now.

A number of patients have discharged.
Two staffpersons are getting ready to retire in a month or two,
and it looks like some others will follow.
After New Year's, suddenly we had
three new people to facilitate therapy groups:
new hires, all of them. Not sure of backgrounds,
they are not clinicians as such.

What this amounts to is
conditions are improving here.
Sure, there is still drama and breakdowns and all.
But some sort of balance is being found,
after the utter debacle of the year-end holidays
when patients were acting out like mad.

And some of the patients who have recently discharged
have occasioned great sighs of relief, as they were
causes of upset and conflict while they were here.

The holidays, I was quite safe here
but it was also rather sad and heavy.
Now I am getting a second wind,
and doing some really good therapeutic work with my clinicians.
Even when I find myself in a distressing situation with someone
( one of the staff, God help me),
I have plenty of support at every level,
including other managers and directors
who take my part, so I never have to feel isolated.

It's a good thing I stayed the course and did not quit.

11 Mar 21 - 06:28 PM (#4097215)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Bully for you, k!

17 Mar 21 - 10:07 PM (#4098142)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

An earlier post reported
a distressing conflict with a staffperson. Today my request was granted,
and a brief mediation session was held
in which I aired my complaint with the staffperson,
with another staffperson present.
The person with whom I had the conflict apologized.
And it was all very civil and quiet,
and we all went our separate ways after.

The strange thing for me is how difficult it was for me to speak.
I felt like I was having to lift this impossible weight,
it was just this insupportable heaviness.
I said what I had to say,
but it felt almost unbearable.
I have been resting for the rest of the day.

18 Mar 21 - 10:58 AM (#4098199)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Did it feel like that weight was off your shoulders, afterwards, k?

18 Mar 21 - 11:49 AM (#4098206)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Jon Freeman

I sometimes try but fail to work out what it's like.

I've had a couple of stays in mental hospitals.

The second, and longer one was probably around 2012 when I was in for an alcohol detox. It was a bit odd as I'd made, before admission, a comment about a demon that disturbed the consultant who wanted to see how I went for a week without alcohol. The end result was that for the second week of my stay, I was there and on no medication at all (and was given a clean bill of health).

Overall, I enjoyed (well after the initial higher doeses Benzodiazepines [Librium] were over) my stay and this is from someone who doesn't usually get on with hospitals. Yes, there were restrictions in getting out but very friendly staff, very nice (home cooking, I'd call it) meals and I found myself fitting in well to make up a group of (in jest) 3 grumpy old men who would sit in the canteen, go out for a fag (UK cigarette which, yes, was allowed then) and generally put the world to rights. Perhaps I could have become institutionalised...

I was saddened to read a few years later that the Hospital (Helesdon, Norfolk) had become part of the worst rated mental health trust in the UK as, during my time, I felt they did a lot right.

19 Mar 21 - 10:24 PM (#4098444)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

The deflating answer to your question, Mrrzy, is no:
that weight is still inside me.
I experience it as resistance to confronting conflict or disagreements.
The whole point of being in treatment here is that I don't have to deal with this all alone,
but they can't make it go away -- I have to confront the resistance inside of me.

Jon Freeman, destiny is a mysterious thing.
Although your hospital had a low rating,
your experience there was somehow destined to be constructive and salubrious.

I'm having, on balance, good treatment at this institution where the patient milieu is a little ... unpredictable.
I don't name it, as you see.
The institution for one thing
would probably be all up my you-know-where,
did they know I was describing them online like this.
For another this institution has a reputation to uphold:
within its niche of long-term residential treatment
it has made a name for itself. So, I withhold the name.

And it is no secret at all, however quietly told,
that some patients have come to this very institution
and have had experiences that were thoroughly unfortunate.
You just never really know how things will work out,
no matter how you plan.

20 Mar 21 - 11:23 AM (#4098520)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Donuel

I welcome confronting conflict or disagreements and think destiny is 20/40 hindsight but who says this is the way to go. I know overall it doesn't help but I do it anyway. Sounds like your way is a perfectly fine way to navigate this diverse world. Persona is more varied than skin color.
As for staying afloat I've mastered the dead man's float and save energy compared to treading water. ;^/ I know there is no cure for dyslexia and am fine with it.

20 Mar 21 - 11:55 AM (#4098526)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Well, k, years of therapy... Decades... helped me, so I have hopes for your future emotional-weight loss.

09 Apr 21 - 12:40 PM (#4101534)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Requested, as an in-patient, and had scheduled for me at a local hospital,
my first colonoscopy.
Sound choice. Of course the bowel prep is miserable and all.
Much better to do it as an in-patient, with support,
before and after the procedure, from the clinic's nursing department.
The in-patient residence kitchen supported me during that day of fasting and cleansing
by heating clear chicken-soup broth for me.
All the comforts of home, really.
And they tell me -- at the hospital --
to come back for another procedure in ten years.
Thank goodness that's over.

09 Apr 21 - 04:08 PM (#4101582)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Ooh no fun at all!

20 Apr 21 - 06:31 PM (#4102852)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Nobody but me is gonna care about this, that's okay:
today, after months months months too many months,
the auto service and repair required
FINALLY got done, and done right.
Sure it was expensive. I paid in full.
It was the time more than the money that was an obstacle.
Being an inpatient at a clinic, and getting the car serviced ...
harder than I planned on.

But here in this part of the US, this week in April, for some reason, is a vacation week;
and all my clinicians took their vacation this week, so I said:
Fine. I'll take a few days off from the clinic, go back to where I rent an apartment,
and make an appointment for the service mechanics I have a history with,
to evaluate and repair/replace things on my car.
This included a manufacturer recall involving seat belts,
that is something one does not leave to chance.

So the work is done, the bill is paid, and in a few days
I can drive back to the clinic and get back into the schedule.
The weather, thankfully, has been cooperating nicely.

I just feel hugely relieved.

16 May 21 - 04:01 PM (#4106274)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Working out what to do next with my in-patient treatment.
No longer feeling stuck, if anything
I'm spoiled for options to choose from.

Looked at another in-patient, on-campus residence
which can be lived in, at a lower daily/monthly rate
than that charged at the main residence.

The main residence has the dining hall;
the smaller cheaper residence has its own kitchen,
and tenants may choose to continue to dine at the main residence
while sleeping in bedrooms at the cheaper treatment-plan building.

I could do this.

I could also move off-campus.
Thinking hard, very hard, about it all.

Post script:
most of the patients who were making life hell
for the rest of us,
have either discharged or
are in day treatment off-campus.
It's almost like a different community of patients. And yet.

16 May 21 - 04:07 PM (#4106277)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Helen

Choices, choices! :-)

Can you try out the alternative residence to see if it suits you and works for what you need?

16 May 21 - 04:27 PM (#4106280)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Take your time over your decision, too...

But this is all really great to read, keb.

19 May 21 - 04:36 PM (#4106705)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Jerry Rasmussen

Hey, Keb. May I call you Keb?

I'm sorry I am so late to this conversation. I can see how many people care about you. I'll add something uncharacterstically short for me. In the Christian faith, it is fundamental, and yet often forgotten. It's good advice, whatever your faith or beliefs;

"Love your neighbor AS YOURSELF."
Love for others is built on the foundation of loving yourself.

Sometimes you have to separate yourself from those who are destructive, even if you love them, and they are family or close friends.

You clearly know this.

28 May 21 - 11:02 PM (#4107991)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Welcome, Jerry, and you may call me that or whatever else.

After taking time to think it through,
while the visit to the other on-campus residence was worthwhile,
my decision was to stay where I am probably through the summer:
I have settled comfortably into this program
and want to enjoy it a little longer.

When it is the right time to move,
I will feel better about my options for having looked around now.

The Memorial Day holiday long-weekend is upon us,
and many of us remaining here in the campus residences
are surprisingly over-sensitive and cranky,
snapping at each other,
breaking down and crying,
or just expressing exhaustion and impatience with listening to each other.

Oddly, after joining in with my own complaints
and hearing somebody say I hurt their feelings,
I feel ... very brave for having spoken up to complain in the first place?

How weird is that?! I'm supposed to be nice to people
but I'm proud of myself for taking the risk of
saying how I feel even when someone else's feelings are hurt.

I guess that's how you think and talk
when you've been in treatment for over twelve months ...

13 Jun 21 - 10:45 PM (#4110071)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Instead of moving to a different residence on the campus,
with a different program rate,
I moved to a larger bedroom in the same building at the same rate.
And I'm sleeping better at night, strange to say.
(Private bathroom, I don't share it in a suite like before.)

19 Jun 21 - 06:26 PM (#4110711)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

The new and different bedroom is an adjustment but overall a good thing.

What I may do next is something different than I considered before.
I was looking at a cheaper plan on the institution campus.
Now what would answer my needs best is to get
more support from nursing while staying in the present building --
and this, of course, means switching to a more expensive plan.

My present plan features a little bit of contact with nursing, per week,
with a lot of group therapy sessions.
Now, doing some particularly delicate and painful emotional work,
I feel more trusting of nursing than I feel about the group.
It doesn't help that, in the past two months,
the group membership is so greatly changed.
I would feel better cared for, right now,
with less group therapy and more time with nursing.

Two months ago the group-therapy membership was
a pretty chill group of people.
We could be together and separate, in a positive sense,
at the same time: giving each other space and respect.
Some of us -- not necessarily me -- behaved like adults most of the time.

Well, many of the respectful adult members discharged within the past eight weeks.
The group membership now is dominated largely by patients who only arrived recently, some more recently than others;
and they are as needy and intrusive and boundary-oblivious
as the previous members were respectful.

I have felt myself going along with the group dynamic,
and on looking more closely at my behavior,
I see things I want to change, for myself and for the sake of others. Some of it strongly influenced by the drama in the group now.

Certain group members will fuss, like tantrum-prone children,
when I set a boundary and tell them that
my treatment is no longer any of their business;
all the more reason to do so, and that firmly,
and to have the support of clinicians and nursing while doing it.
It won't be easy.
Asserting myself in this fashion is something I haven't done often.
I believe I will be better off for doing so now
and getting on with the uncomfortable parts of my treatment
amongst people I can trust.
Thanks for listening, it means a lot to me.

20 Jun 21 - 04:03 PM (#4110792)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Helen

Hi keberoxu, I always listen because I want to know that your life-project is progressing well. And it seems to me that you are fairly clear about what you want and how you plan to get there, and that the plan appears to be working.

I'm thinking again of the idea that life and learning is a spiral. I talked about it in this thread on 01 Jun 20 - 01:12 AM

"learning is not walking around and around a circular path, seeing and doing exactly the same things over and over again. It's a spiral going upwards, so when you encounter a situation which you have been in before, you are different than you were previously."

30 Jun 21 - 10:11 PM (#4111959)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Just when I thought I had witnessed everything:

I haven't seen all the players in this saga.
However, a patient whose room is not far from mine,
is under the rather worried and definitely harried scrutiny
of nursing, program managers, and other staff.
Calling this patient eccentric is ... euphemistic.

The patient is almost routinely flunking
the weekly room inspections, what with clothing all over the floor
and I forget what else, never puts anything away.
Until, having flunked room inspection, they are forced to do so.

In the meanwhile, this patient has so desperate an attachment
to their pet dog that
a relative has sort of moved into a nearby hotel, WITH the dog,
the patient spends nights and weekends, not in their room,
but at the hotel with the relative and the dog.
This family has the smarts, at least,
to keep the dog away from the clinic,
so I've never observed the dog,
just had second-hand info about the patient being with the dog.

The patient is not from this area,
and is also desperately homesick,
crying themselves to sleep until hitting upon
this scheme of the hotel room, the relative, and the pet dog.
Mind you, this clinic is NOT cheap,
and neither are the hotels, not the ones where
a pet dog is permitted anyhow.
So this family is tight-knit and, erm, spendthrift??

As for me, for the time being I have negotiated that
I will stay on my present treatment plan.
Not step up to that more intense nursing option.
And, with the understanding that I keep my clinical team informed,
I will stay out of the group therapy sessions:
these are voluntary anyhow, no one can force me to attend.
And as long as I stay in touch with, and work with,
my doctor, my therapist, my nurse, my social worker,
my program manager and so on, then
I can pick and choose, and work out how to continue treatment.
We'll see how this goes for a while.

15 Jul 21 - 10:38 PM (#4113485)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

stay afloat
felt more like
drag my tail.

The work I did in my therapy appointment was necessary and promising, but it hurt like the dickens, and I cried a lot,
during and after.

I misplaced the key to my room, which, thankfully, somebody else found for me and returned. I NEVER lose my room key.

The humidity and dew points are so high hereabouts, that
the humidity sensor device in my room's bathroom
keeps turning on the exhaust fan.
Even when I have neither bathed nor showered.
That happened earlier this week.
To adjust the switch on the sensor device,
I had to pull an occasional table into the bathroom
and stand on top of the table
in order to get my fingers on the switch.
The switch is so high up the bathroom wall that
even when standing on the table top, I cannot see the actual lever,
on top of the little component box that says Honeywell.
The exhaust fan, of course, is a ceiling fixture.

I just showered and shampooed and dried off,
so the exhaust fan is going as I enter this
at the room desk on my laptop.

If I have got to have a nervous breakthrough,
this is a really comfortable bedroom in which to have it,
I will say that.

16 Jul 21 - 03:08 PM (#4113555)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

The saga of the pet dog has taken a new turn.

Earlier this week, our needy patient was approved to step down their treatment, by moving out of the main residence (where my room is) and relocating to a different building here on the clinic campus, where the treatment plan rate is cheaper.

The move happened immediately upon approval, the patient cleared out of the room here, and relocated to that other building.
And on that same day, their puppy dog went missing.
a Lost Dog Notice has been posted with a photograph of the seven-month-old puppy dog.

As if!
I'm sorry ... under no circumstances are we patients permitted to have a pet animal with us, and here is this Lost Dog notice on the patients' community bulletin board.

There are a bunch of questions I don't know the answers to. Like, what about the relative who paid for a hotel room somewhere close by where they looked after the puppy dog. And where, often as not, the patient would spend every night.
I recall being in my room after hours, and hearing in the hallway outside,
the nurse on duty coming to the other patient's room, knocking on the door, calling the patient's name, then shouting that she, the nurse, was going to unlock the door and let herself into the patient's room to see if anyone were there. Then the nurse would unlock the door, I would hear the key in the lock and all that, and the nurse would confirm, No, the bedroom has nobody in it, either human or canine, and would lock the room back up and return to the nurses' station to report.


21 Jul 21 - 03:47 PM (#4114017)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

When first admitted, my assignment to one therapist
was a source of much distress and frustration,
so I switched clinical teams, last year,
and have since been much happier
with my present psychiatrist.

As to that psychotherapist (not an MD)
that I could not get on with, last year,
this clinician has completed their fellowship at the clinic, and ...
been hired to work full-time on the therapy staff.

The ways of bureaucracies are beyond me sometimes.
If this were one year ago, I would be up in arms.
But now ... c'est la guerre, or some such.

18 Sep 21 - 01:19 PM (#4120266)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

I have been locked out of my residence bedroom.
The funny thing is, I have the device to unlock the door mechanism,
right here in my hand.
It just doesn't function.

You see, after a rash of thefts this summer,
a decision was arrived at.
All the residence bedroom doors,
which had conventional locks in the doorknob with metal keys,
would change over.

So the past week was spent collecting those metal keys from us,
after fitting each door with an electronic lock device,
activated (unlocked) with an electronic key fob.
Not just any device, but the sort with a
"high-security" rating,
which means you have to hold the fob up to the door device panel
just so,
you cannot merely wave it about, or touch the panel anywhere.

It was working yesterday and the day before.
I left my bedroom this morning, key fob in hand as it ought to be.
I come back, and the lock mechanism does not respond to the fob.

I go to nursing. The charge nurse is on the phone,
demanding to somebody else to tell her where to find the master
which will unlock any and all bedroom lock mechanisms.
Another nurse, on hearing my complaint,
accompanies me from the nurses' station to my bedroom door.
She has her own key fob with her ...
and her key fob also will not open my door. Nothing will.

Then it is explained to me that I am far from the only patient with this dilemma, as there are
other patients who are shut out of their bedrooms because the key fob stopped unlocking their door today
after functioning correctly yesterday and the day before.

I dunno.
As I always kept my door unlocked regardless, and am careful
with personal effects,
the series of thefts left me unscathed anyway.

Of course, as you would expect in a psychiatric treatment place,
the patient population includes people who feel out of control
if they can't control their bedroom doors.
One example is a patient
whose history of abuse and trauma includes
being shut up in closets.
For this patient, it is essential to be able to open the door
under any and all circumstances;
they lock the door on leaving the room,
but while inside the room
they feel anxious, or worse, behind a locked door.

Sometimes the solution makes a problem worse?

19 Sep 21 - 09:30 AM (#4120341)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Oh, keb, life just sometimes has it in for the living.

I am still fine. Fall does not seem to be bothering me. Pourvu que ça dure, comme disait, avec son accent corse, la maman de Napoléon...

19 Sep 21 - 04:32 PM (#4120363)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Yesterday maintenance got the door mechanism re-set
and now the key fobs will let the door open at last.
Meanwhile most of the doors on the other bedrooms did the same
sputtering-out of the lock mechanism
and all THOSE had to be re-set.   

Nurses' station staff is still growling about it,
but at least we can get in and out of our bedrooms now.

Oh, I still find the whole missing-dog saga too complicated to work out.
That patient is still in treatment.
They got their treatment stepped back up to the main residence.
Now, at last report, they have got a significant friend living nearby, somebody they met after admission to what they call "the asylum" . That significant friend has stepped up to dog-care duty. And there is now more than one dog, don't ask me how many, but "my dogs" it is, now, plural instead of singular.
Right this moment, however, the patient is out of the country, visiting the wealthy and spendthrift family for a week.
No more hotel rooms with relatives,
as the significant friend living nearby can keep the dogs ...
all most irregular ... but when you have got the money,
somehow, all manner of things can be negotiated.
It's all a bit much.

25 Oct 21 - 07:49 PM (#4124217)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

The hour of reckoning could no longer be postponed -- not for ME, don't worry --

but for that patient whose family seems to have limitless wealth
and very little discipline or sense,
and who went so far, this summer, as to post a notice for
a lost dog ...
why does a patient post a notice for a lost dog when
it is against the rules for patients to have pets anyway!
I never did encounter the dog, or dogs, anyhow.
This patient for months has come up with this or that excuse
to get out of the buildings, off of the campus, and
do anything other than treatment or therapy.

Today the patient was served with an administrative discharge.
And, I might have guessed this,
substance use is involved.
So often, in the cases when a patient here is forced to discharge,
there is some sort of controlled substance amongst the contributing factors.
Add to this, that fact that this patient is one of those
who conceal and hide and deny drinking or ingesting anything.
Until their bedroom is inspected and the inspection turns up ...
containers for alcoholic drink, containers for prescription meds that they were NOT supposed to have ...

I suppose during the time this patient was here in treatment,
we are all fortunate that there was no overdose!
It could have happened, but did not, in this case.

I really wondered about this patient's treatment, all these months,
on account of the patient's presentation which seemed so at odds
with getting any constructive work or support here.
Sometimes a person and a place are a poor fit with each other,
and I wondered about it the whole time.

Well, the patient is going home to Mother, and home to all the money
and the relatives who are, shall we say,
a questionable influence on somebody who needs professional help.
This clinic/institution has done what it may do
and it's out of everyone else's hands now.
It could have ended much worse than this,
and at the same time, it is a somewhat sad conclusion.

26 Oct 21 - 07:31 AM (#4124240)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Under the heading of Not Helping...

06 Nov 21 - 11:56 AM (#4125357)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

This morning I just sat down with someone at the nurses' station to alert them
of a community conflict.

Two patients have got a drama going on between them, about which it is prudent not to disclose too much.
They are both very young people, close to the minimum age for admission to this clinic. Both are deeply troubled.
At least one of them has a history of suicide attempts and hospitalizations.
I have hope for one of them, who is breaking the silence now, and coming forward and telling the truth about getting hurt, and asking for support.
It's the other one I'm worried about.
Not so much malice, but, sadly, impulse-driven, and desperate.
I'm afraid that this patient CAN'T stop -- that's exactly what I told nursing.
And the kind of neediness and obsession driving this patient
is the kind of thing that damages an entire community, one fellow patient at a time.
At this point, the rest of us need to protect ourselves and each other,
and the impulse-driven patient ... I don't know what hope there is for them.

08 Nov 21 - 07:53 AM (#4125533)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

The more desperate the more likely help might be accepted? My version of home.

But in the meantime... Yikes.

09 Nov 21 - 09:32 AM (#4125622)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Donuel

18 Nov 21 - 08:30 PM (#4126662)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

This is to keep me from giving in to a terrible temptation,
I speak tongue-in-cheek but really it's a big distraction.

I want to blurt out something in group therapy
on behalf of the entire group of us
to one patient who is impossible to communicate with.
It goes like this,
and if it sounds familiar, it ought to:

Whatsa matta you?!
Gotta no respect!
What you t'inka you do?
Why you looka so sad?
It'sa not so bad,
It'sa nice-a place
shut uppa you face.

This patient attends group now and then.
Every time they show up, we never know what to say,
because mentally they are just ... somewhere else.

Tonight several of us talked in the person's absence about
how frustrating it is to try to talk with the individual.

One fellow patient used the a-word: Autism.
And I had to respond, "I really don't know what 'Autism' means.
Does it mean that a direct conversation is too much to ask for?"

It's just that I dread telling this fellow resident
how I REALLY feel about the invisible gap between us which seems
impossible to bridge with words.
I don't want to get too specific here, it would invade privacy if I did.
But the more any of us try to talk with the person ,
the more bewildering and hopeless it is --
tonight we were all comparing notes on conversations with the person
and how remote and unreachable the person seems to be.

So now,
maybe having said what I feel like singing/saying online here,
there will be no need for me to
make a fool of myself by blurting out Whatsa Matta You
in group therapy sessions . . .

20 Nov 21 - 11:45 PM (#4126837)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

The simplest thing to say about that odd post before this one,
is that my old buried anger is coming up --
and the trigger is shame.
It's too tedious and messy and private to spill about here.
The year-end holidays plan is to spend them here at the clinic.
Plans can change, but that's the plan, for now.

When my situation overwhelms me with discouragement at times,
it is really helpful to consider
that had I chosen differently in the past,
my situation now would be altogether worse than it is.
Helen is right about that one.

22 Nov 21 - 11:02 AM (#4126978)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Still ok here... Relaxed the keto thing through chocolate because it wasn't making me labile, but then I noticed the number of bandaids I was sporting because of cuticle-picking. So I got back on the diet. Picking compulsion went away.

22 Nov 21 - 02:10 PM (#4126997)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Helen

Good song choice, keberoxu. The *other* Aussie anthem (well, not counting Waltzing Matilda).

Shaddap You Face - Joe Dolce

The interesting thing about the song is that it sounds aggressive when you first listen to the words but it is actually warmly funny and sends the message about being involved and inclusive in your living situation and with the people around you, even if you didn't choose to be here - i.e. a child who migrated with your family to a different country. That song always makes Aussies smile - well, almost all of us. Some people get antsy about it.

(An aside: the influence on Australian life and culture from the people and cultures who came here to live is immeasurable. I can't imagine what Aussie life would be like without all those amazing people living here.)

Mrrzy, have you tried carob as a chocolate substitute? It tastes very similar to chocolate and can be used in similar ways in cooking. Also, I found that when I stopped eating chocolate bars it was the excess sugar which was addictive and eating dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa made it a lot easier to limit my chocolate intake. It was quicker getting the chocolate hit. That's just me, but it worked for me. My current trick is melting dark chocolate and mixing nuts and some dried fruit into it. It gives me the chocolate hit without the high sugar content.

25 Nov 21 - 09:41 AM (#4127227)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

I don't sub chocolate. Just eating less of it... Dessert after dinner, but not after breakfast, lunch *and* dinner.

Carob was a thing when I was in college. Tried it, didn't like it. Anybody remember Postum? Might look back into that for caffeine avoidance...

25 Nov 21 - 10:09 AM (#4127228)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Donuel


25 Nov 21 - 10:21 AM (#4127230)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Steve Shaw

Ovaltine is 49% sugar. Enjoy your carbs!

26 Nov 21 - 01:30 PM (#4127304)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Helen

Mrrzy, regarding carob I was thinking more along the lines of not-chocolate brownies using carob powder. I don't like the carob bars pretending to be chocolate bars. It doesn't work for me.

I found a recipe using my fave cake ingredient. I make a lovely gluten free orange and almond cake using processed almonds or almond meal instead of flour. I'm not gluten free but I used to take it to work because one of my friends is gluten free. The orange flavour is a real orange boiled and then processed in the food processor - everything but the seeds. You can also have orange syrup made from fresh orange juice poured over the cake when it is cooked. Or different fruit can be used in the cake instead of an orange.

I found the recipe to make chocolate brownies or even orange choc brownies and it was super-yum. It would work with carob, but maybe some cocoa powder as well to provide the chocolate hit.

Almond meal brownies
Gluten-free brownie
•        125g unsalted butter, chopped
•        125g dark chocolate, chopped
•        3 eggs, lightly whisked
•        335g (1 1/2 cups) white sugar
•        110g almond meal
•        30g (1/4 cup) Dutch cocoa powder
•        1 teaspoon vanilla extract
•        Pinch of salt

26 Nov 21 - 01:36 PM (#4127305)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

That sounds yummy!

26 Nov 21 - 03:19 PM (#4127314)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Helen

They are yummy - both the cake and the brownies. And the best bit is that they are super easy and very quick to prepare although they need to be cooked a bit more slowly than some other recipes.

27 Nov 21 - 09:50 AM (#4127354)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Ok, so, yeah, yummy stuffing and pie and salads with fruit in them... Thursday night got 3 hours sleep, and Friday cried at folk songs and got a little het up in the mah jongg game (which I won by miles, may I add), then could not sleep till 4 am, awake at 8 something. Also broke the vape cartridge with my calm-go-sleepy-now medical weed extract, so that help is not available... Going to try for a local head shop for that. But not yelling at people, not really labile, ok-ish, just not comfy.

So totally worth the pie and the stuffing!

27 Nov 21 - 02:33 PM (#4127380)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Helen

Well Mrrzy, in my opinion sometimes it's worth pushing the boundaries - in moderation - and living with the consequences.

When I bought a house back in 1983 (a big deal, a single female getting a mortgage!) I was talking to one of my new neighbours who told me he had been diagnosed with a serious, potentially terminal illness. He said he could go through a traumatic medical procedure and the long, slow recovery, losing his quality of life in the hope of an eventual cure and a possible extension of his life, but he had chosen to enjoy life, come what may. He chose quality over quantity. He passed away a year or so later, but he seemed happy with his choice, happy in his life with his lovely wife, and it seemed to me (looking at his situation from the outside) that his choice was worth the risks.

So we can live a prolonged, less than happy life or we can choose to have a bit of fun in moderation now and then and get back on the health track. The fun bit helps to make the not-so-fun bits more bearable.

Like keberoxu playing piano with the other musician. Like my group of friends playing music together during the pandemic even though it has taken a lot of my time and ingenuity to work around the COVID lockdown and post-lockdown restrictions to find suitable locations to play.

The fun bits make the rest of life worth living, in my opinion.

27 Nov 21 - 03:09 PM (#4127382)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: The Sandman

well said Helen

27 Nov 21 - 08:13 PM (#4127404)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Year-end holidays, like those last year,
will be here at the clinic
(unless something unforeseen arises).

Hopefully this year it will feel like more is possible.
Of course
it is unnerving to hear about the omicron variant of SARS/COVID
and to watch THAT making an impact around the globe.
New York State starting to shut things down again --
although the clinic is outside of New York State,
that state is but a short turnpike/toll-road drive from here.

But there are things going on that weren't happening a year ago:
cinemas showing films,
concerts with a chorus of live singers even
(one of the riskiest things to do
when an air-borne virus is on the loose --
they have planned the concert very carefully).

If I think ahead to the New Year then I feel overwhelmed,
as so much is unknown and cannot be planned yet.
So it's better to stick to the present.

03 Dec 21 - 09:03 PM (#4127933)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Next week an appointment is scheduled to service my car.
To be on the safe side, have asked to reserve a loaner car,
in case my car has to be left at the service shop for more than a few hours.
There's enough things on the checklist,
and worrying details
(a dashboard light saying PARKING BRAKE coming on AFTER the ignition is turned off, with a frightening grinding noise underneath)
that the work may not be done quickly. Keep my fingers crossed here.

The campus provides for my needs well enough;
having the car, though, keeps me from going ... you know what.

03 Dec 21 - 11:11 PM (#4127941)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

Speaking of car service...

I am not allowed to go back to my dealership where I tried to take my newish car for a recall repair and something went wrong amd I *lost* it and yelled and swore. Then I backed into the door leaving and damaged my new car. Ooh I was mad. Over something minor. That was my fault anyway, it turned out, but I totally assumed it was theirs, given that they had screwed up the last two times and this was going to be their last chance not to screw up again...

So um yeah too many carbs.

Had long talk with shrink. Turns out his recommendation for the occasional glycogen break was a (one) meal every few weeks, not a whole holiday 5-day weekend's worth every few months. Live and learn.

Plus when I told him I lost it he asked were the cops called which no, they weren't, which put things back in perspective...

The highlight of the car thing, though, was when the manager, who had not been there, called to say he didn't want me back, I said with emphasis, You are the first person to do your job right at that place. You *should* protect your people from the likes of me even if they *are* screwing up. First time in his career, he said.

The highlight of the therapy session was I said I was crying at folk songs and I think I was lonely. He said, one definition of loneliness is what happens when a part of your soul is not being seen by the universe. So, he asked, what part of me us not being seen? And I thought about it, melted into tears, and said Meeeee...

04 Dec 21 - 12:04 AM (#4127942)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Helen

When I said before about a little treat in moderation being beneficial for your state of mind, I definitely wasn't thinking of a 5 day binge.

Thanksgiving isn't a thing over here so I guess it was a cultural difference in understanding. Here was I thinking it is only one meal. LOL

My car is 16 years old, very reliable (Toyota Corolla), and usually I get her checked over once a year but because I've now retired my usual place to go is too far away from home so she missed out on her checkup a year ago. She made up for it by costing a lot more money than I'd planned or envisaged, but I prefer to know that everything is safe and going properly so I just paid up and thanked the mechanic for being thorough.

04 Dec 21 - 01:19 PM (#4127989)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: keberoxu

Here's the deal with North American Thanksgiving:
always on a Thursday,
maybe somebody else knows why, I don't, but it's always Thursday.
Followed, in the present millenium, by Black Friday,
which was NOT part of the original observation.

The outcome is a long holiday weekend instead of
a mere Thursday observance.
Hence, five days.

04 Dec 21 - 03:51 PM (#4128009)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Helen

keberoxu, I was friends with an American family a while back. They were working over here for a few years, she plays the harp so that's how we met. They invited me over for Thanksgiving one time and I couldn't believe how much food was on the table for three adults and a couple of small children. One thing which sticks in my mind was that she said that she had never prepared and cooked a real pumpkin for the pumpkin pie. I asked what she usually used, and when she said she bought it in a can I was totally incredulous.

Pumpkins are really common here. We don't get them in cans, and the other thing which amazed me was that the canned pumpkins are sweetened. Most of our pumpkin dishes are savoury - roasted pumpkin, pumpkin soup, pumpkin scones, pumpkin in stews, etc. All yummy! But the only recipe with a small bit of sugar added - except I don't do it - is in the pumpkin scones.

I only discovered this week what Black Friday shopping frenzy is about and its connection to Thanksgiving. The shopping thing cropped up here a few years ago but it seemed to come out of nowhere and it was never explained, and I never really knew what date it was especially since Black Friday means a Friday the 13th to me.

04 Dec 21 - 05:10 PM (#4128018)
Subject: RE: BS: stay afloat while others don't
From: Mrrzy

We used to go shopping the day after Thanksgiving before it had that name and got awful. Whole family split into twos and threes, walk around and point out likes and dislikes, reconvene, change groups, go back around for what people said they liked. Kind of a do-see-dough...