Monday, 30 January 2012

(Lack of) professionalism of police.

I wrote here about how unprofessional doctors can be when it comes to dealing with the mentally ill, so I suppose this is sort of the second in the series. Let me just give you a bit of boring background, pleeeease. Under the Mental Health Act (that's the bit of law that allows for mentally ill people to be forcibly detained, 'sectioned', in a hospital or whatever), there's a section, Section 136, where the police can take a mentally ill person to a place of safety and can hold them for up to 72 hours. I can't even count the amount of Section 136s I have had, but almost all have been pretty uniform experiences. In fact, that's maybe why I don't remember them, I suppose you don't take a lot of notice of the relatively mundane, not when there's so much that's brilliant and amazing and beautiful and terrible and painful and shocking out there, but yanno, it's a bit shitty, to put it bluntly, that the experiences I've had don't count as terrible and painful and shocking, really.

SO, this is a list of some of the EVER-SO-SLIGHTLY unprofessional things that have been said to/about me by the police. These are the things that appear on no notes and you won't find them taught as examples in training. This isn't even a comprehensive list because after an episode it's really, really hard to remember it as anything less than a bad dream. I think, really, that that makes these so much the worse- the fact that I DO remember them being said:

-You're an attention-seeking, spoilt brat.
-I have a ten year old Autistic son who behaves better than you.
-Time waster (that's been said in a million different ways, by a million different police officers, but I'll just use this to sum up the various forms. Much like idiot/moron/childish).
-Cut off her bracelets, see how quickly she calms down when we start cutting her shit.
-If she keeps trying to move, tighten the restraints. She won't move if she's in pain or her circulation is being cut off.
-Just drag her by the handcuffs, you can lift her by them pretty easily.
-You need the toilet? Fine, do it there. You can lie in your own shit.

And my personal favourite:
-If you don't shut the fuck up, I'll use the taser.

I also have loads of almost screen-shot memories of being shouted at, at them getting their head down to my level and shouting at me, about what an idiot I am or whatever. But anyway, just so you don't think I'm taking things out of context, there's two things you need to know. One is what I've done that has ended up with me sectioned in a cell, and the other is the way I was treated on Saturday night, which was the last time I was held under a 136.

My anxiety attacks aren't your standard anxiety attacks. I'm a headbanger. When I'm really anxious, and this happens especially when I feel trapped for whatever reason (like when I'm in hospital) and, I'll be honest, when I've drank too much, I seek out any hard surface I can find and bang my head repeatedly. If that seems a funny image, that's absolutely fine- just know that in the moment, it's really horrific. Then, when I'm being restrained because of it, I feel even more trapped and that makes me need to bang my head EVEN MORE. See the issue here? Gold star, hahahaha. And that's the position the police usually find me in. The drink isn't always a feature, there have been a couple where I've lost myself and got 136'd when I've been sober, but generally the sober incidents happen in the sanctuary of my own room, and are unnoticed, as opposed to drunken episodes. But I'll be trying all I can to find anything I can hit my head on, fighting them with all I am, usually crying, and completely unreachable.

The violence usually shown to me by the police, and I usually walk out absolutely black and blue from where they've smacked and pushed me, dragged me about and thrown me down by velcro restraints, and even sat on me, is contrasted completely by the way I was treated on Saturday. I think I'm probably going to write to Essex police because the men who looked after me were so lovely, they genuinely did look after me. I'm bruised, the tops of my arms have bruises from the holding me down and me struggling, but that's to be expected- they had to stop me hurting myself, and they did. Usually (it makes me sad that it's happened so many times that I can even say 'usually'), the police use the excuse of protecting me to unleash any anger or frustration they have, often chastising me for how this shouldn't be part of their job, as if I begged them to throw me around. So you see by this, it is not at all necessary to treat me so awfully, when I'm in their 'care'- the officers on Saturday didn't need to, the ones in the past should have never needed to, yet they did. No need for the physical and vocal attacks; it's not professional and it's not acceptable to treat a person with so little respect, mental health issues or not.

There's something a bit more scary about the lack of professionalism of police, than the lack of doctors. Or no, not more scary... just scary in a different way. When it's a doctor, they're often dismissing of mental health, they'd rather be treating those they see with 'real' problems, or ones that aren't deemed self-inflicted. When it's a police officer, it's because they'd rather be catching baddies, off being heroes or whatever. When it's a doctor, they're a member of the freakishly clever elite and usually are a bit, well... a bit socially inept. Or just separate, if I'm being more fair; held as somewhat above the rest of us. The scary thing about the police though, is that they're not. The police are more representative of the general public in terms of gender, age, family background, education, socio-economics... probably most demographics are better found in the police, than the medics. The police are you and me (although probably less me, given the attitude to mental health). And they have more leeway to commit atrocities- doctors can be rude, offensive and tactless, but the police can be physically abusive. The police are in a better position to unleash whatever they, or maybe even you, as a member of the public, think about mental health.

We are not seeking attention, spoilt, nor brattish. Not badly behaved, trying to waste your time, idiotic, moronic nor childish. We do not deserve to be hurt, nor to have our things broken or cut. And we sure as hell don't deserve to lay in our own shit nor be bloody tasered. Chances are, all you want to do to us, we want to do worse, or we have done worse, to ourselves. Whatever you hurt us with, we have been through twenty times worse, stuck with our demons. We do not deserve to be treated any less than anybody else. We don't want special treatment, we just want to be allowed to live like anybody else. We are ill and that is all.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Competition.

Oh, before I have a whinge, let me tell you about how famous/popular I am. I bumped into one of the crisis team blokes yesterday. I had to nip to the hospital for summat, and whilst I was waiting for it get sorted (not going into details, but there's nowt wrong. I just like outings. And although the hospital isn't as fun as a trip to, say, Tesco... I'm still always up for a trip ;)), I popped out for a fag and saw him on the phone. He went silent and sort of said to the person on the other end of the line, 'oh shit, Rebecca Condron's here!' God love my infamy/utter unpopularity, eh? It was probably quite a novelty seeing me not completely kicking off and it was quite sweet that he was horrified, I think after my last section and all the drama last term they thought they'd not be seeing me again for a while. And they won't. Unless I bump into them at appointments or whatever, but OH CRIKEY they'll not be seeing me again on the ward for, ohhhh, quite a while now. I'd say ever, but I think that might be stretching it? WHO KNOWS, BEBE.

But anyway, competition. I'm used to being the most ill, the one with the 'issues' or what have you. I'm the one who is always in hospital, has always been in hospital, the one to whom mental things just sort of seem to happen. I don't really have any other role or identity. I think sometimes people think I'm really rude because if I see someone that I vaguely know, like they're on my facebook friend list, but we've never really talked in real life, chances are I'll pretend not to see them. And that's for no other reason, but that I don't think people would recognise me. I don't know why anybody would know who I am, I think most of the time I'm so bland that I'm virtually invisible- there's nothing interesting or memorable about me, so why would they know who I am, even if we've had the odd few conversations on facebook? Why would they remember my name or my face, or even know who I was until I opened my mouth (loud northerners in Essex are few and far between, hahaha), and would they even then? Why would they even remember I was northern, when they have no reason to remember owt else?

But back to the identity thing. I'm perfectly open about my issues and if I'm completely honest, I think it's because then people will remember one thing about me. It's not usually a nice thing that they remember or think or even say about it, I've heard some really horrible things about myself, based on my mental disorders. But it's something. Then when I read things about other people and their battles, I get so... I don't know. Anxious, more than anxious. I feel like I'm melting, that somebody is more me than I am. If I'm not That Girl, if someone else is or was, well. Being ill is something, the only thing, that I'm good at, and when I read about someone else all I can do is compare- are they more ill than I am/was? What does that even mean? Crikey, this makes so little sense.

I'm sort of blinding groping my way towards the end of all the crap that's plagued me for years, but I'm terrified then of not having owt. I was thinking the other night though, I'm getting better and so now instead of being the ill girl, maybe I can be the girl who got better? I can be the girl who has danced with the devil and then returned home to go pop out for dinner?

Just please, don't forget me.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Rape jokes.

It's flat out wrong to find a popular joke, or a genre of joke, offensive. If you don't find a particular subject matter- especially one which flows from a good whack of society's few brain cells- funny, then you have no sense of humour and are most definitely somebody who is just out to ruin other people's fun. You're the Jehovah's Witness at the door of a party or the Catholic narrowing their eyes at the flood of people returning home smelling of sex and shame, at 10am on a Sunday. You're probably a hypocrite too, because there's always something that offends somebody (any Jehovah's Witnesses or Catholics reading this? Yeah, sorry for that comment). Somebody, and I can't be bothered googling it because it's pretty irrelevant, said that comedy isn't funny unless it offends somebody.

Do you know what's really funny? Especially, ESPECIALLY, for how offensive it is? And what you have no sense of humour if you don't agree with the hilarity of? Rape! RAPE, OF COURSE!

When the Japanese earthquake hit last March, killing over 15,000 people, facebook was inundated with poor taste, poor quality (wit level in the minuses) jokes. Even greater than the number spreading these shitty jokes, was the number of people getting aggy about the Japanese jokes. I watched the whole drama unfold, the arguments that followed, somewhat detachedly. It was quite an interesting thing, I got into an argument with one of the people getting all pissy about it, not because I thought the earthquake jokes were especially funny or acceptable or owt, but because the person in question was almost simultaneously liking pages making paedophilia jokes, as was another trend at the time, and pages against jokes about the Japanese.

You can't censor people, but you have to know your audience. How many of your facebook friends were victims of the earthquake? None? Very probably. How many of your facebook friends have been coerced into a sex act or have a close relationship with someone whose life has been ruined by it? None? You're wrong; trust me, if that's what you think, you're wrong. You don't make racist jokes on facebook, whether you're racist or just think they're funny, because chances are you have a mix of races on your friend list. But despite the fact that a 1991 survey found that 1 in 3 women will experience rape or attempted rape, you continue to make these jokes. I should not have to avoid stand up comics, in much the same way that I should not have to dress like a nun, to avoid references or attempts to rape. I should be able to go where I want, when I want, without rape ever coming into it. Rape jokes are low, lazy comedy, it takes no wit and at a stand up show, it's guaranteed a laugh, as I found yesterday. Buildings have to be accessible to people wheelchair users, it's the law. Why should comedy not be accessible to everyone?

I'm not advocating censorship, nor am I advocating extreme political correctness (by the way, political correctness is not inherently bad, but I'll talk about that another time). What I am advocating is not being a fucking knob. I hope you never know how devastating rape is to both the victim and everyone around them, and how devastating it being rammed down your throat as 'funny'. I hope that if you are faced with it, that you or the person you love is part of the 5% (FIVE PERCENT) of victims who are able to report it, and of that, part of the 7% who get a conviction. Sit there, for a moment. Imagine, 2000 people are raped. Of that, 100 of them feel they can report it. Then 7% of that 100 get a conviction. So that's of 2000 rapes, 8 people get a conviction. And at least 2000 people's lives are ruined, without including their families.

Fucking hilarious, eh?

Monday, 16 January 2012

Confession.

I cried today. I walked through campus, to get to the doctor's, crying behind my sunglasses. I'm pretty sure nobody saw and 'cause I'm a mucky slut the only make up I had on was the last remains of what I'd been wearing on Saturday night, so it's not like I had mascara tracks. But still a touch pathetic. I was shaking like a leaf. Being mugged really shook me up and it was the first time I'd been out alone since. I'm petrified of everyone and I'm petrified of what didn't happen, but could have. What didn't happen this time, but happened in the past. It's not really about what happened last week, but about what always happens. This is a bit cryptic and I'm not really saying owt... I'm just flat-out scared, yanno? But now I've been out once alone, it can only get easier, eh?

Blech, I don't have owt interesting to say. Just, I'm back in Essex aaaand just that I'm anxious and stressy and pretty much scared of everyone, but because my new anti-depressos are so magic, I'm all of that, but not depressed. Pretty sure that's a luvmalyf moment though, not a fukmlayf one, so whatevzzzz.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

To the 'men' who mugged me on Tuesday.

Hi, dickheads.

I realise that stealing isn't a hobby to be taken up by those who care all that much about other people. But in case you thought that it was reasonably victimless, I'd just like to have a chat with you. Bar the drugs you gave me, you didn't physically hurt me, there were no punches thrown and had I been a virgin before the attack, I'd still have walked away one, too. I'm not going to thank you for that, because by that reckoning, I should thank every person I meet for not having murdered me. But hey, at least-

-

In writing this, I've just thought. I've just remembered what happened in between you robbing me, and me ending up in hospital. You bastards, you absolute bastards. I KNEW, looking back, that it was weird that you wasted your Rohypnol, and what the doctors think from my tests was Ecstasy, just to steal some bits out of my bag. But the things from my bag were nothing, were they? They were a bonus. The real prize was to be had after you'd persuaded me to get off the train, hey? It was me, it was always me you were after. Part of me knew you wanted something and I'll admit you flattered me. But not that. Definitely not that. You fucking cunts. But I wouldn't, because my mum was due to pick me up and I didn't want to be late for her. You didn't know that though, did you? You thought I'd get off the train with you as easily as I'd drank your fucking drugs.

Wow.

What I was actually going to say, where I was actually going with this, now seems incredibly irrelevant. You were going to rape me, there's not much worse that you could have done to me. There's no bigger crime, for the victim, because the murdered one is only a victim in the moment, before they cease to be. I thought you were some stupid little boys, off trying for a quick quid and ignoring what comes after, for the victim. But you were so much worse. What I was going to tell you is, the aftereffects aren't so simple as a girl having to replace her phone. I was going to tell you about the hysteria that followed it, that resulted in me restrained, handcuffed, having to be injected with a sedative, in the psych ward that night. Getting carted off the train and packed off to the nuthut, for fears over what I might've done.

I don't know what would have happened if you'd got what you wanted, all I know is right now you would not currently have a single testicle between you. You fucking cowards; 8 of you, one of me, a bottle of Disaronno, E and some Rohypnol. You fucking cunts.

Don't breathe easy. Nobody, NOBODY does this shite, or tries to do that shite, to Rebecca Condron.

I can't believe how close it was. I'm not going to say how 'lucky I was' because not only do I not believe in luck, but not being raped is not luck. Not being raped should be the stuff of all life.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

A week.

I go back to uni next weekend, and I'm dreading it. I'm dreading the boredom and the loneliness and the absolute paranoia that I had last term, returning. I know it shouldn't be so bad now, I can feel that my new anti-depressos are working and I feel a million times better than I did in October, but I'm scared that a big part of that feeling better is 'cause I'm home. I'm getting really stressed about it which is a big fat waste of time and energy, but there you go. I'm gon' try come up with a plan of things to do next week when I'm back, and short term and long term goals, 'cause if I can do that I know things aren't too bad. If I can make plans, I'm not overly depressed. That sounds stupid, that I need summat like that work out how I feel, but I'm not sure right now if I'm depressed or just stressed about all the empty hours I'll have to fill when I'm back in Essex. I dunno.

But anyway, it's been an absolutely amazing holiday. I've had such a brilliant time and I'm annoyed with myself because the stress of going back is weighing on me and it may well ruin my last week here. I need to make sure it doesn't, so maybe having plans for next week will help that and I'll come up with them later.

PEEEEEEEKCHAZ! :D

Christmas Day-
(me and my beautiful cousin, Emily)

(My auntie, Emily and my Twister victory stance)

Boxing Day-
(I bought Momma Ginge a house sign for Christmas, you can just about see it above our heads! 'The House of Ginge')

Yesterday-
(MG and I, drunk and minging :))

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Obligatory new year entry.

It's been over three years now since I was first told I'd never recover. My new year's resolution for 2009 involved a vague, abstract idea- some seedling about getting better, that I didn't understand. I had no idea what getting better even was and the idea of even daring to want more was alien. That's the thing about when all you are is an agent of your own destruction, there just doesn't seem to be any alternative; not even a best case scenario or summat you think could theoretically be done, but seems beyond the realm of possibility. There's nothing at all. I existed purely to destroy myself and I wasn't sure that could, would or even should be changed, kind of like how you JUST WOULDN'T change the entire purpose and all the features of a freezer to make it an oven. And in 2008, when I was 17 or 18, my GP at the time told me it couldn't be changed. I couldn't change it. There was nothing else for me, but to sort of make me comfortable. I was terminal, to put it more bluntly. Despite this though, I could protect the flicker of the fight because I was annoyed at somebody who was virtually a stranger, with no specialist knowledge, dared to write me off so completely. So I started 2009 with the resolution that something had to change.

But in 2009, the 'fact' of how I'd never get better seemed to be the bloody chorus of my life. When my GP said it, it fired me up because as far as I was concerned, he knew shite all and I wanted to prove him wrong. When my psychiatrist said it, it shook me up because he obviously knew more than my GP, although I sort of soothed myself with by thinking of how he wasn't a specialist. When the specialist said it, it destroyed me. And then the specialists kept saying it. And saying it. And saying it.

But 2009 was a long time ago. Have I showed them? No. If anything, they've been proved right. When she elaborated, the specialist told me that it would be likely that after hospitalisations I'd have brief periods where my symptoms would lessen somewhat, before I'd inevitably slip and need readmission. I probably wouldn't live an especially long life and (she didn't say this next bit, but it seems logical to me) that probably wouldn't be too bad of a thing, because maybe it's better to risk the chance of hell in the afterlife, than hell in this one. Since 2009 I've had, what... seven admissions? Feeding tubes three or four times? And now, my symptoms have lessened somewhat but, if I'm going to be honest (and I'm not going into details), I'm not brilliant right now, although better since my last admission/tube in October. It's prophetic, hey?

Or not. That doesn't sit comfortably with me. Do you ever find that sometimes you don't know how you feel until you say you're fine, and then realise that you know what a lie feels like, and that felt like a lie? Well, saying that they've been proved right feels like bullshit. The way they predicted my life made it sound like I had no will, none of whatever it is that distinguishes people from and trees and rocks. I wasn't a person. And I'm not having that. My symptoms haven't lessened because the disorder comes in tides, they've lessened through hard-bloody-work and having some really, really incredible people around me. I don't know how much better I'll get and I'm not going to fuck myself in the arse by making predictions. All I know is I've come a long way, mentally- I'm not the person I was at the start of 2009, even if sometimes my symptoms are similar to hers. I was going to validate this claim for yez, but then I realised I don't have to. I'm NOT that person and the fight isn't about to leave me. It's only ever grown, since my 2009 resolution.

So for 2012, I have no resolutions. Well, I do and I'll probably tell you about them some other time. But not related to my eating. I'm just going to keep on truckin' and know that I'll never go back. I can't ever go back.