Author Topic: Conversations from hell  (Read 18532 times)

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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #15 on: June 03, 2010, 09:06:23 pm »

Brilliant writing, imo.  Frustrating, intimate and precise.  I'm going to send my gentfriend a link to this thread, if you don't mind, Pent.

Thanks! And sure - it's a public board - I aint trying to keep this shit secret or anything  :)
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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #16 on: June 03, 2010, 09:51:19 pm »
great writing dude, very vivid. You've had some gnarly experiences, man. I'd offer you some mittens but kudos don't seem appropriate to follow such gravity

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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #17 on: June 03, 2010, 09:52:47 pm »
No.3: Little Jimmy

Out of all the people who shared the ward with me little Jimmy really didn't seem like he belonged there. It was the acute ward. What that means is, out of all the wards in the whole asylum, this was the one with the tightest security, the best trained staff, trained to deal with the most potentially dangerous  clientŤle. There were more dangerous people than us in some of the long-term wards but they were kept in a much more stable, much more predictable, often near-catatonic condition.

There was still hope for us. We were given the benefit of the doubt but, by our very nature, this benefit was not afforded without a fair degree of risk. "A Danger to myself and others" it said on my section papers and all of us had those.

But little Jimmy was different. For one thing he was just a child, couldn't have been much more than thirteen or fourteen if he was that and his mental age was way, way younger. "Retard" is such a cruel word but it's also a very appropriate one in little Jimmy's case. Very appropriate.

You couldn't hold a conversation with Jimmy. All he talked about was his dad. More particularly the fact that his dad drove an "Esso Lorry". It wasn't like he even had a lot to say about this. "My dad drives an Esso Lorry", "You see those Esso Lorries? My dad drives Esso Lorries.", "That's my dad. He drives Esso Lorries"

All fucking day! He'd latch onto you and follow you about, for fucking hours, like a cracked record, going on about his fucking dad and his fucking Esso Lorry til all you wanted to do was scream at the little bastard and then you did and all hell broke loose.

It was kinda like autism or something when you yelled at little Jimmy. He'd freak out and start screaming incoherent gibberish at the top of his lungs, tears streaming down his face, rolling about on the floor and all the while those innocent child eyes, staring at you, wide, almost popping out of his head, pure blind terror. It made you feel like shit. Every fucking time! This little kid looking at you, traumatised, like you'd just stamped on his head but you couldn't help it. He seemed almost designed to push all the right buttons, just hard enough to make you crack.

But little Jimmy didn't belong in that ward. He belonged in some kind of special need school or something. He was just a kid for fucksake. Sooner or later someone was going to turn around and kill him. Eventually he got moved. We never knew where to, just like you never knew where anyone went once they got signed out through that door. He was just gone and, somehow, he was missed. His energy, annoying as it might be at times, seemed to raise the atmosphere of the ward in some inexplicable way. The childish vibrancy. His idiot smile - innocent joy - it really helped.

I asked one of the nurses about him a couple of days after he left. "Is he coming back?"

"Maybe." he replied, non-committally.

"What the fuck is the deal with him anyway?"

And he told me.

Turns out, years ago, little Jimmy had been on his little bike and a lorry had ploughed through the intersection and slammed into his little head. An Esso Lorry. And little Jimmy had been stuck in that moment ever since.
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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #18 on: June 03, 2010, 09:56:33 pm »
How long were you there Pent?

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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #19 on: June 03, 2010, 10:00:12 pm »
I was in twice for around a month each time. Two months out of a lifetime of forty-odd years but there's times it feels like most of it.
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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #20 on: June 03, 2010, 10:06:16 pm »
I was going to say something moronic like "But you are so intelligent" until I remember this story.


One day a man was driving and his wheel fell off. He retrieved the wheel and was puzzled about what to do next. AS the man looked around he realized that this had happened right in front of a mental institution and there was a patient standing right inside the fence from him.

The man inside the fence said " Just take 1 lug nut from each of the other tires and go to a service station and buy the rest. The man who had broke down looked at him and said "That is a very good idea! You shouldn't be in there. What is this all about?"

The man inside the fence said "Hell mister, I'm not stupid, I'm just crazy."


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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #21 on: June 03, 2010, 10:33:27 pm »
Last one for the night...

No.4: Old Chick

To this day I don't think old Chick was crazy. When I'd first arrived on the ward I thought he was staff. He always dressed in blue overalls for one thing and he always seemed to be sweeping up or mopping the floor or emptying the ashtrays or some other domestic chore. You hardly noticed the quiet little old guy, in the background of everything, picking up discarded candy wrappers or collecting teacups from the visitors day room.

But Chick didn't go home when his shift was over. Chick waited in line at the meds trolley with the rest of us before bedding down in the same dorm, three beds along from where I'd lie awake all night, staring at the ceiling but still I couldn't get my head around the fact that he was a patient. He just seemed too fucking sane.

He was a good listener, Chick. You could get your troubles off your chest and Chick would look at you with that quiet, calm expression and frown or smile at all the right times and nod like he really understood and that was all it took. Best therapy on the ward by a fucking mile. When you'd had 50mil of Largactil shot in your arse and you were still climbing the walls all it took was a chat with Chick to chill you the fuck back out again.

It was toward the end of my stay (and somehow we both knew it) when Chick sat down next to me and, for once, did all the talking and I just listened. Chick had been in Carstairs till a couple of years ago when he was deemed to be too old to cause much in the way of trouble. The hospital we were in was a hospital for the insane. Carstairs is a step up from that. Carstairs is a hospital for the criminally insane.

Chick had been there since his early twenties and when he told me how much better it was in here you had to hand it to him. Carstairs, the way he described it, was very much a containment facility, as opposed to a treatment centre. You were drugged all the way to hell and, if that didn't work, they buckled you to your bed and fed and washed you.

Chick explained that he'd always been partially deaf. He'd come home one day to find his wife fucking some other guy and he'd gone ballistic and hit the guy. The wife had started screaming at him. The way Chick described it, loud noises made his fucked up eardrums kinda buzz in a really annoying way. Like it actually hurt him and she'd been screaming at him and he'd been angry as a motherfucker and something inside him snapped and he grabbed her round the neck and squeezed and that was all she wrote.

I think he said he'd killed the guy too.

I was a young guy at the time. I too was madly in love with a girl. It wasn't too hard for me to imagine feeling just about mad enough to kill if I'd found myself in the same situation. There was more to it, I'm sure. Killing people gets you flung in jail. Carstairs is for folks who go above and beyond 'ordinary' killing people in some way. Maybe Chick had had some kind of breakdown when the adrenaline had worn off and he realised what he'd done.

Pure speculation, tho. He could just as easily been lying through his teeth about everything but he made his point nonetheless. All it takes is to lose control for a split second and your whole life can go down the shitter in no time flat. I promised Chick I'd never lose the plot again.

It was a promise I was to break less than a decade later.  
I'm up to my arse in Brexit Numpties, but I want more.  Target-rich environments are the new sexy.
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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #22 on: June 03, 2010, 10:35:09 pm »
I was going to say something moronic like "But you are so intelligent"

The more intelligent you are the easier it is to tie your own head in fucking knots  :lulz:
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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #23 on: June 03, 2010, 10:44:30 pm »
This is all pretty gripping stuff. There's a Psychiatric Unit in my town, and a good friend of mine is a regular inpatient there. About 18 years ago, he was busted for selling drugs, and rather than risk going to Prison, he decided to play the crazy card instead. He went in for 2 weeks observation, then when the Court case came up, they put him in the care of a Psychiatric support team instead of sending him down. He thought this was pretty fucking clever, and for about 5 years, whatever trouble he got himself into, (which was never really anything serious) the Police would release him into the care of his Psych team. He thought he had it cracked. After a while, his Doctor must have realised he was swinging the lead, and put him on some pretty heavy anti-psychotics, that needed a whole host of pills to counter the side effects, and more pills to counter the side effects of them. He didn't like being zombied 24 7, so he would refuse to take his meds. Whenever he did this, he would be sectioned for 2 weeks obs, and they ended up giving him a time released implant. Then, if he didn't take his side effect tablets,  he exhibited symptoms indistinguishable from full blown delusional psychosis, and was taken back in for observation, while they messed about with his meds routine, ostensibly to "stabilise" him. Now, his head really is fucked, and he is taken in about three or four times a year. He used to be an above average intelligent normal bloke, (albeit with a liking for recreationals) and now, he wanders about, not even able to hold a conversation, and prone to impulses, like washing his soiled underwear out in puddles by the side of the road. And I swear, to start with, before they got him in the system, he was as sane as the next man. It was as if his Doctor thought, "Right, if you're going to take the piss, we're going to make sure it will cost you dearly". And it did.  
« Last Edit: June 03, 2010, 10:47:56 pm by BadBeast »
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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #24 on: June 03, 2010, 11:01:18 pm »
whoa Pent... I wish I knew what to say.

My sister was in the ward for a bit, but I never got to hear her story - I don't think I will get the chance, but she isn't the same, and she's run off to another state. Its like they take away who you once were
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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #25 on: June 03, 2010, 11:10:03 pm »
I don't really see it as much different from any other tough experience. Some people get over it and it makes them stronger and some people cave and get stuck there forever. It changes you, that's for sure but change is good. It'd be a fuck-boring life if you stayed the same person for the whole time.

Personally I see it as one of the best things that ever happened to me. It hurt like fuck at the time but without it I wouldn't have gained the insight I have into the inner workings of my own head. I can't imagine what it would be like not to know and be aware of the things I take for granted but the truth is most people aren't and that makes me feel lucky that I got the chance when I did.

The best things in life come at a price.
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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #26 on: June 03, 2010, 11:15:28 pm »
Fucking oath they do. Do you think that intelligence is a major factor in being able to pull yourself out the other side?
"We need a plane for Bombing, Strafing, Assault and Battery, Interception, Ground Support, and Reconaissance,
NOT JUST A "FAIR WEATHER FIGHTER"!

"I kinda like him. It's like he sees inside my soul" ~ Nigel


Whoever puts their hand on me to govern me, is a usurper, and a tyrant, and I declare them my enemy!

"And when the clouds obscure the moon, and normal service is resumed. It wont. Mean. A. Thing"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpkCJDYxH-4

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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #27 on: June 03, 2010, 11:28:34 pm »
Yeah but intelligence is like a wild elephant or something. Or at least mine was. First I had to tame the beast cos it was rampaging around smashing things up and generally being instrumental in making things a whole lot worse. Once I got it under control, tho, it was handy as fuck for picking up all the debris it had left in it's wake.

Double edged sword?

The key for me was developing the meta cognitive faculty to the degree where I am aware of pretty much everything my brain is doing at pretty much all times. I might not always be able to stop it from doing something - I'll lose my temper or get a bit depressed or hyper from time to time but it never sneaks up on me, never catches me by surprise. I can see it happening, as it happens and, more importantly I can see the best route to take to steer things back on track before it gets out of hand.

Whether you do this by willpower alone or with the aid of meds, all mental illness survivors learn to do this to some degree or other. That's the prize.
I'm up to my arse in Brexit Numpties, but I want more.  Target-rich environments are the new sexy.
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"computation is a pattern in the spacetime arrangement of particles, and itís not the particles but the pattern that really matters! Matter doesnít matter." -- Max Tegmark

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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #28 on: June 04, 2010, 02:45:07 pm »
The key for me was developing the meta cognitive faculty to the degree where I am aware of pretty much everything my brain is doing at pretty much all times. I might not always be able to stop it from doing something - I'll lose my temper or get a bit depressed or hyper from time to time but it never sneaks up on me, never catches me by surprise. I can see it happening, as it happens and, more importantly I can see the best route to take to steer things back on track before it gets out of hand.

Whether you do this by willpower alone or with the aid of meds, all mental illness survivors learn to do this to some degree or other. That's the prize.


Doesn't everyone do this? 

...


I'm not trying to dismiss or belittle you here.  I always assumed this is how the brain is supposed to work.  Meta-cognition is one of the best tools I have not to act like a monkey.

I'm just starting to realize I may be in the minority, here.







Fuck.

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Re: Conversations from hell
« Reply #29 on: June 04, 2010, 05:00:16 pm »
No.5: Steve

Steve was like a lot of us when he first arrived. Spent the whole time, trying to convince anyone who would listen that he wasn't supposed to be there. This kind of obsessive denial was nothing out of the ordinary - hell isn't everyone's cup of tea.

He was thin as a rake, on account of the fact that his diet for the last year or so had consisting mainly of ecstasy tabs. He'd been busted with a "fucking shitload" in a bag under the bed but something had happened en route to prison that had landed him in the ward instead. Something that he seemed reluctant to go into in any great detail. Like I said - denial.

His system seemed more than acclimated to the 'X' by the time I met him, given that, even under heavy sedation, he was still bouncing about with the manic, rictus grin that comes with prolonged exposure to low grade shit, that consisted mainly of trucker-speed and worming tablets. Ironically, for a country that the tabloids would have you believe was in the throes of an "ecstasy epidemic" you'd score a hen's tooth easier than MDMA.

I liked Steve. He was smart. Intellectual smart. Used to be a student of mathematics before his grant supplement started taking over his life. He'd spend hours trying to explain mathematical shit to me, shit that he obviously thought was really cool but unfortunately I was born with one of those brains that does the mental equivalent of putting it's hands over it's ears and chanting "Lalalalalalala" whenever it encounters even the simplest of equations. I'd end up just smiling politely and nodding like I'd got it, in the hope that he'd stop trying to crush my head with whatever awesome formula he was thinking about right at that moment but one time he told me something that did pique my interest.

Apparently part of his course concerned the history of mathematics. Famous figures like Newton and Euclid and fucks like that. He told me about a guy called Pythagoras. This dude, apparently was famed for some theorem or other, one which my inability to grasp looked set to derail the whole story until I smiled politely and nodded. Pythagoras was also a philosopher apparently and a religious leader of sorts.

The more he told me about this guy the more I figured he belonged in here with us, rather than immortalised in marble. Pythagoras was eventually vilified and his followers driven underground to practice their heretical mathematics in secret sects, themselves the prehistoric forerunners of the Rosicrucians and the Freemasons.

Steve wasn't there for long. Once the mother of all comedowns was over with he was released into the custody of the old bill, presumably to face the consequences of his rebellious services to the free market but he left me wondering. Just how many geniuses, over the years were insane like me and just how many insane people were actually geniuses?
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walking the fine line line between genius and batshit fucking crazy

"computation is a pattern in the spacetime arrangement of particles, and itís not the particles but the pattern that really matters! Matter doesnít matter." -- Max Tegmark