Informed Consent

Pieces of Me –

I wish I could leave my skin
For just one day.
See if with me
The hurt would stay.
Change my name,
Forget my past.
See if with me
The pain would last.
Trade this life
For fortune and fame.
Stop crying these tears
And bleeding my pain.
Speak my voice
And have it heard.
Have ‘love’ mean
More than just a word.
Not stress over school,
Or worry about home.
Not feel so smothered,
Yet look so alone.
If not for you,
I’d find no reason to live.
I constantly take,
And hardly give.
The emotion is ‘pathetic’
That hovers in my air.
Tarnishes my blue eyes,
Taints my blonde hair.
Such an individual
Holds a reason to cry.
Locks the memories away,
Stores her yearning to die.
I remember those eyes
So full of lust.
Using my love
While gaining my trust.
I can still feel her hand
As our fingers entwine.
She stole that precious moment
I thought was just mine.
‘All’s fair in love and war’,
Or so the saying goes.
All my battle scars
Reflect the path that I chose…

Rebecca Paul

Recently, I have been reminded how fortunate…WE are.  My wife’s adult life (up to recently) had been filled with hospital stays.  Not medical stays but institutional admissions.   In what was commonly known as; mental asylums.

She has held strong through strange visits to strange hotels…sitting an dissecting the merits of lime Jell-O.

Scary moments where as her spouse…I never knew what I would be coming home to after a days work.

Times where I refused to believe her beliefs…in reality.

  • The self harm…
  • The fifty benadryl a day….
  • Emergency Room visits with charcoal milkshakes and unknown doctors.

After years of both forced incarceration and voluntary.  Megan has come out the other side.  Though I do understand paranoid schizophrenia to be a chronic illness and this upswing may just be a fleeting moment.

I also understand that when she had voluntarily sought solace in these institutions.  She, I, US, battled many a stranger/therapist on what meds were working.  And, which ones that offered serious and dire consequences.

I say WE are fortunate because many still suffer.  They suffer in silence.  They suffer from being over medicated.  More importantly, they suffer from not trusting their doctors.  This lack of trust often centers around the doctor not taking the time to acknowledge that many psych patients are fully capable of understanding the side effects of medications or their recourse.

And, for that, many of us can thank, Eleanor Rise –

Eleanor Riese was diagnosed with schizophrenia when she was 25. At the time of the trial in 1989, she was 44, and had been in and out of psychiatric hospitals for several years preceding her case. During her stay at St. Mary’s Hospital in San Fransisco, Riese’s lawyers argued she developed physical symptoms caused by antipsychotic medication she did not consent to.

Lawyers representing Riese argued; argued, “People most likely to be treated with the drugs in a short-term care situation were either those experiencing a crisis such as suicidal feelings, or chronic patients, many of whom are among the homeless population, who can make decisions about their treatment even though they may be delusional.”

A victory short lived…

Eleanor had been killed by the medication she had been forced to take.  

Professor Peter Kinderman

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This informed consent triumph in California offered/offers hope to those who struggle mental health maladies…and, physical disability directly related to their medications.

Informed consent in relation to voluntary admission into hospital is state to state.  Often the patient will find his or herself fighting in court.  Leaving decisions up to judge and jury.

 

Illness

She stared directly into the sun!  Soon thereafter, she fell ill for a brief period of time.  This illness…to her, abstract…obscure.  Difficult to witness.  Hard to bear.  

And, though I struggled with my own sense of reality!

Pain is pain.  

Pain is never done.

In my own reality…’who had I been to judge?’

 

What Does ‘Now’ Hate Know of Love

So commonplace now, the trickle down gun shot tears…from a mad clown.

Only means of recourse, to recover the slanted mind from the sand…

somehow.

No vacancy messages.

Airwaves telling of what is to come.

myra evans disappointed

There are three crows circling from above.

What does NOW hate…know of love?

I could walk the tilted land endlessly searching the heaven’s below.

Rummaging the hell above.

The question will remain…

What does NOW hate…know of love?

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to Blame the Gray

Is it madness that succumbs to sanity?

Or, sanity opening the door to madness?

As I watch snow spit at the rain…icy shards of a tragic youth is all that remains.

Splashing ever so loudly on my windows and their pain.

It all appears as murderous conspiracy to blame the gray.

To blame the mundane.

madness 1

Is it sanity that heals the madness?

Or, the madness that deletes the sane?

Could it be one in the same?

Cycle of Abuse: Breakdowns Come, Breakdowns…Do Not Go

I set aside specific days to write this journal/introspection of my childhood and life.  If anyone reading this has suffered at the big, callous, hand of abuse…both visible and invisible.  If there is just one person suffering from the pains of stretching your now adult skin over the remnants of a child’s constant insults, adult bullying, slaps, rug burns, turmoil…They would understand the shaky, sweaty, palms of the victim.

For the victim, who lived seemingly short years, over a lifetime of abuse.  Your body shakes without notice.  Your mind wonders.  Your thoughts come up with excuses for not unraveling the mystery of parent’s injustice.

Personally, I am a fan of tuning out.  I have done so all my life.  Through writing, drugging, music, television, anything…

I did not ask to be the asphalt jungle to my parent’s car wheels filled with the air of neglect. But I did what was needed to hide away.  To take shelter behind words, lyrics, anything to drown out the sounds of flesh hitting flesh, the accusations, the screaming and yelling…

‘You’re not fuckin’ good are you?’

‘I don’t give a good goddamn what you think?’

‘Can’t you get off your fat, lazy, ass and do something?’

Over, over, and over…again.

My father’s favorite?_boiler room state hospital

Who’s gonna help you now?  Get the fuck up!  I’m not done with you…’

 

Jack Sanders, one of my father’s attorneys, was fairly simple to track down.  Having been the assistant district attorney for Rockingham County, during the early sixties…He left a paper trail.

I can assume when I phoned him at his current law office in Portsmouth; I had certainly caught him off guard.  That being said.  Jack remembered both my father…and, later, my mother.

“If I had been in your father’s shoes.  I think I would have done the same thing!  Mind you I can’t divulge much of the case…lawyer – client privilege…you know.  But she (Elizabeth Laughlin-Bowley) was very easy.  She got around!  She pushed your father into thinking he had no choice …”

Jack could not elaborate further about my father’s first wife.  Or, her such severe, indiscretions; That she (Elizabeth) deserved to be stabbed to death.  However, it had been obvious that during their marriage, Elizabeth had a habit of prolonged infidelity.

It boils my blood…even now.

Infidelity gone bad?!  WTF?  Stabbing someone 35 times because they no longer wished to be with you?  Stabbing a mother in front of her child?  And, Mr. Sanders…making excuses for such horrendous behavior.

Had I been surprised?  Not too much!  After all, one of my cousins on my father’s side…killed a man in Texas.  Killed him because the guy came onto him.  Another Hate Crime…another soul lost.  I had yet, another cousin, convicted of vehicular homicide.  She too…contained the Bowley blood.

I had been aghast at Mr. Sander’s response…A typical good boy response…It is the woman’s fault.

My father had been shipped to New Hampshire State Hospital in ’63.  And, not two years later, my mother gave my half-sister and half-brother up to catholic adoption services…in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Pushed to the edge by her father’s physical abuse.  My mother, Janice, always found comfort in the arms of even more abusive men.  Aside from taking steps to becoming a nun, joining a convent for short time…and, all the priests, she encountered.    One of the other men with meaning had been, Louis, her first husband.

Always frail, toxic in dampened in thought and lacking in confidence, Janice fulfilled the role of woman on the edge…often.

She attempted suicide many times during this era.  Pills, razor, down and out reckless behavior.  She became less and less lucid.  And, eventually, had a nervous breakdown.  We had always been close.  Possibly because of my need to discover the depth of life beyond more money…and, more into madness.  Perhaps, we were also close because she wrote. She penned poems quite frequently.

In the two years spent at New Hampshire Hospital…she had been encouraged to write her feelings down.

Janice felt the need to disclose her innermost secrets to me.  She would tell me of the time Electro Shock Therapy had come to fruition at the hospital.  How, roommates, friends and others…were being carried off.  Carted away to try this new and improved treatment for all that ails you.

Janice would also talk of the plastic bed-clothes they wore.  Plastic, lacking in excess thread.  Thread that a patient could hang themselves with.  Supposedly, these clothes also cut down on laundry.  Being easily to wipe clean when a sloppy and drug awed patient made a mess.old main. room state hospital

Cigarettes would need doling out.  And, screams and cries for help would echo from behind the walls of cemented observation rooms.  The blood on the ceiling and hallway walls…from former inmates. So on and so forth.

I am certain the experience drags what little of you that is left…Drags your soul down and keeps hold of it until you completely down and…totally, out.

What shook me the most, today…Had been taken the folder of poems my mother gave to me, down from the closet.  Glancing at them for the first time in many, many, years.  I felt as though the air had thickened and my soul had been dismissed.  The same exact way I felt when I first read Janice’s writings.

Forget

by

J. A. Scalf

I’d try to forget

The red roses you sent

If roses stopped being red

I’d try to forget

The winter we met

The spring we wed

If it snowed in the spring instead.

I’d try not to remember you at all

If two little children didn’t call you daddy.

I’d try to forget you

but my heart won’t listen.

So, in order to forget the hurt

I’ll remember

red roses, spring and the rest

Most of all

The love of two children

Who call you daddy

For them I can’t forget

state hospital 1

What A Way to Live

by J. A. Scalf

When life is distorted and you’ve got the facts wrong

When your unstable and confused

On Thioridazine you belong

When your sad and depressed, blue and low

On Mellaril or Elavil you should go

When your high and loud, happy and new

Watch out!

Thioridazine is after you

If you reach a happy medium

You’ll never know

Because your medicated so.

Your numb, that is all you’ll know

What a way to live

What a way to go

**Excerpts from Janice’s poetry/journal circa 1965 – 1966.

 

I can only read the poetry in bits and spurts.  It hurts so much to feel another’s pain.  Pain that could have been alleviated by others.  The cycle of abuse!  So vicious!  It starts with a great, grandfather smacking his kids around for being in a room, for playing outdoors or taking too long to eat dinner.

That vision takes hold by the daughter or the son.  Faded and disgruntled…the memory means little.  Then the child becomes a parent, finds himself…or, herself, overwhelmed.  Overwhelmed with long hours and short paychecks from work.  Suddenly, a slap becomes a fist.  A spanking turns into a leather belt with heavy grooves in it.  Not much later, the parent lives a solemn life of…

I could have been a photographer

I could have been an army general

I could have been someone important

Like a broken rim to a bicycle.  The wheel keeps turning.  Children are born.  Parents become grandparents…but there is little talk.  Very little is said about the hitting, screaming, mistreatment, etc.  No one talks, therefore, no one listens…And, in a short while, that is just life, one generation after another.harold freaky

Fifty years into my life…Thirty-five, or so, sitting in my own shit.  Behaving badly.  Thinking of just myself.  Being a poorly educated parent.  Providing little comfort for my lover.

Sitting on my deck in the late winter…I wonder,

“Could I have been better…had my family discussed the abuse…the shame…the sick state of health…”

Those thoughts languish in the late afternoon sun.  I don’t ponder and putter on them…for too long.  I can only change what I know how to change.  Living improved, is a daily process, the forgiveness, the purposeful forgetfulness…