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Strict Standards: Declaration of JParameter::loadSetupFile() should be compatible with JRegistry::loadSetupFile() in /home/billbmn/public_html/wcmi1/libraries/joomla/html/parameter.php on line 512

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/billbmn/public_html/wcmi1/plugins/system/advancedmodules/advancedmodules.php:28) in /home/billbmn/public_html/wcmi1/plugins/system/admintools/admintools/badbehaviour/screener.inc.php on line 9

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Strict Standards: Declaration of JRouterJoomsef::parse() should be compatible with JRouter::parse(&$uri) in /home/billbmn/public_html/wcmi1/components/com_sef/sef.router.php on line 361

Strict Standards: Declaration of JRouterJoomsef::build() should be compatible with JRouter::build($url) in /home/billbmn/public_html/wcmi1/components/com_sef/sef.router.php on line 361

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Strict Standards: Only variables should be assigned by reference in /home/billbmn/public_html/wcmi1/plugins/system/hotlogin/hotlogin.php on line 88

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Strict Standards: Only variables should be assigned by reference in /home/billbmn/public_html/wcmi1/plugins/content/fb_tw_plus1/fb_tw_plus1.php on line 43

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R. J. P.W.’s Story - WhatCausesMentalIllness.com
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Login

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FAQ  


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Word Cloud  


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Latest Additions  


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Glimpses

R. J. P.W.’s Story

Details

R. J. P.W.’s Story

My mental illness where it began

I was twenty five when I first had a problem with mental illness. It cost me more than $3000 on a credit card because I was running around in rent-a-cars all over New South Wales and parts of South Australia. I also spent the money I had accumulated in my bank account, money that I had been saving to put down as a deposit on the house my parents were buying. We had been there for six years and it was my hope to purchase the home (the first we would ever own) and finish paying it off. However, my father had other ideas and decided to sell while I was in Castlemaine working for a man who did not even pay me in the end.

My father went his way and my mother and I were left to find our own way. We first went to live with a friend of the family in the local area and later we stayed with another friend of the family who lived in an inner suburb of Melbourne. It was from here that I took off looking for greener pastures only to get myself into more trouble than Moses. Including a stay in prison for a couple of months after having been caught with a match box of marijuana. I was in court in Wagga Wagga NSW where the judge said he thought I was a drug dealer, which I was not! The only thing that I was is a pot smoker.

But this was after I had been to Newcastle in a rent-a-car and upon returning to Sydney and being asked by the service station manager to wait while he did the paperwork; in fact he went out the back and rang the police. After taking me to the police station one of the officers reached over not even looking into my bag but just putting his hand in and immediately pulling out the match box. Upon being asked I told them I did not even have a match box in my bag let alone drugs. During this time I never saw a psychiatrist even although a judge said I should be seen by one.

Too much happened during that time to go into detail about here but if you would like to find out a few snippets about the things that happened Impact Support Services (59 Warrigal Road, Oakleigh VIC 3166) is putting out a book called, ‘Rainbow Rhymes and Writings,’ and some of my stories are in it. This was the first time that I ever had any trouble with a mental illness, but as my life went on I was to experience many other times after 1989/90 that were outside of my mental ability to control. Between 1980 and 1989 I married, had a family, (the first was a miscarriage followed by two boys) and was separated through my own wrong doing.

While I was in Queensland I was getting counselling by a pastor who had a specific ministry, specific that is, to my problem. I was in Brisbane for about 20 months and during that time I would go every Tuesday to my counsellors home where I would do some filing for him then later on in the evening they would put on a barbeque for a number of those who went to him and his wife for guidance and counselling for their particular problems. So I was attending these counselling sessions for most of the time that I lived in Brisbane. When I was sent from Bundaberg to Toowoomba this man came down there one time and brought with him my bag which had been left at his place. Once he knew I was there he arranged for me to be picked up to go to a local church. We are still friends and in contact from time to time.

During 1992 I had another period of three months in a prison followed by five months in the prison mental health wards, both in Queensland. I left there on only one tablet and for the next 20 months I was still only on one tablet. Then someone from my past turned up in 1995 and I had to leave Brisbane and moved up to Maryborough where I stayed in a men’s’ hostel, then later I was able to get into a bungalow belonging to a strange family. This was in 1995 and I was there for two months until I became very fearful for my life as I had had a contract put out on my life in 1990. Now there had been two men turn up who I was fearful of and who made it clear what they were there for. One in Brisbane and the other in Maryborough.

Thankfully I was able to get away in both cases. However, the second time it was because of fear that I had a breakdown and was taken up to Bundaberg hospital by the manager of the men’s hostel. I can remember waking up one day not really knowing what was going on around me. The next thing I know, I was being dragged between two men to a waiting car then I must have passed out. I had been drugged or to put it a little more genteel, sedated. This all happened in 1995. Little did I know that this was to be the start of what I can only describe as the beginning of a nightmare.

The drive to Toowoomba took some 4 hours and I was totally unaware for the whole time until we were passing the township of Toowoomba. I was taken to the Bailey Henderson Hospital where I was placed in what one could only class as prison ward which had barrels over the cyclone wire fences. In the centre of the complex there was an open space, that is to say there was no roof; it was here that we had to smoke if it wasn’t raining. When it was raining we had to smoke in a really small room with a view into the courtyard.

For my first two weeks I was put out onto the back verandah and because I was under heavy sedation, whenever I stood up I would fall forward and the nurse who was with me the whole time would have to grab me to stop me from falling over; this went on for at least a week. Add to this that I was placed in a cell with two locked doors and the light on night and day. There was no blankets or sheets just a canvas covered doona; if you could call it a doona. Having the light on all the time only added to my troubles, seeing that I could not sleep with the light on all night.

When I first arrived they did not try to re-diagnose me, instead they just took the diagnoses that had been given in 1992 by the psychiatrists at the prison hospital. This presented many problems for me during the cause of me internment, oh sorry, I meant admission. Once I had been put into the mainstream population after the first two weeks, although I was able to catch up on some much needed sleep, I found that they were changing my medications about every two months because they were treating me for the wrong illness or a wrong diagnoses had been the real reason for this constant change in medication.

After two month I was released or should I say removed from this prison, sorry, ward into another less secure ward called Clouston or something like that. Here is where thing seemed to get worse. To start with I was not ringing my family; in fact they did not even know where I was. It wasn’t until someone there told me that there was a call for me on the pay phone that contact was once again established. Even then I still was not ringing my mother or sister also I had no contact with my own family.

There was at least one good thing that happened; it was during a time when the weather was somewhat cold and rainy. We all had to walk some distance to the massive dining room for our meals but for some unexplained reason I was made to stay back with only a few people to have my meals in the ward. It rained for quite some time so I was glad I could stay in the ward, others were not so lucky.

There was a time when a guy from prison came to that ward, but he did not want to be there. One day he ripped a door off one of the showers. This man put the fear of God into me and even although he was sent back to prison I could not go anywhere near the showers for some considerable time. I had a lump on the back of my neck and wanted to have it checked out by a doctor, so they arranged for me to be taken to the local hospital. However once I arrived there they had no idea what I was there for and they began to do tests on me; hooking me up to a heart diagnostic machine and other test saw me having to remove my pants; the smell must have been bad as they recoiled backward away from me. They never did get to the real reason why I was there in the first place. Upon returning to the hospital ward I had to have a shower but I was still somewhat scared while in a shower.

The months rolled by a total of 10 months plus the two months in the prison and that without ever having done anything wrong. I remember one time when they had a young new nurse on duty; she had her certificate for handling medicines. One night she was on handing out medicines and when she came to give me my medication she just grabbed drugs from the shelf without ever looking at what she had grabbed. I told her that these were not the same drugs as I had been given the night before but she said they were. The next night the same thing happened so I refused to take them and made her mistake known to the other nurses on duty. A mixture of the wrong drugs issued in this manner can have fatal consequences; her incompetents could have caused the death of any one of those she issued drugs to. From that time on I never saw her again.

After twelve months my time there was coming to a close but they would not let me return to Melbourne my home city. Instead they wanted me to spend time in a boarding house to see how I would cope in the community. While I was in the boarding house I tried to strike up a conversation with some of the people without much glory. There were not too many people who could hold an intellectual conversation or even small talk for that matter. As a result of this I spent most of my time during the day laying on my bed only coming out for cups of tea or meals and listening to Christian music on my tape player. Apart from that there was the occasional stroll down to the township to do some shoplifting, oh no, I mean window shopping.

There was a time when I decided to take a trip to Melbourne; so I went to the local travel agents and booked my plane and bus fare. Catching a cab to the bus depot and then the hour or so trip to Brisbane. From Roma Street bus terminal to the airport then the plane which took 70 minutes to reach Tullamarine airport in Melbourne. A feeling of great relief came over me at being back in my home town some 40 kilometres east of the C.B.D. While there I stayed at my mothers, however, I became very paranoid even although I was with my mother. I was meeting my family more or less on a daily basis in the city but this turned out to be a very hard exercise in the state I was in. I was in Melbourne for one week and spent the whole six nights at my mothers.

Upon leaving my mothers I was very paranoid about the exercise ahead of me. That is getting to the airport and making my connection with the plane. Once there I found that my plane had been delayed for about an hour, this made me even more paranoid because I thought I would miss my bus connection back to Toowoomba. As I was walking down through the terminal I looked to my left as I was passing one of the loading bays and to my surprise there was the wife of my counsellor from Brisbane. Thank God she was able to stay with me once we reached the bus terminal at Roma Street to make sure I got the next bus. Arriving back in Toowoomba later in the evening I got a cab back to the boarding house and went straight to bed.

The very next morning I told the owner that I would have to return to the hospital and he was not the least bit concerned that I left all my belongings and returned by taxi. Later that day one of the nurses from the hospital went and packed all my things into plastic bags and brought them to me. I was in the hospital for two weeks before being discharged. Only this time I was allowed to return to my home city. The people who I had come to know gave me a fond farewell and in a way I was somewhat saddened at having to say good bye to them. However, once I reached my sisters, where I would stay for only two weeks, all the thoughts and feeling of the past year and two and a half months of my incarceration seemed to vanish.

Prior to leaving Toowoomba they had made contact with the Mental Health Service in Frankston, Victoria. This meant that I would have to go to the MHS as soon as I arrived back in Melbourne and from then on I would have to report there to see a psychiatrist on an ongoing basis for as long as I was in the area. Once I left my sisters I was able to get a flat at the back of a house that was being occupied by some drinkers. I was there for six years and during that time I had many admissions to the Frankston Hospital. However, in all that time no one ever suggested that I should have ECT electroconvulsive therapy, better known as shock treatment.

One occasion I can remember I had been in hospital and been discharged, for some reason I felt I was not able to cope. I went to my sister’s place where my mother was staying and I spent the night there. The next day I walked out before anyone else was up; all I had on were my pants and socks. I walked from my sisters all the way to my place where I was greeted by the man from the front house who said, “Get away from here, we don’t want you around here.” So I went and sat at the bus stop just around the corner. Before too long my niece turned up in her car and amazingly saw me sitting there, she took me back to my sisters and my case manager was contacted. This was just before I moved into a transitional housing flat in Frankston.

There was another time that I can remember well but am unable to tell why I did what I did. I had been placed in Acacia Lodge for one night not long after I had been in hospital. During the night I walked out and went through Frankston all the way to the other side of the township where there are bends in the road, then I walked onto the beach and while it was still dark I walked into the water fully clothed.

A couple of times I could hear the voices of people I knew calling me to swim saying they would hold me up. Thankfully I did not do so but rather I came out of the water by which time it was getting light and people were coming down to the beach walking their dogs. I continued on down the beach until I came to Seaford, where I left the beach to enter the side streets still heading in the direction of my flat. Later I found myself walking in the tee tree along the railway line. Then for no apparent reason I turned back toward Frankston. I was on the Beach Road when a man who I knew stopped and picked me up and took me to Impact in Douglas Grove, Frankston. Later I walked to the hospital where they said, “Why are you here you were only discharged the other day.” Once they contacted my case manager they found out that I was to have been admitted to the psych ward.

One thing I can say about Frankston hospital is that at least everyone had their own locked cupboard to put their clothes in. I cannot remember how many times I was admitted into Frankston hospitals psych ward, but I do know there were a lot of them during the course of the six years that I was living in Chelsea. Once I moved into the transitional housing flat in Frankston I did not have another admission to the hospital for the whole twelve months that I was there. At the end of that time I had made my way up to the top of the list for permanent accommodation and seeing I had turned 55 I was given a place in a retirement village.

While I had the option of either taking or leaving the offer, in reality if I had said no I would have gone back down the list and would have had to wait longer to get into another place. After having been taken down to look at my new abode with my new case manager and having seen some of my future neighbours I began to become depressed. By the time I got to my new address I was already in a state of depression. It wasn’t long before I had to be admitted to the Monash Medical Centre’s P block. (P for psychiatric.) Never had anyone suggested to me that I needed shock treatment but here in this God forsaken hospital, where I was incarcerated, I was told that I would need ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) a fancy way of saying shock treatment.

Shock treatment is an archaic means of introducing electricity into the brain which is supposed to stimulate the brain and make the recipient better, ha, ha. The only thing is that they tell you that you will experience some short term memory loss. However, there is just one problem, in fact you lose all or most of your memory for the entire time that you are in hospital and it does not return within two months. It never returns at all.

For some time I would not give my permission, as forms had to be signed by me before anything could be done. One of the nurses assured me that there was only a small amount of voltage used and that I would not experience any bad effects. Had I been told the truth that in fact there would be as many as 400 volts but a small wattage, I would never have consented to the procedure. The truth is that I never did get my memory back, although, when I returned latter to that ward I could recall some of the staff, but not my stay there.

I was in that hospital from the 25th of May until the 7th of July 2004 and upon being discharged I returned to my new flat. Unfortunately my case manager from Southern Community Mental Health Service did not introduce me to a mental health day program in Oakleigh, Victoria. Instead I found myself with more time on my hands and nothing to do with it except to go to places like Southland Shopping Centre or to my sister’s place. As to the latter I would find myself turning up there late at night, in fact one night it was about 10pm. Then on the 30th of July I got into some trouble, I went to me doctor that same night, thankfully he saw me around 7pm that night. The next day he rang the CATT team and soon they were at my door and taking me back to the hospital.

My mind was still not functioning all that well but I was able to give some details of what had happened to one of the CATT team members while in the car on the way to the hospital. He asked me if he could tell the police what I had told him and I agreed. Needless to say I was in hospital until early August. Once I returned home I had the worry of not knowing when the police would knock on my door. There was one good thing that happened and that was that my case manager took me to Oakleigh where I was introduced to one of the workers. I started there and have been going there for more than six years. I had enrolled in the art group and am still with that group except for a short time during the winter months and while I had to attend court. I was also in the writing group which has been most enlightening and there has been much encouragement both from the leaders and group members.

I can give the people from Impact Support Services the best recommendations as they have worked wonders for my recovery as well as those of others who attend there on a regular basis. While I was doing work in the writing group, I was told, I suggested we put a book together of all our works as well as the writings of other members of the Options program, and we did. Because it was my idea I put many hours into typing up peoples work on my home computer, taking up to an hour to copy out one page. However, I felt somewhat deflated in spirit when I found that no one wanted to do anything with the book the next year. Thankfully, the following two years saw more work going into the book and finally the book going to the printer.

During the following months I met my current partner who is an amazing person and very understanding who has the ability to receive messages from the universe (or God, call it what you will) but these predictions come to pass more often than not. He has stood by me while others were closing me out. I went into hospital on two other occasions during our relationship and to spite the fact I went astray by seeking greener pastures, I was taken back. Only thing is that I lost the trust of all of his family and friends. But then I think they would be asking why he was still with me and why on earth he had not left me and find someone better?

On one of these admissions I was treated with the utmost contempt by some of the nursing staff in the psych ward at Monash Medical Centre. On one occasion I was allowed to go only to my own flat and nowhere else, I was told I would have to be back by 4pm and it was mid-winter. We were held up at the railway crossing for twelve minutes and as a result we did not get back until 4.15pm. Upon returning to the ward there was one of the most objectionable nurses I have ever had the displeasure of knowing. She would not listen to my friends reasoning as to why we were held up and said she was going to say I was half an hour late in her report.

There were many other things that happened upon my admissions into that place of terror. I say terror because I can still recall the time when they brought out the dead body of a woman who died when she was given shock treatment and her body was wheeled into the passage outside of the room where these tortures are carried out.

Another time I remember I had admitted myself into the emergency department at that hospital and without my knowledge they made me involuntary so that when I got to the ward I learned of my involuntary status and became angry but not dangerous. Without my knowing the nurses called for security, who came to me and treated me as if I were the most dangerous person there. They manhandled me into a cell with only a rubber bed, removed, by force, my shoelaces, belt, watch and even my handkerchief all while forcing me down onto the bed.

This then made me even more upset, understandably so, so I tried to punch out the glass window only to find out it was not glass. The end result of this was that I broke the bone in my hand. The next day I knew my hand was swollen but was unaware the bone was broken. Once I became aware of it I told them but they did not put on a full cast only a half cast which was wrapped to my arm with a loose bandage, as a result my hand was not healing properly, in the end I had to take off the cast and let my hand heal without it. If I had not done that my bone would have set on an angle.

The one thing I can never understand is why the visiting hours for the main part of the hospital are from 8am to 8pm while the visiting hours for the psych ward are from 4pm to 8pm. For the life of me I can’t work out why this is so. Are we to dangerous to have visitors all day or is it because they don’t want anyone to see what they do in the morning with those who are having shock treatment? If anyone can tell me why this is necessary, by all means do so! Are we second class citizens? And why are we locked in when some of us are able to cope in the community, why are we not allowed to go out for the day alone or even to make our way home for some time out and return in the evening?

Another thing I was not happy with is that there are no locks on the cupboards where we keep our clothing, so many items go missing. I lost two mobile phones in that ward and they only ever replaced one of them. I had handed my phone to one of the night nurses late one evening asking him to put it in the safe. When I went to get it the next day it was gone. It had never even been put in the book that I had handed it in, plus, I was told the safe was locked at night so why didn’t he tell me to keep it until morning.

Another thing is why are people in the main part of the hospital allowed to keep their mobile phones with them while we have to hand ours in. Plus if our mobile has a camera we are not allowed to keep them on us during the day. As if we are going to go around taking pictures of people in the ward. This is not the case in the medical wards the only thing they have to do is turn off their phones after 8pm. While we are not allowed to keep our phones overnight. Another thing that puts me out is every time I have an admission the psychiatrist Dr Camelleri takes me off all my usual medications and puts me on a whole new drug regime, that include a drug that has been involved in a law suite in the USA at that time. This drug has been responsible for people in the USA committing spontaneous murder, violent acts and suicide. That drug is Effexor XR and he had me on what can only be classed as an overdose at 475mg.

Each time I was discharged I had to go through the process of getting back onto my usual medications and this often took some time. Then there were the injections which I had to endure because in time past when I would become unwell I would forget to take my medication and the end result would be that I would end up missing or not taking my medication at all. This then gave then the idea I was noncompliant regarding my medication, when in fact I may just have been too ill to remember to take them. Mental illness is a terrible thing to suffer with because you do not appear to be sick and people just think you are putting it on. But just think one day you may be affected by a mental illness even although you have lead a normal life up until you become depressed or maybe even manic, then all of a sudden your whole life is turned upside-down.

I am afraid of psychiatrists because of the power they have to have you committed into a hospital psych ward. It used to take four ordinary people to have a person committed or otherwise the police would have to take you to the hospital and wait until you were admitted; but it only takes one psychiatrist to have a person committed or two members of the CATT team will come to your home and tell you to pack a bag and they will wait and watch while you do so, then they take you directly to the psych ward via a rear entry. Once in the hospital ward you are completely at the mercy of the psychiatrist who can give you any drug he sees’ fit to give you and you have no say in the matter. I was told I am not to go off my medications ever, yet once in a psych ward I am taken off all my medication.


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