I will post it here, as this is where most people know me. Or my member name.
Sorry if this is a bit of a boring one. But as the hospital's got older and bigger , things got more and more interesting.
My Psychiatric Journey
I have been in a total of 9 psych hospital and wards. These are from first to last; Pathways Adolescent Unit, Western General Hospital Psych Ward, Parkville Psychiatric Unit, Royal Park, Mont Park, Brierly, Larundel, A Ward at Frankston, Lakeside back to Larundel to the Professional Unit with severe Post Natal depression, so my new born son was with me, and then finally Lakeside again for 3 short weeks.
I think with the many stories I have that I put them under the hospital’s name and go from there.
There will be a mixture of funny things. Tragedies and abuse from the very people who are supposed to be looking after you.
Pathways Adolescent unit
This Unit was within a very small psychiatric hospital in Mercer Rd Armadale. Melbourne. I can’t even think of the name of the hospital, but I think it was called something like Alencon.
I was in this psych unit at 17 when I completely lost the plot after being sexually assaulted and the guy tried to kill me and leave my body in a swamp.
This was the mid 80’s and I received NO support or Counselling afterwards apart from being told to “Dust yourself off and get on with my life.” Well at 14 that was too hard to do.
The guy who assaulted me was a serial rapist and I was his 4th and last victim.
I was in Girl Guides at the time and around 2 months after the assault I went on camp with the Venturer’s, all boys, when the Rapist turned up at the camp.
He was thrown away in jail for 3 years.
Anyway I have only told you this so you can be assured that I am not some stark, raving lunatic. And to basically explain why I was in too many hospitals. For too long.
In the mid 80’s all the way into the late 90’s they never knew what was wrong with me. I had a diagnosis of Borderline Personality, Manic-Depressive to Schizophrenia, when all I had was Post Traumatic Stress Disorder they DIDN’T require me to have my brain constantly fried to being doped up to the eyeballs.
One of the worst hospitals/Unit was Pathways.
The staff at this Unit from the nurse’s to Psychologist were abusive b*******.
Because they knew I was in for cracking up a few years after back, so their ‘treatment’ targeted my fear of men.
Each week, each patient was given a sheet that had goals on it for each day, the week and the month. The staff would have to write down something that would challenge us. We would then rate how hard this goal would be to achieve.
One of my Goal Sheets that I still have was to talk to 3 unknown males for 15 minutes each about sex and why I am so scared of it! Yep you read that correct. Could anyone, especially at barely 17 after an assault and attempted murder aside, speak to strange men about sex??
Anyway, a few nasty things happened in the Unit.
I had rice and curry shoved up my nose for punishment.
I was made to make a bib with “I love my mummy and daddy. Baby Wendy” written on it.
I was made to wear this not only in the Unit but also down the park where we were forced to play cricket every Tuesday, but also on trams and trains that we had to catch up to the City Centre. Whilst in the City Centre, whilst earing this bib the whole time we had to sing Christmas carols, whilst wearing swimming goggles, whilst pretending to swim down the tram lines in Bourke Street. I was so embarrassed. Everyone was staring at us. And it was winter to boot.
I actually have photos of these days. I might make them up and put them on Facebook.
I was also given carpet burn all up my back and front as one of the male nurse’s Ron, who hated my guts, did this to me because it was funny. Funny to hurt someone?? Yep according to Ron.
If you have ever had a small carpet burn on your knee or elbow, you would know how much that hurts. Imagine now having burns all up your back, stomach and over your boobs.
I was also constantly told that I should have gotten over the assault and that I was now being a tortoise. (Each patient had animals named after their behaviour/issues) Such as me being a tortoise and a hare. Meaning instead of facing my issues (Issues that the staff made up most of the time) I would pull my head into the shell and hide away from the truth. The hare, which contradicts this, is that I run away from my problems.
I escaped one day. Although there was a nurse’s station right in front of the stairs that led down and out through the adult part of this old hospital.
I took my very first OD that day I escaped on Panadol for hecks sake.
I get back and Ron was so mad at me that he put me in the room that is right beside the nurse’s station and had a window on it.
I was given a 5,000 word essay to write on ‘Why every blade of grass is a different colour green.’ Whilst I spent 72 hours straight in this room without leaving it once. And it was so small.
Because I had been a smart **** to Ron when I got back and slammed the empty packet of Panadol on the bench and said “So what are you going to do about that now.” Not knowing at the time they can pump your stomach. Give you Ipecac and other things.
So Ron over dosed me on Ipecac. He told me this was because I overdosed on Panadol, and then he would overdose me on Ipecac. Which is extremely dangerous as Ipecac is a poison when too much is taken. This is why it is no longer available for purchase by ANYONE now. Too many deaths occurred.
I was so sick that as I had a shower I made sure I sat down because I lost consciousness in the shower and awoke 90 minutes later to freezing water.
I was discharged 4 weeks later and only after less than a week at home, I was re-admitted for another 2 long and torturous weeks.
Everyone who got discharged had a book made for you of ‘thoughtful’ things that the staff wanted you to remember, including a picture and a positive thing that we would remember as we were going away ‘cured’ (NOT!) to take to heart and remember forever and never repeat.
I received a photo a me with my arm crossed, miserable standing in cold Bourke St Mall with Jan the Psychologist smiling away giving me a cuddle. Yuck! Gary, who was a psych nurse wrote, as I can actually still remember it, NOT because it was pivotal to the rest of my life but because it made me so darn mad that he even wrote this. “Wendy. Remember the important things in life and trash all that other rubbish that you think is your life.” OK it may be a positive motto but what he meant by it as I was shocked by what he had written thinking it was positive as so many other’s before me had, had such harsh mottos but mine, to me, seemed tame. So I thanked Gary like an idiot for writing something so nice. But he quickly dashed me down in flames when he told me that what he meant by the words was that I was attacked 3
years ago. It was time to let that go and stop using that as an excuse not to face and deal with my REAL issues, tortoise/hare again.
He continued about all this crap about the assault was just bull****. I had real issues, not the assault being one. I had to face these issues and get on with my life because if I continued down this ‘playing games’ path, people would get sick of it and it certainly gets old as the staff here had certainly had enough of it after just 6 weeks.
All I could do was cry. There was no explaining to Gary or anyone else anything more. He had the other staff had made up their professional minds.
I did have one parting gift to Ron and his playmate at work, Varri, who worked together almost all shifts, especially when we were finally allowed to turn on the TV at 7:30pm until 10:00pm spent a lot of time playing Nurse’s and Nurse’s in the closet. I mean desk. I won’t say what my parting words were not to be written. Let me just say, they were not what those two were expecting. Neither were my parent’s I should say. I was in so much trouble for quite a while because I had been abusive and rude to the ‘professionals’ who deal with crap like I gave them all the time, that they didn’t need to hear gutter trash talk as a thank you for looking after me.
My parents knew about the abuse but always thought I was exaggerating or lying about what was going on, like the burns. They only thought that it had been done in a different context than I was talking about and that the staff knew exactly what they were doing and talking about as they would not have a job if they didn’t.
The two positive thing I got out of Pathways was a love for doing Tai Chi and finding out that Pathways was closed down, and the hospital demolished after claims of abuse were found to be true.