All posts by Phoebe Sparrow Wagner

Wagner is an award-winning poet, author and artist who wrote WE MAD CLIMB SHAKY LADDERS (Cavankerry Press, 2009) poems about her life with schizophrenia, and co-author, with her sister, a psychiatrist, of DIVIDED MINDS: TWIN SISTERS AND THEIR JOURNEY THROUGH SCHIZOPHRENIA, a memoir, which was a finalist for the Connecticut Book Award and won the NAMI Outstanding Literature Award in 2006. It is still in print, and available at Amazon. Her newest book of poetry and art, LEARNING TO SEE IN THREE DIMENSIONS (Green Writers Press/Sundog Poetry Center 2017) is also now available at Amazon and other booksellers. Her work has been published in Tikkun, Midwest Poetry Review, and the New York TImes Sunday Magazine as well as the Hartford Courant and the LA Weekly, among other places. She also won an international poetry competition sponsored by the BBC in 2001/2. Wagner’s art was on display in Connecticut area libraries in 2011 and 2012 and in Vermont, in Brattleboro, in 2016 and 2017. Many pieces are available for sale and charitable donation. She currently lives in Vermont.

“Twin Realities”: schizophrenia article from 2003

Pam and Lynn Spiro, in England, 1962

 

 

 

 

 

Kathleen Megan’s story from 2003, while DIVIDED MINDS was being written.

http://schizophrenia.com/stories/twins.htm

 

 

Carolyn  and Pamela, after she put on 60lbs on Zyprexa (olanzapine)

“The thing about twins is they invite comparison. Even though they may look identical, one usually has the edge — a little more confidence, a quicker smile, perhaps a bit more talent.

As babies and little girls, Pam Wagner and Carolyn Spiro were like that. They danced and acted and held promise that delighted their parents. They loved it when people mixed them up. They were a tight club of two.

And then in adolescence, Pam, the one with the edge, lost touch with her own mind. Life became confusing and the twins’s lives took separate paths, diverging and then intersecting repeatedly, as they once again do now. Pam is a poet and Carolyn a psychiatrist. In midlife, they’ve come together to write a book, to try to capture their story for the benefit of others, and also for themselves.

Their story is a tale of the inseparable bond of sisters, of twins, and their struggle when their lives became anything but identical.

• • •

When you enter Pam’s apartment you can’t escape the photo test: two adorable baby girls, ribbons in downy hair, one gazing intently, the other head-tilted, tentative. Both bright-eyed, identical. Which is which? Which is Pammy and which is her twin, Lynnie?

You can’t tell. Is that thoughtful tilt a Lynnie trait? The more focused expression Pammy’s? Impossible to say, so you guess and you guess wrong.

And you wonder, was the die already cast at so young an age? Were they already – though indistinguishable on the outside – so very divergent on the inside? The seed of illness, perhaps, already planted; the roles of caretaker and cared-for so early ordained. You try to reconcile these photos – these identical babies and later, mirror-image school girls – with all you see a half-century later.

So very different are they now. How do they live with this, the undoing of their twinhood? And, how has their family, so accomplished and talented, coped with the slap of fate? That one became psychotic, the other a psychiatrist. Pam catches you staring at the beguiling babies. “You know,” she says, “I was well once.”’

click on link above to find rest of story, written after a years long series of interviews, both at home and in hospitals.

 

The DEEPER DIG at Vermont Digger — on Mental Health Care challenges

Features me and a poem…as well as a discussion of mental health “care” with DMH commissioner, Mourning Fox

https://vtdigger.org/2018/11/16/deeper-dig-hospitals-struggle-psychiatric-care/

 

BRATTLEBORO RETREAT — how they torture and abuse patients

Brattleboro Retreat Aftercare Summary

Please read both documents, noting how the first is measured and reasonable written by an impartial social worker, and how the second written By thd doctor who made no bones about how he hated my guts and tries to see BPD in everything, even my socializing and doing art! Jesus flicking christ!

 

 

T

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED AT VPCH, and the lies they told…Part 3

If you do not know exactly what happened, please read parts 1 and 2 previous to this post.

I will now post the Nursing Board result of the investigation, complete with the two nurses now in agreement and colluding to maintain that I attempted to stab them! NOTHING of this is in the chart or the accounts from any previous investigation, and I have the papers to prove it. But suddenly they grew new memories of what happened? Bullshit,. they lied to save their jobs, and it is clear that they got together to agree on a story, since it never even came close to happening as their now consistent with each other lies maintain.

But review the records and tell me what YOU see….Because to me it is OBVIOUS that they got away with abuse and soul murder.

you can contact me  via the contact page. I have NOTHING to hide.

LIES!!!!

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED AT VPCH part 2, naming names

This was the complaint I sent to Nursing and Medical boards

STATEMENT TO DENNIS MENARD: SECRETARY OF STATE INVESTIGATOR

I admit that even though it was early in the morning on November 18, 2015 on Unit D at the Vermont Psychiatric Care Hospital’s Unit D, I was slamming doors. The noise was very loud. Yet never before had this triggered anything from the unbelievably patient and forbearing staff on Unit D, except perhaps some bemused bewilderment at what set me off. After all, with only 3 patients on the unit at any time and the other two either still awake, or highly medicated and dead to the world, it usually did not matter to anyone if I raised a ruckus. But this time, because Annette Brennan was the nurse on duty, it mattered a great deal more than it should have.

Instead of letting me slam my door a few times and cool off, as I had so often before, Nurse Brennan came barreling through the doorway and into my bathroom, where I had been sleeping on a mattress since shortly after my admission, two weeks before. I backed away. Brennan pushed up closer, yelling at me, “You will not slam any more doors tonight, do you understand?!”

To explain what preceded this, you should know a little of the “backstory.” I had gone to the med window about a half hour earlier, asking for an extra Ativan for “anxiety”. But really I needed it because I had been unable to speak since Nov 15. On November 19, people were coming to evaluate me from Meadowview Recovery Residence in Brattleboro, and I needed to be able to have a voice to speak with them.

Now, you should be aware that for many years catatonia and long episodes of mutism have been a problem for me. In 2003, a Connecticut doctor discovered that Ativan by
IV was effective for my catatonia. When mutism was the bigger problem, my outpatient doctor at the time decided to try Ativan orally, seeing mutism as a feature of catatonia, and she used it with good result.

However, at VPCH the on-call doctor, Dr. Lasek, had not been told about my relapsing mutism, nor my need for Ativan. He only knew about my complaints of sleeplessness and anxiety. So when called around 1:30 AM he refused me a second tiny dose and ordered me to try to relax on my own and sleep for two hours, before he would order another.

This is what occasioned, at nearly 2:00 AM, my panicked outburst of door slamming. But the real trigger for what followed was that Nurse Brennan did something she should not have. My advance directive explicitly warns against it. She grabbed me by

1

the wrists. Yes, feeling threatened by her being up in my face, I had thrown a notebook at the wall. But I had not thrown it at her, as Nurse Mansukhani who was watching all this, explicitly states in both the chart and her APS interview. Maybe having cornered me in the bathroom, Nurse Brennan saw my mute shaking my fists as threatening. Even so, she ought to have backed away. Just backed away not provoked trouble.

Instead, she approached closer and, here is the thing, she reached out and she grabbed both my wrists. Immediately, the other nurse, Jennifer Mansukhani, watching from the door, said to her, “We don’t go hands on here at VPCH.” I want to repeat this because it is vitally important, even though it was never mentioned in the chart. Nurse Mansukhani cautioned Annette Brennan, even as she grabbed me: “WE DON’T GO HANDS ON HERE AT VPCH.”

But no one, not Jennifer Mansukhani, not anyone, came to my aid. I pulled and I struggled to get loose from her grip but Nurse Brennan only held on tighter. So reflexively, and in terror, I bent my head to bite her fingers with my teeth, desperate to get her to release me. And the chart says as much when it reports, “Patient tried to bite staff times 3.” Well, of course I did not just up and bite staff for no reason. The reason, the only reason, I bit staff, that is, bit nurse Brennan, is because she had me by the wrists and restrained me, without just cause. And because being mute i could not simply tell her to let go!

Of course all hell broke loose. The nurse yelled for help and help arrived in seconds with staff now officially going “hands on” to stop me from biting and to restrain me completely .

As they bodily hoisted me off the floor, screaming but wordlessly, one man asked, “What now? Brennan answered promptly, “Bring her to seclusion!” and so following her directive, without trying any other intervention, they carried me there, even though there was a large armchair right in the empty day room they could have placed me in to calm down…

So there I was, in seclusion largely because Nurse Brennan had backed me into my own bathroom and grabbed my wrists in a moment of inappropriate anger, telling me I was not going to slam doors on her watch.

2

After staff dashed from the seclusion room, I ran after them but they closed the door, locking me in alone. Dazed and sad, and frightened, I sat back down on the mattress, not moving, my back to the door. I heard them talking. Scarcely listening, I tried to calm myself and wondered how long they planned to keep me locked in that room. Then I heard someone say, “She has her glasses and watch. We have to take them away from her!” (So what? I thought. What is the problem?)

But they piled in again, all of them pushing on top of me at once, knocking me in the face and severely bruising my nose and breaking my eyeglasses in their zeal to take away my glasses and watch and my medical band. Then they proceeded to fondle my body, looking for pockets, of which I had none. All this time I was screaming, without verbalizing a word…and fighting them in protest at their violation of my person. They tried to dash out of the room and lock me alone inside again, but I followed them and escaped, wedging myself in-between their ranks. So someone said. “Back inside!” and we all moved as one, back in towards the mattress.

Instead of trying anything to calm me or disentangle themselves and leave again, or better yet trying to follow the instructions on my detailed Advanced Directive and the one plea I had made from the moment I arrived at VPCH, which was never to leave me alone in a seclusion room, imagine my dismay when I heard nurse Brennan shout, “Get the Bed!”

The bed? The restraints bed? For what? What had I done to deserve The Bed? All I had done was try to get out of their terrifying seclusion room, a seclusion room I never deserved to be dragged to in the first place!

But the bed was gotten and as they clamped restraints on my body, Ms Brennan was the person who held my head between her hands as she commanded me — I was howling in terror beyond words, without any words – “YOU WILL CALM DOWN RIGHT THIS MINUTE!” Again and again, gripping my face between her hands, she ordered me to calm down.

You should be aware that my advanced directive EXPLICITLY states and always has, and they were aware of this, that I have been deeply traumatized by the use of restraints and seclusion and that their use should be avoided at ALL costs.

3

Holding me down as I screamed, they fastened an extra restraint, a fifth restraint, a thick plate of velcro across my chest so I could not sit up nor do more than bend my neck slightly, before I lost strength and had to put my head flat on the narrow gurney.

Then what I can only term “the goon squad” trooped out, with Annette Brennan and Dr Joseph Lasek leaving last, saying, and I want to emphasize this because of its sheer brutality: “You will tell us out loud when you are safe enough to be released, or you will remain in restraints.” Then they departed too.

Although two monitors were posted in the adjoining room, I could not see them because of the chest restraint, nor were they permitted to say a word to me. I screamed in despair and terror but it made no difference. Yes, I once heard Chelsea’s voice from somewhere, a sweet, female staff member who had remembered my Advance Directive. She took a risk and told me from her position across the other room, “Pam, try to take a deep breath, try to calm yourself, I am here, you are not alone…” I tried to be grateful, indeed I was grateful. But as soon as I heard that Chelsea was there for me, they replaced her with someone who was told in no uncertain terms not to speak to me again.

I remained very still and so was rewarded with an assessment at every fifteen-minute interval to see whether I was “safe enough” to be released from restraints. Time and again they said I was “non-responsive” or non-compliant because I could not answer them in spoken words. Nurse Brennan made a point of checking my restraints and touching my body, without asking permission. You can read this in the chart if you do not believe me. She expected me to accept her touching me, and not flinch or kick in reaction. But no one would frame Yes or No questions to allow me to communicate! Yes, I became increasingly frustrated and upset. I was not unwilling to answer their questions, I was simply unable to. And they would leave me in restraints, again and again, hour after hour, writing in their chart notes that because I “refused to speak” I would stay that way.

First one hour passed, then two, then three. Finally the nurse Jennifer Mansukhani, relented and allowed as how I might answer the “safety” questions with a shake or nod of my head.

“Will you remain safe and not hurt anyone?” she asked me, standing above me.

4

I nodded my head.

“Will you remain safe and not attempt to harm yourself?”

I nodded again.

Will you get up go back to the unit to and to your room and continue to behave safely if we let you out of restraints?” (I am writing these questions from memory so they won’t be exact, but you get the gist of them.)

Nod, nod, nod.

Ms. Mansukhani seemed pleased with my responses but also at a loss as to what to do with them. She paused. “Okay, Pam. I have to go back and confer with Nurse Brennan and the doctor.”

She left, turning her back, promising to be back shortly.

Instead, it took an hour, and when she did come back, she arrived with Nurse Brennan and a plan. “We have decided that we want to free up a hand so you can write a safety plan. Then if we approve it and if it is adequate we will see about taking you out of restraints.”

I frowned. Annette Brennan had in the meantime moved to the end of the gurney where my stocking feet were exposed. Her groin pushed against my toes and the soles of my feet. I felt an immediate revulsion, feeling molested by someone who knew I was vulnerable. Helpless to resist, I kicked out mightily. If I could have spoken in words I would have yelled too, but I could say nothing, only scream wordlessly and kick. This got her to swiftly move away. Someone else present suggested that she pass me at the head of the bed next time.

5

But writing up a safety plan was just upping the ante. I shook my head emphatically. They trooped out, leaving me alone again, still in restraints at 5:00 o’clock in the morning.

My muscles and veins hurt because I had remained still for so many hours. Afraid I would develop a blood clot, I carefully circled each leg ten times, restraints clanking as I did so. Then I bent each knee a few inches up and down, up and down. Ditto with my arms, until I was satisfied that I had done enough and could relax into the absolute stillness required for an assessment. I later learned my self-administered range-of- motion exercises was described as “patient flailing in restraints.”

Jennifer returned around 6:30. Making motions of desperation, I offered to write a safety plan. But the night shift was leaving. “First shift will have to take you out of restraints. It is too late for us to do it now.”

When I heard this, I let out a despairing howl and suddenly urine poured into my clothing. That meant little to the third shift; they left doing nothing about it. Only when first shift came on and found me, soaked in urine, and still in five-point restraints at 7:00 am did they relent and give me both Ativan and my morning meds. Even so, I wasn’t actually released until 7:30 am.

A patient has the right to be free of unnecessary restraint, and to have the least restrictive environment possible. The fact is, I DID NOT POSE AN
IMMINENT THREAT OF HARM TO SELF OR OTHERS when this incident occurred. I only fought when assaulted by people restraining or secluding me!… I should never have been placed in restraints. Any possible danger – kicking when Annette’s groin pressed against my bare feet? or merely grimacing? — that I may have seemed to pose was wholly induced by the situation.

It is repeatedly on record that Annette Brennan, RN, with the doctor’s complicity ordered that I was not to be released from 5-point restraints until I spoke aloud, stated multiple times in multiple ways. This led to many instances of grotesque abuse, including when Nurse Brennan pushed her groin against my bare feet and then accused me of kicking her.

6

Please understand what happened: I was immobilized in 5-point restraints, including a large chest restraint. She herself noted that I was lying quietly at the time. So why and how did Ms. Brennan’s groin make contact with my bare feet? I could not “lunge” at anyone, despite the notation later made in my chart. I could not even see Nurse Brennan unless she was right at my side. She pressed her groin against my feet while I was in a helpless and vulnerable state. So I protested by kicking out to the very extent that my restraints allowed. Her behavior violated every professional standard and code there is. It was indeed abuse of everything a nurse stands for.

Abuse was intrinsic to the situation that Brennan (with Dr. Joseph Lasek’s complicity) set up. I should have been released very quickly, except that the staff involved repeatedly refused to ask me their “safety questions” in a manner to which I could respond. Since they had decided I “refused to speak,” they would not permit me to communicate in any other fashion. They acknowledged this was deliberate both verbally and in writing. Several times, the chart says, I was lying quietly in 5-point restraints on the bed, but as I “refused to speak” I would not be released.

Even when Nurse Mansukhani relented enough to ask me the requisite “safety questions” in a yes/no fashion, I had not met their conditions for release so they left me there. This was punishment, and it was abuse, pure and simple.

Finally, I want to show you just one example of what these illegal conditions of release led to, the supposed violence I exhibited and their claims that “patient still needs restraints.” The chart states that they offered me “patient’s own blanket,” when they discovered that I was cold. My response is described as “violent.” What they don’t say is that this was the hospital’s extremely heavy weighted blanket, filled with shot pellets. When Nurse Mansukhani had a male tech bring this and try to drop it on top of me, a patient shackled in 5-point restraints, I was terrified for my life and I responded from that fear: I could not understand why anyone would do such a thing unless they were trying to suffocate me.

(Why in god’s name didn’t they just release me from restraints at that point? I was obviously not trying to harm anyone or myself. I was shivering from the cold that was all…Why? Because they were intent on punishment, not in fact on safety.)

But you see how interpretations written in my chart became inaccurate in the extreme? Because Nurse Brennan insisted on my speaking aloud rather than finding some way for me to communicate, she deliberately rejected any attempt to understand what was going on.

7

Nevertheless, the fact remains that whether I refused to speak, as she claimed, or whether I could not speak, which was reality, it does not matter. I had the right not to be restrained as punishment or for coercion. I also have always had the right not to speak and to communicate however I so choose, whether VPCH staff, or you, or anyone else likes it or not.

I believe that because she got angry Nurse Brennan grabbed my wrists, restraining me inappropriately, initiating a chain of events that eventuated in my torture.

Instead of stopping the chain reaction at any point along the way, Brennan kept it going, wanting to force me to speak. She chose to further punish me with seclusion and 5-point restraints. She did this for four and a half hours with deliberation and full knowledge of the possible consequences for me, consequences she checked off in boxes (“trauma to patient”) each time she had the doctor renew the order for restraints. I live with those consequences now and have had to live with them every day of my life since that night.

This is the truth of what happened, and I have told the truth on every occasion about this terrible incident at VPCH on the night of November 18, 2015, even when it was unpleasant and did not make me look good. I hope you will see that.

page8image1661680

8

 

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED AT VERMONT PSYCHIATRIC CARE HOSPITAL part 1

This was my complaint to the Adult Protective Services, as Licensing and Protection refused to investigate. I AM NAMING NAMES…OF THE GUILTY.

I had been mute for days prior to the date of Nov 18, 2015, when still mutein the early morning, on Unit D at Vermont Psychiatric Care Hospital I started slamming doors because I could not communicate my frustration at not being granted a PRN for Ativan. This was NEVER a danger to self or others. I had done this many times on the unit and was never punished for it, or restrained for it. I also had on file on the unit at that time a signed notarized Advanced Directive on the first 2 pages of which is stated in bold letters the request NOT to use ultimatums or seclusion or restraints because of  previous traumatic experiences.

 

Annette Brennan, the charge nurse, apparently angry with me, came into my room and yelled: “I will not have you slam doors again on my watch!” She then backed me into my tiny bathroom, which I had been using as my bedroom ever since I had been admitted, and grabbed my wrists even though I was mute and unable to object, and when I  attempted to biteher fingers to get freeshe called for me to be placed in seclusion.

 

Once in seclusion, she had staff reenter the seclusion room to have my wristwatch and glasses forcibly taken from me, resulting in injuries to my face and breaking my glasses, even though I was not demonstrating any violence or injurious behaviors, *not* until she called for a team and show of force to gang up on me.

 

Then she placed me in 5-point restraints only after she had staff reenter the seclusion room and I attempted to leave the seclusion room(if you look carefully at my chart you will see this was the reason for her calling for 5 point restraints and not violence of any sort) despite the Advanced Directive that had been much discussed during my stay in the prior three weeks. This AD states in unequivocal terms that seclusion and use of mechanical restraints has been extremely traumatizing for me and worsens my condition.

 

Not only that, Nurse Brennan convinced the on call doctor that my lack of speech was volitional and willful and wrote an order which she had Dr. Joseph  Lasek sign that I was not to be removed from restraints *until I spoke aloud* NO MATTER HOW COMPLIANT I was, no matter how quietly I lay there. In point of fact they refused to ask me the requisite questions to let me out of restraints even though I lay so still I triggered an assessment every fifteen minutes… This order resulted in severe trauma and several hours of restraints.  PLEASE NOTE that no one disputes the fact that I was mute and had been mute for days before this night. This order and Nurse Brennan’s part in what happened was torture. It constituted punishment and unnecessary restraint. None of it was necessary but Ms Brennan was angry with me for an episode of swearing that had occurred several weeks earlier and she lost her temper and her cool.

 

Brennan’s violated CMS regulations from the earliest point of this interaction because I was not a danger to myself or anyone else when Ms. Brennan first put hands on me, and only when I was touched against my wishes involuntarilythereafter could my behavior possibly been considered dangerous, and yet I was involuntarily restrained for several  hours. Even a year later I still suffer an unbearable trauma from this event which my AD, a legal document, was intended to avoid, but it was ignored entirely…

 

THE FOLLOWING IS THE APS REPORT, WITH NEGATIVE FOR ABUSE…

page1image3710784page1image3710576

1. On 11/22/15 DLP received a report indicating PW, alleged victim, was physically abused and unlawfully restrained by a staff member “Annette” at the Vermont Psychiatric Hospital. (Later identified as Annette Brennan, RN)

2. On 11/25/15 this investigator emailed PW to discuss the current allegations and arrange for a face to face interview with another investigator.

3. On December 3, 2015 Investigator Denise Anderson interviewed the alleged victim, PW, at Meadow View Recovery Residence in Brattleboro. PW has been residing at the facility since her discharge from Vermont Psychiatric Care Hospital. PW alleges staff at VPCH conducted an unlawful restraint on her during her stay at the hospital; she has documented this incident on her blog which she indicates she will provide to Investigator Holland-Kelley via e-mail. She stated the incident occurred around 1:00AM on November 18th, the day after her birthday. PW reported she had been “mute” for a few days and asked for a pill of Ativan as it helps her to speak. She stated the staff gave her .5mg and she stated she wanted another.5mg and they refused to give this to her. She stated she was agitated by this denial and a staff member named, Annette, entered the bathroom and grabbed her wrists and had PW’s arms over her head. PW stated she attempted to bite Annette. She stated at that point multiple staff persons entered the bathroom and escorted her out of the bathroom horizontally; each staff person having a limb, and “dumped her onto the mattress in the seclusion room.” PW stated she heard the staff persons conferring because PW had her eye glasses and other items on her person. She stated the staff entered the seclusion room and grabbed these items, including her eye glasses. PW stated this is when they injured her nose (PW has provided a photograph of these injuries). She stated when the staff attempted to exit the room she exited the room with them and the staff escorted her back into the room. PW stated the staff had told her she was not to exit the room but she ignored this command. PW stated it was at this point they used the restraints and secured her to the mattress. PW stated she was restrained for approximately 6 hours; she stated the staff are supposed to assist individuals with range of motion; PW stated she was fearful of developing a blood clot given she was restrained for so long. She stated she did range of motion to her body the best she could as a result. PW stated the staff interpreted this as resistance and considered her to be “flailing.” She stated she did not want to be humiliated by asking to go to the bathroom and then getting restrained again so she stated she opted to urinate in her clothing. She stated Annette “just wanted to take control of things; she wanted to be in control.” She stated she finally agreed to a safety plan and was released from the restraint.” PW does not believe the seclusion was necessary; she believes staff was unnecessarily rough in removing her glasses. PW believes the staff; specifically Annette just wanted to be in control. (Interview with PW,

4. PW meets the criteria of a vulnerable adult as she is over the age of 18 and she has chronic mental health conditions which require she receive assistance with her IADL’s and ADL’s. At the time of this report PW was an inpatient at a licensed psychiatric hospital in Vermont.

5. A review of medical records was done stemming from the noted incident on 11/22/15 involving PW and Annette Brennan, RN. According to the documentation, PW was behaving in an unsafe manner and was considered a danger to herself and others. The staff at VPCH followed hospital policy and procedures to ensure PW’s safety and the safety of the staff. PW was not cooperative with the on duty staff during this time and refused to communicate with them. To ensure everyone’s safety, the staff followed MD orders to assure PW was safe.

6. Further review of the incident report by Annette Brennan RN and other staff members dictate all staff was trying to work to keep PW safe as well as themselves. PW was attempting to kick and bite staff so they had to resort to means to keep everyone safe. Everything done was under the direction and orders of a physician.

7. On 12/21/2015 Mr. Perry stated the VPCH conducted their own investigation involving PW through the JCAH and he would send along the documentation requested for this investigation.

8. On 1/4/16 an invitation to interview letter/request was sent to witness Jennifer Mausukhan, RN with a response due 1/11/16. 9. On 1/4/16 an letter with an invitation to interview response was sent to Annette Brennan with a response date of Jan 15th

10. On 1/7/2016 Ms. Brennan had a telephone interview with this investigator. Ms. Brennan recalls being the nurse in charge on the particular day of the report. She recalls being in the back room with the supervisor and hearing banging going on outside the room. She went out to check and found PW had gone into her bathroom where she had put her mattress on the shower floor thus making her bathroom her safe room. She was trying to slam her door all the while she had 2:1 observation. There were 2 male staff members there. Ms. Brennan decided to put herself between PW and the 2 male staff members because she did not want the staff to be wrongfully accused of anything inappropriate with PW. PW hit Ms. Brennan in the stomach with a notebook and then went to swing at her with her other free arm. It was at this time Ms. Brennan made the decision to ‘take down’ PW and brought her out into the hallway. She had PW carried by 3-4 staff members to the seclusion area. The MD came to assess PW. PW was later searched and as the MD was leaving the room PW tried to attack him. PW grabbed one of the techs around the ankles and Ms. Brennan made the call to put PW in restraints at this time for her own safety and the safety of the staff. PW had received Ativan 1 mg. PRN but the MD did not want her to have any more Ativan. Ms. Brennan said she was checking PW from outside the room. She observed PW move all of her extremities as well as do some ROM (range of motion) to her feet and ankles. She went to check PW up close and PW kicked her in the groin. “I made the decision not to take her out of restraints for ROM”. An employee event was filed. PW screamed extremely loudly later on while still in seclusion. “I was the object of her anger as I was the one making the decision to put her in restraints. She did not just hit me she also hit other staff members and spit on them too. PW was taken out of restraints between 7 and 730pm that evening”. Ms. Brennan denies harming PW at any time.

11. On 1/7/2016 Ms. Mansukhani had a telephone interview with this writer. She stated she was on duty the day of the particular incident noted in this intake report. She stated it was the first time she had met with PW – she didn’t really know her well. She remembered PW going up to the window requesting more Ativan and being told she couldn’t have more (after checking with the MD). Ms. Mansukhani offered her some Melatonin but PW refused that offer. PW became enraged when she inquired which MD had been called and learned it was the MD on call and not her primary MD. (Per policy). PW was lying on the mattress on the floor of the bathroom when nurse Mansukhani went back in to see her. PW was on a 2:1 protocol. PW threw a notebook she had at the wall, not directly at anyone. PW tried to bite Annette (Brennan) and she was kicking. There were a lot of staff members there in the room. They picked PW up and carried her to seclusion area. The MD said not to medicate PW at this time. Ms. Mansukhani stated she went to the other side of the unit at this time because there were only 2 female staff members on duty on the other side and another patient was having a difficult time. PW’s side had 6-7 staff members. When she returned she said she saw PW had restraints on and remembered being surprised and asking what had happened. She recalls asking Nurse Brennan if anyone had checked the restraints on PW. Nurse Brennan told me she had been checking them when PW began kicking her and kicked her in the groin. We offered PW a bedpan which she refused. Ms. Mansukhani got the impression PW was cold and offered her a blanket but PW tried to ‘bite me’ so we removed the blanket. The team decided it was a safety issue so PW did not get the blanket. PW refused to speak to any of us (staff). Nurse Brennan and the doctor said PW had to ‘speak’ a contract to be taken out of restraints which she refused to do. PW later also refused to ‘write a contract with us’. At no time did Ms. Mansukhani observe PW being physically mistreated by any staff members. She observed PW being agitated and struggling with staff. She also observed PW hitting, spitting and kicking staff. “We all tried very hard to meet her needs and get her out of restraints. It didn’t work out that way,” Ms. Mansukhani stated.

Conclusion Statement: Based on the interviews conducted and the evidence reviewed this case will be unsubstantiated. The available evidence indicates A/N/E did not occur. PW was in the midst of a psychotic episode and unable to control her own actions. The mental health staff followed their designated policies and protocols to ensure everyone’s safety at that time.

PLEASE NOTE HOW THEIR STORIES DIFFER FROM EACH OTHERS, AND HOW MINE DIFFERS FROM THEIRS…

(TO BE CONTINUED)

This Art print is Available

I cannot find the email or the name of the person who mailed me wanting a print of this piece, but I wanted to inform her that art prints and other posters etc are now available at this link  at Redbubble.com. Also posted at Zazzle.com.

ZAZZLE STORE

https://www.zazzle.com/psychiatric_take_down_someones_watching_photo_print-190152500586657512

REDBUBBLE STORE

https://www.redbubble.com/fr/people/pamwagg/works/33861823-retrait-et-contention-psychiatriques?c=679082-original-art-drawings-paintings

 

Reblogged from About Schizophrenia…

http://aboutschizophrenia.blogspot.com/2014/10/my-letter-to-office-of-civil-rights-in.html

My Letter to the Office of Civil Rights in Boston

Dear Keisha Edwards,  JFK Boston Office Of Civil Rights
I am appealing to your humanity to please read this and if you cannot help me to show it to someone at the OCR who will. In GOD’s NAME  I am suffering from an extreme traumatic reaction to what they did to me, both at the IOL, which case you dismissed, and from my recent stay at New Britain General. How can your office simply ignore this sort of abuse, especially when I tell you that it is routine and SOP there, even though what they did to me may have been worse than the norm by virtue of its excess.
Michael E. Balkunas, MD, chief psychiatrist of the W-1 unit of the Hospital of Central Connecticut in New Britain, deliberately misdiagnosed me, who have been on Social Security Disability and SSI since 1980. I was admitted to his unit with a decades long dx of schizophrenia, as well as PTSD since 2009 (largely due to in-hospital care-provider abuse of seclusion and restraints), but he immediately secondarily  (though he made it clear that he considered it primary) diagnosed Borderline Personality Disorder, against all the evidence, which he took pains to gather from my family and outside providers. I believe he did this in order to justify treating me with isolation for three weeks, an inhumane Behavioral Treatment Plan, multiple uses of four-point restraints and ordering me forcibly dragged into a horrific supermax seclusion cell, into which I might have to run to avoid being propelled there bodily by the guards (who were actually given carte blanche as the RNs informed me to inflict physical pain in order to subdue me quickly, because the nurses themselves were not permitted to lay hands on a patient!).Once there, I was then stripped naked of all my clothing “for safety’s sake.”
In the Supermax cell, HOCC’s invarying protocol demanded that no matter how calmly or how voluntarily I went in, I would be injected with three “punishment drugs,”  drugs which at times were not on my normal list of medications, e.g. Prolixin, which I haven’t taken for decades and to which I have a terrible reaction. My Advance Directive, which I gave them on admission, states that i was not to be given any such “typical neuroleptic” like Prolixin/fluphenazine because of this reaction..Also, despite my repeated assurance that I would “take my punishment drugs” voluntarily and without resistance, I was often pushed onto my face, prone, on the mattress, and held down by several guards until I couldn’t breathe, and forcibly injected.
Note that although the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid require “imminent danger of causing severe bodily harm to self or others, or even property”  before any patient is put into seclusion of four point rsrtaints,  I was routinely secluded, stripped naked by male guards, and four-point restrained in a spread-eagle maximum exposure position, for being a nuisance and a disruptive presence to the appropriate unit “milieu.” Once, when I told the guards these requirements, the “rules” for secluding a patient, they seemed surprised…and even reluctant to continue, though of course they had to follow orders and did so. They were always willing to inflict pain on me to ensure my rapid compliance, even when I verbally assured them I would do so.
You may be surprised to hear that in point of fact, when I actually was in acute danger of self-harm, due to command hallucinations, and was observed by many nurses slicing my face with a sharp piece of plastic, drawing blood that streamed down my face and left open wounds, this behavior was actually ignored and even savagely mocked! So it was clearly not the case that their secluding me or stripping me had anything whatsoever to do with concerns for my physical safety…
In addition, Dr Balkunas, quite despite his apparent belief in the accuracy of his diagnosis of a personality disorder, never treated me for it, not with anything but antipsychotic drugs. Although he charged Medicare more than $300.00 per session each morning,  he saw me for a one-sentence  “How are you?” drive-by Q and A each morning. He largely ignored my presence on the unit. Worse, whenever I was put in seclusion or four -point restraints I would BEG for my 1-hour face-to-face interview for evaluation of the appropriateness of the intervention, but they routinely denied me that right, saying that they had 24 hours before I needed to see anyone…!
His whole rationale for committing me to the State Hospital was that “antipsychotic drugs take time to work”, so I will send you there until  yours do…Mind you, he never changed my meds. so I stayed on the same meds and the same dosages I came in on and that i had never stopped taking,so what was it that he thought “needed to work? Just torture?
Please help me, I cannot go on this way. NO ONE in Connecticut is charged with assisting me. NO LEGAL Agency has  any interest in me…NONE. Believe me I have tried for years to find some help with this sort of abuse, but there is absolutely no one. Not even the Dept of Protection and Advocacy for the mentally ill or those charged with protecting the elderly!
Sincerely,
P S Wagner
TELEPHONE: 860…
ALSO you might be interested, Dear Reader, in my Google + review, written shortly after that hospital stay of Dr Michael Balkunas. Either the link or the review itself should appear here.

SIWO Free blog promotion

Try it! You’ll like it!

Success Inspirers' World

marketing woman office working Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

Do you want your blog or post promoted for free?
We are willing to do that for you if you are doing a good job.
We know how useful such promotion can be. We see it work so well for others.
Take advantage of this offer and have your blog promoted on SIWO.
Give us:
Your name;
The name of your blog;
Your blog link;
A summary of what your blog is about;
Any posts you may like to showcase.
Give this in the comments box.

You may have to wait for a while after you submit as we can only promote a limited number of blogs a day.

Happy blogging!

View original post

SIWO WEEKLY MEET & GREET “SHARE” YOUR BLOG LINK 10.13.18

Blog promotion, thanks to a link and hint from Marie!

Success Inspirers' World

Want more FOLLOWERS?

WE can help!

SIWO’S mission – Bring bloggers together

’round the world.

  • THE easy steps
  • Click LIKE on this post
  • ADD – your favorite BLOG link in the comment section
  • FOR FUN – Share a unique inspirational quote.
  • VISIT other blog links in the comments!
  • READ, LIKE, FOLLOW
  • RE-BLOG this post

Everyone wins!

NOTE: K of theblackwallblog and SIWO shares links of her top recommended blogs each weeks starting with the blog links here. That’s not once but TWICE your blog link is shared! woo hoo!

cruzin 10

“The Pessimist Sees Difficulty In Every Opportunity. The Optimist Sees Opportunity In Every Difficulty.” – Winston Churchill

View original post

Why i Believe Christine Blasey Ford Told the Truth, BUT…

Okay, herés the thing. Some 40 years ago I was sexually assaulted while I was on duty at the University of Connecticut’s Poison Information Center, in 1978 (when it was still called that…). I remember without a single shred of doubt who the man was, a dental student with whom I had been friendly when I attended the medical school at UConn. That DI  – his initials- would recall this too, I believe is the case, because I believed him when he said he thought my “No!” meant that I really wanted sex with him. And we talked about his aggression against me afterwards.

 

But I also know that the security guard who heard my  crying out  and my struggles behind the closed locked door of the PIC and knocked to ask if I was all right’ definitely did not believe me when I opened the door and told him I was okay…yes, DI had stopped his assault when the guard knocked on the door, and he did not recommence anything after I Assured the guard that all was well.  He got the point, that I was not interested in the sex he had tried to force on me…

 

But I was also not okay, certainly not with DI’s behavior. I told the guard all was well because I felt to blame, I felt guilty for being female and “bringing DIs attack on myself.” Not guilty for anything I did, but because of my body, because my body was a woman’s body and so that in and of itself made me “seductive”…I felt I deserved what i got.

 

This sexual assault happened, and I know it and who the perpetrator was without a shadow of any doubt and I have always remembered it.  But could I prove it to anyone? I did mention it, later but not immediately. I had no female friends close enough to trust with my shame…but I did speak of it to several people over the years, whether or not they remember my doing so. I played down the attack as “date rape” rather than a “real attack” because I had been taught that attempted rape by a friend was somehow “less serious” than rape or attempted rape by a stranger…Let that sink in, please.

 

i do not know precisely what became of DI nor what sort of person he became after the event I describe, but I have always assumed and hoped that it was, as they say, a one-off Incident and Was not repeated. I assumed and hoped that DI learned from my reaction that No means No. and that he became a better person for knowing  this. I gave him credit for apologizing or at least explaining why he attacked me…and I gave him credit for the ability to change and never do such a thing again.

 

So I KNOW that a woman like Christine Blasey ford would remember such an attack in detail and that her attacker esp if stumbling falling down drunk would have every motivation not to…

 

BUT I must say I did NOT believe Ford’s tearful voice or her tears. I found them utterly fake and rehearsed and it irked me no end. How disgusting that after nearly 40 years she felt it necessary to pretend to be afraid and to fake tears in her voice, high thin and fake fake fake…why would she believe this? Is a woman’s recounting of an assault only credible if accompanied by tears? How disgusting if so. But while I believe her story, i do not believe the tears were real and I found that just as disgraceful, the demands by Democrats that she put on such a fake tearful voice just to convince them of her credibility? Shameful that she could not trust her own words to be comvincing and all those senators and newscasters that fawned and cooed over her tearful voice are the ones who are guilty, forcing her to pretend to be overcome with emotions just in order to be believed that what happened did in fact happen.

Why I QUIT Amazon.com and How You Can Too

I recently sent the letter below to Amazon.com. For those who wonder, I used the name they still had on their account for me, as my new name, Phoebe Sparrow Wagner, was not recognized. In return, I received  a nominal customer service email, but none of the promised (or implied) follow-up after that.

The art posted at top was designed for a stop restraints and seclusion group logo in California, which ended up not using it.

Please feel free to use my words as a model or template for your own.

Solidarity! and in several other languages (chosen mostly at random): Solidarité! Solidarność! Solidaridad! Undod! סאָלידאַרישקייַט, համերաշխությու,სოლიდარობა Mshikamano!Umodzi! Ubumbano! تضامن (tadamun), Dayanışma,солідарність!

————————————-

To Amazon.com

After reading about the conditions in your workplaces, and the careless disregard you, as Amazon, have shown for human dignity and the basics of humane treatment of your employees, I have decided to cancel a Prime membership I have had since its inception.  I have shopped at amazon and been a loyal customer since you began. Indeed, you even sent me a coffee mug with your logo that first year. But no more. Not only am I quitting my prime membership but I  will no longer shop at amazon.com or use any “benefits” that amazon claims to offer. Good bye and good riddance.

Sincerely,

Pamela S Wagner
A once extremely loyal customer, leaving In disgust

 

Trauma, And the Stories We Tell Ourselves

Psychiatric Take Down and Restraint

I wrote a version of this in a comment at Linda Lee/lady quixote’s Blog: http://ablogabouthealingfromPTSD.wordpress.com

Hi Linda,

Someone I met here in Brattleboro, really just an acquaintance, maybe 2 or 3years ago said, “get over it!” about the trauma I have experienced, and I found that enormously damaging just in itself. My “guide” Wendy, never tells me such things and she is fully committed to helping people who deal with great traumas. Another thing is that true is that global amnesia, such as I had and still have for a couple of weeks-long hospital stays in their entirety, (and I also have amnesia for other life experiences that were documented as having happened but are lost to my memory,)  this sort of global amnesia cannot be self-induced. You either can remember what happened or you cannot.

What I have found very helpful, and this may not be something you can or even choose to do, is this: I find that when my thoughts erupt or are triggered by something in the present, into a spasm of terrible memories, the resulting emotions and anger etc are so paralyzing and painful that I did consciously decide “I’m not going there, not until and unless it is safe for me to do so.” To that end, when I notice my thoughts turning bad, I immediately find anything to distract myself away from that terrible rut that trauma has clear-cut into my cortex. 

I know the emotions stem from the thoughts I think, and they constitute the story about them I tell myself. So if I try to tell a different story, like, for instance, “okay, that was my life then, but I am here now and if I  am happy now then all of my past including the trauma, has brought me here and I would not be here without it all, yes,  even the trauma.” BUT I fully confess that re-telling my story in a more positive way does not work when I am acutely triggered, so that is when distraction plays a huge role. 

In some sense, I understand that I cannot remain attached to my story of abuse and victimization, because in a  real way this will only lead me down that same trauma path, and even “attract further victimization and trauma”..But to explore these things requires a feeling of safety, which is not usually available, so I get relief from the thinking instead, by distractions and doing things with my mind that I love. Like studying or reading French, or listening to songs, because the verbal aspect of both tend to crowd out the insistent trauma memories. 

As Wendy says, it is a practice, like any spiritual practice, to know when your thoughts are headed down an unhelpful path way and to consciously decide not to “indulge” their wish to ruin your day! It does take a lot of practice to do this, and I would be the last to say it is easy. On the other hand, I know there is a safe place for them, for me to experience the memories and even triggers in security, and that is during my sessions with Wendy. She allows these to be as long as necessary for me to get through things, so they are usually 2-2.5 hours every time. But the thing is, knowing I can hold on and let things “in” in a safe place with her allows me to also decide NOT to let them in or to control me at other  times.

I hope this makes sense. It might not be your cuppa tea, and I dunno if you have a safe place/person with whom you could both process memories or at least let them out, but who also, by being a safe person, might allow you to go the distraction route. I myself have found it very helpful…and you know (I know you above all know!) how terribly I have been tormented by my memories of trauma.

The idea that even trauma memories are part of the story of our lives that we write or create and can de-create also helps me. Because I can decide, of, say, someone who brutalized me, well, in their story I was only a bit character, and they likely told and tell themselves something entirely different from my story about it. But I understand that these are all stories, all dramas, that are not really Truth…and if we can retell the story In such a way as to increase ours and the worlds happiness, that should be our aim. 

More to come about blame and being victimized but I have stuff to do and need to distract myself from the pain that even writing about trauma brings on. 

Love to all,

phoebe

Why We Should Not Take Things Personally

Miguel Ruiz in his THE FOUR AGREEMENTS has a lot to say about not taking things personally (TTP) and I have found his explanation immensely helpful. (Btw, This was originally a comment I wrote today on a column about not taking things personally at Psych Central.)

The first thing is to realize and understand that each person, while we are all part of a greater humanity, sees the world from his or her own perspective, the point of view that is utterly individual and conditioned by everything that has happened to that person. We see ourselves in one way, as the Center of our own world and point of view (how could it be otherwise?) but the fact is that others see us differently, because to them we are just a player on the stage of their own drama. When for example I might say to someone, “I love you” and mean it, that person, because of their history and life narrative, could hear it with many other feelings attached, and not hear my simple words as warm and sincere! Say that person had experienced the words “I love you” as a way for a someone to “manipulate them” or even to con them into doing what they did not want? Perhaps then the person I said “I love you” to will experience my words as dishonest, or a preface to a con, or just as manipulative. That does not mean ANYthing about my intent or my words themselves; it just says that for the other person, such words to them are unwanted because he or she had a life history where they were spoken dishonestly or manipulatively. That person’s view point is different from mine, as is everyone else’s and i cannot control either what or how they feel, or their reaction or perception of me and the world.

As a bit player on everyone else’s stage, where they are of course their own “star,” the “I” that I know, that is to say me as that player in their stage, is seen from their point of view and colored or discolored by their personal drama. Of course it is necessary to remember that everyone or mostly everyone is also taking what I say personally, but from a point of view I can neither control nor truly understand, because I am not that person! If they hear my “I love you” as a threat, does it help me or the situation to take their response personally? Of course not. I know I meant the words honestly but I also know that whatever they “heard” is not under my control.

More important though is the necessity (if we want to live happily and in peace in this world) not to take others’ words or behaviors personally even when they are “intended to be personal” ! This is not easy, because as the captain of our own ships, the star of the universe of our own perceptions, we hear and see all from the viewpoint of our dramas too. However, even such an “intentionally hurtful” remark, such as, “You are so stupid!”does not need to be taken as insulting or personal in any way. In fact, I would ask how it helps the situation if we do!

If instead of reacting from the POV that hears an insult, we take that NVC pause that marshall Rosenberg talks about, we could analyse the statement about being stupid and realize that even the intent to be hurtful is neither hurtful nor “personal”. The words, “you are so stupid” have in fact nothing to do with me, but everything to do with the other person’s history, drama, and point of view. What they perceive of me comes from this and I cannot control them or their feelings. Maybe yes, they are just having a bad day, or maybe their words come from a reaction to something they heard or perceived in the past. Or maybe what I did, from their point of view, felt to them somehow “stupid.” I cannot know. I can only know that it will never help me live a happier or more fulfilling life if I get insulted and yell back because I believe they “should” not have said those words. If on the other hand I use NVC to understand that the “you are so stupid” has NOTHING at all to do with reality, but was derived from their POV alone, I can ask myself (and even them) about it without feeling rancor or insulted…

The thing is to inquire whether TTP contributes to life’s value and happiness, which I am convinced it does not.

I am sure I have not done justice here to either Ruiz’ THE FOUR AGREEMENTS, or to Rosenberg’s NVC, but I try to live life without TTP, without taking things personally, because doing so has made me happier, easier to be with, and more productive and creative. What better argument for this than that not taking anything personally makes life, as Rosenberg liked to say, “more wonderful “?

My best to you all,

phoebe

Staff Personality Disorder

I am reprinting this here because it is so true, and because it cannot be located elsewhere on the net, at least not via Google…The author was brilliant but, alas, I can find no name for attribution. A BIG Thank you to Anonymous!

 

 Criteria for Staff Personality Disorder

Personality Disorders

Staff Personality Disorder 601.83

A pervasive pattern of condescension, degradation of others, and controlling behavior beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

1. Condescending or degrading use of body language, vocal inflection, and behavior.

2. Presentation of two or more markedly different personality styles based entirely on context.

3. Persistent protection of people in positions of power even if such people have done something unethical or illegal.

4. Employment in one of the “helping professions”, or other situations in which a person has or can secure power over others.

5. Rigidity in application of rules and explanations to other people

6. Persistent or stereotyped use of euphemisms, jargon, deceptive language, and double standards in language

7. Persistent use of degradation, ridicule, and violence, either gratuitously or grossly out of proportion to the situation

Diagnostic Features

The essential feature of Staff Personality Disorder is a pervasive pattern of condescension, degradation of others, and controlling behavior that begins by early adulthood and is present in a variety of contexts.

Individuals with Staff Personality Disorder display condescending or degrading body language, vocal inflection, and behavior (Criterion 1). They may use a patronizing “contaminated” smile, a sing-song voice, or the forms of language use described in Criterion 6. This behavior would be considered patronizing when directed at the average individual.

Individuals with Staff Personality Disorder present two or more markedly different personality styles based entirely on context (Criterion 2). For instance, while dealing with “clients”, while alone, they may be vicious, punitive, and controlling. When dealing with the general public, they may adopt a saintlike persona. It is not at all uncommon for the antisocial behavior of people with Staff Personality Disorder to go unnoticed, even when that behavior extends to torture or murder.

Individuals with Staff Personality Disorder will persistently protect people in positions of power, even if those people have done something unethical or illegal (Criterion 3). This may consist of putting up a “united front” to clients or to the public. People with this disorder will hide or excuse antisocial behavior in others with the disorder. Hiding may take the form of altering logs and failing to report abuse. Excusing may involve character assassination directed toward victims of mistreatment or abuse, or diminishing their credibility in some other way, while making it seem as if the behavior is the only logical response to certain sorts of people. They will also use these techniques of hiding and making excuses, to justify and rationalize their own behavior.

Individuals with Staff Personality Disorder are often employed in one of the “helping professions”, or other situations in which a person has or can secure power over others (Criterion 4). People with this disorder are disproportionately represented among psychiatric technicians, group home workers, home health care aides, social workers, special education teachers, counselors, nurses (especially psychiatric nurses), direct care staff, and institution staff. People with this disorder may also be grammar-school teachers, prison guards, and other professionals in positions of direct power over others. These positions may be either the cause or the result of the disorder.

Individuals with Staff Personality Disorder are rigid when applying rules and explanations to other people (Criterion 5). This, curiously but characteristically, may not extend to others with this disorder. Individuals with this disorder are likely to use a narrow set of rules to understand the behavior of others, particularly clients. They will see most ordinary behavior as manipulative, attention-seeking, or non-compliant. When confronted with something like violence on the part of clients, they will fail to differentiate between malice, self-defense, and frustration at being trapped. This may result in across-the-board application of punishments such as are described in Criterion 7.

Individuals with Staff Personality Disorder may display persistent or stereotyped use of euphemisms, jargon, deceptive language, and double standards in language (Criterion 6). They euphemistically refer to others as special needs, challenged, or consumers. They prefer jargon to ordinary language, and describe the behavior of others using clinical and psychiatric jargon, often loosely adding such jargon into everyday conversation, e.g. saying that someone they dislike has a Borderline Personality Disorder. They use deceptive language, for instance referring to prisons as hospitals and violence as treatment. They use double standards in language, e.g. referring to themselves as getting bored but to clients as going off task. They may apply certain words in a stereotyped fashion, repeating over and over that others are non-compliant, attention-seeking, manipulative, or playing games, without apparent regard to context or motivation.

Individuals with Staff Personality Disorder display persistent use of degradation, ridicule, and violence, either gratuitously or out of proportion to the situation (Criterion 7). Degradation may take the form of degrading language such as “retard” or “psycho”, denial or pathologization of the existing identity or roles of others (for instance telling someone that thinking he is a writer is a delusion of grandeur), treating people like children, or assigning humiliating tasks. More advanced forms of degradation involve using elaborate methods to thoroughly confuse a person’s sense of reality or self on all levels. Ridicule might include laughing at the aspirations or humiliation of clients, or laughingly dismissing their communication or behavior. Violence includes physical or sexual assault, mechanical restraints, chemical restraints, and solitary confinement. These things may be undertaken gratuitously, on a whim, as a result of boredom or frustration. They may be out of proportion to the situation, such as restraining someone for making eye contact with staff. These things are often justified using the means described in Criterion 3.

Associated Features and Disorders

Individuals with Staff Personality Disorder may have a tendency to take care of people who don’t need taking care of, or imposing their idea of care onto other people regardless of context or other people’s wishes. They may have a tendency to rationalize their own behavior in terms of helping others and be apparently unable to see their victims as fully human. They can be highly manipulative, especially to those they regard as inferior. Staff Personality Disorder may be associated with Stockholm syndrome and complex post-traumatic stress disorder in individuals who have been subjected to abuse by people with the disorder. Thus, a significant minority of people who are in institutional situations may develop features of this disorder or the full-blown disorder. Staff Personality Disorder is sometimes seen in the prodromal stages of developing full-fledged Psychiatry Disorder. Non-disabled children who participate in “Circle of Friends” and other helping-based friendship programs are more likely than other children to develop Staff Personality Disorder by adulthood, as are children who have been raised to be caretakers to disabled siblings or parents. People who go into the “helping professions” or who work in institutions are at high risk of developing Staff Personality Disorder, even if they have shown no signs of it in the past.

Specific Culture, Age, and Gender Features

The pattern of behavior seen in Staff Personality Disorder has been identified in many settings around the world, but is especially common on the top end of unequal power situations. Children imitating adults may transiently show signs that seem to point to Staff Personality Disorder where none is present. In the past, it seemed that Staff Personality Disorder was more prevalent in females, but it is now accepted that due to cultural pressures, it can present differently in males and females.

Prevalence

The prevalence of Staff Personality Disorder is estimated to be about 5% of the general population, about 80% among individuals who work in outpatient settings, about 95% among individuals who work in inpatient settings and other total institutions, and about 20% among inpatients and other people who experience prolonged abuse at the hands of people with Staff Personality Disorder.

Course

While there is considerable variability in the onset of Staff Personality Disorder, there is almost no variability once it becomes entrenched in a person’s identity. The most common pattern is that a person seeks a job in any of a number of “helping professions” and is gradually molded into the behavior patterns that typify Staff Personality Disorder. There is a window of opportunity in acclimation to these behavior patterns, in which a person may still have the insight to quit their job or resist further indoctrination. Once these behaviors become entrenched, they are self-justifying and rarely respond to reason or therapy. This is enhanced by the fact that many people with Staff Personality Disorder spend a lot of time socializing with other people with Staff Personality Disorder. A minority of individuals, when presented with the evidence of the harm they have caused to others with their behavior, truly become cured of Staff Personality Disorder, although literature indicates this requires constant vigilance to avoid falling into their old behavior patterns. Some people with Staff Personality Disorder acquire a disabling condition or another mental disorder and recover after learning what it is like to be subjected to the behavior of people with Staff Personality Disorder, but others will maintain their staff identity even within the inmate role.

Familial Pattern

Staff Personality Disorder is about five times more common among first-degree biological relatives of those with the disorder than in the general population. There is also an increased familial risk for Psychiatry Disorder.

Differential Diagnosis

Staff Personality Disorder often co-occurs with Psychiatry Disorder, and when criteria for both are met, both should be diagnosed. In instances where it is related to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder or other trauma-related disorders, it should be diagnosed in addition to those disorders with a notation that they are connected.

Other Personality Disorders may be confused with Staff Personality Disorder because they have certain features in common. It is, therefore, important to distinguish among these disorders based on differences in their characteristic features. However, if an individual has personality features that meet criteria for one or more Personality Disorders in addition to Staff Personality Disorder, all can be diagnosed. Although Histrionic Personality Disorder can also be characterized by manipulative behavior, Staff Personality Disorder is distinguished by condescension. Paranoid ideas or illusions may be present in both Staff Personality Disorder and Schizotypal Personality Disorder, but in Staff Personality Disorder these ideas are limited to concerns about the behavior of those under the person’s control (often inmates). Although Paranoid Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder may also be characterized by an angry reaction to minor stimuli, the reactions in Staff Personality Disorder have to do with specific situations related to the staff role and distinguish these disorders from Staff Personality Disorder. Although Antisocial Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder and Staff Personality Disorder are all characterized by manipulative behavior, individuals with Antisocial Personality Disorder are manipulative to gain profit, power, or some other material gratification, the goal in Borderline Personality Disorder is directed more toward gaining the concern of caretakers, and the goal in Staff Personality Disorder is to maintain control over a specific person or group of people. Also, while individuals with Antisocial Personality Disorder rarely show remorse for their antisocial behavior, individuals with Staff Personality Disorder make heavy use of specific rationalizations to justify their behavior to their conscience. However, some people with Antisocial Personality Disorder may have co-morbid Staff Personality Disorder and both should be diagnosed in that case. Personality Disorder can further be distinguished from other personality disorders by the typical pattern of protecting others with the disorder and persistent use of euphemisms and jargon to describe one’s actions.

Staff Personality Disorder must be distinguished from Personality Change Due to a General Institutionalized Condition, in which traits emerge solely in the institutional environment due to the direct effects of people with Staff Personality Disorder on an inmate’s behavior.

It also must be distinguished from Factitious Staff Syndrome, in which a person without Staff Personality Disorder masquerades as a person with Staff Personality Disorder in order to assume the staff role and effect change for the better for those under the power of people with Staff Personality Disorder. Factitious Staff Syndrome does not qualify as a mental disorder, but individuals practising it unwarily may develop Staff Personality Disorder.

We Are All Beings Of Radiant Light

997B86F1-2487-4CAA-83DE-B2816CF87FD6Why the name, Phoebe? asked Inkbiotic in a comment on my last post. Thank you for this question; it meant a lot to me. The name Phoebe is the feminine form of Phoebus, which is Greek in origin and means, “bright, shining, radiant.”

I have not always understood why I needed the name Phoebe, not in fifth grade. But it has always felt “given” to me, and in that sense my True Name. To explain, I offer the last lines of Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem, which ends, in translation, “from here there is no place that does not see you. You must change your life.” These lines have always called to me. They meant that I, my “me-ness,” needed to die to the artificial self and become what it is, a being of love and light, I needed to change the “false self” full of memories, of deep woundings and petty gripes, of anger and dreams of revenge to a self of pure light and boundless forgiveness and love. In a similar way, just so my name change, from Pamela, which is Greek too, meaning “ All Sweet”, but is also a synonym for cloying, to a name that means “radiant light,” because it is only in the light of love that we humans can be seen for who we really are, children of God, the Source, the Force for Good in every human heart.

I no longer accept the world (or my past) of hurt and anger and the urge to revenge. It is gone, over and done with, a figment of my imagination, which is the only place it can live. Falter though I may, my body being only flesh and human, with this name change I hereby offer myself to Change itself, that is to the Infinite, which can be called space or The Void, but which I saw in a vision of beauty is nothing but Creative Love itself.

Remember that we are ALL of us beings of light and life, we are all God, and we all partake of and participate in That Which Creates, the Space or Void that loves everything into being. My name change is only to remind me of the Source from which I came, as did we all, and to which we all return.

5FDAEFBA-93EC-40E8-8782-7A715B7ED00A

(Photos in public domain)

Changing my name and email

This applies to this WAGblog as well. Please read!

Art Every Day 365

This has been my dream ever since 5th grade in England when my teacher was only given P as my first initial and asked me what it stood for. Having always hated the plosive P in Pam I thought quickly and decided that phoebe would be perfect, keeping the p but not the plosive. It took her a month to discover I was not tell)NG her the truth, and then of course she switched to the dread Pam.

So I am in the process of changing my name to Phoebe Sparrow Wagner, and will probably from this point on be calling myself exclusively Phoebe. It may be difficult for those who have known me as Pam a longtime to make the switch, but my Vermont friends are all trying .

bye bye Pamela

Hello, Phoebe Sparrow

phoebesparrowwagner@gmail.com

View original post