2015-01-10_12.42.37

“I do not like that man, I must get to know him better.” -Abraham Lincoln

I often hear people wonder out loud why there is such a high rate of recidivism, why do our patients come back, and why is there a high rate of repeat “offenders” in the Mental Health System. We can’t fix Mental Illness they say. We can’t “cure” it. The problem is we are trying to cure the wrong people. It is the staff that needs to be “cured,” or fixed. Not the patients. The patients are not the problem. The staff members and the stigma of society is the problem. I can give many examples of my over 20 years as a staff and patient to describe it. This is one that really sticks out to me.

She walks in she is wearing and old dress, it has stains on it. It may be the only dress she owns. It is green, with tan. She has hair that is getting gray, but it is still brown. She has attempted to put it in a nice pony tail. It is off to the side, the left side. The hair is still very frizzy and sticking up. She is trying so hard. This is a big day for her. She is interviewing to get into this program that will likely get her into an apartment.

That has been her dream, this is the way to accomplishing her ultimate dream, her own apartment. She enters the room with the “team”, she comes to the interview.

She farts, and farts loud. She laughs, it is a loud loud laugh. She says she is sorry that it keeps happening. It happens throughout the interview. She answers all the questions, she seems very nervous. She is trying hard to look her best and be on her best behavior. She has a whiny screechy voice. I watch and I see the “team” roll their eyes and shake their heads in disgust.

After she leaves, the team of Doctors, psychologists, OT workers, Social workers then are to evaluate her and decide if she is a “fit” for their program.

They all are dressed up in their fancy clothes, and they all laugh. They all grab the hand sanitizer and clean their hands, because “she touched my hand.” They laugh and tease her. They mock her hair, they laugh about her dress. They say “ick” and shake their bodies like they just touched a rat.

They are really feeling good about themselves. Remember, these are the so called healthy ones that need to “fix” and “stabilize” this patient. They are all getting paid over 100 dollars an hour, each of them, to analyze this woman. If they accept her, their program gets 8500 dollars a month to “treat” her.

The owner is there, she teases the patient as well. The owner goes to France 3 times a year. They all tease her. I know, I was in the room. I was new, I was watching. They accept her to their program, only because they had 3 open beds and they needed the money to pay for their vacations, they said this. Then they mocked her. Money, Money, Money, Money.

After her admission, I got to know her. She had a screeching type whiny voice that sounded like fingernails against the chalkboard. That loud laugh, then the farting, the gas was nonstop. It was a big joke to the staff and the patients.

Everyone blew her off, and no one wanted to talk to her. She annoyed everyone. So she isolated. She was crying uncontrollably one day and came into my office and sat down.

I wanted to say I was busy, but for some reason I didn’t. She said, “Please help, just listen to me.”

She told me about her dream and how nice she thought she looked that day of the interview. She told me that was the best dress and she saved it for so long for her big day. She wanted to impress these guys so much. She practiced for hours about what she wanted to say. She did practice interviews. She told me how she would do whatever staff wanted. She wanted that apartment so bad.

The thing is, they didn’t really care. They didn’t listen to her. They rushed it, it didn’t matter what she said, and they were focused on how “icky” she was.

They were feeling superior. They took her because they had open beds, they wanted money. This was the biggest day of her life, and the “team” they didn’t really care not one bit. What they cared about was getting her out in the hour, so they could admit her and leave on time.

She heard the mocking, the teasing. She had to take it. She wanted the apartment. The counselors never really met with her, the groups only lasted 10 minutes, and no one really asked her about her medications or what was going on.

They didn’t want to deal with her. They were annoyed. She was a thorn in the side of their day in which they did nothing and collected pay for it.

She made them pay attention and that bothered people.

I sat down and talked to her. She cried. She knew, she heard. Why was she always farting? Was it a medication?

N0.

When she was 4. She was raped by her father continually. Then he beat her when she told. He slammed the kitchen table against her stomach, over and over and pinned her against the wall with the table. This all crushed her insides.

He jumped on top of her and beat her. She was age 4. Around the same time that the doctors at the same age were worried about what was for dinner and where they were going on vacation that year. This was happening. This is happening somewhere near us every day. It is happening to someone right now.

She had to have most of her insides removed. This created the farting. But no one cared. The staff were “annoyed” The doctors and psychologists were worried about filling the bed. They don’t want staff to: “feed into this attention seeking behavior.” They said “use your boundaries.” “We don’t need to talk to her when she is doing this for attention.”

This is how they guide treatment. Well, I didn’t listen. This story was then confirmed by records we were able to get.

This is why the mental health system is broken, not because of medications, not because it is untreatable. Not because of people that were institutionalized. Not because they are so “violent” and “dangerous.” In fact mentally ill people have less occurrences of violence than the general public.

The term Mentally Ill is a terrible term. Mental Illness in this culture, in America, is considered this bad thing.

In other cultures it is a healer waiting to be born, in other cultures mentally ill is a term used for those that live in excess.

The reason the system is broken is because of 75% of the people that work in the system are like this. This is changing, I want it to change more, it is coming, and the revolution is coming.

This is why I will keep writing about these things. I have sat in team meetings for the last 18 years hearing stuff like this.

This won’t be over, and I will not be done until we have stopped the feeling of superiority and labels and trying to find what’s “wrong” with people.

Until we stop treating people like this it will never change. Sure we will react when there is a school shooting, or some tragedy happens. We love to react. To over react after the crisis. When we do that, we completely screw it up. We are having an emotional reaction to an event so we overdo it.

We can prevent that by dealing with it right now, everyday. Simply by engaging people and talking to them and showing them that we have love.

Next time you see someone that annoys you, or that you just seem to not like for no reason. Maybe it’s time to get to know them better.

That is how we change things. Sometimes people do whatever they can to “get attention.” A whine, a cry, a yell, a fart.

Either way, it is just that, a cry for attention.

When we see that, it is not time to “put up our boundaries,” as the so called professionals will say, it is the opposite, it is time to let our guard down and remember we are all in this together.

Boundaries create division. Money creates division.

Love brings us back to humanity.

Fight on.

Til the end.

Comments
  1. I reblogged this post to http://bipolarscorpio.com/ post with the intention of ending the stigma of mental illness and to raise awareness to the fact that many suffering from “Mental Illness” have lived through unimaginable abuse or other trauma and there is most likely a reason behind behaviours that we might find less than desirable.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. janetcate says:

    I did see some of that behavior while I was in a hospital for three days. They tried to have a meeting with me in the middle of a room full of people. I told them that was unacceptable to me. I demanded a private area to talk about my case. I was out the next day. Seems if you stand up for yourself then you do not need the help. I did eventually find great help at Sierra Tuscon in Arizona.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Another well written and eye opening post that is full of truth. As a patient and a student hoping to get into the field and make a positive difference, I fully appreciate this post from you. I shared this on Facebook and tweeted with this: This is a tough read – but if you care about truth and the “mentally ill” then you should read this and we should all be more compassionate and less critical and judgmental.

    Liked by 2 people

    • People like you need to be in the field, you will suffer and be isolated and ridiculed, but ask if those who create major change go through that. Thank you

      Liked by 1 person

      • True but we all seem to go through some sort of ridicule for one reason or another. To come through it with compassion and empathy and not bitterness or hatred for me is a work of Jesus who bids me to love. That is my hope: to show that He is the answer to any problem we face for His love is supreme and takes us beyond our human limitations.

        Like

  4. reading your blog always lifts me up. I have “only” been on the patient side of things and I feel helpless in bringing on change in the mental health or law enforcement fields but I can advertise compassion nontheless. I feel validated reading your blog and hopeful that one day I might meet a therapist like you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • There are great therapists out there if you look. You can create change. Speaking up. We may never see things the way we want but piece by piece bit by bit, we can make change. Every written, every action has an effect on the wold. Keep being you

      Liked by 2 people

  5. bostonrosiej says:

    Reblogged this on The Quiet Cottage and commented:
    Although

    Like

  6. bostonrosiej says:

    Reblogged on thequietcottage.

    Like

  7. worrymesilly says:

    This is definitely a theme, Stigma. Scary to think human beings are just dollar signs to those without a conscious. You are right when you say the care givers “need fixing”. We have met very few understanding and caring nurses when it comes to mental illness but I am glad you are a Voice in your profession PLEASE keep up your good work.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. tiostib says:

    thank you. Your voice is valued and you have reminded me that my voice and actions are important.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Gina says:

    Of all the healthcare fields, I feel like psychiatry is the least compassionate. It’s unfortunately, because I think compassion should be the biggest part of it.

    Another excellent read, sir. Thank you for taking the time to write this.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I appreciate your effort to generate respect for mental health issues. At the same time, I am outraged by the regular practice of distributing permanent labels, when certain symptoms themselves may be treated for what they are. It can scare and mislead people to say “Hate to say it, *THIS* is what you have and you’ll have to live with it”. For those for whom it is true, it must be respected as an ailment on a visible, physical part of our body. If one thinks of it like this: one’s mind, one’s brain and brain cells, are physicall matter too.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Pickleope says:

    This is great. Very interesting and as a sufferer of my own special form of mental illness, I truly appreciate…Hold on, there are people who can fart on command to get attention!?! They have my attention. I am rapt by anyone who can fart of their own volition. Play that symphony, you maestros of the rusty sheriff’s badge!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Too funny. That is hilarious

      Like

    • I know dogs who can fart on command. As a puppy my partner lifted her up, head resting close to the elbow, bottom on his hand and then he would play fart canon with her. As an adult dog she was sometimes bothered by her alpha dog sniffing her butt to see if she is in heat. I once told the dog on the phone to just fart if he does it. What do you know the next time someone wanted to be overly sure there was no need to prepare for action he was in for a smelly surprise. 😀 Mentally ill, Obviously. Everyone. Because they do not wear white coats.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I have often said it is the ones who consider themselves “normal” who are the truly scary ones. At least we know we have a medical condition. We address it. We don’t hide. We don’t substitute our humanity with materialism.

    We are aware.

    Not surprised at all by what you have written here. As for Stigma, education, education, education. And the phrase, “mental illness”? That’s gotta go. And like you said … Just keep talking.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. neighsayer says:

    Cort, I aplogize, I’m so sorry, I’m in a bit of a funk since before Christmas, and it never seems like a good time to read one of your incredible posts. I’ve also got one I can’t write yet either.
    I’m hoping I get back on track soon. I don’t mean to be ignoring you, and I haven’t forgotten you . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  14. neighsayer says:

    Jeez, just saying it freed me up, and I was able to read this one, which, of course, great stuff as always. Still gonna chicken out about finding the others I haven’t read yet, though.

    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. selina says:

    I love this post. It reminds me of a friend of mine. She is working to decrease the usage and ‘meaning’ of the DSM, as every person has the right to be seen for what they are – an individual person with their own story.

    Thank you for reminding me (with every post) that there is no such thing as ‘evil people’ or ‘bad people’. We all try to do our best given the circumstances. And some of us are given very tough circumstances at that – how can we judge anybody not knowing what they are actually going through?
    It is beautiful work you are doing!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. amanbaig94 says:

    True. Very heart touching and an awakening story.

    Each person has a reason to be loved.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. wendy says:

    Bravo for writing on this. I was institutionalized one because of a suicide attempt due to Bipolar I disorder. and I feel this is the way my psychiatrist in the hospital was….all about the money.

    I would love to read more of your writing but it is hard to read with no breaks. The solid page with no paragraph breaks is hard for me to read. Think you could put a break in here and there? thanks…w

    Liked by 1 person

  18. worrymesilly says:

    Reblogged this on worrymesilly and commented:
    Our daughter has dealt with this a lot and if it were not for people in the field like takingoffthemask she may still be floating around so I publicly want to thank you for the blog. Make people aware that we are all human. It is easy to make a change be aware of others and show you care.
    It takes ONE person to listen ONE person to make a change.
    A great article and a very serious matter.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. […] daughter has dealt with this a lot and if it were not for people in the field like you – takenthemaskoff she may still be floating around without […]

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Geo Sans says:

    fairy tales
    ~
    the saddest day
    was
    when I realized
    ~
    no one really cares
    and
    life isn’t fair

    Liked by 1 person

  21. As someone who is struggling with keeping my mask on as well, I gotta say thank you for your insight and willingness to speak the truth that the lofty refuse to hear. Unfortunately, I have also experienced this kind of attitude from volunteer and paid staff at homeless shelters. Very disconcerting. I hope you don’t mind that I reblogged this on my Women of Survival blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. […] SHOW ME THE MONEY: A Story About Professional Farts. […]

    Liked by 1 person

  23. aehartley03 says:

    Reblogged this on The Conversation and commented:
    Please read….

    Like

  24. Really interesting post. I connected with it a lot. I have actually nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award because I love reading your blog so much. Here’s a link: https://streamsofconsciousthoughts.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/nominated-for-versatile-blogger-award/

    Liked by 1 person

  25. mylivity says:

    Out of the horrific circumstances you described arose You, a consciousness that observed each individual behaviour and recogniaed the pain in each one, the healing needed in each one, the lesson learned from each one and then you rose.. You flourished and ascended to a new and higher consciousness. We are all experiencing ourselves in different forms, I loved reading your blog.
    Thank you and wishing you all the love & peace.

    Like

  26. nomadissima says:

    if we only would look at others with our heart and soul, how different the aspect of beauty would be..

    Liked by 1 person

  27. lucydeanoca says:

    Thank you for writing such a thought-provoking article. You are not afraid to confront topics which others might consider taboo and do not shy away from the fact that our entire approach to mental illness needs to change if we are to live in a better, more stable world.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Hey … Reading this post is yet another example of why I am compelled to not only blog, but to read as many other blog posts I can, specifically those that are worthwhile. This is one of those blogs; this is one of those posts. The content, is piercing. I have been in “the field” for just over 17 years, now, and I continually encounter two of the dynamics you write about: stigma (my own), and the pride / offensive comments we find in some “professionals” who are in … “the field”. Obviously you tapped something in my heart with this post. Good job.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. life with SN says:

    it is very disturbing .. may no child go through child abuse ever .. amin

    Liked by 1 person

  30. […] SHOW ME THE MONEY: A Story About Professional Farts. […]

    Liked by 1 person

  31. What a great post. I’ve also seen behaviour like this countless times. It’s disgusting that people with such high opinions of themselves judge others that they percieve to be “lower” than them. Ugh. I touched on this in a post on ‘wounded healers’. https://twosidesofthecouch.wordpress.com/2015/01/17/wounded-healers/
    Jung had it bang on!

    Liked by 1 person

  32. danblocksom says:

    Very thoughtful – thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  33. elizabethd74 says:

    I have been treated like this by mental heath professionals for years. I may not fart, I have more than one dress, and my hair is kempt. Yet they still laugh at me. I have heard them when they think I can not. It’s humiliating and makes me want to further harm myself. It makes me feel beneath them. They are not there to help me with my panic attacks or suicidal thoughts. They are only there to get paid. I feel like if I had a brain tumor, I would be taken seriously. But since I am depressed, I am just a fool.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Reblogged this on The Legacy Of Pythagoras and commented:
    Awesome post about “mental illness” and who really needs to be examined.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. arcade1775 says:

    Reblogged this on arcade # 1775.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. poetlou says:

    you put it in your blog and I write about it in my poetry , and if we can get just one person to open their eyes to this reality iy may be a person we save from suicide.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. mrsmariposa2014 says:

    Wow. Absolutely love this. As a mom to two on the autism spectrum, a niece to an aunt with schizophrenia, and one who has herself battled depression, suicide, and other residuals of abuse, thank you for giving a voice to those too often dismissed. Blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Sandy says:

    Like Like Like Like. Thank you for this.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. inigo rey says:

    Thank you for drawing my attention to your great blog.
    I know about physical and sexual abuse from experience. I have seen mental illness from the inside and from the outside, too.
    I know about the slow courage needed for step by step struggle, and the hidden wounds of those who need to bolster their own bleeding self-esteem by belittling others, and telling each other in oblique ways that they, at least are O.K
    Maybe the only sane ones are those who know there is something wrong with them, while the so called sane are sometimes, even often, the ones who seek to deny their own insecurity and the ordinary and continual pain of doing and enduring.

    So thank you again for your work

    Inigo

    Liked by 1 person

  40. The staff members and the stigma of society is the problem…amen amen amen♥

    Liked by 1 person

  41. JacquiBe says:

    Wow! Gobsmacked! In awe! My people too 🙂 Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  42. LyricalFool says:

    As a writer, I admire both your skill and your telling of stories that MUST be told. As a secretary in a behavioral health facility, I see clinical staff act in ways that make me want to weep. I try gently to make suggestions but am written off for being “just a secretary.” I feel powerless, and mourn for those who go though a program run by those too burned out to care.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You see what many of us see, but you have the heart that changes things. Just a hello or a hi or a smile can change the world. Just a secretary is an attitude carried by insecure people. No one is above the other.

      Like

  43. Bunnet says:

    I have been sick my entire life, physically that is. Some doctors just push me away, and other complain that clearly I’m over reacting. After three years of pain and being ignore I finally had enough, my illness was effecting everything in my life so look for doctor who would do the surgery.

    I found one, he was little distant but things were good going then things when bad, I was transfer to the ER for massive bleeding, everyone there ignore me, then I was taken to another hospital because they couldn’t stop the bleeding, I was place in bed and well mostly forgotten they said it was “busy” day, next my surgeon would not pick up the phone, for six days I was constantly bleeding and was treated with very little care, giving morphine to stop the pain and the “talking”. At last when surgery did arrive and was out, another issue happen I was oxygen for while for lung deterioration, again I was ignore. People walking be, not paying attention not wanting to reach over talk to me.

    Liked by 1 person

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