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I’ve been up all night debating about whether or not to go to the Mental Health Review Tribunal Scheduled for tomorrow at 11am at Talygarn Ward, Griffithstown Hospital, Pontypool. I have an appeal against the Community Treatment Order (CTO) that I was placed on following my discharge from Section 3 of the Mental Health Act when I was detained a few months ago. When you are placed on a section order – whether it be for hospital detainment or one of these horrible new-fangled freedom-crushing CTOs – you get the right of appeal. Well – by law and the Mental Health Act itself you should get the right of appeal. I have been through entire sections without any appeal at all. What they claim at the Tribunal Office is that they are too busy, too snowed under to process the appeal. If you are lucky enough to have one scheduled, usually it comes very late on into the section. For a six month detention under section 3 you can expect to be waiting at least 4 months for your appeal hearing. After which time you are pretty much adjusted to the inner workings of the looney bin. Not that you should ever hold out any hope whatsoever of ever winning. The Mental Health Review Tribunal (MHRT) service is there to make Mental Health look legal and just. It is a facade for public and media consumption. Yes – they’ll give you a sheet of paper when you are locked up as a patient, explaining your rights. If they say they do this it makes it a lot easier for all the politicians in Westminster or Cardiff, to vote in favour of more punitive conditions and laws for detainees as they (in the adept lying manner only politicans can really truly understand) can justify to themselves that they are acting justly and they can sleep at night. It’s all self-reassurance. Before you ever get a chance to read the slip of paper, they rip it back from you and get straight to the more pertinent and relevant to their work needle-jabbing process to drug and torture you. After several months of drowning in pools of your own drool and taking a break in your chainsmoking to slurp drool, while adopting a military like program of getting out of bed and getting back in at regimented times, you tell yourself repeatedly – “Oh – it will all be OK when I get to the Tribunal. They will see how unjustly I’ve been treated and release the shackles of my bonds and I will be able to return home to my loved ones, my possessions, my job, my life’ It is only human to think this way – Look beyond the mental health literature at the thoughts of hostages across the world. Terry Waite, John McCarthy, Ingrid Betancourt. They all can speak of how twisted your mind becomes under torturous kidnap conditions. It’s a journey of your self which is a tough, rocky road. Survival instinct kicks in and only when you are released back into the ‘real world’ do you start to heal the scars of your time of suffering.
The disappointment when you finally open the Victorian Doors to the Courtroom kicks in when you see the same old faces. The panel of three who have been appointed with the power of either freeing you from the daft silly bit of paper which they all go around decrying as ‘The Law’ or whether they should rubber stamp all that the Psychiatrist and Mental Health team have done and intend to do in the future. The retired psychiatrist who is always part of the team of three will never decide in your favour. it simply goes against the grain of all they believe in. They stick together like glue. If blood is thicker than water, a psychiatrist has treacle in his veins. The Medical Member of the ‘Independent# board will be your worst nightmare.; He will drive any shadow of debate about the situation far away as he drives the whole procedure. If the lay member or legal chairperson even show the slightest seeds of doubt, the veteran shrink will redirect their opinions, not as a judge may direct a jury, but in the most manipulative cunning manner that only a true torturer can comprehend. They set their whole system around the ideology of conditionning and as much as I despise the methodology of it, eventually, with enough sweat tears and blood it will achieve the end results. Of course conditionning is far from humane but thoughts of humanity and fundamental human rights are far far away. I’ve had maybe 30 tribunal hearings in 14.5 years. I’ve had some really clear cut cases where I have been able to prove beyond all shadow of doubt the lies and myths in the tribunal reports, with hard evidence. Yet, I have never won a tribunal, not once, not even have I come close. Ok – sounds a bit ‘poor me’ – but the paperwork is done that tightly so that all sing from the same hymn sheet, it doesn’t matter what you say or do you ain’t getting off the treatment order. Why do I bother going at all? Why do I consider going? Well – they are useful exercises as you do get to keep the specially drafted reports from your care team about your treatment. The Doctors, Nurses, Social Workers, and all else involved from the police to the public… They all have input. Usually it is the first and only time you will get to hear and understand what you are accused of. You listen to the court proceeedings and wonder who the devil they are wittering on about. It must be Satan himself, the evilness of this person’s deeds. And then you realise that it is you. They create such fiction that by the time come for you to have your say you even start believing that you are Fred West or Ian Brady, such is the power of the whole conditionning process. But – at the end of the tribunal, you get to keep the reports. You can take time to mull over them at a more convenient safe environment. You can file them away for use in future cases in real court situations like, for example, the Eruopean Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Kangaroo Courts will never achieve justice. The way they are set up prevents them from achieving it. They achieve their goals and they serve their purpose in this. The Care Plan gets a rubber stamp, the profiteering continues and everyone can go home satisfied that they have prevented a disaster. they are all heroes and have prevented the public from being butchered by the crazy maniacs from the mental hospital. They put on their slippers, sip their cocoa and sleep like babies. You, on the other hand, have to endure the torment of this rubber stamping and decision. It reinvigours the whole team who are treating you. They have spent so much time contructing the myth that you have rights and can achieve justice at the tribunal that they have even started to doubt themselves whether they will win. Now that they have won – they like to bask in the glory of a good victory. They put work into their reports and by heck are you going to feel the pain you have caused by resisting them in a ‘court’ situation. Why can’t you be a good boy and just accept your illness and treatment? It all works 100% – They know this as they were taught it in Universities. The nice guy from the drugs company explained how the medication is perfect and works so well for patients. It’s your damned mental illness that prevents you from seeing this and we will free you from this horrific burden. Once you get over the worst hurdle and symptom, that of DENIAL, we can at least start curing you. Not that a cure exists of course – as it says that in the textbooks also. But at the very least we can experiment until we achieve a cure and once that has been achieved then the world will be a safer and healthier place as it will be free from mental illness.
Back in the real world, you have to deal with the fallout but at least you get to keep the documentation. Next time you have an appeal you can compare notes. It’s always vastly different. Your ‘disease’ has morphed completely. A new set of symptoms, a new set of delusions, a new regime of medication and a new set of treatment conditions. When it has happened on repeat like this for years on end it just gets a bit tedious and boring. I have a tendency to get carried away in these mock court situations and kind of unleash hell – when you are surrounded by enemies in one of these hostile situations it is tricky keeping a cool head, whatever your temperament. I leave the hearing after all is done while the panel decide on a verdict and you always think to yourself ‘Oh maybe, maybe this time will be the one, maybe they will see the light and my whole nightmare will be over’ Waiting for a verdict does this to one’s mind. Whether you are innocent or guilty the waiting on a verdict is a weird situation. I’ve come to the point whereby I take the whole tribunal system as a complete joke. If you don’t recognise their authority in the first place, it doesn’t matter what they say or find or do, it won’t affect you. A bunch of tarty posh out-of-touch-with-reality former professional dogsbody dogooders can think what they want about how risky I am, it will not change my outlook or attitude or what I say or do. They harm themselves ultimately as they create a bubble for themselves, a mental cocoon which envelopes them from the real world. If you believe every Tom, Dick and Harry who is set in front of you is a murderous psychopath who is that dangerous your soul will not rest until you have treated him psychiatrically. That you are the hero of the tale. The protector of the good, the saviour of the values of society… You are building sandcastles. As much as I like to watch their pretty constructions, should someone who actually is dangerous ever come along, they won’t have the ability to recognise it. They think that harmless ordinary folk are inherently evil. They will not recognise the genuine article. He’ll be nestled inside their cocoon, devouring them and they won’t even notice. When the tide washes in I aim to be far from the swash and safely tucked away in my home on dry, hilly ground.
The tribunal was scheduled for last month when I was still an inpatient. Well – on the day of my discharge in fact. It had been a section 3 detained patient appeal. So, as psychiatrists are prone to do – it has happened to me on multiple previous occasions – if there is any doubt at all that they could lose the tribunal, thereby freeing you as a patient, from their lengthy clutches. They will do a bit of swap and shift with the legal paperwork to ensure that the victory is achieved. An unretained patient who is back in society is not a reality for them. It is totally unaccaptable. A psychiatrist would sell his own grandmother ahead of letting go a client. Without experimental material the science is dead. If a whole develops in the net and a single fish manages to get out then pretty soon the whole trawl will be void and your dinner plate will be empty. I was taken off the Section 3 that morning, discharged from hospital, put ona CTO immediately and then told that the tribunal would be addressing an appeal against this new document, still wet with ink. Yet, as the reports hadn’t been updated to reflect these new conditions at the tribunal, after all the extended waiting – formality, rigmarole and all the hoo-ha etc. The legal member just declared an immediate adjournment for updated reports. they would all go away and work and get paid preparing new ones so that justice could be achieved.
As much as I hate to see a man starve from his fish & chip supper, I have a few bigger fish to fry myself. The hospital is way up in the Welsh valleys, a good 2 hour journey from me. My university course began yesterday and I’ve had a busy week workwise, taking on several new clients. End of Terror has been launched and I’m loving the response thus far in terms of traffic and comments from my friends and supporters. I could trek about telling small pockets of strangers my woes in person, or I could tell 7 billion people on the internet the same story, For the End Of Terror to be realised I know which camp my heart lies in. Sod the tribunal, sod the verdict I shall Phone In Sick. Meanwhile I shall blog my merry heart out and see if I can help in bringing about fundamental change, not just for myself as an individual, but for the people today across the planet and more importantly, leave a blueprint for the children of tomorrow so that they understand what mistakes their ancestors have made. Real change is built one brick at a time. The sea will wash in and out every day and those sandcastles are never left standing. The End Of Terror is sat there, perched, on high ground, where the echo of the waves are nowt but a distant whisper.