Sunday, April 5, 2015

remembering hilda from the social housing unit and the system from doomsday

It is never good to think back.

Now at the age of 62 little things start the grey cells networking like mad to remember.

A simple quiet luncheon with an older sister yesterday first flooded memories of where i had once lived.
It was related to my hearing.  Doing without help my twin sister and i were disadvantaged from the beginning.

It did impact on our lives.  Cause and effect with the difference too between two nations on us as we separated in adult years.
Where one was literally set free the other twin, my self became entraped in a horrible system, a draconian system which virtually meant the mind and body withered so much i became lost to the world.

It all could have been the same for my twin sister, but making a strong decision to get out and away was the best way forward and could have been for myself if i even knew what i wanted to do on leaving school.

Going to a major city of the world London, an imperial master with wealth, experiance and having an advanced culture and progressive thinking ideas with global interconnections gave my twin some opportunity whereas a small country in my day going  no where fast left those behind with no clear path at all.

If you are troubled too, its was disaster.
My twin was troubled, but the way of handling this was so different.
She was encouraged that she could and would make it, she could and would do it.
She was encouraged that yes, its possible.

With myself i was encouraged to stay away from people.
I was told i would not make it.
I was encouraged to simply plod along and do what i could the best way i could.

It was so different too for choices, there were none in ireland.
While i was queueing for the food mountain beef and cheese and barely surviving on the dole and then disability, my twin was preparing upward for a career.

What career even could i think of and how on earth could any be funded if i did?
University was for the elite then and only families who could afford it could attend.
I wasnt one of them when our dad had retired when we were twelve.

But this difference sparked off another.

The unheard of difference of social housing, effects of deprivation being a whole new ball game to a middle class psyche and mindset
I was sitting with a university professor’s wife who mixed in these types of educated, elitest and high octane groups.
Philantropy only really occured in Freshers year, thereafter abandoned for the intellectual persuit of excellence to devour knowledge but little else ever happened when it came to the working classes.

This was evident when i could only get so far in my tales of experience in the lower end of the social strata.
It had become unpleasant to the professor’s wife and ‘lets talk about something different’ as she shifted uneasily in her sit.
Grant it we were supposed to be having a pleasant luncheon out as three siblings.

But difference created in my world meant that i saw difference for decades and absorbed that culture readily as none other was available.
It wasnt myself going down the ladder in life, it was placing myself where i could only be.
Through deafness, disadvantage, depression, economic stress and lack of culture or programmes set up like in the UK.

There was nothing in the Ireland of the 70’s.
I was encapsulated into the social housing units which were lethally dangerous for their tenants.
They were tenaments when i was in them first, real tenaments and condemned as such soon after i arrived, four years after in fact but i had to endure tenament life.
But funnily or ironically they were freedom setting for myself.
People really cared and i loved it.
I embraced the fact i could do nothing better now and just tried to do what i could, as the psychiatrist was encouraging me to do.
There was no vocational training, no grants for third level training and no collage for disabled adults who could never go mainstream anyway.

To tell my sister that i had many a regret for being in the psychiatric system and how it let me down we began speaking of the person herself who was actually trapped in its grip more than myself.

But for us, us weak people or so we were effectively told, we didnt know it at the time, this sort of system was destroying our every chance to advance even as much as Ireland could allow, and in certain respects, most of us could have done better.   it was killing off all avenues and there were tiny ones open but psychiatry effectively stopped you growing in ireland.

The usual way of course was through medication.
Ireland was not effectively well trained in what to do with psychiatric medications.
As now where all these pills and potions were being dished out for even weeeping when grieving (now), we were then in full belief of the efficacy of the potion and pill.

They were the cure all for all.
It isnt so and it doesnt work this way and never did.
The media and the ways of media were beginning post 60s’ alongside the way messages were getting through by the first TV sets and the LP’s and Radio, so media as a skill was becoming a way of finding out information for the masses, including the brill effects of LSD and cannibes and all manner of mind bending drugs.
But mind bending drugs were not only the illecit, all mind drugs are bending.
And this is incredibly forceful and persuasive in telling a group’s educated that these drugs are firstly safe, and secondly good medicine.

Erosion of this fact is not actually getting through to the masses now where more babies, toddlers, preschoolers and kindergarten kids are on the very same medication i was on when i had first hit them at 21yrs.  And this was the norm then but now the big pharma is attacking all classes, all creds and all social groups with mass media promotions of the brilliance of the pill.

growing up in the tenaments was in the main a happy affair.
I met in social housing in Ireland of the day a systemic abuse of power for us lowly and this is well documented by the late mary raftery as she exposed the truth that was ireland in her last documentary ‘behind these walls’

A decade prior to my birth or actually during my growing years Ireland as a nation had more individuals and young locked away in the lunatic asylums than the whole of the rest of europe put together!
This is quite staggaring considering our size population wise.

So we knew about difference well.
washing day mean all the clothes were washed by hand.
Ireland does and it doesnt take much even now to be demonised instantly,
My difference of course was my lack of educational choice and a personality wired for depression and a different way of thinking.  That all for another essays analysis.

Let me get back to how i let a sister quirm and why it had this effect on her.
She is a full decade older than myself.
She grew up the priveledge daughter to get to university and then marry her student lad who went on to become a professor.
Her life was good, entertaining, enrichment educationally and culturally and no sign at all of depravation or class shifts.

My shift to the lower end of the ladder made uncomfortable listening.
Voicing what i had met to sort of expect my sister to realise what i had seen when i had basically dropped out of society was my way of feeling regrettful that i was in that level for so long and also in psychiatry for so long.
I regretted not being able to cut the noose of entrapment by pills and indoctrination of very basic medical practises which were all inclusive whether you were a lonely young woman as i was or a paranoid schizophrenic we were all lumped with the same package.

I regretted i told them of how one woman could do this.
Keep you held in a circle and i cupped my hands in such a shape as not to let the light shine through.
It was that.
No light shone for me and no hope ever was given in any shape or form to a brilliantly intelligent person.

It was our culture between being a country way behind any other through its nations own downfall after the famine and during colonisation.
It was our culture to expect that most would be put away who were different.
It was our culture not to accept difference and we still have that culture and i feel i know why.

But trapping a sister who could have had potential if shown the way, by another who was as advantaged as us in the same schooling system was wrong.
It was in effect ignorant thinking and ignorant education for a profession that was not well understood at the time.

I met horrible experiences and some i recalled to my sister.
How many cannot presently cope with the shutting down of some institutional fall back.
Citing incidents such as Hilda being found drunk and walking down the middle of the tenament blocks in the cold in her bare feet i recounted how i brought coffee to her home, i told her of what i had seen there, choas, filth, dirt vomit and a woman left to it, by all.

That would include state, health, family and society.

She wasnt coping and she was not the only one.
This was toward the time i was beginning to find my feet where i was far more open to helping the others now so much worse than i but not so different to my own personal hell in the beginning.

Pouring coffee into a drunken sad woman was pitiful and all the while with permission taking images of the state of her place.
Noting the electric guitar her soulmate proped by the bedroom door and the beautiful woman of the eighties jamming in the pub as a jazz singer was a far cry to how the lady had fallen.

And why so?
Because she too knew of potential but also too of sadness like myself which she could not handle.
Being in an institution, having children and not being able to cope would have done it in my eyes.
As it had for Hilda, sending her into a personal spiral of doubt, self doubt and unimaginable confusion.
Having children herself probably started a ball rolling of ‘who am i?  Where do i come from?’ for Hilda had not known.

Hilda could never know for state and church to this day will not release any details for all the women and men of ireland who were given up for adoption or put away or into institutions of where their roots were, where their parents were and who they were themselves.
Unless the adult in the relationship at the time would consent to being exposed as the mother or father of the adopted the children, now adults had no right whatsoever, by state or church to know and to know what to tell their own children where they came from.

Hilda ended on scrap heap treated as a hopeless alcoholic unfit for living even.
Trapped again in a system of getting blind drunk and blotting out memories of being in an institution, being abused in one and getting money off the Redress board for being so.
Blotting out all this, the medics then said to the guards and to me ‘there is nothing we can do for her,she is an alcoholic’ and repeatedly sent her back to a small social housing unit with memories of hell, without her children who had been taken off her and left ot drink again to drown the sorrows.

It began a group think, Hilda was useless and a hopeless case.
But the electric guitar and the fantastic attractive lady jamming with a jazz group told a different story.
She herself reluctant to tell this part of a positive life so much was she drowing in her hell of again i say my hell the hell we get into when we are drowning in trouble.
Our own deep shit.

But to state, to the neighbours, Hilda was the alcoholic.
She wasnt the person Hilda.
I saw it by the way the state even refused her the use as she pleased of the money she got off the redress board, as compensation, it was hers by right, but she was made a ‘ward of court’ and had to beg the solicitors for the right to some of it piecemeal.
That is imprisonment all over again, but of a different name but again state power and state abuse of power.

The same goes again for her choices of uplifting her living.  There were none.
You were left.

with no gardens you went down to the street for 'air'
When they began to start a programme of saying the right way to go with mental health was to treat people in their own communities and not hold them in institutions, didnt mean throwing them out on the street and abandoning them lock stock and barrel.

When i was being put in the psychiatric hospitals in the 70s up to the 90’s there were no security men at the door of the hospital.
There was free flow of patients and their visitors and the institution was a hub of a collective.
Now it may not have been very modern to do all this have so many there but a good deal needed it.

When i brought hilda up there after one of her bad bouts of drinking to be cared for for a while i found no one in the huge canteen but a lone security man having a cuppa on his own.
I saw another with a chain of keys hovering by the front desk, and i was flatly told i couldnt leave her there.

I was already very sick with crohns and it was getting late.  I needed my own sick bed.
What happened next can only be documented as having happened but it is in disbelief that it did and people are astounded.
Out came the security guy, oh yes he could have been any non national that is now doing work the irish wont, but he was there, this security guy came following me to the van, the adapted van in the disability bay, i have a mobility problem to name but one.
He slapped himself against the back of the van.
Of course he didnt mean to be mince meat but i tried to, not literally but i did force him from there by slowly backing the van out, he shifted to the side and slapped his body against the side, his arms outstretched and then did the same to the front.

Never before have i experienced such behaviour.
Seeing a man in a suit without his jacket so thinking he was of authority (i later found out he was from the ‘accounts’ department, i kid you not)!  I opened the door and exclaimed ‘what is going on?’  well he told me, by his actions.

He reached inside and whipped the keys from the ignition.
And left me there!
Half in the disability bay and half out i was now kidnapped, and what he did, as i heard later from a lawyer was ‘technical tresspass’  and there i was sitting in the dark wondering how the hell i resolve all this.

I rang the Irish times and also the guards.
‘will you just come up here and see what has happened?’  i was aghast to think ireland could come so far as to deny a person free access to her car to leave a state car park to a state/privately run hospital.  The great St. John of God!

I couldnt believe it.
But things were changing in ireland, for the better.

When i told my sister she sat rivoted to her seat, she  couldnt believe it, she hasnt seen that side of life.
She hasnt had to rescue lowly neighbours in such troubles.
She also hadnt to live in tenaments that had steps to them which are now pronounced utterly illegal, see Ireland is moving forward, the modern way.

But alas, they do not care for the sick as they once had, because they were now moving forward the modern way (of course failing to do anything about the people out in the community isn’t the modern way).  They failed them.
They did not think this one through.
No extra community nurses were allocated in fact, now all the displaced sick were jotted everywhere out in the community alone and forgotten, except by the guards and people like myself and sometimes the church.
But forgotten, pretty much now like those who have lost their homes.

But also the homes that those tenants had in back streets were still the slums.  They were dressed up  a bit and had running hot water put in and also had a bath put in or a shower, this now meant they were hitting the european targets for a better place to live.

They forget though that these people had to enter and leave their homes, one way or another, and that meant stairways, illegal steps.
You now have to in law for decades, design stairways so that you can put a full foot on a step as you go down the stairs or up the steps.

Not so in these, tiny boxs the stairs were step and tiny, there was no space in the 18th century homes still used for the lower classes.
What happened of course were broken bones, meaning nurses who lived there and some did were left open to broken bones, and one had a compound fracture to her wrist and elbow from such a fall and never worked again, a valuable source of income to a poor family.
So too did a male given full custody to two young boys he adored.  Falling down those stairs he lost his life and was found when they broke down the door lifeless with a broken neck.
Bones broken by many on my street and also to a learning disabled feeble man who broke a leg and wrist, who actually wore calipers and was living in an  upstairs social housing unit (nb they are never called homes), he spent months in the hospital and then sent straight back up to the flat, in his seventies,  with calipers, he wasnt given a downstairs easier place to live, there were none.  It was offered a drug riddled street as i was offered an alcoholic fueled cul de sac.  He refused and stayed, i accepted and ran like a war victim.
eight floorboards between fireplace and sofa where my twin slept for eight months with a diagnosis of parkinsons disease meant not even a manual wheelchair could be unfolded - this was an 'upgrade' for a disabled woman?
also placed alone amongst male alcoholics - all of them in one cul de sac?  

alcohol so much in abundance in a lower social housing unit without stairs mean a huge change was about to occur, running away like a victim of state abuse, which it was
We were the forgotten.

we were forgotten as people, human beings, we were forgotten
 I lament the past.   The life of psychiatry my first notable imprisonment and then the social housing which couldnt have been more dispiriting to a bright and educated person, but i did accept both, more so social housing for i was with people i loved.

You couldnt even begin to forgive psychiatry and their ways for destroying my life entirely and i place the blame there for now being in my 60s i am percieved as this sort of lunatic.

But as i go back to the beginning of this essay, this is what ireland does with difference, we are good at classing people and by very small margins of clarifications all roiund.  It doesnt take alot at all.

Friday, April 3, 2015

In this blighted house: Stations of the Cross for Caring people

In this blighted house: Stations of the Cross for Caring people: Jesus is condemned to death Let us take a few moments to think about and pray for all those condemned to death in prisons worldwide. M...

i think this is a beautiful piece of writing and wish to share it with all on this day for everyone to reflect on the modern life and lifestyle. where humans also come to grief and into conflict.