NOTE: this is a link to the finished collage, sans border of which I have no photo: https://wagblog.wordpress.com/2011/11/13/reflection-on-room-101-in-ward-d/
I now call this Reflections on Room 101 in The Ministry of Love, as a reference to Room 101 in the book “1984” by George Orwell. The place where recalcitrant prisoners faced torture with the things they feared most in the world.
I want to post today some photos from the progress I have made on my large collage of the restraint room (seclusion room) in a psychiatric unit. I must say that it gives me the shakes whenever I work on it, or at least whenever I look at it afterwards, and certainly when I photograph it. But I think that the fear and heart-racing palpitations are slightly diminished compared to this time a month ago. Possibly. That is what I am hoping for at any rate. The process of doing this is my attempt at “exposure therapy” I suppose, because I cannot live with what feels like PTSD any longer. (I know, I know, according to the New Rules, you cannot, by definition, have PTSD unless your life was mortally threatened; unless you experienced a tsunami or earthquake, mass murderer, or Hurricane Katrina, it does not count as “real trauma,” so say the doctors, and they should know, right? After all, they are the ones who defined the illness, and keep redefining it, and who made it up! Well, since they have the initials MD after their names, standing for Missed Diagnoses, I dunno if we can trust them on anything as important as deciding for us what it is that counts as traumatic. It seems to me that WE ought to be the ones telling THEM, no?) Be that as it may, let me change paragraphs and resume the discussion I left off so abruptly above.
Whatever the case, I do suffer with heart-racing fear and sweats and tremors that make it difficult even to take a clear photo of the collage after working on it but whether it is PTSD, I care not. All I care about is 1) communicating the experience, or at least what the rooms look like, and 2) purging myself of the residual fear.
I don’t want to go on any further with that. It truly does cause me great anxiety. And I prefer to work on the collage and on forgiving the specific people who did those things to me. It is likely that they had grown to hate me, forgetting that I was a troubled and profoundly ill person because I was also loud and frustrating and violent…(treated with violence didn’t make me any more docile, I might add). So things only escalated and escalated, when from the start their goal was to have a quiet unit that ran smoothly and had everyone get discharged in a matter of days, no questions asked. They did this by helping no one, by talking to no one, and by questioning no one. All they cared about was making sure that everyone stayed “safe” for as long as they were in their clutches. And that they would say so until they left. BUT I said I was working on forgiving them, and trying to see them as tired human beings, flawed but human. It does me no good to get all riled up again.
so I will leave it here, with the photos of the art. I will add only that I plan to redo the curtains, since as it is the blue competes with the sky. Also there will be a curtain rod, and such…But as you can see, it is still a work in progress!
One thought on “Photos from “Reflections on a Psychiatric Seclusion Room””
It amazes me that psychiatrists seem to think what they call “schizophrenia” and and what they call “PSTD” are unrelated. However, there is one who “got” it. Dr. Loren Mosher, the first head of the National Institute of Mental Health Center for Studies of Schizophrenia, described psychosis as an understandable coping mechanism, very similar to shell shock, “except that the [shell-shock victim’s] trauma—the overwhelming experience—is very readily identifiable. It’s right there, easy to see. In contrast, the trauma that drives schizophrenics over the edge is not often so readily identifiable, and it is more often cumulative, rather than a single event. But often there’s a lot of things going on, and usually there’s also a trigger event—a romantic rejection, the death of a parent, an excessive involvement with recreational drugs.”
Excellent art work, BTW.