New Art by Pamwagg
My Life is Art, My Art is Life
“In India when we meet and part we Often say, ‘Namaste’, which means: I honor the place in you where the entire universe resides; I honor the place in you of love, of light, of truth, of peace. I honor the place within you where if you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me, there is only one of us." ~~Ram Dass~~
My adventures in self-publishing and other gibberish
5 thoughts on “New Art by Pamwagg”
Thank you, Linda Lee for your brilliant and terribly poignant writing about being restrained and secluded in that hell hole called a hospital. Sanctuary trauma must be the most despicable form of torture there is, the idea that people who are supposed to help you end up torturing you is so exquisitely disgusting and evil it just boggles the mind, but of course we both know it happened and still does, all the time. THank you again, my friend, and I send my atheist-who-longs-for-god prayers that your memoir is published soon and to great acclaim. Love, Pam
I just “liked” my own comment, because YAY it posted, even though it was one of the longest comments I have ever written!
Now, I need, I want, to leave the blog world for awhile and finish writing my memoir. The first thing I am going to do is rewrite my long comment about the bed shackles, and make it my prologue.
Thank you for being a great inspiration, Pammy!!!!!
The bed shackles. . . that was done to me, too, at the now-defunct State Hospital #3 in Nevada, Missouri. The way we were shackled there was slightly different. A steel belt, wrapped in leather, went around the waist and was padlocked under the bed. A leather-wrapped steel cuff, looped tightly around each ankle, was padlocked to the foot of the bed. Around each wrist was another leather and steel cuff, padlocked to the side rails.
1968, 1969. I was 14 – 15 years old. Most of the time, the shackles were my punishment for attempting to run away. Solitary confinement was used a lot for punishment too, sometimes with, sometimes without being shackled.
The last time I was put in solitary and then shackled, was for calling a nurse a bitch after she had screamed at me to stop crying. I was sitting on the toilet, crying silently, with tears running down my face. A fellow patient, my caring friend, Faye, had come into the restroom, saw me crying, was concerned for me, and said she was going to tell the nurse, because the nurse might have something she could give me that would help me feel better.
Moments later, the witch in white storms into the restroom and yells at me to stop my damn crying, because I am “upsetting the other patients.” Plural. When only one other patient had seen my tears, and she was only concerned for my well-being, not upset for herself.
I was 15 years old, sitting on the toilet trying to poop, with silent tears running down my face. And I had so many reasons to be crying! Just the week before I had been raped, almost murdered by the rapist, and then blamed by two of the rapist doctor’s friends, one who was another shrink, and one a male social worker, both got in my face and blamed me for my own rape, blamed me for “ruining the life of a wonderful, brilliant doctor.” I had been transferred from my nice open ward, to a miserable locked ward, two days after the rape, even though I had not “acted out” in any way. I hadn’t even reported the rape, two nurses had done that after finding me unconscious on the floor with no pulse and my underwear full of semen….
On top of everything else, I had recently passed the one year point of my incarceration in that hellhole, and I knew this meant that my statistical chances of ever getting out of there alive was now less than 1%. I knew, because this is what a psychiatrist had told me, a few days after my parents put me in the asylum. When I asked the doctor how soon I could go home, expecting to hear something along the lines of “maybe in a month or two,” he coldly replied “According to the current statistics, 97% of the people committed to this institution are never released. And, if you are still here after one year, the odds that you will ever leave this place alive, will go down to less than 1%.”
Seeing the look of shocked disbelief on my face, this inhuman doctor, not the rapist, but another one, said, in an affronted tone: “If you don’t believe me, ask the other patients on the ward how long they have been here!” I did ask, and the shortest answer I remember getting was 8 years, the average more than 20. I wasn’t even old enough to drive yet, and my life was over! So hell yes, I ran away at every opportunity, and I kept running, until all the days in solidarity confinement, strapped down to the bed as punishment, finally broke me.
My silent tears were because of all these things. And now a nurse is screaming at me to STOP my damn crying! I do not make a move toward her, I am still sitting on the pot. But I say, very clearly and emphatically: “Bitch, I can cry if I want to.”
Her mouth drops open as if I have just uttered the worst imaginable blasphemy. She scurries out of the room. Moments later, the goon squad, big burly male attendants dressed all in white, three of them, swarm into the restroom. Without a word, they grab me by the hair, pull me off the toilet, slam me to the floor, and then drag me by my arms and my legs, with my underpants twisting around my ankles, out of the room and down the hall to a solitary cell, where they shove me inside, then slamming and locking the heavy steel door behind me.
That was when I hung myself. With my bedsheet. I looped it around a pipe that I was able to get to, by standing on my tiptoes on the windsill. But the substantial looking pipe broke with my slight weight, and I fell to the floor, pipe, sheet-noose, and all.
Someone outside the window had seen me and raised the alarm. I am still lying in a bruised heap on the floor, when the white suits once again swarm into the tiny room, jab me in the hip with a hypodermic needle, pick me up and throw me on the bed, and padlock my waist, my ankles, my wrists, while I am gratefully floating away into oblivion….
That hospital was the largest building in the state of Missouri at the time of its construction, the main building more than a mile in circumference. Built like a fortress in a grand Gothic style, with soaring ceilings and a marble lobby, the place was packed to overflowing during my almost two year incarceration there. A huge human warehouse, a huge inhuman warehouse. This was how the experts of the day treated mental illness.
I was released from State Hospital #3 in December 1969, by a new psychiatrist who had been hired to replace the rapist shrink, after the rapist’s arrest and prior to his suicide. The new doctor released me because, he said, I was not mentally ill. All of my “acting out” and all of my “schizophrenic symptoms” were normal, he said — normal reactions to my horribly abnormal traumas. Somehow Dr. Fenster knew this, more than a decade before Post Traumatic Stress Disorder became an official psychiatric diagnosis.
The wonderful, Jewish Dr. Fenster saved my life. I wish you had had a Dr. Fenster, my friend. I wish everyone with any kind of mental health issues had a doctor like him.
I am so sorry, Pammy, that you have been chained to a bed so many times. It is evil, cruel, and inhuman treatment. If a person did not have any mental health issues prior to being put in solitary confinement and shackled to a bed, they surely will have mental health issues, afterward.
Pammy, thank you for being one of the first to follow my new blog. 😀
I am amazed by your amazing talent. Your realistic art is incredible! And your painting of being shackled to the bed is very evocative. That was done to me, many times, in 1968 and 1969, when I was 14-15 years old.
I was so inspired by your bed-shackles painting, that I wrote a very long comment about it. But WordPress hasn’t been posting my lengthy comments lately, they just vanish when I try to post them. I did not want to risk losing all the words I just typed, so I have copied my long comment to my notepad. After checking for typos, I will attempt to post it. If it doesn’t go through, then I will break it down into several short comments.
How are you?
I think I want one of the Fractured series, probably the self portrait, or the Einstein. You’re selling prints, aren’t you?
If I could commission one, I’d want a fractured portrait of Hunter S. Thompson, but of course I want something from your heart, from your life.
How to purchase, and how much?
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