Autour de la psyché : ITW #1, 05/03/2016, Mireille, la psychiatrie - Part 1/2 [Fr + Engl. Subs]

By: Collectif l'Humain visible

First of all, our english is perfectible, so thank you for understanding and collaboration ! ^^ - The visible Human Collective - By mutual agreement we decided not to publicly share all of Mireille’s written accounts that helped her prepare for this meeting. Some of them were actually written years ago, and stemmed from specific circumstances that were especially private. They don’t necessarily relate to the ideas that Mireille wishes to communicate at present, in this interview. We have only kept the written accounts and transcripts she deems most important to protect her identity. Thank you in advance for your understanding. Mireille, 70 years old, was committed twice to psychiatric hospitals in 1995 and 2015 Last year was an acute delusional psychosis related to the Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris She was never clearly told her diagnosis, thus she decided to wright and share the way she lived those two experiences… In order to protect her family and respect her point of view, Mireille choose to make an anonymous interview.

Serie : Behind the psyche - Part 1/2 The visible Human collective "I made a trip away which was nothing but a journey deep inside" - Victor Segalen (a french poet , doctor , ethnographer and archaeologist) - Hello, Mireille. - Hello, Xavier. - Thank you for agreeing to this interview. Let’s make a start.

Firstly, I would like to ask why you agreed to this interview? - I agreed to it because I met you. I emphasise the word “met” which allowed me to find out about Le Collectif l’Humain Visible [the visible Human collective]. I have to be careful because I tend to say l’Humain Invisible [the invisible Human]. I don’t know why…. - Yes. - There’s something about it. I met you at a talk given by Will Hall which was organised by Intervoice about the topic “New perspectives on psychosis” and “How to give up psychiatric drugs”. 11 00:02:59,090 --> 00:03:04,680 I was very moved by your speech at the end of the session. I looked you up on the Internet and was also very moved by your group’s presentation on YouTube. It was simple yet succinct with the words “together”, “the other”, “difference”, “sharing”, the words you spoke, messages to pass on… I immediately thought, “That’s for me”.

- Reading your booklet confirmed my decision. It was very thorough. I agreed to this interview to pass on the following message. My mental health issues were caused by the censorship of free speech in schools, on social media, mass media censorship and the portrayal of mental health. I also agreed to this interview so that I could share what I learnt which could help others interested in these meetings.

Autour de la psyché : ITW #1, 05/03/2016, Mireille, la psychiatrie - Part 1/2 [Fr + Engl. Subs]

I’m from the suburbs and have a lot to say. I find that nowadays children from the suburbs have a lot to say. However, the interview is not the best way for me to do this because I can’t talk if I don’t have my notes to help me. There is a “mental block” that I must explain… - It’s good that you mentioned this because we should mention that most of the questions were sent to you beforehand at your request and you chose to prepare and then read your responses during the interview. You had already prepared written responses.

Why did you do this? Why did I need to prepare ? - Yes. - Because I don’t think we have the right to say whatever we want and as I am forthcoming, I don’t want to hurt anyone. Maybe it’s a desire to control, I don’t know. - Okay. - But I know my weaknesses… - Yes. - I want to respect… -A need to moderate, to regulate your remarks? - Yes, that’s it. - Okay. - I really think that I have anger inside me. Well, it’s admirable you’re doing this. We have had a lengthy exchange of correspondence, which led to this interview.

I have based a lot of it on our correspondence so that I could prepare the questions better. The first written account you sent me was a text that you have sent several times since 2012, to support groups about psychiatry. We decided to keep it private for the moment and I’m going to try and I’m going to try to highlight the main ideas to give the audience a bit of your background about your story and your actions.

I quote you : “It’s about my own life, so my own subjective interpretation of it. That’s what the doctors always say. It’s true that memory can alter real life. In any case I do not wish to get my family into trouble. I know that they were worried about me and that they thought they were helping me, indeed rescuing me. On the other hand I have respect for people that find treatment helpful.

I think they are respected in society. However, I find that this society does not respect me in my search for another solution, with the exception of REV (Intervoice) and some other support groups that allow me to connect with other human beings.” if the questions about anonymity are altogether understandable and justified, could you explain, from your experience, what difficulties you have faced when it comes to talking openly? I think you feel guilty. You’re afraid you might hurt people, myself included. Then, certain misconceptions can lead to breakdowns and possibly isolation. I didn’t want that. On the other hand, I am not sure that we have complete freedom of speech in France. Some points of view can lead to insidious exclusion, which is why I am also careful. That’s the reason. - Okay.

In this text, you talk a lot about mental distress which was ignored from the age of 6 because of unreliable people. Therefore, on your first day of school, by the end of the day, you had developed the fear that your parents were dead. The headmistress heard this, burst out laughing, exclaiming, “This girl’s mad.” When your father died in a car accident you were told that he was injured, that he was sleeping. You claim nobody ever told you he was dead. Consequently, you experienced several painful episodes and during each one, you were forced into silence. There was nobody reliable to talk about what you were feeling deep down.

It was mental distress that you successfully dealt with until you turned 50. Then you underwent what you describe as severe emotional trauma regarding your work, which pushed you over the edge, as once again, nothing was said in front of you. Could you tell us what happened at work? Only what you feel comfortable sharing, and the outcome of your first session with the psychiatrist in 1995. Once again I will speak in the present tense because the trauma is still very real… “I was a nursery teacher and I was having difficulty with a mute child who would bite and an incompetent school psychologist. One night, as school was finishing, the child’s father, very agitated and seemingly drunk, was a little late to pick up his son. The child, also very agitated, said, “When dad watches telly, I suck his pecker.” There were three teachers, myself included, at the entrance hall, but I felt really alone. I asked myself, “Should we let this child leave with his father or phone his mother?” I let the child go home with his father and phoned the mother who came in the next morning with marks on her face as if she had been beaten. “I went back home and rang a friend of mine who was also a teacher, who told me “You must report it immediately.” However, at that time, we had to inform the parents that there would be a report and follow official procedure.

The next morning I went to see the headmistress to ask her to report it. Her reaction was this, “We’re fed up with your story.” I told the school psychologist what happened, and they said, “Bring the father to me, I’ll sort him out.” We never saw the father at school again. The family’s GP (a woman) phoned me at home and asked me in a very authoritative manner to stop what I was doing.” I believe I understand why, but it was very distressing for me. They should have discussed it with each other but doctors work on a confidential basis. - Why do you think that? - I think she feared for the mother. The mother was very unpredictable. - Okay. - I was also scared ..

“I didn’t want this child to leave nursery without a report being made; I even anonymously brought it to the attention of the school’s counsellor. A report is not a denunciation! Three years later, the head mistress said to me scornfully, “Okay, we reported it”, but who’s” we”? I had not been informed, I had not been listened to. It wasn’t about me. I would not give up. After three years of repressed anger, on the first day of the new school year, even though the child had changed schools, I slipped into delirium.

School no longer existed for me.” It was an unsettling time but it was soothing for me... “I called my GP and told him, “I understand everything.” He made an appointment to see me urgently. I left school telling everyone I bumped into, “I understand everything.” A close friend came with me to the doctor. He signed me off work and told me that he would make an appointment for to see doctor X, a psychiatrist in a clinic, a fortnight later. During this fortnight I was relaxed, having kept everything that troubled me about school hidden for so long, but I felt that those around me were worried, as if they knew I was going to be hospitalised. Me, i don't know..

When my family drove me to the psychiatric clinic, I thought I was going to meet Chirac! (Former president of France, editor’s note). I was hysterical during the consultation. Nothing was said in front of me, apart from what was said by the psychiatrist, “You are troubled, hand over your car keys and go upstairs”. A nurse came to get me and took me to a closed unit.

There, I couldn’t decide whether to call my GP, manage to escape the nurse’s watch and go back down to the psychiatrist’s waiting room to ask him for an explanation. The charge nurse immediately came up to me and informed the doctor, who received me once more in the presence of the nurse. He told me again, “You are troubled, go upstairs”. I went upstairs and had my first injection. What was in the injection? I didn’t know, but as I was getting up, I fell. “It’s the treatment”, said those in the neighbouring beds. So I asked for a single room, which I was allowed.

I was given a chemical treatment that I knew nothing about, I had to take my tablets under the watchful eye of the nurses. The psychiatrist visited me everyday. “Unwilling to talk”, is what he wrote to the GP. I didn’t understand what they wanted from me. I kept saying, “the child must be respected”, then nothing else, but it was never taken any further.

“They didn’t tell me anything, I thought I was going to be stuck in there forever. I identified with the character in the film “Vol au-dessus d’un nid de coucou [One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest]” (directed by Miloš Forman, 1975, starring Jack Nicholson, editor’s note), which made me extremely anxious. No other treatment involving physical activity was offered. I really would like have liked to have been listened to before this breakdown! I finally left three weeks later, with a chemical treatment that I had no intention of following, a treatment associated with visits to the psychiatrist. Readjusting to life was very difficult, which explains the tendency to go back down the path of delirium (this is obviously what the treatment is for).” That was my first time in a psychiatric institution.

- You use two words, "soothing" and "unsettling" to talk about what you were experiencing then, in other words, delirium. Could we talk about what you found distressing and soothing in this phenomenon, which is… - About the delirium? - Yes. - It was the psychiatrist who told me, “You are troubled",the delirium made it seem like the school no longer existed, I wascomforted, I had lost contact with reality. I felt calm at the time. Did this calming factor come from within you? - Yes. - It was later, talking to the psychiatrist that… - Yes, talking to the psychiatrist unsettled me.

But did you feel comforted by thefact that the school didn’t exist, it no longer existed? - Did you feel unsettled inside? - No. - Okay. - Not at all. - Would you know how to describe the condition you were in? - I returned, actually… why did I call the doctor? It is surprising. Why did I call the doctor? To tell her I understood everything, It is still an enigma for me. As if I was still unwell.

As if I felt unwell since I called the doctor at the school before leaving. Luckily I did, otherwise it would have been malpractice. In some way, Iprobably felt unsettled but I cannot explain why I was comforted, I stayed there for 15 days. I went to a wedding, everything was fine. - Do you mean the school did not exist thent or it no longer existed? The school didn’t exist. - The school didn’t exist? - I don’t really know how to answer since it existed before, and then it didn’t. - I think the school no longer existed. - At the time, did you associate this with the fact that you thought the school did exist… - No, I didn’t… in the end… - Did you actually think it had never existed? - I no longer thought about the school.

- Okay. - I no longer thought about the school, the children, nothing at all. I was in another world. But it didn’t stop me cooking or living. This reminds me of the film, "Sous le sable", have you heard of it? - It rings a bell, tell me more about it. - It’s about a woman who has lost her husband but I actually thinkshe’s delirious and her husband is still alive.

She sees and talks to him. At the end of the film, To prove to her that he is dead, they show her his ring in the sand by the sea. You think she will return to reality but she says, "That is not his ring." I don’t remember the film well as it has been a long time since I saw it, but I would love tosee it again.

- Are there any other anecdotes or things you would like to mention about this first incident? Before we move on… - Not about this first incident. because I’ll talk about it later. - Okay. - Otherwise, I’d repeat myself. - In March 2015 you had a significantpsychotic episode and you talk about a delirious episode linked to the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

You say you refused to participate in the organised public demonstration. Instead, you went to Caen to attend the talk by Michel Onfrayat the Open University, which, you say had a calmingeffect on you. - What did this massacre unleash in you? - I’ll start by talking aboutMichel Onfray because he understood my emotional distress. He is the only person who understood. On Sunday, the day after the demonstration, I sent an e-mail and he replied immediately. So on Monday, I went to his lecture to thank him, as I had done with Deen, the President of the GuineanAssociation in Normandy, who was very supportive and is now my friend.

I didn’t feel stigmatized by these people. I felt understood, but not stigmatized. What is it exactly that helped you from the talks you heard? - What helped me? Well, agreed with Michel Onfray’s opinions in the discussion, but not in the philosophy talk. The philosophy talk was separate because first, there was an hour of philosophy followed by the discussion. The discussion was about the Chalie Hebdo massacre, it was about the demonstration. I agreed with what he said. I think that’s what comforted me On the other hand, I asked a question and he took an hour to reply, so that was important.

- What opinion did you agree with about this incident? What do you remember? That this demonstration was a bit manipulative. I have lived like that. My mind was in a whirl seeing the demonstration, and the “Je suis Charlie” placards even carried by children troubled me. I thought it was okay for those who knew Charlie, but placards carried children,was crazy… A form of manipulation. I didn’t see many Muslims at this demonstration. However, at Michel Onfray’s talks, I met Deen, the President of the Guinean Association in Normandy, who welcomed me into his home, His family are now my friends and have been supportive. Sometimes I tell myself that positive thoughts can be as troubling as negative ones.

When one is in a strong emotional state, either positive or negative, I think there is a risk. - What happened, what then followed this psychiatric episode? What happened afterwards? - Despiteassistance, nothing was done, I fell into delirium. I remember because it is very recent. The problem is that I believe I was already troubled before the Charlie Hebdo massacre, I was part of a support group where I witnessed social hardship, violence, sexual deprivation, depression, alcohol, drugs. I felt it was a matter of urgency to highlight this. I didn’t feel understood there… I was also interviewed there by a local radio station. I didn’t answer the question, instead, I wrote to the director to discuss the problems young people face. He didn’t reply which explains my subsequent , milder state of delirum.

The psychiatrists didn’t try to understand or listen to me. I already had warning signs then. My thoughts were racing but I was playing with them because it is a type of addiction. You wouldn’t understand unless you’d experienced it. Then the TV, especially… “- William Leymergie (journalist, French television presenter, editor’s note) contacted me, When I used to email Deen and Michel Onfray, I was in contact with Les Renseignements Généraux [French Special Branch] (former service de renseignement français [French Intelligence Service], editor’s note) My mobile phone and my computer were connected to RG. For a while, I was in a position of complete power, then I became convinced people were plotting against me, that my friends were plotting against me. I was afraid. Following an argument, I took my car and left during the night, leaving behind my credit card, cheque book, mobile phone and, in particular, remarks on a piece of paper that a psychiatrist could presume was a suicide note.

I drove at random. I would have liked to have gone to the seaside but I wasn’t sure about my sense of direction. I decided to shelter in a train station to stay warm.

But train stations are shut at night.” Whilst driving I was listening to the local radio station that had interviewed me, and thoughtI would ask the director why he never replied and ask him face to face if the attack had actually happened. I was at odds with reality since I had doubts about the attacks. I hadn’t seen the deaths either “For me, I didn’t take any risks. I was communicating telepathically with this radio!!! I was neither dangerous nor suicidal but I was at odds with a reality that was too painful. I waited for the station to open and told reception that I wanted to meet the manager and explained why. Then the police that arrived, even though there was no public disturbance. Nobody spoke to me, except for one policeman, who told me, “You’re right, Madam, the attacks certainly did happen”. That was reassuring for me. and I think if the policeman had spent some time with me, I would have returned to reality.

The policeman was very caring towards me. Later, the firemen arrived which is when my mind became muddled. The more they harassed me,, the greater my delirium. They drove me to psychiatric emergency care and you can guess what happened… - Let’s go back to talking about the encounter with the policeman.

What did he do that was caring at that point? - Well the fact that he told me, “You are right, Madam,,although the psychiatrists say you are talking nonsense.” He turned the problem around, saying, “You are right, Madam, the attacks actually happened." Although I had doubts, he brought me back to reality. It goes to show you don’t need to be a psychiatrist. In our correspondence, you always mention that you were never explicitly told your diagnosis.

You had to request a copy of your medical file from the Directorate of Medical Affairs where you saw the terms which no one mentioned to you during your consultations. I would like to ask how important the diagnosis was for you. The diagnosis was not important for me but it was very intense and worrying because behind these words lay forced treatments and injections of delayed-action neuroleptics, which have terrible consequences. Fear of death is hidden somewhere.

- Consequently,what do these terms of “chronic psychosis” represent for you? - It means nothing. I looked them up on the Internet… This diagnosis of “chronic psychosis,”including acute psychosis, delirious spells,altered states of consciousness. It didn’t mean anything to me. I was even more angry with the psychiatric institution because we cannot discuss things with anyone and there are no meetings.

There are no meetings with psychiatrists in psychiatric institutions. - When we speak of people with mental health problems, or people with psychological disabilties, when we speak of psychotics, are these terms severe or stigmatizing for you? - Well, severe, stigmatizing… I don’t know. Even before you arrived, I looked up the term "stigmatization" because that is a strong term to use. However, I don’t feel socially stigmatized. I have resumed a normal life here. My psychiatrists have permitted me to resume a normal life, I have not been placed under guardianship or placed under protection for vulnerable adults. Personally, I do not feel stigmatized.

Usually, when people try to identify people who are psychologically weak, the recurring terms are those of psychotics, people with mental health problems,people with psychological disabilties, these are frequently used. Do you find these are strong terms, or perhaps for you, they are not, but possibly from the encounters that you have had…? 222 00:33:59,490 --> 00:34:04,899 - Yes, incidentally, I’m surprised by people who say "I’m bipolar" more and more I meet people who tell me "I’m bipolar" or "I’m schizophrenic." I met a young lady who told me "I’m schizophrenic, I have a boyfriend, I want to have a child." I actually think it’s harsh that they’re told "Well no you can’t have a child,” I think it’s a serious thing - It’s something that makes you think people who openly introduce themselves by saying "I’m bipolar" or "I’m psychotic" - Yes I tell myself…they’ve been brainwashed while I… well I make light of it, I’m psychotic but I take care of myself or… but my psychiatrist in town has also helped me, he told me "Attach no importance to this diagnosis." - It also makes me think that in some cases people who find themselves just like that in great psychic fragility at some point need to know what they’re suffering from, they need a name through the diagnosis, after perhaps the diagnosis is really not everything and is not an end in itself and once diagnosed as X/Y perhaps the important thing is to actually know. So what to make of it then? I notice that some people have the desire at some point to know. What am I suffering from and what’s the name of the condition I have - Ah well it was important for me the first time that the psychiatrists tell me "You’re insane, “because I worked from that moment - Oh okay - I worked, I searched. Because otherwise “insane" at that time meant nothing to me. I worked…on myself to try and understand what insanity was… what it was that I had. And by the way doctors say "You were not insane because insane people never admit that they’re insane," but I believe that they’re never allowed.

I met…I had some conversations that also allowed me to understand that I could take care of myself without any help - Exactly, what does insanity mean to you, how would you define it? - For me it’s a loss of contact with reality such as it is culturally - Is it important the word "culturally"? hahaha - hahaha You’ll see later - Based on your journey, the question one could ask oneself is "Can insanity arise in someone's life by far too much censorship of speech?" - Er yes, yes yes… yes yes for me it can arise from far too much censorship of speech because for me…I need to speak or else the anxiety is locked up in the brain like a tumor that grows so I want to scream "Look out danger" and they tell me "You’re insane" - In the definitions that are commonly given when it comes to insanity it is said that it’s an attempt at healing, a defence against a reality that’s difficult to handle. Is insanity an opening, is it a dead end? - Ah for me it’s an opening into who we are as subjects, and who has not been heard, who has not been respected. I see it as an opening. The problem is that the institution does not listen to us… well as subjects but treats us like objects so it’s not really an opening in that case. It becomes a dead end but it’s the institution that makes it into a dead end for me.

I always speak for myself because well everyone’s experience is different. And I respect that. For example the police officer treated me like a subject - By actually considering what you were saying? - Umm - And linking it back to reality? - And looking at me face to face and… so I think there’s also that - By not rejecting you? - That’s it - And…there’s another word that can also be linked to insanity it’s madness and the question that I wanted to ask you is "Does madness exist?" -Of course, the One Thousand-Cow Farm is madness to me - The? Sorry? - The One Thousand-Cow Farm is madness to me except that it’s cultural here - Okay…hahaha - Hahaha that’s why I’d told you that I'll get back to it and so I’ll go back to Will’s quote "If one person has a strange conviction, he or she is mad, if 100 people have strange convictions then it’s cultural."Anyway to return to the real question if the break with reality stems from madness? Yes madness exists and I’ve experienced it - But it’s a moment, it’s a state, it’s an episode - Yes that’s it - There’s no… - It’s a modified state of consciousness at a given moment.

So then why immediately return to the chronic state, they don’t know, they’re like me, perhaps it’s chronic, I’m not saying that it’s not chronic but why be sure after a few days of consultations that last 1/4 of an hour where nothing is exchanged - If you’ll allow me I’ve listened in a modified state of consciousness, I’ve also listened in a modified state of confidence, I think it’s interesting - Ha it’s not by chance - Would you say…it could also be defined by a modified state of confidence? Could there be a break like that with oneself precisely in terms of self-confidence? - Ah well totally, totally. Insofar as when you’re not listened to you completely lose confidence - So from what you’ve experienced, how has psychiatry evolved since 1995? Because in your writing you mention a trustworthy person who can be named now, the reliable speaker who we spoke about at the beginning of the interview, you also mention the law of 5 July 2011, you make the distinction between psychiatrists in town and those in institutions and in the reports that can be made today there are more and more alternative medicinal treatment methods, physical mediation therapies since listening is through therapy: sophrology, meditation but there’re still many other forms of therapy. There’s also more interdisciplinary work and therefore fewer decisions that are made vertically, staff are better trained in the interpersonal sphere and are therefore less restricted to the rank of technician and yet you highlight the fact that psychiatry, on the whole, has deteriorated you speak about it like an enigma, of a tendency to be dehumanising - Yes - So how has it psychiatry evolved for you? - Ah well for me it has regressed except for the recognition of patients’ rights by the law of 5 July 2011. So actually, there is forced care but forced care existed before in a covert way you know… so that’s it.… So the reliable person, well I believe that we’d be safer if we had a reliable institution, a secure institution or a reliable network, or a reliable person.

It’s difficult…it’s difficult to be a reliable person…I think - A lot of responsibilities? - Yes, I think that a network is better. So, I’ll go back to the ideas or…Yes? - Do you want to stay on that question? Or do you want to move on to… - No no - For you definitely on the whole, psychiatry has deteriorated in spite of the…some positive reports that can apparently also be made generally speaking - Ah yes yes I can tell you what I’ve experienced. So yes, yes yes staff actually spend some time conveying things in writing that are not passed on to the patient from day today or even if you ever request your file, while for me it’s the person concerned first. I find, as in a lot of professions, a lot of time is spent keeping track of things to protect themselves but not to help except for some caregivers who are really ready to listen eh, I’m not generalising, there really are some caregivers who are ready to listen. But otherwise I’ve only seen technicians who would spend their time in their office on the computer or else preparing medicine trays. And it amused me to see them because it’s : morning noon and night, so it’s a lot of time spent preparing medicine trays. I think it’s sad that the job has come to this. Well now on the other hand when I would go to hit, I would still be warmly received, they would ask me to be considerate…but they don’t come and meet us you know - That is there isn’t enough spoken or emotional support, day after day in what you experience? Do you find The support that is…at least in your experience anyway, have you found the support quite limited when it comes to staff? - Yes that’s right, we patients keep to ourselves, it’s difficult eh! Ok I think that they lack the means. Well, I’m not going to condemn the caregivers - Umm it’s important to say it - I think that they lack the means and also there are some…I was going to say some orders, it’s perhaps not the right word but…yes there’re some orders (disorganisation) but without playing a word game.

To show the lack of humanity I can even read the letter I was sent when I requested my file, it’s really telling - Can you tell us something about it? - Well I can read it to you: “Madam, according to your letter received 20 November 2015, you wished to have communicated the contents of your medical file. In order to process your request and in accordance with the provisions of the law of 4 March and the decree of 29 April 2002 I disclose to you that the ensuing charges are required from you before dispatching the file. These charges represent the sum of 5.94 Euros with a total of 33 copies at 0.18 euro per page.

Upon receipt of a payment in the amount of 5.94 Euros made out to the Public Treasury and addressed to the management of quality medical affairs and patient relations, the file will be delivered to you personally (then in bold) within a period in keeping with the provisions of article 1 final paragraph of the decree 2002-637 of 29 April 2002. Yours faithfully.” So I didn’t pay before, because I refused. I went there with my 5.94 Euros, I even brought 6 Euros, I really wanted to leave them 6 cents, they didn’t want it. And it was a business transaction. In other words I was given my file like that, there was no human connection. Still I think one must take risks. Right now I’ll be honest, I think there are some people in this situation who respond humanely. There’s a person who called and told me "I sent you a letter, should you have a problem, call me." But I think that the institution is the problem. The director of CHS is the problem.

They’re administrators, while before, I think they were less administrative, they were doctors, I believe…What to tell you about the others? Well, I like living in pyjamas while I was in the secure unit so I wouldn’t risk leaving. I spend my days in pyjamas while in 1995 I dressed up. The psychiatrist came by every day, that was very difficult being in front of the psychiatrist - What is the reasoning given for why you have to wear pyjamas? - Flight risk…in a secure unit…to be recognised from outside. And then I was still amazed at what I saw during hospitalisation, that is completely idle young people spending their time, entire days, smoking and doing drugs? I think so. We were left to ourselves in a universe of depression, each patient wishing to tell his/her story, so I would listen a bit then take refuge in my room to set my boundaries and particularly to protect myself from the young people’s harassment of the old folk. I would spend my time writing each person’s story.

But the young people’s harassment of the old folk really upset me and that’s why the workshop with Will Hall had young people there where I sensed humanity at last, respect for everyone. Respect for difference was very strong, very important, very strong - What specific kind of violence were you conscious of between the young people and the older folk? - Ah well, there was verbal violence. Now they’d make remarks when we arrived for the meal. So in 1995 when I was in my room my meal was brought to me in my room. In 2015 you had to go to the group meal, we were under observation I think - Ah you talk about the young people as in…the nursing staff…young? - No the hospitalised young people - Ok, ok, fine - Hospitalised young people! - You feel no solidarity? - Ah it was stronger than that, there was aggression…there were attacks.

By the way I wrote a letter to the director as the psychiatrist advised me to. They replied with an apology. But right they’re not going to work on it for that, for me these young people should be busy you know...still…there’s really no therapy other than medicine - Do you think that the aggressiveness was fed because of…of precisely the fact that they weren’t busy enough? - Well sure, because for example I used to do meditative walks in the corridor.

So the young people could not stand it, it was aggressive to them somehow. And then there was a very small patio, outside where they would go smoke, right and then on top of that they would do drugs, that can also make you aggressive eh - Are there other comparative elements you’d like to talk about? - For me psychiatry has become a lot safer. In 1995 it was the injection.

At first the psychiatrist came with the female nurse, well the injection was difficult for me but it had been more humane then…when I was calm and seated on my chair, they come and suggest that I take a Loxapac tablet which I refuse, so then there are 4 caregivers who take me…who hold me and the female nurse administers the injection under the supervision of a male nurse near the door in case I leave, run away. On the other hand in both cases they didn’t recommend alternative medicinal treatment methods to me. So really I make a distinction between my two psychiatrists in town, I say my two psychiatrists in town, I will not generalise about the psychiatrists in town, these are the two that I chose and the psychiatrists at the institution. I think that they don’t have the same constraints. The psychiatrists in town and, incidentally, both have left the institution and one of the two has even quit practising psychiatry. He told me why… - Do you want tell us about it ? - I don’t want to be aggressive anymore… well I think that it can be aggressive... Last part of this interview in the next video This English translation has been possible thanks to the PerMondo project : Free translation of websites and documents for non-profit organisations. A project managed by Mondo Agit.

Translators : Laura Streather, Larkin Cleland and Stacey Thomas. Proofreaders : Christina Cordaroy and Alice Garrod. >> A big THANK YOU goes to them ! << Copyright © All rights reserved.

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