YO psyche ward!

These are quotes heard from my 40 hours a week working in mental health... some of these are quotes from me some from other staff and some from patients.
No names are used to protect peoples rights. I will not... tell you if it was a patient or a staff member I am quoting...
it's the old saying you can't tell the difference between the staff and the patients.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


"We have used spice to cover up the taste of our fetid meat for so long now... so long. Now that we no longer have to use it for our meat we use it for our fetid lives. Here is to the spice of life."

Thursday, September 30, 2010

My penis

"I was able to change the light bulb, but I didn't have to use my penis to do it."

Plenty of fluids

" I have had all manner of bodily fluids thrown on me."


 "Can I get a raise of hands of any one that's been assaulted at work? Ah good almost all of you."


" Whats holding you back, is whats setting you free."

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Damn Ghosts

" You tell those goddamn Sasquatch Ghosts that they can go to hell!"

Anniversary of the death of a crisis worker

Today sept 28th was the day I got the call from Mark Wedeven (RIP) that Issac Zito (RIP) was missing. He asked me feverishly what places I thought he might be at, I thought of the last place we had seen each other down by the rail road tracks on the bay. We had sat there that last night with one of his lovely lady friends and I expressed to Isaac that perhaps it was time to lay down the sword, both of us always felt that our work was that of protection, that of the warriors work, like field medics on some great psychic battlefield.

I have moments of clarity where I look at the qualities of a person and tell that person what blessings they have to offer the world. When it comes out it is always sort of soul shaking for both me and the other person, humbling to say the least for both of us. I pointed out Issac's ability to sense aesthetic value of life and the ethics necessary to appreciate and communicate it to others in a way that altered peoples perception of the world in a balanced and beautiful way. I told him that it was time to put down the sword and to become the artist, the creative, the poet, to put his academic lingo slinging mind to the grind stone and change what people believe about the world, thus changing how they lived in it. Ike grew quite and we watched with wide open minds and eyes at the lights reflecting on the water, commenting on their beauty. I felt as though I had humbled him, and I hoped that it would move him out of the mental health field and into teaching, or writing...

A sample of his writing can still be found in a letter to the editor of the Olympian news paper...

"Pledge of Allegiance has been amended four times

Hannah Palo's letter pleads to keep the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, invoking historical review.
The pledge, first published in 1892 in Youth's Companion magazine, by socialist and Baptist minister Francis Bellamy, aimed to teach, "Obedience to the state (as) a virtue." He created the "Bellamy Salute," performed during the recitation, which resembled the Nazi salute, and was obviously discontinued during WWII. In 1940, the Supreme Court ruled that children could be coerced to recite the pledge, even those who considered the recitation worshipping false idols. In 1943, the court overturned this, citing that "compulsory unification of opinion" violated the First Amendment. This led to some attacks on Jehovah's Witnesses by pledge propagators.
Schools started recitation, spreading without state intervention. Ministers pushed to add "under God" in 1953, which was absent in the original pledge, under the specious argument that it was in the Gettysburg Address. The phrase "under God" was legally added on Flag Day in 1954, when Eisenhower ratified it. Actually, the pledge was amended four times, lastly in 1954.
Palo's argument dismisses history under the false auspices of its necessity, while relying on a straw man implicating the pledge, at its present incarnation, is and always has been immutable. Finally, I would ask whether a free and open society needed to rely on inculcation of propaganda to its children, or if this practice actually belies the professed liberty of the United States? Peripherally, U.S. currencies read "In God We Trust," not "under God."
Isaac J. Zito, Olympia

The man was brilliant... and he would tell you this often...
But Ike was a Dog soldier... he would not leave his position once he had put his stake in the ground, until he was relieved by another dog soldier, had won the battle or died strapped to his spike in the ground. He and I both lived by this moto and it drew us together. At times I believed that Isaac would be the person to relieve me of my sense duty to that psychic battle we where both in... the battle we fought was endless... and I am still there strapped next to where he fell. Fighting the same battle...
I am of the opinion that the way we fight this battle is what perpetuates it... I have no faith in community mental health, and in some ways I blame its systems and bureaucracy for his demise... just a little. Enough to almost be considered part of the enemy that we are fighting itself. His friend Mark saw it that way... Ike would get phone calls from Mark in the middle of the night running from cops and needing a pick up after mobbing the police dept with anarchist protesters. I admired both of them for fighting with all they had, and with what ever presented itself to them at the time, as unjust, or just plain in need of an ass kicking. But those two both where shining examples of people who gave every last bit of themselves to the world. Helping the homeless or the mental ill or challenging those  powers at be that perpetuate this mess we all find ourselves in.

Later in the morning last year today, I received a call from Mark at work. He found Ike dead, my heart sank and utter madness ensued... grief is an amazing force. What grief can do is incredible. It is like a black hole opens up to the underworld and starts sucking people in the first thing to go is inhibition, the second is self awareness... we loose a part of ourself often when we loose someone, native shamans called it soul loss some times... In away if we allow ourselves to feel that greif and just be possessed by it; maintaining enough self control to keep ourselves from going into that black hole, we come out more whole, stripped of so much we have held within us... and left with new questions that I would hope could provide us some needed wisdom the next time one of us is taken below. In this case it happened soon and it was Mark Wedeven, he died in an avalanche not long after Ikes death, and they still have not found his remains. He will not be having a beer in Ikes memory tonight with the rest of us... But we will toast to him and strike the earth with our glasses.

I lost my job shortly after that and went back to working in mental health again... something I loathed to do. But here I am again with my stake in the ground... It is the stake that I gave Isaac this time. I picked it up took it where it was needed and placed it in the ground again. But this time I know that that battle has to be fought in another way, and I do it for Isaac. In remembrance of those last words of hope, encouragement and acknowledgement that I gave him down by the rail road tracks drinking dandelion wine. The battle will  be won by turning the sword into the plow, by being the creative force that changes the hearts of those we encounter, the battle will be won not through our self sacrifice but through just giving creatively and often, and often to ourselves, it will be won through nurturing the gifts we see in others... and by not working in a system that refers to the ill as "consumers".

A friend of mine, probably the most enlightened being I ever met has two PhD's in psychology. He was telling me of his frustration with the system and how limited it is in his ability to authentically help people. In a rare moment of clarity I was able to give him some guidance... usually it's the other way around. I said to him don't try to profit off of their illness, don't make a living off of it. Do something else for a living and just be there for people as much as possible, give, and make yourself available to the families in your community. Encourage people to help each other and co-counsel each other... Lead ceremonies that bring community together.

For me this is my next step... I see what the mental health system does to its workers... I saw what it did to Isaac, there is no one to go to, there are no systems in place to help us, there are no mandated weekley therapy sessions, just bullshit classes on beating burn out.

I only wish he was able to put down that sword with me, so we could move in that direction together.

I personally believe in the transmigration of the soul, and that it sticks around from time to time, I feel that Ike will get his chance to make that choice to lay down his sword again... and that this time he will make that decision, I just hope I know him in that life to come, before he died we would talk about knowing each other prior, that we had been brothers before and we where brothers again. Ike and I shared many powerful spiritual experiences before he died, in some ways I felt that his meeting me inspird him to do the work he needed to do to make this decision to take his own life. Our military freind Todd pointed out that taking ones own life is the most difficult thing one can do and thast it takes courage and strength that many people do not have, a rare perspective... but my feeling will always be that it may have been perspective he lacked one he saught through his relationship with me. He would come so close to putting his personal suffering in the lake instead of the glass, but there was always a powerful inner conflict working in him that prevented him from doing so.

Until we meet in our next incarnation I hope to embody the characteristics I had the privilege to learn from my brother Ike so that a part of him will continue on here fighting and soon creating along side me.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Hello is Susanne home?

"...well then can you just let me into the phone room so I can call random people in the phone book?"

 "ummm. Not right now."

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Oh you like that?

"Oh you like that? You like having the body of bear? You want your old body back? Because I could give you your old body back."

No more pity...

"Oh I have no more sympathy, the guy ate his one year old child and couldn't stop talking about how great it was."


"They smoke Cannabis so there for they are cannibals. They where eating soilent green, meat that has been in the soil for too long."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Smoking outside of Jail

"People who wish to control others, generally speaking have the least amount of control in their personal lives."

Monday, January 25, 2010

Found recently in Modus Operandi Magazine.

Working in a psyche ward allows you access to the more disturbing things in life. Often times its just a mild accent of the oddity that is life as we currently know it, sometimes it's a disturbing magnification of those aspects of life that we all really cant easily wrap our heads around.
Being a Scorpio sex and death always seem to stick out like a sore thumb... its something we just seem to take notice of a bit more. It is also something that is most frequently a sore spot for those locked up in an involuntary treatment facility. Sex in a psyche ward... sigh... Just the subject is taboo, you can't let people even talk about it. You have to snap at folks "Keep it appropriate, or your going to take a time out in your room.", if the subject comes up. It's too sensitive of a subject,maybe the libido is the base force behind neurosis I don't know...
People tend to respond to stress with masturbation, I have noticed... more then once. It's pretty common. Just remember if your stressed out whip it out in front of every one and just go for it. In those situations its pretty hard to confront the person. It's not a situation that we often have to confront. When have you said to any one "Hey will you stop masturbating we are trying to eat here!", once again you have to be abrupt and abrasive and tell them, "Hey go to your room, there are other people present!" There is rarely an argument, people generally speaking will act a bit shocked that you confronted them and just walk to their room and continue.
You have to do room checks every 15 minutes. Every ones rooms have a window in the door, and only the staff gets to look into them. Which always seems awkward when you have to tell a patient to respect the privacy of the other patients and not look into their room. It always seems a bit hypocritical. But really we are just saving them further trauma. You see things that can curl your toenails. I could see how the nudity of the opposite sex could be totally turned into a trauma for veterans of this field. PTSD being triggered nearly every time you see a nude woman. Involuntary nudity is much different then voluntary nudity, it's kinda disturbing but you can never put your finger on why. Maybe it the highly confused motivations that drive the nudity in the first place, it's hard to say. But regardless psychosis does not always lead to nudity, but it is fairly frequent that it does. Perhaps it goes with the liberation of to being fully "there". You look into a patients room and you see things... sometimes terrible people naked doing strange things.
One evening a patient who needed to be observed 24/7 was not, due to a co-workers negligence. The patient ended up in the bathroom innocent enough as that may seem to most of us, there are those that should never be left to their own devices in the bano. I rushed to monitor the man to find he was not responding to my calls at the door, I opened the door to the extremely rare and unpleasant aroma of roll on deodorant mixed with blood and feces. You know the sent when it hits you, truly a rare sent to be found in ones day to day adventures. What ensued was a wrestling match between the man who had just shoved a deodorant bottle up his ass, and the staff, myself included.
There are moment where logic fails you, there are also moments when the most logical and necessary action you must take is not the most logical. You react first with out much thought at all honestly, and you begrudge yourself for it after words. Wrestling a man covered in blood and feces to the ground is one of those moments you just cannot forgive yourself for but it seemed the right thing to do at the time. The thoughts that went through your mind that led to such a choice must be looked at very closely after words and with much scrutiny. "If he still has the blood/shit/deodorant covered bottle then he will contaminate everything with it!" Thoughts like that for example. "Get it!" someone yelled...and so you do< and your sorry for doing so, and you always will be.
After we got it away from him I had to know why it happened in the first place."Why did you put that bottle of deodorant up your ass man?!""Because when your covered in shit every one leaves you alone."Once again there are moments when logic fails and is replaced by the logic of madness that can not be refuted, for there is truth present. Yet I am not sure to this day that that was his real motive, and even if it was, and even though it does make perfect sense, it did not work out that way... unforgettably as that was for all involved.
People like to hook up in psyche wards. Especially people who are stabilized, it kinda takes that to hook up anyway, at least a little bit. There would seem to be no issue with that, but these are not always consenting adults. Sometimes people get to that same point we can all relate to waking up the next morning to a patron of the same bar we frequented the night before laying next to us. "What the fuck did I DO?" So when boundaries are not in place some one has to step in for you. Like in bar situations this is called cock blocking. Depending on how far gone or how stable the patients are in the cock blocking situation you find that the results are often times the same as if you where doing so in a bar. Wrath. I am not sure if this is just hard wired in the human nervous system or not, perhaps its a evolutionary mechanism to make sure we get to pass on our DNA, but cock blocking will in most living things create a fight or flight response. Ultimately in humans though it is always resented and unlike in the bar situation, you are not going to get anything for your trouble. Perhaps the satisfaction that you prevented someone from making a bad mistake but mostly the outcome always seems to go poorly and that satisfaction is usually far from being felt... ever. Occasionally though lasting relationships form and people stabilize and it is a beautiful thing. I recall seeing to of my past patients running hand in hand with each other down the street wearing matching cloths and matching backpacks. It was cute... surreal and cute. I felt really sad when I saw the man in the bar alone talking to himself after she killed her self. But for a while they where happy, and that's the way of it seems.
Having sexual advances placed on you is a tough one. You feel embarrassed for them and for you depending on the situation. But it is never appropriate in that sort of relationship ever. It's easier though to set boundaries for a co-worker then for your self when its happening. Sometimes you need that, a co-worker on the floor to watch your back if that happens, to cock block the patient. But its always better if you do it yourself. The patient has to know that its not appropriate and that it makes it hard to establish a therapeutic relationship if that dynamic continues. I don't jest as much here because it's a serious thing, well this all is. But the line between serious and humorous fade the longer you work in the units. I once made a patient cry because it was the only way to get through his delusion that all the female staff wanted him. You couldn't accomplish anything until that delusion was broke. It was a sad moment for both of us. Some times its easier to just let the delusions continue and the sickness run free, but never in the long run, it always comes back to bite you in the ass. When it's happening to you though, and a client is hitting on you its hard to know what to do. Once a male patient was having seriously bad recall of childhood molestations. He was a married man who had always kept his homosexual tendencies at bay, but now it was all flooding out. Being propositioned when it is unwelcome is always awkward, but having your patient ask you if he can suck you off or that he would like to kiss you, well if presents that difficult moment of shock where your just not sure if that just happened and how you should deal with it. Especially when it comes out of left field during a card game with other staff present who are even more shocked and unable to set the appropriate boundary. You have to be cautious, this is part of some ones healing moment deep rooted shit is coming out and you can tell that. "That would not be possible," you say in a calm cool manner regaining your composer, " For one I am straight and though I respect your feelings, if you continue to have those sorts of feelings for me I will not be able to help you as your counselor."
As I said its messy, sex and lust on a psyche ward is always a messy subject. It's tricky, allegations can fly and the next thing you know wham your fired for just being in a room alone with a patient helping them with something... doors must always be open, always tell someone what your doing. Never let any one hug or touch you. " No touching!" Its a rule... they love rules in a psyche ward.
Developmentally disabled patients are tough. Adults with little impulse control, or ability to process complex emotions. Adult bodies, adult drives, adult hormones, with the mind of a child. The patient had been swallowing foreign objects to kill her self. It was a power play with her care providers so that she could get a video game. It got out of control, and so there she was on the ward. She swallowed a pen capon my watch. I was kinda excited to leave the ward it had been a rough day watching her, and honestly I was hoping that at the ER they would let me stay and watch as they did the endoscopy. They did it was great I got to the see the insides of a fellow human and watch as they played a real life video game that object was to remove a pen cap, a golf pencil and red crayon. Amazing. The part that sucked for me however was having to watch her in the ER out side of the ward with little aid from the nurses. She kept taking down her top and exposing her self to me asking me if I would have sex with her. Deformed, retarded and hideous in all honesty. I couldn't take it I was in the corner, there was no way out... I had to gnaw off my own legs to escape! I couldn't take it though, in the ward the female staff would have taken over at that point, and the male staff would have separated from the patient. Not an option though, so it kept happening all night, and I kept asking the nurses to come in and put her top up and to tighten the restrains.
There are so many moments where the experience itself of being there at the ward causes you the counselor total trauma. Mental illness I swear is contagious. The smell of an obese womans vaginal yeast infection during a take down where body parts are every where cloths ripped genitals exposed. You block the words the sounds, the sights, the feelings, and smells from your mind only to find like the smell of the yeast that will not come off your sleeve all night something lingers. A memory, an image in the minds eye, of something awful. You tell your self you have to be mature about these things, you have to distance your self, take a step back, be the observer and like Buddha just let it float by like a storm cloud. Then something else comes to top it. An old man shitting in your hands as you have to wipe his ass a woman throwing her urine in your face, but that's just the 9-5 thats life working in a psyche ward.
Not to long ago a patient kicked me in the nuts. I had to stop for a moment and take a look at things real hard. I am getting paid to get kicked in the nuts? Aint life a trip... I quit the job, moved on, left the ward and went on to more challenging work if you can believe it. I left because my best friend who I worked with couldn't take it any more and shot himself in the head twice. His coping mechanism was women, several at one time, without the others knowing. It all crashed down on him. He used his lust to combat what he saw in the psyche ward. It wasn't enough to hold back the gates though. The gates fell and what was released was absolutely horrible to behold and he removed those thoughts that his lust for life could not fight back and he ate two 9mm rounds in a park a day before his sons birthday. Lust and women was his escape from the horror he saw and fought to process, cope and just deal with. But he needed to much from that one. Lets say that it was not a sustainable plan.
Me... well I drink...