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****Disclaimer. Important, Please Read****

Most of my posts will not be funny and whimsical. I want to give my life experiences from the point of view of a person with severe depression, chronic anxiety, OCD, PTSD, and bipolar disorder. I want them to feel real and intense. There will be strong language and probably graphic situations. Read at your own discretion.

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Just taking a little mental health break. Not sure how long it will be. Things have been difficult lately, and I just need some me time. Thank you for understanding.

The Treatments of Others

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As promised, here is my continuance on Bedlam Asylum. Today’s post is about the treatments/tortures used on the patients. Admittedly, this post almost didn’t happen today. My laptop decided to crash on me. After a lot of cussing and screaming, I finally got it figured out and hopefully temporarily fixed. So, let’s continue with the ways of treating the mentally ill in the Bedlam Asylum.

First off, let’s talk about rotational therapy. It makes you think of seeing a therapist on a rotating schedule, right? Wrong! Patients were put into a hanging chair that was suspended from the ceiling. They were then spun around at various speeds. This would lead to the patient getting physically sick. But don’t worry, the doctor’s saw this as a positive response. What? The? Actual? Fuck?!

Patients were beaten and starved. They were thrown into ice baths, stuck in straight jackets for indeterminate periods of time. The were given purgatives, because why the fuck not? Seriously, I just can’t. I know, I’m letting myself get too emotionally involved. Cooling off now…

So…. they also did more conventional practices(of the time period), such as: bloodletting by leeches, using a glass for cupping therapy(it increases bloodflow by creating a suction on the skin. Look into it), and by inducing blisters(honestly, I don’t want to know how.). Some patients weren’t allowed in because they weren’t considered strong enough to withstand these forms of ‘treatment’.

At one time, the general public was allowed in the doors of the asylum, for a price of course, and the patients were treated like attractions at a zoo. Many years later, mass graves were found, showing just how horrible it really was to live in such an environment.

I couldn’t look as deeply into this as I would have liked to, due to time constraints. But, from what I’ve learned in the past, the treatment of patients was downright disgusting. Hopefully, next week’s post will be a bit better.

Monday we’ll be diving into my 3rd and 4th grade years. Things get a little interesting as I encounter my first crush.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Dawn

 

Reference: Bedlam: The Horrors of London’s Notorious Insane Asylum. http://www.huffingtonpost.com

 

 

 

Elementary, My Dear Watson

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Last week I told you about my early years, and of preschool and Kindergarten. Today, I will tell you about my first and second grade years. Again, I will generally tell you of the times of depression and angst.

First grade, your first step into numbered school days. I was still an outcast, I learned that would never change. I also learned that I had been offered the chance to skip a grade but my parents decided it would be too hard on me socially. Turns out that it didn’t matter… But anyway, I was quickly put into a program for the gifted and talented students, also known as, the group that made everyone hate you. And for some reason, all the girls didn’t like me. I didn’t really have any friends and I couldn’t figure out why. My mom was a substitute teacher one day. I fell down and hurt myself, when I went to her to tell her I was hurt, she told me she was too busy and ignored me. I know it sounds lame, but that one instance hurt me forever.

I was a hard worker and tried very hard to be kind to everyone. I loved to read and was in the library all the time. At the end of the school year, my teacher was missing a book that I had borrowed from the library at one time. Instead of checking with the other students, she automatically accused me of stealing it. No matter what I said, I had stolen it. Isn’t it wonderful to have a teacher accuse you of theft when you’re 7? This occasion did little to improve my self image. Not only did I feel lonely, but I was now labeled as a thief. I welcomed the summer break with open arms.

Second grade, I wasn’t as prepared for second grade as I thought. My teacher was strict, to say the least. I’m fully prepared to be made fun of for this, but I sucked my thumb for many years, and I really don’t know why. One day in class, I had my head down and the teacher told me to quit sucking my thumb. Right in the middle of class. Needless to say, I was tormented for that for a long time. My long term bully and tormentor met me that year. She singled me out for some reason, I’ll never know why. She would hit me, call me names, etc. You know, standard bully bullshit. Anyway, she tore my self esteem into ribbons. Her reign of terror would last for over 7 years.

I was still in the advanced program and loved it. We spent our time working on projects and all sorts of activities to challenge our minds. I found my love for writing that year. My regular teacher asked us to write a descriptive paper one day based on a picture from a magazine. I managed to write 3 pages; I’ve always been able to pull a good story out of my ass. My teacher gave me a perfect grade and decided to show me off to a fourth grade teacher. Apparently, my writing skills were right up there with her students, if not higher. It felt good to have something nice in my life. With my bully and my lonely life, I needed something good.

I decided to end this post on a little bit of a high note so it wouldn’t be so sad. Friday, we’ll be discussing the many forms of treatment/torture used in Bedlam Asylum.

Have a great week and take good care of your mental health,

Dawn

Good Intentions…..

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For today’s post, I’m going to give you a little introduction into the beginnings of the Bethlehem Hospital, later known to be the Bedlam Asylum. But that will be discussed in a later post.

The Priority of St Mary of Bethlehem a.k.a Bethlehem hospital was founded in 1247 after Simon FitzMary, a political figure who had once been in the crusades, donated land in London to the Bishop of Bethlehem for charity purposes.

It was a single story hospital over 2 acres with 12 cells for patients and was run by monks. They originally only treated patients with physical disabilities and diseases but started taking in the mentally ill in the 1300’s. By the 1400’s, these ‘lunatic’ patients were the majority, thus making it more of a mental institution.

The hospital cared for patients with mental illness as well as: learning disabilities, epilepsy, and dementia. Patients were generally poor with little, to no, family.

Unfortunately, they monks didn’t know how to cope with the mentally ill, so they generally kept them in control by using chains, manacles, locks, and stocks. They believed that it was their religious duty to care for these patients and that using punishment as treatments was necessary.

These treatments were exposed and thus the ‘Bedlam’ name was adopted. It was synonymous with torture and neglect. However, Bedlam did lead to the creation of other mental hospitals/asylums/sanitariums.

Monday, is another personal story post. We will be looking into my elementary school years.

Next Friday, we’ll dive more into the living conditions of Bedlam and the methods of treatment that they used on the patients.

Thank you for your support and your encouragement,

Dawn

 

Reference: From Bethlehem to Bedlam- England’s First Mental Institution.- Author not specified. https://historicengland.org.uk

 

 

From Family to The Birth of The Asylum

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Photo by Alexander Krivitskiy on Pexels.com

Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only sane one in my family.”

– Unknown

So this one is a little bit short. Let’s call it a taster. Friday’s will be on the first noted asylum and I felt that it deserved it’s own post. This post, however, will give an idea of how the societal norms of treatment progressed.

First off, there is the traditional standby: religion. Yep, if you were the slightest bit off, your family was taking you to church to get the demons out. Nervous tic? Prayer. Hearing voices? Prayer. Mood swings? Prayer.

Then we got more modernized and people started treating mental illness with purging, special diets, and blood letting *shudder*. These were thought to release the madness and balance the humors, as we discussed before.

From there, we evolved to a more educated vocabulary and understanding of mental illness, but the traditional treatments were still used. Until, the 13th century.

Friday, we will begin our look into the Asylum/Hellhole, Bethlehem, or Bedlam as it is now known. I will, hopefully, be using the next few Fridays to delve into different Hospitals/Asylums/Institutions.

Bear with me while I try to develop a blog subject routine and a comfortable schedule. I have OCD and, honestly, this is driving me nuts right now. I just want everything to be perfect and to not screw this up.

Again,

Thank you all,

Dawn

Reference:

Neil Burton: A Brief History of Psychiatry. More in depth information found on http://www.psychologytoday.com

My Beginning

Hold the S because I am an Ain’t.

– Marilyn Manson (s)AINT

I decided to start this post with some lyrics from Marilyn Manson. From the age of 10, he has been my favorite musician. Intellectually, I look up to him. I don’t do drugs or anything, so he’s not really my role model. But anyway, I wanted to give him recognition because his music influenced my life a bit.

I was born in the mid eighties in the south. I have 1 sibling and we were never really close. From a very young age, I remember feeling extremely different. My first vivid memory was when I was around 4. I was in church and all I could think was, “I don’t belong here. I don’t believe any of this, and I don’t feel right here.” I spent years trying to force myself to become religious, it didn’t stick. I one day realized I was happiest identifying as an atheist. It was freeing.

Anyway, I never really identified with anyone. I was an outcast who tried to change myself to fit in with others. In preschool, I was introduced to my first bully, she delighted in causing me pain. One day, she talked me into playing with her. Kids were pretending to pick the cherries off her shirt. When it was my turn, she ran to the teacher and claimed that I was trying to pinch her. I was put in time out. That was the first time I thought to myself that I wanted to die. A five year old shouldn’t be having suicidal thoughts.

Kindergarten wasn’t much better, I was still an outcast. I had a friend from before(our parents were friends), but making new friends wasn’t easy. I met a girl and we became friends. She was my “friend” for the next 25 years.

It’s weird when you start your life off knowing that you aren’t like anyone else. Like you weren’t meant to be there. Like the whole world would be better off if you hadn’t existed.

“I’m not meant to be here”- These words almost became my mantra for many, many years.

Next week I’ll talk about my elementary school years.

Thank you

Dawn