I have been writing about my past psychiatric experiences without keeping an eye on my present danger. I was sent a trap in the mail last week. It was an unsigned letter from the PA Hospital with an appointment for “Dr Watt” this coming Monday (19th February). If I couldn’t attend the appointment, a number was provided for me to ring. In this case, the letter claimed, my name would be taken off the records.
The letter also warns patients to come prepared to wait. This is to create the illusion that the “doctors are busy”, but there are other motives. Being kept waiting is one of the established means of demonstrating power over you. It is routinely used by psychiatrists in the hospital system. The patients are deliberately kept waiting; their patience is tested. Impatience is pathologised as “mental illness” and so is the restlessness of boredom.
I don’t like unnecessary waiting, especially to see someone who is going to disbelieve everything I say, twist it around to make it seem mad, misunderstand me and pathologise me. Ghazala Watt communicates with her friends over Facebook, and so do I. If she is interested in my welfare she can sent me a message on Facebook or even a friendship request.
The letter was a trap, and one I could not escape from. There is nothing I would like better than to be taken off the records of the PA Hospital. I have been trying to achieve this since 2002, when I was first locked up there after developing a Peace Plan for Sri Lanka that provoked the ire of my father, Brian Senewiratne, a long-time doctor at the PA and supporter of the Tamil Tigers. My plan, in response to my father’s war plans, was to promote trilingualism in Singhala, Tamil and English throughout the educational system of an undivided country, rather than further warfare and division, which were supported by my father in his role as a lobbyist and propagandist for the Tamil Tigers (formally known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam or LTTE).
I have discussed the LTTE and my father’s involvement with this organization with many psychiatrists at the PA, as well as many outside it, when I was living in Melbourne. They have been divided regarding their views towards both me and the Tamil Tigers. Some said there was nothing wrong with me, including Dr Jill Schilling who, in June 2015, discharged me off the Involuntary Treatment Order (ITO) I had been placed on by the Latin dancing Mormon psychiatrist with a business degree and a bizarre Facebook profile, Justin O’Brien.
O’Brien was responsible for denying me my freedom by physically locking me up in 2014 and 2015 as well as getting me injected for my insistence that my father was a supporter of the LTTE, and that they were a terrorist organization rather than “freedom fighters” as my father and the other separatists were propagandising. O’Brien has now left the PA and I have been put under the abusive control of Ghazala Watt, who graduated in medicine 20 years after I did. She obviously doesn’t believe in respecting her elders, but then, I don’t respect my father and he is older than both of us. Age doesn’t always bring wisdom, but I had hoped that Ghazala Watt would at least show respect for my work, even if she didn’t agree with my views on psychiatry, especially given my knowledge of Australia and the nefarious history of the Australian psychiatric system. Other wiser and more tolerant psychiatrists have been able to do so. It is ironic that Ghazala Watt claims interest in ‘transcultural psychiatry’ but is ignorant about events in other parts of the world, including her native Pakistan.
I rang the number on the letter to explain why I did not want to see Ghazala Watt. I have already seen her twice and do not respect her psychiatric opinion, or her opinions more generally. In addition to the LTTE and my father, I tried to discuss the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative with her, and she had not heard of it despite it being the biggest development project in Pakistan at the moment. At the time I was writing on geopolitics and history, rather than psychiatry, but I gave her a copy of my 1997 self-publication ‘Psychiatric Tales and Words About Life’, which is stridently critical of psychiatry, when I first met her. Her response was to skim through it rather than reading it carefully, and give it back when I saw her, a month later, saying that she found it “confrontational” and that she would be concerned about the sanity of the writer. I intended the book to be confrontational when I wrote it. It is about human rights abuses by the psychiatry profession. Giving her the book when I first met her was intended to measure how receptive she would be to my viewpoint twenty years ago. It was for her to get to know me, and realise that my criticism of her profession is nothing new, and not without reason.
When I rang the number provided I was put through to the “team leader” Sharon Locke or Lockie, I’m not sure. I was told her surname by an Indian Tamil psychiatric nurse, by the name of Raghy Raman, who says he is limited in what he can say because he is “only an interim case manager”, and needs to look after his job. He spelled her name “LOCKE” but pronounced it “Lockee”. Though qualified as a nurse, Raghy says he is not qualified to make diagnoses or to write that I do not have “schizophrenia”, as Ghazala Watt is claiming (and treating me for). He assured me that he writes, after he has seen me, that my “insight is good” and that he had an “insightful conversation” with me. The problem is this means a very specific thing in psychiatry – preparedness to accept the disease label you have been given. By this token my “insight” is “poor” or even nonexistent. I am opposed to the entire disease-creating paradigm of psychiatry. I have found that this is the basis of a core psychiatric framing technique, with the circular argument that refusal to accept that you are ill is itself a sign of mental illness (“lack of insight”).
Knowing that I had to be careful about what I said, I explained to Sharon some of the reasons that I did not want to see Ghazala Watt. These included our differences in opinion about the LTTE, the value of non-drug measures to promote mental health (including music, art, poetry, walking, gardening, reading, yoga and meditation/mindfulness training and CBT) and what constituted therapeutic doses of the drug she is forcing on me.
When I last saw her, I explained that the injection of 75 mg of paliperidone (Invega) that she had ordered had sterilized me, made me gain weight and sleep in the middle of the day as well as causing anhedonia (lack of feelings of pleasure). I had explained this to the previous case manager, Nigel Lewin and the registrar Sagir Parkar, who both agreed to ask Ghazala Watt to reduce the injection from 75 to 50 mg.
She told me, “50 milligrams is subtherapeutic, we might as well stop them completely”.
“Yes why don’t you?” I responded, but she was speaking rhetorically.
I asked why, if this was so, the drug company Janssen-Cilag make 25 and 50 mg injections for monthly use in “schizophrenia” The drug companies obviously don’t think such doses are subtherapeutic. I realised that she was an even more crazy promoter of these neurotoxins than the drug companies that manufacture them and have a vested interest in their use. I challenged Ghazala about this claim and she said she had proof to back it up. She said she’d give it to Nigel Lewin to give me. She didn’t.
Sharon Locke (or Lockie) was polite to me, and told me she would see if they can “find me another psychiatrist”. This is a farce, since they all agree with each other, and are part of a “unit” run by a “team”. There is a psychosis team, among many, and I am under the “psychosis team” The team leader, I take it, is Sharon. She is the boss of Raghy Raman and Nigel Lewin, who are both “nurses” that give the injections and don’t make waves.
Raghy had said when he last saw me that the only option he could think of was for me to see a new psychiatrist, also from India, by the name of Kailash Kedia. Dr Kedia was apparently at the team meeting with Dr Watt and Sharon as well as their underlings. Despite paying lip service to “the team” (and sheltering behind ‘team decisions’) anyone who knows the system realises that it is rigidly hierarchical, with the senior doctors being obeyed by the junior doctors (registrars and residents) as well as by the nurses, social workers, psychologists and assorted “mental health workers”. The private opinions of the underlings, when they are bold enough to express them, are often more sympathetic than those of the consultants, but they rarely admit them publicly and never write them in the notes. They don’t bite the hand that feeds them and gives them a paycheck.
Today, Raghy phoned me up and asked if he could come and see me. When he arrived, 15 minutes later, he said that he had some bad news for me. Following my conversations with both him and Sharon, doctors Watt and Kedia had discussed the matter and Ghazala Watt had said that if I haven’t been seen by other doctors “at the service” I could see Kailash Kedia for a ‘second opinion’. They then went through the farce of going through my records and establishing that I had been seen by many different doctors in the past. Watt already knew this; maybe she was making a show for the new doctor and the rest of the team who didn’t.
Raghy told me that if I don’t attend the appointment with Watt next Monday, they will fill out an “ATR” and get me taken back to the hospital by force (meaning by the police). An ATR stands for “authority to return” and I have suffered the consequences of this in the past, including handcuffing by police followed by assault in the emergency department of the PA. So I wisely agreed that, under duress, I will attend the appointment with Watt next Monday.
He then told me that he had more bad news. “The injection dose is to be increased”.
This is Ghazala Watt’s revenge for challenging her authority, but she is an arrogant woman who needs to be challenged. In fact, I think she should be deregistered for criminal medical negligence and prosecuted for the numerous human rights abuses she has been involved in, and presided over, since she came to Australia. As you can see, I’m mad at her, but not so mad as to think this will actually happen, as things are. The system doesn’t like dissenters, but sometimes it’s important to speak truth to power.