I went to see Associate Professor Mark Taylor again today. I went prepared, but was disappointed in the result. Though not surprised.
It was I who made the appointment, on my last visit to the new Woolloongabba Community Health Service building, of which the second floor is fully occupied by the Metro South Addiction and Mental Health Services (MSAMHS), supposedly a “service” to the people of Brisbane. The 2nd floor operation is effectively an outpatient clinic of the Princess Alexandra (PA) Hospital, and most of the patients were previously inpatients in one of the locked wards in Building 19.
I have been locked up many times in Building 19, usually in ‘West Wing Ward’ but also in ‘East Wing Ward’ and the euphemistically-named ‘Acute Observation Area’ (AOA) also called the High Dependency Unit (HDU). This is a double-locked ward that holds about 10 patients and is a hellish place. I was locked up there for 2 weeks in 2011, which is when I met Raghavan ‘Raghy’ Raman, who has now been appointed my ‘Case Manager’, responsible for “monitoring” my mental state for MSAHMS and recording and reporting his observations. Raghy Raman sat in on my interview with Mark Taylor, though he wasn’t present when I was last injected. This was about two weeks ago and was done by a very nice student nurse, who was polite enough to offer her hand to be shaken at the end of our encounter.
The nurse was learning to give injections in what is called the “Treatment Room”. Music and art are not among the treatments, needless to say. It is a tiny room with a set of scales, two fridges and cupboards with boxes of pre-filled depot injections, each with the name of a reluctant “client”. They now call patients “clients” to their faces but patients are referred to in the PA Hospital literature as “consumers”.
A couple of years ago Nigel Lewin, the British case manager who has been replaced by Raghy, told me that he thought I would make a “great consumer advocate”. I told him my objections to this manifestation of the “consumer culture”. I am not a consumer of psychiatric “services” or drugs – they are being forced into me by injection against my will. I am a victim and a survivor and I am also an extremely patient patient. The term patient has a long history and the term describes the attitude necessary for those who sought “treatment”.
The student nurse was nervous, so I didn’t alarm her by telling her that it was an assault. I had already told Raghy Raman, Nigel Lewin and the other case managers that I was submitting myself to be what is a monthly assault because if I refuse I will be taken back to the hospital by police, held down by security guards and injected anyway. Then I would be locked up again. For this reason I have allowed them to assault me every month for the past two years.
When I checked in at the long desk at the MSAMHS to be injected I introduced myself by saying “I’m here to be assaulted again”. The guy at the desk laughed. I’ve known him for many years and he doesn’t think I’m mad (and has told me so). He told me that Raghy was away but I’d have my injection given by the “Injection Nurse”. This was a hideous, grim woman who spends her day injecting “client” after “client” with neurotoxic drugs ordered by the doctors. She does not believe in talking to the patients, doesn’t smile or tell you her full name. She wears rubber gloves and doesn’t shake people’s hands before injecting them. On the second visit – in front of the student nurse – she asked me a few questions about my mood, eating and sleeping and recorded down my complaint about side-effects.
The student nurse was completely different in her attitude. When I told them that I was writing a book about music and the brain she said “how exciting”. She asked me if it was OK if she gave the injection and that I could give her “tips”. I told her that it was important to let the alcohol dry after swabbing the skin. “That stops it stinging”. The older nurse said “I do that too”, but she lied – the last time, when it was she who injected me she said “I won’t keep you waiting, so let’s get on with it” and hurried through the injection. I pointedly told the student to inject slowly, because that caused less tissue damage. The student nurse thanked me for the tips and extended her hand when I was leaving. There is hope for the future of nursing. But better still if they were confident enough to publicly disagree with the doctors.
I prepared for the interview with Mark Taylor by bringing with me four folders of my work. I told him I had brought some of my work to show him and prove my sanity.
“Oh good,” he said, but carried on typing, while looking at the screen and not at the folders.
I put the first one on the desk. It was my work-in-progress on psychoimmunology which I said was my short-term project.
“There’s a lot of interest in that,” he said, but he didn’t look through the 40-pages I have written so far.
I then showed him my long-term project, a book titled “Music, Instincts and Health”, telling him that I had written 350 pages so far and also had folders of research from the Internet on the topic, as well as folders of original theoretical work. He glanced at the contents and returned to his typing.
I then showed him a folder for HUB Music, including promotions of my music on Soundcloud, YouTube and Facebook. He asked me what I meant by “my music”. I explained that I had been recording my musical compositions for 30 years and had posted it on the net over many years. I told him that, however, my most watched videos on YouTube were not my music but my documentaries on eugenics and AIDS.
“I didn’t know you had researched eugenics and AIDS” he said, to my surprise. Either he has a poor memory or a selective one. In 2001 he wrote in the notes of the Alfred Hospital that my beliefs about “the eugenics of AIDS” were delusional and indicative of psychosis. He also wrote, at this time, that before I became “psychotic” I had a “paranoid and narcissistic personality”. It was a thorough character-assassination. I reminded him of this the last time we met, which was about 6 weeks ago.
“I saw you only recently” he said “A month ago. Nothing has really changed”.
I showed my the fourth folder I had brought with me, which was my current networking on Linkedin, where I have almost 6000 professional contacts around the world, from a wide range of academic disciplines including medicine and mental health. He wasn’t interested. One of numerous Mark Taylors, his own Linkedin page has only 10 contacts and he is not active on it. He has not even updated his current employment or uploaded a photo of himself.
“How have you been in your mental health?” he asked. I told him again about the fact the the injection was sterilizing me, making me salivate and making me sleep in the day. “You told me that last time”. I objected that though I told him he hadn’t budged on lowering the drug.
I told him that I had been watching YouTube clips of psychiatrists who were much more critical of the overuse of psychiatric drugs than himself. “Oh good” he said again. I named Daniel Carlat (who he had not heard of). Pat McGorry (who he had), Sami Timimi (who he had heard of but dismissed as “radical” and mistakenly thought was a woman), and Robert Whitaker. He had heard of Robert Whitaker and I told him that he was one of my friends on Facebook. “He’s not a psychiatrist, though”, he said.
“I wanted to ask you that – how much time do you spend in front of your computer?”
I knew he was trying to pathologise my behaviour. I said I spend only a couple of hours a week on Facebook but more time on Linkedin and Youtube. He said he did not follow “social media” and asked me how well known I am.
“Are you say one of the five best known people in Brisbane?”
This was another trap. He was looking for grandiosity.
“Of course not”, I laughed. “Most people wouldn’t know me from a bar of soap”.
“Do you get the recognition you deserve?” he asked, looking for evidence of me being what psychiatrists call “entitled”.
“I’m not looking for recognition, but it is nice to be appreciated”.
Conveniently forgetting his character-assassination of me in 2001, and his role in having me falsely incarcerated, Taylor said “The doctors at CFOS say you have posted things that are defamatory about me”. He said he hadn’t seen them himself but that he had been told about it by CFOS – which he pronounced as “see-fos”. This is a new organization called the “Community Forensic Outreach Service” – which I have been told by Raghy Raman is part of the health department and not the court system, but that he couldn’t tell me more about it other than that I had been referred to CFOS because he felt obliged to “escalate the matter” of my posting material about the “Queensland Health staff” on what he calls “the social media”. He is furious that I posted footage of him assaulting me in my own home on YouTube.
It was Raghy who informed me, by email and phone, that I had been referred to CFOS. I wanted to know what powers this new body had over me, and asked him who they were. He said he didn’t know and the decision to “escalate the matter” of my refusing to take down the YouTube clips was made by the “team leader” a woman called Sharon Locke. I have spoken to Locke on the phone but never met her and have now been told that she is no longer the team leader. Mark Taylor said I had refused to meet CFOS when we had last met and I told him I was prepared to talk to them on the phone or communicate with them over the net but would not come in to be interviewed (and framed, though I didn’t use the term) in the Woolloongabba Community Health Centre.
I told Taylor that Professor Pat McGorry has said that the antipsychotic drugs used to be used at 10 times the necessary dose and now are used at 2 to 3 times the necessary dose. His retort was “did you know that Pat McGorry has accepted payments from many drug companies?” I said I did. “Do you think Ibuprofen (an anti-inlammatory and alalgesic drug that is available over the counter) is over-used?”
“I’m sure it is. Many drugs are over-prescribed. The drug companies’ primary motive is money. They bribe those doctors who are prepared to accept bribes.”
“You haven’t answered. Did you post defamatory things about me?” he persisted.
I answered that I had posted things about him on Facebook, Linkedin and YouTube and explained that I had discussed his links with the drug companies, pointing to a video of him presenting his conflict of interest at a lecture in Scotland some years ago. I called it “accepting bribes”. Some people might interpret that as defamatory.
“That was about 7 years ago, and I think it is a good thing to disclose information,” he said, then saying that it was a private lecture and should not have been posted (though he knew who it was). In this clip he says, in reference to a statement by one of his psychiatric colleagues that “when it comes to industry you are either abstinent or promiscuous – you can see on which side I fall”. He then showed a slide disclosing that he had accepted “fees and/or hospitality” from 5 different drug companies. His audience laughed, but it was posted on YouTube by an audience member who wasn’t amused.
Taylor asked me if I had ever accepted a sandwich from a drug company – “that’s included in hospitality”. He also challenged Pat McGorry’s assertion that Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) should be used ahead of drugs in the treatment of psychosis, saying that “the problem is that CBT doesn’t work in psychosis”. When I contested this he claimed that it has been proved by “Cochrane”, meaning the Cochrane Collaboration. I said that I had discussed this with Peter Gotszche, the Director of the Nordic Cochrane Collaboration, who had written books about the ineffectiveness and harmfulness of psychiatric drugs including dopamine blockers and SSRI antidepressants.
“What do you hope to achieve by blocking my dopamine receptors?” I asked.
“We want you to remain stable and not have mood fluctuations”. He raised the risk of suicide. I told him that I had never been suicidal, though I lied. I have entertained fleeting thoughts of suicide on two and only two occasions in my life. One was when I was 34 and locked up at the Royal Park Hospital in Melbourne and the other time was when I was 55 and locked up at the psychogeriatric Grevillea Ward of the Princess Alexandra Hospital. In both instances it was a response to being disbelieved, locked up and drugged.
Mark Taylor said he wanted me to be “stable” over time and that he would “think about” lowering the dose. He said he didn’t want to see me for 3 months and that our time had run out. In contrast, the private psychiatrist Frank New spent 3 hours with me before writing a 13-paged report stating that he was confident that I did not have a mental illness and why he formed this well-considered opinion. But that was many years ago and the PA Hospital has been reluctant to speak to any doctors who do not agree that I am mad.
Raghy Raman stayed silent throughout the interview until I raised the fact that it was he who reported that I had “elevated speech” to Ghazala Watt, resulting in Watt, who trained in Pakistan and Britain, to abusively increase the dose of Paliperidone (ironically called Invega) from 75 to 100 mg. Raghy flew into a rage. “Why do you keep going back to this, over and over?” he shouted. “I said you had elevated mood but I retracted it and apologised. But you keep on raising this over and over. I apologised! And what I said had nothing to do with you being injected. No! The doctors make their own decisions. It had nothing to do with me”.
I pointed out that Ghazala Watt had written to the Mental Health Review Tribunal that the injection was increased “because the treating team reported elevated speech” – and that the same report recorded the “treating team” as only Watt and Raghy Raman. I also pointed out that it was Raghy that was getting angry and not me and that I have a very stable mood. I told Taylor that I am not prone to depression but have been said to have an elevated mood at times.
He said he had observed that I was talkative and laughed a lot – he didn’t need to mention that these are “symptoms” of “hypomania”, mania and mood elevation. I explained that this was my personality – I have been like that since I was a child. Though I can be shy when I first meet people I enjoy conversations and laugh a lot in conversation.
Mark Taylor had to admit that Raghy was angry so he said “we’d better end the inteview now”. He stressed again that he didn’t want to see me for 3 months. In the meantime that’s 3 more injections, each at the cost of more that $400 to the taxpayer.
Taylor said I should consider what to say at the next Mental Health Review Tribunal (MHRT). I pointed out that claiming not to be ill is immediately interpeted as “lack of insight” and that the MHRT discharges less than 5% of patients and inevitably sides with the hospitals. Losing a MHRT hearing is just another trauma. Right now I can’t be bothered appealing.