Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Staffing for Gus

 Several points about today...

Dr. Sharpe was extremely attentive to, maybe desperate over, not losing control. However that was mainly about not letting Gus talk much; it was definitely not about limiting petty criticism of Gus by others, and it was not really about better enabling everyone to discuss "treatment". 

The social worker (Rachel) actually recited a long litany about proper and improper manners and purpose for a staffing, which was unprecedented in the  twenty years I've been attending these events. As best I could tell, she then became the only person in attendance to violate the supposed rules of decorum, although it was almost impossible to know who was talking over whom because of atrocious acoustics.

Sharpe ostentatiously counted eight participants to hear him deny that he was threatening to keep Gus until his Theim date. One was me, one was Gus, and one was Dr. Welch (Administration), so five people were there to confront Gus and overwhelm him, not to learn how he could be helped. This was not subtle, it was five against one.

As for that actual denial, it was clearly self serving. Sharpe can say anything he wants to Gus when the rest of us are not around to witness it. Plus, the whole plantation milieu constantly screams to the slaves: "Do what the psychiatrists say, believe what they tell you to believe, take the drugs and thank them for teaching you to be proper disabled sub-humans. Otherwise you will never leave!" It's hardly necessary for any individual clinician to directly communicate this message in plain words, which is why they think it's not important and occasionally let it slip out.

Tom Szasz pointed out the "primal justification by silence" or tacit acceptance of oppression of one group by another as "obviously right"--as with historic American chattel slavery. When an authority begins to justify itself, it is no longer an absolute authority. Once the primal justification of no justification is relinquished, those who harm others may legitimize their acts in three main ways: 1. the oppressor is human and the oppressed is not; 2. the victimizer is really the victim; and 3. the victim is really a threat to himself so the victimizer protects him.

I could write a lot about how this looks in "forensic psychiatry" (but Szasz already did).

At one point during today's staffing for Gus, Dr. Sharpe said something like, "Gustavo, let's just try to get you better..." It was a mawkish, cynically disingenuous plea with no connection whatsoever, to anyone's honest reality. It reminded me of claims that black slaves lived in much better conditions in the Antebellum South than they had endured when they were free in Africa.

Qui s'excuse, s'accuse.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Repeating Message to All

I EXPLICITLY promise anyone whom I mention by name or otherwise identify in this blog, prospectively and retrospectively: 

If I write something about you that is not true, and you call me and tell me, I will retract any untruth. If I insult you in a way that is not fair, and you call me to complain, I will pay attention and amend my written comments to be less unfair. 

My cell phone is 847-370-5410. I’ll talk to anyone. I will never mention or reveal that you have called me if you ask me not to. I only want the truth to be known and justice to be served. I believe that an overwhelming majority of people are well intended and want to help others. 

Dr. Stoyka Meyer, Psy.D.

This woman recently entered the struggle at EMHC against Gus, a patient for whom I advocate. Gus is an incessant complainer against the misbehavior of staff at EMHC and the injustice of the plantation culture. As best I can tell, he's completely right. He's not delusional or paranoid. He may be hyper-focused in a way that doesn't always work to his advantage, but no worse than that. He retains a sense of justice that I especially admire, because the whole mechanism of the plantation, the whole purpose of forced psychiatry, means to beat that out of him, forever.

Stoyka Meyer is a part-time contracted clinician at EMHC, like her associate, psychiatrist Robert Sharpe. The two of them seem to be a part-time contracted team, with the common goal recently, to defeat Gus. They need to convince other patients not to listen to Gus, and they need to convince other staff to write bad things in Gus' chart. Gus is dangerous. He takes notes. He knows about OIG Rule 50. 

Stoyka Meyer and psychiatric dictator Robert Sharpe have been persistently threatening Gus: if he doesn't do the things they tell him to do, exactly the way they tell him to do them, he'll remain enslaved on the EMHC plantation until his Thiem date (which is not very soon). It is illegal in various ways. for a state employed mental health professional to threaten an involuntary "patient" like this. It kind of amazes me that these two characters are stupid enough to continue doing it.

Stoyka Meyer's latest innovation is to insist that Gus should do a sex offender program in a way that she apparently dreamed up herself (i.e., as an individual counseling modality rather than in the group format that it was designed and intended for). Gus only asked for any justification beyond Stoyka's arbitrary invention, and Stoyka flatly told him that if he didn't comply she would say he was refusing recommended treatment, and he would be involuntarily confined for the maximum possible period. It was a clear threat, an obvious repetition of the same pattern of threats that Gus has been subjected to from his "treatment" team since it has been headed by psychiatric dictator Robert Sharpe.

I have no idea whether Stoyka has some vested interest in an individual counseling mode, as opposed to a group mode, for the particular sex offender program that Gus was considering. Stoyka seems to work for a group called Associates in Psychiatry & Counseling, P.C., at 2050 Larkin Avenue, Suite 101 & 202, Elgin, IL 60123; phone (847) 697-2400. I don't notice anything on their website that explicitly offers individual counseling formats to substitute for standard sex offender group programs. But who knows? The threat to Gus seems odd... maybe there is some reason other than mere meanness, or orders from Robert Sharpe.

It’s not that Stoyka isn’t qualified to deliver sex offender treatment, she reportedly is certified for that, although I don’t know what the requirements are or who such certification comes from. (That’s a quick online research project, perhaps.) It’s just that the refusal to explain to Gus anything about why he should do a treatment program differently than how it is usually done (i.e., as individual counseling instead of in a group) makes no sense. Gus gets no explanation, which seems like it could come easily, he just gets the threat: “Do as you’re told and shut up, or you’ll never get out of here.”

It’s like Gus is the enemy, he must be fought and defeated. He’s "mentally ill" or subhuman, not rational. Stoyka can't really reason with him, she can only hope to control him. She's the overseer and he's the recalcitrant slave, of whom an example must be made. Otherwise there might be a rebellion. 

EMHC is a plantation, not a hospital. That explains it. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Robert Sharpe, MD, Psych.D.

In the usage of my title today, "Psych.D." stands for Psychiatric Dictator. Three staff met together with Gus today, under the command of Dr. Sharpe. A couple individuals on Gus' treatment team, at one time or another, have considered that it's not safe to meet with him alone because he might later misrepresent something they say. So rather than any actual counseling or social worker interviews, rather than any therapeutic conversations, Gus just gets ganged up on.

He has protested this, because it enables a State's Attorney to say he's so dangerous that EMHC staff won't even be alone in a room with him for counseling sessions. That's pretty good (if trumped up) evidence that Gus has to be kept locked up at EMHC for the foreseeable future, right?

At the end of today's meeting, Gus asked the three staff in the room, "Do you guys feel safe?" I had suggested that he laugh with that question, but I don't know whether he did or not. The fact that these overseers think Gus is so dangerous that they must assign scarce mental health expertise to carefully witness every conversation with him and counter his "false" or "delusional" written reports of their abuse, is highly comical.

Beyond comedy, there are obvious questions that should be asked: "How come you guys can't offer your patient anything that he needs or appreciates? Why does he only complain that you abuse him and your attitude is insulting? If you have any 'treatment' plans that could help him, and if you understand his mental/emotional/behavioral problems as mental health experts, and given that you can totally monitor and have nearly absolute control over his life, why are you completely impotent to change his mind?"

I suspect that if those questions were asked, the overseers would respond, "Well, you know Gus is paranoid and delusional, he's mentally ill." They might add, "Plus his lawyer has too much influence over him, and uses it to poison the relationship with us, which would otherwise be therapeutic."

Nonsense! Gus meticulously documents his complaints about these people. They may have actually stolen his notebooks of evidence, in order to protect themselves. Ten people can write reports in Gus' chart every day; they can all back each other up, whereas Gus is just one mental patient, who will believe him? (Of course, this is exactly the situation that Dr. Sharpe repeatedly mentions, to bolster his explicit, illegal threat to keep Gus confined as long as possible.)

Robert Sharpe is a cruel psychiatric dictator ("Psych.D."). He has underlings and sycophants and stooges who follow his orders. He's a plantation overseer, not a doctor. He deserves zero respect as any kind of healer or helping professional. His only plan is to punish Gus into compliance and threaten him against complaining or publicly revealing the omnipresent, dehumanizing abuse at EMHC. It won't be successful, and the longer Sharpe tries, the worse the eventual result will be for him, and for whomever is telling him to do this. 

One little tiny example might be Sharpe's countermanding of a medical order from the real EMHC medical doctor (Dr. Nadia), who had prescribed a handheld urinal for Gus to keep in his room for incontinence. Sharpe told Nadia that Gus is perfectly capable of running down the hall to the bathroom. Nadia thought the whole treatment team, plus/including Gus, were in agreement that the urinal was no longer necessary. Nope. It was just Sharpe, Psych.D., contriving more punishment, demonstrating brutish control, backing up threats, dehumanizing his "patient" (slave).

Bad man, very bad. There aren't many like that.

Friday, February 3, 2023

Message to all, again!

I would like to make an EXPLICIT promise to anyone whom I mention by name or otherwise identify in this blog. This is prospective and retrospective. 

If I write something about you that is not true, and you call me and tell me, I will retract any untruth. If I insult you in a way that is not fair, and you call me to complain, I will pay attention and amend my written comments to be less unfair. 

My cell phone is 847-370-5410. I’ll talk to anyone. I will never mention or reveal that you have called me if you ask me not to. I only want the truth to be known and justice to be served. I believe that an overwhelming majority of people are well intended and want to help others. 

A new story, much like the old stories

This is just what I heard....

There's an STA-III down in Alton named Shinzetta. She has two sisters-in-law who also work on the Alton MHC plantation. Once upon a time, Shinzetta started to think one of the slaves at Alton was pretty, and she flirted with him. She also had a lot of domestic issues, and she told the slave about them. He was sympathetic, and he seemed quite bright and nice. Over some period of months, perhaps, the two of them began to talk and think seriously about getting an apartment together, once the slave was manumitted.

It always seems interesting to me that so many "mental health professionals" find themselves romantically or sexually attracted to involuntary mental patients. After all, one might think the "patients" are crazy and violent, right? That's why they're in custody, that's why they are forced to be "treated" in the mental "hospital". So it could easily be expected that they would be unattractive to normal people, right? 

Anyway, over the past twenty years or so I've seen various instances (starting with Rodney Yoder's wedding to the widow of the great blues musician John Lee Hooker, amazingly, during a lunch break in his commitment trial at the Chester Courthouse with a ton of media present to wish the newlywed couple well!), where women seem to want or seek out jailbird or psych slave partners. Shinzetta actually has a lot of company.

But the tragedy is, when Juliet and Romeo are respectively a member of the staff at a state facility and an involuntary "patient", it's a no-questions-asked felony. Anyone who knows about it but doesn't report it immediately also commits an offense, which will at least get them fired. Bye-bye pension, bye-bye benefits.

So the way this one went in Alton is as follows: Shinzetta the STA-III flirted with the slave and became romantically, sexually involved. One of her sisters-in-law noticed or somehow found out about it, and told her brother, Shinzetta's husband. Evidently Shinzetta talked her way out that, but only just barely. Later, Shinzetta was getting flirty with other slaves on the Alton plantation, and the first one, who was still hoping for a long-term relationship with her, became jealous. He commented to her one day that he might tip off her sister in law, if she didn't stop spreading herself around so much. That frightened Shinzetta. She quickly complained (falsely) to authorities that the slave had sexually harassed or assaulted her.

There was no investigation, Shinzetta's report was effective preemption. The slave was immediately, summarily sent to Chester. Being sent to Chester is kind of like being "sold down the river," or put in "the hole" - it's punishment, it takes you completely out of circulation. Slaves at Elgin or Alton or Chicago Read are very much afraid of being sent to Chester. But Shinzetta continued in her job, merrily accumulating pension credit time. I have no idea how her marriage is or whether she gets along with her husband's sisters these days, maybe that's all fine.

But Shinzetta, and the sisters-in-law Jane and Regina, and probably various other staff and administrators, sure are looking at problems down the road.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Robert Sharpe, MD (contracted part-time psychiatrist) again

This guy may become one of my favorite overseers down on the Elgin plantation.

Yesterday, I attended a monthly staffing for Shanovia, the young mother whose baby was conceived on the plantation and born last May. (While mom was enslaved... again, I sure hope people, like taxpayers, will ask: How did that happen? Is that supposed to happen?)

Shanovia had called me the day before, in tears and very hard to understand. I spent about 15 minutes trying to figure out why she was crying. The only thing I got out of her at that time was the name Gerry Marinas. I think she said Gerry was a nurse who was always calling her a liar. Actually I thought Shanovia said lifer. Calling her a lifer would have meant Gerry was telling her she was never going to get out, which clearly would have been reportable mental abuse.

Shanovia was unable to stay in the staffing very long. She was crying and saying she just couldn't be there, just couldn't do it. I think the social worker was able to ask her how she was doing, but she only answered very softly, "Lots of anxiety."

The Administration representative (there always is one when, and maybe only when, I attend a staffing), was Dr. Welch, who had been unable to hear Shanovia from wherever she was Zooming. So Dr. Welch asked Shanovia to please repeat what she had just said. Dr. Sharpe preempted it though; he instantly answered for Shanovia, "Lot of anxiety." I thought that was condescending; he could have at least waited a second to give her a chance to speak for herself. So I tried to lighten it up a bit by saying, "Dr. Sharpe, did you just say that you have a lot of anxiety?" People laughed, but Shanovia didn't apparently feel any better, she reiterated that she wanted to leave, she had to get out.

I told the team that I would represent Shanovia for purposes of this monthly staffing, and Dr. Welch confirmed, after checking, that there wasn't any reason we couldn't do that. Shanovia said that was fine, she just couldn't stay, she just couldn't do it. So she went to her room to cry some more.

My main reason for wanting the staffing to continue was to have the opportunity to ask Gerry Marinas directly whether he had called Shanovia a lifer or a liar. He denied both. He said he didn't even know what a lifer was (the term was unfamiliar to him), and he would never call any patient a liar, "...especially not Shanovia!" If I had been quicker, I would have asked why "especially" not Shanovia? Was that because she's clearly such a truthful person? Because she is delicate and Gerry knew calling her a liar could trigger her? Because he knew she is well represented by counsel who might come back at him and make it a problem? I missed the opportunity to clarify this.

The conversation then proceeded to Shanovia's ability (said to be fair), to apply "adaptive coping mechanisms" when she is stressed. The definition of "adaptive coping mechanisms" was interesting in that apparently "adaptive/maladaptive" has lately replaced "healthy/unhealthy" as the proper value scale. I'm not sure why: it's Elgin Mental Health Center after all, it's not Elgin Mental Adaptation Center. Right? 

The final item was brought up by Dr. Welch, who asked Dr. Sharpe whether he had recently changed or added to Shanovia's medications. From the way she asked this question, it was apparent to me that she already knew the answer, but she wanted it to be on the record for my benefit. Curiouser and curiouser.... I do my best never to be opinionated about medications in any specific case. Taking or not taking any drugs should be the patient's informed choice alone. Of course, I can have my own opinion about whether any patient has been given sufficient information to make an intelligent choice.

It turns out that Dr. Sharpe had started Shanovia on the SSRI Zoloft about a month ago. One piece of information she should have been given (and maybe she was) is that SSRI's are known to occasionally cause one very serious side effect known as "akathisia". The main sign of akathisia is a sense of restlessness and intense need to move. Symptoms include feeling irritable, stressed, impatient, or panicked. It may cause you to feel like jumping out of your skin. Akathisia from Dr. Sharpe's Zoloft is almost certainly worse than being called a liar by Gerry Marinas.

Perhaps akathisia would make you feel like you just can't stay in your monthly staffing. You might describe your intense irritation, stress, impatience or panic as "a lot of anxiety." And you might cry a lot. But akathisia can also be so severe that it could drive a person to suicide. I'm just sayin'.... 

There are a few Elgin overseers who might be glad if Shanovia were no longer around. And I do believe they tried to kill that baby, about a year ago.