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The Incarceration of John

spiritual_emergency

spiritual_emergency

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 15, 2008
Messages
186
This young woman is seeking whatever help others might be able to offer. This is her story...

John is 28. He has spent the last 4 years in Carraig Mor high-security psychiatric unit under section in Cork city. He has a diagnosis of so-called drug-induced paranoid schizophrenia and has experienced terrifying psychotic episodes. He is on major neuroleptics/ psychotropic/ anti-psychotic medication with adverse effects (involuntary movements, extreme restlessness, lethargy, dizziness, vomiting, hallucinations, jaundice, diabetes, Parkinsonism, tooth decay, grey pallor, to name a few).

It's not that people have stopped caring about John or stopped loving him but the reality is it is highly likely that he could end up living rough on the streets were he not in the locked hospital. It is a very complex issue with many layers. He is vulnerable and at risk. But the alternative is no life for him either. Life in Carraig Mor is soul-destroying and the long-term use of toxic heavy medication is taking it's toll on John. He is 'maintained and contained' with barely any fresh air. He paces up and down the corridors, smoking. As people move on with their lives John is pushed to the back of their hearts and minds, though not forgotten, and he receives barely any visits.

Many of John's problems stem from chronic low self-esteem, chronic anxiety, difficulty trusting people and feelings of being overwhelmed by the responsibilities of life. John is a sensitive, soulful, perceptive, loving, gifted and original, albeit complicated and intense, person. John has been forcibly and violently injected countless times. Feel free to share your views and look at possible alternative, more caring, celebratory, creative, enriching, tolerant, holistic, positive, empowering, proactive and humane ways in which we can help people who are troubled and are experiencing emotional and mental distress, like John. We need to find ways in which we can give John, and others in his situation, their dignity back with compassion, understanding and unconditional love. A psycho-social approach. We have much to learn from their insight, depth and sensitivity...


============================================​



Sleeping With Jesus.



I never did establish whether or not John heard voices. In any case, one day apparently God checked in with him and informed him that I was 'the one'. I was totally unprepared for the effect that John would have on me and the doors that he would open for me, as doors closed behind him. He reignited the fire in my jaded soul, he taught me to see with my heart, he infiltrated my dreams and he was not so much a navigator, more a dweller, of deep waters. That society and psychiatry would later refer to John as a 'paranoid schizophrenic' seemed nonsensical to me. To my mind he wasn't 'mentally ill', he was the most real, intense and passionate man I had ever had the fortune to meet.



Love came hard and fast like the madness love is. John was the first man I could look deeply into without turning away. In fact, I couldn't look away. It was like entering a love vortex. Was this what it felt like to meet a soulmate? To unavoidably merge with another? The unavoidable merging process. Perhaps this symbiotic union was a return to the Source, back to the familiar bliss of Mother Love and Father love? Perhaps a psychotherapist would clarify that it was indeed a common enough phenomenon; the symbiotic withdrawal. Whatever it was, to me it felt divine. That old adage that when you fall in love "time stands still" was ringing in my ears. I couldn't quite grasp or believe what was happening to me. I was being pulled in and under the current, it was a rip tide. A certain spaciousness of pure energy formed around us when our eyes locked. We had a special bond that unfolded with ease, an unspoken connection that was deeply known. We recognised each other immediately. He was so annoying that he was the last man on earth I would have rationally chosen, but as we all know, there is nothing rational about love.



John was the most remarkable man I had ever met; breaking down walls and barriers with such effortless ease and passion and intensity and urgency that I knew in my heart that I would never love like this again. He became my emotional midwife, he was a spiritual alchemist, a gifted young man. He had the mind of a poet, the body of a passionate boxer and the heart of a romantic idealist. We laughed and laughed, until we couldn't laugh anymore. He made me endless cups of tea, leaving behind a trail of sugar and soggy tea-bags all over my kitchen. Wherever John was, chaos and magic was not far behind. Trivialities like tidying up eluded him. He was, after all, in the throes of saving me.



As my heart de-frosted there was a watershed and unleashing of emotions that he was not only unafraid of but that he actively encouraged. He demanded such authenticity from me that all I could do was cave in. He reached places in me that I had forgotten existed; old, old wounds that were frozen and dusty. John had the raw emotional depth of someone as old as the hills and the sea. He was only 23 at the time (whereas I was his age backwards). The inherent wisdom in his eyes seemed to calmly laugh and humour my inexperience, though I was 9 years older than him, had travelled extensively, completed my education, worked for years, had given birth, become a mother and had survived a massive nervous breakdown and a three-year long depression. John had a special kind of earthy spiritualness and sensitivity about him for one so young.



It turned out his was a story of rejection, violence, abuse and loss. He survived this endless hurt and confusion by creating alternative belief systems, alternative realities to live in and purged his anger with street fighting. He played chess and went skate-boarding. He was very, very bright but squandered his intelligence. When I met him, he was writing amateur poetry and selling it on the streets, along with a kind of flakey One Love philosophy. An off-beat, hobo-poet promoting christ-consciousness on the pavements of life. There was one other factor that was contributing to this boundless Love, John was entering into a pre-psychotic altered state and was becoming 'Jesus' Himself. He had even grown a big hairy beard for the experience. He looked just like the actor in 'The Passion of the Christ'. I later discovered that film had moved him and that he felt that Jesus was close to him, by him and with him. But first he had to become him.



Due to my own experiences with 'altered states', my own weak boundaries and my wild creative imagination, it was not apparent to me that John was in fact by now in a fully-fledged psychosis, indeed a spiritual emergency. In any case, I was sleeping with Jesus and, boy, was he a good lover! I was too blinded by love to acknowledge a minor detail like psychosis.



John never slept at night. He was too busy preparing for 'The Final Battle', the battle between Good and Evil and Purgatory. He was going to save the planet from destruction by evil. There were seven other planets that he also controlled. He worried incessantly about the children in war-zones around the world and interspersed real world current events, like the war in Iraq, with his alternative reality. However as the sun came up, this imaginary battle ceased to hold such importance and loosened it's grip as he succumbed to sleep only to wake late into the afternoon, when the whole intense process started up again. I found John's imagination and compassion fascinating and encouraged him to write Fantasy. His endless passionate nocturnal descriptions of this 'battle' and his 'ascending' were beginning to take it's toll on me as I was getting by on very little sleep. Despite this reality I had become intrigued by his use of poetic and metaphorical language. Clearly this was a powerful renewal process, a deeply meaningful experience full of rich imagery and laden with symbolism. I knew this by gut instinct and a few years later I was introduced to John Weir Perry's 'Roots of Renewal in Myth and Madness' which confirmed this.



John explained the 'Holy Trinity' to me. He said he was part Beast, part God, part bleeding Heart. I interpreted it as Body, Mind and Soul. He said he could understand both Good and Evil. He talked a lot about the 'Holy Spirit'. He talked a lot about 'Heart Consciousness'. His inner world was rich with creativity, vast inner landscapes clearly suggested to me that John was a writer by nature. I was astounded by the depth of his insights and his inability to be anyone other than himself. His confidence was intoxicating and liberating. However, I was starting to wish that he could explain his theories to me in the early evening rather waking me in the middle of the night with endless revelations and epiphanies. It was impossible to disagree with him, and he wouldn't and couldn't listen anyway. He was becoming overwhelmed with his experience. He was becoming more and more preoccupied with these exciting ideas until one day he suddenly withdrew and became unreachable. From talking incessantly, interrupting and having pestered me into taking over our conversations for weeks on end he suddenly became almost mute, even hostile. The religious glint in his eye was replaced by a terrified yet wounded expression. Such a depth of sadness hung around him and I struggled to connect with him. But it was impossible. He was in the matrix, the labyrinth and he was lost in the maze of his mind.



If indeed, John was a misunderstood modern-day Jesus, I was not prepared for the chemical crucifixion that ensued. With hindsight John was silently preparing, which may have accounted for the terror and untrusting, shut-down fear state into which he had entered. He further retreated into himself and was most likely terrified beyond measure. It turned out he had been sectioned before and 'bled' as he put it and put through a range of humiliating brain tests. He broke down and cried and pleaded with me not to become "one of them". Later I realised this was a reference to the bio-psychiatric medical model and it's staff who treated him as sub-human, a 'chemical imbalance'. He fought them all the way, violence being familiar territory. He was held down and injected with clopixol depot shots, known by patients as 'the needle'. He was crucified and battered with chemicals every time he reminded them of their pseudo-science. If he refused their drug-treatment, it was forced on him. Behind closed and locked doors, isolated in a forensic maximum-security 'treatment centre' with no visitors, it is no wonder that he experienced more paranoia and more terror.



I shut down. Silently and alone I wept at the injustice of it all. I wept at my powerlessness, at John's powerlessness in the face of the psychiatric machine. I railed at the heartless wall of psychiatry and society, for wanting to assimilate and crush people, rather than heal or empower them. I knew John was 'difficult' and 'defiant' and 'spirited' and 'stubborn' but it didn't warrant chemical sedation or incarceration. I soon realised that bio-psychiatry was also suffering from 'delusions of grandeur' and it's autocratic nature did not like to be challenged. I slowly realised that society at large didn't like to tolerate the discomfort of distressed and fragile people. And psychiatry, at least the biological model, punished trauma survivors and didn't view madness as meaningful. Their priority, as far as I could see, was to control the symptoms and behaviour rather than address the root of the problem and society, by it's very silence, colluded in this. And I painfully colluded with their fear. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place, between prejudice and discrimination. And John was at the sharp end of the needle.



When he got his nose broken, in high-security, he swallowed the blood and the trauma. It was rough. When he broke a member of staff's nose, in the more supportive hospital, understandably, there was an out-cry. One difficult truth was emerging for me though; it was one rule for John and another rule for staff. It was glaringly obvious in the high-security but more subtle in the realms of more civilised environments. I blocked out the violence. I didn't understand it. I knew that John hated it but I also knew that he had had to learn it young.



The chemical crucifixion continued and they called him 'treatment-resistant', 'unpredictable' and 'deviant'. Continuous use of largactil rotted his teeth, he turned yellow from liver damage, his hands shook, he couldn't sit still, or he shuffled and his composure was stiff from the 'chemical straitjacket'. They tried him on every drug in the 'schizophrenia' market until they moved on to the 'bipolar' market. They kept him inside, so he could only breathe in the fetid, stagnant air of the hospital. When he wasn't sleeping off the effects of their toxic medications, he paced up and down corridors, agitated and frustrated, smoking endless cigarettes, hassling and pestering staff for cups of tea and coffee and cans of coke, reminding everyone of his right to his place on this planet, in the only way he knew how, until he was injected again for talking too much or for raising his voice or for being anxious. Anyway, the drugs induce anxiety. He was described as 'chronic'. If he slept too much or withdrew, he was called 'un-cooperative'. He was punished for having his own opinions. He talked transparent nonsense, gleaned from TV shows and newspapers in a futile effort to keep them on their toes. He has become a tragic figure with no shoelaces, a broken spirit, sleeping in his clothes, until they become rags, for weeks on end and stinking of hopelessness.



And after four long years of this soul-destroying 'treatment', they wonder why he isn't 'improving'. And through all of this he forgives, in his chemical-induced haze, them all. He bears no grudge to psychiatry and has now accepted the medical framework. The multi-layers of drugs have made him somewhat stupid and passive. This wild colt has been broken in; it took two years to break his spirit and a further two to institutionalise him. He is now maintained and contained; a shadow of the passionate, intelligent and mixed-up young man I once met. It is the single most heart-breaking thing I have ever witnessed. Our wonderful son a precious reminder of our bond and love that has survived the unspeakable.



Source: Sleeping With Jesus


If something in her story touches you in some way, please share it with others. If you feel you might have something to offer her in the form of encouragement or perhaps, professional or legal advice, please feel free to leave a message for her here or via the link above.



Thank you.



~ Namaste
 
spiritual_emergency

spiritual_emergency

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 15, 2008
Messages
186
Grainne has started an online petition to try and help free John. If you believe that John should have the opportunity to try and build a life for himself outside of the brick walls of Carraig Mor, please sign his petition and share the link with others. Meantime, here's some words from some other folks who know or have spoken with John personally...

~ John has committed no crime, those closest to him state that he is not dangerous and yet he has been incarcerated for more than 4 years against the wishes of himself and his family. There are no current plans to return him to his loved ones despite his immediate family offering total support and a planned package of care through EleMental with a psychiatric nurse and experts by experience willing to voluntarily be with and care for John.

Marion Aslan

The Mental Health Act of Ireland 2001 has given complete power to a treating consultant psychiatrist over John's life, he has the right to lock John up for the rest of his life. ... This law also gives the right to a treating psychiatrist to administer by force any or all medication they see fit, up to and including forced ECT and it is all legal under the Mental Health Act of Ireland. ...
His only semblance of a quasi court he has under this act is The Tribunals set up by the Mental Health Commission. These tribunals are held in secret, behind closed doors, they have the right to exclude all witnesses moral support up to and including the patients family. ... The patient/victim is brought before this tribunal in a highly drugged state, and expected to mount a defence.

John McCarthy

~ He has not seen the outside of the centre in over four years when he attended the christening of his now four-year-old son. The frustrated 29-year-old, who is a talented writer and artist, told the Cork Independent this week that he feels beaten: "The energy has been bullied out of me."

Christine Allen



http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/free-john.html

Thank you.
 
M

maudikie

Guest
The way you explain John's symptoms sounds very much like schizophrenia. It is a very severe illness, and some patients do not respond to teatments. However there are now a lot of new medications that have fewer side effects. If he has been sectioned under the Mental Health Act as it is in the U.k. then he has right of appeal, You could get some help for him in this, as it sounds as though he is too ill to get it for himself.. I should get an advocate, am unsure of where they are available, or if you can afford it a solicitor who specialises in mental illness.
Either of these will give you information about how to appeal, and may appear for you. This illness in some is severe, but they should be in decent surroundings, and when they are satisfactorily medicated should have some rehabilitation via the mental health Team. I think you will have to take action on his behalf, as he sounds quite ill and wold be unable to do this for himself.
Are you able to visit him?If so try to talk to him about it first.
 
Angels

Angels

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Joined
May 29, 2010
Messages
2,461
Location
Oblivion
I've signed. i really hope they do whats best for him, he needs all the support he can get. very tragic story. but keep fighting.
 
spiritual_emergency

spiritual_emergency

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 15, 2008
Messages
186
Many thanks to those of you who signed the petition. It's worth noting that John was initially diagnosed with drug-induced psychosis. Eventually, this diagnosis became paranoid schizophrenia although, when you are dealing with a traumatized individual, separated from the companions that might bring comfort and reassurance, stripped of their personal power and legal rights, uncertain as to what will become of them... it can become very difficult to determine what is a "disorder" and what is a natural response to grief, fear, and trauma.

Should any of you wish to know more about John, his partner (Grainne) has created a blogsite here: Free John: http://freejohn-loverevolutionary.blogspot.com/

There is also a facebook group here: The Incarceration of John: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=lf#!/group.php?gid=45363924188

If you believe (as I do) that John's best odds for recovery are to be found in a loving environment and the opportunity to choose the treatment protocols and caregivers that he actually finds helpful, please sign his petition to be released from his captivity and share the link to his petition with others.

The link to his petition can be found here: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/free-john.html

Thank you.

~ Namaste


 
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