"My complaint against my consultant psychiatrist"

About: Humber NHS Foundation Trust

(as the patient),

During the year 2001, I returned from serving as a Mormon missionary from Belgium, where I had served in parts of France and Belgium.

I had served voluntarily and had been groomed, since the age of four all the way into my late teens, to take on such an experience. In the Mormon community, a mission is often touted as the golden fleece, so to speak, of all experiences that the Mormon God will send their way. Many church programmes are dedicated to drilling the message into the Mormon youth, that they are called to serve voluntarily for two years and preach the Mormon gospel to all nations across the world. The pressure to embark on and complete a two year Mormon mission is immense, especially on male 19 to 25 year olds, who are often looked upon as cowards, weak minded, and sometimes looked upon as people who have succumbed to the will of the world and the devil.

I came from a family where all of my siblings and my mother and father had been, or still were, members of the Mormon religion. I experienced my childhood living in fear of abusive punishment and treatment, from both my parents. On a Sunday, they were the kindest, smiliest, butter would not melt in their mouths, characters possible but for the rest of the week would often turn into absolute monsters. They would argue to the early hours of the morning, sometimes throwing plates, television sets and all manner of household objects at each other and hitting each other with bare hands. These experiences on their own were bad enough, but my parents would often use physical and psychological abuse on me and my other siblings. My older brother and myself were most often the victims of most of the violent physical abuse. When we attempted to involve social workers, to try to escape the constant psychological and physical abuse, my mother would threaten to exclude us from the family, and would exclude us from eating food for days, as punishment for the slightest of childish mistakes.

This would go on month in month out, until the age of fourteen, when I swore to my mother if she hit me again I would destroy all of her most precious belongings. From then on, the psychological abuse continued, but the physical abuse started to disappear. At the age of fourteen, I already had the appearance of a man but essentially I was still a child. From the age of eleven, I was expected to walk, talk and act like a man, but I was deprived of feelings. I had been punished repeatedly as a child for showing any feelings, and I was regarded as week and sensitive by my father. I can remember that I had accidentally spilled marshmallows on the floor one afternoon (I must have been seven years old) and my father flew into a rage and knocked me to the floor in a temper. He began to stamp repeatedly on my on my chest, at which point, I began to laugh because I was afraid if I cried he would do something even worse. At first, this made him do it even harder, but in the end he just started laughing. From then on, he treated me as if I did not feel pain and could simply take it. What a ludicrously absurd situation. I had to survive from day to day. On top of these pressures, I was endlessly bullied at school and was fed a diet of bread and jam. At points, the school would complain to my mother and order her to give me a substantial amount to eat each day or face having social workers intervene on my behalf. My mother continued to feed me a poor diet; she give me the bare minimum she could. It often took other family members threatening to report her to the authorities, for her to briefly change her behavior, only to fall back into old patterns within a week or so (this would happen deliberately).

After suffering all this, I chose to go abroad to serve as a Mormon missionary, believing that serving God would bring blessing from heaven to my family. It sounds absurd, but this is what I was raised to believe. During my service as a missionary, I was paid a very low sum of money to cover travel, food, household cleaning products, laundry products, and personal hygiene products. After we included travel and all the rest, their was hardly any money for food, so I lived in a poor diet of pasta, bread, cheese and dirt cheap fizzy drinks, as the water was unsuitable to drink. I was moved to a new town every month, and I had to learn to cope with a new language and culture. I was only allowed 3 to 4 hours to relax a week. I worked 7 days a week (we also proselytised on Sundays), starting everyday at 6.30am and finish at 10.30pm. The constant moving around and having to get along with complete strangers, who frequently were less than friendly, in another language, made me feel more and more isolated. I found that most of the American missionaries in my areas were often spoilt American boys, who had no clue the amount of pressure I was under. They mostly didn’t want to know, as they had access to credit cards, and had money sent and given to them on a regular basis by their well off doting parents.

Whilst over there I began also to have a crisis of faith. As more and more months passed by, I began to realise that the religion I had belonged to most of my early life was just another business, making money out of peoples fears about the afterlife, or rather the death experience. I realised that I was mainly preaching to poor people and I wasn’t helping them. In fact, I was causing them more problems by asking them to give 10% of their wages to the Mormon church, and to give up much needed work on Sundays, to attend services and evenings that should have been spent with family. I found that all the accompanying worries of a Mormon mission, coupled with all the bad memories of childhood and home, kept me awake constantly at night. For the weeks preceding my breakdown, I don’t remember getting any sleep at all. I finally began to self harm, as nobody would listen to my distress when I tried to vocalise it. Finally one night, I went too far and managed to cut an artery. I called my mission president in a panic and asked for my mothers area code and phone number, so I could call her. He said he was tired and that I should go to bed. And so I decided to wake my colleague and get him to ring the mission president, who then rung an ambulance. I then was taken to a Belgian hospital, stitched up and stayed there for the night. I was sent home to England, after another night spent at the mission president’s house.

A few days after returning to England, I was referred to a psychiatrist in East Yorkshire, as I still had not been able to get a wink of sleep and I had started to experience hallucinations and hear the odd voice when nobody was speaking, which are all classic symptoms of sleep deprivation I might add. Within seconds, he diagnosed me as mentally ill and tried to assert that I was schizophrenic. From that moment, people treated me like I was some kind of raving axe murderer and criminal, and I was sent to a specialist psychiatric unit. Over a period of hours, I was asked to sign form after form and was discouraged heavily from reading them. I remember asking to read some of these forms and being told not to. I was not assigned an advocate or someone to speak for me, and I was then barraged with cocktails of drugs, as they got me to sign form after form. Then, as if this wasn’t enough, a bearded doctor came to talk to me and gave me an injection, which he advised would help ease my symptoms. This injection caused every muscle in my body to cease up and contract, causing me extreme pain. It was pain which I had not felt, even during all the abuse my parents brought down on me as a child.

This bearded doctor then watched me, as I collapsed in pain and said “oh don’t worry, he is just having an allergic reaction”. He took his time in going to the store room, and in a nonchalant way, returned walking casually and injected me with what he referred to as the antidote. Then over a period of days, I was bombarded with ever exotic looking cocktails of pills. I remember that they always changed, they were never the same ones, as they were always different sizes, shapes and colours. When I asked staff nurses what they were, I was just told to take them or I would be forced to take them and that they were for my own good. To me at the time, they seemed to be for the nurses own good, as they wanted a quiet night shift, reading gossip magazines and smoking cigarettes.

Over a few weeks, they got me to sign a mountain of paperwork, without letting me read it, and had turned me into a walking zombie with high doses of pills that I wasn’t allowed to refuse. This made my mind totally dysfunctional, my body exhausted and my feelings more depressed than they had ever been. Over months, I piled on weight that just kept rising over the years. I became more and more depressed, as I was wrongfully assured by my psychiatrist that I was ill for life. I was not allowed to come off my medication, even when I was no longer under section. I was advised not to do anything stressful like get a job or go to college, as I would only get more and more ill. My psychiatrist had conducted no tests upon myself, he had made a two second assumption that I was mentally ill. For a great deal of time, he allowed his colleagues to use me as I human guinea pig for all his drugs. I was offered no representation of my human rights, and over seven years he has made every attempt possible to stop me from being well advised and well supported on this subject. Over the years, he has assigned me weak minded CPNs and social workers, who simply lacked any backbone to challenge him and his many understudies, and to fight my corner as a client with rights.

This is a service where confusion is a tactic, deliberately used by clinical psychiatrists, as a weapon against their patients, in order to avoid legal consequences for their abuse of human rights, and abuse of the clients themselves, as they use them for human guinea pigs to test new and old medication combinations without the clients consent.

My psychiatrist was often psychologically abusive to me. He would often talk as if I wasn’t in the room, and would say things like “as you are mentally ill, you are below average intelligence and obviously incapable of comprehending things". Thinking back, it was his favorite thing to quote outdated surveys and opinions from the seventies, that referred to the mentally ill being subhuman, pathetically helpless, and somehow intrinsically wicked (as if they were corrupt souls acting wickedly on the behalf of Satan). I am fully convinced he knew I was used to being bullied, because I was abnormally placid and shy, due to years of bullying and abuse. I had informed him that my mother was abusive. From that moment, he seemed very anxious to place me with my mother after hospital, despite me saying to him that I felt suicidal when around her and that I hated her. Unbeknown to me at the time, my mother was already spending the benefit money that I received to support me in hospital on herself.

My mother had always been the most selfish person I had known all my life and had actively sabotaged any effort I had made as a teenager to build a career, after her divorce from my dad when I was nine. I had watched her as she used her children as a tool to get money out of the benefits system, which she promptly spent on herself. This trend continued, whilst she took me into her care, or rather into her absence of care, as she refused to do anything to help my situation. She never bought in any food to eat, the cupboards were often bare or contained a Tesco’s value tin here and there. It was pretty pathetic, to say I was giving her 60 pounds per week out of my benefits, which was essentially for a place to sleep and nothing else. This was bad enough, but my mother was also receiving carers allowance from the benefits agency, on top of the money I paid her, to essentially do naff all to support me, accept put a roof over my head, which was supplied to her by the council and the rent was paid by housing benefit. Through all this, my mother would not miss a chance to shame me and degrade me, by telling me that I had experienced a breakdown because I was weak and needed to repent. She told me that I was wicked and it was all my fault, and that the church was the only way I was going to get through this, and that if I didn’t follow the lords teachings I was going to end up a rapist or a paedophile or a criminal. Sometimes she would say, “your depression will only get worse if you don’t repent and come back to church, its your own fault for not having enough faith”. Meanwhile my psychiatrist would refuse to listen to the reasons why I was actually depressed, which was down to my situation; that I had lost my religion, I had lost most of my friends from church. Most of my family treated me as a freak, as if I was some kind of psychotic murderer at first, but then as some kind of weirdo, as I found that most people did. So again I was extremely isolated. Church friends, who would visit, would blame me and tell me there was something wrong with me and tell me if I prayed hard enough it would all go away. This kind of rubbish I found the hardest to put up with, and made me extremely depressed and anxious.

There is much more I could tell you about my experience, but I fear I have written too much already. It is now the end of 2008, 7 years since this all started. I have recently moved to Doncaster, to temporarily live with my sister, who provides me with support. Also, to get away from the influence of that psychiatrist and my mother and Mormon so called friends. I recently lodged a complaint with the GMC against the psychiatrist who treated me. I hope my story will prompt others to complain about the shoddy and outright disgusting treatment some clients receive at the hands of mental health workers and clinical psychiatrists, and the fear they have to endure under the tyrannical domination and bullying and abusive behavior that some psychiatrists exhibit on a daily basis. I’m sure that all this is against the law, and that life should be about living and enjoyment, not dictatorship fear mongering. Over the years, CMHT services have offered me little in the way of self respect, pride, and confidence, and have sometimes actively sought to destroy any confidence that I have built up through my own efforts.

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Response from Engagement Section Assistant, NHS Hull

Dear Doc Halliday We apologise for the delay in acknowledging the concerns you have raised via this website. This has been due to some communication difficulties with Patient Opinion, and the fact that we did not originally receive any postings regarding Humber Mental Health Teaching NHS Trust. This has since been rectified. We are also sorry to hear of your very negative experiences with our mental health service providers. We are aware that this matter is being investigated at the highest possible level and as soon as it is possible to do so we will post a response on the website. NHS Hull is the organisation responsible for deciding how money is spent on local health services [also known as commissioning], ensuring those services are of high quality and meet local needs. We value all feedback and if you would like to discuss this further please do not hesitate to contact our Patient Advice & Liaison Service on 01482 335409 or by email.
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