#4 Let Me Up, I've Had Enough
-The Absolutely Unofficial Underground Newspaper of Metropolitan State Hospital -
Unfuckingbelievable. That’s s all I can think to say as I stand here amidst the smoking ruins of what was once The Met. They really did it. It took incredible amounts of relentless maddog maneuvering, lies, layoffs, fuckups and breakdowns, but they did --.it. They closed the Met, and in so doing they demonstrated just how far these bastards will go to fulfill their plan. And guess what, kiddies? THEY' RE NOT DONE YET! The power piggies have us on the run, and they won’t be happy until there's no such thing as welfare, all the state hospitals are closed and the patients are housed on an Asylum Ship floating in Boston Harbor, where it can be conveniently sunk if it all gets too expensive ...
The whole wretched goddam experience has left me in a hopeless state of psychotic depression. I feel like I've been on the business end of a billyclub in unfriendly bands. Every day. Every fucking day you would come in and face some unforeseen bullshitt which has Trickled Down from on high. It was unfuckingbelievable.
I got nothing to say I ain't said before; I bled all I can, I won't bleed no more: Sisters of Mercy
Yeah, right. And if you believe that I don't have anything more to say, then you simply haven't been paying attention. The Met is gone, but I just cannot let it go without the Appropriate Sendoff. I also want to take One Last Shot at blasting away some of the incredible denial (never mind the outright lies) that has played such a crucial role in the Death of the Met. Just Last Week, in fact (days before the Final Day), I was in the Ad building talking to one of the workers, a nice enough lady who'd never done me any harm, who suddenly got this weird glazed look in her eyes as she said "Well I think that most of the patients are better off don’t you?”
Total psychotic denial. Just like the Germans living within a mile of Auschwitz ( in dynamics, not in magnitude), people have to do something with the question of "Am I or am I not participating in some Great Cruelty?" And so they deny the Ugly facts. I don't even remember thinking about it, but in an instant I had unplugged a lamp and I was behind her, with the cord wrapped tightly around her neck. She made this one long gurgling sound, and she still had that glazed look on her face as I casually strolled out of the building, completely unseen.
Jesus! What a horrible vision. Where did that come from? Have I gone completely over the edge? Perhaps. But the Ugly Fact remains that with a mix of Blatant denial and Narcissistic Entitlement, they have reduced the Met to metaphorical rubble, leaving the Faithful with open hearts and open veins. There's been a death in the Family, and it must be mourned…
So, after several months of heavy sedation and lots of time on the firing range, I feel ready once again to tackle some tough issues, like, How can Some People be such despicable greedy fucks and get a fucking PROMOTION for it? or, What the fuck is going on in DMH? And most importantly, What Tribute can we pay to the Met?
We need to gather together And embrace what we have forgotten, so it can live. The Cult
But before we Honor the Dead, let's bury the living. We need to get a few things straight, while there's still time. First of all, The state is not offering a "Grand Experiment" which will improve care, but is attempting to cover up a plan to save money in the state budget by slashing services for a population which does not vote and cannot defend it-self. Can I prove what I'm saying? Not too tough, dude. The first thing these evil bastards do, when confronted with their deeds, is point to the number or residential programs being developed. That’s great. We’ve been screaming for more community placements for years only to be told that it's too expensive. Now they say it's cheaper, which is the real reason that these houses are being built. If Clinical Care was REALLY the first priority of the Department, then they would develop these programs and allow the clinicians to use them as they were appropriate. They wouldn’t' t LEAN on clinicians to develop lists of patients for these beds and have them ready to be rushed into incomplete and poorly developed programs so that the MONEY can be collected IMMEDIATELY. We wouldn't have instances of something like 50% of a given house's population being readmitted within a month to acute-care private hospitals which are going to dump them as soon as the insurance and/or Medicaid money runs out.
Let's face it. Mcney Talks and Bullshit Walks, a saying that should be chiseled across the entrance to the State Legislature, or at least embossed in handsome script on the bot tom of Speaker Wm. "Billy" Bulger' s business cards. Jesus! Weld may be a cold-hearted cheapjack businessman with no more sense of "public service" than Ivan Bosky, but the only reason he can run rampant over the disenfranchised of this oh-soenlightened Commonwealth is that the Legislature is a stinking pit of greedy politically-minded vipers who will protect Their Turf above all else. If you go around presenting this view to Insiders, totally off the record , of course, they just say "Well, yeah," and look at you blankly like they' re thinking "what kind of idiot doesn’t know this?"
Water that scene down some, but not too much, and you've got the spirit of DMH. Rather than a state-run system for the treatment of the mentally ill, it is a collection of little fiefdoms each with its own demagogue battling to control his or her turf and stay in a state of grace with the Central Office, just as the Central Office tries to please the Dept. of Human Services, and the D. of H. S. tries to please the Governor. At each step along the way, the guiding principle is clearly to gain and hold Influence and Political Power. And rule one is COVER YOUR ASS! Try in any area of the Commonwealth, to do something just slightly different than the Stand Operating Procedure because you think it’ll help a patient and what response do you get from the Area Office? “Thank you for informing us of your plan, now how can we help you?” “That’s an interesting idea, but maybe with this one little change it would be more efficient and still meet your goals for the best clinical care available?” NOT!
I kid you not (would Uncle undoubtedly a cold-hearted hack Phibes kid you?). It's Mob Rules in DMH. Who’s side are you on? Who owes you? Who do you owe? Who’s pocket are you in? If you were a Team Player back when so-and-so was the Area Director of one of the previous small areas, then when she (or he) moves on, ZAP, you move up another step on the ladder. You get a little more turf of your own to protect, and some more chances to make a few more deals, make a few more friends. Clinical care? That's determined by the CYA rule. If you do A,B, & C and document it carefully, DMH calls it clinical care. Well I call it horseshit. It's got No Heart, No Soul, and No Balls At All. What's really on the mind of the DMH Dobee is Have you made the Right People happy? Have you protected your turf? How do you look, on paper, to the Higher Ups? It goes so far that some patients, if the Administration had its way, would be prematurely kicked out onto the street. Patients who are in fact desperately in need of treatment, are seen as liabilities against the Administration because they may be assaultive and need Seclusion and Restraint, so they will show up as statistics on the Administration's report card. And that's trouble. But is it their fault that the Area Office, and the Central Office above them, want nothing more than to look good On Paper? No, but it's their fault for bowing to the pressure for the sake of political gains, by God. Politically, these types may be vicious wolves and hungry sharks, but morally they are weak pathetic little sheep, following the herd of consensus.
“Ultimately, a genuine leader is not a searcher of consensus, but a molder of consensus." Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Evil, however, has spread beyond the hapless hacks we call leaders. Part of the answer to the question of How could the Governor and the Legislature get away with tossing psychiatric patients out in the cold? falls directly in the lap of the General Public. The working class is hurting, and the rich don't care. Joe taxpayer is frankly not interested in seeing that mental patients get the proper treatment. Witness Weymouth, who have made the papers with their Neanderthal refusal of group homes in Their Backyard. It's the age old fear and prejudice of the mentally ill which is allowing the general public to avert their eyes while the government slashes away at services, and it is that fear and prejudice which we are sworn to fight with every ounce of our clinical acumen. It is this fight that DMH should be leading, not surrendering.
But you' re just not going to find many genuine leaders in DHM today, much less State Govt. Genuine chickenshit cowards maybe. Spineless piggy’s gorging themselves on power and prestige, sure. But leaders? Sorry. Genuine leaders get slaughtered by mutants like Oswald, Sirhan Sirhan, and James Earl Ray. And how about the Primary Leader? The ugly and frightening truth is that while William "the Weasel" Weld is undoubtedly a cold-hearted hack with the right combination of smarts and savvy to play the political pinball game for all it’s worth, there is PLENTY of black-hearted vicious evil to go around in DMH at levels much lower. For one thing, let's look at the "Met State Downsizing Plan" which was announced a full month before Weld even won the election! One year ago, the first edition of the Resurrected Disconnection proclaimed "Downsizing? That's bureaucratic doublespeak bullshit; they're cutting us off at the knees and hoping we don't take too long to bleed to death. " The Powers that Be were angry, claiming that There Was No Reason for Panic, that this could all be accomplished without layoffs and for the greater good of the patients. Bullshit and bullshit again. Six months later, Our Fate was announced. Now it's been sealed. And now it's time to say good-bye. Good-bye to what? To a filthy, costly, roachinfested monument to the short sightedness of DMH? Hardly.
This is good-bye to much, much more. The Met, despite poor management and zero help from
the Central Office was an Anchor for many drifting souls. It was a shelter from the ( storms of life. A place where anguish and pain could be turned into rebirth and new life. Where many came in ashes only to rise again like the Phoenix , returning to ashes and rising again.
In a flood of your tears, in sackcloth and ashes, and ashes and Sisters of Mercy
The War against the lies and greed of the power piggies is raging like never before. When times get tough, that's when people show their true colors. It's never been more important to carry the banner for Compassion and genuine Clinical Care. The Death of the Met is a heavy, heavy blow, and I've not been sadder in years. So much blood, sweat, tears and love has been wiped out by people who see nothing but numbers on paper and are so focused on the Bottom Line (and its effects on their bottoms!) that they've lost sight ct the Big Picture of caring for the mentally ill. It just makes me so terribly, terribly sad. . .
But it also PISSES ME OFF! These foolish bastards think that we are AFRAID to 1) say what we think and 2) do what we think is right. Those are the battle lines. The Met is gone, but the battle rages on. And I, will Never Forget.