Carol Batton

Dozen Roses?

I don’t need a dozen roses.

These times when every doorway closes

-keep the things that you proposes,

keep your cosy, blood-red roses,

keep success at bloody, showbiz

I don’t want what you supposes.

I just want a dozen buds.

I just want a single could.

Psychiatrist 2

He’s a strange

psychiatrist

even though

I have met

him before

Discrimination

Feeling better than others;

while being worse.

Psychiatric Pills

It’s only got one side effect,
You really must give it a try.
It’s only got one side effect,
It makes you want to die.

Safety

Money is the best insulating material

Nervously at the Dentist

” I live several miles away

Would a local anaesthetic,

be OK for me?”

Subterranean Living Under the DSS

Hell is Fine
Lit by tiny candles
Water from the DSS above drips randomly down – I cannot be sure of my candles staying lit.
The ceiling is made of impenetrable denial, weakened in places by implausibility.
There is no wind, or rain, to worry about.
But there is no sun either.
I plan next year’s pacing: this year I plan the pacing, which I am definitely (Next time) going to do. I must do something with my death.
I hear the ‘Too-Late’ prayers of the doomed dead, (Repentance past the sell-by date). We are crushed at random, by the ” Lack-of-benefits-system” dripped on, one by one until it is our own turn to get soaked in the cold.
It”s cold as hell, in hell let no one say it is hot. They”ve cut back the heating on which the myth is based.
Actually they tell you it”s perfectly warm. They”re right, but not if one has not eaten all day.
The boredom – one gets used to it. But not the loneliness. The loneliness just gets more desperate, with the inescapable dripping, squeezing the camaraderie – friendliness needs sufficiency.
I waste my time like some criminal in jail – guilty of unemployment.
A “Parasite” they say.
There is no clock – I find clocks painful – still I wish I hadn’t destroyed it.
The tunnels leading off are open to me, but it is understood they are forbidden to us.
So I crouch by the nearest candle – it has been like this for many years.
The little candle. That drip is very near that little light; a flicker of excitement – at the threat – but no, I’ve moved the candle to yet another safer place ; where ‘Splot’, a big blob of water – puts it out.
“You”ll have to refer to the DSS for a grant to relight it”: I forgot my hunger. The DSS is an impregnable well-lit office, on floor three. There are still some other candles and while five candles should not be despair -
I cried.
I was hungry, I was cold, I was wet (but of course), and not making use of my death very well.
They relit the candle after two months disagreement -but he was not happy.
They blew it out again.
Hell is fine, said the memo from above the DSS, on floor six.

Veggie

One must go cold turkey
When going veggie
Or maybe, cold lentil
Is gentler

Stage

If I were on stage again,
You’d clap.
It is only when I’m
In need
Of help,
You say,
“attention seeking”,
and walk off.

Mad System

His section is so confidential

“You’re not next of kin,”

or

“We can’t tell you over the phone.”

His section is so confidential,

they won’t give the reason,

even to him.

Jan 2000

The Plant

It’s gone a most beautiful shade of browny-red.
And it’s dead.

Short Description of Manic Depression

  1. Save the World
  2. “I can’t do it”
  3. “Let’s kill myself”

Disabled

You deny us work,
And give us money,
It’s almost
Equality

Relax

There is absolutely
Nothing the
Psychiatrist can do!
So take off your
Slippers, forgive
Yourself, and cry!

Another “The Pills” Poem

I say it makes me miserable,
She says, “That cannot be”
I say that I am certain,
(but so is she)
She says “So say the drug firms,
And they have done research”
I say “They make the profit.”
She says I am psychotic,
She says that I can’t know these things
And cannot be believed,
She says I’m being awkward, and should take more of these.

Too sad to kill myself

On major tranquillisers I don’t
Kill myself I don’t do
Anything at all.

How??

How can I hope for world peace,
When I can’t get you to say, “Hello”
In the streets.

You can find more of Carol’s poems here and see her here.

Carol Batton has asserted her rights as author of these poems but she is happy for you to use them freely so long as you acknowledge her authorship.

10 Comments

  1. Brian Fisher says:

    These are wonderful and inspiring. Thank you.

  2. Dr John Barnes says:

    Sorrow leavened by humour and sense of what is absurdly wrong in the “mad system” and how it affects people.
    thankyou. I agree wonderful and inspiring.

  3. chris solomon says:

    Ironic and sad to read these poems today, as Carol was sectioned last night for very dubious reasons. I visited her today and she is lucid as ever, but fearful of being put unnecessarily on much heavier medication, and of possibly lengthy detainment. If you have experience or knowledge of sectioning, please post any suggestions on best ways forward to help Carol.
    If you are a friend of Carol’s and wish to visit her, she is in the MEADOWBROOK UNIT (Eagleton Ward), which comes under Prestwich Hospital.

    Meadowbrook Unit is on Stott Lane, M6 8HG ( off Eccles New Road) (Tel 0161 772 3700), close to Salford Royal Hospital.
    Visits need to be pre-booked on the telephone number above. Thank You.

    1. Rick says:

      Hello Chris,

      I’ve been working within mental health, notably schizophrenia, for almost 5 years. I have seen this story via Twitter and come to this page through Google. Does Carol have a history of mental health problems and/or a diagnosis? To be sectioned without reason generally wouldn’t happen, there must be either something she has done or someone she has worried or given concerns to for them to ask for help for her.

      If she has been sectioned before is she under any mental health act? Does she have a team involved? Social workers. care coordinators etc?

      1. chris solomon says:

        Hello Rick,

        Many thanks for your comment on Carol Batton.
        There is a long history to Carol’s situation, most of it relating to
        family problems.

        She was sectioned, I believe, on dubious physical health grounds.
        Now she’s detained, the medics are opportunistically taking the step
        to also make big changes to her psychological medications, including
        trying to switch her to an unnecessarily much heavier drug (I believe)
        to replace Lithium, which Carol’s been on for 30 years. (I know the
        said danger to kidneys that Lithium poses, but it’s the question of WHAT is it replaced by.)

        I feel Carol urgently needs representation (she has no social worker
        or care co-ordinator) especially as the medics are talking of forced
        medication if Carol continues her current non-compliance.
        Do you think that assigning a Mental Health Advocate to Carol
        would be in her interests? Are they truly independent? I’ve heard
        from some who say that they are there merely to rubber-stamp the
        in~house medics’ decisions. What do you think?

        I would greatly appreciate any guidance you can give, Rick.
        Should you feel ok to talk to me, my number is 075 111 083 83.
        Thank You,
        Chris

        1. Rick says:

          Hi Chris,

          It depends what Carol really wants to get out of her circumstances. Has she had a period of being well and just been detained? Is she refusing medications or refusing the change in medication?

          My experience is that advocates are always independent and if she has been detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 she can get an independent mental health advocate. You could even be an advocate for her, if she is not able to have the capacity to understand things etc for herself.

          Do you maintain contact with her and have discussed her wishes? It might be in hers or your interests to contact crisis intervention team or similar, especially as she has no social worker or care coordinator, which I find quite odd. Has she been represented previously? And been reluctant to keep under the team etc?

          Cheers,
          Rick

          1. chris solomon says:

            Hello again Rick,

            Many thanks once more for taking the time to respond
            regarding Carol’s situation.

            To answer the points you raise:

            Carol has been detained for just over 2 weeks.
            In the period leading up to the sectioning, she was
            no worse or better in mental health terms than she
            has been generally over the last years that I can recall.

            I agree largely with Martin Rathfelder, Carol was sectioned
            on physical health grounds, dubiously I feel, relating to her
            Thyroid problem, though she wasn’t refusing to take the
            Thyroxine, but refusing to take a much greater amount/
            strength than that which she had been used to taking.

            It seems to me a bit like a sledgehammer reaction to
            section someone for that. And now that she is detained,
            they are suddenly trying to change all her other meds
            as well. Yes, it is said the Lithium has to change due to
            its effect on the kidneys, but Carol has been on that drug
            for over 30 years, & a great deal of understanding is
            required re switching to another main drug after such a
            long time on the previous one, & given that Carol has
            shown no particular decline in mental health (as endorsed
            by Martin Rathvelder) great care must also be taken that
            there is no particularly heavier medication proposed
            compared to the lithium she was on, AND the level of
            Lithium she was on.

            I have been visiting Carol every 2 or 3 days, & yes, have
            discussed her wishes, which are to be treated & respected
            like the lucid, intelligent human being she is, who more than
            anyone knows the reactions of her own body & mind, &
            naturally desires not to be over-medicated & coshed for the
            convenience of others…

            ——————————–

            The question is where do we go from here, particularly with talk
            of possible forced medication. I don’t think that Carol has been
            previously represented. What are the practical steps required
            to contact Crisis Intervention & get them involved? What is
            the make-up of such a team, do ‘we’ have any say in that?
            Would their function be to totally represent Carol? Is now the
            best time for them to enter the situation? What powers do they
            actually have to help Carol, & assist her to resist unwelcome
            treatment & be released?

            Rick, when you say “crisis intervention or similar”, what may
            be “similar”, & how would their involvement be initiated?
            How would it be judged which of all the alternatives is best
            for Carol? Would a specialist lawyer be one alternative?

            Apologies for so many points & questions, Rick, but I was
            just following the points you made, & my own points and
            questions seemed to arise naturally as those necessarily
            to be answered if there is to be any clarity in the best way
            forward to help Carol.

            Whatever you can do to address the above matters would
            be greatly appreciated, Rick.

            Thank You,
            Chris

        2. Rick says:

          Hi Chris,

          Do you have an email address I can contact you personally on?

          Cheers,
          Rick

          1. chris solomon says:

            Yes, Rick, it’s chriswords33@yahoo.com

  4. Martin Rathfelder says:

    Carol has had Bipolar disorder for a long time. She seems no more mad than usual, and I think she is sectioned because she refused to take thyroxine.

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