My father's 30+ year career was in the mental health field. It spanned the full gamut, from providing direct patient care, acting as the Mental Health Commissioner for Guam and being the Executive Director of regional community mental health centers in Pittsburgh, PA, and Western Oklahoma. The following are some poems he wrote on the topic.|
Having Needs Met
Maslow claims the needs of manDepend on prior needsAnd each fulfillment often bringsAnother need to seed.
Horney, in her simple way,Is anxious to describeThe neurotic core in every manThat motivates his every drive.
And Freud, the Master of them all,Has cast on man a hexFor every thought and every needAnd even man's most pious deedId disguised by lust for sex.
I have little else to addExcept a simple creed:To me the greatest need of allIs the human need to need.
Just Another Inpatient Day in a Ward in Pennsylvania
I first met her when the police escorted herto the nursing station, handcuffed and accompaniedby an Emergency Order for Detention signed by the arresting officer when he placed her in protective custody.
SHe was in her mid twenties, and had made numeroussuicide attempts since early adolescence. She had scars on her wrists where she had tried before,and the saddest, yet most beautiful eyes I had ever seen.
She was very young when her Father killed himself,but not so young that she could not remember. The only thing she forgot was the years before when he had raped her so frequently it became one long rapeinstead of something that happened daily.
And it was a year ago October when her brothershot himself on the lawn outside of the mental health center. He was not a patient, but he musthave thought his dying there would be message enough.
She was placed on suicide watch, and for three dayswas subject to constant observations. But she wasbright, and knew all the right words to say that wouldplease her doctors.After supper on the fourth day she went into the bathroom and hanged herself from the mental bar which stretched across the entrance to the toilet to give her privacy and dignity. Even back then, civilrights were always a requirement.
Later, after the ambulance left, I found her note inside the drawer of her beside table:
Please throw away all my clothes And all that you might find, No one will want these ugly things That I have left behind.
I've tried to be considerate You'll have no mess to clean; No blood to dirty up your floor - I'm not that bad or mean. I only have one last request. I bet you to permit That my remains be flushed - With all the other shit.
She was buried two days laternext to her father and her brother.
Mental Health Center
Inpatient, Outpatient, Partial tooAre services we offer you.We help you heal, make you well,Replace your pain, remove your hell!We are trained in what we doIn therapy to counsel you.Years of work and sacrificeSo you might have a better life.We will not rest upon our laurels,We have the temperament; we have the morals.We'll heal by day, we'll pray at night,That you, like us, will gain insight!
For we take pride in what we do;We are the best, the chosen few.We're here for you when storm clouds gather, Soon as we get our s--t together!My fears are growing strong todayThat I may kill myself someway.Staff pretend they're kind to me,But it's a plot hat I can see.I know there are no other choices,I hear that from secret voices.My patients are not really there,They are not real, they do not care.But I will teach them all a trick:Black magic is what made them sick.For I'm instructed by the Lord -He said "Return back to the ward."So i'll return, help and assist,For I am but a therapist!I seek no glory, praise or cheer - I,m now Employee of the Year!
It's ever so peculiarI don't know what to do -