The Dark Side of the Mind by Kerry Daynes Read Online (FREE)
Read The Dark Side of the Mind: True Stories from My Life as a Forensic Psychologist by Kerry Daynes full book online for free here.
Sometimes you help your patients see things more clearly, sometimes they help you.
Maurice was in his 80s, his long, thin frame so twisted with arthritis that from a distance he looked like a gnarled old hawthorn tree. One that was dressed up like Simon Cowell, all high-waisted trousers and tight white T-shirts. He had a glass eye too, giving him an off-centre gaze that added to his general asymmetry.
He wasn’t on my caseload, but was one of the long-term residents at a hospital secure unit where I’d recently started a new job as a soon-to-be-qualified psychologist. The hospital was on the edge of a sprawling and impoverished council estate on the outskirts of a depressed northern town – you could say it was gritty.
Unless you’ve personally been detained in a secure unit under the Mental Health Act, it can be hard to understand the difference between these places and plain old prison. The two settings treat their guests very differently. In the prison service the approach is ordered and dominated by the need to provide security and protection for the public. In secure hospitals, such as this one, the approach is to have as few restrictions as possible – to be more collaborative; not only containing, but actively caring. Like prisoners, the people here aren’t at liberty; they are considered to pose a danger to themselves or, more likely, to others. But because many of these environments are divided into smaller, almost homely, units with shared communal living areas, it’s not that unusual to find members of staff eating lunch alongside their patients.
So it was that I would find myself on most Tuesdays and Thursdays popping over to the small annexe where Maurice lived, to spend my lunch break with the occupants of Milton Ward.
Maurice’s psychiatric reports made repeated mention of his suffering from a ‘sexual sadism disorder’. The irony of the word ‘suffering’ wasn’t lost on me. Sexual sadists experience intense sexual thrills in response to the pain, humiliation, distress or general torment of another living thing. This is not to be confused with some experimental spanking or even the more toe-curlingly creative antics mutually entered into by latex-clad submissives and dominants. Sexual sadism is only considered a disorder – and there is a disorder for pretty much everything – if the individual acts on their urges with someone non-consenting. Which raises the question: who is really suffering here?
For Maurice, this meant that he liked to lurk in isolated spots and whip out what should have been his private parts at unsuspecting girls and women. The shock and horror on their faces was a source of exquisite personal and sexual pleasure for him. His penchant for this cheapest of thrills had briefly landed him in prison as a young man, but unsurprisingly this didn’t curb him. After his release he graduated to the point at which two women were found dead in his home, each with multiple stab wounds of varying depths, predominantly centred around their breasts. The precise explorations of a torturer. Now an established resident at the secure unit, Maurice wasn’t going anywhere. Ever.