Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Troy Lovett, March 12, 2021

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00 - COVID-19 pandemic

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Partial Transcript: Okay, we are recording.

Segment Synopsis: Troy Lovett is introduced. He talks about his interest in being part of this oral history project. He discusses how he and his family have been fairing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keywords: Children; Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19); Difficult; Family; Homeschooling; Louisville (Ky.); Normalcy; Oral history; Reactions; Safety measures; Society; Sons; Stigma; Unsure; Vaccinations; Vaccine boosters; Vaccines

Subjects: COVID-19 (Disease); Families.; Pandemics; Pandemics & COVID-19

00:04:54 - Review of the last interview / Why his parents chose Highland Hospital for his treatment

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Partial Transcript: Well, let's talk about, um, this interview and, and where we're going to go with this interview.

Segment Synopsis: Lovett gives an overview of his previous interview. He talks about the connections his parents had with neighbors and a minister that likely led them to choose Highland Hospital as his next place for treatment. He talks about common treatments for mental illness at the time.

Keywords: Asheville (N.C.); Authority figures; Awareness; Borderline schizophrenia; Compulsions; Compulsive behaviors; Connections; Control; Cumberland College; December 15, 1960; Decisions; Defining moments; Don Welch; Dr. Boswell; Duke University; Euphoria; Fathers; March 8, 1961; Methods; Ministers; Mothers; Neighbors; November 7, 1960; Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); Parents; Psychiatric hospitals; Psychiatric wards; Psychiatric wings; Research; Resorts; Saint Joseph Hospital; Stephen Collins Foster Music Camp; Thought processes; Treatment

Subjects: Child mental health.; Childhood; Compulsive behavior.; Families.; Highland Hospital (Asheville, N.C.); Mental health.; Mental illness.; Psychiatric hospitals; Psychiatry.; Psychology, Pathological.; Psychology.; Repetition compulsion.; Schizophrenia.

00:10:12 - Significant moments in 1959

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Partial Transcript: Um, I might divert just a s--a moment, Doug.

Segment Synopsis: Lovett discusses several significant moments in 1959 that led up to his hospitalization in 1960, including taking an advanced mathematics class with his friend Allan. He also describes manifestations of his compulsive tendencies from that time.

Keywords: 1959; Algebra; Allan Steely; Baseball; Borderline schizophrenia; Compulsions; Compulsive behaviors; Defining moments; Eddie Mathews; High schools; Homeruns; Jack Miller; Mathematics; Memories; Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); Overwhelming; Rituals; Summer schools; Teachers; Thought processes; Unsuccessful

Subjects: Child mental health.; Childhood; Compulsive behavior.; Mental health.; Mental illness.; Psychiatry.; Psychology, Pathological.; Psychology.; Repetition compulsion.; Schizophrenia.

00:13:19 - Effects of his shock treatment at Saint Joseph Hospital in 1960

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Partial Transcript: So we talked last time about the, um--briefly about--we, we sort of ended things by talking about that period afterwards and so I want to start there.

Segment Synopsis: Lovett discusses how he felt upon being released from Saint Joseph Hospital on December 15, 1960. He talks about the original purpose of shock treatments, especially in the treatment of veterans experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder. He talks about how the shock treatments affected him specifically.

Keywords: "Wash the mind"; Borderline schizophrenia; Compulsions; Compulsive behaviors; Cures; Darkest period; December 15, 1960; Delays; Effects; Fears; Feelings; Home; Lexington (Ky.); March 8, 1961; Memories; Memory; Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); Psychiatric hospitals; Saint Joseph Hospital; Schools; Shock treatments; Stress; Suppression; Thought processes; Thoughts; Traumatic events; Veterans

Subjects: Child mental health.; Childhood; Compulsive behavior.; Mental health.; Mental illness.; Psychiatry.; Psychology, Pathological.; Psychology.; Repetition compulsion.; Schizophrenia.; Shock therapy

00:17:36 - Driving force behind his compulsions

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Partial Transcript: So I got to the place during January and February that I could not function at all.

Segment Synopsis: Lovett explains the thought process behind his compulsions, saying that every action caused an 'emotional flash' of a red light which meant he couldn't proceed, or a green light which meant he could. He compares his own experience of mental illness to that of John Nash, mathematician and subject of the film "A Beautiful Mind." He talks about his limited understanding of the source of his compulsions at the time.

Keywords: A Beautiful Mind (Motion picture); Awareness; Borderline schizophrenia; Compulsions; Compulsive behaviors; Doctors; Driving forces; Earning; Emotional flashes; Functioning; Irrational; John Nash; Mother image; Mothers; Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); Overworked; Price to pay; Psychiatric hospitals; Rational; Real; Rest; Schizophrenia; Shock treatments; Sources; Stress; Therapy; Thought processes; Understanding; Voices

Subjects: Child mental health.; Childhood; Compulsive behavior.; Families.; Mental health.; Mental illness.; Physicians; Psychiatry.; Psychology, Pathological.; Psychology.; Repetition compulsion.; Schizophrenia.; Shock therapy

00:25:59 - Examples of his compulsions and thought processes

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Partial Transcript: If, if you'll let me use one more example.

Segment Synopsis: Lovett uses examples from the television program "The Sinner" to explain some of the ways his compulsions would manifest during his childhood. He talks about his fear of abandonment and his desire to please others. He talks more about how every action caused an 'emotional flash' of a red light which meant he couldn't proceed, or a green light which meant he could. He explains how he would either have to earn the right to do something pleasurable or fun by paying for it with compulsions.

Keywords: Abandonment; Aggressive; Allan Steely; Bad; Baseball; Basketball; Blame; Bonding; Borderline schizophrenia; Childbirth; Cleaning; Compulsions; Compulsive behaviors; Daughters; Defeat; Difficulty; Earning; Eddie Mathews; Family; Fault; Fears; Feelings; Food; Forces; Friends; Fun; Functioning; Jobs; Manifestations; Mothers; Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); Passive; Paying; Pleasing; Pleasure; Price to pay; Self-image; Sisters; Stopping; Successful; Teaching; The Sinner (Television program); Thought processes; Wrong

Subjects: Child mental health.; Childhood; Compulsive behavior.; Families.; Mental health.; Mental illness.; Psychiatry.; Psychology, Pathological.; Psychology.; Repetition compulsion.; Schizophrenia.

00:34:58 - Self-awareness of his compulsions in 1960

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Partial Transcript: What level of self-awareness do you have at this time that--

Segment Synopsis: Lovett talks about how aware he was that he was different than his brother or his peers during his childhood. He compares the actions he had to go through due to his compulsions to the ease with which his brother could complete those same actions. He discusses how John Nash, mathematician and subject of the film "A Beautiful Mind," began to be able to tell the difference between what was real and what was a hallucination by noticing inconsistencies.

Keywords: A Beautiful Mind (Motion picture); Age; Borderline schizophrenia; Brothers; Compulsions; Compulsive behaviors; Control; Envious; Functioning; Irrational; John Nash; Medicine; Mothers; Not right; Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); Others; Psychiatric hospitals; Rational; Real; Self-awareness; Shock treatments; Thought processes; Understanding; Wrong

Subjects: Child mental health.; Childhood; Compulsive behavior.; Families.; Mental health.; Mental illness.; Psychiatry.; Psychology, Pathological.; Psychology.; Repetition compulsion.; Schizophrenia.; Shock therapy

00:39:18 - Typical day and examples of his compulsions today

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Partial Transcript: So, um, and you mentioned, you mentioned check lists and things and getting started in the morning.

Segment Synopsis: Lovett describes a typical morning at the time of this interview. He talks about the compulsory activities he does each morning, including memorization and recitation of many sermon titles, as well as various twitches of certain body parts, among other things. He talks about his awareness and control of his compulsions compared to his childhood.

Keywords: Awareness; Borderline schizophrenia; Checklists; Compulsions; Compulsive behaviors; Compulsory activities; Control; Devotional periods; Eyes; Fears; Feet; Functioning; Mathematics; Memorization; Neck; Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); Patterns; Sermon titles; Sermons; Stuck; Thought processes; Twitches; Understanding

Subjects: Compulsive behavior.; Mental health.; Mental illness.; Psychiatry.; Psychology, Pathological.; Psychology.; Repetition compulsion.; Schizophrenia.

00:41:53 - More on the driving force behind his compulsions

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Partial Transcript: But, see, the difference today is the fact that I understand what's happening to me.

Segment Synopsis: Lovett talks about his awareness and control of his compulsions compared to his childhood. He talks more about the television program "The Sinner" to explain some of the ways his compulsions manifest.

Keywords: Awareness; Borderline schizophrenia; Brothers; Compulsions; Compulsive behaviors; Control; Fears; Fighting; Fixating; Mothers; Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); Others; Rituals; Sisters; Stuck; The Sinner (Television program); Thought processes; Understanding; Voices

Subjects: Child mental health.; Childhood; Compulsive behavior.; Families.; Mental health.; Mental illness.; Psychiatry.; Psychology, Pathological.; Psychology.; Repetition compulsion.; Schizophrenia.

00:45:30 - Religious aspect of compulsory activity

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Partial Transcript: Um, Sunday is a, is tough day for me because, you know, there's a sermon to be, to be processed...

Segment Synopsis: Lovett talks about some of his compulsive actions related to religion, how he has learned to have more control over them, and how they have changed over time.

Keywords: Borderline schizophrenia; Compulsions; Compulsive behaviors; Every day; Memorization; Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); Sermon titles; Sermons; Sundays; Thought processes

Subjects: Churches; Compulsive behavior.; Mental health.; Mental illness.; Psychiatry.; Psychology, Pathological.; Psychology.; Religion; Repetition compulsion.; Schizophrenia.

00:47:31 - Rituals and the skills he has learned to control them

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Partial Transcript: So at the age of fifteen, what were, you know, the specific rituals that you remember that brought you comfort in this time where you're spiraling?

Segment Synopsis: Lovett talks about some of his rituals and compulsions. He talks about tricks he has learned to better control them, such as setting time limits for himself.

Keywords: Authority figures; Borderline schizophrenia; College students; Compulsions; Compulsive behaviors; Control; Devotional periods; Examples; Fifteen; Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); Progress; Rituals; Skills; Studying; Thought processes; Time limits; Transitions

Subjects: Child mental health.; Childhood; Compulsive behavior.; Mental health.; Mental illness.; Psychiatry.; Psychology, Pathological.; Psychology.; Repetition compulsion.; Schizophrenia.

00:50:28 - Deterioration from December 1960 through March 1961

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Partial Transcript: So, talk about, um, the, you know, the acceleration of that.

Segment Synopsis: Lovett talks about the period between him being released from Saint Joseph Hospital in December 1960 until he was hospitalized again at Highland Hospital in March 1961. He talks more about how the shock treatments had affected him. He talks about becoming stuck in loops of compulsory activities that he could not escape from, and how authority figures like his uncle could help him. He talks about trying to keep his mental health a secret.

Keywords: Ability to function; Accelerating; Allan Steely; Authority figures; Bathrooms; Borderline schizophrenia; Compulsions; Compulsive behaviors; Control; December 15, 1960; Decline; Decrease; Deterioration; February 1961; Functioning; Hiding; Loops; March 8, 1961; Memories; Mother image; Mothers; Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); Pleasing; Regression; Secrets; Shock treatment; Stuck; Thought processes; Uncles; Worse; Worsening

Subjects: Child mental health.; Childhood; Compulsive behavior.; Families.; Mental health.; Mental illness.; Psychiatry.; Psychology, Pathological.; Psychology.; Repetition compulsion.; Schizophrenia.; Shock therapy

00:53:34 - Family and others' attitudes regarding his mental illness and treatment

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Partial Transcript: So you, you're a parent and a grandparent.

Segment Synopsis: Lovett talks about the sacrifices his parents, brother, and cousin made to help him during this time period. He talks about his parents' reactions to his mental illness and his treatment. He talks about the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Keywords: "Fixing"; Attitudes; Behind the scenes; Borderline schizophrenia; Brothers; Burdens; Compulsions; Compulsive behaviors; Cousins; Family; Fathers; Friends; Greatest Generation; Jobs; Mothers; Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); Parents; Problems; Psychiatric hospitals; Research; Sacrifices; Saint Joseph Hospital; Society; Solutions; Stigma; Thought processes; Treatment

Subjects: Child mental health.; Childhood; Compulsive behavior.; Families.; Mental health.; Mental illness.; Psychiatry.; Psychology, Pathological.; Psychology.; Repetition compulsion.; Schizophrenia.

00:56:34 - Being taken to Highland Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina on March 8, 1961

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Partial Transcript: You know, yet they, they intervened.

Segment Synopsis: Lovett says that four days prior to this interview was the 60th anniversary of him being taken to Highland Hospital. He talks about how his parents convinced him to go on the trip, especially after the last trip they took resulted in him being admitted to Saint Joseph Hospital. He talks about the long drive and stopping in Pikeville, Kentucky because he felt physically ill. He talks about his arrival at the administration building at Highland Hospital and meeting with Dr. John Patton before being admitted.

Keywords: "The Day"; Administration buildings; Admitted; Anniversaries; Asheville (N.C.); Borderline schizophrenia; Churches; Compulsions; Compulsive behaviors; Doctors; Dr. John Patton; Dr. Paul Adkins; Fathers; Highways; Lexington (Ky.); March 8, 1961; Montford Avenue; Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); Physical health; Pineville (Ky.); Process; Psychiatric hospitals; Research; Resorts; Road trips; Roads; Thought processes; Travel; Tricking; Williamsburg (Ky.); Winchester (Ky.)

Subjects: Child mental health.; Childhood; Compulsive behavior.; Families.; Highland Hospital (Asheville, N.C.); Mental health.; Mental illness.; Physicians; Psychiatric hospitals; Psychiatrists; Psychiatry.; Psychologists.; Psychology, Pathological.; Psychology.; Repetition compulsion.; Schizophrenia.

01:02:47 - Feelings upon being left at Highland Hospital

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Partial Transcript: Um, my first experience there was I was taken to Carroll-Potter Hall.

Segment Synopsis: Lovett talks about the founder of Highland Hospital, Dr. Robert Carroll, and his step-daughter, the executive of the hospital at the time Lovett was admitted, Dr. Charman Carroll. He talks about being taken to his dorm and unexpectedly watching his parents drive away. He talks about his first night alone at Highland Hospital. He talks about how Landon Ray, the recreational director at Highland Hospital, began to bring him out of those feelings by taking him outside to play volleyball. Lovett talks about the philosophy of Highland Hospital, that mental health is connected to physical activity.

Keywords: Alone; Awareness; Body; Borderline schizophrenia; Carroll-Potter Hall; Comfortable; Compulsions; Compulsive behaviors; Dormitories; Dorms; Dr. Charman Carroll; Dr. Robert Carroll; Executives; Fears; Feelings; First day; Heroes; Home; Landon Ray; Leaving; Lonely; Mind; Mothers; Nadir; Nurses stations; Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); Outdoor activities; Outdoors; Outside; Parents; Physical activity; Psychiatric hospitals; Resorts; Rituals; Roommates; Rooms; Snowing; Thought processes; Transitions; Volleyball courts

Subjects: Child mental health.; Childhood; Compulsive behavior.; Families.; Highland Hospital (Asheville, N.C.); Mental health.; Mental illness.; Physicians; Psychiatric hospitals; Psychiatrists; Psychiatry.; Psychologists.; Psychology, Pathological.; Psychology.; Repetition compulsion.; Schizophrenia.

01:09:57 - Expectations and first visits with doctors at Highland Hospital

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Partial Transcript: Um, but understand, I did not think that I was gonna be there very long.

Segment Synopsis: Lovett talks about his expectations upon arriving at Highland Hospital, saying that he did not expect to be staying long-term. He talks about buying new clothes for the cold weather, his first group therapy session, and occupational therapy. He talks about his attitude as a patient at Highland Hospital.

Keywords: Ashtrays; Borderline schizophrenia; Clothes; Compulsions; Compulsive behaviors; Doctors; Dr. Norman Polansky; Dr. Robert Craig; Effectiveness; Expectations; Good patients; Group therapy sessions; Highland Hospital; Lee Buchanan; Long-term; March 10, 1961; March 11, 1961; Newcomers; Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); Occupational therapy; Personas; Psychiatric hospitals; Saint Joseph Hospital; Thought processes; Weeks

Subjects: Child mental health.; Childhood; Compulsive behavior.; Highland Hospital (Asheville, N.C.); Mental health.; Mental illness.; Physicians; Psychiatric hospitals; Psychiatrists; Psychiatry.; Psychologists.; Psychology, Pathological.; Psychology.; Repetition compulsion.; Schizophrenia.

01:14:38 - History of Highland Hospital

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Partial Transcript: We're gonna talk a lot about Dr. Polansky but one of the things that I do want to jump back to before we go too far in...

Segment Synopsis: Lovett discusses the history of Highland Hospital, beginning with its founding by Dr. Robert Carroll in the early 1900s. He talks more of the hospital's philosophy that mental health is connected to physical activity. He says that Highland Hospital was given to Duke University in 1939. He talks about some of the experimental treatments at Highland Hospital. He talks about the fire that occurred in 1948 that resulted in the death of nine patients, including Zelda Fitzgerald. He talks about how that incident was discussed and handled at the time he arrived there in 1961.

Keywords: 1909; 1939; Acknowledgement; Arson; Asheville (N.C.); Awareness; Borderline schizophrenia; Buildings; Compulsions; Compulsive behaviors; Deaths; Dormitories; Dorms; Dr. Charman Carroll; Dr. Robert Carroll; Duke University; Exercise; Experimentation; Fire codes; Fires; Founders; Growth; Highland Hall; Hydrotherapy; Influences; John Nash; Land; Landon Ray; Loading coal; Mental well-being; Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); Patients; Physical labor; Psychiatric hospitals; Secrecy; Shock treatments; Shut down; Staff; Thought processes; Tragedies; Treatment; Tuberculosis; Work; World War II; Zelda Fitzgerald

Subjects: Child mental health.; Childhood; Compulsive behavior.; Highland Hospital (Asheville, N.C.); Mental health.; Mental illness.; Physicians; Psychiatric hospitals; Psychiatrists; Psychiatry.; Psychologists.; Psychology, Pathological.; Psychology.; Repetition compulsion.; Schizophrenia.; Shock therapy

01:27:14 - Description of the grounds of Highland Hospital

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Partial Transcript: Um, also, before we go too far into the interview, um, and, and I, I--you know--and Dr. Polansky and such...

Segment Synopsis: Lovett describes the grounds of Highland Hospital, beginning on Montford Avenue, traveling to Zillicoa Street, and up through the grounds. He describes the administration building, Carroll-Potter Hall, Highland Hall, and Brower Hall and the various activities that occurred in each building. He talks about the different levels of freedom patients were afforded based on their treatment and needs. He talks about the various sports fields for physical activity.

Keywords: Ab-lib; Administration buildings; Asheville (N.C.); Attendants; Attitudes; Baseball fields; Borderline schizophrenia; Brower Hall; Buildings; Cafeterias; Carroll-Potter Hall; Compulsions; Compulsive behaviors; Elderly people; Fashionable; Freedom; Gardens; Gender; Grounds; Highland Hall; Homewood; Landon Ray; Men; Montford Avenue; Mrs. Carroll; Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); Occupational therapy; Off-campus; Older people; On campus; Patients; Psychiatric hospitals; Recital halls; Recreational fields; Residential; Restrictions; Rock walls; Thought processes; Tool sheds; Volleyball courts; Walks; Women; Work therapy; Zillicoa Street

Subjects: Child mental health.; Childhood; Compulsive behavior.; Highland Hospital (Asheville, N.C.); Mental health.; Mental illness.; Physicians; Psychiatric hospitals; Psychiatrists; Psychiatry.; Psychologists.; Psychology, Pathological.; Psychology.; Repetition compulsion.; Schizophrenia.

01:35:23 - Food at Highland Hospital

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Partial Transcript: What, um, what do you remember about the food?

Segment Synopsis: Lovett briefly describes the food at Highland Hospital and why he still will not eat chicken to this day.

Keywords: Borderline schizophrenia; Broiled chicken; Compulsions; Compulsive behaviors; Dislike; Food; Grits; Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); Problems; Psychiatric hospitals; Punishments; Quality; Spaghetti; Thought processes

Subjects: Child mental health.; Childhood; Compulsive behavior.; Highland Hospital (Asheville, N.C.); Mental health.; Mental illness.; Psychiatric hospitals; Psychiatry.; Psychology, Pathological.; Psychology.; Repetition compulsion.; Schizophrenia.

01:37:36 - Age ranges at Highland Hospital and relationships with other patients

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Partial Transcript: Um, so let's go back and--well, before we go to the, the, uh, psychiatrists, um, I was going to ask about the age, the age range.

Segment Synopsis: Lovett talks about the age ranges of the patients at Highland Hospital, saying that he was the youngest at the time. He talks about people who were in his general age group and his relationships with them. He talks about how they helped one another.

Keywords: Adjustment process; Age ranges; Ages; Attitudes; Borderline schizophrenia; College age; Compulsions; Compulsive behaviors; Concentration camp survivors; Energy; Fifteen; Helping; High school age; Intelligent; June 9, 1962; Lee Edwards High School; Long-term patients; Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); Patients; Peers; Psychiatric hospitals; Relationships; Roommates; Schools; Smart; Synergy; Therapy; Thought processes; Young people; Youngest

Subjects: Child mental health.; Childhood; Compulsive behavior.; Highland Hospital (Asheville, N.C.); Mental health.; Mental illness.; Physicians; Psychiatric hospitals; Psychiatrists; Psychiatry.; Psychologists.; Psychology, Pathological.; Psychology.; Repetition compulsion.; Schizophrenia.

01:42:41 - Typical day at Highland Hospital

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Partial Transcript: I do want to kind of give you a sense for where I'm going.

Segment Synopsis: Lovett describes a typical day at Highland Hospital, beginning with breakfast and then an hour of volleyball. He talks about the recreational director, Landon Ray, and how the physical activity helped the patients. He talks about the work detail that the patients did every day, lunch, recreation, therapy, and their free period. He describes the various activities offered on each evening of the week. He talks more about the different levels of freedom patients were afforded based on their treatment and needs. He talks about how the routine of the hospital helped the patients. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Activities; Adjustment; Approach; Art therapy; Borderline schizophrenia; Breakfasts; Busy; Classes; Competitiveness; Compulsions; Compulsive behaviors; Conferences; Dances; Dancing; Dinners; Dr. Charman Carroll; Dr. Norman Polansky; Elderly people; Fires; Free periods; Free time; Freedom; Games; Group therapy; Johnny Matthis; Landon Ray; Lunches; Men; Movies; Music; Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); Occupational therapy; Older people; Picnics; Poison ivy; Positions; Programs; Psychiatric hospitals; Psychotherapy; Recreation; Recreational directors; Resistance; Routines; Schedules; Snack bar; Special occasions; Teamwork; Therapeutic; Therapy; Thought processes; Treatment; Trips; Volleyball; Walking; Weekdays; Women; Work detail

Subjects: Child mental health.; Childhood; Compulsive behavior.; Highland Hospital (Asheville, N.C.); Mental health.; Mental illness.; Physicians; Psychiatric hospitals; Psychiatrists; Psychiatry.; Psychologists.; Psychology, Pathological.; Psychology.; Repetition compulsion.; Schizophrenia.