I want to bring you all back to when I was 15 (or 16, can’t remember which and it’s not something I want to dig around and look up) and was put into a psychiatric unit by force.
I agree wholeheartedly that I needed to be there. I’m in no way saying that someone who self-harms shouldn’t receive treatment. However, as you will in this post, this wasn’t the best kind of treatment.
At that time, I was cutting. A lot. I was also saving my medicine and taking it in huge doses. Why? Self-harm.
Harming myself for feeling so angry at everyone.
Harming myself because I felt like what was going on at home was ALL my fault.
Not wanting to yell at anyone or scream; just punish myself for wanting to upset other people.
I was truly lost and needed guidance. I felt like what was going on in my house was my burden and something I had to take on by myself.
Meet the Nightmare Psychiatrist
My psychiatrist, at that time, was one of those “oh, you listen to metal and aren’t Christian? You must be a blossoming murderer!” kind of person. Not to mention that she called my faith in Paganism a “passing phase”.
For the record (even looking back now at the age of 29), she was very self-serving.
At the end of this post, I’ll tell you all how she was asked to step down because of me.
I get that there’s no reason for self-harm. However, my psychiatrist acted as though I was doing this for attention. If I hadn’t told my parents what I was doing, they would have never known. I was so scared I was going to kill myself that I asked my grandma to tell them. I really wanted help.
Oh I remember that night. My parents were screaming at me and my dad was SO mad at me. He said I should just “stop it”. Believe me, at that point if I COULD stop, I wouldn’t be telling anyone about it.
I was at an appointment with my mother in her office. My Mom said “she cut herself again” and made me show my scars.
She had mentioned something along the lines of me needing to “pray to whatever God I prayed to” in order to calm down (in a very condescending manner, of course). I told her to stop with the “Christian bullshit” (I never said I was a nice kid at 16) and she immediately became offended. We exchanged words; she immediately took the “oh, poor me” stance as soon as I said “God damn you”. You would have thought I slapped her in the face. She started on a “RESPECT MY FAITH” rant. Interesting, since you definitely don’t respect me on ANY level.
She called a number on her little psychiatrist phone, told them I was acting “erratic” and had me transported by two members of security downstairs.
I was by no means screaming, threatening harm or even standing up and two members of the hospital security team came in and brought me to the ER to in order to admit me to the psychiatric ward. They even had the nerve to be me in a straight jacket. Seriously.
I remember at the ward that I was treated like a fucking animal. They made me get naked and squat/cough to make sure I wasn’t hiding anything TWO DAYS after I was put there. I tried explaining to them that my mother was a prescription pill addict and that I’m angry/sad/suicidal because I can’t deal what was going on in my house, NOT trying to “seek attention”.
My mother had the fucking nerve to tell the psychiatrist I saw during one of my “sessions” in the ward that she was “better and doesn’t understand why I’m exaggerating” how much of a drunk/pill popper she was. I really thought that I was in some sort of Hell.
Of course, they believed her. Of course! Why try to help the 16 year-old who only wants to die because her home life was Hell on Earth and blame her for EVERYTHING.
The psychiatrist and therapists asked me if I was doing some sort of “ritualistic cutting” thing, too. Of course, I was VERY angry when I told them and they didn’t take me seriously. I couldn’t believe that people really thought that went on with Paganism in general. Yeah, I was 16, but to insult my religion at that time was like…well, telling
My Dad also tried to tell them that I was just an “evil person” (yes, he said I was evil because I was a practicing Pagan) and also that witchcraft was making me cut myself for “rituals”.
A quick note on that: my dad’s “understanding” and “knowledge” of Witchcraft came from Mancow. I guess at some point, he did some sort of segment/s on how stupid and “evil” Pagans are. Nice.
Smooth one, guy. Smooth.
I remember just looked at my parents and crying like they just died. I’ve never felt so betrayed (at that point) in my entire life. It’s like they were totally different people.
That, ladies and gentleman, was the first time I felt “raped” because everything was taken away from me. I even wince just thinking about it.
Of course, my cutting issues were not solved during the four days I was in there; (thanks crappy insurance) they didn’t even stop. I felt like no one understood what I was going thought and their only real advice was to just “knock it off” and here, take all these pills.
I remember my dad taking me home from the hospital and saying “are you going to stop that stupid shit now” and “stop causing so many problems”. And that practicing witchcraft “made me do stupid things”.
I was hospitalized again a year later for the same thing. This time, however, I was sent to a special teens unit. THAT was just as horrible. The nurses and therapists weren’t even trying to be nice. I actually am in the process of sending them a letter (my parents just paid off the bill now…yes, that expensive) telling me of my experience and hoping they change their attitude to try and HELP teens with problems.
Being the introvert that I’ve always been, it was awful just to be there. None of the other “kids” spoke to me and acted like I wasn’t even there.
Now, you’re wondering how I got that piss-poor excuse of a doctor to stand down…
Well, at the age of 18, I moved myself into my grandparents’ house from my own. Being the mature, lovely people my parents were at the time, they stomped over to my grandparents’ house and began threatening to sue them and such.
They told me that I no longer had car insurance through them and they now had to pay the rest of my senior year in high school. My grandparents were also now responsible for my medical bills. You know, lovely adult conversations.
I went to a regular doctor. I had my blood drawn to see the levels of the medications I was on. He called me in immediately after one day. He said for my age, I should NOT have been on those high levels and that my liver, at that rate, would have begun to shut down in a few months.
I then saw my psychiatrist for one last time. I told her I stopped taking all her pills and that I was 18 and out of my old house. She was mad, of course, but I said that I would be seeing an ACTUAL psychiatrist when I was (basically) “detoxing”.
Another quick note: the months that followed were awesome. I felt level-headed and began to understand myself more clearly than…well, ever.
She then reiterated that I was a “walking time bomb” and would probably hurt someone in the future if I didn’t take medicine.
(I’m now 29, never been arrested, never convicted, never even had the police called on me for “erratic” behavior. I also became a C.N.A. and helped the elderly for five years. Yeah, I’m a walking time bomb. Moron.)
The Fuck-Up-Ening…Yes, Fuck-Up-Ening
It was the following February and my old psychiatrist called my house. My OLD house. Yes, knowing full well that I had moved out AND THAT I AM 18, breaching the all-mighty HIPPA laws.
My parents called me up and asked why I had stopped taking my medicine and that my old psychiatrist was “so worried” about me. Mind you, I never told my parents what I was doing in regards to my psychiatrist months before; they basically “disowned” me for a couple of months being the lovely and mature people they were.
My grandma immediately called a lawyer. My grandma also called the hospital and told them what had happened.
An hour later, I got a call from my old psychiatrist, APOLOGIZING to me. I said, flat out “you knew I was 18 and had moved out.” She again said how I was a walking time bomb, blah blah…I hung up.
Yeah, well, she had to “step down” from her hospital job. She’s still practicing and allowed to have a license, but hopefully, she learned her lesson.
Or, in the very least, other parents who sent their child/teen there would be weary of the pill-pushing that goes on there.
Conclusion (jeez Allie, finally)
My now sober-ish Mom told me how sorry she was and how she went about the “wrong” way helping me. She and my dad also apologized to me about how things “went down” when I left.
Things aren’t always super cheerful, but they’re a lot better than they used to be.