*This post is Part 2 in the series Institutionalized!
*CN: mention of sexual abuse, institutionalization, forced treatment, needles, manipulative psychological trickery, and restraint
*Please note that I have a very dark, twisted sense of humor about my own experiences (which is what’s helped me get through a lot of this) and in this series I make use of terms such as “insane asylum,” “booby-hatch,” “loony bin,” etc.
The first time I was thrown in the booby-hatch I was 13 years old. Now, You’re probably wondering (at least I hope you’re wondering) what could possibly bring someone to ship their own CHILD off to the local loony bin. Was I a danger to myself and others? Nope (not that that would justify it.) No, my crime was being in possession of some very dirty laundry that could potentially make my mother look bad.
You see, my mother’s father had been sexually abusing me for as far back as I could remember. I had never told anyone because for one it was humiliating, and secondly I didn’t think anyone would believe me. At the time this went down, my mother had been spending most of her weekends in Monterey supposedly with a friend but we all knew she was having an affair (this would later be confirmed after my parents got divorced and we had to live w/affair guy.)
This all came to a head when my uncle found an unflattering story I had written about him for English class and passive-aggressively left it on the counter for him to find. My alcoholic uncle had been living with us (because our home was basically a half-way house for all of my mom’s addict relatives and/or their kids) and I wasn’t very happy about the arrangement. So he told on me for the story, my mom called me into her room to bitch me out about it and I just fucking lost it and blurted out that all of her relatives are either drunks, druggies, or child molesters. And also that I knew she was having an affair.
So then she asked me incredulously, who the child molester was. I told her it was her father. She wanted the gory details, and I did give her some but not all. She called her parents to tell them, and then gave me the phone and made me talk to her mother who promptly called me a liar.
I don’t remember if it was the same night or if it was the next day, but she told me that there was “a place I could go to be with other kids my age.” This was presented to me as if it was a goddamned summer camp; a kind of retreat where I could go to get a break from my dysfunctional family. Being that my mother is the most conniving, manipulative person I know, I have no idea why I fell for this. I guess I just wanted a vacation from my fucked up family that bad. And a flipping mental institution wasn’t even on my radar.
Now, this psych ward was actually very tame compared to the straight-up One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest type of shit I’d be subjected to later (stay tuned for that story in Part 3) but let’s face it, getting locked up somewhere against your will is never a good thing. Particularly for children. Institutions should not exist. At all.
This is more of a prelude than a story in its own right. I’m writing about this mostly to give background info and context for the fucked up shit that would happen later. And to point out how easy it is for parents to send their kids to these places when they get tired of, well, parenting.
For the most part, my stay here was pretty uneventful and involved sitting at a table eating a shit-ton of shortbread cookies with the other inmates, listening to them explain why they thought they were either God or The Devil, and being given tips on the most efficient way to slit one’s wrist. I mean, at least I wasn’t at school getting bullied.
The two most eventful things that happened in here (other than being tricked, trapped and taken hostage to begin with) were getting chased down the hall, tackled, assaulted with a needle and tranquilized like a wild beast when I made a run for it after realizing my goddamn mother was actually having me committed, and having a screaming match with my mother when I saw my aunt and cousin walking toward me with flowers because my mother apparently told them I was “mentally ill” to justify why she had me locked up.
This pissed me off because for one, these are relatives I saw maybe once a year at a barbecue and now they’re here with “get well” flowers for the “crazy” kid in the family when I didn’t even want anyone to know I was in here. I also didn’t know if it meant my mother had told them about the sexual abuse which I had specifically told her not to tell anyone about, and if they DID know then why was everyone treating ME like I’m the one who needs to be locked up when there’s a fucking child molester on the loose?!! So yeah, that rubbed me the wrong way, I flipped out, then I got bitched at for being rude to the relatives.
I was in here for about a month or two I think? One loses track of time in these places. This was the first stop on the road to forced treatment which would include years of being carted back and forth to various psychologists, getting 5150’d into two other asylums, being intentionally misdiagnosed, forcibly drugged, gaslighted, restrained, and held hostage until my insurance ran out. Stay tuned for all that in my next post.