Four Children

Ted Chabasinski, JD
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This brief article is dedicated to all the children, my brothers and sisters, whose lives have been ruined by psychiatry.

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Eight or ten years after I had left my job as directing attorney and patients’ rights advocate with Mental Health Consumer Concerns, I got a call from Janet, who had taken my place as the director of advocacy.  She asked me if I would fill in for an advocate who needed a long break.  Since I had done the work for many years, and had trained many advocates, I figured this would be easy for me, and I needed the money.

So in a week or so, off I went to Saint Somebody’s Hospital, where a whole bunch of people needed to be represented at their commitment hearing. I talked briefly to every adult who was on the list, doing the usual triage to figure out who had a real chance to win their hearing and be released.  Then I went back and spent time with the folks who had a chance, going over in detail what to expect the next day.  I would return early the next day, before the hearings, and prepare them a little more.  It was easy for me.

Then I went to the children’s ward, to work with the kids.  I remembered to tell all of them that I had been locked up my whole childhood on psych wards, and this always made them trust me.  And I always thought too that knowing this about me would make them feel more hopeful that they would be able to accomplish something worthwhile with their lives, once they were free of the mental illness system.

The first kid I talked to was Norma (I am not using real names in this article).  She was thirteen.  Her mother had abandoned her when she was born, and her father was now abusing her.  At a time in her life when she was beginning the difficult transition from childhood to womanhood, suddenly she had no home and no parent to guide and support her.  Of course she was very upset about this, but the psychiatrists labeled her emotional upset as mental illness.  How else was she supposed to feel?

As I talked with her for a while, I realized she was one of those young people who has what people call an “old soul.”  I was struck with her maturity and thoughtfulness, and it seemed so weird that any parent would walk away from her.  I knew that psychiatry does NOT encourage people like her, and I feared the mental illness system was likely to destroy her. Thinking to encourage her, I told her that I couldn’t understand why her parents left her, because she was the kind of child I would have loved to have as my daughter.

Fortunately she didn’t seem to notice that as I said this I was almost crying.

After our conversation was finished, I remembered the first time I went on a children’s ward as an advocate.  Another advocate was showing me the ropes, and I had done fine with the adult patients.  But it took me half an hour before I could even go on the children’s ward.  It felt as if I was back in Bellevue and Rockland State Hospital, where I  spent most of my childhood and was shocked and raped.  And I identified with every kid I saw there.

It had taken me a while before I could numb myself out enough to deal with these children, and I had forgotten that I needed to do that again.

Marilyn was fourteen and pregnant, and it was starting to show.  The father of the baby was a staff member at another psych hospital, who had raped her. (Sexual abuse at places like this is very common.  When it was done to me, and I told my foster father about it, my shock doctor, the infamous Loretta Bender, told him it was a delusion caused by my mental illness.)

Marilyn’s biggest concern was that she had been told that her baby would be taken away from her after he/she was born.  She wanted to know if the hospital could do that.  I was very perplexed about what to tell her.

I knew the baby would be marked with the stigma of being the child of a “mentally ill” mother, just as I had been when my mother, who had already been locked up by psychiatry, gave birth to me.

And I wanted to tell Marilyn that at age fourteen, there would be no way she could handle being a single mother, especially as someone who was under the power of the mental illness system.

And I knew that the psychiatrists would waste no time in putting her child on a lifetime, a very short lifetime, of psychiatric drugs.  Then there would be two children to be profit centers for the psych hospitals and the drug companies.

How could I talk to this terribly unhappy child about this?  I couldn’t.  I tried to be businesslike about the upcoming hearing, and I even said a little bit about how difficult it would be for her to be a single teenage mother,

All I could do was grit my teeth and try not to cry in the face of the suffering I could do nothing about.  Marilyn needed caring parents, and all she was offered were drugs and incarceration.

Annie was just five years old, a beautiful Pacific Islander little girl with BIG hair.  The hospital staff told me I shouldn’t bother to try to talk with her because she wouldn’t tell me anything.  Of course, this made me very eager to try to talk to her.

I found her in a seclusion room down the hall. with a young, expressionless staff member just outside with the door open a bit, keeping an eye on her.  I told him I was the patients’ rights advocate and he let me in.  I tried to talk to the little girl, who was sitting on a mattress on the floor, but she did not answer back, in words anyway.  I kept talking, asking her how she was doing, and if she would like me to read her a story.  I could see she was reacting to the tone of my voice and the concern for her I was trying to communicate.

I decided I should have a look at her hospital chart, to understand what was happening to her.  Besides telling me that she was on huge doses of psych drugs (of course), it said her parents had severely abused her, and that in the hospital she would throw huge tantrums, screaming and yelling and cursing and throwing things, which led to her being put in solitary confinement.  And I suddenly remembered how I had been In Rockland State Hospital at age seven, completely despairing about my life, having the same kind of episodes, not knowing what to do about what was being done to me.  My despair was dealt with even more sadistically than the way Annie was being treated.

The identification I felt with this little girl was overwhelming.

Later, as I was trying to leave the ward I saw Annie, her legs drawn up against her chest, perched on a counter next to the nurses’ station, apparently so they could keep an eye on her.  She followed me with her eyes.  I could see I had made an impression on her with my caring tone of voice.  She looked to me like a lost and frightened kitten, with no mommy and daddy, and no home, and no one to love her.

And I felt a powerful desire to scoop her up and carry her home with me, and try to help her heal from what had been done to her.

Howard was seventeen, a tall boy without the macho bullshit that adolescent boys often show.  I liked him right away. Even some of the hardboiled nurses at Saint Somebody’s liked him.  He had been sent to the hospital because he was talking about committing suicide, and he made a complaint to me that was chilling.  He wanted to know why he had been locked up just for talking about killing himself, when there were many kids at his group home who had actually tried to kill themselves.  Yes, this is what the “child welfare “ system provides for troubled children.

Howard being older, the same age as I was when I was released from Rockland State Hospital, I was able to talk with him more as an equal.  I tried to get him to see that he could still do something with his life, even with the years he had spent being told he was a subhuman mental case, the same message I had been given through most of my own childhood.

By the next day, when he had his hearing, I realized that at eighteen years old, coming soon, he was about to be “aged out” of the child welfare system, and he would be on his own.  And I thought too, that unlike with the younger children,  I  could be a mentor for him, and help him navigate what I knew he would face at that age.

I thought about giving him my phone number and encouraging him to call me if he thought I could help him with anything.  And I know I could have…but I didn’t. I think it would have been too much for me emotionally.

That night, after my conversations with these children, it took me two or three hours to cry myself to sleep.

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Those who profess to favor freedom,  and yet deprecate agitation,  are people who want crops without plowing up the ground.  They want rain without thunder and lightning.  They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters…. Power concedes nothing without a struggle.  It never did and it never will.

—Frederick Douglass

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Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.

32 COMMENTS

  1. Ted, I’m glad to see you’re doing some writing and that MIA is willing to publish it. You really are to be commended for the work you’re doing on that children’s ward, it’s so badly needed. You’re a hero to me, like any and all other first responders.

    I was intrigued to see what you said about how one of the first things you did when you started working on that ward was to reassure all the kids that you’d been through it yourself, and that this seemed to make a difference to them. That’s good news, but I don’t think it’s always like that. I once came out to someone I was, “in charge” of. She wasn’t impressed by it.

    • Michael, I’m quite certain all children who are labeled with the DSM disorders and put on the psych drugs are being mistreated.

      Given the fact that none of the DSM stigmatizations are real diseases. Given the fact that the ADHD drugs and antidepressants can create the “bipolar” symptoms, resulting in our modern day, iatrogenic “childhood bipolar epidemic.”

      And given the fact that the antipsychotics can create the positive symptoms of “schizophrenia,” via anticholinergic toxidrome; as well as creating the negative symptoms, via neuroleptic induced deficient syndrome.

      Psychiatry is like a giant Ponzi scheme of how to make innocent others, mostly child abuse survivors, sicker and sicker, for as long as possible, for profit.

      Thank you, Ted, for working to expose the “mental health” industries’ systemic child abuse covering up, and child abusing, crimes.

  2. Ted’s work is so important. Psychiatry survives, in part, by scamming people into viewing it as more powerful than it really is. But, logistics work against that ruse. If psychiatry can’t wreck your life in 5-10 years, it stands very little chance of EVER wrecking it, permanently. By sharing that information with his clients, Ted improves their life chances, no matter how they fare in court. We need many more advocates like him.

  3. Hi Ted, Scary Stuff.

    Singer Bob Geldoff confided that after his wife’s tragic death some years ago he seriously considered suicide as an option – but he wasn’t incarcerated for this.

    UK Comedian Russell Brand supposedly has a diagnosis of “Bipolar” and Singer Elton John’s behaviour was supposedly erratic at one time – but neither of these stars were conferred with a (UK type) “Conservativeship”.

  4. (I consider “Mental Health” to be a law unto itself .

    When I complained at a GP Surgery some years ago about genuine misuse of information:- a “doctor” by way of comment recorded to my notes: “…mildly agitated but no sign of thought disorder..”. Which would be like me saying: “..I have full confidence that Dr xxx has not engaged in shoplifting in the past six months..” )

    • “I consider “Mental Health” to be a law unto itself”

      A brief review of the “three pillars of legal protections” (Tribunal, Chief Psychiatrist and Mental Health Advocacy Service [the later being an oxymoron]) in my State reveals this to be so. No matter what, the pea under the three shells always disappears. It’s an old con and if people keep playing the game then they only have themselves to blame, but ….. when the criminals can force you to place a bet on a fixed game???? Different matter entirely.

      Mandatory reporting of public setor misconduct may be a means to hold them accountable, but be sure you don’t ‘show your hand’ too early. They will knife each other in the back if there is a need for a scapegoat. A ‘united front’ with cover ups until…… police ask “who else has got the documents?”

      “..I have full confidence that Dr xxx has not engaged in shoplifting in the past six months..”

      lol and if they did it would be considered kleptomania and not a matter for the courts. A quick ‘sheep dip’ and business as usual.

  5. “Sexual abuse at places like this is very common.”

    When our Minister for Mental Health was informed of this fact in Parliament she replied, and I quote “You can’t listen to them, they’re mental patients” (to howls from the other members in opposition).

    I find myself at times trying to reconcile the money I hear being directed to the ‘problems’, and what it is we are actually receiving for that money. Maybe the Beatles were right? “Can’t buy me love”? But it can buy a lot of beatings into submission, via some very creative methods disguised as ‘medicine’.

    I guess at least these kids are receiving some ‘advocacy’, which is not available where I live. The State has provided funding for a ‘throw them under a bus service’ called the Mental Health Law Centre who listen to you until they have what they need to ensure you can have your legs taken out form under you, and then dispose of you in a back alley for a beating by the State authorities (isn’t the Venus Fly Trap an interesting plant? It lures the victims in with the hope of sustenance when it is hungry, and then feeds of it after capturing it. Not unlike these ‘legal representatives’ I dealt with who worked with the hospital based on “edited” documents provided concealing the torture and kidnapping. Assist the hospital in removing their human rights being the ‘capture’ and then use that captured individual to obtain further funding. The concealment of the serious public sector misconduct much appreciated by the Minister, and ….. nice new offices. Where is all this money coming from?) . They then join in on the slander to ensure a competent legal representative provides you with no assistance. Not a problem when the ends justify the means, and lawyers can be used as ‘informants’ to conceal acts of torture and kidnapping in the ‘public interest’.

    Good work Ted, and thanks for keeping it real. There are still people being harmed unnecessarily while we talk.

    After becoming involved with mental health services for two months a 13 year old girl

    “stopped at the curb and she turned around to look at us [mother], and she smiled, and she leapt in front of a car, and she hasn’t woken up since,” She has since passed away.

    Any guesses as to what the behaviour was attributed to? A clue. Nothing to do with the ‘treatment’. And our Chef Psychiatrist who doesn’t recognise a burden of proof is to ‘investigate’. Care to see the letter of response regarding my “edited” legal narrative, what he had access to, and what he thought others had access to [two very different stories in the “edited” and the real set of documents]? Of course a need to change tack once they realised police hadn’t retrieved the documents I had showing the ‘spiking’ and use of police to detain a ‘mental patient’ who wasn’t actually a mental patient (s. 336 of the Criminal Code makes it an offense to procure the apprehension or detention of a person not suffering from a mental illness, ie lie to the police. Shame police haven’t got a copy of the Criminal Code)

  6. Good to see you back Ted.

    Psychiatry cannot be reformed, as you know. It must be abolished. This has not changed since 1976 when I first connected with the anti-psychiatry movement.

    One comment re: If we want to take away psychiatry’s power, we have to get the public to see the reality of what psychiatry really does.

    Unfortunate I must disagree. “The public” is basically a huge herd of sheep. Until they realize that psychiatry is not only abusive, but based on fraudulent premises — and until it affects them personally — they’ll do a “tsk tsk”; maybe even shed a brief tear or two, but they will only see a need for “reform,” and will view the only TRUE solution — the abolition of psychiatry — to be “extreme.”

    However there may be one or two exceptions for whom accounts like yours will represent a “tipping point.” And this is good.

    I’ll be in touch soon.

  7. Good to see you back Ted.

    Psychiatry cannot be reformed, as you know. It must be abolished. This has not changed since the 1976 Mental Patients Liberation Movement principles were drawn up.

    One comment re: If we want to take away psychiatry’s power, we have to get the public to see the reality of what psychiatry really does.

    Unfortunate I must disagree. “The public” is basically a huge herd of sheep. Until they realize that psychiatry is not only abusive, but based on fraudulent premises — and until it affects them personally — they’ll do a “tsk tsk”; maybe even shed a brief tear or two, but they will only see a need for “reform,” and will view the only TRUE solution — the abolition of psychiatry — as “extreme.”

    However there may be one or two exceptions, for whom accounts like yours will represent a “tipping point.” And this is good.

    I’ll be in touch soon.

  8. Just a point of interest.

    In my State it is illegal to record telephone conversations unless one party is aware that the conversation is being recorded.

    I was wondering if that as a result of my wife and her ‘new man’ tampering with my communications, and her being aware that the telephone was being recorded, this would then release another party from any liability if they happened to have recordings of her conversations with hospital administrators planning on the procurement of suicide? The point being that she was aware that the communications were being recorded, they had conspired to do this, just not aware of WHO it was that was recording?

    288. Procuring etc. suicide
    Any person who —
    (1) Procures another to kill himself; or
    (2) Counsels another to kill himself and thereby induces him to do so; or
    (3) Aids another in killing himself;
    is guilty of a crime, and is liable to imprisonment for life.

    Imagine the “we’ll fuking destroy you” statement in this context? Did they try and push me to suicide? You bet your life they did. Can I prove it?

    Call me paranoid but just because your paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you. They were, after all trying to conceal torture and kidnapping, and had police resources available because of the fraud making me a ‘mental patient’ which is a great help when fuking destroying people.

    Given the large numbers of suicides associated with failed mental health ‘treatments’, I wonder if there may at times be cause of action regarding the negligent procurement of suicide. The Operations Manager who I dealt with has a ‘history’ of pushing people who complain in a certain direction, commonly referred to as ‘gaslighting’ which results in deaths. Of course the benefits to the hospital not necessarily noticeable given their ability to “edit” legal narratives before allowing the victims lawyers the right to access unredacted documents.

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