So she had been therapist for six years at that point. I know that she had a client who died by suicide within the previous couple of years and she told my psychiatrist she couldn’t go through that again. Just to make it clear, I had expressed very clearly to my psychiatrist what my plan was beforehand and that I did not want to die and she told my therapist this. My therapist wrote this in her own records that I have a copy of. She also recorded that she told the police officer she did not think I wanted to die when I took the overdose. On the other hand, she somehow seemed to think I was on the verge of suicide and would surely kill myself if I wasn’t locked up. The only way I can make sense of it is that her judgement was so clouded by her own experience from the trauma of her other client killing herself that she couldn’t see my situation for what it was. I still don’t understand how she could just forget all about my trauma and not even realize the terror I was experiencing. Or how she could actually want me to be locked up where I would be put in the very situation that would ensure I experienced the most trauma possible, and then terminate me while in that situation. And as if that weren’t enough, she did so many other things afterwards to cover up her actions and said things to try to hurt me even more. That part is really hard for me to grasp, I mean why try to hurt me even more when I was already down like that? I’m sorry you lost your therapist after four years, that’s a long time too. And I understand feeling conflicted and cautious about what to tell your new therapist. It is hard enough to open up to a therapist about other things but when you have to worry about being locked up too then it’s difficult to understand how it can actually be helpful. Thanks so much for your supportive comment and I hope that you find your new therapist trustworthy and helpful!
So she had been therapist for six years at that point. I know that she had a client who died by suicide within the previous couple of years and she told my psychiatrist she couldn’t go through that again. Just to make it clear, I had expressed very clearly to my psychiatrist what my plan was beforehand and that I did not want to die and she told my therapist this. My therapist wrote this in her own records that I have a copy of. She also recorded that she told the police officer she did not think I wanted to die when I took the overdose.
On the other hand, she somehow seemed to think I was on the verge of suicide and would surely kill myself if I wasn’t locked up. The only way I can make sense of it is that her judgement was so clouded by her own experience from the trauma of her other client killing herself that she couldn’t see my situation for what it was. I still don’t understand how she could just forget all about my trauma and not even realize the terror I was experiencing. Or how she could actually want me to be locked up where I would be put in the very situation that would ensure I experienced the most trauma possible, and then terminate me while in that situation. And as if that weren’t enough, she did so many other things afterwards to cover up her actions and said things to try to hurt me even more. That part is really hard for me to grasp, I mean why try to hurt me even more when I was already down like that?
I’m sorry you lost your therapist after four years, that’s a long time too. And I understand feeling conflicted and cautious about what to tell your new therapist. It is hard enough to open up to a therapist about other things but when you have to worry about being locked up too then it’s difficult to understand how it can actually be helpful.
Thanks so much for your supportive comment and I hope that you find your new therapist trustworthy and helpful!
I am sorry you are in these cycles of trauma and I hope the new counselor continues to work out. I will be around here so let’s continue to communicate!
I think I understand what you’re saying. It is difficult to know who to trust and how to trust. And it can feel so traumatic all over again when you tell someone your story and they are dismissive, defensive, blaming, invalidating, or shaming. Is that what you’re saying?
My ex therapist was all of those things in the aftermath when I tried to talk to her about what happened. She even said she had other clients who just couldn’t say enough good things about their hospital experiences. But I just couldn’t understand why I had been locked up in a psychiatric hospital for having a traumatic stress reaction due to being locked up in a psychiatric hospital and then her terminating me while I was in there. I thought it was some kind of fucking experimental exposure therapy/remove all support therapy. I still do sometimes. It all hurts so much.
And as I had said in my article, she initially terminated me because she thought I didn’t care about getting better but then later changed it to her practice was growing, she had other clients to see, a family she needed to spend time with, and that her solo practice couldn’t handle me. She said I needed DBT with phone coaching, groups, and individual therapy. This was after I had completed a three week partial hospitalization. And all of this because of sharing my feelings about hospitalization during a three week period and taking the overdose. I did go to see a DBT therapist a couple of times and she kept trying to steer me away from it and towards EMDR instead. I told the therapist I wasn’t coming back and she said she didn’t think I needed DBT at all.
As far as my psychiatrist, she has earned my trust back to an extent but it has taken time and it’s different now too. I spend time now thinking about what I will say, how I will say it, and what the consequences will be. It hasn’t been a smooth path and there were several times where I told her I just wasn’t coming back at all and I didn’t for a couple of months one time. And believe it or not, as patients we have our own power too and can have our own plans in place for how to avoid capture. We don’t have to be caught by surprise again.
I have rambled on with my own stories here and maybe I just proved your point by projecting my own experiences. It is hard for me to stop when I find someone who will listen :). But, the short version is that I would never trust another mental health professional other than my psychiatrist. And I don’t recommend that others do either, it’s just too risky. I do worry about telling friends too but all have been very supportive and positive so far. I am sorry that yours haven’t, and I do want to say that I think that can be a common reaction unfortunately when people are ignorant. Remember we are victims though, and this kind of trauma is just one of many in which victims are blamed and invalidated in the aftermath. You’re certainly not alone in that aspect. I would love to hear your story sometime if you’d like to share it.
The article refers to the involuntary hospitalization of “youth” which I at first expected to be kids under the age of 18. But it seems like it was mostly young adults unless a lot of those interviewed were in the 16-17 age range. Or maybe it was referring to experiences far in their pasts. Either way, these results should be self-evident across the entire age span. But it’s good to see studies like this published for the mental health professionals and many in the general public for whom logic and reason appear to be inaccessible.
Good work Kristen, I like your fighting spirit. And the court of public opinion can definitely be the way to go. I think this often leads to much bigger changes then attempting any judicial redress on an individual level from mental health professionals who have already been able to easily abrogate any civil rights they pretend we have. Nellie Bly was certainly able to do this. I look forward to seeing the results of your hard work!
Well, attempted suicide is still a crime in some states though. As recently as 2019 a Maryland man was charged with attempted suicide and pleaded guilty. I think I might prefer that over involuntary commitment. You would at least be entitled to due process with a trial by jury. Then the burden of proof would be on the prosecutor instead of the patient as in involuntary commitment. Not that the patient really has any chance to provide proof anyway. Also, even if you had to serve time in prison you would at least know when it would end. That was one of the scariest parts about being locked up in the psych hospital for me. I knew those assholes could just say anything they wanted to extend the commitment indefinitely. And in my state you can’t expunge an involuntary commitment record. But you do have a chance at expunging a criminal record. Seems like the better deal to me.
But you are right, I don’t know what could feel more hopeless after someone reveals a little too much about how they’re really feeling. I think the idea is to continue to pass the patient off to the next person so they feel like they are actually doing something. And if you lock them up like a wild animal being caged for the first time, you hope they can be trained and tamed before allowing them to roam free and interact with the human beings who have learned to just shut the fuck up and carry on. But otherwise they’ll be too traumatized from being locked up they often won’t go back to mental health treatment anyway and instead they’ll just blow their brains out rather than risk being locked up again. It’s a win either way for the mental health professional who had the patient locked up because then there’s no worries about lawsuits, feeling incompetent, or having blood on their hands.
Thank you Steve.
I am sorry that happened to you and I hope you are doing better now. My therapist was a good person but it seems she had been so locked into her false belief that I was on the verge of suicide that she hadn’t heard anything else I had said. So I think she lied that I had this suicide plan to make sure they would have me incarcerated.
Hi rebel, you are an autodidact and I think that can really be the best way to learn. You’ll retain the information better when you move at your own pace and within your own interests. I love to learn as well! Thank you for your comment and take care.
Thank you sam, I absolutely agree with you. I now tell people to very carefully consider how therapy and the mental health system can harm instead of help. Most people think that going to therapy will help and at worst maybe not help. But it’s just not true at all, therapy can do far more harm than anyone would expect.
I mentioned in my article that in 2018 the support group leader took me to the ER after they decided I was a danger to myself. My therapist had been there at the time and I later asked her why she hadn’t tried to stop her since she knew how much I didn’t want to be hospitalized. I had planned ahead of time to try to express my anger to her and was hopeful we could have a productive conversation about it. But she instead seemed angry with me and said incredulously “stop her”??
And then informed me that she and my psychiatrist had discussed calling the police and having them come to her office at my appointment time and they would have handcuffed me and taken me away. She acted like they had done me a big favor by taking me to the ER during the group instead of calling the police on me. I was so surprised by her reaction and that they were going to call the police on me. It really shut down any hope of communicating my anger directly to her about this. I have realized more recently that I think it was in that moment that I realized I could no longer effectively express my anger about my hospitalization in words. And I believe this led to the start of my plans to reenact that trauma and express myself through actions instead of words.
I have thought about how nice it must be to be the one in the position of power and be able to just walk away from it all. They can just fuck someone’s life up and then blame it on the patient not doing the right thing instead of blaming themselves and then just walk away and move on to someone new and hope the next one turns out better. I mean you win some, you lose some right?
And I definitely have given up hope of any recourse for this. Mental health professionals are granted so much indemnity and power and patients are left feeling even more hopeless when they try to go up against a system that sees human rights abuses through the lens of their “for your own good” mentality. They have been too indoctrinated with this mentality to see these barbaric practices for what they are. They should all be forced to read the 2017 UN Mental Health and Human Rights report. I’ll end by leaving part of it here:
“Persons with psychosocial disabilities continue to be subjected to forced institutionalization , as allowed by civil codes and mental health laws in many countries. Deprived of their liberty, they are commonly subjected to forced treatment, and living conditions and arrangements may also put their physical and mental integrity at risk. Children or adults detained in institutions are at increased risk of violence and abuse, including sexual exploitation and trafficking.”
“Forced institutionalization violates the right to personal liberty and security, understood as freedom from confinement of the body and freedom from injury to one’s bodily or mental integrity, respectively. It amounts to violation of the right to live free from torture and ill-treatment, and from exploitation, violence, and abuse, and of the right to personal integrity. States parties should repeal legislation and policies that allow or perpetuate involuntary commitment, including its imposition as a threat, and should provide effective remedies and redress for victims.”
I’m so sorry for your extremely traumatic experience. I hope that some healing has occurred for you but I know it will never completely go away. I wish that we could just press a button to make it all have not happened.
Hi Kristen, thank you for your comment. I am sorry to hear you had a similar experience of collateral information being incorrect and not being believed. It is scary that they took your jokes as a sign of mental illness. Anything you say or do can and will be used against you. And I do mean truly used against you. Not to help you, not to protect you, not to try to understand. Just to do what they have learned to do according to the system. I want to see doctors have the courage to step outside the box for a change and actually care about the human being in front of them, the one whose life you are about to change in ways that may take years to recover from and cause many people to not ever seek mental health treatment again. And then we end up here at MIA, which is where we should be to tell our stories over and over again as long as it takes until we are finally heard. I hope that through endurance, as you said, you are able to conquer your traumatic memories and continue to heal. Take care!
Thanks so much Sam! We love homeschooling, but yes it is a lot of work for all! My husband is very supportive of me as well and it definitely helps. I am glad to have such good support. Take care!