September 30, 2016 at 4:52 pm #82096
Hi everyone. I am Reid’s mother, Selena Bertino. Reid is not allowed to access the internet in any way, so I am the one he depends on to reach out for help. About a month ago I submitted Reid’s story to Mad in America (that he wrote himself). Please do a search for ‘I am Insane’ and ‘Reid Bertino’ to read about him.
I started a website (mentalrights.org) to help support people who are in the same awful situation as Reid, and I started a support forum because I am Reid’s main source of support but unfortunately the website requires money to keep up and running properly and now there’s a glitch that won’t allow people to register (it has something to do with a broken email system…it’s beyond my skill level!). I simply can’t afford to maintain the website and still pay all Reid’s attorney fees. I didn’t even know until today that Mad in America had a forum! Today a member posted a comment on Reid’s story suggesting I start a thread in a forum (Thanks Sa!), so here I go. Here’s what I posted on our website forum:
Okay, I have an ulterior motive for starting this forum. Yes, Reid needs support, all sorts of support. But I am his support. Almost 100% of all the advocating is done by me or goes through me. In order to support Reid, I need support. I need people.
I am alone. I admit that part of the problem is that I really hate asking anyone for anything. I’m a nurse and I’m the one who helps everyone else. I manage a home dialysis unit and my patients get the best of care, because I’m their therapist, their mother and their medical professional. I make it possible for them to do their dialysis treatments at home, which is a heck of a lot of work and a lot of managing. I’m the one who’s supposed to be helping, right?
Reid says it’s time to ask for help, before I make myself sick. He says what I need is a group of people to talk to, people who are interested in both of us and who genuinely want to hear all about the details of our situation and won’t dump us when things get painful, or even boring. We need people who won’t just offer condolences and wish us well, we need people who will stick around, even if they only offer a few words now and then.
I eat, think and breathe my son and if I don’t make a conscious effort, that’s all I talk about. It doesn’t even matter if he really has a mental illness or not; it’s been decided he’s mentally ill and therefore…he’s mentally ill. Sure, he doesn’t act like he’s mentally ill…but the professionals and the courts say he is, so he must be. And the courts have decided he is too dangerous to even step outside his ward if he isn’t in chains and they can keep him locked up for life because he’s…well mentally ill.
Reid is aware that our family really doesn’t want to hear about what’s going on with him and I do my best to not alienate them by forcing them to listen to me. It feels like even if I had ten people to talk to each day about Reid, I would still scare them all off talking about how dangerous, dysfunctional, complicated and corrupt Western State Hospital is. I have to navigate through a labyrinth of idiocy and despair every single day and I need to be able to talk about it and not worry about people’s eyes glazing over or worse, getting that look that indicates they think I’m either lying or mentally ill myself.
So, here’s what I need:
Your presence and comments or questions to let me know you are listening and understanding.
I need reality checks: Am I being over emotional and hysterical? Am I wasting my time on whatever it is I’m doing now? Do I sound like I’m nuts?
I need encouragement and I need constructive criticism. I need advice. I need to know I’m not alone.
In exchange… I can offer tons of fascinating information about life on a forensic unit in a state hospital. I can offer the opportunity to learn about one of the most dysfunctional, dishonest places in the United States. I can offer you the opportunity to help us. And by helping us, you are helping every single patient locked up with Reid.September 30, 2016 at 5:32 pm #82097
I look forward to your posts and to hearing how Reid is doing now. Please pass on my best wished to Reid.September 30, 2016 at 8:37 pm #82102
I talked to Reid a little while ago and I passed on your best wishes. Thanks!September 30, 2016 at 8:52 pm #82103
Okay, here’s the latest items we’re working on: Trying to get Reid’s public defender to communicate with us. She started back in April with the idea that perhaps she could get Reid’s NGRI (Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity) plea rescinded and Reid would have the privilege to go to prison with a felony instead. Yes, this sounds horrible, but right now Reid has a life sentence in a mental hospital and in prison he would have a release date. But we have no idea what his attorney is up to because she doesn’t answer emails or phone calls. She did say she didn’t think there was much chance of getting the NGRI rescinded, but as far as we can tell she isn’t doing anything at all. I wish I could afford a real attorney!
Next, we’re trying to get clarification on the Ross vs Inslee Settlement.
Ketema Ross was part of a lawsuit that was an attempt to improve the condition of patients’ lives at both state hospitals and we have no idea as of yet how this settlement will affect Reid. Or any other state hospital patient either.October 1, 2016 at 12:54 am #82107
I remember there was a lawyer who offered her services when she commented on Reid’s story. I know she said she didn’t have expertise in the area but I wonder if she would be willing to contact Reid’s lawyer to get you a better idea of what is going on and what can be done (maybe having another lawyer involved would make Reid’s attorney step up a bit? )….the lawyer could just say she has been following Reid’s story and is wondering if there is anything she could do to help/support as she knows she is very busy etc.
I am also worried that not many people will be aware you started a new forum here because they would have already read Read’s article and not necessarily notice a new comment there except if they happen to see it in the side bar (where new posts are listed ) or if they have pressed the ‘alert me about new comments’ button. I wonder if there is any way to announce the forum as so many people seemed so interested in helping Reid.
October 4, 2016 at 8:46 pm #82445
- This reply was modified 3 years, 1 month ago by Sa.
The attorney who offered her help has been pretty busy lately and can’t do much to help. I was really hoping to have some help…there’s so many things that I’ve let drop because I simply don’t have the time to handle it all.
As for Reid’s attorney, I finally got an email from her, she said she’s working on a murder case and has been too busy to contact us. It’s really sad that she considers Reid’s case not very important just because he didn’t murdered anyone.October 5, 2016 at 12:39 am #82453
Sounds so frustrating! How can one’s attorney be too busy to contact you for so long? It doesn’t make sense but I guess so much of this doesn’t make sense. Can you ask your attorney what you should do then if she is too busy to contact you. What would she suggest. Can she pass the case to someone who does have time to work on it etc…. (Sorry if these are frustrating and obvious suggestions – I just feel so mad on your behalf.October 5, 2016 at 1:35 am #82456
Selena — This would probably be better placed in the Organizing Forum, which is intended as an action forum rather a conversational one. Though it’s unclear what’s happening with MIA at the moment.October 5, 2016 at 6:37 pm #82481
Oldhead, I thought about starting this in the Organizing forum, but the forum rules said ‘This forum is primarily devoted to discussion of strategies and tactics for making substantive social and political changes in the real world, not to open-ended conversation and debate as in other forums.’
Yes, I’m very interested in social change, but right now I’m looking for something that is directly related to Reid and myself, which might or might not include overall social change. Now that I think about it though, there’s no reason why I can’t post in both forums! I would love for people to send email/letters to Western State Hospital’s CEO to let her know that Reid and all the other patients haven’t been forgotten.October 5, 2016 at 7:51 pm #82482
Reid is definitely worrying me. He’s saying things like, ‘Well, I might as well make the best of it and make this place my home.’ He is giving up hope.
And it’s true there is absolutely no indication that he will ever get out of there, there has been no movement forward in his 5 years there. Yes, you might want to say, ‘Well, if he’d just follow the rules…’ or ‘he just needs to do what is asked of him…’ or something similar, but it’s simply not true that he is the cause of his long stay there. It is simply impossible to move though such a fractured, dysfunctional system. There is no way to get it ‘right’.
He lives in an abusive human warehouse that has no interest in helping people recover. People are packed in there, the extremely violent mixed in with the weak and docile. It’s a breeding ground for violence and corruption and abuse. No matter what a patient does, punishment follows.
Reid recently announced that he was going to do his best to become an honest human being and he told staff and patients that he would no longer participate in the rampant black market (staff is aware that most patients participate in it). Instead of staff saying, ‘Wow, that’s great!’ he got busted for admitting he had participated in it and lost his level. Now I can’t bring him food or snacks when I visit him because he decided to be honest.
I don’t want Reid to give up hope, but I don’t know what to say to him.October 5, 2016 at 8:11 pm #82483
This breaks my heart. Really – they prevent you from bringing food and snacks as some sort of behavioural control? That in itself is ridiculous, let alone that they did that for not ‘doing anything’-simply, like you said , telling them honestly about something he did in the past! It is really quite shameful.
What can we do to help Reid not lose hope? We need his voice to tell people about what he experienced after he gets out of there. I most certainly believe that he will get out of there = he is so articulate, obviously sane and seems to be such a strong and good person. How can people help him perservere?October 5, 2016 at 8:45 pm #82484
Yes, I’m very interested in social change, but right now I’m looking for something that is directly related to Reid and myself, which might or might not include overall social change.
That’s an overly restrictive interpretation of what the Organizing Forum is for. It’s basically for discussing and hopefully effecting ideas for ACTION rather than chit-chat. All cases such as yours are or should be key priorities of any genuine movement and you might find people there who are interested in helping you strategize, etc. Can’t promise success, but no way anyone is going to suggest you’re in the wrong place!October 5, 2016 at 9:14 pm #82485
“All cases such as yours are or should be key priorities of any genuine movement” I absolutely agree with Oldhead about this!!October 6, 2016 at 1:11 am #82508
Oldhead, I guess it does make sense, because anything that helps Reid or me, helps every patient at Western State Hospital directly or indirectly. Most patients there don’t have a strong advocate, or for that matter, any advocate at all. When I manage to make a change because of something that happened to Reid, the effect ripples down the line. When I put up a huge fuss when they restrained Reid because he was peacefully protesting rude behavior from staff, after a long drawn out fight WSH changed some policies to make things like that less likely to happen to other patients. I’m too tired tonight to think about starting in another forum, I’ll figure it out tomorrow.October 6, 2016 at 1:37 am #82509
As I recall Reid is quite aware of the significance of his case, and the importance of his resistance to others in less of a position to take a stand.
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