Anonymous Story (V)
"Fight or Flight"
I was hospitalized at thirteen for my third time. This was just the worst hospitalization to happen to me out of the nine times I've been put in a mental hospital. I had gotten name-called by staff a handful of times. I was called “dirty” because I am allergic to toilet paper and have to use alternatives like baby wipes. I was told to “stop being stupid” because I didn’t agree with what a staff member was saying to me. I was told a lot of other names by staff when I was restrained for having a panic attack and was hitting my head on a window (I understand that this was not safe but they FOR SURE could have handled it better).
Being restrained triggers a flight-or-fight response, and mine was flight. At the moment, being strapped down by thirteen grown adult people when you're thirteen is a bit overkill… I was screaming for help and they refused to let me out until I calmed down. They told me and I quote: “We can’t let you out until you’ve calmed yourself down, it's a danger to us and our safety as staff”. I was strapped down screaming for my life as hard and as loud as I could to get someone’s attention.
I was screaming for them to help me, crying so hard I felt like I was gonna throw up and they told me to just calm down. They had also medicated me when I was first strapped in the chair. I was hyperventilating to the point that I felt so dizzy and my head felt foggy. They didn’t do anything to help except tell me to just calm down and they would refuse to see me until “it was on their own terms”. I was alone in a dark room with the door closed. I experience symptoms of psychosis so being in the dark was making me see stuff and hear stuff, and they didn’t do anything when they looked through the square window except to tell me to “just calm down”.
They saw I was panicking and hyperventilating, but didn’t try to help. I was treated no better than a wild animal in a place for kids. I had finally gotten myself to “suck it up and stop crying” so then they had let me out. My ankles, arms and my forehead all had marks on them. They were really red and indented and I had like friction cuts where the edge of the leather straps had laid on my body. They had a thirteen-year-old’s head, ankles, and arms strapped to a chair tight enough to leave cuts and marks. The next morning I was placed on bathroom supervision where the staff stared at me naked, they stared at me using the bathroom and stared at me doing everything in the bathroom.
I have trauma from sexual assault so this was very triggering to me and they did not care. They told me: “We’re sorry, but it’s just the rules, we can't do anything about it, you just have to do your best to cope and keep calm”. Every time I got upset or mad at them because they were purposely putting me in a bad environment and situation and then told me to just deal with it, they would restrain me or told me: “If you don’t stop acting like this we'll be forced to restrain you for being violent”.
I wore shorts one night and was told by the staff, “don’t do that, put some clothes on, it makes the male staff here uncomfortable, you need to cover up”. They had taken half of my meals at meal time away on three different occasions and I couldn’t have my door closed ever. I was stripped of my very basic human rights for a month.
In this same hospital they had restrained a kid just two years older than me multiple times a day and I’d hear him screaming and begging them to let him out. They were so rough with him that I could hear him getting slammed against walls. It was really scary. I can’t imagine what he felt. They broke his wrist at one point and told him that it was his fault.
This hospital mistreated so, so, so many kids. They put them in isolation for so long, and as punishment they take away the kid’s “privilege” of leaving their room, until the staff are satisfied with how the kid is acting.
Thanks for letting me share this. I hope it can help.