"It Can't Hurt
It's going to take me a while to write all of this.
At [x] Behavioral Center, some of the staff members were great, in fact sometimes my best friend (who was my roommate there) and I called them after I stayed. But others were not. Many of the staff didn't pay attention.
Story One- One night we had some of the part-time staff working, they were really nice, but we had this new batch of kids. I had been there for eight months at that point.
These patients were absolute assholes to the staff for no reason other than thinking they could get away with it. We had a rule that everyone has to be quiet in the line because there were offices for nurses and therapists everywhere, and they were being loud, screwing around, shoving each other, not listening to any of the staff. We were coming back from the gym area, which is separate from the main building. It was early December, so it was cold. The staff and I (who were at the head of the line) refused to open the door until they started being respectful. They kept yelling at me to open the door, and the staff eventually gave in and opened it.
Once we got back to our unit, I went to the dayroom to draw and watch TV. Then the other patients came in, shut the door, and one of them confronted me about not opening the door. I didn't say anything because I mostly kept to myself and didn't want to be bothered. No staff were in the room and the door was locked on the outside so nobody could get in. The patient who confronted me tried to fight me, and I couldn't fight back because I was a week away from being discharged from the hospital after eight months of hell. So I just curled up and took their hits. Afterwards I ran out, barely caught the nurses' station door, and ran inside. Since none of the staff saw what happened, they had to check the cameras and I nearly lost my discharge date as a result. They even temporarily put me on an aggression precaution list. Another patient had a similar story to mine, except the intent when she was being beaten up was to kill her. Staff didn't see that incident until the last minute because they were on their phones.
Story Two- I have a sleeping disorder. I can never stay awake during the day, and I can't sleep at night. No matter how hard I try, I can't change my sleep schedule. One of my first days there I was woken up by three grown men yelling and dragging me out of my bed and dropping me in the hallway because "They were tired of me not following the rules and sleeping too much, because I'm supposed to follow the schedule." I also have PTSD from abusive men beating me and my mom, which was listed in my charts. I spent the rest of that day in fight-or-flight mode.
Story Three- I have extreme period cramps. It gets so bad that I will hyperventilate until I throw up. The first time I got my period there, a male staff member was yelling at me to go to group therapy. Meanwhile, I couldn’t get up off the floor and I could barely even breathe. I tried to tell him that it hurt, and he said "Stop making excuses to not go to groups, it can't hurt that bad". And then about fifteen minutes later, I managed to get to a bathroom and I threw up in the trash can. After an hour of laying on the bathroom floor, the pain finally receded and I told the staff that I threw up. the male staff who had yelled at me looked in the toilet, told me I lied, and at that point I screamed "Look in the fucking trash can!”. I ended up getting a pass for missing group therapy, but the whole situation was bullshit. One of the staff tried saying I forced myself to throw up.
Story Four- The staff used a lot of manipulation tactics and guilt-tripping against us. One of these examples is an incident in the cafeteria. Two girls got into a fight and started throwing food at each other, so the entire unit got put on restrictions. We weren't allowed to leave the unit, even to go to the cafeteria, for a week. They told us "If one of you screws up, everyone gets punished for it, and then everyone will be mad at whoever screwed up". This mindset within the staff caused a lot of fights between patients. Speaking of this mindset and the manipulation tactics, in my old unit we had a thing called "lockdown". We would be forced to sit in front of our room doors silently. They took away every coping mechanism we had so we could "think about our actions." Even if we didn't do anything wrong, we had to comply or we'd be physically restrained and given a tranquilizer.
Story Five- While I'm on the subject of tranquilizers, one night after I was moved to the younger kids unit (ages eight to fourteen) due to too many fifteen to seventeen-year-olds being admitted, a staff member refused to let me and three other kids go to our rooms for bedtime. We stayed up until midnight; they refused to let us get drinks from the water fountain as well. Eventually we got pissed off and started yelling at the staff, so they called a nurse to give the tranquilizer injections to us and have us physically restrained. I was fourteen, the others were eight, ten, and eleven-years-old. I held all three of them behind me and threatened to beat the living hell out of the nurse if she touched them. (Those kids saw me as a parent figure and they all reminded me of my little brother, I was very protective of them). I explained what was going on to the nurse, and she told the staff to open our doors to let us sleep and that this was bullshit.
Along with all of this, we weren't allowed to see our families if we had "bad behavior". I only got to see my family six times in the eight months that I was there.
I am going to end this here. This isn't even a fraction of what I went through, but I don't want to write anymore. It took me months to get used to society again and I have PTSD from that place.