“She is both hellfire and holy water and the flavor you taste depends on how you treat her.”
I forgave her the next day for pulling a real-life Psycho reenactment in our shared hospital bathroom, running at me buck-naked and gouging at my eyes with her claws. I was left bloody, raging and threw my urine sample straight across the day room right at the nurse’s head, “I’m not dealing with this fucking psycho bitch!”
Needless to say, I was furious. But not at her, because I really did understand her pain. I was furious for being snagged again. Furious for being thrown into the system right after I had just successfully beaten it on a personal level (literally the day before). I was under lockdown for escaping from the ambulance into the night, mooning the drivers as I ran through frost in bare feet with hospital linens wrapped around my body. I had the cops called on me because I was released from one hospital under their supervision and approval…but God forbid, I opened my mouth and happened to mention to a trusted friend some of my unorthodox views on spirituality, telepathy between hearts and being divinely guided. Gasp! Cuff me!
So there I was, trapped in lockdown, under a 302, once more, stuck with Cat Woman, who was now doing my hair for my very first court hearing to determine whether or not I needed further psychiatric ‘care.’
She wrapped a ponytail ’round the tip-top of my head and fashioned it into a bow, slapped on blush and lipstick and off I went to face 6 Mental Health Advocates, my Psychiatrist (whom I told off only the day before due to being severely over-medicated, slamming the door in his face as I yelled, “You don’t own this place!”), and finally the Judge.
I didn’t know how I was going to make it out, but I knew it would come to me sooner or later as my brain was on overdrive, quick silver and sharp as a knife (I didn’t get approval to leave the last hospital for playing it safe, I assure you).
They warned me ahead of time the entire proceeding would be taped and recorded. I was asked to swear on Oath and only speak when asked. I agreed, although flames from unholy depths rose from the hellfire within.
Now, on one hand, I desperately wanted to escape this system that was holding me against my will and shoving enough meds down my throat to sedate an elephant; yet, on the other hand, I desperately wanted to stay long enough so that my points were heard and validated. I had seen enough. I had not only witnessed the death of my spirit due to labels, psychosis, assumptions, rumors, divergence, alienation, stigma, forced medication, leather straps and sedatives…but when you grow up watching your Mother go through the same thing and then watch it happen to those you love later on in life – it gets very personal, very fast.
It came time for my Psychiatrist to make his pleas and advocate for me. Instead, he basically deemed me as incompetent and sick, as he virtually took the Judge’s gavel and laid down the law in one swift statement that locked me into almost another year of forced, mandatory treatment and mind-numbing antipsychotic medication with a whole host of damaging side effects.
In that moment, as I sat across from him, all hope for a lucid rebuttal was lost. My rage had reached a fever pitch and searing agony and past resentment boiled over the edge.
The Judge then asked me if I had any comments. I gathered my courage and took a deep breath.
“I am assuming that since I was asked to take an Oath, that we are all Christians in this room, no?” I lied with flames of sacrcasm flickering off my tongue. I wasn’t religious and I didn’t care.
I then asked for a piece of paper and a pen. As everyone around the table watched in silence and disbelief, I scrolled out this Bible verse calmly and slowly, trying to mimic the agony I felt;
Matthew 9:12 – “But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician…”
I paused, letting them read.
Then in a frenzy, I frantically scratched these last bittersweet sentiments right across the verse,
Go Back to School!
I stood up, slammed down the pen and stammered, “I AM WHOLE.”
I walked out the door, slamming it behind me and marched off in a blind rage toward the double doors, where I was later sentenced for another month and 9 months of mandatory outpatient treatment. On second thought, I should have flipped the table to drive the point home. Jesus, what hindsight.
It’s not necessarily the meds I fight against, although, yes there are many issues; aside from wicked side effects such as kidney failure and diabetes, when it comes down to it, there is no money in the cure. It’s the principle. The flaws within the Mental Health System go so very deep and literally rake my bones in the rawest of ways. There should be alternatives in place, or at the very least some mindful additions, and thankfully, they are starting to form – due to brave souls now coming forth to share their stories that center around their spiritual experiences, spiritual emergencies, psychosis, and stigma.
There is something much deeper going on, on very complex levels. I simply would hope that in the future, we, as patients and those living with these conditions, would have a chance to explore alternative care that suits our growth. Versus jumping the gun, throwing us in lockdown and sedating us out of fear, as if we were some used car going to fix itself by being thrown into a garage and throwing away the key.
I have witnessed countless spiritual deaths of those I love decades before they have even passed. It has become unacceptable and unbearable.
I am thankful however, because as I witnessed my Mother face this head-on, I made it a mission to get to the bottom of it. To restore some life. To bring hope. To spark something within. To validate these experiences. To understand on a very profound level what exactly happened.
To simply speak truth, “Hey, you’re not crazy.”
I could not have done that without first going through it myself. As painful as it is at times and as life threatening as it can be, there is a lot of good that has come out of this.
And not one soul will tell me otherwise. Not one soul will tell me how it ought to be, who I am or what I shall believe, what to take and when, where to direct my spirit and energy or how to act like this perfectly programmed member of society. I never was nor ever will be.
I determine whether or not I am whole and I now have enough experience under my ‘straight jacket’ to know whether or not I’ve jumped off the deep-end and how to swim ashore.