This is Survivor Story number 20.
Total number of stories in current database is 77
Victimized, tortured and abused in Psychiatric Care
“To all those who read my story, there is hope, and don’t give up until you’ve won.”
My name is Julie and I would like to share my story with your site.
It all began shortly after graduating high school, at the top of my class in 1996. At the time, I was renting my own apartment, which is rare for a 19 year old high school senior.
I was waitressing nights, making great tips and had recently graduated modeling school.
I sculpted nightly, had a terrific group of artistic friends which involved musicians, artists, dancers, writers and others. In high school, I was loved by everyone, especially my teachers who prompted me to enter some state and city wide writing contests.
I won best poet across my state for a poem entitled Chirchen, or “church” in German, and also won runner up in a Reebok essay contest. I regularly attended art shows with by boyfriend and dressed up in gorgeous dresses, and had a bold smile ready to shake the hands of professional artists who would be presented at these shows.
Then, I got pregnant and had to terminate the pregnancy due to complications. I moved out of my apartment, had to change jobs and tried my best to cope with every day living. I had a lot of emotional problems which surfaced heavily after the abortion and was recalling all the trauma from my past which made it difficult to face relationship issues with my boyfriend.
I moved out of his place and moved in with some roommates but still worked at my job which was managing a busy craft shop. Then my adoptive father started to call me suddenly quite regularly out of the blue. He was insistent on taking me to a mental health clinic to be evaluated. He told me in order for me to claim Social Security because he couldn’t afford to pay for me anymore that it would be good to be seen in order to receive benefits. He didn’t tell me at the time he was convinced I was mentally ill.
We went to the doctors and when he left the room, I was surrounded by a team of “professionals” who asked me questions and I felt like the spotlight was on me. I voiced I always felt self-conscious and felt uncomfortable around other women who shared similarities to me physically.
I didn’t want to compete anymore and I wanted girlfriends who didn’t feel envious of me or felt competitive. I think I went into that office thinking a little talk therapy and my hopes of having a supportive friend would come to surface.
I told them I didn’t want “that doctor” and pointed to the most attractive woman in the room. A few days later, they had me set up with that doctor and I went back to her office feeling very uncomfortable and had a sort of euphoric hopefulness speaking to her.
She tipped her head and asked the most typical every day questions I would be asked by an acquaintance at a local cafe. There was no apparent interest or deep therapeutic assistance happening. She was not a doctor. She was a hired “friend” who was not half as bright as I was. She sent me to the psychiatrist, he told me I had no clue and handed me a prescription for Depakote.
A week or so later, I had my first psychotic episode and was driven by my father to the clinic. The therapist handed me a daffodil and she told me to hold onto it as tight as I could. I could barely grip my hand around its stem. They brought me to the hospital across the street where I was admitted and soon diagnosed schizophrenic. In the morning, I was in the shower, and a male nurse molested me.
Later, they put me on Haldol and I had a bad reaction, closing my teeth so hard, I almost broke them all out just from biting down. Then they put me on Prolixin and while I was adjusting to the drugs, I kept busy by trying to write coherent poetry and drawing pictures of flowers with crayons to hang all around my room. I suddenly found myself looking into the foggy hospital mirrors and barely being able to decipher my own face.
I began to look like the life was being literally sucked out of me. I could barely lift the corners of my lips to smile. My therapist from the clinic came into the hospital and had dyed her hair my color to make me feel closer to her somehow. When I told her it made me feel uncomfortable, when she thought I would love it, as I felt she was stealing my fragile identity, she dyed it back we grew distant as patient and therapist.
One nurse who I grew fond of would see me, burst into tears and hide behind other nurses. I remember vividly, her face red from tears feeling so bad for me. Little did I know it was only the beginning of hell. When they let me out of the hospital, I had some tardive dyskinesia and could not move my arms coordinated like I did before while walking.
I moved to my father’s for a few weeks and on one particular trip to visit my boyfriend in the city, while walking through the mall, my right leg became paralytic and I would have to drag it to each mall bench just to get about 20 more steps to the next bench. When I saw my old friends at our old apartment, they had to turn and cry when they took one look at me. The before vivacious, lively, happy Julie was suddenly, as they later told me, looking through them instead of at them.
My boyfriend made me get off Prolixin and took me out dark at night to teach me how to walk while swinging my arms again on the runner’s path under the trees. I got most of my stride back and began to feel a little better but not long after, I was admitted to other hospitals numerous times more and became a guinea pig for a plethora of various drugs which made me forget who I was and I eventually lost all drive to work, sculpt or a lot of times, venture outside to be with friends. I moved back in with my boyfriend and we would try to taper off the drugs but I would always cycle and end up back in the hospital. In a matter of 4 years, I was diagnosed borderline, schizophrenic, schizoaffective, bipolar affective and finally bipolar.
n the later hospital stays, I was victimized, abused, tortured and had my dignity destroyed. I learned to manipulate the doctors and orderlies to let me out based on I was in agreement with them I would stay on the drugs and lead a “functional” life. Eventually, I gained 100 pounds, had nerve damage in my hands, vision problems, lost all my former athletic ability and became engrossed in a psychiatric stigma where I became afraid of my own shadow- literally.
Now I am on 10mg of Zyprexa once a night and hope to be medication free so I can be at my best when attending college to earn a degree in English Literature. Even though my life is not where I believe I am capable of bringing it to be, I know they haven’t gotten my soul and I will fight until she is fully on the surface again. I still have my pride as far as my talents and fount of undying forgiveness lie but its hard to face the days when those people who seemed, most of them for that matter, cruel and almost evil.
I hope that in my future, I can regain the inner effort to pick up the pieces and tell my story in a book one day of the inhumane practices that those doctors placed on me. To all those who read my story, there is hope, and don’t give up until you’ve won.