I Have Been To A Mental Hospital...nightmares Come True.

I was a foster child, 13 years old. I had lived with one family for most of my life. I was a hell child and I could prove it when necessary. In October of 1987, the world I was living in, the friends I was making, and the work to stabilize my life would take a sudden and irreparable turn for the worst. On October 15, 1987 my foster mother died. The only real mom I had. I was told she had passed by the school nurse who told me to wait for my guardians and they would take me home. I didn't. I rode my bike home the back way and took all evening. Coming home after dark and after my curfew which I hadn't broke in a couple of years. I was heartbroken and saddened by the news that my one true love and friend had died. I missed the next day of school. I just didn't want to see anyone. One day turned into 7 and when I had returned many of my friends asked where I had been. The only explination was that I was mourning the death of my parent. That took aback several people. They were surprised at how matter-of-fact I was about the subject. I personally had resolved that it wouldn't affect my day and that I wouldn't think too much about it. I was in for a big surprise when two days after my return I had gotten into a conversation about death and family. One thing led to another and we all agreed we couldn't live without our parents (although I would have to live without my mom and friend forever). I had made the off-hand comment that I would rather die than go on, just as a teacher was walking by. A mistake I would pay for latter. We finished lunch and most of my day in classes when I was called up to the main office to speak to the principal. I thought I had screwed up again. But when I showed up she had me wait, not telling me why. A good thing, because if I had know what was going to happpen I would have run away like I usually did back then. She managed to get hold of one of my guardians and tell them I was in trouble, but wouldn't disclose what was going on till they came to get me. I would wait for 2 hours after school to find out that my comment from lunch had been misconstrued and I was on my way to an Emergency Evaluation by the County Emergency Guidance Unit. I tried to convince the psychiatrist I wasn't suicidal, but to no avail. He also had me wait. I cannot say that for one moment I wasn't thinking of running away and going home (At least there I was safe and could hide from the world). Alas I didn't run away. A mistake I would pay for in the end. I sat in his office for what seemed to be hours. When the door opened and two paramedics walked in. I started to panic. I thought of running immediately but was cordially offered to walk out of the office with the paramedics or be carried out I chose to walk. I thought if I could get the chance I would run. That idea would backfire. I had my guardian at my side. I had a paramedic at one side, and another behind me. Running wasn't an option. Besides I probably couldn't outrun them. I was taken from that office to a hospital in Santa Ana, California.

By the way, this journey started in Garden Grove, went to Westminster and ended in Santa Ana.

I was initially held for 72 hours that was the legal hold. I was angry and as every passing hour went by I got angrier and angrier. I didn't deserve this my (foster) dad needed me and I needed him. I was lost without him.

72 hours went to two weeks,and then several months, and I realized I needed to settle down and figure a way out. So I devised a way out. I would get the confidence of my psychologist and when the time was right I would run away. It would be the first time I would run from a locked facility, and it worked. I ran from the facility with her hot on my heels. So I pulled a risky move and ran towards the freeway, down the on-ramp she followed in her car. When I saw her approaching fast, and she was almost upon me. She actually stopped in front of me, I ran back up the ramp and towards what I thought was freedom. I was wrong. I ran to my (foster) sisters house. I walked in just as she was hanging up the phone with the hospital. She had agreed to take me back upon my arrival. To say the least I wasn't happy. I wanted her to protect me and instead she was going to send me back to the place that made me feel worse. I would linger there for 3 more months till I was transferred to Camarillo State Hospital. Not sure why I was sent there but I think my extreme behavioral problems might have been an issue. Also it was far enough away that they thought I would finally focus on my problems and not try to run away.

While I was there I saw things being done to people that would make basic human rights groups cringe. It had the feel of a gladiator school, a torture facility, and just for show a hospital. I saw teenagers not older than me (13) tied to beds for hours. These same teenagers often came from abusive and traumatic homes. I saw one teenager, when he had finally t-off the head nurse was locked in seclusion, when he asked to go to the bathroom during this he was told no. When he warned them he would go on the floor they ******** him of clothes and tied him to a bed and to cover his privates they put a kotex pad over those areas so as to avoid being seen from outside.  I had the misfortune of coming across severely violent teens from the LA area.( Looking in there direction was tantamount to calling them names.) I had the sense to keep my head down and not cause to much trouble. Although I did get into the occasional fight and ran away a few times (I don't know what I was thinking when I did that) . I would languish there for 6 months till I used the system to get out. I appointed my foster father my conservator and hatched a plan to get out using my behavior and luck to get me out. Three months after he was appointed conservator he showed up, and took me out of the program I was in and took me home. I couldn't have been more happy. There was one grey cloud that I had to avoid, he threatened that if I didn't pull my grades up and I didn't take my meds, and I didn't behave he had no issues taking me back and leaving me there. A threat I was not going to challenge.

I can honestly say that had I not had my head up my rear, I would have gotten the help I needed and not been screwed up for years after. I often feel like had I a second chance in an environment like that, I would be able to deal with my problems and get on with my life.

CorkyHatch CorkyHatch
36-40, T
5 Responses Feb 26, 2010

Over medication, Excessive use of Restraints, Excessive use of Seclusion (sometimes for more than 4 hours) Placing children on adult wards because there isn't enough room to deal with an out of control child.(This happened to me. During a disturbance on the ward I was taken from the Teen unit to an adult unit because the seclusion rooms were all full and they needed to get control. I stayed there for 3 days. More than a little disturbing even to a teenager. I was 12.). Mans inhumanity to man is the reason there are/were Jeffrey Dahmers, Ted Bundies. Society unintentionally creates and breeds these nightmares and then wonders what went wrong. I can honestly say that when I left Camarillo State Hospital I ceased to feel. An unfortunate effect, to be sure. But I have now problems relating to people in any way other than a blank emotional response. It's not that I don't care. I don't know how to. I was literally taught that to have emotion was a bad thing. My wife of 18 years understands this more than anyone. She has . . .is trying to get me to feel again. To understand that emotion is not a bad thing and that not all people are out to do me harm.

are you serious? (i stumbled upon this acually looking for interesting horror stories about mental hospitals) ha. Maybe i misunderstood your story but it sounds to me like you were sent to a mental hospital for no reason what so ever!? Thats appalling that they can do that. They can just send you away if under any impression that you may be insane. You didnt even have a disorder, you had just went through a death! I mean...really?:/ Im sorry though, im sure it was quite the experience.<br />
<br />
Anyway, wanted to ask...what kind of things did you see in the hospitals you were sent to?

are you serious? (i stumbled upon this acually looking for interesting horror stories about mental hospitals) ha. Maybe i misunderstood your story but it sounds to me like you were sent to a mental hospital for no reason what so ever!? Thats appalling that they can do that. They can just send you away if under any impression that you may be insane. You didnt even have a disorder, you had just went through a death! I mean...really?:/ Im sorry though, im sure it was quite the experience.<br />
<br />
Anyway, wanted to ask...what kind of things did you see in the hospitals you were sent to?

yhur so brave to even write that! honestly wow !

Thank You. I appreciate that.