Dear Psychiatric Hospitals: I Am Not 'Just Another Crazy Girl'
Editor’s note: This story is based on an individual’s experience and doesn’t represent all psychiatric hospitals.
Dear Psychiatric Hospitals,
I am a human being. I want your help. I need your support.
I am not “just another crazy girl.” I am not your judgmental opinion of me. I am not just my diagnosis.
My name is Lexie. My first name is legally Alexandra, but I prefer “Lexie.” I don’t mind if you call me either. I don’t mind if you forget my name.
What I do mind is being called “crazy girl.”
What I do mind is being called “Alex.” There is an interesting story behind this statement. At one psychiatric hospital I went to several years ago, a male nurse found it beyond entertaining to call me the wrong name — Alex. This may seem unimportant. But I would tell this nurse time and time again, “That name is triggering to me. Please don’t call me ‘Alex.’” And time and time again he would not only call me the wrong name, but every time he did, I visibly experienced panic attacks. And not only would he stand there smiling and chuckling to himself as I fell apart emotionally, but every other “professional” in your facility would turn a blind eye to his exploitation of a person who was genuinely struggling.
Psychiatric Hospital, you told me I was “crazy.” You came after me, your patient who survived traumatic experiences and has PTSD, with needles to sedate me when I was experiencing panic attacks. There is absolutely no way to sugarcoat or give a logical explanation as to why I was backed into a corner and then sedated against my will when I was not meeting you with any hostility. I was not violent. I was not raising my voice. I was not doing anything wrong. I was ill and was experiencing anxiety and PTSD symptoms, which I was vocal about, and was not taken seriously. You told me I was pretending to be sick. I needed your compassion. I needed your help. That was not help. That felt like “how to quickly shut up the girl who is being slightly disruptive.”
You made unethical decisions, decisions that were disguised as help. You were not helping though. You treated me like I was worthless. You talked down to me. Your words and your actions were all disguised as authority. I may have been sick at the time, but I see right through that. You were in the wrong, Psychiatric Hospital.
I can imagine you reading this letter, scoffing and once again turning a blind eye to the injustice and exploitation that many of us with mental illness sometimes face because of you.
I am not an outlier. There is person after person who has their own negative and dehumanizing experiences because of you. I am also not a fraud. I am a real person who experienced real injustice, just because I struggle with mental illness.
I may have been sick at the time I entered your hospital, but I am well now.
I want you to know my success in life and recovery is by no means a result of you. I do not owe you any bit of that. As much as I wish I could take back these degrading and traumatizing experiences I had because of you, I am proud of myself for overcoming the hurdles you put in front of me. I survived you. Now that I am in good health and doing well, I am choosing to speak up.
I am speaking up because I want to show others what you did to me. More people out there can relate as well, and that is heartbreaking.
I may have been just another a patient to you, but you, Psychiatric Hospital, you are memories and trauma that will haunt me the rest of my life.
We all deserve treatment that is practiced in our best interest. We deserve your time, compassion, help and respect.
Lexie, a fellow human being
I would like to let anyone out there who has had a negative experience with a psychiatric hospital know you are not alone. You deserve to be taken seriously. You deserve respect. You are a human being, too. And legally, you have rights. I encourage you to take advantage of this moment. Share your experiences. Let others know they are not alone. And most importantly, let’s stand together against injustice.
Follow this journey on A Girl Who Stayed.
We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.
Image via Thinkstock