My friend wrote this recently and wanted me to share her experiences in order to bring greater awareness about seclusion and restraint. She was pretty much incarcerated in a psych hospital for a year over 2 decades ago. You would hope things were better, wouldn't you? But things like this still go on in developed nations today.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~She couldn’t comprehend the hospital’s rules. She went into her bedroom to escape the racket of people crackling, shoes squeaking, Bob Barker barking from the T.V. set, and the fax shrilly ringing. The noise hurt her ears. The next thing she knew a crowd of men stormed her room. Pinning her limbs behind her back they carried her kicking and screaming to a dirty, barren room. Unceremoniously they dumped her on a gym mat, rushed out and locked the door.
She was bewildered as to why they would play a trick on her. She panicked even more because the walls were closing in on her. Banging on the door she screamed in vain to be freed.
She thought they wanted her to do gymnastics on the gym mat. After several handsprings she found instead the men surged back in. She fought them tooth and nail, but was overpowered. They forced her on a table and tied her in four point restraints. Outnumbered, but not defeated she escaped twice, shouting gleefully she was the great Houdini reincarnate. She thought surely her cleverness would win her release. Each time they tied the leather tighter until she was truly trapped.
She thought that if she peed on herself they would set her free. They just took her gown and underwear away. She laid naked and spread eagle for all to see.
After a time her terror grew so great that she forgot where she was. She forgot she was in restraints.
A great epidemic had swept the nation. She was contagious and in isolation, paralyzed and dying, in desperate need of someone to hold her hand and comfort her, to tell her she was not alone. A worried nurse peeked in the window in the door, but didn’t stop. Because of the epidemic the staff shortage was severe. They too were dying.Later her doctor came to visit. She stretched her hand as far as she could reach to touch his hand. He stepped back quickly so as not to touch her. She hurt.
When she passed her soul entered a soft green space. She watched it shine and ascend toward Heaven. Before entering Heaven’s gate her soul was examined and found wanting. She crashed into the depths of Hell.
Three weeks later she left seclusion. The other patients were afraid of her. Her moans and screams of pain had echoed through the halls at night and sounded animal, not human.
I wish someone would have thought to hold my hand.