Because the psychiatrist at the first hospital I was in never talked to any of the patients for more than 27 seconds. We were bored enough that we timed it.
Because when I was hospitalized when I was in 11th grade, I wasn’t allowed to have a pen or pencil. I had to write my thesis on red and black color symbolism as a reversal of yin and yang as it contributes to the theme of androgyny in The Scarlet Letter in crayon.
Because the psychiatrist I saw in high school and college put me on drugs “just to see what would happen,” sometimes causing serious side effects.
Because when I cut badly in college and ended up in the ER, the doctor told me he had “real patients” to deal with and refused to stitch me up. He sent me up to the psych unit, and I bled for three days straight.
Because I looked and looked for a psychiatrist who recognized I was on way too many drugs and would help me taper down, but I found no one. I was told that wanting to go off my meds was proof that I was mentally ill, and I was threatened with involuntary commitment.
Because I’ve been strapped down and forcibly sedated as punishment for having flashbacks and panic attacks.
Because I’ve been repeatedly sexually harassed by another patient while staff refused to do anything about it.
Because I’ve had staff pull back the shower curtain and look at me naked repeatedly, while excusing that as “making sure you’re safe.”
Because through all of this, all of it, I was told that they were helping me and that it was all for my own good.
Because it was not good for me. Because it caused even further harm. Because most of the people working in the system refused to acknowledge the harm. Because I was blamed for all of it.