The Life You Save May Be Your Own

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Crazy=/=Violent July 21, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — weordmyndum @ 1:38 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Usually I’m a news junkie, but I’ve been avoiding the news since the Colorado shooting.  I can’t cope with it.


For starters, guns scare me.  I grew up around them: my father was a cop, and my grandfather and uncles were all Marines.  I’m even a good mark with a pistol.


But I was also threatened over and over with guns.  My father’s service pistol, mostly, though sometimes with his personal weapon.  I know what it feels like to have a gun pointed at you or even pressed up against your head.  That’s something I’ll never be able to forget, so I’ll never escape my visceral terror when I see or hear about guns.


Then there’s the fact that every time there’s a “crazed gunman” incident, from Columbine to Gabrielle Giffords to The Dark Knight Rises, all the news media start talking about how the shooter was mentally ill and fell through the cracks.  Therefore, they say, we need to make it much easier to commit people to psychiatric hospitals.  (This article, written in response to the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords, makes me both incredibly rage-y and incredibly PTSD-y.)


The laws already make it way too easy to commit people involuntarily.  I know.  I’ve been there.  Supposedly, the standard is “imminent danger of harm to self or others,” but that’s so vague as to be almost meaningless.  Because of the paternalism and need for control that shape mainstream psychiatric treatment, a wide variety of symptoms get characterized as “imminent risk of harm.”  I was committed for non-suicidal self-injury and locked up into a hospital where I was repeatedly assaulted.  The hearing didn’t evaluate my risk beyond the judge asking the psychiatrist, “Is this person seriously mentally ill and in need of treatment?”  That didn’t prove I was a danger; that just proved I was sick.  And I never had any real chance to defend myself.


And god knows no one consider the imminent risk of harm to me in the hospital.  They called it treatment, but it was trauma.  I was raped over and over and over.  No one stopped it.  No one even noticed.  Once they’ve saved society from you, you no longer matter.


Most people with mental illnesses are not violent.  This study puts the risk of being killed by a psychotic person at 1 in 14.3 million, meaning you’re three times more likely to be struck by lightning.  Still, every time someone does something violent and horrible, every news outlet has a panel of experts saying the perpetrator was mentally ill (typically, their TV diagnosis is schizophrenia), even though these so-called experts never met the person.  Even if the perpetrator is/was actually schizophrenic, these experts don’t communicate that mental illness is not a predictor of violence, and the vast majority of people with mental illnesses are not violent.  And then they wonder why there’s such stigma attached to a psychiatric diagnosis.


I’m sorry, I’m not organizing my thoughts here very well.  I can’t really think straight because I’m too busy fighting off memories from the state hospital.  I don’t want to remember, but I can’t stop.


14 Responses to “Crazy=/=Violent”

  1. Bourbon Says:

    Because you them assuming crazy = violent you were locked up and perhaps felt they had thrown away the key… you were abandoned and assaulted. I think your point is quite clear. If it wasn’t for their narrow mindedness you wouldn’t have been put in that traumatising position; which you now have to deal with for the rest of your life. “They” let you down. And the world is continuing to let itself down. I’m sorry x

    • weordmyndum Says:

      I’m just so angry that no one saved me. There were so many times someone could’ve saved me, so many people who could’ve saved me. But not only did they not save me, they let me get hurt worse and told me they were helping me. It’s bullshit, it’s all bullshit. I want to burn down every mental hospital in the world.

      • Bourbon Says:

        I’m not surprised you are really angry. It sounds like you had your cries for help ignored over and over. You were put somewhere that is supposed to be safe only it wasn’t and it must have felt like no one cared that it wasn’t because they just left you there. It genuinely makes me angry too that this happened to you.

  2. lindakay1948 Says:

    Believe me, I KNOW what it’s like to have stigma after people perceive you as “mentally ill”. Neighbors wouldn’t talk to me anymore. Their children wouldn’t play with mine. Once, when I took my son and daughter to the park, I saw one of my neighbors get out of her truck and start down the path to the playground. When she saw me, she IMMEDIATELY grabbed her son’s hand, turned around, got back in her truck, and drove away. This, despite the fact that I had NEVER been violent, just delusional from lack of sleep.

    • weordmyndum Says:

      I can’t even hide mine and hope no one notices, unless I wear long sleeves and long pants all the time. People stare at me. They ask questions like the fact that my scars are visible makes it somehow their business. All my violence is directed at myself and no one else. Even in martial arts, where you’re supposed to hit people in a safe environment, I can hardly do it. I swore to myself that I would never be like my father–I would never hurt other people. But I still get treated as dangerous.

  3. It may be easy for parents to have their kids admitted, but I don’t think it’s as easy to have adults committed over here. I really feel for all the horror you have been through. Some parents and adults in the care of others really do have a lot to answer for!
    I didn’t suffer to the degree you did, but I have a little bit of an understanding if where you’re coming from. I at least was able to escape my parents house.
    Much love to you for being strong enough to write this so well

    • weordmyndum Says:

      I was 19 when my father had me committed–legally an adult. But when you’re in the psychiatric system, you’re never really an adult. They see you and treat you as an incompetent, unruly child. You’re not even really a person to them, so the trauma they inflict, whether by direct action or negligence, is okay in their minds. They take every bit of humanity away from you and then wonder why you don’t get better, why you don’t act like a person.

      I’m sorry. I’m not ranting at you. Just–ranting in general.

      • I’m sorry, didn’t mean to sound rude. I was just younger in my case. I know all about losing humanity. (dissociative uprising)
        Feeling that your parents hate you to that degree makes you feel like you are never worth anything. But I think you are, you are very brave and strong and I thank you for getting your voice heard.

  4. I was placed in a hospital when I was 14 and remained until I was 17. I have had numerous hosptalizations since then. In CT, they can lock you up invol if; 1)you are a danger to yourself, 2) you area danger to others, and (this is the kicker to me) 3)your condition will continue to deteriate if you don’t get drugged up, um I meant reacieve “treatment”.
    Essenticially, if your ‘illness” makes society uncomfortable, they can have you locked up! It just bites.

    • weordmyndum Says:

      I have a very similar story to yours. It’s stunningly easy to involuntarily commit people.

      • I would love to hear yours if you want to share. I think quite a bit of my PTSD and um strange behavior comes from being locked up in a psyche hospital. Especially beimg in there with adults who were very symptomatic, brrr.
        I spent time at Austin State Hospital, on the children’s unit and adult. It boggles my mind now to think there was even a children’s unit

      • weordmyndum Says:

        I’ve been hospitalized 20+ times. Most of those were technically voluntary, though I take issue to that term–it can’t be voluntary when you’re dragged in by the cops or an ambulance, restrained, and told you’ll be court committed if you don’t cooperate. Most of those hospitalizations happened when I was between 15 and 19, but there were several after that as well.

        The worst was when I was 19 and my father had me involuntarily committed to a state hospital in Iowa. For the hearing I was appointed a lawyer, but I met him for the first time 15 minutes before my hearing. I wasn’t allowed to wear my own clothes, just hospital pajamas. The entire hearing consisted of the judge swearing in the psychiatrist (who’d only met with me for ten minutes) and asking him, “Is this person seriously mentally I’ll and in need of treatment?” The doc said yes, the judge signed the papers, and I was handcuffed and shoved into a cop car that took me to the state hospital.

        While I was there, I got no treatment beyond medication. They sought an additional court order to force me to have ECT against my will, even though my neurosurgeon said it could very well kill me.

        One night while I was sleeping, another patient grabbed me by the throat and hit me in the face over and over. I was given no medical treatment–I was told to wash the blood off my face and to “forget about it move on because she didn’t know what she was doing.” Later I found out she broke my nose. So when one of my roommates started sexually assaulting me, I didn’t even bother telling staff because I knew nobody would care.

        I still have nightmares.

      • betweenseconds Says:

        I have not forgotten this. Thank you for trusting enough to share it with me. I am trying to send a reply that is not full of piss and vinegar about your assshat father. See. I am going to send another as soon, tomorrow, as I get it together. Peace

      • weordmyndum Says:

        I’m pretty full of piss and vinegar myself, a lot of the time. So no worries.

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