Author Topic: Texas Psychiatric Abuses  (Read 3701 times)

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Offline Anonymous

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Re: Texas Psychiatric Abuses
« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2009, 12:21:12 PM »
I was on the adolescent girls unit at Timberlawn for 2 years in the late 70's. Been thinking some lately about how I gloss over my past when people talk about attending high school reunions and such--I never talk about it. Anyway, googling Timberlawn survivor led me here.
I was put into Timberlawn for having severe social anxiety disorder which led me to a "school phobia". I was an innocent and naive honor student when I went in, but after 2 years in that place I came out a jaded wild thing who couldn't wait to quit school and try drugs, sex and rock-n-roll (which I did). Even as teens we patients knew full well that for most of us, we would never be pronounced "cured" until our parent's insurance money ran out. I was never put in full restraints (although I saw it happen to many others), but several times I was on "split risk" which meant I had to travel around the campus in a wheelchair with a waist restraint (I ran away 4 times until I was finally discharged AMA), and I also often experienced "chair", "chair in the hall", "chair in the room", and "talking restriction" from specific fellow patients or from everyone. Back in the 70's they didn't use the friendlier term "room therapy" or "chair therapy" it was clearly called a "restriction".
Oh the memories. I spent my late teens and 20's very bitter, my 30's trying to move on, and now in my mid-40's I've finally reached a sort of uneasy peace with this part of my life. I have to go now but have another story about what happened 10 years ago when I tried to go up there and look over my medical records (I wanted to read my "nurses notes"--a journal type thing we were forced to keep). If anyone's interested I'll share that later. Talk about adding insult to injury.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

Offline Inculcated

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Re: Texas Psychiatric Abuses
« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2009, 04:10:25 AM »
(I hadn’t “cared to share” anything about Willow Creek before.That's the thing about these places being used as drop off baby sitting services for teens, the damage sure as hell does accrue. It recently became relevant to discussion in another thread. So I’ll just paste it here and consider it catharsis.)

From DAYTOP Did Me Great Harm in the Long Run- a post by Inculcated »
You’re damn right Daytop was intrinsically and insidiously harmful. There’s the rub. No pun intended.
I was not f*ing around when I wrote that Daytop was but one of my abused in treatment experiences. Daytop messed me up particularly badly because their punitive love was being inculcated within a thirteen year old girl. They had no business “treating me”,nor anyone else with such tactics.Not like that.
I found my voice in encounter groups it’s true, but those words I parroted were symptoms of what they were doing to all of us.
As for the tendency of some to compare programs it’s pointlessly divisive. I also suspect it’s more of their programming that needs purging.

Here’s the narrative comparison that I base my point on.Later in my teens, while at a Psych unit (non- affiliated with Daytop) I got in to a petty debate with a counselor. We had been discussing REN and Stimpy. He did not believe me when I informed him that “Yes, discombobulated is a real word.” Eventually he returned to the day room and conceded that “Yes, it is a real word”.
He then stopped with the fun banter and began baiting me. I knew something was up and understood the situation I was in enough to try to avoid being drawn in.
Minutes later as I had to walk past him to head to my room he swept my legs, dropped me to the floor, pinned my forearms with his knees and proceeded to allow a line of what he later laughed off as “frog spit” to emerge then slurp…you get the idea. When he got the hell off of me, I was supposed to be grateful he hadn’t actually spit on me. He tried to laugh it off and told me he had done this because I was “uptight and looked like I could use a good laugh.”

At this same place I was at one point restrained to a “papoose board”. Later,following another staffer's surprise that my being forced to wear a blindfold for a couple of hours (until I was crumpled on the floor "screaming/crying please get it off of me")…didn’t go well. I was given valium to control my outburst and sent to bed in the middle of the day. Never mind that I had fully regressed and had a breakdown from the “Learn to trust and ask for help” exercise that (untrained glorified orderly) of a counselor had administered.
 He did this because he’d read in my chart from a previous inpatient stay at a crisis centre that I had refused the trust portion of the ropes course. I had done the web/bell thingy and all of the other stuff very well. None of that mattered, I was going to learn to trust one way or another, they were determined.Even though I won't down play how messed up those moments were, I was at least able to recognize the lunacy.

 I was able to recognize these things as abusive and feel outrage. I did not own these cruelties as if I deserved them. I was lucky for not having to absorb those particular harms within me.
Daytop calling me TOXIC and silencing me, that stayed with me. The reverberations of that and all they exacerbated with their punitive love play out to this day.Daytop did me great harm in the long run.Here is my truncated version of their philosophy “There is no refuge.” End of philosophy.

From Willow Creek,I remember Debbie fondly. R.I.P.
Accreditation indicator (Indicates the organization that is responsible for the accreditation of the provider): JCAHO --What the hell are they about?
http://www.hospital-data.com/hospitals/ ... NGTON.html
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
“A person needs a little madness, or else they never dare cut the rope and be free”  Nikos Kazantzakis

Offline Inculcated

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Re: Texas Psychiatric Abuses
« Reply #17 on: July 09, 2009, 10:18:40 PM »
Quote from: "TimberTeen"
I've finally reached a sort of uneasy peace with this part of my life. I have to go now but have another story about what happened 10 years ago when I tried to go up there and look over my medical records (I wanted to read my "nurses notes"--a journal type thing we were forced to keep). If anyone's interested I'll share that later. Talk about adding insult to injury.
I’m glad you found some sort of peace surviving your experience. What happened when you went for the records?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
“A person needs a little madness, or else they never dare cut the rope and be free”  Nikos Kazantzakis

Offline Inculcated

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Re: Texas Psychiatric Abuses
« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2009, 02:55:47 AM »
Quote from: "iamartsy"
Well I know I am not the only one who witnessed abuse in a psychiatric hospital. I have long felt like the only one on fornits. Awhile back I posted a newsgroup piece by a fellow inmate from the renowned Dallas psychiatric hospital where we both resided. I keep looking for other people who survived the psychiatric hospital abuses that I witnessed in the 1980s and 1990s. If you have witnessed them please post.
No, you are not alone.

Quote from: "iamartsy"
What I saw I would not wish on anyone. I saw people left in leather 5 point restraints for weeks at a time. Once they were let out, they had lost the muscle tone to walk. Their bathroom had been a bedpan for all those weeks. There was also a form of isolation they called "room therapy". You stared at a wall in your room for 16 hours a day, with bathroom breaks every 2 hours, and dinner in your room staring at the wall. Room therapy would go on for about 9 months at a time or more.
Willow Creek’s version of room therapy happened on another unit. In order to transport a patient from our cottages"(pretty cutesy name for what were also lock down units) we were strapped to a papoose board. This is similar to a backboard that first responders use to stabilize accident victims. I remember the sensation of being lifted and terror, but not the initiation of that restraint, nor the precipitating event. Mostly we were returned to our adolescent units within a day or two.

One time I returned from class to find my roommate was in 4  point restraints on her bed. I don’t know why they did that instead of hauling her up to the “Main Unit”. Our other roommate and I were told we’d have to sleep in the dayroom that night.

On site within each of our two "cottages"(Why do so many of them like that term? At one Daytop location we were in the "girl's cottage"), we had the quiet room. I actually liked being locked in there.Seriously.With the exception of the closed circuit T.V. to the nurse’s station, it was the only place to get away to. Sometimes, I actually still dream occaisionally of the quiet room experience and they are peaceful dreams. I have no recollection of what events arbitrary or not that earned me my time in the room.


Quote from: "iamartsy"
Obviously, I lived in a state of fear. What would the next flashlight beam in my eyes mean? Would I get room therapy due to my insomnia? The reason for these, "therapeutic dealings" were never rational. Say you went home on a visit and saw an old friend and came back to group and the told the group.
The state of fear is the common theme of these petty tyrants and nurse Ratchets that get heady with the power of their positions in the topsy turvey microcosm they come to rule.

Quote from: "iamartsy"
Suddenly you would get "chair therapy" for not asking to speak to friend on the outside as a privilege.
Daytop employed the chair bit without bothering to add therapy to the end of that. It was literally called getting put on chair or simply getting the chair.

Quote from: "iamartsy"
With the help of Che, I found some good articles about the abuses of that time:
http://www.psychcrime.org/ (mother of all psych crimes database)
http://www.psychcrime.org/articles/Univ ... ients.html
http://www.questia.com/googleScholar.qs ... 5001400578
(interesting article from the preview) can't get the rest.

Quote from: "iamartsy"
The infamous JCAHO question http://www.uow.edu.au/arts/sts/bmartin/ ... ation.html
Thank you for this one. I had wondered who these people were in my post without realizing the answer was here at the beginning of this thread. I have a vague memory of some visit by some outside agency, while I was at Willow Creek. The staffers were all in a flurry of anticipatory activity and anxiety and prepared for it. I wonder if that had anything to do with JCAHO.

Quote from: "iamartsy"
Here is the best book I have found about the abuses of the 1980s and early 1990s: http://www.amazon.com/Bedlam-Profiteeri ... 397&sr=1-6
I'll check it out. For the most part the worst of my experience at WC is detailed two posts back.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
“A person needs a little madness, or else they never dare cut the rope and be free”  Nikos Kazantzakis

Offline iamartsy

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Re: Texas Psychiatric Abuses
« Reply #19 on: August 07, 2009, 05:22:01 PM »
I had no idea so many of you had replied to my thread. Thank you! There are those of us out there still trying to recover! Thanks again. IAmArtsy
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

Offline iamartsy

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Re: Texas Psychiatric Abuses
« Reply #20 on: August 10, 2009, 02:43:27 AM »
TimberTeen,
That is what I am talking about. I went in when I was 21 and turned 22 there. I was rarely allowed visits with my parents or family. I was also not allowed near my own money. I did call there recently to obtain my nurse's notes and was told they had been destroyed by now. Is that true?

I really do want them. I know they thought the turned me from gay to straight (ha ha). I also know my prognosis was not good. I remain traumatized. I was discharged almost 23 years ago exactly. I still have not forgiven my parents or the the staff there. My parent's essentially forced me into T-lawn. My family still has the family picture that we took from when we had our family day hanging in their house. It makes me ill to look at it. I am in this sweater and a skirt. I was also sick as a dog when they came up to Dallas. The hospital had been refusing to give me antibiotics for respiratory infection I had gotten on a camping trip in wet cold weather. I was running over 100 degrees of fever up until the day before they came up. The hospital staff was trying to teach me "mind over matter". Unfortunately, my lungs were not cooperating with that care plan!

I do consider myself lucky that avoided restraints and room therapy. I was mortified of both. I did sign a 3 day letter one time, and they put me back on suicide watch even though I was not suicidal. My mom happened to call up there and found out what was going on. She was able to get them to let me into that center courtyard thing to walk around. She told them if they really wanted to drive me batshit then to keep me indoors. If you ever wan to meet a severely claustrophobic person it is me.

Thanks to others that have shared their stories here. If you know how I can obtain my records please let me know. My therapist in NYC had them but I think she dumped them in the Hudson after I left. That was our agreement anyway. No joke, I gave her permission. She said that there was nothing there I wanted to read and that it would only upset me further. Now I do want to know what the Nurse's notes said. I do know that much of the staff was very illiterate, so I can only imagine.

Sorry for the lengthy post. This is the first time I am telling my own story here, I think. It has been awhile and I don't remember my other posts.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

Offline Anonymous

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Re: Texas Psychiatric Abuses
« Reply #21 on: August 23, 2009, 11:04:44 AM »
iamArtsy,
Sometime around the year 2000 I decided I wanted to view my records from Timberlawn in an effort to find closure, put it behind me (this was 20+ years after discharge). On the Adolescent Unit, we were forced to keep a journal of sorts. They were held in a manila folder that was kept in the Nurses Station. The form we had to write on was lined and had a title at the top called "Nurses Notes". We were allowed to draw on/decorate the manila folder--one kind of pathetic thing I remember was that most every folder had little "john + mary =love4ever" stuff like teenagers write on things. After all we were teens locked up for years at the height of hormonal rage so there were always little romances going on with the boys on the other side of the unit...also some gay romances as well, of course. Since physical contact was extremely limited...it was very frustrating. Anyway...I digress. So each evening we had to get our Nurses Notes folder from the nurses station and write something about our day. We could write anything we wanted (such as "Timberlawn Sucks!"), but the nurses, aides, Docs all looked them over so we eventually learned not to write anything that could be used against us. If we did NOT write in our Nurses Notes we got punished with some time on chair (maybe an hour or so).
20 plus years later the grownup me wanted to read these to connect with the teen me of then--know what I mean?
I made several calls to Timberlawn and was told this was possible, but I needed to hurry as they would soon be destroying the records from my era. I had to make an appointment for a certain day, bring my ID. My car was old and high-mileage, so I spent $75.00 to rent a car and hightailed it to Dallas (I live elsewhere in Texas now). I was so excited and creeped out at the same time! I got there, went into the Whitehouse (shudder), showed my ID, and was taken to some big officey/warehousey kind of room. I was seated at a table, the office worker came toward me with a pile of records, set it in front of me, and IT WASN'T MINE! The first name started with the same letter, the last name was the same, but these were records for an older woman who was there at a different time than I was. I pointed this out & demanded MY records. There were phone calls made, hushed conversations held across the room with sidelong glances at me. Eventually I was told that MY records had been destroyed THE DAY BEFORE! I felt so screwed over and wounded by Timberlawn...again! After I got home I called up there and demanded I at least be re-imbursed for the car rental. After several calls were never returned I wrote a lengthy letter to the Doctor in Charge/Medical director whatever. I eventually recieved a check for $75.00 along with a terse note from this Doc that said "while I do not feel Timberlawn can be held responsible for your lack of adequate transportation"...blah blah. What a jerk!
So, Artsy, don't bother trying. :-(
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »