Welcome to essay2: my opinion of psychiatric assessment practices
I was originally diagnosed as an acute paranoid schizophrenic in 1989. Since then, I have been taken to hospital approximately 16 times since then. I have been on many medications, and as of this now, the cocktail mixture I'm on is working well for my mind. (june08.02)
So in my opinion, I consider myself a bit of a veteran with this disorder, and have formed some opinions about the whole mental health scenario where I live.
It is common to be sitting in a smoking room in this one hospital which I have been the most to, where people complain that they did nothing to deserve the kind of 'confinement/detention' treatment they were receiving. And I felt the same way.
Here is an example of what happened to my once, and I am still furious about it:
A couple of years ago, I was sitting outside this mini-mall, in front of a movie sign late on a beautiful friday night. I was also sitting right next to this outdoor patio that a lot of people went to because of the bottomless cup you can get there, and others who live in that neighborhood meet there regularly. And I met my friends there too, until later on...
I remember sitting there, pan-handling a little, but not really caring, laughing maniacally because I was in a good mood..beautiful night, right by the pacific ocean at a place called english bay here in vancouver...
And I'm just sitting there, watching the people go by...
And the next thing I know, an ambulance whips up, parks half on the sidewalk. Right behind it is a police car. Instinctively it seemed, I ran into the coffee shop and tried to buy a coffee before the paramedics and cop got me. But when I went up to the counter, all the servers were busy, so I dropped a two dollar coin on the counter, turned around, and I looked at the cop as he entered the coffee shop. I said " I don't suppose there's any way out of this," and he just shook his head no, so I screamed out, " I Need Witnesses, I didn't do Anything!! "
And so they took me handcuffed into the ambulance, and off to the hospital. Where I was quickly deposited into what they call 'PAU' ward which stands for Psychiatric Assessment Unit.
And in there, they put you into a plastic room with a fiberglass bed molded out of the wall, a camera in the upper corner of the room (they can see you pee in there), and a six inch steel door with a tiny little window which they can velcro closed from the outside if they want...
And usually the routine is first, take off all your clothes and jewelry and every single thing gets put into a bag, and there are usually 4-6 people there staring at you while all this is going on...
Then they draw blood from you,
Then they hold you down and inject you in the behind,
Then you lose days in that unit,
Then after 5 days or so depending, they send you to a part 2 locked down psych. unit,
And from there you go to a longer term 3rd psych. unit,
And when I arrived at the 3rd level psych unit, the doctor asked me: " do you know why you're in here?" And I was so glad he asked me because I was running around furious but forgot why,
And he said "it was reported that you were throwing buns and things around inside that coffee shop." And I just about had a head explosion.
The fact is, I hadn't been inside that coffee shop at all, until the ambulance and cops pulled up at the curb. I told the doctor that, but they are speculation specialists, and I don't think he believed me, because, of course, as you must know by now, if a schizophrenic person tells you something which may be a little in doubt, why just simply don't believe them because they're disordered....
Damned stigma... even the doctors use stereotype models to work with patients. We're not a bloody assembly line, we are individuals for God sake.
(end first entry)