Monday, December 5, 2011
Acidrain85 at various places
I have spent eleven years of my life institutionalized. From age of twelve to twenty-three I spent only six months in my own bed.
I had a rough childhood. I was adopted at a young age. In addition to this, in the home of my adoptive family, while between the ages of six to eight years old my sister molested me. I started using drugs at a young age to cope and became addicted. At ten years old my sister set me up with males to perform sexual acts on in exchange for money or drugs. My life was headed in a poor direction. I began hanging around gang members and running away. Eventually, the State became involved, and threatened to remove me from my adoptive family if I didn’t receive help.
The first program I went to was an outdoor program called E-NINI-HASSEE. I was so unhappy I began cutting myself. It got to the point to where I did so constantly, so I was sent to the Hospital. My parents were not told about the situation until I was admitted. Because of the lack of communication, my parents withdrew me from their program and took me home, where I remained for six months. That was the only six months I spent in my own bed until the age of twenty-three.
During those six months I continued my previous behavior and continued to get worse. I began spray painting bridges and dating older men. I did so because I felt as though my family didn’t have enough time for me. At the age of fourteen I began dating a twenty-eight year old gang member. He ended up dying violently by being shot and died in my arms. Him dying was a trigger for me, as he had been a source of emotional support for me. I began cutting myself more often. My parents noticed this and put me in the hospital.
From there my father transported me to a different program in Utah called Cross Creek for three months. In those three months, I spent a majority of my time in isolation. I was restrained painfully countless times for outbursts, and sometimes for less severe infractions. Isolation is where I spent Thanksgiving and Christmas.
While there, without prior knowledge on my part, two people came to me at two o’clock in the morning to escort me as a transfer to their sister facility High Impact in Mexico. Their program there was shocking. Everything was fenced in. They had dog cages to keep the residents in whom misbehaved.
The program was based around walking laps on a dirt track, and a wide array of rules and regulations. It was meant to institute a rapid amount of change. The critera to leave their program was simple; or so I thought. We were required to listen to 60 Alcohol Anonymous tapes and correctly answer questions on the corresponding ‘worksheets.’ Then, we had to complete two-thousand laps around the dirt track. Laps were tracked like points. If you misbehaved, you would be punished by having additional laps to do. The children were treated differently based on whether or not they were sent to their program from home, or another facility. The children who had transferred from other facilities were punished more severely.
Transfer children needed just one rule infraction to have an additional eighty laps. The other children could acquire up to five rule infractions before they were imposed additional laps. The reasoning in this was that transfer children were considered more obstinate.
The majority of my time in their Mexico facility was spent in the cages, laying on my stomach with my arms spread as though I were on a cross. I was not allowed to move from that position. I was kept in that manner for hours, and sometimes the whole day. Had I moved, I would of been subjected to physical restraint. The staff would jam their knees into my back, neck or arms, and would grind my chin into the dirt.
The staff there treated the children there brutally. We were forced into exhausting amounts of exercise. One night I asked for my sleeping bag because it was taken away from me on a very cold night. The over night shift called the manager of the facility. He grabbed me, threw me down, put my head in the toilet, flushed, then pushed me in the shower. He said I had to sleep in wet clothes without a sleeping bag.
On my sixteenth birthday he raped me for the first time. When he was done he said ‘Happy Sweet Sixteen’ and had a staff member escort me off. I was then shoved into a shower with my clothes on. I was raped a total of five times by him. Every morning I woke up there I wondered if I would still be alive long enough to go to sleep that night. I feared it would never end. I was in that program four months. The average stay legnth was two months. However, I was forced to do their high impact program twice.
After my stay I was met at the airport by my father and we flew to another program in Oregon called Crater Lake School, run through a different organization. I was nervous about the change. I was unfamilar with the rules, and because of the previous harsh punishment I experienced in the other programs, I was afraid of making a mistake. I didn’t want to be treated brutally. Once I got acclimated to the facility, I learned it treated its children in a way that was more humane. I didn’t fear being abused and tortured there, and because of that I began to rebel. I became defiant, ran away several times, and began cutting myself again.
One of their counselors became concerned, and asked if I would willingly go to the hospital. I agreed. While in the hospital, my behavior was considered hyper. Because of this, I was tied down to a bed with restraints. Once, I was restrained for sixteen hours, without being able to go to the bathroom. After leaving there, I went back to the referring facility. I became so upset about my trauma, that I began cutting myself again within twenty-four hours.
Because I began cutting myself again, I was sent back to the hospital for two weeks. From there, I was transferred to a different program in Texas called Meridel Achievement Center. I half-heartedly faked my way up the ranks until I was on their highest level. However, I eventually was put back down to their lowest level. It triggered me into cutting myself again. Their staff responded by putting me into isolation and tying me down to the bed in effort of keeping me from harming myself.
My father removed me from that program and we flew together to Tennessee, to bring me to a different facility called Peninsula Village. The beginning of my stay there was similar to a hospital setting. That was considered their programs first stage. However, my behavior led them to strap me down to a rolling bed. They put a mesh body suit on me and injected me with thorozine. I was so out of it I was drooling on myself. In this state, they rolled me out into the main room with the other children. It was humiliating.
Eventually I settled down a bit. After successfully making it past the first stage I went into what was considered an outdoor stage. I slept in a cabin. However, the staff was poorly trained. There were several incidents were I was restrained. Once, I was restrained on chicken wire. I was cut badly by the incident and did not receive medical attention. In another incident I hit my head and suffered a concussion. I didn’t receive medical care for that as well. I was simply taken aside to be watched by staff to make sure I didn’t pass out. For my last two months there I was put into isolation. I wasn’t allowed to talk to anyone, or join groups. I was merely supposed to sit on my bed and mind my own business. While I was there, I overheard the doctor speak with my father over the phone. The doctor said to my father ‘if he didn’t want his daughter back they could figure something out.’ After that conversation I was quickly pulled from that program.
When I left I was transferred to another facility in Utah called Pine Ridge Academy. It was a decent facility. But I was still rebellious. I went back and forth to different parts of their program. I went from house to house and was in and out of the hospital for cutting myself, and being physically aggressive with staff during restraint. I remained there until I was eighteen.
After turning eighteen, I was no longer allowed to stay in the group of programs I had been residing in, because they were for children. My parents sent me to a program in Florida that took adults. I enjoyed my stay there. We were treated well. However, I continued to cut myself during my stay and bulimia became a big issue. These issues were more than their program were able to manage, so I was sent to a different program in New York called SLS Health.
I stayed in the program in New York for four and a quarter years. I was heavily medicated there. During my stay I had my phone calls restricted, as well as my ability to send and receive mail. We also were not allowed to leave. The Office of Mental Health did an inspection of the facility and discovered several of our rights were being violated. They were fined and eventually shut down.
Because of the medication I was on while I was there, I had to go to a detox facility after I left. After the detox facility I was sent to a different program. They did extensive group therapy sessions everyday, and based their program around Alcohol and Chemical Dependency Treatment.
After graduating their program I went to a halfway house called Healing Properties. It was a good program that treated the residents well. Despite this, my cutting and eating disorders continued to be a problem, and I became hospitalized. Despite their program being fair, I found a way to mess up, and I did. I was discharged from their program for failing to take my prescribed medications.
Because I was discharged from their program, I was placed in a different halfway house called Harmony House. I did well there for a decent amount of time. Well enough to gain more privileges and a later curfew. However, other residents were also unstable. It became a threatening situation for me due to one particular resident, so my parents placed me in a different halfway house called The Swinton House. I did well there and my family had me return home with them. By the time I returned home I was twenty-three years old. I stayed with them briefly, before being put into a group home by my family. Two months later that particular group home was shut down for financial reasons.
I began looking for a place of my own to rent after that. I went through section 8 to subsidize my housing based off my income. I shared an apartment with a roommate for a year and a half. I eventually moved out because the living situation became too stressful, as my roommate was emotionally unstable. I wound up putting myself in the hospital because the stress triggered traumatic event memories from my stay at the program in Mexico, where I was abused physically and sexually.
I now live in a home with a beautiful garden that I share with a friend of mine. It makes things a little easier being in a calmer setting. Right now, I am still managing issues I have from post-traumatic stress disorder. I have nightmares and flashbacks on a daily basis. It is a struggle. Despite this, I am trying to work through my past and am attempting to discover meaning in life.
My Eleven Years in Residential Treatment Centers, the original statement on the Fornits Home for Wayward Web Fora