Sunny and Penguin, yay!
Hell, great thing you didn't end up in the psych "hospital" system for good...
Well that's what is so horrifying about being section-12-ed/involuntarily-committed. If you are arrested for robbery, rape, murder, etc...you will be able to hire (unless you can only afford a free public defender, and even some of those are good) a more or less competent lawyer to represent your interests in a fair and speedy trial and to uphold all those other wonderful constitutional rights we have. Well, not if you are involuntarily committed. Here in Massachusetts anyway, and I bet it's the same elsewhere, all that needs to happen for you to face perpetual confinement with virtually zero recourse, is a family member or two needs to report you as (magic words) "an imminent threat to oneself or others", and then very quickly (quicker than you think!) you will be visited by a couple of whitecoats with a couple of easygoing police officers tagging along, then you will be carted off in an ambulance to a locked mental ward, then you will be evaluated after three days to see if you really belong there. Now, personally, I can understand the practical necessity of that minimal constitutional violation. Yes, every so often a not-insane-enough person gets pink-slipped, and having to wait three days to prove one's sanity is a tiny little rape (if any rape can be tiny) of one's rights, but necessary if society has any interest in protecting the rest of us from the occasional truly violent lunatic roaming the streets. However, if for whatever reason, at the end of the three days...if you happen to be bamboozled, and a psychiatrist you saw once in the previous month lies (and I have actual physical proof, lol) for some reason to the head shrink of the team evaluating you, in order to make your indisputable unadulterated non-craziness (by that point my sanity was rapidly
back to 100%, a crisis that depends on you to be completely rational can sober you the fuck up from the booze of manic energy, and FAST, lol) seem like the ploy of a clever madman...well then the head doctor, who might remind you of Chairman Mao, can refuse to let you go. And at that point you are then only half-owned by the system, because they still can't force any medication on you (like, say, hardcore lifelong anti-psychotics that have been known to induce undesired suicidal thoughts, when all you might have ever suffered from is a susceptibility to the occasional HYPO-manic or depressive episode). No, because you see, you will be entitled to a hearing in a week where you can demonstrate your sanity and convince a judge that you need to be set free immediately. Oh, but now, remember that in the meantime Doctor Mao will be fucking with your head to try to convince you to voluntarily commit yourself (because well, if you lose the hearing you could be facing a very daunting situation, more on that later), to voluntarily take the mind-destroying drugs he thinks you need (after only an hour of knowing me, the man must be a genius), and if that doesn't work he'll make sure to get under your (given the circumstances) very vulnerable skin by maybe having a nurse or two fuck up in a way that will test your patience (you who vehemently protests over the smallest injustice), and before the hearing he might even have the temperature in your room turned down to "WAY TOO FUCKING COLD" and you might wake up that day uncontrollably shivering, which, besides pissing you off royally, will make you look quite weird if you can't get a grip on yourself before the hearing starts. Your family might come to visit you that day, and you might give them the thousand mile stare, and say something as emotionlessly as possible to your mother like, "Just because I popped out of your vagina it doesn't make you my mother, not with the way you are treating me, which is worse than a total stranger", and that will make her cry, and her crying will cheer you up in a small way. Meanwhile your attorney, who seems to be some neurotic well-meaning chick fresh out of some law school like Northeastern or NESL or Suffolk (definitely not Harvard or BC or BU material), is proving herself to be as incompetent a free lawyer as you have ever seen. She has done exactly jack shit for you, except tell you in one of your brief pay phone calls how weird it is that Doctor Mao is fighting so hard to keep you in, despite you being saner than most of the staff. At the hearing, she is a total failure. [Okay, fuck the second person, lol] I fight the absolutely-justified-and-rational urge to fire her immediately and represent myself, because I fear that kind of move will only make things worse for me in the presence of the judge. So I sit there, and cringe, as my sister and mother tearfully tell their loaded-with-horseshit half-truths about the arguments that supposedly warranted my being pink-slipped, as I listen to them and stare unblinkingly in the general direction of their eyes, trying as hard as possible to telepathically communicate the thought "You stupid fucking cunt...you stupid fucking cunt". Then Doctor Mao and the bitchiest cratchetiest nurse spin their lies and totally baseless "professional" opinions of me, all the while paraphrasing whatever disease-paradigm manual they use when they need to know the appropriate way to misinterpret a patient's behavior. I am writing and passing over to my attorney next to me, as calmly as possible, little notes containing pointed questions for Doctor Mao -- some of which she asks him, and none of which he can satisfactorily answer. Two of the least answerable ones she doesn't ask, and I again fight down the urge to fire her on the spot. Mind you, at this point, this being my first Section 12 hearing, I still have a tiny bit of hope that the truth would win. That flicker of hope is extinguished when the judge makes her ruling, that I am to stay confined, under the management of Doctor Mao, under strict orders to take whatever medication he prescribes. For how long? For up to several months. When is the next hearing for me to plead my case and try to correct this misunderstanding and win my freedom back? A long while. And if the doctors here decide for whatever reason every 6 months or so when my hearing rolls around again, that I am still not "safe to release" or whatever, then: I could hypothetically, theoretically, but really actually face the possibility of being confined indefinitely with only this rinky-dink kangaroo court of a hearing every half a year to set things right, and those hearings would be just like this one, wherein the odds are so stacked against the patient and in favor of the doctors and accusers (they like it that way, I bet, for insurance reasons!), that the hearing might as well never happen, because re-commitment is a virtual inevitability? Is that what the situation was? And in not so many words, that last question was the only thing I said myself at the hearing, and it was the last thing anyone said at the hearing before the legally-mandated-to-be-there cassette recorder was hurriedly stopped. The crushing weight of having my liberty raped potentially for years, for a lifetime, with zero recourse, had finally sunk in. The next day in occupational therapy (which was a godsend, save the ceaseless condescension -- coloring pencils and aromatherapy helped save my life!) I remarked how it would have been hard for Mao or Stalin to come up with a neater non-lethal method of silencing/eliminating dissidents and destroying their credibility in most of polite and "normal" society, as a side bonus! Ellen the occupational therapist didn't like that remark much, but I think she just didn't like me saying it in front of the other less fortunate in-patients -- lol, "LESS FORTUNATE THAN ME", in that circumstance...am I for real? Yes. There were people there who'd recently tried to murder themselves, who were having electro-shock daily, who were mercilessly chastised and treated like sub-human garbage by the staff, who were plagued with the kind of schizophrenia that makes everything on TV seem like a personal message to you. I'm lucky. Very fucking lucky. But then, whenever they want to take me back, whenever they want to kidnap me and take me hostage and deprive me of my most basic constitutional rights...I know now how easy it can be for them to get away with it. And so, I eagerly await the day I testify under oath for the plaintiffs, in the case of Wrongfully Committed v. Insane Hypocrites, Inc.