Powerful essay about by being in the psych ward at age 14


Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/10/26/powerful-essay-about-by-being.html


When I was a teenager I spent a cumulative total of two-years in a psychiatric ward. This was over 25 years ago. I also remember the camaraderie among the other inmates, but it could also get intense at times too.

I was very fortunate to be cis, white and middle class. Without a doubt, these were the three greatest protective factors. I don’t think I would have made it if I had of been dealing with poverty or racism and discrimination or lack of access to resources on top of it. I got to be in a private hospital -in Australia, private psychiatric care is miles ahead of the public system. I spent a lot of time in the hospital over the years, and I found that the most therapeutic part of the entire process was the relationships I formed with the nurses. They acted as a proxy family and parental unit, which I sorely needed at that time.

Despite this, we once had another patient who experienced what I now think might have been gender dysphoria. This person was under strict instructions not to do anything that feminised their appearance. I was not aware of these rules. They asked me to put mascara and some other make-up on them, and I did (why wouldn’t I?) This person was then expelled from the hospital for this, and that still haunts me to this day and I hope they are doing well and got the care they deserved.


That was a sobering read. And a reminder of the still poor state of mental health services in the US for the 99%, and the sometimes poor oversight of some health service professionals.

Thank you to the author for sharing your experience.


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