Seclusion and Restraint

I went through something so horrible last Monday I cannot write about it in any comprehensible manner without winding up in tears and shaking.

I cannot not write about it either because it is a common issue for the community. One which I somehow thought would never again be even on the table for me. I was wrong.

After having a number of weeks which were even more difficult than before I went for help. Getting help at all has been a difficult chore as my status as too atypical for most approaches has meant more time has likely been spent with people writing reasons why I am failed over and over by systems meant to support.

I had been hanging on my a thread so slim, I will not sugar coat it. I feared I would kill myself and with no way of getting help had to take measures to prevent that. As I did at the start of all of this I had to make swimming out to sea impossible and I did.

I do not believe it should ever be so hard for anyone, of any kind to find themselves in that position. To find myself there again having tried so hard to get well was beyond upsetting.

I had been in contact off and on with the crisis team here. I had left countless messages at the clinic I am seen by to update them on how I am doing since not being able to phone during hours where someone might answer the phone is a problem.

I had my friend phone, when she came by the house last Monday. It had been my experience that messages tend to get passed on to my doctor, pretty well, only if people phone about me which makes it even worse.

Still I so badly wanted to survive that I suggested that.

I have to use the past tense there because what followed destroyed that tenacious part of me that has fought and fought through service inadequacies and outright abuse by service providers.

I had no real faith in the system left but I had retained a notion that my life is sacred. I had seen  that rebutted my entire life. As has  my basic humanity and my sharing “fundamental” human characteristics. I wish that was not part of the autistic experience but it has been for me and we can certainly see in the news that there is not much evidence that has changed as the murders of those who are autistic mount and the spin is nearly always such that it is us who are difficult. So difficult that too many times I have wanted to throw up when murder after murder is justified.

I am technically alive but right at this moment that feels like a technicality as I was brutalized in such a manner when already barely hanging on that I feel quite done with this horrible planet and those who prey on the disabled and ill for kicks and because they can.

So I apologize for inflicting what may be horrific haiku on you but only by sticking to any sort of strict structure could the words come out at all with me semi-intact.

That complaints are being filed and words written that they claim will protect me against this ever happening again is no comfort as signs that the words that have been written in the past are read are few and far between.

I was placed in seclusion in a ward that was already locked with the reason being given that the doctor was afraid I would leave. I had a serious injury which was the reason I needed to stay but I was not given the option of having that tended to in any other manner.  My own doctor was consulted and while having sent me for treatment with the understanding I was willing to have it there is no doubt he would have insisted if I was not willing that I was willing would be something he covered. So they called someone else to get the result they wanted.  It’s actually in my chart how unnecessary involuntary treatment is for me. Placed there the last time someone opted for that and caused great stress which I can never afford.

So much has been documented about every aspect of me in the last few years as my doctor tries to prevent one horrid thing after another from happening.

This was so completely unexpected though. In my worst nightmares I feared that part of emergency because the sheer over-capacity numbers and chaos have made it hard in previous times. It was for that reason no decision had been made earlier as I froze at the thought and shook and was stuck between the horror of not being helped and that and as sudden never works for me we went home to the void of no support and mounting anxiety over our inability to eat and so many frustrations happening at every turn.

As I cannot describe the situation where I felt that tenacious little finger grip on the planet slip. The anguish of knowing I would never be human enough to be safe on this planet.  I am in tears just setting it up so I bring you the semi-untraditional haiku version which mourns not just me and my realization but those who have paid the highest price for being too different for a planet that seems to crave cookie cutter people.

Earth is a planet

Filled with people  who crush hope

Shred lives with laughter


There is no remorse

Reconciliation impossible

Lives deemed less worthy


Life as a human

Has never worked for us

Always alien


That we are not monsters

Children and dogs attest to

Yet our lives stomped out



That is all I can say now.  I relive the horror, the pleading that given my replaced knees and severe arthritis it was all so dangerous. I will pay the price physically for this for a very long time. Emotionally I may not be able to recover.

To those who debate the damage seclusion and restraint does more academically and justify it I would say try it. Try it in a true way. Go into a system where you seem too different to treat humanely versus just entering a room where you know you are having an experience that will end.

That is after all the real problem. While I felt that tenacious anchor I had on the planet die in quite a noticeable way the primal fear that nothing would ever be safer again is perhaps not something that can be simulated.

They had no reason to do it. They rotated someone else in there once they had me trussed up like a sheep in restraints on a stretcher for asking for toothpaste too often.  I lay there and they joked about me. A nurse asked about my hitting my head while I was in there and replied to my honest answer that I was feeding her a story. Why ask?

“You look uncomfortable” (laughter from the security clowns in the background) and so it went.

The chilling part beyond feeling they had killed me which is an ongoing issue (I know I am alive but something fundamental to wanting to be did finally permanently depart.  I have my doubts it will be back) was when deciding who to put into the room next (which is not how it is meant to function) they ruled out someone who had a long history of violence and was not settling either.  While I admit the patient they put in there next was uncooperative this is the reality of people in residential settings. Minor things have major and damaging consequences.

Nothing about me justifies it.  No one is even trying to at this point but that does not mean any major accountability for what may kill me will occur. Or the additional physical trauma.  Heels have been dragged on having that properly assessed even. Although they added more pain meds today seeing that the increased pain does remind me of the incident and thus I am re-traumatized over and over again.

The person who had come with me and knows me and is a police officer who tried to reason with them every step of the way.  He had stayed because he felt the treatment outcome a previous time where he had re-directed a doctor to the part of my chart about communication had been much better than without him.  He had to justify staying as he is much in demand for situations where people might fight help. So my being willing made it a hard case to make but he could point to a January situation where his presence and indeed going to hospital were unnecessary but without him there I would have wound up in that same ward for less reason.

His having been nice about it made it tolerable as otherwise one could seethe the whole 9 hour wait about the stress of having been dragged from your home and lied to by the person who made the decision. The kind of person who can justify lying as protocol as if all people are the same which was the attitude that pretty much doomed support by that group from the beginning.

He did his best. I do not fault him. I had joked earlier when I could hear him making his case and it was not yet clear he was not winning hearts and minds that he was my “knight in bald armor”.

He tried even as step after step of the nightmare enfolded to minimize it but I am glad he left before he could see the full brutality of it all. He is on a commission to make changes. Changes which right now seem like they will come to late for me.

I felt I should post about it though.  There is nothing pretty or useful about it other than my being able to somewhat articulate a horror that has killed and does permanent emotional damage to people too often. I wish I knew if  my being alive is a technicality or not right now but such is the harm done that finally I feel no urgency about resolving my eating issues, or my other medical ones that go untended in the community.   I finally hit the point where saying I don’t care became true. I do care that barbaric methods used in health care environments stop.

Torture is never justified. No one is pretending this was.  They will all keep their jobs though and who knows how many people have had the same happen since. What I know is several doctors will have to treat the physical consequences now and I cannot believe I will ever care if I walk the earth or not.

That may pass but it seems so unlikely as to walk this planet as autistic is to invite brutality in the extreme. From the banal comments that make  you seem less than human to the total brutal treatment by multiple people with both power and control I am not sure why anyone does.

It had become habit to fight for help and health.   I would not be killed as easily as too many people I knew and loved or simply new as people of the tribe of the atypical brain.

Being murdered is of course more permanent.  The anguish when something in you dies is a pain I hope most people are spared.


13 thoughts on “Seclusion and Restraint

  1. Just now of course someone came in to explain why it happened. So much for no one trying to justify it. Her timeline is wrong which is not surprising given my doctor commented the notes on the reasoning were terse.

    She thought I was researching it. Having lived it I will never be able to read about it without it being traumatic so I will never research it. I have signed petitions, read reports and so on but I was reduced to tears in record time by her efforts to explain the reasoning. I do hate this planet. Pity my home one never came from me (I know I am human I just wish the origin story that got me through my childhood was true at times like this. )

  2. I’m glad you are alive…
    Sending you my best wishes! You are such a prolific writer – you should be doing the NaNoWriMo challenge… can be very therapeutic – like you do – to write it all out…


    Take care!

    Audrey Gran Weinberg, MBA
    Lecturer and Coach IBS
    Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences
    Room 3.039
    Available: Tues, Wed, Thurs

    • The only way I could write anything about it without causing bad flashbacks was to stick it in an extended haiku and then of course you have to set it up.

      There was a time I wanted to a novelist but now is not the November to try to write that much. I write in a journal both of the old fashioned kind and on my computer, I blog, and sometimes I talk to my tablet and then summarize it since it is easier to speak about things I have said even if “only” to a machine.

  3. Yes.

    I had never doubted any movement to end it on that basis but experiencing a situation so out of control that would play out brutally for me while some people actually laughed has caused a grievous and new pain.

    I know it is being followed up on officially in a few arenas but the odds are high the people who do this will suffer not harm at all. They will not be sent for mandatory retraining, they will not have to apologize and so on. They have been using it on that unit outside the guidelines by a very long margin and people are aware of which nurses had to be on for this to seem more likely to happen and that is one of the big ethical issues. That they know that bad things happen there and look away. Or most do. That by the time anything changes more people will have been permanently scarred by this kind of thing.

    it is heinous.

  4. I wish there was a way you could find another place for treatment. This place does not seem up to par at all. I encourage you to reach out for assistance, you must have PTSD or some trauma. Getting treatment from a psychologist specializing in PTSD and a therapist who helps with CBT has helped a great deal with triggers and reactions to triggers for myself. I know what it is like to be treated as if you were not human. I am truly sorry.

  5. Gareeth, I am sorry that you experienced such pain and such humiliation. I agree with threekidsandi that you need to seek assistance from specialists in PTSD treatment. As a person on the “border” of Asperger’s who has been diagnosed with PTSD, I found that Psychotherapy was a God-send. Being able to talk over past traumas allowed me to heal to such an extent that I am able to empathize more and offer support. It has, also, opened up my mind to believing that there really is a God and He is loving. Knowing this has allowed me to forgive those that have traumatized me from infancy and live a VERY happy life of contentment. Let me encourage you in this:
    “For GOD so loved the world that He gave His only Son, Jesus, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16

  6. I will be meeting with a social worker next week. While part of that was intended to address the physical needs that will arise from the physical strain on my joints I said when the notion that she would aid in getting funding from social services for that (they are notoriously slow) that my expectation that was that since the hospital caused this they would pay for whatever was needed.

    I plan to press for that including any extra therapy needed as a result of this. I am not at all wild about having come to hospital for help with two issues that were serious enough in their own right and to have spent nearly all the time since then dealing with the physical and emotional trauma caused by this event and if there is a way to make them accountable I will. I still find it unbelievable and equally unbelievable to me by the people who do not deny horrible abuses are taking part that change is a process and takes time.

    Call it autism speaking if you have to, but if so it is the part of autism that NTs should emulate but when lives are at risk ending abuse should not be a process but something that ends. Period. People have known there were problems with that unit for years and admit they are growing worse even and I get a bit choked my notions that my own issues keep being set on the back burner to deal with hospital caused ones and now the expectation is I grow strong enough to make a human rights complaint not that I deal with the increasingly severe eating issues I have been having that had become a real threat to my health.

    I believe in G-d. See other posts in my blog sistahsilva. I am Jewish however and that is not going to change.

  7. The way the system treats defensless people is horrible often, made that much worse by the fact that those are the people who are supposed to help and protect you. I went to a free hospital once, where you dont pay. people who cant pay are vulnerable to abuse because they cant go anywhere else. the receptionist yelled at people and barked at them like she was a rabid dog. a nurse hollered at a man moaning with pain in a wheelchair, and she just wont stop.
    sometimes abused children are taken to juvenile hall instead of the police finding them a foster home. they stay there a while, although there is a list of people who’ve already been approved to be foster parents. junevile hall is a prison where young criminals are locked up, and innocent children who are victims of abuse are imprisoned with criminals, caged in a tiny cell, although a foster home is just a phone call away.
    I’ve heard horrible stories about autistic people who cant manage their own money, and have someone else appointed by law to handle it for them. those people spend money on clothes without the person’s permission, and then there’s no money for food and rent.
    abuse in foster homes and old age homes is usually covered up.
    this is how the system treat those who are vulnerable, whether autistic or neurotypicals.
    being autistic, we are vulnerable to abuse. I’ve lost my faith in the system long ago myself. those people are predators waiting for a weaker prey.
    may I suggest self defense classes? they built my lost self esteem and confidence. every person on the spectrum should learn self defense. so sorry about the abuse the systm has inflicted on you, as it had and will on many others, I’m sure. I understand exactly where you’re coming from, as the system in every country in the world walk all over people like us every day.
    any chance of suing the bastards? or pressing charges? I believe revenge makes victims feel much better.

  8. That is terrible that happened to you. Those workers where real scum bags. Not all places are like that. You should report the place and there workers. They should not have treated you like that. Psychiatric hospital workers are supposed to be trained to take care of patients without physically hurting them, even if the patient is uncooperative. Hospitals and there staff should respect and care about there patients at all times.

    • Been a very long time but nothing much positive has come of it.

      As for reporting they are immune for the most part.. They admit to the regular sadism . A friend checked and prosecuting the health authority is considered close to impossible. I still have flashbacks due to it and was unable to get help for one of those really weird emergencies that come up somehow a few months ago. I will be writing more in the blog though.

      I have a human rights case of some sort the tell me. They are very adversarial and seldom achieve much.

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