While committed at Doctor’s Behavioral Health Center in Modesto, CA as a survival mechanism I kept a handwritten journal which during my 2 and half day stay there ended up being 42 handwritten pages. I shared the excerpt below on my Facebook wall shortly after I got home, my plan was to transcribe it in its entirety. I put that project on hold when I decided to use a public-facing blog (and here you are, reading it!) Once I finish with the “archival material” my plan is to start posting sections from this journal.
This was during intake, after my clothes had been returned to me after my medical clearance at the ER — I was feeling desperate for help at this point, and quite angry I has not getting any — this is several hours into my experience there:
I decided to wander the halls to ask the first employees I could find to ask if mental health was exempt from the Oath of Hippocrates. The pseudocops who found me never heard of the Hippocratic Oath, one claiming, “I just got here.”
I informed them that the first tenet is, “Do no harm.” and asked why for the first five hours I have been subjected to things DETRIMENTAL to my mental health. I asked to see a clinician, and was sent back to my featureless room with no stimulus.
Just-Got-Here popped his balding head in the doorway a few moments later to inform me that a nurse will be transferring me to a unit “soon” and I will be helped there.
Among my skills, and past professions is computer programmer. I know the value “soon” is never a small amount of time, but rather, a value starting from 3 times longer than you expect, and as long as “never”.
As commentary on the above, the first “help” I got on the unit came 22 hours after I first arrived, with my first one on one meeting with my clinician.