Psychiatric Lock Down / Isolation

Stories from isolation and mental health services

I’ve been here three weeks. I came from XXXX Hospital for Behavioral Health in XXXX. I was in and out there about three times. Nobody visits me here. Nobody visited me there. Nobody. OK, my social worker did. My mom lives in XXXX, my dad in XXXX. He lives with his girlfriend, two siblings, an aunt, and a brother. I’ve been here since “the incident.” I was watching COPS and started hyperventilating. I couldn’t breathe and I ran to the kitchen and picked up a knife. My brother called my dad. He grabbed me by the shirt and threw me on the ground. I cut myself on the knife, accidentally. He told my brother to call 911 and he whispered in my ear “I don’t want to deal with your selfish shit anymore. I don’t love you. I hate you. Get out of my house. You’re never going to see your mother, your brother or me again. I hope you go to juvie.” The police handcuffed me. I had been smoking weed and wasn’t taking my meds that day. My dad lied and said I swung a knife at him. They sent me to EPS. I was restrained and strapped to a bed in the middle of a room. They strapped down my arms and legs. They sent me to XXXX for 30 days, the 21 days the second time then the full 33. Then they sent me to a group home for four weeks. I started cutting with a broken plastic fork. They called EMQ, Emergency Quick Response team. At night, I would cut with a pencil. I did things like walk out of the group home, with a counselor following me…so I wasn’t trying to run away. I just wanted to cool off. She was calling the police on her cell so I slapped it away so they said I was assaultive. The cops descended—about four of them, all men. They flipped me over and handcuffed me.I kept running from XXXX, it was not a locked facility so they have me here now. They give me Seroquel, Propanol, Depakote. When I was first hospitalized I was in middle school. I would AWOL from there a lot.
— M.T. Age 13
I went to a foster home for four months. The older daughter there abused me. She was 17 or 18. She would be jealous and hit me. She choked me and punched my little sister in the stomach. I was six or seven. The mother of the foster mom said we needed more help and her daughter couldn’t do it anymore. My sister and me were scared of the biological daughter and of the mother. We were too scared to tell anybody. The second foster home we went to was the best. We were about to be adopted but my mother stopped them from doing it. They moved us to XXXX to live with my aunt. I was there for about a year, being abused as well. My brother called the police on my aunt and a social worker came and took us to a shelter. We were there for about two weeks and then we flew from XXXX to XXXX to another foster home. I was eight or nine. The dad abused me in the foster home. He sexually abused my sister and me. He would make us take showers with him and touched us inappropriately. I told the social worker and then I started on a series of about 30-40 foster homes. I was always AWOLing. I couldn’t take it any more. I was sent to XXXX. It was in the desert. I was there for about a year. They took me away from my stepdad and mom because they were being sexually active in front of me. I felt I should have told people I was being sexually abused so it is my fault. What I have been through . . . I think I have to punish myself. I should have ran out that door and asked for help. When I was AWOLing I was always very sexually active. I am sure it had something to do with all the sexual abuse earlier. I started cutting and scratching because a lot of the other kids did it. It started as a coping skill but it got pretty addictive.
— Z.V. Age 14
My full name is named after someone in the bible. I’ve been here six weeks. I’ve been in this room for fifteen minutes. I think it is time for me to come out. It is just a place where I can quiet down. Before this, I was at XXXX—another level 14…but not a lock-down. I was there for a year and a half but I kept getting hospitalized for hurting myself. My parents lived in XXXX, but they wanted to have a kid in another state so they selected XXXX. They bought a house there but it burned down. My mom lives in XXXX with a new husband. My mom visited me there. My dad abused alcohol, abused drugs and abused me. He raped me when I was seven and kept doing it until I was 15. The neighbors finally heard me screaming and called the police. He never went to jail because he said I was lying. They took me to DCFS headquarters and then I was in a group homes ever since.
— M.A. Age 16
I don’t really do anything except stay in my room. I don’t like being around noise. It triggers violent behavior….It’s just like being at home. There was always noise and I always reacted poorly when I heard too much. I’ve been here over a year. I was with DCFS for over a year. I was taken from my parents who were drug users when I was a baby. I lived in a foster home the entire time. Then I was living with my grandparents. My grandfather visits me. He’s a mechanic. I get weekend passes. Usually I go out on Saturday; we get something to eat and I come back. We go to XXXX. A Mexican restaurant. I didn’t know I had a sister. The only time I saw my dad was at my sixth birthday party. He never told me I had a sister. They all knew about her, but they never told me. I have a right to know if I have a sister; I didn’t even think she knew about my dad until she started living with him. My mom and dad are still alive. My grandmother didn’t want me seeing my dad, but my grandfather brought me to see him behind my grandma’s back. I didn’t have much to say to him. He also took me to see my mom at a Carl’s Junior when I was 13. She lives on the streets. It broke my heart. She looked like she had been beaten up and abused. The moment I saw here I said, “What the fuck happened? You chose drugs over us.” I saw the tears coming out of her eyes. I just left after that and haven’t seen her since. I just left out the back and ran away. I stayed away for a couple of days. My grandfather was looking all over and finally found me sitting at a basketball court. I was trying to think things through. I used to use pills—they helped me over a lot. But then I became obsessed with them. Before this I was in “Children of Our Future,” a level 12 house in XXXX. A six-bed house. There were other houses in the complex. Level fourteen is a lockdown facility—like XXXX. I was there before this for ten months. I hate Tuesdays and Thursdays. One day is NA the other is AA. Tuesdays we have to listen to some motivational speaker or two for an hour. Thursday is group. We have an hour of therapy on each of those days as well as therapy on other days. It is a waste of time. I would rather be alone and read or draw. I’ve been two years sober on Wednesday. I am glad to be in a level 12…Going down levels means more freedom.
— C.S. Age 17
I have been here 3 weeks. The limit is 30 days in temporary placement. I been in foster homes, group homes, and residencies. Never had been in lock down. I was 14 when I was first reported for truancy. I was in 7th or 8th grade. Then I got a 302 from school and was sent to a mental hospital for 30 days. Then to XXXX, which was a residential treatment center, for a year. There were a hundred kids, 12 in each cottage. Doors were not locked. And the cottage you had roommates. It was home for a little bit. I was fighting, not going to school, being suspended—a little bit of everything. I chose not to do the work. I never took heed. I’m from XXXX; my stepdad is a cook at XXXX University. I’ve got 5 little brothers and 5 sisters. I got in a fight with my stepdad after an argument with my mom. I was truant a lot in the 9th grade. But those were my only delinquency charges here but I had robbery and assaulting a police officer in other counties. I was at XXXX, an RTC for 15 months. They put me on an ankle monitor but I’m used to running from placement, children’s homes, foster homes. I ran from everywhere. I would go back to XXXX and stay at a girl’s house or a girlfriend. She lives an hour away. I went AWOL. I’ve been to 5 different youth centers then to XXXX. You try to find hope but you come back to the same situation and nothing is going to change.
— B.X. Age 17