Those words - spat out by a nurse that I worked with - floored me.
She would often utter derogatory statements about the "consumers" that she "provided" mental health services to.
But these were the words that stuck with me and it's been about 5 years since I left that job. I'd been hired the year before to be sort of a "gal friday" in the office of the local work site for the mentally ill and mentally handicapped.
And the young woman that was the target of this psychiatric "Nurse" was carrying numerous "labels" in her chart and this was the label that got her the most disdain and abuse by staff and the local police and hospital.
And her behavior was typical of someone who is given the label "BPD"; she exhibited needy, childlike dependency that required much external validation, she engaged in self harm behaviors, was a frequent visitor to the emergency room, her emotions were intense and thinking was very black and white
and her social history was that of horrendous neglect and abuse as a small child.
I never did learn her entire story but another staff member, a "PHD", in the same facility broke confidentiality and shared parts of this young woman's history telling me in the end that she would "never" be "normal".
Well fricking no shit jack.
Excuse the language - but for real?
And this is part of what fuels me is how another person who has the degree's and letters behind their names is apparently deemed qualified to determine another's value and lay out their life for them as
and requiring to be "managed"
instead of cared for and valued, their experiences validated
instead of treated as less than deserving of human compassion.
Today - this young woman is free of this facility that was eventually shut down by the state for many reasons.
I saw her recently and still see the scars from the lies that she has been told - that she is "broken" and "Borderline"
and will never be anything other.
She proudly told me that she is doing what she is supposed to be doing to avoid hospitalization.
And my heart grieves for her and the loss of the life potential that might have been found had someone simply said
"it will be ok"
showed some compassion
and shined the light on the path of wellness for her
instead of the anchor of
"illness" and "compliance".
With all respect for the choices and journeys of those who read this blog, I share this post to bring light to a subject that is as taboo as the abuse that is often the cause of these issues of emotional and cognitive distress that we have come to call "mental illness".
This story is part of what fuels my passion for this message of wellness today. For each post I write, each story I tell, there is the memory of this young woman and hundreds and thousands more like her that live only the life they have been told they could have,many of them institutionalized and medicated since childhood; questions and hope for anything more, crushed as compliance and obedience become the objectives.
In my own personal journey through the current mental health system and then the realization that I had never been "ill" but rather "injured" evidenced by my amazing "recovery" - and the atrocities that I have witnessed in the facilities that I have been employed in that had no knowledge of my own personal history - I am grieved.