Not a week goes by where I don’t think “It could’ve been me.”
This is because: it could’ve been me who wound up in jail after breaking into a Pizza Hut while symptomatic.
The fact is I received the right treatment right away. It’s remarkable that my mother drove me to the hospital within 24 hours. What’s more miraculous was that I was given medication right after that and within 3 weeks when I was released the symptoms had stopped.
Should the guy who self-amputated his tongue while involved in the prison system be told by the Mad in America flunkies that he shouldn’t take medication?
He was lucid enough to call for help and report that he was symptomatic. Instead of being sent to a hospital he was sent to jail. Not given treatment there he could no longer hold onto his grasp of logical thinking.
After 3 weeks in prison he crossed over and believed what his ill mind told him to do.
We’ve crossed a line in society too. I fear that justice won’t ever be restored for MH peers. I’m starting to think no one else wants MH peers to get better. Less slices of the American pie that need to be shared right?
For awhile after my memoir Left of the Dial was published I struggled with the disclosure via the graphic relapse scene of what happened to me.
Now I see that rendering this event so vividly dramatizes what happens when a line is crossed.
As someone who lived to tell her story I want to ask you to join the Where’s NAMI Facebook group. There you can be given the details about this horrific miscarriage of mental health treatment. You can join the movement to help the family afflicted by this loved one’s descent into chronic symptoms.
I consider jailing a person instead of giving them MH treatment to be a form of malpractice. Everyone involved should be legally held accountable.
A CIT–Crisis Intervention Team–should be a routine response to the scene where a symptomatic individual has committed a crime.
Every jurisdiction in America should also have a Mental Health Court like Brooklyn, NY does where I live. Here symptomatic defendants are tried in a separate courtroom in a more human way.
What if? I ask you. What if more people got the right treatment within 24 hours like I did?
What if we were treated like human beings equal to others in society?
Instead of being seen as competition for the jobs, services, and rights that every other American takes for granted.
For an expose of this decades-long trend I recommend you read Insane: America’s Criminal Treatment of Mental Illness a just-published book.
Criminalizing individuals with mental illness has been only par for the course.
In America–Incarceration Nation–it’s easier and more expedient to lock up in jail any kind of “throwaway” person to get them out of the way.
This has to stop. Pronto.