My Experience With… Archive

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  • These are the personal stories of people who have dealt with various mental health issues. Some of these stories are very personal, and can be triggering. We hope, however, that readers and writers will find support and community through these stories. If you have a story you would like to add here, please go to http://www.queermentalhealth.org/write/ for more information.



    My experience in the mental hospital

    Trigger warning: Involuntary restraint, abuse from hospital staff.

    I was passing by an elderly man in a wheelchair, and he grabbed at my arm. I shook my arm free and pulled away from him. All of a sudden, two nurses and a tech were yelling at me, telling me to go to my room or sit down. Admittedly, after they said that, I became quite defiant, but not a danger or threat to myself or others.

    My Experience With Sexual Assault

    Trigger Warning: Descriptions of sexual assault while in a psychiatric facility, and being disbelieved by authorities.

    i was getting ready for bed, when they brought in another girl. i’ll admit, i engaged her in conversation for a while, but then the conversation got awkward. she started saying things like “i want to fuck you” and “you have nice boobies” to the point where i got very uncomfortable. i told her to stop or i would go to sleep, as it was late and i had already taken my night meds.

    My Experience With The American Education System (Or, The Importance of Education for Disabled People)

    I was fourteen years old, just out of the mental hospital. My mom and I had tried to get me enrolled in public high school, but they expelled me for “truancy” before I was even enrolled. I would find out later that this required a sort of trial that… Never. Fucking. Happened.

    My Experience With Leaving AA and Successfully Staying Sober

    Trigger warning: mentions of alcoholism, relapse, and sexual violence

    Failure is built into the punitive, guilt-ridden fabric of AA. An archaic framework of Christian dogma marketed as the only way to get sober. If you fail it’s your fault. If you succeed it’s God’s miracle. Every meeting we recited that those who drink after AA are “naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty.” According to AA honesty in confession to unscrupulous strangers will keep you from drinking. That and the will of God.

    My Experience with Discrimination

    Over the next 7 months his comments grew more offensive, making hateful comments about my race, about our (perceived) sexualities and even comments about our mental health and what he thought was ‘wrong’ with us. He was messaging my partner constantly, not only offensive things but just irrelevant nonsense constantly. It grew to the point that my partner was having panic attacks every time there was a notification on the phone.

    My Experience with Wicca and Pagan Spirituality

    When they asked us in rehab that March of 2013 what our spirituality consisted of, I said that is was “Somewhere between yoga and fireflies.” I was getting very into yoga. I felt that the states of greater transcendence I reached while practicing to be closest to the spiritual as I, a die-hard atheist, could get. I felt that the grandeur of nature and expanse of the universe was a higher power, but I couldn’t get behind the idea that the universe would have anything to do with me or want to help me. I felt insignificant in the galaxy, a mote of dust, a sheep, as AA professed.

    My Experience with Medical Marijuana as a Psychiatric Medication and Harm Reduction Strategy

    Trigger Warnings: suicidal ideation, grief, alcoholism, drug use.

    When I first came to medical marijuana, I was desperate. Fighting Schizoaffective Disorder, alcoholism, PTSD, the recent death of my wife, chronic anxiety, and newly recovered childhood abuse memories, all I wanted was to be put out of my misery. I told my therapist, “When an animal is broken, you either shoot it or put it out to pasture comfortably, I’ll take either one.”

    My Experience with Detox and Outpatient Rehab

    My alcoholism reached a head in spring of 2013, brought to desperation by the death of my wife and my subsequent despair. By this point I was drinking from three pm onward everyday, first wine and then vodka, whiskey or rum. Nothing would bring her back, but I could annihilate myself. It was starting to dawn on me, though, that this was making me nothing but miserable. I wasn’t going anywhere or doing anything. I wasn’t socializing or running errands. I could barely cook. Being on disability, I wasn’t working. My full-time job was getting to the bottom of the bottle.

    My Experience with Dissociative Identity Disorder (Lily)

    Trigger Warning: Self-Harm, Abuse, Rape, Human Trafficking

    I’ve been half-aware that I’m multiple since about the age of fourteen, when I started to realise that it really wasn’t usual for people to experience severe blackouts and time loss and memory issues (lasting hours, days, weeks, months and even years); that it wasn’t usual for people to so routinely and constantly be addressed by a completely different name by strangers who will insist that you have met them and that your name is something else; that it wasn’t usual for moods and personalities and tastes to change so drastically and so constantly. I had no word for what I was experiencing; I had no knowledge and no understanding and after about a year of being so, so aware of this I finally told my (then) therapist about those experiences. The result? A long lecture about self-diagnosis and “making up more lies to make my supposed PTSD more believable” followed by being asked about where I had researched Dissociative Identity Disorder and that I did know that it was made up and not real and that nobody would ever believe me. So, for almost ten years I hid it except from a very close friend online and one of my partners (he lived with me so it was very difficult to hide).

    My Experience With Alcoholics Anonymous And Early Sobriety (Ava)

    Sobriety is a different forest, and one I am picking my way through carefully. The level of commitment that AA seems to require is daunting, as is the god issue. But I have seen people speak there that moved and affected me in a way that was more beneficial than any serenity prayer. Balancing cynicism and nihilism with the all-to-clear possibility of death, I’ve relapsed this month but I’m trying to embrace the program without losing myself. When I relapsed, my wife yelled at me to give her the rest of the bottle of vodka, and all I could say was, “I want something to myself, that is mine.” I gave her the bottle. I want to believe I have other things to hold onto, but the glacial heft of a glass bottle is a hand held.