Coverup and resulting false psychosis

I think it’s now well established that many people get locked up due to misunderstanding. There was once a well-documented story of a man who was locked up for a very long time. They claimed he was schizophrenic and that he spoke in “word salad.” Of course, this is a famous case now. What happened was that a new doctor came onto the ward. This new doctor was a foreigner from an Eastern European country. Honestly, I cannot recall which country it was. Maybe Hungary. At any rate, this new doctor made an amazing discovery. The man who was supposedly schiz and speaking in “word salad” wasn’t crazy. In fact, he spoke an uncommon dialect from that small foreign country. No one had even known all this time. Finally, they released the guy from the hospital, admitting their gross error. I’m sure there is an article in Wikipedia on this as it is well-known.

We know that many people have dreams at night of their dead relatives. I myself had a dream of Joe within the first year following his death. I read that this kind of thing is rather common in some Hispanic cultures. I heard that the reason for this is because the family ties in such cultures are far stronger than in modern USA society. Therefore, communication with one’s dead relatives is considered not only acceptable, but a rather common experience.  However, shrinks, upon hearing these things, assume the person is either psychotic or terribly depressed. Why depressed? It’s common to have a dead relative appear to a person in a dream and “invite” that person to go join them in Heaven. These aren’t suicidal wishes, but joyful experiences. Shrinks do not take into account cultural differences and try to medicate these so-called delusions.

When I dreamed of Joe in the fall of 2003, I saw him quite clearly. He was happy and I loved to see his grin right there before me. He had died that summer.  I was overjoyed when he told me, “You should SEE this place! The food is great! And they have shows every night!” This wasn’t a reflection of my desire to leave the planet and go join Joe in Heaven. Hardly. I never saw it as an experience that was at all paranormal. It was a dream. However, I felt blessed. Joe had been a joyful presence in my life and seeing him happy made me very happy, too. I carry that memory of the dream with me to this day. Thank goodness I never told my shrink!

What if a person’s story is unusual, and so hard to believe that shrinks assume the person is delusional? I’ll bet this happens all the time. Stories of child abuse and rape get medicated and the person is told these things never happened. Will these antipsychotic drugs erase these memories or cause the person to assume they were delusional, when in fact they weren’t?

If the person is rather young, the “professionals” can bully the person over and over until they submit. Then, they actually will bend and break and go along with the “illness” claim.

False accusations of psychosis also happen as a way of coverup.  An investigative journalist learns the truth. He tries to leak it out. Someone with money and power is about to be exposed. However, this wealthy person or institution manages to get a shrink to declare the journalist “crazy.” He is forced on meds. If he won’t stop talking, he gets either permanently institutionalized and silenced, or he is killed.

What if they’d tried to medicate or institutionalize ALL the victims of Hitler’s holocaust and anyone who had been a witness? Nowadays, such a feat wouldn’t be so impossible. Put ’em all away, and no one would ever know the truth.  You could call it a Jewish mental illness, persecution complex or whatever.

So here’s an example out of my own experience.  I had a roommate back in 2000. I need to preserve anonymity even though this happened so long ago for the sake of this roommate. I was in the room with her and never once saw any indication that she was “mentally ill.” She was so intellectually brilliant that she outsmarted all the staff on the floor and made them look like fools simply due to her intelligence and broad worldly knowledge. She had recently graduated from a rather exclusive top college. She knew Latin and also could speak several modern languages fluently. She helped the foreign patients by translating during groups. None of the staff even knew Spanish and this patient was immensely helpful to these patients and an asset on the unit.

But she told me she was tired of being the unit translator and felt this was taxing on her. She felt pressured because she had missed job interviews due to this sudden unwanted hospitalization. It inconvenienced her, she said, and it was hard to return phone calls from potential employers while she was in there, with no telephone privacy and inability to receive calls without the future employer finding out where she was.

She told me they were accusing her of having some mental illness that she didn’t believe she had. I told her that Risperdal was a good medicine and she would feel better if she took it. Of course, I myself was fully compliant  at the time and kept telling myself, “Of course, she must have a real illness. How could a psychiatrist possibly be wrong? If a doctor says she’s psychotic, she must be.” I tried to be polite but really never saw “illness” in her whatsoever. When her family came to visit, I left the room so they could have privacy, but I heard arguments in there. I butted out and never asked. She told me, though, that her family said to her, “You are angry and therefore need medication.” I agreed with her that nothing is wrong with a good healthy family argument and there’s bound to be anger in any family. I agreed that her situation was so stressful that certainly, an occasional angry word slipping out would be rather understandable, if not expected.

One day, a staff came into the room while she was in the shower. I wasn’t aware of what he was doing, but now, I realize he was pumping me for dirt on her. He asked me, “How is this roommate? Is she decent?” He was trying to be a pal, to get me feeling cozy talking to him so I might reveal having seen unusual behavior. Then, they could find this as reason for “illness.” Of course, it’s been over a decade since all this occurred and it’s taken me all this time to realize these things.

If I recall correctly, I told him that nothing was unusual. I think he asked me if I smelled body odor on her. I said, “No, what I smell is newly dry cleaned clothing. I can smell the dry cleaning. It has a distinct odor.” I didn’t care for the smell.  But many people in the USA have their clothes dry cleaned, do they not? I suppose this information wasn’t particularly useful to the staff as this wasn’t some reason to accuse her of further “illness.” He left and never approached me like a pal again.

Both my roommate and I were discharged from this hospital and I had her e-mail address. I wrote to her, and she wrote back. We were both out and she told me her story.

This was nearly 15 years ago. I no longer have the e-mail she sent. I cannot repeat the details of her story but can give you a general idea.

I’ll bet you know others in this situation. This often occurs in young adulthood when a person applies to get a legal document signed, relocates, or tries to renew their driver’s license. Or gets married.   Or the person applies for a passport or needs documentation for grad school or a new job. You know what you need? Your birth certificate. For most of us, this isn’t a big deal.

There are thousands of people out there who were adopted. Some adoptions were legal, but many weren’t. Many occurred over international lines. You hear of parents going to China or Russia to adopt and coming home with babies. You hear of parents who adopt out of foster care kids that that were rescued from abusive homes. You hear of parents who adopt minority children, Native American kids from impoverished areas, or kids who have teen mothers giving their kids up for adoption.

I suppose most adoptions are legal, or the paperwork is done properly. However, I’ll bet every single person reading this knows someone, some friend of theirs, whose adoption wasn’t quite legal. Either the parents are aware this was illegal and adopt anyway cuz they want this child so much, or they are lied to by the adoption agency. The paperwork may look okay, but it isn’t.

What happens is that the adopted child has no knowledge of this and grows up with no knowledge of any wrongdoing. Their lives are stable and they have no reason to believe anything was done illegally. The adoption agency is out of the picture and the parents, if they know, have no reason to worry that the child will ever learn this dirty little secret.

Until. Until the kid needs their birth certificate for some reason. What now? This can happen if the kid moves to another state and needs to apply for a new driver’s license in that state. Or the kid needs proof of immunization for college or a job working with the public. Or the kid’s wallet gets stolen and they must have a birth certificate to get a replacement driver’s license. All kinds of reasons. Uh oh. It may be decades before this occurs, or it may occur when the child is quite young.

I personally know a number of people who were adopted or were shuffled around following a divorce. What happens to a person when they find out that the name they were called all their life isn’t their original name?

Imagine the shock. You’ve been deceived. You aren’t the person you thought you were. What now?

My roommate was one of these people. Her story didn’t seem, at the time, very plausible to me, but now, of course, since I’ve known several people who made this shocking discovery as adults, I realize just how common these things are.

So imagine this: You adopted a child illegally. This was so long ago, and it was swept under the rug, nice and neat and you don’t ever want to think about it. Maybe you questioned the adoption agency and you were suspicious that this wasn’t legal, but you didn’t really want to believe it and went ahead with the adoption. Years have passed.

Your child suddenly accuses you and all this is coming to a head. What to do? Surely, you cannot allow your grown child to continue in this manner. This child needs to be silenced.

How convenient that we have psychiatry. Shrinks can and will assume the child is nuts. Call the cops and have her dragged to an ER. The adult child is upset anyway, so it’ll be easy to “see” mental illness in her.

That’s what happened to my roommate. As fantastic as her story sounded, I now know she was speaking the truth. No pill was going to erase what she knew. It wasn’t a delusion nor psychosis.

When I received the email I had no clue how to react. At the time, I had known a few adoptees but hadn’t heard a story like this one. Now, 15 years later, I have heard several stories of these things and no way was my roommate psychotic.

A journalist gets the inside scoop and then, disappears. A medical student finds out about fudged research, but suddenly goes mad. A patient speaks of abuse in hospitals and then is sent to a highly secure locked facility. A veteran speaks of wrongdoing in the military, and suddenly, the veteran is whisked away to a VA hospital.  A suicide shocks a community and the victim’s secret dies with her, never uncovered.

My shrink tried to tell me I was “delusional and paranoid” about abuses in hospitals. Much of what I reported to her was witnessed by other patients and was common knowledge in the patient milieu, as they call it. I took the drugs my shrink gave me. Guess what? None of my knowledge of these abuses was erased. Why? These weren’t delusions at all, but fact.

Of course, now I have found plenty of others who were subject to similar abuses. I know now just how common my experience was. I didn’t have unusually bad luck. In fact, now that I have found so many other people who were abused as I was, I feel even stronger that these abuses must be stopped. No, the victim needs no medication to erase what they know. This won’t work. The victim needs justice or at least an apology.

Did they ever even apologize to that man from Hungary for the incorrect diagnosis and subsequent lengthy lockup? Do we even know? Or was he released, told to suck it up and stay quiet?

Feedback and comments welcome!