I think it was in Nebraska where a guy was put on pills for his back problem. These caused him to temporarily become delusional. He tried to break into a neighbor’s home and explained to his neighbor that he was taking over the property, that it belonged to his ancestors. The perplexed neighbor called the cops and the man was put away. Unfortunately, the man was unable to explain to the attending psychiatrists what had occurred. They insisted he had some “illness” he wasn’t aware of. For the next 20 years he was told this until someone finally listened. He sued the State and won millions. Imagine the losses.
What is the lesson learned here. Are we to say that this was an unusual occurrence? No! It isn’t! This is a commonplace occurrence. Realize that a commitment hearing takes ten minutes, deciding a person’s fate for the next six months. Who are the witnesses in such a hearing? The state is witness and the judge, who is an employee of the state, decides. Who holds the patient as prisoner? The state. Who benefits? The state gets paid thousands PER DAY. Who pays? Taxpayers. And the patient, who is losing his life, a life that could otherwise be spent productively and creatively like anyone else.
Who are these patients? I saw them and met them. Many were put away because their grades weren’t quite good enough. A few C’s. (Do you qualify?) Or they didn’t want to major in what their parents wanted them to major in. Or they wanted to divorce their spouses but someone disagreed. Or they wanted children but someone didn’t want them to have kids, or vice versa.
Or their parents did not like the way they wore their hair.
Or one day, the unfortunate patient said to her mom and dad, “Hey, I think I might be a lesbian.”
Or one day he got caught smoking pot in the basement. Has that ever happened to you?
Or her husband hit her, but when she tried telling the police, the husband told the police dude (who was his buddy) “Oh no, she is delusional and needs a counselor. She needs to talk to someone and get this straightened out. I think she’s been drinking again.” One-third of the women in the nuthouses were such discarded wives and divorce did not usually end the cycle, especially when kids were involved.
That pretty much accounted for most everyone I ever met in the nuthouse. That ole question, “What are you in here for?” We’d go around the room asking it, just like college students asking, “What’s your major?”