This does happen, sadly, and I have seen it first hand. Everyone has. Remember after 9/11, it seemed like there was so much hatred of any person who was either Muslim or at all looked Middle Eastern? Or now, the mass paranoia about Ebola? I suppose all one has to do is mention having traveled anywhere in Africa, even if that trip was years ago, and this will cause fear and avoidance. I imagine anyone who is originally from any African country will face discrimination. There’s far more chance that a person will get eaten by a shark than of catching Ebola. Or ending up wrongly put into a mental hospital or coerced into taking dangerous drugs, or ending up in “therapy,” totally convinced of their own neediness. That notion alone is hugely damaging. Our danger is not from some foreign place, but within society itself. There’s the toxin, the poison that needs to be eradicated. The lies about mental health (which are generated not by the medical sector but by pharmaceutical companies and large corporations) are far more dangerous than the potential for spread of Ebola.
Anyway, I’m gonna talk about scapegoating for a minute. I am away from all that now, but this is what I saw happening:
I saw mass paranoia in my community, Watertown, Massachusetts, which is a Boston suburb, about me. The paranoia started in the medical sector, then spread throughout the medical system to the general community. I was confused about what was happening at first and had no clue. I thought these doctors were there to help me. But this wasn’t true. I doubt they even saw their roles as “helpers” after they made that unfounded determination that I was a huge danger to society.
It was certainly shocking to me. I am not a danger to anyone. Yet again and again, folks were fearful of me as if I were a leper or carrying some horrible communicative disease. Or if I were truly violent. I felt like a reverse magnet, repelling all that came into my path. Their rumors were unfounded but there was little I could do.
Here, I need to give specific examples to show you what I mean. I had these state workers coming to my home simply because I’d been in mental hospitals. The worker I had was grossly irresponsible, just didn’t even care about her job or about me. I noted that her boss was also irresponsible and didn’t even know this worker was such a slacker. I wrote to him and threatened to report him to the DMH. Guess what happened within a month?
You guessed. My new worker called and said next time she was coming, her boss was going to be with her. This was July 2012. So in they came, she and her boss. He insisted I go to an ER. I asked him why, and he said I had edema. I told him I’d had chronic edema for over a year and this wasn’t a reason to go to an ER. Then, he said if I didn’t agree to go, he’d section me to go. Yep, for edema that had been there for a year, suddenly this was a big emergency. Due to threat of sectioning, I went along with it. My worker drove me.
Once at the ER, I was interviewed. No one seemed to care about the edema. No, my worker’s boss had insisted on a psych evaluation. So in walks the shrink. You’d think I was pointing a loaded gun to his head. Why? He was shaking all over, especially when he had to touch me or go near me. Yes, this guy was afraid I’d attack. I was shocked! I had no intention of attacking anyone! This was the ER shrink at Newton Wellesley. He was the Australian doc who had been there a while. I cannot recall his name right now.
I was so stupid. I figured any pills I’d taken were going to show up on a blood test. So I fessed up to taking 1/2 of a pill of a diuretic. Kinda makes sense to take a diuretic if you have edema. But he said this represented “danger to self” and he sectioned me to go inpatient. One half pill? This wasn’t an overdose nor was I doing this to self-harm. I needed the edema looked at and what did I get? A shrink with his finger on a panic button.
Here’s another example. I was so shocked at this. I went to see my minister. I’d gone to talk to him plenty of times. I don’t know what happened. I walked in there, as usual, carrying a medium-sized handbag, actually this was a woven cloth bag I had over one shoulder. So this time when I came to see him, I had a document in my bag I wanted to show him.
So my words were, “I have something in my bag to show you.” I was shocked at the obvious fear in his eyes. He stammered and said, “Let’s go into the other room so Nancy can see, too.” Nancy was the church administrator who worked in another church office. I knew, then, why he was saying this. He was scared I had a gun in my bag and was going to shoot him. Or maybe a knife. I had neither. I never had plans nor desire to attack anyone, especially not with a dangerous weapon.
I was never a danger to children nor have I ever done violence to a child. I have never beat up anyone. Guess I have that over my minister, who confessed he once beat up a kid because the kid was a foreigner. He confessed this publicly in a sermon. Who was dangerous here?
I never said a word. I felt like a leper or some hated ex-con or sex offender, yet I was none of these. I never carried a weapon and have no clue how to use one. I was so shocked. I should have never gone back there again. Sadly, I kept going back till it was damn obvious I wasn’t welcome anymore.
And you guys know about the accusations around the beginning of 2014…..
Now, the church has this “safety committee.” Safety against people like me? All a complete misunderstanding based on their leader’s paranoia. In fact, it’s their mass fear of people of those that are labeled, their collective paranoia, that’s terribly unsafe.
I feel sad that this happened but it’s over now. Mass gang behavior anger reaction to a lie. I was scapegoated. They might as well be sending lynch mobs to those that they don’t like or don’t understand. It’s very sad. It was a huge mistake, and I hope the church doesn’t act this way toward anyone else…ever again. Nor the medical community. It was a huge mistake. No one should be scapegoated and I hope no one else has to suffer.