Thursday, 15 November 2018
CTOs (and the pricks who administer them)...
There's something so incredibly infuriating about the level of power psychiatrists are granted to really cause conflict in people's lives, all in the name of treatment. Most people who see a psychiatrist will never see this level of oppression, if it's for something like depression, anxiety, or even a milder form of bipolar disorder. However, if things go beyond a certain point and one is deep enough in the system as I was, the uglier side of this branch of medicine can emerge, depending on who is treating you.
I was under what is known as a Community Treatment Order for a time (or a CTO, for short). This is when medicine is given carte blanche to strip you of your bodily rights, allowing enforced treatment outside of hospital, in the form of an injection every two weeks, administered by a psychiatrist and a nurse who come to your door to administer it. If you are not home when they arrive for each appointment, the police are called and you are hauled into hospital in handcuffs to get the injection.
My CTO came about because (god rest his soul) my father was manipulated by a psychiatrist into signing my life away because they were afraid I was going to do something harmful (not because I actually had). To add insult to injury, a nurse advised me, in my fragile state, that although I could fight it, I shouldn't, because I would lose - nice advice, bitch. For the next six months, I had to endure the watchful eye of a shirty, nasty prick of a man as my doctor, and an accompanying nurse, coming to my door, yanking down my pants, and shoving a needle in my ass, proceeded with a series of tedious questions while I would sit on my deck outside and haul away on a cigarette, hating life. There was nothing therapeutic about this procedure, it was a chemical strait-jacket that flattened out my personality, and made me want to do little more than sit, smoke, and cry in my room. Also, it had the effect of eliminating any self worth and feelings of independence I might have once had, and instilled in me a sense of distrust of psychiatry's ability to help me in any manner, so that when that thing expired, I did not seek any kind of follow up treatment, and went into withdrawal. The withdrawal then meant that I did in fact cross legal lines, and eventually became the kind of patient they deemed I would be without the CTO in the first place. I guarantee, a gentler approach instead of the CTO would have meant no crime, no problems for anyone, but I was afraid and so I did not seek out help from them. They really fucked up with me.
Perhaps it's because I was not a victim of police brutality that I feel this way (sure, there were handcuffs involved, but in general, apart from an AIDS joke about my fragile 98 lb frame, the standard strip/cavity search at the precinct, and having to sleep overnight in a women's penitentiary while I waited for a hospital bed, the officers were lambs) but I am more enraged by the power that a psychiatrist has in ridding one of their rights at the stroke of a pen than I am about a cop going rough with me. Blacken my eyes, break my bones... at least then I know where I stand with you, a pig is a pig, and most people hate cops and would call that abusive. But that bougie, white collar way of signing my life away on a piece of paper and convincing my entire family it's for my own good is a whole other level of systematic evil. It is not as insulting to be physically beaten as it is to be written off. I know it does not come from a place of true compassion when a doctor does this - it's to cover their ass and prevent getting sued. I have heard of so many people getting screwed by psychiatrists with these CTO things, others have lost their driver's licenses simply for going to an ER for help, willingly, even if their illness is unrelated to impaired driving. It's fucking horrible.
The CTO failed me, it was the worst approach possible. Perhaps in absolute worst case scenarios they may be necessary, but these things are given out all the time for all sorts of silly reasons, and they cause more problems than they're worth. Fuck CTOs, and fuck what my CTO did to my life.