I'm now 61 years old and looking back over the years of my life I can honestly say that the most invasive and abusive treatment I have ever experienced has been in psychiatric settings. I say this as fact and without emotion.
In 1978 and 1984 I was forcibly injected with chlorpromazine in Hartwoodhill Hospital, Lanarkshire, after voluntarily going into the acute psychiatric ward after childbirth and what the psychiatrists called "puerperal psychosis". To me it was being extra sensitive to the world around me, the sounds, smells, situations. My baby was 13wks old, my second son.
I thought that going into hospital would result in respite and sympathetic treatment but soon found out in 1978 that it meant coercion and control. If I'd been 100% mentally well I would have remembered that psychiatric treatment wasn't a positive experience because I knew this from what my mother had to go through. But fortunately my psychosis meant I was somewhat removed from reality.
In 1984 I knew what I would be facing and was more fearful. But I knew also that I had no option and would have to enter the psychiatric ward, and did so unwillingly although not dragging my feet. My baby was 3 days old, my third son. Forced injections followed and I was discharged again with numb hip muscles from the injections. A mother again who had been forcibly drugged.
On both occasions I recovered by taking charge of my own mental health, tapering the chlorpromazine and getting back on with my busy life as a mother and community development worker in different settings. I'd become a Christian in 1981 so was involved in church work also.
Then in 2002, working full-time in community development, I experienced a menopausal psychosis and knew that I'd have to go again into a psychiatric ward and face forced drug treatment, coercion and control. I had no option and knew it so went into Lomond Ward, Stratheden Hospital, voluntarily.
I did consider leaving as I remembered what my oldest son had gone through in Lomond Ward in 1995/6, his head injury, his forced drug treatment and forced ECT that resulted in a critical incident. But as I considered this I was told that I had been detained for 72hrs and had to take the "medication". The game was up, I swallowed the risperidone under coercion.
I'd moved my mother to the Cupar area in 1993 and she had continued to get her depot injection of depixol every 3wks, although in my opinion she didn't require this treatment or level of control. But she chose to accept it voluntarily and lived with the consequences, dying in 1998 at age 68yrs, before her time. My mother had also experienced psychiatric abuse from the 1950's onwards but didn't speak of it.
In 2012 I advocated for my youngest son who was subject to psychiatric abuse in Stratheden Hospital. And for taking this stand I was coerced and bullied by psychiatric staff. Badmouthed in psychiatric notes. Slandered and accused by a range of "professionals". The label "family history of schizoaffective disorder" was written in my son's notes to justify their behaviour. Blaming a mother for system failure.
At the end of 2012 and into 2013 I stood with and advocated for my middle son as he found himself a psychiatric inpatient, not in Fife. The same forced treatment with cocktails of psychiatric drugs although my son was a willing conscript except for the forced injections which I complained about.
But I wasn't coerced or bullied in this hospital where I hadn't been a psychiatric inpatient and where they had no record of my psychiatric labels.