I am sitting in the corner of the dayroom, minding my own business. Not talking to anyone, not looking at anything, not moving. The other patients are loudly socializing. I wouldn't know how to indicate interest even if I wanted to, so I don't.
I can feel the staff approaching before I see them. Maybe it's the way everything goes quiet around them, and people edge away. They squat around my chair in a semicircle and say my name. I don't respond. They tell me I'm misbehaving by sitting there. I still don't respond, so they grab me.
This isn't a new routine. Being grabbed freaks me out. I struggle. They hold tighter. I kick and twist. They clear everyone else out of the room. "Code stat" goes out over the intercom. Oh shit.
People come running into the unit, and several of them pin me to the floor, twisting my arms. One of them sits on me. It's hard to breathe. I do what any sane person would do: I scream and struggle until I'm out of breath. Or try. They hit me and tell me to shut up. "Your attention-seeking histrionics are scaring the other patients." Apparently it's not okay for kids to scream when they're being sat on.
I'm still screaming when eight of them carry me into a little room and tie me to a bed. One leather cuff on each limb. A leather belt across my waist, the wrist cuffs tied to it. Another strap across my chest. That one's made out of canvas instead of leather. I try to bite it off. They laugh. "At least you're not screaming anymore." No, I'm past screaming. I'm quietly panicking and trying to get my mind anywhere but where I am.
After they're done securing the straps, they leave the room. "We'll check every fifteen minutes. If you're quiet, we'll start letting you out." They shut a door with a little observation window on it. Through it, I can see a clock.
An hour goes by, and I can see no faces at the observation window. I hear a lot of voices though: The staff are gossiping, as usual, about the patients. They even try to come up with diagnoses, although none of them are technically qualified to do it. When they talk about me, it's mainly to say there's no point in wasting time on me. You can't do anything for people like me, and there are motivated patients in here who deserve their attention more and will likely only spend a few days in the nuthouse anyway. I'm not getting better, this annoys them, and I'll end up in a chronic care institution eventually, they say. They seem divided on whether I am very crazy or just very disagreeable. I wonder whether I should be scared or not. I'm mostly emotionally numb; I'm way too used to this.
I have an itch. I can't scratch it with my hands tied. I compress my right hand tightly and try to work it out of the wrist restraint. I succeed. Right about then, a psychiatric technician looks in. She looks mad. More faces appear at the window.
As the door opens, I try to put my hand back in the cuff. It won't fit. A psych tech stands over me with her hands on her hips. "That's enough of your bullshit. We don't have to tolerate this kind of behavior." She motions to the others, and they unclip the wrist restraints from the waist belt. One of them roughly grabs my right wrist and restrains it, tighter this time, and tightens the restraint on my left wrist. They attach the wrist cuffs to the straps on the bed, and yank my arms down as far as they go. One of my shoulders feels nearly dislocated.
They leave again. My hands are numb, there's pain shooting down my arms, and I feel exposed with nothing protecting the front of my body. I start screaming again. One of them looks in and shakes her head at me. I look at my wrists, but she's gone. I panic.
Pretty soon, they're in here with a needle. Standard routine. They pull my pants down, turn me to the side, and give me a shot. It doesn't hurt, and it doesn't calm me down. I keep screaming, chanting phrases that usually calm me down. In fifteen minutes, they're back with another shot. They keep this up for a few hours. I keep up the screaming. And sweating. Somewhere in there, I ask for water. "We're busy charting right now." I try to shut my mouth, but I freak out and start chanting again.
Deciding to change the drug, they come in with another shot. I don't feel any calmer, but it's harder to move and think. My muscles tense up, but I can't struggle. "Good. That one worked. It's hard to get any work done with all that yelling." One of them sees my mouth still muttering the phrases. She points it out to the other one. They laugh as they leave the room.
I start getting tired. While I'm on the edge of sleep, they look in again. They comment on how well-behaved I am now, how I'm almost likable at times like this. I wonder if this is why they call it a quiet room. I try to puzzle out what I've done wrong to get put in here all the time. Then brain fog sets in and I fall asleep.
This is undoubtedly a composite of several similar experiences. I appear to have dealt with this stuff by remembering these events in fragments, which is probably just as well because remembering them all at once could cause trouble. However, every fragment is true and most probably happened more than once.