This is the true story of a brave grandmother who has decided to speak out against psychiatric oppression. The names of the people involved have been changed at this point to protect their identities.
What can I do? She was just a 13-year-old girl when it all went wrong with her parents. No-one listened to her, or me. I wanted to protect my grandchild, to keep her safe; to give her a good home. However, we were overruled by a Trust whose arrogance was difficult to contend with. Elle was taken away. I didn’t know where she went, or what was happening to her. It was something against which I couldn’t fight back. It was eerily silent.
My granddaughter was 24-years-old when, many years later, the psychiatric hospital contacted me. I was elated. I was told where she was and I made the necessary arrangements to go and see her.
In those lost years, there’s wasn’t a day went by when I didn’t think of her. I thought she was being cared for. I wasn’t prepared for what I found when I finally got to see her again. I was shocked and dismayed. My beautiful grandchild was unrecognisable. Her beautiful face scarred, her body bloated to twice its former size due to the psychiatric drugs pushed into her. Detained in an environment that had nothing to do with therapy, but which had everything to do with being imprisoned without hope.
But she’s still alive, so there’s hope, right? I tried again more recently to free her, but to no avail. The Trust personnel won’t admit they got it wrong, or that they’re still getting it wrong now. They have labelled her, misdiagnosed her, tried to silence her, drugged her and bounced her from one miserable place to another miserable, horrible place, indifferent to all common sense.
Laws and regulations to protect patients ‘held for their own safety’ are slyly and slickly bypassed using well-rehearsed deceit and manipulation. Elle is being exploited for the high fees paid for her ‘care.’ Money comes first – not the person’s needs. Elle is blamed for all wrong doings according to the Trust’s actions on paper. After all, ‘it’s all in her head,’ isn’t it?
Since grandparents seem to have no rights, I find myself in despair. I’m still unable to really help, or free Elle. If we complain, she is forcibly restrained and injected with a drug called Acuphase. There’s still no discharge plan. The responsible clinician thinks he’s God and won’t allow a second opinion by an independent expert. The reports are still inaccurate; they are falsified. The same person, who sectioned Elle all those years ago, is still in charge of her now.
Hope? What is there to hope for? Elle says ‘the only way I can get out of here is in a body bag.’ Should I hope Elle becomes a statistic so she stops being tortured and caused yet more pain because I’m so tired of praying for a miracle? Her physical and mental health is deteriorating. She has the rights of a vegetable; no quality of life, no fresh air, no exercise, no access to education – she is held on the ward, and remains isolated.
Currently, Elle is 300 miles away from me, and they refuse to transfer her. The pretentious Trust personnel say, ‘she is in the best place.’ Really?
What can I do? What can I do? There must be a way I can help Elle, surely, apart from ‘bite your tongue Nan or they’ll only make life worse for me.’
For the sake of my granddaughter, I can’t bite my tongue any more. If I do, she’ll get worse anyway. That’s what’s happening now. Or I can speak out and fight for her welfare and her freedom. I’ve made my choice and that’s why you’re reading this. I hope to write again in the near future to give you some good news.
CCHR UK wants to acknowledge the grandmother for sharing her story, and will be working with her to find a way to bring an end to the psychiatric abuse.