It was the last day of school. My 9th grade year. I had just turned 15. All of my Catholic School friends had wealthy families who all had numberous vacation homes. My friends decided we were going to go to Palm Springs on the last day of school to spend a weekend partying. Drinking, doing coke, dropping acid… you know. Normal teenage stuff…
My parents were always very strict and didn’t like many of my friends because they were all older and had a lot of freedom. I generally didn’t get to do anything that my friends were able to do, and I had an 11pm curfew, which meant we had to leave whatever we were doing an hour earlier than anyone else had to leave on weekends to get me home. Once I got home, my dad was always waiting up for me. He’d stop me at the door and look at my eyes to see if I was stoned, which I always was. It got to be such an inconvenience to my blossoming social life that I just started leaving on Friday night and not coming home until Sunday. That way I had freedom and could do what I wanted.
My school was all girls and down the street there was an all boys school. Both Catholic, only the boys didn’t have to wear uniforms. We did. All of my friends were seniors. We had about 4 houses all in the same gated community in Palm Springs where we would be staying with no parental supervision. Much to my surprise, my parents happily allowed me to go. After all we had been through as a family that year, I thought they were finally coming around and realizing that I needed my freedom. The only request they had was that I go see a new therapist before we left.
My family had been in therapy for about 2 years. My therapist decided that I was becoming self destructive so she suggested my parents take me to see a psychiatrist to be evaluated. I had never been a suicidal kid and I would never hurt myself or take my own life, but I did carve a boy’s name in my leg, which was troubling to my family and therapist. I didn’t even really carve it. I more so scratched it with a straight pin. One of my friends had done it and I thought it was cool and so I wanted to do it too. That was the reason I had to see this new doctor. But whatever, I just wanted to get the hell out of town since this was going to be a weekend for the books!!
So we show up at this hospital and go inside and put our name in at the reception desk, then sit down. I pick up a magazine not really paying attention as I flip through the pages. All I can think about is cocaine and Brian Hensley, who was one of the guys going that was a senior I had been flirting with for some time.
Eventually they call my parents up to the front and I see my mom rummaging through her purse for her wallet and my dad was signing forms. I got up to walk over there and I see the most handsome, tall, super tan man who was nicely dressed, with a shorter, VERY heavy black woman. They walk up to me and introduce themselves as Jamie and Nadine. They tell me they have something to show me and urge me to come with them. My parents assure me they’ll be right behind me. But these 2 people grab my arms tightly, which is very strange to me and lead me behind a locked door. We walk outside and pass by a pool and then go inside another locked door. They put me into a room with bean bags and square brightly colored ottoman style blocks and a big long mirror. I’m still oblivious to what is happening to me. My parents walk in a few minutes later, along with Nadine, the big black lady with glasses and they tell me that they are very sorry, but my therapist, Laura, decided that this would be the best place for me and that I would be getting the help I need. Wait… Come again?
This was a psychiatric hospital and I was in a teen locker unit for troubled girls. They were leaving me here. I was still confused and in disbelief. I had to go to Palm Springs. Brian and I were gonna hook up that weekend! My friends were waiting for me! What the FUCK was going on and how could they do this to me? I FLIPPED OUT and started throwing everything I could find and screaming that I hated my parents and that I would never forgive them for this. I ran out of that room and straight for the door. Which was locked.
My mom was crying and Nadine was telling them that I would be fine and that they should go. This was it. It was real. I was locked up in a psychiatric hospital. For real.
This was the day that my life got put on pause. I was sure my life was over.