Revisiting the Scene of a Crime
Last week I received an invitation from The National Empowerment Center for an event on November 8th in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. They have a great program planned but I couldn’t focus on it because I got stuck on the venue – The Red Lion Inn – right across the street from a psychiatric hospital where my daughter spent nearly a year.
It was from The Austen Riggs Center that she fled for her life in February, 2009. She has spent the last year and eight months withdrawing from the truckloads of drugs they had her on and trying to see herself as a person with a soul worth saving.
Back when we were still duped by the psychiatric industry and searching the country for relief for the problems which seemed to escalate with each admission and expulsion from hospitals and treatment facilities, I spent hours pacing the rooms of the Red Lion Inn.
On each visit, I found my daughter worse than the time before. I sat in those rooms searching the internet for information on drug combinations and learned for the first time about tardive dyskinesia after watching my daughter’s right arm slashing out into space over lunch.
The Austen Riggs Center lures their clients in by telling them that they are the “premier facility” for the “treatment resistant patient”. We were desperate after years of being told that my daughter was “non-compliant”, would be medicated for life and would never live on her own outside of a residential treatment.
What we discovered was that Austen Riggs is no different than any local psych ward. Despite their unlocked door policy, they rely heavily on drugs to subdue their clients.
It has been a struggle to come off all the psych drugs but my daughter has made it and is living competently on her own in New York City.
I wrote a note to Leah Harris one of the organizers. When I didn’t hear back from her after a couple of days, I assumed she wrote me off – an overwrought mom or a random person looking for a fight. The thing is, this is not where I expected to continue my “fight”.
I have quickly become a vocal advocate for change in the mental health system. I am not shy and have been very present on facebook and in the blogosphere – writing rebuttals to ridiculous pieces in the in the Huffington Post by DJ Jaffee and Craig Garner, recently searching the net for the first publications which talked of overhauling the psychiatric system and I have opened up about my conversion from a “follower of the doctor’s orders” in revealing and often difficult posts.
Is Austen Riggs affiliated with this event? If so, WHY?
This was my question to Ms. Harris. I could get over the fact that I never wanted to see the quaint, historic streets of Stockbridge again, even if I think it is appalling that they subject people to staying in the only available place for visitors to the Austen Riggs Center. But, tell me – why Stockbridge?