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  • Margot Jarvis Genger

Ever Been To The Hospital?

October 16, 2020

My experience: Three trips to Sempervirens, each lasting over 72 hours. Three weeks in Napa State Mental Hospital, a locked facility for the insane. And finally, the worst, a solid month in Beverly Manor, an unlocked front door but no patients were allowed beyond our quarters.

My hospital stays occurred in 1977. This was before Ronald Reagan shut down mental hospitals to save money. My hospital care may have been superior to what it is now. Conversations I've had with two younger people and one mental health professional believe the mental health system is broken. In my home town, mental health care is sorely lacking.

I was given heavy duty drugs back then... drugs that were primarily for treating schizophrenia. Thorazine, Haldol, Mellaril, maybe more, I can't remember. I remember being stiff as a board and the only comfortable position was to lay down flat on my back. I took Thorazine for the longest time. the doctor said he wouldn't see me if I ever quit taking it, that I would go crazy again if I quit. My mom and my brother said they'd rather see me be crazy than be a total zombie. I finally quit on my own and thankfully, I didn't go crazy. That psychiatrist lost his license a few times.

What are your experiences? I'd love to hear from you.

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