I was born in Russia and was adopted by a single mother who became sick with stage 3 ovarian cancer when I was 4 years old. She passed away when I was 12. After she died, I because extremely depressed and was self-harming intensely. I went to 4 different psych hospitals in California approximately 12 times in a single year. eventually, I became so unsafe that I could not go to school so my school suggested that I receive treatment. An educational consultant recommended that I be sent to a program in Missouri in December of 2015.

I was fine for the first few weeks there but I continued to self-harm and my condition became worse. I was kicked out of my program in Missouri after 16 months then transported to a program in Utah.  While in Utah, I went to 3 psychiatric hospitals and 2 residential treatment centers within an 18 month period.  In all of those programs, my self-harm became worse. I was in the emergency room two times a week either for cutting myself,  swallowing objects, or some other type of harm to myself. I was woken up at 4 AM on the day I was transported out of Utah. At the time, I was sleeping in the hallway due to being on suicide watch.  The program director, 2 huge men in black suits,  and a lady told me to come with them. At that point, I was transported to Texas.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I was tired of getting moved around. My self-harm was at its worst in Texas. That program kept me on 1:1 in a room with staff at arm’s length. I couldn’t have anything except the furniture that was already bolted in and a pillow and blanket. I had no coping skill. After a month, I was approved to have paper.  After 2 months, I was allowed to have crayons. I was denied schooling due to not having privileges for writing instruments. I was in that room for 8 months and towards the end, I finally received my own blanket, crayons, and a journal. The abuse at the program was hidden but after I left, I realized how it had affected me.

I was put on 8 meds in the morning, 4 in the evening, and 6 at night. I don’t remember almost half of them. I was drugged for the majority of my stay.

In my last severe self-harm incident there, I took a large paper clip broke it in half, and swallowed it. For that entire night, I was in severe pain but since I always self-harmed, the staff said I was fine.

I went to the doctor the next day and it was weirdly positioned. The doctor said I would pass it through my stool. However, a week later, I went back to the doctor and IT WAS STILL IN THE SAME SPOT. I was given Miralax and got told to keep checking my feces.

2 weeks after I swallowed the paperclip,  I was still in excruciating pain. I cut myself in the hopes that I could go to the ER since the program wouldn’t take me.

After succeeding in being sent to the ER, The doctor walked into my room. I didn’t even bother to tell him about the cut. Instead, I told him that had a paperclip stuck in my stomach.

Since it was stuck, they had an emergency endoscopy done. The procedure was supposed to take 15 minutes but it ended up being 2 hours due to a tear starting to rip in my stomach which was letting acid into places that should not be present.

The doctor told me if that hadn’t been taken out that day I would’ve died within the next few days. According to the doctor, he thought I was extremely lucky.

I returned after 3 days of being in the hospital and the first thing I said walking on the unit was, “I SAVED MYSELF AND YALL WERE GONNA LET ME DIE.”

I was told to stop being dramatic. I was sent back to the empty room until I was pulled from the program.

I was in 12 facilities from the ages of 14 to 18. Due to this, I never went to high school.  I was released a month before I turned 18. Once I was released, I ended up in foster care and was put into a group home 3 days before my 18th birthday. Everything happens for a reason but much of what happened in treatment shouldn’t have happened. I will be forever affected by what I experienced. 

I cannot take psychiatric meds anymore. I get very sick when I attempt to. I have extreme social anxiety now which I did not have before. That came from not having normal social interactions for years.

I did not learn anything from treatment. Instead, I was able to get better despite them wanting to bring me down.

A week before I was discharged, all the kids and STAFF were betting how long I would last on the outside before I killed myself.

Despite that, I had a few staff who were amazing. I thank them with all my heart for saving me at times I needed saving but that was a few staff, not the overall program.

I would never return to that place in Texas. It doesn’t deserve anything good. They ruined good things for good people.

Thank you for listening to my story💞