I suppose I should have said from the start that this is really Abigael’s story to tell; but I am out so I am starting. She can change anything she wants to when she gets the opportunity. I’m sure I’m missing details that she will want to add; but many of us are familiar enough with the story to tell it.
So we left off with us being taken away in a police vehicle, not knowing where, why, or what would become of us.
It turned out to be about a 20-30 minute drive. When we exited the vehicle, we read on the side of the building that we were at a state mental hospital. We sat in a large room for quite a while. Part of the time we were alone. There was a large mirror in the center of one wall; and when the light shown just right you could see that there were two men sitting at a desk facing the room behind the mirror. I said and did nothing but try to compose myself and not let my imagination try to figure out what was going to happen to me now.
After a while one of the officers came in and was rude and obnoxious, insisting that I was intentionally being uncooperative and giving them grief. As if this was all my idea!? I refused to be bullied into loosing my temper or saying anything different. If I could have given them what they wanted, I surely would have long before I had been forced to go with them. The whole situation was too bazaar to even attempt to make sense out of it. After about 20 minutes or so the officer left the room; and a few minutes later a different officer came into the room. He sat close to me and spoke in soothing conciliatory tones. I finally said something along the lines that there was no point in continuing the “good cop/ bad cop” charades. I was no more able to tell this officer what he wanted to know than the other guy. He immediately got up and left. A bit later someone came in with a stack of papers and a pen. They were handed to me and I was told to sign them.
I looked at them and read. They were obviously legal papers saying I was volunteering to admit myself and accept treatment. At the bottom of the paper it said that I had read all the papers and understood them, and that all my questions had been answered. There were statements on those papers that only a truly crazy or desperate person would sign. When I took the time to attempt to read them, the person waiting for the signed papers got very obnoxious and insisted I just sign them. I countered with the fact that it was full of legal terms I didn’t understand and I wasn’t going to sign something I didn’t understand that clearly was forfeiting my legal rights. The woman became upset and angry, trying to bully me into signing them. In response I started to cross out things I didn’t agree to, but before the pen could touch the paper she snatched them from me and emphatically said I was not permitted to cross out or add anything – just sign them. I insisted I couldn’t sign them without reading and understanding them. At that point she grabbed them away from me and left making it abundantly clear she was not happy with me. She said something like, “Fine, then, we’ll just have to do it the hard way!”
Those were scary words to hear. There was nothing easy about anything that they had done or said so far. I was certain that what was happening to me could not be legal and I had every intention of recording every detail to replay in court when I got a chance.
Many of my things were taken away from me – some of them were ridiculous. Like, for example, my shoe laces, and toe nail clippers. I was put in a room close to the nurses station behind locked doors. They had insisted on calling me by a name I didn’t know (If they were so sure they knew who I was and where I lived, then what in the world was this all supposed to be about? None of it made any sense to me at all.) One thing I did learn from reading the papers I didn’t sign was that if I didn’t sign them I would be admitted against my will for 72 hours after which I would be seen by a judge who would evaluate whether or not I would have to continue to be hospitalized and for how long. I figured that meant I had 72 hours to endure at which point I needed to be able to convince the judge that I knew who I was and where I lived (at least that seemed to be the issue used to force me in here, though I couldn’t imagine what about that entitled me to the treatment I was receiving.) I would use the time to learn all I could about the person they all were convinced I was so I could parrot back to them what they wanted to hear. I was certain once I got out of this situation I would calm down and know who I really was and where I really lived. I would be moving out of that town as quick as possible, and then I would go about making formal charges against the state for unlawful arrest..or detainment or whatever it would be called.
Once I was settled in my room, I approached the nurses desk and asked when I would be permitted to speak with my lawyer. They were very snippy informing me that I hadn’t been arrested so therefore I had no right to speak with a lawyer. That was a bit hard to swallow – a criminal has a right to legal council but a person who hadn’t committed a crime yet was being detained against their will had no legal rights? Apparently this was and is the case. So I asked for access to a phone and phone book. They insisted I did not have the right to contact a lawyer, but I said I wanted to call a friend of the family. I just didn’t know the number.
The only phone I was permitted to use was a pay phone right in front of the nurses station. At that point I had little patience left so I didn’t try to hide the fact that I was looking at the yellow pages for a lawyer. I picked a name randomly and tried to speak softly but it was set up to prevent privacy of any kind. The lawyer I called interrupted me, told me he knew me (I found that rather astonishing since I wasn’t sure of that myself), and he would represent me and talk to me just before the judge saw us.
The next task I had for myself was to record in as much detail as possible everything that had happened that day. I asked the nurses for pen and paper. They gave me a tiny stub of a pencil and a legal pad. I had to chuckle at their passive-aggressive behavior. They referred to me as being uncooperative and were very snippy towards me.I kept asking them for a sharper pencil or to sharpen the one they gave me until they finally gave me a pen to get me out of their hair. That was fine by me.
At the time I was placed in my holding pen, I was given a stack of standard admission papers stating my “rights” and “responsibilities”. It included a list of things I would have to comply with, a schedule, etc. It stated that within 24 hours of admission I would be evaluated by a physician, and that if I didn’t want their physician to evaluate me I had the right to request that my own physician do the physical. I had no intention of letting any of their people tough me or give me medications, so when I was called to be seen by the physician, I stated I wanted to be evaluated by my own physician. The second I said that the doctor threw his hands in the air, turned his back to me, and said, “That’s it. I’m not doing another thing. ”
Next I needed to find out as much as I could about this person I was supposed to be. The police report and admission papers gave me some names and numbers to start with. I could get more from those. One of the names was the stranger in the van. He was supposed to be a very close personal friend (so why in the world didn’t he know I wasn’t who he was looking for?!); and another was a woman who the report said was my counselor, but when I talked to her she was emphatic that she was not my counselor (so why was she involved at all?) She had been at the scene for part of the episode – she must have arrived when the officer was demanding I tell him who I was and where I lived. These people should have known I wasn’t who they were saying I was. It was so confusing. I still wasn’t sure they weren’t going to try some experimental “treatment” or something on me. I was very afraid to eat or drink anything they gave me. The people I spoke to on the phone kept trying to explain to me this really strange diagnosis they said I had which caused me to not know who I really was. They were so certain they understood it all and it all made sense to them. Well, that’s not exactly what they were saying; but it was the impression they gave me. But I kept coming back to the core question: How can there be more than one personality sharing the same brain but not knowing about each other? It seemed so impossible to me.
By the time I got everything written down that had happened during that wild and crazy day, it was late and I was exhausted. Just as I was drifting off to sleep, I heard a very young child’s voice come out of my mouth saying, “Mommy”.
I KNOW it had not passed through my brain; and that wasn’t my voice. It struck like a bolt of lightening. What I had thought just moments before was some twisted plot to make me think I was crazy suddenly became a very real, terrifying possibility. I had a lot to learn in a very short amount of time….tomorrow.