Today, for your edification, I offer up two discharge summaries, one written about me when I was released from a psychiatric ward in 1969 when I was 16 and the second that was written in 1984 when I was discharged after a brief stay after a bad reaction to a movie I saw about incest. I was 31 and had two daughters, aged four and one.
I think you will see that not much changed in the intervening 15 years. The prevailing attitudes about mental illness, women, and domestic abuse and sexual violence did not evolve. In fact, the sexism and outright misogyny of psychiatrists and their ilk has become even more lethal as one in four American women has been pressured into consuming psych drugs because she has been convinced she has a defective brain with congenital chemical imbalances.
These documents are part of the medical record that I obtained in my effort to force the psychomedical system to stop it’s widespread abuse of women and children. I have linked to the original posts that I wrote about these two documents.
First Discharge Summary
R.J. Meyer Hospital November 20, 1969
Smith, Jeanne A. of 645 Northumberland Avenue, Buffalo, NY age 16, d.o.b. 6/8/53, white, single, protestant, female, admitted 10/7/69, discharged 10/21/69
Presenting Complaint: The patient was brought to the hospital by the police because she threatened to kill herself on the day of 10/7/69.
History of present illness: The patient left home to stay with one of her girlfriends two days before admission. The patient resisted to go home after her parents requested her to do so. The police were then asked to bring the patient home, but she still persisted and threatened to kill herself anyway.
Course of the patient’s problem: The patient’s mother died four years ago from cancer of the uterus. The patient’s father remarried one years after her mother’s death. She was the first of four siblings (one from her stepmother) It was felt that the stepmother caused problems to the first three children, as she was the strong, domineering person in the family. She was described as a very strict person, but underlying, very anxious and dependent. The father is described as a very weak person and was once hospitalized for a mental breakdown.
Mental status: The patient on admission was crying and said repeatedly that she wanted to die. She was depressed and admitted that she threatened to kill herself. Her insight was fair, as well as her orientation, memory and general intelligence.
Hospital course: The patient stayed in bed the first few days and looked sad and kept crying. Her emotional affect was rather labile and impulsive. She refused to see her parents and said she didn’t want to go home anymore. The patient was on no regular meds except librium 25 mg. prn.
Final psychiatric diagnosis: Adjustment reaction of adolescence.
My comment: This piece of fiction fascinates me. They blame my stepmother for the problem and fail to mention that my male parent was a batterer and had been hospitalized in a psychiatric hospital for months of electroshock in lieu of being jailed for raping me. He was placed back in the house to continue the rapes. I was nine years old.
It makes me so sad to see how no-one listened to me and that threatening suicide in my desperation to escape constant rape and battery led to my being stigmatized and drugged.
Erie County Medical Center
Second Discharge Summary
Erie County Medical Center January 19, 1984
Jeanne A. Smith, 61 Lasalle, Kenmore, NY 14217
30, White, Female, Married, file # 300358-A
Major Depressive Disorder Adm. 1/15/84 Discharge 1/18/84
History of Present Illness: Patient has past psychiatric history (age 16) She has been involved with Corp 2 (outpatient care) doing well for years but became depressed before Christmas when her husband was laid off. Precipitating factor for this admission was patient viewing T.V. movie (“Something About Amelia”) Patient began suffering “flashbacks” about incestuous relationship she had with her father. (emphasis mine - RAPE IS NOT A RELATIONSHIP!) Patient relates she was sexually abused by her father from age 6 months to 12 years. Patient admitted because of depression.
Mental Status Examination: Patient appears stated age, casually dressed, kempt. She is co-operative, affect is fearful and depressed mood is highly anxious, hands shaking. Thoughts slightly fragmented, speech is clear and coherent, slightly pressured thought content, obsessive thoughts about incest, somatic complaints possibly related to incest. Depressive thoughts, self-illness (what is self-illness? ) Suicidal thoughts and thoughts of harming her nine month old baby. (I said I felt like I might hurt her because no-one was taking my anguish seriously.) She denies hallucinations, is well oriented, memory fair – judgment poor (what were the criteria for judging my level of judgment? Did the fact that I was in pain and complaining about it mean my judgment was bad?), insight good.
Hospital Course: Patient was extremely hysterical and demanding throughout the course of her treatment. She offered many complaints about staff treatment of her, demanded an increase in her medication because she felt she was “out of control”. Patient demanded to see her chart – threatened to hire a lawyer if she was not allowed to see her chart. After three days patient’s mood abruptly changed, she became much less depressed, said, “Having a good cry helped.” Demanded to be released. Patient appeared to be no longer in danger of harming self or others. Discharged in husband’s care.
Discharge Service Plan: Patient referred to Child and Family Services for follow-up. Patient returned home to husband and children.
Dictated by Grace Emblidge, M.S. O.T.R.
My comment: I like reading that I threatened those idiots with a lawyer. Two years later I went on to sue my male parent for sexual assault throughout my childhood. This piece of writing clearly shows that according to the psychomedical system my experience as a survivor of years of sexual assault was trivial and possibly imaginary. Any tears or complaints were seen as symptoms of pathology and my attempt to assert myself was seen as a threat and evidence of my basic unreasonableness.
The dismissive tone of these documents is simply heartbreaking. Psychiatry is the philosophical rationale for rank misogyny, it erases women’s experiences of abuse and exonerates batterers and rapists.