When I was transferred to my pediatric psychiatrist, I didn’t how debilitating she would be to my recovery. Our first meeting she blamed my depression on my parents divorce. I had never dealt with any huge misfortune in my life other than the divorce so it made perfect sense to my Borderline mind that it wasn’t my fault but someone else’s.
By the age of 16 I had been hospitalized 12 times for a total of 2 years in a hospital bed at the mental health in-patient pediatric unit. I was denied education due to “safety” risks, and I missed many beautiful seasons due to these safety risks forcing me to stay on the unit.
The years went by and I turned 18. I was finally out of the hospital and back in high school. I was lucky enough to attend PineRidge Secondary School where I was admitted to the SAL education program. This program allowed me to miss most of the school day to get the rest I needed. I only had to attend school 3x a week for 2 hours a day so most of my schoolwork was completed at home.
I was 18 but I was at the education level of a Grade 10 student (15 years old). I felt like a failure, stupid, and unworthy of education all together. When I approached my pediatric psychiatrist about my feelings, she told me to accept my truth. She said I was hospitalized as a child therefore I never got the education needed, I wouldn’t graduate on time or attend college – and university is completely unrealistic for someone at my level. She told me I would likely be in my 20’s by the time I graduated high school – if I ever did. She validated my insecurities and told me I shouldn’t bother trying anymore – I had did this to myself. She told me I was uneducated, responsible for my own mental illness, and I would likely never get better. Later, she proceeded to tell me I was selfish and she couldn’t work with me anymore since I was a “lost cause.” My therapist at the time was let go by this psych because she stood up for me and was going to complain to the chair about my psych but she never got the chance.
The psych said that anger is the only emotion and sadness is self-pity. So, instead of taking everything she said and turning it into mourning of the life I could have had. I got mad, and I got even. I graduated high school on time with honors and three separate awards for my work in the community, and I was accepted to university with a full-scholarship.
Sadly, my mental health did decline and I never accepted the offer to university. I got a new psychiatrist who I love but at the time I was transferred to C4, the adult psychiatric in-paitent unit and things got worse.
I escaped from PICU on a Thursday afternoon. I made it to the main floor by the Tim Horton’s in the cafeteria. I was caught by three security guards and as I laid on the ground I heard someone talking…it was my sister talking to my pediatric psychiatrist. Since a “Code White” had been called hospital wide the nearest psych had to come and assess what had happened. She walked past me with her high heels clicking…
Psych: “Who is this?”
Sister: “It’s Malvern”
Sister: “You were his psychiatrist for nine years…”
My face was held down by the guards so I never did get to see her. My sister later told me that she didn’t remember me and simply walked by, not even looking at her old patient who laid on the floor, screaming.
That was one of the most motivational moments of my life.
I have always wanted to help people. I knew what it was like to be in pain, to lose someone, to hate yourself, to be completely out of control of what was happening to my very own brain. I applied to university again at 21 years old and I was accepted. I will be attending McMaster majoring in Justice, Political Philosophy, and Law this fall. My major interest? Health Law.
I know what it’s like to be ignored, have an emotionally abusive doctor, to be put in The Quiet Room for thirteen hours for “talking back” with no entertainment except for my own mind. I saw other patients be hurt, manipulated, and bullied. I’m dedicating my career to changing the health system. I won’t sit by and watch people who have been emotionally abused in their life become victims when they are trying to receive professional help. The health system in Canada is not ok. One of every 37 patients who get admitted to the hospital will be victims of malpractice, one is every 10 patients will be admitted on false pretenses, and one in every 1,300 patients will die due to the wait time in the emergency room.
My pediatric psychiatrist was my motivation to begin a new life by fixing what I had been a victim to for nine years.