When I was sixteen I had therapy.
My parents thought they are doing the right thing, and I do not blame them.
They trusted the Doctors to take care of their daughter.
The problem was the type of the therapy.
It involved Ward Rounds.
Ten people would appear, and discuss my case. They would leave the room, and then tell me their decision.
One, I was not involved in the Ward Round, or the decision, nor was I allowed to debate it.
This set the scene of my therapy for the next week.
I had to get used to all the Nurses, including male nurses, walking up to me and entering into a personal conversation.
I had no warning, nor did I get a choice if this would happen, or which topic would be discussed.
If I did confide something, despite being assured that I was safe, it could be used as a weapon.
Or twisted in some way: ‘You said..’,
when I didn’t.
Once my family therapy was discussed in front of other patients.
I felt unwell for years, and never knew the cause, but I do now.
I had no privacy. I was at an age when teenagers are learning about intimacy, and I did not have the same opportunities of my peer group.
Most teenagers learn intimacy by getting close to a friend, and moving on from that to a boy friend, and hopefully on their own terms.
They may make mistakes, but hopefully they stay safe and learn about intimacy in the right way.
I was thrown into a situation in which I had little control over who knew my personal details.
There was no reward like friendship or attention from a boyfriend. It was cold and clinical.
They broke down my walls because it was considered healthy to talk, to share.
They thought they would find out what was wrong, but never did because I was too unwell to engage in real therapy.
I never built those walls again. I tried a few times, but it was pointless.
I withdrew. I don’t have friends. I don’t date anymore, and my family know I don’t like to be touched.
I hope one day teenagers receive better care, as although they may need psychiatric support, they also need privacy, and greater choice over who is involved in their affairs.