2011 isnu2019t a year I like to recollect. Aside from grieving the loss of my grandparents a few years prior, 2011 is probably the time of my life that I have the most trouble talking about and accepting. At 24 years old there was nothing fun about being a girl who (at the time) didnu2019t want to live. Iu2019d suffered on and off with depression for years, with no real treatment. The medications I did try either made me non-functional or were of no help whatsoever, so I decided I was going to try and get better on my own u2013 all the help that did (it didnu2019t) u2013 and on one late November evening Iu2019d decided Iu2019d had enough. I was dealing with a lot and Iu2019d let my emotions bottle up for so long that I couldnu2019t take it anymore. I sent text messages to some of my closest friends, including some family, told them they wouldnu2019t see me anymore and subsequently locked myself in the bathroom and attempted to ingest several pills (but not before throwing myself down a flight of stairs in attempt to break my neck.) I canu2019t say for sure if I was attempting suicide or just really wanted someone to take me and what I was going through seriously, as prior to November Iu2019d been seen in the ER a total of 30 times for symptoms involving trouble swallowing and pain in my throat. Iu2019d been told repeatedly by hospital staff that u201cnothing was wrongu201d with me, which I would have to say was definitely a contributing factor leading up to my attempt at harming myself. I was sick of not being believed and I was sick of feeling sick and wanted to end it. If I wasnu2019t alive, I thought, then I wouldnu2019t have to deal with the pain u2013 not just the pain of my symptoms, but the pain of life. Because it was exhausting. Well, ultimately my suicide attempt (or whatever you want to call it) didnu2019t work, because here I am. The only thing that it resulted in was me with a lot of bruises and being taken to BURNABY GENERAL HOSPITAL and admitted involuntarily u2013 which, believe me, I was not happy about. The first 24 hours I spent in the hospital are a bit of a blur (they loaded me up on extreme doses of sleeping meds), but I remember calling one nurse u201c******* rudeu201d and a u201c*****.u201d I also remember them promising me and my family that I wouldnu2019t be there over 24 hours. They just wanted to get me on a medication so Iu2019d be better able to cope with the depression and anxiety I was dealing with surrounding my health issues (which was later discovered to be acid reflux so bad that it was burning my esophagus u2013 so no, it wasnu2019t u201cnothingu201d like the hospital claimed), or so they told me. But one thing I quickly learned during my admission: Hospital staff lie. My 24 hour stay turned into 2 weeks, and the following day I was moved into the psychiatric unit of the facility. To say that was an eye-opener would be an understatement. I donu2019t know what I expected going into it, but it certainly wasnu2019t anything I thought it would be. Itu2019s not what you see in the movies. In fact, itu2019s much worse than that. The unit was mixed with patients suffering from everything from post-partum depression, anxiety, to the more severe side of things such as schizophrenia and mania. Oh, and did I mention it was co-ed? Aside from nursing staff (who usually kept to themselves in their staff room), there was no sense of security (patients were free to mix and mingle with one another), which I soon learned when another male patient continuously began following myself and a fellow female patient (who was just 16 at the time) around and even threatened to rape us. I obviously brought this to the staffu2019s attention, but was anything done about it? Of course not. We were the u201cmentalu201d ones. Why would they believe anything we had to say? During my second day of admission I was assigned a Psychiatrist. This psychiatrist had a very holier-than-thou attitude about him, which some might argue most Psychiatrists do, but something seemed very off about this guy. While I could take his attitude, what I couldnu2019t take (nor was it something I prepared myself for) were his taunts or his line of questioning, which became extremely inappropriate. When I would ask him how long he expected me to remain hospitalized, his response was: u201cWho knows. You might be here over Christmas,u201d or would say, u201cSome people have been here for a year.u201d As someone who was diagnosed as having separation anxiety when I was just 15 years old (something he was well aware of), it is my belief that he only made those statements to gauge what kind of reaction I would have. Mental manipulation, if you will. Another incident occurred where Iu2019d had an allergic reaction to ethnic food that had been brought in by a fellow patient. My eyes got red and swollen and my throat became irritated. For one reason or another, the nursing staff advised me that they did not have Benadryl on premises u2013 something I found odd considering that this was a hospital. I could have died! They asked that I immediately contact someone I know to bring Benadryl to the hospital for me, so that is what I did. When the Psychiatrist learned of this the following day, he punished me for having what he called an u201cafter-hours visitoru201d and then told me that he would not allow me to have any further visits from people during the rest of my 2-week stay. No friends, no family, no nothing. Whatever little bit of communication that I had with the outside world had been cut off by him thanks to something that wasnu2019t even my fault. Perhaps the most severe and disturbing incident of all, however, were questions the Psychiatrist asked me which, in my opinion, had no bearing whatsoever on my hospitalization and were questions that the answers to were not only none of his business, but questions that were highly inappropriate in nature. He would ask me about my relationship status and previous boyfriends, and when I said I wasnu2019t interested in being in a relationship and wanted to work on bettering myself, he asked me the following: u201cDonu2019t you want a guy to just ravish you in bed?u201d To say that I was shocked by that question would be an understatement, and when I let him know that I was uncomfortable with the line of questioning he wouldnu2019t budge and would instead threaten to take my day passes away (I was allowed outside of the ward for small amounts of time) and also threaten that he wouldnu2019t discharge me. So I did as I was told and answered every question, as dolorous as they made me feel. He had already cut off my visitors, what else would he have done had I not obeyed him? I was afraid of the consequences and certainly didnu2019t want to find out. It was the above incident that, after 4 years, I finally decided to file a complaint against him with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia, as well as the Burnaby RCMP, and it is the correspondence that I received from him this past week in response to my complaint that is the reason why I am now choosing to speak out about what I went through. Until now, this isnu2019t anything Iu2019ve publicly discussed. Not with my friends, my familyu2026no one. For the most part, he denied any wrongdoing. However, many of his denials can be backed up with evidence and can be easily verified by several individuals. I wholeheartedly believe that he and his staff not only falsified documents during my hospital stay, but it is quite evident to me that he is denying much of what happened only to save face. Making sexually suggestive and inappropriate comments and actually admitting to it (although in his response he did actually admit to asking questions pertaining to my relationships, he just didnu2019t go into any further detail than that) would be detrimental to his career, so I canu2019t say that I actually expected any honesty from him to begin with in that regard, nor can I say it surprises me that heu2019s denying my allegations. That being said, all of the other lies he tells throughout his response are baffling to me, especially considering there is evidence against him that proves the contrary. Evidence that, as I stated earlier, can be proven by others. I also know of other patients who have been treated by this very same Psychiatrist, all of whom have less than favourable things to say about him, so I know Iu2019m certainly not the only person to take issue with his conduct. I donu2019t know what the final outcome will be in regards to the complaint I have filed against him. I will say that while I am not the type of person who wants to see anyone lose their career over this, I do want him to be reprimanded for his actions, and if this is the kind of behaviour in which he exudes with his patients then maybe he shouldnu2019t be allowed to practice at all. At the very least, he should have to take a course on boundaries. But thatu2019s not in my hands u2013 the decision isnu2019t up to me. I can only hope the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia will take this seriously enough and do whatu2019s right. If thereu2019s one victim, thereu2019s usually many, and it would be abhorrent if this Psychiatrist was able to slip through the cracks and continue to abuse other patients in the way that he abused me. Mentally, sexually or otherwise.
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