Institutionalized? you don’t say…..

So they we were, parked in front of Charter Westbrook, Richmond VA. For those of you unfamiliar, and I hope you are, unfamiliar. Charter Westbrook is an inpatient facility for the mentally disturbed.

It houses your drug addicts, your bipolars, schizophrenics, manic depressed types, suicidals, eating disorders and so on. So they we were. My father walking into the building, me sitting on the top of his pickup truck. Something told me this was not the “quick little visit to just talk to someone” he had made it out to be. He originally told me he was taking me to see my boyfriend, Ronnie Lee Phelps (god, I loved him). I would have never agreed to get into the truck in the first place.

So there I was sitting on the top of the truck where no one could reach me without any real effort, refusing to go inside. I knew somehow that if I did, I wouldn’t be seen or heard from again. So my father disappears into the building and I wait. These are the days before cell phones and I am in a dead panic with no way to notify anyone of where I am or what is happening. He comes out about 30 minutes later with a nice enough looking lady who tells me that my father just wants me to talk to someone, to help us all understand each other.

I agree to talk from the roof of the truck, which I do for about another half hour and I explain to this lady that my boyfriend is waiting on me to arrive. We called when we left to tell him I was on the way and his dad is going to bring me home. She says why don’t you come in and give him a call, we are done here for today…

I reluctantly agree and slide down from the safety of my perch. We begin walking towards the door and I notice my father is falling slightly behind and as I cross the threshold and the automatic doors peel back and I glance one last time behind me.

I see he is crying. And THEY are waiting. I attempt to bolt back toward the door but it is too late. I am caught. I am theirs.

And thus began my 90 days of treatment at the age of 15 for an eating disorder that I developed as a way to take the lack of control over my own life and mold it into something I could control….ME.

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3 thoughts on “Institutionalized? you don’t say…..

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