Daniel in the Lion’s Den at a Mental Health Institution

Anatta
27 min readNov 17, 2023

The awful things I witnessed and experienced at the Pacific Grove Hospital in Riverside, California.

I had what could be described as a religious experience.

Our culture accepts many Christian forms of this experience, revivals, speaking in tongues, and so forth, but if the experience is not Christian, it’s viewed with skepticism.

My experience was facilitated by my 35-year study of Tibetan Buddhism, with the last 7 years being accelerated by many hours in float tanks practicing Lamrim in total sensory deprivation.

This is not a common life experience.

I have been officially diagnosed by the medical establishment based on 3 interviews with professionals with various levels of medical training up through a fully licensed psychiatrist.

I am bipolar prone to mania. I currently suffer from an extreme case of mania.

Apparently, extreme happiness is a sign of a mental disorder. I wouldn’t have guessed that prior to this experience.

I still find that shocking.

Amusing really, since their opinion means so little to me.

I am working with my personal physician to gather enough data points to establish a new medical definition.

I am bipolar with constant and unrelenting mania of only the positive pole.

The criteria for this particular diagnosis are difficult to meet.

  1. The patient must be jubilantly happy all the time, totally excited to be alive.
  2. The patient must display boundless energy and perfect physical health.
  3. The patient must have at least 20 years of disciplined meditation practice, Buddhist or Indian mysticism is preferred, Tibetan Buddhism being the gold standard.
  4. The patient must be interviewed by other Tibetan Buddhist practicioners (or whatever mystic branch is involved) who provide 3rd party legitimacy.

It’s a high bar.

If enough time passes and the mania fails to subside and the other pole is never even glimpsed, I am convinced the new diagnosis will stick.

You never know, the medical community is very committed to their erroneous point of view.

Trigger Warning

I will use foul language and extremely graphic descriptions that will likely make you feel very, very uncomfortable.

I am not exaggerating in any way, and no statement that follows is fiction.

This writing is non-fiction.

However, if pressed for court testimony, I can’t attest to every single detail as I may be mistaken of a few of the fine details.

However, by and large, what you read is what actually went down.

Chaos and Confusion

The following observations are not in any particular order.

A Mental Health Institution is chaos due to chronic understaffing by greedy corporate fucks who, and the primary emotion of the patients is confusion.

The anecdotes and observations should hit you at random, with no time to absorb what you read.

You should feel the same chaos and confusion as those who must endure these environments daily.

The Facility

The facility is Pacific Grove Hospital in Riverside, California.

None of the problems below are the fault of staff.

The staff was remarkable, but they struggle with chronic underfunding because the corporate assholes are maximizing their profits at the expense of patients and staff.

I hope every investor in this facility feels their rightful shame as an enabler and beneficiary of the fruits of evil.

Their money is poisoned.

The simple moment that encapsulated all that’s wrong with the system

I had a roommate that snored with a volume so high that even with earplugs (which were precious and often unavailable), I could not sleep easily.

I would roam the hallway pacing endlessly to dissipate my energy and induce tiredness so that I could collapse for two hours in my uncomfortable bed before waking again.

It wasn’t really a bed, more of a shelf with a thin surface pad. Both the thin pad and the pillow were plastic wrapped which guaranteed night sweats.

On the last night, I was shocked by a patient who followed me 60' down the hallway without my noticing him.

This shocked me because I quickly became hypervigilant about patient attacks from behind — a necessary survival instinct.

More on that later. This environment is dangerous.

The patient I faced was a harmless man.

He made three simple statements.

I feel anxiety.

I am Christian.

I want a hug.

I was impressed by his clarity of communication in conveying his needs, particularly since he was standing with open arms and visibly shaking. His face bore a look of intense longing and shock at his circumstance.

It broke my heart.

I wanted desperately to reach out and comfort this man.

But providing comforting hugs is against the rules.

(I get that inappropriate touching is a major concern, but the rigidity of this rule is astonishing.)

I led him to the nurses station explaining to him that I am not allowed to hug him, but perhaps we can ask the staff to make an exception, if explained clearly and done in front of staff.

When I clearly explained this to the duty nurse and three other staff who were awake at 3:30 AM, telling them that I would like to fulfill his request.

Amy responded:

That’s against the rules.

(to the other patient) Sir, Please go back to bed. Your meds will kick in soon.

We don’t do hugs here.

That pretty much summed it up.

Compassion is truly dead at these establishments — by design.

The Shower

I only took three showers during my five days.

There was only one semi-working shower at the facility. In order to take a shower, a patient must go to the duty station and request it.

You are then put on a list that nobody checks. No staff member seeks you out when you are at the front of the line.

But if you are persistent, and ask every couple of hours, you may hit one of those windows when it’s not in use and it’s allowed.

There are many periods of time when no showers are permitted.

I missed a group meeting, so I asked if I could use the open shower.

Nope.

Not during group hours.

The shower had a hot-cold mechanism that nobody could understand — even the staff.

(Genevieve, Remember how long you messed with that dial? Don’t feel bad, no one can figure it out. Brett finally realized you needed to align the arrow to the blue dot to make the water luke warm. I think they connected the pipes backward.)

Cold showers were the rule, but if you were lucky, you could find that one spot on the dial (it was an odd dial) that made the water luke warm.

I still shivered.

The shower itself is cleaned only once per day. It is not cleaned between each use.

Getting into an uncleaned shower after a dozen Schizophrenics is something that’s difficult to imagine.

Since I did not have my phone, or any contact with the outside world, I could not take a picture to document it.

The stench was foul.

A mixture of vomit, feces, sweat, and the residual cleaning solution smell left over from the cleaner’s valiant effort to clean that shower each day.

The cleaners are amazing women, all women, who see and touch unspeakable filth each day.

The floor of the shower was white, but the perimeter was dusted with pubic hairs of many sizes and colors and loose debris that doesn’t get washed down the drain.

There were food particles and unusual liquids flowing down the walls suggestive of vomit (I’m pretty sure it was vomit, but I chose not to inspect too closely.)

There were towels left in the corner of the shower. They were saturated, and there was a thin brown film that looked like diarrhea, but it was probably just the dissolving feces wrapped up inside.

I tried to position my feet to avoid the streams of vomit and diarrhea.

I believe I succeeded, and my physician confirmed that I have no infections.

Disease transmission must be a problem. They probably cover it up. At a minimum, they fail to explore the cause.

The luke-warm water induced shivering, and I shook violently as I quickly washed my body.

I found the temperature uncomfortable, but the nurse reminded me that cold showers are actually better for you, so I tried to take comfort in that.

Staff knows how bad the situation is.

None of them would ever consider using that shower.

I would very much like to see the corporate brass and investors go shower there.

Something might change.

Have you ever seen Trainspotting? This scene captures my impression of that shower perfectly. It’s hard to watch. Gag warning.

Chap Stick

Southern California is quite dry. It’s common to apply chap stick almost daily to prevent dry, cracking lips.

When I am at my home, I locate one of the dozen or more sticks I spread around my house, and I apply it.

The time between me noticing my need and my need being met is usually measured in seconds.

Obtaining chap stick in a mental institution requires a prescription from an overworked doctor.

I asked for chap stick at 6:00 AM.

I finally obtained a small squirt of Carmex (not a full tube) at 10:00 PM, 16 hours later.

Voluntary Check-in For My Family

I checked into the facility voluntarily in order to assuage my wife’s and my parents’ concerns about my mental health.

I appreciated their concern.

Prior to this event, I was a disturbed husband and son, like most men passing middle age.

I would get angry and defensive if my foibles were pointed out. I would manipulate to get what I wanted, and I didn’t feel any remorse over my bad behavior.

Suddenly I lost all remaining stains from my heart, I embraced personal responsibility, I found unshakable inner peace, and I discovered a renewed excitement for life.

My wife also witnessed the event where all the changes came together in a manic religious experience.

We didn’t go to a church revival in search of this. Everything occurred at our home.

She was not prepared for what she saw.

She was right to be concerned.

When checking into this facility, I had a good idea what I was getting into, but they had no clue.

They thought I was spending a few days at Club Med. Or perhaps it was like those Hollywood recovery centers that are basically resorts with some treatment.

This facility wasn’t like that.

When I told them some of these stories, they were heartbroken, and they feel deep regret for ever convincing (demanding) that I go.

It’s actually been more traumatic for them because they don’t have my inner strength.

My family’s experience makes me sad, and somewhat passionate about obtaining justice; thus you’re reading this.

Unlockable Doors

By far the most unsettling thing for me was the complete lack of personal safety.

The doors on patient rooms can’t be locked.

Anyone walking down the hallways, patients and staff included, can freely walk into your personal room at any time of the day or night.

Patient-on-patient violence is an everpresent concern.

And since the facility is chronically understaffed, when staff’s attention is divered elsewhere (which happens often), the patients are compltely unprotected.

Completely Unprotected.

Completely Unprotected.

Completely Unprotected!

And what’s worse, this situation could easily be corrected with a little technology. Patient doors could be card-locked so that only the patient’s sleeping there and staff and open the doors.

This isn’t done because security costs money. It’s certainly not because the task is difficult in any way.

As a result, good patients are subject to the whims of deranged and psychotic patients who may be large, young, strong, and impossible to reason with.

I’m in excellent physical condition for a man of my size and age, and I have experience with martial arts training that’s 30-years out of practice.

That doesn’t provide much defense against any large, psychotic young man who can’t distinguish right from wrong.

I ran into two of those.

Attacker #1

Around dinner time on day 3, a new patient appeared.

He was a young man, early 20s and apparently in full command of his mental abilities (not Schizophrenic or psychotic).

He lacked good judgment, probably due to excessive drug use, but he wasn’t unpredictable.

He began showing other patients, including me, some kind of vaping pen with a flat triangular base and a small tip. He offered it to everyone in the room.

I’m not certain what drug he filled it with, but since we were sitting among many recovering drug users, Steven (a patient) and I reported him to the nurse.

They confiscated his contraband (Staff calls all items patients are forbidden to have contraband), but they didn’t remove him from our unit.

He realized I was responsible for telling on him, but he didn’t realize Steven also was responsible.

He told Steven he planned to attack me from behind and do as much damage to me as possible.

He was foolish to share that information with Steven.

Kill was his exact word, but lacking any weapons, that wasn’t realistic. I don’t wish to exaggerate by calling him a would-be killer.

The violence in his heart failed to match the capabilities of his body, fortunately.

Steven and I played a game of cat-and-house with him, making sure to keep Steven between us at all times while looking like it was just regular conversation.

At one point, I approached the nurses station and turned my back to the hallway. I could still see him reflected in the glass, but he didn’t realize this.

He came down the hall behind me, and was within 5' of me with my back to him.

He saw that there were too many people around, so he chose not to make his move.

I was on a hair trigger, so I would have avoided any assault, but I was anxious to see if he had the Courage to act on his bad intentions.

I managed to avoid him for 3 hours.

Finally, Dr. Chaffee, the psychiatrist made an appearance, and Steven and I told him what happened.

Fortunately, with Steven’s backing, Dr. Chaffee believed us, and immediately removed the assailant from the ward.

He spent the next 24 hours in the maximum security area of the facility.

I observed that when people emerge from that wing, they seldom cause troubles again.

I can only imagine how awful the conditions are there.

Attacker # 2

My second assailant was not someone who hated me with reason.

When David arrived at the facility, I greeted him warmly and listened to him intently. Apparently, this is not something he’s accustomed to.

He became very attached to me, and he lacked boundaries, so I finally had to start avoiding him. My avoidance made him more aggressive.

However, I didn’t see him for several hours, so I thought he forgot about me.

He had not.

At 3:30 AM, my door burst open as he smashed it hard with the base of his open palm (at least that’s how I speculate he did it. I am uncertain because I didn’t actually see it.)

Fortunately, I was awake due to the stress of the earlier assailant (this was 6 hours after the first one was taken away.)

I jumped up, slammed the door in his face, barely missing him, and I wedged my foot and hand against the door to secure it.

He didn’t push, but he wouldn’t have gotten in if he had tried because I had superior leverage.

After a few minutes I went down to the nurses station to report the incident.

They didn’t do anything about it.

At 6:30 AM, David barged into Dennis’s room.

Dennis is a sweet, completely harmless and helpless man who suffers extreme paid due to a hernia.

Dennis is awaiting a scheduled operation in January, surviving on Percocet and morphine. His condition is very sad.

David became upset with Dennis for reasons unknown.

To express his displeasure, he hocked up a green looggie and spit it onto Dennis’s face.

The slimy spittle rolled down Dennis’s cheek. He did nothing in response.

David was satisfied, and he left Dennis alone.

When Dennis reported what happened, that report got David sedated and removed from the population for about 24 hours.

Interestingly, David, one of my assailants, is one of the patients I call out as a friend.

After the incident, I avoided him.

He finally summoned the courage to politely ask me if he could speak with me, and I agreed.

He humbly offered his apologies and showed genuine regret.

Of course, I forgave him immediately and praised him for his courage.

He showed himself a true spiritual warrior, and I salute him.

Remarkable man.

Time to take action

After two assaults, I finally decided I had enough. Waiting for my family to accept me as I am could take forever, and my safety was at risk.

I informed my father and the staff that I was checking out: immediately.

They reminded me that I was going to be financially responsible for the entire stay, as my health insurance would refuse to pay the bill.

Further, I would not qualify for the family leave act, and I would probably lose my job.

$20,000 to $100,000 was on the line, depending on how long it took me to find a comparable job.

Additionally, I would lose my family, probably end up divorced and disowned by my parents.

I told my father and the staff that I was completely aware of the ramifications of my decision. I further instructed them to draft the needed paperwork immediately.

When they realized this bogeyman no longer confined me, events began moving quickly to get me out.

I would have paid that price easily to avoid death.

I would have paid any ransom for my escape.

It wasn’t an irrational decision. I was quite certain about my choice.

It still took another 36 hours before I stepped out the last door.

Rules, Rules, and More Rules

A medical facility of this type has strict rules to ensure patient safety. The rigidity and insanity of some of these rules were shocking to me.

  1. No showers during certain times, just because.
  2. The only writing utensils were crayons. It’s hard not to look like a child when sending notes in crayon.
  3. The largest cup available for drinking water was 8 ounces. I had to refill about 10 times per day to keep up with my increased metabolism.
  4. Hugs are strictly prohibited.
  5. Food is only available in small windows of time. If you miss a meal or a snack, you go hungry. Period.
  6. You are encouraged to take as many drugs as possible. If you consent to taking them, they will make sure that you do. No changing your mind.
  7. The TV in the common area must be kept on and at a high volume even if every patient in the room wants it off so that we could talk.
  8. The only outdoor space was made available for one small block of time each day. It was a cage, but they did have surrounding trees and grass that could be seen through the thick mesh. It was better than Alcatraz, but it still felt like a prison.
  9. You must request nicely anything you want. Demands are harshly rebuked.
  10. If you didn’t get what you wanted, you just needed to grin and bear it. Touch shit if you didn’t like it.

I may add to this list as items pop up.

The experience is very dehumanizing. Reminds me of the meat grinder in Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall.

Teddy Bears

A couple of hours after my second assault, a major incident occurred in the hallway. It was about 5:00 AM.

Fortunately, I was merely an observer and took no part in the action.

A patient had arrived 12 hours earlier, and Steven and I observed the check-in while we were playing cat-and-mouse with assailant #1.

As with any check-in, the staff is very busy, so nobody actually has time to pay attention to the patient.

When they moved to get him off the gurney, he became quickly agitated because he had misplaced two very small stuffed teddy bears he was attached to.

He had the mind of a 5-year old, but he was in his early 20s, about 6'2" tall and 185 pounds. He was slender due to meth abuse (I speculate), but he was still quite strong.

When he woke up at 5:00 AM, he was distressed that he could not find his teddy bears.

Staff did not realize these items were of such high value to him, so they were sitting in someone’s office awaiting contraband inspection.

They needed to ensure he was not sneaking in drugs or weapons in the stuffed animals.

When he came out asking for his teddy bears, staff was unable to provide them.

His temper quickly escalated.

Within minutes he went absolutely ballistic.

Van Halen was better with David Lee Roth.

He took a big swing at Isaac, the very black native of Ghana, and one of the best and most supportive staff members I encountered. (Isaac, you’re the best.)

Isaac ducked the punch, fortunately, and he arose and grabbed the deranged young man in a restraining lock.

He was immediately joined by the large pill pusher (RN trained to dispense medications), who is a master of Madden Football (a cute fact about him).

He is a big guy. Sorry his name eludes me.

The two of them managed to restrain the young man as he screamed for his teddy bears.

Five other staff members joined in the melee to restrain his arms and legs.

Seven staff members were required to hold him long enough for calming drugs to be administered.

However, before the drugs kicked in, he was reunited with his teddy bears, and he immediately calmed down.

It was always about the teddy bears.

If the staff wasn’t stretched so thin, they might have observed his attachment to the teddy bears at check-in.

I certainly observed it and made note because the object of his attachment was so unusual, and it revealed his mental age.

Staff was 100% responsible for this problem, but they didn’t even know it.

Sad.

Nursing Students

Over the course of my stay, several groups of students were marched through the facility to obtain first-hand knowledge of what they will face when they enter the workforce.

It’s a great program.

I spent several hours chatting with the various groups of nurses. They spent the entire day observing, so plenty of discussion ensued.

I feel my conversations with them opened their eyes.

It didn’t take long for them to recognize I was an unusually coherent and articulate patient with a clear mind.

I was definitely an oddity in the patient population.

The last group of three I chatted with included a young lady well versed in Indian mysticism. She was particularly fascinated by my experience.

She immediately got it.

I was shocked to learn that one group was actually instructed not to look into the eyes of the patients.

Perhaps a necessary precaution, but it seemed sad to me.

I Don’t Care

By definition, these students are training to be care givers.

The most basic care any human being can provide another is acknowledgment of their existence.

They were told to deny that to the patients.

That feels wrong to me.

In fact, the only truly negative interaction I had with staff at the facility occurred when a young lady kept barking orders at me, forcing me to comply with her wishes.

She had mastery of force, but her skills with persuasion need more work.

I reported this to her superiors. I hope they do something about it. I’m not holding my breath.

I finally looked her straight in the eye and calmly said no.

The conversation escalated until she looked me in the eye and said:

“I don’t care.”

I replied “that is apparent.” and I walked away.

At that point, she had violated the primary duty of a caregiver.

By definition, a care giver must care.

She said that she did not.

In my mind, she was no longer staff, and she was not a caregiver.

I avoided her for the remainder of my stay.

Blanked her totally.

It was the appropriate response.

The Teacher’s Pet

Per chance, I struck up a conversation with one of the nursing instructors.

A soft-spoken, caring man in his 40s who looked me directly in the eye when we spoke.

Since he and I will never meet again, I was completely and totally candid with him on what happened to me and what has manifested in my life since the initial experience.

I told him this, and he listened with rapt attention to every word I spoke.

I dominated 80% of the conversation, and he said he was delighted to listen.

Among other things, we talked about my obsession with precision, a new trait of mine.

I suddenly became very concerned with my dress and appearance, desiring to see precision in the mirror.

I didn’t used to care about that, and my general appearance reflected that fact.

Not anymore.

What’s important to me?

I told him that I suddenly obtained new abilities in areas of strategy due to my previous studies of game theory and statistics.

I’m a lifelong gamer, and I am a math intuit, so these abilities were already well established. Plus, I’ve furthered these abilities with college level studies.

The experience I had dramatically increased my brain processing speed, so computational tasks that used to be difficult are now easy.

Latent abilities suddenly become enhanced.

New synthesis abilities emerge when two related abilities interact.

For example, I told him I could become world class at chess if I were to devote additional research into the advanced gambits of the masters.

Bobby Fischer and Gary Kasparov were noted for thinking 14 moves ahead, anticipating every potential move and countermove of their opponents.

I could do that.

Some day, I may test my ability.

This young lady had a sharp mind, and apparently, getting good quickly is a thing. Within 30 days, she kicked ass.

He asked my why I don’t do it now.

I told him I had more important things to do with my time.

I laid out to him my detailed plan on How to Stop Violence in the Middle East.

I think preventing a genocide is more important than mastering chess, so I put my efforts there.

I think he understood.

He is a good man.

If anyone wants to know more about what happened to me, look him up and interview him.

I’m quite certain he will remember me.

Chronic Shortage of Calories

The quality of the food is appallingly low at this establishment, and I imagine others are the same.

Admittedly, I live across the street from a Gelsons, and I often pay their exorbitant prices because the food quality is very high, but I am not comparing the facility’s food to Gelsons.

By any objective standard, it is crap.

They served pancakes, the worst of the worst of the worst of foods.

Pancakes are shit.

No, eating shit would be healthier. My dog used to eat her turds when she was a puppy.

My dog would never eat a pancake.

My dietary requirements were that I did not want any grains or starches on the plate.

I won’t eat them, so I didn’t want to see that garbage on my plate.

Unfortunately, this resulted in a huge decline in the number of calories available to me.

I counted calories at breakfast one morning, and I had 300 calories available to me: 3 eggs and one fruit juice drink. (80 x 3 + 60 = 300)

Three hundred calories will sustain me for 3 hours, assuming I absorb them with no loss due to the digestion process.

I was still hungry.

The cooks did not have presence of mind to increase my calories with more foods that meet my criteria.

They simply dropped off what I did not want.

It worked, but it left me calorie short.

I lost 2–3 pounds over the five days of my voluntary incarceration.

When I got out, I asked my wife and father to prepare me 100 eggs when I got home.

I didn’t actually mean that. I usually only consume 2 or 3 at a time, but I was quite hungry.

I felt like I could eat 100 of them!

Playlists! Glorious!

By far the best times at this facility were in group therapy with the other patients.

The facilitators would use their phones to access Spotify to create playlists based on patient requests.

Hearing beautiful music always moves me.

I drank in every minute of it.

I introduced everyone to Shania Noll. She has the most beautiful angel’s voice.

We went from one emotional extreme to another.

There has been one song in particular that’s been going through my mind since I had my awakening, Neil Diamond’s Heartlight.

Steven Spielberg, The moment ET’s Heart lit up, my heart burst open and flooded me with joy. Thank you. It was beautiful. You’re amazing!

You helped me prepare.

At the peak of my awakening, my mind was suddenly flooded with a rush of power and a million things happened at once.

To make sense of the chaos, my mind instinctively jumped to a Lamrim meditation I practiced often to provide an outlet for the extreme inflow. The instructions for the meditation capture what happened.

…though the power of our pure intention of wishing love and great accumulation of merit… Infinite light rays radiate from our body and pervade the entire universe, reaching the bodies and minds of all living beings and bestowing upon them the supreme happiness of permanent inner peace.

My heart felt like a quasar radiating light with such intensity that it outshone the entire Milky Way galaxy by a thousand times!

OMG!!!

Per my training, I held that feeling as long as I could, holding it, feeling it, watching it, marveling at the Power!

In real time, it was only a few moments, but with my brain speed, it felt like many minutes went by.

It was incredible!!!

Perhaps you felt my Blessing?

I assure you I did.

Imagine that experience!

Blast Off!!!

Geshe Kelsang Gyatso- 1931–2022, RIP. You were the bridge between our cultures. I owe you everything. I felt your Love. Thank you.

I request one last Blessing: Please, find me in the Bardo and guide me on my journey. I will navigate by the Power of your Radiant Light.

Reliving that experience with my group was very empowering.

Of course, they did not know why the music was so moving to me. I certainly did not tell them about my awakening.

But I knew it.

Glorious!

One-on-One Heart Doctors

When particular patients require extra attention for any reason, a staff member is assigned to trail them one-on-one.

Most staff don’t enjoy this assignment because it can be boring to watch someone sleep for 11 hours of their 12 hour shift.

Plus, there is often need to watch more than one person, and the staff is generally not available.

What this facility, and others like it need are mystic heart doctors.

Unfortunately, nobody considers the personal matters of the heart very important, and good mystics are hard to find.

However, this need is huge. Many of the problems I witnessed were caused by the fact that nobody really has the time to give a shit.

Think of the Teddy Bear story.

What if staff employed someone who did nothing but talk to the patients, observe them, and see what can be done to reduce their pain.

An observant mystic heart doctor (like me) would have prevented the Teddy Bear tragedy entirely.

Doesn’t that have any value?

It’s very sad.

Sacred Hair

One of my favorite examples of the hidden joys to be found among the patients comes from G-Host, or Ghost as he asked me to call him (his real name was David, I think.)

Ghost had the most beautiful long black hair and associated beard. He combed it constantly.

Most of the staff was too busy to notice, and any that did probably thought his combing was merely a self-stimulatory behavior, like masturbation.

The obsessive hair grooming was not masturbation.

Ghost finally opened up and told me about his young cousin who had undergone Chemotherapy and lost her hair.

She received a wig with some human hair, and it brightened her spirits tremendously.

When he saw that, he committed himself to growing perfect hair and donating it to create several wigs.

He even quit using drugs to make sure the hair was perfect and pure.

His desire to selflessly and anonymously give his hair to young cancer patients helped turn his life around.

He truly had Sacred Hair.

Isn’t that beautiful?

I think so.

Here is another angel working with Sacred Hair.

The Rug Pull of Late release

I witnessed about a dozen discharges, and I never once saw any patient get out at the time they were scheduled for release.

Even if all the papers were signed.

In my case, they lost my phone and car keys, and they had to spend a full hour searching before I was released.

In that hour, my good spirits turned to stress and anxiety, something I rarely feel.

When I finally stepped outside, I experienced dry heaves as my stomach sought to release the anxiety, along with the contents of my empty stomach.

It was unpleasant and unsettling for my family.

It wasn’t the reunion we hoped for.

My father asked me if I thought they did this intentionally just to give patients one final test of their sanity and control.

It was an interesting idea.

However, I’m more inclined to go with the idea that it’s merely staff inattention and overwork rather than a concerted attempt to break patients at the last minute.

That seems too cruel.

I thought Brett might lose his mind when he was told he needed to wait 5 additional hours for his mother to arrive.

Apparently, standing alone, in the sunshine, and enjoying one’s freedom is too dangerous.

Expressing Anger is an absolute no-no

Facilities like this run on the Star Trek Borg principle:

Resistance is Futile.

Any offer of resistance was going to be crushed.

At first, patients are made aware of the consequences of becoming angry and belligerent.

However, since many patients have impulse control problems, particularly with their anger, most could not curb their anger or their outbursts.

Threats of lawsuits initiated by frustrated patients were constantly flying through the corridors.

They were empty threats, but it’s all they had.

I was one of a select few who managed to avoid any expressions of anger or frustration with even the slightest hint of negativity.

I was fortunate that anger management (elimination) is a key teaching in Tibetan Buddhism.

I was completely prepared for the encounter.

Angry outbursts nearly always added time to a stay and discomfort for the person becoming angry.

Expressing frustration through irony and mild sarcasm is the only possibility

I finally settled on the technique of delivering my brutally frank observations with a smile and a sense of irony.

It was the only way to clearly communicate what was occurring without triggering any defensive responses.

Staff occasionally silenced me because they didn’t want the reminder, and they were rightfully concerned that such information might be unsettling to the patients.

However, the patients already knew what I was saying because we lived it. They were not further traumatized by anything I stated.

Truth sets you free.

Patient Support

Being cut off my my entire support system of friends, family, and extended family, I faced this situation alone — Just like Daniel when he entered the lion’s den.

I want to acknowledge Steven, who saved me from Attacker #1.

I want to acknowledge Brett, who steadfastly supported me. I gave him my copy of the Meditation Handbook.

I believe he will read it. It will change his life.

I want to acknowledge Tina, who was always kind and asked me to keep in touch.

I want to acknowledge Dennis, Bryce, Charlie, Lanae (Sp?), Marco, Naji, Bob, George (my second roommate who snored), Josue (my first roommate who kept his cool and got out), Anna, David (my second attacker who later spontaneously apologized and expressed remorse), and all the other’s who’s names escape me.

Without all of you, I would not have made it through.

Thank you for being a friend.

Do you remember when we brainstormed music lyrics? Golden Girls!

Staff Excellence

There is first-rate staff at at the Pacific Grove Hospital in Riverside, California.

At the pinnacle of excellence I want to acknowledge Dave, Gregory, Isaac, Carlos, Tabitha, Will, the group leaders, the male nurse who found me earplugs, and some others whose names did not stick.

(I had to memorize 50+ names of complete strangers while under duress, so it was a difficult task.)

Those staff members went above-and-beyond what their duties required.

I was greatly impressed with Jocelyn, my social worker, but I ding her slightly for her insistence that I am bipolar with mania. However, she worked diligently to secure my release, and she is a really sharp, really tough lady.

I admire and respect her.

I was less impressed with the staff Psychiatrist Dr. Chaffey. In his defense, he is stretched way too thin to really examine me and see if his diagnosis might have a more nuanced explanation. He failed to even speak to me on day 4. He means well, and he is well versed in the conventions of his profession.

I hope that the corporate managers do not search for scapegoats to make responsible for their complete and utter failure of management.

Total fuck up.

Unbelievable.

I would not want to see Dr. Chaffey dismissed to cover the ass of someone else who actually deserves dismissal.

If I were to pick one person to put to the guillotine, I would chose Steven Hytry, Psy.D, Chief Executive Officer.

As Harry Truman noted. “The Buck Stops Here.”

Don’t contact me

Please do not contact me.

Please do not have your damage control experts try to convince me to remove this writing from the public realm.

It isn’t going anywhere.

Ever.

Please do not offer me money to make this go away.

I will not accept your blood money.

Spend that money improving patient care.

I am not looking for financial compensation. I am interested in seeing conditions improve at Pacific Grove and other facilities across the state.

I don’t believe this problem is isolated to you or your facility.

My wife told me this facility was better than the one at Loma Linda. I shudder to think what that place must be like.

I want to bring this to the attention of regulators and those in power to force your compliance and improve patient care everywhere.

Total War

If you contact me, which is probably a violation of some privacy law, I will immediately lawyer up and prepare for total war.

Like Rambo, I will not take First Blood. I’m not going to sue you.

However, I have substantial personal wealth, and I have no compunction about destroying your organization if you initiate hostilities with me.

I will unleash the Dogs of War!

I have no budget limits for this war.

Bloggers and others who will spread the word

Also, I am reaching out to bloggers and others I know who run their own servers to publish this writing.

You can contact Medium and try to get them to keep a lid on things, but that won’t be successful.

Google will not be your friend either.

This writing will be beyond your reach to suppress it.

Communications with State officials

I will add the substance of all initial contacts with State officials to the post below.

You will know exactly who was contacted and what was said to them.

And so will everyone else.

Readers at Medium

Please share this far and wide.

Thank you.

Not really the end

I will add to this post over time as new memories surface.

It’s a work in progress. There are many, many more incidents to document.

Governor Gavin Newsom

Seemed like a good place to start. The submssion process was easy. Next up, I will contact all the regulators just in case the Governor’s office doesn’t see forwarding this message an important task.

Riverside Newspaper — Press Enterprise

With the destruction of the newspaper industry, it’s hard to get much attention that way, but I tried.

dailynews@musictoday.com

fsuraci@scng.com,
jhenry@scng.com,
jnelson@scng.com,
tsaavedra@scng.com,
sschwebke@scng.com,
tsforza@scng.com

Highlander News

editorinchief@highlandernews.org,
managingeditor@highlandernews.org,
news@highlandernews.org,
opinions@highlandernews.org,
features@highlandernews.org,
radar@highlandernews.org

CalMatters.org

Emails to commentary@calmatters.org and jocelyn@calmatters.org

Department of Healthcare Licensing

mhuor@dhcs.ca.gov

MMCDOmbudsmanOffice@dhcs.ca.gov

Acadia Healthcare Ethics Complaint

~~wink~~

Anatta

Contact: selflessanatta@gmail.com

--

--

Anatta

Buddhist practitioner and writer. My autistic son is the focus of my spiritual practice. He inspires me with his love and companionship.