The Mental Illness Drunk Tank
Liz Lazzara

I’m so sorry for your horrendous experience.

It reminded me of when I was 18, away at college, unknowingly suffering from PTSD and going through what I’m pretty sure was an undiagnosed nervous breakdown.

My bulimia was out of control, the connection between peoples’ lips moving and the sound of their voice speaking was completely disrupted and I was so numb, I would sit in my closet and bang my head against the walls just to feel something. When I began drawing pictures on my wrists with knives and realized I wanted to draw blood, I knew I needed to get help.

I went to the college mental health clinic. I described in detail, the trauma I had endured as an adolescent and the evidence that I was losing my mind in the present.

I was certain that upon hearing my symptoms, including my suicidal ideation, I would be safely tucked away into a hospital where I would be given medication and daily therapy and be taken care of in a soft, comforting environment.

Instead, after a thorough description of all my symptoms, the therapist looked at me and in all seriousness asked “So, do you think you need to come back?”

At that point, my hope of treatment was dashed, as it was obvious the therapist had not one iota of knowledge about what I was experiencing or how serious it was.

I said “no” and walked out the door, back to my apartment where I completely unraveled.

p.s. This was not in a developing country, but at one of the many California Universities I dropped out of.

p.s.s. I’m also a Personal essayist. Cat rescuer. Mental illness “sufferer.” Tattoo addict and divorcee, among other things ;)