Let’s talk about “the system”.
When I was 17 years old I got hauled out of my bed at the ass crack of dawn (3 days before Christmas) by the police, got slapped with handcuffs and everything and I got taken to the local precinct. I was then put in a jail cell (and made fun of by police officers saying that I was “crazy”) and I spent the entire day there before being shipped off to a Juvenile Detention Center. What did I do wrong you ask? Nothing!
About 2 months earlier I had received a letter from the courts and Child Protective Services saying that I had a hearing in front of the judge a month later. Color me surprised! This damn near literally fell out of the sky for me and everyone else. Turns out that the psychologist that I was seeing at the time contacted Child Protective Services and many other agencies and requested that I be put in protective custody, she did this without telling me and she did this because I didn’t show up for 2 appointments with her. Mind you, I neatly emailed her and canceled my appointments because I was sick and I wasn’t up for leaving my house at the time (due to being ill but also because of my depression).
I went to court and Child Protective Services was there as well as a judge. The judge asked me several questions, CPS stated their case (as to why they felt that I needed to be in protective custody) and their biggest reason was that it would be “the best thing for her and it’s for her own safety”. I was just sitting there and thinking “wtf?!” and I told the judge exactly how I felt about the entire thing. She (the judge) asked me if I wanted to go and live with my mother, I obviously didn’t but I just said “yes, I do because everything is fine between me and my mother”. Fast forward to me sitting there completely shocked after hearing the judge decide that I was to be taken into protective custody to “receive appropriate treatment”. I left that courthouse in complete and utter shock, like a wrecking ball (cue Miley Cyrus) had plunged into my stomach and all the air had been sucked out of me. I remember walking out the courthouse with my mother and faintly hearing her say “Don’t worry, I will ship you out of the country before any of this happens”. My body was there but the second that judge made her ruling I just dissociated completely. The judge had made her ruling but because there were no available spots any time soon within any mental health facilities I would have to wait for a month.
My mother was busy making arrangements to have me shipped overseas to family, to stay there until I was 18 (which was just 11 months away) when I got hauled out of my bed that oh so faithful morning of the 22nd of December 2006.
The judge, CPS and everyone else involved was so “worried” about me and my state of mind (you’re depressed and you auto mutilate and suddenly everyone thinks you want to kill yourself, go figure) and how I was supposedly “a risk to myself” and how I needed “professional help”. Now, riddle me this, exactly how is hauling me out of bed, cuffing me, throwing me into a cell and putting me in a Juvenile Detention Center (and being surrounded by juveniles that have committed actual crimes) beneficial for me and my mental health? I would truly like to know the answer to this. What did I and my mental health stand to gain from being locked up with a bunch of deranged and certifiably loco juvies?
I got put in an all girl group called “Korvet” and they showed me to my “room” (it was a bloody cell basically) and I just sat on the bed (if you can even call it that) for hours, staring at the walls, wondering what the fuck just happened. That very same morning I was in bed, asleep, after having spent all night studying for an exam. I then suddenly found myself in a “room” with bare concrete walls, a tiny sink and a metal/aluminium toilet bowl (like an actual fucking jail cell) and 1 medium sized window that was covered with steel bars. Yeah, cuz THAT would really help my depression.
Every group had a set of “leaders” (read: CO’s) and every girl got her own “mentor” (again: CO). Someone that she could go to and talk to and who would follow her process while in there. It took the “leaders” all of half a day to figure out that I didn’t belong there. “What are you doing here? You don’t belong here” one of the CO’s said to me. I calmly replied by saying that I had no freaking clue.
I also had my own “mentor”. Mine was this very handsome guy named Ryan. I have never had any issues expressing myself or how I feel so I just basically told him what I thought about the entire situation and that I was in the wrong place and that they had no right to take me away from my home like that. It’s not like I tried to commit suicide or anything, and even then: I would belong on a ward at a psychiatric hospital, not a Juvenile Detention Center surrounded by air head wanna be “thugs”, in their defense, most of them did actually do stuff. One of them was there for stabbing her mother, so yeah, there’s that. lol.
Because it was so close to the holidays I had to wait to see or speak to a judge or even my lawyer or my “case worker” from CPS. So there I was, I spent Christmas and New Year’s there, even Valentine’s Day. My best friend, mom and her now ex husband, my godparents and my uncles came to visit me. I was about 2 hours away from home, quite a trip (for Dutch standards). I made it very clear to all of them that I didn’t want to be there and that I didn’t belong there. My mother said that she was working on getting me out of there. So in the mean time I just made the best of my situation. For the first few days I was extremely sad and mad, wondering what I had done to deserve being in that God forsaken place. At some point I did was I always do and I just pulled myself together and made the best of it.
This place, this place that was supposedly supposed to “help” me and my mental health was a fucking joke. It was a Detention Center, nothing more, nothing less. I eventually spent almost 3 months there and not once did I see a doctor or a psychologist or even a psychiatrist. Not once I tell you. My time was being wasted. I was missing out on my internship that I was supposed to start that January, I was missing out on school, my family and friends, I was basically wasting nearly 3 months of my life.
I made a few friends in there, even met this one guy, Mark, and we basically bonded over a the fact that we both didn’t belong there. And he really didn’t, to be honest. Smart guy, very intelligent, sweet and kind. I knew why they put him there and it was totally messed up. It’s like they decided to put every teenager that didn’t get along with their parents in Juvie. Makes total fucking sense. I also made friends with this one girl named Myrthe, we became besties, hey, I had to do something while I was in there!
Fast forward to early February 2007. I had finally gotten a new court date and all the agencies involved finally realized that they had made a horrible mistake by 1. taking me away from my home and 2. putting me in that dreaded place. They also knew that the waiting lists for “getting help” was extremely long and that once I hit 18 that they would have to release me and they wouldn’t have any power over me.
So on February 13th 2007 I got hauled off to court (2 hours away, back in my home town) and I spent all freaking day waiting to see the judge and have my say. The day prior to the hearing my case worker had called and said that she would not be asking for a continuation of my “stay” and that she would recommend that I get sent home after having realized that I did indeed not belong there. So all was somewhat good, I would be getting out of there soon. Then I got slapped in the face when my lawyer informed me that the caseworker was on vacation (since that very same day) and that her coworker that was filling in for her would be recommending that they keep me there longer. Wtf, right?! Some stupid airhead of a caseworker that hadn’t even met with me would be recommending such bullshit. My lawyer informed my mother and she worked her magic in record time and produced a plane ticket for me to Liberia.
Once in the court room I had a very nice and sympathetic judge it seemed. I didn’t realize it at first but a few minutes into it I realized that he was blind. It caught me off guard but it didn’t matter one bit to me. I actually just tried remembering his name and his name is Romke de Vries. He was the very first blind judge to be appointed in The Netherlands, he got appointed in 1982. He asked me several questions and he asked me if I wanted to move with my mother and kid sisters to Liberia, I damn near shouted “YES!”, anything to get me home. He then deliberated and then he told me that I was free to go home and move to Liberia with my mom. They then took me back to the Detention Center and I spent one last night there, packing my things and waiting for the official fax to come in from the Courthouse in Amsterdam. My mother’s husband at the time picked me up and took me home. He wasn’t happy that I got released, he felt that I needed help. What he failed to see and understand that I wasn’t getting any “help” in there. Everyone else saw it, he just didn’t.
1 day after I got home I packed my suitcase and I was on a plane to Sweden, to stay with my mom’s aunt for 2 weeks, at least until the heat died down a little. I was able to relax there and just clear my mind. It really gave me some time to think. After 2 weeks I came home and I kept a real low profile until I turned 18. I am telling you, the day I turned 18 all I wanted to do was march down to CPS and punch my caseworker in the face and just go “ha ha, I never left, I’m still here and I’m 18, you can’t do anything, fuck you”. I actually still fantasize about it from time to time. But no worries, I didn’t do it.
This is basically the story behind my being hauled off and put in a cell for nearly 3 months. It’s the short version, despite how long this post has turned into. Lol. There is a lot more to the story, so that’s why I’ve decided to make several posts on the subject, before my post turns into a proper book, ha.
The reason why I decided to write about this “experience” (lol) is because I seem to have blocked it out almost completely. Like the entire thing was too traumatic and my brain blocked it out for my own good (and sanity). But last week as I was feeling extremely restless I decided to go downstairs and clear out our storage room. I came across bags filled with things belonging to my mother (read: mother of all evil) and I decided to throw it all out. I first went through all the papers though, to make sure there wasn’t any of my things between it. That’s when I found my case file. Papers from the court, CPS, from the psychologist bitch that sent me away in the first place, you name it and it was there. I started reading through it all and it completely set me off. Suddenly I was being flooded with memories and that’s when I got extremely mad, more like raging to be honest. Reading all of those papers just completely set me off and stirred up a shit load of memories that my brain had purposely blocked out. So many things came to light, things that I did not know about and that nobody bothered to tell me about, mother of all evil included.
In part 2 I will elaborate more on the subject. And for now, stay right there, I will be right back after these messages from my sponsors!