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March 5, 2014 by Russell Stence, MA

From Adversity to Advocacy

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Negotiating with terrorists.  That’s the feeling I came to have in trying to communicate and work with staff in a local acute psychiatric ward who had total control of my adult daughter, and I do mean TOTAL control.  This may sound like hyperbole, and perhaps it is, in a way.  Because I believe these people were, for the most part, well-intentioned.  I don’t doubt that some of them were even kind and caring. It brings to mind the following quote of C.S. Lewis:

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.”

If they actually were terrorists, I think it would have been easier.  In that case, I could have gone to authorities who would have readily collaborated to get her out.  As it was, there was literally “no exit” (believe me, I checked ALL possibilities) and I had to constantly be “walking on eggshells” in the effort to stay in the good graces of those who held the pills, the needles, the restraints and the electrodes.  I had to suppress the urge to scream at these nice people, although I did plenty of screaming (even bawling like a baby) on my own time.

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