beyond bedlam

It is important to know that the worst atrocities happened to me in the prettiest places.  One looked like a farmhouse from the front, with lots of flowers and trees.  Way back in the woods, there was a small concrete unit where the shock patients were housed.  That was where I spent most of my time.  The other pretty hospital looked like a college campus.  At least no one pretended that the state hospitals looked like a college campus.  They looked horrible, and they were horrible.  The “nice” places were an illusion where more drugging and sexual and physical abuse happened to me than anywhere else.

Dorothy Washburn Dundas, “The Shocking Truth”, Beyond Bedlam: Contemporary Women Psychiatric Survivors Speak Out

I’ve been saying this sort of thing forever. People rarely seem to believe me, unless they’ve been through similar things. And when I tell people my worst nightmare – literally a recurring nightmare I have about an institution that’s not only pretty but that embodies most people’s ideals about what a “good institution” would be like – they really don’t believe me, or think I’m joking or confused or something.