Anonymous’ Zucker Hillside Hospital Testimony


I spent way too long in this place. I was admitted because of suicidal thoughts caused by medication I was taking and it was hell. There were these sheets you had to fill out, it seemed like that was the only way to get out of that place. I honestly don’t know what was on them. The entire system is messed up.

The first night I got there I was told to take off my shoes. I wanted to ask why but the worker was in a position of authority and she didn’t look very forthcoming. Granted it was very late but she should have at least explained to me how to get out. I was barely a minor, basically an adult by law. It looked nice and it was quiet but I could tell something felt off. I feel the need to admit that I probably wasn’t in the right headspace, mentally, but this place is similar to prison, no overstatement.

Our whole day was planned out. We would wake up, get blood drawn some days, go to “school,” and then group and sleep. Our family members could come to visit us two times during the day. Then we would wake up and do the same exact thing again. I only remember going outside two times. It was a fairly small area with tables and, I think, a basketball hoop. I remember the “good” kids got to go get coffee because they reached “gold” status through filling out the sheets. I thought “The outside world still exists. Then I still have a chance at getting out.”

The “school” was a dark room with a projector. Some days we would play word games, though I did brush up on my algebra. I felt I could be doing more considering the drugs they were giving me didn’t make me better like they thought. They didn’t even tell me what I was taking. When I asked what it was, the worker said she would print out a list of “medications.” I swear they gave me ten different medications in the weeks I was there. The most nerve-wracking thing was hearing the doctor say they could try my mom in court to dispute her custody of me. Being a “minor” I couldn’t advocate for my release so I just sat there staring at him for what felt like eternity waiting for a punchline that would never come.

The worst part was when they gave me an injection in my butt because I said my throat was swelling. Three male workers cornered me in my “room” and held me down on the bed. I guess I was stronger than they thought because now there were suddenly six workers (one female I think) on top of me. One of them pulled my butt cheek out and a needle and injected something. Afterwards, I probably lied on the bed because when I came to my senses the workers left. I went out of my room looking for any explanation that I would never get because the oh-so important workers were behind the feared desk. At this point I knew never to go over there (especially at night) unless it was really important, or whatever. So