I have nothing to prove. To anyone.
I spent years on and off being monitored around the clock by psychiatric inpatient teams, constantly on camera, constantly being poked and prodded with the stimulus of their choosing, and then watching them write down some variation on the truth (or just completely blatant lies) in the notes. I watched as my life’s autonomy was taken away from me based on a lie, and I watched as no one around me cared.
Last year we all collectively watched the collapse of the conservatorship of Britney Spears. This was a highly emotional experience for me as so much of Britney’s struggle mirrored my own. Still struggling in many ways with the mental health system, I broke down crying watching a rally at the LA courthouse on Instagram LIVE. Britney had made progress in her case that day, progress that held promise for the future and I desperately in so many ways wanted, and needed, the same.
I made a decision to fight even harder for myself. And, while I can honestly say that I’ve made incredible strides in terms of my standing with the mental health system and gaining control over supposed psychiatric “care” and “treatment,” I still have a ways to go. But I have been working on it. I have been relentless. And I have been doing incredibly well with every step I take closer to my goal. A health goal that for the time being will stay private.
But approximately one year ago, after that Britney Spears rally at the LA courthouse I spoke with my mother and I was showing her real emotion, the kind of emotion I wouldn’t dare have consciously showed anyone in my family since 2012. I broke down out of frustration for the fact that no one will ever know that I was not in fact suicidal in 2012 like those closest to me claimed I was to the authorities because no one had stood up for me to say otherwise since. The only person to do so was myself, and I was so tired of doing so.
Right before that court date in Los Angeles, Britney’s mother Lynn Spears had composed a letter regarding Britney’s conservatorship. And, it appeared that the letter had helped her situation. So, while I was on the phone, crying through wails and screams about the situation I was in, I pointed out to my mother how I have NEVER attempted suicide, NEVER threatened to attempt suicide, NEVER spoken about intention to not be alive, and NEVER showed any suicidal behavior in my life. She agreed. So then I asked my mother if she would write me a letter as well.
And, on August 18, 2021, she did.
I asked for her to write two letters, one for my psychiatrist to enter into my medical file and the other for the public for my social media. My mom did not want to write two letters, so she wrote the one for both. I have blanked out the sensitive information for privacy concerns, but here is what the letter says:
August 18, 2021
To the Dr. in charge of Arielle’s file,
My name is ______ and I am her mother. I would like to address a notation that I feel needs to be removed from Arielle’s file. There is an entry at the beginning that I believe shades her file and should be corrected ASAP.
The notation states that she was suicidal when she was first brought in to the hospital and that is in fact not true. I am not saying at the time Arielle’s mental state was not in flux and there were concerns to be dealt with, I can say hindsight being 20/20, suicide was not the issue!
I can also state that I have not witnessed anything in Arielle that would indicate she was or is having suicidal thoughts.
Depression in the past however, of course who wouldn’t have been depressed with all of the different medications she was on, the treatment she had received and situations she found herself in.
I have seen my daughter arrive today at a place where she understands her vulnerabilities, chooses to be proactive in her mental health, follows a regime to support her health with ______, understanding what her body needs physically and mentally to function at its best and takes steps to ensure her mental health is protected.
I am beyond proud of her and feel it would an injustice if I didn’t have this letter entered into her file to hopefully correct the initial entry or at least to be put on top so it can correct the view form this point forward.
Thank you for your assistance in this matter,
I had intended on publishing this letter online last year, and I had also intended on submitting this letter to my psychiatric medical file last year as well, but I did not. I did this for a few reasons, but I believe that today, on the 10 year anniversary of the day that I was first put into a psychiatric facility against my will based on a lie, it is a good day to address that lie head on.
The thing about this claim, is without it… I would have never been put into the hospital. May 15, 2012 would have never happened without it.
I don’t ask “why me,” but I do ask God, “what did you want for me to see?”
“What did you want for me to experience?”
Because while the experience may have been predicated upon a lie, what I went through and still have to struggle with today as a result is very real.
I may not know the answer to those questions, but I do know this:
I don’t know how to feel today. Normally I can name my emotions but today I feel the whole spectrum in one. I am angry, I am hurt, I am furious, I am enraged, I am upset, I am elated, I am grateful, I am scared, I am excited, I am hopeful and I am focused. And that is okay. My feelings are okay. Whatever I express is okay. I am okay. I am free. I am safe. I am free. I am free. I am free.
And I will not take one second of the freedom for granted. I love myself, just like I did in 2012 when the system chose to believe a blatant lie despite my testimony and then capture me, confine me, experiment on me, terrorize me, and then overmedicate me under the guise of care and disbelief.
I love myself just like I have all of my life, except I am a woman now and I truly know what that means. It means to care for yourself, to put long term responsibilities before fleeting desires. That day I quit years of ballet mid-recital in that blue tutu while my family was in attendance at 6 years old, that day I ran to tell my junior high principal that I accidentally pulled the fire alarm at 15, that day I told my first boyfriend I wouldn’t marry him when I was almost 21, that day I fought officers and paramedics in my home alone because I thought they were in costume at 25, that day I negotiated my way out of a hospital in Jamaica Queens, New York with a team of hospital administrators at 29, that day I began writing my book on a hike and ran all the way down a mountain to begin typing all weekend at 32, and today, the day I am honoring my conflicting energy because of the history of this date at 35.
I have loved myself every step of the way, and as I come to learn more and more what it means to love myself even more, I will.
Because in the wise words of Lizzo, “I’m my own soulmate.”
I got me.