February 19, 1969



I was caged.

Then, I was driven.

Driven to Cherokee.

A hazy memory of riding caged in the back of a police car.

Two shadows in the front seat, the county sheriff and a female escort.

Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” buzzing from a tinny transistor radio.

Outside, the Iowa landscape bleak.

Cloudy and cold.

Condensation and frost riming the windows.

Piles of dirty snow dotting the countryside.

I, cargo.

Destination: Cherokee’s other place, the outline on the hill.

Shifting, crossing my legs…

Please, can we stop?

Hot and steamy inside.

Shivering, my teeth rattling.

Please…I have to go!

Hear something, George?

Naw, nothin’ important.


Cargo has no voice.

Madness has no voice.

Listen, crazy girl…

Two voices: We have come to take you away, ha, ha…

“I’m crazy, crazy…”

Fragments, crazy-quilt impressions, acid flashbacks…

I, crazy?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Welcome to Memoir Madness: driven to involuntary commitment (Text-only site)

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I have set up this site with the hope that readers will eventually buy Memoir Madness, my memoir, on Amazon, either in print or Kindle.

My story depicts my life during a six-month period (December 1968 - May 1969), in which I spent two months in a mental institution -- against my will.

I have posted some sample excerpts here.

You are welcome to poke around here and even comment (no spam, please).

Excerpts of this memoir have also been posted to the media-rich Memoir; on that site I have added artwork, pictures, and relevant embedded videos. I have also included additional articles, essays, news clips, and ads. I may continue adding new text and other media to that site.

But for anyone who would just rather read the text, this fast-loading, bare bones site has been reserved for text-only excerpts with relevant memoir and author information.

After all, in the end, the writing has to stand on its own merits.

Other than the image of my 19-year-old self, my current author's photograph, and my book cover, you will see no adornments to this website.

The background is a low-resolution image.

If you are a casual reader, you might enjoy the excerpts with all the bells and whistles. In that case, just click here.

Getting around here is easy; no matter where you are on the site, the panel on the left offers relevant internal links.

Once again, welcome to my site!

Table of Contents

Monday, September 7, 2015

A Young Man's Journey to and From Cherokee (Anonymous)

[Editor’s note: The following mental health experience was written by a young man who emailed me using his real name. He has given me permission to publish this piece here. However, I have decided to post this anonymously, given how, even in 2015, there is still a stigma attached to mental health issues. For informational purposes, I have also provided links to the books and websites he has recommended, but I have not vetted them. This essay reflects the writer's experiences and opinions and may differ from that of the webmaster's]

I was involuntarily committed to Cherokee in late April, 1990.
I was there for a month and a half.  I was court ordered there through Mary Greeley Hospital in Ames, Iowa. I wanted a cigarette and there was no smoking on the psych ward in Mary Greeley. It was reported I went “berserk” by the doctor in my file.  I was not allowed to smoke, so yeah, at 21, and scared, and addicted, I wanted to smoke.
I was diagnosed with several different things, ALL of which I now do not believe, but did for years (manic depressive, mood disorder, personality disorder, psychotic features, major depression).
I have been med-free for 4 years. I still suffer from the trauma I experienced through the psychiatric system, but especially then. I was experiencing intense trauma and fear after my first breakup and had been smoking pot regularly, tripped acid, took mushrooms, and wasn’t eating or sleeping well.
I believe this led to my suicidal ideation at the time of my break-up.
Now 21 years clean and sober I know that abandonment and rejection issues, as well as authority figure issues, have nothing to do with diagnosis, but I digress.
I was heavily sedated at my court hearing in Ames, unable to speak I was so sedated, don’t remember getting in a helicopter but do remember landing and being shackled to another man as we entered the landing strip near Cherokee. I was taken by a cop inside.
Immediately dosed with something that I had a reaction to and my jaw and body seized up, they shot me full of something else and I slept. I was terrified of my surroundings on the adult ward. I was terrified of people who were “rotting” there for I don’t know how long.
I was terrified by the ignorance, the complete lack of empathy or understanding or kindness by nurses or doctors, the judgment, the distrust, and the traumatizing experiences I witnessed while there.  The one good thing I remember was asking the doctor in a session what he thought [the] Robin Williams Diagnosis was.
I forget his answer, but the traumatic examples?
Seeing a woman bloody after putting her arm through a window, screaming, being leered at by sexual predators, a man paying another man for sexual favors when the man being used had no self-esteem.
This man who was abused had an older man from the outside drive myself and him off the grounds in an older Cadillac, buy us a carton of cigarettes, candy, and this older man tried to make out with me, but I politely said no. He didn’t force himself, fortunately.
How this older man got me out on a [town] pass when I was court ordered, twice, I will never know.
That and I found out later this older man used this man who was used sexually for sex routinely when he was let out of Cherokee.
The tunnels underneath were terrifying and unmonitored that I could tell, though I’m sure there were cameras.  I saw so many women overly sedated and unable to speak, let alone think clearly.
I was overly sedated as well. 
 I am glad to hear [Cherokee Mental Health Institute] is shutting down [Editor’s note: Cherokee may be closing down, maybe not].
I want that place to burn! I have considered going there and applauding when it is shut down for good!
We need more advocates for people in the Mid-west, more people who are peer supporters who are psychiatric survivors! The indignity and shame and trauma these places bring and no accountability because it’s the system and fear based, shame-based!
Check out the book Mad in America [Website]!
Check out Will Hall!
Check out Madness Radio
Check out Afiya House in Massachusetts! 
Connect with peer support on The Icarus Project!
Seven cups of Tea chat for peer support!
Don’t listen to the shame and trauma from the American Psychiatric Association!
Don’t listen to their power and control! Find empowerment in yourself! We do not have chemical brain disorders! This is a lie! Find out for yourself.
Read Mad in America and listen to more stories through the website . Read or listen to Anatomy of an Epidemic.
Be strong and know you are all not alone!
You’re right not these people who are brainwashed by this old mental health system!
Find compassion, not power and control, you know it when you hear it and feel it!
Open Dialogue is available!
Read Carl Rogers! Read Peter Breggin! There are empathic supporters!


This essay is copyright by the writer who submitted it and may not be reposted or republished without his express permission.