I'm not sure if this is the correct forum (or site) for this, but here goes... I had a hearing in mental health court this afternoon. (Representing a client in an 8103(f) hearing, if anyone's curious. Hairy stuff.) I got there early, and had a front-row view of the gurneys, etc., arriving with the afternoon case load -- psychiatric patients, mostly committed involuntarily, coming to court for conservatorship hearings, extended commitment hearings, etc. Several patients were escorted in wearing locked purple polyurethane wrist-waist restraints. That is, a belt locked around their waist, with a cuff on either side (the style where the cuff is closed around the wrist by putting a metal "staple" through the appropriate slot, and then the locked belt passes through the staple, keeping the cuff closed and not permitting movement away from the belt). It looked really uncomfortable, especially for the poor souls who were in those restraints for at least the ~4 hours I was there, plus I'm sure time in transit to and from the courthouse. Another patient became uncontrolled and was surrounded by deputies in a show-of-force, before his attendant mental health staff were able to put him in tighter waist-wrist restraints and ankle hobbles, locked. He was escorted out of the smoking courtyard and I have no idea what happened next.
On the one hand, it's a sad, disturbing place to be. People who are obviously not able to care for themselves, and/or are a clear danger to themselves or others. They arrive disheveled, wearing hospital-issue "no slip" socks or slippers, white patient identification wristbands securely affixed, in the company of at least two "handlers," with a brown sack of snacks to tide them over. They don't want to be where they are; many don't want to be anywhere. They're kept "safe" in spite of themselves.
On the other, I found myself secretly wishing I was in their shoes, maybe just for a day, maybe just for a few hours. Not wracked with mental illness, but secure, controlled, with someone else watching out for me, making the decisions, down to whether or not I can even use my hands and if so, for what.
I don't understand myself, a lot of the time...