MOTHER'S FREEDOM HUNGER STRIKE
BEGINS JULY 4th 2021
CALL EDUCATE DONATE SHARE JOIIN
MINDFREEDOM INTERNATIONAL ALERT
MY HUNGER STRIKE
for Siddharta and for
a Soteria House and Peer Respite House
in my community; with development and oversight by the community,with those most impacted, representing the majority at the decision making table!!!!
(Note: For those of you who have followed Siddharta’s story for many years, she has slowly been letting me know for several years that her chosen gender identity is female.)
CALL! EDUCATE! DONATE! SHARE! JOIN!
1. CALL Western State Hospital at 253-582-8900 and ask for Dr. Waiblinger's office. Tell Dr. Waiblinger "Free Siddharta Immediately with NO Restrictions!”
2. EDUCATE yourself and others about Soteria Houses, Peer Respites and Open Dialogue by going to www.RethinkingPsychiatry.org and hitting the BLUE button to watch our you tube videos.
3. DONATE to Cindi’s fierce activism and her next level training in Open Dialogue on the home page of www.ReGroundingLove.com
4. SHARE THIS STORY EVERYWHERE with your social media!
5. JOIN Cindi on Tuesdays in Olympia , WA at 10:00am and in front of Western State Hospital at 2:00pm
My Journal Entry 4 days after my Hunger Strike began!
July 8, 2021:
It’s 10 pm now on day 4 of my hunger strike (on liquids only) and I’m noticing I am feeling hungry and sad. I am thinking of food, but then I think about my 44-year-old child, Siddharta (Sidd)
Sidd seldom gets enough to eat, goes to bed hungry, and there is nothing she can do about it. She has lost so much weight at Washington’s Western State Hospital and is now so terribly thin. So I will use my slight hunger discomfort to be in solidarity with Sidd’s major hunger pains.
Going to bed hungry in a so-called hospital is just WRONG!!!
I hadn’t been able to visit Sidd until two weeks ago because of covid. She is shockingly thin now and continues to tell me she does not get enough to eat. I called in a complaint and a dietitian came to talk with Sidd.
By merely looking at Sidd, the dietitian diagnosed that Sidd’s weight loss was due to her severe thyroid condition (a serious side effect of the psychiatric drugs.)
Because Sidd has experienced so much trauma and harm during her forced stays at Western State Hospital, she doesn’t trust them to treat her thyroid, or any condition. But the dietitian did order more food to be added to Sidd’s diet.
It is interesting to note that Sidd has gained about 6 pounds already since more food was added in these two weeks, even though the thyroid condition has not changed. Sidd has asked me to request even more food and a daily can of Ensure, the liquid nutrition supplement they had added to increase her caloric intake, instead of the occasional can they had ordered.
Siddharta has had a laser focus on getting out of Western State Hospital since being placed on the discharge-ready list in April 2021. Every time I spoke with her, in those months following being put on the discharge list, she so clearly and articulately expressed the deep longing and desire to go home.
She would give me assignments to do, hoping to expedite her release, while always querying me on what steps I had taken to hasten her release, making sure I had a next step in mind.
June 25, 2021:
By the close of the business day, Friday June 25, 2021, with 3 unanswered voicemails and still no discharge date, I reached a turning point.
June 28, 2021:
Early in the wee hours Monday morning, on June 28, 2021, I informed hospital administrators and many others, by email, that Siddharta needed a discharge date no later than July 2nd or I would start a Hunger Strike on July 4th.
June 28, 2021:
By noon on Monday, June 28, Western State Hospital Administrators gave a discharge date of Thursday, July 1st! The last step was a risk assessment, which would be made before July 1. However, the administers made this sound like no more than a formality in Siddharta’s case, since Siddharta had been on the discharge-ready list for the previous two months.
During that time, the treatment team hadn’t notified her or me of any significant changes that might endanger her discharge. I had noted and shared Siddharta’s growing frustration and some increased reactivity caused by undue continual confinement. I wanted to make sure that the staff was clear that any reactivity displayed now was caused by pent up despair and frustration at a failed discharge process. Such over-institutionalization was exactly what the OLMSTEAD LAW was enacted to prevent and Western State had been cited its failed discharge practices many times!
June 29, 2021:
On Tuesday, June 29, the Director of Social Work, Candace Yi, called to instruct me on the exact place and time to pick Sidd up that Thursday;at 9:30 am in the administrative waiting area! only TWO DAYS AWAY!
Celebrating!!! Siddharta and I finally began making plans on what to do in the first few hours of Sidd’s long awaited freedom. A cigarette! Real food! Maybe Domino’s pizza, maybe Kentucky Fried Chicken, Subway sounds pretty good. “Maybe I will just wait until I get out and just think about it.”
June 30, 2021:
On Wednesday, less than 24 hours before Sidd’s walk to freedom, I received a phone call from administrators saying that Dr. Zisken, Sidd’s treatment team doctor, and the Western State Hospital medical director not only blocked Sidd’s discharge, but took her completely off the discharge list, without any reference of harm to self or others, or prior warning.
July 4, 2021:
I began my hunger strike (on liquids) on July 4th.
After having her hopes cruelly dashed to pieces by her treatment team, Siddharta not only goes to bed hungry, but now, in confusion and a very deep despair.
I believe it was a retaliatory decision in response to my demand for a specific discharge date that was so very long overdue. I think they must have stepped on the toes of the doctors who play gods with people’s lives.
The less-than-23-hour revoking of Sidd’s long and desperately awaited discharge by the medical director and the psychiatrist has also had an additional harsh and crushing domino effect on Sidd’s mental health.
Not only has Sidd developed confusion about not being discharged, but the laser focus clarity Sidd so articulately expressed about getting discharged and going home has been lost.
On Tuesday mornings, you can find me at Washington State’s Capitol, in Olympia, demanding and standing for Siddharta’s freedom without restrictions. Tuesday afternoon you will find me (and often allies) in front of Western State Hospital, demanding and standing for Siddharta’s freedom, until it is time for our once-a-week visit.
Our once-a-week visit is the closest Sidd gets to the smell and feel of freedom on the outside, while pacing in a fenced enclosure where security guards make sure visitors do not take pictures or bring food.
Free Siddharta! Close Western State Hospital. Divert the money into the community and those most impacted to create a community where all hearts are welcomed and can heal and grow strong!
To support Sidd and create a community where all hearts are welcomed and can heal and go strong, please call Western State Hospital at 253-582-8900 and leave the message with the answering operator … “Tell Dr. Waiblinger to Free Siddharta Immediately with NO Restrictions!”
Siddharta Fisher was at Western State Hospital because there was not support in the community to help him heal from extensive trauma!
This lack of community support has been ongoing and is a national tragedy!
Sidd had most recently became ungrounded after not having stable housing for a year, nor therapy. In this state of confusion, Sidd broke a window and slapped an innocent person. This lack of community support finally resulted in Sidd's placement at Western State Hospital in November 2020!
Western State Hospital has been considered so unsafe by Medicare that several years ago it severed ties by cutting the 53million dollars by and revoked their Joint Commission certification for safety, declaring it was extremely dangerous for both patients and staff! Links to those stories will soon be forthcoming!
On April 20, 2021, Sidd was determined by the courts to be discharge ready!
Working with Sidd's social worker and the main discharge social worker, Cindi did everything possible to create a more supportive community to hasten Siddharta's discharge.
One of the violations of which WSH has been charged with continuously is delayed discharges, violating the Olmstead Law. and causing great mental anguish to those whom the institution walls now become a prison.
There are some patients there that have waited more than 20 years on the ready to discharge list. In the past Siddharta has waited one year!
Cindi was determined that this discharge would be expedited as quick as possible for the safety of Siddharta.
However, not having a specific discharge date one month later, Cindi became very concerned about Siddharta's growing frustration at the turtle pace discharge process.
Monday June 28, 2021 Having talked to Siddharta almost everyday, and to 2 social workers at least one to 2 times a week, she knew Siddharta had displayed signs of growing despair at the lack of a date, but nothing to prevent discharge .Finally, after numerous ongoing calls to expedite the discharge and requesting a specific date for his release, this Monday, June 28, 2021, Cindi sent a letter to Western State Administration and Cc'd state officials, advocacy groups, friends and allies! She demanded a discharge date no later than Friday, July 2, 2021 or she would start a Mother's HUNGER STRIKE on JULY $, 2021 for FREEDOM!
Monday, June 28, 2021 Before noon WSH administration called Cindi to tell her the discharge date had been set for Thursday, July 1, 2021. The last step, which was to be by his doctor and treatment team, a team that saw him everyday, was a risk assessment, and would be accomplished before then!
Tuesday, June 29, 2021 a WSH Administrator called Cindi to discuss where and when to pick up Sidd on Thursday, July 1, 2021!
Tuesday, June 29, 2021 Celebrating, Siddharta and Cindi began making plans on what to do in the first few hours of Sidd's long awaited freedom!
A Cigarette! Real food! Maybe Domino's, maybe Kentucky Fried Chicken, Subway sounds pretty good, "Maybe I will just wait until I get out and just think about it!"
Wednesday June 30,2021 less than 24 hours before Sidd's celebratory walk to Freedom, The same WSH administrators called Cindi and told her the discharge date had been blocked!
And not only had the discharge date been blocked, but what felt like an effort to throw a devastating retaliatory vindictive illegal punch in Sid's gut, WSH administrators informed her, the treatment team, (who did the risk assessment had also been completely removed Sidd from the discharge left andtherefore no longer eligible for discharge at all!!!
She questioned the cruelty, mental abuse, and retaliatory, vindictive nature of this egregious Act! And the treatment team had failed to share their decision with Sidd!
What had happened?
After the shock and rage had diminished some, Cindi knew she had to call Sid and break that devastating news to Sidd herself! When she tried to as gently as possible share the conversation that had just occurred, Sidd immediately corrected her and said " No Mom they said I am going home tomorrow! I am being discharged tomorrow!"
After a few short gentle tries 2 help Sidd understand there was not going to be a discharge or going home celebration, she asked of she should she still come tomorrow as they had planned together! An immediate, resounding, YES! Made Cindi know she had to, and would show up and request Sidd's discharge, just as had been planned by the WSH Admin... not knowing when Siddharta would be told officially by the WSH Admin she called every couple of hours to try and be there when the horrific news really hit Siddharta!
Siddharta had gone to bed believing he was going home the next day, even though the 9:00 pm nurse said Sidd had been told late that evening, but Sidd's conversation the next morning with Cindi made it painfully clear Sidd hadn't/couldnt let go of the dream of Freedom!
Thursday, July 1, 2021
When Cindi neared Western State Hospital entrance she called Sidd's social worker to tell her that she would be there in less than a few minutes to pick up Siddharta. She was accompanied by 2 ally activist who ferried her to the entrance of the main office. As they arrived they noticed first one, then two, then three armed security guards look around and walk into the building.
Cindi did as promised and went to the main office and informed them that she was there to pick up Siddharta Fisher, as she had been told the date and time to pick Siddharta up.
Shortly there after 3 WSH administrators and staff met with her in the vestibule of the office area. Cindi called Sidd on the speakerphone and told said she was downstairs 2 take them home, but they are continuing to block his discharghe! Sidd immediately spoke up and said I am supposed to be discharged and today I am supposed to go home! The administrators continued to try to explain the revocation of the discharge and Cindi argued with them about the unjust, cruel, arbitrary, vindictive blocking of Siddharta's discharge!
It appears the psychiatrist on the treatment team for the last 6 months, brought in the medical director, after finding out a Discharge date had been set, over the psychiatrist head, and not only blocked the discharge, but then for no reason that has ever yet been explained to Siddharta or I, suddenly, completely REMOVED HIM from the discharge list! This feels arbitrary, retaliatory, vindictive , racist, and extreme mental abuse Siddharta!