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Uncivil Commitment: A Memoir of My Daughter's Struggle with Bipolar Disorder and the Mental Health System

Author: Thea Amidov Esperanza

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

ISBN 10: 1978489528
ISBN 13: 978-1978489523

Hearing the door lock behind you is inconceivable. There is no fixed sentence, no deliberation by a jury, yet the locks and barred windows are real. The legal term is “involuntary civil commitment,” yet too frequently there is nothing civil about the psychiatric ward experience.

In this memoir, Thea Amidov Esperanza invites the reader along on an unsettling journey following Serafina, her artist daughter, from bipolar diagnosis, drug trials, electric shock treatment, to near-fatal suicide attempt to psych ward. Throughout, Serafina struggles as so many others have, seeking relief from her illness, yet too often finding that the mental health care system provides as many obstacles as pathways to healing.

This story is a personal one, sprinkled with pain, humor, and science. Through it, the author seeks to spark debate on the widespread use of involuntary civil commitment and other forms of coercion on psychiatric wards. Using consumer and expert opinion, the author offers readers a rarely heard viewpoint in the field of mental health care.

“Esperanza writes affectingly but also with impressive objectivity—the drama unfolds almost like a novel….A reflection on psychiatric care that combines emotional poignancy and intellectual astuteness.”—Kirkus Review