Turpin 13 and “Legitimate” Restraint

I work with kids and adults (up to 21) who the public schools cannot handle because of their level of violence or self-injurious behavior. I’m talking about a 6 year old who detached a retina in one eye through head banging, a boy who broke his own leg kicking through a wall, a 19 year old who knocked a teacher out, and another who threw a pair of scissors at someone’s head with enough force that they stuck into the wall. In other words, they are truly a danger to themselves or others.

We use quiet rooms. If a kid is at risk of hurt themselves in the quiet room (ex. choking themselves with something), we go in and hold them until they are no longer trying to hurt themselves or others. We are only allowed to hold a kid for 10 minutes and then we have to try to release them because of worries about nerve damage. If they are still unsafe, we have to try a new hold to decrease the likelihood of nerve damage. In training, we heard stories about accidents where kids were hurt because adults utilized restraints incorrectly. I’m scared to imagine the level of nerve damage these kids might endure. We have video cameras everywhere and we must document every instance of restraint, even if it is 5 seconds long.

Also, regardless of whether a kid is in the middle of banging their head against the wall, if they say they need to use the bathroom, we have to let them use the bathroom.

A co-worker used to work in a psychiatric hospital and they had similar rules about chemical and mechanical restraints.

There is no feasible reason to restrain someone for long lengths of time, ever! Many of my students have intellectual disabilities; that also is not a reason to restrain for long periods of time! Plus, they aren’t learning coping skills in restraint. It is our last resort when we can’t keep them safe any other way. If we just kept them in a locked closet all day, they’d never learn to deal with disappointment safely. We would never see progress. Kids are violent because they don’t know how to handle their emotions or get what they need in another way.

It is impossible these restraints were “legitimate”. In fact, we had one little boy who came to us after CPS found him in a similar condition (naked, chained to a bed in his own waste). The government oversees and approves our use of restraint, but his parents were put in jail despite claiming they had no other way to keep him safe. Restraint should never be used as punishment or as a way to make things easier on parents or staff. It is only allowed in acute crisis situations.

I’ve been following this case for days and it makes me sick. It makes me more ill to think people even entertain the idea that this treatment could be acceptable if the kids were disabled.

Edited to add: No one I work with (or have heard of) enjoys restraining. It is a risk for both us and the children we’re trying to help transition to a less restrictive environment. I’ve gone home and cried about my kids. I celebrate days where no one needs restraint to stop injuries. I’m disgusted that anyone would enjoy restraining another human being, especially their own children.


Turpin 13

Since Sunday I’ve been following the case obsessively. It is upsetting, but I can’t look away and I’m not sure why.

I am angry. I worry about their futures when the media goes away and charity dries up. I worry about them being taken advantage of like Genie.

I feel sick to my stomach; my chest feels tight, yet I still read updates.

Someone on a message board I’m reading said, “I can imagine that being stuck with needles, hooked up to IVs and having measured nutrition (although all are direly necessary for now) could feel like more of being chained up and deprived and tortured. I hope that they are able to understand what is being done to help them?” That hit close to home and is a horrific thought.

I’m tearing up thinking about the pain they are likely still in. During refeeding, I literally thought I was going to die once b/c I hurt so much. They have no reason to trust anyone. If they are low cognitively (which apparently some are), they may not understand and think they traded one hell for another. Even if they’re not low cognitively, they might not understand because of no medical knowledge.

I think, part of me, hopes to learn enough that I could recognize signs in people I meet. Then again, I’m paranoid enough about our kiddos and ready to call CPS based on some of the things I hear when they’re in crisis.

I’m not in favor of the death penalty for Louise or David Turpin because that is the easy way out. I wish there was a way to make them feel the same pain, hopelessness, helplessness, sadness, and fear they inflicted on their children. That would be a tiny sliver of justice, even though it wouldn’t make the kids whole again.

The TV show Black Mirror often leaves me unsettled, so I haven’t watched all the episodes, but one (White Bear) showed a similar punishment for a child abuser. At the time, I had more misgivings about the punishment, but for these 2, I think it would be appropriate. My thoughts usually center on personal atonement for any real or imagined wrongdoing I committed, but David and Louise Turpin bring out the anger I usually reserve for myself. 

When my eating disorder thoughts are bad, I tell myself no one deserves to starve. The Geneva Convention outlawed it as a form of torture. Well, we found some people who deserve to starve. I can’t use that coping statement anymore.

I found 2 legitimate funds for the Turpin kids: The Corona Chamber of Commerce and Riverside University Health System, where the adult kids are hospitalized, both created funds for the 13.

If you’ve heard about the case, what are your thoughts? If you are upset by it, how are you handling that?


One-sided Competition to the Death

Clearly I'm not handling this well_Xander_Buffy

I’m dealing with the minor, insignificant rejection worse than I anticipated. I expected to feel hurt when I saw people’s pictures. Earlier this week, I asked my high school friend if she wanted to see Thor this weekend to distract myself. She did and that was validating. Plus, the movie was great!

However, I’m restricting and purged what I ate with her. I look like I got punched in the face and received 2 black eyes. I keep thinking, “I can’t make them like me or care, but I CAN be better than they are. I can be thinner.”

I’m dealing lots of cognitive dissonance. I know this is a small thing to worry about. I know it won’t matter in 6 months or even 2 months. Honestly, I shouldn’t care what anyone who I don’t consider a friend or above me in the workplace hierarchy thinks of me. Despite that knowledge, I feel hurt.

How do you deal with feeling left out, invisible, or disliked?


Feeling Invisible

Felicia Day_i think that is why I like video games

A coworker got married tonight and most people from  work were invited. The invitation list included people she never talks to and who she has only known a few months. In contrast, we went on a weekend winery trip together, have known each other for years, and used to work together closely. One day, at lunch, she mentioned struggling to come up with 200 people to invite and even including some coworkers she didn’t like to meet her guest list goal. I was sitting across the table from her when she said this.

Ginny was invited and said it was nice.  I asked how it s out of jealous curiosity.

I’m trying to vent my feelings here so I don’t complain to Ginny. That would be  downer. It would be unfair to bring her mood down because I am like a ghost.

I know I overreact to social stuff a lot because I’m scared everyone sees me the way I see myself… I’m try, but failing, to shut up the refrain in my head… “No one likes you. You’re unlovable, no one would notice if you starved to death. If you were good enough, people would care. If you were thin enough, people would notice. ”

How would YOU feel in this situation? Am I being an idiot?!

1,000 mile move

In the next few months, I’m probably going to I will move over 1,000 miles away from home. I lived in a dorm out of state during college, but other than that, I’ve always lived at home.

I am scared.

I’m currently house-sitting and I’m successfully maintaining my weight! That gives me hope. However, it is hard. On one hand, I’m telling myself I’ll never be independent or get what I want in life if I lose weight now.  On the other hand, I’m telling myself I just need to hold out until I move and then no one will monitor my eating or health.

Somehow everyone around me is more confident than I am in myself. Even my mom thinks I can do it and she is usually cautious.

God damn it, I’m 27 years old and afraid I won’t be able to handle feeding myself. Paying bills is not a problem; I already do that. Getting up to go to work won’t be an issue. I lived without family in college, just fine. I had a roommate all 4 years, but not always friends. Yet, I survived knowing virtually no one. What does that leave? The food! I’m scared of food. My heart rate is 120 bpm and I’m sitting down typing. 


I know one of the main functions of my eating disorder is escape and avoidance. I could let myself “relapse” and avoid moving. That would be settling for mediocrity. I cannot let myself stay stagnant because of fear. If I do, I’ll never improve… but I’m still sitting here scared…

I wish I knew what the people I love see in me. Why do they think I can be successful living on my own?