The psychiatric male nurse rifled through my small canvas bag. With a black magic marker, he wrote “Smith” on the crotch of every pair of my white lace panties. Trembling, I stood silently beside him. Would I spend the rest of my life in this god-forsaken hellhole in the wilderness of New Jersey? Would a bored psychiatrist give me a shot, so that I would become just another inmate doing the Thorazine shuffle? Another Frances Farmer?
I have never been so scared in my whole life.
I got married six months ago.
Would my husband divorce me? Would I become a homeless woman sitting beside overflowing garbage bags on the streets of New York?
I felt like an astronaut floating in space whose umbilical cord to the spaceship that would return him to Earth had just been severed.