surrounded by spies
surrounded by spies

Imagine you are trapped in a mental hospital and you don’t know why you’re there. You pace the hallways, talk to other incarcerated people there, and just can’t figure it out, but you definitely want to get out. This happened to me on 9/29/2010, I was put involuntarily into a mental health center for 20 days, Fairmount behavioral health center in Philadelphia, and I still don’t know the details of why. I was forcibly dragged and put in restraints after refusing to voluntarily admit myself. While I was there I was forced to take anti-psychotic medication and despite asking who committed me, why, and when do I get to leave, most of it is still a mystery.

After I was released I wanted to find out why this happened. I posted a question on Quora asking what I should do (http://qr.ae/7phlX) One poster suggested I contact the disability resource network of Pennsylvania, so I did. I emailed them my story and asked for their help. The email is as follows:

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Hi, I have some questions about being involuntarily committed in Philadelphia, PA for unspecified psychosis for a very long time (20 days). I also filed an intake questionnaire via regular mail with the ACLU of PA and they had some questions listed, so I’ve copied the questions and answers to you. I discovered your organization after someone told me about it on quora.com[5] I feel like what happened to me was wrong and I want more of an explanation & a guarantee that other people aren’t forcibly being held against there will when they shouldn’t be. Let know if you need any more information.

[1] What happened?

I was held against my will for 20 days at Fairmount Behavioral Health Center in Philadelphia starting on 9/29/2010. I was driven there by my Mom and sister but I didn’t want to sign the admission papers so about a half dozen people forcibly dragged me and put me in restraints, and gave me sedatives. I didn’t try to hurt anyone.

I thought people were spying on me, and I was scared. I think 20 days was excessive, and the time in the hospital didn’t help me. I felt scared of the situation there for most of the time.

[2] Were you given an explanation?

Yes, I was told I was committed for unspecified psychosis.

[3] Why do you think this happened to you?

It’s unclear to me exactly why it happened. I also feel like I have been monitored at times (my landline phone, my cell phone, and my internet). It might be for political or some other reasons, I’m not sure.

[5] What have you done to fix this situation yourself?

I posted this question on Quora.com, here is the link: http://qr.ae/hUIW I also did some other internet research.

[6] What would you like us to do for you?

Let me know if anyone else has had something like this similar happen to them. I wonder if all the people who are at Fairmount hospital right now really should be there, and for so long if they don’t want to be there. How is it helping them? Guarantee something like this won’t happen to me in the future. Get the names in writing of who committed me and for what exact reason (as well as why I was held for 20 days)

[7] Other strange things that happened before being admitted

[7a]On September 9th, 2010, I made a report to the FBI about a computer programmer I found through vworker.com but was paying directly most recently, not through the site.

The reason was because I discovered through the Rapportive plugin for Gmail that his profile picture at the hi5.com social network was of Osama Bin Laden. I reported this in person at the Philadelphia office, called the Philadelphia office, and also made 2 reports to the FBI website. This person lives in Vietnam.

[7b] A couple weeks prior to being involuntarily admitted, I had someone contact me in a bar asking me about computer programming, he was reading a php book. He got my cell number and we met again, this time one of his friends jokingly introduced herself as a cop. I answered all his questions, he asked me how I felt about Islam out of the blue which I thought was pretty interesting. I had posted on Twitter about some Islam issues previously (being against the community center mosque in NYC near ground zero)

[7c] I feel like my internet activity was being monitored and I was never accused of any crime.

Thank you,

Andy Triboletti

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I sent the email on January 6th, 2011, and coincidentally the shooting tragedy in Tucson happened 2 days later. After emailing a few more times, I finally spoke on the phone with someone on January 13th. They advised me to create an advance mental health directive describing my wishes regarding involuntary commitment. They also advised me to make a report direct to Fairmount if I felt like I was treated poorly there.

Backing up about 6 months, on June 21st, 2010 a former coworker who now works for the FAO of the UN posted a message on my Facebook wall asking me if I’d like to come to work for the FAO doing computer programming. I didn’t respond that I wanted an interview at the time because I was happily working on my own iPhone applications. After I was released from Fairmount in November, I decided I would at least try to interview with the UN so I sent an email with my resume.

I was happy they responded; and my interview with the FAO/UN was February 1st, 2011 so the night before I was working on filling out an application and did a search in Gmail for FAO to find the email.

As I was searching I saw an email receipt from Action against Hunger. I then thought about another time I was asked to donate 10 bucks to help hunger, direct to an internet friend about a week before I was admitted to Fairmount. So I searched for that twitter name, @[redacted-1] and saw something surprising via Rapportive. I had thought this user lived in Detroit, Michigan (and was not associated with the FAO), but their location was listed as East Coast Statistical Islands, Chatham Islands

Here’s a screenshot of a Google search for “East Coast Statistical Islands, Chatham Islands”

After discovering the suspicious location in Rapportive and before the phone interview I tweeted ‘on the internet no one knows you’re a dog (except for @rapportive users)’

After the interview, someone from Rapportive responded to my tweet saying thanks and asked if I had any questions. I said yes, I do and explained that I wanted information some more information on the users.

I mentioned a user who was listed as living in Detroit and which came up as East Coast Statistical Areas, Chatham Island; as well as a user who was supposed to be living in Vietnam but came up as living in Max, Minnesota.

They responded that I should email for more information.

Hi, I was twittering with someone from rapportive today. I noticed 2 weird things on rapportive that I’d like more info about including how the location was set and the dates, for these users if possible.  I attached 2 screenshots.

1) I was Moneygramming money to Vietnam to pay a contractor for Java web development I found through vworker.com (but was paying directly upon his suggestion) - I installed rapportive and saw this user was from Max, Minnesota and also his avatar was of Osama Bin Laden! I did report this to the FBI in person, by calling, and also on the online tips system twice. Not sure if it’s related but I was involuntary committed to a mental hospital in Philadelphia a few days after this on 9/29 with no internet access for 20 days. I was physically dragged and put in restraints because I wouldn’t agree to be committed. I thought I was sane and didn’t want to be there for the whole 20 days.

2) A user that has blocked me on twitter because I stopped following her after she asked for $10 to buy some food has their location set as ’East Coast Statistical Area, Chatham Islands’. It’s not there anymore, but I have a screenshot. This user blocked me a couple weeks before I was committed, and I had an interview with the FAO organization today for a job. A former coworker asked me if I wanted to join her in working for the FAO in Italy on 6/21, the same day this user started following me. I wasn’t interested initially, but after I got out of the hospital I sent her my resume.  If you search that location it looks like it is a FAO site. Unrelated, but I did send her a donation of $10 after I got out of the hospital.

Ok, thanks, I am curious and you have alot of data I guess. Your software is very surprising - I wish I had it installed from the very beginning and maybe I could have avoided this injustice.

*2 attachments*

Here’s the response I received:

A couple minutes after receiving this email the power went out where I was staying (with my Mom). We had to call someone to have them restore the power due to a downed line (the power wasn’t out for anyone but our house). The power was restored in about a day.

Timeline

3/7/10
@[redacted-1] posted a tweet saying she wasn’t feeling good and asked her followers to tweet her a haiku about how sexy, smart or delusional she was. I wrote “@[redacted-1] You are my FAV peep on Twitter. So sexy, smart.”

5/7/10
I posted a programming project on vworker, and hired [redacted-2] as a Java Seam developer. After the first project, we decide to work directly instead of through vworker.

6/18/10
-A recruiter from Google sent me an email asking if I want to work for them, I schedule an interview on 6/21.

6/21/10

  • @[redacted-1] user on Twitter follows me.
  • A former coworker posts a message on my Facebook wall asking me to to work for the FAO of the UN in Rome.

  • I had a phone interview with Google at 4pm. That night, I email to them I’m not interested in working for Google at the time.

6/24/10
-Google posts a blog post (http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/graduation-our-latest-search-story.html) with a search story referencing someone from Vietnam coming to NY as a Seamstress. This seems related to the Java Seam developer I had hired who lived in Vietnam. I later discovered that his profile picture on Hi5 was a picture of Osama Bin Laden.

9/8/10
I installed the Rapportive plugin after reading about it on Twitter and discover the Java Seam programmer I hired from Vietnam, [redacted-2] has a profile picture of Osama Bin Laden. I email him asking him to explain and also report it to the FBI. I’m not sure if it’s a valid threat but I wanted to be safe.

9/19/10
@[redacted-1] posts on twitter asking for $10 to buy some pizza with. I’m kind of annoyed at someone asking for money in a tweet so I unfollow her. She then blocks me. I’m not sure of the exact date in September this happened.

9/26/10
I tell [redacted-2] that I’m no longer interested in continuing to pay him to develop websites for me. The project he had been working on was a stock photo site (like istockphoto.com), and later an image sharing site for funny pictures (like icanhascheezburger.com)

9/29/10
I was involuntarily committed to a mental hospital in Philadelphia for 20 days. I had feelings of paranoia like people were following me when I was driving, my computer use was being monitored/interfered with, and I felt scared. I was feeling like something very bad would happen to me in the future that I couldn’t avoid. I was not a threat to anyone else.

10/19/10
I was released from the mental hospital finally.  Previously I was living on my own but was forced to live with my Mom in order to be released. A couple days before I was released another person at the hospital had locked themselves in the bathroom crying because she had found out she was going to be forced to live in a half-way house instead of going back to her apartment. She seemed normal and was not violent in any way.

10/22/10
I emailed the former coworker who posted on Facebook about the UN job and asked to have a phone interview.

1/2/11
I posted a question on Quora:

I was involuntarily committed to a mental hospital for 20 days. What options do I have if I feel my rights were violated?

(http://qr.ae/7phlX)

1/6/11
I emailed the Disability rights network of PA (http://drnpa.org) for help about getting more information about being involuntarily committed. I also wrote to the ACLU with the same information.

1/8/11
The Tucson, Arizona shooting happens

1/13/11
The Disability rights network contacts me by phone and can’t help with my questions or legal support, but does advise me to complete a mental health advance directive. They also say if I was treated poorly by Fairmount I should write them a letter.

1/27/11
I’m invited by email to do a phone interview for the FAO in Rome on 2/1/11.

1/31/11
I searched my Gmail for FAO in order to fill out the job application before the interview. I saw my donation to Action against Hunger in the results and then thought about another time I was asked to donate 10 bucks to help hunger, direct to an internet friend, a few months ago. So I searched for that name (@[redacted-1]), saw the email where @[redacted-1] had followed me and via the rapportive plugin saw that her location was “East Coast Statistical Island Areas, Chatham Island”. I googled for this and saw that it was associated with the FAO of the UN.

2/1/11
I had a phone interview with the FAO of the UN in Rome for a software developer position.

After the interview, someone from Rapportive responded to my tweet asking if I needed anymore info, so I sent them an email asking about the Rapportive data of [redacted-2] and @[redacted-1].

They respond that they can’t provide the dates a location is set and how it is set, but as of 2/1/11 they stopped using Rapleaf as a data source (because of my email?)

2/5/11
While trying to decide whether I should accept the FAO position I try to research and find out some more information about @[redacted-1]’s location in Rapportive. Does she work for the UN in Chatham Island? Was it just a prank cause she knew I was interviewing there? What is going on? So I search twitter for “@[redacted-1]” to see if anyone on Twitter can give me some more insight. I find some tweets from the user @[redacted-3] which look threatening.

I’m not sure what to do at this point, but it seems like @[redacted-3] and @[redacted-4] are posting threatening messages about what I posted as a reply to @rapportive. I had deleted the posts to Rapportive on my twitter after getting the email response and feeling scared, so I think “the beginnings of keeping your mouth shut..” corresponds to this.

I leave the retweeted messages posted for a day, and no one has really responded and I’m feeling paranoid about all this so I delete my Twitter and Tumblr account.

2/10/11
I was having feelings of intense paranoia including the feeling that something bad was going to happen to my friends if I didn’t do something immediately, but I wasn’t sure what to do to make it stop. I call my psychiatrist who recommended I be admitted to Rockford mental hospital. I sign in voluntarily, but I do feel like I was coerced. I was driven to the hospital by my sister and advised that we should go straight there. I mention after I’m there that I want to go back to my apartment and get some clothes as well as my mental health advance directive but eventually I’m talked into signing the papers voluntarily. I had initially called the psychiatrist to see if I could be put on some medication to help with anxiety since I wasn’t taking anything at the time. He refused, saying that I should go to the mental hospital first, where I was then given medication.

2/16/11
I’m released from Rockford mental hospital. I check my mail and I see a written response from the ACLU saying they are sorry but can’t help.

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Extra Info:

Here’s some other coincidental things that have happened.

1/15/09
I posted on Twitter:

They had done something like mixed up my connecting flight and then the customer service person was rude to me and asked me why I had taken the previous flight’s tags off my baggage (even though I’ve been told to do that before).

Also that day Flight 1549 “was successfully ditched in theHudson River adjacent to midtown Manhattan six minutes after takeoff from LaGuardia Airport after being disabled by striking a flock of Canada Geese during its initial climb out. The incident became known as the “Miracle On The Hudson”.[1]

“US Airways Flight 1549 took off at 3:26 p.m. It was less than a minute later when the pilot reported a “double bird strike” and said he needed to return to LaGuardia” [2]

[1]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/US_Airways_Flight_1549

[2]http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/local&id=6606410

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703860104575508472745513134.html

9/19/10
I posted on Twitter:

9/23/10

Mark Zuckerberg, the 26-year-old founder and chief executive of Facebook Inc., plans to announce a donation of up to $100 million to the Newark schools this week, in a bold bid to improve one of the country’s worst performing public school systems.” [1]

Also that day, I posted on Twitter:

Later, Facebook’s site was unreachable for about 45 minutes because of a DNS error.

“Early today Facebook was down or unreachable for many of you for approximately 2.5 hours. This is the worst outage we’ve had in over four years, and we wanted to first of all apologize for it.”[1]

“AlertSite, a Web performance management company, reported that Facebook went down around 2:30 p.m. ET. And between 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., the site only had 38.46% availability. AlertSite also reported that Facebook was down at all 12 of its monitoring locations throughout the U.S.” [2]

[1] https://www.facebook.com/notes/facebook-engineering/more-details-on-todays-outage/431441338919

[2] http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9187618/Facebook_suffers_second_outage_in_as_many_days

12/27/10
I posted on Twitter:

12/28/10
All of Kiva loans were fully funded (not a single loan available)

http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1060829/

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"I did not tell half of what I saw, for I knew I would not be believed." -Marco Polo