You can live free in the community
(as long as we always know where you live).
You must take medication
(which you don’t want because it makes you feel bad)
We will call these drugs ‘treatment’
(which is stretching the truth).
We will respect your opinion
(but over-ride it if we so choose).
You may claim you are well
(but we will decide).
You must remember your appointments
(even though your brain is fuzzy).
If you do not comply, we reserve the right to deprive you of your liberty against your will even though you have agreed to these conditions under duress and may take a different view of your life.
(That’s just how the system works, I’m afraid.)
Community Treatment Orders (CTOs) are a statutory instrument of control in psychiatric practice. Commonly used worldwide, they were introduced in the UK in 2008. They require a person to live at a stated address and to accept such treatments (generally psychotropic drugs) as are deemed necessary.
Artwork is Nobody’s City by Dutch artist Marcel Herms (Netherlands) marcelherms.nl
Henry Bladon is a writer of short fiction and poetry based in Somerset in the UK. He has degrees in psychology and mental health policy and a PhD in literature and creative writing. His work can be seen in Fewer than 500, Pure Slush, Truth Serum Press, Flash Frontier, and O:JA&L, among other places.