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Being “Baker Acted”

Cuffs6In my experience, bipolar symptoms can creep up almost out of nowhere—in the sense that you feel like things might be off one day, and the next day you’re crying uncontrollably, telling your parents you think you’re going crazy.

I think that’s part of falling into a deep episode of depression—it’s almost more powerful than you are. You think you can handle a bad day and then you’re holding a cake knife in your mother’s kitchen, threatening to hurt yourself.

It’s like you don’t even realize how sick you are until it’s too late.

And that’s what I did, one February afternoon during an argument with my mother. In hindsight, it appears that I wasn’t feeling well at the time. The depression was building up, and I finally snapped.

It was the culmination of years of not getting along with my mom.

It was also a feeling of abandonment once again.

Feeling like my mother didn’t accept me.

I hadn’t wanted to die at all that day, until I got that familiar feeling of loss and pain as I argued with my mother.

It took me beyond the breaking point.

I couldn’t control it. I just grabbed the cake knife out of the drawer and started screaming at the top of my lungs.

I probably wouldn’t have done anything drastic, I want to think. Maybe I was just blowing off steam.

Should my mom have trusted that I wouldn’t have hurt myself or anyone else?

Was she just trying to get back at me for the years of tension?

She called the cops on me that day. I didn’t think she was going to really do it.

But she did. And within a minute or two, three police cars were outside my mother’s house.

It was so embarrassing. I imagined the neighbors across the street looking outside and seeing the mess I had created with my inability to control myself.

I was feeling pretty wired by the time the police got there, and I knew that something was about to go down.

This wasn’t good.

In a pseudo-fight-or-flight situation, I marched outside and met with the cop that seemed to be heading the investigation.

The first thing I said to him was that my mother and I were arguing and she didn’t need to call the police. It was all a misunderstanding.

He pretty much ignored me, and started to talk to my mom, who followed behind me. She was fairly calm, told the guy what I threatened to do.

I guess at one point I had put the freaking cake knife up to my throat. A cake knife.

He told me I had a red mark on my neck. That was the evidence he needed, and he told me to put my hands behind my back. We weren’t talking any further after that.

I was put in handcuffs, and without shoes, was placed into the back of the car.

Me, a college student, a kid who never got into trouble in any capacity, someone who was going somewhere.

I’m in the back of a cop car.

I watched him grab my ID from my mom. That was it. I was going. I started to panic and cry a bit.

I thought about all the people on Cops who tried to kick in the windows.

I thought about doing that.

Probably a bad idea.

The cop proceeded to lecture me about making bad decisions while I tried to hide in the back seat.

I asked him to think about turning around.

Wasn’t going to happen.

When we got to the hospital, we went around back where the helicopter sat.

He let me out, still in handcuffs, and at that point, I actually considered running.

After a daydream of running past the helicopter into the sun, I was able to decide against that and proceeded to get the “special treatment”, being admitted as fast as someone that comes in in an ambulance.

The cop stayed with me for a few minutes, talking to the nurses about his escapades in Las Vegas and appearing quite unprofessional, even for my standards at the time.

I wasn’t in a good mood. I was annoyed I was there—I wanted to go home and be with my fiancé. I wanted to see my cats.

I didn’t want to be cooped up in the hospital like last time, only a year ago.

I was “Baker Acted”.

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think something like that was going to happen to me. It was worlds beyond what I had thought for myself.

It was a joke before, something that would never happen to me, even though I had mental illness. I just wasn’t going to be in that situation.

I was a bit embarrassed, and I was very mad at a lot of people—my mother, my father, the police.

I got out of the hospital in a matter of a day or two. They didn’t think I needed to be there. I put on a good show, acting like it was a fluke and that I could deal with my treatment at home—that I wasn’t as sick as I had threatened.

My mother was furious. She knew I had wormed my way out of the hospital. She made weird threats, telling me she was cutting me off my health insurance.

And the toxic relationship continued.

I think about this day all the time, for a lot of reasons. I think moments like that change you. It’s hard to be in the position where you are cornered and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Finally feeling the effects of the things that you’ve done.

What is the Florida Baker Act? Read Here.

I’ll talk more in the future about my hospital experiences. Please comment!


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Being “Baker Acted”

Kat Dawkins

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APA Reference
Dawkins, K. (2013). Being “Baker Acted”. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 9, 2020, from


Last updated: 27 Apr 2013
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