The strange people came to her house when Indigo Daya was very scared and unwell.
All she knew about psychiatric wards came from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, she says. And sadly, her own story unfolded in much the same way.
Then aged 30, she was taken to a hospital ward, and it was locked. She had to take her clothes off for a weapons search. She was forced to take medications that left her sedated.
At least once she was given electroconvulsive therapy that left her with permanent memory loss.
The same thing happened at each of her 10 admissions - about half of them involuntary - yet not once was she offered counselling (and she was variously diagnosed with eight different types of mental illness, including depression with psychosis and schizophrenia).
"Compulsory treatment can be an isolating, lonely and often frightening experience," says Helen Makregiorgos, the head of a new Independent Mental Health Advocacy service, to be launched by the Minister for Mental Health, Martin Foley, on Wednesday.
"We're 'on the side' of people being compulsorily treated, listening to them, helping them understand their rights and options," Ms Makregiorgos says.
Advocates based in Melbourne, Bendigo and Geelong will provide a free visiting service to hospitals and clinics throughout the state. The service is the first of its kind in Australia, and is run by Victoria Legal Aid with funding from the Department of Health and Human Services.
Compulsory treatment means people with a mental health illness are required to take medication, and can include other services like counselling.
This treatment can happen within the community, but people who are very unwell may also be compulsorily contained in hospital.
The whole experience can be very disempowering, says the head of Legal Aid's mental health and disability unit, Chris Tovey: "You have your liberty taken away, your bodily integrity taken away."
Daya was deeply traumatised as a child: at the age of 13 she fled her dysfunctional home and was abducted and raped by a stranger who kept her prisoner for a fortnight.
Because of this, being brought into hospital and held against her will triggered many terrible memories, yet no one ever asked her about her childhood.
"The service that was supposed to be there to help me was recreating my worst horrors. It breaks my heart."
Now an advocate in the mental health sector, Ms Daya says having her own advocate would have helped her clarify her options around treatment, particularly medication.
At one point she had to chose between a drug that cost $300 a week, or one that had a lactation side effect: "I was either going to be poor, or lactate. Neither sounded great".
She agrees it might have been hard to make sense of what she wanted at times, but says a good advocate could spend the time with patients to help them verbalise their wishes.
"The things I wanted didn't change when I was unwell: I wanted to talk about what was happening, and I didn't want to take a drug that made it hard for me to think."
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