I am compiling the outline and am planning to start writing the actual text November 1st. I will keep you all posted.
Right now, I am planning ten personal essays. Some are pure narrative and some are more reflective. As follows:
Title: Madness Invisible (I will most likely add a descriptive subtitle)
1) Narrative of my awakening in 2o12. A few hours’ worth of scenes, dialogue, etc. My “ahah” moment that led to my gradual walking out of MH care.
2) Compare/contrast the mental health system to a brainwashing religious cult I was a member of a long time ago. I have a bunch of material i can bring into this. I also walked out of this cult on my own following an “ahah” moment.
3) Dispelling the myths they tell us in “eating disorders care.” My list of these myths is lengthy. I need to hit upon the most glaring errors made by these supposed gods that think they know our bodies better than we know do, or this chapter will be endless. I also wish to dispel myths about eating disorders that are unfortunately widely accepted as truth.
4) Black Box Warning – a chapter about what it’s like to have the well-known side effect of anti-depressants and other psych meds that causes a person who takes these drugs to go through sudden personality change and then commit suicide. I went through that, failed at suicide, and I am lucky to be alive. This began late in 2011 when I started taking the drug. The “black box” effect of the antidepressant as well as other, more physically measurable effects, took a long time to wear off, even though I had stopped the drug after a few months. I will begin when I went to my psychiatrist asking for the drug, and continue from there. Since the Black Box Warning dissipated gradually, I am not sure where to end this.
5) What it’s like to almost starve to death. I suppose this would be an anorexia narrative. From the perspective of a person who went through this at age 55. It wasn’t the first time, but for sure, the worst/best starvation I ever did. This isn’t a pro-ana piece and I wouldn’t recommend that another person do this to themselves. I hope I never get to that point again. The narrative would detail events of July 2013 and end August 12, 2013.
6) No longer human. A narrative of being stripped of my dignity. Abuse at the hands of those who supposed to provide care. I plan to spare nothing here. Begin August 12 end August 22. 11 days in hell.
7) Made into a criminal. Narrative of the shocking way others around me reacted when I tried to take legal action against those that abused me. Again, I’m not going to sugar-coat this.
8) My journey to freedom. Narrative of the steps I took to get where I am now in South America, and my arrival May 15. About a month of events.
9) Madness Invisible (“title track”): Narrative of how I spend 11 days in a medical facility here in South America incognito, without any detectable mental illness whatsoever. Compare/contrast how Western medicine is practiced in a poor country south of the equator to the USA money-driven system. End with my bus ride home.
10) A writer’s oath – I am not sure where to put this chapter but it will talk about writing as commitment. This will be in fact an imaginary commencement address to those who have earned their MFA in creative writing. Sadly, I most likely will never be invited to speak at any commencement anywhere, anytime in the near future. It will be addressed to “the graduates.”
I can change the order of appearance of these essays if I wish. I can take some out if I wish. I don’t plan to braid them the way I did in This Hunger Is Secret.
I hope to be able to revise after November and polish up one or two of these essays as stand-alones for media publication.
“I am surprised. I had a terrible experience at Harvard Vanguard. At first they all seemed oh so sweet to me, then as time went on, I realized I was being given assembly-line medical care. I had to complain twice to supervisors regarding poor quality care. I remember once I went to see my primary care physician to try to get a paper signed. The doctors there don’t have voicemail and it’s impossible to reach them without being screened by one secretary after another. So I figured I’d get the boot unless I showed up in person. I went in there and was stopped by more demanding secretaries, who acted like I was a criminal about to do a mass shooting. This was shocking to me. Then, I made arrangements to meet with my doctor in a few hours. I ran some errands and about an hour later, the secretary phoned and demanded to know what this was about. I evaded the question because I didn’t want to be told just how unimportant they considered me. Then, my last appointment at Harvard Vanguard was a joke and I was considering not even allowing Medicare to pay for it. This doctor examined his computer screen and sat there threatening me based on nonexistent blood levels. I have no clue to this day if he was even looking at the right person’s records. He never examined me nor touched me, didn’t even listen to my heart and lungs. Didn’t seem to care at all. Were these people just having me come in there to see how much closer to death I was? I called and complained to his supervisor and got the brush-off. Thank goodness I am out of Boston now and away from corporation-run medical care. What a racket. – See more at: http://blog.harvardvanguard.org/2014/10/harvard-vanguard-practices-receive-pcmh-2011-recognition/#comment-71690
What are they gonna do? You badmouth a corporation, they retaliate. So…are the cops gonna show up where I used to live…again? Calling me a violent criminal? Whenever you profile someone as “dangerous” based on no facts whatsoever, but profiling based on race, social standing, etc, you are committing a hate crime. That wouldn’t happen to me here, thank goodness. Goodbye, Boston! I sure am glad I got away while I could.
Surprise, surprise. I had no clue I was gonna do this till I did it. Life works about that way, does it not? This is why we make mistakes…and learn wonderful things from them. So today, I have been enjoying a delightful dose of Plan B. Where freedom and adventure begin. I took a glance at the ole looking glass, thumbed my nose at my reflection, walked straight on ahead, and through it to the Other Side. I told myself, “Ah hah! This is where I was meant to be all along.” And so, I began my run today.
I took La Rambla as I usually do, headed este into the rising sun. To the right of me, the Mighty Atlantic Ocean, sud version, and to my left, our land. I asked myself how far I was going to run today. I remembered my last run, when I felt on the lazy side. Afterward, I decided I might want to take two days off instead of my usual one, so I did.
It was a cool night last night, the kind of cool where you can set your leftover veggies in a windowsill to keep them fresh overnight. I have a perfect windowsill for such delectables. Still, for runners, it’s a shorts morning for sure. I bought two pairs of shorts at the feria last Thursday. They are perfecto. Absolutely perfect for running. My goal, when I can afford it, is a new pair of running shoes. And yes, Adidas are available here, too. About the best kind for my feet.
I felt strong right away, telling myself the ole saying, “Slow and steady wins the race.” Suddenly, I realized that wasn’t true. Fast runners generally win. However, I am running longer, so I get to laugh longer, too. “She who laughs last, laughs best.” We last laughers don’t mess around, do we? We laugh deeply. No LOL will do for us. We laugh with our souls, from our inner bellies. When God comes for us, we can tell the ole dude, “I may not have won the race, but I am the funniest bitch around. Catch me if you can.” Keep running.
Running is a science, or should I say, scholars of the sport make the mechanics of running into a rather intensely scientific hobby. If you are short like me, chances are your stride is also shorter than a tall person’s stride. To keep up with the Joneses, we shorties gotta move our legs fast. I hear many runners run as slowly, that is, steps per minute, as 165 or so. I run just over 175. However, the first piece of music I found that wasn’t walking pace was 175, so I stuck with that.
I remembered once seeing a “therapist,” who, upon hearing I was on psych disability, asked, “So, what are your limitations?” She was expecting a response such as, “I can’t do public transit cuz I have panic attacks,” or, “I have trouble concentrating, so I have to take my tests at school in a separate room.”
I had never been asked this so directly before. I didn’t have time to be insulted, so I wasn’t. If I recall correctly, I think I either made up stuff, not knowing how else to respond, or told her I had no limitations whatsoever. I didn’t see her too much. I quit after three sessions.
Anyway, I thought of how I would respond now. All humans have limitations, do we not? I cannot fly. I cannot swim across the entire Atlantic Ocean because I suck as a swimmer. I am so short that I cannot reach things that are high up, so I might need a ladder for such tasks. And get this: I use assistive technology. So there.
You might want to know about this assistive technology. What is it? A talking computer? Or a special helmet? Actually, I have been using assistive technology since second grade. A pair of spectacles. Without them, I can’t recognize you or anyone else, cuz it’s all a blur.
When I was a kid I got teased because I couldn’t run fast. I couldn’t hit a ball with a bat, still can’t. So I suppose I am seriously limited. Keep running.
The sun was ahead of me and to my right. South of here and to the east. I was running from my town away from Montevideo, which is to the west. Sunrise in Atlantida. Over the ocean. La Rambla is a long road that follows the coast. The scenic route.
After 2011 and until I got here to South America, my life stopped being fun. That lasted a long time and I thought I would never have fun again. Normally enjoyable things no longer gave me pleasure. I wasn’t depressed really. It was just that I knew that if I kept going the way I was going, nothing would change for the better. Stuck in a rut. Living in fear following psych abuse. It’s not cozy living in fear and dealing with threats of institutionalization, the psychs around every corner. I never knew whom I could trust, and when I needed to keep my mouth sealed shut. Having a new life has given me hope and joy that I never dreamed possible. Limitations? Keep running. Keep the damn glasses on your face or you will be sorry. And watch the cars, buses, bikes, and motorbikes. And the road ahead. Keep running.
I wondered when I would turn left toward the IB, the Interbalnearia, which is a major highway here. The full name of the Interbalnearia has a guy’s name in it, but I don’t need to have that memorized. Interbalnearia was tough enough to learn when I first arrived. In some places, La Rambla is close to the IB, but in others, there’s quite a distance and quite a bit of town in-between. I watched the bus stops on the other side of the street until they turned to letters. Parada A, Parada B. These go to F. That’s as far down La Rambla as I have ever gone, right up to the line between Las Toscas and Parque del Plata. Today, I watched the letters go up, but then they turned to numbers. Parada 11, Parada 17. I knew I was in Parque del Plata and was headed into town. But how much further was I gonna go? I wasn’t tired. Keep running.
I passed a hotel called Via Park. This is owned by a USA guy I know. I had gone there the very first day I was here. I had just come off the plane. Kinda overwhelmed I suppose. Here, we were beginning winter. I sat with others, mostly from the USA, who began each sentence with, “The USA sucks because….” and we laughed and laughed. No, we didn’t really say that, but this was the deal right then. I was told not all “expats” feel that way. I was also told that in general, Canadians are far more aware than USA folks. I had a lot to learn. It was cold in mid-May, and winter was approaching. Now, we are getting ready for Halloween. It’ll be 85 next week, mid-week, for a high. The temps climb slowly. Slow and steady wins. But keep running.
I passed another hotel. I passed a lot, actually, before turning left. I thought the road I had chosen, should I follow it all the way, would lead to the IB, but no, it ended at the next block. I encountered a large roundabout after a while, followed it, and from there, winged it. Which is how we do life, most of us. She who wings it last, flies.
I laughed to myself. Told myself I couldn’t be happier. Kept running. I zig-zagged on many roads, passing an elementary school. I learned a new Spanish word. Ecolares. Schoolchildren. I saw two such buses and I think I passed two schools, and many kids carrying knapsacks. I saw workers on their way to work. People standing waiting for the bus. I waved to a man with a dog. He told his dog to sit and let me pass. I said, “Hola!” I said that to many people as I ran by.
How far to the IB? Maybe the IB turned northward at Las Toscas, and never reached Parque del Plata. Maybe I’d have to run 50 km to get to the big highway. Who was I kidding? Who was I trying to fool? Was I lost? I kept running.
I reached a major road. I knew this cuz it was paved. I followed it, careful when buses came up behind me to get the hell out of the way.
My music had already ended. It’s an hour long. I clicked on my player so that it could play the hour-long running music again. Thumbed my nose at the announcer who told us listeners that even his car got tired when he played this piece. It’s called, “Systolic.” A punch at the end.
I remembered the story of a guy who told his wife, “I have never felt better.” Then he went out running as usual and came back still feeling fantastic. A few hours later, he dropped dead. Let’s call him Paul.
God bless you, Paul, and all the Pauls of the world who love life and live it to the fullest. Did you feel this in your core, your center, where your godliness is? Was this the calling? Welcome to Paradisio. Running to live, I suppose, shop till you drop.
I didn’t think that my fate would be the same as Paul’s, but what if it did end up that way? I can die laughing and love doing that, too. But I got a few miles to go, if you don’t mind.
Sure enough, there was the ole Esso sign, meaning that I was headed in the right direction to get home. I was in the center of Las Toscas. The road was familiar now. The pizza places and the veterinaria that says, “Animal Kingdom,” only in español. Then, soon enough, I saw street signs: Calle 5B, Calle 4B, Calle 3B. But I was daydreaming and Calle 1B came upon m unexpectedly. I was nearly in Atlantida. A bunch of familiar street signs. I knew the circle was up ahead. Here,, there’s a shrink office. The town psychologist. Adults and kids. Keep running. I ran fast past that place!
Just as I was nearly past his/her office, I said aloud, “Nyah nyah!” No one heard but the dog. Does “Nyah nyah” translate into Spanish? I passed the estacion de policia, the post office distribution center, a bunch of little markets, the Catholic church, and on until I reached my street. The music ended. I had been running for two hours and two minutes. I think that was ten miles, or 16 km. I plan to measure this on a map. Later. I have never run so far. Ever. Before, I had run at most 5 miles.
Welcome to life, Plan B. Where the fun begins. I suppose I will need to pass back into that place on the side of the Looking Glass where the rest of the folks are waiting. Till then, keep running.
I have been having a mouse lag problem lately. I thought at first that since this laptop is so old, the buttons have worn out. But the general lagginess of the whole machine was getting on my nerves. I thought maybe I needed to replace the whole thing. Granted, that’s gonna happen eventually, but I have solved the lagginess problem rather easily.
I went to some forums and found this question posed, checked out which responses seemed to make the most sense and produce actual results for the person asking the question. Undoubtedly, the following fix is the most effective and will work in most cases:
Are you running on battery? Is your battery removable? What may very well be happening is that your battery is using up a whole bunch of CPU. If you can, charge up your battery, turn off your computer, then remove it and store it. No, not on your stovetop! Don’t give it to your dog to chew! Wrap it and store it in a cool closet or drawer, on in your laptop case so you will have it while on the road.
Now, plug in your laptop with the power cord and start up. So you are running on current only, with no installed battery.
My only problem with doing this is that I’m afraid I’ll forget there’s no battery in there. I’ll have the thing running, and decide to unplug and move my operations to another location. Ooops! Don’t do that unless you shut down. Also, really shut down. I hear it’s not good for the battery to remove it or insert it while the laptop is in “sleep” mode. Doing so could damage the battery.
I found that this quick fix did the trick. I hear that when you reinsert the battery, all’s fine in many cases. If your battery is old or damaged to begin with, I’d suggest if you want to run on battery, get a new one. Beware of these fly-by-night companies on Amazon that sell cheap batteries. I have purchased non-OEM batteries with mixed results. See to it that wherever you order from you have a way to get a replacement should they send you a bad one. Batteries cannot be returned via the mail apparently. Recycle the bad one. Sweet dreams.
Seth Farber on Talk with Tenney, online radio, in 45 minutes! Discussing Gloria X, the patient blinded at Trenton State.
Hello, here’s the link to hear the Talk with Tenney show:
I believe this will take you to Lauren’s page, where her archived shows are listed, as well as tonight’s show. Tonight’s show starts at 8pm New York Time.
Tomorrow Lauren is planning “Open Lines.”
Wednesday’s show will feature Sharon Cretsinger, and most likely another guest as well. Check Lauren’s page for more info.
Beyond that, I can’t recall. Last night was Jen Padron, but I missed it cuz I was asleep! 8pm New York time is 10pm here right now. See ya. I’ll be there tonight!
I have never met an Indian chief. I have met many doctors and have known a few lawyers, too.
Here’s the behind-the-scene logic:
You can hire a lawyer. It’s easy if you have lots of dough. Just flash it in front of their faces, and they will go after it.
If you don’t have money, it has to look lucrative in some other way. For the most part, lack of money means no justice.
The lawyer will ask you in a ten-minute or less conversation what your case is. More likely, it’s not the lawyer, nor a paralegal, but a secretary or data entry person. Lawyers ask for tangible and measurable proof, hopefully in dollars and cents, before they even take your case on. Of course, you can’t really tell them this before there’s even been an investigation.
Lawyers don’t count trauma. If the consequences of trauma are measurable, they still don’t count it. They will say, “So what? So you didn’t like what happened to you. Big deal.” They will say this to you no matter how unlawful the crime was.
Many will say to a person who was a victim of domestic abuse, “Well, at least he didn’t kill you,” and then tell you you don’t have a case. Nothing measurable, even if you lived in sheer terror for years.
If the crime resulted in trauma leading to loss of job or finances, you can’t prove it. You know it, but try telling one of these secretaries who are gainfully employed and have happy families.
If the crime resulted in trauma so severe that you live in fear afterward for years, and your whole personality changes, you still can’t prove it and nothing can be measured in dollars and cents. If your family abandoned you, or if you were bullied as a result, you still can’t prove it to these people. How will they get compensated if you cannot throw dollars at them?
Doctors, shrinks in particular, don’t base anything on measurable proof. Mental illness isn’t seen by microscope, lab test, throat culture, or EEG.
Shrinks try their darndest to medicate everything. Shyness, grief, homosexuality, nightmares, even back pain. Morning sickness. Oh, pregnancy itself, too. Active kids (I think they SHOULD be that way, don’t you?).
I have never seen someone with his back “all in his head.” I think these are separate bone structures. Last I checked. Unless you smash a brick straight down on someone. Would that work? Shrinks love barbaric practices.
So…what can the shrinks base their “diagnoses” on? Speculation and guesswork. Give ‘em a pill and see what happens. Experimentation. Lock ‘em up, and if that pisses them off, it’s another illness.
Don’t you wish lawyers were so talented at speculation and wild guesses?
Lots of dollars, no sense. What germs? Is it contagious? Shoot me up with a vaccine that will keep me “stable.” It’s a fucked up world, so we need our sheeple clothes to protect us.
So when you are out of money from having gone to shrinks, have lost your home, and even your own church kicked you out, what lawyer is gonna take on your case unless you show him the dough?
Then, you might as well say you eat gluten free. What dough?
Don’t bother. Time for voodoo, or any time-proven tradition. Go to an Indian chief. You’ll be better off.
Click on the link to get to the show! No phone necessary to listen in. Call-in instructions are posted.
Writing exercise! As mentioned on yesterday’s show….
Consider this poem by David Ignatow:
I wished for death often
but now that I am at its door
I have changed my mind about the world.
It should go on; it is beautiful,
even as a dream, filled with water and seed,
plants and animals, others like myself,
ships and buildings and messages
filling the air – a beauty
if I have ever seen one.
In the next world, should I remember
this one, I will praise it
Here’s what to do now…I am going to post it again, leaving out some of the poem. It’s your turn. Fill in the blanks! Be as creative as you want! No rules for “staying inside the box.” As a matter of fact, there is no box, it’s a mass delusion.
I wished for death often
but now that I am at its door
I have changed my mind about the world.
It should go on; it is beautiful,
even as a dream, filled with _________
if I have ever seen one.
In the next world, should I remember
this one, I w praise it
Have fun! Love, Julie and Puzzle
Mass panic. Geez. Well, I admit I fell for Y2K, did I not? Oh, those fallout shelters were gonna save us, right? The flu shot is so, so necessary and healthy for you. Thalidomide, anyone? A mammogram will get rid of cancer. We all have social anxiety disorder.
Great. Now the corporations that run the world have a perfect excuse to close the USA borders. No one gets out, no one gets in.
It’s a perfect way to end immigration. Those dirty people who don’t speak English. They are all thieves, mobsters, thugs, drug dealers. Why not kill all the blacks and all the gays too?
Never mind the concept of “freedom.” No one should have it. Government knows best. Parens patriae.
Mass panic. Keep ‘em out. We love our greener grass, do we not?
Hate to clue you in, but it’s made of plastic. The lie. Go water it and keep up the delusion.
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Today’s show will be 30 minutes long.
Most likely, future shows won’t be scheduled for Sundays. Maybe Saturday instead.