If you are suffering, it is real and doesn’t have to have a “disease” label to be legitimate

To become well, I had to reject the idea that human suffering meant disease. Unfortunately, the common myth is that if you suffer and there isn’t a name for it, a label or category, you couldn’t possibly be suffering. I had to shed that myth entirely and embrace what I knew was truth.

Have you ever gone to a doctor with physical pain and were told that since it didn’t fit into a category, you couldn’t possibly be in pain? Know what was behind that? One thing was that you didn’t have a billable number so they couldn’t make money off of you. As soon as they found out the diagnosis your pain was suddenly legitimate in their eyes. You could now go out and tell your buddies, “This  proves I have been hurting.” I personally believe you were hurting all along, but before, your suffering was made trivial or told it didn’t exist because there was no diagnosis for it.

Back in 1981 when I entered the System, I was told I didn’t have an identifiable disease. Back then, eating disorders weren’t considered anything more than trivial rich kids’ conflicts, and I was told that I couldn’t possibly die from it nor suffer bad consequences. I looked around and saw people who did, in fact, have psych labels. Depressed. Bipolar. Schiz. I was told these people’s suffering was real because they had real mental illnesses. In order to be believed that you suffered, you had to have a disease. Of course, that wasn’t true at all. It’s a complete lie.

Humans suffer all sorts of things that are both visible and not visible in the body. Recently my friend, who had been complaining of pain for ages, discovered he had a pinched nerve. I think it was relieving to him to finally find out some sort of label for this. His suffering was now confirmed. This aspect of it makes me sad, that he had to go to lengths to prove himself, when he was truly in pain all along. They found the real visible cause of pain. It also meant it could be healed. However, psych suffering cannot be found in the body (despite their claims) and pills will only make things worse.

You can’t see love. But it’s real. Is love, too, nothing but a bunch of brain chemicals? Can you take a pill to make yourself fall in love? Would you even want such a pill? Why can’t we just put what’s in Cupid’s arrows and market it? The love potion.  That’s a great way to fool the public and make lots of money, and it’s been done.

Mental anguish is very very real. I confirm my own suffering and the suffering of others and I know just how debilitating it can be. But I choose today to reject that human mental anguish must have a DSM label in order to be confirmed and seen as legitimate by those around us. It was legitimate all along.

I recall being told in 1981, “Look at the others. They have real mental illnesses that have names, therefore, they suffer far more than you do, Julie.” I was put off over and over. After 30 years in the system, I was finally confirmed to have a real disease, that is, what I figured was the right diagnosis. The problem was that psychiatry and the mental health industry had now taken a nutritional disorder and claimed it as their own.

Their ever-widening umbrella now confirms more and more people’s suffering. It doesn’t have to be that way at all if only there is huge societal shift away from the ILLNESS MODEL.

We are working on it. People all over the planet are speaking out right now. Human suffering is legitimate the way it is. Take away the psych diagnosis because we aren’t a bunch of chemicals.

Will you join us in speaking out? Will you tell your story, too?

Twig-hunting en Marzo

Today I found that my favorite activity besides running is twig-hunting. I have a favorite place where I find twigs and bring them home in a big canvas school bag I bought at Disco. The place is a treasure, a tiny spot right by the ocean. I find sticks of all types laying on the ground, mostly twigs. I’ve been there three times now. I love to spend the time outdoors with Puzzle. I filled my entire bag. Here’s Puzzle next to the twig collection:

IMG_20150327_180245_741

After I took that shot, I made a fire as usual. Puzzle has a delicious dinner and so do I!

Are you on those annoying petition mailing lists? Here’s one worth signing…..

Here’s the link:

www.change.org/p/california-state-bar-disbar-matthew-gregory-mclaughlin-198329

I dislike the multitude of mailings but I’m still on these petition lists anyway, because a worthwhile one comes up now and then.

 

My life is great, with one exception: Facebook

I can see why kids commit suicide because of what happens on Facebook. I myself might be having a fine day with few complaints, but then, I have to go on Facebook to send someone a message. For sure, I’d rather communicate some other way, but I don’t have some people’s email addresses or phone numbers. 

Doing anything at all on Facebook is a major disappointment to  me. I am trying to stay away from bragging boards at this point. That’s one huge letdown for me. Getting on Facebook ruined my day yesterday.

While I am happy for other people getting published or getting invited to be guest speaker somewhere, it’s not really encouraging when I start to see the inequality on Facebook. I’ve been published, too, but for me, posting these accomplishments ends up ignored. I’m not the only one, of course, there are others.  Comparing is a normal human activity and Facebook ends up devastating for those of us on the bottom of the heap. It’s not a healthy environment for me.

You may ask why visibility is so important to me. Because I’m a writer, that’s why! You can write all you want, but if you have something to say, something you are passionate about, and it falls on deaf ears, then yes, it does get discouraging. I used to compose music and found the same thing. Actually, music composition was even more of a sad joke, for every composer I knew. I have piles and piles of music I wrote, most of which not only was never played nor heard, but I couldn’t even get anyone’s opinion on it since no one would look at it. Of course, most of the joy of writing and creating art is just that, the creative process. Sadly, there’s that other half, the half that happens when you send your work out into the world. That’s where I’ve consistently bombed out. It’s not reflective of the quality of the work, but simply because it’s hard to get visibility.

Being published on MIA the first time was terrific. It meant so much to me to break into that venue. But the second time, the article got buried and was hardly noticed. I feel like a fool because I made the mistake of promising myself far too often, “This will be my lucky break.” When it ends up not being of any significance, I crumble. I tell myself I gotta keep writing and maybe next time…..

How many years is this going to go on for?  I know a lot of artists and writers who make terrific works and can’t sell the stuff or even get any visibility. How many ways can I pick apart this situation till I get so disgusted I quit?

That’s one reason Facebook sucks for me. I can scroll down and see where other people might post, “I got published!” and supply a link which does in fact get read, and the person gets congratulated and gets feedback. That rarely happens for me. It’s not particularly encouraging when I hear people get all defensive and make claims, true or not, that they clicked on these links but didn’t comment. I don’t know why, but I often feel quite a bit of tokenism, like folks are just saying this to be nice cuz they feel sorry for me.

Just thinking about it turns my stomach, and I don’t know what to do. That’s one reason I decided to take up another career. Tech isn’t half as fulfilling as writing, and it’s kind of meaningless and boring to me.

What’s cool is that I figured out how to get free career counseling. I am going to try this technique (I haven’t yet) and see where it all leads. I sure could use advice on how to make money so I’m not going into worse and worse debt. 

I tried one career counselor, but that ended up a complete joke. Oh well, I can try again and maybe find someone a bit more creative. I thanked the person and told her she was helpful. Not very, but never mind that. 

Okay, okay, I’ll tell you. I asked the person about online jobs. She had no knowledge of anything online nor any more than the very basics of job search. She knew all kinds of facts on how to get a job working for a company such as big pharmaceuticals. She was totally shocked when I said I had no desire to work for a company like that. When she said there weren’t jobs out there online, I told her I personally knew many people who have online jobs for very small businesses that work on low budgets and don’t have a “workplace.” I didn’t want to insult her but I guess I did. She insisted that no such job existed, and that anyone who had any desire to work for a nonprofit or small business, or dare to freelance was totally off their rocker. 

Ever hear the saying that people know what’s best for them? I think this applies here. I’ve done amazing things this past year. I don’t need any other human to verify that, either.

Life gets better

This morning, I went for a run. As usual, I felt terrific, enjoying the outdoors. I kept telling myself, every time a cool idea came into my head, “As soon as I think of it, I’ll write that one down.” I came home, made breakfast for me and Puzzle, then went and showered.

I’ve been thinking about how my life is getting better and better. I can hardly believe it. I’m amazed at how I’m so much more healthy now. What’s more, I’m no longer seeing life and a huge challenge to stay alive. I no longer go to bed scared to death that either I’ll die or end up hauled off to a mental hospital. These were realistic fears given my situation, which, as I look back, was pure living hell.

To me, “giving back” means giving support and encouragement to those who find themselves in similar situations. Encouraging people to not give up. I almost did. In fact, I was continuously on the verge of giving up. Doing or saying anything at all back then was totally futile. I knew I needed a big change.

I’m quite happy that I walked out of there and came here. I wish I could help others leave bad situations, too, which doesn’t necessarily mean relocation, but it might. It could mean changing jobs or starting school, for instance. Or making the decision to get off meds. Of course, it could include starting “treatment,” which frankly, I don’t advise. I suppose it depends on what “treatment” it is.

I have heard from people, “Julie, your situation was exceptionally unlucky.” But I’m finding out that this certainly isn’t true. I’m meeting more and more people who were even more unlucky than I was, and in fact, having a rotten experience in “treatment” is in fact the norm. Problem is that no one’s talking except a few. Those few of us that do speak out are condemned and told we’re imagining it all. But we’re not.

I hear over and over, “I went through ten therapists who weren’t right till I found the great one I have.” Now wait a minute. What does this tell you? One out of eleven? That’s not a very good track record. I went to the first veterinarian I found here and they are absolutely terrific. I went to one podiatrist years ago, and he was good, too. I went to one ear, nose, and throat specialist, and he, too, was excellent. I saw a urologist once. Once. Problem solved in one rather satisfactory appointment. If I want to buy paper towels I can go to any store and I’m sure I’ll find what I need. Solved. I don’t have to reject 50 rolls of paper towels first before I find the one good one.

But shrinks are supposed to be excused. Forgiven. It’s expected that you have to hunt and peck. And oh, the promises! “Just wait till you find the good match.” Yeah, like I’m supposed to put up with the abusive ones, give each one six months’ fair chance until……if I’m still alive after that, I reject that one and try another. Only to get abused, lose money, waste time, and get darned discouraged. Who needs that?

I also hear, “I was picky and that’s why I found a good one.” Get real, man. Can anyone really be picky on Medicaid and Medicare both? Unless you have very very very good insurance and a wealthy family willing to waste money on the bad experiences, you gotta take what you get.

I hear the expensive people and places aren’t that much better. You get the frills, and I suppose that distracts people from the truth that these places don’t really make people any better, instead, they create a revolving door syndrome.

Wanna know something cool? I no longer look in the mirror and see a fat person. I no longer berate myself if I think maybe I’ve put on a few. I don’t judge my worth by the number on the scale. I looked in the mirror this morning and told myself, “Wow, I have amazing hair! How did that happen?”

I have amazing skin. I don’t even look 57. I could probably pass for 40. This wasn’t true a year ago. What happened? I could barely function a year ago, but now, I can do many things.

I am off psych meds. I am away from the scary situation I was in. I am free of psychiatric oppression. I am not stuck in my housing situation, either. I’m not stuck going to therapy and stupid appointments that only served to make those doctors I saw richer.

As I was running this morning, I started to ask myself if maybe I should look up local races. I did that before, but it was most likely too much ahead of time. I asked myself if maybe I should have a shirt made up, and what it would say. I ran through a few ideas in my head:

“This is my healthy body off psychiatric drugs.” I wonder how that would come off in Spanish. Or maybe, simply, “Free of psychiatry.” On the other side of the shirt, “Escaped mental patient.” I laughed over that one. I don’t think I quite dare to go that far. Would I want anyone local to know? I’ve told so few anything about my past.

It saddens me that “mental health rights” is now translated to  mean, “We shouldn’t be denied treatment.” It saddens me that these “help” institutions mostly help people who were denied MH “care,” not those who seek to live their lives without MH “care” being forced on them. It saddens me, too, that none of the trauma centers acknowledge psych abuse. What’s the point, then, of even bothering with those places?

Oh well. Give some folks ten years and they might see the light as I did. I can only hope.

Link: School gun incident…close to my old home

Here’s the link:

http://patch.com/massachusetts/watertown/watertown-teen-pleads-not-guilty-trying-enter-milton-high-loaded-gun-drugs

As you can see, I commented there. Actually, I still get alerts and news from my old town Watertown, Massachusetts, USA. I’m no longer scared to comment anywhere and speak freely. I used to get real scared of yet another “police visit” from the Watertown cops terrorizing me because someone didn’t like hearing the truth. Oh well.

If the kid was having a drug reaction, he should be set free for sure! All he did was to show up with weapons. He didn’t shoot. Now, in prison. Betcha anything he visited a psychiatrist. Personally, whoever wrote the prescription should be hauled into court. Of course, this is speculation on my part. Are these questions even being asked?

Are you a lithium survivor? Yes, this means you!

I am a writer who is planning an anthology written by lithium survivors. If you ever took lithium, YOU ARE CHERISHED AND WANTED. Now’s your chance to write and get published. I need your stories! I’m a lithium survivor, too. Please contact me at julie@juliegreene.net.

And here’s a bonus, a link:

http://www.madinamerica.com/2015/03/long-term-use-lithium-can-cause-kidney-failure/

Oh gee, they are NOW figuring this out? The next Thalidomide……..

It’s easy to pull the wool over people’s eyes.

If there’s an answer to anorexia, it’s NOT Ensure and supervised meals

I cure my eating disorder by rejecting everything I ever learned in “therapy.” I am healed by rejecting the lessons they taught us in “eating disorders care.”

I’m happy to say that the dinner I made for myself smells and tastes delicious. In fact, every night I make a delicious dinner. Puzzle’s dinner usually smells good, too, unless it’s one of those nights I cook certain organ meats for her. I have so many photographs of dinners I’ve made, maybe 20 or 30 photos total.IMG_20150323_210114_588

This is what I recall, from a few years back:

Every meal the struggle was the same. They monitored what we ate, and if we didn’t finish the entire tray, we had to stay afterward. I often asked myself why the room of stragglers was so quiet. We were like those kids who had to stay after school as “punishment.” This was something we kids dreaded in elementary school. Detention. So there I was, in my fifties, doing detention because I hadn’t eat everything they insisted I eat. Also seated in the room were four or five young people.

You knew the drill, after a short while, if you did detention. In that silence lay shame and guilt. This was hammered into us.

100% = Good patient.
Anything less = Bad patient.

But wait. What was in that food they were feeding us at these “monitored meals”? If you were lucky you might get a raw veggie in the form of carrot sticks or a salad of mostly lettuce and a couple of cherry tomatoes. Beyond that? Mostly packaged crap. The staff told us if we left out a food group we were disordered. They told us that leaving out food groups caused eating disorders. We were told if we didn’t eat 100%, we weren’t recovered. We were told we had “choices.” But what choices, really. You were forced onto a “meal plan” and then had a few options in each category, mostly crap you’d never eat otherwise.

I recall looking at that menu and asking a million questions. I was criticized for not filling it out fast enough, accused of being “obsessive.” I was told that spending too long deciding was a “disorder.” I’d look at that menu and ask:

How will this taste?
Will it be seasoned to my liking?
Will it make me feel sick?
Will it fill me up too much?

and of course, “Will it make me fat?”

I went through a phase, which I think all of us went through, when we’d go through the menu and pick what we guessed might be lower calorie foods. Yep, I confess to that. I also asked myself, “What low calorie food is on the menu that I can spend 20 minutes eating so the meal will end before I eat all the fattening stuff?” I think we all did that, too. Good candidates were apples, which you could cut into a million pieces, taking forever to do so so. That would drive people around you crazy, but it sorta worked. Of course, the staff caught onto this trick and made a “rule” stating you couldn’t cut up your food.

You couldn’t eat dry cereal. Maybe that was someone’s trick at some point. Or mix up a nontraditional combination. The “rules” went on and on and on and on. As did the power struggle.

Why was this happening? Under oppression, the oppressed population’s behavior will be altered from their norm. We even see this in caged animals, don’t we?

Oppressed people develop these habits as a way of surviving. If a population is deprived of resources, people get frantic. I saw this desperation at the food pantry sometimes. People grabbing things off the shelf like their lives depended on it. In fact, they did.

I reject everything I learned in “eating disorders care.” Since when is blind obedience “recovery”? I dislike the word “recovery,” as you know. However, if I had to, I’d say recovery might be total rejection of force and oppression, and embracing choice. To be free of an eating disorder means freedom to choose to eat what you need and not eat what you know is unhealthy.

We sat there at detention in silence. The staff came up to each one of us and asked, “What flavor do you want?” This was their meager attempt at proving we had choices. What was the choice? Chocolate or strawberry Ensure. Or Boost. Courtesy of Carnation, or whatever.  Here are the Ensure company’s claims, taken from their site:

“Each bottle of the #1 doctor recommended brand Ensure is a source of complete, balanced nutrition. Every ready-to-drink shake is packed with 24 essential vitamins and minerals, including antioxidants. Enjoy Ensure for breakfast, lunch, or as a delicious between-meal snack to help meet your daily nutritional needs.” I found one of those graph-like thingies listing which vitamins and minerals were in a 220 calorie bottle or can of regular Ensure. But what’s really in it? The Ensure site doesn’t seem to list actual substances you are ingesting. This product is made by Abbott Nutrition, makers of Pedialyte and and infant formulas such as Simulac. Here’s what Livestrong has to say:

“Introducing Ensure to your diet might have a negative impact on your body at first. Common adverse conditions include constipation, diarrhea, vomiting and nausea. These conditions are generally mild and typically abate once your body adjusts. Improper usage, on the other hand, can lead to more serious medical problems such as seizures, irregular heartbeat, changes in mood or mental status, weak pulse, muscle cramps, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.”

Livestrong also states the following: “A major concern for anyone taking medication is the possibility of an adverse interaction with the ingredients in Ensure drinks. This includes prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs or supplements. Such interactions might weaken or heighten the effects of your medication. Interactions also can cause damage to the body or disrupt its functioning in some way. To avoid negative side effects, inform your doctor of all medications, vitamins and nutritional supplements you take before using Ensure.”

So what the hell’s in it? Each bottle contains between 4.5 and 5.75 teaspoons of added sugar. This means sugar that isn’t naturally occurring. Would you even put that much into 8 oz of coffee or your favorite tea? Does this even make sense when so many people are addicted to sugar, which brought them into “care” in the first place?

The 24 vitamins and minerals don’t come from the base ingredients. These are added in. What about fat? Soy and corn oil.

That’s not exactly extra virgin olive oil, is it? Soy and corn are grown en masse, and are a huge profit-making venture for large corporations. I hear that worldwide, we can no longer obtain any corn that isn’t GMO. I’m fairly sure soy is the same. As is all wheat. Other ingredients are corn maltodextrin and soy protein. So the 9 grams of protein are from soy. Guess what else is in Ensure? 200 milligrams of sodium. Sodium chloride is 40% sodium. So 100 milligrams of USA pure table salt contains 40 mg of sodium. A teaspoon of table salt contains about 2300 mg sodium.  What is in Ensure is about 1/11th of a teaspoon of pure table salt. That’s this much:

IMG_20150323_223135_094

I’ve put this spoon right beside a marker so you can see the size comparison. The FDA states that 2,300 mg sodium is the max anyone should consume, and if you are over 51 or African-American, you shouldn’t consume more than 1,500 mg a day.

Of course, that’s the FDA, which we know is bribed by the mass food industry that makes our processed foods. You can assume they’ve pushed that figure up to accommodate these wealthy companies that need us to be duped into buying their products.

Those with kidney disease, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, or osteorporosis should consume less sodium than the rest of the population. The usual processed diet contains way too much for anyone.

A raw apple contains 2 mg of sodium. A  potato, 5. Most meats around 50. So if you have an apple, a potato, and meat you will consume about 60.  Even a serving of cheddar cheese contains under 200 mgs of sodium. This still doesn’t tell us the worst of it.

Wait, I’ve brought this up in a cell phone app: Here’s the rundown:

Calories: 267
Sodium: 213
This is for “regular” Ensure.

Abbott also makes Vicodin. Interesting, eh? Do they really have our best interests in mind?

I can’t even find a listing of ingredients. Know why? What’s in there? Mostly sugar and water, and a bunch of fake stuff, including preservatives.

If I really wanted to drink my food I’d make a drink of my own from real food. I do that now and then. It’s called soup. I make a damn good pumpkin soup and other fun soups.

So there we were, in that silent room with our cupfuls of fake food in front of us. Instinct alone told most of us not to drink it. Many refused from experience, it knowing it caused bloating and gas.

So we sat there. The “rule” was ten minutes. Most of us didn’t touch it. Trust me, it was awkward. After that, the staff forced us to do the unthinkable. We had to dump the glasses of Ensure down the sink.

If I were starving and had nothing else, then yes, I’d drink it. However, there certainly was plenty else to choose from. We weren’t in Bolivia or a poor country in Africa. Food was plentiful.

I hate grocery shopping mainly because I don’t like shelling out the bucks. Of all the things in the supermarket to choose from, the last thing I would choose would be overpriced Ensure. Yet many doctors and nutritionists push this stuff. They even prescribe it. This is big bucks, folks, a major industry.

Know what was in my dinner? Let’s see if I can recall the ingredients……

I had an appetizer: plain sunflower seeds, in the shell, toasted. I had some water, too, which I filtered through a charcoal water filter I made myself. I roasted some veggies over the fire. Carrots, Brussels sprouts, leeks….let’s see, what else….Ah yes, lentils, chick peas, and tapioca.  Seasoned with parsley, fresh oregano, and dried cayenne pepper. And garlic. I cooked these over the fire.  I also added yogurt, fresh cooked organic egg, and pureed tomato.

I’ll be honest though. Know what really made it smell yummy? I swear it was the carrots.

I chose this meal. I invented it and put it together myself.

When we are removed from our food, we are pushed further away from self-awareness. When we are close to our food, we know ourselves. Does anyone for one minute think that eating off a tray in a supervised meal setting, forced to eat almost all processed food that isn’t even good for you will lead to improved understanding of anything at all?

This is what it leads to: Fear, trauma, privacy issues, increased behavior problems, rebellion, stealing and hiding food, dishonesty, poor table manners, spitting out food, vomiting it up later on, and increased restriction or rigidity. Doesn’t that sound something like an eating disorder? Is there any question as to why these facilities see “repeat offenders”?

I plan to learn to gather my own food from the wild. I hope to learn to fish someday. I hope at some point I’ll learn to grow plants without killing them. We don’t have a food shortage on this planet. The unequal distribution of resources has led to much sickness and suffering.  We must realize there’s a whole bounty out there, waiting. All you have to do is go find it. If given a choice, you will. Freedom from oppression will allow us that choice.

Electroshock survivors uniting in worldwide protests May 16, 2015

I’ll be there. Will you? I will be speaking there and a pre-recorded MP3 file of my reading will be available soon.

www.ectjustice.org

Walnut recall: When will it end?

Massive recall of walnut products. But read carefully. “Organic walnuts aren’t affected.”

Now wait. “Salmonella” is a group of bacteria. The word usually refers to the type that cause harm. We call it “food poisoning.” These bacteria usually appear in eggs, meat, or contaminated water.

When I was about 20, I went for a walk in the woods with my dog. A few neighbor dogs followed us. I approached a pool of stagnant water. All the dogs ran and drank from it. Within minutes, they all got diarrhea. Lord knows what was in that puddle.

When I was 19 I cooked some meat for myself, asking why it smelled so weird. I was sick afterward for two weeks. I didn’t miss any days at my job except the time it took to see the doctor and find out my mistake.  I don’t want to get technical but I am fairly sure I had a small amount of intestinal damage as a result. It was one of those times I had taken penny-pinching a step too far.

How did salmonella type bacteria get into non-organic walnuts? Does it have to do with how they were packaged, how they were stored, something occurring in shipping, what was added to them, or how they were farmed?

Okay, what now? Widespread panic over nuts? I think we have that already.

Don’t worry, you won’t get sick from reading my stuff. I’m organic I suppose. Maybe if I go braless I’ll be more “natural.” If I burn my bra, I’ll send smoke signals in the direction of USA, laughing.

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