Monthly Archives: February 2011
I am currently hospitalized in a local hospital. The police took me away Friday. I do not have much time at this computer, so this is going to have to be brief. I was “sectioned,” so I was basically forced to the emergency room whether I wanted to go or not, and admitted. I was held at the emergency room with a security guard watching over me for over 24 hours waiting for a Medicaid bed to open up at the hospital.
I continue to write in the It Notebook. I was not allowed access to my pencils while in the ER. I guess they thought I was going to stab myself with one of them. So they gave me a pointless pencil. I did have some paper and my clipboard, though. So I wrote with the pointless pencil. I kept note of everything that happened to me, and my thoughts and feelings about everything. I wrote and wrote. I continued to write once I got to this unit.
My sadness has been very intense. Last night my sadness was so bad that I thought I would drop dead from it. I held my head. I thought it would burst open. I wanted to cry out, but I did not. Instead, I paced around the unit. I was the last to go to bed and the first up in the morning. I have no desire to sleep or eat or drink. I feel that there is no life left for me and no reason to go on.
Maybe they will help me here. They say they will. They say I did the right thing by coming here. Well, I had no choice. I had no choice, so I came and I am here. They let me use the computer so here I am.
Here I am, world.
Today, I am sad. I can feel the sadness all over my body. I felt it yesterday. I woke up with it this morning. I have not been able to work on my book. I plan to try to work on it after my appointment with my T, if I can, at the library this afternoon, if I feel any better. Maybe she can help me with this. I don’t know. I feel so stuck in it that it is doubtful that anyone can help me at all.
Right now, I feel so low that my feelings cannot be contained in the Feelings Box. They are so big that they do not fit in this room. They cannot be stuffed into the universe. They are forever-lasting, omniscient, covering me completely. I can barely move my body at times and it is going to be difficult to get to therapy.
I am considering hospitalization, because I am afraid that this will again escalate into another intense desire to do harm to myself. I do not feel any will inside me do such thing to myself right now, none at all. I will not mention this to my T. Or maybe I will. Maybe I need to, for the sake of a part of the world that still matters to me, and the few, that I can count on the fingers of one finger, that are counting on me, in order to make themselves well again, to take care of myself.
ANOTHER LETTER TO MY T, FOLLOWING THE PREVIOUS ONE, WHICH I THINK I WILL GIVE TO HER FIRST, ACTUALLY
It is nearly 9pm on Thursday night. I am still very sad. I have been very, very sad for two months now. I see no end to the sadness. I am overwhelmed with it.
I don’t know what you’re going to say when I come to your office tomorrow. I don’t want to argue with you. Please, not that. I have no strength in me for an argument.
Please read the information I gave you in the previous e-mail and believe it, because it is true, and let’s work from there. I want to talk to you about the sadness. I want to talk to you about what has been happening over the past few days. I want to talk to you about what has been happening over the past two months. I want to talk about what it’s like to be devastated by grief and sadness.
Know that I have no intention to do anything to harm myself or anyone else. It is in my contract that I will be honest with my treatment team, so I am being honest about this.
I just want to talk about the sadness, and lay it upon the page, as I am now doing.
My e-mail to you last night read as follows:
“The desire in me to end my life has gotten very strong over the past few hours. I am very disturbed about losing L. Nothing in particular happened. I’m not even depressed. But I’m getting sadder and sadder about my situation.”
I wrote this to you because I wanted to tell you how I felt. I wanted to describe my feelings accurately to you. I thought it was important that you know these things. I had no clue how you would react. I just wanted you to know because you are my therapist and I trusted you with this information.
It says in my contract, which I signed, that I am supposed to be honest with my treatment team, so I am being honest with my treatment team.
Immediately after I sent the e-mail to you, I received a bit of encouraging news, which made me feel a little better. I still had this strong desire within me, though, but the feelings and thoughts were more bearable. I was suddenly overwhelmed with fatigue, and went to bed.
The next morning, I focused on getting to my appointment for my weight check on time. The appointment was for 8:30. I made it there early. I went directly to the library to work on revising my novel about an anorexic woman who loses everything and then commits suicide. While revising, I found two sections that I really like, because finally, I had found the character’s voice. Then you called me.
I called S, one of the few friends I’ve got left who will even talk to me at this point. I was very upset about this police situation. I couldn’t concentrate on my novel anymore because I was so upset, so I came home. I was feeling very low.
It wasn’t until I was walking home from the library that I realized that it was a bad decision to end the It Notebook. I decided that the Notebook should continue. I decided that my decision to end the Notebook was probably what had caused all this. This was a breakthrough for me.
When I came home, the police arrived. I guess you know the rest.
Dear It Notebook,
Okay, okay, I made a mistake. I thought that yesterday, the day that my teeth were extracted, was as good any time to end You. I thought that having my teeth extracted symbolized something. I figured that I was really happy to lose these teeth, that it would improve my life to have them out of my mouth and out of my life. So this meant something. An ending. It, too, is out of my life now. Or maybe it is. So with It being out of my life, and these teeth also out, I was going to end You. I thought these things as I was coming home from the dentist.
Then, I went to go pick up my laptop from the laptop repair guy. My gums were still bleeding. I thought about all my losses since December 21st. Even my laptop had crashed. I went to the library and worked on my depressing novel about an anorexic woman who loses everything and then commits suicide.
And now, I had lost It, and I was losing You.
Since January 28th, I have written in You every day. Some days, I have spent all day writing in You, dear Notebook. You have kept me going. You have been there when no one else has been there for me. There were days when I was unable to do anything but write and pet Puzzle. I directed all my writing into You. And yesterday, and last night into today, my plan was to end You and concentrate on my novel about a woman who loses everything and then ends her life.
And so, last night, my desire to end my own life got very strong, and I did not realize that that losing You was the reason. I did not realize that because You have kept me going for a month now, I still need you desperately to continue to nourish me and sustain me.
I did not realize that losing five teeth was not a completely joyful event in my life. Wasn’t I in fact losing a body part? I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye to my teeth, because they were taken from me, as is the custom. Losing teeth is a form of amputation, isn’t it? Teeth are living tissue, and five of them have been taken from me. So maybe thinking that this loss had to mean I needed to end You wasn’t a good idea after all.
So I apologize. And getting You back again is a relief to me, as is writing this letter to You. I now have a reason to go on. I’ll never neglect You again. I’ll never abandon You again. I am not ready to end You just yet.
Today, my T sent the police to my house. I ended up at the ER and got evaluated. I had sent her an e-mail last night that got her worried. I’m sure we’ll come to an understanding tomorrow, when I am at her office.
I wonder if she’ll just lecture me, or if she’ll hear me out. Probably if I write her a letter explaining the reasons why I wanted to end my life, and bring it in, she won’t read it. This letter to You explains it well enough. Why should a T lecture a patient for being suicidal, I wonder? Or for sharing this desire with her T? She was acting appropriately by sending the police. I just wish she’d talked to me first.
I had sent the e-mail last night at 10pm and she left a message for me this morning, at maybe 11, to tell me she’d sent them, with a “pink slip” and that they were on their way. I had gone to the library to work on my novel immediately after going to see my primary care doctor to get weighed. I received a call from her on my cell phone, while I was at the library, saying, “Where are you?” and I told her. Maybe she thought I had gone to the library to escape the police–??? We agreed that I would see her tomorrow and she would call off the police. Then I sent her another e-mail saying, “I want to make sure you’ve really called off the police, so it’ll be safe to go home.” I guess she didn’t understand this e-mail, because she sent the police back to my home, and I got transported to the ER.
I have come back to You, dear Notebook. Forgive me for wanting to end you. I wanted to end my life because I was going to end You, and not the other way around. A writer is a writer is a writer. When a writer ends a writing project, she experiences a huge letdown. Even a writer not prone to depression can fall into a serious depression after completion of a major writing project.
You, dear Notebook, have kept me going for the past month, and I do not want to end You now. I do not want to end You for quite some time, I know now. I am not ready. I am not ready. I am not ready. I am not ready. Thank you for being there for me during my darkest days.
Today I unlocked the Feelings Box and opened it wide. I dared to do this because I knew there were not very many feelings stored in it to begin with. For a long time, I didn’t feel very many feelings. So I didn’t have many feelings to put into the box, anyway.
Now, I feel many feelings. I have a rush of them. Sometimes, I wake up in the night with feelings. Sometimes, I cry and cry until my nose bleeds. I cry on the bus all the time. I cry because I feel feelings now. They are good feelings and bad feelings. Mostly, I feel sadness. Mostly, I grieve.
It is a good thing that I feel my feelings now. Or I guess it is. I’m told that it’s better to have sad feelings than to have no feelings at all.
So I opened the box wide, and took out the ribbon that is inside the box. It is a “Puzzle” ribbon. It has puzzle pieces printed on it. I don’t know what that means, except that I love my dog, I guess. I took the ribbon out of the box. It didn’t feel like it really symbolized anything in particular. It was just a piece of ribbon with puzzle pieces on it.
I didn’t feel anything when I opened the box. I think the feelings that were in the box were so tiny and weak that they didn’t even compare to the enormous feelings that I feel now.
I put the ribbon back into the box, closed it, and locked it up. I guess the tiny feelings went off somewhere. I don’t care where they went.
Usually, I forget to carry tissues with me on the bus, and when I cry, I have to wipe my eyes and nose with my sleeve. Sometimes, my tears get all over my glasses. I don’t cry on the subway. Subways suck for crying. Trust me, I’ve tried it already. I know.
As the oral surgeon explained to me, all four of my wisdom teeth have problems. All four should be pulled, he explained. Here was his reasoning:
If, for instance, the upper tooth is pulled, and the lower is left, the lower has no partner to chew with, so the lower is useless.
Moreover, if the lower is pulled, and the upper is left, the upper has no partner to chew with, so the upper is useless.
Both the upper and lower have serious problems. Not one or the other is to blame. These teeth are very far back in the mouth, so the problem can be solved by extracting these teeth.
This, however, will not be as simple a procedure than one may expect. My age is a consideration. The oral surgeon explained that he would prefer not to use anesthesia, given my “medical issues” (I don’t think he was talking about the three screws in my knee, exactly). He explained that during the procedure, my jaw might go into spasm. He said that I should raise my hand if anything hurt, so that he would know to proceed more gently. There may be swelling. I may experience pain for a while afterward.
But yes, there were problems related to my teeth, and it takes a relationship some time to heal.
The McLean Papers are a collection of papers I wrote while hospitalized at McLean Hospital January 2-24, 2011. I had no intention, when I wrote them, of publishing them here. Well, here they are in entirety, except for one, which was lost by the doctor, who had it at a staff meeting.
Today my soul hurts real bad
This year it will be 11/11/11 and that will hurt real bad
I don’t know why, maybe because
I don’t know where the time has gone
The nausea has subsided
I had it yesterday, too
The confusion has subsided
I had it yesterday, too
The feeling of being completely overwhelmed
By everything that troubles me
Which is a lot right now
Is still there
Only at least I can put it down on paper
I was very troubled last night late
I stayed up late because I realized,
From studying my records, the frequency,
Duration, and intensity of the binge-urge
I must be possessed
I am being controlled
I am being forced to have these urges
I am not making this up
Frank managed to stop years ago
He tries to teach me how
We even have a code word for it
When I am not possessed by it and possessed by depression
And possessed by something else deep in my soul
That I cannot put into words–yet–
(it is always there but it is this intense possession
That I cannot tolerate–that paralyzes me)–
I will know it–if there is at all this possibility
That the possession would end
I don’t know
PS: Today, I woke up obese and am devastated.
PPS: I am being chased. Shhh…..
PPPS: I feel better, I feel worse, I feel better, I feel worse….Feeling better does not stick around very long.
National Novel Writing Month–November, 2010. I was so happy then. From November 1st until November 17th, I wrote an entire novel. It’s hard to believe. During this busy time, I still ran at the gym nearly every day, and maintained my usual social contacts. I even had time to take care of myself and prepare meals and eat. I realized that I needed to keep my body in shape in order to write well, and eating was part of taking care of my body. Writing a tragic book about a 50-year-old woman with anorexia was perhaps one of the most difficult writing projects I have ever undertaken, and to do the entire thing in 17 days made the experience extremely intense for me. I remember all this with amazement. I did it. There was Nano, and there was the 5k I ran, almost exactly a month later, both incredible accomplishments, and sandwiched between the two was saying goodbye to a therapist I’d worked with for two difficult years, and starting up with a new one. Wow. And running, running, running. Maybe getting sick was a way to run away from it all.
Last night, I glanced back. I went to Staples yesterday afternoon and bought a new ink cartridge, in case I needed it, and some printing paper. I printed out the entire manuscript to I am So Cold, and Hungry in My Soul, my Nano book. This is the very, very first time I’ve even looked at my Nano book since I finished writing the final words, “And another,” on November 17th. Last night I read the book cover to cover, and loved what I saw.
I know this now: I wrote a book about a woman with anorexia with the understanding that only a sufferer knows. I saw a character, a middle-aged woman who grieves the loss the life she once knew many years ago. I watched a woman with anorexia lose a beloved pet. I saw her grieve as her sisters abandoned her. I saw her cling to a man to whom she is forced to turn when she believes he is the only ally she has left: the man who raped her. I felt her intense sorrow over the suicide of her best friend, also anorexic, and the rage at the ones who ultimately drove her friend to choose that path.
Yeah, the book needs a lot, lot, lot of work. But I am saying that because it needs work. That is, it can be worked on, and will be worked on. What I am saying is that I don’t need to chuck the book. What I am saying is that it is a decent book that is worth salvaging. It’s more than a decent book. It has a lot of potential. There was some really nice, poignant stuff in there. Much of the book made me cry. Maybe someday a lot of the book would make a lot of people cry. See, I’m going to revise it, right here right now.
So right away I signed up for an online novel revising class recommended by a Goddard grad I know. The course works well for Nano novels, it turns out. It is a five-month, intensive course. I know I can do this. My “confidence level,” as my T puts it, is 100 percent.
This is the time, and this is the place. I can write. I can concentrate. I can read. I found these things out last night. As for It, well, I can work around It. I have motivation, I have will, I have desire, I have motivation, I have skill and talent. And I have a damned good first draft.
All I have to do now is to stay out of the slammer. That means eating. Hear that?
And maybe, over the next few months, I’ll be glancing back more and more at those happy few months I spent eating and taking care of myself and doing things I loved, and asking myself what I did right, and what I could have done better, and why it all fell apart. Maybe I need to carefully examine December and January, and see what I could have done differently, so that what happened–the falling apart, the months following, the heartbreak, the loneliness, the tragedy of it all–won’t repeat itself. There are misunderstandings, sheer ignorance of what could and may happen to us–what could happen to anyone, in fact–and we do learn from our mistakes so that we don’t repeat them. Or at least if we are good, patient learners who have truly lost ourselves and don’t want to lose again, we don’t repeat our mistakes. I may be stupid, but when it comes to another, I am cautious and caring enough to know better. And in the end, when all is healed, there will be no need to apologize, as no wrong has been committed, and love and forgiveness is a given.
Open your hand and catch the joy I am sending to you now
It is attached to this e-mail
Catch the joy and hold it to your heart
Hold it in your heart and feel the rush in your body
Hold it in your heart and feel what I feel for you
Hold it, and know I am here for you
I am here for you and I told you so in an e-mail
You did not write back
So I held that thought in my head and my fingertips
I walked to Watertown Square and back three times
Just a skinny girl running errands
It is my nature–our nature–to be foolish
And while walking, very fast
Some rude guy said to me
“Watch where you’re going, Lady!”
Yes, I’m watching where I’m going
I’m watching myself become strong again
I’m feeling it in my body and mind and heart
You see, the snow is starting to melt
The sidewalks are clearing
I listened to music and broke into a run
Because we are so cold and hungry
I am sending you a seat by the fire
I am seated beside you
You have told me that to nurture you
I must nurture myself first
But what I cannot do for myself I do for you
Because it is our nature not to save ourselves
For our own sake, but perhaps we will do it
For another, at first, and then for ourselves
For you, I will climb a tall fir, and harvest the sap
And spread the sticky stuff upon my hands
So that I can stick to you more firmly
For you, I will tie great snakes in knots
So that they will not harm you
And pull all hundred legs from every centipede
For you, I will run, too
I will run all the way to the airport
And then, on the plane, watch Boston disappear
Yes, I’m crazy, you’re crazy, too
Everyone will think I’m nuts–or maybe they’ll know
I will crash though your door
Wood splinters flying everywhere
Run up the stairs to your room if that’s what it takes
If that’s what it takes to heal
I love your shirt, your strong hands, your hair
Everything about you
If it comes to this
Then it is real, and necessary, and right
Because we are real, and necessary, and right
If it comes to this
I will do anything
If that’s what it takes to heal.