Monthly Archives: September 2013
The terrible things we overhear
Sadly, those words we hear that we wish we didn’t simply can’t be unsaid. We wish we could unhear them or undo them and we wish they’d never been uttered, but what’s been said can’t change. It’s over.
Do you know that feeling? You overhear something, and boom! in an instant, life changes. Have you been in this situation? I’ll bet by the time you are 21, you have.
Don’t ask me why I picked 21. Out of the blue, okay?
So I think I must have been 18, and I can recall the scene as if it were right here happening this instant. Okay, so I was drunk. Not drunk enough to fall over or get sick, but yeah, I’d been partying. Or maybe still 17. I lived in the dorm at UMass/Amherst. I’d been with my friends, or folks I assumed liked me.
That, readers, was what changed instantly. No, these people were not my friends after that night.
So this was what I heard. Or, rather, this was certainly not intended for my ears, but sorry, I happened to be standing right there.
My “friends” were in the stairwell. They had no clue I was in the same stairs but up a flight. Or I may have been down a flight, but either way, I was in the same stairs and heard all their words.
They were talking about dancing in a bar. I’d danced with one of the guys. So this other guy, mutual friend, asks the guy I was dancing with how it was to dance with the likes of me.
I guess there was some laughter and a shrug and some rude remark. He said, “I felt like I was dancing with my little sister.” I guess you had to be there. His tone wasn’t nice at all. This wasn’t some sister he cared about. He looked down on this babyish child like she was a piece of crap.
They rudely laughed and that one who had asked the question said further rudeness by pointing out the height difference.
That was enough. I went back to my dorm room and cried.
2013. Summer. I was with a group of people and I guess anyone labeled “mental patient” is assumed to have no hearing and can’t read or understand anything. The “mental patient” is assumed to be out of it and “retarded.”
So I heard some people who did not have the label discussing someone who did who wasn’t me. They said she was unreliable and that no one with “mental problems” should ever be relied on in this manner to do anything of significance for this organization. They said, “We need to think about whom we ask to do things.”
Okay, so it has taken months for this to sink in, but the past few days it has all hit home very hard.
When you are not wanted, you walk away. I am okay with it. I guess I am quite happy to be standing on my own two feet.
I ran two miles yesterday. And they said I’d never make it.
So here I am at the end of September. Had I taken their advice I’d be horribly institutionalized right now. I shudder to think of it. Where would I be if I were still seeing that abusive therapist I fired in March 2012? Would she have managed to push me into the state hospital by now? She sure threatened to send me there often enough. I knew if I continued to see her, that was exactly where she’d put me, and be sure the doors were locked so tightly I’d have to do some very good politics to get myself out. Eeeks!
Or maybe going from appointment to appointment, forever caught in that manipulation merry-go-round, being shoved onto their scales over and over, praised for every hair of a pound I gained (ob, gee, guess I forgot to pee first), or perhaps told what a sinner I was if I happened to forget to drink my morning coffee before getting weighed (oops!) for losing a half pound. What a game they force patients to play.
The thing is, it’s tough to walk away from it all, but that’s exactly what you have to do. Walking away very well may be the toughest thing you’ll ever do. It’s like divorce. Not that anyone even gets that.
Oh, you’ll be hated for it plenty. You’ll get all the accusations, even told you’re pro-ana. You are anything but pro-ana. You are doing this to save your life. Yes, you are saving your sanity and your body from all this manipulation and control.
They say eating disorders are all about control. I say, eating disorders treatment is all about controling and lying to the patient. It’s all about trickery and fooling the patient. It’s all about taking the patient’s money and lying to the patient’s family until they just can’t take it anymore. That’s why a lot of families split up, sadly.
You may get accused of “not following your treatment plan.” Well, that’s cuz the “treatment plan” isn’t treatment. It’s killing you. It’s stealing your life away. Get out. Save yourself from the control. You need to take cotnrol of your own life and start living. That’s how you save your life.
So the doctors said if I didn’t listen, I’d never make it. That I should go to programs so that my time would be wasted and get brainwashed and take drugs that make me binge eat and I would feel useless inside. Nothing could have sucked worse. I figured I was doomed.
As I see it, they have the social services come to the homes of “mental patients” to keep us in line so that we don’t form an uprising. So that we don’t form alliances and so that we don’t organize. So that we don’t figure out the truth about the way they treat us. To keep us quiet and cooperative and benign. Let’s not have another Occupy, I mean, another Movement means keeping all those folks that are imprisoned (who really did nothing wrong) alive, right? Those folks even need to be fed.
No, I want no state-sponsored babysitting and as few “medical” appointments as possible. I am an adult. They don’t send social sercices to folks who work as computer programmers, so why send them to me?
If you go to the doctor with a broken leg, the doctor isn’t going to ask you over and over if you have a gun in the house and if you feel like killing people. Yet when I went to a shrink and complained of binge eating, I was told i was lying and asked all sorts of questions about guns in my home. I don’t belong to the NRA and this is not hunting country. What kind of “doctor” is this? Sounds like hogwash to me, not science but superstition. These “doctors” are quacks. Don’t go to them.
So I ran two miles yesterday and my body works fine. I went home and lay down with Puzzle for a long time. Today Puzzle and I are again on the train home from the empowerment center. Puzzle is plenty beat.
I haven’t forgotten to put up that You-Tube of the reading I did about a week ago. Wow, that was rather awesome giving that reading. Puzzle and me, we are a twosome for sure. Except she’s got off-white hair and mine’s braided. That’s how you can tell which one is me and which one is Puzzle. See ya later.
Running six laps and coming home to write about it
So sometimes, while I run, I get some brilliant writing idea. I can’t run and write at the same time. I save up my writing idea and promise myself that as soon as I get home, I’ll write it down. Sometimes, while running, I play with the idea and get excited. I develop it and narrate my writing to myself.
This narrating, or, rather, rehearsing, is of course a memoirist’s habit. We rehearse our memoirs as things happen to us, promising ourselves, “Someday, I will write about this. Someone will want to know that this happened to me.” So I want someone to know that I ran six laps today and I want desperately to write it down.
Is it all a very bad habit? Does the memoir-rehearsing wreck the beauty and freshness of an experience? Or is it just “as is”? Is it simply who we are? Why question it?
I am 55 years old and there is nothing wrong with the way I think. I give myself tons of credit for sticking around on the planet. I sure am doing my life just fine. Writing memoir has worked great for me. So I ran six laps today, a mile and a half, and then came home. How about you?
“Should I be concerned about what others think of me?” Julie Greene’s answer: Yes!
My name is Julie Greene and if you have been told that you are overly concerned (labeled “paranoid,” perhaps?) about what others think of you, and that surely, something is wrong with you, read on.
I say, don’t hang around with people who think very little of you. You don’t need to be an outcast. Never allow yourself to be looked down upon. Hang with folks that accept you and love you unconditionally. There are billions of humans on the planet, plenty to go around. Go out and find others with experiences like your own, who can relate to what you have been through. It is in these folks, those that have worn your shoes, that you may find love.
I hear many stories about people who get bad reactions to bee stings. Afterward, whenever these folks see bees, they get very frightened, even panicky. Are they mentally ill? Are they paranoid? No. This is a knee-jerk reaction to having had something scary happen to them that they don’t want to ever happen again. Their bodies go into survival mode whenever they see a bee.
I was a kid that was teased all my life and was an underdog from the beginning. I did nothing morally wrong to end up an underdog. It so happened that I was born and raised Jewish. So we didn’t have Jesus or Santa. I never knew these two men existed until I walked out into my neighborhood and found out about the fat guy with the beard and the other guy who also had a beard and but was a whole lot skinnier and was a statue on a cross forever. I found out that not having Jesus or Santa in your family made you an automatic sinner by birthright.
Then, of course, there were two other things I never asked for but I received by birthright: my short stature and nearsightedness. I got teased for these things and lived my childhood as an outcast.
I ran into some bad luck as a young adult and got caught up with some folks I shouldn’t have gotten caught up with. So much of my adulthood I have lived as an outcast as well. All this was ill fortune, nothing more, nothing less.
I am extremely lucky to have inherited excellent intellect, longevity, resilience, and of course rebelliousness. Add to that very good luck and guess what? I’m still alive!
Think, again, of the knee-jerk reaction to the bee sting. When I see that someone thinks I’m crap, I now know to run for my life. Why? I know I will be treated very badly. That’s historically what’s happened, so I’ve learned.
Indeed, if you have been teased, bullied, or had a “label” put on you for any appreciable time, then it’s only natural to be concerned about others’ opinion of you. As a matter of fact, you’ve got very good reason to be downright scared if other people pose a threat to you health, security, safety, independence, reputation, privacy, dignity, or financial security….the list goes on…or if others pose a threat to a family member of yours or to someone under your care such as a child or pet, or to your home.
If you have been bullied, it’s rather natural to worry that it might happen again. There’s nothing “paranoid” about taking precautions to ensure that such bullying doesn’t reoccur.
I repeat: Don’t hang around with people who think very little of you. You don’t need to be an outcast. Never allow yourself to be looked down upon. Hang with folks that accept you and love you unconditionally. There are billions of humans on the planet, plenty to go around. Go out and find others with experiences like your own, who can relate to what you have been through. It is in these folks, those that have worn your shoes, that you may find love.
So how cool is that? Julie and Puzzle writing to you from the MBTA Commuter Rail
So how cool is that? Last Sunday marked the one-month anniversary of my escape from Mount Auburn Hospital, where I was kept inpatient for 11 days. Yeah, they wanted me in “aftercare.” I did my own version of “aftercare” just fine. I held onto Puzzle for a month and told anyone who called me “crazy” (including shrinks) to go screw.
So how did I celebrate Sunday, the 22nd? I did a public speaking gig. Yep, a public reading, my first since March 31 of this year, in front of I’d say at least 200 people and it went off just fine.
So Tuesday I ran a mile. I did just great. Wednesday I did the same thing. Thursday, five laps, that is, a mile and a quarter run. I’ve been walking Puzzle a mile and a quarter every morning and also every evening and in-between as needed as well.
So that brings us to today, Friday. It’s the 27th. We’re on the Commuter Rail right now. We ventured to Worcester today, to an empowerment center. This is a place where no one is called a “patient.”
Wanna know why I like this? You folks who read my writings here regularly know how much I dislike the term “consumer,” right? Now, that’s a dumb one. I have always said, for want of a better term, “mental patient,” even though that’s rather a put-down. But realistically speaking, that’s how society views us, and that sums up the prejudice we have to face.
But I like the new term just fine. Peer. Yeah, that’s a good one, don’t you think? I like it far better than “patient” because there’s nothing in “peer” to do with the medical establishment, so we are no longer defined by our relationship to those folks, many of whom are either disrespectful or downright quacks. Of course, some are honest and even altruistic. Hey, veterinarians are respectful of our animals, on a whole, aren’t they? You’d think the medical field would follow suit, or should. But sadly, something’s gone amuck.
Anyway, Puzzle and I are fine. I thought my day was starting off just wonderfully this morning and I laughed to see that I’d gotten out of bed and Puzzle hadn’t even noticed. My little one must have been in a darned good dream, cuz she stayed way, way, way back inside our sleeping bag without budging. She made a lump in there and I had no clue the lump was my dog.
Good morning, America.
When life gives you lemons….
There’s a saying I’ve heard since the 1990s that says, “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” I’d like to argue that maybe you wouldn’t want to do this.
If life gives me lemons, which in fact it has, I say, “Why take the trouble to make lemonade? Why not just eat the lemons? Or put them in the fridge and forget about them.” I’ve made lemonade before from a recipe. It’s a lot of trouble and I’m not sure it’s worth it. I had a lemonade stand when I was a kid. I think every kid tried that. If you make the lemonade from a mix you might break even. I’ll bet if life gave you lemons, you paid top dollar for those lemons and didn’t even find them on sale. So you won’t break even when you sit in the heat all day with your lemonade stand, watching folks walk by and turn up their noses at you. Selling lemonade wasn’t the best way to get yourself to feel loved by the world back when I was a kid, and I’ll bet it isn’t now, either.
Lemons do have many uses. I’ll bet you can find those “household hints” books and find plenty of ways to use lemons to clean things. Lemon juice and rind can both be eaten, as is or in recipes. So please don’t despair. If life has given you lemons…
Now wait a minute, does life really give us lemons? Have I ever seen lemons fall from the sky? Naw, I’ve seen rain, snow, sleet, and hail fall, but never lemons. I’ve heard defective cars called “lemons,” back in the 1960s and ’70s. This was the latest slang term and there were some very talented car salespeople who sold these “lemons” to unfortunate suckers, and lawyers who specialized in bailing out the suckers and charging them most of the money they won in their lawsuits. So the suckers sucked on lemons, I guess, for a long, long time. Maybe that’s why they ended up with toothaches and then got ripped off by dentists. Do lemons really give people a toothache? Heck if I know. People probably only imagine that they do. I do know you can put a lemon rind in your mouth and pretend that’s your teeth and make people laugh real hard. We sure did that a lot when we were kids. Don’t do that with a watermelon rind unless you have a big mouth.
When I was a kid, my parents bought a station wagon that was a “lemon” car. It didn’t have a name. My parents were they type to name their cars real names. I’m not kidding you. How many people give their cars names? I’ll bet a fair amount do. What sorts of names have cars had, over the years? I recall we had a car named Fifi, when I was very, very young. I don’t have any idea why she had that name, or why she was female. I’ve heard that cars end up with girl names and I don’t know why that is. We had another one named Angie. We didn’t have Angie all that long. I think she died young. Both were small foreign cars, in fact, if I recall correctly, both Fifi and Angie were unusually small for a family with three growing kids to have and maintain. It wasn’t common for families to have large cars in those days the way families now have these vans SUV’s and station wagons nowadays.
Our “lemon” station wagon was kinda funky to begin with. I remember my parents were suspect of it from the beginning. I’m not sure where or how they obtained this station wagon. For whatever reason, it came with one door that wasn’t quite the same white color as the rest of the white on the other panels. It wasn’t immediately apparent. If anyone in my family was a visual artist at all, it was my mom and I guess one of my brothers, but anyway, I recall my mom was the one who noticed the one door and remarking on it not long after we brought that station wagon home. She begged my dad to go back and question the seller. I guess he did. The seller made excuses. Much later, a repair guy noted that in fact the engine in this station wagon wasn’t the engine that originally was put in by the factory. What he said (and my dad said seemed believable) was that this year that these cars were made, the factories left paint on the engines when they put them in. This engine had no paint on it and no evidence that the engine was the original. The mechanic said that he felt that this car wasn’t even a new car when my parents bought it but it was sold to them as new. Parts had been replaced, he said. He said that’s why the door didn’t match, because they had taken off the old door and put on a new one. There wasn’t much my parents could do about the fact that they had been ripped off. So we all sort of laughed and joked about it. The car never really ran right, not ever, but I suppose it ran. It died one day. All cars do.
We did get a van but I don’t remember other families having them. My family did a lot of camping and we had tents and hiking stuff. My dad wanted to lug around canoes on top of the van, too. I thought this was a nutty idea. I remember trying to get those canoes onto the top of the van and that was about the hardest and thing I’d ever done. It wasn’t the safest thing, either. I can laugh now, but we dropped those canoes a few times. We lived through it and no one got squashed. Once, a tiny part of my dad’s finger stayed in the canoe, and part of it stayed on his hand, and the two parts weren’t stuck together anymore after that. It was a bit of an emergency situation you don’t want to happen, one of life’s lemons, I guess. But don’t make lemonade when you get an injury like that. I’m guessing the lemon juice would sting you like hell. Have the torn part sewn up as best as possible, and move on with your life.
Today, I feel like I am a writer again and that feels darned good, not that I ever stopped being one
I’m realizing that yesterday’s public reading is the first I did in front of a live audience since the church talent show, which was Sunday, March 31 of this past year, 2013. Today is September 23, 2013…Monday. Where the heck have I been? Asleep?
I suppose. I’ve been through some gigantic changes. I’m not the same person I was. I suppose I went to bed and woke up different, just like that Kafka work or something you see in a weird comedy movie or in read in a kid’s book.
I spoken plenty about that anorexic nightmare of waking up one day and suddenly you’re double in size. Or half what you used to weigh. Or one day, stepping on the scale no matter what your size is, and the scale saying you weigh something ridiculous (such as what Puzzle weighs) and that being your nightmare from Hell. At best, the scale batteries need replacing. At worst, you’re dead. But if you are, we don’t hear from you I guess (although many, or most, would argue we do).
Of course, there are the other nightmares. You are topless. Or if you are a guy, bottomless. In public. The other day while napping I dreamed I was both dead and topless. I was in some basement with other cadavers. I had a jacket on, but under the jacket, just a very thin night shirt, which counts as nothing cuz it wasn’t something I’d wear in public. Someone respectful opened my jacket and then decided I might not want to be “exposed,” so they politely zipped the jacket back up. I woke up laughing my butt off.
Funny, I dream all the time that I’m dead. It’s getting so commonplace that now, I laugh at these dreams as soon as I wake up. The dreams themselves get more and more bizarre and elaborate in detail. I must be going through an amazing creative process while asleep, especially considering that I sleep so little as it is. So I figure this creative process is efficient, too. If I were money-hungry, I’d bag this energy and sell it.
Last summer when I dreamed I was dead I guess the dream was so vivid or convincing that instead of making me laugh, I was scared out of my mind. I woke up wondering if I was dead, and it took me quite some time to realize I wasn’t. I was scared to tell anyone for a long time because I thought if I did, I’d be locked up. Or someone might be scared that I had something going on that was making me die. That, in fact, was true. I was starving myself. I didn’t want anyone to know.
The Catch-22 was that it was obvious but not obvious, or not obvious in a way that anyone had any power to do anything about it. I am positive that I myself made sure of that, made sure I wasn’t “rescued.” I have lots of stuff written down in journals about escaping potential “rescue” over and over, how scared I was of “sectioning” and the like. I still have leftover fears about getting thrown into mental hospitals. This fear I guess stays with you if you are a mental patient for a long time, if you’ve ever been locked up in these places. It can’t be helped. They are such inhumane settings where you get punished for your actions and told you are a selfish, useless, incapable waste of a human. These are not places where you get “help.” I’ve generally gotten worse when I’ve been locked up and when I go home I have to recover from the trauma of lockup.
There were times, for instance, that I’d beat myself up for revealing too much to someone in an e-mail. Or for letting on to anyone (through clothing) how much weight I’d lost. In my journal, I’d promise myself not to tell anyone anything again. Sometimes I’d say too much in an e-mail, then right before pressing the “send” button, I’d edit the e-mail and take out the things that I believed admitted how much I was starving myself.
After a while, I had no clue what I was saying or doing anyway and couldn’t think straight. I was too starved. I was in bed a lot. I couldn’t keep track of time. I had no clue what day it was or what hour of day, or if it was night or day. I couldn’t dress myself or take care of my hair properly. These are simple things and it disturbed me that my brain was so messed up that it wouldn’t allow my body to perform these simple tasks.
So I’d walk outside with Puzzle and wonder if I even had clothes on. This rather shocked me. Many times I looked at my clothes and had no idea what to do with them or how to put them on.
One day I tried so many times to get my hair braided and couldn’t do it. I have no clue how long I stood there for with wet hair, trying over and over. It’s something I’ve done without thinking for over a decade every morning and it takes a minute to do, yet that morning and for several mornings (I guess it was morning) I was completely unable to do this.
I remember everything circling around me. The world running in circles and being unusually fuzzy all the time. I thought this was my life permanently, that my world would circle around like that forever. Also, I heard buzzing all the time, and a bass drum, or maybe it’s plucked viols. No, the booming wasn’t my heart. It was the First Symphony, First Movement of Johannes Brahms.
Do you know it took Brahms 20 years to write his First Symphony? I’ve known that since I was a kid composer. That little fact gets to me. Twenty years of tearing your hair out as a creative person. When the Symphony finally came out, critics said the work was full of chaos. The critics I suppose were putting the work down, but I personally say it is so full of angst that it gives me chills. I hear that booming often when I’m truly scared. I really do hear it. I’ve known this work of music for a very long time.
It scares me, too, that once a person gets into such a state, they don’t come out of it. I wasn’t psychotic. While it was caused by starvation, what was going on in my head was dementia-like (from what I recall) and not at all like psychosis. I have heard recordings and read writings done by folks in early enough stages of dementia where they can still make words come out. So they will describe this wall between themselves and the world, how they are fading and leaving others and about their feelings of isolation. I myself spoke of the wall in one of my You-Tubes. The thing was, I thought the wall was there permanently. I was convinced that because I had starved myself, the brain damage was permanent and I’d never come back.
Sadly, for folks with dementia, to my knowledge, it’s true, they really do have permanent brain damage, and it isn’t reversible. But I’ll bet this isn’t true in 100% of cases, and I’ll bet folks get diagnosed all the time with “dementia” and told they are hopelessly doomed when in fact, the diagnosis is incorrect and they aren’t at all doomed.
So when I did get rescued, in came psychiatry to muck things up. I got labeled “manic.” I got labeled “psychotic.” I got labeled “delusional.” I got labeled “danger to self.” Of course, my own shrink whom I’d been seeing for years, Dr. P, did nothing to help the situation as she hadn’t been listening and had no clue I’d been starving myself. It was so obvious but I guess she didn’t even have her eyes or ears open.
Sure, I hadn’t been feeding myself properly, but no way did I have any intention of overdosing, hanging myself, stabbing myself, cutting, or any of that nonsense. If I did have these intentions, it sure would have been easy to kill myself and there would have been nothing anyone could have done. I would have done the one thing in my power I could have done. I would have stopped eating. Yet right before their eyes, I was indeed eating like mad. Try to convince some doctor or abusive nurse of of what I was trying to say. It was literally impossible, especially since they’d ask me some question then turn their backs and walk out even before I’d answer it most of the time, completely uninterested.
The fact that I never had a chance to answer the multitude of questions was so frustrating. I’d try to get the doctor who’d asked the question to come back so I could at least finish my sentence, but they’d be off the floor in a flash and be immediately unreachable. It frustrated me further that I wasn’t mobile, meaning I couldn’t run after anyone and chase them down to finish what I was saying after they rudely walked off.
Later, when I was finally able to walk a little bit, I’d get yelled at for getting up and going anywhere. Why? Because this inconvenienced whatever sitters were watching me. They were told by the abusive nurses that I was a dangerous mental patient and I was suicidal so I needed to be eyeballed constantly and I should never leave their sight. How stupid! Many of the sitters intuitively knew I certainly wasn’t suicidal and there was no reason to stare me down. Other sitters got yelled at by the nurses so much that they had no choice but to do their job, so they stared at me nonstop. When I was finally strong enough to walk unassisted, it was their job to follow me wherever I went. If they were the type who wanted to sleep or sit with their cell phones or watch TV, of course when I got up they were annoyed that they, too, had to follow me. Some followed within a couple of feet of me. This irked me so much. Others were more polite. I joked (it was black humor) and called them “my shadow.” I hated it.
It took me over a week to do politics to get rid of the sitters, that were never medically needed in the first place. So when I did get rid of them, I got yelled at by the abusive nurses whenever I walked into the hall. It was this knee-jerk response. So I got into the habit of apologizing for ever walking into the hall, ever, or immediately giving explanation for why I was there, such as telling them I was headed to the kitchen to fill my water pitcher or get water for tea, or get something to eat. I’d get yelled at if I ever went to the nurses’ station for anything at all. Or I’d get belittled very badly, or even talked about right in front of me within earshot. They’d say what a nuisance I was. That was horrible. I avoided walking out there whenever possible cuz I hated the abuse. The day I left, I overheard them saying how glad they were and they were saying “Good riddance.”
Well, they abused me. I think I was right to complain. I had no clue whom to complain to. I think I didn’t bitch and moan enough, honestly, mainly cuz I figured if I opened my mouth, this would be reason for them to medicate me inappropriately even worse than they were trying to, or lock me up further, or give me rotten treatment that would traumatize me further.
I’ve been free a month now. I still cry over the abuse. I cry daily. I am so frustrated that it happened and I get mad when folks don’t believe me when I say that it happened, because dang, it did. I wasn’t delusional and I’m still not delusional.
I don’t need a pill for crying. I need and want to cry and crying is good. How stupid to take pills for crying. I can’t believe that patients cry in hospitals and the first thing nurses do is to shove pills to fix the crying and make the patient shut up.
So people learn that crying is bad, and they panic when they cry. They think something’s horribly wrong, and they run for pills and medicate themselves. Let yourself cry and heal yourself. It’s your body fixing itself.
Don’t shut yourself up with a pill, or allow anyone to shut you up. Make noise. We should all be making noise about abuse, not taking pills for it. Pills don’t fix the world. They just knock us out and shut our eyes and ears to the yuckiness around us. It that what anyone really wants?
No. People don’t want pills and a fake diagnosis. People want to speak and be heard. Like I was heard yesterday in front of maybe 200 people. I read something I wrote and I am a writer. It felt damn good to read aloud what I had written.
When I was a young girl, I saw kids not much older than I was marching in protest marches on campuses all over the US. The kids got arrested by cops, sometimes beaten or taken to jails. I heard that kids got killed in protests. Neil Young sang a famous song about a student protest on a campus in Kent, Ohio. Wow, do I ever recall…Four Dead in Ohio…ringing in my head over and over.
We gotta keep speaking out, writing, doing readings, going to protests, using all our talents, whatever we can do, to stop the madness from continuing. I feel empowered when I know I can contribute whatever I can do. I know I’m doing that right now when I write these words.
Never, ever shut up. I don’t, and I hope you don’t, either.
Fun gig today at Trish Blain’s meetup
Good evening, readers. I told you all I was going to attend a “Meetup” type group today locally, and while there, read from my works. I told you that this was going to be a very big Meetup. Guess what? I did it! Apparently 250 people signed up for it and I’ll bet maybe at least 200 showed up. It was a huge event and I am quite happy I went.
In case you are just popping in off the Internet and wondering, “Hey, so she attended some party. What’s the big deal? Everyone goes to things like that.”
So maybe you do or your pals do these things once a week or so. Me, do I even get invited to them ever? Naw. I’m considered a “danger to society,” a “mental patient,” so no one bothers most of the time. I mean, who knows, I might show up with a gun and go on a shooting spree according to these “professionals.” Or, more likely, folks don’t want to be seen with me in public. I’d embarrass them out of their minds. So, when someone sees me, they cross the street or hide themselves and hope I don’t see. Sometimes, I’m rather apologetic, “Aw, gee, sorry I recognized you. I know you don’t want to be seen associating with the likes of a raggedy Welfare case in public, after all.” And I walk off. It’ll hit me a few hours or days later that I’ve just been insulted…again.
Anyway, no way was this Meetup thing like that at all. No way. Most everyone was incredibly friendly and wanted to pet Puzzle. Let me tell you, Puzzle is sorta like that. She’s the cutest darn dog you’ve ever seen and brings out the best in people. It isn’t Puzzle that has the “mental illness” label, after all, it’s me. Puzzle is friendly and when you pet her she gives you lots of kisses and and asks for more. For me, for someone to pet Puzzle, it feels wicked good. It makes me feel wanted and loved, too. Not that I say that, but it does.
Trish must have known who I was because of Puzzle. She came right up to me and introduced herself. Now let me tell you I knew right away she is one cool lady. She paid for this whole thing herself and the first thing she wanted folks to do was…get this: Help each other out. No, not sell things or promote businesses, but do good things for each other. I felt good about that and wanted to cry. Well, don’t tell anyone, but I sorta did cry right then and there. Only no one knew I was crying.
It’s tough when your faith in humans is down to nothing, nil. When you believe humans are basically evil, and the only nice ones out there left are the exceptions. Why? No, not because something’s “wrong” with me, not at all. Because recently I was weak and starving, and some mean people saw a vulnerable person and decided to dig in and pull a power trip. It’s called abuse. I’ve simply seen far too much. I’m tired and worn out.
Abused kids live with mean people and that’s all they see, day in, day out. Abused kids lead isolated, secret lives inside very scary families. That’s their life and no one even knows. It can be a nightmare and when someone shows up at the door (such as that “social worker” or cop, say, or neighbor) everything’s tidied up, the bottles hidden, all evidence of abuse tucked away. I think there are rock songs about this. The kids are threatened should they ever tell anyone, not that anyone’s gonna believe them anyway. They’re only kids with giant imaginations, they lie and exaggerate after all, right? People believe adults over kids because the adults are assumed to be the “competent” ones. Oh, baloney.
So it is with anyone vulnerable. There is so much abuse of elderly people that there are special hotlines where you can call in and report the abuse. I think that’s because our society thinks the elderly (especially those affected by dementia, memory loss, mobility loss, or sensory loss) are “out of it.” Take my grandmother, for instance. If I recall correctly, she lived to be 95 and I guess maybe spent a bit of time in a nursing home at the end of her life. I’m talking about the grandma that had very little money. She came to the nursing home with inexpensive jewelry, that is, what was most likely fake pearls and the like. It breaks my heart that what little she had got stolen. I know my boyfriend Joe had to spend time in a couple of nursing homes in his life. One of them was a vile place. He was admitted there and brought with him two leather jackets. When he finally got out of there, he left with only one. He couldn’t figure out where the other one had gone off to. He was looking and looking. I told him maybe he should look for it some other time and tried to get him to forget about it. Later, I cried. I never told him those folks that worked there were a dishonest bunch.
So like I was saying, see, a month ago, that is, the 22nd of August, I was finally freed from the medical floor of Mount Auburn Hospital. I was abused very badly there. Why? For one thing, I was starved and too weak to walk or stand. When I got there, they took pity on me, then suddenly, someone decided I was “dangerous” and their tune changed. That’s when the very bad abuse began.
Imagine being alone in the room with someone abusive when you are so weak you can’t stand up. You can’t even lift your limbs. This was my world for eleven days. I had no clue if it would ever end. I figured maybe this was going to be my life from now on and had no clue if I’d ever escape. I was threatened and called a liar. I couldn’t even tell anyone. When I tried to, I was told even more that I was imagining it, making it up, delusional, and got pills shoved at me. I was scared out of my mind.
When I left, I was really sick, too, physically sick. I’ve been in bed for a month. I needed the rest and I needed to lie down with Puzzle real bad. I needed privacy, too. Just to be alone and cry a whole bunch. I needed to recover from the abuse. I needed to stop being around folks that didn’t believe me, that claimed I was crazy, and hang with those that were affirming and truly caring, and didn’t put me down all the time.
So I signed up for the Meetup thing, just because it existed. I said to myself, “What the heck?” I guess a lot of folks said the same thing, and showed up. For me, it was a giant opportunity to read aloud. It was empowerment, for me. You folks who have been following my blog a long time know I love to read aloud. I’m good at it and I don’t get nervous. I get high off of it in fact. Just like in the days when I was a young kid and used to perform music. It’s much the same deal, getting up in front of an audience and having a blast.
When I share writing, of course, there’s always some message, some little bullet I want to drive into people’s heads. Ooh, that statement sounded lethal, didn’t it? Get out the leather restraints and security guards and needles! Lock the doors, man! The writer is here!
But before I talk about that part, I’ll mention that yes, there was food there and no, I wasn’t all flown into a panic over the food part. It isn’t food that is scary for anyone with an eating disorder, it’s the fear of food that’s the scary part. Once you realize that, there’s no threat at all left and no buffet, food pantry, restaurant, supermarket, soup kitchen, or pot luck that can hurt you. There are only hurtful humans. Just tell them to fuck off.
Not that I was totally rah rah about the food. Not that it was all that easy. I did say a post or two ago about the hot flashes I’ve been having. I’ve combed the Internet about why I’ve been having them and am doing stuff to prevent them. The last thing I wanted today was to suddenly catch fire, not indoors while at this event. I didn’t want to turn myself into some kind of hazard and embarrass the heck out of anyone. I might singe Puzzle’s fur before they manage to put me out. I don’t want that. That plus you all know I avoid dairy because it makes me depressed.
So the food line was miles and miles long. It was a little awkward standing in it. I tried to make conversation, tried to be funny, but I wasn’t too successful at that, because no one is successful 100% of the time at being funny or cute. I think folks were telling themselves they were wishing the line would move a little faster. Suddenly, someone was asking me what kind of soup I wanted. I said to myself, “Gee, what if I want no soup at all? I don’t want anything hot because hot means yet another hot flash.” So I asked if one of the soups was a cold soup. It wasn’t. I said I’d pass. Then there were maybe a zillion quiches. Why a zillion (yeah, I counted) I haven’t a clue. I asked for an egg thing that looked like the most desirable one, very much forgetting that if it had cheese in it, I really shouldn’t have it. I put salad on my plate and a hummus sandwich and some grapes. There was another sandwich on a bun but it looked too gooey to me. I’m not really comfortable when ingredients are mixed together and can’t be separated, so I don’t know if there might be way, way too much of something I don’t really want. I ended up eating everything, even the egg stuff with cheese, because there was very little cheese in it, just enough to flavor it, and I didn’t have much. Later, there was dessert, but I remembered reading on websites that sugary foods will bring on a hot flash, as well as anything that is quickly made into energy by the body. I’ll get back to these recommendations in a minute, cuz I have more to say about what our bodies need and intuition.
Well, no, I think I’ll talk about it right now. Coffee. Yep, caffeine. Is it really society’s evil? Let’s put it this way: We use coffee more as a social lubricant than anything else, far more than we use alcohol, but no one really thinks of it that way. What’s served in the office? Most of the time, coffee. What’s at every restaurant and legal for everyone and costs less? No restaurant needs a coffee license. Alcohol only shows up at the occasional party and in the bars. You can drink coffee and drive but most folks better not drink alcohol and expect to do anything important or meaningful or anything that requires coordination. I know many people are sensitive to caffeine or even allergic to it, and probably should stay away from it. Then for godsakes, stay away from it. Don’t preach to me that it’s evil. I don’t tell others that dairy is evil but if I eat a large amount of dairy, that is, the curds, I get so depressed I’m suicidal. That’s just me. I’m not everyone.
So…me and coffee. I don’t drink coffee every day. Maybe every other day or once every few days. But when I do, I make a very nice ceremony of it and enjoy it. My body always tells me, “Ahh, that was so good. Thank you! Do it again tomorrow, please!” My stomach feels great after a cup of coffee, better than it was before, and my whole day seems better. If I exercise, I move faster and feel stronger and lighter. I do have to let the coffee cool a bit if it’s a hot day, though. Other than the fact that it’s a hot beverage, I doubt coffee is causing me any problem at all. There are simply too many medicinal benefits for me to truly give it up. I don’t like iced coffee nearly as much, but if I wait a minute or two, I’m sure a less hot cup of coffee will be fine.
And so, let me talk about the talent show. As I said, I was in it. I read a piece of writing I wrote specially for the show a day or two ago. There were maybe 15 people signed up. Some folks sang. I guess many folks did. There was an interesting demo of a machine that made your body vibrate. A couple of people played instruments. All of the music was original. Isn’t that cool? A guy did a cool talk about disability and empowerment and accessibility and speaking out. I thought, wow, he’s doing stuff to change the world. Another guy talked about Occupy Wall Street. Guess what? He was there last weekend and said there were all sorts of cops all over the place. Like the protesters were dangerous criminals. Hmm, kinda reminds me of the war protests of the 1960s. When I was a kid, I only saw these on TV and heard radio reports late at night, and read about them in newspapers over my dad’s shoulder. Have times changed at all? If you are “sick” or “different” or “don’t fit in” (like me, with an eating disorder I never even asked for) you get accused of being a crook and end up locked up? Guess that’s the way of the world.
Early on in the talent show, a guy who was a personal trainer did a wonderful poem about how our bodies know best. That gets back to the “coffee is bad for you” myth I was talking about. Okay, so coffee is the Evil of the World for some people. Trendy thing to think. Everyone thinks this is bad for you, that’s evil, watch out for this, avoid this, etc, even (or should I say especially) doctors. He had such a good point. So afterward, this guy came up to me and we talked. That was so cool that I got to talk to him and I sure felt privileged.
After all, if you got to be my age and alive, I think there must be something wise in you, something that kept you living and breathing. You know what it was? It was you. You are strong beyond belief.
So anyway, I will indeed do a You-Tube of my piece. I figure, what the heck, I need to get my stuff out there. I do like the piece very much. I love giving things away for free, too.
I came home. I was exhausted. I lay down with Puzzle later on and we slept a while. That was refreshing. When I awoke, I was convinced it was midnight for a bit, but it was only 7pm. Puzzle, of course, never really woke up. I need to wake her up for dinner.
I will of course be coming out with the newsletter, just like I said. I’m working on that. See ya, readers!
Yes, eating disorders can cause “hot flashes”
I’ve done a massive Internet search cuz this is driving me nuts. I feel like I’m burning up and this is only getting worse and making me nonfunctional.
I suppose if I went to a doctor they’d just laugh in my face, telling me, “Julie, you’re 55, what do you expect?”
Or, “So walk around naked all day. Most people would love that.”
Or, “Eat a gallon of ice cream. You could stand to put on a few.”
Or, “What eating disorder? You’re delusional. Take a cure-all antipsychotic. That’ll make you shut up. Here’s my bill.”
I feel like dousing myself in ice or relocating into a walk-in freezer right now and just staying there. Or calling the fire department, telling them I’m burning up and having them put me out.
It gets far worse after I eat, and I’ve tried not eating, but I get nauseous. The nausea is most likely my kidneys or something but I’m not sure. Anyway, I looked up “hot flashes after eating,” and that happens to diabetics due to some blood sugar problem, but I kept reading, and yeah, it happens if you have a long history of eating disorders. It’s one of those little-known, mysterious symptoms that I’ll bet doctors will deny or don’t know about, just like that vertigo I had a couple of years ago. But if you go to websites and keep on reading and digging, you can find out about eating disorders and vertigo as well. The vertigo, too, happens after you eat. I recall it happened to me after breakfast maybe two years ago. Guess what? Doctors denied it. After a time, the problem went away for me.
I read that they are pretty sure “hot flashes” happen due to something in the hypothalamus whether the hot flashes are due to menopause or another cause. So if you have an ED and you are getting hot flashes, something is going on that’s screwy in that area because your eating is, or was, messed up. So you can be a guy and get hot flashes, too.
They say some people turn beet red when this happens, or that it’s part of it. I have never looked in the mirror. I don’t think I do. I only get intolerably hot. I’ve thought I had a fever but I’ve checked and I don’t. It wakes me up in the night. Between that and the cramping, I don’t sleep at all.
Actually, I can’t really function like this, and I dread today’s speaking event. It’s a four-hour event and I have no clue how I’ll survive it. I went out yesterday and was walking and suddenly started burning up and could hardly wait to get home, turn on the AC, and throw off every piece of clothing I had. That’s exactly what I did. I was only out 20 minutes and it was intolerable.
Psychiatry’s bogus recommendations, and my gig tomorrow
In 1997, psychiatrists stated that I needed to be locked up in the state hospital for a very long time. They stated that I was unable to function in society and could not sit in a group of people.
I went home and wrote my first novel. I tried adult education classes and did fine. I applied to college and got in, entering as a sophomore because I was switching majors, returning after 18 years of being buried in the mental health system. Guess those shrinks were wrong after all, eh?
In 2006 I was taking a break from graduate school. Doctors and social workers recommended that I attend day treatment. They said I would never make it in life if I didn’t listen to them. They said “my kind,” that is, mental patients, didn’t belong in grad school.
Did I take this recommendation as Word of God? Naw. I listened to my own wisdom instead. I went back to grad school where I, “my kind,” a student of writing, belonged. I finished grad school three years later.
So Friday the 13th, roughly a week ago, a shrink told me she highly recommended antipsychotic meds otherwise I might as well hang it up. I know antipsychotic meds are going to make me binge eat and make me very, very sick. Do you think this shrink, who is younger than me and clearly knows nothing at all about eating disorders, should be giving me any advice at all? Naw.
Tomorrow, I have a big speaking engagement coming up. Yep, not far from where I live. I’ll be speaking in front of over 150 people that I know of. I wrote something for the occasion. I have three minutes to speak. I sure don’t want to be slowed down by antipsychotic meds! Slurred speech? No thanks. I want to have loads of fun, and never, ever shut up.
I’ll let you know how it all goes, and I’ll do a performance of the piece soon for you all. I just don’t want to spoil it all right now for those who will be there.
Guess I don’t actually need to break a leg right now, right? Naw, casts are inconvenient, and I don’t want to hobble around with one even if it’s decorated with people’s signatures and magic marker flowers and peace signs, either. Knowing my luck, someone else’s dog would pee on it.