Monthly Archives: June 2014
Why stir up the pot? It’s my job because I am a writer. Regarding just how bogus mindfulness is…..
So some “mindfulness”-toting dude starts on a rant about how great this “therapy” is. I’m sure there were dollar signs in HIS eyes. I wanted no part of that discussion after that, trust me. “Mindfulness” was nothing but a way that Marsha lady made money converting Buddhism, which is an Eastern religion or spiritual practice, into profit making for Western pop psychology so more patients would be helpless, dependent, and stuck in therapy longer. Isn’t it great to convince patients they “can’t control their emotions’ and somehow, that’s some “disease”?
Personally, I think being young in itself is all about being a bit over the top with one’s emotions, and getting older, we even out more. We are more extreme at the younger ages and when we are under stress, thereby appearing “bipolar.” So that’s when many end up with these “diagnoses.’ The myth is that this “uncontrolled emotions” gets pinned at “permanent disability” or “personality disorder” when what it really is, is a temporary stress, or someone treating you badly. You would be surprised to see just how temporary it is if only those therapists would leave us alone and let us grow as we are meant to do naturally.
The apologies I wish I’d gotten, by Julie Greene
In so many ways, the silence, to me, means, “Good riddance.” Nothing more. Like I wasn’t valued, and no one misses me. Although I tried very hard to be of use to people, they made it clear while I was still there I was worthless as a person. The current silence and lack of communication only serves to further drive this point home to me. It’s rather discouraging.
What if I were dead? I’ll bet the response would be about the same. “Good riddance” and not much more.
I ask you, why not an apology? I would love to hear any of the following, if it applies:
“I am sorry I never made friends with you or reached out.”
“There was never any time.”
“I admit I always made excuses.”
“I never picked up the phone when you called.”
“I’d heard you had ‘problems’ so I stayed away.”
“My spouse said to avoid you, so I did. I didn’t even question.”
“I figured that it would be best for the kids not to associate with someone with an eating disorder. After all, to do so would be a bad influence on them, would it not?”
“I felt really good that I lived far away. This was a good excuse not to see you in person or make a real commitment.”
“You look weird. I figured I’d stay away.”
“The whole time we were talking I faked my way through our conversation. I only pretended to agree. I really thought you were nuts and was dying to end the conversation and get rid of you. I never liked you.”
“I heard you tried suicide once so I thought, ‘Must be trouble,’ right?”
“I admit that when I saw you around town, I turned my head or crossed the street and hoped you hadn’t recognized me. I didn’t want to say hello or engage in conversation, and even pretended I hadn’t seen you when you waved. If you did see me, I kept it to a curt, “Hello,” and then walked on, rather than any sort of involved dialogue. This was deliberate. After all, others said you were nothing but trouble, but I never bothered to check out for myself or ask you myself what was really going on.”
“I heard you were violent.”
“Those mental patients might turn on you.”
“I figured being Facebook friends was enough and I’d limit it to that.”
“I’m sorry I never bothered to ask.”
“I’m sorry I never read one word you wrote.”
“I had no interest in your book or any of your writings. I figured since you have a mental diagnosis your writing must not be very good. You must have had ‘special help’ getting your degree. Like special ed, for ‘retarded people,’ that’s what ‘those people’ get, right? Not real college degrees, so I figure.”
“I’m sorry I wasn’t listening.”
“I’m sorry that when you wrote to me, desperately trying to reach out, I did not respond.”
“I’m sorry that while we were talking, I wasn’t even paying the least bit of attention, but instead, showed lack of interest by playing with gadgets.”
“I always assumed everyone has family, and never realized there are some who don’t. I’m sorry you were all alone.”
“I’m sorry you were not allowed to have a voice in our community nor valued for your talents.”
“I was only doing my job.”
“I figured doing my job was enough.”
“I am sorry, on behalf of so many doctors, therapists, and institutions and their personnel, that you experienced medical and psychiatric abuse, and that this abuse was never acknowledged.”
“I am sorry for accusing you of being paranoid when clearly you were not paranoid at all, but absolutely right all along about quite a bit of what you were saying.”
“I’m sorry our community clearly took you for granted all these years.”
“I really never realized you had so much knowledge of eating disorders, and never recognized that you would be such a fabulous resource on the topic. Your wisdom, knowledge, and experience were taken for granted all this time. I’m sorry you were treated with such disrespect.”
“I’m sorry our community did not honor you.”
“I’m sorry you were not recognized at all as a writer.”
“I admit I am relieved not to have to see you anymore. I never liked you anyway, or thought I didn’t, because of my first impression. I never gave you a chance and was scared to get to know you because of what others said about you. We never even spoke. But I am sorry that I made that rash decision. In the back of my mind, I guess I’ll always wonder what it would have been like had I really spent time with you, had I sat down with you, and actually had spoken conversation with you. It seemed like no one ever bothered, did they? I’m truly sorry.”
Love, Julie Greene and Puzzle
Note about Santa list
Note: I didn’t ask Santa for psychiatry, did I? I don’t think poisons are on my list of dire human needs. Think about it. Do they have psychiatry working in International disaster relief? No, not unless it’s the USA forcing their idea of “health” on the world. Trauma workers, yes, but that’s not psychiatric poisoning pseudo-science, which doesn’t even recognize trauma, and claims people have permanent brain diseases.
My list for Santa
Do others send you letters, too? What on earth do they ask for? Here’s my list, not necessarily put in order of importance.
I would like clean clothes to wear, and a bed that is dry.
I would like the ability to keep my belongings dry, the few I still have. Everything I own is sopping wet right now, filthy and stinking, with no end in sight to this dilemma.
A few less mosquitoes.
I would like to have a friend or two who willingly spend time with me, that is, in person. This I have not had for over a decade, since my boyfriend died.
Since I can find no in-person companionship for now, then Santa, could I please, please have reliable phone or way to hook up a phone? And an actual real person on the other end of the line, a friend who has a conversation with me?
The ability to sleep an entire night. For three years straight I have not had this.
I turned off my computer, feeling sad and told myself I will rest for a while, but then realized I’d forgotten to add one more thing to the list: If you don’t mind, Santa, could I have a loving family? I used to have one, many years ago. It’s only a memory now.
If I had these things I would be able to be a fully contributing member of society.
* * *
Note: I am a 56-year-old woman. Recently, I fled my home due to bullying and I am trying to get my life together.
Support Group? In Boston?
I yearned to meet others who had been through psychiatric abuse. I had met plenty of folks on Facebook and other social media who had been through what I had been through. Surely, there must be real, live humans out there that I could speak to IN PERSON that existed. So I heard about a support group in Boston. Now, this one didn’t encourage going to more shrinks…or so I hoped.
Unfortunately, I had a negative experience with the group. The first time I went it was okay then after that I left and went home and cried every time. I felt dishonored and invalidated.
I felt that I wasn’t really wanted there. This kid was running the group, over 20 years younger than me. She’d had far less experience and far less knowledge than I had. And yet, simply because she was the “leader,” she repeatedly used her power, her authority, to tell me that whatever I said was not even relevant. After a while, I noted that she’d stop me from speaking even before I had barely said a few words, each and every time.
I felt discouraged. I felt like no one recognized my wisdom at all. I felt like slapping these young, green kids and telling them, old lady that I am, to respect their elders.
I’ve been places. I’ve seen really really bad stuff in dungeons they ain’t seen. I come from a different time. I guess young folk forget that.
So I felt like I wasn’t wanted there. On the last night,when I knew I’d never be back, I was at coffee with a few stragglers afterward. Had I not made it clear I would never, ever see them again?
We departed. I didn’t think much at the time, but then I realized, “Wait. These kids know they won’t ever see me again. You’d think they’d at least say a kind ‘Goodbye’ or something? Or a sendoff or hug?”
It took me days to realize it. They didn’t even give a shit.
It’s been a couple of months now. I guess the reality is hitting me.
You know, I used to ask myself, “What happens if I die? Will people see things in different perspective? Will people realize that maybe they should have listened to me? Or cared?” I used to imagine accidentally walking into my own funeral and overhearing everything people said. Would anyone say a kind word at all or carry on my dreams?
My answer to this? No. People do not wise up. If folks don’t give a shit now, they aren’t going to give a shit after you are dead. They might even say spiteful or hateful things if they think you killed yourself or stopped taking care of yourself, like that you dug your own grave. But even a rather elaborate suicide isn’t going to change anything, and you won’t be around to enjoy the glory, those memorials, the flowers.
I found a laundry place
It’s not far from here. I found that my search term was wrong. I was searching for lavanderia. It’ s not that. It’s lavandero.
Now how funny is that?
It’s not self-serve. Such a thing doesn’t exist in the entire country. However, they will wash it for me and maybe deliver. I’m told to specify “no perfume” and “no softener” and in Spanish and have them repeat this back to me over and over. I can bring my things, all of them, tomorrow maybe.
Wow, I can hardly wait! After a month, you can imagine.
After everything is washed and bone dry, I will keep all my clothes sealed in bags, never to be opened to this foggy air they have here. And I am treating myself to a deshumidificador. You can guess what type of fancy machinery that is! A little one. I’ll bet I can take one home by cab.
I am tired of filthy, stinking clothes. They got this way because of extreme humidity. I tried so hard to wash them by hand but they got stinking all over again just from sitting out in the damp air.
Those of you in Western countries such as the US, hug a homeless person today. Offer them dry, clean clothes. They will be grateful, as am I.
Fake friends, the mental health system, and survival
I remember the night well. It was so long ago. I guess many of you know these large open stairwells that you find in larger buildings in the US but not in other countries necessarily. I was standing in the stairwell, in an upper area. My friends, young men and women I assumed truly were faithful friends, convened below. We were college pals. These friends weren’t just fellow students, but we were bond together because we were dedicated music students, trumpet players who studied with the same teacher, Walter Chesnut.
I was just about to go to my dormitory room. And then as I was headed down the hall I heard them speak and as I heard my name mentioned, I stood there, unbeknownst to them, and continued to listen to what they said. It was rather clear that they never liked me to begin with and were only including me so as not to hurt my feelings, or simply because I played trumpet too. They merely felt obliged.
I remember every nasty word they said. This was 1976. That exact moment changed my life.
* * *
I’m assuming the above situation is familiar to many, if not all my readers. You overhear something spoken about you. In a flash, you realize something: Your friends aren’t really your friends. And after that, nothing is ever the same. I was truly disillusioned with humanity. I applied to change to a different dormitory area, and because our university was extremely large, managed to remove myself from those fake friends rather quickly. I’d only been hanging out with those kids for a short time. I was relieved to be away from them and that I hadn’t gotten too involved, although to a young student, two semesters may seem like forever, eh? After that, I took my chances on a “pot luck” roommate who ended up being a fabulous match.
But the incident in the stairwell was perhaps, for me, a model for other times. I mean more powerful relationships that I’d get involved in in the future.
Precisely this: When you have loads of faith in some institution or belief, and then, in a flash, you realize it’s a farce. The weird thing is that after that, you just can’t go back to that farce. You may have thought for a time that the farce was loving and kind. But you know now that this was a lie.
You bet it’s about the most painful thing I’ve ever been through. That undoing.
One example includes, of course, my involvement with the Moonies, which I have detailed in my book, This Hunger Is Secret. The Moonies were a brainwashing cult and I believe this group still exists. It’s also called the Unification Church and I was involved with them back in 1979. Reverend Sun Myung Moon died quite some time ago but I hear the church is still going. I have no clue how they have modified their beliefs or what they tell their followers, since they used to say that Moon was the messiah. Guess he’s the dead messiah, but Jesus is dead and they’ve been following him, too, for two thousand years. I should die and then maybe I’ll get followers, too, eh? Pass the basket, please.
But what I am saying is that the day I realized, quite on my own, that they Moonies were nothing but a fake I was truly torn. I will never forget how I felt betrayed. I’d been with them participating in an intensive “workshop” for ten days.
When I realized that MENTAL HEALTH CARE was full of holes, that it was based on a lie, my whole world came crashing in. Why? Because I’d been in this “care” for over three decades. Not three years. Three decades.
Yes, it’s based on a lie. The lies are rather carefully constructed to keep you coming back and keep you “sick.”
Why am I saying this? Because mental health care teaches a person some basic principles that will guide them down a destructive path. The person becomes “patient” and from then on, dependent. Rarely do I see a “therapist” guide a patient toward independence, that is, toward no longer needing therapy or mental health treatment. Most therapists insist that their “patients” require lengthy care for many years, if not,, for the rest of their sorry lives. I’m never surprised anymore when a person initiates therapy, then weeks later comes back and says, “Well, they’ve discovered that in fact I have a longer list of diagnoses than originally thought.”
The diagnoses are nothing but nomenclature. More words for reasons you need to keep going to them, even take their pills and get sicker. Going down that slippery slope of “disability payments’d.” I’ve seen more people a decade after going into therapy for the first time, and I feel so sad, because I know, after all these years, that it didn’t have to be that way.
Here’s one lie I wish I’d never heard:
“Don’t be afraid to ask for help.”
Or how about this one?
“Come to staff when you need something.”
Shall I discuss these two basics? You left good ole mom and dad, if you had them to begin with, to be an adult and assert your adulthood in the world. Or something like that. Now you have these fake mom and dad that are getting paid, telling you to go them and that you should give up your adulthood! They are telling you you should be a kid again, whine to them, tell them all your problems and they are the shoulder to cry on. Wow, what a lie!
While you could be out there learning to stand on your own two feet, these liars are not only taking your money (and your parents’ money) but forcing you into long-term dependency.
I asked myself how many decades had passed since I first went into so-called “therapy.” They told me I “needed” it, right? Where the hell am I now and has so-called “therapy” really gotten me anywhere? Then where am I now? Still dependent on those therapists?
I earned my college degrees in spite of “mental health care.” I had to fight those so-called doctors every step of the way. I was told to drop out over and over, that college was “trivial.” I was told my degree was “useless.”
Those therapists and their institutions sure didn’t like it when I began to speak out. My writing was disregarded and discredited. I was threatened over and over. One of their first ways to retaliate was to deny medical care. I was medically abused, bullied, and I feared I wouldn’t survive. I thought this was “help,” but no, they sure never wanted me to succeed, did they? I got out by the skin of my teeth, because in the end, it was a matter of fleeing, or dying at their hands.
I am alive today. Yes, alive. Alive. Alive. Alive.
Finding myself again as a writer
I had escaped with Puzzle and we were still alive. We were free now. I held onto Puzzle.
Free. It was all I could think of at first. I lay in bed quite a bit.
I have memories of Miami. The hotel and the kind people there. It was hot outside. Summer would soon be coming. I told Puzzle I needed to rest and heal to be ready for the next plane ride. She knew just what to do. We lay together for almost the entire time I was at the hotel. You could say I felt as though I was in heaven there.
We had a large, king-size bed. I told myself how amusing it was that I felt “entitled” to take up only a tiny portion of this bed and leave the rest free. Why? Why did I feel that I was no one in this world, that I had been told, over and over, that I deserved so little in life that I should take up no more than I possibly could? This is that mentality, that had been hammered into me over the years that I had lived in public housing. You deserve the bare minimum, Julie. You are worthless. That ever-present drone.
Now, I was leaving it all behind. My body needed to heal very quickly because the next plane ride would be eight hours in the air. I had severe swelling, especially in the area of my ankles. It was frightening that this was happening to me. Beginning I’d say around the start of May, the swelling had gotten so severe that the skin had begun to become painful from the stretching of tissues. When cells can stretch no further, they snap. You feel a stinging sensation, and too much of this is rather painful. Your skin turns red. When this occurs on the surface, you end up with sores that can become infected. I’d had this happen to me in the past. Sometimes I don’t even see that the open sores are there until after they’ve been there for days because they are underneath my clothing. Sometimes the skin isn’t broken, but what appears is “stretch marks” on my ankles. I’ve had such stretch marks in other places on my body due to this swelling, which is also called edema. In the last few days I had to endure in Watertown, every time I stood or even got into a sitting position, the water in my body would go right into my ankles and I would literally scream sometimes from the pain.
The night before my departure, I arrived at my friend’s apartment. I felt a burden lift just to get away from the noise at Woodland Towers. My friend begged me to remain lying down as much as possible. Honestly, I was scared about the plane ride. Getting to Miami was really tough and that plane ride, just sitting there, wasn’t easy. I reminded myself I’d only have to do this once. Having Puzzle right there in the plane with me was a comfort. She enjoyed herself throughout, probably figuring she was on just another MBTA bus. Where were we off to? Another errand? Did it matter? I think Puzzle rather liked Miami except she didn’t like that the pavement burned her paws during the heat in the middle of the day.
So I was in Miami and didn’t have to tell Puzzle what to do. She knew. Guess what my little girl did? Yep. She lay right down on top of my swollen ankles. You’d think this would hurt, but we were on a nice soft bed and we lay there for hours while Puzzle did her magic. She’s so, so incredible.
I know now. If I have painful, cramped hands at night from electrolyte imbalance, I lay with Puzzle and nestle my hands around her. It’s about all I can do to relieve this pain. Does it work? Absolutely!
The plane ride from Miami to Montevideo was in some ways easier than the ride from Boston to Miami. However, I had a yucky person sitting next me. I have never encountered such a yucky plane mate as this one. In fact, since my arrival here I have not met one single jerk! Imagine that! I told myself, while sitting there, “This is the last jerk I will have to encounter.” I was right.
Only really, I was so scared I was gonna die on that plane. The man sitting next to me was truly mean to me. I was so scared and I couldn’t even get up or complain or ask to change seats! He was rude, and if I moved my arm or sleeve too much toward him, he shoved it aside and told me I was “in his space,” did I mind keeping away, etc. This was an overnight flight. For the entire time, I hoped he’d get up and go pee so I could get up, too, but darn, he didn’t! While he slept I hoped he’d awaken because I was so scared he’d blame me if I disturbed him. I was wondering if he had some chip on his shoulder due to a missed flight. Meanwhile, I had to pee, I wanted desperately to stretch my limbs to get circulation, and to keep myself ALIVE! My ankles were red and swollen and I was scared to death that Puzzle and I, one or both of us, were not going to make it. It was only a stroke of misfortune that I ended up sitting next to this grump.
Then, of course, we ended up okay. And alive and we’ve been together and free now a full month.
It hasn’t been easy. No way. I knew what I was getting into. This isn’t the Land of Luxury and I’m not here for the Good Life of Happy Retirement. I am a refugee and I am not certain folks back in the USA understand the meaning of this. I was persecuted where I came from. No, I wasn’t legally booted out. I was bullied in my community. I had to leave and cannot go back.
I have very little money. Actually, I have negative money. Amenities? I am barely getting by. Then again, I wasn’t getting by in the USA anyway. I have no need for TV or radio, and I really don’t care about style. I worry about basics. Food, shelter, clothing, how to stay dry and warm and not bug-bitten. Are you worrying about what brand to buy or what movie to watch? Sorry, I can’t relate and really, never could.
It took me a full month to get my Internet and phone straightened out. I was just beginning to feel discouraged and again, almost as socially isolated as I’d been back in Watertown. Oh, the irony! I’d left Watertown, for one thing, because my former friends had refused to speak with me. It was like I had become a raving beggar, desperate only for someone to spend time with me or even speak with me beyond a brief exchange lasting a few seconds at a cash register now and then. This went on not for hours at a time, but for weeks on end. Whenever I’d get into an actual conversation, I’d drive the person nuts because it was like I’d latch onto the person and beg them, “Please, don’t let this end! I will be alone again for weeks again!” and then, it would end in a flash. I doubt anyone truly understood the extent of it because others had spouses and families, or at least a relative they could call or actual caring therapist. I didn’t.
Now what? I was here in Atlantida and suddenly alone in a country where the English speakers were rarely to be found. The so-called “expats” lived in pairs, that is, couples, and had their farms and such. They mainly seem to live out in the farming areas or in Montevideo. I need to travel into the city at some point and check it out for sure. I’m not ready to branch out that far yet. It’s like I haven’t ventured that far out of my cocoon.
Me, becoming a butterfly. Imagine that.
Okay, teary moment aside, I heard about a man who came to a place where you could sit and have coffee. It’s an inexpensive restaurant here called Barny’s. There’s free wifi here. It’s only a ten-minute walk from my home. About a week ago, this man came to my home and told me that the fellow who comes to Barny’s comes daily and speaks English and would love company. I was told what he looked like and when he arrived. Another person told me other information, that this man came only once a week but I have no clue which day.
Yesterday, I came to Barny’s and just sat. It was like I suddenly realized something. I had a table. A chair. My laptop. Two laptop batteries. What am I doing here. I am writing. I am writing in a warm, dry place. And…..
They don’t blast loud music the way they do in each and every American Starbucks restaurant I’ve ever been to. Geez, that made WRITING darned impossible in any Starbucks! In Barny’s I can write just fine. There’s conversation here and there, and I can hear the bits of muzak coming from Tienda Inglesas next door, but it’s not much louder than the Watertown Free Public Library where folks play their headsets and that’s far more obnoxious.
And so, I feel more and more as if I am becoming who I am here. Creating a life for myself. I even had a conversation with a dear friend today in the USA, that didn’t turn into a fiasco of “you’re breaking up” all over again. It was a free conversation, free being very nice for both of us. I’m done with breaking up for sure! Breaking up being hard to do, and so on.
I sure love you all, anyone that’s put up with reading to the end of this! Shall I do Nanowrimo this year? Hey, why not? I got a writing space now. Julie and Puzzle
To Solve a Puzzle
It’s silent here. I never heard silence in Watertown. But here, in the night, for a few hours very few cars pass by on the Interbalnearia. So many people live their lives in noisy worlds. They have forgotten silence. How often I saw someone in my past compulsively switch on a radio and I would ask myself why this person even needed this.
No one believed me that Woodland Towers was as bad as it was. However, I truly think the place should be torn down. Living there almost killed me. My friend went in there and FINALLY I got someone to understand. There wasn’t anything wrong with my perception.
I mean, those suicide “experts” that claim you have a perception problem are dead wrong and if I had taken their advice I suppose I would be wondering why I “couldn’t concentrate.” Shrinks would say, “So you are hearing four hours of Wheel of Fortune every
Take a pill!”
But what now? How to move forward and leave my past behind?
I was quite at a loss upon my arrival. One thing I know is that I shouldn’t take anyone else’s advice as the word of god. That has been one of my biggest mistakes. That goes for anyone anywhere at anytime. Even so called expert advice does isn’t necessarily universal.
Like when you buy software and it’s incompatible with your computer because AFTER you open it up, it says on it Windows 95 only. And it’s 2014. And the nice techie tells you it isn’t compatible due to YOUR computer virus.
You have known yourself all your life. The doctor met you ten minutes ago and who is paying him anyway? Okay…I found out the hard way.
I had to take a step back and ask myself how much of what I was experiencing was residual trauma reaction and how much was adjusting to a new place. Well, both. I am worried about my mom as well. I am socially isolated because whereas the local folks would gladly talk to me and seem curious to know where I am from, however sometimes it’s just too much effort to try speaking Spanish.
I hate the thought of showing of someplace such as a church or AA or civic organization. They have a Rotary Club. I don’t know what these folks do. In fact funny thing is, there is nothing but the rotary club here. I hesitate to show up given my sucky experiences with these “help” organizations. I do much better and am more helpful to other people in academic environments.
I was thinking of showing up at AA anyway. No way do I have an alcohol issue and I won’t say I have ED. It’s winter here and if I am thin no one can tell cuz I have a trillion layers on. However, I have tried numerous times to find AA here. I cannot seem to find it via Google. They might have RR. Maybe I need to call these International offices tomorrow when I go to the free wifi place.
It took me a full month to figure out how to get enough strength bandwidth so I could make decent quality international calls. Guess what? No one called.
I was thinking earlier that I have no clue if anyone reads what I write anymore. My stats on my other blog are sorely dropping. I was all bummed out. I even toyed with the thought that the evil folks at MGH messed with my SEO rankings.
Now that I think of it, yeah. Probably. Well I can strike back I suppose. I mean, what is gonna happen when they find out I didn’t drown myself in the Charles River after all? Or wasn’t found dead of an overdose? Nyah nyah.
Love, Julie and Puzzle
What do you do if you are raped or assaulted and then are told, “You are mentally sick.”
I would suggest immediately leaving the situation or “therapist” that claims you are sick. You maty have a broken bone or sexually transmitted disease or bruises, or other physical ailment that needs to heal. You may be traumatized. This is a normal fear reaction. But never allow a so-called “mental health professional” or anyone else (police included) to try to convince you that the rape was trivial or never occurred or that you should not legally pursue it. A doctor should not ignore abuse. However, many sweep these “complaints” under the rug or are too busy to pay attention to their patients.
I would suggest immediately going elsewhere. If you are being called “crazy,” for reporting that you were raped,
because to stay is just as harmful as staying with the perpetrator.