Category Archives: McLean Papers
You may have noticed that I ended the It Notebook a while back. Or maybe you didn’t. I still get experience It sometimes. But the notebook is done with. Some of the notebook I haven’t copied over and published here yet. This I will do, probably in two entries–one for the remainder of the McLean papers, which are shorter and won’t take much effort to copy over onto a Word file and paste onto an entry–and the other for the entries I did at the community hospital I was in (I choose not to name the hospital) most of which were originally hand written to begin with because my Internet access was limited to maybe ten minutes to a half hour (a full hour if I was lucky) per day, or not at all. I did quite a bit of writing at the community hospital as this was the way that I healed myself. In fact, it was through writing that I was able to figure it all out, and to realize that I needed to move on, from working on suicidality to working on other issues: depression and sadness, It, and my eating disorder. And a few entries ago, I realized that it was a good time to end the It Notebook. As you can tell, I’ve still been writing here, quite a bit, but I’ve focused mainly on my eating disorder and not on It or on sadness. I’m not saying that this won’t change. After all, I’m seeing the neurologist next week, and I’ll be speaking with him quite a bit about It, and I’ll have a lot to say about It in here following that appointment! I haven’t a clue what he’ll say about It. No clue whatsoever. Is It a seizure? Is It a weird depression? Is It psychosis? Am I just making up It for attention? Am I just making up It so that I’ll have something interesting to write about in the It Notebook?
There was a another secret catalyst, though, that triggered me to end the It Notebook. I will share this with you in the coming weeks….
At some point, I will explain to you that the It Notebook is about something else besides what you think it’s about….Stay tuned….Actually, I only came to realize this recently….
I plan to write an Introduction to the It Notebook, as well as an Epilogue, or Afterward (I don’t know what I’ll choose to call it) which I will not share here. Although I started the It Notebook January 28th, four days after I left McLean Hospital, I choose to include the McLean Papers, because they are part of my history. I plan to include in the It Notebook my account of the Winter Classic 5k race I ran on December 19th, which precedes my relapse by two days, which will be the Prologue. I also will include some very brief journal entries that fill in the blank spaces. While I was writing the It Notebook, I had to transfer it from a 1″ notebook to a 1-1/2 inch notebook. That’s how many papers are in it!
My last entry was dated 3/28: What I Know Is True. Of course, I have written plenty since the end of the Notebook in this blog! So I actually kept the Notebook for two months. I printed out every entry. I shared parts of some of the entries with my T. She has never held the Notebook in her hands, though.
You, readers, have held the Notebook, in a way, in your hands. And meanwhile, I have continued to write here, and will continue, your hand in mine.
Well, not really. That just sounded good. My hands are both busy typing.
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.
I was hospitalized January 2-24 2011 at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts. While there, I kept a brief log of my feelings and experiences to show to the doctors and staff. I also kept a record of what medications I was put on and other relevant experiences. Here is my paper for 1/10 (I believe I posted the other 1/10 paper the other day).
List for 1/10
I have more physical energy
running helps me
I know a couple of people’s names [I learned the patients’ names while there but most of the staff’s names I did not learn]
I talk to my roommate
I negotiate with people
I talk to staff less
I hide my feelings
I am terrified of my roommate
I am terrified of everyone
I don’t trust anyone
I fear that I will not get better
I fear that I will not survive
The binge-urge is getting worse
Only Frank understands the seriousness of this
Only Frank understands that something must be done
Right here right now
Not after I get out
For some reason, I am managing to get to the point here
About my terror
About how I feel like a scared, trapped, cornered animal
I feel smothered
I feel like I am figuratively in restraints
And I don’t know who or what will release me
Or if the cuffs are loose enough for me to slip out
Only medication helps with bingeing
After 30-plus years with this eating disorder
I know my history–better than anyone
I know my body
I know my terror
The patients comment–all the time–on my thinness
They watch me eat and comment
Any comment is a rude comment
It is a given
Sometimes the depression is so intense
That I fear I will drop dead from t–spontaneously
Some days I have felt this
It lasts for a number of hours and yesterday I told no one
Yesterday I managed to tell the day shift nurse about 10% of it
The weekend psychiatrist spent less than 45 seconds with me
Sometimes I am way too terrified to ask for help
Questions for Dr G:
1) I question the social worker’s role in my care
note: She barely recognized my T’s name, when I mentioned it
She barely knew who Frank is
I was shocked. What the fuck? Enough said.
2) What is the plan?
Is there a plan?
As far as I am concerned, Dr S’s plan [he was my Dr for the first week I was there] was “wait and see.”
As far as I am concerned, Dr S’s plan was “the passage of time will cure her.”
Well, this is bullshit.
3) When I met with my day shift person, I learned a new word: goals. That is, my goals. That is, our goals. That is, taking action. Because without action, no one’s goals can be met.
4) I am going to be assertive regarding my care from now on. I have a 30-year history–yes, 30 years–of going with the flow. Well, no more. I have been hospitalized over 50 times and can count the number of times that I have been assertive and not been laughed at and not had it seen as a component of my illness or had it not taken seriously. I can count the number of times that a hospitalization has actually been of tremendous help. [This time, obviously, was not one of those times.]
5) What I need: Help with bad depression. Help with bingeing. This combination, as my T points out, is intertwined. This combination is fatal.
6) The only thing that has ever helped me with bingeing has been medication. I beg of you to respond to this problem. The medication–the right medication–will completely eradicate bingeing. [This did turn out to be the case when Dr G added Trileptal a few days later.] The two medications that have done this are Lithium in 1984 and Topamax in 2006. Both were also immensely helpful with depression. Both took effect almost immediately. NO one believed me and said it was impossible for this to happen (especially in 1984) which was incredibly hurtful because when a miracle happens, it is a crime to deny the blessed one that it took place.
7) Lithium stopped working in 1987 with the addition of Nortryptyline. Many medications cause bingeing for me [typically, antidepressants and a couple of antipsychotics]. I don’t know why the Topamax stopped working but I am absolutely devastated that my life has turned into this nightmare.
8. I had the binge-urge twice Friday and three times Sunday. This is actually a blessing when you think about it. I did not act on the urge at all. This does not mean that I can control it. I can’t.
9) I have not been depressed for this long in ages. As you know, I have rapid cycling and it never sticks around like this. It feels like it will last forever and I am incredibly concerned. My two supports, Frank and Lori, have been very worried, and I don’t like worrying them.
I’m skipping 1/8 (which happens to be my birthday).
I’m scared and worried about food and my body
Worried that I’m being spied on
Worried that people are watching me eat
Worried about cameras focused on me–eating
I don’t like the comments about my thinness
Now that I act okay that staff ignore me
And don’t ask me anything
The nurse I checked in with last night
Didn’t even know I have an eating disorder
I am terrified
I feel like I am a criminal avoiding some weird law enforcement
I do feel that the staff are trying to help me
But are completely unaware
Of the fact that I am being watched
No one else is being watched
I sit in the dining room
Hiding and not hiding
Trying to look okay and normal
Having trouble breathing in here
This is unreal
Ten I will call my friend and feel okay for a little while
I feel okay in the little booth at the end of the hall.
List For Today
My body feels less depressed today
I have been writing a lot of these lists and then discarding them
In my mind, I do not have hope
As soon as the kitchen opened, I ate a slice of PB on bread
And 2 cups of coffee and water
Now I feel fat and too full
I feel that I will never get better
There is no “road to recovery” that is a cliche and it is bullshit
You won’t find it on Google Maps
And the computer in my head can’t access too much right now
Or, should I say, it keeps shutting down
I restart it but it does no good
I felt that soon I would see the “Blue Screen of Death”
If I didn’t come to the hospital
Well, this morning I woke up feeling fine in my body
But my mind crashed fairly quickly and I started crying
I brushed my teeth
I fixed my hair
I got dressed
I even cleaned the toilet seat
I went to the fitness center yesterday that was my only group
I will take a shower after my run today if they let me run again
Running is good for depression
Running helped me yesterday
I am talking to staff and figuring out why I am depressed
But coming up with no solutions
Just letting out the feelings
When I think of the future I just see the “Blue Screen of Death”
Breakfast #2 2 eggs hard boiled, skim milk, coffee not bad
250 calories, too much, way too much I am too fat for this
Frank taught me to stop counting calories
But sometimes I do
Sometimes he does. We confess this to each other.
We joke about calories. We have many jokes. Laughter is good for body and mind.
I went to group today but left. It was just words to me
And made no sense.
I have a headache mindache soulache
If I were at home and I woke up with the energy I had today,
I would have done the dishes–finally
I would have neatened up the apartment
I would have had no trouble showering
And taking care of myself. Except eating.
I would have had a lot of trouble with eating.
See, I have plenty of energy
But I feel despair.
I see death in my future that I did not see before
I don’t know why it took me this long to see it.
I wrote some papers while at McLean Hospital that I shared with my doctors and a handful of other people. I have all of these papers in my possession except for one, which got lost. I will post some of these papers here. They start January 5, 2011:
I took a shower today
I brushed my teeth
I drank some water
I ate some food
I can’t concentrate
I can’t read
*I am not myself*
I feel very low
My body hurts all over
I despise myself
I am in slow motion
My body isn’t in synch
Body parts aren’t working right
Bad things are happening because of obesity
I am having trouble remembering things
I don’t want to share this with anyone [I did]:
I had a dream that I went back to the man who raped me and asked him for money
My desire to restrict is very strong [didn’t share]
My feelings of obesity are very strong
My self-hatred is very strong
*I feel ashamed that I am sick*
I like being very hungry [didn’t share]
I want my life back–the happy life I had for 3 months
I fear that I will never get it back
I want to have joy again
I do not feel strong today
I do not feel powerful today
I do not have the usual bounce in my step
I do not feel light and quick–I feel heavy and slow
This is not me
I am shocked at the person I have become
Or maybe it was in the cards all along
Maybe I just dreamed the joy and I am remembering incorrectly. But no. It really happened. I really was joyful. I really wanted to live.