Now and then, I’d get a message either on my page or privately saying the following:
“I am not sure I want to be your friend since you are against recovery.”
Say what? Where on earth do people get that from? I do not use that word recovery (and I explain why) but certainly, I want more than anything to end human suffering.
I would also hear the following: “You shouldn’t talk about rights. We don’t deserve them. We’re sick.”
I also heard, “Your experience was the exception. All patient care is kind.” That, in fact, is not true.
I want to tell some people the following, “Just wait till you end up with some abusive asshole for a doctor. If you are still alive, you might actually thank me.”
And I also heard, “We have to put up with inhumane care. How dare you suggest that it could be otherwise?” Might I ask who is the one sending out a hopeless and negative message?
Or, “Yes, they put me in restraints, but I deserved it.” No one EVER deserves cruelty.
Then, I hear, “I broke a rule and that’s why they locked me in a room. It was fair. Their rules are important.” As are patient rights laws. But no, talking about rights is a sign of paranoia. Talking about rights triggers people. Because maybe I am correct after all, and folks are refusing to see the truth.
Was the entire American Revolution is based on paranoia on the part of the Colonists? Did they need pills and treatment? Yes, the Colonists were concerned about human rights. As were the Abolitionists. As were the Holocaust rescuers. As were those fighting for Civil Rights such as Martin Luther King. As was most of the world, in response to Hitler.
SO-CALLED “MENTAL ILLNESS” IS FIRST AND FOREMOST A HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUE.
What about animal rights? Or are patients well below the animals?
“We don’t deserve rights. Mental patients like us are dangerous and sick and we deserve to be treated like second class citizens until we are ‘better.'”
You are still suffering immensely because you are accepting of all the bigotry aimed at you. If you want to call that “treatment,” go ahead, but that “treatment” won’t improve your life. Until you learn to stand up for yourself and demand an end to cruelty, you are missing the boat. If you continue to be a recipient of inhumane care, you will stagnate. Or die.
“So you are saying diabetics should not take insulin, right?”
No, I am saying that to compare diabetes/insulin to emotional anguish/psych meds is a complete lie. Not only that, when doctors are taught in medical school to use this analogy with patients, the med students often point out that the analogy is false. However, these medical students are assured that lying to patients who are “mentally ill” is just fine.
No one “needs” psych meds. It is one of many options, but they don’t want us to know that the other options work better.
“How dare you say that I possibly someday I won’t need pills and therapy? I have a permanent brain disease. How dare you suggest otherwise? How dare you suggest that my disease, which I proudly carry around and show off, might not always be there?”
And again, I get accused of being “negative.”
Know something? If the medical students stick around long enough, they don’t even see us as human after a while. We’re objects, things, monsters, lepers, sinners. If you have ever heard them in their huddles, cackling away, then you know.
Or if you ever catch the staff rolling their eyes.
See you later, Facebook. I don’t need your baloney.
I remember my first time at Alcott. I remember a staff person came into my room one day and asked me how things were going. All at once, I burst into tears, saying, “I hate those kids.” She was rather shocked, and asked me why. I told her, “Because all they do is gossip. They gather in clusters and whisper like a bunch of junior high kids. I am old enough to be their mother or grandmother and I don’t belong here. This place is for children and I am not one.”
After a time, the staff recognized that what the kids were doing was harmful to those that were left out of the childish gossip and whispering. They got us all together, and asked the whisperers to stop.
The kids didn’t stop. The staff did the same thing again, another lecture. This time, they said if the cruel gossip didn’t stop, they’d listen on to all our conversations and monitor us.
This is a chronic problem wherever immature teens are gathered. It’s my understanding that the problem persists to this day at Alcott and was never solved. I know other older people who have been sent to Alcott who tell me the same thing, that some kids are okay, but many are cruel. They leave certain patients out of their childish clique, and those left out are targets of gossip. Older patients have told me they were called “Grandma” and laughed at.
I have no clue why I ended up being friends with any of those kids outside of Alcott. But I had it in my head that since they also had eating disorders, maybe it would be okay to be in a “group” with them on Facebook. Didn’t we have something in common? I felt that since I had no family of my own, I would think of them as family. This was a big major mistake on my part to think that any of them had grown up.
Nothing was any different. The gossip is just as cruel outside as in. If not, worse, because the Facebook venue encourages cruelty.
I do have friends who have a history of being in mental places, just like me. Sure we “compare notes.” Who wouldn’t? We might recommend a particular place or recommend against it, or discuss various ways to deal with certain problems, such as “the holidays.” In my note-comparing, I’ve heard all sorts of stories from people.
Here’s one: I’ve had friends, a number of people I know, who complained that a doctor “diagnosed” them based on talking to them for five minutes. They said it was demeaning. They said, “How can this person declare I am [bipolar, or whatever] if this person is barely listening? I felt insulted.”
I wonder, though. It seems the immature kids I met online who were at Alcott seem to do just the same thing as a form of cruel gossip. These are kids I don’t know, have never corresponded with nor spoken to nor messaged with. They are so mean that they decided to “diagnose” me based on one Facebook post. They are gossipy and cagey about it. They think they are so hip and cool to use shrink terminology. I’m not impressed at all. I know better than to “diagnose” anyone, cuz I know just how harmful diagnosis is.
Of course, all kids go through their “pretend shrink” phase. I went through it briefly in high school but decided that game wasn’t for me.
The cruel gossip goes on and on. I think those kids, if they love their “treatment” so much, should go right back to Alcott and continue their petty social life there. After all, that’s the main reason most continue to get readmitted. I think it would make them happy for all the pals to be together. Don’t they say they miss each other so much?
Those kids have all the Alcott patients as Facebook friends. In fact, the only friends they have are former Alcott patients. Ever notice how they keep ending up back there? They just won’t grow up. If they want in-person contact, all they have to do is make themselves sick, and get admitted. Then, of course, it’s party time all over again.
I wish I never had been put there. But then again, going to Alcott made me realize just how NOT to go about things. I learned how NOT to get well. I learned that this is a place where reasonable adults pick up childish habits, and become immature themselves. The bad habits are hard to shake. Meanwhile, while these kids have great fun together gossiping away, the Walden money-making racket milks their insurance dry. Very few seem aware of the larger picture.
I don’t blame the staff for being frustrated, nor do I blame the more mature patients for being totally disgusted. Forced care doesn’t work, and never will. In fact, if it’s forced, it’s not care.
I posted the following on my friend’s timeline:
“Hello [name withheld], this is my Christmas gift to you. I guess you don’t want to be friends anymore. I thought I was gonna fall apart over it but I guess I respect you too much to do so. Recently I realized that just cuz someone doesn’t want to be friends doesn’t mean it’s a disaster. Nor does it mean that person was never my friend. In fact, I value our time together very much. Even though you chose to not speak to me anymore. I suppose I will never learn the reason. I guess you decided you had no interest in staying friends and that was that. Some folks do that all the time, make a switcheroo just to change things up a bit. I respect whichever you choose. Julie and Puzzle”
I posted this on my friend’s timeline rather than in a private message because I believe in transparancy. In an entirely separate situation I had a horrible experience recently with private messaging. I even asked the person to call me (I have a USA number) and this was refused. You say one wrong thing in a PM and you’ve blown it for good. I hate stupid arguments. If you say it publicly, you’ve got accountability.
Meanwhile, my friend contacted me and said to call me, that she in fact had no intentions of ending our relationship. We spoke for a while yesterday. We get along fine and there’s never been any problem between us. I’d say she ran into a bit of misfortune recently, the kind of bad luck that can happen to anyone. So she’s been busy with that.
So today I made the mistake of going on Facebook. I saw this on my friend’s timeline under what I wrote, written by a complete stranger:
“Friends with [name withheld], What a horrible thing to post a person’s time line!”
Yep, this person, who doesn’t even know me and has never spoken to me, drew attention to my post, that is, tagged all my friend’s friends and said that about me. I have never met this woman and I’m sure I never will.
Dang. Why did I go on Facebook? Why do I even bother? I go on for a few secs and already I get insulted.
I ain’t saying nothing to that friend of my friend. Nothing. You don’t argue with someone who says something that mean. I suppose my friend’s friends can think what they want. I’ve stopped caring.
I put my Facebook account into suspension the other day, meaning that it is shut off for now. No one can see my posts and until I reopen the account, I am not on Facebook at all. I LOVE being off Facebook so far, though, so I really don’t think I’ll be back. I don’t miss it. Certainly not!
Yes, I met some cool people there. I figure a few of them are my friends. Those that want to stay friends will get in touch. As for those that don’t, I don’t think I would want to push the issue, would I? After all, a friendship should be mutual. Most of those folks I had never met and probably wouldn’t have ever had the chance to see face-to-face.
I have heard that many folks prefer it that way. They say they’d never want to get together with many of the folks that are their Facebook friends and they are grateful that there are miles of distance between them. What the heck is a friend, anyway? Don’t you agree that Facebook has surely distorted our view?
I feel tons better overall. I feel liberated. I feel free of it. I don’t miss it at all! Most of the people there that I had met were nice. What is Facebook but a medium for communication? I didn’t like that the format encouraged gang mentality. I saw over and over acquaintances of mine getting unbelievably harsh criticism. What’s worse, the whole world would chime in and beat on the person mercilessly.
We have seen enough of that type of thing. Gang mentality is what causes police to go nuts and kill innocent people. Looking back, I’ve seen these incidents of police brutality. Note carefully that these beatings or shootings aren’t done by one cop, but many acting like an angry mob. Mobs do lynchings and terrible hate crimes. Doesn’t the Bible state that there were mobs of people watching Jesus get crucified? How could anyone stand to watch, anyway? But when people target one person to scapegoat, somehow the “safety in numbers” makes it “okay” to participate or to go along with the mob.
On Facebook I see mobs, too. No, folks don’t kill or lynch or get drunk at the same bar and have a real-life brawl, but the gang mentality is there just the same.
I made up my mind that since I stink at PR anyway, I’d rather communicate via e-mail or phone. Privacy is important. I didn’t like the way I would message with one person, say, Person A, and then Person B would be innocent witness to it and decide that I suck.
And yet hardly anyone on there even spoke to me or met me in person! Many formed their opinions based on what others said, or based on some brief few sentences of text. Not one person heard the tone of voice intended. I didn’t hear anyone else’s tone of voice, either.
I learned something about that years ago. I think it was 1998 or 1999. I was part of an online group. Online life was different then. I posted something in praise of a person’s writing, and I guess the author of that piece decided that I didn’t mean what I was saying. The person assumed I was being sarcastic. I wasn’t! Not at all. I liked her piece a lot. But she went off in a huff. I didn’t know her and she didn’t know me, and I felt rather sad thinking that she’d felt hurt…but this was based on assumption…which was incorrect, after all.
We’ve all been through that sort of thing, have we not? Face-to-face communication is hard enough, but when it’s written, we don’t quite know how to read it. Even professional writers have this problem. I suppose this is why we fight over the meaning of various poems. or certain novels, and the Bible, too. We just don’t know for sure. However, the advantage of written communication is that you get to write it and then rewrite it before pressing “send.” Some folks prefer it that way.
I started on Facebook in 2009. I never really liked it anyway. Some people like it a lot. To me, it’s only a relief.
I got so sick of the “groups” that I turned most of them off. Sure, I’m still a member but getting the beeps and buzzes every time someone posted was getting annoying.
No, I told myself, I didn’t really have to go running to every cause out there and give every last bit of energy I had left. I could save some of my energy to stay alive.
Of course, I turned off all electronics for lengthy periods, only to be bombarded again and again with multiple notifications from the “groups” once I turned them back on. One person arguing one thing, another person making another point I felt I could not ignore.
It was turning into one big hate machine. I didn’t feel okay with it. Sure, we’re all in this together, but why all this backbiting? I always suspected that Facebook turned mature adults into a bunch of bullying junior high school kids. Now, I really believe it. I think it’s sad.
One thing I intensely hate about Facebook, where my posts here cross-post, is the “popularity contest” aspect of it, the constant reminder that I have to fight to be “liked” in this world. I am always reminded that so many people that used to be in my life now are making certain that they don’t read my posts by “hiding” them. They make sure that the Negative Complainers who do nothing but Bitch and Moan about how Rotten their circumstances are don’t show up on their Facebook pages. So there are people who might have, say, 500 friends, but really, only the “good” ones, the ones who have the “smart” things to say show up on their home pages. Or so I’m guessing.
I don’t hide anyone. When I first got on Facebook, I once hid someone because they were simply posting far too frequently, like once an hour, about dumb things like “I’m going for a walk now” and it got on my nerves, but I quickly unhid that person as time went on and I realized that everyone did that. I “comment” on random things and sometimes, I’m not on there for weeks. Now that my WordPress account cross-posts, it’s kinda unavoidable. And the cell phone’s hooked up, too. We’re all wired in, folks. Jeez. What a world.
And yet…it’s a tool. It can be used. It’s like e-mail vs snail mail, know what I mean? We can think of it that way, sort of a different way to e-mail people, a web-like e-mail. You can use it for networking. You can use it for empowerment. And you can use it to gather people together to make real changes in the world, such as changing laws or helping people get out of prisons and mental hospitals or better yet,
Let’s get rid of the mental hospitals and prisons altogether, okay? But get me talking about that, and god forbid, folks on Facebook will start “hiding” me. After all, it’s Thanksgiving and we only want happy families and cheer and nonstop gratefulness.
When you have a bad week, what happens? A number of things could occur. Seeing as I have had a lot of bad weeks, I’ll speak from experience.
I observe that anyone can post something, say, on Facebook such as, “What a beautiful day today!” or, “Look at my lovely daughter!” and post photos. They’ll probably be told what wonderful, positive, people they are, what cute daughters they have, etc. Or they can post pleas for support for animal rights, showing a photo of a starving puppy, and get an outpouring of support along with signatures. Or they can say, “I’m brushing my teeth right now,” and get FIFTY likes and be told how smart they are and what original thinkers they are. Trust me, I’ve seen this.
This, dear reader, isn’t just a statement about Facebook. It’s a reflection of society as a whole. Think about it.
Agreeably, there are people out there that never, ever have a bad day. Every day is just great. The smiles on their faces are genuine. They are never tired. They never stub their toes. When they drive, no one ever cuts them off in traffic. Their dishes don’t break. Their kids don’t ever fall down or get hurt or get sick and they never have problems in school. I suppose old age just passes them by. I met a few people that made these claims but ended up quite disappointed. I discovered they were either stoned on drugs to the point of being delusional, or following the orders of another person, institution, or cult, and sadly, oppressed and unable to think for themselves…often both. Please, don’t get into this kind of thing.
Anyway, besides these brainwashed folks, I think most people have some bad days and some good days. It’s not “illness” to have a bad day. It’s not “illness” to feel wicked good. In fact, it’s November, so if you’re feeling good and you end up with a very high word count one day, don’t let some shrink tell you you’re manic. I say you are incredibly blessed because you are productive, and tell your shrink to go to hell. Tell your shrink you are doing Nano and that your shrink should learn a thing or two about writing before pronouncing you “bipolar.”
Let’s get back to that bad week. What’s gonna happen when you post on Facebook, “I’m having a crappy week”?
The first time you post it, you’re likely to get an outpouring of support. You might even get a few phone numbers and the words, “Call me anytime.” Or, “message me.” Oh, love love love.
Same with friends. They’ll tell you they love you and say they are concerned. They’ll say they’ve been there too.
So shitty week #2 comes. The friends are still there. Facebook’s still there.
Shitty week #40, 50, 100….I doubt anyone even reads your Facebook posts anymore. You can post all the cute photos of your kids, or say you’re brushing your teeth or anything you want, but it’s really too late now. They’ve turned their backs. Nobody wants to hang around with people with problems. It makes them uncomfortable.
Here’s what they say: “She used to be the nicest person. She changed. I don’t know what happened. She seems ungrateful. She’s not the cheery, positive person she used to be.”
Um, I want to say a word to those “friends” out there, LOUD AND CLEAR: Do you want to know what changed? You assholes turned your backs on her. That’s the last thing she needed.
People that you assume have “problems” don’t need you to shit on them further. They need your love. What’s your excuse for holding back?
To Everyone that I Love and that Loves Me in Return (I Know You Will All Eventually Get Around to Reading This):
I stood in my kitchen this afternoon and cried and I just want to tell you this one thing:
You are fucking sacred. I am standing here still now hours later and I don’t want a damn thing to change. Nothing. Not a damn thing.
Sure, I’m all alone in the world but I’m really okay with it. Me and my dog, we do okay. I love you all. I love the e-mails, the messages, the text messages on my phone, messages on Facebook, comments on my blog, every damn thing.
Stay right where you are. Picture perfect. Snap it.
I’d love to call out your beautiful names right now because I’d love to name certain wonderful very special people in my life, but I won’t embarrass you. You know who you are.
Or maybe you don’t. Those little “hellos…” however brief or infrequent, or erratic or even only once a year to wish me happy birthday….
See, I don’t get all that many of these messages, so each one of these means so much, even if I don’t reply it doesn’t mean I haven’t heard you or haven’t felt your presence.
And to those of you in my past who have left me along the way….Those I get nasty about and get pissed off and hastily refer to perhaps as “ex-friends” or “those that dumped me” or whatever, yeah, I know you, too, eventually get around to peeking at what I write. Because you wonder how I’m doing, or you are pissed at me, too, or you wonder how much longer I am gonna keep kicking and screaming in this life and you peek, even though you hate that morbid fascination with death, but you do, in fact, wonder when I am going to bite the dust. So you are reading this right now. Saying that you dumped me a long time ago because you hated being “sucked into” my life.
Well, stay right where you are. You, too, are sacred. Because you were once in my life and you held a special place there, you and I. We shared all sorts of stuff, and I have my memories that nothing in this world will ever take away.
So my coffee is long gone. I washed the cup in hot water, turned it upside-down and let it dry. My feet are still bare. Touching the floor. We had a power outage here and the neighbors were making a racket, milling about in the hall. I stayed inside here, me and my dog, until the power came back on. My dog was afraid.
You are all so sacred.
I didn’t want it titled cuz I didn’t want to draw attention….
But it really sucks having NO FRIENDS.
I mean, Facebook friends are only inside a browser window. I hate FB because it’s such a popularity contest. The only thing I do like about it is that I can occasionally get useful information off of FB that I otherwise wouldn’t get. And I suppose it’s kind of a “people finder.”
Now, a few people claim they “love” me. However, my phone never rings and I would say it’s been several years since I’ve been out to coffee with anyone.
I am extremely happy that I have a handful of e-mail friends. They live in various places around the globe.
I am happy that my brother Ned called last night. He makes an effort at least.
I am extremely happy that my church is right down the street. Often, my minister is in his office and no one is with him so he doesn’t mind if I drop by for a few minutes to say hello. I guess it was last week I didn’t drop by the church or call for a bunch of days, so he e-mailed me to see if I was okay. I was kind of surprised cuz really, time had gotten away with me…but I’ll get into this later. Anyway, I was kinda surprised to see the e-mail. It was like, wow, someone cares about me.
Often, I just feel like I’m a piece of crap folks just “put up with.”
See ya later, alligators.
Did I speak too soon? Watertown has been the center of the world’s attention and I have been lapping it up
Oh sure, as a person who for certain is not Miss Popularity, I can tell you I have never before had so many “likes” on Facebook than over the past week when we had our little adventure here in Watertown following the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings. I made sure to let everyone from out of town know that yes, I did live in Watertown.
Why? I am quite the ham at heart. I love getting up on stage and getting the attention of an audience and have rarely had stage fright. As a writer, I love giving readings, that is, reading my own writings aloud to live audiences, and making folks laugh or cry or giving them chills.
More than anything, I want to make a footprint on the world. But generally, on Facebook, as I said, I am not Miss Popularity and I am overlooked and I consider Facebook more or less a popularity contest. The whole Facebook scene in the past has sickened me that way. I think Facebook is very dangerous and can be used in a harmful manner for this reason.
It’s like a huge version of my elementary school playground, when the kids used to pick teams. It was all stacked against me. I was the shortest kid in the class. I was doomed. The last to be picked for the team. The first to be called for Red Rover, because I was bound to blow it. To make things worse, I wore glasses, I was Jewish, and I was a girl. My mom always embarrassed me with her loud talk, she always forgot to pick me up from school, would send me to school wearing the most embarrassing clothes imaginable….
I suppose each of the kids in the same school would tell you the same story. We were all embarrassed kids. The other kid had it better. The grass was always greener. Every kid had their moment they wished they never had to go back to school ever again.
I’m not sure if other people grow up and are comfortable fading into the woodwork and never making a mark on the world, slipping away unnoticed. I can’t see that this is a way to live a satisfying life. I think it is human need to have a sense of purpose in life. Generally, this means we change something here in our environment. Sometimes it means having a relationship with another human, raising animals, or raising good children and then setting them loose in the world. Other times, it means doing work in writing or the arts and setting our works loose just the same as if they were children.
There were a lot of changes here in Watertown I guess over the past week or two. I hammed it up on Facebook, just for the “likes” and stuff like that. I just figured that my phone wasn’t going to ring anyway and I’ve been dumped by most of my real-life friends, so I might as well have a little fun for the heck of it.
So now it’s all over. What is friendship, anyway? You get to know it’s kind of meaningless after a while. Especially when you are lying down in Watertown with your dog, they have told you you cannot leave and no one can come in, and the incessant helicopters are flying overhead, over and over. Who is with you? Your dog and no one else. That is the reality.
It is what I have been saying all along. You are all alone in this world.
And so the helicopters flew over, again and again, and the Watertown sky darkened with the stink of them. I saw on a streamed-in news station that our tiny malls that sold cheap bargain products from China were suddenly riddled with FBI agents and the like. No one from Watertown ever went to these malls. They were for out-of-towners to do their Christmas shopping, with the exception of Best Buy or Home Depot. I guess a lot of local elderly people still go to that restaurant in the Watertown Mall called Old Country Buffet, but to me, the food that place serves smells like nursing home food.