First of all, Rule Number One: Break every rule! Don’t listen to me, for godsakes! Do whatever the hell you want. You might want to learn the rules first so that you can break a whole bunch of them and be a decent rebel, just like me and Puzzle. Be cute at it, and have twice as much fun.
Rule number two: Spend the least amount of money as possible. Don’t buy stupid expensive shit. It’s not worth it. Yes, go for quality, but not at a price. Common sense….. Chances are, you’re gonna throw the crap out anyway. Think about it.
Rule #3: Listen to your body. Your body is smart. Your mind will try to override what your body wants. Common sense is a great idea, but your body might ask for something strange. Sometimes, you gotta juggle between what makes sense and what your body demands.
Rule #4: Listen very well. But advice is just that, advice. No one knows better than you about you. You know yourself better than anyone.
Rule #5: Stand on your own two feet. That is, self-reliance…it is golden. There is no magic human. No one that can save you except you.
Rule #6: Cultivate a good relationship with animals and plants. It won’t hurt to have an animal in your life, such as a pet or to care for plants and nature. An animal in your life won’t let you down the way people do.
Rule #7: Stay away from gossip.
Rule #8: Priorities…know what ‘s important in your life and stick to that. Everything else can wait. Don’t lose what’s important. Keep it in a safe place. So if it’s your house keys, keep them in the same pocket all the time so you won’t lose them. Carry a flashlight if you have to with fresh batteries in it and plastic bags in your pocket to pick up after your dog, and you won’t need much else.
Rule #9: Be strong. Develop and keep your body fit, with good endurance and keep your muscles as toned as possible. You’ll live longer, you won’t fall down, and if by chance the winds knock you over, you’ll bounce back. No one can put you anywhere you don’t want to be unless you are knocked down and stay down.
Rule #10: Be clean. Keep your life free of clutter and sweep your floor often. Take a shower or a bath and enjoy your daydream.
Rule #11: Dress for the weather. Don’t be stupid or impractical, and wear shoes that will carry you far.
We have a long journey ahead of us, folks. Get ready.
That’s right! Now I know the title of this blog entry sounds like a sweeping generalization and it sounds nuts, but it’s not. I’d need an entire book to prove that this statement is true and in fact I couldn’t prove it but only give a zillion examples. I’m not going to write the entire book in just a few minutes here (obviously) but I’ll make the following statement:
I’ve thought good and hard about what caused my anorexia relapse, now that it’s over. Yes, over. I have a happy life now and I’m completely free of it. I experienced eating disorders on and off during my life but it all hit very hard in 2008, got wicked bad in 2009, and finished itself off in 2012. I’m done with it all now and I hope it never comes back. I’d say it was never, ever so bad in my whole life.
But….in my fifties? I mean……….really. I’ve thought about it real hard, and now I know. It wasn’t the rape. It wasn’t the move. I still live here, and I’m fine. I’ve been raped before, and it’s funny cuz as far as trauma was concerned, I went through some claustrophobia afterward and I did suppress the memory for a few months but I did not have flashbacks. I don’t recall any sleep issues besides wondering why being covered entirely by the blanket caused me to feel extremely uncomfortable, like I was being smothered. This is no longer the case. I like having my head covered because I am warmer. I had the same clothes issues everyone else has after they are raped. You don’t want to wear anything with an elastic waistband. You don’t want to wear anything that shows breasts in any way. For me, this meant huge shirts that did not touch my body. They were button-up shirts that puffed out and I tied them at my waist to make sure they puffed out. Eventually, I got rid of these shirts. I got over it. Not everyone who is raped develops anorexia. Most don’t.
Now, my psychiatrist claimed that my anorexia happened because of graduation. She said I didn’t want to leave school and didn’t want to grow up. She said my anorexia was my way of staying little and not graduating. Oh, bullshit. I think this theory just doesn’t hold water. I graduated in 2009 and you’d think it all would have stopped by 2010 or early on in 2011, but heck, it just kept on going.
You know what I think it was? The Seroquel. I am totally not kidding you. In 1999 I started on a low dose of Seroquel. It was the latest antipsychotic and supposedly it didn’t have many side effects. If you remember correctly, it was 1998 that I had turned 40 an basically told the mental health system to fuck off, went back to school, and was writing away. In 2000 I had a bit of a relapse, just a tiny one. They had me on Seroquel and I was hospitalized. I was taking the semester off. My weight was low and they did this “control” thing in the hospital, deciding to “treat” my low weight with a “meal plan” and Ensure. Of course, they upped the Seroquel knowing full well it would cause weight gain. They raised it to 600 mgs daily. My weight jumped up ten pounds almost instantly and they decided I was cured. But after the hospital, my weight continued to creep up. This bewildered me. I didn’t put two and two together. In the hospital, my weight had dropped to 90. Agreeably, that’s too low for me, but they knew that the Seroquel would likely do this to me and I was not in there for anorexia. I was in there for psychosis. They should have left well enough alone, because meal plan or not, I was gaining, fast. I’d say when I started seeing Dr. P in 2001 I was easily 120 pounds and completely clueless that the Seroquel was the cause. By the time I graduated in 2003 I may have been 135 or so but I can’t really recall. The top weight for my height is 132. Trust me, I was quite unhappy with my weight at graduation. When I came to Goddard that winter in 2004, I recall wearing size XXL and “plus” sizes already. The next July, I was 150, and between that July and the following January when I showed up at Goddard again, I gained 50 pounds. Why? A doctor raised my Seroquel to 900 mgs a day, an unheard-of dose.
So I was then nearly 200 pounds. I don’t care what they say about loving your body at any weight….When a pill does something like that to you, let’s face it, IT SUCKS ROYALLY. It feels like someone else has taken control of your body entirely. I mean, I have feelings! These feelings about my weight were like the feelings anyone has about any side effect. It sucked! Like the feelings you get about having shaky hands, or the feelings you have about getting insomnia from a medication…..It sucks! Say it out loud!
So I demanded to get off the Seroquel. Yeah, I finally put two and two together. The Seroquel had done this to me. I wanted to undo what the Seroquel had done and I did it with a vengeance. I undid the Seroquel, and this was my anorexia. I took control. I was not going to be anyone’s puppet.
Agreeably, most people are not in this boat. They take these weight-gainers, gain weight, and they are more or less stuck with the weight unless they really work at it. Most people have to get off the weight-gainers to lose weight at all. Everyone’s body is different. Some people don’t gain from the drugs. Some people find the opposite effect. You can’t say, “This happened to me, there’fore the same thing will happen to you,” because everyone’s different.
So it was 2009, spring hit, I admitted to my T that I had this problem, I ended up graduating and into the fall and I ended up in the hospital in 2010 which didn’t work out. Later in 2010 my friends dumped me. But it started to look like I was on the mend. Unfortunately, I ended up with the wrong T at the wrong time, and all hell breaks loose because of her own personal control issues. (This T, by the way, has her own video testimonial up on a site about this macrobiotic diet she follows….trust me, she’s quite the hypocrite.) I am at fault for not recognizing what was going on. Revenge? It is my wellness that is my revenge on this woman. I have never once named her in this blog and I don’t intend to. Dumping her was the right move and that helped me get well.
I don’t need controlling people in my life. I don’t need substances that make my body unhealthy. I don’t need mind control. It is unhealthy to be a puppet.
Well, I guess you know the rest. I do feel that I was really quite floored by the Seroquel weight gain experience. I plan to look up old journals and make a You-tube about the blood sugar problems I had with Seroquel and the weight gain. I don’t blame my doctor for this but the drug company did lie to doctors about the drug’s tendency to cause weight gain. I do blame my T at the time (Dr. R) who supposedly was an ED specialist because she knew absolutely nothing about ED. She had no understanding of my feelings about the weight gain. We could not resolve any of this. She kept told me to love my body. I feel that she was incompetent as a therapist and that she could have prevented all this by telling me to tell Dr. P to get me off the Seroquel instead of telling me to love my body and sit by and watch it grow like it was a house plant. And Dr. P always wondered why I was happy to see her go.
Writing as Catharsis, Publishing as Empowerment: my second full day in London, UK, with Chipmunkapublishing
I sitting in the lobby of the London hotel where I am staying, in the middle of madly reading Jason Pegler’s book,Mental Health Publishing and Empowerment. If I start to cry, I will not hold back my tears. If someone sees me sitting here all emotional and powered up, then let them go ahead and ask.
I have a story to tell.
I am beginning to write the story tonight. It must be so. I am telling the story about a woman past 50 years old, who, against all odds, hopped onto a plane for London knowing one thing: she wanted to change the world. She was not even well enough to travel. She had to jump through hoops of fire to get to this place, avoiding doctors who surely would have had her locked up and therefore making it impossible to make this trip.
You might often hear her recite her motto, “You do what you have to do to survive.” She had done just that. Sometimes, you have to lie, just like the Jews, those from whom she had descended, had covered up their Jewish identity to avoid the gas chambers.
Was the lie so wrong? Yes, there had been close calls. The threat of being forced into “treatment” was on her tail every step of the way. The authorities wanted her locked up in the name of keeping her alive. They would take away her freedom, her choice to live or die,and replace it with a life of slavery to the system she now rejected.
She walked onto the plane a free person, and the next morning, stepped onto a different continent where people did not know her, where her identity was secret…
Yes, This Hunger Is Secret. The title of her book. The key.
The thirty-two-year anniversary of her eating disorder had just passed and she was entering her thirty-third year of self-deprivation. She was the riches-to-rags girl who had hungered with a credit card in her pocket. She hungered to change the world. She hungered for God and for the pinnacle of the Universe. And now, it was on the verge of happening.
She was shown her room upon her arrival at the hotel. Yes, this is more than suitable. This is the place, she told herself.
With painstaking precision, she unpacked her things and put them into their places. It was Tuesday. Then, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday with her publisher, a man who himself had changed the world and was continuing to do so.
Learn. Observe. Listen. Be transformed. Either something would happen or it wouldn’t. Live or die. You can’t straddle both worlds for very long.
The Chipmunkapublishing offices are located in Canary Wharf, perhaps 45 minutes’ ride on the Tube from her hotel. Why, after two days, did it seem as though she’d been in this city for her entire life? The Summer 2012 Olympics will be held right here in this city. It was like a beehive, a swarm of what is to come.
Living with an eating disorder has been the only life she has known, especially for the past four years. Ignorance about eating disorders was so abundant that she had been branded a liar, an addict, a filthy abomination not fit for the common crowd. She tried on the role of bitch and wore that clothing for months.
They said she used her anorexia to manipulate others. Above all, they said, she was attention-seeking, flaunting her thinness, wearing her illness like a badge. It was a badge that made others uncomfortable because they saw a tiny bit of themselves in her. They could not tolerate that ache in their hearts that she represented. They despised that symbol, crushed it, rejected and denied it.
Hey, folks, I am coming back. If you choose to despise me, let my mere presence haunt you.
People say that in February 1983, Karen Carpenter’s death changed the world. What people forget is that she changed the world while she was alive, through her music, through her celebration and love. Anyone can do this and you don’t have to pass a BMI test to qualify.
I can and will change the world, and I don’t have to die to do it. I don’t have to be infamous and cause a stir and a huge nuisance to get noticed. Karen Carpenter did not die for anyone’s sins. She died because her body gave out. It is not the 20th Century anymore and I never was a famous singer and never got noticed.
But I am a writer. Most trained writers desire to be noticed. Writing is catharsis and publishing is empowerment. It is not the kind of power that means control over others but a feeling of self-worth and inner strength. Yes, we can.Attention-seeking is not the horrible sin folks think it is. It means making a statement and being heard. It is a myth that people with anorexia starve for attention. All we want is the same thing everyone else wants: to be loved and wanted and cared for. We do what we do because it is the only way we know. We do this to survive. To turn our backs on life so that we can live. Most of us gave up on having our voices heard long ago.
Sure, you hear me screaming here in my blog. You have sat and watched me for years. Maybe you have come here and read my rants and shaken your head and said, “She will never learn.” Or perhaps you have come here periodically to see if I was finally getting “help,” and then, seeing that I had taken the path toward death yet one more time, you had Xed out my blog, shut down your computer, and gone and watched the soaps and tried to forget about me. But maybe once or twice you freaked and got a little paranoid over my words. You called the cops on me. Hate to inform you, but the cops have a lot of respect for me now. They do not have the time for paranoid people who call them all upset over something they read on the Internet.
Like I said, I am coming back. It is my presence, not my absence, that will blow your mind.
Sometime late today at the seminar at Chipmunkapublishing I had the gem of the idea I needed. We had been discussing marketing all day. Not just marketing of our books, but spreading the word: freedom, justice, empowerment, love. I do seek attention. I have always loved reading aloud to others. I was always a ham. And this is not a bad thing. Being a ham is how you get the message across. Be daring. Take a risk. Cross the ocean. I am the bravest person I know.
I am here against all odds in every sense of the term. It is an amazing story that needs to be told. I vowed that I would begin to write that story tonight, and I am, right here, right now.
If a food makes you feel yucky, don’t eat it: What’s wrong with traditional eating disorders treatment
Nutritionist at ED hospital: Julie, you must drink whole milk. It is part of your meal plan, which, by the way, is exactly the same as every other patient’s meal plan that ever walked through these doors.
Julie: I don’t like whole milk. I don’t like the way that it feels in my mouth. My tummy feels yucky after I drink it, and to me, it doesn’t taste very good.
RD: Your options are whole milk or chocolate milk. You must drink these. It’s our “protocol.” We have a blanket protocol for the entire floor. This means that even though a “rule ” doesn’t apply to you, you must follow it.
Julie: I tried the chocolate milk and it tastes disgusting. Like plastic or something.
RD: Well, er, we do have soy milk.
Julie: I tried that, too. The brand you use is disgusting. It makes me feel horrible after I drink it. Why should I drink any of these, since they all make me feel yucky?
RD: Your food makes you feel yucky because you are not creditable. You are sick. You lack what the established psychiatric community now calls “insight.” We are right and you are wrong. This is always true. We encourage complete compliance. We encourage passivity. Let us help you and control you. Let us control all of your bodily functions and watch your every move. And to prevent unrest, we will monitor your conversations. See those cameras all over the unit? See those microphones? See the staff strategically placed in rooms where conversation between patients thrives? We are doing this in the name of protecting you against this thing we determined is evil, this thing called “triggering.”
Julie: So that’s why you told me to shut up when I mentioned that you can die of these diseases? Is this why you immediately shut me up when I mentioned the horrors of refeeding edema? Is this why you shut me up when I told patients that most likely they were being given drugs such as Seroquel not to help them with anxiety, but to put weight on them?
RD: We don’t want the truth to get leaked out. We don’t believe in informed consent. All we care about is what you weigh. We are totally obsessed with this number, but we won’t tell you what it is, and we require that we control it and determine what this number is, and that you will never control your body ever again.
Julie: Hey, I see these starving people here. Many speak in a manner that is barely audible. Have you ever wondered why? We come to you seeking help. Apparently, your assumption is the helper is the ruler and teacher, and the helpee is stupid, uneducated, incapable, unworthy, inferior, and has bad morals. Well, let me tell you this: it is this very attitude, an attitude of disrespect, bigotry, and complete totalitarianism that is causing our starvation. We are hungry for change. We are hungry for love and acceptance. We are hungry for common sense, equal rights and equal access to treatment, and full treatment options for all. It is time to bust loose, tell our stories, and change the world.
I am waiting a bit before heading out, because according to weather dot com, the rain will end shortly. Meanwhile, I have brushed Puzzle’s teeth and put my shoes on. We are ready. We are waiting. We are hungry for our walk.
Over the past week I have watched my body and lived in it while it restored itself. I kept records of the changes, as I always do. This morning my blood pressure is closer to “normal” than it has been in months. My pulse has dropped 25-30 points and is now what it usually is.
I am thankful to free my body of the drug that raised both my blood pressure and pulse to a rate that was far from normal for me, and caused me great alarm. But I have also made some other necessary changes to the way I live. I discovered what I needed to do through experimentation at first, until one day, I fell into a groove, a place that feels okay for me.
At some point I’ll speak aloud what happened to me, but for now, I think I need to keep it to myself.
Something like this happened to me once before. I had a sudden shift, and felt changes in me. Of course, people like me have shifts and changes all the time. Life is all about shifts and changes. But the time that this happened before, I knew within days that I was stepping into something brand new that was scary and different and colorful, and with that, stepping out of the hell I’d been living in.
They tell you that these changes don’t happen overnight. Is this a rule? As a writer, it is my duty to break every rule. Likewise, my tendency to live my life a bit contrary to convention is what works best for me.
Last night I read my records from around the time of my 40th birthday. I have always said I suddenly got well on my birthday. I said I woke up and was free.
So I flipped the pages, one by one, and got to January 8th, my birthday, and no, there wasn’t really a change. I wondered if I had made it all up, just a fairy tale in my mind. I flipped the pages further.
I got to January 11th, three days later. That morning, I woke up different. It’s all true. Without much question, I found myself headed on a different path that day. What I am not remembering correctly is the exact date of this shift. But I don’t think it’s very important. We have feelings about birthdays, especially “landmark” birthdays such as my 40th, much as we might tell ourselves that these dates are arbitrary. I was ill then and in a bad way, and a big party would have felt very out of place. Instead, I received something that would last longer than a few hours of cake and cards and hugs from people I hardly ever see: I received a new life.
They say that when you start to get better, you are the last person to recognize it. I think I broke that rule as well. I took a few steps and waited a while and tested my limbs, and yes, everything is working about how it should. I guess I’ll keep on walking now.
I’ve been a little busy cleaning up after the mess I created last month and that’s why I haven’t been on. Meanwhile:
1. I’ve been doing amazingly well eating-wise for about a week. It’s been maybe a year and a half since I ate this well.
2. I’ve been getting out of the house to do constructive and helpful things for myself every day for a number of days.
3. I’m wearing nice clothes today and I went to church.
4. Puzzle is healthy and enjoying a happier mama who treats her like royalty.
5. I am thinking clearer than I have in a long time.
I’ll save the rest of later, alligators.
You put your trust in these people.
They mess with your head.
They have the power to call the police on you and put you in the hospital at their whim.
When you try to tell anyone about the abuse, no one believes you
Because after all, you are the sick one.
You don’t even want to believe it yourself.
You don’t want to admit you stayed in this situation and didn’t leave.
Came to this person, week after week, asking for help.
This person said, “You need me. I am the only one.”
No one believes you because she has the degrees and training and reputation.
She seems so nice and talks smart with fancy clinical words.
If this has happened to you, you are not alone.
I am sitting here Sunday, April 29, 2012 so totally fucked up.
I always thought she was the best therapist I ever had.
See, that was just how brainwashed I was.
I quit her because I finally saw the bullshit.
If this has not happened to you
Maybe if you did some reading about domestic violence and rape
You might get some ideas about the dynamics going on here.
Everyone assumes she is right and I am wrong because of our roles.
“Everyone” means my other treatment providers
Every hospital I’ve been in
And many well-meaning friends.
Because behind all that compassion, that supposed dedication
Is a lot of control and ego and her own issues.
These people should not be doing therapy. Period.
I’ll be back in a sec. Just trust me on this.
My experience being brainwashed by the Moonies in 1979 and my experiences as a patient in therapy 1981-2012
In the summer of 1979, I met a couple of guys on the streets of San Francisco who invited me to lunch at their cooperative home where they lived with a bunch of other people, and then to stay for the weekend at their commune in Boonville, California. Within days, I was going to give my life to them, give up everything, my job as nanny, my education plans, my future. I was twenty-one years old.
When you become brainwashed, it doesn’t mean you are weak-willed or had bad parents or are unintelligent. Plenty of stable, educated, and scientifically-minded people fall prey to brainwashing. When a person gets brainwashed, what it does say is that the brainwashers were skilled and used good brainwashing technique.
How does this happen? Looking back, the Moonies did a lot of things to brainwash me that worked. I go into this a lot in my book, Summer in November, but I don’t really discuss it from this angle. Summer in November is about spirituality but it is also about the body and it is also about being controlled. In This Hunger Is Secret, I refer to the Moonies as The Family, which is what they called themselves. They didn’t say that they were the Moonies because I would have run in the other direction right away! At any rate, on the streets of San Francisco, the first thing was that these two guys assumed that I was straight, so they were guys, and this supposedly was going to appeal to me that they showed interest in me.
I was kind of suspicious, actually. What were their motives? What did they really want from me? I liked that they showed interest in my dog. I liked that while kneeling there petting him, they weren’t staring straight at my boobs, cuz if they had been, I would have walked off immediately. So I decided that they were okay. But it took a bit.
So this whole sex appeal thing they try on you. Then the food. I haven’t a clue if they drug it or not, but it was very high in starch and they did add sugar, interestingly. It was usually beans and rice or something like that, vegetarian. High sugar and starch is part of the brainwashing. It is supposed to do something to your brain, and the timing of the meals and the “lectures” to make you more suggestible…trust me, this was all based on careful planning on their part.
Sleep deprivation. We got five hours. They had us go to bed real late, and then woke us up super early, like 5am. Old-timers fell asleep during lectures even. This makes the brain more suggestible.
Well, on and on. Eye contact. People cried a lot, too. Gearing the lectures toward individual members. I have a book about a guy that went through all this a few years before I did, called Crazy for God. It’s out of print but that’s about what it was like to be brainwashed by the Moonies in the late 1970’s.
After ten days, they kicked me out. I think that this is really similar to what happened at Alcott last month, actually. I figured out what was going on, that we were being deceived. I tried in every way I could to communicate to other newbies that this was brainwashing. I had to do this by secretly passing notes. They were always watching. They quietly took me aside. They had all my things. They didn’t allow me to say goodbye to anyone. I had to go into a van. They shipped me off and abandoned me at a dark, closed-down train station outside of Oakland at 3AM.
I have said it before and I will say it again, my experience with the Moonies changed me for the rest of my life and this experience makes me who I am.
Okay, okay, that isn’t what happened at Alcott, but there was a lot of talking I could have stirred up among the patients about this thing called “human rights” that I didn’t do. I was hush-hushed out of there for sure.
But anyway, there’s one brainwashing technique that I want to focus on and that’s the lecture style that was used. It pretty much goes like this: Talk about the evils in the world, and how bad the person is, break him down, make him feel real bad personally, get him crying, and then insert the idea about how he can be better and improve and be saved and maybe it won’t be so bad after all.
Example: There are many diseases in the world. It’s terrible that so many suffer from these diseases while the rest of us walk around with money in our pockets. When was the last time you thought about Blue Hair Disease? Look at this photograph of children crying who have Blue Hair Disease. You have not helped them all these years. This is why your life is so miserable. You will feel so fulfilled when you give money to the Blue Hair Disease Fund. You are One of Us in the Blue Hair Disease Fund Church now that you have given us money. This is the Way. This is the Light. Feel the Light.
And so on. You can structure many forms of writing in this manner, actually. It’s like a plot structure. It’s a simple essay form or sermon form or political address or form for creative nonfiction.
But just think about using this technique as a form for the 50-minute therapy session! A gold mine!
Typical therapy session: How are you? What have you eaten this week? You won’t tell me? That means you haven’t eaten anything. You are starving yourself. You are addicted to starving yourself. You are doing this to be manipulative and provocative and are playing games.
To continue: This eventually will become a crisis and you will end up in the hospital. Is this what you want? Do you want to end up in the state hospital? Or do you want to listen to me?
[Insert suggestion here.]
Just think of what this suggestion could be! It could be anything, because the patient, if broken down enough and hopeless enough, will agree to anything.
This might be a good thing. Might. Like a therapist might save a person’s life and suggest that a person not jump in front of a train.
On the other hand, this technique, this brainwashing technique, can be used to convince a patient to do something that is not in the patient’s best interest, but in the therapist’s interest. Or perhaps the therapist is just plain wrong. Or perhaps the therapist wants to convince the patient to do what is in the patient’s parents’ best interest, because the parents are paying the therapist. Or the spouse is paying the therapist. Or the daughter or son. Or maybe these well-meaning family members are sitting in on every therapy session, as “support.”
(How many times I have heard other patients tell me how frustrated they are that their domineering spouse or kids insist on sitting in on every therapy session and every psychiatrist session! These patients tell me they have never been able to meet with their treaters alone! What kind of treatment is this? This is not treating the patient with respect and dignity! How can any humane doctor allow this?)
Okay, like I was saying, the “inserted suggestion” could be anything. The therapist could convince you to give up your apartment and move into a halfway house. The therapist might convince you that this would solve all your problems. I was afraid that my therapist might use my DMH services to find a group home for me and then try to corner me into giving up my Section 667 housing and move to this group home. I was scared that she would present this to me in such a way that would make it look like I had no choice.
I HAD to get out of mental health altogether because I foresaw this down the road. That is, I saw the end of the road.
The “inserted suggestion” could be some treatment that might save your life. I have seen staff at hospitals talk diabetic patients at psych wards who have refused their insulin into agreeing to taking their insulin.
When I started going to therapy in 1981, I was not going there because I was “curious.” I was desperate for help. I was ready to try anything. I had already contemplated suicide because my eating disorder was killing me. The following October I entered day treatment, again ready to try anything and still desperate.
I was ready to try anything. I had my ears tuned in and I was open to suggestions. I believed everything anyone told me. I didn’t question. I didn’t look at anyone’s qualifications. I did as I was told. I followed suggestions.
I took the pills that were given me. They didn’t work. They said when I felt bad, I should ask for a pill, so I asked for one. I said please give me pills that work for my problem. I said these pills don’t work. They said, “What problem?” I took two bottles of pills at once.
Then I lost a bunch of friends, of course.
And on and on. Brainwashing for 30+ years. I’m out.
Stay tuned for a report on my FIRST EVER ACUPUNCTURE SESSION! Absolutely amazing!
Also stay tuned for a piece I plan to write on How to Lose Friends (written by an expert in the field, me)
“I have a lot to do today. I feel positive. I am looking toward the future. My eyes are placed on my head in such a way that they face forward, not back, always looking in the direction that my body is headed. I think this is telling me something.”
Hi everyone! Wow! I’m home! Whew! What a day! Sorry I was “absent” for a few days. It couldn’t be helped. That was something beyond my control. They asked me not to blog…so I didn’t blog.
I can only speculate on this and I won’t do so at the moment but I will get back to this issue on “blogging while inpatient” eventually…it is not what I want to focus on right now.
These were the highlights of my hospitalization….
First of all, I got there. Well, no, let me back up.
First of all, I lived long enough to make it there on Wednesday. I wasn’t sure that this would happen, and I’m damn lucky that it did. When I walked into the Admissions Office, carrying a knapsack and a canvas shopping bag I could sort of keep my balance and sort of stand up. What I thought in my head…let me say I wasn’t really thinking. Thoughts happened and they were in my head but you couldn’t really call that thinking. I guess in two weeks I’d “eaten” once and that had been a week previously. Since then, no calories. I overheard people saying I was “confused and disoriented” but this didn’t register with me. My voice was hoarse for a few days and I only spoke in my normal voice (the one I usually have) for a few seconds following a glass of water, then I returned to a hoarse voice again. But my dry, dry lips improved rapidly after only 24 hours.
In the first couple of days, it was animal instinct that drove me. A few bites at each meal and that was it. Not hunger really. Just animal instinct for survival. I drank sips of juice and ate bites as my body could absorb teensy crumbs of this and that. This was Wednesday that I came to the Admissions Office. By Saturday, I was able to eat the full tray, slowly, but it would make me extremely uncomfortable, and my body was not okay with doing this meal after meal every few hours and also doing snacks, too, as you can imagine.
To reverse the body’s tendency to lose weight or maintain a very low weight, some people have to eat a very, very large amount of food. Some people. Not others. It varies tremendously. I learned quickly that it was to a patient’s peril to look on another’s tray and “compare” amounts and types of food and “calories.” Some people’s trays were so loaded with food that you’d think it was enough to feed a family. Other people were fed three or four items and that was it. It was just plain dumb to try to analyze it or say that such and such person’s metabolism blah blah blah…everyone’s body is different and it’s all science and none of my business what happened in everyone else’s past experience with their body and how much they weigh and need to gain or not gain or how much they are eating off their tray (or doing whatever with afterward, though staff are rather mindful of this kind of “behavior” nowadays).
They have this “percent” thing. The goal is to eat “one hundred percent” of your tray. If you do this for twenty-four hours, you get some privilege. I think this is that you get to go on fresh air break. It’s incentive. I think you have to do 100% for three days straight to get a Green Band, which is this huge deal reward because then they don’t go peek at your piss after you go to the bathroom every time you go. The bathrooms are kept locked anyway, but they won’t peek if you have a Green Band.
I never got fresh air privileges and I never got a Green Band. I never really wanted either enough to find it worth it to stuff myself to that extent. I don’t like to go outdoors while I’m inpatient. Never have. To me, it’s fake freedom. Supervised. Like I’m in kindergarten or something. Kid on a playground that has to be monitored. It royally sucks, actually. I’d rather wait, and I did, and today when I got out I knew it was totally worth the wait.
As for the Green Band, hey, piss is yellow. Piss is piss and shit is shit. There are variations here and there but those nurses and counselors have seen it all. Mine is not going to surprise them in the least and they will not post on Facebook what mine looks like or talk about it on their dinner breaks. I’m sure they hated looking at piss and shit as much as we hated their looking at ours.
I’m going to do a lot of talking about what it means to tell it like it is in the coming week while talking about my experience at Alcott, by the way. It is very important to see this illness for what it is and not beat around the bush and avoid talking about the fact that people die from it for fear of “triggering” people. Everyone should read the statistics. You deserve to know the facts about this illness. No one should hide facts from you to keep you from getting “upset” because knowledge is actually power. Knowing these facts is very often a very important catalyst. If someone is withholding knowledge from you (about medical facts or facts about medications or medical procedures, etc) then you are suffering under oppression. I am quite serious about this. Learn about your illness. Do it on your own. Read greedily and hungrily. And encourage others to do so as well, including your family and friends.
Okay, I have rambled. Back to 100%. I generally didn’t eat everything on my tray. There is a lot to be said about the concept of “100%” and what it means and why people do it. I wrote a lot on this. One of the things that I said (I will probably go look it up and find the exact quote at some point) is that first of all while I was there I made a point of focusing on my own tray and no one else’s. I was fastidious about this. I think this was one of the most positive choices I made while there, to focus on my own actual food that I had in front of me. One thing I didn’t write about but had in my head was that the tray itself had a physical boundary. It was rectangular and was kind of a boundary of me and separated me safely from the others at my table. I generally kept all the dishes inside the rectangle to keep them “safe.”
I have just looked at the time and it’s late. You know, before when I used to blog, I would go on and on and on, and insist on getting to some sort of “conclusion” to my article and it would get ridiculously late in the night.
Let me contest this, because first of all, I have barely begun to get going with all this talk about my treatment here and could go on and on for hours tonight with you all! I am so happy to be back here! I could sit here and write forever and ever! But listen: I need sleep. That was one thing I didn’t get while I was there. Not one night of decent sleep. I’m talking bad, bad, bad sleep night after night, not because of anxiety or anything wrong with me per se, but because of practicalities…bad luck mostly. I expect to sleep tonight.