“Coming out” about your past as “mental patient”…yes, or no? What about us writers? Here’s my answer…Part 2
Okay, so really, the answer is quite simple. Where I live now, I’m not appreciated as a writer. People see me as “disabled,” a “waste of human life,” or, a “sick and needy person.” No one really wants me around. I offer to write stuff or help out in a writerly way, and all I get is a flat out NO or a bunch of lies and excuses. That’s why it’s so stagnating to stay here.
In the future, that is, after I relocate, the only reason I’ll reveal at all is because I do still write on the topic. So the only folks that will find out will be those that care about me and know me and appreciate who I am enough to become familiar with my writing. Those that don’t bother getting to know me or appreciate me as a writer will never find out.
My “mental patient” past will cease to be a “medical” issue. Instead, it will be a “story.” It will be “history,” or “memoir,” something in a book about me, but no longer anything I care to share with anyone “medical.” Other writers and folks that come hear me read might find this an interesting story.
It’ll be just one of those adventures that has made me uniquely who I ended up becoming, what I write about, and where I ended up.
Here’s a comment I put on a site…I have no clue if they’ll moderate it out…..
“I can tell when I am being treated with disrespect. You health care practitioners speak to me as though you are kindergarten teachers. You use first grade vocabulary. You often spell out words. You speak way too loudly. You repeat yourselves. You speak about me to others in third person, right in my presence but as if I am hard of hearing and cannot hear what you are saying, or am so “out of it” that I cannot understand. You over-explain everything. You try to teach me simple manners or matters of hygiene as if I were a toddler, or ask me if I want a teddy bear or offer to play kiddie games. And yet I have a near genius IQ. I am judged because I am currently without a job, because I am on Medicare and Medicaid, and because I have, in the past, been incarcerated in mental hospitals. You people don’t know it, but I have a master’s degree, I am a writer, and you’ll be in my next book.”
God bless those that have outbursts. It is music to my ears. I cheer these folks on, because they are speaking out.
Who has these “inappropriate” outbursts? Why do some of those in power feel so threatened by these uppity folks? Those that are oppressed have outbursts.
What is oppression?
Oppression is censorship. People who have outbursts do so because of their desperate need to have their voices heard in a society that leaves them out. This society does not honor them and cherish them for who they are. Instead of being allowed to express themselves, those that are oppressed are forced into compliance, into a mold that does not fit.
What is an outburst?
To have an outburst is to burst out of that mold.
An outburst is music, painting, writing, poetry. It is science and philosophy. It is the scream we call graffiti painted on the walls. It is dissatisfaction. We will no longer be silenced.
Sometime around 1967, a little girl stood up in her classroom in Lexington, Massachusetts, and demanded the end of homework. I look at that little girl now through my tears. I love her.
They tried to silence her. And yet she lives on.
Little girl, you quirky kid, I’m glad they couldn’t do it. You burst out of the mold. May we all be so blessed.
I am that little girl, now 56 years old, a sight to behold. A blazing, unstoppable fire. Again, may we all be so blessed.
Andrew Solomon’s article on our border control officials having denied entrance to a Canadian visitor who had once attempted suicide, and my experience
So here’s the link:
I probably told you my amusing experience about my two trips to England.
First time, I told them I was on disability here in the US. I got grilled. How much money did I have with me? They wanted “proof” that I was really meeting with my publisher, the address of the publishing house and the itinerary of the seminar, even my receipt of payment for the seminar. They wanted to see my return ticket, and they didn’t seem to understand what an e-ticket was. I finally showed them my number from Expedia and explained how that worked. They wanted to know how much was in my bank account and all sorts of financial information, how much my relatives could send me if I ran out of money, who I knew in the UK, and so on. They did not search me or my belongings. Finally, they let me go.
Getting back into the US was no prob. A snap.
Then, the second time I went to the UK, again, I was meeting with my publisher, but I said I was a writer. No way was I gonna say “disabled” again. They let me walk by. As I passed, a guy asked, “Oh, what type of writing do you do?”
“I write memoir,” I said proudly.
“Have a nice time,” he said.
I waved back.
The rest of the story? Later, friends, later.
Do you know what I’m talking about? If you have had anorexia, you sure do know. Ever get hospitalized for this disorder? The media loves to portray us having a blast at horse farms and spas for the rich. Truth is, people who have this darned disorder are all alone lying in bed where we get bossed around, told we can’t even get up, and no one calls or visits. Suddenly, the people we thought were our very best friends aren’t even speaking to us anymore! What the F?!!!
I’m here to tell you that you are not alone. We skinny folk are hated. It’s true. Society hates anorexics. Why? Is it because we are skinny and women in particular are frustrated, unable to shed the pounds themselves, so they take it out on us? I used to think that this was the case, that even female doctors and many male doctors who had serious body image problems indeed did this “transference” thing on their anorexic patients. It would certainly explain all the rude remarks we get from doctors and nurses, don’t you think? It would surely explain their overly controlling, manipulative actions as well, such as unnecessary forced or coerced “weigh-ins,” or pressuring a patient through threats and accusations.
I am wondering, also, if there is another factor involved: the suicide factor. If your anorexia has progressed past a certain point and you have been hospitalized or have experienced some kind of medical complication, society is going to wake up and say, “Hey, this anorexia is dangerous and he/she might actually die from it.” For whatever reason, when this “wake up call” happens to a sufferer, or rather, to the people around the sufferer, they wake up suddenly. It’s like they pop up out of bed from a deep sleep, saying, “Hey, he/she’s suicidal.”
Society hates suicidal people. Absolutely no question about it. People who commit suicide are automatic sick fucks. No, you can’t talk about it. Yes, there are suicide hotlines but these are “confidential,” that is, you call them in secret and these are “first name only,” that is, it’s so darned scary to come out and admit, “I feel like ending my life cuz my life just plain sucks.”
I learned early on that it was a dumb thing to tell anyone under any circumstances that I wanted to die. How did I learn this? How does anyone learn anything? You try it out and you find out the hard way. You bake your cookies too long and they burn, so you never bake them that long again.
So I guess this was in high school. Out of the blue, I told someone I had a shitty life, but I didn’t say why. I didn’t get into a lot of detail, just said I was unhappy and made brief reference to the possibility that maybe I was considering suicide. I didn’t want to put a huge emphasis on it or reveal how seriously I was thinking about it cuz I didn’t want the guy to worry. However, I was certainly not at all vague about the “shitty life” part. This wasn’t exactly a friend and not exactly a not-friend. The person completely avoided me after that.
I asked myself why he was avoiding me. We had had many intellectual discussions in the past. I had clearly caused him discomfort. To this day, I don’t know if merely my opening up to him was the cause (I never really opened up to anyone anyway), or if he was uncomfortable with my unhappiness and that I might commit suicide.
Of course, a lot of kids in my high school were most likely thinking about suicide. For many, a passing thought. Some kids thought about it all the time. I’ll do know there was an awful lot that didn’t get discussed. I’ll bet in high schools out there right now, today, it’s not being discussed enough. In the adult world, today, it’s not discussed enough, either. That’s because, as I said before, society hates suicidal people.
If you’ve ever been suicidal, society hates you and calls you a sick fuck. But why? I mean, maybe life sucks for a good reason. People lose their jobs because of bad luck, not bad morals or a bad attitude. Their homes burn down not because God is angry, but because of a frayed wire or loose connection and if the fire department didn’t make in there in time, it’s because of poor timing, so if your think your life totally sucks right now because you lost your job and your home is nothing but ashes, well, dang, you’re right, your life does indeed suck! Bad luck isn’t an illness! If you feel lousy about the crap that happened, I don’t blame you!
Feeling lousy needs to be normalized. Growing pains need to be accepted for what they are. We are okay. There are no sick fucks in this world. Society need to listen more and love more.
So back to my question: why does society hate people with anorexia? It’s such a push-me-pull-you! Everyone wants so badly to lose weight. The overweight person is also despised. If you have ever been overweight you can feel that hatred, too. I certainly have felt it myself during the years I spent living in a much larger body than the one I am living in now. I sure wouldn’t want to go back to those years, mainly because of the discrimination. The rude remarks, both subtle and flat out blatant, drove me nuts. I commend anyone who puts up with this baloney and is able to ignore it.
I know many people whom I greatly admire who aren’t affected by what I described above. They float past it. In fact, they don’t have to dismiss it or ignore it or make any effort, because it’s like they have a built-in filter. They don’t even hear it! It’s like those spam filters. They have this cruelty and discrimination and bullying and Evil of the World filter. So they can be whoever and whatever they want and be secure with themselves and they don’t hear or see the baloney.
That would be cool, wouldn’t it? To feel good all the time and be happy? I sure would never, ever consider suicide or ever want to starve myself if that were the case, if I truly believed the world was a positive place and that everyone was filled with love in their hearts and good intentions.
So these very, very positive people can walk past those two separate water fountains and they don’t see them. They won’t get pissed off and see the wrong in it. Anger is bad. It’s negative, after all. Do you see what I am saying? Those of us negative folk are the sick ones and if we get immensely frustrated enough to quit the planet or consider quitting it, then we get ostracized.
That very well may be the reason you are now all alone in that hospital and the people you thought were friends aren’t friends anymore. Let’s go blame those that are already hurting. Kick the ones that are down and make them feel even worse.
Life for a person with anorexia is likely to suck for a long time, mainly because of the societal hatred part. I am still rather shocked at it all. All the reactions.
There’s one thing I can say, though. If it has happened to you, I hear your cries. I do know what it feels like to be all alone. I do know what it’s like to have your rights taken away and I do know what that “blame” is like when the truth is, you did nothing wrong and the people around you are wrongly blaming you. You are not defective and there’s nothing morally or constitutionally wrong with you. If you have ever lied, it’s only because you had to do so in order to stay alive, because of the immense pressure to survive in the cruel, artificial world called “treatment” where no one even listens to us anyway. I do know what it’s like to have a door slammed in your face, and to ask yourself, “Can anything more go wrong?” and then one more person says goodbye.
I love you all. God bless us, everyone.
Yes, when I was in the hospital last summer they called me “mentally incompetent.”
Well, those jerks need to get their heads examined. They tried to force me into further treatment, they insulted me, beat me down, then they said they refused to release me until I was stabilized on antipsychotic medication, namely ZYPREXA. Because I was “mentally incompetent.”
Folks, there was nothing wrong with me!
See, they knew they had already done me many grave injustices. They wanted to make sure that when I was released, I was plenty drugged and SILENT.
Zyprexa will do just that. It shuts you up, keeps you plenty silent and drugged. Doped up. So I won’t “talk.” So I wouldn’t be blogging about the abuse they did to me.
Well, do I want to be, literally, delusional? Cuz that’s what it would amount to. I would be walking around delusional, thinking the abuse hadn’t happened! I’d be so drugged that I’d be blind to it all. I’d continue to buy into their bullshit. Oh, happily drugged, happily taking their pills.
Meanwhile, I’m sure, deep down inside, I would have been miserable about weight gain, probably developing diabetes or some blood sugar problem. They already suspected that my heart had been affected by long-term use of antipsychotic drugs. I found this out from peeking at my records. So I’m sure that their shutting me up would have had consequences. I may have died younger. But…hey, that would have been swept under the rug.
So, anyway, here’s your Nano update, for what it’s worth:
I am quite pleased with what I have so far. I am writing the entire book in verse. I am doing fine with my “word count.” That part of it has not been a challenge at all. I did no advance planning this year. I am doing it “on the fly.” Of course, you guys know my mind ticks away just fine. I am a good thinker, probably because I don’t waste time in front of a TV set all day long.
The general public assumes us mental patients sit all day in front of a TV and that our time is worthless. Well, no, I write books and you’d better make an appointment and be on time. My time is just as important as the time of anyone who earns a paycheck. My body is made of flesh and blood. I am not worthless crap.
Again and again, I have proven those “experts” wrong. I will prove them wrong again. Go to any psych ward and look around. What do you see? You see the faces of folks who got there by accident. Folks who have been misunderstood. There’s nothing wrong with anyone there. These are people that the world needs to take time to listen to. We mental folk have a few things to say to humanity.
It’s Halloween. Why don’t we all escape, eh? Let the world know we exist.
It depends on your “insurance” but this is what I’ve found….
Whereas you might get excellent health care in a small town, you really don’t have much to choose from. I’ve had health care in a small town, and when I’ve bombed out with what they had to offer, my only option was to drive out of town to get my care, or finally, to relocate elsewhere or give up entirely, which I decided wasn’t an option at that time.
My parents would not let me give up. I thought of them as rather nagging and annoying, but finally, they took me in. I moved to the Big City and I’ve been here ever since.
I’ve found that with health care in a Big City, you can bomb out real bad here, too. You can feel like you have exhausted your options. Just like that small town.
But no, the good thing is, this place is huge. It’s a metropolis. There’s not just the one small health care system operating here and no other system. There are many systems.
So hopefully, if you bomb out of one, you can, if you are in a big city, get into another.
Now here’s the real good thing: You can start afresh. They don’t know you in the new system. You are starting afresh and you don’t have the damn “reputation” hanging around your neck.
I keep reminding myself to lay low. Keep the guns uncocked. Oh, by the way, that was a metaphor, assholes.