6:30am on the east coast

I just wrote this on a website and I might as well put it here, cuz I doubt my post will get approved.

“I got out of inpatient ED treatment on Feb 24th of this year. I did not have any aftercare because I am on Medicaid and Medicare, the public insurance here in the US. This type of insurance is what they give those of us that are considered societal leaches. Some folks will say that folks like me get health care for free and how wrong it is that they work so hard and pay taxes and get less. But the truth is that last February while in treatment I saw through all the BS, left and fired my therapist and tried to find another, and because I am on this public insurance…well, no one accepts this insurance. I have made hundreds of calls and am on waiting lists that have gone on for months and more to come. Of the few that take this insurance, many have refused to treat me because they flat out won’t treat severe cases. So the sickest can’t get help in our society. You even hear stories about people discharged from hospitals and “sent home to die” and these are the poorest of the poor. So I guess I’m just one of society’s disposables.

“But…I am a writer and my book is actually going to be in print in another week or two or three, very soon as it has already gone to the printers. I have met with my publisher and a bunch of other writers who have survived mental health “treatment” and we determined our niches. I told him and told everyone, “I am the voice for reform in eating disorders care.” I will be giving readings and doing a bit of public speaking as soon as my book can be held in a reader’s hand. I’m 54 years old and have seen a lot. I have seen a lot of coverup and lies and also I have seen compassion and caring and camaraderie. I have been locked up, tied up, drugged up, and shot up with electric current…and these are supposed to help my eating disorder? I don’t think so. These methods have yet to fix anything for me or for most people.

“Meanwhile, with my ED, it is just bad, bad, bad and I am all alone with it. My weight was very low but I binged and binged for months and gained weight and you can imagine what this has done to my self-esteem. I can’t get anyone to believe me how serious this is, either that or these professionals totally freak out and want to lock me up and treat me for some disorder I don’t have yet one more time.

“I go to these websites and read research on binge eating, and so many of these researchers and treatment centers state the the danger of binge eating is that the person gains weight and that being overweight has health consequences. So in putting it that way, this binge eating behavior doesn’t sound all that serious to the average person, because after all, there are a lot of people who are overweight and what’s the big deal, right? “So you ate a few cookies. Shut up and quit whining.”

“What I do find is that the truth is not so well-known and not acknowledged by many doctors. Stomach rupture is a huge risk, and it becomes a higher risk the more years you have engaged in this activity. Intestinal rupture is also a risk. Going from very low blood sugar to very high blood sugar in a short period of time I’m sure has incredible risks. The health issues associated with rapid weight gain are indeed acknowledged by the medical profession. If a patient is anorexic or starving and engages in massive binge eating, the risk for refeeding syndrome hits the roof. And of course, binge eaters often have low self esteem, and the behavior makes us more and more depressed so we run the very real risk of suicide.

“My ankles are so swollen that I can’t get most of my shoes on right now. I have been getting Charlie horses all over my body in places I didn’t even know I had muscles. I have the constant feeling like I have the flu, but I don’t, I just feel headachey, sluggish, feverish, dizzy, and exhausted. I have not had a decent night’s sleep in a year and I’m always medically dehydrated no matter how much I drink. Sometimes, I just plain collapse in exhaustion and depression.

“They don’t know how to treat this. The treatment place I went to had no answers because they in fact didn’t care what I did, they just wanted me fattened up and out of there and they wanted to shut me up because I told the truth. A lot of people told me, “It’s good to binge cuz then you’ll gain weight. Keep on bingeing!” Well,I think this is going to kill me, only because of all the lies and ignorance about eating disorders that’s out there.

“Sorry to be a downer. It’s 6:30am on the east coast of the US here.”

************

I’m sure this comment won’t end up visible on the board.  It’s one of those websites where you’re only supposed to post positive, rosy stuff about how great life is.  I suppose most of the people there are either positive and hunky-dory wonderful, or they aren’t positive and their posts don’t get published.

Kinda sucks, huh?

***************

I belong to a support group for people with ED.  I’m glad to belong to this group and I’m so happy that I was even invited.  But as usual per ED group, there’s this policy that we can’t talk about “behaviors.”  Well, get this: I can’t even use the word “binge” in a sentence and if I do, I’m told that I’ve said a bad, inappropriate word.

So I don’t really expect to get help there.  I go and I’m polite and listen to people’s stories but that’s as far as it goes. When you get there, every time you “sign in,” you have to say that the people that run the group are not responsible for what happens to you after you leave. So they are covering their hide in case you drop dead or commit suicide.  I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the quality of the leaders and their level of understanding of ED.  That’s pretty cool.  But I need real help and have yet to find it.

*************

I went to see a new therapist Monday, or so I thought.  It turned out to only be an intake appointment and I found out, when we were done, that a bunch of them would meet and then they’d decide if this is a “good match.”   She didn’t tell me this until the end.  I went to this place once before and don’t recall getting that line.  So…my hopes are very slim for this one.

*************

On a certain level, I like some things about myself.  I am witty and smart and can get a good laugh out of people.  I can write really fast sometimes and I often surprise myself because the quality of my writing surpasses my expectations.  Now that I’m off meds, I speak really, really well.  I’m going to be a great public speaker.  I want to change lives.  I want to speak the truth and hey, let’s quote a former resident of the White House and say

let’s snake them out…

meaning the people Bush was referring to as responsible for 9/11….

But no, I think the term “snake out” has a much better use.  We need to snake out these perpetrators of mental health abuse once and for all.  I think we need to expose the lies and coverup and denial and unexplained deaths.

Are we disposables?

Am I going to be shoved into some back ward and is society then going to wash its hands clean of me?

Oh no.  You have not seen me shut up yet.

Another link and my opinion

You just have to read this:

http://www.1-800-therapist.com/news-article/anorexia-study-provides-evidence-higher-calorie-initial-treatment

First of all, if you shove shitloads of calories in our faces, we’re going to freak out.  Make us gain wicked lots of weight and we are going to feel like crap and hate ourselves.

The writer of this article obviously does not care about how a person feels inside, but only looks on the surface.  This is how insurance companies view “recovery,” folks.  All that matters to them is what the scale says.  This is the measure of whether they think a particular treatment or treatment facility is successful or not.  It’s all about cost-effectiveness and efficiency.  Roll them in, shove food into them, roll them out, repeat.  The faster a facility can do this, the more money they will make.

The writer of the article even admits (note typo: “referring syndrome” instead of “refeeding syndrome”) that refeeding syndrome, which is fatal, is a real risk if you feed a patient too much too soon.  The writer even admits that “self-worth is tied to body size, shape and weight.”

So yeah, shove food into us and make us feel like crap and see what happens.

There is so much that goes on in inpatient treatment that no one ever talks about.  Why?  The place I was at, and from what I can gather, the majority of places that treat ED actually censor conversation.  I am not kidding you!  The place I was at had an intercom microphone thingy right where patients sat and socialized.  Staff regularly admitted they listened on to patient conversations,  often in person, and stated that if we talked about “inappropriate” matters, they would shut us up.  They threatened increase the placing of staff in the places where patients gathered to “monitor” our conversations.

Hey, Big Brother, are you listening?

Here’s something never talked about: the first time I was in ED treatment, we were all being grossly overfed and we were all experiencing extreme physical discomfort as a result.  As for me, I was farting non-stop and I couldn’t have been the only one.  I looked around and saw that just about everyone had a huge belly.  This was never discussed.  Of course it wasn’t.

How do you think we felt about our nice huge bellies?  I felt helpless and out-of-control, like I was a caged animal being fed and fed in preparation for slaughter.  I felt like it was the end of me.  I felt worthless, like I was being kicked around and punished because of this thing anorexia that I hadn’t even asked for.  I felt like it was all about numbers and money, big money, and that the individual ceased to matter.

It was kind of a given, these big bellies of ours.  That was 2010, and in 2012 they weren’t feeding us as much, thankfully.  I was determined not to end up farting and not to end up with the belly, so I was very selective about what and how much I ate of their crap.  There was a lot of pressure to “eat 100%” and this was supposed to be a measure of how much you gave a shit.  In truth, it goes much deeper than that and I pointed out that no one can judge whether another person gives a shit.  I made my point well, and the rift between those that “ate 100%” and those that didn’t disappeared.  We were all in the same boat there, just prisoners.  I told everyone that we were there for a short time, and what really mattered was how you lived your life after you got out.

Obviously (if you’ve been reading my blog a while) my life has completely sucked ever since I got out of so-called “treatment.”

I went to see yet another new therapist, or, shall I say, I went to the intake appointment yesterday, only to be told that there was a good chance…yeah, you guessed it…that “we may not be a good match”…blah blah blah.

Yes, I had already mentioned the zillions of calls I’d made and all the rejections from potential therapists.  I said I had put myself on endless waiting lists for therapy.  I said that I’d been told by several that they thought I was too serious a case for them to get involved with.

Like they want to look good so they only take on cases they are pretty sure will be brilliant success stories for them.  Never mind the minority of us that are just too far gone.

This is really rather sad, but it’s reality, folks.

Older women and eating disorders…link

“We know very little about how women aged 50 and above feel about their bodies,” Bulik said. “An unfortunate assumption is that they ‘grow out of’ body dissatisfaction and eating disorders, but no one has really bothered to ask.”

How true!

Here’s the article:

http://www.1-800-therapist.com/news-article/eating-disorder-behaviors-occur-commonly-among-women-over-age-50

 

Why I need or don't need therapy, part whatever

Of course, no one ever wants to talk to me because I am so unpleasant to be around, so I rarely engage in conversation.  What has ended up happening is that I have been hurt so many times that I have turned into a mean, rotten anger machine.  I can sit around and not trust anyone and let myself boil over.  This is an option but boiling up inside will eat you alive after a while.  If you are boiling, then you need to let the steam out.

So…if you are a bitch like me and are incapable of sustaining a meaningful, lasting relationship (ever) then how do you deal with the anger and hurt?

Everyday annoyances I can deal with just fine.  These I can dismiss because I mean really, who cares if the bus is late or crowded or too hot or too cold.  You got to where you’re going, so just shut up and think about something meaningful for a change.

The best thing to do if your favorite TV program got canceled is to trash your TV set, right?  You can get a bigger and fancier TV but it won’t bring back your stars and the non-interactive relationship you had with them.  Life will never, ever be the same.  Face it.  You’ve been gypped too many times and it is wrong and immoral that life is so unfair.

If it’s going to rain on your parade, then maybe you shouldn’t have parades.  Keep the marching band inside and let them swelter in their uniforms.  Eventually, they’ll get out the bottles of rum that they have hidden in their uniform sleeves, and get drunk and party their lives away and play loud, raucous disharmony for the world to hear.  That, folks, is where music begins.

Play louder.  Scream louder.  Tell the world how you feel.  Because if you don’t, then everyone else is going to go running around saying life is oh so beautiful, which is a complete lie.   Go generate some really stinky shit and rub their noses in it.

After all, what is the world made of but shit?  Recycling shit is where it’s at.  Our bodies are made of shit and shit is in the soil we walk on.  Get real.

 

Lies and their translations, part 2

I might as well get to the point.  The main point.  What is boils down to.  People can’t be trusted.  You can trust your dog and you can trust God and you can trust yourself, but don’t put your faith in people because they will let you down.  Here’s the biggest lie you will ever hear:

“I will never leave you.”

Of course this is complete bullshit.  They are bound to turn on you.  Every relationship you get yourself into will go sour.  You will be hurt and wish the friendship had never started.  You will wish you had never trusted the person and you will beat yourself up for putting faith in them.

Here’s another lie:

“I love you.”

What’s the point?  If the person really did love you then why harp on it?  Why constantly point it out?  Why get all mushy when it’s really unnecessary?  If the person loved you then you’d think it would be obvious and it would show through their actions.

Here’s another lie:

“I understand because I’ve been there.”

Keep listening and you will see that this person has never been in your shoes.  They don’t get it at all.  This lie precedes a lecture about how you should live your life (just like they do, of course) and that you must be weak and have bad morals and not trying hard enough and have bad character and something is constitutionally wrong with you because you’re not making it in life the way they are.

Here’s the lie everyone used to talk about.  It is actually the least of them:

“The check is in the mail.”

This lie is actually harmless because money or lack of money can’t hurt you.  You can get ripped off by an individual or a company but this is nothing compared to getting your heart ripped in two.

Whom can you trust?  Certainly not me. Now that you’ve read this, I think it’s pretty obvious that I am scum of the earth.  Go back to your sharing, supporting, loving, and whatever else you value.  You are only sharing, supporting, and loving those that you can get something from, those that agree with you or pretend to agree, those that pat you on the back and say platitudes.  Anyone who does not fit your conditional, narrow requirements need not apply.

Question everything

While it is good to listen to other people’s suggestions on how to live, please remember that you are your best advisor.  Follow your heart and go where it takes you.

So without a doubt, you don’t have to do any of the stuff that works for me, cuz it might not work for you.  But you might want to try it on for size.

I plan to refute the notion that ALL people with eating disorders should throw away their scales and never know what they weigh, leaving it up to doctors to determine what’s best for them.  Tossing out the scale works brilliantly for some people, but not everyone.   Let’s just say that after 32 years’ experience with my eating disorder, and 54 and a half years’ experience living with my own body 24/7, I think I’ve got a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn’t.  Since when does someone who sees me in a sterile office once in a blue moon know better about my own body than I do?

We need to redefine a lot of the vocabulary that has been put upon us by the medical and psychiatric professions.  Take, for example,

PARANOIA

What is it? My Webster’s Unabridged, to my surprise, listed the clinical definition first:

1.    Psychiatry. a mental disorder characterized by systematized delusions and the projection of personal conflicts, which are ascribed to the supposed hostility of others, sometimes progressing to disturbances of consciousness and aggressive acts believed to be performed in self-defense or as a mission.
2.    baseless or excessive suspicion of the motives of others.

What is a “mental disorder” but some label invented so that our doctors can charge our insurance companies to treat us?  Or a label used to classify us so that we can be hospitalized, therapized, or medicated, or worse…locked up, tied up, shot up with chemicals or electric current…the list goes on.  If you are given treatment for a mental disorder and word gets out, you’re going to have a hard time getting a job, keeping your friends, acquiring housing, and worst of all, it’s going to be tough to get others to  treat you with respect and dignity.  If you take a psychiatric medication, the side effects of the medication will be more visible to the general public than the illness the medication is supposed to be treating.  So let’s toss out definition #1 for paranoia and focus on definition #2.

“baseless or excessive suspicion of the motives of others”

How do we get to the point of this baseless or excessive suspicion?  Baseless means the suspicion is not based on fact, but based on a lie.  Excessive means exaggerated and this exaggeration happens because we get scared.  Take, for example, this non-fact:

All people with mental illnesses are violent.

And this non-fact:

People with mental illnesses have low intelligence.

And more:

People with mental illnesses don’t have real feelings.  You can say anything you want to them or to their faces or in their presence and it won’t matter.  Just pretend they’re not there.

And more:

People with dark skin are inferior.

People who cannot walk on two legs aren’t normal humans.

If you have less money, it’s because you didn’t work hard enough and have bad morals.

These are the lies upon which real paranoia is based.  Most of this paranoia is not diagnosable mental illness.  Most people have this paranoia called racism, and they have it real bad.  Most people see someone with a physical handicap and assume this person does not have the same emotions and human needs as everyone else.  And when they look upon someone who is mentally ill, the fear and ignorance rages.

Yes, even doctors have this paranoia.  All their  education does not make them immune to it.  Many doctors think very little of their patients.  If your doctor leaves your “chart” in the room alone with you, go take a peek:

“This slightly overweight, anxious-looking woman claims to have severe headaches….”

This was not a quote from anything in particular.  I just made it up based on what others have told me of what they saw in their charts.  Trust me, “slightly overweight” or perhaps “obese” will appear in your chart whether it is relevant or not.  Many doctors won’t believe a word you say.   Note the word, “claims.”  If you have a mental illness they will go double-check everything you say because of course they can’t trust you at all.

Disclaimer: Not all doctors are like this but most are.

Next time some doctor tells you you are paranoid, look around you.  Who is more paranoid, you, or the doctor?

Who is basing which assumptions on which lies?  Who is more scared?

Last time you were turned down from a job, was this rejection based on your ability to perform that job?  Or were you discriminated against based on your appearance, your weight, your age, your skin color, or your gender?

The real paranoid is most likely sitting on the other side of that desk.

It’s time to turn the desks upside-down, folks.  This is what I plan to do.  I want to break the chains and free everyone.  Just keep a look out.  I am coming.

 

 

 

Body as vessel

It’s your body, not your doctor’s.  Never let any medical standard or anyone else’s standard determine the course of your life.  Your body does not belong to your husband, wife, or partner.   It does not belong to your parents.  It is yours.  Consider it a gift that you will have for this short lifetime.

Your body is your vessel.  You can’t trade it for another.  Work with it and make it the best it can be.

If you think of your body as like a bicycle, by all means polish it up, keep the tires at the right pressure, and make sure it’s lubed up properly.  It will serve you better if you keep it maintained.  Use it regularly.  Don’t let it collect dust.  If you wish, add a bit of decoration, but make sure that this addition does not inhibit your bicycle’s ability to serve you.

Make your bike comfortable for yourself.  If the seat is uncomfortable, perhaps a different style of seat will suit you better.  Adjust the seat’s height and the height of the handlebars so that your bike fits you perfectly.  Take control.

When you ride through life, take caution.  Look both ways.  Ride with the traffic.  Know the road.  Wear a helmet and proper attire.  Use whatever maps are available to you.  Obey the law, but remember to let the universality of common sense guide you.

Carve your own path.  Undoubtedly, you will encounter uncharted territory.  And when you go through these new places, enter with respect and awe.  You may choose to keep records and photographs of your journey to share with others.

You are like no other in the universe.  Your body is unique.  Let no one tell you they know your body better than you do.  As soon as you give up this control, you initiate a tragedy.

If your body is your bicycle, then learn as much bicycle maintenance as you can.  Acquire the necessary tools to keep your bike in good shape.  Consult manuals and repair guides.  If what you are doing requires the use of more than your own hands and tools, seek the assistance of others.  These people are there to assist you, not run your life.  If you hire them, pay them for the job they do and parts they install.

There is nothing like a well-tuned body.   A body that makes you proud.  A body that serves you and takes you to wonderful places.

When it’s time to rest, put your bike in a safe place.  Don’t let it get stolen.  That way, it will be waiting for you tomorrow morning so you can ride again, and again.

Someday, it will be time to stop riding.  You will leave your bike behind.  Perhaps you will go off on foot.  It’s going to feel a lot different with your feet on the ground.  Take off your shoes, wiggle your toes in the mud, and tell yourself you’ve done a damn good job.

Tired and resting

I have a headache, just need to rest up today and don’t have much planned yet.

I have an aisle seat on the plane tomorrow.   On the plane over, I had an aisle seat as well.  There was one other guy in the row and a seat between us.  He insisted that we switch, saying he was going to be getting up and down a lot.  I wasn’t quite sure what that was about, cuz all he did was sleep all night, but I obliged.

Tomorrow’s flight will be during the day.  I’ll bet the weather will be brilliant.

Not sure what to say

I am exhausted…had a wicked good day, but I have crashed real bad.  I want to bury myself, just hide from everyone and everything.

Not particularly looking forward to tomorrow, or the next day, or the next….

I don’t really want to go back to the US and face my miserable life again. Of course, the misery followed me here…my eating disorder follows me everywhere….

My DMH person phoned me just as I was waiting for the bus to get to the airport on Monday.  She asked if it was okay if the boss guy came with her next time, that is, on Wednesday.  She does not have authority to “section,” however, he does….

Getting locked up…again…this is not helpful. But that must be their motive, right?  It’s not like I’m going to be crowned queen or anything.  Or told I’ve won The Price is Right.  Oh, whoop-dee-doo, just what I’ve always wanted…a new luxury car…I can’t drive….

If those doctors wanted to put me in the state hospital, then would DMH DO ANYTHING to stop it?  Not likely, since they don’t know what to do with me anyway….

I’m such a wicked bitch and that’s the truth.

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.