Follow your heart

Ultimately, I had to do what I believed in my heart was right.  I had to believe in myself.  I could not take anyone else’s advice.  I had to realize that I knew myself better than anyone else knew me, that I was my own best expert.

This is true for anyone.  Even the label “mental illness” does not mean you are not the best authority on yourself.  You are.  Never allow a therapist to tell you that he or she knows you better than you do.  It’s a lie.

“Sick” does not mean “wrong.”  That is only a Western concept.  When I realized this, I rose above it.  I realized I was right all along.  I was never depressed again.  I realized that depression is only a body response.  So I keep it in my body, and never allow it to reach my psyche anymore.

Unfortunately, I lost several friends over this.  These friends believed that “treatment” was right and I was wrong.  It was all so petty.  Well, I was right all along.  More and more folks are telling me this, not only that but I have folks in position of medical and legal authority backing me.  Unfortunately, these former friendships are now down the drain, though.

Was wellness worth sticking to my beliefs?  Sticking up for myself and not giving in?  You bet.  Getting well is all about finding that voice.  It means speaking out when you think something’s wrong.

That means even “treatment.”  So when you see something not quite right, speak up!

One of the best things I did was to fire my therapist.  She kept saying, “Listen to me and you’ll be well.”  And she also kept saying, “You belong in the state hospital.”  What was I to believe?

I get scared of big promises from therapists.  Like, “Anyone can do it.”  Or, “If it didn’t work, then it’s because you didn’t listen,” or, “You didn’t follow my instructions and that’s why you’re not well.”  These people are not gods.  My last T kept saying stuff like that.  It’s this kind of T that knows how to manipulate and wrap their patients around their fingers.

Trust me, she had me convinced.  I thought she was great.  But she’s only human like you and me.  A human being who, like many other therapists, got into the business to satisfy her need to control others.

So I got out and I’m very happy I did.

Yeah, I lost friends, a whole lot of them.  I don’t really have close friends right now, not people I hang out with or be buddies with or anything. People keep a safe distance.

But this suits me just fine.  I’d rather not have close friends.  I’m comfortable with the way things are.  I’m happy being a well person who speaks up for herself and stands up for what she believes in.  If nobody else likes it, they can go to hell.  And sometimes, you know, they do.

 

Whom can you count on? Your pills, or the shrink that prescribes them?

Can we really count on our shrinks?  Those guys and gals that take the Hippocratic Oath?  I don’t think so.  After all, they’re only human.  Many are impeccably on time, but there are those that are chronically late.  We all know the type, always running behind schedule.  Their waiting rooms tend to be on the crowded side of course.  The last patient bows out of the office, Kleenex in hand, sobbing maybe.  Oops.  Another one bites the dust, we tell ourselves…who is next?  Then the next one leaves, gleeful, prescription in hand.  Next!

Then one day, the doc goes on vacation and ten overly dependent patients are hospitalized.  Or she takes maternity leave.  Or he takes maternity leave and calls it something else.  Twins and it’s twice as long.   Triplets?  If babies keep popping out, this vacation might last years and the happy shrink couple could travel the world, spending your money, babies scrambling all around the boat, wining and dining at all the world’s ports.

Of course, if you call a shrink, how often do they call you back? Is this an indication of reliability?  Nine times out of ten?  Five times?  If they feel like it?  In an hour or two?  If you have a deadly rash, maybe you’re best off getting seen right away and not waiting a day or two or three for that return phone call.  Cuz by the time you get called back, that deadly rash might be, er, deadly.  On the other hand, if what you have is a bug bite or two, I wouldn’t recommend either calling your shrink or biting the bug back.  Neither will get you very far.

Are your pills more reliable than your shrink?  If it’s an antidepressant, I can guarantee you, the pills may or may not work.  I can guarantee you that it’s hit or miss.  If it’s an any psych med, I can guarantee you that there’s a good chance you may get side effects, and these may or may not be serious side effects, that you can count on.  You can count on being scared of tardive dyskinesia if you take an antispsychotic, whether you end up with TD or not.  You can count on everyone having an attitude about you if you take psych meds.  You can count on the “raised eyebrow.”  The look.  The discrimination.  The assumptions.  Especially if you take, or have ever taken an antipsychotic.

So what’s your mental status today?  Yeah, you can count on that question whether it’s relevant or not.  You can count on being discriminated against on the job unless you hide the fact that you take psych meds.  Yeah, there’s such thing as the ADA, and yeah, it’s 2012, but that’s on paper and reality is that folks are uneducated and folks make assumptions and you know who discriminates the worst?

Yes, medical professionals.  Doctors.  Shrinks.   I’m serious.

Did you show up at an ER with chest pains?  And you take psych meds?  Oh, they’ll assume it’s anxiety right off the bat.  You can count on that.  You might drop dead, of course.  But if you’re lucky, you’ll almost drop dead but  not drop dead, cuz then, you can sue for misdiagnosis due to discrimination.  Oh my goodness and then get filthy rich.  Now you can share some of this green, green dough with me, please, because I’ve given you this lovely idea, right?  Right?

Yeah, you can count on the drugs to do all that for you?  It’s near the end of the year and you can count on insurance switching over come January 1st.  So you show up at the pharmacy on the 2nd, the day or the long, long lines, only to find out about insurance non-coverage, just like everyone else in the long, long line at the pharmacy, with the pharmacist who has Oxycontin Headache Number 27 (trust me, he’s got it medicated, he saw it coming).  He’s got all 50 insurance companies on the line at once, on all 50 phones that the pharmacy has, hanging up this phone and picking up the next, with doctors on the line as well, the ones that have already returned from their wining and dining vacation in Alsace-Lorraine or Italy or Switzerland or whaling in Australia or snorkeling in Antarctica.  Hopefully, this pharmacy has cordless phones, otherwise, the lines are tangled and a few pharmacy assistants are strangled, either by accident or due to someone being very, very frustrated.  Yeah, you can count on all this, or at least you can count on me joking about it.

Can you count on your dog?  You bet you can count on your dog more than you can count on you pills or your shrink.  If you did what the humane society told you to do when you adopted your puppy, he or she isn’t going to go on maternity leave of any sort anytime soon.  As for other patients, you’re covered, your dog has lots of patience just for you.  You’ve got to have patience for your dog.  Your dog is always on time.  Your dog will wake you up on time and remind you to walk and feed him or her on time, too.  If your dog is like Puzzle, she’ll remind you to take your meds on time and do a bunch of other things on time, too.  A dog will make a “present” on the ground (or on the floor, if you goof) for you to clean up, reminding you to be a good, good citizen.  A dog is someone to take care of.  A dog will never serve divorce papers.  You can count on that.

A dog doesn’t know what Facebook is.   A dog doesn’t know who is president and who is rich and who is poor.  A dog doesn’t know when it crosses state lines or the border of a country.  A dog has no clue what religion is.

When my dog is in church, she hears my minister’s big voice on a microphone.  She knows I stand and I sit.  She hears children.  Then, the children leave to go to religious education, and only adults are left.  Sometimes, we sing.  Sometimes, I cry.  What else does she know?

I think I can count on my dog’s sense of mystery and wonder in the world, whether we are in church or elsewhere.  For certain, she senses a larger spirit of life, something beating in all of us.  What is it?  What is it?  Is it in the thunder?  Puzzle is scared of thunder.  The big voice in church is only a man, magnified, but thunder is not a man.  Thunder is air.  Thunder is clouds.  You can count on that.  And then,  the thunder is gone.

You can count on me, writing this silly stuff, sometimes every day, sometimes taking a break for a day or two days or a bunch of days, but I seem to come back and come back with dumb stuff, sometimes pissed off stuff, sometimes stuff that makes other folks pissed off too.  You can count on my bad grammar, and you can count on me not giving a hoot about it.  You can count on a glitch in cyberspace taking out your Internet connection and not being able to access this blog every now and then, but more or less, I’ve been around since 2005 on hotmail’s blog venue, now defunct actually.  Have you been following me since then?  Have I been counting on me since then?

Naw, not long ago, I wasn’t exactly counting on me.  I was thinking about this while walking in what I call “the woods” (not exactly woods, but Watertown’s version) today.  You know, around 2011 until sometime in 2012, I used to go to bed thinking I had no clue if I’d wake up alive in the morning.  That happened so much that I even got used to it.  I’ll bet a lot of very  elderly folks get like that, going to bed thinking, “I might die in my sleep tonight,” and thinking that night after night.  Well, this was exactly how I felt, going to bed every night, only I’m not elderly, far from it.  See, I had an eating disorder and folks with eating disorders take this risk.  Folks with eating disorders live on the edge.  I lived on that edge.

I still live on that edge.  Only quite a bit backed away from it.  Rather safely, I’d say.  I’m out of the woods now.  Anyone can die anytime, and freak things can happen, but I don’t starve myself anymore, and I don’t binge anymore, and my weight is just fine and stable.  I’m happy and I love life.  I look forward to each day and when I go to bed, I assume I’m going to wake up fairly soon and start a new day, a new challenge.  As a matter of fact, I assume I’m going to enjoy myself the next day, and I always do.

And you know something?  This living business means responsibility. Naw, I’m not talking about just that dog of mine, the one I can count on.  Not just her.  And naw, there’s no one else I’m taking care of besides me.  But the world.  Folks pop out of nowhere and I never know when someone is going to need me.  Just someone out of anywhere.  Someone wants to talk.  Someone wants me to sit with them.  Someone wants me to listen.  Someone has an eating disorder.  Or someone has an experience I’ve had, and I can help.  It happens so often that I am truly amazed.  I find myself a helper more often than I am helpee.  If nothing else, Puzzle helps someone else, not just me, but she shares her goodness and her joy and her love and her innocence and her little kisses.

Whom can you count on?  Your pills, or the shrink that prescribes them?  Or me?  Or Puzzle?  Or God?  (Okay, okay, I’m not going there.)  How about yourself?  You are the one that opened your browser and clicked on my blog, or discovered it in the first place, after all.  If you are short like me, then you can count on being very, very tall, because with my six legs (four have paws, you see) we are truly the tallest and furriest tall tail that ever happened to eating disorders recovery that I know of.  And one of us has a fuzzy face, too.  Now that ‘s something.  Two-faced and not even lying.  Only they  say you should let sleeping dogs lie, shouldn’t you?

On Being Unfriended

I was unfriended on Facebook.  Anyone who has ever been unfriended knows how it feels.  I think I noticed fairly soon afterward and I asked myself, “How could such kind, thoughtful, mature folks commit such a rash act of hostility?”  I ran into them (it is a married couple I’m talking about) shortly afterward and there was no talk of it.  I pretended nothing had happened, as did they.  We have had no in-person contact since, in fact, there has been no contact whatsoever.  We simply haven’t run into each other.  What next?

The first thing that happened was that I fell into a state of mental shock.  Was this for real?  But, yeah, looked that way.  I couldn’t “like” anything and nothing showed up. It was like I was invisible all of a sudden in their eyes.  I couldn’t ask “why” and no tactic to undo all the mistakes I’d made seemed tactful enough.  Right then and there, “I’m sorry,” seemed about the dopiest thing I could say.

So I got off Facebook.  I couldn’t stand the thought of it any longer.  Their absence was like a huge hole.  Oh yeah, I have a fair amount of “friends” now, folks from my graduate school, mostly people I haven’t met but know of by acquaintance or have met once or twice.  Facebook asked me if I was sure I wanted to get off.  I told Facebook it was “temporary,” that I’d be back, and I clicked myself off.

It felt halfway decent, I must say, to be away from it all.  It wasn’t the pettiness that bothered me so much, but what Facebook is lacking so dearly.  Sure, we all get tired of the repeated political messages, pleas from homeless kittens, daily messages from God, and so on, but Facebook reminded me nonstop of the loneliness in life, of our separateness.  We don’t pick up the phone anymore.  Never mind write letters or even e-mail each other.  Is anyone even talking?

I was off for a few weeks.  It felt decent.  Life was pulling itself together in many ways.  A lot of it was just plain good luck, being at the right place at the right time.  I’ve been very happy lately, in fact, I’ve been happy for a long time.  Just grateful to be alive and on the planet.  I’ve been active, going out so much that I had to purchase a monthly transit pass instead of paying per ride as I usually do.  I find that I feel quite at home conversing with complete strangers.  They admire my service dog, saying she is cute and funny.  Well, by golly, I, too, can be cute and funny when I want to be.  Finding myself can be fun.

Then, it looked like the Kindle version of my recently published memoir was all set and available.  I needed to get back onto Facebook and publicize this.  What to do? I decided to reinstate my Facebook membership.  Facebook was very happy about this, apparently.  Welcome back to Facebook.

So I publicized.  I said nothing publicly about having been gone.  A bunch of folks from my school “liked” that my book was out and “liked” a bunch of other stuff.

Suddenly, something came to my attention.  Someone I knew needed my help.  A young person, someone not from my graduate school.  Yes, I found out through Facebook.  The person reached out in the quickest and most efficient way she knew how, at the last minute.  Thankfully, I got the message, though it wasn’t intended specifically for me, but for her “friends.”  Or maybe for the world.  I took action.  I reached out.  I feel proud of myself.

Over the past few days, a bunch of life-affirming things have happened and few people have reached out to me in very subtle and not-so-subtle ways that mean a whole lot to me.   I sent e-mails.  I made phone calls.  I even talked to my brother and my sister-in-law.

My own body has sent signals to me.  First of all, I was sick this weekend, some freak occurrence,  and passed out in the bathroom.  Hours before this happened, a revelation came to me.  I was sitting at my desk writing.  Funny how these things happen when we are at a state of medical extremes.  I figured out how I recovered from my eating disorder.  It’s a good thing I wrote it down.  I don’t even remember writing it:

“HOW I RECOVERED FROM MY EATING DISORDER

The body wants to survive even when the mind is ready to give up.”

That was all I wrote.  That was about all I had the chance to write or wanted to write or needed to write.  Then, I guess I fell asleep, or ran to the bathroom and passed out.

Somehow, I pieced it together and made it to church.  I picked up the mess I made in the bathroom when I went crashing to the floor.  I dressed up and looked halfway decent for church.  I struggled to walk there.  It seemed to take twice as long because I felt weak.  I reminded myself to remain seated during the hymns instead of standing, because a sudden change in position could cause me to pass out again.  I sure wouldn’t want that kind of embarrassment in church.

But I eat now, and my eating disorder is only a remnant, having left me a while back.  Just a freak occurrence.  Things like this might happen now and then.  It’ll take a while for the body to catch up.

I stepped inside the building.  All of a sudden, warmth.  I was taken back to a year ago, when I first entered the church and was welcomed, a person off the streets, a complete stranger.  I was still just as welcome.  Folks still said hello to me just like before.  People asked how I was doing.  I asked how they were doing.  Only now, we knew each other by name, and I have joined the church.

I hadn’t been there long when someone came up to me and congratulated me about my book.  It felt so, so good.

Everything about church is always so awesome.  It felt okay to cry in church, too.  We blessed the teachers today during the service and we spoke of how important the teachers were in our community.  Our minister spoke about anxiety and worry during the sermon, and I wondered how much this related to my own pettiness.  After church, social hour.  I met someone new and welcomed her and we walked back to my home together and she walked onward.  I gave her my card.  Then, I slept for the rest of the day and slept well last night.

Fine, but I was still unfriended, and being unfriended still sucked just as much.  I obsessed over this far, far too much, and I hated that I obsessed so much.  Beat myself up for making a mountain over social media, because I hardly spend any time at all on Facebook.  I stood in the kitchen.  What am I going to do about this?  How can I handle this maturely and directly?  Would I confront them?  Surely, they had made an active, perhaps hostile statement toward me, and it had been done for a reason.

I told myself I’d have to do something.  I couldn’t ignore the situation.  Feelings were feelings.  I couldn’t say, “You made me feel such and such,” because this wasn’t true, all these folks did was a few mouse clicks and that was that.  No, the feelings were mine, and I needed to own these feelings.

I would be direct.  I would be polite.  I would not beat around the bush.  I would not be sarcastic.  Oh please, anything but that.  But what was it that I really wanted?  Did I want an apology?  What good would that do?

Perhaps, on the other hand, I should thank my friends for unfriending me, thank them from the bottom of my heart.  See, they are still my dear friends, and I know they love me, and they care about me still.  They didn’t unlove me.  Nor was what they did an act of “tough love.”  No, I don’t know why they did what they did.  Maybe they did it because they were reacting to some kind of feeling they had that I gave them, an energy.

They made a decision.  Maybe their reasons were private.  Their decision had an impact on me.  You could say a big impact.  It got me off Facebook. It got me appreciating Life Without Bullshit for a few weeks.

Then, had I not been off Facebook, and then gotten back on when I did, at that moment, I would not have noticed my friend’s cry for help when I did.

Being unfriended makes me realize that while right now I do not have close friends, I have a greater appreciation for the greater community than I ever did before.

I am not lonely. I am not depressed.  I am not unhappy.  I am not bored.  I am full of love and life.

I get out every day.  I speak to people.  I have fun.  I enjoy myself.  I am cute and funny.

Before they unfriended me, none of the above was true, and if getting unfriended is the one medicine for unfriendliness, well then, so be it.

So I must say, I feel rather blessed, and extend my arms out in thankfulness to my dear friends.

The body has some catching up to do

They say it takes a while, after anorexia, for the body to figure out that it can stop preparing for a famine.  I guess that’s why they say it takes years or even a lifetime to physically recover from a lengthy period of self-induced starvation.  Folks who fast for religious reasons tend to take precautions.  I assume that each religious tradition has ways of protecting the body and nourishing in other ways besides physical food during times of fasting.  I recall when I was a young child we’d eat a lot the night before Yom Kippur, and then go to temple all day.  There was a feeling of cleansing oneself of sin (if you believed it).  Some people ate an awful lot the night before so it didn’t really matter if you ate much the next day cuz you really weren’t that hungry till nighttime anyway.  Others were quite hungry.  Then, traditionally, folks ate quite a lot that night, breaking the fast.  We would not drink wine at temple while praying about our sins.  Drinking wine on empty tummies would have been dumb because a lot of people would have gotten sick.  Whether or not there was a policy on drinking water, I don’t recall drinking much water at all during the day.  I think that was my mom’s problem.  We sat at temple all day and no water was passed around.  She’d get real sick.  Finally, she said she was getting too sick each year and was not going to fast anymore.

In 2002  I took a class on Eastern religions at Emerson.  I kept mum about my history when we discussed fasting in Buddhism.  The teacher said that he had experienced religious fasting.  He said the Buddhists are very careful about fasting and it is always supervised.  He said if any of us wanted to fast we should do it supervised as well.  He said also that he had a spiritual awakening while fasting, and that many people do.

Now, looking back, I ask myself what is the difference between the delirium or even psychosis produced by starvation, malnutrition, dehydration, and low blood sugar level and the spiritual awakening produced by a fast done for spiritual reasons.

But everyone is different.  Who am I to deny a person their miracle?  Of course not.  If someone feels something, they feel it and I will not deny it.  I feel that I do not have this right.

So anyway, I treat my body well now, but it does not trust me. It is always on guard.  In terms of water, my kidneys are permanently damaged and they need to be handled with special care.  This means that “water balance” is a big issue for me, and always will be.  I was seriously dehydrated in July 2011 and still have not caught up.  I woke up at 3am and here’s what occurred in the bathroom:

Yep, I fainted.  Totally unexpected.  It’s hard to remember.  I ran six laps yesterday morning and felt stronger than ever. I felt as though I could have run further but decided to postpone increasing by a lap until next week.  Later, I had some rather bad diarrhea, and decided not to eat corn anymore, not in quantity anyway.  It’s the second or third time I’ve had a reaction like that.  In the afternoon, I packed to go to the library, but received a phone call just prior to leaving.  We spoke for a long time and I ended up staying home.  The library is only open till 5 on Saturdays.  I went to bed very early, at 8pm.

I think I awoke at around 11:30 and went back to bed around 12:30 and felt crampy from my period, or I thought that was what it was from.  Then, suddenly, I knew I was in trouble.  Something wasn’t right.  It’s like you don’t know if you should get up or get down.  I had to use the toilet but didn’t know if I was going to make it over there.  I grabbed my blood pressure cuff.  It had been a while since I’d checked those figures.  I had to take my watch off to put the cuff on, but kept telling myself I didn’t want to lose my watch or my glasses, and needed to know where the phone was in case I decided to call the EMT’s, highly unlikely of course.

I made it to the bathroom and shit my brains out, as they say.

I’m not sure when it was that I passed out.  I fell on top of that quarter-circle table in the corner.  No broken glass as you can see, just dumped soap, and nothing liquid spilled.  I’m not hurt.

I managed to get up and took my blood pressure at some point.  It was 90 over 44.  And my pulse, which was in the mid40’s, and then dropped to 32, and then was in the 50’s, and is now safely between 60 and 72 depending on what I’m doing.

Who the heck knows what that was…dehydration I guess.  I feel super lousy today. I made it to church and I’m glad I went but it took everything out of me and as soon as I got home, I ate lunch and crashed for three hours.  My lips and eyes feel very dry, like I’ve had nothing to drink all day.  I’m not particularly hungry or thirsty, mostly tired, but I know I have to keep up with eating and drinking so my body does not become dehydrated again.

Tomorrow, my DMH person is coming over.  If she expects me to go to the ER, she’s wrong.  No way do I want to show up there and get misdiagnosed (for certain, that’s what will happen cuz they don’t know ED in those places) or risk getting sectioned again.  Cuz if I got sectioned, it would be for no valid reason.

Sometimes, you’re best off handling these things yourself.  Survival, remember?  Tomorrow, I’ll clean this place.

My new book

Wow, I just discovered these journal entries from last year.  I love these writings and there’s no reason they can’t be included in my new book as historical records of someone’s experience in a tough inner-city emergency room.  I’ve got all the entries in a “category” and they come up together.  You need to scroll backwards I think.  The link I’m providing is to the  beginning page.  The first in the series is posted first, so you need to scroll up.

http://juliemadblogger.wordpress.com/category/julies-writings/hospital-papers/er-series/page/3/

I also discovered some e-mails I never sent and voice recordings I made.

More plans for my new book…NaNoWriMo 2012, essay-style!

Last night I thought that maybe writing a political satire was biting off more than I could chew, especially if I am going to do this for Nano.  So I thought maybe if I wrote a series of essays it might work out better.  I thought up eleven essays.  The eighth I decided would require a great deal of research.  That one would be a book in itself, maybe its own project.  I would need to interview people, maybe put up signs getting people interested in talking to me and seeing where that led.  Which would eliminate the eighth chapter, leaving me with ten essays.

Perhaps I want to spend one-tenth of my tine and energy spent writing the book on each essay.  That would be the total number of hours I spend on each….theoretically.  As it looks now, I could spend about equal time on each chapter because each one looks equally weighty.  I have listed subtopics.

Oh, if only it were that simple.  But it could be, couldn’t it?  Just go down the list…check, check, check.

So I will arrive in North Carolina on the third.  No writing that day.  I’ll have the first and second to write.  But maybe I should figure it all in terms of hours.  How many hours per sub-topic.  So if I have a master list, then all I need is a desk, a candle, and an inkwell, and I should be all set.

My dad used to say that he got in trouble because he took the pigtails of the girl in front of him and stuck them in his inkwell.

To this day, I wonder if this is true.  It is possible that he only dreamed it.  That he wished it.  Had he done the deed in real life, after all, it might have gotten him sent to “reform school,” whether such a place existed or not.

And what became of the girl?  Did she ever find out about my dad’s secret desire?  Did they ever link up on Facebook?  Naw, only if she was Jewish, and then again, he died long before Facebook came into being.  If she was a Shiksa, she never heard from him again, and married a Goy.

Making Goals

I’m trying to prioritize right now, figure out what the most important things are that I need to accomplish. It’s so tough when I have a million ideas running through my head at once, just too many writing projects going on simultaneously. I’d say it’s damn annoying every time I start a new project I don’t finish. It’s especially annoying falling asleep while trying to write. I’m so damn tired a lot of the time. The fatigue overwhelms me and the only thing I can do is to abandon my project and collapse.

I discussed this with my DMH person. I decided to list my writing projects and then prioritize them. I decided that it seems like November is too soon to be writing this political satire. I need to write something else. I need to decide soon what that something else will be.

Thoughts on paranoia, "treatment," etc…When you are paranoid, you are the Center of the Universe, yet you suck

Wow, I had to go way, way back, and I found this:

pretty much a description of what I thought was the cause of the “anger machine.”  This is a phone call from the hospital when I’m describing how I felt since October.  It was all kinda unfolding just then.  But what they discovered was that there was indeed something wrong with my kidneys, a condition called diabetes insipidus due to having taken Lithium for 12 years.  The doctor who gave me lithium did not monitor my lithium level properly.  My parents, I recall, were disturbed about this.  I told them to mind their own business.  They would call Dr. C and nag him.  They had trouble with Dr. C to begin with over billing.  He was in Massachusetts but not far from the Vermont border.  They asked him to please become a Vermont Medicaid provider so they would not have to pay so much of the bill.  He complained that it was too much paperwork.  They took the trouble to mail him the paperwork and demanded that he fill it out.  This went back and forth and the long distance calls were expensive for my parents.  Meanwhile, writing the prescription for this lithium level to get done would have cost Dr. C nothing and my insurance would have paid for the blood test.  But he insisted that if my level was off, he would be able to tell.  Meanwhile, I was a shaky, pimply, bloated doped up mess.  I was sick of the hour drive all the way to see him, never mind that I could barely keep my eyes open while driving.  I believed he was more competent, certainly, than any of doctors in Vermont.  There were no therapists around, only this doctor, Dr. C. and his multitude of pills, Lithium and one antipsychotic after another.  Finally, I decided he himself was delusional, and I fled.  I moved in with my parents temporarily with intention of finding my own place in the Boston area, somewhere, anywhere I could find a cheap apartment.  I figure this was Boston and there must be more competent people in the Medical Hub of the Universe.

What became of Dr. C?  Oh, I did find out.  See, I found out through my friend A.  Turns out Dr. C did not have a license to practice medicine.  He got booted out.  Yep, that ‘s right.  I don’t know the whole story and I can’t find out any old dirt on him.  I think it’s all become hush-hush by now.  The institutions where he used to work have covered it all up.  As far as I can tell, it’s all been wiped from his record.  You can Google it and there’s nothing.  I don’t see “malpractice” anywhere and I don’t see “practicing without license” anywhere.  I don’t see any record of his having worked at Gould Farm, where I met him.  I have no clue if he’s alive or dead.

He was a nice guy I guess, just misguided.  “A” said he had a secretary and she wasn’t doing his job, but to tell you the honest truth, I never saw this supposed secretary.  I don’t think he had a secretary.  I think he did his own paperwork .  My parents would have known about this secretary because they would have gone through her regarding Medicaid.  When I called him, he picked up his own phone.

What was this “black box warning” I spoke about in the recording?  Dr. P, my current psychiatrist, says it was not a side effect of Imipramine, but that it was my paranoia.  I must have begun to feel paranoid around the time I began taking Imipramine, or Desipramine, which would have been last fall, like October or so.  I felt like I was getting the “black box warning,” that agitation feeling.  I was really, really scared, and I kept it all secret.  I thought what  I was going through was from the antidepressant, but the antidepressant was helping with binge eating, so I didn’t want to stop the med.

The paranoia didn’t go away and of course, I was surprised because I mistakenly thought it was temporary.  I was wrong.  I lived with it and lived with it.  At the time that I made this recording, I was hoping that maybe they’d find that this “anger machine” thing, whatever it was, came from the kidney problem, and if they could solve that, the whole problem would be solved.

Well, they were wrong about that, too.  As far as the anger machine went, they just threw their hands up in the air.  I left the hospital with the problem unsolved.

The only question that got answered was, “Why do I drink so much water?”  I left pissed off (as you know), scared, angry, with nothing solved as far as my eating disorder goes, and of course I was thirsty and dehydrated.  They didn’t even treat the binge eating I came in for!  They know nothing about binge eating there.  They do not treat this behavior at the inpatient level and they should have been straight about this with me to begin with instead of stringing me along.

So it was my psychiatrist, Dr. P, who told me that the “black box warning” I describe in this recording was not from the Imipramine at all.  It was the insidious creeping up of psychosis as a result of being entirely off antipsychotic medication.  You think you’re fine and you don’t know it’s happening to you.  A doctor might ask, “Do you see things that aren’t there,” or, “Do you believe things that aren’t true,” but how do you know this if you are psychotic to begin with?  How do you know these beliefs are bizarre?  If you are psychotic, you don’t recognize that your beliefs are unusual.  You think you are normal.  You think something’s wrong with everyone else.

When you are paranoid, you feel persecuted.  You feel wronged.  It’s incredibly uncomfortable.  You have very low self-esteem, and yet when you are paranoid you are always the Center of the Universe.  You are always very, very angry and you feel that everyone is angry at you and everyone is centered on getting back at you.  Everyone is onto you.  All eyes are upon you.  When you walk into a room, they are all looking at you.  There are always cameras.  You are so, so important, and yet you suck.

It’s so perfect being Jewish and paranoid.  Oh, I can be anorexic and persecuted and paranoid too.   See, I fell into the role.  Any kind of disabled and discriminated against will work fine.  I got back on my antipsychotic and poof!  Paranoia gone.

Insomnia plays a role in paranoia.  Problem is, anorexia causes insomnia.  The insomnia I’m going through now is purely physical due to past starvation.  No, I do not have nightmares, I’m not anxious or racy at night and I do not have poor sleep hygiene.  Peggy Claude Pierre mentions this insomnia frequently in her book, which I am now reading, but I have not gotten to the specific cause.  Apparently she is going to lay it out, or I hope she does.  I’m wondering if it has to do with protein or water balance.  Lots of the girls at the hospital were given sleep meds, but I don’t want to go that route.  Most were given Seroquel to make them gain weight, by the way.  The nurse freely admitted this to me when I confronted her. The patients were routinely lied to about this side effect.

So, what now?  Where do I go from here?  What goals do I set?  What can I accomplish?  

How can I change the world?  How can make life better for folks like me?  Folks who are misunderstood and misinterpreted and misdiagnosed?

How can I see to it that folks with eating disorders get treatment that is accessible for EVERYONE, treatment that really works, treatment that isn’t forced, treatment based on choice and knowledge and mutual trust and understanding?

How can I see to it that nobody gets me discouraged or convinces me to give up the fight?  This is not “phase”…..I really AM going to make these changes, I really AM going to follow through!

Maybe the first step is to make sure I keep after DMH and see to it that my “telephone rights” human rights claim from about three weeks ago is followed up on.  So there’s a phone call I need to make.  Those a-hole staff have not seen the end of me yet…when they see those walls built around the phones, they will be shaking in their boots, knowing that yes, that obnoxious patient they lied to and tried their darndest to SHUT UP did indeed get something done!

Click on the book to purchase!

 

Pork dinner for Puzzle!

Not quite done:

I have two pork chops marinating in juices of chicken and beef kidney. I think there is some chicken liver in there.

 

Done!

These two pork chops were perfectly done when I took them out. I plan to mix them with a bit of pumpkin for Puzzle, and probably some oats and rice.