Finders Keepers Losers Weepers

They say that the change of season is the time to say goodbye to the old, and perhaps also time to bring in the new.  People talk about renewal and growth and change.

We are nearing the solstice and it’s a time to think about darkness and light and the sun.

It occurs to me that right now I am sitting here at my desk and besides my lone desk lamp, the light coming from the computer monitor, and a small amount of daylight coming in through a nearly closed shade, there is no light in here.  Sure, there are other lights I could turn on, and I could raise all my shades, but I choose not to.

No, I honestly feel that the “negative energy” (as someone recently put it) that I currently experience has absolutely nothing to do with “absence of light,” “seasonal affective disorder,” “holiday blues,” or anything like that.  Cold, ice, and snow pose practical difficulties for me and discomfort but do not cause “depression,” if you want to call it that.

It’s my circumstances that make me this way.  It’s the way people treat me.  It’s the general attitude and the disrespect I get from society in general.  It’s tough to live with from day to day, so I’ve become bitter.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…..Mental illness is three-fold:

1) The way we are inside
2) The way society treats us
3) The result of “treatment”

…not necessarily equally proportioned, and not proportioned the same for everyone.  Some never seek treatment or are never able to afford treatment, so #3 may not apply.  A few people luck out, generally those with money, and receive decent, appropriate, respectful treatment, and these lucky people improve.  Most, however contract secondary illnesses or symptoms or side effects as a result of routine treatment or inappropriate treatment or downright bad treatment.

I believe that I became the bitter, angry bitch that I am that no one can stand to be around because of #2 and #3.  People are not born bitter and angry and I was not this way as a child, certainly.

I wasn’t even this way a few years ago.  I was searching around for a thumb drive to transfer my Nano book onto, as I don’t want to keep it on the thumb drive it’s on now.  I located one I haven’t used for years.  I plugged it into my computer and was surprised to find some old videos made in 2007.  I viewed one of them.  This was made before I relapsed with my anorexia.  I was immersed in graduate school and Puzzle was about a year old.

My first reaction?  No, I did not say, “Oh my god, I’m so fat!”…well, I did say that, but my very first reaction before the “f” word was to note how slowed down I seemed on so much medication.   Sure enough, I took out a huge box and showed the audience all my bottles of pills, stating that I took meds four times a day.   I showed the audience a pile of papers and stated that this was the work I was doing for graduate school.

I had only been watching the flick for a few seconds when the “fat” adjectives started running through my head.  I promised myself I would never look like that again.  I asked myself, “How could I stand to look like that when now, x pounds lighter, I still feel like I need to lose weight, and am still starving myself?”

Seeing Puzzle pop onscreen at the end of the video made it worth its weight in gold, as they say.  She was such a little fuzzy floppy little creature at a year old.

Recently, as I was finishing up Nano, I found another video of myself, made a few weeks after the summer solstice of this year.  Readers, you may or may not remember this, but back then, I was suffering from severe binge eating.  In the video, dated in July, I am in a state of despair over my weight and the fact that I felt that the binge eating would never end.  I was heavier than I am now.  I had sought treatment and was unable to find appropriate treatment anywhere.  It wasn’t affordable or it was inaccessible to me.

I watched the video a few nights ago.  It made me so, so sad.  I cringed seeing my face because (sorry, only being honest here) my cheeks seemed “fat” to me and the expression on my face was one of pure misery.  And again, just being honest, I had no desire to go on living.  And no, no one knew the depth of this and no one ever found out even after I was “sectioned.”  I was “sectioned” for petty reasons and I never admitted my suicidality to anyone.  Not that I’m going to talk about it all that much here.  Again, this was a number of months ago.

I like that I have old videos.  I like that today, I gave away a dress to charity.  It is one of the dressed I hid in last spring.  I hid my body because I was ashamed of weight gain.  So in that sense, I was throwing out clothes that symbolized a miserable time.  Some people, when they lose weight, toss out their “fat clothes” but this dress was more like “hiding clothes.”

And bring in the new….On my way home from the clothes charity drop box, I found a necktie on the ground.  It is still wet, and I am hanging it to dry.  I see no stains on it.  Finders keepers losers weepers.

I am a loser and a weeper but I have found a treasure today.  And it fits, too.  Joy to the world.

16 thoughts on “Finders Keepers Losers Weepers”

  1. What about 4. The way you treat others? Are you exempt from that because you are “mentally ill?”. What effect does the way YOU treat others effect how others treat you? Just curious…

    1. I did not say I blame others for my behavior. I am an adult and take responsibility for my actions. I blame the behavior of others for my eventual development of distrust in relationships, my distrust in the world, my thoughts of disgust with humanity, the growing evidence that I am not respected by people either as a writer or as a capable adult human being, and my resulting lack of any sort of purpose. If I kill someone or kill myself or starve to death as a result of my feelings of distrust, etc, of course it’s my doing, and no one else’s. I was going to do it, suicide that is, quite actively, for revenge, on several occasions, but practicalities got in the way. This was quite some time ago and no one found out.

      Your #4 is an example of assumption and judgment on your part. Making assumptions and judgments about people who are mentally ill is one of those things I’m talking about. You and I have never met. Some people, a few that is, say I’m a very sweet and kind person and don’t see me as a bitch at all. I’ve even asked, and these few special people are incredulous that anyone would ever dump me or step on me, except to say that there are such dumpers and steppers out there in the world and to beware of them. I am on high alert.

      Julie

  2. It would be a shame to lose you to something as stupid as suicide, or as evil as homicide. I say we leave the “cides” out of it altogether. And, I do understand the despair of sucicide and the ramifications of its “success”. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary situtation, and the utter expression of self absorption. YOU are obliviously smarter than that.

    As for #4, I am not making assumptions or being judgmental. I knew a woman whom I love, who is mentally ill. We are no longer close because of her choices, which had difficult effects on me and my family. We loved her like a relative, and I never would have ever thought that she could drive me away. I am a loyal person, and I don’t let go of friendships. She repeatedly made it difficult to be her friend. She would frequently cancel at the last minute, disappointing not only me, but my family- my small children. How do you explain to a young child that Auntie Joanie wouldn’t be coming to their party (or whatever) AGAIN. After many years the disappointment got to be too much and no matter what I did or how patient we were or how accepting or understanding, it was never enough. And she wasn’t able to put her issues aside for us, even when it was important. So we distanced ourselves. I miss her daily. I think about her daily, even now. She would tell you that i was one of those people who prove that people are dumpers and steppers. That she is mentally ill and “cant help it” I mourn for both of our losses.

    Don’t know what the answer is… Just seems that there is a lot of talk about how badly you are treated and how awful those that left you are, and no talk about what that is like for those that want to care about you, but are rejected by you or by what you expect them to tolerate. You have almost starved yourself to death. How does someone who loves you deal with your self destruction? How do they stand by, when you reject their words, their attempts to care, while you continue down such a destructive path? What are they suppose to do with their anger at you, that can’t be addressed because you are mentally ill?

    You are obliviously a very talented writer, who can share your life experience with the world though your blog, which I obliviously follow. I can see that you have had a very difficult life and I wanrt you to know that even though we don’t know each other, I pray that you find peace and contentment and acceptance.

    MB

    1. Matilda, I honestly don’t know why my brothers rejected me. I have repeatedly asked them, and they both repeatedly claim they do not have room in their “hectic” lives for me and they have no time for me. It gets extreme, they can take no time off of work for me, yet I have seen them take time off of work in other situations, and make sudden changes of plans for other relatives. So I do not believe they are being honest with me. I cannot address their frustration, nor do I even know if they are frustrated with me. Most likely they are not, because their contact is so minimal and limited, so they have nothing to base any frustration on. They do not know me. I have repeatedly attempted to engage in conversation and gently inquire if they can change their behavior and perhaps bring me back into their lives, and again, the same ole lines, no time for you, Sis. Maybe they are way way way in outer space? It doesn’t seem at all like your situation.

  3. Been sitting here for some time trying to find the words to respond, but I really don’t enough about your brothers and your history to make an honest response. Find myself making assumptions that may be unjust. It is hard to make amends when you aren’t sure of the infractions and if they won’t give you a chance or communicate…. I know that in my situtation, it became a matter of seemingly one-sidedness… It was her way. Period. No give to us at all, or so it seemed to my family and me. That is not a real relationship. That has no give and take or caring for our reality. That is not a friendship. She did not engage in physical self destruction, which, for me, would further complicate the situtation, but we couldn’t do it anymore. Don’t know what I would do if she contacted me now. It’s been, six-seven years. I don’t want to go back to how it was… And, to be honest, not sure I’d believe her if she promised change… She’s done that before. How long before we are back where we were? I can feel my defensiveness rise up as I am writing this. Self preservation and protection for my family. Not saying this is right or just.

    If pressed, what would you guess are the issues for your brothers estrangement?

    That is a place to start.

    MB

    1. Issues? I would have absolutely no clue. I have asked over and over and they have repeatedly told me they have no time for me. No room in their busy, busy schedules. Both of them. That’s the only answer. Too many lessons to take the kids to, or busy work schedules. Ski vacations, work parties, pool parties, you name it. All that kind of stuff that is not the way I’ve ended up living, that’s for sure.

      1. Obviously there are family issues that I am unaware of. We all make choices at times that are right for us for whatever reason, but aren’t seen as right by others. When was the last time your brothers asked you to do something? What was your response? Family relations are so wrought with history that what’s important is sometimes missed.

        1. They don’t ask me to do anything. They rarely speak to me. One of them calls now and then and the other one, the one that lives nearby, never calls. We just say, “Hi, how are you?” stuff like that.

  4. Not really sure how we got here, and I realize I am seeing this from my viewpoint… Nevertheless, it seems to me that you wrote a blog a while back that your brother had called to solicit your help with your mother, who had fallen and was in the hospital. You were struggling at that time, and also ended up in the hospital. You told your brother that you couldn’t help, and to not list you as a contact for your mother. As the daughter of an elderly parent with dementia, it does not inspire familial love, when there is a crisis with a parent, and one of the offspring refuses, for whatever reason, to participate and help. I am aware, through your blog, that you are not your mother’s biggest fan… But at this point, it may be more about your brothers than it is about your mother, at least to them. It’s the whole concept which is what prompted my initial comment. You were blogging about how bitter you were about how others treat you, and how friends and society disrespect you due to your mental illness, and listed three reasons: the way you are, the way society treats you, and the treatment you received… And I added, “and the way you treat others”, …just saying… you having a mental illness doesn’t define YOU and despite it, you have to be aware of how your interactions affect others. And be responsible for it. Maybe I expect too much, but somehow it makes sense to me.

    1. Yeah, I told my brother I was in a bad way, needed to be hospitalized. I was far too weak and sick to help out.

      If your sister were having chemo, or had a broken leg, would you expect her to help with your mother who had dementia? I don’t think so. I was in bad shape physically, was starved, dehydrated, delirious, and my blood sugar was getting so low that I’m surprised I wasn’t comatose. Would you ask your sister to walk on a fractured leg? If she tries to stand, she’s gonna fall. Would you say she’s making “lame excuses”?

      I have witnessed other patients in bad shape mentally and physically due to starvation. No, not making excuses. They are really trying. it’s physically impossible. Their bodies are exhausted. Their concentration is shot. In my case, from what I can tell from my records, I was completely out of my head.

      I think you are really going a step too far and taking your own grudges out on me. No, he didn’t expect me to help, just called to inform me. I told him I was headed to the hospital, might not live long another day (I wasn’t going to be admitted for another two days, insurance probably), and I didn’t hear from him for another two months. Neither brother called or visited while I was in the hospital. Some caring family.

      Well, when family doesn’t give a shit, you make your own.

      Julie

      1. Julie, you have such a great sense of humor and a sense of yourself. It is such a contradiction from the desperate persona who hates the world and is hated. And such a contradiction for someone so smart and witty to be so enslaved by your anorexia and illness. It is beyond sad that your brothers and their families are missing out. However… You have to stop hating yourself and stop starving yourself. I guess that is easier said than done. I think I am angry at you, someone I don’t know. How dare you mistreat someone like you? I wonder if your brothers have become jaded to protect themselves from your pain.

        You blogged recently that you lost readers when you were doing okay. How sad is that! I want you to know that this is not true for me. You being well and happy is the ultimate goal.

        However- keep in mind that behavior, no matter how justified has consequences. You can’t answer for your brothers… Only for yourself. I have told you before: you are smarter than this illness. And your behavior does effect others- always.

  5. I wish I dared to respond to the number 4 that Matilda asked about. I know why I became one of those people that you think gave up on you or blame you for your illness non of which is true. Relationships are give and take and full of emotions. In my relationship with you I feel manipulated, I feel like I enable you to continue your illness and I can’t live with that. You seemed to forget who you are aside of your mental illness and put all your energy into striving to be what you know so that you can stay Ill and right books about it while the rest of us get left in your self-centered wave of dust. You think people don’t care when in reality we worry when several days go and you have not written in your blog. Is Julie okay? The fear that you might have really killed yourself this time lingers. I’ve taken many calls when you were in the ER desperately wanting help, and I desperately wanted you better. I wanted the friend that was so damn smart and caring, the one who used to ask how I was and I believed really cared. In the end I was always left disappointed because instead of letting go and excepting help you thought you were better than the other sick people in the hospital, wiser than the therapist working in the hospital. And then the calls would come, you Julie Greene on the other end plotting how you were going to get out of the hospital before you were ready, how you knew what you needed more than any doctor. You resist treatment, come home and the cycle starts all over again. You think i’m the mean bitch that pushes you away because of our mental illness and I feel like the hurting friend who, just wants to know the Julie I first met. The one that inspite of a mental illness could reach out to others for support and to offer support, the woman who got a masters degree. The woman who opened her home for me to visit, have coffee together, and walk down the street to have a meal. Where did that loving caring person go? And why are you so angry and think the world is against you? You are smart enough to reflect on the question Matilda ask? What about the way you treat others? You don’t get a free pass just because you have a mental illness, just like I don’t get a free pass because I have depression, and alcoholism. I love you Julie Greene and if you could bring more to our friendship than an obsession of your own mental illness I would bend over backwards to welcome you in my life. But calling me every few months and telling me you are going to die and then refuse treatment doesn’t work for me. That doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. Friendships never are, it just means being able to share your wellness and choosing wellness over illness. It really is a choice Julie and I know many people with mental illness that choose wellness and when they relapse they choice to fight to get well again. When you choose to do so, you will be capable of writing an incredible blog on your recovery. What will it feel like to inspire others? I know you will be able to.

    1. Great to hear from you, Susan. Well, thanks for finally coming out with it and thanks for (I think) being honest.

      So, an “incredible blog” is only one about “recovery”?

      If you knew the reason for my silence, I think you would think twice. I have been busy. It’s not those things you were mentioning…I am not dead or in the hospital or incapacitated. Not at all.

      For one thing, I won my human rights case. I believe I have mentioned this. I posted the following (publicly) on Facebook:

      “Victory! They told me, “Give up.” They told me, “What’s the big deal?” They told me, “Shut up and listen, Julie, you are just a stupid mental patient. You DESERVE to have your rights taken away because you are sick.” Well, I did it. Army of one. Because of MY ACTIONS and MY WORDS, the Alcott Unit (eating disorders inpatient treatment, where I have been incarcerated a number of times) has finally been forced to build privacy screens around the hallway phones so that patients can have confidential phone calls in accordance with Massachusetts laws. I promised this to my fellow patients upon leaving, and I did it. YES I CAN!”

      …and suddenly am getting thanked profusely by former patients….I actually got “liked.” Wow.

      It’s this kind of thing that keeps me going and gives me a reason to go on with it all. Helping others. Helping scared kids phone home without “staff” listening in. That’s all I want. To help the starving kids locked up in that place.

      And…something else is going on that I am keeping very, very private right now. That is the reason for my silence. Within a few weeks or a month, I’ll talk about it some.

      I do appreciate your honesty and openness and willingness to “take me back” if I choose wellness. Gee.

      1. Susan. Thank you so much for writing. You are saying what I tried to say. I truely wish that Julie will hear our words with her magnificent brain and not cloud it over with her defenses.

        Julie, helping others and standing up for those who can’t is admirable and commendable, but that is simply not what we are talking about. We are talking about personal relationships with specific people. You can write an incredible blog about illness, and you have. However, it is very likely that your blog about your wellness, should you obtain it, will über incredible and enlightening.
        It is so hard to watch you struggle, and when you finally get do get yourself admitted, the first thing you do is turn on the treatment. You don’t give it a chance. You know more. You have a better way. You find something else to focus on rather than your treatment and issues. And then you seem to undermine the treatment efforts and then decide to leave before any shift has taken place with you, and then the cycle repeats. And this “secret” thing is a recurring thing, too. You have blogged several times about some secret you are up to.
        Perhaps you really are unaware of how you interact with others and how your behavior and choices effect those relationships. You have stated how you want friends and to be accepted. Is there any part of what we are saying that makes sense to you about how your choices and behavior hurts your relationships? With Susan? With your brothers? With your therapists?
        I pray that you find wellness. I pray that you find happiness. I pray that you find change. And always remember the definition of crazy: doing the same things over snd over and expecting the results to be different. MB

Feedback and comments welcome!