New and old photos of Puzzle and me….

Just thought I’d share these….

First, this one, which you’ve seen before, taken about a year ago.  I’ll call it, “Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.”  Julie and Puzzle, September 2012.

Puzzle and Julie, for church 9_2_12

Here I am roughly a month ago. I believe August 6, 2013 .  Maybe I’ve found out that a monsoon has indeed hit the house.  Of course, this kind of thing happens to folks.  When it does, it tends to sweep you off your feet.  It will also kill off a witch or two in the process.  I stole this photo off of a You-Tube I made that day, or evening.  You can view the You-Tube on my Juliemadblogger channel.  I made a couple around that time and I’m rather out of it, I must say.   I viewed them both, rather cautiously, while a patient in the hospital.  I don’t think any doctor or nurse knew I was accessing my own recent past.  Surely, they may have “advised” against it, or thought I had “no self-awareness” or “no insight,” as they call it, to at all recall having done these You-Tubes.  However, I certainly remembered it.  I have the keen memory of a writer, a  memoirist.  They forgot this, as these practitioners always have over the years.  We can forgive them, I suppose.  They don’t have the training I have as writers.  The pen is mighty indeed.  Here’s the photo.

snapshot_005

Here is the last photo I’m showing you tonight….taken just now, that is, tonight, September 11, 2013, roughly a year after the first photo I showed you of me and Puzzle together, the  one on the top of this entry.  Here is the one I just took of us.  We’re not in the same room.  We’re in my bedroom.  I’ll call the photo, “Still crazy, alive, proud, and together after all these years, Julie and Puzzle.  Nyah nyah.”

Picture 8

Doesn’t Puzzle look fabulous?  She’s so darned cute.  Must say, I’m a little bit on the cute and funny side myself.  It’s one of our many assets.

You-Tube, parts one and two, about Gould Farm

Here’s part one, just uploaded, boy did I have fun making these!

And here’s part two!

Of course, my chapter, “The Farm,” sums up these You-Tubes in only a few paragraphs.  You can find it in my memoir, This Hunger Is Secret: My Journeys Through Mental Illness and Wellness.

Yellow raincoat, again

I’m sure glad it rained to justify my wearing my yellow raincoat today.  That’s what I wear when my self-esteem regarding my body hits an all-time low.  Or if I can’t wear a large, bulky down coat to hide myself instead.

It’s a large, wide yellow slicker that I got for free at the Salvation Army.  I love that raincoat, actually.  It covers me totally and doesn’t show a damn thing.  It doesn’t have those dopey padded shoulders that make me look even fatter than I already am, and it doesn’t have a belt that shows off how fat my waist has gotten.  So really, it’s ideal.  Not only that, but it’s waterproof, it’s really a raincoat, not fake, not just “for style.”

So I was quite happy when in fact it did start raining.  So no, it wasn’t all that weird that I was wearing it while out walking Puzzle.  I haven’t showered in days.  I’m wearing the same stupid shirt I’ve had on for days and I threw on a pair of hospital pants, which is what I throw on when I can’t wear anything else.  If I try to wear regular clothes, they just plain hurt.  All my clothes hurt and I don’t want them on at all.  It hurts just for my body to touch them, to make contact with them.  Actually, my body hurts all the time anyway.

There’s no point in getting on the scale and no reason to do so.  I know about ten pounds of weight gain, literally, is the contents of my stomach and intestinal tract.  And then another four pounds or so of edema I figure, possibly five, or more.  Maybe a pound is actual weight gain that will probably go away if I stop binge eating for a few days.  As for the digestive contents, that takes days and days to go away.  The edema could take weeks. The physical discomfort I feel will subside…if only I could stop this binge eating.  If only.  If not, it just gets worse and worse.

I can barely walk as it is.  I have no clue how I’m going to continue to take care of Puzzle, but I don’t want to be without her.  I’m barely managing.  Of course I’m not sleeping at all.

The embarrassment I feel?  That’s up to me I suppose.  I can hide all I want and hiding does indeed help me feel less embarrassed.  The raincoat does help.  Because truthfully, it’s none of anyone’s business, this weight gain and bloat and the way my stomach looks and my puffed-up feet and the way my legs waddle when I walk.  I don’t go out, period.  I walk the dog and that’s it.  Oh yeah, I go out and secretly buy food in the night.  How great is that?  I just feel worse and worse.  I hope the binge eating stops soon.  On Wednesday, I’ll be on Topamax a week.  I’m just hoping it kicks in very, very soon.  It does tend to work, thank goodness, to stop binge eating, and it’s about the only thing that works for me.

My newsletter!

In celebration of firing Dr. P, I’ve decided to empower myself and start my own newsletter.  I suppose I’ll just write one up and put it into a .pdf or whatever and send it out.  Something along the lines of empowerment but with a bit of a twist.

I wish I knew how to make super nice-looking newsletters really quickly, but I don’t.  It doesn’t matter.  It doesn’t have to look snazzy at first.  Just have good articles.  Helpful ones that people can relate to.

Dr. P told me, “I’m giving you this pill to shut you up.”  Therefore, I will not shut up, Dr. P.   I will not shut up.  I will not shut up.  I will not shut up so I am going to celebrate just what a big mouth I have.  May we all be so empowered.

You might just find yourself on my mailing list.  Feel blessed.  If you don’t, keep it to yourself.

Out a month

I’ve been out of the hospital for a month now.  I’m very happy to be free and alone and have my privacy and to be with Puzzle is a joy.  I’m very happy not to be forced to do anything.  I’m very happy not to be followed around constantly by people who think I’m “dangerous” or some kind of criminal or insane or kooky or think I speak in “word salad.”

If you don’t know what “word salad” is, go look it up.  When I was in the hospital, every time I spoke, the nurses looked at each other as if I’d spoken in word salad.  Stupid asses.  They’d look at each other and ask, out loud, “What did she say?”  They’d shrug and look at each other, wide-eyed, stupidly.  Then they’d just plain ignore me as if I hadn’t spoken.

So now, I say what I want and do what I want.  I don’t say much cuz no one’s around and I don’t see anyone.

I’ll tell you the truth: I’ve been binge eating a lot.  I’m very unhappy.  Desperately unhappy.  I got the kidney doc’s approval to start the Topamax back up again, but he wanted psychiatry’s okay.  I told myself, fuck psychiatry, what do they have to do with it?  I restarted the Topamax.  It’s my body.  I want to live, and this binge eating makes me wish I was dead all the time.  I am scared that I will actually get suicidal.  I was on the verge of acting on my wishes briefly, due to the binge eating, never mind when, but fortunately, these moments don’t last very long.   So I am restarting the Topamax, basically, to save my life, to save myself from suicide, because this binge eating is going to drive me to do something really terrible very soon otherwise.

And they say binge eating isn’t serious.  ha ha ha.

Yeah, that’s what they told me when I was 23.  That eating disorders were minor diseases that only rich adolescent girls had and that I would get over it.  They emphasized “rich” and asked about my parents, asked a lot about them.  Hmm.  Saying we were Jewish, eh?  So those practitioners took money from my parents and lots of that.

You hear stories, lots of stories, worse stories about how practitioners took money from Jewish families in the 1980’s and ’90’s.  Thousands, millions of dollars to “save” their “sick” daughters from whatever “minor” mental ailments they had, such as eating disorders.

So, I’m 55 now.  It’s been 34 years I’ve had this eating disorder.  A month ago, I almost died of that eating disorder.  I live in poverty and my dad died when I was 39 and my brothers are disgusted with me.  I’ve got bills coming out of my ears.  Or so the expression goes.

Anyway, my main goal now is to stop the binge eating so that I can regain some sense of dignity.  At least take a shower and get out of the house, put some clothes on or something.  I’ve been stuck in the house for a month pretty much.  I can barely even get out of bed after I binge, not because of depression but because I am so stuffed I cannot physically move my body.  I have been so physically ill that I haven’t slept for days.  I’m really not sure if my kidneys can handle this.  I’m afraid to ask.  They say binge eating won’t kill you but I’m sure they’re “dead” wrong on this one.  Not that I’m “dead” set on proving them wrong or anything.  I’m tired of not being taken seriously, then again, I have been fighting this one for 34 years and have yet to be taken seriously.  Only given antipsychotics and told I was lying, exaggerating, and inventing my illnesses.  So I invented eating disorders?  Sorry, I wasn’t the first….

Anyway, in celebration of firing Dr. P, I’ve decided to empower myself.  Oh, I’ll tell you about that in my next installment….

Stickers on the calendar

When I was a kid, my mom schemed with our pediatrician some weird way to get me to poop more often.  She had this “rewards” system.  She’d put a sticker on the calendar on the days that I had a bowel movement.  She made a big deal of this.  She would go “inspect” the poops I made to make sure I was telling the truth.  Then she’d make a big ceremony out of those stickers.  Kids love stickers, or so I hear.

So today is September 9, 2013.  I’m not sure about those stickers today.  It’s before 5am.  I’m not sure when it all started.  I’ve been awake most of the night.  I threw up a couple of times.  It’s extremely rare for me to throw up, maybe once every five or ten years or so.  I don’t even know how to self-induce vomiting.  There was blood in my vomit both times but just a little bit.  I thought it was my imagination at first, just the color of food maybe, but then when it happened the second time, too, I told myself, “Naw, that’s blood.”  I’m wicked nauseous, too.  I wish I could make the nausea go away.  Anyway, I’ve pooped diarrhea too.

If I were to phone the doc, she’d ask me how many times I had diarrhea.  So I’d think of those stickers.  How many stickers do you think I earned today?  Too many to fit onto September 9 on that calendar my mom had.  Way too many.

Maybe if I’d known I was gonna ever want to keep a running count, I would have tacked a scratch pad on the wall.  Or maybe just written right directly onto the wall, some sort of tally.

Some day, I suppose, after I’m gone, the Housing Authority will do what it always does when an apartment here is vacated.  They re-do the floors and paint over the walls.  They’ll wonder what those tallies are in the bathroom.  Don’t worry, guys, it’s just toilet stuff.  Some old crazy girl earned her stickers at last.

Santa Fe, far away

Or someplace like that.  Very far away.

Maybe me and Puzzle, we can sleep in our sleeping bag just like we do now.  Just about anywhere, I’d say.

We could sleep on the top of a mountain in our sleeping bag.  It would be okay cuz we don’t snore.

She would dream about stars.  Me, chicken soup I suppose in a big bowl.

Somewhere there’s a sign that says, “Welcome Home.”

Walls

I know that I’ve been in “groups” where the group leader will act like certain group members don’t have real feelings.  These group members will be totally overlooked.  No one will ask them how they are feeling or how their day is going.  It is very sad that these patients are ignored and treated like they aren’t even human.

This often happens to patients who are psychotic.  Or it happens to patients who have trouble hearing or who cannot understand English too well.  Or to patients who have dementia.  It’s very sad to see this happen, to see these walls.

If anything “happens” to me

I was in the hospital on a section.  I didn’t know they had a section on me.  They put “sitters” in my room for no reason, or no reason that was explained to me.  “Sitters” are people hired to watch you 24/7.  I had no clue why they were watching me so closely.  The “sitters” were mean and abusive, not all of them, but many.  You don’t know what I am talking about until you’ve had “sitters” yourself and gone through what I began to call “sitter hell.”

Some stare at you.  I mean really glare, they don’t move their eyes from you, they keep on staring.  That is bad enough.  Some are bossy.  One shoved me this way and that repeatedly, physically shoving me.  Many insisted on watching TV even though I wanted it off.   They would grab the TV control from me and turn the thing on.  The TV speakers were located on the side of my bed and blasted into my ears while I lay there.  I couldn’t stand the flickering of the TV either.  I paid for the corded hospital phone I had in my room and several sitters insisted on using it.  They never asked me for permission to use it, they just grabbed it and started talking.  One used my phone for the entire shift, and when the nurses walked by, she put the phone down right behind the bed, so none of the nurses walking by could see that she was speaking on my phone.

I was so fed up.  I tried to report this sitter to the nurses.  I went up to the first nurse who turned her back on me and said, “I saw nothing wrong.  I saw the sitter doing her job.”

I felt like crying.  Would no one believe me?  What kind of place was this where I was never believed and everything I said was automatically bullshit?  So I told the next sitter who came.  She believed me.  She told another sitter and the two of them did in fact believe me and wanted justice for me.  So they told me to go to another nurse.  “Just keep going to them,” the nice sitter said, “and someone will listen.”

It was finally midnight when the two sitters who were on my side got the nurses to see what had happened.  In fact, they got the nursing supervisor up to my room where I gave a report.  I was so fed up.

The nursing supervisor finally came and I told her what this sitter had done.  I explained how she used my phone for the whole shift.  I explained that when someone from the outside called for me, this sitter answered MY phone and told the caller, “You’ve called the wrong number,” and hung up, then resumed her own personal calls.  I told the nursing supervisor that this sitter had received her own personal calls on my phone as well as made them.

At one point, as I explained to the supervisor, I picked up the phone and it was some guy, obviously calling for the sitter.  I gave her the phone, disgusted.  She babbled into it and hung up, saying to me, “That was a wrong number.  Some Chinese guy.  I don’t know what he was talking about.”  I said, “Oh,” to the sitter, knowing she was full of baloney.  Then I saw her call him back and tell him how she fooled me.  She was cackling, again hiding the phone when nursing staff walked by, so no one ever knew what she was up to.  Doing her job, eh?  For the entire eight-hour shift, she babbled on my phone.

“I pay out of pocket by the day for that phone,” I told the supervisor.  “When I asked her to stop, she wouldn’t.  She insisted she needed the phone to make calls to doctors’ offices.  For eight hours?”

It wasn’t just one sitter.  Many of them were abusive.  I liked it when they slept on the job because when they closed their eyes it meant privacy for me.  Once, they sent a guy sitter.  The johnnies the hospital had didn’t cover me well.  No matter, I had the right to ask for a switch.  So I asked for a switch and right away they said there were no others and I’d have to have a guy sitter for the night.

I slept in my clothes that night.  I had no choice.  Those johnnies didn’t cover me at all.  So in the morning, the nurses were talking about my sleeping in my clothes and maybe was doing so because I was going to “escape.”

The next day, they sent another guy sitter.  It was Monday morning.  He said there were no other sitters.  I said, “It’s Monday day shift.  I find it hard to believe there are no female sitters available on a 7-3 weekday shift.   Will you please call and find out?”

He said, “There are no others.  I’m a nice guy.”

I said, “Will you call?”

He said, “I’m a nice guy.”  Then I realized that he had heard I was “easy” and he wanted an “easy” shift, so he wanted to stay with me and maybe be lazy instead of being assigned to another patient.  I insisted, though.  I was tired of not being heard.

I said, “If you don’t call, I’m going to go to the nurses and ask them to call.”

He said, “Oh, no, you can’t go into the hall.  Oh no!”

I said, “Well, if you won’t make the call to see about a schedule change, I’m going to have to have the nurses make the call, right?”

“There are no others.  I’m a nice guy.”

So I went to the nurses station.  They all acted like I was a pain in the butt and they wanted nothing to do with me.  I could get no one’s attention.  The unit secretary always talked to me like she was a kindergarten teacher.  Finally, I got a nurse’s attention and I explained the problem.  I explained how I had told the sitter to call for a change and he had refused.

Immediately, they responded and got me someone else.  So Julie isn’t so crazy after all.  Wow, that took so much damn effort though.

The foolish sitter left his papers with me, the papers he was supposed to leave with the nurses.  It’s a yellow paper telling the sitter that if I talk about escaping or if I talk about suicide, they are supposed to report it.  I still have that yellow paper.  Dumb guy.

So anyway, if you haven’t been through Sitter Hell, then you don’t know what I mean at all.  Try being stared at for eight hours straight and maybe you’ll see my point.  Try being started at for over a week straight.  Add to that being weak, immobile, attached to an IV pole, and pretty much having all your rights taken away and maybe you see where I’m coming from.  Add to that deafening construction noise, loud nonstop beeping noises in the hall, and threats of going to yet another “hospital” after this one.

So one day, the doc told me he would not let me out of there unless I got onto Zyprexa.  I had to take this pill otherwise I would not be discharged, he said.  I told him this was forced drugging and I would not take it and I had tried Zyprexa in the past and the doctors decided it was not a good med for me.   Then he changed his tune.

“You have a choice, Julie,” he said.  “You can take Zyprexa or Abilify.  Your choice.  One or the other but you have to take an antipsychotic otherwise I am not going to discharge you.”

I thought this guy must be nuts.  Zyprexa and Abilify are like night and day.  They are not at all alike.  Abilify makes me manic and Zyprexa turns me into a zombie.  Which would I prefer?  I figured he was the one who needed the drugs.

So I figured since Abilify would make me so manic that I’d be hospitalization material in three days, I’d better go with Zyprexa and sleep forever and get fat.  After all, I could fight it in court after getting out, or so I figured.  I tried to tell the doctor that I’d already tried Abilify in June, but he never believed a word I said anyway.

It was so weird, cuz they had me on Zyprexa, but the whole time I was there the doc never took the order for Abilify off.  So every morning, the nurses would try to give me Abilify.  The whole time I was there they tried to give it to me and I refused it, but the doc never erased the order even when I explained that it made me manic.  Even after I agreed to Zyprexa, the order for Abilify was still on there and they were still trying to give it to me.

I took one Zyprexa pill.  No, I didn’t immediately double in size but I was scared that I would.  After that, I said I wanted no more Zyprexa.  That was when there was some sort of staffing shift and I had new doctors suddenly.  The new ones weren’t threatening me like the old ones were.  They were willing to give a little.

So anyway, I’ve been through an ordeal.  I’ve been traumatized.  Badly traumatized.  Scared out of my mind by these people.  Threatened and called a liar, discredited, treated like a caged animal.

This is healthcare?

They didn’t want to let me go for fear that something would “happen” to me.  Well, if anything does, it’s because of the way they treated me, a reaction to the trauma, not because I have gained my freedom too soon.  I’ll bet some of them know this, too.

Do you ever feel like no one wants you around?

Do you ever feel like no one wants you around?  I often feel that way.  I often imagine that if I were to leave, folks would look at each other, shake their heads, and say, “Good riddance.”

Sometimes I wonder if I am sticking around just to deliberately annoy people.  I’m that parasite they can’t evict.  I’m the fly that keeps buzzing around and around, making that loud buzzing sound.  People swat at me over and over and they can’t seem to flatten me.  I’m just out of reach.

Open the window, someone, let me outa here.  No one wants me.  Let me go free.

The fools in the kitchen are preparing a perfect apple pie with a perfect crust.  But I am long gone.

Imagine that.  The feel of the fresh breeze on my wings.