what about that spam that says, “Gain up to 3 inches permanently”

Okay, where?

Three inches of what? Frontal lobe? Where do I put it?  I have an 18-inch circumference head, smaller than most, so where do those extra three inches go? Do I need extra brains?  I’m smart enough already, even though I am quite often treated as if I have a borderline “retarded” level IQ.

Or maybe, I need three inches more breasts. Please, no!  Give those three more inches to someone else.

Add three inches to foot size and my feet would look rather awkward on someone five foot one. I’d probably fall over.  What about fingers that were three inches longer? Would I become a great piano player? Maybe I would give great sex by hand.  Then again, those long fingers would get in the way. How would I find gloves for the winter? What if I looked like a freak? Would I get diagnosed with a psych disorder due to getting a complex over my weird-looking hands? Or just frostbite…..

Maybe I should delete the e-mail, eh?

Is any low income person with eating issues able to obtain adequate, unbiased medical care in Massachusetts?

I don’t know one person.  Not one.

If they do get good quality care, it lasts a few months if that. The assumption is that this “great care” is the norm and that it’s “forever.”  That the great treatment team will never abandon the patient no matter what.

Hmmm…..if it’s forever, there’s a problem right there cuz people are supposed to get better and not need this “care” for years and years and years…but anyway……

I’ve never seen these arrangements last “for life.”  It always falls through.  It’s not that any treatment team that that good breaks a promise, it’s that shit happens.  I’ve even seen doctors flat out disappear in thin air with no explanation to their patients.  The patient shows up for his appointment and the very friendly secretary says those words that would make anyone want to respond with a zillion swear words:

“Dr. ______ isn’t here anymore. You’re seeing Dr. _______ today.”

And yes, I’ve heard about these things many times. We don’t know why it happens but most likely for different reasons.  A change.  It happened in a hurry. Sometimes, we find out eventually and sometimes, we never find out.

So as to the inability to get quality care…for the 99% of us that don’t obtain it…..What’s the problem?  No insurance?  Or no availability? Are there simply not enough people who are qualified and knowledgeable to treat patients affected by eating disorders?  Do they all charge unreasonable fees that low income people can’t pay? Are they refusing people illegally?  What if you are older? Or male?  Are the medical practice locations inaccessible or located in remote areas?

All of the above are obstacles for us.  And more.

The model for treatment itself that many practitioners use is inhumane and based on force and coercion.  It’s based on the assumption that the patient is dishonest and can’t be trusted. So we are starting off right from the start with unfair, biased, even bigoted care on the part of most doctors, therapists, and nutritionists.

We already know about the ignorance when it comes to eating disorders. You go to a nutritionist only to find that the nutritionist only does diabetes and you don’t have diabetes. But the ones that know ED aren’t covered by “insurance.” You find one that’s knowledgeable, but she won’t accept males.  Or the center you’ve called only accepts patients under a certain age that are female. Do they assume that time doesn’t pass, and that we don’t age? Or you call a place and they do their screening tests and when they bring up “self-harm,” you admit you have a problem, and then you get hung up on. God forbid admit to having ever tried suicide.  You’re out, even if it was decades ago.

Ever get turned down because you are “in crisis” according to the practitioner?  I was.  So many times I couldn’t count.  Many nutritionists I spoke with said that if I was experiencing binge eating, they wouldn’t take me because they considered binge eating to be a crisis.  It is, but these folks are supposed to help, not be cushy nice-feeling people for rich folks that want to eat fancy yoga food and learn how to bake a vitamin carrot cake. If they do, they don’t need health care and should take a cooking class instead.

Did I give up?  No, I found a better way.  I don’t do therapy because to me, it’s abusive.  I won’t sit in someone’s office and talk about my problems unless I’m obtaining legal services…which is actual help.  I will sit in a classroom but I won’t sit in “group.”  In realizing that mental health care was all a scam and I never had this “schizoaffective disorder,” I healed.

I inherited eating problems that I should never have taken to the mental health system. But that’s what happened.  I lost a lot to the system.   I don’t regret the years spent. The experience was interesting, something to write about.  Something to laugh about.  I do resent that I am now looked down on as a kook.  I resent that I am not given respect in my day-to-day life.  If I hang out with more folks like me, such as other writers, the disrespect might fade. I’m hoping so.

I want action, not coping with the way things are.  I didn’t think it was acceptable to learn how to forgive bigotry and discrimination in medicine or society at large.  Fighting back and organizing protests is how I heal.  Meeting others in the antipsychiatry movement is truly exciting to me, sharing ideas and writings and meaningful dialogue.  I refuse to sit back and cope with abuse.  I want to end abuse. I believe that only by working to stop it and knowing I’m really doing something to change the world…this is POWER…rather than making myself feel good about the shit going on, which is a cop out and an escape.  To continue to allow abuse to go on and not do anything…to not say anything about it….I will not shut up and I won’t let the world forget.  I’d be doing others a disservice to do so.

So yes, folks in Massachusetts who have ED who are low income in no way are getting adequate or fair care. We are treated poorly and with disrespect.  Our chances of survival are low.  I am soon to be 56 years old.  I am alive.  Not many are.  I have described to you how I managed to survive.

So I was again called “dangerous” and someone said I was giving horrible advice and I didn’t know what I was talking about.

Why?  It’s not good to give advice but often I make the mistake and I get tempted.  Cuz what did I tell someone? Maybe it was dumb, but not so dumb when you think of it, really.

It’s true, actually, that when you call the local crisis team, your call is going to be traced.  Yep. Traced. So they can call the cops on you.  If you block the call, which of course I’ve done, they will immediately notice, and demand to know who is calling…so they can call the cops on you.

So calling the cops…why is this good and why is this not so good.  If you are calling and saying, “I am being attacked!  Help!” then obviously, it’s a very good thing that they’ve got Caller ID. Great for modern technology cuz they can then send someone to come rescue you. But chances are the average person who  is being attacked is going to call 911…well, you never know.  I mean, I can sit here writing and inventing scenarios for you…endlessly.  A kid eats a bottle of aspirin and then the parent is panicked and instead of calling Poison Control, somehow dials the Mental Health Crisis Team…now obviously, the Crisis Team isn’t the number to call…who knows what will happen now…but they’ve got that handy Caller ID and can alert an ambulance if your sick child needs one.

We all know how Mental Health Crisis Teams work. They cut you off mid-sentence and whatever you are saying, jump to conclusions and finish your sentence.  It’s the end of the worker’s shift and these people have no patience.  So the sick child becomes the child YOU abused and tried to poison, and next thing you know, the cops get called and you’ve lost custody. Bet it’s happened.

If your child finds pills and eats them, call poison control or something. I don’t know and I’m not a parent. That’s not my point and this is a made-up story anyway.

The point is, most of the time, these Crisis Teams aren’t good to call.  Have I EVER had a good experience calling them?  Has anyone?  I’ve always been yelled at by these people. Insulted. Told why it was a SIN to phone them, how I’m wasting their time.  Or that they don’t know about eating disorders and HOW DARE I CALL THEM? WRONG WRONG WRONG BAD SINNER.  I am insulted by these paid workers time after time and I hang up feeling like shit.  If I wasn’t suicidal, I sure feel like it after talking to those people.

They make you feel like dirt.  You can feel just how bored they are and how badly they don’t wish to speak to you, what a nuisance you are.  “Oh, you again?” Bored.  I want to tell them to go fuck off.

So was it “bad advice” for me to tell this young, upset person that I don’t blame her for being shaken and traumatized because she was yelled at by a suicide hotline worker?  That it was terrible for the worker to say that her call “didn’t qualify”?  I’ve sure been there.  Told I was wasting their time and that my call was “inappropriate.”  I want to tell these people to go to hell. No one asking for help should ever, ever be yelled at, put down, or insulted like that.  Ever.

God bless those that speak out. We will succeed and flourish and show them just how strong we are. Grow and be strong.  Win!

 

Protest in Boston: Are you going? Boston Children’s Hospital IMPRISONMENT of a child, Justina Pelletier

Here’s the petition:

http://www.change.org/petitions/audit-boston-children-s-hospital-and-the-department-of-children-and-families-of-massachusetts-for-taking-custody-of-very-sick-children-with-no-reasonable-cause?share_id=MXJVmUioyQ&utm_campaign=autopublish&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition

Please sign!

There will be a protest in Boston coming up on Sunday the 5th. I will be there.

Ted Chabasinski (now that’s a tough one to spell) will be there, too!  Here’s a link to his article:

http://www.madinamerica.com/2013/12/justina-pelletier-case-shows-public-psychiatric-power-control/

I’m all psyched for this one. Watch for me…I’ll most likely be there holding my sign saying, “Never, Ever Shut Up.”

End Psychiatric Abuse!

God Bless the Words

The pen is mighty indeed.  If you are president, you speak to millions every time you give a speech that you have written.  If you are a religious leader, you write a sermon and you get to write whatever you want.  You read aloud to an entire congregation every Sabbath.  Imagine having an entire audience hanging onto your words that frequently. That’s power indeed.  Us writer types would love to have that many opportunities to give readings.  These clergy are community leaders and their pens have clout.

Think of the school playground.  The playground is a microcosm of the world. Think of the big kids and the little kids and the way the little kids get squashed and bullied.  It’s a tough world out there.

Think of my voice. Who am I?  A little kid that gets stepped on.  Not long ago, I worked extremely hard on an MP3 file, a spoken word piece that is posted publicly on the Marathon site.  I worked on that so hard.  I posted links in three places on Facebook and on here and got ZERO feedback.  For all I know, it’s sitting there and no one even bothered to listen to it.  Now a big kid, some popular kid that everyone “likes” can quickly take a photo of their dog (which takes a few seconds to snap) and get ONE HUNDRED “likes” on Facebook, or say something idiotic, and they get 100 “likes” for that and are told just how smart they are.  My status as “born loser” still stands and that ain’t gonna change.

Okay, I accept it though.  Some kids gotta fight harder than others to get their voices heard. Some kids are just born nice-looking and got natural charisma, and others are awkward.  I ended up klutzy. That’s life and I’m a fighter.

So something big happened yesterday.  It was something that told me, “Julie, it’s time.  You gotta say something. Do it. Do it.  Do it.  Even though you are considered a loser.  You can speak up and someone’s gonna read what you write because you DO matter.”

God Bless the Words.  Because I did speak up.  I refuse to watch discrimination and exclusion keep on happening.  I refuse to tune out.  I refuse to sit and be “mindful” just to get by.  I refuse to go to a “support group” where we sit around talking about how to cope with other people’s bigotry. Why “cope”?  I think I’m done with coping.  I want ACTION now.

God Bless the Words.  No matter how small or big, because all words are mighty.

God bless Ann Frank’s diary. She wrote and had no clue what would happen to her words.  God bless the teenage love letter.  God bless the recipe, handed down from generation to generation.

God bless the suicide note.

God bless the seven digits Joe gave me, his phone number written on a little yellow piece of paper handed to me in the smoking room of a psych unit that began a 17-year love relationship.

God bless my words in 1997, that said, “No, this must stop!  Someone is hurting him!” and the abuse stopped. Even though at first, no one listened.

I would not shut up.  I insisted.  I cried out.  I said, “No! Stop!  Make it stop! Tell them to stop!  I am NOT crazy and someone’s got to listen!  He is being abused!”

Of course, I was told, “Julie, you are a mental patient and you need to shut up.  You’re nothing but a loser.  Your behavior is INAPPROPRIATE AND DISRUPTIVE.”

God bless disruption.

God bless babies. Babies cry and fuss are plenty disruptive.  Nobody minds a baby crying but apparently, someone else’s “disruptive behavior” wasn’t okay because they weren’t a cute baby.  In fact, this so-called “disruptive behavior was labeled “unsafe.”

Unsafe?  I feel unsafe hanging around places that have a collective hostile attitude toward people like me.  I don’t like hanging around places where I am feared, as if I’m a criminal.  I dislike feeling unwelcome.  In fact, I think this hostility and snobbery is flat out wrong, especially when that attitude is enforced publicly through newsletters.

God bless my own words.  So I don’t matter and I don’t get to do a public reading once a week and in fact, no one wants to hear anything I have to say. But I wrote a letter.  An e-mail.  No, not to just anyone. To where it matters.  I’m pretty sure it went to the right place and that action will be taken.  And the letter was rather specific.

See ya later, alligators.  I’ll keep you posted.

Love, Julie and Puzzle

Exclusion of mentally ill people from a community in Watertown, MA, and what I did about it on New Year’s Eve

Okay, so I could have been out partying.  But no, I have promised that I will not shut up when it comes to stigma, hatred, and prejudice.  It’s one thing when it happens to me. But when I see it happening to others, I refuse to sit on my butt and do nothing.

As a writer, it’s my OBLIGATION to do something.  It’s my duty to write.  No, I have signed no papers, no oath saying, “I will write.  I will not shut up.”  Doctors sign the Hippocratic Oath saying they will be good doctors.  I have an oath in my heart saying, “I will not shut up.”

My pen is powerful. Even on New Year’s Eve when the rest of the world is out partying and drinking.  Oh boy yes it is.

So I wrote a letter and I’m positive it went to the right authority.  I received a bounceback saying the person was not in the office due to the holiday and would respond January 2nd, so I know my e-mail arrived.

Are you wondering what I am talking about?  And why I took action New Year’s Eve, of all times?  Yesterday I received in my e-mail a newsletter, an actual statement sent out publicly to hundreds of people stating that this particular community organization was not going to be welcoming to folks who were mentally ill.  No, not in those words.  But what I have been seeing over time was a whole string of incidents within that organization that added up very clearly to EXCLUSION of those labeled mentally ill.  The newsletter…it was now too much and I was not going to tolerate this.

Tuning out or dropping out…these were no longer options. Remaining silent was no longer an option.  I’m sure not going to take drugs all day and live my life in a cloud of smoke, which is what many do once they have been turned away.  Turning the other cheek was something I did in the past and I no longer do.  I’m not going to sit around praying that God forgives people for doing these terrible things so that I can live with their deeds.  Hell, no!  I’d much rather take action and DO SOMETHING to stop it! Why sit around praying or saying “Om” and doing nothing all day, thereby allowing discrimination to continue and doing nothing to stop it?

Sure, I’d seen stuff happen.  I saw others being excluded.  I heard statements made publicly.  Not outright statements…no one is going to say in the exact words, “No mentally ill people allowed.”  Of course they won’t cuz that’s darned stupid…it’s 2013 and everyday people won’t stand for what’s obviously not right. But when exclusion is subtle, it works.  Those that aren’t wanted get quietly shut out.

I myself was among the unwanted.  I was excluded.  I knew there were others, but I also knew that I needed to be tactful and there was a time and place for everything.  I told myself I would quietly walk out and not say anything.  Not yet.  But when I saw that a public written statement had been made, this was too much.

I looked online at what policies existed within the organization.  There are some.  I asked myself if I should communicate with others I know about in the organization that I know have a “diagnosis,” and I told myself that since my relationships with these folks isn’t that strong, I won’t. It isn’t like I’m best buddies with these folks.  We are scattered.

Funny, too, I made an attempt a while back to get those of us labeled “mentally ill” within the organization together and organize some sort of coalition…this was rapidly turned down by the leadership.  No organizing.  We with this dx didn’t have a voice…but my argument was that maybe we needed one.  There were many that agreed…but this went nowhere. Excuses were made.  Red tape cited.  Apparently, now that we’ve gotten a direct offensive hit as of yesterday, I was right.  I don’t have a mailing list or a way to communicate with those folks.

My pen is powerful.  I didn’t write to just any ole person.  I wrote to the top.  A higher-up. I wrote an e-mail detailing what I saw and heard and felt in my heart.  I wrote it in terms of my own individual experience and refrained from exaggeration or use of wild adjectives.  The only speculation I did was quite reasonable.  I explained my reasoning. Sometimes, when you aren’t in the room, you can only take a guess at what happened.  You might be wrong.  Yes, I acknowledge this and I know my claims might be denied.  But hey, I think when something’s darned obvious and it’s been heard enough times and enough people have heard it, we all know what the patterns are.

You guys know how I am.  I believe in speaking out but I cannot post the letter here as there are several individuals mentioned besides myself, and I believe the information is too sensitive involving those other people.  If I can figure out how to post it leaving out the sensitive parts, I will.

I’m wondering if I should contact anyone.  I’m sure wondering how others feel right now. Or maybe I should just sit tight.

My pen is mighty.  I did something good, something to change the world yesterday.  I hope my letter does what it intended to do, make a footprint on the world and wake people up at least.  You don’t act with such hatred toward people like me.  It’s not okay, and I refuse to stand by and watch it happen.