Anorexia…do we blame the victim?

Cancer, now, that’s clearly a no-fault victim thing.  Most cancers didn’t happen because of the person’s dumb mistake, so anyone that ends up in that nightmare gets plenty of sympathy, even gains friends, love, cards, flowers, hugs, increased human contact, certainly more loving care, new phone numbers, and lots of “call me anytime.”  I said MOST, not all, cuz some have a bad name.  And lots of folks die.   Many do get better.  Oh, then you are so loved and you get the Recovery Parade and even speaking engagements.  The charities make you a poster child. How lovely.  Also, a hundred “likes” on Facebook when you say you are cancer-free. We love cancer survivors. All the money goes into your disease.  You are so loved.

Every day, I wish I were healthy. But if I had to have a disease, cancer would be rather awesome by comparison to anorexia nervosa.

Cuz see, over and over I’m told the following, “It’s your fault, your doing, you did this to yourself.” However, that’s not true.  These are inherited eating problems.  There IS a physical cause.

The current treatment for this, the only one offered to me so far, involves the worst imprisonment you can imagine. I’ve repeatedly lost friends instead of gaining them.  Of course I get no cards, no flowers, no calls.  Almost everyone turns their back on me and I’ve gotten so accustomed to it that it became a way of life.

So think about it….

To those who have turned their backs:

If YOU turn your back on me, it’s YOUR doing! Who has turned?  YOU! Think about it.

Need to leave Massachusetts, seeking new location

My name is Julie and I’m physically sick…I’m not sure how sick…I have no medical care.  I do have “insurance” but it’s the shittiest type and I’m boxed into the worst medical care you can imagine.  I can’t call anyone for “advice”….no one I can just pick up the phone and call and ask.  I’m scared every day whenever I hear a siren that some ambulance will come take me to another hospital where I’ll be treated with prejudice, substandard care, abuse, and scorn.  I gotta get far away from here and get to where no one knows me, where no one assumes I’m someone they can kick around yet one more time.  This means never seeing a doctor here in Massachusetts or show up at their hospitals ever again.

Problem is, accidents and stuff like that happen to anyone.  I’m scared I’ll end up so sick that I end up going to a Massachusetts doctor before I can get OUT OF HERE, or end up in some misfortune and stuck in some ER and again abused and mistreated.

You walk into these places and you take your life into your hands.

Well, naturally, that’s not what I say. I walk in there and I don’t mention a thing. I cannot act the least bit on the defensive cuz they see this and assume I’m some fanatic, giving them grounds to lock me up or deny care.

Do you see the tightrope I’m on by staying in Massachusetts?  I gotta get the hell outa here!

 

I’m thankful for what poverty has taught me

When first ventured out from my parents’ home at 17, I assumed “poverty” meant you had to apply for financial aid to pay for college.  Of course, now, decades later, I have learned that poverty is something much deeper.  I am thankful for these lessons, and I feel sorry for those blinded by the cushion of too much comfort.

I don’t enjoy the shame.  I don’t enjoy the embarrassment.  I don’t enjoy being reminded, over and over, like I don’t even matter, like I’m one of the begging masses, not much more than a dirty animal, and that there are these important elite up there eating cake and delicacies in a castle that are far more important and deserve far more than I do.

Are us “masses” type folks gonna buy into this?  Do we really deserve these reminders?  NO! We are valuable human beings with REAL human worth.  We have talent beyond belief, much of it never tapped into because no one ever gave us a chance, no one ever listened or cared.

Don’t let anyone shut you up.  You matter.  I know I do.

 

 

What it feels like to be poor and alienated

Societal prejudice isn’t my disease.  If I am in a group and we are speaking of poor folks, and I hear, “those people,” or, “them,” instead of “us,” well, then, how am I to react?  Do I not belong? Should I leave?  Am I an outsider?  Does no one understand?  I want to tell these blinded people that if you want to help others, or anyone at all, you have to stop speaking like that.  I hate being alienated.  I didn’t say FEELING alienated.  I said BEING alienated.  Again, societal prejudice isn’t my disease.  It’s everyone’s.

You still have your ED because you are addicted to “treatment.”

They say, “Keep coming back,” so that’s exactly what I kept on doing for years. That’s the mistake in a nutshell. The answer? Don’t do it. Don’t go back. The system is designed to self-perpetuate, but we don’t have to fall for the revolving door.

Long ago, I was in a “treatment” situation and I told them my goal was to “go to college.”

The therapists said, “You can’t do that.”

I said, “This is my goal.  I am smart and I want to finish what I set out to do. Why should I now do some menial job?”

They said, “Don’t you WANT to wait on tables or be a janitor?”

I said, “No.  I tried it once and got fired. I’m not cut out to be one.  I’m not adept at that sort of thing.  I’m better off in the arts, like, say, a writer or musician. I want to use my smart brains.”

The therapists said, “Our only programs are for waiting on tables and for becoming janitors. We don’t fund the arts. The arts aren’t useful.”

You can tell how smart these therapists were.  Their therapy? They were reading their lines out of a textbook anyway.

I’m so glad I walked out.

Link: Boston Children’s Hospital’s Psych Ward Under Investigation (and a bit of commentary by “yours truly”)

Here’s the link:

http://liftingtheveil.blog.com/2014/02/03/boston-childrens-hospital-to-be-investigated-by-department-of-public-health/

This article speaks so much for itself and will tell you so much about the history of the case that there isn’t too much I need to add, except the following:

As you can see, these institutions are indeed very powerful. Everything in this article is 100% true to my knowledge.  I’ve been trapped inside these places, helpless and physically weak and sick, and yes, I’ve heard them put those very same things on my “care plan.” They really do deliberately cut off your communication with the outside world ILLEGALLY in order to prevent “leaks,” that is, in their words, I QUOTE:

“We don’t want you exposing us.”

Now, much later, my own shrink told me I was “trivializing.” Really?  She told me the Five Fundamental Rights were trivial, but you can see them right there in this article and I think our patient rights here in Massachusetts do matter.

These powerful hospitals really hope that their patients are so “out of it” and medically sick that they “forget” such “trivial” stuff.  This is why abuse toward the elderly, hard of hearing,  and demented runs rampant. This is why those who are very, very thin and weak get abused, too.  This is why folks in wheelchairs get abused. This is why those that are overmedicated get abused.  We’re “out of it” and can’t report abuse, so it won’t matter and they can get away with it.

They’re all hoping we will forget.

People, the abusers wanted me medicated. They wanted me put away. They wanted to make sure I stopped writing…for good.

I think they were rather upset to find out that I have an impeccable memory. Sorry, dudes.

That DSM is so inaccurate that it has had to go through five revisions now, and no one can agree on it. It has killed thousands of innocent people, too, torn apart families, and ruined lives.  My memory is made of metaphorical manila folders and little paper cards and it’s worn on the edges.  It’s kept me, one person, alive over half a century DESPITE ALL ODDS.  The DSM is an overpriced book.  My card catalog brain?  I’m not even sure it’s inside my brain, cuz all it is is metaphor, and you know something?  Its priceless.

“Coming out” about your past as “mental patient”…yes, or no? What about us writers? Here’s my answer…Part 2

Okay, so really, the answer is quite simple.  Where I live now, I’m not appreciated as a writer.  People see me as “disabled,” a “waste of human life,” or, a “sick and needy person.” No one really wants me around.  I offer to write stuff or help out in a writerly way, and all I get is a flat out NO or a bunch of lies and excuses.  That’s why it’s so stagnating to stay here.

In the future, that is, after I relocate, the only reason I’ll reveal at all is because I do still write on the topic.  So the only folks that will find out will be those that care about me and know me and appreciate who I am enough to become familiar with my writing.  Those that don’t bother getting to know me or appreciate me as a writer will never find out.

My “mental patient” past will cease to be a “medical” issue.  Instead, it will be a “story.”  It will be “history,” or “memoir,” something in a book about me, but no longer anything I care to share with anyone “medical.”  Other writers and folks that come hear me read might find this an interesting story.

It’ll be just one of those adventures that has made me uniquely who I ended up becoming, what I write about, and where I ended up.

Ex-patients’ major debate: “Out”? or “in the closet”? What about us writers and spoken word artists?

I am debating this right now. It’s been 12 years since I self-published Breakdown Lane, Traveled.  I was still working on my undergraduate studies.  I enjoyed a tiny amount of publicity.  It was all short-lived.  My undergraduate school, Emerson College, as an institutional whole, refused to acknowledge the book, saying that on-demand publishing “didn’t count.”  Actually, think “mental illness” factored into their decision.  The instructors I knew well had told me in private that I had been one of the hardest working students they’d ever had, stating that I was intelligent, a wonderful writer, had loads of talent, and that they felt honored to know me.  There was an article in the local paper, the Watertown Tab, at the time of BLT’s publication, but I guess everyone forgot about all that rather quickly.

In 2005 someone suggested that I start a blog to publicize BLT online.  I did. I’d say I had about three visitors each month. But it all grew.  I finished grad school in 2009. This Hunger Is Secret, which in fact is my graduate thesis, a memoir, was published in electronic form in 2010 and in paperback in 2012 by a traditional publisher.  My publisher is in the UK, however, the book is available worldwide.  I used my real name and continue to do so.

Names are a funny thing.  Mine is so common that I can easily hide and I am quickly mistaken for all the other Julies and all the other Greens and Greenes that live nearby.  The USPS and UPS delivery is often problematic.  I’ve even had pharmacy mix-ups and I regularly get phone calls for the wrong person, friendly post card reminders, bills, and requests for donations.  I’m waiting for my coffin to arrive for the wrong me.  So long as no one forcefully shoves me into it, I can sell it under the table and make a small fortune, eh?

So meanwhile, I remained underground here locally over a bunch of years until the past year or two.  The 2002 article in the local paper was disregarded and forgotten about.  Emerson College, which is located in the large city here, Boston, had pushed me aside except for the once or twice calls to ask for money.  My grad school isn’t local, in fact, it’s very much far away and my fellow students don’t live nearby.

I was abused in a hospital here in mid-2011.  This was extremely serious abuse.  I’m not talking about someone just saying distasteful things.  This was nothing trivial.  I’m told that I’ve got grounds for a malpractice suit.  Problem is, we’re talking about Massachusetts General Hospital, not some tiny place with no budget.

I was rather shaken by what happened. I didn’t know what to do.  I would grasp onto anything.  I would find any Golden Calf that would listen to my story and then I’d worship that Calf.

At that point, that is, after I got out of Mass  General and later that fall, I truly believe I took a wrong fork in the road. I’ve spoken of these forks before, if you’ve been reading my blog. These forks that change the course of your life.

The day, much later, I realized the Calf was fake I was crushed.  Actually, this realization happened slowly, not in a day.  I’d say this belief, this Calf-worship, eroded over time.

I guess you can’t assume someone, or some organization, is trustworthy. Nor can you assume they aren’t.  You have to wait it out.  It was a learning experience for me.  I revealed within a local organization that I assumed was well-intentioned that I had a mental history.  This, friends, was not a good idea.  Now, some very incorrect rumors have spread.  I nearly died of starvation (which doesn’t mean I’m going to commit violent crime) last summer because I have anorexia nervosa, and again abused in a hospital.  Now the hostility in this town has increased ten-fold.  I guess false rumors spread very fast.

To the local folks now, I’m a dangerous mental patient. A useless Welfare case.  Waste of a life.  Better off dead.  Certainly unwanted here, likely to set off a bomb or do mass murder. Good thing we have no movie theaters!

As for my online presence, that’s entirely separate.  Who reads my blog?  Not local folks. People all over the world, scattered here and there, but not folks who live around the block and around town.

I’m not sure how to deal with this once I relocate. I will surely want to be the writer I am.  I can safely continue my online presence and keep my name, perhaps not identifying my location anymore.

I’m wondering about open mics.  I love reading aloud.  These open mics are usually attended by renegade types, that is, poets and artists, people who live on the fringe, neglected veterans, occasionally homeless people, folks that have been shoved aside by society or ill-served, unless the cover charge is overpriced. There’s nothing I love more than reading aloud to an audience.  I do a damn good reading.

No, I don’t stand up there in curves or a bathing suit or wow them with a pretty face.  I don’t talk about joy or euphemisms or “recovery” or promise great things if only you pay me money and I’m no guru.

I’m a writer.  I read what I write. That’s it.

Okay, you can pet my dog, too.

Maybe, if I do find an open mic, I should read, but be rather vague about my past as “mental patient.”  Surely, there’s a larger global issue going on here and bigotry against “mental patients” is only one form of bigotry.  So perhaps I can be more general without glossing over it.

Sure, I’ve been to talks where the specifics have been ironed out far too much, that is, the details are all edited out to the point that it’s all generic and frankly, boring.  You folks know what I mean.

Heck, I am a writer and when I write, I do specifics such as blood guts and gore.  I don’t want to hear “eating disorder.”  That clinical and it bores me and it’s everyone’s story.  I want to hear exactly how you felt when you saw which dip between your bones, specifically, when you first saw it in the mirror, when you touched it with your fingertips, in secret.  This is real life.  I relate to your story.  When you tell me, I will cry and hold onto you, and you can pet my dog.

See ya later.

Wheel of Fortune

I look forward to the day I no longer hear my next-door neighbor sneezing.I won’t hear that guy speaking way too loudly in the hallway at all hours.
I won’t hear the maintenance guys banging their machinery.
I won’t hear the loud fire buzzer alarms every day.
I won’t hear about six blasting TVs daily.
I won’t hear stomping footsteps in my hallway.

I feel like I live in some kind of public place, like it isn’t even a home.
It’s all makeshift.
I have lived here in fear.
The police have easy access.
Management barges in whenever they’ve felt like it.
This place has been searched without a warrant, torn upside-down
when I was lay sick in a hospital.

They can come in here anytime they please.
You can’t call the cops cuz those in uniform are no one’s pals.
The cops come yell at  us poor people.
And I dream every night that they are coming to drag me away.
I fear they will take my little dog from me.
At night I hold her tight.

Wheel of FortuneI hear you spinning on my neighbors’ TV sets…
When I leave here
Where will I land?

Will it be that land I’ve dreamed of
Over the Rainbow?
Far far away?
Will I win the car and the living room set
And that blonde lady with the shimmering outfit?
Or will I hit that buzzer
The one that sounds just like our building’s fire alarm
The one I’ve grown to hate so much?

I hear it telling me,
Over and over,
As I walk away from home plate,
Dragging my bat behind me,
“Three strikes, you’re out!”

It doesn’t always have to be that way.
I’m not always that kid that struck out.

You strike enough times, you strike gold.

Involuntary psych treatment declared TORTURE: International Human Rights Council, 2013, Geneva, please read

Here’s the link.

http://www.madinamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/torture.pdf

This is maybe the most important INTERNATIONAL declaration I’ve run across and folks, we all know this stuff is

SELF-EVIDENT.

So….

No, I am not “against treatment.”

I am not “against recovery.”

I hate all forms of abuse, including anything that dares to call itself “treatment” but in fact is inhumane. Cuz if it’s inhumane, then quit lying to yourself.  It sure ain’t “treatment.”  It’s torture.

Sure, the lure is there.  “Keep coming back.”  “The door is always open.”  Your pals are waiting.  Those loving arms.  Those everlasting euphemism smiles.  That is, until the shift is over or “that nice one” gets laid off or burnt out or a better job elsewhere.  Then what’cha gonna do when you get shoved onto the meanest bitch of a therapist in town?  Guess what? That’s exactly what happens.  If you live long enough.

Oh, you can keep on dying.  Or almost dying. Your pals will love you, hate you, love you all over again.  You might get a fan club even.  You can throw the drugs out the window or flush them down the toilet. You can watch your life swirl down with it.

Or…you can step off the merry-go-round before it’s too late. Before your entire life, years of it is swallowed up, wasted in too much “treatment.”

No, it ain’t the “illness” that’s eating at you.  It’s too many appointments, too many years in lockup. Quit going to shrinks.  Just don’t go. Stay away from those “great therapists,” tempting as they are, and slowly, you’ll begin to realize that their “help” isn’t actually “help” at all.

My parents taught me one simple thing: Don’t worship a Golden Calf.  At our home, we had a mezuzah on each entry door of our home.  This was a simple marker my dad stuck onto our door jambs, at around eye level if you were an adult.  I guess my dad assumed most adults were short like everyone in our family was.  Do you understand what this means?  I do.

To me, in a way, the mezuzah means, “Don’t mess with me.”  It means I am proud of who I am and that I was born this way. It means there is nothing wrong with who I am.  It means that societal prejudice is not my disease.  It means that I do not have to be forced into any sort of treatment for any prejudices that other people hold against me, because these are their thoughts and feelings, not mine. I do not worship their Golden Calf.  I don’t need treatment for the way I worship, nor I wish to change anything about it, because I’m okay just the way I am.

At the same time, it’s a tough world out there. The desert is dry.  Seek shelter. Stay warm. Bundle up.  Sometimes, you have to gather your people, your herds, your children, what few belongs you have left, pick up your tents and your camels, and move onward.  And hey, don’t forget those charge cords, dude.