I made the calls, can you? Results…..

I first called the governor’s office. My connection was poor and the person said she could hardly hear me. It took a while, but i got a better connection and tried again. This time, I reached the governor’s office and spoke with one of his aides. She took note of what I was saying. We spoke for a number of minutes. She kept what sounded like a rather neutral stance.  It was rather early in the day and it sounded like I must have been one of the first callers. She asked me several times to repeat Gloria’s name, leading me to believe word hadn’t reached the Governor’s office or at least not this aide.  I hope the office has been flooded with calls by now and is sick of hearing from us….keep it coming!

The second call I made was to Ruth Lowenkron of Disability Rights. An operator directed my call to Ruth’s voicemail. The VM message said I had 30 seconds to leave a message. So I did. I thought folks should be aware of this time limit and plan accordingly.

Now, I did that from South America and it was a snap. It will be even easier for anyone reading this to pick up the phone and call!

Here are the two numbers.

609-292-6000 Gov Christie’s office
609-Ruth Lowenkron, NJ Disability Rights.

For the latest updates, see the facebook page, www.facebook.com/hopeforgloria

Great article! Compiles well-estabished statistics and facts. Great summary.

Here’s the link:

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Are-You-Mentally-Ill-Phon-by-Martha-Rosenberg-Advertising_Advertising_Drug-Companies-Marketing_Drugs-Prescription-141015-913.html

This is written by Martha Rosenberg.

How to end binge eating, written by a person who suffered with binge eating for several decades

Hello, my name is Julie Greene. I am not a “mental health professional” so this isn’t “professional” advice. I cannot provide “medical advice” because I don’t have MD after my name.  Actually, I was a patient in the mental health system and a silent sufferer of eating disorders for over three decades, so I think that makes me a professional, in a way, due to having lived with it for so long. This is often called “lived experience.” You may try these suggestions if you wish, but be aware that they may not apply in your situation and they could, for some people, even be harmful.

I am just going to list what I have tried and state if the results. This list is a result of decades of trial and error on my part. I had only myself to experiment on. I found that “doctors” had a poor understanding of binge eating.  The DSM also has it all wrong even though binge eating disorder is now in there as a classification of mental disorders.

I myself suffered from binge eating in massive quantities. In other words, there was a clear distinction between what I did and “overeating,” which many people suffer from.  I needed to separate out “overweight” because I realized that the binge eating itself was the danger, not the resulting weight gain.

Given this, these are the things I tried, in no particular order:

1) Therapy. It never helped. In fact, it made me needy and dependent and did more harm than good. I was in therapy for decades and had over 20 different therapists. A few helped me in other ways but therapy never helped binge eating. I had different types of therapy, and after a while, these “cures” seemed to be designed for people who were immature or uneducated.

2) Psychiatric day treatment. It made me far worse.  I was in Options Day Treatment twice, NEWW Center twice, and the MAP/GAP programs at McLean once. None of these programs were at all helpful.  I went to a few other programs over the years but I don’t count them cuz I didn’t stay long. I wouldn’t recommend these programs to anyone.

3) Gould Farm. When I arrived at Gould Farm in 1984 I was told that they didn’t treat eating disorders and that they were going to ignore my eating disorder completely. I found their program to be grueling slave work and I hated it. I used to call my parents and beg them to put me in a hospital instead.

4) Hospitalization. I was in a hospital, that is, a psych ward a few times before Gould Farm and continued to end up on psych wards over a period of decades. What hospitalization did for the most part was to stop the binge eating for the time that I was hospitalized.  I began to see these places as refuge or safety. But the personnel there hardly understood what my problem was. Back in the 1980’s they said eating disorders were trivial problems that rich kids had. Until 1983 when Karen Carpenter died, the personnel in hospitals had no awareness of how dangerous eating disorders were. They had no clue how to deal with me and so they ignored my eating problems entirely. Even if I lost a bunch of weight while there. And the problem returned as soon as I left.

5) OA. I do not suffer from overeating. I usually eat reasonably okay and have no “control” problem for the most part.  I suffered from binge eating. I usually wasn’t overweight. Often, I was underweight to some degree, or so thin that I was clearly anorexic. I found that I am not a sugar addict.  OA is based on the assumption that all sufferers are sugar addicts and all you have to do is stop sugar (and white flour) and you’ll be cured. It never worked for me.  It seemed that what OA was saying didn’t apply to me.  People would look at me and assume, “Oh, so you must have been abstinent for years to be that thin.” Seriously. I found that OA varies from group to group. I tried many of these groups but still, I found their sugar theory to be irrelevant.

6) Group therapy. I think it was nice to share with other people who may or may not have similar problems to my own. I felt relieved, in a way, to meet other people from different walks of life. Group therapy was helpful if the group was comprised of mature people who didn’t whine. But it never helped my eating disorder. It only provided a social outlet, I suppose. After a while, I realized I’d rather find companionship some other way. Plus, I felt that these groups were a waste of time in a way. I felt that I should be spending my time doing something more meaningful and productive. I didn’t want my life centered around “group.” Especially since “group” wasn’t helping my eating disorder at all.

7) Medication- lithium. I tried many.  At first, I begged for drugs because I figured this was the answer. But most medications made binge eating worse, not better. Oddly, lithium reduced my appetite enough to stop the binge eating for several years. I wasn’t bipolar. But I felt far less depressed with the binge eating out of my life. So “doctors,” seeing my brighter outlook, assumed this was directly caused by the lithium, when really, it was secondary. Only now, decades later, they are uncovering statistics that show that lithium does indeed stop binge eating. I wouldn’t recommend it though, because this drug also destroys the thyroid and kidneys. This damage is often permanent. Kidney damage will shorten a person’s life. Some people are immediately affected and die of kidney failure even after taking lithium for a short time. Therefore, I think this drug should not be given to anyone. I took it for 16 years and was totally convinced this was The Way. I had no clue it was slowly destroying my body, nor was I fully informed of just how serious the risks are. The other effects included the “shakes” and pimples, which affected my social life. I was shaking so much that trying to get a job was a joke.

8) Other drugs- antidepressants. These drugs either did nothing or made the binge eating far worse. One did help binge eating, Imipramine. I took it on two occasions and the first time it did nothing for binge eating. The second time, it was helpful.  But it gave me the “black box warning” effect. My doctors had no clue and didn’t respond to my reports of agitation (mental and bodily) and other physical complaints. They told me these were “nothing.” I lost many friends due to the way I acted on that drug. I also nearly committed suicide. These near misses with suicide occurred in 1984 and 2012. The “black box warning” effect lasted long after I got off the drug, in fact, during the withdrawal period I was a raving maniac. Please be careful with antidepressants!

9) other drugs – antipsychotics. These, of course, all made binge eating far worse. They caused weight gain, akathesia, sunburn, Tardive Dyskinesia, insomnia, confusion, too much sleeping, sedation, heart damage, trouble with balance and walking, slurred speech, mental lethargy, and many other problems. I wouldn’t recommend even giving these a try nor would I recommend taking them for sleep.

10) other drugs – sedatives. I tried a few and they did absolutely nothing. No effect. They didn’t do anything for so-called “anxiety.” They weren’t usually helpful for sleep.  Anxiety wasn’t my problem and I didn’t binge eat when anxious necessarily. Occasionally, I tried taking one of these pills if I thought I was going to binge, but this never worked. I had treatment-induced panic attacks for a year and these drugs didn’t help the panic attacks. These drugs are addicting and you develop a tolerance or dependency very quickly. I saw no point in taking them and never asked for them or any type of sleeping pill again.

11) other mood stabilizers – I tried Depakote, Trileptal, Tegretol, and Lamictal. The latter two literally made me unable to stand up. Trileptal made me “sway.” I found out this is a dangerous condition called ataxia and it’s ankle weakness that made me sway. Trileptal clouded my thinking so much that it made me into a “basket case.” Lamictal caused double vision and finally, when I couldn’t even stand up, I stopped the drug. Depakote didn’t do anything but made me put on lots of weight and I became overweight.

12) Naltrexone – this drug is designed to eradicate the pleasure part of addiction. The theory was that if you don’t get high from doing the addiction, you’ll stop. This never worked because I never derived any pleasure from binge eating. It was incredibly painful. It ripped my mouth apart and my throat and stomach were killing me the entire time. I did try Naltrexone but it never did a thing for me.

12) Topamax – this was the only drug that really did stop binge eating with minimal side effects. Yes, it can cause a dopey feeling or make a person spaced out. It didn’t do that to me. Of course, it “cured” depression because I was so happy to have stopped binge eating. I was on this drug from 2006 until recently. There is a possibility of poop-out, meaning that it stops working and has no effect after a while. Because it was no longer working as of a few months ago, I tapered off the drug and stopped it. I had stopped before and the binge eating worsened, but this time, that’s not what happened. My eating was unaffected. Physically, I felt better off the drug, so I stayed off. There are plenty of risks associated with Topamax and it’s not a cure-all. Actually, for most people, it doesn’t work and causes more harm than good. Other side effects include tingling in toes and fingers, eye problems, confusion, and it can affect sleep. Any of these drugs can affect your ability to drive. Be careful!

13) Seeing a nutritionist. This can be helpful for many people. Find one that understands eating disorders or who was a sufferer her/himself. Also, I personally found that those who had only traditional “food pyramid” training didn’t really know about many of the problems I was dealing with. Be careful whom you select. Unfortunately, most people are given no alternatives and they are stuck seeing the one they are assigned to. Some nutritionists aren’t trained in eating disorders but in diabetes and weight loss. I found that those folks weren’t helpful at all except when I had weight to lose. Many charge ridiculous fees. I’ve seen $300 a session and upward.  Most insurance won’t cover nutritionists.

14) meal plans. A meal plan might help to get someone in a routine or disciplined if that’s what they need, or teach them to eat properly. No, these didn’t help with binge eating, but some folks find them helpful. Be aware that following a meal plan can cause “rigidity” in one’s eating and this is a problem, too.

15) Exercise. This is usually a good idea anyway.  I found that moving my body when I could made me feel better. I didn’t have a problem with overexercising for the most part. Twice I did overexercise, and was sorry when my knee gave out!  But for the most part I haven’t had a problem with exercise addiction.  I truly believe that these “eating disorders specialists” who insist a person stop exercising are full of it! Unless it’s medically dangerous to exercise, or do a particular exercise, I think to force someone to stop is cruel. Each person needs to find their own particular type of exercise that suits them. Do you like walking your dog? Do you work better in a team or alone? Do you enjoy gardening and working outdoors? Does your job include physical activity? Mopping floors and vacuuming are also exercise.  Waiting on tables or delivering materials on foot will keep you physically active.  Do you use some form of exercise in your commute, if you work or go to school? Do you like the structure of an exercise class?  What about dancing?  If you hate exercising, you probably have been trying the types of exercise that aren’t a good fit for you. Try something new. Be daring. If you smoke, you will find that you are quickly motivated to quit!  It was back in the 1980’s that Jane Fonda wrote about how exercising helped her eating disorder. Many complained that her methods didn’t apply to them. So invent your own.

16) Not eating at all. This I did, or I ate hardly anything at all. I don’t recommend this because I nearly died in the process. I have heard that fasting can be helpful but probably it will worsen the situation in almost all cases. Especially if you are already underweight.

17) Chinese medicine, namely, acupuncture – yes, do try acupuncture. This is rarely explored and standard medical practitioners will tell you it’s hogwash. But it isn’t. It really works! If you find the right acupuncturist you will be amazed. Acupuncture helps with pain and sleep especially. I have heard that statistically, acupuncture has an excellent success rate for people with eating disorders. But finding the right acupuncturist is essential. It must be a good match. Sadly, many people don’t have a huge selection in their geographical area. And many won’t even give it a try. It’s not all needles! Many offer a sliding scale.

18) Various vitamin therapies. This will definitely be helpful for many people. Sadly, most folks assume vitamins do nothing or have very little effect. Or they are told scare tactics and they don’t even bother trying. You may be binge eating due to a vitamin or mineral deficiency. Some deficiencies don’t show up on a blood test. Some people find that they need unusually high doses of certain vitamins and they never find out for years.  I hear that there are specialists in this such as naturopaths and if you find a good one, take their advice!  I myself have tried various B vitamins, fish oil (which isn’t a vitamin but an oil), and others. Chronic dieting will cause deficiencies. I have heard Thiamine, zinc, Riboflavin, and others are helpful. Be careful, though, because overdosing on vitamins is possible! I’d say, “Ask your doctor,” but medical training doesn’t include this and chances are, your doctor will just shrug and say, “I don’t know. It can’t hurt” and little else. Integrative medicine practitioners, including MD’s, are more qualified in this area. Also, be careful mixing anything with any pills you take.

19) other things you find in a health food store or online – I have found fish oil helps with depression. I either take fish oil or eat fish regularly. I don’t suffer from depression anymore. I had high blood pressure from one of the pills I had to take. I used CoQ10 (I think that’s what it’s called) for a while, and it did bring my blood pressure down after nothing else worked. I tried chromium picolinate and it didn’t have any effect at all. I tried other trendy stuff (some ridiculously expensive) which did nothing. I tried 5-htp which did indeed help binge eating. It really worked!  Don’t mix it with psych meds, especially antidepressants. Also, don’t stay on it for long periods. This goes for l-tryptophan and other single amino acids as well. I have heard l-tryptophan helps some people with sleep. Melotonin also. But neither of these did anything for me. Some swear by l-glutamine.  I tried it and it did nothing for me.  I found that pine nut oil was  immensely helpful, but it can be expensive. Actually, other oils will do just as well, and have a similar effect, even olive oil, nuts, and seeds.  Please don’t use unhealthy oils to prevent binge eating. I doubt they will be helpful. Don’t use anything you are allergic to. If you are allergic to tree nuts, stay away from oils from tree nuts, or oil blends that may contain tree nut products.

20) caffeine. Believe it or not, caffeine is amazingly helpful to me. For some, stopping caffeine will in fact cure them of binge eating. I find that for me, it’s quite the opposite. Caffeine does indeed stop binge eating for me.  Caffeine can be habit forming so use common sense. I have never taken uppers such as Ritalin, and don’t want to do those drugs. A simple cup of coffee or pure unprocessed cacao can be amazing. Some swear by green tea but I cannot stand the taste. I wouldn’t recommend caffeine for everyone, only those who are certain they won’t overdo it. Don’t use caffeine if it interferes with sleep. Also, be aware of that caffeine will give you a lift for a while, then suddenly bottom out, just like sugar. Don’t use it like a diet pill.

21) Keeping a food journal. I would recommend this so long as it doesn’t cause obsession over record-keeping. Do it for yourself, not for someone else. It’s your body. Notice which foods cause what.

22) Getting rid of the scale. I tried that. Those were the years I became overweight, gaining over 100 pounds. Not knowing my weight was certainly not helpful. I believe I am adult enough by now, and I should know my body, including what it weighs and looks like. I don’t believe in the use of deception, ever, nor hiding facts.

23) Not eating “trigger foods.” I have found this helpful. However, don’t assume your trigger foods are junk food or sugar. I found that dairy makes me binge. I am still exploring this. If you see a naturopath or doctor who has awareness of these issues, you may find that you have food sensitivities that you never knew about. Eliminating these foods may solve the problem entirely. You won’t know till you try. At one point, ANY food, anything I tried to eat would set me off. But I got past that. Don’t keep known trigger foods lying around. After a while, you may be able to reintroduce them. Or maybe not.

24) Grocery shopping. This can be a pitfall. I found that if I went to certain stores, I’d be overwhelmed by the pretty packages, bright lighting, muzak, and “sales.”  I found that the marketing alone was overwhelming, and even frightening. You may need to avoid such places for a while.

25) Getting away abusive or oppressive situations. This is an absolute must. If you are being abused or oppressed, please leave the situation. Sometimes, it takes stepping back and seeing your life for what it is to realize exactly what the oppression is.

24) Honesty – be honest with others and yourself. It’s a good idea overall to tell the truth.  Only lie if you absolutely must for survival’s sake. If someone is threatening you or abusing you, you may need to hide the truth just to save yourself, or even lie. Let this be temporary. The exception. If you are around good people, you don’t need to lie anymore, but this doesn’t mean you have to reveal everything you think and feel. Use common sense.

25) Forced weigh-ins. These aren’t treatment and did nothing for me. I can’t believe the doctor charged my insurance just to weigh me. I was threatened repeatedly over my weight. I would say that forced weigh-ins are harmful to most people. Instead, weigh yourself at home and if challenged over it, be honest. If you have a doctor who refuses to trust you, find another doctor. Relationships should be based on trust. Go ahead, let the doctor weigh you occasionally. Keep ’em happy. But refuse regular forced weigh-ins. They won’t make you better.

26) tube feeding. I found tube feeding to be degrading. I also found it physically painful. During the time I was tube fed, I farted nonstop. It was physically painful to eat.  The similarities between tube insertion and rape are striking. Especially if you have a “We’ll call security if you don’t” threat. Avoid being too influenced by immature patients who use the tube as status symbol. Eat instead. Remind yourself that you are saving your own life.  You are in the driver’s seat. That, in fact, feels decent. Tube feeding, if not done properly, can cause medical complications such as refeeding syndrome, which is often fatal.

27) Being monitored while eating, or supervised meals. I think this can be helpful for some people. So long as it’s by choice and not forced. The people monitoring need to be respectful of you. If they aren’t, this monitoring can turn to abuse. Your partner can monitor you, or your parents or other family member. You may choose to eat with supportive friends. Try sharing food with others. Breaking bread together leads to meaningful relationships.  Again, if the monitoring is forced or anything like policing, this is abuse, and never helpful.  There’s a difference.

28) soup kitchens. Yes, I have heard amazing stories of people who go to soup kitchens. If you are poor you qualify. Some soup kitchens will allow anyone to eat there regardless of economic status.  Go with an open mind and heart. I tried to do this but every time I went to the soup kitchen they were one of those that had discontinued or lost funding. I know people who regularly go to soup kitchens. It’s a good exercise in taking what you are given and being thankful you are alive.

29) Grow your own, fish, or hunt. Getting close to the land is most likely a good thing. Go to an apple orchard and pick apples. Go out and find wild herbs (be careful of allergens in the process). Climb a mountain and pick wild blueberries. Don’t go hiking without carrying food and water.

30) share your food with others, even your pets. This is something I do myself and I find it helpful. I share my food with Puzzle. She eats good food, people grade food. She and I don’t eat the same, but what I can share, I do. I put it in her dish and won’t let her eat off of plates.  If it’s in her dish, she knows it’s for her. Know which foods aren’t good for your pet and don’t give them to him/her. Some pets are very sensitive. When switching your pet over to home cooked food, do so gradually. Ask your vet, too. You’ll be surprised at how much vets know about nutrition compared to how much MD’s know about human nutrition!

31) Service animals, emotional support animals, pets. Yes, yes, yes! Go for it. Animals are amazing. A service animal can remind you to eat, can help you in public situations such as grocery store shopping, and many other things.

32) Spirituality. People tend to go through phases with this. Certain times of our lives we may find spirituality helpful, often even lifesaving. Sometimes, our spiritual practices work for us, but other times, you may find you are without faith nor do spiritual practices hold much meaning for you. Allow for these variations and forgive yourself. Over time, change happens.

33) shock treatments. These didn’t help at all. They caused confusion and nearly ruined my life. Some people find them helpful but ask them again in a few weeks, and they are back to their usual depressed selves and they will tell you the treatments wore off or never really worked. They never helped my eating disorder at all.  Not recommended.

34) Lobotomy. I don’t know. I’ve never had one.

35) stomach stapling. I have never had this done and never was that overweight.  The people I know that had this are either dead or became rather ill from the surgery or its effects. It does help a person lose weight but these surgeries are done indiscriminately and the long term consequences aren’t really known. Ask around and ask people who had this done many years ago.  It isn’t recommended for binge eaters that I know of. They’re supposed to screen for various things, but often, these doctors don’t, or people get around the screening by being dishonest. I have heard horror stories about this surgery. I suppose it works out okay for some people. But ten or 20 years down the road? I have no clue.

36) Diet pills. I have heard that Meridia has been used for binge eating with some success. I have never tried it. I took that Garcinia stuff and it gave me super bad hot flashes. I had a significant raise in body temperature for a short while till I figured out what was causing the fever. I stopped these pills and never took them again. I have stayed away from diet pills mainly because financially, they were too expensive for me to bother with. The ones I tried I used for binge eating, not to lose weight. It was NOT worth it because of the side effects and cost. Most didn’t stop binge eating.

37) Prayer. This didn’t work. I tried praying that the binge eating would go away. I tried many times. No way did it work at all. If it helps you, go ahead and do it. I believe it can be very powerful. I can’t say it helped my binge eating, though.

38) Yoga and meditation. I tried a yoga class and hated it. It’s not my thing. Some love it but I don’t like exercise classes. I find them degrading. Sitting around saying Om seemed stupid to me when I could be doing other things and spending my money on more fruitful endeavors. I knew someone who chanted and she taught me how. I hear it helps some people. It’s a form of meditation. I was shocked when I realized this person was actually addicted to chanting. I realized her addiction was destroying her, and not helping her as she thought. I hope she came to her senses. I do know many people who take time out of their day to meditate. Just don’t get addicted. I don’t know how common this addiction is.

I will stop here. I have listed many of the methods I have tried over the three and a half decades I went through binge eating. I hope this is helpful.  Again, these were experimentation on myself, and your situation and experience may be different.

 

 

 

Mass call-in tomorrow, for Gloria

We are having a mass call-in tomorrow for Gloria Gervase. This is the 54-year-old woman who was brutally attacked at Trenton State Hospital in New Jersey, also known as Trenton Psychiatric Hospital. I think most of us realize that state hospitals are dumping grounds for the unwanteds. People without insurance or money, people without family, people without homes.  No state hospital in any state in the USA provides real medical care at all, so the word “hospital” is a misnomer. These are no more than state-run prisons. But many of the folks incarcerated in there aren’t criminals and are not a danger to society or to themselves.

Years ago, people were sent to state hospitals because they were runaway kids, or because they were homosexuals or lesbians, or because no one cared about them. These folks never had a chance at life ever again. Even though they never met the definition of “mentally ill,” they picked up bad habits while in these institutions and were given mind-numbing drugs that had horrific side effects. The side effects alone, especially Tardive Dyskinesia, made people appear strange to outsiders who had no clue that these odd movement disorders were from medications, not illness. Thus, anyone coming out of the state hospital was immediately subject to discrimination.

Nowadays, people are still being sent to state hospitals for rather arbitrary reasons, for convenience and little else.  If the system decides a person is a threat to their money and power, and they want to silence the person, psychiatrists could make statements that these patients were hopelessly psychotic or a danger to themselves or others. This determination could easily be falsely made, and the patient has no recourse. Psychiatry has the power to persuade the courts that a person is legally insane, without a shred of scientific evidence. This is because mental illness, whatever you believe about it, doesn’t usually show up on any scientifically measurable test.

Seizures show up on EEG’s, but this isn’t mental illness. Brain injuries from concussion or birth accident will also appear on an imaging test. Stroke is also visible brain damage. But none of these are mental illness, nor are they indications that a person is at all dangerous, nor a reason to imprison a person. Thus, psychiatrists are able to put people into state institutions without any basis in fact.  Many aren’t even given evaluations!

What does this have to do with Gloria? Why was she put into Trenton? She was a sweet and polite woman. Hospital officials have admitted that Gloria wasn’t a danger to herself or to anyone. She was cooperative with her care team.

You won’t believe this. Gloria was living in a group home. She stopped taking showers due to a sanitation issue at the home. However, the group home decided that skipping showers was an indication of severe illness.  Unfortunately, for people who already have a “mental illness” label, professionals tend to conclude that all untoward actions are illness-based. They fail to see beyond this due to profiling. Did anyone even ask? Not likely. She was whisked away to the state hospital against her will.

Gloria endured many months at Trenton. She began taking showers again, but still, they wouldn’t let her out. Guess why? Because she was quiet. She didn’t schmooze with the other patients too much, and instead, kept to herself. Again, because she had the label, “mentally ill,” the social workers at the hospital decided that surely, Gloria’s quiet demeanor was an indication that she was “severely ill.”

We know about profiling. If a black teen carrying a knapsack and wearing a hoodie walks into a store, he’ll be followed around by employees as if he were going to steal.  If a white male who works a white-collar job walks in with a similar knapsack, will people think that he’s out to steal? Most likely not. They’ll assume he’s headed for the athletic club to play tennis with his pals. People who are known to have been in mental hospitals are routinely stigmatized and treated with suspicion. It’s very difficult to rid oneself of this reputation in the surrounding community once it has developed. Within the medical community, the person faces even worse discrimination.

What happened next? One night, in the wee hours when Gloria was asleep in her room at Trenton, her roommate attacked her in the most brutal way. This roommate, Florence, bashed Gloria’s eyes repeatedly. Gloria couldn’t defend herself against this woman. Her cries for help went unheeded by night staff. She was in shock and left there for hours. No one checked the room even though they were required to do this at least every half hour. Now, Gloria is blind.

She’s had one eye removed due to infection. The danger of continued infection is still very real. It could travel to her brain. We don’t yet know about the other eye. It’s still possible that she could gain some sight in it.

She’s now being kept at a medical facility, but Trenton State won’t let go of their hold on her. They have “sitters” from Trenton monitoring her at her bedside 24 hours a day. While it may be convenient for Gloria to have them there so they can assist her if she needs something, they are also there to see to it that what happened at Trenton doesn’t leak out to the public. Trenton is denying Gloria’s access to an ophthalmic specialist in this type of eye injury. Her eye care has been minimal.  Mostly, they want to bring her back to the prison-like facility, where she will receive no eye care at all, nor will she receive proper training such as is provided at schools for blind folk.

Gloria has no family to advocate for her, which is part of the reason that she ended up in this predicament. However, she has a devoted boyfriend named Jeff, who visits as much as he can. They’ve been partners for a long time. But because they aren’t married, the hospital has seen to it that Jeff has no voice nor input into any decision.

We want her out of Trenton’s control. She doesn’t belong in a prison, and certainly not the prison where she was attacked. The group home where she used to live has filled her bed already, giving up on her. Now, she needs a home, and we’re hoping that this can be a training facility for adults who are newly blinded, NOT a mental facility such as Trenton.

Trenton has stated that they found ONE employee at fault and they state that this employee has been suspended without pay.  Thus, their insistence that they handle this internally is an indication that they intend to sweep this under the rug, making sure the media and general public don’t catch wind of this.

On Monday, October 27, 2014, we’re asking everyone to phone New Jersey Governor Christie between 9am and 5pm. We’re hoping that Christie is flooded with calls all day long. Here’s the number: 609-292-6000. Also please call Ruth Lowenkron at 609 292-9742. She is the state disability officer working on the case. We feel she’s been lax and has stalled on getting Gloria any help. These state-run disability rights organizations are known to stall lawsuits and any action against…who else? The state itself.

Again, the two numbers are: 609-292-6000, and 609 292-9742. 9 to 5, Eastern Daylight Time (-4:00).

Please share via Tweets and Facebook. Please Tweet to Gov Christie at @GovChristie.

Please refer to the Facebook page, www.facebook.com/hopeforgloria,

and www.hopeforgloria.org.

Also see the article in Mad in America: http://www.madinamerica.com/2014/10/blinding-gloria-x-new-jersey-state-hospital-just-mental-patient/

I ran 12 miles today, nearly a half marathon

I have no clue how I did that!  I took three days off to rest thoroughly from last time. I think it was Tuesday that I ran, then tried Thursday but I wasn’t really ready yet. I hadn’t rested up enough. So I stopped as soon as I realized this and told myself I’d have to wait another day or two. I went to the feria and I could tell that my muscles were still rather tight and stiff. 

I took La Rambla this time westward, toward Montevideo. My aim was to get to Salinas. I found that La Rambla ended and merged with the IB.  I ran along the IB but it was rather trafficky.  For the most part, the auxiliary road was there, but for a while it faded out. I took a side street southward thinking this back road might lead to Salinas, but it was only a loop where there were a few roads and maybe ten homes at most. A village. I ran around those streets looking for a road to Salinas but never found one, so I had to go back to the highway.

While in that woodsy area I took a few side streets that were no more than jeep paths.  I couldn’t imagine a big USA car trying to do those roads. With a jeep or motorcycle, no problem.  At one point, I took a path that went sharply downward. I had hesitations knowing that what comes up, must come down, and vice-versa. I realized suddenly that I was running right on a dried up stream that had made its way down this road and eroded it quite a bit.  Then, right before me was a gaping hole. I saw that before, some people may have crossed the hole along the edge. However, the walls were made of sand. Sure, I know I’m small, but even a creature as small as little Puzzle could step on that sand and find out that it crashed into that deep hole right under her. I sure didn’t want that! There had been substantial erosion and I wondered if at times, that hole was filled with water. It looked that way. I turned around and went up the hill.

Eventually, I was back on the IB. But I decided that since I’d already been running an hour, I needed to head back even though I hadn’t reached Salinas due to having to backtrack. I crossed the IB at a place that looked safe. Once on the other side, I took a dirt road northward. I told myself it’s gotta lead somewhere, right? It was clearly a major road even though it was dirt. Or, rather, one of the few roads that exists out in that area. But I didn’t know that.

I ran and ran. I had no clue how soon I’d get to a side street or turnoff. The road went on and on.  Just straight north. I’m guessing I was on it for well over 1/2 hour and then finally told myself I needed to check my GPS. 

I took my phone off Airplane Mode and checked while in the shade. Yes, finally, right up ahead was a cross-street. Before, I’d seen only long rural driveways leading to someone’s property. I’d passed so many farms, too. Some were larger than others.

I turned right. I knew this road led to Estacion Atlantida. But the road went on and on just like the last one.  Finally, I reached Ruta 11 when the two-hour mark came in the music. I knew from afar because I saw the reflection of car roofs and windows, and heard the traffic.

But which way to turn? Clearly, the answer was right, right? Toward the IB and toward Atlantida. I was such an idiot that I turned left toward Estacion Altlantida.  I had no clue how far out it was.  I ended up going further east, passing a feria, then looped back to Ruta 11. At that point I’d been running nearly two and a half hours. I decided to walk for a while. I purchased Gatorade twice en route, and also a banana. Drank ’em while walking. I chose a banana cuz other foods are too messy.

I couldn’t believe how far out I was from Atlantida. I had previously thought it was a hop, skip, and jump to get from Estacion Atlantida to Atlantida proper. Nope. I walked for an entire hour, including the stops for drinks.

Once home, my landlady was out front and she asked me how I was doing. I said I was fine and smiled and did the friendly neighbor bit. 

Puzzle was waiting at home. I took her for a walk, fed her, and here we are.

Total mileage is over a half marathon by far. However, I believe the actual running mileage was 12 miles. I figure each 5 miles is 8 km. So perhaps I ran around 20 km. Quite a feat.

Maybe right now, I should quote a former therapist of mine regarding my eating disorder. “Without treatment, you will die.”  I suppose even the good ones are wrong sometimes. Another one said, “All people with ED who run are overexercising.  All people with ED are sneaky liars, too.” She immediately demanded that I stop running.

I wish these “providers” would quit stereotyping us. I feel decent right now. And I am going to take a shower and go on with my day.

Radio show, 1pm New York time today

Topic will be discussion of what books or writings you have read that had great impact on your life. Call in and let’s talk about it, or read your favorite quote.

Tune in to Blog Talk Radio by going to blogtalkradio dot com and looking for Juliemadblogger. You can listen online, or via phone, at 917-889-2247.  You can choose to speak on the air or to listen only. If you wish to be on air, dial 1 or *1. You will immediately hear a confirmation letting you know you are in queue. No need to create an account or to have Facebook or Twitter. All you need is  a computer or phone. Thank you!

Another piece for Alice Gross, UK schoolchild, body now found

I have a lot to do today but thought I’d write this up.

Piece for Alice Gross

Dear Alice,

We don’t know what happened, and you cannot tell us. There was speculation and much mystery surrounding your sudden disappearance. Of course, this leads to gossip of all sorts, misinterpretation, and perhaps, misreading of your voice, words, and actions.

You wrote songs. I was a musician once, too. I think written word is far more subject to misreading or misinterpretation than is music, especially music without text, but perhaps I am wrong about this. It’s been a while since I composed music.

Often, I used to listen to pieces such as Brahms First Symphony and wonder what the heck made it so powerful. Why did that particular piece have such a grip on me? I know I’m not alone in this. Other pieces, too, hit me rather strongly.

That bass drum and plucked strings really got to me in the opening movement. Was it a bass drum, or tympani? Boom! Boom! Boom! Like a heartbeat.

Much later in life, I heard another particular piece that struck me, for unknown reasons. I called it my starvation music. I don’t often reveal to people what it is. It’s rock. I looked it up once, that is, being curious and wanting more information.

The album was created rather quickly. In fact, the year it came out was the year my eating disorder began, 1980. Again, that driving beat. The ever-present temptation. How many more pounds can I lose? Can I even stop it now? The writers said the sung text was random and meant nothing in particular. Written on instinct. Probably, they were rather stoned at the time. No matter. It’s brilliant. The wikipedia article discussed the mixing that was done, which was new stuff at the time.

Does anyone remember that AOL voice, “You’ve got mail?” Who the heck’s voice is that? New, new, new, now past and gone, for the most part.

So you are gone now, Alice. I can, as writer, make up stuff, recreate a scene. Shall I do that? Just a picture. Just that.

So I will be 14 for a sec. A kid with an eating disorder. I have known many. I got mine at 22. But I’ll stretch my imagination right now. This is gonna be fiction and I hope you don’t mind. I’ll change a few things, but again, we fiction writers are in the business of telling tall tales. If our stories are realistic it’s cuz we have them cleverly disguised.

Know what I did at 14? Played hooky. That’s what we called it in the USA. I decided not to go to school one day. I hid under a tree, or rather, a shrub, right next to my own home. Just sat there, my back to the concrete part of the house wall, almost as if frozen in time, for the whole day. I had my journal with me. I sat there writing and thinking about things.

You wouldn’t believe what happened. Suddenly, my mom came. Right in front of me. She stood there and pruned the tree with a manual tree-trimmer. Yep, the tree I was sitting under. She never saw me. She finished, and left.

I thought of Anne Frank. Wasn’t she 14, too? Hidden.

Sometimes, my eating disorder was about disappearing. To get smaller and smaller and suddenly, no one can find me. I slip away. Unnoticed. Not that anyone ever noticed me to begin with, no matter how many waves I made. Or didn’t make.

There were times I walked in the local park, a wooded area enclosed between some back yards of a rather densely populated town. It was a public park and well-lit at night. We weren’t supposed to walk there once it got dark. This rule was never enforced. There never seemed to be crime there, although I heard once some people met there for a drug deal and one person got his stuff stolen, maybe an iphone, in the process.

I’d walk there at night. Avoiding the cops, who patrolled the streets incessantly. I hated the way those cops looked at me. I was known to them, but I suppose not all, just the regular ones. I wore dark clothing so I wouldn’t be seen. I never wanted to stand out. I never asked myself if the park was monitored by CCTV, but seeing as it was a potential crime area, I suppose it was. Nearby was a local speed trap over on Main Street. A cop always there, eyeing passersby. Their job. Monitor, monitor, monitor, for the sake of god-fearing citizens. All I wanted was privacy. No eyes upon me. I’d wonder if people peeked out their back windows and saw me walking. And yet, I didn’t do anything wrong. Having an eating disorder isn’t a crime, nor a moral issue. So many are wrong and think, in fact, that it is.

You did nothing wrong, Alice. Nothing. You are only 14.

What were you thinking just then? What did I think, walking alone? I wasn’t scared. Sometimes, I’d tell myself, “No one cares about me. Someone might as well come along and kill me, and no one will give a shit.” I felt like poking fun at god, or fate.

Many times, I’d be so starving I had no clue what on earth would happen next. Other times, I’d come home along that woodsy route shoving crap food into myself the whole time, trying to keep my activity concealed. The woods were better for that. Although, if it was rather late, 3am or 4am, not too many people would peek out their windows, so chowing down would never be noticed. If anyone was within eyesight, I’d put everything quickly into my bag, and for godsakes stop chewing.

I’d arrive near my home. If I thought it was at all possible that a neighbor was peeking out a window, immediately I’d hide everything. Once at my back door, I’d slip in, cross through the darkened “Community Room,” hoping no one was up late in there watching the Big Screen TV. They’d be so absorbed in their TV show, what did they care, anyway?

Up my back stairs. Only a few feet in the back hall, I had to cross over to my door while within view of my front door, where neighbors gathered to gossip. Just in case, I kept my bag behind me. I doubt anyone had a clue what I was up to.

Home. I could open the bags, all of them, the food out in front of me. Exposed. No one was gonna barge in during the wee hours. My shade was down.

I hated every damn minute of binge eating.

I’d collapse on my bed eventually. Hide the evidence as best as I could. You never knew who would show up, after all, when I wasn’t expecting them. The freezer was a good hiding place. It concealed odors, too. Crumbs swept up. If I had to toss anything into the trash, it would go directly into the outside dumpster, pushed as far back as I could so my snoopy neighbor who used to go through the building’s trash bin couldn’t reach it. I’d never leave it in the hall trash, nor did I ever want to be seen walking down the hall with it. I’d turn boxes inside-out so the label couldn’t be seen. Stuff plastic wrappers inside paper coffee cups, if I had any, and replace the lid. And the dishes, oh, the darned dishes. These I’d throw into a closet sometimes, or into the fridge, way back, or under everything, till I had a chance to wash them.

If I was thin, I often felt the need to hide my thinness. Cuz I’d get caught. I had only a vague idea of how or who would capture me. But I’d feel this. Just like that bass drum. Always there. Like death awaiting.

I love you, Alice.

Julie Greene

New book coming along, due to start writing text Nov. 1st

I am compiling the outline and am planning to start writing the actual text November 1st.  I will keep you all posted.

Right now, I am planning ten personal essays. Some are pure narrative and some are more reflective. As follows:

Title: Madness Invisible (I will most likely add a descriptive subtitle)

1) Narrative of my awakening in 2o12. A few hours’ worth of scenes, dialogue, etc. My “ahah” moment that led to my gradual walking out of MH care.

2) Compare/contrast the mental health system to a brainwashing religious cult I was a member of a long time ago. I have a bunch of material i can bring into this. I also walked out of this cult on my own following an “ahah” moment.

3) Dispelling the myths they tell us in “eating disorders care.” My list of these myths is lengthy.  I need to hit upon the most glaring errors made by these supposed gods that think they know our bodies better than we know do, or this chapter will be endless. I also wish to dispel myths about eating disorders that are unfortunately widely accepted as truth.

4) Black Box Warning – a chapter about what it’s like to have the well-known side effect of anti-depressants and other psych meds that causes a person who takes these drugs to go through sudden personality change and then commit suicide. I went through that, failed at suicide, and I am lucky to be alive. This began late in 2011 when I started taking the drug.  The “black box” effect of the antidepressant as well as other, more physically measurable effects, took a long time to wear off, even though I had stopped the drug after a few months. I will begin when I went to my psychiatrist asking for the drug, and continue from there.  Since the Black Box Warning dissipated gradually, I am not sure where to end this.

5) What it’s like to almost starve to death. I suppose this would be an anorexia narrative. From the perspective of a person who went through this at age 55. It wasn’t the first time, but for sure, the worst/best starvation I ever did. This isn’t a pro-ana piece and I wouldn’t recommend that another person do this to themselves. I hope I never get to that point again. The narrative would detail events of July 2013 and end August 12, 2013.

6) No longer human.  A narrative of being stripped of my dignity. Abuse at the hands of those who supposed to provide care. I plan to spare nothing here. Begin August 12 end August 22.  11 days in hell.

7) Made into a criminal. Narrative of the shocking way others around me reacted when I tried to take legal action against those that abused me. Again, I’m not going to sugar-coat this.

8) My journey to freedom. Narrative of the steps I took to get where I am now in South America, and my arrival May 15. About a month of events.

9) Madness Invisible (“title track”): Narrative of how I spend 11 days in a medical facility here in South America incognito, without any detectable mental illness whatsoever. Compare/contrast how Western medicine is practiced in a poor country south of the equator to the USA money-driven system. End with my bus ride home.

10) A writer’s oath – I am not sure where to put this chapter but it will talk about writing as commitment. This will be in fact an imaginary commencement address to those who have earned their MFA in creative writing.  Sadly, I most likely will never be invited to speak at any commencement anywhere, anytime in the near future.  It will be addressed to “the graduates.”

I can change the order of appearance of these essays if I wish. I can take some out if I wish. I don’t plan to braid them the way I did in This Hunger Is Secret.

I hope to be able to revise after November and polish up one or two of these essays as stand-alones for media publication.

 

 

Posted on the Harvard Vanguard website (doubt it’ll be approved)

“I am surprised. I had a terrible experience at Harvard Vanguard. At first they all seemed oh so sweet to me, then as time went on, I realized I was being given assembly-line medical care. I had to complain twice to supervisors regarding poor quality care. I remember once I went to see my primary care physician to try to get a paper signed. The doctors there don’t have voicemail and it’s impossible to reach them without being screened by one secretary after another. So I figured I’d get the boot unless I showed up in person. I went in there and was stopped by more demanding secretaries, who acted like I was a criminal about to do a mass shooting. This was shocking to me. Then, I made arrangements to meet with my doctor in a few hours. I ran some errands and about an hour later, the secretary phoned and demanded to know what this was about. I evaded the question because I didn’t want to be told just how unimportant they considered me. Then, my last appointment at Harvard Vanguard was a joke and I was considering not even allowing Medicare to pay for it. This doctor examined his computer screen and sat there threatening me based on nonexistent blood levels. I have no clue to this day if he was even looking at the right person’s records. He never examined me nor touched me, didn’t even listen to my heart and lungs. Didn’t seem to care at all. Were these people just having me come in there to see how much closer to death I was? I called and complained to his supervisor and got the brush-off. Thank goodness I am out of Boston now and away from corporation-run medical care. What a racket. – See more at: http://blog.harvardvanguard.org/2014/10/harvard-vanguard-practices-receive-pcmh-2011-recognition/#comment-71690

What are they gonna do? You badmouth a corporation, they retaliate. So…are the cops gonna show up where I used to live…again?  Calling me a violent criminal?  Whenever you profile someone as “dangerous” based on no facts whatsoever, but profiling based on race, social standing, etc, you are committing a hate crime.  That wouldn’t happen to me here, thank goodness. Goodbye, Boston! I sure am glad I got away while I could.

I ran ten miles today

Surprise, surprise.  I had no clue I was gonna do this till I did it. Life works about that way, does it not? This is why we make mistakes…and learn wonderful things from them.  So today, I have been enjoying a delightful dose of Plan B. Where freedom and adventure begin. I took a glance at the ole looking glass, thumbed my nose at my reflection, walked straight on ahead, and through it to the Other Side.  I told myself, “Ah hah! This is where I was meant to be all along.” And so, I began my run today.

I took La Rambla as I usually do, headed este into the rising sun. To the right of me, the Mighty Atlantic Ocean, sud version, and to my left, our land. I asked myself how far I was going to run today.  I remembered my last run, when I felt on the lazy side. Afterward, I decided I might want to take two days off instead of my usual one, so I did.

It was a cool night last night, the kind of cool where you can set your leftover veggies in a windowsill to keep them fresh overnight. I have a perfect windowsill for such delectables. Still, for runners, it’s a shorts morning for sure. I bought two pairs of shorts at the feria last Thursday. They are perfecto. Absolutely perfect for running.  My goal, when I can afford it, is a new pair of running shoes. And yes, Adidas are available here, too. About the best kind for my feet.

I felt strong right away, telling myself the ole saying, “Slow and steady wins the race.” Suddenly, I realized that wasn’t true. Fast runners generally win. However, I am running longer, so I get to laugh longer, too. “She who laughs last, laughs best.” We last laughers don’t mess around, do we? We laugh deeply. No LOL will do for us. We laugh with our souls, from our inner bellies. When God comes for us, we can tell the ole dude, “I may not have won the race, but I am the funniest bitch around. Catch me if you can.” Keep running.

Running is a science, or should I say, scholars of the sport make the mechanics of running into a rather intensely scientific hobby.  If you are short like me, chances are your stride is also shorter than a tall person’s stride. To keep up with the Joneses, we shorties gotta move our legs fast. I hear many runners run as slowly, that is, steps per minute, as 165 or so. I run just over 175. However, the first piece of music I found that wasn’t walking pace was 175, so I stuck with that.

I remembered once seeing a “therapist,” who, upon hearing I was on psych disability, asked, “So, what are your limitations?” She was expecting a response such as, “I can’t do public transit cuz I have panic attacks,” or, “I have trouble concentrating, so I have to take my tests at school in a separate room.”

I had never been asked this so directly before. I didn’t have time to be insulted, so I wasn’t.  If I recall correctly, I think I either made up stuff, not knowing how else to respond, or told her I had no limitations whatsoever. I didn’t see her too much. I quit after three sessions.

Anyway, I thought of how I would respond now.  All humans have limitations, do we not?  I cannot fly.  I cannot swim across the entire Atlantic Ocean because I suck as a swimmer. I am so short that I cannot reach things that are high up, so I might need a ladder for such tasks. And get this: I use assistive technology. So there.

You might want to know about this assistive technology. What is it? A talking computer? Or a special helmet?  Actually, I have been using assistive technology since second grade. A pair of spectacles. Without them, I can’t recognize you or anyone else, cuz it’s all a blur.

When I was a kid I got teased because I couldn’t run fast. I couldn’t hit a ball with a bat, still can’t. So I suppose I am seriously limited. Keep running.

The sun was ahead of me and to my right. South of here and to the east. I was running from my town away from Montevideo, which is to the west. Sunrise in Atlantida. Over the ocean. La Rambla is a long road that follows the coast. The scenic route.

After 2011 and until I got here to South America, my life stopped being fun. That lasted a long time and I thought I would never have fun again.  Normally enjoyable things no longer gave me pleasure. I wasn’t depressed really.  It was just that I knew that if I kept going the way I was going, nothing would change for the better. Stuck in a rut. Living in fear following psych abuse. It’s not cozy living in fear and dealing with threats of institutionalization, the psychs around every corner. I never knew whom I could trust, and when I needed to keep my mouth sealed shut. Having a new life has given me hope and joy that I never dreamed possible. Limitations? Keep running. Keep the damn glasses on your face or you will be sorry.  And watch the cars, buses, bikes, and motorbikes.  And the road ahead. Keep running.

I wondered when I would turn left toward the IB, the Interbalnearia, which is a major highway here. The full name of the Interbalnearia has a guy’s name in it, but I don’t need to have that memorized. Interbalnearia was tough enough to learn when I first arrived.  In some places, La Rambla is close to the IB, but in others, there’s  quite a distance and quite a bit of town in-between. I watched the bus stops on the other side of the street until they turned to letters. Parada A, Parada B. These go to F. That’s as far down La Rambla as I have ever gone, right up to the line between Las Toscas and Parque del Plata. Today, I watched the letters go up, but then they turned to numbers. Parada 11, Parada 17. I knew I was in Parque del Plata and was headed into town. But how much further was I gonna go? I wasn’t tired. Keep running.

I passed a hotel called Via Park. This is owned by a USA guy I know. I had gone there the very first day I was here. I had just come off the plane. Kinda overwhelmed I suppose. Here, we were beginning winter. I sat with others, mostly from the USA, who began each sentence with, “The USA sucks because….” and we laughed and laughed. No, we didn’t really say that, but this was the deal right then. I was told not all “expats” feel that way. I was also told that in general, Canadians are far more aware than USA folks. I had a lot to learn. It was cold in mid-May, and winter was approaching. Now, we are getting ready for Halloween.  It’ll be 85 next week, mid-week, for a high. The temps climb slowly. Slow and steady wins. But keep running.

I passed another hotel. I passed a lot, actually, before turning left. I thought the road I had chosen, should I follow it all the way, would lead to the IB, but no, it ended at the next block. I encountered a large roundabout after a while, followed it, and from there, winged it. Which is how we do life, most of us.  She who wings it last, flies.

I laughed to myself. Told myself I couldn’t be happier. Kept running.  I zig-zagged on many roads, passing an elementary school. I learned a new Spanish word. Ecolares. Schoolchildren. I saw two such buses and I think I passed two schools, and many kids carrying knapsacks. I saw workers on their way to work.  People standing waiting for the bus. I waved to a man with a dog. He told his dog to sit and let me pass. I said, “Hola!” I said that to many people as I ran by.

How far to the IB? Maybe the IB turned northward at Las Toscas, and never reached Parque del Plata. Maybe I’d have to run 50 km to get to the big highway. Who was I kidding? Who was I trying to fool? Was I lost?  I kept running.

I reached a major road. I knew this cuz it was paved. I followed it, careful when buses came up behind me to get the hell out of the way.

My music had already ended. It’s an hour long. I clicked on my player so that it could play the hour-long running music again. Thumbed my nose at the announcer who told us listeners that even his car got tired when he played this piece. It’s called, “Systolic.” A punch at the end.

I remembered the story of a guy who told his wife, “I have never felt better.” Then he went out running as usual and came back still feeling fantastic. A few hours later, he dropped dead. Let’s call him Paul.

God bless you, Paul, and all the Pauls of the world who love life and live it to the fullest. Did you feel this in your core, your center, where your godliness is? Was this the calling? Welcome to Paradisio. Running to live, I suppose, shop till you drop.

I didn’t think that my fate would be the same as Paul’s, but what if it did end up that way? I can die laughing and love doing that, too. But I got a few miles to go, if you don’t mind.

Sure enough, there was the ole Esso sign, meaning that I was headed in the right direction to get home. I was in the center of Las Toscas. The road was familiar now. The pizza places and the veterinaria that says, “Animal Kingdom,” only in español. Then, soon enough, I saw street signs: Calle 5B, Calle 4B, Calle 3B. But I was daydreaming and Calle 1B came upon m unexpectedly. I was nearly in Atlantida. A bunch of familiar street signs. I knew the circle was up ahead. Here,, there’s a shrink office.  The town psychologist. Adults and kids. Keep running. I ran fast past that place!

Just as I was nearly past his/her office, I said aloud, “Nyah nyah!” No one heard but the dog. Does “Nyah nyah” translate into Spanish?  I passed the estacion de policia, the post office distribution center, a bunch of little markets, the Catholic church, and on until I reached my street. The music ended. I had been running for two hours and two minutes. I think that was ten miles, or 16 km. I plan to measure this on a map. Later.  I have never run so far. Ever. Before, I had run at most 5 miles.

Welcome to life, Plan B. Where the fun begins. I suppose I will need to pass back into that place on the side of the Looking Glass where the rest of the folks are waiting. Till then, keep running.