On the bus

Just running an errand, on the bus to Cambridge. All I can think about today is how much this totally sucks. What do you do when it’s just not worth it to go on?

The DMH guy was here yesterday. He sincerely apologized for having mucking up my case. Apparently my worker was supposed to be looking in on me over the past four months. I thought either she was out sick, or they took me off their roster. I guess she wasn’t doing her job. He was surprised that she had completely disregarded me all this time. I told him that she never did a thing for me, nothing. I forgot to tell him that her usual excuse was that another client had an emergency, and that I was less needy and others were more important than me. Was she even seeing her other clients?

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Okay, back on the bus going home. I went to a different food pantry today. I don’t think I’ll be back to this one anytime soon. I had to turn down a lot of the food that they had due to the risk that I might binge on it. These included pasta, macaroni and cheese boxes, instant oatmeal, dry processed cereal, and white rice. There were many other things that I left behind as well. They gave me three thingies of ground turkey but it is poor quality. You really don’t jget anything of value.

More and more about therapy and possibilities

Good evening, or morning, whatever.  A commenter posed a question, and I know the “comments” on this site aren’t all that visible on this site, so I thought I’d copy my answer onto a post.  I ended up writing one helluva long answer.

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I am so glad that you wrote. Your question is a difficult one to answer given that there are many types of therapists out there. Note I did not say “therapy,” I said, “therapists.”

First of all…process of elimination…there are therapists out there who are simply bad therapists. They shouldn’t be doing therapy, period. Many break the law and a handful need to be dealt with by the law so that they are stripped of their licenses and get a very, very bad legal kick in the pants. I hate prisons and no one belongs in such places but there are therapists who sexually abuse their patients. Usually this sexual abuse is subtle, though, carefully disguised. Then there is the vast amount of psychological abuse. Think: You are scared and vulnerable and in an office for 50 minutes. These people promise salvation. Patients will comply even if they want to stay skinny and not “recover” weight-wise or eating-wise and are treatment resistant. They comply because they do not know what else to do and they want to be happy, loved, and cared for just like all of us. Actually, many people do ditch therapists who are abusive and go elsewhere. Problem is, they have already wasted precious time and resources.

So, given this, we need to get rid of these bad therapists, those that are abusive or too ignorant or not skilled in therapy or not trained properly. Which leaves us with, like, hardly anyone. I have had 18. They run on a spectrum, many spectrums…they were all different.

Ideally, therapists would be TRAINED to respect the patient. We are sacred. We are human beings and if we are well-treated and honored as the adults we are and not infantalized, we are less likely to be deceptive. Children in therapy should be treated as sacred. They should be honored and loved and given all the resources the therapist has to offer so that they can become who they are. We all need to become who we inherently are. We should be treated with kindness. Tough love is fine but if it’s not kind, it’s not love. Therapists should be trained to have boundaries, simply because they are providing a service and getting paid for it, so boundaries are essential. Again, training. Force has no place in therapy or in mental health care, period. Bribery has no place in mental health care. If there needs to be bargaining, it needs to be done between two equals, that is, the therapist must realize that the patient has merit and worth just as much as the therapist. Good listening skills is of course essential. And the therapist has to have intelligence, too. I’ve known a handful who did have training but had low intelligence, so they weren’t of much use to me (as therapists) or to anyone. They need to have good problem-solving ability and sense of logic instead of blindly administering some course of treatment they read about in textbooks. You can go to their websites and read about their wonderful philosophies and promises, but then you go sit in their offices and find out it’s all bullshit.

I have read and looked into organizations run by ex-patients and mental health survivors. These groups, some of them, recommend peer advocacy and peer-based support. It’s a great idea but scares the shit out of me. Like, the idea of getting anything that resembles counseling from someone whom 20 years ago I sat next to in a group? Twenty years ago, I may have sat around with these people discussing our medication side effects and which brand of cigarette is best (we can barely hold the cigarettes because our hands are trembling from our medications)…it makes me shudder. I so badly want to get away from these people who truly held me back and kept me sick just by surrounding me with “group hugs.” I have been to these clubhouses where people are ex-patients and hang out. It was a while back. I was truly bored, just wanted to leave and go do something useful with my brains and time, go learn something in a classroom and discuss something exciting like writing. Instead of the focus being on how sick we were and needed to comply with treatment like unthinking robots, focus was on how to be sick without treatment and recover from the treatment we’d already had. I split the scene.

I do wholeheartedly believe in organizations that focus on securing human rights for patients and blowing away ignorance and discrimination. For many, being active in human rights and equality is key to recovery. For anyone, any human, helping another person will be naturally constructive and healing. You can do this in many, many ways. You can start by not littering.

Um, let’s see…I haven’t even begun to answer your question, have I? It was an excellent question. Instead of combing through the Internet looking for new ways to somehow get myself to throw up (I am still unable) or new ways to starve or new gimmicks to stop bingeing, just promising myself I need to stop spending money on these sick things cuz I’m flat broke, I went looking for therapists on the Internet tonight. Alternative types of treatment centers. None exist for eating disorders but there are some that treat other diseases and promote wellness in new, more respectful, and much more holistic ways. There are places that take in people ravaged by debilitating physical conditions and are near death and these places show respect and love and have crazy ideas the pharmaceutical people don’t want you to know about. Because they are not full of fancy equipment such as MRI machines, these places don’t cost an arm and a leg and in fact cost less than places like Remuda Ranch. I am looking into it. I don’t want to use my credit card unless I’m convinced and of course there are scams out there. There are therapists with radical ideas and new therapies that make a lot of sense to me.

I only want a decent life, which I don’t have right now. My life is intolerable to me. Living itself is intolerable. I don’t feel depressed. That’s not the problem. The problem is that my life sucks and I woke up to the reality of it. Like I’ve just walked away from 31 years in a brainwashing cult called mental health treatment. Hello, world.

It would be very nice not to be suicidal anymore. To want to live. To stop wasting energy and time on making myself die. Stopping this bingeing is the key to solving the suicidality. I suspect I am treatment-resistant, and some sort of exception to the rule that says “binge eating can be resolved with treatment.” This is a secret disorder but through investigation I’ve learned that my own particular binge eating is exceptionally severe. I’m not average. I’m not typical. I’m not what they read about in the textbooks. So no one, really, knows what to do. Even in my search for therapists I’ve done, like a few weeks ago, a lot of the ones I called said they would not take me on even if my insurance covered them. Many said my case was “too advanced.” I do like honesty and if they felt they couldn’t help me, I’m glad they told me upfront.

I think in one month that waiting list will be done and I’ll get a call from a nearby place telling me they have a therapist available. I’m terrified of being sectioned. I can’t even call Dr. P, haven’t even left a message for her, cuz I know she’ll want me hospitalized. Hospitals are not the answer, just a waste of time, waste of a life. So I’m taking a big chance if I do go see this therapist. I guess the first thing I’ll ask the therapist will be “Will therapy help me?” I don’t want to walk in there and break down crying on the first day, even if I very, very much feel on the verge of tears all the time anyway.

New Page on this site: My Way of Life

I just added a new page to this site describing the way I try to live my life or want to live my life or am living my life.  Go up to the “pages” part of the blog (in its current format, these are the tabs at the top of the page) and there is my My Way of Life page.

Here’s part of what’s on it:

I am different.

They say everyone is unique.  I have a history of being persecuted because I am different.  Either I stand out in a crowd or others find reason to single me out for a difference that is merely perceived.  Over the years, I have made efforts to blend in and be like everyone else.  I did this in order to avoid being teased, bullied, discriminated against, excluded, labeled, stereotyped, imprisoned, censored, brainwashed, enslaved, and assaulted by my peers.

I am considered to be very short in stature.  I walk with my feet turned out slightly, and carry myself a certain way,  mostly because of the way my body is made, but also to avoid falling and out of habit.   For this reason many people have said they can spot me from afar.  As a child I was considered to be a poor athlete because I ran slowly, had difficulty hitting a ball with a bat, and when I tried to kick a soccer ball, I missed.

From the beginning, I always spoke much more slowly than others.   This made me appear unintelligent, and I found difficulty asserting myself because my speech was slow.  It is easy to interrupt me mid-sentence.  In my thirties, my speech became slurred because of certain medications I took, but this was a temporary condition.   Over the past year my way of speaking has changed dramatically.  This is most likely connected to the vocal tic I developed.

For whatever reason, I was born with far above average intelligence, for which I was persecuted.  All my life, I tried to hide my intelligence, disguise it, lie about it, or eradicate it to be like other people.

The way I think is different from the way most people think.  My father recognized this in me when I was very young.  He wondered if I would become a great scientist.  When I told him I preferred to compose music, he was disappointed at first, but then accepted my wish.  At school, teachers observed that I day dreamed often, and noticed that I thought differently from others.  Some disciplined me, some sent me to the guidance counselor or sent notices home to my parents, but many teachers enjoyed talking to me.

I tried to dress in clothing that was like other people’s clothing.  I tried to act confident during times that I was pretending I was someone I was not, but it was difficult.  Every time that I have held a position of employment, I felt like a fake.  It was extremely difficult to keep up the act.  I tried desperately to fit in, and was usually fired because my efforts failed.  I am not surprised that at the few jobs I held, I wore make-up on my face.  Make-up is not becoming on me.  This act of “doing one’s face,” which comes naturally to many, was for me an act of desperation.

Because I was persecuted for being different, I learned to hide myself and keep secrets.  When the pain became too much, I turned to the mental health system.  The mental health system tried to fix my pain by making me more normal.  Mostly, they tried to change my thinking, which they considered “sick,” by doing therapy on me and giving me pills.  The mental health system often uses the word “normalize.”  Now, I understand why.

In the process of all the efforts to make me just like everyone else, the mental health system, its institutions and personnel teased me, bullied me, and discriminated against me.  I was labeled, stereotyped, imprisoned, censored, brainwashed, enslaved, and assaulted.  I was often excluded from care because I had become poor, and also because I had grown older and more worn out.  Eventually, I excluded myself, and declared myself free of the system.

Today, I enjoy being different.  I don’t want to be like everyone else.  One drawback to not hiding or disguising my difference is that I face severe discrimination on a daily basis.  Most people don’t want to associate with me because of who I am.  I try to accept this, and move on.

An incident

Just something I’d like to mention.

July, 2011, Boston Medical Center psych emergency room.  It might have well been any emergency room anywhere because these kinds of things happen.

The place is shaped like a short hallways with five secure rooms surrounding the hallway.  These are each monitored with cameras, and a staff person (with limited medical qualifications generally) sits and watches a screen at the entranceway of the area.  Security personnel are on hand in case there is trouble.  The rooms consist of beds with mattresses.  I don’t believe we were allowed pillows.  Our clothes and shoes and all our belongings were taken from us upon arrival and placed on a cart in the hallway.  The belongings are inside bags with our names on them, but it is easy for anyone to take our stuff.   While I was there, things were taken.  Someone’s money was taken, $40, that is, two $20 bills, which I guess were visible and easy to snatch by a passerby.  There are no call bells or any plugs in the rooms or telephones or sinks, just bare walls.  There is no medical equipment on hand in the room, such as defibrillators that I could tell.  On the sides of the beds are hooks where leather restraints can easily be attached.  Many emergency rooms in hospitals have such specialized psychiatric beds.  These are often separated off from the rest of the ER and not visible to people who come into the emergency room unless the actively seek out the psychiatric area.

After the staff had the patient remove his or her clothing and put on hospital clothes supplied by staff (johnnies or whatever medical patients wore), there is some sort of procedure where same-sex staff do a body search.  Female patients are allowed to keep their bras on and underwear and I assume male patients can keep underwear on as well.  None of my body cavities were searched but the inside of my bra was checked.  Some of these places have had me take off my underwear, had it looked at, and then returned to me.  They are looking for drugs, firearms, anything sharp, or anything at all.  We are left in our rooms.

Patients that require medication may or may not be given these drugs.  I have seen patients given injections of drugs, generally Haldol.  I have known many patients who were given Haldol for the first time and had serious reactions, such as extreme muscle tensing all over the body, swelling of the face, swelling of the tongue, allergic reactions of all types including those that required immediate administration of antihistimines.  I have known people to become in life-threatening states.  I have also heard that it does in fact happen that a single dose of Haldol can cause the permanent disabling condition of Tardive Dyskinesia.  I have mixed feelings about the temporary use of this drug because there can be benefits in exceptional cases.  I believe in informed consent, however.  I also have seen in these emergency rooms instances where patient have begged for drugs that they were taking at home that they were not given at the emergency room.  Some patients were dependent on the drugs to relieve anxiety.   I have seen tortured people begging for relief, sweating and shaking, their faces flushed, often in tears or hyperventilating.  These patients were ignored and not even comforted by staff.  They were often told to “suck it up.”  They were told “We do not have an order.”  I have seen patients who had to wait while in this condition for many hours to see a doctor so that they could get these medications ordered. If they were addicted, it wasn’t their fault.  This is standard fare in these emergency rooms.

Here is the incident:  A man came in voluntarily.  He asked to be hospitalized, saying he feared that if he would overdose.  He feared that he could no longer stay in control.  He made this clear to staff.  I could hear the desperation in his voice.  He was begging for help.  He said he had pills and had been planning to take them.  “Please help me,” he said.  “Please.”

I don’t know how long it took them and I don’t know anything about this man’s history.  I’d say he was in his twenties.  They found him a therapist and an appointment in about five days.  He said he couldn’t wait that long.  He said he feared that if he were released, he would go home and lose control.  “Why?” he said.  “Why are you turning me away?”  He began to cry.  It tore my heart apart to hear this man.  I felt a lump form in my throat.

They repeatedly asked him to leave.   Their voices raised and became sharper and harsher.  I looked at the entranceway.  Two staff pointed the way out.  One had her hands on her hips.  The man left, bawling, saying he had pills and was scared to death.