I am free of fake birthday wishes!

I don’t know about you guys. Maybe you feel differently, but I find the fake birthday wishes I have gotten on Facebook depressing. Here’s why.

I remember once feeling elated that I had received so many birthday greetings via Facebook. The glow lasts a few days only. You end up realizing that those who wished you happy birthday don’t even want to have much to do with you. What’s the point?

Facebook isn’t a great place to ask for advice. You get bad advice, or you get bullied just for asking. For instance, I asked on a page about finding a job. What was the response? I was told it was my own fault I was unemployed. I was called both stupid and naive.

I end up telling myself I shouldn’t ask such questions and expect anything but cruelty. Don’t ask what is the best pizza place, what is the best way to complete a class assignment, nor how to keep your hands warm in the cold weather. The latter ended up in ganging up on me and name-calling.

Each time someone is cruel I have a hard time shaking it off. No it is not worth it. Say no to cruelty!

I’m done. I deleted my account. Just in time for my birthday. I want to have a decent birthday free of fake friends and nastiness.

Crux of the matter: Why patients think so little of each other

We know that doctors think very little of the mental patients they treat. We are well aware of the low expectations we get from the medical profession. However, fellow patients and even ex-patients also have low expectations of fellow patients.

If a fellow patient gets a book published, the automatic response in the patient community is to assume it’s not a very good book.  If a fellow patient gets a job, the assumption is that the patient will be fired or that it won’t last long. Patients typically do not empower each other except for tokenism. Patients will even dissuade other patients from getting ahead in life.

I think this is because the mental health system injects low self-esteem into its subjects. Patients do not expect success. Patients expect failure, failure by themselves and by fellow patients.

We need to end this fallacy  because it is holding us back. It is holding many from leaving the system and succeeding outside the system.

We really need to help each other out more, instead of knocking each other down. If your fellow patient gets a job, instead of saying, “Oh it’ll tire you out too much,” how about real positive support? Sadly, that’s not happening. The System’s lesson of low self-esteem permeates deeply into people’s souls and seems to stay there.

How ED stereotypes are truly harmful if you just aren’t like that

I believe the reason I wasn’t believed when I said I had ED for all those decades was that I didn’t fit THEIR stereotype. I didn’t wear baggy clothes. I didn’t EVER look at a fashion magazine. I never wanted to look like a movie star and honestly I do not even know what any of them look like. Except Elvis. Did I want to look like Elvis? No.

I didn’t overexercise. I run but that doesn’t mean OVER exercise. Running keeps me healthy. I don’t drink alcohol and I don’t have “comorbid” addictions. I don’t cut. I don’t do any self-harm. I don’t party either. Never did.

I didn’t want to be thin to get a boy. If anything, I wanted men far away from me. I didn’t give a shit about fashion and still don’t. I don’t spend a cent having my hair “done.”

I didn’t throw up my food, despite being accused multiple times. I wasn’t suicidal. I wasn’t a teen when I got ED.

I didn’t have a “bad mother.” Fuck all those therapists who assumed I did.

Above all, I was not a perfectionist. I think the perfectionist claim is total bullshit, and actually creates perfectionism in people. Liking doing school work (and being smart) isn’t a disorder. Enjoying learning isn’t a disorder, nor is wanting to do well.

For god’s sake I sure wasn’t “bipolar.”

And yet, I did have ED, and it was very serious. I had it for over three decades, mostly ignored by MH professionals or badly handled.  I got away from them, and that’s how I got better.

 

What the researchers missed…..

Check out this article:

https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/new-study-heres-why-life-speeds-up-as-you-get-older-and-how-to-slow-it-back-down.html

I don’t know why they missed the obvious. Maybe they’re too young! Time speeds up because death is right around the corner.  And so, you do stuff fast, cramming it in so you get it all done before you croak.

Okay, now did that take rocket science?

If you are in your 20’s or 30’s, PLEASE don’t tell me  you know better. You do not.

We may never know….Antidepressants and violence

Thanks to HIPAA, the double-edged sword, your doctor is protected and above the law in many ways. Had William Scott Smith, perpetrator in a murder-suicide in San Antonio, seen a psychiatrist prior to the shooting, any record of this might very well never come out. People don’t exactly announce to the world that they’re seeing a shrink.

Listening to the following podcast (I’ve been subscribed to this guy for a while), we can see that there were hardly any hints that this would happen.

Perhaps alcohol was involved. Apparently he didn’t come away from the military traumatized. However, if you keep listening, you will note that Scott Smith saw TWO therapists, plus the marriage counselor, toward the end of his life. Two? Was one perhaps a psychiatrist? I would suppose the legal people won’t even question these “therapists.” Sounds like he was depressed if he was “dreading everything.” actually that, right there, sounds like a reaction to antidepressants.  So I ask….Were antidepressants part of the picture? Has anyone asked this? Were antidepressants found in his system? Was alcohol withdrawal a factor? And, was he prescribed antidepressants by a prescriber who was aware of his alcohol use?

Bravo to the woman in the podcast who states that people shouldn’t be blaming what happened on “PTSD” or on a mental disease. She states, quite clearly, that “it was more complicated than that.”

The incident is rather fresh, so it’s highly possible they simply don’t know if he was on SSRI drugs. It looks like the “therapists” and of course, the drug companies, are safely protected. And will likely remain so.

How to tell if your friends are reading your emails

Be very very careful with this. You can’t accuse because then they’ll call you paranoid. There are indeed ways to “tag” an email and then you can see if it has been opened. You cannot tell if a person has read the email. But I can tell you, from experience, that there are tell-tale signs of not having read the email whether it has been opened or not.

Let’s say you write a five-paragraph email. This isn’t unreasonable. Most of my blog entries are more than five paragraphs long. It probably doesn’t take that long unless you’re using a cell phone or you’re not that fast at writing.

Either way, we can assume that the first paragraph is about one thing, the second about another, etc.

I figured out my friend wasn’t reading my emails but it took a long time for me to realize this. When she responded, she ONLY responded to the first or second paragraph in my email. Normally I wouldn’t be concerned but this was a rather consistent pattern. I finally concluded that she never read down to the end. I also concluded that my emails were unwelcome.

I thought, as a test run, to put something really outrageous in the bottom paragraphs. Something that, if she read it, she would be sure to respond. But why bother? It was getting to be more and more obvious. It wasn’t that she wasn’t reading, it was that she didn’t really want to be friends.

I guess I am old school. I put a lot of effort into my emails and my hope is that in doing so, I am reaching out and furthering communication. I don’t want to bother with people who do not appreciate the effort.

Yes there are teachers out there who do not read the papers they grade. Ah, shame on them!

Why standard treatments don’t work

Now don’t get me wrong. Standard, cookie-cutter treatment does work. For cookies. Are you a cookie?

I hear time and time again that a person tried one thing, tried another, tried another, and still, I hear about struggles and heartbreak. What went wrong?

What I know about most therapies is that the aim is to replace your current beliefs with new beliefs. Therapy has “succeeded” if you embrace the new beliefs as your own. Therapists rarely admit this, of course. They’d give away that they’re on big power trips if they did. But let’s look at some of the standard responses that therapists might give to their clients. I will use as example a person who suffers from binge eating.

“You are bingeing because you can’t cope. You need better coping skills.”

Have you heard something like this from a therapist? Let’s break down this statement and see why, exactly, this approach tends to fail.

The first statement, “You can’t cope,” is a statement of incapability. It says, “You can’t.” It immediately puts the therapist above the client, because the assumption is that the therapist, of course, can cope. (They are often far more messed up than their clients.)

The assumption that a person binge eats due to poor coping is overreaching and possibly untrue, but there’s no room for anything else in this statement. Client, you are incapable, and your bad coping is to blame for all your problems. I know better!

So now, the blame is turned back on the client’s deficiency, which is quite typical of the various therapies out there. The therapy is supposed to “fix” the client’s deficiency, which the therapist has identified (and may not exist) with the therapist’s superior way of life. The balance of power is clear here if only you take a step back and see what is happening.

The client leaves with a sense of inner weakness. “I need to learn better coping skills. The therapist is right. I am a poor coper. Just like she says.” The aim of therapy from then on is to knock down everything the client does and says because the therapist’s ways are superior.

This would be great if there really were these totally superior, benevolent, perfect human beings out there. Unfortunately, very few therapists fit the mold.

I think the problem is the identify-and-fix approach. This means the therapist decides what your problems are, or, rather, disorders, and then, “treats” the supposed defects. Identify and fix.

This is the basis for every treatment plan out there. Have you ever seen one? There might be one column for a diagnosis, and another for action plan. How about this….

Problem: Patient restricts her intake.

Treatment: Patient will contract to following a meal plan.

If you ever fall totally off the bandwagon, you probably got blamed by your therapist, who turned all alarmist and even incarcerated you for it. This is how therapy works. But truthfully, what happened here? The therapy failed. You didn’t.

Time and time again, I hear patients saying, “I failed. I have to go back in.” Really? I don’t see it as failure of the individual, but failure of whatever identify-and-fix plan fell through.

Today is the day for no more identify-and-fix. I don’t want to hear about any more therapy failures.  Today is the day for starting to work on realistic and achievable goals that YOU set for yourself. Today is the day to start asking yourself what you really want to do, and how you are going to go about achieving those goals. Whatever it is, imagine it now.

I think many times we sidestep away from our lives and go into black holes (such as an eating disorder) because we have lost the passion we need to drive forward. So we get stuck in the hole. We are almost protected by that hole. It serves a purpose, maybe even for a long time. It might be comforting there. Oddly, once stuck in the hole, we forget about the outside, about the path we were on.

I do not see that as poor coping. After all, the hole is useful and most likely, you’re using it to its full capacity. Why? Because you cope very, very well. Shame on those therapists who knocked you down and told you you can’t cope!

I know all kinds of black holes I’ve seen people in. I’ve seen people stuck in the bad marriage hole for a decade or more. They keep spinning their wheels, trying and trying. They forget about the job promotion, about that gardening hobby they loved so much, about the ski vacation they hoped to enjoy in the winter.

Passion will bring a person out of the hole. Here are some examples…..

Jack got sober after many years. After many years of failing at the very same things his siblings were so good at, such as academics, (which he really didn’t like anyway) he found his sobriety something he could be truly proud of. Finally, he wasn’t a loser at something. He found others who had also found sobriety, and he realized his past drinking life wasn’t a waste after all. He began to use his story to help other people. He found he loved doing what he was doing. He was valued at gatherings of former drunks. He belonged now. He began to expand the horizons of his spiritual faith which he found helped him relate to other people on many new levels. He didn’t want that drink in his hand anymore.

And then there’s Kathy. Kathy kept trying to kill herself. She couldn’t stop. She also cut herself, which she called a mini-suicide. She couldn’t stop thinking about death. She focused on death and was caught up in that cycle. Each time she tried, she got put into a hospital, where, for a short time, she swore she’d never ever do it again. But she did. People were afraid the next time would be her last.

What happened? Kathy was centered on her desire to die. This is a black hole that will seriously fester and won’t stop unless that nasty thing passion breaks the cycle. Kathy will likely resist becoming passionate about the rest her life again, because that will take her out of the comfort of the hole. If I were to challenge Kathy, she’d tell me it’s forever. She’d get mad, insisting her “illness” can only be managed. She’d insist on the permanent brain disease theory. Why? It protects her, it keeps her inside the comfort of the hole, so she clings to the false belief of permanence. The false belief works for her and reinforces the comfort and security of the hole. Right now, she thrives right where she is. But she might agree it’s not really productive.

I can challenge her all I want, but that’s going to lead to a dead end. What could, in fact, happen, will be that Kathy will cling even harder to the permanence myth if I push her too hard.

Therapy will both push Kathy, since it’s a therapist’s job to fix problems, and also, reinforce her tenacity. This leads to the “roller coaster” effect that can even mimic bipolarity, but actually therapy causes it.  So in and out she goes, round and round, and who profits? The mental health system, since they have a great customer who uses up a lot of “services.”

What will break this awful cycle? I don’t know exactly how, but Kathy will. She’ll get fed up, my guess is, and I can only hope that she gets fed up very soon, before she ends up in a state institution or…dead. We don’t want either of those things, right? If you ask Kathy, you’ll get an ambiguous response about State, since she wants to let everyone know she has no desire to help herself. And again, I ask who is benefiting?

These terrible cycles don’t happen for no reason. Someone really is benefiting, whether it’s a doctor, therapist, the patient, school, the family, or even an abusive husband or boss. Traditional mental health care doesn’t want to admit this. Therapy rarely addresses the benefit concept. If it does, it often horribly misses the boat, and does more harm than good with its goofed identify-and-fix protocol.

Kathy was going to a therapist named Joel for a while, who, without even asking, blamed her parents. Joel insisted on grueling family sessions. Kathy is in her 40’s, and her parents are elderly and were confused over the necessity of the “sessions.”. The continued blameful attitude of the therapist, sadly, broke up the family and none of them are even speaking to Kathy right now. After the last family session, Kathy attempted suicide again. While she was recovering in ICU, she got a call from Joel saying he wasn’t her therapist anymore. Just what she needed. The call came while she was still on oxygen.

Kathy’s friends blamed Kathy for Joel’s very quick exit, and also blamed her for the split in the family. All this dug her deeper into the hole.

I hope she makes it. In my opinion, she’s going to have to take control of her life. If you want to be in the driver’s seat (think: driver’s license) you have to earn that place in the front seat. You’re not going to be able to keep it if you lack a sense of responsibility. And there’s the key. Gaining control means you take responsibility for your actions. This is an extremely tough concept for someone like Kathy who has been listening to therapists continue to ramble on about her disease controlling her.

No no no no no. I don’t know of any disease that has a persona. Therapists love to do this, though. They’ll tell you your disease is a person that talks to you and tells you to do stuff. Here I gotta laugh because they literally push voice-hearing on people. I think they do this out of desperation since they don’t want to admit they don’t know what else to do. “It was your illness that made you do it.”

But what’s in this statement? An excuse, really. You didn’t do it, the Devil made you do it. I’ve heard this so, so many times, and varieties of it, enough to really make me…excuse me….puke.

You didn’t do it. It wasn’t your fault, it was your mania. It was your chemical imbalance that caused you to purchase an airline ticket and fly to Los Angeles and then, try to catch the attention of a movie star you were sure was in love with you. You’re not responsible for the thousands of dollars you’ve now charged to your credit card. Oh no, we’ll get you disability and you’ll get a huge sum, after a while, and you can use that to pay off the bill.

Officially off the hook.

Do you hear what I hear? And I’ve heard that in the mental hospitals time after time. “You weren’t really responsible for beating your kids. You have a chemical imbalance.” Officially excused!

You don’t have to clean the house, since your chemical imbalance makes it oh so hard. We’ll send state services in to clean it for you. And if that doesn’t work, we have a nice halfway house where all your meals will be cooked for you. You don’t have to work, you’re excused. We’ll hand you tutors and ridiculous accommodations because your permanent brain disease impedes your ability to cope with school and you love being singled out and called “special” anyway. It’s so helpful.

Yes I am having loads of fun here, looking back on the insane illogical shit they fed us in the System. A lot of the patients just needed to grow up and realize THEY were the ones who needed to take care of themselves. Not “services.” They did. I can’t believe how some would demand everything be done for them, like spoiled children. Of course, the System teaches this, thrives on the You Can’t mentality, and wouldn’t even last without it.

What does it take to get someone motivated to get to that point? I think we have a Yin and Yang here. We have a person who, likely, wants more freedom and choice in their lives, but doesn’t understand that freedom cannot be obtained without maturity and responsibility. So they aren’t given much choice in their lives because they haven’t yet sat very well in that driver’s seat. They have to realize they need to earn that choice, speak up for themselves, and take charge.

Agreeably, the use of force is not at all helpful, since it impedes a person’s freedom and choice no matter what, and takes away any chance to be an adult. I am not in favor of the use of force and I don’t think it solves anything, although someone out there is going to tell me about the one person, out of hundreds who were harmed, who did indeed benefit. So be it.

By the way, Kathy, Joel, and Jack are compound characters, disguised to oblivion but I think you know folks JUST LIKE THAT.

Ah, I have much fun being a writer. See you later.

Public admission of failure or premature proclamation of victory

Many of us have been through this so I thought I would address it.  Much of the time, we humans love wishful thinking. We live on it. After all, that’s what drives the placebo effect. We want to believe we’ve made progress and we fool ourselves sometimes. The happy ending looks nice and gets “likes,” after all.

Back in late 2011 I wrote in here that I was over my eating disorder. I would have been if I hadn’t stuck with that abusive therapist, Maria. I wasn’t deliberately jerking anyone around. I really believed I was all better and I didn’t expect Maria to put me into the pits of despair. But she did. Manipulators like her need customers, after all.

I wasn’t lying. I actually believed I would stay on the right path. Unfortunately, such premature proclamations usually get twisted around as either “lying” or being “manipulative” when really, it’s our human wishful thinking at play.

Proclamation of failure has worse results. I don’t recommend it except after the fact. The worst thing I could have done for book sales was to publicly admit I hadn’t sold any. I didn’t know any better! I thought being honest was the right thing! It isn’t! What happened? People assumed it was a bad book. They didn’t even look at it. People who hadn’t read it condemned it, and condemned my character even though they had never met me.

This little oddity will happen even with your best buddies. They’ll blame you for your own failures, even gang up and call you a shit. I don’t think anyone can be trusted to such admission. Like I should keep to myself that I tried for two years to get a job and couldn’t, because it makes me look bad, even if I use this little fact as  a joke. As far as I know, if you haven’t sold any, if business isn’t booming, just keep that to yourself and keep plodding along.

Admission of failure leaves you vulnerable and open to name-calling. While I love being honest I am realizing I shouldn’t have publicly admitted my book hadn’t sold. People do not like failure and they’re quick to blame you. I’ve heard it all. Attitude problem. Not positive enough. And of course all kinds of criticisms about the book by people who never read it.

The best thing to do is probably laugh over the idiotic things people say . People are ignorant and they’ll say anything that looks good to others without even realizing what they’re saying.

Someone even had the nerve, a while back to tell me to post six out of seven bogus posts on Facebook. Post silly pics, she said, because that way people will like you more. She claimed she had done a study on Facebook and six out of seven, she said, had to be cutesie pics and worthless “memes.” That, she said, works.

While she very well may have been right, I resented every bit of what she said. Let’s look at the flip side. “Julie, no one likes your genuine posts, so how about faking it six out of seven times because people really can’t stand you.”

In her effort to be helpful, that’s essentially what was behind what she said. And why I didn’t follow those instructions at all, but instead, found people who appreciate who I am and actually like me.