I have a lot to do today but thought I’d write this up.
Piece for Alice Gross
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, too, walked alone. I walked alone many times. I walked at night, and during the day. Sometimes, I cried alone while walking, but hid my tears behind thick glasses or a scarf. I often had my little dog with me.
I had a favorite place to walk, a city park, and loved it most when it was empty. I enjoyed the privacy of that park, and the solace away from the incessant noise of the town. I worried sometimes, because it was adjacent to a large apartment building. I was afraid folks would look out from their terraces upon me and say, “Who is that skinny girl walking there?” But truthfully, it was only a worry during a couple of months in summer, when I was forced to take my jacket off. Then, folks saw me. I suppose that was scary to them, or challenged them in some way. I appeared strange to them. Like I wasn’t human.
Somehow, there was a secret power in all of it. Like I could do anything. Like I had the power to tell the entire world to fuck off, and in an instant, all would disappear.
I recall when I was a young girl, perhaps six or seven or eight, I swam in a lake with other children. It was a hot summer day and kids were having a good time, splashing around and shouting. I decided to take the Other Path, though. I wanted to see what was Beyond. Beyond the marker that contained us. Past this rope marker, no children were allowed. I wanted to see what secrets lay there, though, and what was to be discovered. That secret and very special world. No one would see, would they? There were so many of us…no one would notice and I could go peek and then come back. What was there, this forbidden land?
I took a few steps beyond the rope. Then, a few more. I am a short girl. The shortest in the class. So it didn’t take much before I was up to my neck, and beyond. I didn’t know how to swim, or did I? But the Other World was so tempting, so special. I and I alone would know it. I promised myself. I took a few more steps.
With each step, I became more brave, more special, more powerful and unique. I felt that I was shining, a bright star in the universe. I had never been there before. Now, it was all such wonderment. I took another step. I heard a drumbeat.
I have heard this drumbeat several times in my life. It is the incessant reminder. Death is near. Sometimes, I have been in those waters so deeply that reversal wasn’t possible. When I had anorexia, often, I was near drowning, and that drumbeat was loud and all-encompassing. “Come here, come here.”
I don’t know what happened next at that lake, specifically, only that I was being grabbed all at once by a lifeguard and she was yelling at me, over and over, telling me what a bad girl I was! How disobedient I had been!
I felt shame after that, embarrassment, and guilt. I never wanted to go back to that lake again. I wanted to be myself, and not be yanked about in such a manner. If I were to swim, I’d do so alone. And so it was.
I have walked alone and heard that drumbeat. “Come here.” Always alone.
At night, I walked in the park during wee hours. The police were out at night, and drunks as well, and I didn’t want anyone looking at me. I told myself the park gave me invisibility. I didn’t care if anyone killed me there.
I often said silently to these imaginary killers, “Okay, I dare ya. Do you want me? Take me. No one will even notice. I have nothing you want anyway.”
I knew they stole cell phones, cash, and whatever else they thought you were worth, then left you. I’d heard a few stories, but no one had yet been killed in that park. Any known violence was related to drug deals gone bad. I told myself, “I will be the first. And they won’t even know my story.”
What would they find? A skinny girl with crumbs on her shirt. Food wrappers in her knapsack. Maybe she’d be dead with the bits of crackers still smeared upon her lips. Last seen at the convenience store, paying for her loot with food stamps. On her way home.
“Come and get me, assholes,” I’d tell myself. All the way home in the pitch dark. I’d scurry up the back stairs and finish it all off in privacy. I didn’t even want my dog watching.
I walked alone. And no one ever knew. They never got me. I’d get skinny often, and no one cared, only a nasty or obnoxious remark. So it was rather easy and perhaps inevitable that I stepped onward, further into the dark waters.
I am alive. I don’t know why. I got lucky, I guess. Many aren’t.
Alice, please, if you are walking alone right now, know that I am right here. Walking beside you. I was that kid. And all of us, perhaps, have our secrets.
I figure I’ve spoken enough on here about weight change, but a picture is worth a thousand words. And after all, I’ve been told so many times how I lie and exaggerate…so lately, I’ve been photographing stuff just to PROVE I’m not lying. It’s so sad that psych patients have to go to such lengths because their word is so often doubted, even if they are highly reliable, honest, and have excellent memories.
So….As I have told you in the past, the drug Seroquel made me gain an awful lot of weight and I was terribly unhappy with my body. Some of the photos of me at close to 200 pounds I am really not in the mood to put up here…they are “mirror” poses and I just can’t stand looking at them. I am wearing this horrible t-shirt I threw out I was so disgusted….and I could wear nothing but polyester pants. Wow I hated those clothes! I hated the way I felt in my body.
Now, I know what you are thinking. Body loathing is wrong. Well, quit that. I have the right to think whatever I want, and this is MY HISTORY. This is the past, and that’s my real story. That’s how I felt. I can’t change the past, and so I am reporting to you what went on in my head back then. Self-loathing.
I did have reason to be unhappy with weight gain, as it wasn’t safe FOR ME. I am 5’1″ tall. Even before I reached 150, I huffed and puffed while trying to walk even a quarter mile at any reasonable pace. At 197, which was my highest weight, one knee gave out entirely. I was too heavy to use crutches. I tried using a walker and couldn’t do that. So….I was “in a wheelchair,” as it is said…for three months.
The year was 2005 when I reached 197. I hated my body so much and I hated going to therapy, too. Certainly, therapy was doing me no good! I used to see Dr. Louise Ryder, supposed “eating disorders therapist.” Dang. She used to work at CEDC…but why? I didn’t see, even from the time I first met her, that she knew anything at all about ED. Here was the extent of her “advice”:
“One day at a time.”
“Accept your body.”
Oh, I guess she said…”This too shall pass” one helluva lot.
I think you can get that kind of advice from self-help books (or nowadays, off Facebook) quite fine, can’t you? If she’d been an effective therapist, she’d have said something like this:
“Julie, we need to get to the root of this weight gain. I’m going to call Dr. Pearson right away and see if you really need that Seroquel. You seem to be on a ridiculously high dose.”
But no…she only wanted me to cooperate and comply. Of course, I was totally compliant and it never occurred to me to question Dr. Pearson. Never! I never missed a dose nor missed an appointment. Oh, I missed plenty when my knee gave out.
After I got off Seroquel (by the way, the “withdrawal” wasn’t so bad as I was OVERJOYED to get the shit out of my body!) my weight dropped. Here I am at 175, and trust me, I DESPISE this photo…I hated the way I looked and felt that I was too fat!
Anyway, I have other photos. By 2008 I had lost a lot of weight. I had to work at it.
Here I am, just messing around with the camera:
I was 50 years old. I had been raped recently. But for whatever reason, for a few months, the memory was suppressed at the time. I think this was around the time I fired my therapist, Goldie Eder. I was sure something was terribly wrong, as she spent our entire sessions yapping on and on about her nieces and we never spoke about anything going on with me. She’s one of the two therapists I’ve had (out of over 20) who regularly fell asleep during sessions. I had to wake her up. She’d apologize, and promise to stop falling asleep, but she always fell asleep again. A couple of times, she said I was boring her. I guess she should have been listening when I told her I had been raped, eh?
Naw, you can’t see it in a photograph…so quit trying!
My weight kept on dropping. My feelings were mixed. I had hated being fat so, so much. I knew I wasn’t eating enough. But did I really give a shit? Anything beat being overweight! I’d been discriminated against so much when I was overweight. Now, people were leaving me alone, which seemed better…or was it?
My therapist started in on me…I liked her a lot, in fact, cuz she was open minded. Dr. P disliked my therapist’s open minded approach. I won’t tell you the name of my therapist…but Dr. Pearson would badmouth this therapist RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME…I often asked myself about what went on whenever they spoke. I’ll bet Dr. Pearson treated my therapist rotten. I can only imagine their conversation…Oh, I think the writer in me will speculate:
Dr. P: “I think we need to forced Julie into the hospital.”
N: “But Julie is suggesting an alternative and I think we need to listen to her suggestions. She has lived with this long enough and is a responsible adult. I see this because she’s amazingly prompt and is so courteous to everyone here at the clinic. She’s keeping up with her studies. I think what she is saying is important and we need to listen better.”Dr. P: “N, you are NOT a specialist. Therefore, you don’t know what you are talking about. We need to take over and get Julie on the scale, and NOT in her clothes. In a gown and force her not to drink ANY water all day! She needs more monitoring, more force…You are too lenient.”
N: “Okay, I am not a specialist in ED. Neither of us is a specialist in Julie. Know who is? Julie is. We need to honor her wishes.”
Dr. P: (swearing to herself, covers the phone) “I wish Julie had a different therapist. Someone controlling and manipulative will do great.” (uncovers phone) “Yes, N, well…when is Julie coming to see you next? Before graduation?”
N: “Er, let me see where she is on my calendar. Yes, our regular appointment is before she leaves for graduation.”
Dr. P: “Give her an ultimatum that will REALLY scare her! Tell her she can’t graduate! Oh, we need to take over her body! Run her life! She’s clearly incompetent!”
N: (after they’ve hung up) “Gee, what a bitch…..I feel oppressed in this situation. I feel cornered and in a tough situation. I cannot go against Dr. Pearson, but at the same time, I trust Julie and feel she’s certainly insightful and clever…Plus I’ve got the clinic administration to deal with. I wonder how much Julie senses of this. I try to hide my real feelings, and I wonder if this is the correct approach, or if I should just relax and be myself.”
Here I am at my graduation, with my advisor, Darrah Cloud. I was wicked proud that I had earned my MFA!
After Goddard, my life went downhill, sorry to say. I was coerced into “eating disorders care.” I’d never been in “eating disorders care” before because it didn’t exist back when I entered the mental health system. This was supposed to be the Great Cure but wow, was I ever sorely disappointed! Had they learned ANYTHING at all in 30 years? Apparently, I had lived with my own ED for 30 years and because of my own individual experience, I knew far more than these supposed “experts” I was meeting! You can usually tell by the dumb questions they ask! Oh, they have surveys and standard paperwork they have everyone fill out. I was so disillusioned…
N lost her job. It’s so horrifying what happened next. I figured no therapist could do me actual harm but that if I had a bad one, I’d put up with her and then find another ASAP. That’s not true, and I had to learn this lesson the hard way. I fell into the clutches of Maria Mellano.
From day one, she was manipulative and controlling. I truly believe that she had a deep psychological need to control young vulnerable people and run their lives. She jerked me around badly. I was so, so hurt after a while, but know what form that took on? Lemme tell you the truth about really bad abuse….
You actually worship the abuser because the abuser is so, so manipulative and can do no wrong that he/she justifies all her wrongdoing and you are always apologizing…for some fictitious thing she has claimed you have done. You beg this abuser for forgiveness.
You develop terror toward her.
You often think of killing yourself after you leave her office. Only to get the hell away. Sure, there’s the Red Line train station right there. Another body, another day. But you think real hard about the train operator. Somewhere, you heard that if a train operator is operating a train and a person jumps in front, that operator ends up with PTSD, and this can ruin his life. Did you really want to do that?
Oh, then, the accusations…..jeez. When you can’t do a darned thing right. And the threats and her use of “police force” if I was caught on a broken down bus and didn’t make it there on time. Sure, I’d call her to let her know, but what if her voicemail was full.
“Oh, Julie, it’s NEVER full.” Which was complete BS. Her word against mine, not much you can do. I was accused of lying over over when I wasn’t lying.
Then, it was 2011. Guess that’s when I really couldn’t take her abuse and BS any longer. My weight dropped to a very bad danger point. Because I still trusted her, I told her I was gonna die. I told her my pulse was too slow. So? I would show you the photo I have, but I’m not wearing enough clothes! Sorry! Well, I am…I think a jogging bra is enough, don’t you? It’s just that I feel kinda modest, know what I mean?
So…anyway….You guys know about the abuse at MGH. And the whole ordeal….Really, in all my years on psych units I had never before experienced such horrors as I did there. I had been on units over 50 times. This wasn’t just “not liking the care.” This was patient abuse like I had never known before.
Let me tell you something. Shitty medical care is everywhere. Sure, there are lousy dentists, lazy orthopedists who would rather give you pills than do an exam or give you a referral to PT. You CAN see someone else. You just walk out and go to a different one, and in so doing, you are sending a clear message to that doctor that he or she sucks. And we all know about rude secretaries. But abuse…well, there’s a difference!
I was completely stripped of everything that I had in me that was human at that place. No, I wasn’t psychotic and this stuff really happened. I couldn’t leave. I was trapped. I couldn’t call out or use the phone for one second in privacy. All calls were done with the nurse standing right there, listening on, and if she didn’t like what I was saying, she’d grab the phone from me and hang it up.
The meanest nurse in the place was named Sheridan. Or I should say the mean one I had. At one point, after Sheridan had decided she didn’t “like” my phone conversation where I was telling my friend I felt I was being poorly treated, she yanked me into a room and started yelling at me for what I’d said over the phone.
I told her this was a private conversation…She cut me off. I wanted to say that what went on between me and my friends was none of her business. I could say what I wanted to them, and I had the right to feel any way I wanted about what was being done to me. I had the right to tell my friends the truth about what was happening there.
Apparently, Sheridan felt that the TRUTH shouldn’t get leaked out. She shoved a paper and pen at me.
“It’s a three day. Sign it now.”
A three-day is a special paper. If you sign it, you have to appear before a judge. Judges are moody of course (ask any lawyer) and when your three days are up, the judge decides….You leave, or you are COMMITTED! For ten days, or up to SIX MONTHS!
Now, how illogical is that? But that’s the dumb law, as it stands. Why was I being forced to sign something?
I never signed it. Actually, what happened was their error most likely. Maybe the medical student blew it. Or someone just pulled some strings for me…either way, I doubt the medical student had any clue (or, shall I say, insight) into what was going on with me. They told me my “commitment” was up and I was free to go. Thank god! I was so thirsty! I left that place and thank god I could drink as much liquids as my body needed!
Guess what they were doing? Restricting my fluids to four cups a day. That’s roughly a liter. Now, I asked over and over what the MEDICAL reasons were for this, and they said, “This is protocol.” Apparently, this is the case, as every single other patient in their prison who has ED has reported this arbitrary water restriction.
If you ask anyone, they’ll tell you, “Well, it’s Mass General, the great Mass General must surely know what they are doing.”
I told them over and over I had taken lithium in the past and for whatever reason, I required more water than other people.
This was confirmed a year later. After about 25 years….I have had faulty kidneys since age 26 or 27 and no one was even paying attention. In fact, I am very good at drinking the right amount for MY BODY. Know how much I really need?
Here in South America, it’s winter right now. I have to purchase water because our tap water tastes really lousy…so I purchase a six liter bottle of water…daily. Yep. I drink six liters of water a day. Not six cups, six liters. That’s during winter. Summer…and if I am exercising…that will be up to double the current amount.
You can imagine how it was for me at MGH, begging for water like I was a beggar woman, and being told over and over how manipulative I was and what a liar I was. Oh, they insisted they had to watch my every move in the bathroom for fear that I would drink out of the shower or toilet. I didn’t shower cuz they were cruel to me! I wasn’t gonna take off my clothes in front of them!
I got out. So shaken. This was the first time I had ever had really bad PTSD FROM a psychiatric experience…yet I was already experiencing trauma from abuse from Maria Mellano and her constant threats and bullying. I had to go to so many appointments! This was hell!
Then, I got on Imipramine for binge eating. THIS IS WHERE MY NEXT BOOK BEGINS. Ten days later, guess what happened? I got the black box warning thing, that “agitation” you get. The thing that makes people SO CRAZY that they end up committing suicide within a short time. Yes, I did report it to Dr. Pearson, who claimed it was paranoia….nope. I told her about increased heart rate and pulse. She said to ignore it. The fast pulse and high blood pressure were witnessed at the ER that winter… I pointed out to the nurse that this fast pulse was a side effect of Imipramine and she said, “No, it’s anxiety.” You can’t argue when you are seen as a mental patient! She knew nothing of Imipramine and she was the one who asked ME how to spell it and what it was!
I have another photo, but again, I don’t have that much clothes on in the photo.
Oh, I got off Imipramine the following February 2012, but that “black box warning” thing continued and I was going through withdrawal…geez. I couldn’t get my pulse or blood pressure down. And my breasts were still enlarged from high prolactin. This came from Imipramine as well.
Here I am the next fall, 2012. This is after that whole suicide fiasco:
I seem happy, but I was just dressed up for church. A bunch of shit came down. Some lousy stuff happened late fall. I was really beginning to see through Dr. Pearson as the money-hungry drug pusher she is. Oh, sweet talking, but….
I tried to find another therapist. I went through two, then ended up with that David Alpert who was an abuser. As I’ve told you, he was a liar, a faker, and his asking me out on a date, his discussion of random acts of sexual abuse (that was just plain weird) his telling me about his ex-girlfriend, his constantly calling me “Honey,” was just plain flat out abuse. I walked out of my last session and told myself I had no clue what to do…knowing Dr. Pearson wouldn’t even believe me! She’d think I was delusional, so there was no point! I was starting to hate her.
So, I was starting to keep track of my weight, I mean really seriously. I was still trying to get so-called “treatment” but….It all seemed hopeless. I tried so hard to reach out, cry out and say, Please, will someone just LOVE ME? I wished that black box warning feeling would go away. I knew it was from the drug…but dang, it was there and there and there. I couldn’t get it out. Like I wanted to but I just had to wait it out.
I found some photos in my files tonight. This one was taken July 19, 2013. At this time, I went to THREE therapists at my so-called “health plan.” Geez…one yelled at me in her office, the second turned me down saying he knew nothing of eating disorders, and the third asked me where I lived and who I lived with, then said to “talk to my social worker, see you in a month.” I left then thought, “Wait, I don’t have a social worker! I told that therapist this, was she not listening!” Then I fell down right near the bus, so exhausted.
I have a couple more still photos of me around that time. In one, I’m only in bra and panties, so forget it. Here’s one taken August 6, 2013, less than a week before I went into full code from acute renal failure:
I think I am still alive. I have a few sad pictures of me over the past year…I am crying and stuff, really couldn’t stop after what was done to me in the hospital, the accusations, etc. I felt ruined by those doctors, by the shrink who insisted that I be force drugged, and by Dr. Pearson, who never even called me to…maybe at least apologize for not listening. Perhaps when I was raped was when she really began to turn her back on me. If she had some other agenda, some pressing issue I never knew about, well, fine, but I almost died a bunch of times from her denial and…I guess negligence.
If a patient of yours is being abused, you are supposed to do something to help that patient. It’s professionally required of every doctor to do so. It’s abusive to instead try to convince that patient it never happened and tell her she’s sick and wrong!
With everything stacked against me (I’ll spare you the gory details but there were a few) I am now FREE of psych abuse! I walked out!
Here I am in Miami:
That night, Puzzle and I flew to South America, and we are here now. Safe and free.
It’s been cold here the past few days (it’s winter here in August, Agosto) but sometimes I go to the beach, a few minutes walk away. Here is Puzzle running on the beach a few weeks ago:
I will be back soon! I ain’t dead yet! Me and Puzzle are right here!
I remember feeling like I couldn’t possibly walk into a nutritionist’s office because they’d look at me and say, “You need to gain so, so much weight. I think you need to weigh….” and they’d decide on something rather arbitrary for me that I couldn’t live with for one single day. So I’d think of myself at that weight. Sure, been there. I remember. I got discriminated against and people would tell me I looked too heavy. So even before I picked up the phone to make that call, I’d have the whole conversation played out in my head:
“You want me to weigh THAT much? Don’t you understand I’m only five foot one?”
“Yes, but you need to be healthy.”
At the word, “healthy,” I’d cringe. Doesn’t this mean I have to eat something beyond radishes and cucumbers? Would this mean I’d have to give up looking like a skeleton? Oh geez. I hated that word healthy.
So I dreaded making that call already. I xed out the webpage with all the nutritionists on it. I wanted to cry.
These days, I don’t cry so much. I’m glad, although crying isn’t a bad thing. No one forces me to do anything. I choose. If I want health, it’s my choice.
I found out that our bodies are amazing because we have built-in survival mechanisms. They are already there. You will find out just how strong you are.
So I figured, now that a bunch of years have passed, that it’s better anyway that I am poor. If you are denied treatment (actually there’s no humane treatment out there anyway, until I design my own, which is a temporary situation, not long-term), you are left to fend for yourself and finally are given no choice. When you got absolutely nothing to fall back on, that’s when you finally learn. So long as there’s a safety net, you’ll never learn, because some people make it their life’s work to “almost die” and then fall into that safety net, over and over. Once that safety net isn’t there anymore you will be ten times more brilliant and you will know who you are and just what you need to do.
Here is an excellent question from a commenter that I will attempt to answer to the best of my ability:
“What do you suggest as a better approach if a person is refusing to eat and on the verge of death? Surely you don’t let that person just fade away?”
I can only answer from my own experience as a person who has experienced severe starvation, that is, self-imposed starvation, and as a person who has again eaten. And as a person who is alive and able to write these words.
Because this has happened to me, this self-starvation and then eating again, many times, and because I have an exceptionally good memory, I can look back and say, “Gee, what caused me to eat again? What are the more positive ways to get a person to eat again, and which ways are damaging to a person, long and short-term?”
Of course, history will tell us that for one thing, if you starve yourself to extreme and keep going, you are going to die. And if you starve and then eat again and screw that up, you can die in the process of eating again (I rather dislike the word “refeeding”). It’s rather complicated. I hear it mostly depends on the person’s prior medical history and the extent of the starvation as to whether there will be such screw-ups. The more complicated the medical situation is, the more screw-up potential there is, or so I hear.
I do know that our bodies are smarter than our minds. I believe I provided a link a while back, or perhaps I didn’t, to a survival story I saw on weather dot com. These stories on that channel tend to bug me cuz they tend to be sensationalist and tend to have a moral, almost “Christian” twist to them. Like “good guy who prays will prevail” twist. These sensationalist stories that now pervade the media are seeping into our brains the idea that no matter what, the cops, EMT’s, military, government, and medical folks are out for our best interest, which in fact, they aren’t. They are out to make a buck and if we are in their way or are inconvenient to them, they aren’t going to save us. Instead, we’ll get disposed of in some way. That’s in fact the way life is.
Our minds discriminate. Our minds see the different types of uniforms and read people’s name tags. Our bodies know only the warmth of human touch, the expressions on faces, and know what a hug feels like. Our bodies know what it feels like when we hold our dogs and cry.
Our minds read food labels. Our minds think: calories, fat, fiber. Our minds say, “I should. I should not.” Our bodies taste and feel the food in our bellies and feel digestion and the warmth of the food and feel when we eliminate our food. Our bodies say, “I am hungry. I am starving. I am thirsty.”
At any rate, the survival story was about a couple that went for a hike. They got badly lost. The wife became weak and told the husband that it was her choice at that point and she felt she couldn’t go on. She told her husband to try to get help and she would wait where she was to conserve energy. She pleaded with him to leave her, even if it meant only one of them survived.
Yes, he went on. And on and on. He did find a car, eventually, and the person in the car got the husband to some rescue folks. They figured out where the wife had been waiting, and after a search, they all found the wife. She’d been lying there clinging to life. But alive. They got her out. At the end of the story, the clip showed her at home with her kids. Happy ending.
But here’s what I want to focus on: The little survival story showed just how desperate the body can get. Our minds may in fact be unable to think clearly. The couple had run out of food and water. When the woman was alone and waiting, she was seriously dehydrated and as I figure it, this had now ceased being a moral issue that involved upper level human thinking. She wasn’t capable of that right then and there. This is my own opinion because I’ve personally been through it. What did she do? She cut into her hand and attempted to suck out her own blood. That’s how thirsty she was. Her body was determined to get water any way it could.
What I’ve been through wasn’t precisely that situation, of course. Everyone’s situation is different and everyone does, in fact, have choices, but we do have to remember that in starvation, a person isn’t at a level of human morality. It’s gut-level, or, if you wish, animal-level survival. The body is going to take over. The body isn’t rational, but it’s damn smart.
So the actions you see of someone who is starved may in fact look quite irrational if you are watching as an outsider, or you may even wrongly judge that person as psychotic, but no, that’s not true. The person is in survival mode and is in fact conserving every bit of energy he or she has. Every morsel matters and every second counts.
So in my own life, I can recall “good” ways that I began to eat again, and ways that were harmful.
The worst way to eat again, that will cause permanent harm, is the most forceful and shameful and dishonest, with the most restrictions. The best way to eat again is the most loving and affirming and honest, with the most choices.
Most folks with anorexia aren’t, in fact, at that level of being completely unable to think at a human upper level. Most are only partially slowed down or partially impaired and they are barely aware of it, or their thinking gradually erodes over the years so they don’t even notice the whittling away of their cognitive abilities. Of course, should they enter “treatment,” they get coerced into thinking they “need” drugs or have “other” diagnoses and end up taking drugs. The drugs themselves cause complications and mess with cognition, sometimes rather long-term. Withdrawal causes problems and even after these drugs are stopped, years later, the body and mind can show signs of impairment that science is only now discovering. Of course, many take recreational drugs anyway or get disillusioned with poor medical care that they feel they must take all sorts of pills to get relief, whether their doctors order these pills or not.
I can see how anyone can get into the situation of starving themselves and then be unable to make the conscious, mind-driven choice to take in food. I can see how the person might make the mind-driven choice to refuse food. However, the body will prevail if the body is given the choice free of the mind’s interference.
Problem is, the way our psychiatric system insists on taking over and interfering via force, it doesn’t even allow for this. This “eating disorders care” first of all takes away all LOVE from the mix and proves to the patient:
YOU ARE HATED, SHAMEFUL, AND UNLOVED.
This is incentive, above all, to further refuse food if the patient has any mind left. All belongings are taken from the patient and the patient’s bodily privacy is denied. In many cases, a tube, a foreign object, is forcefully driven into an orifice of the patient’s body. How can this be “loving care”? It is rape. No one will have incentive to eat if they are treated with hatred.
Here is a story of a time I chose to eat all on my own. I told the story once here years ago, and I will retell it now, then I’ll paste the story as I told it before when it happened, below today’s version.
It was days before Christmas, 2011…….
I guess I was feeling rather down. I guess I’d met someone around the beginning of November, a new friend. She was full of promises, saying she was my best buddy, but immediately I saw “red flags” and warned myself that this friendship was likely to end badly. I recall telling my therapist this, too. But I kept on with this friendship anyway, not heeding my own warnings.
That’s what happens when you are lonely. You’ll settle for second-best. Dumb? Yeah, I admit it was dumb. I felt like I was investing too much emotionally in her. Sure enough, she dumped me. Not only that, it all coincided with two other “bad luck” events.
At the same time, I had started Imipramine. You guys know what that drug did to me. If not, I’ll tell you. About ten days after beginning the drug, my blood pressure went soaring, my pulse went up and was never under 90 from then on, and I also felt like I was physically crawling out of my skin. Nonstop. I felt like I was always fighting that feeling. Nonstop. It was that constant fight that is, in fact, the “black box warning” that causes suicide in teens. I’m positive of it. Also, I had enlarged breasts, most likely due to increased milk production. No, I wasn’t pregnant. I assumed that all those side effects were temporary and would go away after a week or two. However, this feeling persisted. And went on and on. It’s over now, though. I asked to be taken off the drug the following February, 2012, and I’d say it took at least six months for the “black box warning” feeling to subside and even for my breasts to get back to normal. I remember having that remnants of that “black box warning” feeling in September 2012 even.
So, anyway, back in 2011 I had just started the drug, and it was December and I was wondering when the heck the “black box warning” feeling was ever going to go away. At that point, I sure was trusting my own shrink less and less and my therapist was turning out to be abusive, too, so I didn’t trust her, either. This friend I thought I could trust had cruelly dumped me.
I ended up discovering, I guess near the end of November 2011, that I could go longer periods than I originally had thought without any food at all. So that’s what I did. I had no clue that my blood sugar was dropping dangerously low. The body can maintain okay blood sugar only for so long. After a while, your mind ends up in this nether world, which was what happened to me. Many people go into a coma, but I didn’t.
My body was desperate to live, and my mind, as I figure it, began to make up fantasies so that my body would survive. So there it was, the end of December, right before Christmas.
My mind invented love. My mind invented that someone actually loved me. Yep. Long-lost love was right there at my doorstep. He was going to sweep me off my feet, pick me up in his arms, and carry me away. And that person was going to show up shortly. Fantasy? Unrealistic? Delusion? Mirage? That pool of water you see floating on the highway right before you while you are driving that’s never really there? The one just out of reach?
I don’t give a shit, folks. Even though I was totally mistaken, I hopped to it. I told myself, “If he’s about to show up, I’d better eat and save myself. I sure don’t want him finding my dead body.”
I was scared, too. My mind wasn’t thinking straight. Treatment? Or no? Did I need a doctor? Maybe I should…911? Or would that be dumb as it always is?
Right before I phoned 911, I drank a tiny amount of juice, most likely no more than an ounce. This was thick banana-kiwi-strawberry stuff. It actually burned going down. Most likely, by the time the EMT’s did a finger stick, my blood sugar was in the safe range and no one had reason to believe I was telling the truth about not having eaten for a long time. I know that’s the kind of thing my body does.
Again, at the cognitive level, I was totally confused about what I was doing and the reasons why I was calling 911. All I knew was that I wanted to live. At the ER, I was told I was wasting the time of the ER personnel. The ER nurse obviously had no clue what anorexia nervosa was.
Here’s the entry, written a day or two later.
“IN CASE I DO DECIDE, AT SOME POINT, TO CALL 911 AGAIN…
but I doubt I will, given the bullshit that happened last time
I AM WRITING THIS ON DECEMBER 26, 2011
I called 911 two days before Christmas and was taken to Mount Auburn Hospital.
The doctor, Dr. Gary Setnik, barely examined me. He did not listen to my heart. He did not listen to my intestines or stomach. He did not test my reflexes. He did not watch me walk. No one checked my orthostatic blood pressure. My temperature was not taken until two minutes before I left the ER. He didn’t do nearly as many tests that I recall doctors doing in emergency rooms. He must have spent two minutes with me. He barely asked any questions. Then I never saw him again. They sent a shrink, a social worker, I think. I was disgusted that they did this. Then they left me alone in the room for TWO AND A HALF HOURS while I was given no water or juice, nor did they ask me how I was feeling. I was tired so I dozed. When someone entered the room, I asked about my tests, but it was only the housekeeping person. I was barely aware of the passage of time.
The nurse entered and told me I could go after I had some lunch. I ended up with a fruit cup which I picked at and then found out it was spoiled. She told me all my tests came out normal. I know, however, that this is bullshit. Why? Because even when I am at my healthiest, one of my kidney levels are always slightly off. Also, the nurse, in the same breath, muttered something about dehydration, and said I should drink more, and that this was the reason my pulse was elevated. I had already explained to the doctor that my normal pulse is elevated (94) because of my medication. This is a common side effect verified by my doctor, the pharmaceutical companies, and any pharmacist.
When I was released, I was not offered a cab voucher. They kept on emphasizing that other patients were much more important than I was. I think they just wanted me out of there. I realized that for the entire time I was there, I had received no actual treatment.
When I got home, after many hours, I looked at the papers they gave me. My instructions consisted of three words: “Take it easy.” There was also a sheet on panic attacks. I have not had a panic attack since 1997.
I have anorexia nervosa, which is a serious disorder with 10-20% mortality rate depending on which study you look at. Apparently, no one listened to me or believed me. From December 14, 2011, sometime in the wee hours, until December 20, at 3:30, I consumed no calories. Between December 20 and the morning of the 23rd I consumed 433 calories. That’s not for each day but the total of all three days combined. I suppose no one thought this had anything to do with my feeling like I was going to faint that morning.
It is obvious to me that emergency people are not adequately educated about eating disorders.
I do monitor my blood pressure and pulse with a meter. I am not stupid. I have a bachelor’s and master’s degree, both earned recently. This statement will eventually appear on my blog. My blog is Googlable, and I have regular readers. Merry Christmas.”
Again, I wrote that last bit December 26, 2011, and am reprinting it today, which is Feb 21, 2014.
I have been dealing with a serious eating disorder since 1980. It’s a miracle I’m still alive. What science knows about it is shockingly little compared to what in fact those of us who actually have ED know. I was in the mental health system 30 years begging for help with my ED and never got it. In 1981 and throughout the 1980s and most of the 1990’s, ED treatment didn’t exist. I wasn’t aware of the non-existence of research, and fell for “therapists” who lied to me and lied to my parents, claiming they “knew all about ED” and in fact, didn’t. They were faking their way through sessions, saying, “I understand,” but no way did they have any clue what I was going through. It’s now decades later. Looking back, I know this.
While I teetered on the brink of life and death, these therapists gave me that unfeeling, blank, bored look, probably wondering how soon the session would end, probably saying to themselves that Julie was exaggerating or a maybe spoiled kid.
I guess it was in 2009 that my weight was low and my T suddenly decided my eating disorder was “life-threatening” so she put on the brakes. I was then subject to this newfangled “eating disorders care.” I thought, “After all these decades I am finally going to get what I was begging for all along.” What I found, in fact, sorely disappointed me.
State-of-the-art? Hardly. Humane? Nope.
I would like to say that if you are reading this right now and are not a sufferer yourself, please erase everything you have heard about eating disorders. Medical science as it is has us all wrong. They haven’t been listening to us, therefore, their “classifications” are so incorrect that it’s shocking.
I’d say if anyone is so determined to classify, there are at least 100 subsets of anorexia, and at least 100 subsets of bulimia. You can combine the two and get at least another 100 subsets. As for the act of binge eating, there isn’t just “binge eating,” there at least 100 different subsets. So no two of us are alike and we each have our own story. But does any doctor listen? No, they don’t want to listen. Because the classifications are ready-made for us, they don’t bother listening to each and every story. They stop listening mid-sentence, and put us into a ready-made category.
So I show up at any doctor’s office and immediately “anorexia” is sitting there, and whatever doctor it is concludes, “Hmm…perfectionist, underlying personality disorder, history of self-harm, substance abuse, sneaky liar, overexercises, throws up everything she eats….” on and on. Facts: I am not a perfectionist, I don’t have a diagnosed personality disorder, I don’t self-harm, I am not a substance abuser, I don’t overexercise, and I don’t throw up. And I am ridiculously honest.
What I’ve learned, since 2010, is that “eating disorders treatment,” that is, the assembly-line type that I’ve been in, means violation of every human bodily function, complete stripping of privacy. It is bodily invasive, via force-feeding, that is, tube, or they watch you eat and demand that you do, or, in a medical situation, via IV, or PICC line, or some kind of tube, this can be court-ordered but usually they simply threaten that they will call security, or get security to hold down a patient whether this is legal or not. It typically happens to a very young person, away from their parents perhaps for the first time ever, in a weak and malnutritioned state. It is very tempting for anyone in a higher position (nurse, “sitter,” doctor, specialist, etc) with the least bit sadistic mind to abuse someone emaciated and weak who might be considered unaware and “out of it,” perhaps unable to leave the bed.
I am going to try to find out why it’s so tempting for sadists to abuse very thin people, maybe look into the history of the Holocaust, because I think I might find answers there. I’ve been up and down the scale in my life and because I am a trained writer, I am a keen observer of humans, so I’ve watched the way folks react to me at whatever weight I’m at. It’s rather shocking to see the difference.
At the outpatient level, these days you find practitioners who are “recovered” via the mental health system and sadly, these folks are heavily brainwashed by it. Many are even still on meds and heavily dependent on “therapy” to get by. Not that we have to know this. Many of these are sponsored by hospitals….poster children of groups such as NAMI-like groups or the specific “therapists” that supposedly have the “answers” to anorexia or bulimia. Binge eating, up and coming.
There are also the rebels, those that claim “doctors hate me” and are setting up practices as gurus, charging huge fees.
I’m frightened by the amount of money both groups of these so-called recovery-touters are making. These include therapists, nutritionists, and “coaches”….on and on. They are profiting in large dollar amounts.
The rebel ones that are supposedly alternative, many of them, are raking in huge amounts of dough. I find the guru-like nature of these practitioners frightening. Some are flat-out lying about their credentials while others lie about their success rate.
So…at any rate…that’s how I see it right now. I’m scared by what I see.
I do think there are answers to this and the answer won’t mean emptying out our bank accounts, folks.
For instance, a hug is free, right? To say “I love you” to another person costs nothing. Walk up to a stranger who appears lonely, or perhaps is crying on the bus, speak to that person, and said, “Hey, I’ve been there….” You may save that person’s life. Guess what? That simple act costs nothing. Get my point?
This is a question I have been attempting to answer and I think I now have the answer to the question:
Why does society hate a person after they make a failed suicide attempt?
I cannot say whether what happened last summer was a suicide attempt or not, I mean, it was what it was no matter what words you use to classify it. One thing I know is true. I stopped eating because to me it seemed like nobody gave a shit about me.
Was this “illness”? Was this some incorrect perception? Was I totally off base and did everyone actually love me and want me around? Absolutely not. I sure wasn’t Miss Popularity.
I was dead right that very few gave a shit. I was talking about it all along, too. I was so happy whenever my phone rang, this being so rare, that I would nearly cry with joy. This isolation had been going on for over a year. I would call people to ask them out for coffee and they would avoid my calls and then lie and give some fake reason why they hadn’t called me back.
I was still trying desperately to get “mental health care,” coming up with “no” for an answer every time. The few I was able to get were duds that I couldn’t stay with or they had no interest in helping.
Of course, with my brothers having avoided me for a couple of decades now, this meant zilch for “family.”
I was broke and that sucked too.
It doesn’t exactly make you feel great about life.
Many turn to drugs. They get high all the time and that’s their escape. Or they run away in some other fashion. They are people who are disillusioned, fed up, totally stuck. All because they get discriminated against.
Of course, there are those that do indeed kill themselves. Or they try and don’t succeed. The irony is that society then proceeds to further discriminate, driving the message home, “No, we don’t give a shit about you, it’s true!”
Society should not be doing this. We should love the person, not treat them like they are “dangerous.”
Maybe society can’t face the fact that they really should have behaved more lovingly, and instead of showing the person proper respect, they continue to discriminate, placing blame where blame should not be placed. Perhaps they cannot face themselves. Maybe the suicide attempt says, “Hey, our SOCIETY needs to WAKE UP.” I don’t think suicide is a cry for help or a statement about mental illness. Maybe that’s it. Guilt.
Or at least, in my case, my self-starvation wasn’t saying, “Look at me!” it was, “Look at yourselves.” Maybe no one really wanted to, and they are still unwilling.
Do you know what I’m talking about? If you have had anorexia, you sure do know. Ever get hospitalized for this disorder? The media loves to portray us having a blast at horse farms and spas for the rich. Truth is, people who have this darned disorder are all alone lying in bed where we get bossed around, told we can’t even get up, and no one calls or visits. Suddenly, the people we thought were our very best friends aren’t even speaking to us anymore! What the F?!!!
I’m here to tell you that you are not alone. We skinny folk are hated. It’s true. Society hates anorexics. Why? Is it because we are skinny and women in particular are frustrated, unable to shed the pounds themselves, so they take it out on us? I used to think that this was the case, that even female doctors and many male doctors who had serious body image problems indeed did this “transference” thing on their anorexic patients. It would certainly explain all the rude remarks we get from doctors and nurses, don’t you think? It would surely explain their overly controlling, manipulative actions as well, such as unnecessary forced or coerced “weigh-ins,” or pressuring a patient through threats and accusations.
I am wondering, also, if there is another factor involved: the suicide factor. If your anorexia has progressed past a certain point and you have been hospitalized or have experienced some kind of medical complication, society is going to wake up and say, “Hey, this anorexia is dangerous and he/she might actually die from it.” For whatever reason, when this “wake up call” happens to a sufferer, or rather, to the people around the sufferer, they wake up suddenly. It’s like they pop up out of bed from a deep sleep, saying, “Hey, he/she’s suicidal.”
Society hates suicidal people. Absolutely no question about it. People who commit suicide are automatic sick fucks. No, you can’t talk about it. Yes, there are suicide hotlines but these are “confidential,” that is, you call them in secret and these are “first name only,” that is, it’s so darned scary to come out and admit, “I feel like ending my life cuz my life just plain sucks.”
I learned early on that it was a dumb thing to tell anyone under any circumstances that I wanted to die. How did I learn this? How does anyone learn anything? You try it out and you find out the hard way. You bake your cookies too long and they burn, so you never bake them that long again.
So I guess this was in high school. Out of the blue, I told someone I had a shitty life, but I didn’t say why. I didn’t get into a lot of detail, just said I was unhappy and made brief reference to the possibility that maybe I was considering suicide. I didn’t want to put a huge emphasis on it or reveal how seriously I was thinking about it cuz I didn’t want the guy to worry. However, I was certainly not at all vague about the “shitty life” part. This wasn’t exactly a friend and not exactly a not-friend. The person completely avoided me after that.
I asked myself why he was avoiding me. We had had many intellectual discussions in the past. I had clearly caused him discomfort. To this day, I don’t know if merely my opening up to him was the cause (I never really opened up to anyone anyway), or if he was uncomfortable with my unhappiness and that I might commit suicide.
Of course, a lot of kids in my high school were most likely thinking about suicide. For many, a passing thought. Some kids thought about it all the time. I’ll do know there was an awful lot that didn’t get discussed. I’ll bet in high schools out there right now, today, it’s not being discussed enough. In the adult world, today, it’s not discussed enough, either. That’s because, as I said before, society hates suicidal people.
If you’ve ever been suicidal, society hates you and calls you a sick fuck. But why? I mean, maybe life sucks for a good reason. People lose their jobs because of bad luck, not bad morals or a bad attitude. Their homes burn down not because God is angry, but because of a frayed wire or loose connection and if the fire department didn’t make in there in time, it’s because of poor timing, so if your think your life totally sucks right now because you lost your job and your home is nothing but ashes, well, dang, you’re right, your life does indeed suck! Bad luck isn’t an illness! If you feel lousy about the crap that happened, I don’t blame you!
Feeling lousy needs to be normalized. Growing pains need to be accepted for what they are. We are okay. There are no sick fucks in this world. Society need to listen more and love more.
So back to my question: why does society hate people with anorexia? It’s such a push-me-pull-you! Everyone wants so badly to lose weight. The overweight person is also despised. If you have ever been overweight you can feel that hatred, too. I certainly have felt it myself during the years I spent living in a much larger body than the one I am living in now. I sure wouldn’t want to go back to those years, mainly because of the discrimination. The rude remarks, both subtle and flat out blatant, drove me nuts. I commend anyone who puts up with this baloney and is able to ignore it.
I know many people whom I greatly admire who aren’t affected by what I described above. They float past it. In fact, they don’t have to dismiss it or ignore it or make any effort, because it’s like they have a built-in filter. They don’t even hear it! It’s like those spam filters. They have this cruelty and discrimination and bullying and Evil of the World filter. So they can be whoever and whatever they want and be secure with themselves and they don’t hear or see the baloney.
That would be cool, wouldn’t it? To feel good all the time and be happy? I sure would never, ever consider suicide or ever want to starve myself if that were the case, if I truly believed the world was a positive place and that everyone was filled with love in their hearts and good intentions.
So these very, very positive people can walk past those two separate water fountains and they don’t see them. They won’t get pissed off and see the wrong in it. Anger is bad. It’s negative, after all. Do you see what I am saying? Those of us negative folk are the sick ones and if we get immensely frustrated enough to quit the planet or consider quitting it, then we get ostracized.
That very well may be the reason you are now all alone in that hospital and the people you thought were friends aren’t friends anymore. Let’s go blame those that are already hurting. Kick the ones that are down and make them feel even worse.
Life for a person with anorexia is likely to suck for a long time, mainly because of the societal hatred part. I am still rather shocked at it all. All the reactions.
There’s one thing I can say, though. If it has happened to you, I hear your cries. I do know what it feels like to be all alone. I do know what it’s like to have your rights taken away and I do know what that “blame” is like when the truth is, you did nothing wrong and the people around you are wrongly blaming you. You are not defective and there’s nothing morally or constitutionally wrong with you. If you have ever lied, it’s only because you had to do so in order to stay alive, because of the immense pressure to survive in the cruel, artificial world called “treatment” where no one even listens to us anyway. I do know what it’s like to have a door slammed in your face, and to ask yourself, “Can anything more go wrong?” and then one more person says goodbye.