Have you ever thought you were your therapist’s therapist? This happened to me in 2008. Beware!

I’m not sure how often this happens nowadays. My guess is that private practice therapists do it more, since ones that work for clinics and institutions get more supervision. But working for a large institution means the hierarchy makes for more workplace stress.

This woman had a day job working for a hospital. Her private practice was at home. She’d work hard all day then come home and see three or four patients. I know her hospital position paid well, as she was one of the top dogs there. She didn’t need that private practice. I think it was too much for her.

Our first session was decent. You guys know how it is, when a therapist puts on their best show during that first session. My previous one was leaving and while you could say I “chose” to see this next one, I didn’t really. My previous therapist referred me to the only two she could find, and one said no before she ever met me. So I went with the one I was left with. I wasn’t worried. I had no reason to do so. I was glad to be switching after five years with the other one going nowhere.

As I said, the first session with G was fine. Then, once I was stuck with her, I noticed she was completely self-absorbed. I don’t know how else to put it. During the second session I tried to tell her something I felt emotional about, and immediately she told me a long story about her grandmother. Okay…..I didn’t see the point of what she was saying. There wasn’t one. But I let it slide.

Next thing I knew, G was sharing all sorts of details about her nieces with me. I sat there and listened politely. I asked myself if this was really therapy. I’d say starting the third session, she began to nod off during the appointment. I’d had another therapist who slept through our sessions as well. But there was a difference.  Elsa Ronningstam, at McLean, whom I’d seen from 1995 till maybe the end of 1996, literally fell asleep right before me. Her head tilted to the side. Her eyes were closed and I watched as occasionally her head bobbed awake, then she’d fall back asleep. She simply couldn’t stay awake, despite that coffee she always brought in with her. I didn’t like smelling the coffee when she wasn’t even offering me any. I recall the ring that coffee mug made on the saucer. I told myself I didn’t want coffee with cream in it anyway because it was too fattening. I receive no therapy from that woman. But back then I had little choice, because Ronningstam was one of the few who had openings (wonder why?).

G didn’t nod off the same way. She never fell completely asleep the way Ronningstam did. I’d watch G’s head fall to the side, then, rather quickly, she’d jerk it up again. If I had to count how many times per session this occurred, I’d say at least once per minute for most of the hour, almost always happening while I was speaking. I finally confronted her about it. She apologized and said her day job had been busy. I told her to go get coffee. She did. I’ll give G credit for offering me some, too. Another time I confronted her about falling asleep, she said, rather sleepily, that it was hard to stay interested in what I was saying.

I figured maybe she needed to talk. She sure did! She related confidential information about her other patients to  me, both hospital patients and those she saw in her home practice. I told her I found this offensive, and also it wasn’t ethical, never mind legal. She promised to stop, but kept right at it again in the next session.

I don’t know why, but I don’t particularly feel upset about all that happened. I believe G had a good heart and good intentions. Her mind wasn’t on her job, that’s for sure. Also, she injured her knee during all this, had surgery, and then told me the surgery hadn’t gone well. She could barely walk before the surgery, nor after. She was super overweight, too, and complained about that to me as well. Then, she followed this with more yapping about her nieces. Perhaps her life was a mess, but I was tired of being her therapist.

I was shocked the day she told me a long song and dance about a former patient. She said the patient had died. I watched in disbelief as she began to shed tears. What was I supposed to do then? Hand her Kleenex? The patient had died of cancer. I was sure glad it wasn’t suicide.

It all would have been fine if she were my friend, but no, she was a bona fide social worker and my insurance was paying her to “treat” me. One thing about this ordeal was that when she took me on, she saw me as an “easy” patient, someone with good attendance who wasn’t going to make things messy for her. My attendance began to slide, however, as the months wore on. I don’t blame myself for that. Why wasn’t she paying me?

I recall speaking to therapist friends about how they liked having “easy” patients who wouldn’t turn into management jobs. They didn’t like the management part, they wanted to do hard core therapy. That would be using their training to the fullest extent, they explained. One person told me that being asked to do management was an insult, and she was looking for a new job. That seemed understandable to me. But honestly, I think G took me on because she didn’t want to work. Or so she saw it.

I knew she was capable of being a strong advocate when she felt the urge. However, she never listened to me. Why listen to an “easy” patient who should be “maintained” only?

I figured much the same. I couldn’t stand the sessions anymore, but I told myself, “I will put up with this. No harm in it. It doesn’t matter. I guess I’ll ride this out.”

That may have gone on indefinitely. G never said a word when Dr. Pearson rather arbitrarily put me back on Lithium. This was 2008. I had no clue about the damages already done by Lithium. However, I didn’t react well, and couldn’t tolerate even the lowest dose. I told Dr. P over and over that something wasn’t right, but she insisted I had to take Lithium otherwise I’d be “unstable.” That was her favorite buzzword, using fear tactics, telling me I’d end up manic if I didn’t obey.

G sat by and said nothing the whole time. Did she notice or care? I doubt it, since she was too busy talking about those kiddies of hers. Once, she told me all the details of a court case she’d been involved in. I wonder if I can find it all online.

Apparently Newton-Wellesley has had a LOT of trouble. This isn’t the case, but you can see:


I found another case. I’m not posting it. I knew the guy.

Here’s another: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Roberta-Brucker-Newton-Wellesley-Hospital/Newton-Massachusetts-02462/Roberta-Brucker-Newton-Wellesley-Hospital-Healthy-patient-forced-into-acute-psych-ward-aft-232118

I remember the staff this woman mentions. I recall Roberta and a few others. Am I surprised this happened to her? Absolutely not. It happens all the time. Only when I was in there, I figured patients who called attorneys were “delusional.” Why? because the staff told us so. Ah, compliance….

I still haven’t found that historic case G mentioned. The links that follow are other Newton-Wellesley lawsuits.

I found this, but it’s more recent: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Roberta-Brucker-Newton-Wellesley-Hospital/Newton-Massachusetts-02462/Roberta-Brucker-Newton-Wellesley-Hospital-Healthy-patient-forced-into-acute-psych-ward-aft-232118

I can tell you Riverside wasn’t serving Newton very well. I went there for a bit.

Okay, I still haven’t found it, but those of you in the Boston area might find this interesting:


I guess I won’t find that case that G told me about. Here’s an excerpt regarding Sylvia Plath. Of interest.


All this time I assumed it had gotten out into the open. Meanwhile, I’m privy to the info, courtesy G.

In short, this was a case of misdiagnosis. This patient was labeled a whiner and complainer, told what he had was trivial. She WANTED to be hospitalized. Nope, they told her she couldn’t stay, claiming borderline-type dependency. I don’t even think she made it home. I repeat, she clearly told them what was going on. They called her a complainer. I ask if the dismissive attitude of Newton-Wellesley Hospital staff propelled her to actually commit suicide. G told me, “They made a wrong assumption about her. Once a patient is labeled borderline, the staff stop listening.” The family won the case, but that didn’t bring back their daughter.

Either way, I couldn’t find the case. I highly doubt G made it up. Yeah, she was sleepy, but not a person who exaggerated.

Finally, I quit seeing G. I told her I was fed up. While I was preparing to leave, G said, “Oh, but there are so many more things about myself that I have yet to tell you.” These aren’t the exact words. I’d have to think back and recall…but I’m tired now. Shall I nod off?

This was the therapist who apparently was asleep when I told her I’d been raped. She never took notes, and I doubt there were any after that first session. I phoned G in 2009 or maybe 2010. I informed her she didn’t notice when I was raped. I didn’t accuse. I was calling for another reason. She claimed she had destroyed all records of me. I doubt she had any to begin with.

I suppose all this passed her by. The fact that she ignored that I had been raped caused Dr. Pearson, my psychiatrist, to assume it was “nothing.” I recall my argument with her over the lithium, and the fact that she literally lost it when she heard I’d fired G. After that, every time I mentioned the rape to Dr. P, she appeared entirely indifferent. She gave me a blank look, or even changed the subject.

Like it  had never happened.

So do you see how all this spiraled into a witch hunt after six years of not being listened to, assumptions that I was fabricating all that had occurred? This is the story of something that never should have happened, but did. I was that “easy  patient,” that completely compliant case, that ended up all wrong. I am so glad i broke free.


Photos of me at different weights

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!

My fat face

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!

Darrah, Julie 7_09

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.

“What’s this?”
“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:

Puzzle and Julie, for church 9_2_12

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.

July 19, 2013

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:

August 6, 2013

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!