Women's work in the 1970's

Are you a woman and did you work in the 1970’s, or before?

I remember.  I worked then.  Getting hired and keeping your job was all about looks.  If you were pretty, you got hired.  I was often not hired because I wore glasses, and told that if I got contacts, I’d be hired.  Or told that if I were taller, I’d be hired.  Or told that I was too plain-looking. Mostly, it was the glasses that seemed to keep me off the payroll.

If you did sexual favors for the boss, you might get a raise.  Or you might not. It all depended on politics.  And who else was doing it.  Not that anyone had a choice in the matter.

That is, if I’d had my way, I would not have had “sex” with the boss.  But one day, after the company party, he made some excuse about going into the workplace to take case of some stuff, would I go with him?

Yeah, yeah, work in the 1970’s.

Next day, or maybe a day later, I found myself at the University Health Services.  I have no clue how I got there, cuz I sure wasn’t capable of riding my bike for a few days.  I told them what had happened.  The nurse shrugged.  Treated me like I was scum.  Some sort of diseased tramp off the streets.

All this because I did not have the words.  My words were the words of a woman of the 1970’s.

I am not pretty enough.  Not good enough.  And so he was rough with me.

**************

Is it still about looks?  I haven’t worked in a long, long time.  Do you get prettied up for a job interview?  Is this what it means to be a woman?  Have nice hair and smile at everyone?  Does the better-looking candidate still get the job?

Hostile world

I feel like the planet is an unfriendly place, like you have to fight to survive in this world.

Like everywhere you go,  you get judged.  Like you are constantly fighting off discrimination.  Like you are always having to defend your tiny space on the planet, your tiny right to exist.

Is this the way it is for everyone?

When I was a kid, I was told that kids had to shut up and that children were to be seen and not heard.  When I tried to speak out against the adults, who were much bigger and more powerful than me, I was squelched.

When do you get to grow up?

I'm lonely today

I admit, it’s tough not having friends.

I admit, it’s tough living in a violent slum building.  A place where there’s shouting in the hallway day and night and you can’t get a moment of peace and quiet.  Even at 4am.  Slamming doors, stomping feet, swearing, screaming, and worse.  The first thing I hear in the morning is my next door neighbor having a sneezing fit behind the paper-thin wall that separates us.

I admit, it’s tough having paranoid thoughts and trusting no one.

I admit, it’s tough having an unpopular political belief.  Yes, most people do believe that us folks with mental problems DESERVE to be locked up and have our rights taken away.  Still.  Mental patients ASKED FOR IT.  We live in the dark ages, folks.  I aim to change this.  Do I really aim that high?  Most people think my ideas are radical.  Far too radical.

I admit, it’s tough, coming in with Puzzle after a walk, and walking through my front door, and getting nothing but blank, empty stares from all my neighbors.  What are these people thinking? Probably  nothing.  They watch TV all day, after all, so there’s nothing in those heads of theirs but spaghetti.

I’m not sure what to do about all this but to catalog it.  I have no one to talk to and no one even believes me.   I had a therapist but she didn’t “get it” and it was hardly worth it, so I fired her.  I even fired my new student acupuncturist for giving me needles that gave me a raging appetite, and and not “getting” that if my eating disorder returns, I could drop dead.  She didn’t respect where I came from and none of the treatments she gave me worked, anyway.  I swear she was giving me those appetite-stimulating needles deliberately.  See, my paranoia was starting to flare up when it came to her.  When you lie on that table you are really very vulnerable.  I am reminded of shock treatments, or being tied in restraints.  It all came back.  So I had to let the whole experience go.

I admit, it’s tough when no one believes a word you say.

I admit, it’s tough being discredited by everyone.

I admit, it’s tough when even the very air around you seems hostile.  This building is hostile. It was hostile from day one, the building itself and the people in it, too.  The air I breathe is hostile.  It’s like the air around me rejects me and says, “Ewww.  It’s her again.  Yuck.”

It’s like no one wants me around. I’m waiting for the support group I’m in to kick me out.  I’m waiting for the planet to kick me off.

 

I am home

I have Puzzle with me now.  Little furry loveball.

One hand cramped up, then the other…then my left calf muscle, and the front right shin area, too.  I worked them out, sat here, real dizzy.  I lay down, then immediately one leg cramped and also the other side, too, in my foot.

I have to pick up my drug, but that can wait, too tired right now.

I was dying to get outa there.  Couldn’t stand being bossed around.

I am sick all the time but afraid to go to the doctor

Obviously, I need to get checked out, but at what price?  I don’t think Dr. K or any regular doctor can really help me to improve anything, first of all, because most of what I am experiencing has to do with my eating disorder, which seems to be running my life.  You can’t snap your fingers and make it go away, and even if I were to make drastic improvements in my behavior, my body would take years to catch up, if ever.

I am scared to go to the doctor because of my weight gain.  It will be a demeaning experience for sure.  Of course, I will self-protect and refuse to step on the scale.  I already know what I weigh.  It’s not that.  It’s stepping on the scale in front of a doctor that kills me.   All the memories of the “weekly weight checks.”  Ugh.  I’m not even underweight anymore, so I don’t think she should make a particular number her immediate concern, thus treating me like a height and weight (and insurance number) instead of like a human being.

Just about everyone who doesn’t have an eating disorder has no clue.  For those of you who have experienced severe depression, maybe you can relate to this feeling of being misunderstood.  How many times have people told you to “snap out of it”?  It’s just the same with eating disorders.  I read in many places that if someone with anorexia “recovers,” it takes nine years to get your body back to fully functioning…if you’re lucky.  If you’ve had anorexia for a short period you will bounce back faster, especially if you are young.

This so-called “weight recovery”….at what price?  My weight falls within normal range but I am more miserable than ever.  I still do horrible things to my body worse than ever, desperate to lose this weight.  I think of suicide all the time.  I have started to make “suicide plans” a handful of times, but I still haven’t been able to get the details worked out cuz I’m too damn tired.

It’s all about my weight 24/7.  A constant battle to hide my body every time I go out.  I have to wear just the right clothes to hide my pot belly.  Today I had to wear “fat” jeans because the usual pair, which is probably filthy cuz I’ve worn nothing else, seems too tight.  A possibility is to wear them completely unzipped and hope they don’t fall off of me.  If I wear a shirt a certain way, you can’t tell I’ve got unzipped jeans underneath with a pot belly sticking out.  I have done this on many occasions.  I have loose dresses but I look immense in them now, just a tiny head and huge body.

I sat in church with my jeans completely unzipped and a shirt covering this up last Sunday.  Actually, I walked to church with my pants unzipped.  I swear people were calling out from cars, “Fat pig!” while I walked along, or, shall I say, waddled along.  It was hard to focus during the service cuz all I could think about was my weight.  When I went to social hour, I first went into the bathroom and zipped them up. But I couldn’t walk down the stairs at church to get to the place where they have social hour.  I don’t remember why this was but I know it had to do with my weight.  I walked outside, then around to the back of the church, and re-entered where the bathrooms were.

When people saw me, I guess it showed how miserable I am cuz someone told me to sit down and she got me a cup of coffee and just sat with me.  I didn’t want to say much because her adolescent daughter was nearby.  Even though she probably couldn’t hear the conversation, I am afraid my eating disorder will “rub off” on kids, so I was careful about what I said.  On the other hand, I love seeing the kids at church cuz we treat our kids well.  Most seem to have incredibly healthy self-esteem.  But it breaks my heart comparing these kids to myself at that age.  Another person came and we talked, and she offered me a ride home.  Actually, I had been hoping to get a ride, even though it’s just a seven or so minute walk (walking fast).  I was afraid to walk down the street and be seen in public yet one more time, afraid to be seen as “fat.”  When this person dropped me off, she gave me her phone number, but I’m afraid to get too friendly with people at this point for risk of becoming friends and then losing that friend.

What I go through physically from day to day is miserable.  I wake up with a screaming headache and aching all over like I am in the throes of the flu.  Often, I have a bad headache and flu feeling all day that won’t quit.  I am constantly bloated and feel full even when my stomach is empty.  The pot belly makes me feel bad emotionally.

My ankles are filled with fluid from edema worse than ever.  The skin is stretched and shiny and seems to be getting cracks in it from stretching too much.  My ankles and calves have places on them that appear to be bruised or reddened from the stress on my skin. If I keep my shoes off for a long time, my feet appear puffed up on top.  It has already caused physical pain in this area.  I am lucky that I can still transport myself on foot and walk the dog.

While I sleep, and when I’m trying to wake up, I get bad cramps, or shall I say Charlie horses, in both legs.  These are not the usual Charlie horses people get, but cramping up of every muscle below my knees.  I have occasionally also had thigh muscles cramp.  In addition to my calf muscles, every foot muscle cramps.  If I try to turn my foot to relieve the cramp, my foot cramps up the opposite way.  This happens maybe 50 to 75% of the time whenever I lie down to sleep.

I’m scared cuz I have very few clothes left to wear.  There are some in the laundry, but I can’t go downstairs to do laundry unless no one is in the room, for fear that someone will comment on my weight, or look at me funny cuz I’ve gained so much.  The one pair of jeans that I’ve worn to death I’m afraid of putting in the dryer for fear that they will shrink, so I hang them up.  This means I have to wear the “fat” jeans while the one good pair is drying.  I have one shirt left.  I plan to wear it to church tomorrow, if I make it to church, and I hope I do.  These are special shirts that are loose on me and long.  Of course, I can no longer tuck things in.  My entire torso spills out over my jeans, never mind that if I were to tuck in a shirt, I would look pregnant.  While I am walking and the wind blows, I hold the loose shirt away from me so that it doesn’t touch my pot belly.  This way, someone walking by or driving by can’t see this protruding thing.  Here, breasts are to my advantage because they keep the shirt hanging away from my body.  Another option is slouching so that my belly doesn’t show.  A stiff shirt is better because it doesn’t blow onto my body easily, or cling to me.  It has been damp out, so I don’t worry so much about static electricity causing clinging. I can’t wear a knapsack because my shirt stretches and presses against my body, showing my entire enlarged torso.   Of course, I wear long sleeves, even when it’s hot.  I am embarrassed that my arms seem jiggly, which is probably a misconception because they aren’t fat.  I miss my skinny anorexia arms like you wouldn’t believe.

Of course, I aim to change all this.  I have already lost some weight, never mind how much.  Every day that I lose is a victory.  I would do anything to be as skinny as I was last summer, when I looked like I came out of a concentration camp.  I feel such nostalgia for those times.  I want that back like you wouldn’t believe.  Even if I die.

If I could be x pounds for only a day, and then die, I would trade it for my current life in an instant.

 

Wow, I sure am glad I am not locked up

I just mouthed off at someone real bad.  Never been like this before, ever.    I didn’t swear or anything, but you could say I was over the top.  I wasn’t shouting but I was angry and wouldn’t let her have a word in.  I didn’t even know who this lady was.  She was only doing her job.

This is not, not, not good.

I am so glad I’m not locked up right now.  If I had been in the slammer acting like this, they would have given me drugs for sure.  I would have refused them.  You know how these people are.  Or maybe you don’t.  They provoke you, say stuff that makes you feel like you’re shit.  I am not shit.

I feel confused cuz all day long I’ve been telling myself how great it is to be so much calmer off the Imipramine.  Now this.  All I could do was to sob afterward and feel very, very alone.

I wanted someone to be with me, but then again, I didn’t.  People who see me sobbing end up dumping me as friends.  Remember that song by James Taylor, “You’ve got a friend”? It’s all bullshit.  “When you’re down and troubled” is the time when you should NOT go to your friends for support and guidance.  They will run in the opposite direction when you need them most and you will never see them again.  This is NOT a time to call your therapist, if you have one, because they won’t call back for five or six hours, or not call back at all, and when they do, they will just yell at you for something irrelevant, and hang up.

I lay down on my couch and cried and cried and decided I didn’t want to shut up.  I have good reason to cry and I’m not bothering anyone.  No staff are around to censor me or give me coping skills.  I don’t want coping skills.  I want to cry.

That poor lady.

I am tired.

 

Tomorrow I have acupuncture

Tomorrow I have acupuncture.  I hope it works as well as it did last week.  It is my only hope.  Maybe by that time I’ll have my teeth brushed and I’ll be showered and dressed in clean clothes.  Or at least I’ll be dressed.  Haven’t done any of these since Saturday night.  I am relieved that the temps will be in the 40’s at the time, so I can wear my long winter coat over to the acupuncture clinic.  I hide my fat body under that coat.  I hide in shame.

Please don’t think of me with disgust in your hearts.  Maybe you want to spit on me.  Don’t waste your spit.

When I first became anorexic, I felt ashamed of myself for having such a vain thought as wanting to be thin.  At the same time, I thought that I was purifying myself and becoming closer to God.

Now I am scum of the earth.  I have eaten out of the trash.  I have eaten food that rodents have eaten.  I have eaten food meant for animals.

I admit I made a regular habit of eating Puzzle’s food.  Purina One junkie.  It would have been more honorable if the cupboard had been entirely bare and it was the end of the month, no more food stamps and I was being turned away from the food pantries.  But no.  I have rice.  Just in the middle of a binge, no time to wait.  I found out that if I boil it, it won’t cut up my gums, lips, and cheeks and make sores all over my mouth.  So I was regularly boiling up cup after cup of Puzzle’s food and chowing it down.  One night, I had to run out at 9pm, realizing that she had no more for the next morning.  Finally, I broke the habit, saw the stuff for what it was.  But today, couldn’t stop myself, dug in again.

When I boil Purina One, the apartment gets this weird dog food odor.  Try explaining that one.

Dog food isn’t processed with the same standards of cleanliness as people food.  Rats might be in those factories, getting caught in the machinery.  Animal by-products can mean anything.  Feces, too.

Protein, yeah.

It’s made with beef.  It doesn’t say the beef is cooked.  The stuff made with lamb doesn’t say the lamb is cooked.  Those biscuits made with flour, the flour isn’t cooked.  They’re just hardened.  The cornmeal?  Of course that ain’t cooked, either.

Okay, now I’ve convinced those of you who have been eating dog and/or cat food to completely abandon that nasty habit.  Hang this on your pantry door as reminder, next time you’re tempted.

Please don’t think of me with disgust in your hearts.  Maybe you want to spit on me.  Don’t waste your spit.

I’m a bit closer to God now that I’m scum.  I’m the  scum you see on the very edge of the street.  The kind that gets flattened by passing traffic, unnoticed, until finally, it slips over the edge of the grate, and into the slop of the underground city water, passed through secret tunnels, like the tunnels under McLean Hospital, and out into the Charles River, to be freed at last into the mighty Atlantic Ocean.

I suppose that’s where scum ends up.  In a scum graveyard.  A graveyard for people to put their faces and their shame.  A graveyard for people to empty their pockets.

Just stand there with your coat on.  Stand there and cry.

No real sense in it all, just need to sleep

So I don’t know why I’m up at all.  I got caught up in things, I guess.  I’m tired.  My nose is running a little.  I blew my nose into a tissue.

I have a hat on.  I’ve had it on all day.  I am cold, cold, cold, and shivering.

The rent is paid for another month.  What’s the point?  I don’t want to go on for another month.

Before the end of the month, I’ll be out of money.  Fine.  Money grows on trees.

My grandparents, that is, my mother’s parents, had a money tree.  I guess that’s why they were so rich.  Really, that’s what the damn thing was called, a money plant or something.  Our grandmother told us not to touch the leaves, cuz they’d die.

Touch me, touch me. Please.  Make me drop dead cuz I can’t stand this no more.

Just keep your mitts off my body, okay?  My body is private.  Keep off.

I need some kind of sleeping potion or something.  Are there any sites for the Kiss of Death?  Can you buy it on Amazon?

It took three days for Jesus to die on the cross. I want mine to last about two weeks.  Get sick and wither away for two weeks.  What illness can I catch that lasts for two weeks?  Some weird flu?  Where can I find it?  I’ve had a flu shot.  Drat.  I’ve had measles, mumps, the works.

Maybe I should just call in a Jewish King (who was it, Herod?  I don’t recall) and get one of those dudes to crucify me.

Naw, I’ll look fat up there.  Maybe I can get them to crucify me with my coat on.  Do you think they’d agree to that?  So long as nobody stood under me and looked up.  Well, I could keep my jeans on and not be naked at all.  Still, I’d look fucking fat.

Damn, can’t win.

Body Dysmorphia

I don’t know how to deal with this.  I can’t focus even.  Can’t concentrate.  It’s all I can think about.  There’s so much I need to do and I can’t do any of it.  Every little thing, even the simplest of them, presents a challenge to me right now.  It’s all because I can’t stand being over 90 pounds.  This is intolerable to me.  I cannot live with it.  I feel sickeningly obese and I cannot get this out of my head.  I see fat all over my body and I want to cut it all off.  All I see is this massive hulk and a tiny head mounted on top.  I see photographs of myself at close to 200 pounds and I see no difference between what I look like now and what I looked like then.  Absolutely no difference.

I was nauseous for hours this morning.  Lay in bed.  Kind of like I was in this weird ocean of fat, floating, drowning in my fat body.  I wished I could peel it all off like well-cooked turkey meat, and just be bones.

I feel like I am rotting anyway.  Left alone.  Sitting deep in the garbage.  Welfare scum.   Back ward mental patient.  Sick.  Sicker.  Dead in my soul.

 

Regarding my divorce from both the mental health system and my primary care physician, what this means, and coping with what today has brought me

I’ve just looked at my watch, and it appears that I’ve been out of the hospital a month now, as of tomorrow.  Wow, I’ve had a lot of adventures, and I’ve done fairly well, I think.  I made a bunch of decisions, one being to move away from the mental health system and find my own path.  I think many people didn’t think I dared to do this, or thought I didn’t mean what I said, or maybe they thought I’d change my mind.  Heck, I say one thing one day, another thing another day.  Nope, I have not backed down on this one.

************

I wrote that bit earlier and then realized that I needed to get on with my day, shower and get Puzzle out, etc, and then get back to this after I’d fed her and taken care of necessities.   A few things happened that distracted me.   No, I didn’t say “delayed.”  I used the word “distracted.”  Neither is a crime, when you think about it.

People with ADHD, or ADD, about which I know very little, talk about distraction a lot.  I don’t have ADHD or ADD.  One of my blood relatives has been diagnosed with one of these (I haven’t a clue which one, and I don’t know the difference) by a professional, I assume a specialist.  I do know that the “A” stands for “attention” and “D” stands for “deficit.”

Sometimes, I go off on a wild tangent in my writing, and then return to my subject matter.  Sometimes I delete the off-topic paragraph; sometimes I don’t.  There is nothing morally wrong with going wildly off-topic.  I don’t see anything morally wrong with saying things in such a manner that no one can follow my train of thought.  In fact, I see nothing immoral in speaking in a schizophrenic word salad.  If you don’t know what a word salad is, google it, or look it up in the DSM-whatever.  I’ll take mine with no salad dressing, please.  I don’t want the calories.  Better yet, a completely empty bowl.  Silence is golden, as they say.  Fifteen karat.  You do hear about guys that swallow rings.  Talk about increasing one’s self-worth.

While walking Puzzle, I realized that I cannot stay with my present primary care physician.  I cannot walk into her examining room and immediately be handed a johnny, and once I am changed, be ushered to the Throne.  Yes, you know what the Throne is.  No, Dr. K, I am not merely “x weight,” and this all-holy number should not be your number one concern.  I am here for help with my body itself, not the number that represents weight of my body.  I am Julie Greene, human being, in case you didn’t know.  What about my kidneys?  What about all the other organs?  This is what is going on in my body.  Why am I now telling you these things that happen in my body, and you don’t even believe half of what I say?  I suspect my kidneys are working at half-mast, and my digestive tract isn’t digesting very much anymore.  You can choose to listen to what I experience with my body, or you can lecture me about the Throne number, threaten me just like my T did, and tell me to come back next week weighing x, and threaten that if I don’t weigh x, you will section me.

Of course, Dr. K (addressing her now), you are, or were, shall I say, in cahoots with my T regarding the state hospital.  My T stated this, in fact.  I’m guessing you were all in favor of getting me hooked up with DMH, which would make it oh so handy to drag me, kicking and screaming, out of my home and into some “group home” out in the middle of nowhere, stuck living with a bunch of chronic mental patients who are just out of the state hospital and stuck in the system.  And now I would be stuck as well, buried and digging myself out.  Would I even have control of my own finances?  Would I have Internet access?  Would I have access to public transportation, and ability to get to church? And yes, you were all in favor of committing me to the state hospital as well, and being in the DMH system would not only send this commitment via Overnight Express Mail, but would put a seal on the envelope as well.  Nice and handy.  Nope.  She’s gotta go.

**************

Lots of other things floating around in this head of mine.  I get so many ideas.  Some people say they can type as fast as they can think.  Really?  Either they are slow thinkers or very fast at typing.

Then again, I don’t remember what time it was today that my mind ceased to work properly.  This happened yesterday as well, but it didn’t last for long.  Maybe fifteen minutes and then I came back.  Today, I don’t know…it has been worse and I can’t do things properly.  I got into it a little while ago, not sure when, and then never came back, or shall I say not yet.

Something is going on also with eating, drinking, and output (peeing and pooping) that isn’t right, that and energy and metabolism and how I feel physically in general.  I mean this completely aside from how I feel mentally about ingestion of food and drink.  My body is just screwed up.  My brain is part of my body, too.  I don’t think my body is sending the nourishment I consume to my brain.  It’s just like January.  Stuff shutting down.

Earlier, I tried to pack my things, maybe make an attempt to leave and go out for a while, but it was taking so long.  I kept on mixing up what I was doing, so I decided to take a break, wait till later, and then try again.  So I’ll do this now.  Wish me luck.