Saturday, April 30, 2005

Suicide

I traveled to New York from Washington DC and saw things that were terrifying, and then attempted suicide. This is two years ago.
The first time I attempted suicide I was 15, but that was a different story. That was not about the same reasons why I did this, later in life.
I was, as are most people who try to end their own lives regardless of their reasons, locked into some inhumane hospital in a town I've never been to, treated like a caged animal, drugged out of my mind, raped (sorry to have to mention that part, but it is the case), bruised, beaten, treated like garbage, transferred to another hospital in a town I've never heard of (I don't live in New Jersey, or New York and never have), then transferred to another one. In the end they told me that in order to go home, I had to give up my home, travel to Florida to live with family members I have not lived near in years, and that if I did not do this, I would be sent to a "state hospital", despite being completely rational and not suicidal at the time. You don't have any legal rights in psychiatric hospitals or units. I was injected with drugs, given pills, given more drugs, and I complied and did as told. In order to leave this situation I did get back to Florida. The only way I was able to do this was to have my brother fly up to make the trip back with me. The hospital would not let me leave otherwise. My brother holds that against me to this day and has barely had anything to do with me ever since, because he didn't want to have to do that.

So the next time I went to a hospital for a psychiatric reason was when my mother, who herself loves psychiatry and the great enjoyment people can get out of being labeled lunatics, thereby assuming they no longer have to take responsibilty for their own lives and can now feel sorry for themselves for all of eternity, would rather believe that I have some mental illness than believe anything else more rational. So in this hospital, Morton Plant in Clearwater, Florida, I was locked up again. And that was a year ago. And I was made pregnant at that time. And after the nightmare that I've lived with every day since then and everything that I've tried to try NOT TALKING ABOUT THIS, I am now mentioning it here without caring much that everyone who reads this will happily assume it could not be true. It is, sadly, very true. I was given ultrasounds, I have seen the babies with my own eyes (they were twins), I have heard their heartbeats, I have been told in so many words by multiple medical professionals that it is a baby (or two babies), and simultaneously, I get to be told pregnancy tests are negative. Bear in mind here, I'm not healthy at all. I can't carry a healthy child, anyone in their right mind who knew what my body was like would know that much. I'm also very petite by nature, and generally was wearing size four being 105 pounds which is my normal weight, before I was made pregnant. I am now size 12; I weight 120 pounds, my stomach carries a nice big pouch that cannot be ignored or denied by anyone who knows what my body looked like last year. I don't fit into any of my clothes. I'm physically very sick, exhausted, and the baby/babies, are obviously sick to the point they cannot deliver at all or they would have kept growing and come out on their own.

So, here's what I've been through with that. I had no car, so there was no way to get to an abortion clinic, not that I was stupid enough to assume one exists where I would be treated humanely with the situation I'm in. My doctor, by the way, on OBGYN, Dr. Jose Pagan, informed me that I was pregnant and he was telling me the "backwards way" LAST SUMMER. That's about a year ago now. You might want to imagine what a body is like after it's been carrying around a sick infant for a year to understand why I am now desperate enough to want to die. I live in SEVERE, CONSTANT, CHRONIC, UNREMITTING PAIN every single day of my life from my pelvic area to the upper abdomen, from the right rib cage to the left, and including my back. It hurts like hell.

I've been to Dr. Pagan repeatedly to get a 'real" (not the "backwards") news that I'm obviously pregnant. And in the year 2005, after women have fought for equal human rights for a few thousand years, the news that I get told every single time (and this has been going on for over a year), is that the test is negative and my pain must be from something else.

Ok, then, the pain will be from something else. So I said fine, it's endometriosis then, lets TAKE OUT the endometriosis, and finally after multiple visits, this madman decided to do surgery for "endometriosis'. The surgery was supposed to include "if necessary", a "CESARAEN SECTION CUT" which is called a laparotomy. Do you want to guess just how "necessary" that is??????? It's called life or death. I will DIE without that surgery. Anyone with any knowledge of medicine would understand this much. And so he proceded to do a minor "laparoscopy" and then let me wake up without ever having that "laparotomy" which I need to survive. In other words, I woke up and was told essentially the doctor decided not to take the baby out and save my life, he was just going to let me suffer a slow and painful death because he can.

I've gone to a pregnancy center. Their urine test did not show pregnancy, probably because after about 9 months with an ABNORMAL pregnancy, no urine test is going to show anything normal going on. I've had blood tests, and I've gone to an abortion clinic, pain four hundred dollars and was then told that they would not do the abortion because even though I AM SHOWING BECAUSE I AM OVERDUE, they urine test shows no pregnancy.

Think for a minute, and please try to do this without the easy notion that someone writing this must be insane. Just think for a moment if you were in this position, it actually was happening, you were not insane, and you knew no one in the medical establishment would help you. What would you do? Cut yourself open to get the baby out? Not really possible.

I decided to kill myself last November, because, frankly, there is no other way out of this nightmare. I took my mother's car, crashed it at 50 miles per hour into the concrete side of the Skyway Bridge, hoping to careen over the guardrail, go down the 150 foot drop and die. I didn't careen over. I lived. They told me I needed surgery and wouldn't do the surgery. The baby was kept inside me and I was sent home. That was at Bayfront Hospital. They have xrays there that will show my pregnancy.

In December I went to the emergency room at Morton Plant Clearwater, out of desperation. Okay, you watn to use people to breed babies in psychiatric hospitals? Please then take the babies out when the person agrees to cooperate, don't leave it in there. This was not what was done. I went in because I am pregnant. I said I want an abortion. I was told this was an unfortunate leak and was promptly committed to the psychiatric unit where I was kept for two weeks even though I was not suicidal at all. I was given a sonogram there. It showed a baby. I was told "go ahead and breed" (kind of hard to do when YOU CAN'T GET THE KID OUT OF YOUR BODY).

I went into that emergency room for severe physical pain, nothing was ever done the entire time I was there about the pain. No abortion was done. The transvaginal ultrasound which showed the baby was done and then I was told that pregnancy test was negative. If I was not so terrified of repercussions, I would have gone in there screaming about being pregnant, but when you've been threatened and mistreated as much as I have, you don't do that type of thing. I was very cooperative, and eventually they sent me right back out in the same shape I was when I came in the door, except that on top of everything else I was now homelss and most of my belongings were in the garbage since while I was locked inside and committed against my will, I was not around to pay my landlord my rent, so I had nowhere to live.

In February I went to a different hospital for the pain. This is before the surgery with Dr. Pagan. This is Morton Plant Mease, and at this hospital, they did not tell me that I was pregnant either. But they also do not have a psych ward there, so I was admitted for the pain to the regular hospital. Multiple tests were done; I eventually lost my job over the time that was spent in that hospital, five days. No doctorss admitted I was pregnant. They tested me for gastrointestinal and gall bladder problems. It's not a big surprise to me that my gall bladder is abnormal, considering I am in unremitting abdominal pain 24 hours a day, I have no waist anymore, I fit into none of my clothing, and I feel as though I am dying.

They sent me home and said to come back for gall bladder surgery. I got the endometriosis surgery, hoping the doctor would take the baby out. He didn't. Why bother with gall bladder surgery? It won't help. This problem is quite obviously not my gall bladder. Dr. Pagan's recommendation is to "get pregant" or take "Lupron" to cause Menopause, down Vicodin, and know that I "will be in pain".

Dr. Pagan is not only unethical and inhumane, he's a sadist who deserves a horrible death himself and a long time in some circle of Dante's inferno. This man has KILLED ME, and I was polite and kind to him the entire time. Every doctor I have seen who has looked at this "biforcated uterus" (read: you are pregnant with twins), and has DONE NOTHING has killed me.

What exactly have I done that require the death penalty? Let me see, oh, I get Medicaid and Medicare and disability benefits. Newsflash, I also work, I pay for my own bills, I receive no help of any kind from any family member, I obey the law, I do not do illegal drugs, I don't own a weapon, I've never threatened anybody in my entire life, I have a college education and I've spent more time in libraries and bookstores in my life than any place else, I go to church, and I am one of the kindest people you'll ever meet, believe it or not. I've done nothing to deserve this nightmare. Nothing. And I know that I'm not the only person this is happening to. I'm just writing it down now because I've carried this secret around with me for a very long time, and I don't want to die. I know that I am going to have to die, since I've been left with no option. But I don't want to die. I want to keep working, to keep dating people (believe it or not most people who meet me have no idea of anything I've written here), to get married and have a child, to survive, to be able to afford to survive, to get a decent car, etc.......

But I'm dying. I'm dying because I don't have the social and financial status that this society requires for one to be treated like a human being who deserves to live. I'm dying because it's very easy for someone who "looks" relatively healthy and tells you something that sounds bizarre to be labeled mentally ill when she's perfectly sane and when her physical health is the problem. I'm dying because I'm poor, more than anything else. If I had a car that could drive half an hour, I'd go to a different town, I'd find a different doctor who's not affiliated with these hospitals, I'd have my baby, and I'd live. I don't have a decent car; I don't have the money to do all these things, so I'm going to end up dead.

EDIT: October, 2011 - I came back to this original post to clarify that everything, absolutely everything, written here was derived from delusions due to the fact that I was flagrantly, floridly psychotic when I created this blog. I was never pregnant, was not raped inside hospitals, and was not told I was pregnant by anyone. I know that if you are new to this blog and you read the above it could be quite confusing, but it is an example of what psychosis does to the mind. After I started taking antipsychotic medications later in 2005, I stopped believing these things had happened to me. I now have completed a two-year college degree, am working on a BA, have lived in the same apartment buiding for five years, have a job that I've had for several years, and take medications religously because I do not EVER want to get back to the point I was in when I wrote the above delusions.

some parts of my self

Some things about me, for anyone who is interested. If I am gone, I'd much rather have people remember me for who I was as a human being than for labels put upon, life problems, disagreements, or mundane facts about what types of jobs I've had......

If I were gone tomorrow, I would want family and friends to read this and remember, this is part of who I am, for whatever that's worth.
I prefer CNN and CSpan to sitcoms of any kind. Even PBS news. I despise watching sports, and at this point in life, most television. Bravo and Comedy Central have always had some interesting programs. Anderson Cooper is the best journalist on TV. I've followed his career from back in the days when he was on World News Now on ABC at 3 am. I'm convinced he's my husband in another dimension. Besides that, his newscasts are thorough, with personality, and quick. This is what good news should be.

I still love alternative news. I wrote for indymedia at some points. You can find interesting news stories on their site or on commondreams.org, michaelmoore.com, the guerrilla news network, alternet, feminist.com, and other places, like the Progressive, Utne Reader, and Mother Jones.

But if you're at home at 7 pm, do turn on CNN. When I lived in Washington I met a guy online, Eliot who I should have dated but we never actually did, we just had all kinds of interesting conversations about watching Cspan and CNN naked as a romantic adventure. That still makes me laugh sometimes. Eliot wrote news for MSNBC, probably still does.

I sat in front of the White House, in a wheelchair, in 18 degree weather one winter not too long ago to protest the war on Iraq with a group called Code Pink. I helped organize a march we did with 8000 pink wearing chicas who came to march on Washington. And I went to several other marches on Washington organized by groups like ANSWER. World peace and human rights mean quite a bit to me. Unfortunately my own life problems are too big a priority for me to focus on activist work anymore at all. But my involvement in those issues meant a great deal to me and that really, more than anything that I've done, defines who I am to a great extent.

I've done a lot of things alone. Spent most of my life alone really. So when I wanted to travel to see Ani Difranco, my favorite musician, I went alone. Twice. Once to Alabama, where in Birmingham you can see some of the poverty left by gentrification and some of the monuments left to symbolize some sort of recognition of the civil rights movement. And in Pennsylvania I saw here in cold weather in a small town with no public transportation. Then I took a train to Pittsburgh to visit my fabulous friend Sara, who, at this point, I have no contact with, but who was also a great Ani fan and a great friend for several years. I met Sara, like several other friends, because we were all stuck at home with chronic illnesses.

I'll finish this later.

chronic illness

At 20 I was healthy. Became sick with headaches, backackes, stomach problems, and severe, unremitting fatigue.
I'm 30 now. It never left, but I've grown used to it, so to speak. I live now by pretending - since I've found the majority of the human population to be incapable of treating "sick" people as if such people are equal human beings and not human waste, I no longer tell anyone I'm sick at all. I pretend.
For three years I was bedbound. Hard to pretend much then. You learn a lot about the interior of a bedroom - and due to the poverty that being unable to work brings, a bedroom itself was hard to come by.
Those three years changed me in ways that no one who knows me, including my family, will ever understand. I lived with a roommate who was primarily my only human contact much of the time, aside from friends online.

You learn certain things from being sick. Essential things about survival. You learn that there are many aspects of life which, though otherwise may seem important, are not necessary for survival. You learn to live in isolation when you're bedbound. You learn to live without enough money for more than bare survival (and sometimes without that too). You learn to do whatever it is that you have to do to get by. You learn to forget about hopes and dreams - in so far as one can forget the life that they previously thought they'd be living. You learn to forgive people who stop remembering to be your friend or your family when you no longer appear to be someone they can relate to. You learn that retaining dignity without the ability to contribute to society through paid labor, in our society, is very difficult. You learn that when one reaches a certain age with no husband, child, or career, she is essentially looked upon as worthless to society.

And you learn that what matters most at the end of the day is whether or not you let all of this convince you that your life is worthless, or whether you can retain some dignity, some self respect, and some desire to get a normal life back as much as possible. You learn to fight for survival. It's a fight most people in that circumstance don't get much credit for. Nobody hands you some kind of award for getting a part time job again, or managing to do your own shopping, or getting the income together for a rented room since that's all a person on disability benefits can afford to live in as it pays far below the poverty level of the United States. Rather, people look down on you for not having a career, not being married, not having a nice car or house or wahtever the case may be, and most importantly in this is that they look down on you for being sick. Often, as denial that such health problems could occur to them as well is essential for their own survival, they refuse to believe you are sick - particularlly if you're not in a wheelchair. Often they also blame you for the fact that you are sick, if they admit that you are in the first place. I've found that being seriously ill in this society requires lying in order to even find a place to live, because, illegal or not, people refuse to rent me apartments if they find out I receive disability benefits. Similarly I would never have dated anyone at all in recent years if the guys I went out with knew I was sick, and in fact, when they did find out, the relationships did not last. I cannot maintain employment if my employers know that I am doing the type of work I am doing only because it is not too physically demanding for me to do it.

In the end, what I myself wish more than anything is that I had simply been able to convince myself I was not sick too. Autoimmune diseases like Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome, Fibromyalgia (a related condition), and Rheumatoid Arthritis are real illnesses and not easy to ignore.

At the present time, when I'm not working and not in bed, what I am doing is ignoring them as much as possible. But they never leave. R.A. leads to crippling, and this is in my future, most likely. It's not a future that I feel I should have to face, given a large number of serious difficulties I've already faced on my own, and the fact that I really never had the opportuntiy to have much of a life.

I am a Scientologist, so I beleive in other lives. I believe that there are many problems with the medical establishment, particularly the psychiatric community. More than anything, I believe there is widespread ignorance regarding illnesses that can become disabiling, and that particularly there is widespread mistreatment of people who are discarded from the population like yesterday's garbage the day that they are too sick to be able to keep making the money they need at a job they most likely really want to keep. This is a pathetic commentary in the year 2005. Then again, Hitler sent people with disabilities to the gas chambers, and that was not so long ago.

why this blog is here: an intro of sorts

So this will be a bit differrent than the average blog. Not that I've done a study on them and not that I actually read very many myself, to be quite honest with you. But I'll first say a bit about me, why this is here, and you can decide for yourself if you have any interest.
If you've ever watched a film such as "A Beautiful Mind' or read a book such as "Girl, Interrupted", some aspects of such psychiatric disturbances, or that is the diagnosis of one or thought that one has such a disturbance are a part of my life and therefore my thinking is not always of the average variety. My life, really, is not a very arverage one for many reasons, partly having been physically disabled by a chronic illness for some time, which limits me to certain extents. For some time it became quite debilitating. This led to long term disability and therefore the poverty that comes from not being able to work a regular job or finish college. Due to many reasons, I know now that I have a limited amount of time left on this planet. What I do with that time is up to me.

I'm a writer at heart, always have been. I have not made a career as such, but have been published on a few websites, in a couple of feminist journals, and in a few dozen old diaries I know longer keep around.

At the present time, I work in a mundane, low-level job for a huge company that you would know the name of if you live in the United States, primarily speaking to people about what they watch on television, for television ratings. This is, to put it mildly, not what I'd like to be doing with my life, however it pays bills.

I have a lot of thoughts that come through my mind which, to the average person, or to a psychiatric doctor who makes money from the fact that he can prescribe anyone who fits very simple criteria as being mentally ill, therefore, unfit for human habitation in an "normal" life, as a psychiatric disorder. And this has, unfortnately, been a majorly destructive factor in the future, the hope, and the dignity which I once had as a human being, because, whether or not a person is actually mentally ill, or whether they are actually physically ill and have been misdiagnosed as mentally ill, or whether their lifestyle when they find themselves in an emergency room at some point with little money makes keeping them in a psychiatric unit very easy to do, or whether or not they have a family member who has an invested interest in having them repeatedly labeled as mentally ill (because this is how she views herself and therefore excuses many of her own life problems as "symptoms"), well I think it is very relative what one considers to be a legitimate mental illness. And I also think, at this point, for the purpose of this blog, I'm not so much concerned about judgements.

This is here mostly because there might be people who relate, there might be people who are interested, and there might be people who find an angle on "psychosis" they've never considered before since they've never heard it described from someone who theoretically has experienced it more than a bit. And at the same time, this is here becuase I'm a human being with many interests. I love CNN and C-span; I was an English major who missed an opportunity to finish school at Smith College due to illness; I've done work online with activists for people with chronic illnesses and disabilities to raise awareness and support for such conditions; I've been very politically active in a lot of activist groups, love music and have a great desire to travel the world much more than I have already been able to before the end of my life. That might not be possible. Leaving a little piece of me behind, well that is possible. Due to reasons I don't need to go into, this past year I lost my journals and poetry and other writing that had been saved all of my life. That was my prized possession; nothing will ever compensate for that kind of loss. Nothing. But this will leave some words for those who have an interest in them.

If you have feedback, please leave it.

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