A Blog Post Reply to “Alice”

Broken... This is what abuse and bullying does to a person
Broken… Because this is what abuse and bullying does to a person

I think it is time to explain the trigger for my being mute these five days now, and what happened to start the voices unloosing their barrage of hatred on me. In order to do so, I take a huge risk, because I may unleash more of what happened rather than less. But at least part of what happened was real, the trigger was at least, and it disturbed me deeply. I need also to say that when I tagged yesterday’s  audio file “abuse” as well as “health” I meant it. It is almost always abuse of some sort, verbal, emotional or physical abuse that triggers the voices and self-hatred has in the past triggered muteness.

 

So let me be up front: It was “Alice’s” comment five days ago in which she said, “I think you are a bit of a bully”…which was the specific trigger for all of this. Now, as I read through it — reposted below — I see that nothing she wrote has any bearing on either the post she commented under (which I didn’t write) or anything else I have had to say. But first let me take it point by point. Note that Alice’s comments, for clarity, are in color.

 

Alice, you wrote: “I must say there is no consistency in your writings. You say about how well Yale New Haven Psychiatric – Hospital treated you and the next entry indicates the opposite- how awful they were to you.”

 

I must write about inconsistencies and the facts as they happened, and I am sorry if that discomfits you, Alice. But the first experience in the early spring was very gentle and positive, and the other, as I wrote before, was brutal. Nonetheless that is not an “inconsistency in my writing” just an inconsistency in my treatment. You must be someone who is very unhappy with the world as the world tends to be “inconsistent.” Even the weather has a habit of changing, at least  it is famously so in New England and I suspect that nowhere in the US has entirely “consistent weather.” Of course there are those people who need hobgoblins…

 

Alice continues on the issue of consistency: “You say you don’t like anti-psychotic medications yet you take them (and you also don’t like anti-depressants – yet you take them…”

 

In my defense,I think mature adults often do things they don’t like, even taking medications they don’t like. Most cancer patients hate chemotherapy but take the pills etc anyway. I don’t think merely disliking a medication is reason by and of itself not to take it. Nor to criticize anyone for being inconsistent. There are plenty of reasons to do things you may not like. Many people don’t like eating vegetables, but they sure as shooting ought to eat them!

 

On one other hand, I more than dislike antipsychotic drugs, I deeply distrust them. I do not believe they work. I do not believe they were developed on any scientific basis or are necessary on any but the shortest of short term bases, if that.

 

That said, on the other other hand, I both took and was forced to take antipsychotic drugs for decades, from the oldest Thorazine and Mellaril at doses up to 1500mg, to weekly IM injections of Prolixin, then on to Clozaril, which nearly killed me, transitioning to seizure-inducing Seroquel  to catatonia-inducing Risperdal then eventually to 35 mg of Zyprexa, which made me gain 70 pounds. Given this history, I think I can be excused from blame for withdrawal-induced psychosis when I try to stop my present two anti-psychotic meds, a very real and difficult situation that a growing number of researchers and physicians now acknowledge, including Robert Whitaker and Joanna Moncrieff among others.

 

Alice notes: “for example why would you need your Zoloft reinstated when you had your sudden “depression” after it was taken away. )I thought these pills didn’t work.”

 

What I said was that SSRI’s do not work as their developers state they do. They do not relieve depression by selectively inhibiting serotonin re-uptake at the pre-synaptic neuron. Yes, they DO selectively inhibit this process, but it isn’t necessary, and it isn’t an anti-depressant mechanism. Why? Because the serotonin levels in depressed people’s brains have been shown NOT to be lower than anyone else’s. If you had read what I wrote, you would have understood that I indicated that SSRIs are not placebos, they are not inactive substances, so they do something. They are psycho-active, after all they alter serotonin levels! So they change something in the brain, and that change — any change – may make a depressed person feel better, temporarily. But I have never met anyone who felt permanently better on a single level dose of an SSRI and no one knows for certain what these drugs are doing. I think this is problematic. But I especially think it is FOUL and dangerous to tell a depressed person that they have a chemical imbalance of serotonin that the drug is regulating. That is just a downright lie.

 

As for my sudden “depression” when my dose of 75mg of Zoloft was lowered? Who can say what happened? It may have been that the nurse/director who was my protector at the hospital was away for a few days too at the time, and I sensed the difference…All I know is, well, what happened. I only report the events, neither justifying them nor attempting to make the case that Zoloft “works.” In fact, 6 months later at Yale, when I was down to 50 mg of Zoloft, Dr Milstein felt that I should just come off it entirely, which I did without difficulty. I have no wish to start it again

 

Oh yes, Ritalin you take but that’s for a “physical” problem so that’s Okay.

Yes, in fact that is the case. My question is, why is it any of your business and why do you care?

 

Alice, you then proceeded out of the blue to write: “I think you are a bit of a bully and I think that you think you are profoundly smart. But I’m not taken in…………”

First I want to say, Alice, that I’m not too concerned about my intelligence…I’m certainly not worried about you think about my intelligence, in any event. But it was here, where you called me a bully, that the voices were triggered. Instantly, specifically, instantaneously. In fact, the minute I read those words, the trouble began. And even though I managed to pen a calm enough response, my heart started beating rapidly and the  voices muttering louder and louder in the background even as I wrote. I cannot explain — though of course this whole post is trying to — just what happened.  I felt my ears explode with the pressure of deep sea diving and as if a huge bell were clanging in my head.

You called me a bully. Me, a bully? Why? Were you just reaching for the worst name you could call me? Certainly, it incorporates my worst fear in the world and it was as if you just knifed my jugular… I didn’t know how to defend myself. Before I knew it, the first thing that happened was that the voices zeroed in for an attack, snarling, blaming me for everything wrong I’d ever done. Believe me, they remember every detail! And more and worse, they blamed me for everything wrong ANYONE had ever done! Before I knew it, I was Dr Mengele, Heinrich Himmler, and Adolf Hitler rolled into one.

Did you, Alice, know this? Did you intend for this to happen? Did you want this shit to hit the fan and intend for me to feel so terrible? Did you want me to feel in fact God-forsaken? I sensed that you did. I sensed that you wanted me to feel desperate, and desperately alone. I sensed then that you wanted me to HATE myself and perhaps even to KILL myself as a response…After all, you called me a bully! You would only do that if you wanted repercussions to ensue: Bullies make people commit suicide, so wouldn’t the punishment for bullies be to kill themselves in turn? What else can they do to make up for the evil that they have caused? (NOTE: I would never ask anyone else to so punish themselves; only I myself can never be forgiven for the evil I have done. I am unforgivable, nothing I do can ever be forgiven…But you, Alice, who know me so well, knew this, didn’t you?)

You see, Alice, what you unleashed? Do you see?

No, you wouldn’t see. You couldn’t possibly see. You would have no idea, because you don’t know me at all. You don’t know anything about me, not in the way you pretend you do…The person “Pam” you think you know is all in your mind, a fantasy created out of your imagination to suit your own angry needs and purposes.

But the thing is, Alice, you know what? It is not I who am the bully in the end. I understand this now. I may be a lot of things, and I may be Evil, but I am not a bully. You do not know me. You know nothing of me but my writings. Even if lurking incognito on my blog you are actually one of the staff members at Yale or Hartford Hospital, pursuing me, you would still know nothing about me, not really, and would never be qualified to call me a bully. None of my friends have ever called me a bully. No one who has ever met me socially even briefly or just once has ever called me a bully. Why? Because I am nothing even remotely like a bully.

 

Instead, Alice. you have proved yourself to be an abusive person who lashes out at strangers and who says harmful and hurtful things to vulnerable strangers, regardless of whether you know these things to be true or not. Look in the mirror, Alice. Look  yourself square in the face because you are angry and you are bitter, and you, Alice, YOU ARE THE BULLY.

 

Now,  let me tell you something else. You think you can get away with it because you did not use your last name, safely tucked away at several states distance or at least protected by your anonymity.,. That because I don’t know who you are, I can do nothing about it.  But ALICE, I have my methods of investigating and I know your last name. I also have two photographs of you – and I will post them and name you publicly right here on my blog if you EVER write anything cruel or abusive like this to or about me or to or about anyone else on my blog again.

 

 

I hope I make myself perfectly clear on this.

 

Now, you know what? I was going to go on to “disprove” the rest of your comment, but suddenly I realized I don’t have anything more to say you. Nothing you wrote holds any value .

 

I’m tired, and it has been a long devastating night. I am going to bed…We will see what the day brings. Whether it will bring back speech or more devastating voices I do not want to say. I can only hope things improve…If not, at the very least you know where I stand.

Pam

14 thoughts on “A Blog Post Reply to “Alice””

  1. First time commenting on your blog, Pam.
    Don’t know you personally, but to me you seem to be a nice, very sensitive and intelligent person, and I’m sorry to hear Alice having called you a bully.
    That was very unfair and irresponsible of her in my view.
    I like reading your articles very much because they are not only very beautifully written, but are also very honest and informative.
    I don’t have any problem with the critical opinions you express here on this blog because I think there is a lot of truth in what your write.
    Thanks for all the work you put into it.

    Kindly,
    Wilfried

  2. HI BRENDA, I wanted to thank you earlier today for such a wonderful thoughtful comment, but I just couldn’t get up the energy to write. It was really a terrific way to round out this blog post, with QuiltMeister’s coda up top! I wonder, though could I write you an email about something I wanted to ask you? I didn’t want to ask you in public, but your email appears to me (only) as administrator of this website, so I would just email you if you don’t mind…

    Pam

  3. I want to bully Alice for how she bullied you – for it must have been a projection – but I’ll step back and review my own inner bully. I guess I just want you to know that I hear you!

  4. There is so, so much danger in trying to communicate online… While the up side of all the activity on the internet is that it allows us to connect with people all over the world and learn from each other, the down side is that there’s so very much room for misreading each other and/or reacting immediately to something and writing words we’d be much more hesitant to say to each other face to face.

    I just looked at what Alice wrote – “Hard to deal with sometimes” – and what I heard in those words is that the opinions and the way they’re expressed in this blog are hard for Alice to deal with… which I think can be a valid reaction to anyone’s blog. It’s just a shame that Alice’s response was to be critical, instead of asking questions in order to understand better.

    I also think Alice was trying to apologizing. She wrote:

    sorry Bully could be harsh. Hard to deal with sometimes – well i guess SO AM I. I don’t want to rake up your voices.

    I think, Alice, if you’re reading this, this particular blog probably isn’t where you want to be because Pam’s rawness is “hard to deal with sometimes.” I think that’s what feels like “bullying” to you – the rawness. I think that the force of Pam’s personality is too much for you, and that’s not a judgment of either of you, just an indicator that you guys probably are going to continue to misunderstand each other – and push each other’s buttons – if you have further exchanges.

    I know that I feel pain when I read the mean things you write about yourself, Pam, because I like you, and because it mirrors and amplifies instances of my own self-abuse.

    I remember watching a movie called American Beauty in which the (unhappy) wife is a real estate agent. She is exceedingly hard on herself and in one scene, after showing a house and not getting any kind of interest in it, she starts to cry and then slaps herself repeatedly in the face telling herself to stop crying. I had a meltdown when I saw that because I had done the same thing to myself a few times and watching her suddenly made me realize how violent and awful it is to be so cruel to yourself … The times I slapped myself, by the way, occurred before I was diagnosed and before medication.

    I could analyze why I am so hard on myself — the lingering damage from a horrifying childhood which created a kind of living amalgamation of the perpetrators in my mind so I would perpetuate the cruelty long after they were gone — the fact is the “why” ends up being less important than changing my behavior toward myself now, simply because it is so damaging.

    Why heap self-abuse on top of other people’s abuse?

    It took a long time, but these days, I rarely call myself names or berate myself, and I never slap or otherwise hurt myself anymore.

    By the way, Pam, I started to watch that hour-long video about schizophrenia (Take These Broken Wings, I think it’s called) but got interrupted by an automatic scan on this computer, which froze the video, so I will go back and watch the rest in the next day or two.

    I have recently been learning a lot about autism, by the way, because, as a substitute teacher these last two years, I’ve been working in a school system that’s both very poor and seems to have a large number of autistic children “mainstreamed” into the classrooms with little or no support for the teacher or specialized curriculum for the “special” kids.

    I’m like most people who don’t know much, if anything, about autism but I have been reading. And I recently talked with a great group of teenagers in a program called FOCUS, about their lives, how they see the world, how they’re treated, what helps them/what hurts them, why they refer to themselves as being “on the spectrum” and not as autistic, and so on.

    I am determined for the kids I have contact with i the schools to have a much better experience than they usually do – somehow, I need to change what’s happening in this community.

    While ADD is different from schizophrenia is different from autism, I think there is a common thread — which is needing to connect in an authentic way with other people in order to (as a person in the video about schizophrenia points out) connect to one’s OWN humanity. We who suffer from “brain static” of one kind or another, really need some roots.

    The last thing I’d like to say is that it was nice to see so many positive, thoughtful and caring comments posted in this whole discussion. –Brenda

  5. Thank you! I once wrote a blog entry called, “Think before you press send…” based on lessons I learned from a spat I had had with my brother…and a too quick email I had sent him…I don’t recall when or whether or not it was on this blog. But as you say, it behooves us all to take a deep breath and “look a little deeper.. inside ourselves and ask (before accusing others) “Why does this bother me so much?” Generally speaking, taking a deep breath before doing anything based on strong emotion is good advice, I would say, but don’t follow my own advice often enough, I fear. (By the way, I LOVE your email address as well as your blog title! Dunno of course whether the email address is simply whimsical or represents something “real” in the sense of a “corporate entity” (had to say that) or something such, but it is very catchy either way.)

    Psych meds are such a controversial topic, and arouse such emotions in people. Maybe I should stay off the subject for a while. Even in myself they stir ambivalence to a high degree, perhaps because I do not know whether or not to take them, whether or not they help or hurt or do anything at all!

    Thanks so much for your “Bravo!” It really cheered me up.

    Pam

  6. Alice, I write a blog on the internet, that is all. I am not a friend of yours, even though apparently in your imagination I might seem like I’m more than that. You don’t “deal with me,” okay? And I don’t deal with you. Learn the difference between fantasy and real life. Wagblog is just a blog, that’s all. If you don’t like what you read here, DON’T READ IT. Sorry, Alice, but I have had it…and I don’t need to be told by someone who only five days ago accused me of being a bully that now I am just “hard to deal with sometimes.” How the f’ing hell would you know?????

  7. sorry Bully could be harsh. Hard to deal with sometimes – well i guess SO AM I. I don’t want to rake up your voices.

  8. BRAVO! In my experience, real bullies could care less if people call them that name. The fact that you were triggered by that word would indicate to me that you are anything but! It is a shame that people have to throw verbal spears at one another. I believe we all can have and hold opinions that disagree with others and express those opinions without having to degrade or denigrate another person. Why do we have to personalize these issues? I have been harmed greatly by psych meds, yet I do not denounce people who take them or people who feel they are the best invention in the universe. I also don’t hold people who refuse psych meds in any higher regard than those that do. We all just ARE. We all just do the best we can do at the time with the info that we have and the situations we are in. Time and information frequently change the opinions we hold, causing us to seemingly change our minds or contradict ourselves. Before attacking someone, shouldn’t we all take a deep breath and look a little deeper and then look inside ourselves and ask “Why does this bother me so much”?

  9. Hi Hope, i think i’ve put up with a lot of bullying all my life, actually. From childhood right through my chief relationship/friendship for 35 years in my adult life. I just terminated that one about a week ago for the fifth time, sigh. And i hope this is for the final time as this person inevitably inflicts deep psychic bruises on me every time we get back together. I understand that in their case the wounding impulse comes from their own deeply wounded past, but this person does nothing whatsoever to heal or get help to get over it…except to hurt me again and again. And i can’T take it. If it means anything at all, it was this person’s use of the c-word, calling me that, that first put c–t into my vocabulary. I rarely use it, but when i do, you know i am being traumatized by someone, or some process like seclusion and restraints. The one and only time i could laugh about it was with my terrific brother, the apostate shrink who dislikes most other psychiatrists (and that is why i like him!). What happened was i told him how it took two female nurses to quietly four-point restrain me “for not following directions” at the Institute of Living and when they were done – i said nothing, just let them do it – i told them they were “snarky little c–ts”. Phil shook his head, took one look at me, and burst into guffaws. I knew he wasn’t laughing at me, he was laughing at my use of the word, and suddenly it all seemed outrageously, well, outrageous, in a gut-bustingly, funny way. I still hurt of course, but i could just picture the look on those snarky little nurses’ faces, calmly punishing me for walking out of the non-seclusion quiet room and strolling down the hall and back, by restraining me, and then having the gall to feel offended by my language! Oh it was a sight to see!

    Anyhow, the bullying all my life has taken its toll. And the IOL was the last straw…or i had hoped it would be. I certainly have not recovered from what they did to me there. Not by a long shot. Then to return to Yale, where i thought they provided a soft place to land in a crisis, only to find myself literally in mortal danger…Well, if i now feel that i must “run away” with my brother’s help to Vermont and “family” this summmer because that is the dangerous time for me and i cannot/dare not be anywhere near Connecticut and Connecticut hospitals then, is it any wonder?

  10. I don’t think you’re worthless or a piece of shit. Not at all. You’re doing the best you can in a really tough situation, and that’s all anybody can do.

    My hypothesis is that being called a bully is especially triggering because a bully is, in essence, an abuser. You’ve been bullied and abused by the psychiatric establishment, and to be called a bully put you in the same category as the people who hurt you. (You don’t belong in that category at all; what I’m saying is that the comment you’re responding to incorrectly put you in their category.) But that’s just my thought, and if it doesn’t resonate with you, feel free to ignore it. I won’t be offended.

    Your voice will come back. The fact that you’re still able to write means it’s still there–it’s just trapped inside somewhere. But it’ll come back.

  11. Wow, to both of you, Brenda (so wonderful to hear from you again) and Hope, those quotes blew my socks off. Yes, i should have thought of Whitman, but i wasn’t thinking of poetry at the time. “My name is Legion,” was the response of the man with a demon, which Jesus cast out into a herd of pigs that then went rushing into the sea…See, all my years of bible study did not go for naught! For “naught” well, there’s a word for you…but i truly thank both of you for your wonderful comments and support.

    It’s a weird thing about meds. I am trying desperately to get off some, just some of mine, the two – yes, TWO antipsychotic drugs that i fear will shrink my brain…i do not trust that they help me, even though i have always said (to friends and family) that they were what made me do so much art and writing. No, that cannot be true. Antipsychotics don’t work like that. Even if Abilify is activating, it does’t “make” one do art and writing all day long, it can’t!

    So i’m down to 80 mg Geodon and simultaneously 7.5mg Abilify, exactly half of what i took a month ago. I want to stop them altogether, but that has to happen slowly, and without threatening the vNA nurse into calling the goon squad on me…

    I don’t know why “bully” is such a trigger for me, Brenda, but it felt devastating, the worst possible thing Alice could call me, worse even than the c-word i am used to being called, alas.i need to think about it, but it causes so much pain i can scarcely go there without crying…why is that?

    Anyhow, still no voice, no sound-making from me, but there is plenty of time, and nobody can claim i am “gravely disabled” because i have text to speech software on both my computer and ipad…and can function if i need to. I didn’t kill myself, either, did i? I am worthless, and a piece of shit, but the voices have other things up their sleeve for me i guess, and didn’t go that far. Good thing.

    Thanks again,

    Pam

  12. To Hope – I really like your Whitman quote.

    Whitman: “I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself. I am large; I contain multitudes.”

    It also reminds me of Shelly’s words from the lips of Frankenstein’s monster. When asked his name he says, “Legion, for we are many.” I think that Shelly was making the same observation as Whitman. I am told the name of Legion also comes from the Bible, but I don’t know that for certain.

    As for the exchange between Pam and Alice, discussions about medications often get emotional even for physical illnesses, and particularly for cancer – for example, when people are divided over whether cancer is self-induced because of something we’re not dealing with in our lives.

    Most compassionate and responsible “natural healing” advocates, though, will say you should continue with conventional medication as a supplement to whatever you are doing to “heal” your life. The goal is survival.

    And yet, there are people with cancer who refuse treatment because they want to hold onto a certain quality of life for as long as possible and then surrender to the disease. Whatever route we choose, it is our own right to choose it , in my opinion. But I’m not surprised when an exchange about medication becomes emotional.
    — Brenda

  13. As I wrote in my comments about the other blog entry – the audio comments – I take Rx for ADD and depression. I would love to not have to take them because yes, they do “dull” down my emotions.
    When I first stopped taking them because I didn’t have the money, I actually liked the way I felt. My energy was scattered, but I had a lot more of it. My quality of sleep improved – I slept straight through the night for the first time in years! And when I was happy, I was thoroughly, vibrantly happy.
    My medication works by keeping dopamine in my system longer. But it must do other things, if I also feel “dulled down.”
    As I wrote previously, after 3 months off the Rx, I slid into a really black place but had enough awareness remaining to borrow money from my sister to refill my prescriptions. I also take medication for a thyroid condition and a heart problem. So, I also hate taking medication but the alternative is much worse!
    One other comment, Pam – part of writing about our true thoughts and feelings in a blog — putting ourselves out there in the world of strangers — is knowing that people are going to also express their true feelings and thoughts — and people are coming from all kinds of places in their own lives.
    Unfortunately, the kinds of exchanges that occur in our virtual world often degenerate into unkindness because we aren’t looking at each other’s faces and as you point out, the exchange doesn’t benefit from knowing each other in the full context of your lives and personal history.
    You do a good job of explaining that it’s not inconsistent to have a good experience/traumatic experience at the same hospital. You also do a good job of explaining how someone can hate taking medication — and the inexact science that’s behind medication, whether it’s for a mental or physical condition — and yet keep taking it because it’s the best alternative you’re aware of.
    I’d toss all my Rx for other alternatives if they worked – whether it was living on water and rice forever, or standing on my head for an hour a day, I’d do it – but right now, the best bet is the Rx I am taking – plus some supplements, exercise, nutritious meals, stress-reducing activities, connecting with friends and family, purposeful work — all these things keep me moving forward with my head above ground.
    To me, the tidbit in Alice’s comment isn’t the fact that she called you a bully, but why that hurt you so deeply. If someone called me a bully, I’d laugh in their face and flick it off my shoulder like an ant. That’s because it isn’t a hot-button word for me. If you called me “useless” or something indicating that I don’t do what I am supposed to when I am supposed to, you’d get a huge backlash – because that IS a hot-button for me, with lots of history behind it.
    The fact that Alice thinks you’re a bully carries no weight – as you say, she doesn’t know you – but the fact that the word is a trigger is an interesting mystery to sleuth. Alice isn’t the enemy, the word “bully” is.
    And I am guessing that something YOU wrote triggered something in Alice having to do with HER being bullied — which is an interesting mystery for HER to sleuth.
    When people attack us, as you say, they are coming from some unresolved part of themselves – which isn’t a judgment statement, because all of us, no exceptions have unresolved stuff that colors our worlds and the way we relate to each other… Keep writing, Pam… With love, Brenda

  14. I didn’t see that comment, but I’m sorry you’re having to deal with that. It does sound like an unfair attack on you.

    Humans are at heart contradictory. I think that being able to change your mind or even to hold two contradictory views at once are markers of intellectual and emotional maturity. Hasn’t Alice ever wanted to smack somebody she loved?

    I’ll quote Whitman: “I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself. I am large; I contain multitudes.”

    Or Emerson: “Speak what you think to-day in words as hard as cannon-balls and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day.”

    As for meds…I hate some of the meds I take. I’m on steroids that can cause osteoporosis and hypothyroidism and increase my risk of needing surgery. I’m on immunosuppressants that leave me vulnerable to every infection I come across. I’m on chemo drugs that make my hair fall out and give me such bad nausea that I need another med to treat it. I hate taking them, but no one attacks me for that because they’re for a physical illness. Why should it be okay to attack someone for taking psych meds? That’s BS, plain and simple.

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