Welcome to a series of stories that basically make up my autobiography. It’s not entirely thorough, but I’ll do the best I can with the memories locked away inside my head. Could be therapeutic for me. Could be humorous for you. Either way, enjoy…
Previously on Life Story… I spent a night in the extreme psych unit at the hospital on Christmas Eve. It was a little terrifying. But it was about to get worse.
I had decided to spend Christmas at St. Alban’s Psychiatric Hospital because I knew I wasn’t done getting better. And I had a genuine fear that if I was allowed to go home, even for just a couple of days, there was no way I’d want to go back to the hospital to finish getting batter. That was probably the biggest mistake I made in my young life.
Christmas was fine. My family came to visit me and we got to have Christmas together. But when Christmas was over, I was left with the reminder that I was just some kid alone in a hospital fighting this stupid psychiatric illness. Even though I knew that I had friends and family and good, church-goin’ people praying for me and encouraging me, I still felt alone. I’m not sure, even today, that I can possibly convey just how lonely I felt at that time.
And from there, things went downhill. I can’t point to a specific time or date, but I know that right after Christmas, the powers that be decided to let me start eating in the cafeteria with the rest of the kids from our unit. Up ’til this point, my meals had to be closely scrutinized. The nurses on duty had to watch me like a hawk to make sure that everything on my plate was eaten, that I wasn’t just eating some of it and stuffing pieces of food into my pockets to throw away later. Apparently, that’s the kind of thing that some people did.
I enjoyed one meal in the cafeteria. And, until the day I die, I will argue that it’s that meal that initially caused my downward spiral. My meal that day was some kind of spicy chicken dish. It didn’t sit well and I got sick not long after eating it. Of course, my doctors said that I forced myself to throw up, making the claim as if they’d watched me shove a finger down my throat. They believed I did it on purpose so that I wouldn’t gain any weight. These are the same doctors that believed that I saw myself as a fat person, but as I’ve discussed before, that’s not how I saw myself when I looked in the mirror. I knew I had a problem. I knew I needed to eat in order to fix that problem. But that didn’t fit in their textbook, so I was obviously lying and only telling them something they wanted to hear. They tried to fit me into a box that they knew other anorexic patients fit in. As I type these words, it’s actually making me
a little extremely angry thinking about how stupid and impersonal my psychiatrist and counselor were as they dealt with me.
Anyway, if they had known me at all… if they had even taken the time to attempt to get to know me at all… they would have known that there was no way I would have made myself throw up. Just thinking about vomiting is unpleasant for me. I really just need to stop writing about this right now.
So, my doctors/counselors were class-A morons. And if I could talk to them today, I would say that to their faces. But that’s not the point. I got sick. And, as I said, I’ll argue that this is what started my downward spiral. Not because I forced myself to be sick, but because after years of eating little at all and definitely nothing spicy, the spicy chicken just didn’t mesh with my weak stomach. It happens to people all the time. I guess it happens, anyway.
But because of that little incident, Kevin had to erase my grand total from the chalkboard. That was a nice little blow to the old self-esteem, too. And, not to sound too depressing, it’s still gonna get worse before it gets better. So if you found this chapter to be too unpleasant, you may want to steer clear of 43 when I write that one. But I promise, it will get better. We’re only in December of 1994. 1995 is right around the corner.