trigger warning again about psychosurgery, sexual abuse and medical abuse. it’s also kind of gross! as usual, if you think you shouldn’t be reading this, you probably shouldn’t. go watch this YouTube video of adorable tiny piglets instead. actually, i suggest the video of the adorable tiny piglets either way as they’re really, really cute.
so about a month ago now (gosh, where does the time go?) i wrote about my experience as a lobotomy survivor, or whatever the hell i’m supposed to call myself, on this blog. if you somehow missed it, here’s the original article. it’s been kind of defining ever since because it’s been a heavy generator of hits to this blog, and been criticized on Reddit, something i discussed earlier. i’d like to clear the air about and clarify a few things, and then i’m not going to initiate posts on it further for the foreseeable future in case you’re sick of hearing about it…i’m kinda sick of hearing about it, too…i mean, this is Erica’s blog, not Lobotomy Girl’s blog, okay? so here’s a few follow-up points and probably some new stuff.
1) something good came from the bunch of posts on Reddit, namely that someone PMed me credible and complete information that the hospital in question ceased performing lobotomies, mechanical or transorbital, in the late 90s. i consider this a good thing as it means my statement that they’re still doing it was incorrect; they’re still performing psychosurgery, at least mostly (though not completely) on the informed consent model, but they’re not doing this anymore…oh, but it’s also proof they were doing it in the first place.
1a) i’m dead serious that i’m not going into naming and shaming publicly because that puts my cards on the table. do i intend to sue them? kind of. actually, what i intend to do is show them what i have in a complaint and see if they’re willing to talk. in case you didn’t notice this, i don’t want money, i want answers and my intent is not to seek or obtain a large judgment or settlement. hell, if the damn doctor apologizes and explains i’ll settle the case for a buck.
2) yes, i have multiple slides from head CT scans in my possession. they’re in a safe deposit box, somewhere in New Hampshire (wonderful privacy laws) that i and my brother have the only keys to. i also have a neurologist’s opinion explaining exactly what that is and he has kindly agreed not to dispose of my file. in other words, conjecture aside, i possess proof. for all that it can be alleged that my frontal lobe was accidentally separated (with lesions from that happening) the degree of atrophy, and the pinhole scars, tiny but scary, above my eyes tell another story. i have spent much of my life trying to disprove this; i spent almost two hours on the phone with one of my closest friends last night talking about why i want people to tell me i’m full of shit. the problem is this: all the people who say i’m lying have no good proof other than “you’re lying.” nobody has managed to put together a coherent story to feed my denial, and guess what? that means i need to get out of denial. i know what i am now and i can’t deny it anymore, and part of writing that piece was me coming to terms with something i’ve been wrestling with for a long time. this has something to do with why i’m talking about it more than one might be expected to.
2a) said friend put it all together a couple of weeks ago: until late 2010 i was pretty much actively medicated into a stupor. one day i decided to stop taking all my crazy meds just to see what would happen, because there was no real reason that i could see that i was on some of these meds and i was beginning to have trouble affording them because my insurance sucked. so i stopped all seven of ‘em, cold turkey, Wellbutrin to Thorazine. and you know what? i had a splitting headache for a week…and the fog slowly lifted. and my little sister told me she’d never seen me looking so, well, “alive”. i didn’t turn into a raging beast, something i’d pretty much been promised, i didn’t become a catatonic vegetable (also promised this), i didn’t become violent and frankly it was like putting my face in a tub of ice water. it was like…waking up. i started telling a few close friends about my psychosurgical past, but i also came out as trans to more of my friends, and the fog and dreariness over my life lifted.
3) i’ve had some personal revelations over the past few months, definitely before i wrote my post…namely that i have some memories pre-lobotomy, which challenges the notion that earlier-in-life psychosurgery results in a total wipe of the brain because of trauma. i have not managed to reconstruct the “why”, which is left to theory. needless to say much of this is trying to put a puzzle together without half the pieces and with only an educated guess as to what the picture on the puzzle is. this is tricky because a lot of it is stuff i don’t really want to remember (rape, rape, and having my teeth pulled out to facilitate such) but it’s also part of putting together those pieces.
4) i think you’re picking on Amanda Palmer!!!!!!! yeah, well, perhaps if she stopped using disabled people as parody objects we’d be good. she isn’t admiring us, she’s using us for vicarious thrill and humor. i gave some links in the original post, and i really can’t express enough how frustrating it is that she’s expected to be able to excuse out of treating those of us who live with mental disabilities as props in entertainment. in other words, stop making excuses for her. i want to love Amanda Palmer, as she writes so much amazing music, like “sing”, the song referenced in the title of this post, the song i think of about 30 seconds before going on stage because when i sing i do sing for the people pre-transition who told me i’d never be able to sing, i sing for the middle school music teacher who taught me that my voice could be beautiful, i sing for me because it’s the only way i’ve ever felt pretty…the song connects with me in ways it sounds preposterous to say that it does. i just hate that she reduces us to mocking when clearly she could be making amazing music without making fun of us.
5) you talk about negative things too much!!!! alright, yeah, i admit that. right now i’m in my mid-30s and realizing that i don’t know who the hell i am. it is a strange and alien feeling because i’m breaking free of so many of the lies people have told me and which i dutifully have repeated to myself all my life, lies telling me what an awful person…beast…thing that i am/used to be/might still be and i’m gonna tell you something a little bit scary: it’s really hard realizing that it’s not all your fault. when all you know is fear and kicking yourself, that’s not living, and i spent most of my life doing that. so, people on the internet: don’t do that. but at the same time, i may sound awfully negative because this blog is part of me processing through a lot of these things, and realizing that the freedom of knowing it’s not all your fault is fucking terrifying., because so much of who i am is built on that and releasing myself from that leads to…who am i? i don’t know. i have a feeling that if you didn’t know who you were either you might seem a bit negative, too. i’m bargaining with that i hope when i wake up from the nap that i’m about to take that i will have taken the blue pill and everything will be back to normal but i know damn well that it won’t. i know none of my damage is my own failure but that my only failure is when i try to run from it.
6) i might not know who i am, but at least i know what i want and i know what i stand for. and you know, i kind of like that…because i think maybe when i get all the negative stuff out, maybe i can love authentically and maybe i can believe in myself and maybe, just maybe i can be the person i want to be and not the person my fears turn me into. whoever i am, i might be able to do some great things.