Monday, June 21, 2010

Have to put writing more of my memoirs off for a while


I thought I was getting to the point of resuming my memoir writing, but after this weekend I don't think so. I do think that Utah relatives have to get more used to the idea of a family member writing a memoir that is for the world not just for family. I have been heading this way for a long time.
This morning Doc insisted I sit down and watch a documentary he had recorded called "When Doctors Got It Wrong" about the treatment of the mentally ill, particularly the schizophrenic and what happened when states started closing the big mental institutions and sending the mentally ill back to the communities as they called it. In the opening of the documentary a former patient was saying that you could go to a psychiatrist in the days of years of incarceration and be locked up for life on the basis of a 2 minute interview! That kind of snap judgment is what led to my being locked up after possibly only a 1 minute interview with a psychiatrist and being put through a terrible ordeal before I could get out that caused me to be a whole lot sicker when I got out than when I went in.
These were the kind of abuses that led to these big institutions closing down, but what followed was somewhat of a horror, too, and still is. Mental patients ended up on the street or in jail before the communities were prepared and funded to receive them at all. At the close of the documentary it is stated that the Los Angeles County jail is the biggest mental institution now in the state of California.
Mental patients who are deemed able to maintain an apartment are certified to come in a HUD housing complex like this one, even though some of these prove unable to avoid trouble and must be evicted. Group homes for the mentally ill is another solution that parents of the mentally ill were able to get together and lobby for. They were desperate to help their mentally ill children who had been turned into the street.
Schizophrenia, it was explained, is a condition of the brain that the person may be born with or may develop later. They account for a certain amount of mentally ill patients. Many in here have been diagnosed as 'bi-polar' which appears to be a less serious mental illness. The psychiatrists have to determine this condition from behavior, history, etc, since there is no test that will prove its existence. Brain abnormalities in schizophrenics can be detected by brain scans. Those are really sick people with the only treatment drugs especially effective for this condition. Schizophrenics with brain abnormalities have been able to get stable for years with the help of these drugs.
I had an uncle who was hospitalized a number of times and finally diagnosed with dementia praecox as it was called in those days, deemed the worst mental illness and incurable. The drugs developed later on might have helped him however, but drinking was taboo, which he would sometimes do when he got out of the hospital. The family was always trying to keep him from drinking.
I thought there were conditions of work, alcoholic patterns, and generational influences that produced an unusual amount of bisexual men in that country. Which is why I decided to write a memoir about my dad whose alcoholism was compounded by a bisexuality abnormality as well. Since the bisexuals were very secretive this has led to a lot of reaction to my memoir.
My poor mother did not seem to have a clue as most of the women did not. I thought if she had been educated as to what the signs and symptoms were she could have coped with my dad's behavior with more insight and less craziness of her own in handling him.
My Grandmother who did not seem to have a clue either about my dad's problem retreated into religion and remained ignorant as other women did who were married to such men. Or had sons who were alcoholic and looked to be bisexual as well.
Since my dad did not have any sons he tended to try to turn his daughters into sons which is how I became more aware of his activities. I was encouraged to ride horses from the time I could be taken for rides on a horse when I was just a toddler. I would walk down to my Grandpa King's when I was only four years old and ask him or the hired men for a horse to ride. I would take my younger sister with me and we would be put on some old nag deemed safe enough for us.
I certainly did not think my dad was the only bisexual in that country. I thought bisexuality was fairly common among the older generation, his and my generations, as well as in those that followed, especially in the alcoholics.
I suppose that is a fairly shocking claim to those who are not used to hearing about such a topic, so that is why my memoir may already be causing a stir. I was 5 years old when molestation forced me to become wise beyond my years, as happens to every child who is molested. Some of these poor children must face death. They are going to endure the tortures of the damned at the hands of some abductors before they die. I feared that could happen to me. I did not know if I would be let go each time, following three abductions by the hired man when my father was absent from the ranch and my mother was otherwise preoccupied in the house.
To save myself I learned to curb my wandering ways and to stick close to the house, keeping my mother in sight. While I tried to figure out who I could tell and whether this man had done something bad enough to be shot. I thought he would be killed if I told my dad. As it was somebody did shoot him not long after I started surfacing the story three years later, but from what I heard he did not die, but was never seen around that country again.
I no longer felt entirely safe again and indeed was not safe as I was targeted again for inappropriate attention by another hired man I became deathly afraid of.
Well, it is sometimes hard to put the plight of children first and allow unpleasant facts about the past to surface. So I will persist in trying to get this memoir written even though it looks as though it is going to take more time for me get the strength to do it.

3 comments:

kanyonlandking-annk.blogspot.com said...

I love the butterfly graphic. Don't put off your memoirs too long or they might not be written.

Jeanie said...

You are a brave lady Gerry. Confronting all of these issues and memories then putting them into your memoirs. It certainly is no easy task confronting them and keeping them at arms length so that you can be impartial in all the recounting, even though you were affected by all the traumas that beset you and your family.
I hope you find the strength to finish your book.
Love
Jeanie xxxxx

Amrita said...

Hi Gerry I got the book of quotations you sent. I am so delighted, I peruse it in all my spare moments. Thank you so much. Its a treasure chest of thoughts.

Please can you tell me what a HUD housing complex is?


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