In my novel Can't You
Hear Me Knocking? Susan Richards at the age of 26
admitted herself to Columbia Presbyterian Psychiatric Hospital. The crash that
led her to this came when she was kicked out of a school of agriculture in New
Mexico. "You're severely anorexic and we can't afford to be held liable
if you have a heart attack and die," the administrators told her.
Susan left the school and drove in a suicidal state to Albuquerque where her old housemate lived. "I've been waiting for this day," Liz told her. For the first time since she was hospitalized for anorexia nervosa when she was 13, Susan faced her eating disorder.
To receive the free treatment Columbia offered, Susan had to become a participant in a research study. In addition to following a strict diet and protocol Susan had to take a pill everyday not knowing whether it was Prozac or a placebo. Succumbing to the rules of the study was an act of surrender that put her recovery in the hands of the hospital staff. And this upset the demon terribly.
The demon was the force that caused Susan to act contrary to what she knew was healthy. The demon told her what to eat, how long she needed to exercise between meals and what rules to follow to keep her world in control.
The more Susan challenged her patterns, the more the demon tortured her with taunting. Within the fighting came flashbacks that provided Susan insight into the development of the demon and her eating disorder.
All through her teens there was a fire in Susan's chest telling her there was something more to life than unwanted sex and drinking at the tracks. Her desires were far beyond her experiences.
In college, Susan was exposed to women dating women and to political activities. It was here where the ache in her chest intensified. She could finally identify what she wanted but was insecure about how to cross the lines and enter these areas.
It was when she married despite the gnawing in her gut, that the demon became evermore powerful and deceitful. Susan's physical activity increased and she discovered farming as a vocation that would give her a justified reason to work hard.
When Susan fell in love with a girlfriend she finally found her truth. But she was unable to manage her feelings between the affair and her marriage. Eventually she escaped to New Mexico to fulfill her dream to farm and live sustainably.
At Columbia Presbyterian Susan struggled with the protocol and her increasing weight. She had lost faith in the doctors telling her she wouldn't notice changes in her mentality until she hit a plateau at 90% of her ideal weight. After three months Susan hit the magic number. Energy and feelings charged through her body. She fell in love with everybody and developed an uncontrollable crush on Sandy, her recreational therapist. The crush gave Susan motivation to fully recover and to be connected to a world beyond the hospital.
Susan was discharged from the hospital five months after her admittance. It was spring-a time of beginnings.
|Can't you hear me?||Back Cover|