Pray Away

I watch alot of documentaries on this subject, and L.G.B.T.Q, and all of the mental trauma involved.
L.G.B.T.Q individuals are born at a mental and emotional disadvantage. When Oliver Sacks, renown neurologist, admitted to his mother that he was homosexual, all she said was, “I wish you had never been born.”
This film, while following less severe forms of conversion therapy, were still appalling. Non-licensed individuals providing therapy, suggesting that homosexuals are the products of childhood sexual trauma. When it was said that there was no sexual trauma, they were manipulated into thinking they had merely suppressed the memory of it. To assume that this “behavior” is the result of past trauma, that you are PLANTING there is sick.
The documentaries on trans individuals emphasize the self harm and suicide attempts resulting from the internal confusion and lack of acceptance. Conversion therapy was exactly the same. “Why can’t you just obey?” “Don’t you want to be normal?” One woman talks about going home and burning herself. And how she felt a catharsis by doing it. They could change their behavior and smile and act the right way, but it was all a lie. Inside, nothing had changed.  And they couldn’t understand why they felt so empty.
A poignant moment was when survivors of conversion therapy sit down and speak to the presidents and founders of one of the largest conversion therapy networks, and express the damage they suffered going through the therapy. And a moment when one founder is watching the news after Proposition 8 passed, and saw the masses of people protesting against Proposition 8, and his heart broke because he realized he had helped pass a motion that was hurting his own people.
You can’t deny who you are. You can’t change who you are. It doesn’t make sense to say that an all-loving God created you, yet can’t love you.
And the most tragic part, is that these networks still exist.

The 24 Faces of Billy Milligan

I have always worked with the idea of giving my patients the benefit of the doubt. I will not automatically assume that what they are telling me is false just because they are Psych patients. And at the very least, I will acknowledge that it is the reality that they are experiencing. But perhaps sometimes that idea can go too far. How much benefit of the doubt is too much? And certainly, when does it stand between innocent and guilty, in terms of crime?
I had heard of Billy Milligan before, and have always found Dissociative Identity Disorder to be interesting. While it is important to me to be as fully empathetic as I can, there are a few situations in which I can’t even begin to make sense of mentally. I cannot understand DID, except to relate it to being blackout drunk. Losing time. And there are certainly skeptics of the disorder. Made famous in the late 50s and early 70s, DID began to gain attention. Conveniently, in the mid to late 70s, a serial rapist claimed he did not commit the crimes because he had multiple personalities.
What draws me to it is its deep trauma based development. When describing his childhood, it isn’t any stretch of the mind to see a person fracture themselves into the perfect defense mechanism. But as we begin to see more of Billy’s life, it isn’t any further a stretch of the mind to see how he may have simply developed into the perfect Sociopath. The question is then posed, might this have been a perfect crime?

The Comfort Food Journey

As the weather got colder, and life got harder, I felt like it was time for some comfort foods.

Butternut Squash Lasagne, with Sausage, Apple, and Kale

Apple Pie Bread Pudding, with Bourbon Hard Sauce

Shepards Pie, with Lamb, Leeks, Little French Carrots, Snow Peas, and Garlicky Mashed Potatoes

American Goulash

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Chicken Divan, with Hashbrown Potatoes

Biggest take away: There are no sexy pictures of comfort food…

Wolf

Individuals who believe they have the souls of animals inside them are sent to a small camp to undergo therapy to fully rehumanize them. An interesting sort of modernized conversion therapy film. With all the outlandish and cruel methods used to achieve their goal. Without the religious ideologies pulling for one side or the other. The animals chosen by the two main characters symbolic for each character. The girl, a cat, because she longed to just leap out her window and land, safe and sound, and to just run. The boy, a wolf, because no greater animal emulates the very meaning of freedom. The symbolism is clear as you watch the doctor cruelly try to beat the freedom out of him, cursing him to conform.
A very psychology/mental health film. Ironic timing, as I am as of late, uniquely interested in the idea of trauma and development on an individual. It was clear that these patients had experienced some form of trauma in their past and somehow found a safe space in being these animals.