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Stupid. Fat. Freak. These are the labels Melissa Binstock bestowed upon herself. Diagnosed with six different disorders by the age of eleven, Melissa was drowning in medications, treatments, and isolation. Feeling defined and controlled by Tourette syndrome, dyslexia, ADHD, OCD, anxiety disorder, and anorexia, Melissa spent her teenage years emotionally empty, socially stunted, and filled with confusion and self-hatred. How must it feel to live with so many life-altering disorders simultaneously and what wisdom ...
Stupid. Fat. Freak. These are the labels Melissa Binstock bestowed upon herself. Diagnosed with six different disorders by the age of eleven, Melissa was drowning in medications, treatments, and isolation. Feeling defined and controlled by Tourette syndrome, dyslexia, ADHD, OCD, anxiety disorder, and anorexia, Melissa spent her teenage years emotionally empty, socially stunted, and filled with confusion and self-hatred. How must it feel to live with so many life-altering disorders simultaneously and what wisdom can be found through living such a tortured existence?
In this brutally honest account of her quest for love, acceptance, and the physical and emotional nourishment she desperately needed, Melissa Binstock takes you on a journey through the complex world of neurological and emotional disorders. You will be mesmerized and inspired as she shares her struggles to refeed her starving mind, body, and soul in her quest to become fully nourished.
You know that excited feeling you have when you're little, as you wait on the front doorstep for the mail carrier to bring you a package? Every afternoon right when you get home from school, you run out and sit on that step for hours until the mail carrier tells you, 'Sorry, nothing today.' At first, you are hopeful and tell yourself that tomorrow will be the day. Then days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months; you begin to give up hope. It's been almost twelve years now, and I'm still sitting on my front doorstep waiting for my package to arrive. It's been so long that, for a while, I even forgot what was in that package. But today I know exactly what I have been sitting around waiting for: I have been waiting to live. Life is what that package contains, and once I have it securely in my hands, I know I won't ever let it go again.
I wasn't a cookie-cutter child; I didn't fit into the same mold as my eight-year-old friends. At least that's what having dyslexia and Tourette syndrome felt like to me. In second grade, my stomach twisted in knots every time the teacher asked the class to take out our readers. I came to detest those books about Jill and Jack with their dog, Spot. Who names their dog Spot anyway? The words printed on the pages of my reader were like puzzles my mind tried to solve but never could. As the teacher went around the room, calling on different people to read a passage aloud, I'd pretend to be invisible while praying that she'd skip over me. Eventually, the teacher would call out my name. The routine was always the same: I'd sit there for a few minutes making thhh or mmm sounds as I tried to sound out words like those or much. The teacher would stand in front of me with both hands planted firmly on her hips, tapping a foot up and down impatiently. Then, after I'd made a few hopeless attempts, she'd skip over me and move on to the next kid.
By midway through the year, not only had my reading skills failed to improve, but also I refused even to try sounding out a word when I was called on. The harrumph noise that escaped from my vexed teacher's mouth didn't bother me as much as the feeling of embarrassment and the sound of snickering classmates. When my parents realized that my reading problem wasn't something I would eventually work around, they decided to have me tested for a learning disorder. After running through a battery of tests, the specialist diagnosed me with dyslexia and suggested my parents look into placing me at a school for children with learning disabilities. My parents' decision to move me to a special school was encouraged by the principal, who told them the school was ill equipped to deal with children like me. A few years later, they also removed my younger sister, Samantha, from the same school. I say removed because the way she was treated resembles how people handle old, unwanted pieces of furniture they throw out the front door for the garbage man to pick up. I guess the school based its philosophy not so much on teaching, but on manufacturing cookie-cutter children. My sister and I didn't exactly fit into the school's ideal mold, though, because I couldn't read and Sam had cerebral palsy.
Of the three girls in the family, I would consider my older sister, Brooke, the 'normal' child. Brooke was popular, smart, pretty, and accepted. Everything about her seemed so right, whereas Sam and I were sort of a mess. Sam stopped breathing when she was born, which caused mild brain damage. Primarily her motor skills had been affected, which turned walking into an arduous task. When Sam turned four, she had surgery to help her walk; the aftermath of that surgery was a painful experience for the entire family. I hated hearing her cry out in pain whenever she tried to take a step forward. Her piercing cries sent Brooke and me running into the safety of our small bedroom to escape the horrible noise. Ironically, it was because of Sam's disability that I was able to find my greatest love—horses. Brooke and I began taking riding lessons after my mother discovered a type of equine therapy that would ameliorate some of Sam's pain and relax her taut muscles. I fell in love with those gentle giants the very first time I walked into the barn. I liked the way my pony's sleek coat felt against my fingertips, and how the aroma of sweet hay filled the barn aisles. After a while, my pony's stall became my safe house, providing me with an escape from teasing kids and staring adults.
©2010. Melissa Binstock All rights reserved. Reprinted from Nourishment. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442
Foreword George S. Glass, M.D ix
1 (Not a) Cookie-Cutter Child 1
2 Melissa, Meet Melissa 7
3 The Untameable Beast 14
4 Friends, or the Lack Thereof 22
5 Human Guinea Pig 26
6 Violated 34
7 Spiraling Out of Control 40
8 Meeting Melanie 49
9 Starving for Love 58
10 This Time Will Be Different 68
11 Credit Limit 77
12 Unwelcome 83
13 Frozen 92
14 Humpty Dumpty 99
15 The Treatment Center 105
16 Learning the Program 115
17 The New Girl 124
18 The Serious Business of Eating 132
19 The Rules of the Game 142
20 Facing My Demons 151
21 Challenges 162
22 Tic Attack 169
23 Building a Fottress 176
24 Family Week 186
25 Masking Feelings 197
26 The Next Stop 203
27 Two Steps Forward, One Step Back 210
28 The Bad Egg 217
29 Art Therapy 224
30 The Final Straw 231
31 Everything Different, Everything Unchanged 238
32 Rehab Redux 244
33 Ensure-ance 253
34 Nourishment at Last 260
Afterword: Coping with My Disorders 268
Appendix: Melissa's Diagnoses and Medications 272
Posted March 8, 2011
This book is truly amazing and touching. It is a heartfelt tale about struggles and triumphs--a tale about a young girl who is different but nonetheless succeeds in the face of adversity. This is a must read for anyone and everyone.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 28, 2011
this book is more than a great book; it's a journey through life! the author in a touching, moving way describes her pain. with any human being there is loss; however melissa shows us all the true meaning of courage and overcoming obsticles. well done. thank you for showing us there are "tomorrows".Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 2, 2011
I read the book in two days and could barely put it down. Melissa Binstock writes with such honesty and courage about living with Tourette Syndrome, OCD, ADHD, Anxiety, Dyslesxia and Anorexia Nervosa. Anyone who is living with these disorders or takes care of someone with any of these issues must read this book to understand the complex emotional, physical, and social pain one goes through. Melissa was bullied by peers as well as adults. It is also a story which inspires and provides hope. Excellent book and an excellent writer.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 1, 2011
This is a great and fast read. It is very informative and very interesting. The book is filled with great emotion and is easy to relate to. The correlation between pain and love is evident through most of the book. I found this book uplifting and inspiring. Absolutely recommended.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.