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Voices for Recovery


Judy Itoh (11/21/2011)

I have spent most of my life doing some form of medical research or another.  It all started when I was 12 years old. I had SEVERE anorexia nervosa.  This was in 1971. Most doctors were not familiar with anorexia at that time. I was literally dying from starvation and malnutrition. The pediatrician asked my mother if I could be on drugs.  My mother was very strong, whipped me nearly daily, leaving stripes, and sometimes even blood. My mother never heard, "Could she be on drugs?"  She heard, "She is on drugs!" 

She had me admitted to a regular hospital because I was having blackouts every time I moved my head.  That hospital worked on my physical needs. Meanwhile, my mother had me committed to a drug rehab hospital for outpatient treatment everyday.  My entire life had been spent in church every time the doors were open, and school ONLY. 

I did not know the name of a drug or what anything even looked like.  The drug rehab center was very hard on me because 'I would not admit to my problem'.  If I had known the name of any drug, I would have said it, just to get them to stop yelling at me.  The group therapy classes were horrendous.  People were having convulsions, looked like weirdo hippies, and were all much much older than I was.  I just sat and cried.  I had no story, but nobody would believe me. I did not know the name of any drug to admit to, so I had to endure their yelling at me to admit my problem.  (In retrospect, my problem was my mother!!!) 

From their point of view, since my mother had me committed, I was obviously a drug addict in denial.  After a solid week of this nightmare, the psychiatrist called my mother and me into her personal office.  I was shaking like a leaf, wondering what kind of trouble I was getting into now.  It was shocking....she yelled at my MOTHER.  She said that I was NOT a drug addict, and to NEVER bring me back to that hospital again.  She then apologized to me, and explained that they were hard on me, because in order to help someone, the person has to admit to having a problem.  She realized that I was telling the truth. I had NEVER seen a drug, much less used one.  When would I have had the time? My mother was always around. I went to church, to school, and had to be home most of the time.  I had a 10:15 curfew throughout college, until the day I got married!!!!! 

I have spent my adult years trying to get over the nightmare of my childhood.  I came close to suicide a couple of times. I decided that I did not want to hurt my husband or my animals, so I hung in there. I called a psychiatrist who, on appointment day, took one look at me, and suggested that I be admitted to a great psychiatric hospital.  It ended up lasting for 7 1/2 weeks!!!  The best thing which I ever did for myself.  My husband is very very supportive. We wanted to have a big family. My mother accused me of being pregnant from the time I was 15.  I did not date. Boys would call, and I would just turn them down. I did not want anybody around my house because I was terrified of being humiliated in front of them.  I have had 7 miscarriages, and one stillborn who made it to 7 months.  My husband swears that my brain is so strong that I can will a miscarriage on myself.  They say the brain is powerful, so that may be so.  One doctor was determined to see that I had a baby.  He operated on me to check for any defects.  There was a small cyst on one ovary, but that was it. He removed to cyst, and said that my next pregnancy was going to be a success.  He really tried.  That is the pregnancy which lasted until 7 months. My mother has me so horrified of being pregnant, that I just cannot deal with it. 

My husband is Japanese. We live in Japan now.  I am doing so much better over here.  My mother called me on my birthday, which was Nov. 15th. Her and my dear sweet wonderful father sang "Happy Birthday".  She then started in on me and my sister, who was not around to defend herself.  She ended up hanging up on me.  I have felt like crap ever since.  This is Friday night and her phone call was on Tuesday night.  She has just about destroyed me.  My sister was her pet.  She never got the beatings like I did, but she feels so guilty for not standing up for me.  She is really suffering as an adult.  I have told her that there was nothing she could have done. She has diabetes, is obese, has several other medical problems. I worry about her health a lot.  I was obese. I researched many medical books for about a year. I decided to try something which I thought was perfect for my type of body.  It worked. In 9 months, I lost 141 pounds.  I gained 40 back because I was having such low blood pressure, that I fell down all the time.  I have kept off the other 101 pounds.  It has been 3 years now.  My husband has been so understanding.  Moving to Japan was also a life saver. I miss my dad, my sister and her family, and numerous friends, but I do much better over here.  

Thank you for reading this shortened version of a little of my life story.  Friends have always told me to write a book.  I have sat down a hundred times to start, but would get into a deep abyss, and would have to stop.  My story would probably be made into a movie, because it is unique, but everything is true.  I have lifelong friends who can attest to every fact. Thank you for reading my letter. Best Wishes to all of you.  Sincerely, Judy Itoh



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