Jeremy’s Journey Continues

jeremygl.jpgjeremygr.jpg Minnesota “manorexic” Jeremy Gillitzer won’t be celebrating the holidays with his family. The former model – who we first met last October – has found himself forcibly committed to Minneapolis’ Eating Disorder Institute. Just days after the original City Pages story ran, two social workers showed up on Jeremy’s apartment, setting off a series of events that landed Jeremy in the strict program. The issue first crossed our desk earlier this month, when Jack Jett, who contacted Jeremy after the original story, passed on Jeremy’s distressing voice mail:
Hello Jack, This Jeremy calling… I don’t really care if I live or die, and I don’t want you to tell any of the nurses as they will put more restrictions on me. I wonder if there is anyway you could help me. I just need some relief from the pain and suffering I am going through.
Jett’s had a steady conversation with Jeremy ever since. Our editor has also been in contact with the 36-year old. We’ve included transcripts from some of these conversations, after the jump. Before you go on, let it be known that we originally questioned whether the state has the right to hospitalize Jeremy against his will. We here at Queerty are vehemently against the death penalty. Our view isn’t so much based in the sanctity of life argument, although it could be, but revolves primarily around whether the state has the right to end someone’s life. We say no. There are some parallels Jeremy’s situation: does the state have the right to interfere with someone who’s starving themselves. After much soul-searching – and tossing out a bit of political ideology – we’ve concluded that, yes, Minneapolis officials have the right – and obligation – to hold Jeremy until he’s back in good health. Give the transcripts a read and we’re certain you’ll agree. Also, we’d like to note that we contacted one of the hospital’s social workers. A spokesperson soon emailed our editor to say the hospital has no comment on the story.
Andrew Belonsky: So, Jeremy, what happened? How did you end up at the Eating Disorder Institute? Jeremy Gillitzer: About two weeks ago two social workers came to my apartment. Apparently they were called by my aunt’s boyfriend. He saw the article in City Pages that said I needed help. I planned on going myself a few days later, but then after than these two social workers came and said they wanted to talk to me. I said I planned on going in a few days. Meanwhile, one of them left the room – she’s a good actor. She looked at her phone and said her daughter – she had to call her daughter back. The next thing you know the city police are coming in and they’re taking me away to the hospital. Jack Jett: Then there was some sort of trial? You said that you didn’t want to be there? JG: There were two trials. The first thing they did was put me on a medical hold because I was so unstable, then they took me to ICU and put me on a 72 hour medical hold. On the 21st of November I had preliminary trial and then on they 28th they issued a stay of commitment, which is sort of like a probation. If I don’t do well here in the hospital they will commit me to a state hospital. AB: A judge said that you had to be in there? JG: Yeah. AB: How do you feel about that? JG: I don’t want to and I don’t feel how they did it was very dignified or right. I wanted to do it on my own and I think it probably would have been more effective had I done it on my own. I just don’t think someone else should decide when and if and how I’m brought to treatment. AB: You say you were going to go… JG: Right. I was going to come in [on Friday, November 23]. AB: Why Friday? JG: Because it was the day after Thanksgiving and I wanted to spend Thanksgiving with my family. I feel that there’s some stuff I needed to take care of, which isn’t being taken care of now. I really isolated myself and there’s no one to take care of my stuff. AB: Do you feel like – are you thankful that they came and took you, though? JG: No, not at all. I’m not at that point. I don’t know if that will ever happen, because I had this experience many years ago where I was taken to many places against my will, although I was an adolescent. It’s just not going well. I’ve pretty much cried everyday since I’ve been here, because I’ve been so upset about being here and this whole situation. AB: What do the nurses say to you about being upset? JG: Well, they try to get me to take certain medications. They’re talking to me. They’re okay – some of them. Some of them are downright mean. I don’t know. It’s just difficult to be here. I’m so despondent everyday. I’ve not been caring if I lived or died and that hasn’t gotten any better. AB: Were you given a lawyer? JG: I was given a lawyer. I’m not crazy about him. As a matter of fact, I asked to switch attorneys. He said he would talk to the person who assigns attorneys tomorrow. AB: Why are you not happy with him? JG: Just because he’s tried to talk me out of asking for certain things. At the last hearing I asked if I could go home. He said not to do that, because the hospital might ask for a full commitment. I don’t know what the full commitment is, but apparently it’s worse. He’s supposed to represent my rights. AB: Well, maybe he’s right. Maybe it’s the best thing not to ask for it. JG: I don’t know. AB: What is it: a “Stay of Commitment”? How did they explain that to you? JG: It’s hard for me to explain. It means I’m not committed if I follow all these rules. My court papers say, “Volunteer remains here until medically stable and follows all instructions of the doctor and treatment team, take all prescribed medications, cooperate with after care planning, follow all recommendations of the team.” AB: So, you are, legally speaking, voluntarily in that situation? JG: Right, but say I just left, then they would take me to court to get a full commitment, is what I’m understanding… It’s really not volunteer.


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JJ: Since you have been there have you been doing everything they ask you to do?

JG: No, I haven’t been finishing my meals or taking my replacements, which is a liquid nutrient, and I have purged. I have been very suicidal and depressed since I’ve been here. The way I was brought here was very disturbing for me.

AB: So, you are not cooperating with them?

JG: I’m trying. I’m having a difficult time with some things. I had a one-to-one for a while because I was throwing up and hiding it in my room. I had been doing it so much at home, to stop it cold turkey was unrealistic. But, at any rate, then I had someone with me 24 hours a day for four days, which was really undignifying for me. It’s hard to have someone following you around, especially considering I was such a private person.

JJ: You say you were going to be checking yourself in anyway, so can you get past the issue of how you came there and just accept your situation? Work with the doctors and nurses?

JG: I go back and forth on that. If I am not able to fulfill this commitment then I will be forced to go to a state hospital, which is very unpleasant. I was in one 20 years ago. If there is a good side, though, it is that the state hospital facilities are not as strict, so I would be able to engage in the behavior that brings me so much comfort. I alternate between thinking I am here and I might as well adapt and if I go to a state hospital, it will not be as astringent.

JJ: Have the Doctors told you that you will die if you don’t improve?

JG: Yeah, and like I said, I feel almost dead.

JJ: Are you not wanting to eat or simply not hungry?

JG: Eating and food have nothing to do with it. It is what brings me comfort and helps me deal with life stresses over the years is the eating and purging. I want to eat, but the purging gives me such a sense of relief, it is like doing cocaine or other drugs and then it become so habitual after a while. It becomes a hard addiction to stop.. I have been doing it for 18 hours a day. Throwing up gives me a buzz. They have done research and found that purging releases the same sorts of dopamine as cocaine.

JJ: Your body is wired so that you cop some sort of buzz from purging in the same way someone else might cop one from weed or blow?

JG: Right, and it relieves anxiety.
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JJ: You had mentioned to me before that you can purge without sticking fingers down your throat; in fact, you can do it by just bending over. So how does the staff keep you from bending over?

JG: They just make certain that someone is with me all the time after I eat. Sometime I do it in front of them because it gives me such relief.

JJ: Do you think that, like with detoxing, in a week or two your body will start to adjust?

JG: Yes, but I haven’t gone a week yet without purging, because even though I am being watched, I have done it in secret and hid it in cups and bags. I don’t think I have given my body or self time to go through a detox.

JJ: So you have goals in life: to travel, to write a book – it’s clear you have a story to tell – doesn’t that give you an incentive to get better?

JG: I have always had goals, it is just that I don’t think I can achieve them, or I have a fear of success. I think that if I had a clear purpose, I don’t think I would be having such a problem with this eating disorder.

JJ: What positive things are happening to you since you have been there?

JG: My nursing assistant said that I looked better but I interpreted that to mean I look fat so it was a bit of a downer for me when most people would think it was a compliment. So as far as that goes, I am healthier than when I came in.

JJ: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

JG: I see myself as being really puffy, like I don’t need to be here medically anymore, but I have not gained enough weight to be discharged.

JJ: Do you see you self as thin?

JG: No, not at all. The ironic thing is that I did before I came in. They will not tell us our weight.

JJ: When you saw the photos in the paper – you agree that those looked thin?

JG: Yes, I could tell from that but when I look in the mirror now, I don’t think I look thin. I don’t think I need to be here.

JJ: What medication do they have taking?

JG: Well right now they can only give me small doses of Ativan to help me deal with my anxiety. Until I put on more weight, they can not put me on anything stronger The dieticians are really more involved than anyone else because the reality is that food is your medicine.

JJ: So we have seen the photos of hunky Jeremy, and we can agree that gay men have a bit of an ego when it comes to our body. Does your ego play a role in any of this?

JG: I think part of my problem was that when I got involved in the gay community, they seemed so hard on other gay men……even men with what I would consider perfect bodies. I don’t want to talk myself into getting better so I can look like I did in the hunky photos again, I think the goal should be more for my health.

Those of you who want to send Jeremy some love can use this address:
Jeremy Gillitzer
c/o: Park Nicolett Clinic Eating Disorder Institute
St. Louis Park, MN, 55416
6500 Excelsior Blvd
Eating Disorder Institute

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13 Comments*

  • hisurfer

    I used to work in crisis intervention, and the quick answer (to one of your questions) is that, in general, a state has the right to interfere when a life is in imminent danger (potential homicide or suicide). The laws vary on a state-by-state basis. The standard model is that a crisis worker will get an ex-parte order from a judge, who will allow a person to be held involuntarily for x number of hours (24-72). Within that period a shrink will need to certify that a person is an imminent threat to themselves or others, after which they can be held longer.

    A lot of new judges are initially reluctant to grant forced mental health admits. The first death tends to change their minds.

  • jasonmcdowell

    Jeremy, if you happen to read this, as someone who has had eating disorders in my life, I know it is hard to break the cycle it feels like you are losing control, but as time moves on you come to realize that you are really regaining control. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Stay Beautiful

  • Matt

    Don’t wring your pretty little hands, Queerty. You can have your ideological cake and eat it too (though the cliche may be particuarly inappropriate in this case and I regret using it). You can still fervently uphold an individual’s right to make his or her own life/death decisions, but only if they can do so rationally. I’m totally not a doctor, but I would suspect that Jeremy’s eating disorders may have altered his body chemicals and had a psychological impact that could impair his reason. So in this case, I would say the state is justified in using its protective powers.

    And I echo jasonmcdowell, and will keep Jeremy in my thoughts. This is a terrible thing.

  • Ko Miami

    This is a sad story but an important one. Best of luck to Jeremy. His battle is hard but he seems to have the strength to deal with it. Talking about it so openly is a huge step.
    You are in our thoughts….Miami

  • Chris

    Wouldn’t anybody listen to Jeremy? He said he was going to check himself in right after Thanksgiving. Everything was totally under control, right? He just needed to get some things taken care of before he checked himself in, right? Probably pay off some bills, try to cancel his AOL, etc. And let’s not forget Thanksgiving. Sounds like a bunch of empty excuses from a very sweet guy with a very serious problem. Not to be nasty, but you were never going to check yourself in. Instead of spending your time at the hospital thinking about how you can get get a new lawyer; try utilizing the help your state is offering and focus on getting better.

  • codymurp

    It is terrible, but obviously there is a lot going on with him inside. He needs therapy and a better attitude.

  • hells kitchen guy

    If anorexia is a scream for attention, aren’t you enabling him by posting this?

  • jeremy

    thanks to andrew for posting this and to all of you who supported me

    jeremy gillitzer

  • Donnie

    jeremy, we talked today for a minute over the phone. you did sound better than the other day. i think of you alot, especially since i have an eating disorder too. its not easy to deal with this disease from day to day. i can honestly say i know how you feel. i pray that you will get better and become happy again. talk soon my friend. 🙂

    donnie

  • Allen

    I saw him recently biking downtown. He still looks like death warmed over.

    Hope he gets better.

  • leonorucha

    Hi Jeremy. I’ve just read about you in a italian magazine. So i decided to search u in the web and i’m here. i tell u that i know what means bulimia or anorexia, cause i’m destroying all the mechanism tha caused these problems. I win on them but not yet on the psicological deviations. So… i hope u will get better with yourself, and i hope i will do the same, life is one, life is our.. if u want, i’m here:
    http://www.leonorucha.splinder.com

  • Perry Ruedy

    Jeremy Gilitzer passed away this past weekend.
    May 28, 2010

Comments are closed.