Something Fishy Indeed

Without going into too much back story:

Back during the Peggy Claude-Pierre/Montreux golden age, PCP went on Oprah, after the 20/20 doc, and brought along with her some of her most unusual patients, including a three-year-old boy.  In her book, The Secret Language of Eating Disorders, she describes the three-year-old “Zev” like so:

“Three-year-old Zev always refers to the Negative Mind as ‘the man under his hair.’  That was his usual answer to his mother and me when we asked him why he would not eat.  ‘The man won’t let me.  He will be angry,’ he would explain.

‘Darling, you are safe now,’ I would assure him.  ‘The man under your hair can’t hurt you anymore.  I’m holding you very tightly.’

‘Yes, Peggy, you are holding me, but he is still hurting me.’

‘How can he hurt you, darling?  See, you are in my arms.’

‘Peggy, he is angry that you are holding me, so he is playing drums loudly in my head so I can’t hear the nice things you are saying to me.’

When anorexia is in its acute stage, the Negative Mind allows the victim no pleasure.  When I first met Zev, he was forbidden by it from accepting or opening presents.  Everyone else deserved them, but not him.  He would put his hands behind his back if anyone would extend something in his direction.  His eyes became very dark, intense, and fearful.

If he agreed to eat anything, it could not be called ‘food,’ and it could not make him grow because he was not permitted to grow.  Growing would mean an extension of life.

Once when asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, this three-year-old answered very quietly and thoughtfully, ‘I am not going to grow up.  I am going to be dead before these pants are too short.’  Incredulous, we assured him he would grow when he was supposed to.  He started to cry and said, ‘No, I’m not.  The man told me I wouldn’t be allowed to, and I”m scared of the man.  He is always mean to me.’

This child never played with other children.  He always stood aside and observed.  His development, however, was extraordinary.  He would memorize pages of the telephone book for amusement.  He loved sports and could act out an entire baseball game, playing each position in turn as the ball went around the ‘field.’  He had spent a year and a half undergoing medical testing (before we had been contacted) which failed to turn up any organic reason to explain his refusal to eat.”

So Zev went on Oprah and spoke in his tiny toddler voice, but the clip of that episode (the 2nd one Oprah did devoted to PCP, which aired on January 17, 1996) is entirely absent from the Internet.  My theory: the don told the soldiers to get rid of it post-scandal.  In Barbara McClintock’s book about the case against Montreux, Anorexia’s Fallen Angel, there was (I believe––book not on hand at the moment) discussion of Zev’s perhaps having anorexia (as distinct from anorexia nervosa) and/or an attachment disorder and/or a disorder on the autistic spectrum.  (Autistic children are also notoriously picky eaters.)  In any case, take it from me (and the other medical doctors who examined him along the way): very little reason to believe Zev had clinical anorexia nervosa.

From the court ruling, which you can read online, one learns that Zev’s real name is David Bruce, which I think I remember from the show.  The fact that the clinic took in Bruce, but was only licensed to treat adults except when given explicit permission, was one of the major reasons the Health Authority ordered it closed.  David was born on October 8, 1992 in New York City. This would make him 21, almost 22 now.  His mother’s name is Meg.  Both pretty common names, which I’ve had no luck Googling.  David, or Meg, if you’re out there, please find me.  I’m begging you.  I need to know.

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One Response to “Something Fishy Indeed”

  1. Margaret Says:

    Hi, I am Meg Bruce. Margaret actually. I am Davids mom. I stumbled upon your blog because I was researching a link regarding the hearing.

    What is it that you want to ask me?

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