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This article by Leah Harris on Mad In America argues that the way to address the roots of suffering and violence in American society is to be trauma-informed rather than to think in terms of mental illness.  I believe it applies just as much to the UK.

She talks about the effects of war, of 9/11, of homelessness, and of the effects of being abused or witnessing abuse in the family as a child.

She points out that most services are not trauma-informed and that a person can be re-traumatised by what they experience at the hands of the services, and she talks briefly about a community that is making an effort to be trauma-informed.  I think it is well worth a read, and hope my readers will give it their attention.  Thank you.

The Fat Lady Has Sung

This article on Mad In America is an account and display of studies that have been done that show that over a 7 year period patients not on antipsychotics are far less likely to display symptoms of psychosis than those who are, strongly suggesting, at least, that antipsychotics are no good for long term treatment and are in fact harmful.  The writer says that the fat lady has sung, and asks if psychiatry will continue to be deaf to her voice.  My question is what could be the motive for continuing to be deaf?  Profit?  Laziness?  Fear?  or what?

When I Absconded Last Year

When I absconded from hospital last year I found it much more helpful to realise I was having panic attacks than to believe that what I was experiencing was a symptom of schizophrenia and not being on medication. I was gone for 12 days only but I was a lot happier with the way I was dealing with myself than the way the hospital dealt with me. I could talk myself through things, calming down and breathing. I was very gentle with myself and I think I helped myself during that period a lot. When I was finally apprehended by the police (I was on the streets, I’ve been homeless for 2 1/2 years) they said they thought the hospital should discharge me because I was lucid.

The hospital didn’t discharge me though, they kept me and reinstated my medication, and I was unco-operative with the psychiatrist who asked me about something then wanted to move on before I was finished. I believe he decided I was schizophrenic and needing medication because I stood up to him. I shook his hand and he had a pencil in it and he made no effort to remove it, the same as once before. I thought he was a very rude little man. I had hoped for better from him.

They didn’t reinstate my medications straight away because the paperwork wasn’t up to date, but they tried to. This little man who came to see me (and he was little, he was shorter than me, and I’m only 5’1″) was the second opinion doctor. It took them 3 or 4 weeks to relay his decision to me, and all the time I felt completely normal and functioning well, except inwardly I freaked out over the fact they might put me back on medication. They didn’t relay his decision to me because he hadn’t relayed it to them. I was open and vulnerable and you hope that is going to count for something, but it counted for nothing.
There is nothing that justifies what they have done to me.  That is my downfall, I keep thinking it is my fault and they are justified. I keep believing in what they have said to me.
They think we don’t understand, they must do.  They must believe that they are best looking after our human rights by killing everything joyful and spontaneous and strong and making us take medication.  I’ve told them I had a woman upstairs constantly screaming hallelujah and making me beside myself but they have decided to believe that what they are dealing with is psychosis.

 

This is the title of a blog entry on Mad in America, but it actually concerns Britain and the British government.  The writer, James Davies, PhD, who has worked in the NHS and was first accepting of the mainstream view of psychiatric categories and drugs, has since changed his mind and realises he was wrong.  Even better, he belongs to a group, the Council for Evidence-Based Psychiatry, which from April this year will be speaking to MPs at the Houses of Parliament about the harm being done by psychiatry and its drugs.

“The official launch of CEP will take place on 30th April 2014 in the Houses of Parliament, London. And to mark the occasion two eminent critics will address the invited audience of journalists, MPs, policy makers, practitioners and survivor advocates. Dr. Joanna Moncrieff, a senior researcher and psychiatrist at University College London, will first talk about the exaggerated benefits of psychotropic medications, discussing the largely ignored evidence of their toxic and long-term debilitating effects.

She will be followed by Professor Peter Gotzsche, director of the Nordic Cochrane Centre and co-founder of the Cochrane Collaboration, the gold standard for the review of medical research data.  He will talk about failed drug regulation, buried negative clinical trial data, conflicts of interest at medical journals, drug-induced harms, and other issues familiar to Mad in America subscribers.”

As Dr Davies points out himself, it is all very well being in the critical stream, but the problem is that the decision makers, like MPs, don’t get exposed to it, but this is a change and it is good.  At the end there are links to their website and Facebook page.

This is an interesting article by Deepak Choprah about the nature of reality.  He argues that reality is located in the quantum sphere beyond the 5 senses, and that science which fails to recognise this is deficient.  He talks about how consciousness is necessary for reality and meaning, pointing out that reality is changed at the quantum level by observation.  He talks about parallel universes, and Maya, which often translated as illusion actually means distraction.  The world of Maya is the world of the 5 senses alone.  He says that observation could not exist without consciousness,and that consciousness is capable of self-knowledge, which is the world of the subjective mistakenly rejected by science.  Even the world of mathematics is seen as a limited system, being ultimately a system devised by the brain.

I am interested in this as yet another article which says that science as it is most widely practised is inadequate for reality and everything it entails.

 

- Sue Barnett, BA English:

Joanna Moncrieff is an academic psychiatrist who recognises that meaning is lost and marginalised with the medicalisation of distress.

Originally posted on Joanna Moncrieff:

People have used psychoactive substances to dull and deaden pain, misery and suffering since time immemorial, but only recently, in the last few decades, have people been persuaded that what they are doing in this situation is rightly thought of as taking a remedy for an underlying disease. The spread of the use of prescription drugs has gone hand in hand with the increasing medicalization of everyday life, and a corresponding loss of the previous relationship that people had with psychoactive substances.

Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel Mary Barton was originally to be named after Mary’s father John Barton, a working class factory hand addicted to opium (1). The novel depicts the unimaginable poverty and exploitation of industrial Manchester that made opium-induced oblivion an appealing escape. Although Gaskell clearly disapproved of John ‘s addiction, the reader is left in no doubt that opium use in 19th century Britain was a symptom of…

View original 1,554 more words

Looking Back

I am often embarrassed  by seeing the posts that get the most traffic on my blog.  I feel embarrassed by my communication style and by the content, especially when I have said that I and my close contacts are being stalked.  It was real enough at the time, but looking back it feels unreal because now I am not feeling as I did then.  What I can’t say for sure is that all of this embarrassment is justified.  It is possible that I was being stalked.  Certainly I was angry and afraid at the times I wrote that way, as well as feeling guilt over the fact, as I saw it, that I was failing in relationships.  I feel as if I was wrong because it was so long ago and nothing seems to be happening now.  I still hear the odd thing, but nothing major.

I want people to read my blog because I want them to get hold of the antipsychiatry that I wish to communicate, but I feel as if most of my blog is embarrassing rubbish, so it isn’t very easy for me to drive traffic by way of my blog.

I’ve still got lots of library books out about antipsychiatry.  I know I have been in agreement with them but my position gets weakened by the fact that I continue to be detained and that things seem relatively tolerable at the moment.  I’m not aware of any major feelings of being stalked, and I’ve got a place to eat and sleep and shelter.  As much as I would like to go on reading these books it seems pointless and that I am fruitlessly in strong agreement with them, when nothing I say or do makes any difference to the way I am viewed and treated.  It’s a waste of time and mental energy to keep reading, though I can see where they go and I agree with them.  I’m a patient, it doesn’t matter what I think about these things.  The psychiatric staff where I am believe they are the people with the right view and way of doing things.

So being constantly confronted on my dashboard with post titles that make me cringe with embarrassment is taking its toll on me when it comes to confidence that my blog can communicate anything worthwhile and understandable to a new reader.  I don’t know why people look for these posts as opposed to some of my more rational ones, but they keep going for posts the content of which makes me cringe.  So I have a difficult relationship with my blog at the moment.

This article in The New Scientist details attempts which have been successful over several periods, including a 7-year period, to treat the classic symptoms of schizophrenia using talking therapies and computerised methods without medication, and says that people who are medication-free rebuild their lives more successfully.  It questions the dopamine theory as well.

At the end of this article is a link to another called Antipsychotic drugs are schizophrenia’s hidden gulag, which says that it is a human rights emergency that people diagnosed with schizophrenia are expected to take antipsychotics for the rest of their lives.

I am pleased that these articles are in a publication like The New Scientist and that they detail instances of successful treatment without drugs.  The groundswell against the present treatment of people diagnosed as schizophrenic needs to grow, and that is one reason I write this blog.

These articles were posted by the Facebook group, Speak Out Against Psychiatry.  This is an informative, supportive and active group which campaigns against psychiatry and its abuses.  Please apply for membership.

Glyn Y Mul Farm 2

I submitted an edited version of my first post about Glyn Y Mul farm (Lone Wolf Campsite) as a review to coolcamping.co.uk and ukcampsite.co.uk.  I was silly enough to think they would display it, but they didn’t.  I suppose it was too negative.  I suppose they couldn’t display a review by a woman complaining of sexual harassment and violence from the campsite owner.  So I’m pleased to see that my post is displayed 2 and a half pages down a Google search for Glyn Y Mul farm and hope it has some readers.  I’m not sure what I should have expected, why they couldn’t display my review.  It seems a bit unfair and inbred, I imagine they might have passed my name around the campsites as someone to avoid.  It’s only imagination, not sure how well-founded it is.

For the last few days I have been tweeting and retweeting on Twitter, and have gained 22 more followers.

I did some washing and had a shower this morning and it was completely claustrophobic.  There is hardly room to bend without getting burnt on the pipes, there is just enough room to stand under the unrelenting shower.  The curtain doesn’t go all the way down into the tray so there is water on the floor.

I can hardly bear my situation any longer.  I heard someone call someone ‘madam’ earlier.  Talk about respect.  If they called us sir and madam here without joking and if they were really available to meet our needs I think that would do more for some of us than all their medication.  Someone let themselves into my room at 9.55 the other day, while I was still getting dressed.  They said they knocked but I didn’t hear them.  The rule as I understood it was that we had to be up and dressed by 10, but she told me we also had to be downstairs for 2 hours between 10 and midday.  Maybe it depends who’s on and how lenient they are feeling, because they didn’t enforce it yesterday and they aren’t enforcing it today.  Inconsistency isn’t good, it leaves you unsure all the time.

We had a ladies’ meeting the other day and the nurse told me Broomhill House was a family and even when we have left we can come back and do things.  I’m not sure about that.  I know they have an outreach among people who are living in the local community, and some of those people come in during the day.  It seems to have got right away from seeing itself as an institution with legal powers and it seems to want us to not see it that way as well, if we are supposed to see it as family.  Maybe it was just that lady.

The sun is shining and it is forecast to be dry today, which will be nice.  Obviously the flooding in other parts of the country is desperate and awful.  I hope they can get it sorted out and that it won’t be an annual occurence.  They were showing leafy foliage which holds a lot of water, last night on the news.  I suppose the idea is to plant it as a barrier.  They must have other ideas as well.  It must have been a nightmare for these poor people.  I was thinking myself that I might like to live in one of those areas, but the flooding has changed my mind.  They say it is climate change.  They said that in about 200 years some parts of the country will be completely under water.  It looks as if this might be the start of it, if it is climate change.  They say it has been 250 years since we had a winter like this one.  I wonder if people were flooded out then?

I’ve got Gem 106 on in the background, it’s quite a nice station.  I used to listen to Graham Norton on Radio 2 but I don’t fancy it recently.  Radio 4 picked on him a few months ago as an example of what the masses are fed as entertainment.  They found fault with him shouting ‘Oh, Oh’ when he starts.  I don’t really mind that, I suppose it is one way of exciting and bonding with an audience.

I feel a bit sick today, probably nerves about staying in my room and the same nurse who barged into my room being on in the kitchen.  We’re not going to get on, probably.  It’s lunchtime now, and I’m going to go down and get my first cup of tea of the day.  Someone just banged on my door and told me I need to go down now and cook.  That’s a bit off, there’s an hour and five minutes yet before lunchtime finishes.  They probably want to close the kitchen early.  That hasn’t happened before.

The Closing of the Scientific Mind

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/article/the-closing-of-the-scientific-mind/

My thanks to Deepak Chopra for tweeting this article.

Broomhill House

I’ve survived my first two days and it’s not that bad.  This morning I met Vince the cook and my care-co-ordinator’s husband.  He got my food shifted to a lower shelf for me. The person below me is a lot taller so he swapped us round.  He also told me that if I wanted to cook properly from scratch they could open the kitchen a bit earlier for me, and that they preferred it when people cooked from scratch.  So what is written is a guideline only.  However, I still wish the kitchen was open whenever we wanted it.  Maybe with so many people it would be harder to manage.

Ben is back tomorrow so I am hoping that we might be able to sit down and talk about accommodation and getting me a bus pass.  I’m going to register with a GP today as well.  One of the student nurses is taking me there.  We went yesterday but it was closed for staff training.  I bought some food yesterday as well – a loaf of bread, honey, a fish pie, a lamb hotpot, some onions, some ice cream and other bits and pieces.

My depot is due today.  I always hate that but recently I have been forgetting about it, so I’m not anxiously counting off the days.

I’m waiting to see some people from an organisation called Framework.  One will be helping me appeal against an over-payment of DLA and the other will be helping me with accommodation.  I spent the over-payment.  It feels a bit grubby saying that, but I did tell the nurses three times that my DLA needed to be stopped and they said they had got in touch, but it still wasn’t stopped.  At the moment they want to take it back incrementally.  My finances are a real mess at the moment, as I have indicated before.

I haven’t really unpacked anything yet.  I have so many bags it’s a nightmare, and storage space in my bedroom is limited.  I have a chest of drawers with 3 drawers, a bedside table with a couple of compartments, and a wardrobe which is half shelves.  We could do with a bin in the rooms, but I don’t have one, I assume I’m not unique in that.  I don’t really have the energy to deal with anything.  The thought of having a shower is daunting, it is so small it feels claustrophobic.  I’ve set my radio and speakers up and also I have my laptop with a lot of my music on which I can also connect to my speakers if I want to.  At the moment I have Radio 3 on and I think they are playing Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, in fact I know they are.  The familiar Ode to Joy theme.

It’s lunchtime now and I have a pot of bean salad to eat, so I’ll be going down in a few minutes.

I’m still waiting for Housing Aid to get back to me with their decision, whatever it’s going to be.  I asked for an idea of how long it might take and received no answer.  Overall I feel quite positive at the moment.  It’s amazing what some good food can do for you!

Moved!

I moved this afternoon at 2pm.  I had no lunch as everything was packed away, I just had a boiled egg and toast for breakfast, to get rid of the egg that needed using up by today.  I was counting on a roast dinner being provided this evening. but when dinner time came round it was just scrambled egg and baked beans on toast.  People had miscommunicated with me by calling lunch dinner.  The roast was for lunch, and I wasn’t there.  Food is provided for us here on Wednesday and Sunday, the rest of the time is self-catering.

I am worried about my food cupboard as it is just one shelf in a cupboard above the sink, and I can’t reach it.  Everything I have cupboardwise is jam packed onto that one shelf and there is a sink underneath it, so nowhere to put the things I would need to move to get at the things behind them.  Although there are 12 of us to feed ourselves the kitchen is locked longer than it is open and mealtimes are regimented into 1 1/4 hour slots after which the kitchen is locked up again until the next designated hour and a quarter.  If you miss it you can’t just eat later.  That means on days I go to see my mum I might miss two meals, lunch and dinner.

My room’s OK.  It’s got an armchair and en suite shower and toilet.  No rails for towels.

The staff seem friendly and have suggested a way to deal with the cupboard situation ie stand on a step but it’s still not going to solve the problem completely.  There is far too little space and things are likely to fall out if I try to negotiate my way around it.  Enright Close was better, this feels like organised chaos and I resent it already.  Ben is here from Macmillan Close and he is my key nurse.  I’ve got a dripping tap in the bathroom and it is really loud.  I turned it so it wouldn’t drip but it has started dripping again.  This is the stuff nightmares are made of.  I know I’m going to be really anxious here.

Moving Again

I’ve just been told in my review meeting that tomorrow I have to move to a place in Nottingham called Broomhill.  I understand it has 10-12 residents all sharing the same lounge and TV.  Bang goes choice and privacy.  Here it is 4 people in my bungalow.

I have a Tesco order I need to cancel on the advice of one of the staff there who says I should wait until I see how much space I have in the fridge.  I’m not really looking forward to this.  Just when you’re getting on all right where you are they decide to move you.  My nurse Jennie says I might find it upsetting as some of the residents are more ill than I am.  Her husband works there as a cook.  It was him who said I should cancel my delivery.

The idea is to build up my time in Nottingham so I become eligible for housing there.  I’m still waiting for someone from Housing Aid to make some sort of decision about something, she seems to be taking a long time.  Jennie suggested I should email her and ask her how long she thought her decision might take, but I did that about 2 weeks ago and she didn’t answer me.  Jennie thinks it is rude of her not to reply.

Anyway, so all change all over again.

Hopefully it will be nice to get back to Nottingham though.  I’m going to have to sort out a disabled bus pass because there is no way I can afford bus fairs at the moment.  In Newark I have never needed to use a bus.  I’m only a 10-15 minute walk away from the town centre.

Another worry is that someone said they had had a note of some sort to say I am not eligible for Housing Benefit.  I hope that is a misunderstanding.

Dreaming

I keep dreaming about church, and they are always very vivid dreams.  Last night I dreamt about Talbot Street and David Shearman.  I dreamt he was having conversations for me to hear.  I wanted to ask him if he wanted to talk to me but I thought he might say no.  I dreamt about two little girls who looked exactly like Esther and Rebecca Shearman, but realised they might be their offspring or something like that.  I’m always really involved in the dreams and don’t like it if I am woken out of them by people banging doors or laughing or shouting.

There are a few ideas about dreams.  One is that dreams are symbolic.  Church is where most of my love and anxiety are.  I’m not sure what it can be symbolising.  Most of my actual anxiety at the moment is around finance and housing.  But church itself figures quite strongly in my thinking.  Sometimes I think I am going to hell.  Most of the time I think that, when I think about it.  My situation with church is so bad it burns.  At the end of my dream this morning I had some knitting and stitches were coming off the needle.  I asked my mother to get the needle and save the stitches, but she was getting it wrong.

My mum believes that the church is made up of people who love the Lord, to use her words, and that they don’t necessarily go to church, but they are the church.  For me it just burns and I feel as if hell has already started for me.  I’ve been told to stay away from the Shearmans, but Christianity is about forgiveness and that is inconsistent with forgiveness.  David Shearman was my pastor in my teens.  I think if I should be able to turn to anyone it should be him, regardless of the fact he has now stood down as senior pastor.  But he waved in my direction and said I wasn’t getting any of it.  I’m not sure why he felt he needed to do that.  It seems quite mean to me.  I find it frightening.

Glyn y Mul Farm

22 months ago I was on Glyn y Mul Farm campsite for a week, in Aberdulais near Neath in Wales.  It was only a week because it went badly wrong.  I had hoped it was going to be OK, it seemed as if it might be.  I was on my own.  The first night I slept in the cabin where the staff work because I didn’t have a tent until it was delivered, then they lent me a tent which I used for a few days.  The staff seemed friendly enough, except for the fact that one of them, Mark, every time he appeared, was effing and blinding in front of me.  The old man touched me.  I kept quiet about it at first, because I wasn’t sure if I should be offended or not.  Also, there was a washroom which was open to the outside in that it had nothing up at the window to shield users from people walking past, and several times when I was using it the men found a reason to walk past.

Eventually I got my tent and one of the staff put it up for me.  He was an eastern European, I can’t remember where from.  But I found at bedtime that I couldn’t zip up the flap and it was frosty, and because I didn’t want to bother anyone with it late in the evening it stayed open all night and the frost got inside.  I had a very cold night’s sleep.

When I emerged the next day I met Ian, the campsite owner, in the kitchen, and he asked me if everything was all right.  I said no, I couldn’t zip my tent up, and also told him that Ted, the old man, had touched me.  His response was that if I was saying that, I should leave as soon as possible.  I didn’t realise he meant immediately until he snatched my tea out of my hand and started forcing me off the stool I was sat on.  I had thought he might mean in a couple of days, to at least give me time to sort myself out.  I had bought a fair bit of camping equipment a day or two before and I had no transport of my own.  But he grabbed me by the arm and started forcing me out of the kitchen and into Ted, who was standing there, and he fell over.  Ian started accusing me of pushing him down, I said I had been pushed into him, Ian said he had 3 people there who had seen nothing.  He kept pushing and pulling at me, calling me a disgraceful woman and telling me not to go back there.  He said I was now homeless and owned nothing.  The things I had bought I had bought with money my uncle had lent me.

I went to the police (Ian is an ex-policeman) and they kept me ages.  All the time I was giving a statement they were talking and jeering in the next room.  I had gone to the wrong area and they found a hotel for me overnight and told me to go back to Neath the next day.  I can’t remember, I don’t think I did, not to the police station anyway.  I was too intimidated.  Ian’s handling of me left a big bruise on the inside of my forearm which took 3 weeks to fade.  I emailed them twice about my belongings but they didn’t reply.  When I called it theft to the police they said that technically it wasn’t theft.  Regardless of police technicalities, of course it was theft.  They deprived me of all my belongings which I had had with me at the time – clothes, mobile phone, books, food, all my camping equipment – because I, a woman on my own and vulnerable, told an ex-policeman that one of his staff had touched me and I had expected proper treatment instead of what I got.  That was a bent copper.  Also it was an appalling way for a commercial enterprise to deal with any complaint, let alone one of this nature.  They will have other women and children there, yet they dealt with me like this.

Frozen Shoulder 2

I went to see my new GP this morning, as arranged for me by Enright Close.  I told him I had frozen shoulder and told him I had read that it had been helped by HRT.  He said he hadn’t heard of that and wouldn’t want to start me on HRT for that reason, but he could give me steroid injections.  I don’t like injections so I was terrified, but when he offered me one immediately I said yes, just to see how far I could get with allowing it.  I asked him how much of the needle went in and he must have shown me an inch or 2.  I was ready for something so excruciating that I wouldn’t be able to bear it, but he said ‘sharp scratch’ and all I felt was the needle on the surface of my skin, as I do for my depot injection.  I couldn’t tell at all that there was any depth to it, it was really easy.  He said the important thing was to do exercises to mobilise the shoulder, and he gave me co codamol to help with the pain involved in movement.   The painlessness of the injection was a very pleasant surprise after reading about excruciating treatment.  I hardly felt anything.  He told me there were not many pain receptors in the shoulder.

So that was the first of a few injections.  My GP told me it speeds things up.  At the moment there is no change in the way my arm feels, and the sort of movements he wants me to perform with my arm are still very painful.  He wants me to put my hand behind my head and behind my back and I find both movements difficult, behind my back is harder than behind my head.  My fear is that if I can’t cope with the exercises my frozen shoulder is not going to clear up, and that it will always hurt too much to do the exercises properly.  I can’t imagine a freed up shoulder that doesn’t hurt.  The lady I read about who said HRT helped her shoulder seemed to know what she was talking about.  I had been told that steroid injections might or might not help.  Obviously I hope they will help.

Medication

I have become acquiescent with medication, it seems to be OK.  But things here are generally peaceful, so there’s not much provocation to make me feel really bad about anything.  The door slamming gets to me, but there isn’t much else.

I don’t know how most of my readers and followers feel about the things I have said, I don’t often get comments.  I suppose I can see the position of psychiatry in saying that people who don’t know they need medication still have a right to it, and detention makes sure that right is received.  I suppose the view is that we still have the right to treatment no matter how cruel and provocative some of the staff are, at least on an acute ward.

My position has been that the cruelty creates the illness and disturbance.  I don’t know, it is hard to say what the position of the staff actually is when they are cruel and harassing and angry.  I still wake up burning with anger and feeling upset at some of the things I remember.

Happy New Year

Some people don’t mark the New Year, but I think it’s a good thing to do.  It introduces hope and expectation if we mean what we say.  It’s putting the old behind and opening up to the new.  How simple is it?  Is it about forgiveness and dropping offenses?  Can and should that be done?  Forgiving people means not demanding a price from them, so I’ve been told.  Yet I have plenty of complaints and would even like to sue for damages.  It sounds as if ‘Happy New Year’ should be a clean slate.  That might lead to less overcrowding of the prison system.

In the Bible there is the concept of a Year of Jubilee every 50 years, where land is restored to its original owners, and all debts were forgiven.  I wonder if and how that was enforced, if people were reluctant?

The Bible says ‘do to others as you would have them do to you’.  It doesn’t say only to others who have not damaged or offended you.  I was thinking about it the other day, that doing as you would have done is making a statement about yourself, it is living out of your own value system, and that has to make you an easier and happier person, over all, if you do as you would have done.  I passed some lads on the street the other day and one of them wished me a happy new year.  I just answered ‘thank you, the same to you’.  He answered back ‘yeah, and a happy Christmas’.  I wasn’t sure how sincere he was, he was a bit rowdy, but I felt better that I had answered his words as I would have wanted mine to be answered rather than dismissing him altogether in the first place.  Everyone needs a blessing.

I have wondered if my blogging is just slander of people who have hurt me.  Slander can be true as well as false.  If it is slander it seems to me I should stop blogging about the hurts and atrocities I have encountered in the mental health system and in my neighbourhoods and in the church.  The problem is, I feel so despised by these people, especially in Church, that I have felt as if making it public has been the only realistic way forward.  I was at Talbot Street when David Shearman was preaching.  Before he got up to preach he turned and stared at me.  I have thought that I didn’t know what I was supposed to do, if I was supposed to go to him at that point or not, what did he want his staring at me to achieve?  He got up and preached and at the end he waved a hand in my direction and said ‘you won’t be getting any of it’.  I’ve had that before from other church leaders.  All I know for sure is that it showed something about his thoughts, feelings and attitudes towards me, it wasn’t a reflection on me as a person, it revealed more about David.  Certainly at that point he was not doing as he wished to be done to him.

I’ve grown up believing in heaven and hell, and I fear that I am going to hell sometimes, because of this treatment I get.  Other times I think I could and should just dismiss all thoughts of heaven and hell from my thinking in relation to the church and just count on God’s mercy, if there is a God and if there is mercy, and if there is a heaven and hell.  I have experienced physical healing instantaneously in response to the prayer of another, I can’t just dismiss that from my experience.  New Age people say we all have the ability to heal, it is not exclusive to Christianity.  Pentecostal Christianity says that healing in other religions is from a demonic source.  Certainly I find myself more at ease with Buddhist meditation music than Christian music.  Christian music for me opens up hope and pain, whereas Buddhist meditation music seems to minister peace and healing for my mind and emotions.  It makes me hopeful about myself and my own abilities, rather than about others who can and do hurt me.

I started off saying Happy New Year, and I wasn’t going to go into church stuff again, but I have.  I feel I could and should trust them, but I know they disappoint me.  They want to be over me, they want power over me, they don’t want a conversation of equals.  They don’t want me to see myself as an equal, and they want me to be in the hands of the mental health services and really believe the mental health services can help, according to a conversation I had with Pat Hopewell at Talbot Street.  She said no to everything I asked and said and told me to stay away from the Shearmans.  If that ‘no’ is coming from the Shearmans I think they are lying.  That is why I am afraid of them.  It’s a cloak of religion over actual facts, it’s like a secret society to which I have no admittance with my needs and experience, unless I go crawling and begging and using the language they like to hear.  Their power over me comes from my entanglement with the mental health system, and that’s where they want to leave me, in spite of all its cruelty and abuses.  They see this as being in the hands of the tormentors until I pay every last penny or forgive.  It is a way of rejecting me.  Those are my fears, I believe they are true.

The Ledge

- Sue Barnett, BA English:

I’m not suicidal, but I understand these feelings. About broken trust and nothing left except the oppression of nothing left to rebuild with.

Originally posted on theoutsiderguy:

Image

 

It creeps onto you,
It grows like a vine,
Clouding your chest,
Procreating seeds,
That disperse themselves
Onto anything that can
Give you a justification,
of how and why?
Your trust is like
A vase, that falls
from all of their clumsy limbs
and shatters it,
Leaving you those fragments, to reubuild it,
With a few pieces missing every time.
But this time, there’s nothing left to rebuild.
The glue is gone, the Vase is gone.
The pain still stays,
The hate still greys .
The shock recovers,
and the deception becomes clear.
But your chest is still cloudy.
Your thoughts are still muddy.
The vase is still broken,
Your mind is still shaken.
What is left to be done.
You know the answer.

The Ledge is cold,
But does it matter?
All you think about,
Is the vase that shattered.
The ledge is cold,
But is it as…

View original 63 more words

Christmas at the Asylum

Christmas has definitely started here.  The staff put a tree and decorations up about a week ago and today they gave our bungalow two tins of biscuits and two tubes of sour cream and onion Pringles.  They told us there was tons of food and if we couldn’t see it to ask.

We’ve also got painters in, and they are in the kitchen at the moment, from whence can be heard lots of laughter and giggles.  Last time I saw I think they were laughing at something on one of their mobile phones.  They did the bathroom and shower earlier this week.  They are starting on our bedrooms after Christmas.

At least two of this bungalow’s residents are going to be away for an extended leave at Christmas, and one is possibly going to be gone for two nights, which means I will be on my own in the bungalow for possibly two nights but definitely for a fair bit of Christmas day.  I’m getting used to being here and sharing now, it could be odd being on my own when I leave.  Hopefully it will be nice though, having my own space.  Being able to drink a glass of wine in my home space again will be nice.

All the women in this bungalow get on all right with each other.  There is none of the nastiness that existed at Macmillan Close with the two women who kept picking on me there.  Three out of four of us are homeless, the other has a home but I think some work is being done on it, if I remember rightly.  Something like that anyway.

I can’t remember if I said that my benefits have been slashed by £50 a week to £60.90.  If it weren’t for my storage I could cope with that quite happily, but things are going to be extremely tight.  I can’t afford to go out, so I’ve been staying in.

I’ve also started buying meat, eggs and cheese again from the supermarket.  I decided that if I was going to eat omnivorously when I am out sometimes I should bring the decision home and start cooking omnivorously again.  I am enjoying it most of the time, tastes that I’ve not had for ages, butter instead of sunflower spread, for instance.  I sometimes feel revolted by the fact that I am eating dead animal which stays in my digestive system, and think of all the animal fats clogging my arteries and the increased risk of diet-related cancers.  I’ve also found bowel movements more difficult.  For now though this is the decision I have taken, and am enjoying the variety of tastes and textures that are available to me again.  I have forgotten how to cook meat though, so I find myself looking things up on the internet.

Visit to Housing Aid

I went to Housing Aid yesterday with my care co-ordinator and spoke to someone called Rebecca.  She said that I’m not eligible for housing in Nottingham but that I am still eligible in Lewisham because I’ve lived there for three out of the last five years, so she is going to try and sort that out for me. I’m not sure that I am eligible though because I’ve now been homeless for almost 27 months. She said my sister isn’t a link because she hasn’t lived in Nottingham for three out of five years.  And she gave us the name of another housing association for direct application.

My benefits have now been cut to £60.90 per week because I have been in hospital for over a year.  I’m not sure how I am going to manage if I don’t get a realistic offer soon.  I still have to pay over £140 per month in storage costs.  To me a realistic offer is a place big enough to put my things in so I can bring them out of storage.  I’m very attached to my belongings, so I don’t want to get rid of anything.  It feels as if I could lose them because I might not be able to keep up with storage costs.  If that happens, everything I have spent on storage will have been a waste of money.

Nelson Mandela

To start with, Nelson Mandela died yesterday.  I was watching Mrs Brown’s Boys with two of the women from the bungalow when the programme was interrupted for President Zuma’s address.  I got the giggles listening because we had all just been laughing, and because it was no great shock, at his age, 95.  I saw President Obama’s address and wondered how he felt to be the one delivering it, as the first black president of the US.  It must have been an awesome moment for him.  There were a lot of moving tributes, and seeing the celebrations outside the old family home, now a museum, was very encouraging.  There are still racial tensions there and apparently some white people are afraid that now the reconciler has died revenge will start to be meted out.  I hope those fears prove to be unfounded.

It’s not an ideal world, and violence is a part of both rule and struggle.  He was fighting for equality between all races, but he was fighting for his own as well.  Otherwise the threat of violence towards the racist white rulers might never have been.  I don’t understand a lot about politics so I can’t write as eloquently as some, but I am in awe of the Civil Rights campaigners and activists.  Once I wanted to be a missionary in Africa.  I was only a child, I didn’t understand everything that was involved, the possibilities of death and mistreatment and everything.  In recent years I have had a very painful relationship with black people around my home and in church and hospital. I’ve had more than one black Christian call me a witch and turn away from me in self-satisfied rejection of me.  I have been called racist a lot.  I’m now very nervous of black people and some types can really make me feel amazing levels of anger.  White people can as well but I feel it more with black people because I’ve never been called racist towards white people.  It hurts, because time once was when I wanted to marry a black person.  I feel a mixture of helpless rage and heartbreak, I just can’t get it right, and neither can they.

I fear the fact that Nelson Mandela never renounced violence.  I know everyone is saying wonderful things about him and I feel touched by those things.  I daren’t say too much for fear of betraying my ignorance of politics and the profound changes which have irreversibly come about in relation to his name.  President Obama said he belongs to the ages.  Hopefully the ages won’t forget and go backwards.  Hopefully the ages won’t employ the violence that was not renounced by their revered father.

Edit note:

I feel really stupid.  I watched a documentary tribute tonight by David Dimbleby which reminded me of the Truth And Reconciliation councils and I saw some of the footage.  I also saw where Nelson Mandela told his followers to take their weapons and throw them in the sea, so he did renounce violence and asked his followers to.   I remember hearing about the truth and reconciliation hearings a long time ago.

Interesting Week

It was my birthday on Sunday, I was 53.  I got 3 birthday cards, 1 from one of the women who lives here, 1 from the staff and one my sister sent to my mother for me which I got on Monday when I went to see her.  The staff bought me some presents, a snood and gloves, some Laura Ashley smelly stuff and some Milk Tray chocolates.  My mum gave me some money.

On Monday I got a call from Guinness Housing Association about a house in Bacup, in Lancashire.  They sent me an email with an outside view.  I made a mistake, I thought Bacup was in Derbyshire, but I must have mistaken it for Bakewell, because Bacup is in Lancashire.  The outside view is lovely, rolling hills and everything, white house in the middle of a terraced row.  I was a bit nervous about that, these days I am not very tolerant of noise and I want my home to be quiet.  Contrarily I have also wanted to be able to sing in my home, but I think those days might be over.  On the other hand it would be nice to think they were not.  I can see it in Bulgaria, but not here.  Even Bulgaria will take me some time to save up for.

Last Tuesday, the 19th, at the Managers’ hearing, Dr Moldavsky told the panel that I had talked about going to Bulgaria but that he thought it was unrealistic.  I brought that up with my allocated nurse yesterday and she told me he hadn’t said that at the time, but that we would have to talk about it.  I don’t know why he has suddenly decided it is unrealistic but he seemed to want to present it as a symptom of mental illness.  I resent him deeply, and especially the fact that he took that position.  He asks me questions to which I give short but adequate answers, then he eyes me in silence before asking me something else.  Every time I answer him he eyes me in silence, as if what I have given him is not enough or as if it is plenty to uphold the diagnosis.  He does not respect my boundaries because if he did he wouldn’t interpret them the way he does, as indicators of mental illness.  They have been dragging me emotionally through the same stuff with the same kinds of questions and disrespect for nearly 18 years.  Surely I have the right to say ‘no more’, but he won’t see it that way.  He wouldn’t tell me what part of the world he comes from but I suspect him as coming from a culture where people cow tow to professionals and where women cow tow to men.  He doesn’t see me as having the right to reject what he wants from me in terms of self disclosure.  I have the right not to disclose my pain and vulnerability to people who are going to define it in ways I fundamentally disagree with.  I hardly ever see the staff unless I need to ask them for paracetamol or Peptac for indigestion or heartburn, and they always on the surface accept my answer that everything is fine, and last week they said I had neither declined nor made progress, but I don’t think there has been enough engagement for them to make that assessment.  They thought it was positive that I accepted the injection, but I only accept it for fear of the consequences they would visit on me if I don’t.

I’m going to stop now.  I am writing in the lounge where a male nurse has just come in and called me darling and is cutting someone’s hair for her.  He is showing her photographs from his modeling shoot, one of which is for Playboy.  I think it is an insult that people who are prepared to model for Playboy should be contributing a professional opinion on my mental health.  They want him to go to London tomorrow to do some more.  I think it is his modeling agency, not Playboy.  I’m sitting here afraid to say anything about the morality of it and his morality in comparison to mine for fear of the backchat or straightforward lack of understanding it would provoke.  He’s Oh God-ing it now.  I am deeply offended and angry, because they play blind even if they are not.  Actually I should feel sorry for him and not judgmental, because he obviously is blind.  But I wonder if the unit manager knows about his extra work activities?

Coping With the Unavoidable Passing of Time

- Sue Barnett, BA English:

I can identify with this tonight.  I’m moving away from being vegan, or even vegetarian.

Originally posted on The Seeker's Dungeon:

photo credit: Sreejit Poole

photo credit: Sreejit Poole

I compromise my
truth with lies in order to
take step after step,

breath after breath as;
I caress my illusions
with death after death.

Grasping fantasy
as I compromise my truth
with lies, illusions

sooth the pain of a
soul whose warden can’t accept
life ticking away

– victimize every
lesson as I compromise
my truth with lies. Bent

on self-destruction
instead of realization
of truth; perceptions

are all moot when to
great lengths I’ll go to hide, that’s
why I compromise

my truth with lies, and
become the person that I
had once most despised.

 

For the Weekly Writing Challenge: Haiku

View original

Managers’ Hearing 19.11.2013

One of the things Dr Moldavsky said was that past behaviour is a guide to future behaviour, and he was talking about the fact that I had taken an overdose of paracetamol over 10 years ago.  He thinks I might do the same again, so he says, if I am off medication.  I was four years off medication recently and didn’t even consider suicide, and I decided years ago that I wasn’t going to overdose or anything else like that again.  I said that in the meeting.  It seems as if I am dealing with a determinist in Dr Moldavsky.  I doubt him, I don’t think his presentation was altogether honest.  It certainly was full of put downs.  He said I was trying to hide things and was guarded.  I have the right to decide how much I can psychologically and emotionally cope with saying to whom, and I do not choose to say the same things over again to a psychiatric team just to have them dismissed as delusion.  I have said it is like forced marriage.  It is life rape and I want it to end.

Much madness is divinest sense
To a discerning eye;
Much sense the starkest madness.
‘T is the majority
In this, as all, prevails.
Assent, and you are sane;
Demur, — you’re straightway dangerous,
And handled with a chain.

Dickinson, Emily (2011-03-24). Poems by Emily Dickinson, Series One (p. 26). . Kindle Edition.

Amazing You-Tube testimonial by former drug rep Gwen Olsen.

I can’t watch this at the moment, but what caught my attention was something in the comments about a niece who killed herself because hope and human rights to freedom are withdrawn from psychiatric patients.  That’s what it looks like anyway.  I’ll leave you to watch it.  They might mean well, but in the opinion of many of the unwilling recipients of their well-meaning, they do bad.  It’s as bad as a forced marriage.  In Britain it either has been or is about to be made illegal to force someone to marry, but I and others like me are forced to have a relationship with these psychiatrists and their teams and we have no way out.

This morning I had a managers’ hearing at the hospital.  The doctor kept using emotive and demeaning language when talking about me.  He said I was strongly deluded and trying to hide paranoid thoughts, etc.  He said it was unrealistic for me to want to go to Bulgaria, even though I’ve already spent 21 months there.  I’m not sure how his name is spelt, he wouldn’t even tell me when I asked him what part of the world he is from, but he pronounces his name Moldovsky.  When I started reading an R D Laing book it said in the introduction that people have a right not to believe in the term ‘schizophrenia’ and all its baggage, but that if people said they don’t believe in it they are said to lack insight.  He kept saying that about me, and that I was guarded.  I told the managers’ panel about this quotation from R D Laing, but it didn’t change their position.  They have kept me on the section 3.  I was strongly advised by my solicitor this morning not to blog about this place.  Tonight I was invited to play bingo in one of the other bungalows and the man who was in charge slipped the word ‘schitz’ in twice, with no context for it.  If I complain about it I will be told that I am mistaken and that he wouldn’t do something like that.  I am afraid to write because it will bring bad feeling into sharp relief.  I am at Enright Close in Newark.  One of the women asked if he would only speak to her to be cheeky and he said yes.  I don’t now what kind of relationship they have with each other.  I can’t see why he couldn’t let himself be pulled up and say he was sorry.  They don’t take anything seriously except their job to observe us and write about us, and throw food away.  That’s how it feels today.  Given that that might not be too far from the truth, I can’t see how anyone can expect anyone to recover from anything here.  Not even enough respect and security to acknowledge when someone says they are being cheeky.  I’m afraid of it turning really nasty, as it did at Highbury and Macmillan Close.  When it matters, they are not approachable and not accountable.  That is my belief born of experience.  Trying to keep it nice is just hypocrisy, it isn’t nice anyway to keep it that way.

Frozen Shoulder

Today I was told that caffeine and alcohol are both bad for frozen shoulder, which I suffer from.  Apparently they block the action of natural anti-inflammatories  in the body.  The good news is things like turmeric and soya are good for it.  Last night I read that it can be linked to menopause and one woman found it helped to start HRT, in spite of the risks, as she said.  I understand there is an increased risk of cancer or something if you are on HRT, so obviously I would rather there was another remedy before that.  I saw a tweet from someone who was actually going to have an operation to solve the problem.  I was told it takes about a year to work itself out, but  something I read last night said it can hang around for seven years.  The article I read last night, recommending HRT, said it is a form of tendonitis and/or arthritis.  It is completely debilitating and painful, right down my arm, sometimes, and into my hand.  All the pain is on the outside of my arm, and it’s a nightmare.  I’m also getting the feeling that all the different choices of remedy might or might not work.  Some people say exercises work, but some people have steroid injections when exercise doesn’t work.  From what I can gather it is caused by something sticky in the shoulder socket.  I can lift my arm quite a bit as long as it isn’t outwards, the way the physiotherapist wanted me to lift it.  It makes me unfit for any real physical work.

Giant Niggles

1.  People who pepper their conversation with ‘like’.

2.  People who ride their bicycles on the pavement.

3.  Women who talk in a little girl close to tears voice and expect to get what they want all the time.

That’s all I can think of at the moment.  I might add more later.

Bulgaria Better Than Psychiatry

I’m thinking about Bulgaria again, and have been for a while.  I am still homeless and it is still possible to buy a house in stages there, if I can make peace with the person who was sending me details of such houses before, or find someone else who does the same thing.  I became annoyed with the last person I was talking to because he kept talking about crazy and mental, and it offended me.  In the end he said he didn’t think we could do business.  I don’t know of anyone else offering his terms.

The beauty of Bulgaria, apart from the natural beauty, is that I could shortly afford to buy a property there and it would be my own.  This would put me in a position I have never been in before, would alter my relationship with the country and its people and would greatly increase my personal stability, because the property would be my own.  Nothing to fear from landlords, and therefore not much cause for fear from anyone else really.

The UK and Bulgaria have an arrangement with each other whereby my British benefits could be paid into a Bulgarian bank account, except I would lose an element of my DLA.  I could take great joy and pleasure living in Bulgaria.  This is something I need to look into further.  When I was on Redwood 2 there was a man called John Butterworth who told me about this international arrangement.  He was the benefits advisor, but he left and he wasn’t replaced, so the job no longer exists.

We are getting to 2014, when Bulgaria comes into full relationship with the EU.  Very soon after that house prices there could soar, so I need to act almost immediately, except I can’t, because I don’t have enough money.  I need accommodation here first so that I can get all my benefits back in full, if saving is going to be a viable option.  In all my thinking I had really forgotten the stability that owning a property would give me.  I feel it as a joyful necessity and opportunity.

 

Updated Books Page

I’ve updated my books page today with some books by R D Laing.  I’ve read two and am reading one.  The two I have read are Knots and Sonnets.  At the back of Sonnets are some thoughts in prose which I found helpful.  The one I am reading is Sanity, Madness and the Family: Families of Schizophrenics, which is a book of case studies and transcriptions of taped interviews.  I’m not sure if it is of its time or not, but it is very interesting.  I have provided UK and USA Amazon links for each book.

R D Laing was a leading figure in the Antipsychiatry movement and established some houses in London as part of the Philadelphia Association which provides an alternative approach to mental distress.

Update 02.11.13 Housing

I have had a letter back from the housing association I registered with and because the council hasn’t accepted me as their responsibility I have only been allocated 45 points instead of 1,545 which I could have.  1000 would come from the council accepting me as statutory homeless, and another 500 would come from where I am now at the hospital if I had provided proof, but proof wasn’t asked for, as far as I remember.  My CPN has said that she will try to get the council to write a letter saying that I am homeless but not their responsibility , that would get me 1000 points.  When I first came to Nottingham I was their responsibility because I had an uncle and a sister in the area, but they have since changed their rules so that you have to have lived in the area for three out of five years to qualify for their help.

The housing association I registered with covers a lot of areas in the north and in the midlands, and I have asked for my 6 areas to be expanded so that I can be offered anything anywhere.  Really I want to move back to London or somewhere like Cornwall, Dorset or Devon, but there aren’t a lot of housing associations which, like this one, you can use independently of the council points system and bidding.  Most of them are linked to the bidding system, so I’m going to have to do some research.

Apparently I can get help with a bond and the first month’s rent if I go private.  I read today that it might be social services’ responsibility to offer me help, but I don’t know what is meant by help.  Maybe I am getting all the help they can give me at the moment.  I am in touch with a team from Framework, my CPN is trying to help me.  I’m not sure what else I could or should expect, or how quickly.  I am in hospital, but it seems it is being treated as temporary accommodation.  Although it is shared bungalows it is still hospital and I would have hoped things might go a bit faster.  I am not eligible to bid anywhere at the moment.  The charity/housing association has said it will not be in touch again unless it can offer accommodation, and that if it can’t offer anything within 6 months I’ll be asked if I want to stay on their list. Obviously I’m hoping to be housed before then.

By deciding to see my problems in the community as completely a product of mental illness the authorities have taken away the home that I had as emergency housing with Nottingham City Council and I now have to start all over again, not eligible to bid anywhere.  In the meantime I am still having to pay £140 every 4 weeks to keep my belongings in storage.  I wish now that I had just let my belongings go, it has cost me so much already and I don’t know if I am going to get a big enough place to accommodate them all.  I asked customer services if I could apply for a house or bungalow with two bedrooms, on the basis of a very small flat I saw in Nottingham, nothing like the one I had in London, and they told me I could if I was prepared to pay the extra.  But the letter I have had from them says I qualify for a one bedroom property and doesn’t even acknowledge the covering letter I sent with my application, so I’m not sure what is happening.

Coincidence

I can’t remember if I have written this already, but a few weeks ago I was on a train back from Nottingham and I sat next to a man I got talking to.  He seemed very nice, and he had just started a new job as a salesman.  Near the end of the conversation it came about that we found out that his grandmother used to live where I live now.  That is something, isn’t it?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-24720069#TWEET937913

This prison is exactly like psychiatric hospital acute wards in the UK, except for the electric shocks, the acute wards don’t do that.  They call people’s credibility into doubt as well in the same way that doubt is cast on a psychiatric patient.  The news story this links to shows a guard being interviewed and acknowledging that electric shocks were given and that inmates were forcibly injected.  There is a man who says he wasn’t a danger to anyone and my own experience gives me no reason to doubt him.  The fact that he is a criminal doesn’t mean his testimony about this isn’t reliable.  A man was injected for complaining about the food.  The guard says that inmates had to be made afraid of them because they are few, even though they knew it was against the law.  Psychiatric hospitals are the same.  Most compliance comes from the fear of the consequences of not complying.  It is torture and terrorism.  Someone has to help us.  Please.

Update 27.10.2013 – Hospital and Housing

I’ve been obsessive about my stats recently and it’s been an obsession that has pushed everything else out.  I could have kept my blog up to date but I haven’t, so here is a bit more.

Last Saturday I sat down and filled in an application for housing with a housing charity, and at the moment I am waiting to hear what points I’ve been allocated.  I am hoping very much that things will move quickly.  There were boxes for six separate area codes and I filled them all in, but even that might not be flexible enough.

Life in the residential hospital is not too bad.  The main thing for me at the moment is that the fridge-freezer is easily big enough for a family, but not for four individuals.  It looks to me as if two of us are doing a weekly shop, and there just isn’t sufficient space really.  It is frustrating that we are doubling up on things and I’m sure there is a lot of wastage because things don’t get eaten quickly enough.  I’m not the one with the least space, apparently, and the one who thinks she has the least space keeps putting her stuff on top of mine, and it annoys me.

Also people doing big sharp knocks on the door and asking if I’m all right when I am trying to relax.  It jolts me out of it.

About two or three weeks ago I had a problem with one of the residents who keeps staring at me when I am focusing on something else.  I asked her why she was doing it and she said she wasn’t, I was being paranoid.  Then she told me to shut up and said I was kicking off when I didn’t like that, so now I’m not talking to her, nor she to me.

The nurses I encounter are nice, usually, but I daren’t talk to them about how I feel about my diagnosis and medication, normally, because I fear they won’t understand.  I’m keeping a low profile at the moment about the things I don’t like which I usually see towards other people on occasion.  I don’t want a repetition of Rowan 2 and other places.  When I become aware of it, normally in the shower (and I’ve self-neglected a fair bit recently), I suppress an urge to scream.  I guess screaming isn’t allowed or looked on very favorably, and I have an iron grip on myself to make sure I don’t scream, I daren’t put myself in that situation here.

That’s all for now.  Thanks to my new followers for following.  Welcome aboard.  I hope it won’t get too boring for you.  I’m pretty monomaniacal at times.

In a sermon called ‘Final Words’, David Shearman’s last sermon as the Senior Minister at the Christian Centre in Nottingham, David talked about a man who had come to Talbot Street several years before claiming to have a message from God that was to be delivered to the people and not run past the leaders first.  David would not let him speak without first telling him, and when he tried he was drowned out.  He left in anger shaking the dust off his shoes, literally, saying the Spirit had been quenched.  David or another leader said yes it had, but that it was his spirit, not God’s.  He went to another church where, apparently, he caused a stir, because he was allowed to speak without checking it out first.  Eventually the man came back to Talbot Street apologising and asking for forgiveness and David said of course he forgave him and said ‘let’s pray’.

What worried me was what David said next.  It worried everyone else as well, because it was followed by several seconds silence.  I don’t know that it worried everyone for the same reasons.  What he said was, ‘he didn’t live very long after that’.  It seemed to me that he was saying that God had judged him by ending his life early.  He didn’t say that, but the suggestion seems to have been there.  Someone said to him in the past that he had noticed that if anyone opposed David things didn’t go well for them after that, and David told him he had learnt a good thing or that he had done well to notice it.

The Bible has stories of people’s lives ending early in judgment, even in the New Testament, so it isn’t easy to oppose the idea of it happening today.  But I do think it is rather dark and unhealthy if David was putting that idea out in relation to himself, especially given that the man had come back to ask for forgiveness.  I also think it is dark and unhealthy to be trusting the church to new leaders with the impartation of such an idea as his parting gift and reassurance.

I’ve thought about this several times since hearing it.  It is only over the last day or so that I have thought I might have misunderstood, and read something in that wasn’t intended, but in light of what he said before it isn’t unlikely that I understood it right the first time.  And if that is what he is saying about a man’s death, it makes sense that that belief will translate also into how he treats the living.  Some of the living he treats as though they were dead, as do other ministers.  Faced with ministers who behave that way the ideas of love and forgiveness have become inadequate for resolving and mending relationships.  This has been my experience.

As well as this, I was in a meeting where he preached and talked about where God had said something like heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool, where is the house you will build for me?  He interpreted it as God challenging the hearer to build Him a house.  That didn’t make sense to me, although now I can see the possibility that that was the right interpretation, but I thought God was saying He didn’t need a house and trying to stop the would-be builder.  The only reason I am doubting my own interpretation is because we could be said to need a house in which to worship God in peace and safety.

- Sue Barnett, BA English:

Like the writer of this blog, I sometimes feel as if I have nothing valuable to say about the mental health system and my experience, but the article referred to and linked to here is something I think is worth reading, in spite of or because of its length, you decide. It portrays the American DSM-5 as dystopian literature and the writers as blind and obsessive.  http://thenewinquiry.com/essays/book-of-lamentations/

Originally posted on This blog needs more windows:

I hope I’m not speaking too soon, but the second half of today has got me thinking (hoping!) that I might be coming out of my month+-long funk*! I still have a sinus infection, which makes me grumpy, but I feel lighter today and I actually have been slowly progressing through the edits I have to do. A couple of small but notable happenings that have made me feel so hopeful:

1) I went to the mouth doctor today (forgive my lack of knowledge of medical terms) for my bi-annual monitoring of a hole in my jaw (I don’t know the proper term for this “condition” either. All I know is it’s rare but no big deal as long as it remains benign). Anyway, the doctor said that since my biopsy, the hole appears to be filling in with bone (apparently a good sign- yay!) This is good, but the…

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Actually, that’s not how I think.  I have what I believe to be a really unhelpful habit of looking back and blaming myself for so many things.  The way I think, it sometimes seems as if I must hate my younger self.  I feel as if I can see that I was totally wrong.  There are people who would rejoice in that, people who have already told me it is all my fault and take no responsibility for the inhumanity of their own words and actions towards me.  Some church people have been so strict and confrontational with me you wouldn’t know it was church people you were dealing with.  Those people, according to what has been said to me, still don’t want anything to do with me and are insistent that I stay away from them.  The Shearmans, the Coleses, are only two examples.  At the Christian Centre, Nottingham, one of the pastoral staff told me I was welcome to come to church but that I had frightened the Shearmans with silent calls about 16-17 years ago and I was to stay away from them. First of all they and their staff had frightened and angered me, and I was just being frightened, angry and confused OCD with my first ever mobile phone.  I’m sorry that I frightened them but they and their staff had also frightened and offended me.  They were targeting me from the platform.  I know this because one day one of them approached me and told me to leave because I wasn’t doing what I was being told to do.  As I remember it it was only coming from the platform, they weren’t talking to me otherwise.  And I think what the Coleses and their staff did to me was really nasty.  I was angry without any sign of violence, and it seems they have such an exalted idea of their position that they thought it was OK to pronounce sickness over me.  That was Moira Knight, one of their trusted few, in John Coles’s presence.  He didn’t say she was wrong.  I couldn’t believe what she had said to me, and it exploded in my mind how far they were prepared to go to resist me and keep me under.  It was a very effective double bind, which R D Laing said was operational in a lot of people called schizophrenic.

Knots by R D Laing

I bought this book recently from the internet, I think Amazon.  It was delivered this morning.  I was first introduced to it by one of my English teachers at 6th form.  She read something that went:

I know
He knows I know
I know he knows I know

and it is full of things of the same ilk that I just get lost in.  I tried to be with it and stay with it but in the end I just ended up believing he wanted us to laugh at the convolution of it all.  People say that laughter is the best therapy, and if he just wanted to wear us out with all the permutations to make us laugh at ourselves and with each other – I thought it was a bit like reading Zen koans.  One of the poems says that what they want from each other is generosity, not one thinking the other is greedy while the other in turn thinks the first is mean.  I think laughter opens the door to generosity, especially the laughter that can arise when you realise you are beaten by the representation of what is going on in the relationship.  That is, unless he is much more intelligent than I am and there are others who manage to keep up where I can’t.  Sometimes I experience a little breakthrough in understanding what he is portraying, and there are places of identification, especially identification from the past of how I used to think and feel in relationships.  I was surprised to see something I went through a few years ago represented, where I thought, basically, that I wasn’t entitled to anything so I was stealing everything I had, or getting it by trickery.  Part of that was the belief that all money is dirty by association somewhere along the line.  Another was being afraid that if someone loved and respected me they were wrong, because I was awful, and the only people I could respect or trust were those who didn’t seem to respect me.

Anyway, I haven’t finished it.  I’ve got about half way through.  There was one poem in particular which really made me throw my hands up in despair of being able to understand it.  It was written in about 6 parts.  Maybe it was meant for performance.  It seems it might be the only way to keep up with it.  I have no idea how much was him having a romping good laugh and how much was a serious unfolding.  I feel sure its main purpose must be to make us loosen up.

Loss, Mortality And Related Issues

I learned something I didn’t know yesterday.  I was watching ‘That Was The Life That Was’, about the late Sir David Frost, and I learned that ‘That Was The Week That Was’ had its first broadcast on my 2nd birthday.  A year later, 2 days before my 3rd birthday, President John Kennedy was assassinated.  I remember watching News at Ten on that day and I was aware that something serious had happened.  I felt very sad and shocked when I heard that David Frost had died.  I think the first I knew of him was when he presented ‘This Is Your Life’, which I always liked to watch.  I found myself wishing last night that my dad had watched TW3 and introduced me to it, but I was only 2.  The programme last night was followed up with ‘Frost on Satire’, and it showed clips from ‘Spitting Image’.  In its time I never watched it and wouldn’t have known who all the characters were, I think I might have seen it twice.  I recognised some of the characters last night though.

Hearing of many people dying, some of whom are not much older than me, makes me feel bereaved, and also aware of my own mortality.  I know I’m only 52, 53 next month, but I am feeling the fact of my own death coming up and it isn’t the best feeling in the world.  I keep feeling there have been so many missed opportunities.  I keep seeing people who have grown up, in the media, and wishing I was like them, that someone had fought properly for me to be educated when I decided that I didn’t like school so I wasn’t going, after my father died.  I feel no one really fought for my family.

I’m sitting in Costa at the moment.  I’ve just had a large mocha and downloaded the two Frost programmes I’ve just been talking about.

I was aware of David Frost partly because I knew he was a Christian.  I feel really upset writing this.  ‘That Was The Life That Was’ showed clips from things that formed a fair bit of my memory.  I remember the President Nixon thing, I saw ‘All The President’s Men’ when it came out.  I remember being in a prayer meeting at Talbot Street when the Watergate Scandal erupted and Gerald Ford took over.  In the meeting people were praying against sin and for righteousness and I wanted to pray that God would help Richard Nixon and his family, because I felt very sad for him, but I didn’t dare pray that way.  No one else was.

I’m not sure how much of this is sadness, really, over these past events and memories, and how much of it is just displaced sadness and grief over my present situation.  Feelings can re-attach to anything.  I admire people like Ian Hislop so much but know they don’t know me and probably wouldn’t be interested in me if they did, because the truth is I have nothing to offer.  Maybe that is what idolatry is, attachment to so many people who don’t even know I exist and might not be interested if they did know.  It is miserable, painful and embarrassing and fruitless and pointless, maybe that is why God commands against idolatry, because in the end it is so painful.  I am nursing a hope that Ian Hislop and so many others will see this and care.  How silly is that?  But what if?  THAT would be fun . . . !

Maybe that is the skill of the programmes I saw last night, hitting on so many memories for so many people, and bringing them to life again.  I feel a bit left behind and I’m crying for someone to help me catch up.

I’m missing Tommy Boyd as well.  I met him properly once.  We tried to have a proper conversation.  He’s deleted his blog and left Facebook and Twitter.  I never thought he would do any of that, especially not deleting his blog.  I feel lost without him and I feel attached to him.  I thought he was trying to help me.  I never thought he would leave broadcasting, but from the lack of information about him on the web at the moment it seems he has done jut that.  A lot of my stability and courage, when I had it, came from him.  I went to his house a few months ago, after I absconded from Macmillan Close, ad his wife was there and we had a conversation in which she told me he probably wasn’t interested and reminded me of when they had called the police.  I am grieving because I thought he wanted to help me.  I feel hopeless and helpless without him.  He told the story of a gorilla that was castrated for raging and throwing stones at people that used to taunt it.  He said that was what they were doing to us as well.  I identified with that with regards to my situation with the mental health services.  He said he thought it was wrong, that people should have been told not to taunt him and a proper environment maintained for him.  Anyway, he is inaccessible now.  I don’t know if he will ever be accessible to me.  I thought he was going to be.  I thought he wanted to be.  I never thought I would have to abandon hope with regard to him, and indeed I dare not.  I wonder what is going on with him?  I wonder if he is OK?

Christianity and Veganism – Either/Or?

Today I went to a Zizzi restaurant in Newark.  All I wanted was a glass of wine but I thought I had better at least buy an Italian bread bucket, as it is a restaurant not a pub.  As a vegan I was not thinking that the fining process for the wine had probably involved the use of animal or fish products.  I wasn’t thinking, all I wanted was a glass of wine after over two weeks not drinking anything.  In the end I had two glasses of wine, sea bream and tiramisu.  Some vegan I am?  Yes, absolutely.  I keep wanting to ‘eat normally’, ie, not vegan, and sometimes I give in to the urge.  The last two or three months I have given in a few times.  Until tonight, over the last two weeks I have been OK and stuck to the straight and narrow path of being a vegan.  It’s been better for my digestion as well.

Today, before this, I was thinking that the reason I am a vegan is that eating non-vegan harms animals, even just using their products, given the farming methods used, and that it brutalises people, especially at the extreme end of those who work in slaughter houses.  I wanted to be a vegan because I wanted to affirm myself as a human being who does not harm or cause suffering to animals and is not in any way involved with it.  There are people who say they would never harm a fly who eat meat and fish and their products regularly.  They are in denial.  Other people are being paid to do the dirty work for them and they buy the sanitised product at the end, and obviously recognise no link between themselves and any harm or suffering caused to an animal.  If they say they would never harm a fly and mean it, their thoughts and feelings lack clarity.

At the moment, though, I could joyfully abandon veganism.  I often crave foods that are not vegan, the vegan equivalents are just a bit harder to get hold of and a bit more expensive, and there have been times when I have eaten seitan when I have wanted to cut into some real flesh.

Christianity and Veganism – either/or?  Apart from two years in my teens I have always considered myself a Christian.  Even during the first years of being hospitalised I sometimes had difficulty seeing myself as Christian, but in those days I considered myself to be in a bad place in my life.  In my teens I embraced a life without God for two years.

The one thing we know about the things Jesus ate, if we believe the Bible, is that he ate fish.  For a few years now I have held to a position in my thinking if not always in my practice, that abstinence from all things animal is morally superior to indulgence.  So I was asking myself earlier today, where does that leave Jesus?  If it is better not to eat flesh or any of its products, where does that put the Saviour of the world, morally?  I get embarrassed when I don’t eat vegan.  I would be embarrassed to give up my vegan position, and have often seen my slips as sin.  If my slips are sin, did Jesus sin in eating fish?  Yet I have seen my veganism as part of my Christianity.  I have thought a great deal of the vegans I have met, robust and beautiful people.  Is it enough to say that Jesus was a man of his time and ate flesh without sinning?  I think vegetarians and vegans existed in those days as well.

I don’t know about veganism, but vegetarianism is an important part of some Eastern religions.  When the apostle Paul wrote to the Romans he recognised that some people did not eat meat and saw them as the weaker brethren with weaker consciences, and said that if his eating meat caused any of them to stumble he would never eat meat again.  There is no reason in the text to believe he did not mean this and it seems possible that he might have become vegetarian himself, because undoubtedly there were people who would have been stumbled by his eating meat.  I’m wondering if I am making too big a thing of this in believing that holding to a position that veganism is morally superior and preferable is incompatible with me calling myself a Christian in the traditional sense.  The kind of Christianity I have believed in says that Jesus was sinless, yet He ate fish, at the very least.

Paranoid?

One of the questions I used to get asked by psychiatrists was ‘do you think anyone is trying to harm you?’  My answer now would have to be ‘yes, I do.’  The man who viciously slandered me saying I had chased him up the street with a knife obviously has done something injurious to me.  I did not chase him up the street with a knife.  I didn’t chase him, and I never had a knife in my hand when outside my flat.  Other things have also been made up, presented out of context, or exaggerated.  Yes, someone has been trying to harm me, and has succeeded.  He is not the only person.  Other people have spoken and acted injuriously also.  I know what they have said and done, and have documented some of it in this blog.  It isn’t paranoia and shouldn’t be called paranoia.  That is bad practice and a miscarriage of justice.

Am I Just Gullible?

What I don’t like about Szasz is his position that we are all entitled to take drugs.  It seems to me that this is a position that people would have good reasons for opposing, and I myself feel that his argument against institutional psychiatry, which I agree with, is undermined by his position on so-called recreational drug use.  We all know about ‘bad trips’ and I don’t know if bad trips would be eradicated if the supply were officially controlled and therefore ‘pure’.  I suppose no one else knows either, and that because of the effects of ‘bad trips’ it isn’t something that could be tested out on scientific research volunteers or paid people, the risks might be too great.  I do not feel as supported by his argument against institutional psychiatry as I would like to feel because of this.  I myself do not have a history of drug use, and cannot say that I know that people with such a history are not helped by psychiatric drugs.  I wish he did not take this position on recreational drugs.

I’ve also never really read or understood any Foucault, I just know he is a big name in French literature, philosophy and politics, and I’m only using those three classifications to make sure all my bases are covered, because to me he is just a name.  I have got a book of Essential Foucault from the library, though, which I intend to read soon, with my other reading.

Also I get confused at the moment because I am feeling more or less OK and that the only thing which is negative about my present existence is that I am having an injection every two weeks.  I do realise that people could say that I am feeling OK because of the injection and not in spite of it, but my feeling of OK is very limited, because I am a lot more inhibited than I was off medication, and hopeful that people in the hospital will see that I am really OK and don’t need to be on drugs.  I can more or less cope socially and feel that I could before as well, even if things could have been interpreted as being more painful.  There is an argument for saying that other things that break down are sent for repair and things added to them to make them work right, so why not me as a person?  But inwardly I am constantly so much hoping that I will be taken off medication, and I resent the abuses I experienced on other wards that led to the decision to restart medication.  Abuses like being told my problem with door slamming was all because of my mental illness, for instance.

I phoned Richard at Macmillan Close yesterday because I was sad it hadn’t worked out and wanted to tell him so and that I thought he had been really kind to me.  I’m sure it was an easier conversation by phone than it might have been face to face.

There are so many things that confuse me in the Bible.  I was just thinking that Paul says to submit to authority and to obey every law instituted among men for the Lord’s sake.  But Peter and the apostles were told not to preach anymore in the Name of Jesus and Peter told them they should obey the Lord and not men, and preached anyway and got flogged, and imprisoned, and an angel let him out in the dead of night.  I suppose again it is just a matter of confidence or of no confidence whichever of these church leaders give to any one of their people at any time, or opinion as to which they preach to a congregation.  Yet they say obey your leaders as if they really have a divine right.  You can only go so far in obeying your leaders.  Surely honesty recognises that their own denomination probably exists because they or someone before them did not obey a leader?

Mish-Mash Musings 2

In my last post I wrote about how the Church, during the Inquisition, used to ‘relax’ people into the hands of the state so they could be burnt, and wrote about the parallel drawn by Thomas Szasz between this and the mental health movement.  He said that in a religious age ‘heretics’ were ‘relaxed’ into the hands of the state, but in the so-called enlightened age the parallel is that society turns to the mental health movement for the upholding of the dominant culture.  However, the Church is part of the society which does this, and does it itself.  So for the mental patient who is also a Christian, there is no ‘comfort’ for them in religion.  The mental health system is part of the new way of dealing with ‘heretics’ for the church.  The church believes in this, or says it does, and largely it accords the mental health system the same authority as the rest of society does, except for some people.  It might decide that some people are really not mentally ill and try to help them, but on the whole it validates the mental health system and its ideas.  So someone like me can become very isolated since the Church refers me back to the mental health services.  Admittedly I have not been to every existing church, but the ones that have been part of my life to date have all said the same thing, that they believe I am mentally ill, so accepting the categorisation in the first place.  Many other religious bodies do the same thing.  Scientology does not.  I have only recently discovered that Thomas Szasz had links with Scientology.  For some people this will put them off him, but there are others who hold the some of same views who do not have those links, the writers and editors of This Is Madness, for instance, and Foucault, and R D Laing.  R D Laing was ridiculed for turning to Buddhism, apparently.  I was told this by one of the nurses on Rowan 2, I think, and they said how ironic it was that the psychiatric system is itself now looking towards things like mindfulness as a way of raising people’s consciousness.  They wouldn’t call it raising people’s consciousness, but essentially that is what it is.

I’m not on Rowan 2 at the moment, I was transferred to Newark on Friday night. It is a place like Macmillan Close, complete with door slamming!  I’m not sure how I feel and I hope it is not a matter of my choice, because there are pros and cons with both.  I was told at 6.30 pm on Friday evening that the transfer was going to be made and that I had no right to refuse.  Steve, who was on duty, told me it was only temporary and that I am expected to go back some time this week, citing my housing situation and residence in Nottingham a a reason for me going back.  However, the staff in Newark are under the impression that I am here long term and that housing can be dealt with from here.  I’m confused and feel very disorientated.  I said I didn’t want to come because I don’t know Newark, and that seems to me a good reason at the moment.  I have been homeless 2 years now, Friday was the anniversary, and it can’t be good for me to keep being so uprooted.

Mish-Mash Musings

I’m not sure why I have called this Mish-Mash Musings except that I know where I am going to start but not where I am going to finish, which I suppose is OK if I’m not writing an essay but a blog entry, and not hoping to make Freshly Pressed (though I would love to).  I feel like trashing this already and starting again, but I never trash anything I write, so I’m afraid it rests.

The place I am going to start is with an incident I read about in a book called ‘The Manufacture of Madness’ By Thomas Szasz.  The book compares the mental health movement (his term, not mine) with the Inquisition.  It says that the two things are the same, in that first they decided what one was (heretic, witch, mentally ill person) then they went looking for them and treating them as their law allows/requires/demands.  With heretics and witches under the Inquisition he talks about the church ‘relaxing’ heretics out of its own hands into the hands of the law and legal process – a bit like the Jews did with Jesus, because they had no law to put a man to death (see also John 16:2, “Anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God”).

In psychiatry, if the psychiatrist says you are mentally ill and you say otherwise, it is said that you lack insight.  I know this and Thomas Szasz also says so.  He has us down as the people that are called paranoid schizophrenics.  This has definitely been my experience.  Under the Inquisition unrepentant heretics were burned alive, while those who changed their minds were strangled and then burned.  The incident a read about the other day talked about a man who, faced with the fire, said that he would convert himself to the faith of Jesus Christ, and that this was apparently a time of great rejoicing for the inquisitors, where the hugged him and welcomed him back into the arms of the church, then immediately afterwards they had him strangled and burnt.  Thomas Szasz draws the same parallel with psychiatry.  I’m not sure if Thomas Szasz wanted to see an end to all psychiatry or only the enforced kind, but he did say in this book that the inquisitors didn’t want too many heretics to be burnt whereas they shouldn’t have been burning any at all.  The Inquisition was torture, and Thomas Szasz says that so is psychiatry.  That has certainly been my experience.  He talks about having the idea of mental illness accepted by the popular mind, just as heresy used to be so feared and so treated/punished.  Both the Inquisition and psychiatry had two purposes, one for the protection of society and the other for the ‘good’ of the accused/patient.  By putting the word ‘good’ in inverted commas I am staying true to the message and spirit of the book, as well as owing the inverted commas as my own.

I have been reading quite a bit about Transactional Analysis as well.  I’ve read (again) Games People Play by Eric Berne MD, the founder of TA, and I’ve Just started reading I’m OK, You’re OK by Thomas A Harris MD.  Dr Harris points out in the opening pages of his book that not only do the words Parent, Adult, Child have different meanings from usual in this context, but so does the word OK, so I’m looking forward to reading this book to the end.  I didn’t read it when it first became popular because a Church I was in said the message was untrue to Christianity which says we all need redemption because we are not OK.  There is also a chapter in the book about this approach to human relationships in the context of morality, which is a chapter I am looking forward to reading.  Dr Harris advises against just dipping in or reading the end first as understanding is established and built on from beginning to end.

This Is Madness

I’ve read a bit more of this book and I’m finding it very interesting.  For me one of the most important things it says is that with physical illnesses diagnosis starts with something happening in the body and ends up with the diagnostic concept, but with ‘so-called’ mental illness it is the other way round, that it starts with a concept and mental conglomeration in the minds of physicians and they then go looking for people who fit the concept, like crusaders.  The concept is fleshed out in committee and applied to individuals, rather than subjective symptoms first being recognised in the individual and a remedy sought.  That is my memory of what was said in the chapter called ‘Diagnosis’.

I’ve just ordered another book as well called ‘Untrain Your Parrot’ by Elizabeth Hamilton.  It is a well grounded and often humorous approach to Zen.  The book is in the Multi-Faith room at the hospital but we are not allowed to take them out, and sometimes no one is there who can unlock the cabinet where the books are kept.  It makes sense that the books shouldn’t leave the room, it keeps them available and in good condition.  I have found that when I have spent time reading it in there I approach things in a better and lighter mood.  I’m looking forward to having my own copy because I think it is something that I will read and dip into more than once

I’m a lot more open and self-controlled on the ward these days, but I still feel angry, hurt and frustrated at what I see happening with other people.

I’ve got a bad cold at the moment.

We have started making approaches to accommodation.  It seems to me it could move either very quickly or more slowly than I would like.  I would like it to move quickly.

I’ve been reading a few ‘Freshly Pressed’ selections and really enjoying them.  They are so interesting.  I just read one called ‘There was no escaping his father’s words’ which made quite an impact on me.  It’s about a man who meets up in later life with his father who had told him that he was going from fad to fad and I felt those words from his father had partly shaped the man’s life.

I don’t feel able to write much more today.  I am generally feeling quite upset and that I need to cry.  That is what I usually feel inside.  I’ve had no intimacy for a very long time now, and I feel very much that I am getting old.  I am nearer death than birth.  For a wonderful period in my 30s I was unafraid, but now I feel a bit wobbly.  I’m not sure if I’m a real Christian, and I have been taught and believe that only Christians go to heaven.  I have not been taught to be a liberal, and my emotional attachments don’t really allow it.  I have been taught, and believe, that there is a hell for people who are not Christians.  I know to some people that will make me sound really archaic.  I have found myself praying that love and mercy will be my judge in the end, that love (God is love) will save me at death.  There is also the teaching that not everyone will die but Jesus will come back and some people who are living will be caught up to Heaven.  I suppose many people want to believe they will be among those who do not die.  I would like to live beyond 80, even to 100.  I’m afraid I will die much sooner.  I’m really afraid that I might go to hell, and I’m afraid that there will be no one who cares for me intimately when I die.  I have no children and no partner, and the only member of my family I am in contact with is my mother.  I would like not to feel so tired and worn out, and upset and vulnerable, and as if my time now is not worth anything and won’t be, that I have passed a point where there was a point.

Today I’m Going to Write About . . .

The feeling that I can’t write.  No, I’m not, I’m going to write about the fact that my head feels numb.  I should have taken procycledin but I didn’t because Tracy was on and I didn’t want to ask her.  Also I’ve had a glass of wine and I’m about to have another.

I’ve borrowed a book from the library called ‘This Is Madness’.  It’s a compilation by three young mental health professionals from the 90s.  It talks a bit about empiricism – ‘if it works, keep using it’, but that really it is about controlling behaviour on the ward rather than about sickness.  Talks about lobotomies and how neuroleptics (renamed anti-psychotics for political reasons) do the same thing and how they alter the brain.  I should think they also alter experience.  I feel very tired because I didn’t sleep much last night, until I played some Michael Mish on my mp3 player.  I fell asleep half way through but it was around 6 am by then, and people were beginning to move and slam doors.  I had an 11 am appointment which didn’t materialise until 1 pm.  Also it has been decided that doors should be locked at weekends as well as weekdays.  Terry came around saying time to lock up.  That was the first I knew of it.  At first I thought it must be Friday and I had made a mistake, then I thought maybe Terry wasn’t with it and he thought it was Friday when it was Saturday.  But no, we now have to lock up every day.  No rest days.

I’m censoring myself as I write today, because I think I’m being bitchy if I write what I have on my mind.  I’m going to uncensor myself.  I was thinking about Tracy and the time she said I wasn’t powerful enough to ‘have her job’, ie to cost her her job.  It was when we argued about what time the TV went off.  Although there is a notice up now saying 10.30 it often doesn’t happen then.  But it was her attitude, and her assumption that I’m ‘not powerful enough’.  I was told today that there was no reliable witness who saw me kicked so nothing was going to happen about it.  I’m wondering if it is in the same league.  I’m wondering if we are deemed not reliable because we are mental health patients.  If so that is definitely discrimination, isn’t it?

Tracy and Sharon both turn away from me and are nice to other people.  Tracy just ignores me, Sharon is rude to me, all the time.

I feel ill now whereas I didn’t so much before.  I have lost my alertness and sharpness, and a lot of it I can put down to emotional suppression.  I’m ever so tired, and I feel irritable.

I’m hoping I might be moving out of the hospital soon.  I’ve been told that unless I have lived in Nottingham for three years out of five I am not entitled to bid for housing but that I can go through the homelessness system.  If I do I’m hoping that will mean I will get at least a temporary flat and not get shoved in a hostel long term.  If so they have made a real mess of my life, if I end up being shoved in a hostel or B&B

Can’t Be Bothered

I can’t be bothered keeping up with everything, everything is too much of an effort.  I’m not helping myself, possibly, assuming that no one would want to be my friend.  I’m realising, I think and hope, that I have had plenty of opportunities to make friends away from the hospital with people who stop and talk to me, but I am afraid for when it goes further and gets complicated, not to mention even the first risks, because I feel as if I am unsure what being and having a friend is these days.  I’m not watching TV so it almost feels as if the things I have believed to be happening aren’t anymore because I’m not watching to see it.  Enough.

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