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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.
For me, that question mark is not just the either/or that I have been taught, it is also questioning the either/or itself.
Pentecostal/Charismatic Christianity is Soooo arrogant and elitist, or at least it appears so to me in presenting such a false dichotomy. Why? Why take such an entrenched position? Please. . . . It’s not even Biblical. There is at least one verse of the Bible, that I know, that has been completely ignored in this position, or maybe it has just been ‘better’ translated? I don’t know. The verse I know is James 1:27 “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”. Having just looked it up I see the word is used twice in the preceding verse as well.
OK, I’m just thinking now. I know where I want to go but I’m not sure how I’m going to get there.
Martin Luther called the Book of James ‘straw’. I don’t know why he was personally motivated to do that. We have different historical accounts and opinions from many sides, I am sure, none of which I have examined, because I think I wouldn’t be any the wiser for doing so. The multiplicity of Christian denominations and their (I suppose) sincere disagreements, and all the internal disagreements . . . . what are people really united in? In the end, the delegated power of the chosen wins, at least in their own circles. Maybe that is too pessimistic of me.
OK. According to the AV translation of James, Christianity IS a religion. This asserted dichotomy – mistaken, I want to believe – is really contemptuous and alienating and belittling to beautiful, loving and sincere people who seek – and find – truth in other religions. We were told that the Devil (in other religions) takes a little bit of truth and mixes it in with a lot of error, to lead people astray. Excuse me – does anyone know he also does this in Christianity? In every human heart? Love covers. Grace covers. Any true seeker? Anyone who knows that he doesn’t know, but wants to know and be. Jesus can be, and is, found, in measure, anywhere people want to know Him. Even in Christianity.
For me this is all theory and it feels right and good, but I feel as if it isn’t working in my life right now, and the Christian onlookers I know would definitely say it isn’t. So maybe I’m wrong. I want to be. I want to go back to pure and simple Christianity. My heart has needs that argument and positions can’t deal with.
I’m not a good writer, I never save drafts. I never – hardly ever – ‘kill my darlings’. I write then publish, for all sorts of reasons. Maybe I shouldn’t, if anyone wants to give their opinion on that I’ll be more than happy to think about it and maybe even discuss it, if I feel up to it.
Thanks for reading. All feedback through this blog or on Facebook welcome. Twitter doesn’t allow sufficient characters, it gets incredibly frustrating! 🙂
Everyone knows the background and experience from which I am saying this, so I won’t go into it again. I think I’ve learnt that MY life and the way I actually WANT to be treated doesn’t matter to ANYONE. No one takes anything by faith, they want to see what THEY believe to be evidence first, and even then they insist on their own terms, hiding and justifying their crimes of stalking and corruption. I’m scared to say this, I feel as if I am committing an indecency and outrage. My heart is really soft, I’m always aware of my own failures and inconsistencies when I say something like this. At some point in Church I was taught that we shouldn’t defend ourselves. That confession of sin should be confession of sin and we should make no excuses. One pastor, at least, said that as Christians we have no rights. I suppose that must be ordinary Christians like me, not Church leaders, who seem to feel they have the right to twist and break the law in relation to me and maybe call it discipline, I don’t know what they are calling it anymore. The expectation seems to be that they call and identify from their studios and platforms and I should respond. Or are they deliberately trying to keep me alienated by continuing to do something they know I believe is holding onto their corruption and criminality towards me, as a mental patient in particular? Are they just identifying me to others, in my hearing, should I choose to listen, and criticising my life to hide their own crimes? Sometimes I really think so, that I think I matter too much if I actually think they are calling me by these methods. Shouting out and bullying and cowering behind the trenches, wheedling and pleading, bitter, acrid, sugary, anything and everything except send an email or something that puts any power into my hands and takes any responsibility. I have so many memories. That’s just the Church, let alone secular media. And those memories are added to daily.
I heard this term today on The Chase and decided to look it up, and I found this article on Wikipedia. It’s quite extensive and I find it interesting. It also talks about the reverse halo effect. It’s a psychological phenomenon, it is claimed, in which a favourable or unfavourable judgment of the whole is based on one trait or aspect alone.
I’ve written about my neighbour before, how he keeps banging and shouting at me. He’s been doing it for months, especially when I have my music on, even if it’s not particularly loud, at points where I feel it begins to open up. He does it when I’m singing as well, even when it’s not loud, and it rarely is, I’ve been that intimidated in recent months. He used to say he liked my singing. Now he seems to be using my points of openness to command me like a dog. I know he’s having problems, and I have said repeatedly that he should go to the police, but he seems to prefer to make me feel miserable. Recently I’ve been finding ways to yield and not vent, to go inside myself, but sometimes I boil over and, after about two hours of it last night I decided I’d had enough. The thing is, he sometimes sounds so pathetic, it goes right to my heart. But there is nothing I can do. The power is in his hands, and he prefers to use it towards me.
I’ve been feeling really desperate about this for ages. I reported it to the council, I told them everything, including the fact that I was getting hysterical and shouting back and that I was concerned for him and that we used to have a good relationship, or so I felt, even though, on closer examination, the harassment from his household started quite early in my tenancy, but it only manifested as one incident which I felt to be a shocking and outrageous invasion of privacy. Someone from the council came round and he told them there was no problem, that I had a lovely singing voice and was very supportive. I’ve not been able to be ‘supportive’ towards him for ages, and don’t see that as my role anyway, even if he wants to co-opt me into it. I just wanted to be a good, friendly neighbour, and tried to be that for ages. Recently I have been feeling so desperate and angry I have sometimes been channelling it into thoughts like he will die before me, hopefully. I can’t always just make my anger go away, it won’t always dissolve, sometimes it’s just overpowering and won’t be transformed into anything else, and I’ve usually felt I have to find a way not to vent it on him outwardly so I’ve been letting myself think these thoughts. Often, if I haven’t said anything, he’s just kept going, and I’ve kept feeling destroyed by it, and sometimes when I have shouted at him to stop I have felt I should have done it before, that he has just been taking advantage. Why don’t I just go round? I’m often embarrassed, and he is crafty and a liar, in my eyes.
Last night he yelled out while I had my music on and I interpreted it as ‘no’, so eventually I shouted back, ‘yes, actually’. I can’t remember if he was still yelling out at me when things eventually blew last night, but I shouted through my wall for him to stop harassing me, and he gave one sharp bang, which really upset me, and I shouted at him to stop, and he gave another, deliberate and well placed bang. I was outraged and beside myself, seeing this as violence, at least on a psychological level, and thinking it was sadistic, cold, cruel and calculated. So I shouted at him to leave, because he wasn’t going to drive me out. Then I shouted that, if he banged at me again, I would call the police. My hysteria kept coming in waves as everything was suddenly silent and I interpreted it as contempt and that he only goaded me to make me break down and that he enjoyed the show. In my desperation I told him I was finished as far as he is concerned, that there is no longer any good will coming from me towards him, and that I couldn’t wait for him to die, and I wouldn’t be sorry, and I hoped it would be soon. I told him I wouldn’t apologise for what I had said, and that he could live the rest of his tenancy next door to me knowing that this beautiful, kind, loving, talented woman just wanted him to die. Judge me, if you like. I’ve taken all I am prepared to take. I can’t stay open to this kind of behaviour, and won’t. I decided he needed to know exactly how he was making me feel and that he needed to deal with that. I’ve decided he’s not reasonable, he just wants to appear that way. He is a complete coward. He’s been doing the same stuff this morning as well.
Also, I have recently stopped feeling obliged to put my bins out every time the collection is due, because I have very little waste, and it has also turned out for me to be a way of living my life here on my terms and not feeling controlled by other people’s timetables, as if I have to keep jumping to it when other people and their routines seem to say I should. Premier Christian Radio has, on several occasions recently, made a thing of talking about putting bins out, together with other things they target me with, and I’m wondering if he has talked to them. I’m feeling ganged up on, again, as I believe, in actual fact, I am being.
I get really fed up and offended by people, especially CERTAIN people, talking about self-pity as if it were always a bad thing. Over the last few years I have come to see self-pity as at least sometimes positive, a way of being kind to yourself and something I think should be respected in yourself and in others. There are references in the Bible to Jesus having pity on people, and if we are both to love others and love ourselves I don’t see why self-pity should be seen as negative, though I was brought up to see it that way, especially in church. I think sometimes it is cruel to tell people they shouldn’t be self-pitying and can have more to do with the critic’s own feeling of being challenged and feeling unable (or unwilling?) to help or sympathise. In my own situation I have sometimes found self-pity to be essential and an expression of self-respect. I did a Google search, is self-pity always bad, and most results said it was, but I found this which I found interesting. The writer says self-pity is bad if a problem is easy to solve, among other things. It is on a forum for people with autism and has a few responses which also make interesting reading, I think. One of the responses points out that the word ‘pity’ is related to the word ‘piety’ and used to be seen as a positive word. http://wrongplanet.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=171843.
I was watching Sunday Brunch this morning and Romesh Ranganathan said something that made me think. I feel I’d really like to take a break from writing at the moment, whether I can or will or not remains to be seen. It feels and has felt essential to my survival, but at the same time it feels like a violently stimulated, twitchy muscle that needs to relax and heal, then maybe I can, too. Just a thought. It might come to nothing. You know me 🙂
Last week I decided to take my issues with Kensington Temple, among others, to Kensington Temple’s website. I posted some stuff, I’m afraid it reads a bit distressed and I’m not sure it’s very impressive, at least in the form it takes, or even in some of the ideas expressed. But I still maintain what they are doing to me is stalking and harassment and therefore illegal. I refer my readers to it, here is the link. http://www.kt.org/live I recommend if you decide to read it while the service is on that you mute your speakers!
I wrote on there this morning because I said last week that I am right, and today they have decided to preach a sermon about saying ‘I am right’, calling it self-righteousness. My point which I tried to make in what I wrote was that, if you insist you are legally right, that is NOT self-righteousness, and the point I make now is that saying it IS is just manipulation and a false accusation to try and silence you. They also finished off their post, which I thought they wrote in my style (if I have one!), by saying Kristian Lythe will be talking tonight about breaking through prison doors or something like that. He’s a shouter. He frightens me. A lot of things they are doing frighten and disappoint me. They had obviously read my posts last Sunday night, I could tell by their faces, but Bruce Atkinson rejected what he felt (which to me looked good and honest and genuinely spiritual and an understanding of truth) and chose to work himself up into shouting, passing it off as God’s anointing and power. I happen to think it is not OK. I don’t want them maintaining a conversation with me, I want someone to take this to court. I can’t, they have made me into someone who, legally, by definition of my so-called ‘illness’, has no credibility.
Please read this, it is shocking. Read it literally, and also draw parallels with other situations I have written about, please. I think the people who make these sorts of decisions are not fit for purpose, and our system is full of them. Seemingly no idea of ethics, full of cruelty, dishonesty, ignorance, lack of regard for the rights and feelings of others . . . . Heartbreaking. Shattering. Degrading and demeaning. Dehumanising, for both parties. Come on, please. Isn’t it time we said enough is enough? Why are we like this? Who has done it to us, as a society, in relatively recent times? Maybe I just don’t know my history. Maybe THAT is my problem . . . .
Jesus loves me, this I know
For the Bible tells me so
Little ones to Him belong
They are weak, but He is strong
Just a quick one, this, I don’t have time for more at the moment.
I was coming home from the supermarket at around 8:30 pm, and a little WPC was coming towards me, so I said a friendly hello, and she said hello. At least, I think that’s how it went. Then I said, ‘I wish I could trust you guys, I’m in awful trouble, but every time I try and tell you you put me in a mental hospital’. She said, ‘That’s not very good, is it?’. I said, ‘No, it’s not, I think it’s corruption.’, and she said, ‘well, you just keep smiling, and we won’t put you in a mental hospital.’.
I said ‘thanks for your concern’, sarcastically, obviously, and she said, ‘that’s OK’, and I said ,’yeah, right’, and walked on, and she turned off. Unfortunately I didn’t get her name and number. I think if someone says something like that to them they deserve to be taken seriously, however they present.
Edit note: 6:10 pm – Lol, just to make me a liar, it is available now! This is a recent thing, they used never to become available, or at least, I would have given up after days of trying if they did!
I posted what I thought were some quite significant things yesterday, and wrote some official emails I needed to write to Nottingham City Homes, to whom I have reported my situation with my neighbour and who, in spite of my explaining to them that I am an emotionally and psychologically vulnerable person and find face to face conversations with people who have power in my situation difficult because I often find them manipulative and overpowering, have been insisting that they cannot progress my complaint without a face to face meeting. This, in spite of the fact that I have told them everything I can, there is nothing more to tell, really, and that I have said I want to keep things in writing for legal reasons. I asked them in 3 or 4 emails over 2 or 3 days if there was another way to approach the situation, and the person involved kept replying with emails that didn’t answer the question. In the end I said I was not prepared to trust them in a face to face conversation anyway if they would neither confirm nor deny the possibility of a different approach. And guess who feels in the wrong? Muggins, me! I feel guilty and so unworthy of their kind attention! Honestly, I’m not being sarcastic. This must be manipulation at its best, don’t you think?
This is relevant to the title of my post because, for some time now, Premier has been making especially its Inspirational Breakfast unavailable at times when I have written something that, to me seems to be quite significant. They feed lots of things back to me as well, that they shouldn’t, it seems to me, have access to. As I have said before, they are not the only ones who do this. Everyone who is accessing me and withholding from me in this way is making me feel reliant on them and that I should be and am grateful to them and I think that is wrong.
The stalking started with Premier and the Church, over 20 years ago now. But secular media have been doing the same thing, both to me and to people connected with me. Some of my Facebook friends have recently posted some very interesting material which demonstrates this. Music I have played recently has started to feature a lot in adverts, for instance. A lot, it seems to me it can only be by design. I am needing to stress and assert this because I know my nurses, at least, read this blog and I am afraid of the actions they they could take towards me so much I believe I have to do my best to make myself absolutely clear and justify what I am saying. Otherwise I wouldn’t feel the need to bother doing that. It does seem to me it makes things quite laboured. Really it is a form of stalking in itself. They claim no awareness of what is happening. Strange, so many other people are made aware.
OK, full stop. Not going to pad it out or try and write a piece with a good ending today. Just some factual stuff. Have a good day. Thanks for reading.
This is an edited version of something I first published on 23rd June 2010. I’m calling out names and saying what happened, since one of those names came up for me early this morning in an email log I am writing to myself for future official use, hopefully. In the meantime, when I add to that log people in the media use what I have added, or make their programmes unavailable (all this I have noticed at other times I have written). When this post was first published I was a committed vegan and a convinced pacifist. I look back on who I was then with admiration and at least a little regret that I am no longer the same person.
At least, that is what I have been taught. I have been taught that the Bible is the sword of the Spirit. Having been taught that, and having believed it for so many years, it is the book I feel most relaxed with, and that helps to bring some peace into my world. If I don’t read it, my focus goes all over the place. As a vegan and a pacifist, though, I have problems with some of its content that I used not to have. And I can’t think of a safer person to be around, or someone more representative of Jesus’ teaching (and I want to be known as both of those things) than someone who will not kill for either appetite or personal, or even national, security. If I will deliberately do harm for ANY reason, I might do harm for ANY reason. And I won’t. I want people to know that about me, and to know it is OK for them to be the same. I am an aggressive non-killer (aggressive and violent are not the same). I am frightened of the blindness of people who are not, and particularly of the ways they might express that towards me, feeling as vulnerable as I do.
I’m hearing a big suggestion, at the moment, that a decision has been made to attempt to home medicate me, since I haven’t been dealing well with things round here. The suggestion is definitely there and deliberate, and is either true or a lie. If I stick around long enough I will find out, if they don’t just back off. Either way, no formal approach has been made to me to try and help in any other way. I find it abusive at a cellular level. (Hmm, cells. That, with all the yelling and other weirdness, isn’t part of Colin’s code to break me down, is it? It’s only just occurred to me. I’m sure he wouldn’t like me saying it, but I read a book of his called ‘Prayer Explosion’ where he talked about praying in code. He used the IRA bombings as an example, saying at one level he was praying about the bombings, and at another, not openly acknowledged but deliberate, level, he was praying about a problem in the church. I stayed home one Christmas Day and read the book. I felt racked. I kept bursting into tears. I thought it was a good experience. I was happy to be doing it, I thought it was a worthwhile way to spend Christmas Day since I couldn’t or wouldn’t get my head around making myself vulnerable enough with the people I wanted to be with to try and break my isolation. I spent other Christmas Days the same way, sometimes. I loved the time with God (as I saw it, and am sure it sometimes was), but it never made much difference to what was going on.
What I said about reading the Bible, I said it because I just did, and it settled my mind. But while I was thinking afterwards it occurred to me that, in Pentecostalism, which has been a huge part of my background since about 12-13, I often heard that I should read and carry my Bible, because it is my sword. But it ISN’T my sword. It isn’t MY sword. It is the sword of the SPIRIT. I think there is a problem with seeing it as MY sword, because that means, often, I will wield it in relationships. If I see it as the sword of the Spirit, its first and maybe its only place of operation, as far as I am concerned, should be in my own life.
The image comes from Ephesians 6, where Paul writes that we should be equipped with the whole armour of God. The whole passage is metaphorical, so there is no reason for believing that to take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, means to walk around literally with a book called the Bible in your literal hand. Revelation 1:16 says that the person who appeared to John had a two-edged sword coming out of his mouth. I was going to say ‘Jesus’, not ‘the person’, because that is the way I have been taught it. But I looked it up on www.biblegateway.com and the first version which came up was the NIV which says, in verse 13, that it was one who looked like ‘a son of man’, not ‘the Son of Man’. The Son of Man is a phrase from Ezekiel which Jesus applied to Himself, but it is my impression that, originally, it wasn’t referring to Jesus, even prophetically. In Ezekiel it was the way God addressed Ezekiel. But Jesus used it for Himself. I like this, and its apparent ambiguity in Revelation in the NIV. I can’t comment on the accuracy of the translation. From what I learned at Bible College about the original language form (or was that only Hebrew and not Greek? I can’t remember, and this isn’t a scholarly piece or meant to be, so I’m not going to look it up, but if I do later I might edit this) it’s as good a translation as any other and holding both this and other translations opens up possibilities if you don’t insist on putting them in opposition.
Who IS this son of man? Just because it says in Revelation things we normally associate with Jesus, the NIV doesn’t make it clear, in the immediate passage, that it IS Jesus, so maybe it should be seen as having a wider application on a metaphorical and spiritual level than just to the person of Jesus. What does it mean to be a Christian? What does it mean to be full of the Spirit, to have the Spirit of Christ? To be baptised in the Spirit? It isn’t just a mind thing. The Holy Spirit is in us and all around us. He is the connecting force. If we are ‘baptised’, we are soaked through. Impregnated with the character of the baptising agent. That is what we are and what we always are. The Spirit of Christ is the human spirit as much as it is God’s Spirit. They are inseparable and interchangeable, even in the Bible. Bruce picked up on this 2 weeks ago at the 5pm service, or the 7pm service, when I wrote my open letter to Colin Dye (I published it as a separate blog, because I thought it might get wiped). It was the week they had the visiting speaker at the 2.30 service, someone Rogers. It took me a long time to write that entry, and already at the 2.30 service they were showing signs of having seen it, even though I hadn’t published it at that point. I hesitated over using the word ‘spirit’ and whether or not to capitalise it, and Bruce ran with it. I hadn’t published it at that point, or if I had, I hadn’t told them or given them a copy. And I haven’t given them the blog address either. I only sent a copy to Colin and Gabriel, and they had just left for a conference before I even sent it.
(Please note, I am not teaching, I’m just writing a blog entry. My impression is my impression now, without re-reading. You would have to read it yourself to form your own impression. I’m just thinking onto the keyboard, trying to find a better shape for my motivational beliefs than the one I have carried for so long. So I refuse to be held to account by anyone else’s assertion [usually covertly made, just like the threats and vitriol. Or is that a misinterpretation of intent? If you weren’t creating a context for me to interpret it in it wouldn’t even be an issue] that I am putting out a false teaching. It is just food for your own thought and research. This is a blog, not a teaching platform, which for so many years I have said I do not want, because I believe it goes against Jesus’ teaching. But maybe that too is my misunderstanding. Jesus stood up and taught (or did He? Didn’t He normally sit DOWN to teach?), and although He told His disciples not to be called teacher, he did tell them to teach. But what is teaching? My question is not ‘is it ONLY standing on a platform’, but ‘is it standing on a platform AT ALL?’. If we shouldn’t be called ‘teacher’, how can a situation arise where someone IS called a teacher that we ‘should’ listen to? Listen to? Talking and listening are not the only things required for learning. Jesus said teach them TO DO everything I have commanded you, and forcing an earbashing on someone isn’t the way learning takes place for a child, so why should it become so for adults? Head knowledge isn’t training, and telling people who have sat at desks and completed written assignments that they ‘are trained’, and saying their practice should conform to that ‘training’, leads to pride and elitism if a person is given authority on that basis. (I know what I mean!) In my opinion, all teaching and learning should be organic, hands on and relational. THAT would do away with the professional classes, wouldn’t it? It would also do away with state control (I can’t write anything at the moment without doubting it, and I doubt that already. Also it is not a commitment to a belief or an ideal, just a conclusion that I am coming to, rightly or wrongly, in my own head in this blog entry).
My reservation is over things like medicine, and the fact that I know that will be one of other people’s main reservations. Am I thankful for modern medicine? I don’t know. I am as dependent on it as other people, at least when it comes to taking paracetamol for a headache or to deal quickly with cramp, which is more likely, but that doesn’t mean I am or should be thankful. If I had a better lifestyle, I wouldn’t need the medicine. And I believe in God, specifically I believe in Jesus, and I have already experienced healing through prayer myself, so I know He heals. I mean physically. I know He heals in other ways than physically as well. One day, when I was 19 and still in Nottingham, I was at home reading the Bible and God said to me ‘I am the only psychiatrist you will ever need’. I have never ceased to believe that. It was a ‘holy place’ moment. I knew it was true.
I read a book once called ‘Roots and Shoots’. It talked about the root determining the fruit, and it was about psychiatry and other therapies. For Christians, the roots of psychiatry are bad because its agenda was explicitly to eradicate religious belief and ‘superstition’. So any manifestation of those things is at best marginalised, in the psychiatric model, and at worst costs people their freedom and a right to protect the inviolate state of their own bodies. I suppose I mentioned psychiatry because it was in a mental hospital where I got into the argument about the roots of modern medical practice having come from robbing graves when research on bodies was illegal. It BEGAN with illegality and a lack of respect for the person research was being carried out on, and for their relatives. It hasn’t changed very much. MANY people say they feel as if they are treated like meat, but the media doesn’t give many of them airtime (unless something undeniably awful comes to light, then they will bandwagon with it, how can they not and save face?) and the politicians vilify their own who say so. WHY? Why would they do that? What could be the motive? Who is it that they do not want, ordinarily, to benefit from otherwise acceptable people saying such ‘awful’ things? Could it be the people they call mentally ill? Maybe their thinking hasn’t gone that far, I hope it hasn’t. But if hospital staff are rude and treat people as an inconvenience and a nuisance, why is a politician , OF ALL PEOPLE, slammed for saying so? That was my experience as well. The nurses would have loads of time to hold rowdy discussions in their office, and very little for the patients. There was even a photograph in the ward showcase of a drinking party with one of the nurses totally out of her face, and they were expressing concerns about MY (non-existent) alcohol problem! I, particularly, did not want to see one of my nurses in that state, not even in a photograph. It was up there, on a psychiatric ward, supposedly portraying ‘normal social behaviour’ among staff in their time off. Proactive they were not, except for making sure people got up, washed (sometimes), ate and were medicated. They bullied you so much, or allowed bullying without comment, during the day and at medication times, you knew that if you didn’t queue you would be in trouble. If you refused your medication they threatened you, even though they knew as well as you did if you had managed to get hold of the information in spite of that stance, that you had a right to refuse and to wait to see the psychiatrist to have it reviewed. I refused one night and they threatened me with an injection, and when I said that I had a right to refuse and that the right thing to do was to refer me back to the psychiatrist, they still insisted verbally and said it wasn’t true, and I spent the whole night in fear that they were going to burst into the room. I remember I was really upset that night by the way they handled it, they really made a barney of it, as they so often did about things. They never retracted their insistence, but also they didn’t force the medication. But it was like a cold war, and it was a constant state of existence. And then they would come on friendly and expect you to be as well. Or in conversation they would sternly say that you had refused your medication, even while, until you saw the psychiatrist, they weren’t forcing you. But you were never in peace. They had to maintain power. They wouldn’t even acknowledge your right to exercise that right and be treated like someone worthy of respect for doing so. When asked for time they were always busy. Maybe people wouldn’t have had to ask if they had spent time developing a relationship with patients anyway. Most of the time they didn’t. Even if they were in the same room, ‘observing’, they would normally be reading a newspaper. Most of the time the system was so abusive, even if not everyone in it was, and you knew nothing would change even if you spoke to someone who seemed to be reasonable, it was quite rightly beneath the dignity of most people in there with a modicum of self-respect to go cap in hand asking for time. Even if you did it often didn’t happen. I remember I was buttonholed to sit down with my nurse and work out a care approach for myself on the ward. That was the end of the care plan. All the time I was there it was never implemented, at least not insofar as a written commitment from the staff to spend time talking was concerned. You were told you could approach your named nurse, but if you did you were always told they were busy, and promises to get back to you rarely materialised. If someone became insistent, they got the door shut in their face, or worse. It happened to me and others. And often, if an incident arose, the nursing staff withdrew and wouldn’t participate, and no debriefing was offered, no process of resolution, and it would be handed over to the next shift, and they also wouldn’t mention it, and if you tried to bring it up with them they were reluctant to talk about it, and instead of offering any kind of counselling or discussion which ended up in them giving ground or acknowledging that ground might need to be given, you felt either told off and disapproved of, or dismissed. Even with senior nursing staff. The whole attitude to care was ‘you will do this or we can (normally expressed as ‘we will’) make you’. A choice appeared to be being given, but really there was no choice. That is bullying. It’s the approach that was used almost invariably and routinely with me. Even if I managed to voice my rights so they backed off, as happened with one man, he continued to bully me so much, even in the act of backing off, I ended up sobbing on a chair, unattended and ignored, for half an hour or more. He wanted to give me extra medication for some reason, I can’t remember why, and in the end I was begging him not to force it on me, and he grabbed my hands hard and twisted them. He was the same person who, when I first went in and decided to handle myself as their equal and not as someone in need of medical care, and to make requests as their equal (it was for a pen and paper or a phone to phone a solicitor, or something) he said ‘who does she think she is, the queen?’ I put in a complaint, and he denied it. I believe the other staff would have backed him up in that denial if I had tried to pursue it any further. But I was devastated. I believed I was acting with appropriate self-respect and was trying to show my presence of mind in the only way I had available, and he mocked me for it. And that made me angry, and he didn’t care, he just acted as if I wasn’t there. I was saved from the second incident, the crying incident, by a fellow patient who gave me half a banana and talked to me, otherwise I couldn’t have stopped. Another time a girl decided to throw some old newspapers away. A male nurse asked her why she was throwing them away, and she said they were old, and he said ‘who told you you could throw them away?’ Her answer was right. With full dignity she said ‘God’. She wasn’t being strange or anything, just getting rid of some old newspapers that were cluttering the day room. And I don’t think she was being sarcastic either, she was a religious person according to her own Asian tradition. I can’t make you feel this as I felt it, but he came straight back at her (I can’t describe his attitude, except that it wasn’t professional) and he said ‘where’s God? He’s not in here.’ It was also not a genuine, open question inviting conversation, and none followed. I felt awful, partly because my own first admission involved a nurse asking me ‘what was happening?’ and when I smiled and said, ‘something to do with heaven, I think’, she dismissed it, saying I was very much on the earth. Then someone behind me who sounded like Colin Dye (I wrote and asked him, but he never replied) said ‘hmm’, in agreement. I was on my back on the floor, Toronto style. I felt hurt, and because I thought it was Colin, still with my eyes closed, I tipped my head back with my throat exposed, and I was thinking ‘I love you’. At which point the person, whoever it was, was obviously crying and got up and left the room. He was sniffing back the tears. I wrote and asked Colin, and I think I might have told him this, but he didn’t answer me, whether I told him everything or not. This is while I was suspected of a sexual offense on an 8-10 year old boy, a suspicion I didn’t know existed and which took me years to work out, piecing things together. I have since heard a piece of audio which confirms the existence and origin of the accusation, even down to the use of the mother’s name, my name, and the place where it was supposed to have happened. And I think the person involved tried to code it to me in the audio that they were sorry, because they realised they were wrong. But in those days I didn’t understand the code. That’s if I was even listening. The only reason I wouldn’t have been would have been if I had been in hospital, and I can’t remember.
For one thing, the Bible is not the only manifestation of the word of God. There are some things the Bible doesn’t talk about, because they are present day and were not around when the Bible was written. But we still need God to speak to us about them.
I believe the word of God found in the Bible releases the wisdom of God, and light and understanding, for present day situations. My experience often is that if I just open the Bible and start to read, something in it will spark understanding of what I am dealing with in my life or open my mind to a different perception. For instance, this afternoon I decided to read the Bible when I felt I was getting too bothered about the way one of my neighbours is acting towards me. It opened first to Ezekiel, I think, then to Maccabees (I’m not sure if the spelling is right, I only read the Apocrypha for the first time last year, which was when I decided to buy my first copy of a Bible which included the Apocrypha. I thought that, if I didn’t believe something, I should at least find out what it was I didn’t believe). I went past those and ended up in the New Testament at the story of Zacchaeus, and reading that he was a little man trying to see Jesus made me feel a bit differently towards my verbally aggressive neighbour, at least for that moment.
The argument about the origins of our medical knowledge and grave robbing? I lost it. Really, it never happened. At the time I was up in arms at the thoughtless hypocrisy of a medical system with that KIND of illegal foundation treating me as they were for fear that I might myself do something illegal, and so treating me with legal backing, at least, they always said that. I meant it. But the nurse I said it to, one P J Charters, turned away from me and gave a dismissive and annoyed laugh to the other staff and said, ‘this makes me really angry’. But like Tommy would have said, ‘why? why can’t you just have the conversation?’ Thinking about it, his attitude was an invalidation of me as a person, because that is a serious view which I hold, and it would have been right to deal with it, and with me, with respect. It’s supposed to be about mental stuff, right? If you can’t even have such a serious and situationally relevant opinion taken seriously enough to discuss it, how does that help a person’s recovery from illness or trauma? This man is a contributor to formative writing within the profession. He is also a Christian belonging to a major London church (Ichthus, Sydenham) which would be in relationship with the leaders of St Barnabas, North Finchley, where the sexual assault accusation came from, and I believe he spoke to at least one leader there and that he knows about it. One day I was on the concourse between the wards in Guys Hospital, when the wards were there, and somehow we got into the beginning of a conversation, I can’t remember what about, and I ended up saying I was too scared. Instead of saying ‘OK’, and leaving it, he looked at me and said, ‘are you going to let that stop you?’ While I was sitting there trying to find a way to deal with that, within myself, he just stood there staring at me, then turned away and left the building. I can’t remember why, I felt he had provoked the situation, and I believe at that point he knew about the accusation, but he never tried to talk to me about it. When I tried to disengage from his control, he forced it back on me, and once, when he was about to leave, I think I had been afraid to ask him all through his shift if I could talk to him about something and I asked if we could talk, and he said, firmly, ‘tomorrow’. I was upset by that because I thought it was uncaring and unreasonable, and when tomorrow came, he didn’t look for me to talk about whatever it was, and I was too offended to go to him. The reason I was upset when he firmly turned away was that I knew I had approached him with normal and appropriate self-possession, and a clear mind and he turned away from me and I felt that my normal, non-dependent presentation had been invalidated. He was facing off with me. It was the same day he walked away from me asking if I was going to let fear stop me, I think, that I followed him 5 minutes later to the train station (I was free to come and go), thinking he wouldn’t mind, especially in light of what he had just said to me, and he got off the train and walked back to the hospital, and as he did he shouted at me, ‘there are boundaries, and YOU aren’t allowed over them’. Did he then have the sexual accusation in mind, the one he never even told me about? I told him I didn’t want benefits because I wasn’t mentally ill, one day in my flat, and he wouldn’t discuss it, he just said he thought I was, and that he didn’t mind his taxes being spent on looking after me. But I did, and even then, he offered me no explanation as to why he thought I was mentally ill, and this accusation must have had a bit to do with it. One day, he turned up at my door, and I had been listening to the radio, knowing that something was going on, but not making written or phone contact at that time, and he asked me who I had been talking to. I don’t think I had talked to anyone, and I didn’t want to say anything about what was happening on the radio because I knew how they treated that, but I was fairly up and I said, ‘I’ve been talking to the fairies’. I had no suspicion as to why he would be asking the question and he didn’t give me a reason, but he already knew I believed things were being said on the radio which I hadn’t given them. There are other people on the wards as well who feel the same way, or rather, know the same thing, but it is insisted to be mental illness. I suppose he must have been aware himself that something was happening when he asked this question of me, and that he thought it had come from me. The hospital ward and its staff were often all over the programme, ‘Casualty’, even at that time. I joked with him once that the charge nurse on Casualty looked like him. He said a lot of people say that. I don’t know if lookalikes of all the other staff were on there as they are now. But I think something like that was behind his question. I started talking to him, on the doorstep, about the bible saying that brother will betray brother to death, and that that was how I felt about the way the mental health system was being used towards me, and he said he didn’t see it like that. But he never put the accusations or gave the reasons behind his questions, and I was clueless. He passed off the lookalike of him on Casualty as a coincidence.
I mean (OK, here we go, my neighbour’s been shouting again, and he’s freaked me. Should I hold back, with that, and threats of depots (or worse) being made, and no one committing to me? It’s all words and pleas and linguistic manipulation and theatre, but no one ever says, Sue Barnett, in Bulgaria, we ARE talking to you, we are as desperate as you(!?), please come and see us’, just what feels like threats and intimidation to get me to squeal, from all sides really, sometimes). I feel as if I am committing the unforgivable sin here, while you mess around with threats and uncommitted pleas.
But as I was saying, I mean, he’s a Christian, right, PJ Charters? One day he was running a workshop which I attended with one other person, another patient. This person did most of the talking, it seemed to be the way that PJ wanted it. He was talking about feeling as if his girlfriend was following him, and a song which kept being played. Near the end I had a question of my own, and the question was, ‘where does forgiveness come into it?’ Where does forgiveness come into helping you deal with this kind of thing? He’s a Christian. He stared at me and didn’t answer. If he knows anything about what is happening now, neither he nor anyone else has made an effort to communicate that fact, so presumably he is still not taking responsibility.
I’ve been staying in a hotel recently. Today I went to see my mum. People kept looking at me and grinning, or just staring. Don’t ask me, no idea! It happens a lot recently. Dare I say that? The mental health services always used to say that if I thought people were staring at me it was a paranoid idea. Hence for some time I tried to live in denial of it happening and if it did, pretend it wasn’t. These days, at the very least, I look straight at it without being overwhelmed with fear. Sometimes I get angry and offended. I can get really freaked out by it, when it happens all the time.
Two things happened when I got back to the hotel, the first was in the hotel and the second was in the Chinese cafe. I’ll do the Chinese cafe first.
I went to have dinner in a Chinese cafe round the corner from my hotel. After I had been there a few minutes I noticed it was all Chinese people eating there. That made me feel good for two reasons, I like Chinese people, and they say that if a place like a Chinese restaurant has a lot of people from that country and culture there it speaks well of the food.
I was a bit freaked by what started happening after I had been there about 5 or 10 minutes.
Two women walked in and sat at the table opposite me. They were NOT Chinese. I’m not going to start talking about their ethnicity in case someone decides to accuse me of racism, and I did think that might be my problem.
At some point I started to sing quietly, either before they came in or after, I can’t remember, because I was feeling a bit nervous. I find it very easy to feel nervous at the moment, especially when I am with people I really want to like me. The woman facing me made a dismissive face, then went on to completely ignore me. She started to talk to her companion and I got the impression there was something false about her voice, and she sounded to me as if she was making aggressive utterances in a soft tone. At that point I thought I might be being racist. She had an unchanging smile on her face and I felt annoyed by it, I really felt it was false. Anyway, I settled myself about it and came to my own terms over it. Every time I relaxed she said ‘my god’. I hate this, it happens to me a lot, and I really believe there is a spiritual dynamic to it. It feels like a prohibition to me, or like something grabbing at me. In the end I ignored her and started to engage with other people, at first just with a smile, then in a couple of conversations with people either side of me.
The second conversation lasted about 10 or 15 minutes and I found it thoroughly interesting. The subject of the unconscious came up, and the man was talking about Lacan, a name I remember from when I studied (on and off!) for my English degree but about whom I remembered very little if anything. If I remember, the man talking to me said something about reality structures. We moved on to other things as well, had a very pleasant conversation and laughed a bit, and I began to feel really relaxed and playful. This must have come across in my voice, I felt it did, and the same woman, who had now been joined by a group, as I began to relax into speaking again loudly said ‘my god’ again. I kept talking, compensating for my discomfort and annoyance by going very posh, but still laughing and joking and enjoying my conversation. Even when she couldn’t see or hear me, after the man and his girlfriend had gone (actually, apart from this group opposite me, the man I was talking to was the only non-Chinese there apart from me, he was Greek, his girlfriend was Chinese), she still kept pelting out a ‘my god’ when I relaxed, and I in my little corner got annoyed and said just loudly enough to be heard, ‘medium’. I do things like that, I am so vulnerable and get so freaked and desperate I don’t know what else to do with it, often. This is a recent thing, since I started having problems at home. When I eventually got up and paid the bill I heard several of them saying, over a few seconds, a word that sounded like ‘witch’ or ‘bitch’. They kept repeating it. It was freaky. Apart from the ‘my god’ stuff they had appeared as sweet as you like up until that point. I won’t say what I did with it, but I ignored them and focused on a friendly departure with the staff. I don’t know who they were, or if they had deliberately followed me in (I’m sure it happens), but I think their behaviour was frightful, darlings! It was so frightening, looking back. I felt really harassed and targeted and couldn’t believe my ears.
Anyway, that was the second thing that happened tonight. The first thing happened when I got back to my hotel room. I came in feeling a bit cross and agitated, and I began to sing, in tongues. At least, it wasn’t English, and it had a bit of a Native American feel to it, or something like that, I’m not too sure what I’m talking about. It wasn’t the gently lilting, softly flowing stuff you sometimes hear, there was more production to it, it was coming from my gut and it carried my emotions and resolved them. The next thing I knew I experienced something different from anything I had experienced before. The domestic had left the bathroom door open, and suddenly the light, which was not switched on, began to flash on and off, several times. That was how I got into the conversation with the man who talked about Lacan. He and his girlfriend were looking at the tv screen the other side of me and laughing. I turned to them and asked if they understood it, he said no, then said something about ghosts being big in Chinese culture, and I told him what had happened with my singing and the light. He started talking about the unconscious and dreams, I asked him if he didn’t believe in the spirit world that can act independently of our unconscious and told him a story about Carl Jung, whose work I have been reading for a few months. I’ve started from the beginning of the collection, apart from a look at one long essay further in at the beginning. I am in the middle of a case study of a teenage girl who seemed to have abilities as a medium, though he did say that in the end she was found to be faking, but I’m not sure if he thought it was all fake. At this stage he put the apparent phenomena and personality changes during seances down to manifestations of her unconscious. I’m not sure if he continued to think like that, though. Because I have read that later he thought his house had spirits in it. I remember one story I read about him where his doorbell rang continuously on at least one occasion and he could see the doorbell’s mechanism, inside the house, moving and working. Yet when he went to the window to see who was there, no one was, and at the same time the bell stopped ringing. Not sure where tonight’s experience fits in with that, but that’s what it reminded me of.
OK, that’s it. An abrupt ending, but I can’t think of anything else I want to say. I feel a little raw and weird!
This is an interesting and informative article found on the website of Courtenay Young, a psychotherapist in the UK.
This paper looks at the practice of psychotherapy from a phenomenological approach, covering areas that are not usually within the more traditional ‘bio-psycho-social’ model, but also include economic, political, cultural, and environmental areas, and possibly several others. It further compares the more philosophical and pragmatic approach of a process-oriented practice of psychotherapy to the biomedical ‘treatment’ of psychiatry.
Psychotherapy, Phenomenology, Psychiatry, Practice
It is an approach informed by people like R D Laing, Thomas Szasz, Michel Foucault, Jean-Paul Sartre, among many others. It is in favour of therapeutic communities like Soteria, founded by Leon Mosher.
I like the fact that he says he likes the writing of Zen Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hahn, on mindfulness, as it is more poetical than some other writing, and that he is also on the board for the body and dance in psychotherapy. It’s not all about words and science.
The article goes a lot into the philosophy of the approach and although it does use some long words, most of them are explained, and he gives several examples of people he has worked with.
There is a section in blue which lists and talks about the the groupings of “mental and behavioural disorders” (his quotes), found in the ICD-10, the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), which is an international standard diagnostic classification for a wide variety of health conditions. It is used as an example of how a phenomenological model is used in psychiatry. It’s not very long, the article quickly gets back to its own subject of a phenomenological model for psychotherapy, saying that “phenomenology has come a lot further than when it was first proposed back at the beginning of the 20th century, and it is not just useful as a classification system”.
The article is 21 pages long so is a long read but, as I said, it is very interesting and informative, and you can download it. I enjoyed it. It gives a link to his website and his email address at the end.
THIS IS QUITE A LONG BLOG POST. I HOPE SOME OF YOU WILL PERSEVERE WITH IT. THANKS IN ADVANCE. I VALUE MY READERS. I VALUE MY ‘STALKERS’ TOO. IN FACT I WANT TO SAY THANK YOU SO MUCH TO ALL OF YOU.
I’ve just been out to Waitrose, and had some lunch, so I’m not in quite the same emotional space I was in when I posted on Facebook this morning.
Last Thursday I posted on Facebook about This Morning. I said how it started with a house in Lewisham falling down and Holly Willoughby saying Oh my God, and said that I used to live in Lewisham, and that that juxtaposition between OMG and things I identify as having something to do with me or others I know or have known is common.
I looked back at the programme this morning. Last week it was full of significance for me, as I believed that references were being made to things I had written on Facebook. But because things have moved on a bit since then, today I couldn’t really remember the connections I made then.
A few weeks ago, 22nd May, to be exact, the anniversary of my father’s death by overdose, I posted a life event about my dad on Facebook. I had been aware of things on the media that I believed to have been connected with me before this date.
This year, 22nd May was a Sunday. Dr R T Kendall of Kensington Temple these days, formerly of Westminster Chapel, with both of which I had had a difficult relationship leading up to my first admission onto a psychiatric ward, preached a sermon titled ‘The Party’s Over’. Retrospectively, he had probably prepared that sermon, and named it, at least a few days before he preached. But I thought that it was sympathetically connected with my life event post. Maybe it was, maybe he knew about the post before it was posted this year. I’ve had it for at least one anniversary before.
Anyway, he was mentioned people in the media, in general, but naming categories. He also talked about Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar, I think, about vessels having been taken from the temple and used for common purposes, and that that angered God. One of the things he said was something about the wearing of purple, a royal and priestly colour. I can’t remember much more than that, but the sermon can be found here.
I felt emotionally involved with this sermon at first because, right at the beginning, he looked straight into the camera and said ‘identify with Daniel’. I thought he was talking to me, supportively, because in my post I had said that many times in my life I had identified with my father. I’ve watched that sermon twice now, and I have noticed that that beginning has been cut off.
I’ve said before that I think I’m being stalked. The people involved might not like my use of that term, but that is what it is.
Anyway, the next day, 23rd May, on This Morning, people were looking around nervously. I can’t remember anything very much, but I can remember that, at the end of the programme, Rylan Clark-Neal said that they were compromised. Holly Willoughby coughed, it seemed to me significantly. I didn’t think it was worth mentioning, because it all seemed too obvious and easily explained. The same day, talking about wearing purple, I watched the BBC1 East Midlands news at 6.30pm, and they were all wearing purple, and one of the newsreaders said that she didn’t know why, but they had all been told to wear purple that day. It seemed to me obviously connected.
At first, I felt personally attacked by this, and it made me feel angry and alarmed. Later I thought, it’s just a fight between secular and religious media, and nothing to do with me except for my own identification and recognition (Neither side wanted me involved. Neither side really cared about me, if they did they would tell me so through normal, committed communication like an email or a phone call. And they didn’t, and don’t). I thought that Kensington Temple was being paranoid and alarmist over what might be seen as a quite ordinary referential challenge. It was just a media scrap, if they didn’t like it, they didn’t have to watch, they could just get on with the job without taking notice of their detractors. But I wrote to them, through their website, and among other things, asked if Dr Kendall wanted to see me. They didn’t even answer. I found that rude, and it made me anxious. So many times I make contact and get no answer. These days I am reasonable and try to be friendly, and they don’t even answer that, except in pointed and contextualised references in their sermons and radio programmes.
Anyway, briefly back to This Morning of 9th June. When I watched it again today I felt much of what they were doing was making metaphors. Recently Holly makes me laugh, I find her quite amusing, but I feel also she is quite vicious. The Old Testament says, ‘don’t be afraid of their faces’. I have felt intimidated by her apparent sweetness, but she says some horrible things behind that. I have expressed anxiety about writing openly about what I think for fear of being put back on medication, and in this programme she was talking about someone and hospital, and it came up twice, and both times she made a face and said ‘Oh no’, and I felt it was cruel mockery aimed at me.
(My, this is draining! For one thing, the WordPress writing frame keeps slipping upwards so it looks as if my post has disappeared. I keep imagining it might be someone hacking while I am writing and trying to disrupt me. In truth it is probably a software issue. I hope so anyway.)
I was just looking for something in Monday 13th’s episode of This Morning. I started watching from the beginning, and when I got to about 33 minutes 40 seconds in, where they are talking about rain with someone who predicts weather (I thought he was a gardener, but he seems to be more than that) Holly quite deliberately shouted ‘woohoo’, and I thought she had got it out of the post on Facebook which I posted on Saturday, in fact I’m quite sure she did. But that wasn’t what I was looking for. What I was looking for came up a few minutes later, after 37 minutes 40 seconds in . . .
I had an experience with someone who came to repair my boiler a few weeks ago. At the end of repairing my boiler we had a conversation in the kitchen over coffee and a biscuit (one of my own home made ones), and everything he said, every place name, had significance for me. I can only remember two of them, but I just kept nodding along at him thinking ‘Oh yes, there’ and Oh yes, there’. The two I remember are Middlesbrough and Toronto, both places where Church ministers from my past came from. But it wasn’t just two places, it was many. Anyway, I was watching Monday 13th’s episode of This Morning and I had the strong impression that Holly just had one of those moments. The man she and Phillip Schofield were talking to said something like ‘I’m OK, I’ve got form’. I heard that and it felt like a revelation, and I stared at Holly and I thought she reacted. I just watched it again and it doesn’t seem so marked now right at that point, but at the end of the interview Holly’s eyes are like saucers. I think she might have said something similar behind the scenes. Or someone did. Perhaps. I’ve even thought things like that myself when I’ve watched KT live, that I’m OK, I don’t have to give in. It’s a great bit of power tripping.
When I was in Bulgaria between 2009 and 2011, I started hearing a woman’s voice from the flat upstairs, so it seemed, shouting hallelujah. It drove me wild. It was almost incessant, and I would rant and rave using Google Translate, which isn’t very reliable. It or my reaction or both made me very ill. I used to have chest pains and vomiting. It happened in a few places, always directly where I was living, never followed me away from the building. Which is partly why I wonder if it really was an hallucination, as my psychiatrists insisted. It came to the attention of the psychiatrists because I started hearing the same thing when I was in emergency accommodation in Nottingham, and I called the police several times. Once I turned them away because I thought they were rude to me. Eventually, the police called the mental health team, and one of the officers who turned up with the team was the one who was rude to me. He was quite controlling on the scene.
Anyway, about 2 or 3 months ago, not having experienced it for quite some time, I started to hear a woman’s voice saying hallelujah again, and it seemed to be coming from next door. It only lasted for two weeks. This time I didn’t rant and rave. I also didn’t believe it was an hallucination. I believed it was some sort of spiritual manifestation, the source of which I was uncertain. I was alternately angry at it, scared of it, desperate, grateful. I prayed that it would stop. After it did, I felt as if I had lost something, it was like grief. Just towards the end of it I tuned in to Kensington Temple’s live service one afternoon when Bruce Atkinson was speaking. He was talking about the woman who came to Jesus for her daughter to be healed. She wasn’t Jewish, and Jesus told her He had only been sent to Israel, and it wasn’t right to give the children’s bread to dogs. I kept hearing things I identified with from my experience at KT, and I was inwardly holding on, asking God to help me, as well as arguing with what I was seeing and thinking it wasn’t that impressive, as Bruce kept talking and staring into the camera, as if something kept drawing him to it. They put a version of that sermon on the website, but it wasn’t that version. In the version on the website Bruce seems to be trying to avoid looking at the camera. I think it was the next week that Colin Dye came on, and at the beginning of the recording he looked into the camera and gave a little smile, and started talking about quantum physics, and how he didn’t understand it, but came back to art. I thought he was talking about ME coming back to art in posting William Blake’s ‘The Sick Rose’ on my blog. I don’t know, they seem to have used things from my blog before.
At some point after this, I think, he said that ‘they are going to start using dogs with her, I wonder how she will deal with that’ or some such words. Shortly after this Phillip and Holly, having experienced something strange, I think, in the studio (can’t sound too definite, they might put me away again. Even for this they might put me back on medication. I’m taking a big risk), started to feature Clover, their guide dog in training, a lot. I had been watching live, I think, then I started watching on ITV +1, an hour behind. One day, Phillip started commanding the dog to sit. He did this right at the beginning and exactly an hour into the programme. He looked frightened, to me. Once when he did this one of the light bulbs blew. I know this can be what some people call a psychic occurrence. I had a music teacher who became a bishop, and I read an article about him which said he walked into a room and things happened with the electricity. Phillip, whether he made the connection or not, just said that bulbs blew all the time. I made the connection, though. I might have been wrong myself, but it was some coincidence, if I was. One day, he looked into the camera and stuttered over the word ‘superfood’, orsomething else beginning with the first syllable of my name. I thought it was a deliberate stutter and that he was trying to say ‘Sue’. I’ve thought about it since, and decided he could have had anything in mind. He might have been thinking ‘supernatural’, for instance. Or it might just have been a nervous, meaningless stutter. I’ve not heard him stutter before though. (To my nurses, there is a history behind these assumptions I don’t want to go into, this post is going to be long enough without that. I’m wondering if I’m ever going to get to the end of it).
I saw they were distressed, and thought they were trying to help me. So I tweeted Phillip one day and said I felt for them and was touched by the fact they were trying to help me, or words to that effect, and that I thought the reason for their distress was that they were doing something occultic with the Clover, and asked who she represented when he commanded her like that. He said a few times he didn’t know what I was going on about and that I was talking nonsense, and ended up saying, ‘I’m sure you are really sweet, but you are now blocked’. And that was that. I think what he was doing with Clover, occultic or not, was because he was afraid of something else. I was angry about something I had seen on the show and something they were promoting as normal which I believe shouldn’t be, and I think my anger had what might be called by some a psychic energy which was holding them in a bad place. I wouldn’t let go for some days and was pleased at every sign that they seemed to be losing it. I have wanted to apologise for that several times. I thought the right way would have been to keep watching and complain to Ofcom if I didn’t like something I saw. Within a day or 2 of me thinking that, Phillip came on laughing and said they gave Ofcom plenty of business. I don’t think it was a simple coincidence. Anyway, dogs abounded after that. Andrea McLean on Loose Women, which I also watch, reacted to a bark a few weeks ago by saying something like, ‘that’s right, take it out, we don’t want any accidents’. It wasn’t a real dog, obviously, it was a miked up bark, staged. It felt psychologically violent.
On This Morning they were celebrating Clover’s first birthday on Monday, and had a load of dogs in. I happened to turn on, on ITV +1, at just the time when they appeared for the 2nd time. The first time was just after Piers Morgan and someone else had been on with Holly and Phillip talking about Orlando, but I hadn’t seen that. I just saw the dogs let loose, and lost the plot. I didn’t take anything else in after that.
The Monday before they had featured Mersea, where John Pantry lives, who works at Premier Radio and used to be one of my Facebook friends. Fairly soon after they showed someone called the same name that came up for me while listening to another radio presenter quite a few years ago. I can’t remember what motivated me, but after I saw the dogs this Monday, I wrote an email to both John Pantry and Colin Dye, telling them about this. I thought something might need to be done about it, and that they needed to watch the recording, before it was taken down. In the end, it was there until midnight. In the meantime, I was uncertain as to whether or not John and Colin would receive the email in time, so I sent it to the live studio as well. Then I regretted it, and sent a copy of the email and its forwarding to someone else I had emailed over the weekend, because I thought he was in touch with the person I had mentioned in the email and I wanted to warn and protect that person. Later I thought that, really, my trust was a dubious honour, and possibly overpowering for this person (I also thought that, in the state I was in, I was making far too much of what I had seen and heard, and he thought I was nuts and he wasn’t interested. I thought Premier and Kensington Temple would have the same opinion. Maybe they do). He didn’t email me back. I don’t know why he did this, but he told Phillip and Holly, because I had mentioned them in the email. On Tuesday Holly was cavorting all over the screen with veiled references to this email, and she also mentioned someone who had lost a couple of stones and her friends asked her if she was putting it back on, then she did this really violent jerk with her arm, and I felt terrified. I have mentioned on Facebook that I have lost weight, and I thought she was cursing me. I thought she was a witch in full flight. At the end of the recording, totally distracted and barely able to focus, I tried to reorientate myself by posting a link to a radio play, then I went to bed, still frightened, then after I got into bed, I started to laugh. I felt loved up. I felt amazing. Holly had been smiling all the time she was doing this. That was when I started to find her funny. I thought last Thursday that the way she opened her eyes wide and batted her eyelids was false and I hated it and I hated her, but I found if I did the same it cleared my perceptions and negative feelings. I can’t remember if that was before or after Tuesday. Anyway, the loved up and laughing bit, I felt it was inappropriate given the nature of what I had communicated in my email. I tried to put a stop to it. Then yesterday, on Loose Women, Ruth Langsford, who is also a This Morning presenter, said that she was ‘ashamed’ of something, and coughed significantly. I hadn’t said that I felt ashamed in the email to Premier Radio and Colin Dye at Kensington Temple, but I had to this other person.
In the email I had said that I thought they were after me and the Church, and that all was fair in love and war. On Tuesday, Dara O’Briain was on with Hugh Dennis, on This Morning again, and they were both grinning from ear to ear, and one of them said, ‘she thinks it’s fair’. One of them said something about open heart surgery. For me, that was a bit what it was like, I suppose.
I’ve been thinking, though. When I said all’s fair in love and war, I didn’t mean things like stalking someone’s social media account to reflect back to them, especially when that person isn’t in the public eye. I have thought I was willing to tolerate it (Stockholm Syndrome?), but what about other individuals who are also not public people who are experiencing the same thing? I keep thinking it’s not about me, and being relieved every time I think it. However, I think I am wrong. They even mentioned a road that has the same beginning of its name as mine yesterday, and put quite an emphasis on it. I have 2 neighbours, one partially sighted and the other who goes around bare chested. References to them were put together in Sunday Brunch this week (Channel 4), as was a reference to my email that I sent on Saturday, and a comment about someone having the heart of a dog, and emotional looks. I sent the presenters a chat message saying they had spoken to the man I emailed and goodness knows who else, and asked them what they wanted and where we were going. According to my Facebook account, they haven’t even looked at it yet. It has been going on with them for some time. On Pentecost Sunday they featured meditation and a linguist talking about languages and making them up. OK, if they want to, they can fight like that, it’s not illegal. But they had Michaela Strachan on recently, someone who is a friend of this presenter I listened to years ago and met a few times. The first time was good, the rest he pretended not to remember me. Yet he sat and talked with me in his car for half an hour and drove me to the station. His wife remembered me, though. I was telling my nurse Pete yesterday, that the last time I went she tore me off a strip, took my phone number and said her husband would be in touch if he was interested. I’ve decided not to go back as they obviously don’t want to know. Although I would like to believe differently, I see the constant songs and references that I associate with him and his calling me as being chain yanking. And as lovely as I think he is, I think he deliberately used to torture me psychologically. I think he had ‘psychic’ insight into me as well, particulars at particular times. I used to feel we had telepathic communication, he would often come on his programme saying something I felt we had shared telepathically earlier in the week. He used to talk about his dog. I used to think it was a backwards way of saying ‘my God’, and I was offended. I also thought he was referring to me, as often when I tuned in he would start talking about walking his dog, immediately. So the dog reference is not a new one. One day I lay in bed listening to him with my back to the radio, because I felt closer to him and more able to listen that way. He said, ‘my dog has started turning its back on us, it feels closer to us that way’. I think something I said once is being used as emotional blackmail. I think Ruth Langsford referred to it yesterday on Loose Women when she was ostensibly talking about her son Jack, and talking about apologising. I already have, and meant it. I wish I wanted to again. I have recently been willing to open up to the possibility of meeting him again. In my mind, there is a war between him and the Church. But until recently I had decided I had moved on from him, that he had deliberately abused me, and that I was wrong to look to him in the first place. But the fact is, I took a resting place with him when there was absolutely no way I could hold myself together in Church and didn’t feel safe going. It wasn’t rebellion, it was respite. That’s how it felt, anyway. Once I was afraid even to speak, and there was no way I could have written like this, or tweeted, or gone on Facebook. I doggedly (sorry, no pun intended, I can’t think of the other word) took the tools and attitudes he offered and rebuilt my ability to communicate. I feel, rightly or wrongly, that I owe him. Defiantly, was the word I was looking for.
In the meantime, I haven’t heard from Kensington Temple following this email, or from John Pantry or anyone else at Premier. In the email I said to John that I had got the impression that he wanted to be involved. On his show the next day he said ‘you can be involved’, then started talking about bipolar, I think it was, putting together a reference to what I had said with a reference to ‘mental illness’. I feel if I go back to Church, it’s something I am going to have brought against me every time I’m perceived to be out of line. I think Premier is withholding programme recordings as well. I unfriended John last Friday because he was answering things I put on his timeline then, when I answered, he cleared them off. I felt hurt by this so unfriended him, I thought it was against me. I have since thought he might just be one of those people who likes to keep a tidy timeline and does the same thing with a lot of people. But anyway, Monday’s Inspirational Breakfast is not available. The other week they had almost a total lockdown on programme availability, they have since restored some, but not all. I emailed a show the other week, and I later looked for the recording so I could listen back (the man read my email out and commented on it), but it isn’t available. I asked both John Pantry and Rick Easter, both Premier presenters who were Facebook friends until I unfriended them, if they knew what was happening with the programme recordings and why they were not available, and John cleared the question off his timeline without answering, not even to say he didn’t know, and Rick just ignored the question. I don’t know who they are hiding from. There is definitely something going on.
I have said for years that I don’t want to be in a Church that calls the police on people and accepts psychiatric labels against people’s wishes. I have heard a lot about good disagreement lately on Premier, and other stuff like that. Teaching children to manage their emotions and emphasising that you are there for them and will handle it together, instead of focusing so much on the idea of discipline. Hearing that kind of thing, it’s making me feel that it is I who am being a terrorist in my refusal to go to a church where the police might be called, that I am the one who is using emotional and spiritual blackmail. I feel all my years lost in my life and in the Church are all my own fault. At one time I was so confused by the fact that all the wards had Biblical names, I thought my answers were all to be found in hospital. That’s where I would recover my power of self-determination (watch this come up in a sermon). And yet, I know the Church has been – stalking me, I call it, I don’t know what they call it – for years.
It’s just occurred to me, I don’t know how the programmes that have featured references to my road name and allusions to my neighbours have got the information, I haven’t said anything about either in my blog. The blind allusion has come up several times, I’ve only this week noticed the one about bare-chestedness. I don’t think, again, that it is simple coincidence.
I think yesterday morning, on Inspirational Breakfast, John said something about not being too cruel, she is vulnerable. I thought that was for me. But my goodness, I wish they would realise that their refusal to answer my emails properly makes me feel most vulnerable of all. It messes with my head and perceptions big time.
When I was in hospital last time I got involved with the chaplaincy service. One day I spoke to the alternative religion person who said to me that sometimes coincidences come so thick and fast and from so many directions, there has to be a big intelligence behind it and it can’t be by human organisation. I took that and believed it. But now I’ve married it to a renewed belief that I am also, as I have maintained before, being stalked.
The fact that I have done something wrong does not make it OK to abuse me. Once I believed it was OK, the stalking, the being called a dog, the psychological abuse (but Oh, how grateful I sometimes thought I was). But now, I usually have more self-respect. If that makes me appear cynical and unfeeling to the people who have received my emails recently, I am sorry. I know desperation can make people do some terrible things, and I hesitate to say that those I say are stalking me are the cynical ones, but it does feel that way sometimes. Yesterday I wanted to contact Colin Dye and say, ‘I thought they loved me, but they don’t, do they?’ I wouldn’t dare though. I can’t bear more words coming through my computer and no response to my emails. But I will bear it. The alternative is a vacuum. To some that might be peace. It is to me sometimes, but most of the time I think I can’t live like that.
Well, it is 7.30 pm and today’s This Morning is not available yet. That is very unusual. It is normally there by 4 pm. (edit note: eventually it appeared around 10 am the day after I wrote this post).
Love the enthusiasm. And what she says about the suffragettes is so true. As a Christian woman who has been taught to submit, I think we forget how much we owe to women who didn’t. Christian women who today are wearing above the ankle dresses and trousers owe it to women who would have been branded as having a Jezebel spirit in their time, if the term had existed in the Church in those days. Rebellious women. We share in the fruits of their rebellion. Sorry, it’s just a fact.
“Whistling girls and crowing hens always come to some bad ends,” my grandma used to say, just before she would tell me that while I was a gracious loser (she was right; I am), I was a “very poor winner.” By that, my grandma meant that I loved winning too much and that, when I did win, I wasn’t good at pretending not to care. And, she was right; I do and I’m not; it’s made me a hell of a lawyer. My grandma loved me and she was just trying to prepare me for what she called “the real world.”
One of the almost unconscious (and completely unpaid) jobs that women are doing all the damn time is managing their own behavior in order to manage men’s emotions. We do it so much that we’re often not even aware that we’re doing it. While the Jungian projection is that…
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These days I can be found a lot of the time at https://www.facebook.com/sue.barnett.547. I hope you will come and connect with me there. I will continue to post on here occasionally. This is a pinned post, so please scroll down a couple for my latest entries.
And if my nurses are reading this, please respect the fact that this is my SPACE. As one of my lecturers once said to me, I can say what I like. None of it should find its way into a clinical decision or into my notes, as it has done before. If you MUST stalk me, please keep a respectful distance between this and our offline relationship. I reserve the right to say what I like on the internet, whether you think you should respect that or not. I have had this conversation with one of you, and you said you would have to look into the legalities of it. I think the legalities are, if you don’t like what you read on my blog, stop reading. If they aren’t, they should be. I’m sick of censoring myself out of fear of consequences.
The Sick Rose
By William Blake
O Rose thou art sick.
The invisible worm,
That flies in the night
In the howling storm:
Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.
Yesterday I was 55. Some of my Facebook friends wished me happy birthday, which was nice, and Peter and Jennie, my two nurses, took me out for lunch and gave me a card and two bars of Lindt chocolate, which Jennie knows I like. I asked Jennie a while ago if we could go out for my birthday and she said yes. As I have said before, in real life they are the closest thing I have to friends at the moment. I wouldn’t have celebrated my birthday at all without them.
Because of my antipsychiatry beliefs I actually have an ambivalent relationship with them which isn’t altogether comfortable. I am aware of their clinical relationship with me, and resentful of it, and feel I have to be careful what I communicate at this time while I am almost at the end of coming off my medication. It is quite confusing trying to relate to them as friends. Peter, especially, seems to have that role towards me deliberately as we meet for coffee every week, but also with Jennie, I offer her coffee when she comes to do my depot and she accepts and we sit and chat and watch television.
My anger at their clinical involvement is never far below the surface, and I wish that involvement didn’t exist. I realise by saying this I open myself to a charge of ingratitude. They didn’t have to take me out yesterday or help in all the ways they have this year. But the reality is that the basic nature of my relationship with them is clinical, and I feel strongly against that.
I’m sure it must be difficult for them as well. They know how I feel about the clinical side of things but, especially for Jennie, it is part of her job.
Someone in Speak Out Against Psychiatry said they are only nice because I’m being compliant. If I weren’t they might want to put me back in hospital, although at this stage, where my last depot is due just after Christmas, that might not be the case. But certainly a lot earlier on it might have been. I get the feeling we are keeping each other sweet.
It would be nice to think there is some real friendship there, but there is no way it can be fully expressed, that is the nature of this kind of professional relationship. I am sure a real fondness exists, at least on my part, and regardless of the resentment and anger. And fear, I should say fear too. It is frustrating. In spite of what I want to feel, I feel subjugated. The clinical relationship is the only reason that any relationship exists, and I am totally against the clinical relationship.
It was nice to go out for my birthday, though. I hope if they read this they will understand and not be offended.
I noticed that ‘what is spiritual rape’ was a search term used to arrive at my blog, so I put it in myself, to see what came back. I looked at the first 14 pages on Google and my blog wasn’t there, but I found this blog post https://hemofhisgarment.wordpress.com/spiritual-rape/.
I have been looking back at some of my posts which definitely make me look as if I am mentally ill, and I have been thinking that they might invalidate anything I have to say. But this post that I have posted the link for says that mental illness is a common result of spiritual rape as the person becomes confused and paranoid, and the writer says they believe that mental illness is an evidence that this sort of abuse has taken place.
So if my tortured posts are evidence of trauma and abuse I hope my readers will value them as such and not dismiss everything I have to say because of them.
I don’t believe spiritual rape takes place only in the church. I believe psychiatry itself is spiritual rape, and it can and does happen both in the home and in the world in general. If I am disappointed in the post, it is because of its failure to recognise this. I have experienced serious trauma in my family, in the church and in psychiatry, and in the world at large. I don’t know which has been worst. I hope you will read the post yourself and see what you think.
I’m very happy today! Yesterday I saw my psychiatrist and nurse, and my Community Treatment Order has been extended to next April so they can make sure I am OK when I finish coming off my meds. I’m not happy that the CTO has been extended, but I am happy that I seem to be OK coming off the meds, I feel better than I have felt in a long time. And there is no problem with my new neighbours, and I don’t expect one to develop.
I suppose that, even if no problems develop here, the psychiatric team will still say that I was ill before, and that I was imagining women shouting ‘hallelujah’. It seemed real, both here and in Bulgaria, where it first started. But the psychiatrists say it was only real to me, that it was an auditory hallucination. I don’t know, I have no proof, but neither do they.
Today I feel hopeful for the future, and happy that I feel hopeful. Yesterday I felt a lot of grief. I had a disturbing dream last night about John and Anne Coles, but I can’t remember it now.
On Tuesday I went to Coventry to see Michael Palin. He was funny and interesting. I missed him here in Nottingham because the tickets were sold out. As Jennie, my nurse, said, it is probably the biggest thing I have done since I came out of hospital. She said I deserved it, even though it turned out to be more expensive than I was happy with. I booked a night in a good hotel to make sure I got a decent night, but it was a way out of town and in the opposite direction from Warwick Arts Centre, where the evening was held. I didn’t mind the price of the hotel, but I did mind paying nearly £100 in taxi fares over less than 24 hours. I did take out £100 to cover taxi fares, but I didn’t expect to have to use nearly all of it. Oh well, it’s done now, and it was a good evening.
I just watched ‘What A Girl Wants’ with Colin Firth on ITV2. That was good, it gave me a bit of a lift. Last night I posted something a bit despairing on Facebook on the Speak Out Against Psychiatry page, but so many people came to my rescue I don’t feel despairing now. I’m still quite lonely, but I’ll have to do something about that. My nurses have been the closest thing I have had to friends over the last year. Pete, the nurse I have coffee with every week, is helping me find voluntary work and is taking me to The People’s Choir next Thursday. I don’t sing so loud here as I used to in London because I don’t want to cause problems, so it might be nice to have the choir as an outlet.
Anyway, that is my update for the moment. Thank you for reading. Please leave comments if you have time.
Hello readers, I’m sorry I don’t write so much these days. Now that I’m not fending for myself in Bulgaria, not homeless and not in hospital I tend not to feel the same urgency to ‘get things out there’, and life has become a bit boring.
I have decided to diet and exercise more. I have a treadmill which I have decided to use for an hour a day. I missed yesterday and the day before, but I pretty much stuck to my intention last week. The nurse I have coffee with told me that it is better to have two half-hour sessions because that boosts your metabolism twice in a day. I’ve stopped buying chocolate and crisps when I order my shopping, for two weeks now, and I’ve been getting some really intense chocolate cravings. Sometimes if I am out, like Thursdays with my nurse, I’ll treat myself to something chocolatey, but since I don’t really go out much it’s not too big a problem.
My medication has been decreased with a view to tapering off altogether. I’m on 20mg of Depixol at the moment. I seem to be stable still during the day, but my dreams are very chaotic and vivid, I don’t know if that is a withdrawal symptom. Things are very settled with my neighbours. We don’t see much of each other and most of the time it is very quiet. There is one man who often brings my bin back in on a Wednesday. I don’t know why he does it, I haven’t asked him. I sort of wish he wouldn’t.
My other nurse, Jennie, who does my depot usually, took me to Ikea the other week so I could buy a wardrobe. We found a nice big one for somewhere between £100 and £200. It is the size of two regular wardrobes put together. That has meant I’ve been able to empty my bags that were stacked on the floor. It’s nice to have easy access to my clothes again. I’ve got two bags of clothes that need to go to a clothes bank because they are spoiled. They are sitting in the otherwise empty side of the wardrobe, when they are gone I’ll be able to hang some more stuff up. Jennie is going to take me to a clothes bank on Friday. I’m a bit upset that moths seem to have got to some of my favourite clothes and left holes in two kaftans and a sweater.
Other than all that mundane stuff I am trying to contribute towards the campaign to free Raif Badawi (see my pinned post). There are campaigners who go and protest outside embassies every Friday, which is the designated day for flogging him. He has not been flogged since January, though. No reason has recently been given for this cessation. His case is back under review and people are hopeful that that is good news.
That’s it for today. Maybe I’ll try and make my life more eventful then I should be able to write more frequently!
Another Friday looms, and Raif Badawi doesn’t know whether he will be flogged or not. So far he hasn’t been, since January. It would be nice to think that international pressure is contributing to the repeated postponements. I’m sure the wounds from the first flogging will have healed by now, but he does have other health issues, high blood pressure and diabetes. Ensaf Haidar, his wife, says that he is psychologically low, presumably the weekly uncertainty will be contributing to that. The psychological pressure on him must be immense. Amnesty UK has a petition for his release. If you haven’t already signed it, please think of doing so. King Salman is in breach of international law to treat him the way he is doing. Free speech is a human right. There should be no flogging for blogging. Here, again, is the link to the petition.
I have just been reading through my entries tagged Highbury Hospital, and it brought back memories. I had an awful time there. I would like to direct new readers (and old) to those posts. It was not a healing atmosphere, and I believe I was very victimised there, probably in retaliation for my blog and speaking out. Please read some of them and leave comments. Click on Highbury Hospital in my tag cloud a little way down on the right.
Every Thursday one of my nurses and I go out for coffee, it’s part of the social inclusion programme. He’s a nice man, his name is Pete. He helped me out practically when I first moved in here. We talk about a lot of things, including religion. This week religion came up because I said I hadn’t heard anything about Raif Badawi this week. Raif is the writer and activist in Saudi Arabia who has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for his blog on free speech and liberalism in which he criticised some of the clerics, which was taken as an insult to Islam. (For a petition by Amnesty International seeking to get this stopped please see here).
Pete said it was terrible what was being done in the name of religion, and said the Church used to do the same thing with its witch trials, for example. The subject of demon possession came up, and I told him about my experiences of being told either that I was demon possessed or that I was ‘heavily demonised’.
The time I was told I was demon possessed was when I was a 12 year old girl in 1973. I had lost my frightening father to suicide the year before. Two of the elders of the church I was going to told me that I was demon possessed because I stared too much. I suppose I did stare. I stared particularly at one of them, because he was my father’s age and musical like my father, and I wanted to be a part of their family, informally. He was a father figure. The other elder – no, deacon – his wife told me that the man I saw as a father figure just saw me as a silly little girl. They must have thought I fancied him or something (he was 38, I was 12, he was married with 3 children). When they first tried to pray for me they decided I didn’t want help and told me I wasn’t to go back until I wanted help. I think they also told me I couldn’t have communion. The second time they prayed for me the deacon was bothered that I had practised a prayer instead of just praying on the spot, but the man I saw as a father figure said he felt good about it. Apparently they saw a mouse which I didn’t see, and they told me the demons had gone into the mouse. All I knew was that I wasn’t allowed to get close to the people I wanted, and I was hurt and upset, and frightened. That fear left me briefly about 20 years ago, but it quickly came back when I was disrespected at the church I was going to in London.
At the church I went to in London, St Barnabas, Woodside Park in North Finchley, soon after my first experience in a mental hospital, I was so traumatised I was shouting when I was afraid. I asked the vicar, who at that time was John Coles, what he would tell God when He asked him why he called the police on me, and John said he would say that he was dealing with someone who was ‘heavily demonised’.
I told Pete about both of these experiences and he said about the first one that I was obviously traumatised and they should have been dealing with trauma, not performing an exorcism. He said it was child abuse, which I agree with. David Shearman once told me he had been angry when he found out about it. Unfortunately his anger did not relieve my pain and fear. I lived for years worrying about demons, and looking into the mirror and seeing something evil in my eyes. I can’t remember what Pete said about the second time, in London, that I had this forced on me. But he said it all sounded medieval. He also said that he thought people were like a piano, with all the notes available, and you just decide what you are going to play.
My worry is, have I misrepresented the Church? They meant well, didn’t they? Although I find that hard to believe, given how much anger was expressed.
I looked up the two people involved when I was 12. One of them died in 2012 (the man whose family I wanted to be part of), and the other is an elder in a Christian Fellowship somewhere. I didn’t recognise him but I recognised his wife, easily.
Some of you will know who Raif Badawi is, some won’t, so for those who don’t I will explain.
Raif is a 31 year old Saudi Arabian man who was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2012, and 1,000 lashes, planned to be given in 50s every Friday after prayers. There is also a 10 year travel ban and a 10 year ban on using the internet, both to start when he leaves prison. In the meantime they are seeking to have him accused of apostasy, which carries a death sentence.
His crime is that he started a blog expressing his liberal views, advocating free speech and criticising clerics in his country.
He had the first 50 lashes in January, but the rest were put off because of his health. the second 50 were due today but they have been postponed again, also because of his health. He suffers from high blood pressure and diabetes.
He has a wife and 3 children who at the moment are resident in Canada. His wife is appealing his sentence.
I am posting a link to an Amnesty International petition asking the Saudi authorities to stop the punishment and to free him. If you haven’t already signed it please do.
This post is two interviews given by Monica Cassani on Nonduality Talk. I find I resonate with a lot that she says. She talks about her own experiences in the mental health system in America, and about her pursuit of healing Beyond Meds, which is the title of her regularly maintained blog. Each interview is about 55 minutes long and well worth listening to.
PART ONE AND PART TWO ARE NOW INCLUDED IN THIS POST
For more visit Nonduality.Org
Jerry Katz says: We talk about the possibility of living without psychiatric medications, the implications, and Monica’s personal story of withdrawal from meds.
Listen to PART 2 here
0:00 – 4:35 Introduction to Monica Cassani. Monica talks about the possibility of living without psychiatric medications and the need to sometimes live with them to some degree. The nature of safe withdrawal.
4:35 – 11:21 The radical decision to stand up to the authority of psychiatry. Non-compliance: care and support needed, especially from the psychiatrist. “It shouldn’t be viewed as non-compliance.” It should be a right to get off drugs or to explore an alternative. Currently, people don’t have a choice. There’s no infrastructure to support options to standard psychiatric care.
11:21 – 15:20 Monica’s attempt to educate people as a first step toward building…
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This is Russell Razzaque, a psychiatrist in London, talking about breakdowns and spirituality and similarities and overlaps between the two that he has noticed through his own meditation experiences. It is well worth watching.
In the video below Dr. Russell Razzaque shares what he learns about the psyche when he starts meditating. He is surprised when he comes to recognize many states he experiences in meditation to be similar to states that are pathologized in psychiatry. He sees them in his patients and recognizes them in his own experience when meditating.
I’ve certainly found meditation to be a way to learn how to recognize and integrate many parts of my psyche…including those which got me locked up and drugged many years ago as a young woman. It’s become clear to me too that which gets labeled pathological in psychiatry are simply extreme examples of what is simply human nature.
The biggest problem in the mental illness system is that most mental health professionals don’t understand these things about the psyche. They don’t know their own minds and therefore are afraid of people who display…
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I have been in my new home now for a week and a half. I’m sleeping on the sofa because the bedroom is full of boxes, and I have the radio on a lot. I can’t have the tv on at the moment because I have to find my Freeview box. I’d rather find it than buy a new one but in reality it might be like looking for a needle in a haystack, it could be at the bottom of a box that ends up going straight in the shed. The nurses on the Assertive Outreach team have been helpful, yesterday they put my table together for me, so now I can eat sitting down instead of standing in the kitchen.
The gap in the kitchen for the washing machine is too small by 2 centimetres, so at the moment I am waiting for them to contact me to visit and assess the job to have it widened. They have been making excuses about why they’re not getting in touch. My Moving Forward worker has been trying to get them to contact me for about 3 weeks now.
I’ve been feeling ill and very lonely. I was with other people in hospital for two and a half years, I’ve got used to being around people, even if most of the time I felt I was being bullied. I’ve forgotten how to cook nice meals, and the kitchen is so small I have to close the kitchen door to get into the fridge, and there’s not much cupboard space. I had to have one big cupboard with lots of shelving taken out because it was in the way of the fridge-freezer space. Gone are the days of eating in the kitchen, now I have to eat in the lounge. There is really only room for one in the kitchen. Whatever was wrong with my old flat, at least it was huge in comparison with this.
I left hospital with about eight big black bags full of stuff which are still sitting in half of the lounge. At least as a bungalow there is no noise from upstairs, which is good, and so far the neighbours are quite quiet. I wish someone would play some loud music, that would give me permission to do the same, at least occasionally.
I fell asleep this afternoon, and I dreamt that my grandmother was lying in bed behind me with her feet intertwined with mine. I dreamt I thought that I didn’t want to lose her and thought about going to the doctor for her. I actually lost her when I was 16. I don’t remember I’ve ever dreamt about her before. It seems like a huge coincidence that I dreamt about her on Halloween. Tommy Boyd said that when pagans celebrate Halloween they remember the dead, people they have lost. I was afraid that my grandmother had come to collect from the other side, and that maybe I didn’t have much longer to live. Just because it is Halloween . . . .
I don’t know how to finish this. I’m not a very good writer so I suppose the best thing would be to acknowledge that and just finish it here.
I heard this song on Radio 2 this evening, I Might Be Wrong, I Might Be Right, and thought about what seems to be the difference between the psychiatric position and my own. They say the voice I heard piping or screaming hallelujah repeatedly was definitely, an auditory hallucination and are prepared to forcibly inject me with brain damaging drugs on that basis. Whereas I am at least prepared to entertain the idea that it might have been an overwrought imagination. The voice sounded real enough and it burned right through me.
The trouble is, neither I nor the psychiatric team have asked other neighbours whether they heard anything. The difference between the psychiatric team and myself is that I see the desirability of finding out and the psychiatric team doesn’t, they think their academic knowledge is all that is needed. In reality, they have less of a basis for judging it as an auditory hallucination than I have for believing it to be real. For one thing, it was limited to the place I was living, it didn’t follow me around outside. If it was an hallucination I would have expected it wouldn’t be limited to the building. I don’t know what their thinking is on that .
But they think they can decide that something is hallucinatory without reference to the reality of other people who would certainly also have heard it if it wasn’t. That is arrogance. When I was living as homeless in Lincoln many years ago there was a loud bang on the ceiling above my bed. There was another woman there in the other bed and I asked her if she had heard it and she said yes, and that it was above my bed. The psychiatrists don’t check things out that way, and that is unscientific.
They have no basis for deciding that something is real or imaginary since they don’t refer to the reality of other people’s experience around me. The best they can legitimately say is that they might be wrong, they might be right, but they go beyond that to justify depriving me of my freedom back in 2012 and on previous admissions, and forcing drugs on me. At least they seem to go beyond it. If they don’t, what is the foundation for their actions? You can’t open yourself up safely to people who are so adamant, and yet they accuse me of being guarded and only having superficial conversations. As far as I am concerned no one has the right to expect deep conversation from other people, especially not from people held and drugged against their wishes with unanswered community questions. I think them calling ME guarded is projection anyway. I have seen enough evidence of their own guardedness.
I was 11 when my father died at his own hands. I don’t really know if it was suicide, it might have been a call for help and attention that backfired. I know it left me without a strong hand at home. The family fell to pieces. I stopped going to school because I thought, ‘I don’t want to go so I’m not going’, and no one challenged that strongly enough. My mother didn’t have enough authority to get me to go, and I was being bullied at school, so I lay in bed reading mainly Christian paperbacks.
My first experience of a Pentecostal church came when I was about 12 or 13. A van with a megaphone came round my street advertising a crusade, and I decided to go. It was an odd experience, with people saying loud ‘hallelujahs’ and ‘praise the Lords’ while a person on the platform was speaking. I thought it was rude.
Eventually a man came to my attention who was the same age as my father and was also musical, as my father had been, and I used to watch him as he played a Hawaiian guitar. I used to want to be a part of his family. I let it be known that I liked him, and eventually one of the leaders or the leader’s wife told me that he thought I was just a silly little girl, as if I was sexually motivated (bearing in mind he was 38 and I was 12 or 13).
Very soon after this they decided I was demon possessed because I stared too much. One week they told me I wasn’t welcome unless I wanted help, and that I was to go away and only come back when I wanted help. I went back the next week, and they prayed for me to cast demons out, It wasn’t pleasant, they found fault with me for praying a prayer that I had practised. The man I liked was one of the people praying for me, another male leader was another, They told me the demons had gone into a mouse they had seen but I hadn’t. They left me afraid and traumatised. I used to look into my own eyes in the mirror and think that I could see something evil in them. I kept praying that God wouldn’t let me become demon possessed again, because I believed the things they had said to me. I just needed a father figure, and I was completely misunderstood.
I’ve never really recovered from that time, the pain has never really gone away. There was a woman at Talbot Street, where I ended up going shortly after David Shearman came to the church I’ve been talking about, who said I had caused problems in Andrew and David Shearman’s marriages. When I told David that he said she wasn’t doing God’s work. I don’t remember that he denied what she had said though.
In London the teaching I received about demons was that they attach when people are vulnerable, as in infancy or at a time of trauma, and that a simple prayer of deliverance was what was needed to remedy the situation, and also prayer for healing and filling with the Holy Spirit in place of the demons. I believed this teaching. Some people would say that what some people call demons is actually psychological or psychiatric. People talk about coming to terms with their demons, not recognising a need or possibility of deliverance, and not talking about real demons in the first place. The Pentecostal and Charismatic traditions believe and recognise that demonisation and deliverance are real, and these have been my background since I was 12 years old, the background I am now estranged from. Over the last 20 years I have been accused of witchcraft by other Christians on many occasions. That’s where I will leave this entry. It’s all very painful and sore.
Tomorrow my tenancy starts in my new home, but I won’t be moving in immediately. I still need to decorate and I’m going to see if I can get some volunteers for that, but I’ve never decorated and have no idea about things like how many pots of paint I am going to need. I have been awarded 45 points by the council to buy decorating stuff with, but their colours are very limited and a bit boring (I love the way the WordPress site puts a squiggly red line under ‘colours’ spelt the English way! It doesn’t like ‘spelt’ either!)
The idea is that I should erect a shed in the garden to store the stuff that won’t fit inside my bungalow. It would be a metal shed, which is both cheaper and more secure than wooden, apparently, but it will still be very expensive and security will be a constant worry. I had wasps in my kitchen last week, they were coming down the boiler flue, and the man who came round to sort them out commented that the back was open to intruders, being on the corner with nothing beside. I’ve been in that situation before, before the new houses were built next door to me in London, and I was burgled several times. It’s not a nice feeling. I woke up one morning to find someone in my bedroom. But he broke in through the front door.
I’m looking forward to moving in now, but the shortage of money makes it a time of great anxiety for me. If it weren’t for the fact that I need to buy a shed I would be OK, but I’m just short of what it is estimated I will need for that. At the moment I am waiting for the outcome of a budgeting loan application, and I expect that to take another 3 weeks to come through. In the meantime I have a discharge meeting on Tuesday, and I’m hoping they will give me longer than just two weeks to move in.
I’ve called this post ‘Beginnings and Endings’. Obviously it will be a new beginning in the bungalow, and an end to nearly two years and five months in hospital, and an end on three years homeless, but that wasn’t what I had in mind when I named my post.
By endings I was thinking about the end of life. I’m 53, which isn’t old, but it is still the wrong side of half way through my life. I’ve been thinking I don’t want to grow old alone. I have no partner, I have no children. My mother has arthritis and uses a wheelchair. Apart from her shopper and her cleaner I am the only person she sees, every two weeks, which is how she wants it. I’ve been thinking about suicide as an alternative to getting very old and dragging myself around lonely and in pain. Lately I’ve been thinking about Dignitas. I’ve been thinking about them because I wouldn’t know how to commit suicide myself, I wouldn’t have the tablets and I can’t see me hanging myself, I don’t think I’d do a good job of ending my life. I’ve also thought how unnatural it seems to me that an organisation like Dignitas exists to help people to die. I don’t know if they exist for anything else.
I’m a bit confused. I’ve been seeing old people out and about and they seem OK, talking to each other on the bus. Many of them seem mobile enough. But I feel a general despair because I don’t think I have any friends and I don’t think that, at my age, I can make the kind of friends who would be able to stand in for lifetime friends, of which I have none. I think my last years will be very, very lonely. I don’t have much hope at the moment about anything. I think boredom is going to be a longstanding problem for me, and I can’t see the point of hanging around for that. I also don’t fancy the idea of a care home, which might be a necessity later on. Ever since the mental health services got involved in my life I have felt insecure and that I have no reliable freedom, I don’t want to end my days in care. I don’t want to drag my way through the last years of my life subject to situations I don’t want to be in.
I’m not planning to do anything at the moment. I was thinking maybe some time in my 60s. I’m not sure if I could if it actually came down to it, but I’m not so afraid of the idea of ending my life as I once was. I am afraid of the possibility of vandalism and intrusion in my new home and whatever future home I establish, thinking of Bulgaria. I don’t want to live out my life subject to those things, I don’t want to be in fear of things being spoilt all the time, and mental health teams and police refusing to take it seriously. Saying I’m having auditory hallucinations rather than acknowledge something real and not OK is being done to me.
Today I am doing something I haven’t done in a while – I am sitting in a pub using The Cloud to download. I have been limiting myself to what my dongle can do, which isn’t very much and is very slow and hit and miss. Last night I tried to download some Decameron, a folk group, and only one track downloaded successfully. I have now managed to download the whole album. Really I wanted Parabola Road from way back, but it isn’t on Napster anymore, which is a pain. What made me come over was wanting to download some Noam Chomsky, one of his latest lectures, When Elites Fail. As he says, the easy answer is just get rid of them, but the working answer is harder. I look forward to listening to this when I go back to my bedroom.
I have a move in date for my bungalow now, it is 15th September. Unfortunately part of the flooring has been pulled up. They say it was probably dangerous but it looked fine to me. I’m going to need some time to be able to replace it, so I hope they are not in a hurry to get rid of me at Broomhill House. My CPN Jennie Wainwright is looking into a charity for me, and I am going to make another application for a budgeting loan.
There are some great blogs that I am following, they make me feel really boring in the way I write. I just read an entry from Beyond Meds, about the Red Tent groups. I wonder if they have them in the UK. She also talked about yoga and ecstatic dancing groups, as alternatives to clinical approaches to mental health. I am very much in favour of this approach. She talked about sound healing as well. Michael Mish is into that, he studied something called Tama Do. I miss him. I had an email correspondence with him for about a year but he broke it off. He felt I had tricked him. He said sometimes you try to help people but it goes wrong. I still listen to his music, I often play I Can Heal to fall asleep to. I love all his music. I wish he would get back in touch. The latest I knew he was trying to sell his house so he could go on the road. Funny, here’s me needing a home and him trying to get rid of one. He says on the road you realise how nice people can be.
I’m seeing an Assertive Outreach worker on Tuesday about getting a shed. He used to work in a place that does them and we are going there. I have no idea how much they would charge to erect it. I saw a company that gives an inclusive price for erecting a wooden one, but not a metal one. This might turn out to be more expensive than I can handle. I am anxious to get my stuff out of storage, as the part I am thinking about costs me £96 every 4 weeks, and I can’t afford to be leaking that at the moment. I have thought about getting it out and storing it in the bungalow until I can get the shed, but then heavy and awkward stuff will have to transferred to the shed and it will need 2 men to do it. I think it is best to do it while the removals people are actually there and available. My mum is lending me some money for the move but it still isn’t enough. It would be far easier if I didn’t have my own stuff to move in and get out of storage. It would be easier if the bungalow were bigger as well, then I wouldn’t need a shed. I have got used to the idea of living there, it’s not impossible, but there is so much expense associated with it. I need a letter from the council for Housing Benefit, stating address, date of moving and amount of rent, and I don’t think they have given it to me. They have given me a couple of folders with contracts, but that isn’t what Housing Benefit asks for.
There is one more thing – my self care isn’t good, I feel tired and overwhelmed and incapable. Every so often they prompt me to have a shower, and last time they said I couldn’t use the kitchen unless I had a shower, so I was two days not allowed in the kitchen. Last time the person who told me was angry with me, although it is supposed to be a symptom of schizophrenia, so her anger didn’t make much sense, from that perspective. She also told me there was a conversation documented from that weekend that I had been asked to have a shower, but although the conversation was documented, no such conversation took place. So if they are lying about things like that, what other lies are in my notes?
My radio is playing up, it won’t transmit properly without interference unless I’m sitting still in the middle of the room or right on top of it, so I’ve been playing my way through my Napster library (yes, I’m still with Napster) to see why I downloaded the items in the first place.
I don’t normally play my music during the day, but I’ve got a few that I go to at night and play in an attempt to get myself off to sleep, so yesterday and today I thought I’d do a whistlestop tour of everything in my library, except it’s not whistlestop, I’m playing them right through in alphabetical order of artist.
I’ve got some ‘music for deep meditation’ on at the moment called Bansuri. I’ve had Alfie Boe on, someone called Antman reading the first 29 Psalms, Amy Grant, AudioBible reading of the Gospel of John, Andy Williams (downloaded for my mother) and Arthur Rubenstein playing Chopin’s Nocturnes. That’s just the first few. I’m into the Bs now but I can’t be bothered to list them. While I’ve been listening to all this I have been tweeting and retweeting on Twitter. I’ve had a few new followers today and I’ve gone over the 200 mark.
I’ve got a move coming up in the next 2 or 3 weeks to an absolute rabbit hutch of a bungalow. I’m very anxious about it. There is plenty of garden so I am erecting a shed in the back to store my belongings which won’t fit into the bungalow. Within 4 months it will have paid for itself as the alternative would be to keep my stuff in storage. I’m worried that the shed might not be big enough, I’m worried about money, and I’m worried that I won’t be able to find the things I want inside the bungalow.
In my planning I am compensating for not having a lot of space in my bungalow by working towards being able to afford a cheap house in Bulgaria. You can get something really spacious for about 6 or 7 thousand euros, and I’m thinking of taking my stuff over there with me. I know it seems drastic but it’s the only way I am going to have my own space, and the countryside is lovely. Without a landlord breathing down my neck there I should have a different experience from my first one, if I own my own property. I should feel more secure. I should feel secure here, but I feel doomed to a cramped and impoverished existence. Maybe it’s my fault and I’m being too negative and ungrateful. I can’t honestly see how I can make it home though.
I’ve got the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band on now, ‘Gorilla’. Tommy Boyd introduced me to that on his radio programme.
by Robert D. Stolorow
This pathologizing of grief has ancient roots extending back at least as far as the Stoics, whose stern ascetic morality preached a perfect indifference that eschewed all passionate attachments. The ideal of selfless asceticism was carried forth in early Christianity, showing up dramatically, for example, in the Confessions of the prominent 12th century monk, Saint Bernard, who was wracked with guilt over his grief for his beloved dead brother. His brother, after all, was enjoying eternal happiness in heaven, so Bernard could only feel his grieving his loss as a manifestation of a wicked selfishness on his own part.
The pathologizing of grief was continued by the philosopher Rene Descartes, usually considered to be the initiator of…
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It isn’t possible to know what was in Robin Williams’ mind when he committed suicide, as there has been no mention of a suicide note.
We are all in the dark.
It emerged today through his widow that he was in the early stages of Parkinson’s Disease.
That might have been a factor in his suicide, it might even have been the deciding factor.
He might have done it for himself, he might have done it for those who would have had to care for him,
His mind might not have been clear at all in determining his final act.
Some of us are left wondering who he was, and feeling a bit betrayed.
Maybe there is something in the assertion that suicide is selfish.
(My father committed suicide. I was 11. I have missed him and made excuses for him to myself for years I have felt a responsibility to understand and love him. I have to see myself and my experience as separate, the burden of responsibility and identification is too great.)
Whatever may emerge, we don’t know why he killed himself, not really.
We can only guess and maybe come to a conclusion that is most comfortable for us, that we feel we can understand.
I feel sorry that he has gone this way.
He was obviously in great pain.
Why this need to make a god and a benchmark of a frail and aging man?
Today I like so many others mourn the death of Robin Williams. It came as a complete and unbelievable shock to me in the midnight news last night. Robin Williams, the world has been a better place because you were in it. Your depression got the better of you, but you were an inspirational man.
Like so many people I laughed at Mrs Doubtfire, the man who was so desperate to be with his children that he pretended to be a woman to become their nanny. It was light and entertaining but with a serious message to the children that sometimes mummies and daddies split up but still love the children.
Dead Poets Society, Awakenings and What Dreams May Come are some of my favourite films. Serious films with serious and heartbreaking material. I don’t remember as much of them as I would like to, a lot has happened since I saw them.
What Dreams May Come made quite an impact on me, as Robin Williams, the man killed in a car crash, is guided through the afterlife and told that everything he sees around him is the product of his own mind. He goes on a rescue mission to hell to save his wife who died later through suicide, and he is reminded that all the turbulence he is experiencing is also the product of his own mind. It is a very painful film, showing the pain of interplay between the wife’s surviving world after the crash and his attempts to comfort her from the other side. There is a scene where he embraces her from behind and she screams.
Awakenings is a fictionalised drama based on the true account by Oliver Sacks about some victims of encephalitis who have been catatonic for years and then a new drug wakes them up to a new life.
In Dead Poets Society Robin Williams played the part of an English teacher who sought to inspire his pupils through poetry. He tried to draw out their individuality and self-expression. He was later fired after being blamed for the suicide of a boy who played Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream against his parents wishes. The boy had wanted to be an actor but his father had wanted him to go to Harvard. It was a traditional school where Keating (Robin Williams) used to go himself and he was challenging the system.
I liked Robin Williams because he could play roles where he was both moved and moving. I found all three of these films completely absorbing.
Death is always hard. Suicide is harder. I asked some people this morning if they had heard about the death and most of them had. I asked a couple of the domestics if they had heard and they ended up saying it was selfish. I was horrified by the judgmentalism, especially from staff working in a place like this, it made me feel sick. Robin Williams was loved, and for good reason. One of them said it wasn’t as if he didn’t have a pot to piss in. Depression can affect anyone, regardless of their status. I was disgusted by this.
I have been heartened today to see and hear the tributes to him. I feel as if I am going to be affected by this news for the rest of my life. One person I didn’t expect to be going anywhere soon was Robin Williams.
I’m a Christian. I have been taught to believe that Christians go to heaven and non-Christians go to hell. I don’t know where Robin Williams stood with things, but I hope God will be merciful. I hope he will rest in peace.
People who have read my blog over the past months will know that I am homeless and have been since 20th September 2011, almost 3 years. I have now been in hospital for 2 years and 4 months, because they have had no home to discharge me to.
Today I had some good news. It looks as if my homelessness is about to come to an end, because the council has found me a bungalow with a big garden in Wollaton, Nottingham. Wollaton has a name for being a nice area, so I hope my part will be as well. I also hope the bungalow will be big enough to accommodate all my belongings, most of which I have to move from London storage. I have been told it will cost me £800 to move everything up.
The bungalow will also need to be carpeted, so I think at the moment I don’t have enough money to do both. I will have to apply to the DWP for a budgeting loan, which mentions carpets and removals as part of what it covers. I did apply for one before, estimating I would need about £1,000, but the offer was only between £300 and £400, so I didn’t take it up, thinking it would be months and months before anyone found me anything and I’d have time to save. I have saved quite a bit but the extra loan would make things possible. I pity those who can’t save. £300-£400 was supposed to cover both carpeting and removals, which isn’t possible. After carpeting and removals I will be broke. The council said the bungalow would be ready to move into around the end of the month, so I still have time to make a further application. And the hospital won’t just throw me out, but will wait until I can move in properly before discharging me.
Edit note 6th August 2014: Today I was told that there is laminate flooring in the bungalow, so I won’t need to carpet 🙂
In my last post I said the regimentalism here was getting me down. By regimentalism I meant the 10 am get up time and the slots for meals. Possibly it wasn’t that fair of me to say that because when it comes to it most people are quite flexible, some more than others. For the time being this is my home, and it’s not really too bad, all things considered. There is a lot of banter and humour between the staff and between ourselves and the staff. However, the serious issues remain, it’s just that they are not looked at very often, and I fear that if we tried we might end up feeling the worse for it. The serious stuff comes out at tribunals. They said I was grandiose and had pressure of speech. They said I lacked insight.
As a Christian I believe I need to be kind and forgiving. That doesn’t seem to be far away from giving the impression that I am complying happily. But then the guns come out at tribunals, the guns they have trained on me. Dismissing me as grandiose, for what reason I do not know. That is the people who sat on the panel.
The worst thing about sleeping here is the plastic mattresses. Every night I wake up several times too hot and throw the duvet off, and every morning I can feel the sweat pouring off of me, and my hair is plastered to my back. I’ve been told that my bedroom is next to the one which is right over the boiler, I don’t know if that makes any difference, or if it is just the weather and the building. My mother says she prefers the cold weather, because if she is too cold she can do something about it, whereas it is a lot harder if you are too hot. We haven’t got fans or anything, if we had the noise would be a disturbance.
I’ve thought about going back to the place in Sherwood to ask other neighbours if they heard the woman shouting hallelujah above me. It seems to me that the psychiatrists want to put that down to auditory hallucinations. I don’t know how they can be so definite without making proper checks, maybe it is just a delusion in their own heads, subsidiary to their own delusions of grandeur and power and importance.
Maybe this is a period of transition for me. I no longer have my nice flat apart from the neighbours and the bitumen on the floorboards. I might not get a garden this time. I wonder how long it is going to take them to come up with a property for me. People are saying I’m on priority listing, but there must be others as well. I was told some Salvation Army flats were being withdrawn from people who were living in them and the number 70 was mentioned as the number of people who would be consequentially homeless. What with that and the present shortage of one bedroom flats I imagine I might have to wait for a very long time before something comes up for me. The tribunal said something about wanting to have me moving on by July, but I can’t see that happening. As much as I am trying to be reasonable and understanding and friendly towards people who are really so different from me, I really don’t want to have to make this my home for a long time. The humour and banter are just distractions from the very important fact that, ultimately, it is a power relationship that I am on the wrong side of. I have said in the past that this is little more than an open prison. For me that is true, being on a Section 3. I hate coming back here when I go out. I am trying to work on my tendency to see this as a them and us situation, but it is hard. I have no choice but to be here, I can’t leave if I want to. People talk about state kidnap in relation to this situation, and that does feel true at the end of the day.
People have looked at my post ‘Striking Poses’ over the last few days, so I re-read it today and still find it relevant. Let it be noted that I had problems at Macmillan Close even on medication that I am not experiencing here. My key nurse asked me if the fact that I am not experiencing the same problems here didn’t suggest something about being on medication, but it is not that simple.
I’ve been feeling for a while now that I am writing for an audience and I should give it something interesting or relevant. When I first started blogging there was a lot of emergency feeling to the material I was putting out, I’m not feeling that so much now. I have wondered if my blog has come to the end of its useful life. I have also thought that writing on my blog is an indulgence I can’t afford if I’m to handle my relationships right, and that maybe my blogging and fear of the consequences has been the problem in a lot of situations. I think my blog needs to take a different direction, or maybe it’s just me that needs to take a different direction because I am stuck in a boring rut.
I feel incapable of writing about anything of interest, and as if I have said everything there is to say about my situation. I can’t just keep going over the same old stuff all the time, there is nothing interesting about doing that.
I get anxious as well when I see some of the posts people are visiting, I think back on it and think it must all come across as paranoid rambling. Also I don’t know who is accessing my material and why, because comments are left so seldom. I wish more people would identify themselves and leave comments. At the moment my statistics show I get between 20 and 30 views per day, but people don’t stop to comment. Maybe they find my posts unreadable and all they do is alight then leave quickly because they can’t deal with what they find. I continue to get followers to my blog. I used to think my readership was church people and some people from the media and maybe the police, but I don’t think like that anymore. It might have been true once, or maybe it wasn’t, but it certainly seemed true from things I was seeing and hearing, including sermons from church websites.
Off of my stated topic, I still feel worn down by the regimented life here at Broomhill House. I still know about studies which show that antipsychotics cause brain damage and also shrink the brain and that people on medication have a shorter life expectancy, apart from the suicides of people who can’t take it anymore. I feel so tired I want to acquiesce to everything and forget I have read these things, to comply and be happy to comply as if none of the things I have read by other people with concerns are true. I want to forget everything I know has happened to me and dismiss it as paranoia, just as the psychiatrists do. It would be so easy, at the moment, just to forget. I want to approach church people and ask them, but there seems no point because they are closed and wouldn’t tell me the truth, they want to dismiss everything as just mental illness, but I know what I have heard from them. They would rather have it that I am mentally ill than admit to anything that might be a bit untoward. They would want me to accept everything they have done as OK or not admit to any of it to me. I particularly feel that about David Shearman.
I had a nightmare last night about John Coles and John Knight. John Coles was the vicar at St Barnabas, Woodside Park, North Finchley and John Knight was one of his wardens. John Coles is now someone in St Paul’s Cathedral. I had a very unhappy time at St Barnabas. Near the end it came out that John and Anne Coles thought I had tried to harm their marriage. They never moved from that, they made me very distressed and unhappy. I wrote them some ill-advised letters, and we were all unhappy, but they refused to acknowledge that there was any problem at first. I kept saying I was sorry I had hurt them, they kept saying I hadn’t hurt them, so in the end I decided enough was enough and that if they were saying I hadn’t hurt them I no longer had any responsibility for trying to make amends, but when Anne told me that I had tried to harm their marriage I suppose that made it obvious that they thought I had hurt them. When people prayed for me John Knight used to pull them away. They set about isolating me. They said some really hurtful and harmful things to me and I was beside myself with pain and anger. In the end they told me I couldn’t take communion anymore, because they said I wasn’t walking in love. I went forward and John Coles just walked past me without even offering a blessing. There is nothing to say anymore. I wish there was. At the very end they even wanted to control where I was allowed to sit, first telling me I had to sit at the back on the right, then telling me I had to sit at the back on the left, and calling the police on me because I refused to sit in the seat they showed me to and moved forward a bit. They told me I had a choice, to sit in the seat they led me to, to leave, or have them call the police. I started calling out to John Coles saying it was harassment, and they called the police. The police took me out and wouldn’t let me go back in.
I’m self conscious about writing this because some of the nurses at Broomhill House read my blog. If I name names people in other places have got heavy on me, talking about a care plan in relation to my blog. No photos or recordings are allowed here. Another waking nightmare is that I’m going to be here for ages and I won’t be rehoused. Another is that anything they offer me will be really small and not have a garden. I had a garden in London and was just beginning to enjoy it, in latter days.