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This is a happy version of me, taken today

1-me-smiling-at-myself-in-the-mirror

This is how I look at someone I feel relaxed with and loved and accepted by and who I also love and realise is amazing. In this case, myself in the mirror!

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Looking Back

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

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

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

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

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/apr/23/nhs-mental-health-patients-locked-in-secure-ward-rehabilitation-years?CMP=fb_gu&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook&fbclid=IwAR2bohqX1n2bcxy4f9J0TNFjSwGC0TX3Q41_u5Ohm4wQKxjKg-Ys-YWXTuM#Echobox=1556006455

Back to Highbury Hospital

My music went off Sunday night when my battery went on my Kindle Fire.  A minute after it had been off Andy, a nurse I know from years ago here, came in and asked me to turn my music down.  I told him it was already off and he said keep it off.  We got into an argument, me asking why he was making an issue of it when it was already off, saying he just wanted to assert his authority in that way, he said just keep it off, I kept asking questions and the only answer I got was just keep it off.  People like him make mashed potato out of people like me.  After he went I shouted that I did not get my degree to have a male nurse behaving towards me as if he had husband or father rights from pre-women’s lib days, and he came back in, stood with solid, challenging presence while I was in bed.  He likes to make a joke of everything.  He wouldn’t go.  In the end I spat on the floor as what seemed like the safest option.  He sniggered and eyeballed me as he left.  Earlier I had had a black male nurse, one of a team of black nurses godding all the time, move on me really aggressively, backing me into my room for saying something.  I might have been talking about a United Nations report from 2008 that says forced psychiatry is torture.  They have been saying the fact that they are black should make no difference, but in some contexts I think it has to, because of cultural differences in male/female relationship attitudes.  And I have never met a racial group more likely to be actively calling on God as their authority on this locked ward where people are subjected to unwanted physicality.  As a Christian who does not believe in that I don’t want to hear it, though I got fed up of hearing Colin Dye do exactly the same thing from his platform.  But it isn’t professional behaviour from anyone, anyway.  These guys are also intoning the word ‘medication’ in exactly the same way they say ‘God’.  I think they are causing a lot of confusion and distress.  Screaming, sorrying, people saying they love Jesus.  From their tones as I hear them now, and their demeanour since I got here, it could not be more obvious to me that these staff have something to hide.  I am glad to have these realizations but now do not know what to do with them.

Sunday night got out of control, though.  I heard another woman say she was uncomfortable with what he had done.  I said I had told him the night before about my sister’s death and her first birthday on 9th March since she died.  I asked what kind of a man does what he just did to a grieving woman.  No response.  It sounded as if the police were out there, I started to shout about abuse on the ward and my story.  When I mentioned Lorraine they went quiet.  Nothing else happened and I don’t know what came of it.

I was so upset and frightened and, inexplicably, ashamed and embarrassed, I didn’t care take my tablet to the office to be recharged.  Monday morning I had a headache which I have had all day, I’ve just taken some paracetamol for it.  When I went to the office Monday morning to get it charged I knocked on the door and a female staff member stared at me blankly for 5 seconds of so.  I said, ‘yes, there is someone knocking on your door, please don’t look at her so blankly’.  She said she had something in her eye, I said I hadn’t realised, I had just thought it was one more incident of the same nature as others.  The black male nurse at the desk looked me in the face laughing at me.  Looked away again, looked back doing the same thing.  People looking away, making rude and disgusted faces.  Shutting the door on me.  I was so upset I was shouting again, they kept making threatening noises, I went back to my room and had my back to the door, trying to keep them out and calm down on my own terms.  They were stood outside talking about me, so rather than say they were lying or being unreasonable I just kept repeating ‘yes’.  They broke the door seal so that it opened both ways.  I was already calm enough for my liking, just wanted to drink my tea.  But they wanted to win the fight and they forced me to take two Lorazepam.  I tried to refuse, being on a Section 2, but they said I had to take it.  They jerk when I am relaxed or feel in control, it is bizarre.  I wanted to throw the water in his face, but threw it out of the window instead.  I felt he wanted to make me feel provoked into throwing it into his face.  Is it bad style for me to say it is upsetting me to write this?  Eventually I took my tablet to be charged, lay on my bed and fell asleep, and no one woke me for lunch.  I suppose it might have been the tablets.

Around 3.30 this same nurse was standing at my door saying I had to see the doctor NOW.  I said I had just woken up and could he see the next person before me.  I was told no, he had to see me now.  I asked to be given 10 minutes, he said no, you have to come now.  I said to ask the doctor, and we argued back and forward on this a few times, me saying that flexibility and negotiation is what normal people do.  In the end I said if he did not ask the doctor for 10 minutes, because he was saying he wouldn’t, and if I missed my appointment because of that, I would make a complaint about him.  So he went, leaving my door open, came back and said he had got 15 minutes and I had to come now, I said we had a few minutes, he said he had said 10 minutes.

Anyway, I realised last night, having tried to understand what it was I was supposed to do with the physical and emotional state I felt in post-Lorazepam, that I had just been left to myself to get on with it.  Nothing said, no debriefing, feeling completely altered in confidence and everything.  This is how it has always been, they make you take this stuff then never refer to it again.  The deed is done, end of.  In the early days when they have me Droperadol, no longer used, it was a REAL knock out thing.  But I was up, late evening, with a nurse, and I was telling her how I felt, wilting all over the place, and she told me off for being self-pitying.  A couple of the female nurses who had been involved on Monday morning looked at me with a sort of smile without acknowledging anything, and a couple of seconds later I turned back to them and said, ‘are you happier now I’ve been drugged and the status quo has been restored?’.  A couple of seconds later they were gone.

One of the female nurses who was being rude to me and said her name did not matter when I asked has turned out to be the deputy ward manager.  The ward manager is away until Wednesday.  While the male nurse was ordering me about, before he medicated me, and I said that post-women’s lib most men don’t get away with talking to women like that, a female nurse said in very strong terms that he was not abusing me.  I said “‘mummy, daddy’s abusing me’.  ‘No he isn’t, you naughty girl, go to your room and shut up’.” , because that is the approach they are taking to me.  They are making victims and scapegoats out of me and others who lose it.  Now the others know my side of the stalking story, though, and how 100% of mental health professionals have forced it on me for 22 years that it is not happening.

Someone said what happened here on Sunday night had not been mentioned in handover.  I think I was abused and assaulted this morning and earlier I was thinking now I have been more or less sent to Coventry by the staff over it, and ostracised.  Everything is OK, it goes without saying, is what they seem to be trying to maintain.  Abuses happen, this happened, abuse or not.  It’s over.  No aftercare over it, no support, no one is talking about it.  And this IS as I have always known it, as it has always been handled.  It happened with my sister, too.  So maybe it is across the board.  I have always accepted that is the way it is until last night, when I thought if I am feeling so disorientated and lost trying to deal with it on my own, maybe they should NOT be leaving us on our own after these things.

Stockholm Syndrome And Psychiatic Detention

Psychiatric Hospital:

A place where people who can’t cope, having been told by the authorities that NOTHING bad is being done to them by them or their cronies and those with whom they have sympathies, can be locked up, further invalidated and bullied, and physically assaulted by people who have chosen a job that involves an element of physical force and subjugation because, however distasteful they say they find that aspect of the job, their distaste was not enough to deter them in the first place and look for another way of helping people.

On The Duty Of Civil Disobedience

By Henry David Thoreau, who I heard about on my English degree as an American Transcendentalist poet along with Walt Whitman. I’ve had it on my Kindle reader for several years and felt a bit shy of reading it, I thought I might really be identifying myself as an undesirable and a troublemaker. I started to read it on Monday on the way back to the hospital from my sister’s funeral. I’ve been reading slowly, because sometimes I am so upset and disorientated when I start that I read a word or two then need to stop and gather myself. I think I’ve only spent about an hour with it even so and am already 49% of the way through it.

I think the issue was slavery when he wrote it. He talks about the need to disidentify with an unjust government, how the one time they really insist on your engagement is in the collecting of taxes, how, if the government is going to imprison people unjustly, the right place for a good man IS in prison. He says the way forward is to encourage officers to resign their positions, and that when citizens refuse obedience and the officers resign the revolution is complete. That is as far as I have got.

Oh Shit!

Yesterday I finished reading a Kindle book by Ram Dass that appears not to be available on Amazon anymore, so I am glad I got it when I did.  It is called ‘Ram Dass, The Essential Collection’.  Towards the end he recounts this story which someone gave him on a Xerox (not sure what that used to be but I’ve heard of it).

If you are unhappy —

Once upon a time, there was a non-conforming sparrow who decided not to fly south for the winter.  However, soon the weather turned so cold that he reluctantly started to fly south.

In a short time, ice began to form on his wings, and he fell to earth in a barnyard, almost frozen.  A cow passed by and crapped on the little sparrow.  The sparrow thought it was the end, but the manure warmed him and defrosted his wings.  Warm and happy, able to breathe, he started to sing.

Just then, a large cat came by and, hearing the chirping, investigated the sounds.  The cat cleared away the manure, found the chirping bird, and promptly ate him.  The moral of this story: 1.) Everyone who shits on you is not necessarily your enemy.  2.) Everyone who gets you out of the shit, is not necessarily your friend.  3.) If you’re warm and happy in a pile of shit, keep your mouth shut.

That reminds me, I read Jonathan Livingston Seagull a couple of decades ago and I want to read it again.  I’m not sure, I think it is about majority bullying of people who are different.  If not, I heard in another context that seagulls pick on non-conformist seagulls.

This is a personal thing:  in the kind of Church I went to hippies got a really bad press.  Flower power, hippie dippie, a bit soft and idealistic.  Running away and buying a van with mum and dad’s money while supposedly rejecting and reacting against materialism (OK, that one is still a logical problem for me).  But Ram Dass was a professor of psychology at Harvard University, arguably the top university in the American Ivy League.  He was doing experiments with a man I heard of during my degree, Timothy Leary, with LSD before it was made illegal.  They threw Timothy Leary out, they asked Ram Dass to give up the experiments and stay.  He made it clear he would not give up the experiments and they lost him.

My kind of Church would often say some educated people are not that bright.  Maybe it is too much of a challenge to get involved with them and what they have to say.  It is a stance, insulting and dismissive, taken by people who do not want to think about it or want the people they are involved with to think about it, more often than not.  These people say, and I have seen the videos, we had special meetings in which they were shown, smack your children, fight with the dog and order it to go to the dog basket, show it who is boss.  I heard a big leader in the prosperity movement talk about kicking his dogs, as if it is OK.  They write books which praise a dentist who, when confronted by a little girl who was in the habit of taking all her clothes off as an act of defiance, allowed her to do it then made her walk back to the car naked.  used to think that was OK and the way to go.  Was it a James Dobson book?  I think so.  The videos were.  Ram Dass was and is a spiritual seeker like the rest of us.  He has not lost his mind, he has found another way.  I can’t say much more at the moment in my situation, my feelings are in turmoil and it won’t come out right.  So sorry, I think I have just ruined what was meant to be a purely pithy and humorous post.

Mental Health Act Tribunal Tomorrow

My Mental Health Act Tribunal is scheduled for 10.30 am tomorrow. I have read the doctor’s report. It is full of mistakes, lies, misrepresentations, alien ways of dealing with things. One of the things it says is that there is a documented incident of me having tried to harm someone. I don’t think he brought that up with me in any of our conversations and I don’t know what he is referring to. I have never tried to harm anyone, ever. I think the worst thing I have ever tried to do when I was really upset was snatch a Church leader’s glasses off his face and break them. I failed, there was a row of chairs between us. The nurses told me I should complain if there are any problems, which I have and been told they will try and stop them and this has had results sometimes. But I told them I was reticent about complaining because it is used against me and my psychiatrist has used it against me in his report, even though the person responsible for dealing with the complaint was very understanding and on one occasion told me that she had had about 20 complaints about the same thing.

Bereavement Support

I am entitled to proper bereavement support at the moment, incarcerated as I am on this pressure cooker ward without leave.  I must be.  Why aren’t I getting it?  This whole situation is sick and surreal.  I am desperate.  I want to cry and scream and wail, as so many bereaved people do, I have heard.  I keep holding it back.  If I were not being mistreated I wouldn’t feel like doing any of that, anyway.  So I am not going to do it with the people who are already failing and mistreating me and are not there for me, in any deep and relaiable way.  I’ve had so many staff here who, when I say I am being harassed and picked on, up goes the wall, immediately.  “No one here would want to do that to you”.  The news is a steady trickle of situations like this where that happens, and they are only the ones who get caught.  I am locked in here against my wishes.  Abuse number one.  I am locked in with the situation, the only place I can go is the enclosed garden for some air, which helps a bit, sometimes.  But being locked in with no say about it, and the way people define me, I am as helpless as a child.  We are told that if a child says they are being abused we should take them seriously.  Some kids play that, you know, just like some adults do.  I have no more power than a child here, and if I say to a member of staff that I am being abused or picked on and their immediate response is I can’t be, no one would, that is frightening and isolating.  It adds a different kind of abuse all of its own.

When I was still in junior school my grandad hit me once and made a blood clot go into my eye.  I said to him, ‘I’m going to tell everyone at school that you did this’.  They asked me and I told them.  No one did a thing.  I’ve only just thought recently, unless it really was just the time I lived in then, someone really should have done something.  Just the same as someone should here.  In those days my teachers liked me.  My headmistress even let me answer the phone for her at lunchtime when she wasn’t there.  But they did nothing to help.

That reminds me, one Sunday night at Talbot Street the phone rang near the beginning of a service and I was still downstairs.  I went and answered it to try and help.  This man started talking to me about masturbation.  I must have been about 13-14.  I think he said it was a problem for him.  I didn’t even know what it was.  I asked my older friend and mentor what it was and she told me she didn’t know.  But this lady must have been in her 30s at least.  I find it hard to believe she did not know.  He was on the phone with me for 15-30 minutes.  I can’t remember any more of the conversation than the subject.  But anyway, that is all beside the point.

The Harassment Has Escalated

I wrote a long complaint at the weekend.  I got all these connections last night that I hadn’t had before on the internet.  Earlier someone opened my door and I had my back to it with Facebook up then I lost Facebook.  I have just asked for the email address to make an official complaint and I have been told they don’t do it by email, it has to go through the ward manager, but now I have also ‘lost’ my email connection.  They go past my door and deliberately raise their voices as they get level with it.  I refused to see the psychiatrist today, after he first said I could go to Nottingham to arrange my sister’s funeral and choose a plot then made such a seethrough excuse not to let me go, that they couldn’t spare the staff when all they needed to do was get agency cover or something.  The nurse in charge over the weekend agreed with me about that.

I wrote a letter for the psychiatrist this morning saying what I wanted in terms of the funeral and court attendance to defend my tenancy.  Their cruelty towards me knowing what I am going through is pure sadism, they are absolutely savaging me.  I asked for obs to be content with just hearing me say I am OK today instead of insisting on looking at me once an hour.  They know how I present, they know I am not suicidal or self harming, yet even though they know I have evidence to submit by tomorrow they have given me no peace.  They really set on me tonight.  I’m not supposed to be able to stand my ground reasonably over my rights, not even my right not to be harassed in my room by staff.  They have become tearing, savaging wild animals.  I needed my email account to send my evidence tomorrow.  I have also been told that I can’t put anything on a memory stick and print it out in case there is a virus on it.  One of the patients asked me if I thought there might be any police pressure.  He told me he was a doctor himself (I believe him) and that one day the police asked him to say an ex-prisoner who wanted to go to a funeral was not fit to go, and he wouldn’t.  Today the Dr Shah said I could go to Nottingham and they would get cover, just I had to tell him when.  I’ve arranged it with the funeral director for Thursday.  Just after dinner started at 5 pm the fire alarm went off and we had to go into the garden.  Personally I was there less than a minute when we all came back in again.  On the stairs I met the psychiatrist’s assistant, Jess, who said she wanted to talk to me.  I said ‘not now, it’s dinner time’ (which is a protected time), and she stood there confrontationally and proceeded to continue and almost drew me in, but I said again, ‘not now’.

I have done everything in writing today, and I wrote after this that I wanted her to tell me what she wanted to tell me in writing and why, in light of what I had written before, she wanted to tell me what she did.  I think they are trying to get me stopped from going to Nottingham for a second time.  I asked for leave in my letter this morning as well.  The response I got about when I could have leave to go to Nottingham made it obvious that the letter had not been properly read and understood, but I have also asked about general leave, around 10 am, after they told me I could have special leave, because I had been advised by an OT to ask for that, too.  They said they would get back to me.  It is 8.05 pm and no one has said anything else to me about anything to do with this morning’s ward round all day, but they are being provocative and trying to make trouble and sabotage my efforts to do the things I need to.  I just asked for an email address, half an hour later I have lost my newly accessible internet connection to my email account on which I was depending for sending evidence tomorrow.  To me it seems obvious this is deliberate.  This HCA was being really provocative and making faces and I read her the riot act about what she was doing to someone needing to submit evidence to defend their tenancy who still is arranging her sister’s funeral and the next thing I knew, because I was shouting because she was trying to mock and jeer me down, there was a team of staff coming towards my door.  These are evil, bullying, fascist cowards with chemical weapons and a ‘right to use reasonable force’.  I said this evening, ‘there is nothing happening here that I have not said is happening for 22 years.  If you want to deal with it the first thing you need to do is admit you have been wrong and it is not a mental health problem in the first place’.  He (another HCA) was round a corner by then but when I finished he slammed a door.  Every time they come to my door to ‘do obs’ they act as if they have a warrant to enter and insist on coming in to look at me even though it has been obvious all week that I am fine, not self harming, not suicidal.  I believe they want an excuse to medicate and stop me going to Nottingham.  I’m on Tatton Ward.  Their behaviour and attitude towards me are getting darker and more frightening and demeaning.  This is an NHS overflow ward staffed by private staff in a private hospital.  They told me it was different from other places I have experienced, and for a while it has been true.  It looks as if it is starting to turn, in an obvious way.  This is the Priory Hospital Group.  They have no respect for me in my situation at all.  I am not entitled to less respect and support as a bereaved person potentially about to lose my home just because I am a Section 2 prisoner in a mental hospital on an acute ward.  On the contrary, this is not where I should be, at this point in my life, in my opinion, since they do not provide bereavement support, so they have told me.  But even if they don’t provide formal bereavement counselling and support they should at least respect me and try to be personally supportive.  I think if some of them could wear rubber gloves when dealing with me, from their faces and body language, they would do exactly that.

After I had been here a day or two a woman was put in the room opposite me with the same name as my sister.  She is aggressive and predatory.  After the first time I encountered her I apologised for my reaction to her behaviour, said she had come on a bit strong for me, and she was much better, but she is getting much more aggressive again.  Nurses often shout, even rage, her name asking if she is all right.  On Saturday night a nurse I had just been speaking to in my room who told me maybe we couldn’t afford the cover for me to go to Nottingham, two minutes later was heard right outside my room raging her name.  It doesn’t feel good.  Some of them seem to think if they get me a yogurt I am anybody’s, or should be.  Yogurt.  Lovely, thank you very much.  But no, I am not about to open up to you on that basis and tell you things I have been saying for 22 years because it might help you to hear it from me when having said these things, about media stalking and stuff, are the reason I am being given for my diagnosis of schizophrenia in the first place.  If they want to know they should tell ME what is happening and ask if I know.  I wonder why they dare not?  I wonder what difference they think mistreating me is going to make to what is happening with them?

Around 5 last night I discovered how to access my emails and I also accessed Facebook and lots of other sites, not social media, that I had open tabs for but hadn’t been able to access before, including Premier Christian Radio, were suddenly available, too.  I had Facebook until an hour or two and now I can’t access it again, also I have just checked premier and that has also gone.  But others I couldn’t get before that I suddenly could are still there.  This is hard for me to explain.  Facebook was nice while it lasted.  But faint heart never got Facebook back and I’m going to keep trying.  I won’t say what else I’ve still got in case that goes as well!  But so far I’ve had this throughout.  Praise the Lord.

Hangin’ Out With the King of Swing

That’s Krishna Das.  Played the Album, ‘Heart Full Of Soul’, got singing with the last two or three and wished I had started before.  Went on to put ‘Blues For Baba’ on a loop, thought I’d better take it off because I might be driving people mad but it was nice for me to have it on and do stuff with it.  Put the ‘Om Shri Matre Namah’ mantra on which I think is part of a free package on krishnadas.com these days (I had to pay for it.  I swear they were teasing me with the timing that they made it free!).  It is Krishna Das without music chanting Om Shri Matre Namah 108 times.  Only played a bit of that then decided to swap to ‘Namoh’ on ‘Trust In The Heart’ and was jamming to that and now it has moved on to other tracks on the album.  Loving jamming to KD this evening.  And I’ve heard some people here say they like my singing so that makes me feel good, too.  Let’s put some singing out there instead of people yelling.  It has to be better.  It certainly makes me feel better.  There is no one to one on the room opposite mine now so I have relative privacy and can relax with it more.  I find healing in singing and I hope those around me might, too.  Thank you, Krishna Das, for all the ways you have given yourself and your music to me.  Tonight your music is dancing my heart.

BTW, he is touring in the UK and Europe from June this year.  If I can afford it I’m going to follow him everywhere.  Check out his events page.

I am feeling exhausted today.  I was just lying on my bed with a few thoughts and situations going through my mind and my feelings going places they hadn’t before over some people, and letting my thoughts, especially my previous ones, be influenced by my feelings – hesitancy, nervousness, uncertainty about people I like and have wanted to be here for here.  I was beginning to wonder if I still did and if it was a good idea, then I caught myself and thought of a good two part maxim:

Don’t let your thoughts dictate your feelings, but also don’t let your feelings dictate your thoughts.

If you cared about someone yesterday, don’t let yourself be fooled by your own fickleness and vagaries that you don’t still care about them today.

A Room With A View

I have the sweetest view from my room, an expanse of green grass and several characterful and well-established trees.  I’ve seen a few creatures I’ve seen before and a tiny, fat little bird that I never have.  I just saw a squirrel chasing a blackbird and the bird ran away.  I haven’t seen that before, either, so I thought it was worth posting about.

Poor Old Bloke

He’s got all these young girls telling him what to do, he just said, ‘I’m talking to you, I don’t want to go’, then he said ‘fuck off’, then this bloody male staff member turned up and said to him, ‘I’M sorry?’

These fuckers don’t have a fucking clue.  Not a fucking clue.

If you are the kind of person that worries about your motivation for coming to it, it doesn’t matter why you come, just come.  Fear about your own motivation is a responsible and loving thing, whether you feel it that way or not.  It is also an indication that you are teachable and open to learn and change.

Ram Dass, Arms Are For Hugging

I have seen this photo before but tonight it feels like the rightest and deepest thing ever.  Not trite and idealistic.  It coheres with all his teaching.  There is a lifetime of commitment and experience with this statement, total integrity and truth.  A really beautiful expression of the pacifist position, in my opinion.  I only say that because I am not sure at the moment if Ram Dass sees himself as a pacifist or if he thinks his position is a little more complicated than that.  Wow, I think Ram Dass’s life and teaching are totally encapsulated in this photo.  I haven’t listened to the podcast yet.

https://beherenownetwork.com/ram-dass-here-and-now-ep-137-the-importance-of-inner-social-action/

OMG, Moan, Moan, Moan!

Last Wednesday a group of medical professionals and social workers presented themselves on my doorstep with the police and a warrant.  First they hammered on the door then within two seconds they were making a scene before I even got a chance to answer the door, shouting my name and telling me to open the door.  I shouted back to them to wait until I had time to answer the door and not to make a scene like that outside my home but they just kept steamrollering on, bullying, intimidating and being provocative and rude.  The rest worked out exactly as 100% of these situations have worked out for me in the last 22 years.  I have just thought, what kind of message was that intended to be and for whom?  ALL of us in my home’s area?  They knew about my sister’s death and that I am arranging a funeral, they knew about the upcoming ‘final hearing’ in court to defend my home.  I submitted a complaint for my CPN’s manager’s attention over 2 months ago and instead of any response during that time they have been harassing me with phone calls and threats, and aggressively hunting me down, 3 warrants, 2 executed, one change of locks because I was away from home leaving me needing to pick up keys.  The phone calls came from a man I only know as Neville.  He made lots and they were all urgent and alarmist, and when I asked him for his email address so I could have it in writing and there be some accountability on his side, he forcefully refused saying he did not want to be bombarded with emails.  Last Wednesday I sent an email to my CPN Jennie Wainwright, who the aforementioned complaint was about, to tell her the situation, to tell her I had arranged an appointment with my GP for Friday and ask her to get people to leave me alone in the meantime.  She didn’t answer.  Two hours later this team was on my doorstep.  I was detained on a Section 2 and transferred in the morning to Altrincham Priory Hospital, where I am now.  I was supposed to have my final evidence submitted to my solicitor by that day and had intended to work on it the day before, but it was impossible and I asked my solicitor to get me an extension and I now have until 7th February until the court requires my evidence, which means ideally it should be with my solicitor a day or two before, so in fact I have 6 days from now.

Before they presented themselves on my doorstep I happened to look out of my window and see a stationary car outside my neighbour’s bungalow with two women in it looking at my window.  When they saw me they looked shocked, as if they hadn’t wanted me to see them.  They moved, went round the island outside the bungalows and parked opposite, outside the hedge around the big green space the other side of the island.  They sat there for around an hour with the sidelights on.  I kept looking out to see if they were still there until I decided to close my curtains.  It was some time after 4 pm.  The copy of the warrant I have says it was executed at 5.30 pm.  I had no idea they were from the council.  When I saw them I thought I recognised them as regular visitors to my neighbour, or at least people I had seen before.  I suppose they could have been both, visitors I had seen before and council staff.  The names on the warrant are Fiona Parker, an approved mental health professional and an officer of Nottingham City Council who applied for the warrant and was present at its execution and the police officers PC 1794 Tennyson and PC 4533 Hodgman, one of whom, the older and taller one, harassed me with provocation and apparent misogyny throughout.  The signature of the Justice of the Peace on the warrant dated 21st January is illegible.

My room here is like a hotel room, it is very seductive to me, who has never known such a standard of accommodation in my 22 years in the mental health system.  There is a small double bed with proper bedding, a headboard, a comfortable mattress and pillows.  When I got here the hotel standard white towels, which are changed every day if you want them to be, were professionally folded on the bed.  It is a spacious room with ensuite bathroom and shower.  The shower is strong and the heat adjustable.  It goes off every minute or so but there is no limit to the number of times you can turn it back on.  Two comfortable armchairs, a good wardrobe, plenty of drawer space, a bedside table and lamp, a TV, a big wooden desk and chair, 4 electrical power sockets and internet.  there is a big and comfortable lounge with a coffee machine in that makes not bad coffee, and a TV, DVD player and other things.  Next to that is a small female only lounge with a couple of armchairs in, which I have used a few times to read, listen to music, make phone calls and talk to people.  The well-stocked kitchen is open 24 hours and you can get what you want when you want – tea, coffee, milk, soya milk, a range of cereals in individual boxes, marmite, jam, marmalade, ketchup, sauces, 4 different juices and squashes.  There is even a freezer.  It has nice grounds, an enclosed garden I can go into any time.  A good washing machine and washer dryer.  Lots of physical comforts and some nice people, too, sometimes.

So now the moans.

I have internet.  It is strong and supports audio and video.  Last night I went onto the website of a church I used to watch online many years ago and watched a sermon which, to my surprise, was on Youtube.  I was surprised because I hadn’t been able to get it before.  I watched three other videos afterwards, one with Krishna Das and David Nichtern from two years ago, a more recent one from the Be Here Now Network with Raghu Markus, Duncan Trussell and David Nichtern, and another with Duncan Trussell with someone I haven’t seen before and I can’t remember his name.  But this morning, even after someone said in a group yesterday that they could access Youtube here (I think it was a member of staff), first I went back onto that Church website and the videos came back with a miserable face, inaccessible, then I tried to go onto Youtube and found that wasn’t possible, either.  It says the connection has been reset.  I know that social media is blocked, that is hospital policy, so no Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for me, which are the ones I use, though I have my settings so this post will post to Twitter.  So that is upsetting.

But worse and more worrying, I can’t access my email account, and I want to use it for all kinds of legal things I need to do.  I have been here a week and have told the staff several times that I can’t get my emails and they have said I should be able to, but nothing has changed.  Yesterday I talked to so many non-nursing staff who come in a few times a week, advocates, Occupational Therapy, a chef sorting out my vegan meal plan for the week, my psychiatrist.  I told one of these, the OT or the advocate, that I couldn’t access my emails and she said she would ask on the team for ‘someone techy’ to try and sort it out for me, but 24 hours later I still haven’t heard anything from anyone.  But I have never been able to access my emails here.  What worries me is that this Church site and Youtube, after being accessible and navigable last night, are no longer available to me.

There was a male patient I thought I got on well with, we had some nice conversations including in the restaurant.  The day after I shared this with a male member of staff, who watches my movements closely, this patient was discharged and sent home.  He didn’t tell me how long he had known this was going to happen, I didn’t ask.  I might be wrong in assuming it was a decision sprung on him that day.  Probably am, in fact.  They usually prepare people for this kind of thing, but he went yesterday and until then I didn’t know he was going.  There are staff outside my bedroom door day and night, looking after a patient in the room opposite mine.  But they are non-stop talking and sometimes rowdy.  I made a complaint about the rowdiness, the way, for two or three days, two women would start the day almost ritualistically laughing for about an hour, and that has stopped now.  But it goes on through the night as well.  They don’t seem to know about whispering, and it is right outside my door.  I put my music on, they comment, I’m on the phone, they comment.  Untl yesterday I was on half hourly checks.  Every half hour someone would knock on my door or let themselves in without knocking and demand to have me tell them how I am.  Now it is only hourly, since yesterday.  But it feels more like a ‘you must speak’ time, an invasive imposition.  I have had no leave yet, for a week.  All this has been inescapable, unless I want to go into the garden.  They barge into my space and activities without apology with their own agenda all the time.  Completely opportunistic.  Sometimes I talk to one and they stand around staring and reacting and chipping in or wanting to have their own conversation with me.  I go into the kitchen in my own space and people want to get me there for one thing or another.  I have often noticed that if I go into the bathroom someone will knock on my door immediately for a check.  But this morning was the last straw on that one.  I got out of bed just after 8, put some music on and took the speaker with me and sat on the toilet.  The next thing I knew, which has not happened before, someone was actually KNOCKING ON THE BATHROOM DOOR!  I couldn’t believe it.  After it registered with me I said to her, “I am on the TOILET”.  I was so angry.  I don’t know if what she said was an apology, my music was on, but after a minute or so I was so angry I just said really loudly, “For God’s sake!”.  To me, all the invasions of privacy I have experienced are unacceptable but I think most people would agree with me that this might have been one too far? (Edit note: I have just had a conversation with a nurse at my door and told her this happened and although she started out saying it wasn’t ideal she also said if people have to do checks they need to hear my voice so they needed to knock on my bathroom door 2 minutes after I had gone in with my music speaker on and was sitting on the toilet so they could hear my voice).

Respect?  Boundaries?  Dignity? Privacy? Discretion?

This is no one’s home, not theirs, not mine.  I am an unwilling patient, they are employees. I’ve had words like ‘selfish’ dropped outside my door as well.  Like, no one is telling me of any problem but I am selfish?  I am so disorientated I am thinking it is acceptable therapeutic practice and feeling bad for having taken a week to begin to accept it.  If I had not been so abused by the services for so many years and was not here completely under protest wanting to be reasonably in control of my relationships and experience here would any of it be any more acceptable?  Is this a reasonable way of dealing with my resistance so I will accept their help?  This is not me mouthing off, these are real questions that present themselves after so many years of reading psychology, therapy and self-help books.  But if every communication has an ulterior motive, to try and get me to open up (they never seem quite satisfied with me accepting and responding to their communication on its own terms and leaving it there) that isn’t the way I like to do things.

So what do I do, say too much and lose access to my blog because of that, or not say enough and still lose access to my blog?

I have been bullied by a few members of staff and identifiably, to me, by a couple of the patients while I have been here, one male patient in particular.  I try to be more understanding about the patients when I think about it, knowing they are subject to the same things I am.  Passive aggression, gaslighting (an accepted term professionally and recognised as a form of bullying, doing things to provoke then denying you have done them, making out the other person has a problem of some sort that makes them think that).  I don’t know if this exists but I have recently started to think in terms of active and aggressive passive aggression.  I am a section 2 prisoner.  I know it is not designed to play out that way, ultimately, but I have had no leave now for a week, and if I were to have unescorted leave, or escorted, and abscond, I could be brought back by police.

The other day I was talking to a staff member about something else which was important for me at the time when the male nurse who wanted to take us to the restaurant snapped out a command for me to come, they were ready to go, there were hungry men waiting.  I said I’m a woman and I am also important and what I am doing matters.  Another male nurse two days ago spoke to me as if he was trying to get a dog to obey his command when I was happily and freely expressing myself with a member of staff or another patient, like, here, girl, we’re going to the restaurant.  Like a short, sharp ‘heel’.  I was so shocked and upset.  After a minute or so of silence I decided if the little, shocked squeak I had left as a voice was all I had to use then that was where I would start speaking with another patient going over with me.  So I did, this nurse noticed but said nothing.  This has become so upsetting for me when we go over to the restaurant, being treated that way and the way many staff members cut me dead in these situations, a competent, friendly, sensitive, basically happy person, that after that lunch time two days ago I decided I didn’t want it anymore and would go back to having my meals in my room as quite a few do.  The alternative would be to sit alone but I don’t want to create that scene or have a scene created out of it for me, though thinking about it I am sure some of the other patients who I was going over with would understand and respect me doing that.  I would hope so, anyway.

The thing is, all these staff know I am trying to arrange my sister’s funeral with nothing but a phone, they know the council is trying to evict me, and they are still being abusive and rejecting.  I feel so hurt and frightened and isolated.  All week I have not been offered any bereavement support.  I rang Cruse on the advice of the Samaritans who said I should ask for one of their bereavement counsellors to come here and see me.  Cruse has a 6 weeks or 6 months waiting list and no one can come.  In my opinion there should be dedicated staff here to support bereaved people and I should not have to ask for them.

When I first got here I spoke to a junior psychiatrist and said I didn’t want to be medicated, and she agreed not to medicate me but said if my presentation changed they might have to consider it.  The first time I saw the consultant psychiatrist with her I was afraid he might overrule her and said so.  His response was that this is a psychiatric hospital and medication is what they do, or words to that effect.  I have been told he is very reasonable and in all other presentation have found him so.  I saw him again yesterday and told him having the threat of medication hanging over all my interactions and need to deal with things is making the situation harder for me to manage.  I had told him at the beginning of this second session that I was frightened he was going to medicate me and he said ‘not today’.  Later we came back to that and I said as lightly as I could, because I do not feel negative towards him, ‘not ever, please’, and he restated his position.  I told him I knew about the growing body of critical psychiatry which does not like to see medication as the default route.  After that he didn’t say anything else about it.  But I have been thinking about this since yesterday, and now I am about to write it I wonder if I might be misinterpreting, but I have thought, this is mental cruelty and torture, not knowing if and when he is going to change his mind, me needing to plead my case, etc.  He was talking about having got things from the mental health team in Nottingham and we could go through them some other time and I could answer them, and that felt like a reprieve.  Maybe it should have done, I do not know, but I have felt more, since seeing him yesterday and with my situation as it is, that he is winningly and softly, softly playing for time.  I felt he was confrontational yesterday over the possiblity of meds, and I was sitting there not knowing how to change my frozenness, then I thought just relax and hear it, and I did, and we moved on.  I thought afterwards he was being confrontational on purpose to see how I handled it, and that he had been satisfied, and I thought that was an OK thing for him to have done.

I have arranged with my funeral director to go and choose a plot on Monday.  It is two hours to Nottingham and two hours back, and the appointment itself will take some time.  They have been lovely, very, very supportive and friendly.  They appear to warm to me more each time we speak.  But I wanted to go home and get some clothes as well as part of the day and the psychiatrist is reluctant to let me.  It would be one visit and there would be a member of staff with me and I need my clothes.  Because I thought I would be staying in Nottingham if I was detained I didn’t bother packing any clothes, just left in what I was wearing expecting to be able to go back at a later date, as I had before, and pick up some more.  I managed to find a couple of items in the hospital supply.  I should not have to special plead, but apart from anything else I would like to be able to wear something decent for the funeral, which will happen any time after next Monday, now.  The psychiatrist has told me that both trips to Nottingham can be arranged, for choosing the plot and for the funeral, but that at the end of the funeral I will have to come back to the hospital.  This is not how I, personally, should be being treated and it feels absolutely outrageous and desolate.  And I have just realised, when I go to the funeral I will have absolutely no break at all from hospital staff presence.

I’m sorry, this has to be done.  I feel as if I am being confronted by my own misunderstanding and that I need to take responsibility for the way I relate to people here.  I try, I try to be reasonably assertive and polite, but people make it obvious that they find my behaviour strange for some reason.  I’m not sure if it is my imagination but over the last two days when I have knocked on the office door it seems to have been opened more reluctantly than before.  I knocked today and got no answer.  Perhaps there was no one there.  At least here, so far, I haven’t seen anyone having the door shut in their faces and we can’t see them not even looking up when we knock because we can’t see into the office.  Maybe that makes it easier for them as well.  I am beginning to feel that some of these are really nice and skilled people, different from the ones I have dealt with before, and I am refusing to move back into being prepared to give them a chance.  There we are, that is my agonising out of the way.

I just played and sang with this album tonight in the very small female only lounge.  Much better than in my bedroom at the moment.  It is showing on MY screen as not accessible but I hope that is only because of hospital restrictions and that it appears for everyone else as normal.  It is the Spotify link to the Krishna Das album, Breath Of The Heart.

This is the copy of the first email exchange between myself and John Coles in September 2016.  John was my vicar for several years.  He once said from the platform that God wants to make love to you, which in recent years has really concerned me, knowing how platforms like his are used for code and other ways this charismatic leader and his staff and associates used their platform and position.

I had written to him many times before when I was in hospital as well but it all went unacknowledged.  All of it.  I am not really sure, in spite of the reason he gave, why he chose to acknowledge this.  In spite of what I said in my email about I would understand and release them with my love, I was so hurt by his refusal or neglect to acknowledge anything I had said about their own handling of things and that they kept saying they were not hurt every time I tried to apologise that I just fired back a detailed return email of how much they had hurt me.  I was so, so upset, in spite of some of his wording of was obviously, to me, a complete cut off.  Unless I was supposed to understand that they would be happy to see me in person, but he didn’t say that, whatever my conscience keeps saying about my own stubbornness in not being responsive.  He did not answer any of the emails I sent him after this one, either the one pouring out how much they had hurt me and how irresponsible they were being, or the one or two I sent afterwards trying to apologise for that one.  Nothing.  Completely cut off.  Here is the email exchange:

 to you
September 5, 2016Show Details

Dear Sue,

I am answering your email in the hope that, as you say in your email my response will make you happy.

At the same time I free you from any need to try to explain your behaviour or your letter-writing in the past.

I am also writing in order to bring closure to your expectations of any future correspondence from me, while at the same time wishing you well in the future.

With warmest regards,

John SH Coles signature

John Coles

New Wine Trust

4a Ridley Avenue

London W13 9XW

0208 799 4488

www.new-wine.org

TWITTER_01_40pxFACEBOOK_01_40px YOUTUBE_01_40px

From: Sue Barnett 
Sent: 05 September 2016 14:16
To: John Coles 
Subject: Hi

Dear John and Anne

I hope you are well.

I’m writing because I was just thinking about you and all the letters I used to write, especially the ones to John, I seem to remember, pouring out my feelings of hatred which may have had no cause or foundation in the reality of our relationship whatsoever, or at least of anything coming from him.  I tried to apologise for the hurt I had cause you several times, but you always denied I had hurt you and I didn’t believe you then and I don’t believe it now.  I was hurt and angered by that because I thought you were deliberately not letting me move on.  I won’t say I understand what was behind the denial, and I’m not going to try and explore it in this email, I will just tie myself in knots, and we know how good I can be at doing that!  I just want you to know I love you, and I’m sorry for what happened between us.

When I was at Polytechnic studying English I discovered a style called stream of consciousness, and that is what I thought I was employing in my letters.  I was writing down the feelings as they came up.  I didn’t see myself as validating the feelings in doing so, just telling you that they were there.  I would write until I exhausted myself and could write no more.  I thought it might hurt you, but I thought it was your job to handle it.  I could see no other way round it.

Again, I am sorry for the hurt that must have caused you.  If I could turn back time, as the song says, I think we possibly might have a good relationship now.

You don’t have to answer me but if you did I would be very grateful, not to say happy.  And of course I hope we might be able to pick something up, but you still might not feel that is possible, in which case I release you with my love.

Kind regards

Sue Barnett

https://www.quora.com/How-do-narcissists-brainwash-you

The comment by C Souza, an advocate for survivors of narcissistic abuse, was the first thing I saw on this post this morning.  It feels exactly like what my neighbours and their gang are doing and have been doing to me.  I liked C Souza’s comment very much.  Forced psychiatry also does pretty much the same thing.  Forced psychiatry, as I have said before, is called torture by the United Nations.  Sometimes I wonder if torture is an actual thing, at least in the context of forced psychiatry and a person’s relationships with its authorities.  Or if experiencing it as torture is actually one more manifestation that you do have the kind of problem they say you have.  Does it take a certain kind of person with certain relationship inadequacies to experience relationships within this context as torture in the first place?  I think I might answer my own niggling doubt on this.  It has a strong physical force element, as well as being locked up and unable to make space for yourself when you feel you need it, so no, maybe it is not the perceiver’s problem.

A Few Thoughts I Had This Morning

I’ve abandoned my blog, and that is silly, because it is a restful page for me.  I just landed on one of my posts and the first thing I did was re-read and meditate on the Ram Dass quotation I have as my blog description.  Yay, peace restored!  I can’t say I know many of his quotations but this one I like very much.

I was thinking, and for a change I have written my thoughts on paper first before coming to my computer.  Just some thoughts about Jesus and the truth and the law and things.  You don’t have to believe them in entirety and I don’t have to, either.  Since when was anyone the last word on anything?  There is no particular connection between most of them.  It’s just a few thoughts.  I would like to preface them with the following paragraph.

I don’t know a lot about a lot of things, but I know a bit about some things.  In Judaism, at least, there is the idea that the Name of God is too holy to be spoken.  The big Name I was taught in Bible College was Yahweh.  In the Hebrew alphabet there are no vowels, they have been put in as people saw fit, as has punctuation.  I noticed that if you tried to say the Name without the vowels it comes very close to the sound of a breath and to breathing itself.  In Genesis it says that when God made Adam He breathed His Spirit into him and man became a living soul.  I bow to paradox in believing that the essence of the Name of Jesus, although John Chapter 1 calls Him the Word made flesh, is too holy to be encapsulated in words.  But my tradition is ‘Jesus this’ and ‘Jesus that’, so I speak as the fool I have been taught to be, to some extent.  Some of these are Bible verses for which I do not have chapter and verse references.  It distresses me a little trying to find them, especially with so many, when my neighbours seem to be so obviously hacking and feeding back.

  • “The paths of peace they have not known”
  • Jesus said that when you lie you show yourself to be a child of the devil who was a liar from the beginning and the father of lies
  • I heard someone say we should trust God and love people.  The Bible I have been taught from says that Jesus didn’t entrust Himself to anyone because he knew what was in the heart of man
  • When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey the people wanted to take Him and make Him king by force – how is that for muddled thinking?!
  • Jesus said, ‘Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for a friend’ (so what do we do with enemies?).  Thinking about this verse led me into a train of thought.  That truth is the friend, not the person.  Jesus went on to say, ‘YOU are my friends, IF you do what I command’.  If we follow that principle it seems to me we could die for someone one day and abandon them the next (oh, we are already dead!) I’m wondering if a computer keyboard can be hacked even if you are offline, because my neighbour’s female visitor has been reacting throughout my trying to type this, and I am typing offline.  St Paul said that for a good man some might dare to die but that God commended HIS love towards us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  (She seems to have stopped reacting now, temporarily – ‘thou shalt not tempt fate’)
  • I think somewhere in the book of Proverbs it says that no one knows a person’s sorrow except the heart of man which is in him
  • I thought about the position which has been presented to me by some Church leaders and teachers, that because the law in England is based on Christian principles it is good and therefore 1 Corinthians 6:1-6, where it says we should not go to law against each other before unbelievers no longer applies.  But that they abandon this belief when THEY think the law is wrong and they don’t want to be subject to it, they believe in working to change it and that they have the right to civil disobedience.  It is just those with whom they are at odds that don’t, if said leaders advocate or feel they themselves need to take ‘strong action’.  It isn’t just Christians but Christians say they go by a certain book
  • And an incomplete thought to finish with: ‘there MIGHT be strength in numbers but the GOOD book says . . . .’

Finding Freedom From The Mental Health System

This post was written and shared by my Facebook friend, Pamela Spiro Wagner, a professional writer and artist with a diagnosis of schizophrenia who writes and expresses in art the abuses she has been through in the mental health system.

What are/were the most significant barriers to your recovery from “mental illness”?

Today is exactly 100 years since the Representation of the People Act gave the vote to women over 30 with property.  At the same time the voting age for men was lowered from 30 to 21.  Here are a couple of articles I found, one by the BBC and one by CNN.  CNN has a comparison graph showing when women got votes in some other countries.  In Saudi Arabia it was as recently as 2015.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42951817

https://edition.cnn.com/2018/02/06/europe/womens-vote-uk-intl/index.html

http://180rule.com/the-gray-rock-method-of-dealing-with-psychopaths/

This is an article that came up for me on Quora and seemed to address what I have been thinking about my neighbours.  Having read it it seems really appropriate and accurate.  Of course it isn’t just my neighbours, but they are the ones who deliberately make themselves felt and that I can’t switch off.

Osho 3 Talks

Some interesting things to think about.  It’s always good to think:

20 Difficult Things to Accomplish In This World
Zen Is a Revolution
Why Is Communication So Difficult?

Psalm 91

91 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.

He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;

Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.

A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.

Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.

Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;

10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.

14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.

15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.

16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

Proposed Return to Veganism

The more I’ve interacted with Krishna Das’s page and those of his friends, the more I have felt I really should return to veganism.  On my last few shops I have felt really bad about stocking up with meat and fish and thought maybe next time I’ll cut it out and buy vegan.

A couple of days ago I did it!  I submitted an online order then went back to it and cut out all the meat and dairy and replaced them with vegan products.  I had a serious wobble about it when I went to see my mum.  I think I’m a good cook for my own purposes (and actually I’d love to cook for more people, but I AM a bit slow so I don’t think I could make a career out of it) and I was saying how much I would miss everything, named each meat, fish, dairy and honey product with great anguish!  And all the things I won’t be able to eat in restaurants . . . .

The last time I went vegan, about 10 years ago, I was very evangelistic and Pentecostal about it. Everything had to change all at once, very fervent and much resolve.  Took all my meat and whey protein powder to a local homeless project.  This time, however, I’m being much more – organic? – about it, more relaxed and liberal, less intense.  I’ve still got a lot of meat and fish in my freezer so I’m going to eat it.  I’ve got a whole jar of delicious honey, I’m going to eat that, too.  I’ve got dairy cheese (I expect to miss that, especially Stilton) and one egg left, and I will enjoy those, too.  But once they have gone I’m intending not to replace them (I feel I should make a more committed statement than that, but I won’t – what I write here won’t change anything anyway).

When I’ve heard people talking about changing to veganism in the past and doing it gradually, choice by choice, that’s been an approach I have despised as ethically inferior.  I don’t know now, though.  It took me decades before I actually got to grips with making the leap in the first place.  And maybe it is more realistic to think that ethical actions don’t have to be backed up with self-conscious, anxious, instant conversions. No one’s life is 100% ethically pure, anyway.

This post is not a statement or commitment, just an account of my thoughts and recent choices.  I expect a more relaxed approach than before to work better for me this time, it will be easier to maintain and integrate psychologically, I am sure.  I maintained it for about six years last time, it wasn’t a flash in the pan.  So I’ll try this approach and see how it works differently, if it does.  I think it may be like slipping into something more comfortable.

Oh, also, I’ve managed to find some vegan wines, stout and cider at Sainsbury’s online, much cheaper than going to specialists.  Just put the word ‘vegan’ before what you are looking for and the options appear.  The wines I expect to be fine, they are varieties I like, anyway.  The cider and stout is a bit more of an experiment for me.

Proverbs 1:10-16

10 My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.

11 If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause:

12 Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit:

13 We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil:

14 Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse:

15 My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path:

16 For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood.

I was thinking of verses 14 and 15 particularly before I looked this up.  I woke up this morning thinking my neighbours were absolutely right and justified in everything they were doing, that I was in the wrong and needed to let this community embrace me on its own terms, which it seemed obvious to me it wanted to do.  Including the screaming into my home every time I move and the computer hacking, which I saw as a good way of bringing a sinner to repentance and for supporting each other and knitting the community together in love and security, that the people who are doing this to me should be regarded as elders and I should love, respect and obey them.  And if I did, that would all stop, it was just a corrective measure.

Then I thought, ‘but they are doing this to someone they know to have a mental health diagnosis’.  Then I thought, ‘they are healing me, this intense stalking, harassment, computer hacking, it is a method of healing of mental illness that I ought to respect’.  Then I thought, ‘But every time I say it’s happening to the authorities they say the fact I think it is is evidence of a mental health issue.  Not the fact that it is and I have a problem with it, object to it.  My objection to it isn’t the problem.  The evidence of a mental health issue, they say, is that I think it is happening at all.  Am I required to exercise something like a willing suspension of disbelief as you would in a theatre to be fully involved with it and let it be real and do what it is supposed to do, without questioning whether it is right or wrong?  Is questioning and doubting and strongly opposing its supposed rightness evidence of bad faith and bad character?’

I read these verses in the context of the whole chapter and found myself more confused.  A question that has just occurred to me is, ‘what is an innocent person?’.  You hear all these news reports about bad things happening to ‘innocent’ people.  I’ve questioned for years that there is any such thing as an innocent person, unless we are all innocent.  People used to say, ‘no one’s perfect’, but they divide people into innocents and perpetrators of evil for their news shows, whether that is the truth about them or not.  Surely it isn’t the truth about ANYONE.  We are being brainwashed and taught to polarise, as if we needed that teaching.  I’ve just thought of something Hegel posited, that in this instance might mean that there isn’t just evildoing and victim making.  Hegel said there is thesis, antithesis and synthesis.  As I understand it, synthesis brings the other two together.

The reason I eventually found myself confused by these verses is that they are in the chapter that talks about the dark sayings of the wise and teaching subtlety to the simple.  (I’ve never heard it said by Christians that any of the wisdom in Proverbs is bad.  Some of them don’t like Ecclesiastes, they say it is the disillusionment and negativity of a backslidden person, or they used to).  I wondered if computer hacking was the new wisdom and that I am unsubtle not only not to accept it, but not to value it.  I wondered if the (new?) wisdom and subtlety of the authorities is to hack people’s computers and let other agencies hack their computers and stalk them, yet judge the hearts and character of the hacked and stalked by whether or not they are prepared to accept the edict that it isn’t actually happening to them.  They talk about God preparing you for something big.  Oh my Jesus, I find this a big problem, if this is what is involved for people.

Either the Church has knowingly collaborated in this mental health scam or it has been brainwashed.  It is corruption, in my would-be free and independent eyes.  If it has been brainwashed I, and I am sure plenty of others like me, have said plenty over the years to challenge that brainwashing, and I know they read my blog and Facebook page because they are making constant references to it.  The only Church I ever watch these days is Kensington Temple, and then not every week.  I listen to Premier Christian Radio as well.  Both of those are constantly making references to what I write, but also to things that go between my neighbours and me, and things I write in private messages, and comments I make in closed groups and on other people’s timelines and pages, sometimes within seconds or minutes of my doing so.  Not that it is only Christians.  But these are the people who say they have the Word of God and if we don’t obey them we might end up in hell or that what is happening to us is God’s discipline to bring us back to obedience to the truth.  To me this is evil doing and as someone who is being personally betrayed by this I’m a little reticent about sharing a purse, or my life, with them and subjecting my body and mind to them in one of their buildings.  John Pantry, Rick Easter, Colin Dye, the three that readily come to mind, all aggressively and bitterly push the mental health thing knowing exactly the position with me and what they are subjecting me to.  I still believe that in any authority and power relationship this will eventually happen, so guys, come on, can you understand my consternation?  That is why I think you should come to me in repentance and confession, uncoded, without referential stand-ins and all that, either in person or in a letter.  An open and genuinely vulnerable giving up of abusive power.  I think that might have something to do with the revival you always say you are wanting.  You use a lot of methods to try and substitute for that.  How can we do this better and what methods do we need to reach these people?  Sorry, but that is missing the point.  I was taught in Church that it isn’t about methods.  Maybe I heard an incomplete message, though.  The way things are I have to believe that they have either changed their position or that I heard an incomplete message in the first place.  If I heard an incomplete message then I have obviously misunderstood.

Lots of slander and gossip put about enabled, partly, by cyber stalking and computer hacking.  People ‘intuiting’ based on what they’ve already heard on the grapevine.  I know my neighbours hack my computer.  I said to them last night, ‘you’re not loving awareness, you are criminal awareness’.  Elmer Darnall said if someone told him to watch out with someone but he himself had experienced no problems with them he would tell his informant so and assume it must have been a problem in the relationship rather than a problem with their character.  My experience of the Church is that it does not follow his advice and example.  I found myself wondering if the rumour mill actually followed me to London in 1980 when I went there to be a student.  I know it was already active in Nottingham before I left, but it was only over the last week that I thought this church rumour mill might have been activated many, many years ago and been handed over to London when I left Nottingham.  That there was never any discontinuity allowed.  No one ever told me, until my excommunicated years, but it does make sense now I think of it.  I went to Talbot Street and one of the elders reeled off all the churches in London I had been to over the preceding few years.  I told the mental health authorities this and they refused point blank to acknowledge that there could be any connection or organisation.  They also asked me who was involved and I gave them some people to contact, including David Shearman.  I don’t think they ever contacted anyone, they just added it to their evidence base for my paranoia.

The Bible says do not receive an accusation against an elder from one person alone.  I wonder how that actually worked out?  I wonder, if the person was alone with no witnesses, they had to confide in someone thought responsible and convince them to take their side and that person, based on their judgment of the complainant’s character, would then be acceptable as a witness, even though they were not at the scene of the crime.  If not, how many people would be required to be victims of rape or sexual misconduct, for instance, before it was decided they had enough witnesses to act against the elder?  Or embezzlement, or cruelty, or corruption of any kind?  On the face of it it seems unfairly loaded to me.  People lie, too.  Romans 1, I think, throats are open sepulchres and all that.  For the record, I think the mental health professionals know they are lying and being evasive as well.  And I think they still read my blog.  I’d like to call them out on it.

I love my neighbours.  They seem adorable to me.  I feel like a let down sometimes.  I am not predisposed to hate anyone.  The question is, as it is with those further away from me, are they right to stalk and harass my every move and hack my computer, knowing I have a mental health diagnosis and am being told that the fact I think any of this is happening is evidence of mental illness?  Are they right to do all these things aside from that consideration?  There is no question in my mind that this is happening.  And to me that is terrorism, whatever the reasons behind it.  Maybe I need a bit more behaviour modification and brainwashing before I see and surrender my heart and mind to the light.  And that is not simply bitter humour, it’s a very hurt and confused statement which really thinks, as I am often inclined to, that I really am the one who needs to change and come into line and accept the overtures already being made.  Here endeth. . . .

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Every single day my neighbour and his guests set up camp in their bungalow and start a vocal campaign.  It seems to be led mainly by a woman who doesn’t sound very old at all who doesn’t live there.  If I challenge her often the men start to sound angry, and they throw me around between them all day.  They seem to have made it their mission to ruin and control my day, every day.  If I make a strong statement that feels like truth and that feels empowering to me, a man will appear outside my bungalow and start making some sort of noise, clearing his throat or something, and sometimes it is several people together, just mouthing off outside my bungalow.  Harassing me, really.  This morning I said they were doing everything they could to make me present as sectionable while denying their own activities in relation to me (the woman has started chiming out strongly against me and I believe she is involved with hacking my computer), and immediately a man was outside my bungalow clearing his throat in a way which I found confrontational, contemptuous, threatening and harassing.  He must know it is harassment and it seems so wrong, it feels to me like an assumption of male domination of me and misogyny (they have started reacting again at this word).  I think it is Tony at number 13, next door but one to my neighbour and they often talk, posturing and positioning.  He’s done it before.  It was him I heard the other day reacting to something I read on Facebook, then to my post on Facebook saying it was happening, then to a comment I made about him in a private message.  In the end he and his wife had a little conversation, he said something like, ‘don’t worry, it doesn’t matter’, and laughed falsely and contemptuously.

I’ve called this post Constant Craving because that is what it feels like from these people.  The woman is someone I experience like a demonic, monstrous baby bird, taking the food from my mouth all the time, trying to starve me.  This morning I said, ‘angel torture from hackers and harassers’.  I hope I am free to say all this without people becoming opportunists about it and getting me hospitalised and back on drugs.  I think that would be really dishonest.  I don’t only think it, I know it, and so do they.

https://www.gotquestions.org/Proverbs-26-4-5.html

I found the article above on these verses and I suppose it is fairly typical of the answers that would be given.  When I was at Bible college Elmer Darnall said the best way to approach answering a problem or question is to preface your answer with ‘it seems to me’, I suppose so as not to be dogmatic and unreasonable.  I try to follow that.  When I say ‘it seems to me’ I am doing the exact opposite of assuming a position of authority.

I’ve had an awful day today, though, and I was lying upset and terrified in bed.  Terrified of the prospect of possible further torture, as the UN calls forced psychiatry, at the hands of the mental health services, terrified of the way people in my community, including professionals, are treating me, many of them knowing I have a mental health diagnosis they can call on at any time, knowing that I fear that.  That is torture in itself.  I feel as if people are trying to brainwash me and I find my thinking in crisis.

I think people apply these verses as and when they see fit, for the most part, and that there is no fixed agreement on when to use one or the other.  Play it by ear and intuition, I really think must be the way it is done.  But tonight I thought the ‘it seems to me’ approach really needs to be backed up by a good body of wisdom and understanding – but again, whose wisdom?  I was wondering about the wisdom at the time and in the tradition it was written, that might be the first port of call.  But it seems to me that the original wisdom is not automatically the best wisdom for all time, though it must be interesting at least.

I was thinking about terrorism and suicide bombing and stuff and I thought of these verses and thought I had been a fool thinking I was being wise.  That answering a fool according to his folly in a situation like that might mean opposing and frustrating and arresting and even, in some people’s opinion, imposing the death penalty.  And if someone in the street has a gun then the police should shoot to kill, it must mean.  That’s what I was thinking.

Then I thought about things I have heard about Gandhi and his policy of passive resistance and I thought it couldn’t be that simple.  But how do you use passive resistance when dealing with suicide bombings and all that?  Maybe I have an incomplete understanding of Gandhi’s position.  And OK, back to me, do people like me need to have our computers hacked and lives stalked and harassed so we learn to think right, responsibly and wisely?  I’ve been thinking all this hacking, it’s like the wild west with computers instead of guns.  I believe at least one of my neighbours is hacking my computer because I believe I have heard many instances of reaction to what I have been writing or reading.  This stuff that I and the UN call torture, is it necessary to bring people to their right minds?  Am I being alternately answered and not answered according to my folly?  Not answered by being ignored, answered by being subjected to all the stuff I’ve just talked about?  If I am as wrong as some people seem to want to make out, have I lost my right to be taken seriously and treated equitably?

I wrote to the police on 18th August, following the Barcelona bombing.  I’m still waiting for a reply.  I put in a complaint to the IPCC a day or two ago about the fact they haven’t contacted me yet.  People who have read some of my recent posts will understand why I might have done this and I’m not going into all that again, I couldn’t cope.

People approach me surreptitiously and skirt around stuff.  Last Saturday I was in town and a community officer was walking towards me with what felt to me like an assumed nonchalance and I thought, ‘Oh yes?  Let’s see where this is going’.  I felt his attention towards me, even though he seemed to be trying not to appear to be addressing himself to me.  As he got near where I was standing at the bus stop he drew up close and touched his radio then touched his ear, like a coded action.  I just stood there, I didn’t react, just took it in, and when he got past me he cleared his throat, it seemed to me in annoyance or frustration.  So I, without doing it in his face, went, ‘ahem to you, too’.  He didn’t look round.  The bus came almost immediately and as it turned the corner I saw him standing making notes.

Is this normal procedure in a case like mine?  No direct approach, just signals you’re expected to follow or be broken by the ‘consequences’ of not doing?

Later I was in Tesco’s.  A couple of men were behind me on the escalator and I felt they were after my attention.  When I started trying to disengage myself from hearing them one of them said something about a ‘big fashion thing’ in a way that sounded to me like a ‘big fat thing’, and he quickly followed it up by making a strong reference to his wife Sue.  At the bottom of the escalator I said, ‘oh yes, very interesting, who are you, then?’, and they looked sheepish and embarrassed and sidled off.  This sort of thing has happened to me before.  I said a while ago that when I was staying in a hotel I was out in the street one day and decided to stop walking, feeling driven, and just stand still, and after a couple of seconds a man I didn’t know drew up to me and without looking at me or stopping said, ‘hi, Sue’, then carried on walking without looking back.  I think I recognise it when it is happening.  If these people were police, was I wrong not to try and co-operate?

Something else, too.  This thing some people seem to have about telling stories instead of making reasoned and reasonable approaches.  It seems to me that if you think you need to tell a story to reach a person or know them, you are setting yourself up as some sort of authority whose terms are more important than the person you are using the story on.  The story says, ‘it’s like this’, or the story teller tries to say that with the story, whereas the hearer might not agree, and it seems to me it is quite patronising to ‘try to get through’ to a person that way instead of dealing with actualities and entering into a communication based on equality and clarity.  What happens of the person you want to see the point of your story interprets it completely differently and wishes you would just be up front because you are confusing them and making them feel guilty for ‘not getting it’ or not being prepared to get it?  Does that mean the person has a bad heart?  Maybe the story teller has a bad heart, if they won’t communicate accountably.  A story teller examines the hearer, as much as anything else.  That seems to me to be an arrogant and/or fear based position to take.  Not quite ready to deal with things, not willing to be challenged and questioned.

Man, I need to sleep.  Shouldn’t they make a formal and explicit approach?  Or is it different when dealing with something like I’ve been talking about?  It makes ME feel foolish and that I am making myself vulnerable to mental health interventions by being explicit when no one is making a response to anything I have said in a way that I have been prepared to recognise and validate.

That Was Then, This Is Now

Unless we make and maintain a real-life connection with people we can be basing our ideas of them from what we made of them in the past.

I spend a lot of time on Facebook.  I read a lot, I watch a lot of videos and listen to a lot of recordings.  I think there is no adequate substitute for an on-going, face-to-face relationship, but even then you can’t know anyone completely.  You can have your ideas about them, but we even surprise ourselves about ourselves, look back at what we did, said, thought, believed, the way we saw things and wonder how we ever could have, if we were out of our minds.  We are embarrassed at ourselves sometimes.

Sometimes I can watch a video which I see in the context of a relationship that doesn’t have much offline existence.  If it is from a while ago I sometimes find that, regardless of what might have happened in between times, seeing that video now brings everything back and fixes it in the present, because nothing else is happening NOW, and for some reason they have chosen to bring it up at this time.

When I watch something on the TV or listen to something on the radio, or read something, I sometimes have to remind myself that what I am seeing or hearing is or was happening in relation to someone who is not me.  I might think they seem really nice, but what if they met ME?  I might have a different experience of them because I am not the person I saw them with.

I wrote on Krishna Das’s Facebook page once that I had a dream to sing with him.  I’ve noticed since then that other people have written similar things.  I was playing one of his albums with my mother on Monday, A Drop of the Ocean, with Sultan Khan.  It was released in 2004, about 3 years after 9/11, and I see it in relation to that these days.  But I was going off on one with her, about how I loved the way he spoke and sang on it, and how I would love to sing with him, then I said something like, ‘but that’s the way he sounds with Sultan Khan.  I love the way he sounds on this, but it isn’t an interaction with me, it is with someone else, and what I am hearing and loving on this album might not exist with me.  He feels something with him that he might not feel with me, and that is why he sounds as he does.’.  I sing back to his voice all the time when I play his music, but really it’s a bit like singing in the shower.  What I am hearing was with someone else, it isn’t with me.

I think any media presentation is something we are essentially removed from.  If it is from the past it only tells us about the way things seemed at that time to the people who made it or wrote it.  We can get an illusion of identification or understanding or that we agree, sometimes.  I often see people’s comments and agreements on Facebook.  I think it’s a really illusory platform, when it comes to following celebrity pages and things like that.  Do we really know what people meant, from their lives, by what they said, in order to agree with it?  It is, more often than not, our interpretation of what they said that we agree with or not, and I have been taught that our interpretation says more about us than it does about what we are interpreting.  I often find that I can write something and view it differently afterwards than when I first wrote it.  Within seconds, sometimes, especially if it is a Facebook reaction.  Because I don’t really know them, and I sometimes think it is inappropriate for me to be trying to interact with them at all and thinking and feeling what I do, expressing what I choose to express and holding back on other things, sometimes.  That’s the way we all are, even in real life.

But definitely, when it comes to old videos and things, I think we really need to get to grips with the truth that ‘that was then, this is now’.  Or as someone famous put it, ‘the past is another country’.  How we deal with it when it comes up in a relationship that isn’t happening in any other way is something I find a bit of a conundrum and, being me, can get all upset and guilt-trippy about.  If it’s not happening, it’s not happening.  And if it is and I’m not being let into it, for me it is still not happening.

As so often, I am already plagued with embarrassment and self-doubt about what I have written even before I publish it.  See – so lots of other people are the same.  What we write or otherwise express is not necessarily a slice of our reality.

Three Wheels On My Wagon

The humour in this is delightful and so apt at the moment.  I’ve often sung it over the years, putting my own feelings into it, but to actually listen to it – it is so sweet and it really ministers to me.  You must listen.  It’s a hoot, it’s amazing.

My Lord, What Love Is This?

I can’t remember how I started thinking about this a few minutes ago, but I’ve just been grossed out, outraged and horrified by a piece of Church teaching that has never really hit me as so horrific before. It’s been presented as something good and deeply loving and pastoral and sadly necessary, without question, totally uncritically, and I along with many others have swallowed it, accepted and validated it in exactly the same way.

It is about the way God (and, by extension, His leaders, both temporal and spiritual) supposedly disciplines us.  He has been likened to a Middle Eastern shepherd. They lead their sheep from the front, apparently.  They have names for all of them (if it still works that way).  Jesus said His sheep know His voice and won’t follow another.

We have been told, so I suppose it must be true, that if a shepherd had a sheep that was constantly wondering off, he would break its leg and carry it until it was healed.  During that time the bond between the shepherd and the sheep would become so strong that the sheep wouldn’t wonder off after its leg had healed.  Wow.  How deep.  How lovely and romantic and heart-breakingly beautiful, that a shepherd could love his sheep that much – we are supposed to think, and feel, and some of us have, for many, many years, and grieve that we make it necessary.

I know this is going to offend a lot of people, but I think this thinking is warped and comes from a sick mind and makes its recipients and adherents sick, blind and cruel, to and about themselves and others.

Even if that shepherd thinks he loves his sheep, he is deluding himself, maybe because of the demands of the job and his need for it, and not facing the fact that he is raising them for one sole purpose: to be butchered, slaughtered, killed, violently deprived of life and end up on someone’s dinner plate, feeding someone’s selfish, animal appetites – these days, maybe mine.  And in the meantime he is causing an errant sheep pain by breaking its leg just so he doesn’t have to keep going to find it when, with its awesome, cute and endearing little personality it doesn’t always go where he wants it to go on its innocent and oblivious, happy little journey to the slaughterhouse.  So it might get attacked by wild animals. He is raising it to be killed anyway, so rescuing it can only be an economic and employment contract concern.  Where are his love, joy, humour, delight, relationship, humility and respect, in, with and for the animal?  So as I say in my title, what love is this??? How is this really a model of love in any kind and healthy person’s mind?

The Middle Eastern shepherd would lay down his life for the sheep.  Among other things, he would get them all into the pen at night and lie down and sleep at its entrance, to protect them.  And yet he was taking them to certain death.  That was the purpose.  So maybe this was required of the shepherd by his employers rather than being anything like the act of love and devotion it is presented as.  This has been far too romanticised and idealised outside of its economic context.  I wonder why shepherds were a despised group?  I’m sure that, with their mindset (if, as spiritual principle makers would have it, there was love and concern for the sheep involved), they must have had many emotional and mental problems.  I’ve often thought this in recent years reading David’s Psalms.  But everyone loves King David, and so should I.  I mustn’t touch him.  I’ll get myself strung up, by all sorts of people.

Oh, wait – I already have done!  Would someone please be so sweet and so kind as to cut me down?

Yesterday in my blog entry I said I thought the people I believe are trying to communicate with me and get me to go to them should be coming to me, and I thought I should clarify my reasons for this.  I did state my position on it years ago, from which I have not, by my actions and commitments, deviated very much, although I have given in to emotion and feelings of urgency (mine and others’) from time to time, but my position remains the same.

First, I think it is an abuse of power for people to use media or any other platform to put people on the spot at a distance by identifying them to themselves and others in various ways, while not actually naming them and fully and openly committing themselves to the communication.  They assume the right to do this while giving themselves a get out clause if, for some reason, they don’t like the person’s response.

Second, in my case they seem to be saying that, now they are actually convinced of what I have been saying for years, and now they have read my defences and explanations, everybody’s doors are wide open to me, I am not alone, I have support if I will respond.

a) That should ALWAYS have been there.  Instead, they decided it was all a mental health issue and distanced themselves from me and everything I said.  Apart from that, they are still hiding behind the same stuff they have always used.

b) I believe what they have been doing to me has been a human rights abuse from the beginning, and they are prepared to continue with it if they don’t get the required response from me: the media targeting, invasion of privacy, gang stalking (even if it is from official and so-called responsible people), computer hacking or collaboration with other sites I use (I don’t know how it works, but how else would they get some of the information about my internet activities that they have (see yesterday’s entry re: John Baldock and St Matthew’s Church)?

“I believe that to abuse a person’s legal and human rights until further information comes to light that makes you think it might possibly be time to recognise and respect those rights again as long as the person co-operates with your terms, is neither justified nor reasonable.”

I just made that up.

For everyone they try to convince that they are a special case in the way they are being ‘reached out to’ for restoration (Church terms, I think, rather than legal), there are many others who, for one reason or another, are not receiving the same overtures.  I said years ago that I stand with other involuntary mental health patients whose legal and human rights have been butchered and who have been virtually abandoned and invalidated, along with their perceptions and true assertions, because of the prejudice and stigma which are attached to their mental health diagnosis and are possibly the original cause for it in the first place.  There are many people who appear on tv programmes these days whose voice of gratitude for their diagnoses is promoted.  I don’t know, I haven’t checked this statistically, but I think there are many more who, like me, are not grateful for diagnoses or the ways they have been treated.

I feel a lot of pressure and less-than-honest expectation is being put on me to show a right heart and attitude.  I think I have to question the heart and attitude towards me of the people who do this.  I believe I am showing a right heart and attitude, but I hope it is towards others who have been similarly disenfranchised rather than people who want to secure a nice relationship with the odd individual here and there and come to a loving understanding rather than come clean unilaterally about their abuse (hate crime, if you will) and give proper legal redress, leaving the person, and other people like them who might likewise find redress as a result, free to decide if and how they want to pursue any further relationship or affiliation.

To me this is not a position of pride.  Committing it to a blog entry like this makes that clear to me, although I have often felt as if I’m just being proud and pretentious.  I think it is the necessary position in view of the legalities I believe need to be met.  Rights are not the same as privileges, so I heard in Church.  They are not given and conferred, or even stolen somehow, but are recognised.  I believe that we all have the same rights, and we all have the responsibility to recognise and respect those rights for everyone else.  We may lose privileges, but never rights.

Here I stand.  I believe I should do no other.

I posted the following on Premier Christian Radio’s Facebook page about an hour ago, and it was removed.  I usually take copies of what I post and email them to myself, so I am able to post this to my blog.  I’ve added a couple of little bits but it is basically the same.

I have known and said for ages that Premier Radio, among other media organisations, including Church, like Kensington Temple, where I spent some time over 20 years ago, is stalking me, somehow. I have suspected computer hacking, among other things. They keep pressing my emotional buttons, putting snippets together from my life, appearing to appeal to me in some way, while never making committed contact or answering the emails that I have sent them. I’m not bombarding them, as they are me. Over the last few years I might have sent 5.

A little while ago I was searching Amazon for some books on the Sufi poet Rumi and came across a book written by someone called John Baldock. I took a closer look because I used to have a youth group leader at St Matthew’s Church in Bestwood, Nottingham by that name. He went to a theological college, that is the last I knew of him. it wasn’t him, it was someone else. But either last week or the week before on Inspirational Breakfast both St Matthew’s Church and John Baldock were mentioned in close proximity, and this is only one of many such incidents. It is making me sick, literally. I didn’t do anything with that book, I just looked at the information to see if it was him and it wasn’t. So how did Premier get this information?

Last week they were saying something about security and all working together in a way which made me think that lots of organisations are involved in an effort towards me, short of making proper legally recognised contact, as if THAT might cause a security breach? On my blog I used to write a lot about accidents and people being killed, which seemed to be coming thick and fast, that had some resonance in my life, in terms of similar or same names, places, lots of different references. I live in Nottingham now, I lived most of my life from 19 in London. Mark Aldridge at New Wine used to be assistant vicar to John Coles at St Barnabas Church. Mark was featured on a New Wine video a few months ago. On the local news on ITV the other day a newsreader called Sameena Ali Khan seemed to me to be close to tears as she reported a story of someone being killed and the name Aldridge was involved. I think there was another killing related close to that story in the same new programme and the names Wood something and Bar or Bart something came up. My last name is Barnett and there have been ‘Woods’ in my life, I thought of several but the only one I can remember now is Woodside Park, where St Barnabas Church is.

The thing I’ve always said is that I won’t validate this kind of stalking by media or Church or government organisations that won’t actually communicate with me normally. What they are doing is INCREDIBLY distressing and personally undermining, when I’m not drawing false comfort from it. I have a diagnosis of schizophrenia. I didn’t have it when I was first admitted to hospital in 1996, I don’t know when that diagnosis was settled on, I’ve had several. They say the fact I think this is happening to me is evidence of mental illness. I have said that over and over to many of the people doing this to me, and they cynically persist while pushing a mental health agenda. It is nothing short of torture, and cowardice, and I think if, for some reason, it isn’t recognised as criminal, it should be. Today, I feel really ill, weak and sick. I feel so isolated, my whole community is up in arms, I get really frightened. But the media keeps putting out this narrowcasting at me and I’m supposed to respond? It seems to me they are trying to cover something, get out of something, not have to deal with the consequences and ALL the implications of the situation by appealing to me as if I am suddenly an exception and someone special who can help them. They make ME feel as if I am perversely refusing to accept a responsibility which is being put to me and offered as grace, mercy and an honour.  My problem is that I believe we are responsible for what we know, and I feel as if that has been played on.  But today I thought that, if what I know is being thrust on me in an under the radar way which is not legally accountable, even though it makes me feel responsible, in truth I am not and must not try to be or think I should be.  I really believe it is for them to make committed contact with me.

There have been a couple of bombings close to my emotional and activity related home as well, including Manchester, recently, on 2 counts – it was the 45th anniversary of my father’s suicide, and I used to share a house with someone from Manchester who has figured in my situation as it is at the moment. Premier, and others, should not be doing this to me. It is a violation of my human rights and manipulative and an invalidation of me as a person. Will someone please listen to me? They should not be holding me in this situation, as they have now for 20 years or more. I really need help. I daren’t go to the police, they have treated me really badly in the past, I have a difficult relationship with them, and they also would uphold the mental health approach. And for obvious reasons I can’t push it with the mental health authorities, either, unless I want to find myself back on drugs or in hospital. And my immediate neighbours are making themselves impossible to live with since it started affecting them. My housing patch manager has been involved, the last email I had from her threatened me with a mental health assessment, in spite of the fact I have told her absolutely everything about the situation with my neighbours months ago. That was last Friday. I wrote back to her saying why I thought she shouldn’t and have asked her to clarify her intentions, and she has left me hanging ever since last Friday, not a word from anyone at the council. I have a psychologist appointment today that I don’t really want to go to, I feel as if I am going at gunpoint. I don’t want to go because I don’t think he will talk about any of this stuff. In spite of the book he wrote that made me think he might be helpful, he is really evasive and won’t touch it. He argues with me instead, tells me why he thinks it’s not happening. Makes his feelings about the way I sometimes react my problem, a relationship issue.

Possible Mental Health Assessment

I asked my housing patch manager to get involved with the situation with my neighbour. She spoke to him once before, months ago, and he said there was no problem. On Friday she told me she has spoken to him again and he now says I shout and play my music loud and she thinks a referral for a mental health assessment would be appropriate. That really scared me as, when I was in London, if I dared to say I thought I was being stalked and harassed they would set the wheels in motion without even telling me and turn up early in the morning unannounced being aggressive at my door. I wrote her a long email telling her why I thought it wouldn’t be appropriate which I also sent to my old CPN and my present psychologist, who is against the medical model in psychiatry. The only person I heard back from was my old CPN on something different I had added in another email as an afterthought, and she didn’t even mention what my housing patch manager had said, and I’ve heard nothing from my psychologist on it either. I’ve been really nervous all weekend, while at the same time trying to be relaxed about it and succeeding, I think, to a great extent, and believing I have every good reason to be. I’ve even been scared to write a blog post or Facebook status about it in case that somehow went against me. I’m not sure what is going on or why I have received no answer on the issue and am hoping they are not going to do what they did in London, but I stayed up to slice some bread I baked on Saturday morning and put it in a bag and into the freezer as a way of setting my house in order in case they turn up in the morning. Usually it has been a given that they are going to detain me. If they do, I won’t be allowed to use my laptop in the bedroom and I think not on the ward either, and they didn’t let me go out last time for about 2 weeks. Something to do with getting habituated to the environment but actually they just let me go out once they had completely broken me down and destroyed my confidence. I don’t know why, they just did. So if I get detained, if an assessment takes place, I might be offline for a while. I’m hoping my passport application goes through OK as well and I think I’m supposed to be at home to sign for it, so I don’t know what would happen there. All being well it is due within the next week. If they don’t turn up though I’m going to see my mum tomorrow, as usual. I feel as if I am being silly and making a fuss about nothing. I hope I’m right. The ridiculous thing is, months ago it was ME that told her I was shouting and losing it in reaction to the harassment, and she did nothing. Now she has it from him, though, she is talking about a mental health assessment. Why would she give his word so much power over mine? She did nothing when she heard it from me and he denied there was a problem.  I have wondered if maybe he thought he was giving me a chance and I have blown it.  For the sake of accuracy she did say she would, however, be prepared to talk to me about it again, but I said that I thought we had said all we could and I didn’t really want to have to go through it all again.  So the silence frightens me.  No feedback or discussion at all so far.  If this turns out to be the preliminary to someone knocking at my door I think it is totally wrong.  Having told me she is considering a Mental Health Act assessment I hope she might at least tell me she is going to go ahead with it and maybe even make an appointment, it would be consistent. But no one has ever given me an appointment for an assessment before, it’s always, without exception, been a surprise visit.

A Drug No Longer Needed

I used to have to take a capsule called Lansoprazole every day for acid reflux, but I’ve realised over the last few weeks that I don’t have to now. I take one really occasionally now. I think it must have something to do with the fact that I have lost some weight, for me. I noticed this once before, a few years ago. Michael Mish had introduced me to prill beads, that you put in a gallon jar of water and just leave them there and keep topping the water up. They alkalinise the water. I think I might have lost some weight during that period as well, I can’t remember. But I went to Wales for a week and, even without that water, I had no problem with acid reflux, and I put it down to the water quality at the time. I didn’t need it or medication in Bulgaria, either. I also thought it might be something to do with my vegan diet, which lasted about 6 years, but I’m not vegan now. So I think it must be the weight loss, I can’t think of any other explanation. My idiot GP when I was in London, who once gave me reason to think he wasn’t just an idiot, he was dishonest, told me I would need the medication for the rest of my life. It seems to me that state sanctioned drug pushers like to tell people things like that.

Michael Mish is a New Age musician.  My Church background had made me hear him with a little bit of reserve.  Prill beads aren’t New Age, I think they were developed for a space program or something. But it has reminded me of something I’ve been thinking for a while.  ‘My kind of Church’ often calls Eastern medicine and therapy techniques occult.  Things like acupuncture, for instance, which works on meridian lines in the body.  But while being suspicious of Eastern approaches to health to the point of hatred, ‘my kind of Church’ has swallowed the Greek medicine model wholesale and apparently without question, these days, anyway.  It didn’t use to be like that, to my memory, in the 70s.  When I was in Church then at least one preacher said that psychology wasn’t compatible with Christianity and preached against reliance on psychiatric drugs.  When I first saw books about psychology and started reading them because I wanted to try and find out why I was so messed up I felt incredibly nervous about it, if not guilty.  It was a very lonely and dark activity for me.  It never occurred to me, because of the preaching, to try and discuss anything I was reading with the Church leadership.  There have been times in recent years that I have felt the roles have been reversed, that I have thought that they were right then and not now, that I have grown into their position (if I really ever didn’t accept it) and they have grown out of it, or abandoned it, and in so doing have abandoned me and people like me. But I really think that the deep suspicion of Eastern and New Age medicine is, more often than not, cultural bias and blindness, insensitive, ignorant and a form of racism.

I was playing Krishna Das earlier and trying to sing (the bit about singing was an edit at the end and the woman again reacted.  It is all about psychological intimidation, invalidation and control, dominance.  I call her a dominatrix, and I am right, and what they are doing is wrong and illegal.  She, in particular, keeps snatching at me) and the woman next door was insinuating herself on it in a way which was making me think that what she was doing was OK and I was the unreasonable one, not to fall in line with what they want with me, not to acknowledge and release the joy I felt towards them and forgive and forget and be friends. But that would be foolish and delusional.  You can’t let yourself do that with such harassment and computer hacking.  That would, indeed, be madness.  I just had the news on and she was doing the same thing, deliberate, targeted, militant criminal harassment, imposing herself on my mind so everything gets mixed up and every engagement is shallow – or a mess, like this post is turning out to be (again, here, she cries out). They have me feeling guilty for losing it with them, and when I mount a successful challenge and accurate assessment of what she is doing, suddenly the man comes in with his contemptuous, violent, assaulting voice to his harassing little girl’s little rescue. SHE is not supposed to be there. There is one tenancy holder who, as I understand it, is supposed to be the sole tenant. He is viciously organising and supporting this harassment against me in his bungalow. It is truly horrific. He’s started making a pathetic-sounding little noise now. It is all bullying and manipulation. The lesson they are trying to teach me is what happens when I stand up to the neighbourhood mafia and bully. That is the way I perceive it, anyway, unless he is getting angry with the woman and not me. But it has been going on for months and he can hear the distress it is causing me. If he was angry with her, he might apologise to me and stop her coming and causing trouble. As far as I am concerned, she definitely needs to go and not come back. They’ve been doing the baby interrogation on me as well. For months. Really gleeful, invasive, vicious and exultant.  A bit of gang stalking going on. And gang stalking is definitely a crime. I call it mafia activity. My psychologist says I shouldn’t use that term if I don’t want to be seen as paranoid if I talk to the police, but I think that is what it is. They don’t all go around in Italian suits and flash cars, and even the police will know and acknowledge that, I would hope, without putting the use of the term belittlingly down to paranoia. Some of it is little people, like neighbours, store staff, bus drivers, hairdressers, restaurant staff.  Some are a bit bigger – police, psychiatry, arts and media and religious organisations.  Who knows where it starts, or how and why?  She just cried out pathetically when I typed restaurant staff. I think she might be calling on God for help with what she can see while she is hacking my computer. Did you ever hear anything so demonic and warped, to do to a neighbour? Of course, it could be a psychic reaction. I can’t prove it’s not, but I’ve heard plenty of ‘yeses’ at things I’ve said on Facebook as well. My father’s death, my brother’s death, my niece’s death, desperately and indecently invasive of privacy and intimacy (she’s reacting again), thing’s I’ve said to Krishna Das in the early days. Yessing at things on recordings and videos, throughout. They have been reacting, I believe, in different ways all the time I have been writing and editing this post and the message seems to be ‘we are reacting to what we can see hacking your computer and we are making sure you know about it.  We aren’t going to stop.  We will impose an illegal reaction and sound on every statement’.  If no one helps me with this, shame on everyone who has abandoned me to deal with it alone. Shame on contemptuous and cowardly authorities, in particular.  I posted about them once using Nottingham Police and Nottingham City Homes tags, and no one got in touch with me.  I think they should have done, so I’m going to do it again.  She is giggling as I am adding tags.  They went ever so quite (but she has immediately challenged that observation with another mischievous and contemptuous mutter) when I used the term ‘mafia haunting’.  That is a term I learned from Tommy Boyd when he said someone offered to carry one out for him and he declined.  He described it, what sort of thing it is.  Man coughs nervously.  Wishes he wasn’t seeing this.  That is the problem, hacking computers, Mr Mann.  You sometimes see more than you bargained for and wish you hadn’t.  A spot on description of yourself and what you are involved in towards me, I must presume.  Stop going for the throat of my communication and expression.  Leave me and my home alone.  I keep telling you, all of you in there.  Another little noise from his poor little voice.  Masters of illusion.  Please, have mercy on a poor, mafia-haunting bully next door, a mister entitled to rule and dominate and interfere man and his family (or whoever) who never leaves you alone.  Ha ha. Please, please.

Yep.  11 Birchwood Road, Wollaton, Nottingham.  Come and dig me out.  Rescue my soul from these dogs (as King David – and we all love Him – says in the Psalms).  He’s making a little, ‘no, I’m not a dog, I’m a nice man’ noise now.   Computer hacker – etc?  I’m in control of this communication, and yes, you and the rest of you in there, you are dogs.  Militant, satanic, mafia-style criminals.  Hate crime, me?  No, a reaction to one.  Psychological torture and vicious cruelty.  This language – this contemptuous, hateful language I am using?  It comes from being attacked by and exposed to these people all the time I am at home, and they get me feeling so debilitated I often feel afraid to go out.  Filthy, machine, violent, angry, harassing voices, both men and woman.  However soft they sometimes (and she most of the time) contrive to sound.  Please help me.  I’m not crazy or mentally ill.  I’m being targeted and tortured by my neighbours and otherwise ignored by the rest as far as they can.  I’ve said this for years and keep ending up in hospital.  I told my neighbours, hoping it would empower them to go to the police themselves, and instead they are using it as part of their terror campaign against me.  It got particularly bad about 8 or 9 months ago.  It had been going on at a low level for ages before, then he openly, outside my bungalow, came past swearing and shouting ‘leave’.  A little while later I began screaming and shouting for them to leave me alone and they have treated it all with complete lock-down and contempt.  Her soft little purring sounds – I wonder if they are supposed to reassure the sole male tenant that everything is going to be all right?  I wonder if they have had such assurances given them from outside when I have written about them before, particularly on Facebook last night?  I strongly suspect so.  It is possible this pressure cooker environment they have created towards me and my home and activities has got my imagination working overtime, but I would rather it did that than not work at all.  I just don’t like the material it is having forced on it to deal with.

I don’t expect anyone to respect me for posting this.  I have sent emails to John.Pantry@premier.org.uk before, and to the station’s director, Peter Kerridge, years ago.  In the end I gave up, they never answered.  This one hasn’t been answered either.  If I were a faithful person I would wait for someone to contact me, trusting this has been passed on and is being dealt with.  Everyone knows, however, that I am not a faithful person.  I expect all my leaders and teachers to disapprove of what I am doing, and I also fear I might get myself killed or something, or that I will be put back in hospital, posting this.  My neighbour and his group are still confusing me, reacting to everything I’m doing all the time.  I feel like a dead body that the vultures are feeding on.

I have written before, years ago, about the times I urinated on the Church steps.  They keep brandishing it, as I say in my email, and stabbing at me with it.  It’s not only one or two, it’s all of them, but an example I can point you to is Rosie Wright this morning on Inspirational Breakfast, just before she started talking to people about the election result.  That’s what I think, anyway.  She said ‘we’ in a certain way, followed up by ‘been’.  I suppose her defence will be, if she feels she needs to give one, that it can’t be proved.  I found the way people were talking afterwards interesting, though.  It sounded not quite normal to me.  The copy of the email follows this long account of events leading up to the church steps event.

At the time this happened it was during the Toronto Blessing phenomenon in Church.  Often, when I was at my most vulnerable and open, the Church warden at St Barnabas in Finchley, John Knight, at the time, would rattle keys near me, which frightened me because I always thought it meant I had to get up because he wanted to lock up.  I don’t remember anyone ever having come to me to pray for me, though I think that is what they did with other people.  I was always thrown out into the street, blasted wide open and disorientated.  Sometimes I hung around outside the building, into the night, afraid to leave the vicinity, feeling as if part of me was stuck inside and I couldn’t go home without it.  When I did go home I was in a complete state all the way.

John Coles, the vicar at the time, did a series on Nehemiah once, a chapter a week.  I would turn up, unprepared, not having read the chapter (we weren’t expected to), and feel as if I was being dragged around all over the place.  So one day I decided to take control of and responsibility for my experience and read the chapter ahead of time so I might be more prepared.  He looked at me sitting in the congregation and said ‘the enemy reads ahead’.  I felt completely damned and didn’t know how to handle it.  To me, he had said it, that was that.  The same night I went forward and was lying on the steps to the platform and my legs started to shake vigorously and uncontrollably for several minutes.  No one came near me.  I went back the next week feeling wiped out.  Someone said shaking was a sign of judgment.  During the time that followed the service where the Holy Spirit was invited I was lying tired and exhausted on the floor and when i opened my eyes to get up I found that John Coles was lying at my feet.  I didn’t know what to do with it.  I got up and sat on a chair and talking with one of the other guys about my age at the time I just told him I felt sick.  Sometimes I wouldn’t get involved with the Holy Spirit paddling pool at the end, I would sit it out, because I thought I owed John and Anne something and had no right to try and get involved with the blessing time at the end.  I think they might have thought I was somehow resisting and disapproving, but I wasn’t, I was trying to show them honour and respect by not indulging myself in a ministry time while I thought things weren’t good between us.

I had previously asked John and his wife to forgive me for any hurt I had caused them, and as they had before, they said I hadn’t hurt them, but that there was no relationship.  So this time, instead of letting myself get all upset about it, I accepted it, deciding they couldn’t have a relationship with everyone, and I could just sit in the congregation and listen and try and be supportive in the best way I knew.  They weren’t happy with this either.  They seemed to be unhappy that I had accepted what they had said without contesting it.  If he looked at me in the congregation I would smile.  That was it.  he started trying to turn things around, get a different sort of response from me.  To get away from the pressure I started going to some other churches mid-week (I believed this was the right thing to do based on something I had read in the book the counsellors I had seen had asked me to read, saying you should shift your attention elsewhere), and they put pressure on me, too.  I had recently been introduced to the concept of boundaries by some counsellors I was told to see by a pastor connected to a Bible college I used to go to after I told him I kept feeling I needed to kneel to him but didn’t dare, and he picked a fight with me over it, saying on no account must I kneel to him.  He seemed to be teasing and taunting me at the end of services as he finished his sermons, saying ‘I’m going to the back now’ and things like that, and I was sitting there really upset, though I didn’t make a scene or anything.  He discussed it with other people involved in running the college and they decided I shouldn’t even be allowed into the building if that was what I wanted to do.  So I ended up with these counsellors, a man and wife, and she dropped out after a week or two, and the man saw me with another woman sitting in, and he used to pray really rigid prayers about what he wanted God to do for me and for Him to show me that this and that were not the answer.  I didn’t feel supported by the woman, I felt she was there as a witness and for his protection.  Anyway, He wanted me to read a book called Love Is A Choice, about establishing boundaries.  One of the things it said was that sometimes you needed to act from your mind rather than your emotions.  On that basis I used to go to churches wanting to listen to and think about what was being said without getting emotionally involved, and this attitude seemed to upset people, and they made me a recipient of what I felt to be negative attention and pressure.  I was called a witch a few times at Kensington Temple.  One man I tried to say a friendly hello to one day in the congregation took an attitude against me and was only happy when it was obvious I was really upset.  He smiled broadly then, with great satisfaction.  Killed me.  All this, and more, happened before I eventually ended up in a mental hospital for the first time.

Anyway, drawing these bits together: one day I was at St Barnabas for some reason talking to John Knight at the door and I asked if I could use the toilet (I used to have keys to the building before that, and was rudely asked for them back as I was trying to finish off a job).  I suppose I wasn’t servile and submissive enough, because he told me they would rather I went to the toilet in the tube station a little way up the road (this was after my first admission to a mental hospital).  On one of the nights, a week or two later, that I was scared to move away from the building I suddenly needed a loo, but there wasn’t one.  I thought about it, and apart from the fact that I had to go (it didn’t occur to me to go in the bushes or anything) I thought, ‘if they are going to call me a witch I might as well do something a witch might do and see what happens’.  I also thought it would be getting back at them for not having let me use the toilet previously when I had asked.  So I just used the steps up to one of the side doors.  Then sat there for the rest of the night, staring at it and thinking that I had thought it would dry, but it wasn’t doing.  I felt really weird.  Early in the morning I thought to myself that I ought to go home, that I had to go home, that something bad was going to happen if I didn’t.  But I didn’t go.  I hung around the tube station, feeling horrified at everything, and in the early afternoon I started to make my way to the vicarage up the road.  I bumped into Anne Coles.  I think I asked her if there was any chance I could go with John on his weekend mission trip to another church.  I really wanted to go, so I thought the only thing I could do was ask, or I might miss an opportunity.  Anyway, it wasn’t possible.  She said something about the fact that i had been hanging around all morning in the area (I suppose other people must have seen me and told her, but I hadn’t seen them.  She was carrying a big sack of carrots and said she wondered if she would be able to get it inside.  I instinctively went to help her and she swept the sack up and whisked it away from me.  I think she eyed me all the way to her front door then went inside.  I was really upset.  I felt completely desperate about everything.

So anyway, that is the story of the first time I urinated on the church steps.  The main reason was I needed to go.  The symbolism of it frightened me, that it had been in my mind and I had acted on it.  But in my opinion my leaders made it worse by being paranoid about it themselves.  They seemed to be totally freaked and wanted to take control but never said anything except that now he wanted me to sit right at the back in the corner of the church where the steps were.  I used to sit at the front, he said the keen ones sat at the front.  That was the only reference he ever made to it.  I believe symbolism only has the power we allow it.  I think the way they handled it, and have handled it over the years, made things worse.  It was 20 years ago, and they are still using it.  I can’t remember the reason I did it the second time, but I think they were controlling and I was symbolically trying to get control back.  Things are still so bad, I have felt so criminally and dishonestly treated by them over the years, that even after I wrote this email on Tuesday I thought to myself, ‘I would do it again’.

Just before these incidents I had been at Nottingham Christian Centre, as it used to be, after my first hospital admission.  I kept getting to church and feeling I should go and speak to David Shearman (one of his elders had told me to stay around, so I did for several weeks), and sitting down not daring to go near him and feeling really upset and guilty.  He would start calling me, so it seemed to me, and I would just sit there thinking it was me who was supposed to go to him without him asking.  This went on for weeks.  The first week he had passed where I was sitting and I had put my hand in his, like a child with a father.  He held it while he walked, then he just dropped it.  While he was preaching he looked at me and said ‘you tried to split a church’.  I didn’t say anything, it was in the middle of a sermon, it didn’t seem appropriate and he didn’t seem to want an answer, but I just looked at him and sat thinking, ‘no, I didn’t’.  He said something about ‘she doesn’t listen to anyone’.  At the end of the sermon he told people to close the doors, that it was a powerful thing to do, that there would be ‘no accursed thing’ in his church.  I had said to someone that I had been cursed at St Barnabas.  I thought he was calling me an accursed thing.  I went in one morning a few weeks later and I can’t remember why, but I burst into desperate tears in the middle of a congregational song, and the worship leader said ‘it’s raining!’  I had had this in hospital, and it really upset me here.  I think it was a week before that David Shearman had read the bit from Song of Solomon where it says ‘the winter is past the summer is come arise my love come to me’, or something like that.  I was sure he was saying it to me, but I had no idea what to do with it.  I wanted to go to him, but didn’t, and I felt bad that I didn’t.  Anyway, on the ‘it’s raining’ day David came charging past my seat like an upset bull, and I was sat forward with my head in my hands, terrified.  He had made a lot of references to Colin Dye at Kensington Temple that I thought were directed at me.  One night he read a passage where a prophet says to a king, or something like that, that although there is no food today, tomorrow there will be an abundance, but he would get none of it.  I thought that was aimed at me as well and I was frightened and angry, then he said, ‘put your hand up if you want the food’, and I refused, it felt humiliating.  I got to church one morning and was turned away, being told they had instructions not to let me in.  That was my teen years church home.  I was devastated.  On the day I cried I think they had called the authorities and had me admitted to hospital and this was the next week.  I went back to the hospital ward and the significance I felt was attached to what had just happened overwhelmed me and I kept screaming.  One of the nurses ordered me to stop screaming.  She didn’t ask me what was wrong, what had happened, and offered no comfort or support.  I felt homeless.  This was before I returned to London and was so out of control that I even thought about identifying with the accusations that I was supposed to be a witch.  I have been taught by at least one teacher that the essence of witchcraft is control.  I felt this was what they had been doing to me for years and I hit back.

—///—

Were it not for the fact that neither John Pantry nor Peter Kerridge ever reply to my emails I might have warned them that I was going to make this email public if they didn’t reply.  I did think about it but decided it would be a waste of time.

Dear John

 
The Manchester suicide bombing took place on 22nd May, the 45th anniversary of my father’s death which the coroner, without any statement of intent from my father, decided was suicide.  I believe you are aware of this and of other such coincidences as I have written about them on my blog, which I have reasons to believe you have been following, along with all my Facebook and Twitter activities and my email correspondences.  I am sure there must be other things, too.
 
You have been ‘narrowcasting’ to and/or about me now for years.  I have long said this is a human rights abuse, especially since you know that part of the reason for my mental health diagnosis is that I insist this is happening.  I have emailed you before, in tones you might not have liked, about this and you have always refused to answer my emails, and so has Peter Kerridge.
 
Now you seem to be putting out a barely covert appeal for me to come forward in some way.  It seems to me to have become more urgent since 22nd May.  I remember specifically hearing it in the last half hour of the show on 23rd.
 
I am finding this very disorientating.  I have said before that, because of your activities towards me, which I have believed to be illegal, and your pushing of the mental health agenda and the way you and others have used it in MY life, that the Church unrepentant on these things is not something I would feel either safe or honourable getting involved with again.  You might soften for me, but what about other people like me?  I have always said this.
 

It seems to me that the fact that you won’t just make contact with me openly, by email or something, means you still want to cover and justify your illegal harassment and, what seems to me, dishonest and cowardly pursuit of and agenda towards me.

 
These attacks are happening.  I’m not carrying them out.  It seems to me that if they are in any way connected with me, I am just an excuse.  You may or may not be able to begin to understand what effect that is having on my life.  Until now, it seems to me, it has not been that important to you, you seem to have dismissed or thought unimportant everything I have had to say about it.  But now you seem to be calling me forward for some reason.  I am wondering why, what you think can be done about it, how I can help, how you can help and support me . . . . I really need help and support at the moment, but don’t forget, I have experienced a lifetime of what the Church seems to believe to be an expression of love.  People telling me I was demon-possessed at age 13, without parental involvement, for one, because I stared too much.  This, and even things before it, have coloured my whole experience of my relationship with God and others.
 

I urinated on the Church steps.  You have been brandishing that one for ages, even though I tried to apologise for it.  That was 20 years ago, after my first admission to a psychiatric ward where I experienced lots of abuse and neglect and cruelty and was occasioned by the cruelty and rejection and attempts at control and manipulation I was experiencing in Church.  I was incredibly distressed and afraid, and completely disorientated.  You all like to flash this urinating thing around, but does it occur to you that the reason I did it in the first place was because my state of mind had been affected by all this?  It was awful, it was bloody, bloody awful.  I might have been immature in the way I was handling concepts that were new to me, about boundaries and things, and my own right to personal boundaries that even leaders had no right to transgress, but that did not call for me to be treated as I was and abandoned and categorised as mentally ill.  I was never even specifically confronted with this issue, everything was done by psychological suggestion.  Maybe somehow they thought I was supposed to fold in response to that and ‘confess all’, but I thought the accusation was supposed to come from them.  Impasse.

 
Why are you doing what you are doing towards me at the moment on the radio?  Why does no one make a proper approach?  Is it a security issue?  Is it for my protection and the protection of other innocent and law-abiding people?  It certainly affects my feeling, it often makes me feel afraid and guilty for not co-operating with this blatant but cloak-and-dagger approach.  It makes me feel like a bad citizen and a bad Christian.  In all, a bad person.  This is not a faith or religious issue, it is a legal issue, as much as anything else.
 
Sometimes I think the whole media circus over this is ridiculous.  I was thinking about it this morning and the verse, ‘the Lord will have them in derision’ came to mind.  You might not like the fact that I thought this in relation to you and you might think it inappropriate,  I’m not going to comment.  I do, however, think the present expression of Christianity to which I am exposing myself is acting illegally, it is just a radio station, and Christianity does not stand or fall with it.  I am sorry you are too afraid to take proper responsibility.
 

This is my initial response to your – overtures?  Please reply, or pass it on to someone you think should.

 
Susan Barnett

https://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Weekday/Inspirational-Breakfast/Episodes/Inspirational-Breakfast767

Following my email to John Pantry yesterday, today’s Premier Christian Radio’s ‘Inspirational Breakfast’ is not available.  This has happened at times that seemed significant to me before, often, and sometimes most of the station’s shows have been not available for days at a time.

One of the verses in the Bible I sometimes feel shamed by is in Proverbs where it says:

Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout
Is a beautiful woman without discretion

I’m sure it is one of the verses I was brought up on in my teens in the Pentecostal Church in the 70s, just as significant women’s rights legislation was coming into being.  Maybe it is right that I should feel shamed by it.  Maybe being a beautiful, quiet, submissive woman with a sweet voice is the way to go.  Never speaking up in time, always seeing and having my own communication ruled by a larger perspective, more responsible, loving and peace-seeking.  Always allowing others the space they need to build their own barriers, make their own decisions unchallenged, un-nagged, unbetrayed.  I think this is seen, uniquely, as a feminine virtue, or sin if you fail, even now, in the kind of Church I have spent my life in since 12 years old, that I felt a bit bullied into not leaving because they had the truth.  And actually, I am sure they did.

After I sent my email yesterday lunchtime I was in a taxi on the way to the railway station and a police car passed in front of us horizontally on the road we were approaching, with quite a few other cars in between us.  I felt a bit awkward and looked away instinctively but before I did I am sure the driver looked into the taxi and looked at me and raised his hand to me in acknowledgement.  I don’t know why, I had asked John to reply or to pass it on to someone he thought should.  I can’t explain it, believing everything I have believed about what has been happening to me over the years.  Then coming home last night, at about 9.30 pm in the station, there was a young police officer in a helmet who I think was on a mobile phone or something.  As soon as I saw him he turned his back abruptly, though not aggressively or in anger, as far as I could tell.  It confused me as to what I was supposed to do about it, I wanted to approach him and talk to him.  A feeling of faith said it would have been the right thing to do.  But I didn’t, I continued walking.

The Manchester ‘suicide bombing’ was on the same date as the 45th anniversary of my father’s so-called suicide.  Any readers of my blog may remember that I have drawn attention to such coincidences before.  Another was the bomb a few years ago now, near an Osho ashram just after I started listening to Osho recordings on Napster and, it seemed to me and I’m sure it was, Kensington Temple started matching their rhythms which were, ordinarily, very different from their own.  My email to John Pantry yesterday was in response to the fact that, at least in the last half hour of the show on 23rd May, the day following the Manchester bombing, their extremely ‘narrowcast’ appeal to me seemed to be quite obvious.  Even though I think they have always ignored every other coincidence I have talked about over the years, this time they seemed quite urgent, and have done ever since.  I wrote some emails to him several years ago which he didn’t answer, I suppose because he found them angry and disrespectful, saying I thought what they were doing to me was dishonest and a human rights abuse and for that reason I didn’t really want to put myself back in a Church.  Yesterday I said that hadn’t really changed.

Except in my feelings, in my fears, in my beliefs about what I am forever forfeiting in terms of relationship by writing this kind of blog post, that isn’t true.  Quite a few times over the last few months John has used a prayer saying may we bow to God in true repentance and to each other in true forgiveness, and that has felt like a plea and an invitation to me, as if they are honouring me with it, and I am betraying them and my own heart, soul and spirit by perversely and unreasonably declining the invitation.  I often see myself at the moment as being, and as having been for many years, proud, and I think I will be seen that way.  I think I am doing tremendous damage to any hopes of reconciliation by writing this blog post, that I am wrong and consequently I am destroying all possibility that they will ever trust me.  I often have absolutely no confidence in the position I have taken or in the way I am and have been trying to work it out.

Also last night I went into a pub in town for a drink while I waited for my next bus which was half an hour off.  I approached the bar and one of the staff I had spoken to in the past was right in front of me and completely ignored me, so I didn’t say anything either.  Then another of the staff, a man who I think was off duty, said something about ‘parrot now’, and I was sure it was code for me to hear as ‘paranoid’, which made me feel shocked, offended and disempowered as it was nothing acknowledged and probably wouldn’t have been if I had said anything.  I sat upset and uncomfortable the whole time I was there. thinking about it.  At one point I thought, maybe they are right, maybe I am being paranoid, and I sort of smiled, at which point the girl behind the bar looked at me in a way which made me think she was thinking, ‘there you are, you see, it’s all in your mind, we are right’, without making the connection that they had actually put it out there in the first place.  You can’t do anything in that kind of situation.  And the more I thought about it the worse it seemed to me.  I was being picked on like this in a pub which calls itself a ‘safe space’ for vulnerable people, has street pastors operating.  What can you do, what can you say?  A ‘safe space’, but won’t leave you alone and respect your privacy if, somehow, you seem not to conform or make an effort to connect in the way they seem to want you to if they set out to ignore you and perceive the responsibility as being on you?  At the end of the day, for most customers, it’s just a pub!!!!  NOT an exclusive club with membership rules and requirements on either party.  You don’t have relationship commitments in a city pub -or has all that changed?  Anyway . . . . Not the point of this post – originally.

PS OK, ignore the original basis of this post.  In the last 1½ hours, somewhere between noon and now, Inspirational Breakfast has become available.  But usually it is made available by about 9.15 am, so everything I have said remains relevant.  I’m not hedging it about with ‘I believes’ and ‘in my opinions’: I only do that to keep the psychiatric team off of me.  I’m sure they still read my blog.  The only thing they ever commit to is labelling and coercive treatment.  If I’m wrong, I’m wrong.  It’s not a crime, it’s not a sign of mental illness, and I’m not drawing up a contract or deposition.  Shame on the system that has, for years, had me afraid to be definite without allowing a possibility that I might be wrong.  I have not seen them allowing for a possibility that they might be wrong with me or anyone else.  Funny, that, isn’t it?  Psychiatry, and other powers and authorities, can’t be wrong.

Bust up 05.07.2013

Edit note 02.06.2017:  This has come up as having been a ‘top’ post today.  Having re-read it I have decided to publish it again.  It recounts one of the worst experiences I had in hospital at that time.  But it was all bad, there was always an undercurrent of aggression.

Today I have decided to use names and hope that, in this situation, it will not lose me my blog.

This morning I went in for breakfast and sat with R.  Sharon and Kiran were serving.  They set up a certain tone and volume of conversation which I felt was harassing and barracking.  I said something to R about them wondering why I trusted others and not them, and that it was because they were not the others and that I choose my friends and my friends are not those who force themselves on me.  R said people who force themselves on you are not friends.  Sharon was picking up on the last ‘note’ of my speech and using it in her conversation with Kiran, in such a way and with such a history with me as really hurt me and made me feel desperate.  Sharon is a burly, loud, ugly mouthed brute of a woman who I have heard become verbally abusive to other patients when she has not been able to get her way, started talking about smacking legs and things to others when she has not had a good response from me.  When they saw I was desperate they were both looking at me and giggling. R said she thought Flora was something I could eat as a vegan so I said I would look at the ingredients, at which point Kiran turned away in a way that I believed to be deliberate.  I was angry about that and said so.  They continued to look at me and giggle, and I brought up that I had seen Sharon push N out of her way with her foot then walk away and say she didn’t care.  Sharon said “what did I effing do to N”.  She was taunting, smiling and staring.  They told me to leave the dining room and I said no and said they should get Jim, my key nurse.  At some point Steve came in.  Steve has given me a hard time while I have been there.  After what he did yesterday when I approached and talked to Jim, which he denied today when I confronted him with it, I had decided that he was not a reliable person and not to choose his involvement.  He shouted at me today, I told him to leave me and Jim alone, that he had jeered and mimicked me when I was talking to Jim yesterday, and he said he hadn’t.  I told him what I thought and what I had decided, saying I was withdrawing everything positive I had ever said to him and that he was not a reliable person, and he said good or something like that.  Eventually Roy came up and started confronting me, telling me to stop shouting and that it wasn’t acceptable.  I told him to leave me alone as he hadn’t been there.  I was shouting because I felt molested and hysterical with their intimate psychological harassment.  If they weren’t doing that nasty mimicking I might be able to cope without shouting, but I have had it almost non-stop while I have been there.  Last night I said to Alex, a female nurse, that I had been thinking of the staff team as a seamless robe, but that I was realising there were some who were OK and others who were not, and she agreed.  But the reason for the seamless robe feeling has been the invasive nature of their harassment.  I had decided to start relating to some and not others.  I started out saying I didn’t want to get close to any of them, but they found this unacceptable and broke me down emotionally until I see them as emotionally important in my life.  I am thinking of hospital as the place that I have to make relationships with staff work and where I can be treacherous and shouldn’t be.

I went outside into the corridor still upset and shouting, and he came and started the same thing again.  Sharon was behind him and I thought he should be speaking to her, not me, so I put my hands on his arms and tried to turn him round.  I thought with him this was OK as he presents himself as a friend who just takes people for walks.  It was his intervention leading to my assumption that it was OK to touch him and try to turn him round to make a point that made things worse.  I wasn’t violent, it was part of a heated conversation.  Sharon was taking the lead in asking him what I was doing to him, and suddenly she descended on me saying I was going to my room. She grabbed my arm and started pushing me, then she started twisting my arm.  I asked her why and she said I was going to my room.  I said she didn’t need to twist my arm to take me to my room.  In the corridor Jim came out of the clinic room and I pleaded with him to help me.  I was saying please.  He had said please in the situation I wrote about in an earlier blog post, and I never managed to have the conversation with him about all the times they ignore us saying please.  He wouldn’t get them off me but came with them to my room.  On the way Sharon was saying do this, don’t do that, like don’t kick the door, but we were nowhere near my room at that point and I wasn’t kicking anything and never had.  They sat me on my bed and told me to calm down.  I asked Jim to get Sharon off me but he wouldn’t.  I said she was abusing me, he said the only abuse he had heard was coming from me.  I told him he was selectively blind and deaf.  I asked him if this was his way or idea of asserting authority.  They are trying to say I have a problem with authority rather than with what I see as abusive, intrinsically.  I told him he was inconsistent, having fun with me when it suited him and joining in something like this when it didn’t.  He said he would have to medicate me if I didn’t ‘calm down’.  I said I was calm, just saying what I thought and angry, and that he couldn’t medicate me for being angry.  I also pointed out that it was Sharon who was sitting beside me breathing fast and clearing her throat.  At some point she loosed her grip and I automatically tried to free my arm.  They began to remonstrate with me and told me not to try, that she had loosened her grip into something called something or other – as if explaining what it was called made the situation any more acceptable.  They had said something about being irrational and I said that trying to loose my arm when someone looses their grip was a perfectly rational thing to do.  Jim said I was affecting other patients, I said I was being affected.  I asked him where he had been when I needed him and was asking for him, he said he was doing medication.  I asked him about yesterday when he had said he would try to find me when I left a note for him about what Sharon had done to N, he said he had looked for me in the corner I had told him about earlier.  When I left the office I had gone straight up the corridor to my bedroom, and they can see the whole corridor from the office.  He said he would be perfectly prepared to talk to me when I calmed down, and I told him I might not be prepared to talk to him.  Roy offered to get me a cup of tea since I had been saying before they brought me to my room that I wanted to get my tea.  I declined it on principle.  They kept telling me to calm down, I told them not to tell me to calm down.  You can’t order someone who believes you are abusing them to calm down.  I said I was going to lie back on my bed and I did, and as soon as I took that position they all walked out on me.  I opened my door and shouted “Occupy, Occupy, Occupy until I die, shame on you”.  I have done that before.  They laughed.  I said it again and said “recognise a gift when it is offered you”, meaning that shame was a gift.  I have said that before as well.  I was shouting why is it OK to force me but not to hug me.  Sharon had been parading in front of me earlier with a smile on her face, which I had said I interpreted as, “come on then, hit me, and see what happens”.  That is the impression I get from their behaviour with all their legalised arsenal behind them.  After I managed to stop shouting I lay on my bed, wanting to go out but not daring to say in case they decided to stop me.  When I eventually went to go out I asked Paul to open the door for me and was upset and felt humiliated at the almost desperate, begging tone I had adopted because I felt so intimidated.  There were four nurses in the office when I went out, Jim was one of them, Steve another.  These two were both facing the window.  As I had walked down the corridor I had seen Jim and said “I have a legal obligation to myself and other people I see you abusing”.  Legal was not the right word, but I still have an obligation.  As I passed the window I said that it was hypocrisy with them having instruments of assault as part of their normal job and treating me the way they had because I got angry at their abuse and harassment.  I said it was an expression of civil war and they knew it, and I told Jim to look at me, twice, but he refused, as they all did.  So in the end I said “don’t look at me then”, and left.  This man who thumbs his nose at me and sticks his tongue out at me as a way of being friendly, to the first of which I reciprocated and the second I initiated, yesterday.  I thought we were OK with each other.  I thought about it later.  That looking down and refusal to engage with me was in itself passive abuse, which is a term I learned when reading a book about boundaries years ago, before I was ever admitted.  I got outside, I was shouting again.  The other night he had been on with someone else who I have felt really helped by this week, and from the office at a certain point  while one of the other patients and I were singing, he had called out “apologise, say you’re sorry”.  When I was outside shouting I referred to that and said “try some of it yourself, when you are ready to apologise to me”.  That day won’t come, it never happens.  The illusion of emotional security is just that, an illusion.  I began to cry and scream walking away from the ‘hospital’.

When I got back this afternoon Tim came and let me in and said “Uh-huh” as he opened the door.  I said just opening the door was fine, I didn’t need a comment, he said OK, I said stop answering me back.  I got to my room, discovered it closed, and went back to the office and said I wanted it opened.  Kiran was there, she chimed “OK”.  I said “what did you say?” and she said “I said OK”.  I said she had a short memory.  She didn’t say anything, asked another patient if she was OK and opened my door.  I said “thank you” but obviously annoyed, she said “you’re welcome”, ignoring my tone and my right to it as they always do, and walked away.  I said “you kids won’t accept correction, will you?” and she chimed back “I don’t need it” and kept walking.  That response was a bit of an eye opener to me as to how much disrespect they actually have towards us.  I had named Kiran in my note to Jim as someone who might have witnessed the incident between Sharon and N.

I am still waiting to be told the outcome of the SOAD report, nearly two weeks on.  I was saying yesterday that I am finding it surreal and disorientating.  Some people seem to be trying to make me feel I am special and cosy up to me and give me what seems to be preferential treatment.  Sharon was winking at me the other day.  She has known for some time I don’t want to relate to her.  I have felt a few times that I am becoming unavailable for patients who are on medication and expressing an objection to it.  I am far too happy in their faces when I myself am not there and seem to be developing helpful relationships with some staff.  Those relationships have today shown themselves to be unreliable.  Even in the conversation with the nurse last night we were OK until she adopted the usual stance to which she referred in what I had thought was a safe conversation, that they ‘have to force medication on people’.  I feel bad about not giving a conversation with Jim another chance before posting this, but I know as always that I am not the only person this happens to and many people could not get what they wanted from such a conversation, and that he could have stopped the whole thing when he saw me begging him to in light of the relationship I thought we had.  He could see I was desperate and upset and not violent.  Whatever my personal feelings I know it is not my role to negotiate and help reform from inside without any accountability from them.  And the last written complaint I sent that I waited several months for a reply to got the response that it was my mental illness that made me perceive things that way.  In a mental hospital awaiting a report from the SOAD I am not different, I am not special.  Sometimes I have so much fun with other patients and some of the nurses but if they decide to medicate me they won’t be stopped, and I am intermittently aware of that and become frightened, and I think what the staff are doing to me in this no man’s land is unfair, whatever their intention.

I have become so confused that I find myself doubting that my position on enforced medication is right and not being sympathetic to other patients.  But I know I am more tolerant and reasonable than the staff have shown themselves to be today.  If they required me to go through what they did today before being prepared to talk to me that is wrong.  Their position seems to be they don’t do what we say, we do what they say, because they are in charge, and they will not undermine or be seen to be undermining each other no matter how treacherous of a relationship that makes them or how unfair to the patient they personally think that makes them.  I have said a few times recently that it is closer to zoology than anything fit for human consumption.  Veterinary practice.  I am the same person happy or enraged.  They would not do this with their relationships at home.  Maybe some of them wish they could.

This entry in Wikipedia was posted by a Facebook group member a year ago, and I posted it to my timeline.  It just came up today as a memory.  It is quite long, too long for me to read again at the moment.  I’m not an authority, anyway.  I don’t know a lot about the professionals and experts cited and their views, though I know a little.  I’m offering it in this post for anyone who wants to read it and do their own research, or even anyone who might already know more than I do.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_construction_of_schizophrenia

Psalm 121 – Safety and Security

Psalm 121 King James Version (KJV)

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.

He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.

Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.

The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.

The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.

The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

 

I had been thinking today about verse 8 of this Psalm when I saw a post by Ram Dass on Facebook which finished with a mantra that expresses the same sort of idea, I thought, so I decided I would post the whole Psalm.

Although I was thinking of verse 8, when I read the whole Psalm I felt I had to consider it in light of recent events especially, but many more before now, and decided that the key must be the last half of verse 7: ‘he shall preserve thy soul.’

have heard it said that when the Bible talks about the soul it means the whole person.  Unless the writer was indulging a flight of fancy I think it has to be assumed that in this case it is talking about the soul only, the Breath of God within the body (according to Genesis God breathed uniquely into man at creation and he thus became a living soul – Genesis 2:7, what I have been taught is the ‘fleshed out’ account and not a different story as some people assert.  I’m not sure where the story of Lilith comes from either, it isn’t in the Bible.).  God, Who Is Love, protects the soul that loves both Him and others and, as I assume must be part of that equation, is loved by others.  It certainly seems to be my experience that as long as I believe someone loves me I find refuge in that.  As my English lecturer, who was a Buddhist and also a psychotherapist, said to me once, ‘Love is your protection’.

There have never been any guarantees for the preservation of the body, and if anyone thinks there have, they must also think they have been broken, even within covenant communities to which they were given.  I can’t remember about the Old Testament, but the New Testament, especially in Thessalonians, talks about the resurrection of the body after death.  That is the only context I can think of for the word ‘soul’ in this Psalm meaning the whole person including the body.  I think that is the theological understanding, though I know people have many arguments and reservations outside of that.  My own sometimes, is ‘if God is love and perfection, where did even the possibility of evil in His creation come from?’.  I can find that question quite disabling in talking about God.  In Isaiah it says ‘I, the Lord, create both good and evil’.  Would any of the people who answer my posts anonymously through the media, Christian and secular, like to get into relativity with me?

Manchester Suicide Bombing

I don’t say much about news items usually, because I feel so under siege in my own home I can go days without seeing any news. I saw someone post earlier about Manchester but I’ve only just listened to Premier Radio’s Inspirational Breakfast. I broke off half way through to get a cup of tea.

I had Om Shri Matre Namah playing on a loop in the lounge and I found it helped me to process some of what I was feeling. There have been many times when I have felt an appreciation of the depth and beauty of Krishna Das as a priest (he was a priest in Maharaj-ji’s temple), and of a lot of the material he draws on in his chants. This was one of those times. And this mantra, Om Shri Matre Namah, meaning ‘I bow to the divine Mother’ seemed completely appropriate as a prayer for the situation.

In my particular stream of Christianity it may be frowned upon, probably most definitely will be, that I could even be saying this. But Catholicism honours Mary.  Islam does, too.  Even in my own background I was taught that the Holy Spirit has mother-like qualities. In the creation story in Genesis it says that the Spirit brooded over the waters. I heard back in my teens that God is also called the ‘many breasted one’. The mother is the archetypal source of love and nurture.

There are many other kirtan leaders than Krishna Das, but he is the one I know best. He says that when these chants or mantras are sung they are an invocation to the love within us, who we truly are. Whatever we think of how it does or doesn’t work, it seems to me that God as Mother is a model we are badly in need of. Not God the Warrior, God the Judge. People say we become what we worship, so I think it would be good for all of us on this planet, men, women and children, to begin to discover, value, release and cultivate within ourselves and each other the Mother heart, mind and nature of God that exists in so many of the world’s religions, including both Christianity and Islam.

 

Om Shri Matre Namah
I bow to the divine Mother
Within and Without
 

I Wonder. What If . . . .

I had one of my thoughts a few minutes ago.

There is a children’s hymn.  The theologian Karl Barth, when asked to sum up his understanding of God, quoted the first two lines:

Jesus loves me, this I know
For the Bible tells me so

I thought, what if, instead of that, instead of the hymn having said that in the first place, its sentiment had been more along the lines of Jesus loves you, this I know, for the Bible tells me so?  What if it were not a self-centred affirmation possibly pandering to insecurity and trying to remedy it in what is possibly a mistaken way, and instead taught children primarily to affirm the value of the Other?  It is said that what you give you get back, anyway.

I was brought up in church to believe that the Bible takes it for granted that we love ourselves when it says love your neighbour as yourself.  I think it is in Leviticus that there are lots of rules about how to treat other people and their property, and the individual’s responsibility towards other people, like making sure there was a fence around the edge of your roof, I think, to make sure other people were safe.

In the Pentecostal church I went to we were taught a formula for joy that used the word itself as an acronym: Jesus first, Others next, Yourself last.  I’ve struggled with that acronym over the past few years and wondered if it is right and thought, from what I have been led to understand, that perhaps it isn’t, and I became resentful of having heard it in the first place.

The first time that the ‘love yourself’ movement came into my awareness was back in the 80s.  I think the Church was talking about it and teaching it as good.  From what I understand as a person who is no longer involved, that has now taken a strong hold and a lot of the ideas espoused by the Church I’m aware of are geared towards self nurturing.  We are to love and nurture ourselves, instead of recognising and being secure in the fact that God wants to, and does, do that for us, and being grateful, and giving our attention and acceptance and affirmation to others and loving and caring for them out of that security.

It seems true to me that if our focus is inward and on ourselves, rather than on God and others, it is a recipe for neurosis and unhappiness.  If we love God and others right, we will love ourselves as a byproduct.  I think this might be something that is recognised in the Indian use of the word ‘Namaste’.  Recently I read a quotation from Ram Dass that put it this way:

“In India when we meet and part we
Often say, ‘Namaste’, which means: I
honor the place in you where the
entire universe resides; I honor the
place in you of love, of light, of truth,
of peace. I honor the place within
you where if you are in that place in
you and I am in that place in me,
there is only one of us.”
~~Ram Dass~~

I recently heard someone say that either the Dalai Lama or people in India could not understand that people in the West have a problem with self worth and loving themselves.  I’m thinking at the moment of the story I’ve heard Krishna Das and Ram Dass tell, that when Maharaj-ji (also known as Neem Karoli Baba because he came from Neem Karoli, it means teacher from Neem Karoli) was asked how to raise kundalini he said ‘feed people’.  Krishna Das says that in India food was worth more than money, so feeding people was an amazing thing for them.  The story goes that Ram Dass got into a confrontation with Maharaj-ji and demanded to know how to raise kundalini, saying Maharaj-ji must know, and Maharaj-ji said ‘All I know is Ra-Ma.’, Ram being the Hindu word for God.  He said only Jesus died the real death, because He had no thought for Himself, but lost Himself in Love.

A lot of evangelical and charismatic Christians are afraid that, if they don’t get everything ‘just right’, they might not make it to heaven.  It all depends on right understanding and performance, and it is a good idea not to let anyone who might take them away from that get too close to them.  Yet when Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment he said to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, then added that the second was like it, to love your neighbour as yourself.  In the Sermon on the Mount He said we should do to others as we would want them to do to us.  It seems to me, at the time of writing (even though I’m having contradictory thoughts – I suppose who doesn’t?  That is fallen humanity for us, never sure of even the most obvious and beautiful truth), Paul’s instruction to Timothy to rightly divide the Word of God should be understood with that as a backdrop.  And what if his instruction to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling could best be understood as fear and trembling in beautiful and loving awe of of another person and their Godness?  The Bible says in Proverbs that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  I heard Charles Slagle say back in the 80s that the word ‘fear’ there is best translated as loving respect.  I like that idea.  What if we all did?

Jesus is referred to as both Priest and Sacrifice.  I think it says exactly that somewhere in Hebrews, which is all about the relationship of Christianity to the sacrificial system that used to exist in Judaism. We are to trust Him for salvation.  Not only His death on the cross, but His Priesthood, which was not limited to that, but also involved all His teaching up to that point.  In Jesus Christ Superstar there is a song that says ‘You’ve begun to matter more than the things You say’.  There is definitely truth in that for the way a lot of Christians approach things today.  That trusting Jesus’ death on the cross for salvation is all that is needed, which can easily degenerate into a me centred position.  Me and my security, although if we understand salvation rightly we can begin to live in it on earth, not only when we die.  Jesus’s teaching and example were all about love for God and others.  He said if a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies it bears much fruit, but if not it remains alone.  He said those who hear His teachings and do them are like the man who built his house upon a rock which stood the storms and floods, as opposed to those who don’t follow His teachings who are like the man who built his house on the sand, which fell quickly in the storms and floods.  We do need the words and teachings of Jesus, but the foundation of them, as He said Himself, is love for God and others, love for ourselves being assumed, not a lot of anxious nitpicking and working out positions, including some people and excluding others because we are frightened that we ourselves might otherwise lose our own security.  If we really understood this, we wouldn’t have all the denominations.  We would be and live out One Church, just as Jesus prayed in John 17 in Gethsemane before they arrested and killed Him.  I really believe that.

God help us all!  And God deliver us from wannabe teachers and theologians like me who write this kind of stuff and don’t actually acknowledge all their own horrified misgivings about some of the things they say because they just want to put it out there and be done.  We can be in danger of being like the teachers Jesus said people should listen to but not do what they did, who made heavy burdens for people and didn’t help them carry them.

Near Death Experience

The other day I watched a David Nichtern video, it was one of three on something called Lojong Mind Training (they and others can be found here), which was a new term to me, from Buddhism, but apparently it is pretty foundational and important. I can’t remember everything it involves so I won’t reduce it by trying to explain what I can remember, but he said something about getting old and dying. He said that we can expect to live to about 70-90 years old. That was the span, but he mentioned ages in between which, for me, brought it into sharp relief. I’m 56, and I calculated the years between now and 70 years old and realised it is only 14 years. That brought me up really sharp. When you are 56, 14 years isn’t a long time, especially if you think that could possibly be the end of it all, as far as life’s opportunities on earth are concerned. I had watched another of his videos previously on old age, sickness and death and it had nowhere near the same impact on me as the mention in this video.

I thought about it, this sudden awareness of how short a time I had left, potentially, and I thought that from now on my life is, literally, a near death experience.  Many of us are afraid of death all our lives, sometimes manifesting in denial or defiance, from the point we understand it is going to happen to us.  People say that young people think they are immortal and will never die.  When I was young I think it was something I couldn’t get my head around, that I wasn’t going to live for ever and that, one day, I would be like a lot of the older people I saw.  I still can’t, really.  I have moments when I dread becoming incapacitated and being alone with it, maybe put into a care home.  I can’t imagine anything worse, given my own experiences in hospital and the stories of abuse that somehow manage to get out and go public.  It’s a bit like the way some people view mental illness.  It’s scary as a concept but they hope and think it is never going to happen to them.

I’m a pretty isolated person these days and, in some ways, always have been, so I don’t know how much I have in common with other people in this, it isn’t something I remember having talked about. But when I was in my teens I had this idea that I wouldn’t live beyond 20 or 21.  I just couldn’t see life beyond that point.  I wondered about it a lot.  Maybe it was a bit of a Victorian novel idea of dying young, and I suppose that, psychologically, that sort of thing might be described as a near death experience in the way I’m using the term for this post.  But it is very much an ‘in the mind’ thing.  I’ve known for a few years now that I have lived most of the life I am going to live.  I feel as if I’ve achieved nothing and there are things that are important to me, I like to think, that I would like to achieve, and potentially I now have ONLY 14 years left in which to do it.  Possibly even fewer.  Of course I don’t live with that intense awareness all the time.  If I did I’m sure it would be unbearable for me.  But, at the moment, it can loom over me like a sense of impending doom and fear of failure.  And I see myself beginning to understand and handle and cope with my life experience better than I used to, like little shoots of hope and growth, then I hit a wall and have these crashing waves of despair and regret and feelings like it is all a bit pointless to begin to feel this way NOW when the time I really needed it and it could have made a real difference in my life and perspective was when I was much younger.  It’s like, ‘what’s the point of this, now?  I’m going to die soon.  It’s too late.’.  It is preceded by real joy, but the joy is quickly extinguished in painful feelings of hopelessness and fear and it being too late, and that death is very close and ready to pounce.  Often, along with that, there are feelings of, ‘why didn’t I get this before?’ and ‘what have they done to me – and why?’.

I didn’t mean to end up here.  I feel as if I had better stop, I’m not sure where else to go with it.  I’m OK, though.  If some of my friends felt able to help me laugh about it that would probably be the right way for me to deal with it.  It feels that way at the moment, anyway.  Laugh at life’s tragedy, at least your own.  It’s the way forward.  As the song says, ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’.  I really think that, to a great extent, it’s a choice.

I hope you won’t mind that I have written this way and that some of you might find it helpful. Thinking about it, I’m thinking I might be describing what has often been termed a mid-life crisis, though maybe I’m past that age, I don’t know.  These days at this point I feel as if I should do a Google search.  Communication and accessibility of information are definitely changing since the birth of the internet.

And ANOTHER of my messy offerings flies into the ether!  I do love to write, though.

WAGblog: Dum Spiro Spero

"While I breathe, I hope"

Emerging From The Dark Night

Working through the Dark Night of the Soul to emerge as me.

The Elephant in the Room

Writing about my experiences with: depression, anxiety, OCD and Aspergers

The Sir Letters

A Tale of Love

The Seeker's Dungeon

Troubling the Surf with the Ocean

Seroquel Nation

Onward and upward...

We are all in this together

it's gonna be okay.

my last nerve

psychology | psychiatry | neuroscience | n stuff

A Philosopher's Blog

A Philosopher's View of the World...assuming it exists.