Archive for September, 2012


How Useful is Philosophy?

When I was in my 20s I was aware of a stereotyped response people came out with about the usefulness of philosophy, ie that it was probably no use at all when it came to the practicalities of life.  In that stereotype people who wanted to study philosophy were asked what use it would be for anything.

I was just thinking about that.  I haven’t given it much time before writing, maybe only about 10 minutes.

The conclusion I came to was that every life action comes out of an underlying philosophy, whether conscious or unconscious.  That people who say they have no time for philosophy are unconsciously adopting that of pragmatism, though they would deny they are moved by any philosophical position at all.

In Colossians 2:8 it says that they should not let anyone take them captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy because in Christ we have fullness.  In the context of the chapter it says that.  I have been wary of philosophy for many years on the strength of that, as have many others.  I have thought, with many others, that true Christianity and conversion was what was needed.

He does say ‘hollow and deceptive’ though, and one hopes that he is not putting all of philosophy into that bracket.  Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.  It is true that no one comes to the Father but by Him.  Among His disciples He always preached non-violence, though He acknowledged that those who did not embrace His teaching would go to war but that the disciples were not to be afraid because wars were bound to happen.

There are many who would resent the Christian position, unadorned, being thrust into their faces as the solution to life.  I think that an awareness and understanding of philosophy is at least a bridge in cross-cultural communication between Christians and non-Christians and the arguments for the Christian position can be found in and through other philosophies which people who would consider themselves anti-Christian and anti-religion would engage with more readily.

It must be the ultimate in unaccountability to say that we recognise no philosophy or religion at all.  I think it is true to say that there can be no lasting peace without recognition on both sides of an immovable higher authority to which each side submits itself throughout.  So I find myself unable to reconcile Jesus’ statement that there would be wars with the Church of England prayer ‘give peace in our time, oh Lord’, because different people groups do not recognise the same authority, and each people group recognises its authority in ways that make them at odds with others in their communities.

So is God just an imposition of the strong on the weak?  Having experienced many things, including physical healing, I cannot say so.  To me it is not enough to say that everyone has the power to heal and not refer that power back to a giver, especially as the healing I received was in a Christian context.

But I do think that people who have no time for religion or philosophy are dangerous people to be in control.

I think I started thinking about this today after listening to a Noam Chomsky recording on Napster, about mafia and hegemony.

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Gawdon Bennett . . .

WE ARE THE POWERLESS!!!!!!!

If people who are afraid in circumstances from which they cannot extricate themselves because the authorities won’t let them (ie authorities are irresponsible in their positions) get angry and start slamming doors, while it is uncomfortable for the rest of us, that doesn’t mean they are mentally ill. If they are afraid to speak about what is happening or about what they are feeling, for fear it will make things worse for them in terms of deepening their diagnosis, the professionals need to be the first ones to come out explicitly and say they have the same awareness of things happening outside of our control.

I can remember when it first started happening to me.  I would shout and scream and hit my door with my umbrella because in my fear and anger I felt I had no other outlet.

It needs to be explicit, otherwise if people are not willing to respond in an attempt at psychodrama they can be left with an added burden of guilt feelings towards the initiator.  As much as we might like them, that isn’t fair.  It is engaging our emotions in what, for us, is a non-consenting situation which is not required by law because we are children to be taught or prisoners to be punished or rehabilitated.

And to think I raided my credit card piggy banks because I thought it would be dealt with within a month.  I didn’t realise I would run out of money before I was re-housed.  The date on this post will be 21.09.2012 because I have kept the blog in Bulgarian time to save confusion.  It is also Greek time and Syrian time.  Imagine how that felt to me last year when I was watching the news and Syria was in my own time zone.  It made me forge a strong emotional connection with events there.  Perhaps that is why some of my past posts areas they are.  Emotions were being stretched in every direction.

I have marked the anniversary by playing loads of music and buying a CD off eBay.  That is the first eBay purchase I have made since before I first left for Bulgaria.

That’s it really.  I can’t be bothered writing anything else tonight.

Oh, I can watch the BBC with my dongle even if I can’t watch anything else.  I can watch live tv, but not archives, and I can’t play live radio.

What Is Disablism?

After my last post I thought I had better check and see, though it seemed obvious, what disablism is.  I put ‘what is disablism’ into Google and the search came up with some sites, including this one from a feminist perspective.  I would add to it that disablism is saying that everything you say about your social situation and background is false because you are judged to have a mental illness.  Or is it that you are lying about your life so you must be mentally ill?  Though I’ve been completely honest and said nothing which isn’t true.

I talked about Emily Pankhurst in my first meeting with my psychiatrist here and I was told not to start on that one, though I meant it earnestly with all my heart and mind.  I said she had not fought for women’s rights and suffrage for women in power to subjugate other women or define them as they did not wish to be defined.  They dismissed it as the ploy of a mentally ill person who would use anything to get out of the psychiatric situation.

‘What Is Disablism’  is a good search to put into Google.  I have only used the first result but there are others of interest.

Tattle-Tale Post Review

Saw Dr Jaffur and Dr Fahy today with Alison Harrison, the ward manager.  Dr Jaffur was the only one of the three who spoke.

Dr Jaffur asked me a few questions about how I was feeling.  She asked about medication.  She asked about the ‘feelings’ I was having. of being harassed, etc.  I asked her to tell me if she was acknowledging that it was not all just in my mind and she said she was not acknowledging that, she thought they were just feelings, after I had told her about the times men have drawn level with me and cleared their throats straight into my ear as they pass.  Like the people in London who used to draw level and scream in my ear as they passed.  I heard someone talking about it on the radio, acknowledging it as a phenomenon, however much it is magnified or not magnified by my sensitivity and upset about it.

I got up, refusing to continue the review.  I held my finger up and said she had a vested interest in the situation and in not acknowledging the outer reality of what I was saying.

I came out really upset and angry.  I was saying that she was stupid or dishonest, that she was insisting that my whole life experience as I recount it is just feelings born of my mind.  I was saying she had no right to say that, just because in her judgment I am mentally ill, real things like harassment don’t happen to me.  I was saying I understood my life better than she did because I had a background in real therapy.  I said ‘oh, she must have a gift in clairvoyance, then, which is more than I have’.  I meant distance viewing but couldn’t remember the term.  I don’t have any of those gifts.

Tommy Boyd once said that his dog once ate his shit.  I thought he was talking about me swallowing an act. Whether he was or not, I have swallowed this, whether he meant it or not: he said something about God and not believing in Him, but rather being alone and acting and deciding alone.  This is something I have come to value, even though I believe in God.  It is, of course, the existentialist position.  Certainly you can’t go to the Bible and apply it to your situation when it involves people in power who do not share your position.  Christians differ with Christians.  You have to think with the material and spoken facts and limit yourself to those, in some situations.  I love Tommy Boyd.  I don’t know if he could love me.

I felt, rather, looking back, that it was Dr Jaffur who was putting herself in a position of deep denial, medical book guided fantasy, spinning something from her training which is not true of my life and has no connection with it of my choosing.

We all know about hate crime, including hate crimes against disabled people.  In our dining room we even have literature on the wall which says that this trust doews not tolerate disablism.  I think that is what the doctors and nurses here are engaging in every time they relate a concern you express back to mental illness.  They don’t want to know about reality.  Especially when they themselves abuse their positions and don’t recognise proper boundaries.  They seem to reason that we are ill therefore they can be lazy, or act as if they are in a disfunctional intimate relationship as the abusive, ridiculing, begrudging, demanding and superior partner.

Linda the nurse came in and told me to calm down as there were ladies who wanted to get their lunch.  I said i wasn’t saying anything they wouldn’t say themselves and that they were on my side.  I asked another patient what she thought and she said she didn’t know what to say.  Linda told me it wasn’t fair to involve the other patients, even though she was the one who had first invoked them on her side.  I think Errol, who was serving lunch,was coming in every time I stopped speaking.  Maybe that was why I didn’t feel able to stop.  I asked the person serving with him for a plastic white spoon to take out with me, and his body language seemed to me to indicate that he was unhappy with my use of the word ‘white’, though for me it was natural and just a description of the spoon, to create a focus on what I was asking for.  He has involved me in accusations of racism in the past, and has taken his own actions towards me and made out that it is me harassing him rather than the other way round.

Linda left as I was still speaking and I mentioned the night before the 40th anniversary of my father’s death and how she had not defended me against a patient who had hatefully and angrily said that everyone had problems and she didn’t want to know mine.  I said Linda had no rights towards me at all.

We all know about hate crime.  Dr Jaffur is not willing to acknowledge any possibility that I may be subject to it in any circumstances.  I wonder what she thinks of the very publicised case a few years ago where a mother in Leicester took her own and her disabled daughter’s lives after years of harassment they had not received adequate help and attention for from the police, who I think publicly apologised for this and said they would try harder in the future.  Short of corruption and self-protection, why is it not possible, in her mind, and the minds of other staff, that I am actually experiencing the harassment I say I am?  I don’t have bruises to show for most of it, and they made a mental health assessment justification out of the bruises they did see when I was advised to go to Queen’s Medical Centre and have it looked at.

Are they so scared of the consequences of this kind of abuse towards me that, for some reason, even though it has been recognised for others, they are unwilling to recognise for me that I am in a situation of ongoing harassment and intimidation unless it gets stopped?  That is the only reason that makes any sense for this willful presentation of themselves as blind to the possibility that I am paranoid because I am being harassed.

Hillsborough Report

On Wednesday it was reported on Radio 4 that around 100 police statements were altered following the Hillsborough disaster and the situation was made to look like the fault of the public rather than the police.  Someone speaking on Radio 4 said that they did not normally believe conspiracy theories but that this time it was evident.

But that fact has taken all these years to be established and be reported.

To me it seems reasonable to believe that there are many other conspiracy theories which are equally true, including the conspiracy of the mental health system and its brutal approach to helping people to deal with their mental health problems, relationship problems, emotional problems.

I say therapy which is therapy is consenting, and nothing involuntary can fit that description or be ultimately therapeutic (unless it is shock therapy or reality therapy, but then is it really therapy, or just more repression/suppression and ‘learning your lesson’?).

Twenty-three years after Hillsborough this has come out, though the event is over and done with.  For people enmeshed in the mental health system it is ongoing and some do not survive.  People have been killed by inappropriate restraint methods and application, as well as by death at their own hands for others, preferring, I suppose, to die at their own hands rather than to keep going through the seemingly endless cycle of crisis and hospital admissions where the facts they know of their lives, better than the mental health service staff do, are often invalidated and contradicted by the insistence on a mental health diagnosis. 

I have recently felt hopeless and helpless and that, if I were a different person, I might kill myself rather than continue to go through this cycle.  I did deliberately overdose once, in 2003.  I took almost 100 paracetamol and lay down to sleep, not caring whether I woke or not.  I woke and stumbled into the kitchen and vomited.  The church I was going to at the time didn’t know this, but it was just before I was confirmed.  I ended up in hospital on a drip.

I have heard since Wednesday another programme on Radio 4 talking about the IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission) and the experience of some that it has failed to deliver for them.  I have only approached them about one thing and I didn’t follow it through to the end.  I tried, but the police service was not very co-operative and I ended up leaving it because of other more immediate pressures.

I spoke to one of the nurses recently and told her that the support I needed was legal support in the community when situations arose which I had not contributed to in the locality and which were a disturbance to me.  I mentioned that the police are supposed to do something after the third report from one individual, and she said that what they did would not necessarily be what the individual wanted and that they would not necessarily interpret the situation as the individual did.  She also said that the police are a law to themselves, a statement which could be interpreted her evasion of the issue, among other possibilities.

Started chapter 2 and realised it is not one story but several, a collection of short stories.  Very sad.  I am not sure, I do not think, that I would have been mature enough to read them at the time I was supposed to, in my first years at grammar school, but there is no way I can tell now.  I hardly went to school in those depressed years following my father’s death.

Depressed and angry years they were, too.  I used to stay at home reading Christian paperbacks, mostly, trying to work out how to belong.  I wanted to join Teen Challenge and work woith drug addicts.  An irony occurs to me here.  I’ve spent most of my life wanting to be up to and fit for the job and it feels as if – you pick it up, and develop yourself in the job, as you practise and go along.  I am looking down my nose at jobs I used to want to do – social worker, drug addiction outreach, etc.  What would I have become if I had got into those jobs earlier instead of thinking that office stuff was all I was fit for?  I didn’t know about gaining experience through voluntary work which would count as experience, and I seem to remember they all wanted qualifications anyway, specific to the role.  So you had to be a qualified social worker to be a residential care worker.  I’m not sure what my position would be now, especially having developed a disdain for the way psychiatry has worked in my life.

Still have nurses vocally tagging me and slipping in linguistic mickey finns.  Latest went “she-she-she-schitz”.  I can’t see that the question ‘why’ really matters.  When I think I should be justifying it I am thinking that it is a way of getting to my heart to develop trust.  The church uses parables.  So after my initial resistance I find myself wanting to justify them and thinking of myself as ungrateful and arrogant.  I am very tired at the moment.

I have just had my block leave increased from 3 hours to 5 hours, and the 3 half hours for local stuff stopped, so effectively I have half an hour longer than I had before, but the longest I can stay out at any one time has increased from 3 hours to 5.

Dr Fahy and I had a set to this morning.  I ended up arguing that she must think that the flash mobs and the harassment and violence were part of my mental illness, that that was what she was saying, but that I disagreed and that she could no more appreciate everything that I knew gave significance to what I was saying than she could unpick the Bayeux Tapestry and appreciate that.  She said that she believed it was part of my experience and I walked out because I thought she was saying I believed it was part of my experience but was all in my head.  That is what that response has come to mean to me over the years.  She might have meant she knew it was real.  If that is the case we are not communicating well with each other.

I don’t mind being tired as long as I am allowed to rest during that time.  I believe that is what I need, and the reason I have not wanted to stay on the ward is that it is just the same as what was happening at home, the shouting, the violence, except there is little here I can do to alleviate it short of go out.

So Anyway, last Wednesday . . .

My advocate and I went into the review meeting with Dr Jaffur and Alison, the ward manager.  When we came out we both agreed that the two staff had not been open to changing their intentions with regard to forced medication.  My advocate suggested that I could be moved to another ward and Alison said she I didn’t have a good relationship with any of the staff and that she thought I would always feel harassed.  I suppose the facts and what I think about that don’t matter.  Their position as stated was that they just wanted me better, and that if the medication was not taken orally they would inject.  When I asked when the medication was going to start, after the review meeting, Alison said in a really confrontational way ‘it starts right now’.  I found it so confrontational that I asked her if she was trying to get me into a state where several people could hold me down and inject me.

So I have capitulated and am taking the medication orally, in spite of the fact that my previous reasons for not wanting to take it remain.  Being forced to take medication against your wishes is bullying, which the trust says it does not tolerate.

Last week the possibility of forced injection was being held over me as a threat (threat is the right word).  I asked the nurse last night what would happen if I were to refuse medication now, if I would be injected, and he said no, an injection was no longer there as an option.  But if I refuse again now I am afraid (fear is something else the trust literature says the trust does not tolerate) that they would go straight to injection and keep it that way, and withdraw the oral option.

In the meantime, I am exhausted, worrying about relationships on the ward, as if they are the most important thing in my life; worrying about my financial situation, especially with regard to my belongings in storage and the fact that my benefits are due to go down now I have been so long in hospital.  Occasionally I recall that what I reported around my home has not yet received any signs of being taken seriously and would therefore be likely to recur in any future tenancies.

Alison says she sees no sign of any harassment.  Maybe that is because she isn’t out of her office and among us when that is happening.  Or maybe it is deliberate blind eyes and deaf ears.  I have told them everything and there is nothing else to tell.  If anyone is being disingenuous in this, it is not me.  I have noticed that several of the staff use false personalities.  Knowing that makes me not even want to try to relate to them.  Also, if it is true that I don’t have a good relationship with any of the staff, as Alison said, it might be possible that that is because I see them as upholding and enabling a totalitarian and abusive mental health system.  They know my beliefs about this, so it shouldn’t be put down to a failing in methat I don’t have a good relationship with any of the staff, if that is true.  Also, some of them are there just for the money and don’t want to work.  They are happy if we are not visible because we feel so threatened and disrespected by them.  They just mess around until it is time for them to go home.

I’ve just finished the 1st chapter of ‘The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner.  In places I have found it hilarious and I anticipate a good read.  The protagonist is from Nottingham, in a Borstal, at this point.  I don’t know anything about the book or where he ends up in his thinking.  He talked (he is the narrative voice) about having seen the knife held by those in authority over him when they put him in a Borstal.  Being of a basically law-abiding temperament I want him to have changed his thinking and position about a lot of things he is sure about, including his belief that the authorities are his enemies and always will be, by the end of the book.  In the meantime, I am loving it.

My laptop needs mending.  Hard drive disk inaccessible.  Have just submitted a form.  I’m typing in the library.

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