Tag Archive: Bereavement


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?

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.

Bad Experiences

I was 11 when my father died at his own hands.  I don’t really know if it was suicide, it might have been a call for help and attention that backfired.  I know it left me without a strong hand at home.  The family fell to pieces.  I stopped going to school because I thought, ‘I don’t want to go so I’m not going’, and no one challenged that strongly enough.  My mother didn’t have enough authority to get me to go, and I was being bullied at school, so I lay in bed reading mainly Christian paperbacks.

My first experience of a Pentecostal church came when I was about 12 or 13.  A van with a megaphone came round my street advertising a crusade, and I decided to go.  It was an odd experience, with people saying loud ‘hallelujahs’ and ‘praise the Lords’ while a person on the platform was speaking.  I thought it was rude.

Eventually a man came to my attention who was the same age as my father and was also musical, as my father had been, and I used to watch him as he played a Hawaiian guitar.  I used to want to be a part of his family.  I let it be known that I liked him, and eventually one of the leaders or the leader’s wife told me that he thought I was just a silly little girl, as if I was sexually motivated (bearing in mind he was 38 and I was 12 or 13).

Very soon after this they decided I was demon possessed because I stared too much.  One week they told me I wasn’t welcome unless I wanted help, and that I was to go away and only come back when I wanted help.  I went back the next week, and they prayed for me to cast demons out,  It wasn’t pleasant, they found fault with me for praying a prayer that I had practised.  The man I liked was one of the people praying for me, another male leader was another,  They told me the demons had gone into a mouse they had seen but I hadn’t.  They left me afraid and traumatised.  I used to look into my own eyes in the mirror and think that I could see something evil in them.  I kept praying that God wouldn’t let me become demon possessed again, because I believed the things they had said to me.  I just needed a father figure, and I was completely misunderstood.

I’ve never really recovered from that time, the pain has never really gone away.  There was a woman at Talbot Street, where I ended up going shortly after David Shearman came to the church I’ve been talking about, who said I had caused problems in Andrew and David Shearman’s marriages.  When I told David that he said she wasn’t doing God’s work.  I don’t remember that he denied what she had said though.

In London the teaching I received about demons was that they attach when people are vulnerable, as in infancy or at a time of trauma, and that a simple prayer of deliverance was what was needed to remedy the situation, and also prayer for healing and filling with the Holy Spirit in place of the demons.  I believed this teaching.  Some people would say that what some people call demons is actually psychological or psychiatric.  People talk about coming to terms with their demons, not recognising a need or possibility of deliverance, and not talking about real demons in the first place.  The Pentecostal and Charismatic traditions believe and recognise that demonisation and deliverance are real, and these have been my background since I was 12 years old, the background I am now estranged from.  Over the last 20 years I have been accused of witchcraft by other Christians on many occasions.  That’s where I will leave this entry.  It’s all very painful and sore.

Loss, Mortality And Related Issues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Neighbours

They shout and bang all day, in teams and relays, I woke up relaxed out of a good dream early the other morning, before 6am, and coughed easily as I came round, and she immediately roused her sleeping partner and suddenly they were tapping at me.  I think it was, anyway, repetitive tapping, that seems to be the torture of choice at the moment, but it might have been a violent thud, but I can’t remember this time.  The couple of times I have tried to sleep in the silent period in the afternoon, between 2 and 4 pm, they have tapped over my bedroom every time sleep has come anywhere near me.  The first time he came running across my ceiling, about 3.30 pm, and shouted out violently, terrifyingly, outside,  leaving me feeling as if I had been clubbed about the head, and where before I was gaining clarity of thought, thoughts were coming and going and not going anywhere, not being resolved, thoughts were not thinkable.  It is the level of anger and hatred, as well as contempt for the law, from a man to a woman, that really does for me.  They are playing door opening and closing games as I go in and out, which I have interpreted as symbolically closing the door on me. They follow me around, cracking and banging over my space wherever I am in the apartment.  Today I thought, if these are shepherds and sheepdogs, they are the devils shepherds and sheepdogs.  She keeps saying hallelujah, so I’m really confused.  Is this how Orthodox Christianity works, or some other form of Christianity, or is she just using hallelujah to make the experience more torturous and disorientating?

I started writing this to say, in spite of all this, if and when I lose it, I still end up feeling as if I am the one who is supposed to say I am sorry.  When I write like this I believe that isn’t right, but it doesn’t stop me ending up feeling as if it is.  And every night I’m afraid to go to bed, because they wake me up tapping, every night.  Or stop me as I am going into sleep in the first place, in exactly the same way.  It is deliberate tapping.  I’m a sleep-deprived and frightened and furious wreck.  I know they are going to do it, because they always do.  Sleep is not allowed for me.  I’m so upset, and so tired, but I daren’t go to bed.  I’m so desperate.  They did it this afternoon as well.  And if I say anything they get worse and take worse advantage.

I called the police on Thursday, the afternoon he shouted violently, and the person on the other end said ‘I beg your pardon’ twice, in a way which felt pointed (my browser crashed here), and three male officers turned up at my door, one of whom spoke English, and while I was talking to him, every time I relaxed and my voice took on strength, one of the other two went running away with it, gabbling loudly over the top of me.  When I looked through my eyehole, before I opened the door, I saw they were standing there laughing, but as soon as they realised I was taking a good look, they stopped.  I felt humiliated on my own door step.  I said something about the gabbling over the top of me and how I was used to it here, but that from the police it was inappropriate, and the English speaker tried to reassure me it was nothing, but in the end I mimicked him back when he did it again, but obviously timidly and I wish I hadn’t, but he stopped.  If I had been confrontational and strong in my annoyance and anger, would they have made it an excuse to arrest me, as has happened or been threatened sometimes in England?

Anyway, they said I had to go to the station and make a report, which at the time was something I was willing to do, but I’ve decided to approach a solicitor instead with the whole situation and ask what a couple of clauses in my contract mean in terms of being able to expect support from my landlord.  I’ve already emailed my landlord, and they have said there is nothing they can do.  If that is true I need to try and help myself, but if it isn’t, I can do without the hassle.

PS I think I am also being mobbed on the Christianity tag in particular, by people writing ‘relevant’ things and taking some aspect of my bolg’s presentation and title.  When I last looked this post was flanked by two others, one saying ‘no man is an island’, and the other talking about taking every thought captive (right next to mine, ‘thoughts and observations of a certified nut!’?), talking about the ‘queen of science’, and I went out angrily this evening, to do some essential food shopping, saying I was going out ‘like the royalty I am’.  Coincidence?  The other day there was something by someone whose blog is something like ‘thoughts and observations of a dependent workman’, and I constantly feel as if people are calling me the lone ranger or something.  It is really undermining.  While I have been writing this PS the woman upstairs has started talking, and I have had a battery of browser crashes, especially right at the beginning.  I’m still wondering if they are hacking my computer upstairs.

PPS 1.47pm Bulgarian time. I was just thinking and feeling about Jason.  At least I think I was, because her voice intruded on it, that godawful voice, or is it just my godawful embarrassment about my godawful contribution to the situation?  But it is since she imposed her voice over mine, several times, and in the context of them banging into the most intimate sounds of my voice and places of my rest and sleep that this kind of thing happens over and over, my most intimate thoughts and feelings and deepest places of my being, open to or because of the things or people I am thinking about, are invaded by this voice.  This actual voice, not a memory or imagination or hallucination.  I have raged in the past when this kind of thing has happened.  Today I held back and decided not to.  It has taken me half an hour to decide that putting this fact on my blog is OK and not inappropriate.  As soon as I hit the ‘update’ button on this my computer crashed.

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