Tag Archive: Christianity


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.

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?

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.

For me, that question mark is not just the either/or that I have been taught, it is also questioning the either/or itself.

Pentecostal/Charismatic Christianity is Soooo arrogant and elitist, or at least it appears so to me in presenting such a false dichotomy.  Why?  Why take such an entrenched position?  Please. . . . It’s not even Biblical.  There is at least one verse of the Bible, that I know, that has been completely ignored in this position, or maybe it has just been ‘better’ translated?  I don’t know.  The verse I know is James 1:27 “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”.  Having just looked it up I see the word is used twice in the preceding verse as well.

OK, I’m just thinking now.  I know where I want to go but I’m not sure how I’m going to get there.

Martin Luther called the Book of James ‘straw’.  I don’t know why he was personally motivated to do that.  We have different historical accounts and opinions from many sides, I am sure, none of which I have examined, because I think I wouldn’t be any the wiser for doing so.  The multiplicity of Christian denominations and their (I suppose) sincere disagreements, and all the internal disagreements . . . . what are people really united in?  In the end, the delegated power of the chosen wins, at least in their own circles.  Maybe that is too pessimistic of me.

OK.  According to the AV translation of James, Christianity IS a religion.  This asserted dichotomy – mistaken, I want to believe – is really contemptuous and alienating and belittling to beautiful, loving and sincere people who seek – and find – truth in other religions.  We were told that the Devil (in other religions) takes a little bit of truth and mixes it in with a lot of error, to lead people astray.  Excuse me – does anyone know he also does this in Christianity?  In every human heart?  Love covers.  Grace covers.  Any true seeker?  Anyone who knows that he doesn’t know, but wants to know and be.  Jesus can be, and is, found, in measure, anywhere people want to know Him.  Even in Christianity.

For me this is all theory and it feels right and good, but I feel as if it isn’t working in my life right now, and the Christian onlookers I know would definitely say it isn’t.  So maybe I’m wrong.  I want to be.  I want to go back to pure and simple Christianity.  My heart has needs that argument and positions can’t deal with.

I’m not a good writer, I never save drafts.  I never – hardly ever – ‘kill my darlings’.  I write then publish, for all sorts of reasons.  Maybe I shouldn’t, if anyone wants to give their opinion on that I’ll be more than happy to think about it and maybe even discuss it, if I feel up to it.

Thanks for reading.  All feedback through this blog or on Facebook welcome.  Twitter doesn’t allow sufficient characters, it gets incredibly frustrating! 🙂

Title? Oh, Who Cares????!!!!

I noticed the tee shirt worn by a Trump supporter the other day and thought I wouldn’t mind one for myself. It said, ‘proud to be deplorable’. I’ll HAVE a bit of that! And while I’m at it, I’ll have a bad attitude as well. If my attitude is bad in some people’s eyes – well, THAT’s sad. . . .
At the moment I feel as if I am never going to be happy again. That will be my punishment for having a bad attitude, all the earnest people I’d like to hang out with won’t want anything to do with me. But – really? Are they really that earnest? I feel I’ve seen so much love today in some of these earnest people. Makes me feel as if I’ve got a bit of a cheek. I’d love to be able to scrape myself off the ceiling and love and be loved with them. They love Jesus. They are serious people.  Aren’t they?
Sorry, guys, bad attitude it’s got to be. Still love you, still need you, but when it comes to you, in this particular situation, I need what you, and I, might call a bad attitude. Trying to have a good one results in me not being able to think for myself, or going into emotional meltdown and ending up in hospital.
And I can’t bear either of those!
(Sorry, this is all cramped up because I cut it from what started as a Facebook post.  I have no idea how to sort it out)

A Funny Day

I’ve been staying in a hotel recently.  Today I went to see my mum.  People kept looking at me and grinning, or just staring.  Don’t ask me, no idea!  It happens a lot recently.  Dare I say that?  The mental health services always used to say that if I thought people were staring at me it was a paranoid idea.  Hence for some time I tried to live in denial of it happening and if it did, pretend it wasn’t.  These days, at the very least, I look straight at it without being overwhelmed with fear.  Sometimes I get angry and offended.  I can get really freaked out by it, when it happens all the time.

Two things happened when I got back to the hotel, the first was in the hotel and the second was in the Chinese cafe.  I’ll do the Chinese cafe first.

I went to have dinner in a Chinese cafe round the corner from my hotel.  After I had been there a few minutes I noticed it was all Chinese people eating there.  That made me feel good for two reasons, I like Chinese people, and they say that if a place like a Chinese restaurant has a lot of people from that country and culture there it speaks well of the food.

I was a bit freaked by what started happening after I had been there about 5 or 10 minutes.

Two women walked in and sat at the table opposite me.  They were NOT Chinese.  I’m not going to start talking about their ethnicity in case someone decides to accuse me of racism, and I did think that might be my problem.

At some point I started to sing quietly, either before they came in or after, I can’t remember, because I was feeling a bit nervous.  I find it very easy to feel nervous at the moment, especially when I am with people I really want to like me.  The woman facing me made a dismissive face, then went on to completely ignore me.  She started to talk to her companion and I got the impression there was something false about her voice, and she sounded to me as if she was making aggressive utterances in a soft tone.  At that point I thought I might be being racist.  She had an unchanging smile on her face and I felt annoyed by it, I really felt it was false.  Anyway, I settled myself about it and came to my own terms over it.  Every time I relaxed she said ‘my god’.  I hate this, it happens to me a lot, and I really believe there is a spiritual dynamic to it.  It feels like a prohibition to me, or like something grabbing at me.  In the end I ignored her and started to engage with other people, at first just with a smile, then in a couple of conversations with people either side of me.

The second conversation lasted about 10 or 15 minutes and I found it thoroughly interesting.  The subject of the unconscious came up, and the man was talking about Lacan, a name I remember from when I studied (on and off!) for my English degree but about whom I remembered very little if anything.  If I remember, the man talking to me said something about reality structures.  We moved on to other things as well, had a very pleasant conversation and laughed a bit, and I began to feel really relaxed and playful.  This must have come across in my voice, I felt it did, and the same woman, who had now been joined by a group, as I began to relax into speaking again loudly said ‘my god’ again.  I kept talking, compensating for my discomfort and annoyance by going very posh, but still laughing and joking and enjoying my conversation.  Even when she couldn’t see or hear me, after the man and his girlfriend had gone (actually, apart from this group opposite me, the man I was talking to was the only non-Chinese there apart from me, he was Greek, his girlfriend was Chinese), she still kept pelting out a ‘my god’ when I relaxed, and I in my little corner got annoyed and said just loudly enough to be heard, ‘medium’.  I do things like that, I am so vulnerable and get so freaked and desperate I don’t know what else to do with it, often.  This is a recent thing, since I started having problems at home.  When I eventually got up and paid the bill I heard several of them saying, over a few seconds, a word that sounded like ‘witch’ or ‘bitch’.  They kept repeating it.  It was freaky.  Apart from the ‘my god’ stuff they had appeared as sweet as you like up until that point.  I won’t say what I did with it, but I ignored them and focused on a friendly departure with the staff.  I don’t know who they were, or if they had deliberately followed me in (I’m sure it happens), but I think their behaviour was frightful, darlings!  It was so frightening, looking back.  I felt really harassed and targeted and couldn’t believe my ears.

Anyway, that was the second thing that happened tonight.  The first thing happened when I got back to my hotel room.  I came in feeling a bit cross and agitated, and I began to sing, in tongues.  At least, it wasn’t English, and it had a bit of a Native American feel to it, or something like that, I’m not too sure what I’m talking about.  It wasn’t the gently lilting, softly flowing stuff you sometimes hear, there was more production to it, it was coming from my gut and it carried my emotions and resolved them.  The next thing I knew I experienced something different from anything I had experienced before.  The domestic had left the bathroom door open, and suddenly the light, which was not switched on, began to flash on and off, several times.  That was how I got into the conversation with the man who talked about Lacan.  He and his girlfriend were looking at the tv screen the other side of me and laughing.  I turned to them and asked if they understood it, he said no, then said something about ghosts being big in Chinese culture, and I told him what had happened with my singing and the light.  He started talking about the unconscious and dreams, I asked him if he didn’t believe in the spirit world that can act independently of our unconscious and told him a story about Carl Jung, whose work I have been reading for a few months.  I’ve started from the beginning of the collection, apart from a look at one long essay further in at the beginning.  I am in the middle of a case study of a teenage girl who seemed to have abilities as a medium, though he did say that in the end she was found to be faking, but I’m not sure if he thought it was all fake.  At this stage he put the apparent phenomena and personality changes during seances down to manifestations of her unconscious.  I’m not sure if he continued to think like that, though.  Because I have read that later he thought his house had spirits in it.  I remember one story I read about him where his doorbell rang continuously on at least one occasion and he could see the doorbell’s mechanism, inside the house, moving and working.  Yet when he went to the window to see who was there, no one was, and at the same time the bell stopped ringing.  Not sure where tonight’s experience fits in with that, but that’s what it reminded me of.

OK, that’s it.  An abrupt ending, but I can’t think of anything else I want to say.  I feel a little raw and weird!

This is 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!

After the things I have seen and heard today, I am not surprised that some people with psychiatric diagnoses are driven to violence. I, for one, find no way to blame them.
Psychiatry is an abusive system, and so are the media outlets that are involved in targeting vulnerable people with psychological assault, be they secular or religious. If they have become bedfellows may they have joy of each other.
They will be the blind leading the blind, and God will hold them accountable for all the pain and misery they cause and the tyrannies they uphold. It is possible that they might never be brought to account in this life, but there is a life to come and a price to pay. As long as they continue in what they are doing, they themselves will be liable for that price.
I wonder how many other psychiatric patients they have persecuted in the same way, and thus driven them to the atrocities we hear about and the media loves to highlight as caused by ‘mental illness’.
I am in shock and totally grossed out and in despair at what I have just seen, people knowingly packaging stuff together that I have given them, faces wreathed in smiles.
In some ways it would be easy to smile with them. But if I do that, I will be betraying myself and many weaker people who are going through the same thing.
I said years ago that I stand with those who are unjustly called mentally ill, those who have suffered the abuse of both psychiatry and society, including the church, and I still do. We might be a disparate lot, but all of us know what it is to be stripped of our human rights.
I gave them stuff to empower them for people I thought were vulnerable to media stalking because of me, and they have used it against me, while still naming those people in their programmes, packaging names together in ways that makes the group and individuals identifiable to itself. They are fully responsible for their actions in doing that, and have no right to judge or punish me for my response or lack of response. What they are doing is criminal, there are no two ways about it.
The people they are naming are vulnerable because of and TO the naming, not because I let them be named. I have drawn attention to it before, and for my efforts been told my belief it is happening is a symptom of mental illness. It is obvious though, and it is not a symptom of mental illness. I refuse to accept either blame or responsibility for their savagery, and maintain my right to stay separate from those who stalk me, until they contact me in an accountable manner, be they Christian or not. They are breaking my heart and breaking my confidence, but they cannot break my knowledge that what they are doing to me and others is illegal.

Blog Post I Promised My Facebook Friends

THIS IS QUITE A LONG BLOG POST.  I HOPE SOME OF YOU WILL PERSEVERE WITH IT.  THANKS IN ADVANCE.  I VALUE MY READERS.  I VALUE MY ‘STALKERS’ TOO.  IN FACT I WANT TO SAY THANK YOU SO MUCH TO ALL OF YOU.

 

I’ve just been out to Waitrose, and had some lunch, so I’m not in quite the same emotional space I was in when I posted on Facebook this morning.

Last Thursday I posted on Facebook about This Morning.  I said how it started with a house in Lewisham falling down and Holly Willoughby saying Oh my God, and said that I used to live in Lewisham, and that that juxtaposition between OMG and things I identify as having something to do with me or others I know or have known is common.

I looked back at the programme this morning.  Last week it was full of significance for me, as I believed that references were being made to things I had written on Facebook.  But because things have moved on a bit since then, today I couldn’t really remember the connections I made then.

A few weeks ago, 22nd May, to be exact, the anniversary of my father’s death by overdose, I posted a life event about my dad on Facebook.  I had been aware of things on the media that I believed to have been connected with me before this date.

This year, 22nd May was a Sunday.  Dr R T Kendall of Kensington Temple these days, formerly of Westminster Chapel, with both of which I had had a difficult relationship leading up to my first admission onto a psychiatric ward, preached a sermon titled ‘The Party’s Over’.  Retrospectively, he had probably prepared that sermon, and named it, at least a few days before he preached.  But I thought that it was sympathetically connected with my life event post.  Maybe it was, maybe he knew about the post before it was posted this year.  I’ve had it for at least one anniversary before.

Anyway, he was mentioned people in the media, in general, but naming categories.  He also talked about Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar, I think, about vessels having been taken from the temple and used for common purposes, and that that angered God.  One of the things he said was something about the wearing of purple, a royal and priestly colour.  I can’t remember much more than that, but the sermon can be found here.

I felt emotionally involved with this sermon at first because, right at the beginning, he looked straight into the camera and said ‘identify with Daniel’.  I thought he was talking to me, supportively, because in my post I had said that many times in my life I had identified with my father.  I’ve watched that sermon twice now, and I have noticed that that beginning has been cut off.

I’ve said before that I think I’m being stalked.  The people involved might not like my use of that term, but that is what it is.

Anyway, the next day, 23rd May, on This Morning, people were looking around nervously.  I can’t remember anything very much, but I can remember that, at the end of the programme, Rylan Clark-Neal said that they were compromised. Holly Willoughby coughed, it seemed to me significantly.  I didn’t think it was worth mentioning, because it all seemed too obvious and easily explained.  The same day, talking about wearing purple, I watched the BBC1 East Midlands news at 6.30pm, and they were all wearing purple, and one of the newsreaders said that she didn’t know why, but they had all been told to wear purple that day.  It seemed to me obviously connected.

At first, I felt personally attacked by this, and it made me feel angry and alarmed.  Later I thought, it’s just a fight between secular and religious media, and nothing to do with me except for my own identification and recognition  (Neither side wanted me involved.  Neither side really cared about me, if they did they would tell me so through normal, committed communication like an email or a phone call.  And they didn’t, and don’t). I thought that Kensington Temple was being paranoid and alarmist over what might be seen as a quite ordinary referential challenge.  It was just a media scrap, if they didn’t like it, they didn’t have to watch, they could just get on with the job without taking notice of their detractors.  But I wrote to them, through their website, and among other things, asked if Dr Kendall wanted to see me.  They didn’t even answer.  I found that rude, and it made me anxious.  So many times I make contact and get no answer.  These days I am reasonable and try to be friendly, and they don’t even answer that, except in pointed and contextualised references in their sermons and radio programmes.

Anyway, briefly back to This Morning of 9th June.  When I watched it again today I felt much of what they were doing was making metaphors.  Recently Holly makes me laugh, I find her quite amusing, but I feel also she is quite vicious.  The Old Testament says, ‘don’t be afraid of their faces’.  I have felt intimidated by her apparent sweetness, but she says some horrible things behind that.  I have expressed anxiety about writing openly about what I think for fear of being put back on medication, and in this programme she was talking about someone and hospital, and it came up twice, and both times she made a face and said ‘Oh no’, and I felt it was cruel mockery aimed at me.

(My, this is draining!  For one thing, the WordPress writing frame keeps slipping upwards so it looks as if my post has disappeared.  I keep imagining it might be someone hacking while I am writing and trying to disrupt me.  In truth it is probably a software issue.  I hope so anyway.)

I was just looking for something in Monday 13th’s episode of This Morning.  I started watching from the beginning, and when I got to about 33 minutes 40 seconds in, where they are talking about rain with someone who predicts weather (I thought he was a gardener, but he seems to be more than that) Holly quite deliberately shouted ‘woohoo’, and I thought she had got it out of the post on Facebook which I posted on Saturday, in fact I’m quite sure she did.  But that wasn’t what I was looking for.  What I was looking for came up a few minutes later, after 37 minutes 40 seconds in . . .

I had an experience with someone who came to repair my boiler a few weeks ago.  At the end of repairing my boiler we had a conversation in the kitchen over coffee and a biscuit (one of my own home made ones), and everything he said, every place name, had significance for me.  I can only remember two of them, but I just kept nodding along at him thinking ‘Oh yes, there’ and Oh yes, there’.  The two I remember are Middlesbrough and Toronto, both places where Church ministers from my past came from.  But it wasn’t just two places, it was many.  Anyway, I was watching Monday 13th’s episode of This Morning and I had the strong impression that Holly just had one of those moments.  The man she and Phillip Schofield were talking to said something like ‘I’m OK, I’ve got form’.  I heard that and it felt like a revelation, and I stared at Holly and I thought she reacted.  I just watched it again and it doesn’t seem so marked now right at that point, but at the end of the interview Holly’s eyes are like saucers.  I think she might have said something similar behind the scenes.  Or someone did.  Perhaps.  I’ve even thought things like that myself when I’ve watched KT live, that I’m OK, I don’t have to give in.  It’s a great bit of power tripping.

Tea break.

When I was in Bulgaria between 2009 and 2011, I started hearing a woman’s voice from the flat upstairs, so it seemed, shouting hallelujah.  It drove me wild.  It was almost incessant, and I would rant and rave using Google Translate, which isn’t very reliable.  It or my reaction or both made me very ill.  I used to have chest pains and vomiting.  It happened in a few places, always directly where I was living, never followed me away from the building.  Which is partly why I wonder if it really was an hallucination, as my psychiatrists insisted.  It came to the attention of the psychiatrists because I started hearing the same thing when I was in emergency accommodation in Nottingham, and I called the police several times.  Once I turned them away because I thought they were rude to me. Eventually, the police called the mental health team, and one of the officers who turned up with the team was the one who was rude to me.  He was quite controlling on the scene.

Anyway, about 2 or 3 months ago, not having experienced it for quite some time, I started to hear a woman’s voice saying hallelujah again, and it seemed to be coming from next door.  It only lasted for two weeks.  This time I didn’t rant and rave.  I also didn’t believe it was an hallucination.  I believed it was some sort of spiritual manifestation, the source of which I was uncertain.  I was alternately angry at it, scared of it, desperate, grateful.  I prayed that it would stop.  After it did, I felt as if I had lost something, it was like grief.  Just towards the end of it I tuned in to Kensington Temple’s live service one afternoon when Bruce Atkinson was speaking.  He was talking about the woman who came to Jesus for her daughter to be healed.  She wasn’t Jewish, and Jesus told her He had only been sent to Israel, and it wasn’t right to give the children’s bread to dogs.  I kept hearing things I identified with from my experience at KT, and I was inwardly holding on, asking God to help me, as well as arguing with what I was seeing and thinking it wasn’t that impressive, as Bruce kept talking and staring into the camera, as if something kept drawing him to it.  They put a version of that sermon on the website, but it wasn’t that version.  In the version on the website Bruce seems to be trying to avoid looking at the camera.  I think it was the next week that Colin Dye came on, and at the beginning of the recording he looked into the camera and gave a little smile, and started talking about quantum physics, and how he didn’t understand it, but came back to art.  I thought he was talking about ME coming back to art in posting William Blake’s ‘The Sick Rose’ on my blog.  I don’t know, they seem to have used things from my blog before.

At some point after this, I think, he said that ‘they are going to start using dogs with her, I wonder how she will deal with that’ or some such words.  Shortly after this Phillip and Holly, having experienced something strange, I think, in the studio (can’t sound too definite, they might put me away again.  Even for this they might put me back on medication.  I’m taking a big risk), started to feature Clover, their guide dog in training, a lot.  I had been watching live, I think, then I started watching on ITV +1, an hour behind.  One day, Phillip started commanding the dog to sit.  He did this right at the beginning and exactly an hour into the programme.  He looked frightened, to me.  Once when he did this one of the light bulbs blew.  I know this can be what some people call a psychic occurrence.  I had a music teacher who became a bishop, and I read an article about him which said he walked into a room and things happened with the electricity.  Phillip, whether he made the connection or not, just said that bulbs blew all the time.  I made the connection, though.  I might have been wrong myself, but it was some coincidence, if I was.  One day, he looked into the camera and stuttered over the word ‘superfood’, orsomething else beginning with the first syllable of my name.  I thought it was a deliberate stutter and that he was trying to say ‘Sue’.  I’ve thought about it since, and decided he could have had anything in mind.  He might have been thinking ‘supernatural’, for instance.  Or it might just have been a nervous, meaningless stutter.  I’ve not heard him stutter before though.  (To my nurses, there is a history behind these assumptions I don’t want to go into, this post is going to be long enough without that.  I’m wondering if I’m ever going to get to the end of it).

I saw they were distressed, and thought they were trying to help me.  So I tweeted Phillip one day and said I felt for them and was touched by the fact they were trying to help me, or words to that effect, and that I thought the reason for their distress was that they were doing something occultic with the Clover, and asked who she represented when he commanded her like that.  He said a few times he didn’t know what I was going on about and that I was talking nonsense, and ended up saying, ‘I’m sure you are really sweet, but you are now blocked’.  And that was that.  I think what he was doing with Clover, occultic or not, was because he was afraid of something else.  I was angry about something I had seen on the show and something they were promoting as normal which I believe shouldn’t be, and I think my anger had what might be called by some a psychic energy which was holding them in a bad place.  I wouldn’t let go for some days and was pleased at every sign that they seemed to be losing it.  I have wanted to apologise for that several times.  I thought the right way would have been to keep watching and complain to Ofcom if I didn’t like something I saw.  Within a day or 2 of me thinking that, Phillip came on laughing and said they gave Ofcom plenty of business.  I don’t think it was a simple coincidence.  Anyway, dogs abounded after that.  Andrea McLean on Loose Women, which I also watch, reacted to a bark a few weeks ago by saying something like, ‘that’s right, take it out, we don’t want any accidents’.  It wasn’t a real dog, obviously, it was a miked up bark, staged.  It felt psychologically violent.

On This Morning they were celebrating Clover’s first birthday on Monday, and had a load of dogs in.  I happened to turn on, on ITV +1, at just the time when they appeared for the 2nd time.  The first time was just after Piers Morgan and someone else had been on with Holly and Phillip talking about Orlando, but I hadn’t seen that.   I just saw the dogs let loose, and lost the plot.  I didn’t take anything else in after that.

The Monday before they had featured Mersea, where John Pantry lives, who works at Premier Radio and used to be one of my Facebook friends.  Fairly soon after they showed someone called the same name that came up for me while listening to another radio presenter quite a few years ago.  I can’t remember what motivated me, but after I saw the dogs this Monday, I wrote an email to both John Pantry and Colin Dye, telling them about this.  I thought something might need to be done about it, and that they needed to watch the recording, before it was taken down.  In the end, it was there until midnight.  In the meantime, I was uncertain as to whether or not John and Colin would receive the email in time, so I sent it to the live studio as well.  Then I regretted it, and sent a copy of the email and its forwarding to someone else I had emailed over the weekend, because I thought he was in touch with the person I had mentioned in the email and I wanted to warn and protect that person.  Later I thought that, really, my trust was a dubious honour, and possibly overpowering for this person (I also thought that, in the state I was in, I was making far too much of what I had seen and heard, and he thought I was nuts and he wasn’t interested.  I thought Premier and Kensington Temple would have the same opinion.  Maybe they do).  He didn’t email me back.  I don’t know why he did this, but he told Phillip and Holly, because I had mentioned them in the email.  On Tuesday Holly was cavorting all over the screen with veiled references to this email, and she also mentioned someone who had lost a couple of stones and her friends asked her if she was putting it back on, then she did this really violent jerk with her arm, and I felt terrified.  I have mentioned on Facebook that I have lost weight, and I thought she was cursing me.  I thought she was a witch in full flight.  At the end of the recording, totally distracted and barely able to focus, I tried to reorientate myself by posting a link to a radio play, then I went to bed, still frightened, then after I got into bed, I started to laugh.  I felt loved up.   I felt amazing.  Holly had been smiling all the time she was doing this.  That was when I started to find her funny.  I thought last Thursday that the way she opened her eyes wide and batted her eyelids was false and I hated it and I hated her, but I found if I did the same it cleared my perceptions and negative feelings.  I can’t remember if that was before or after Tuesday.  Anyway, the loved up and laughing bit, I felt it was inappropriate given the nature of what I had communicated in my email.  I tried to put a stop to it.  Then yesterday, on Loose Women, Ruth Langsford, who is also a This Morning presenter, said that she was ‘ashamed’ of something, and coughed significantly.  I hadn’t said that I felt ashamed in the email to Premier Radio and Colin Dye at Kensington Temple, but I had to this other person.

In the email I had said that I thought they were after me and the Church, and that all was fair in love and war.  On Tuesday, Dara O’Briain was on with Hugh Dennis, on This Morning again, and they were both grinning from ear to ear, and one of them said, ‘she thinks it’s fair’.  One of them said something about open heart surgery.  For me, that was a bit what it was like, I suppose.

I’ve been thinking, though.  When I said all’s fair in love and war, I didn’t mean things like stalking someone’s social media account to reflect back to them, especially when that person isn’t in the public eye.  I have thought I was willing to tolerate it (Stockholm Syndrome?), but what about other individuals who are also not public people who are experiencing the same thing?  I keep thinking it’s not about me, and being relieved every time I think it.  However, I think I am wrong.  They even mentioned a road that has the same beginning of its name as mine yesterday, and put quite an emphasis on it.  I have 2 neighbours, one partially sighted and the other who goes around bare chested.  References to them were put together in Sunday Brunch this week (Channel 4), as was a reference to my email that I sent on Saturday, and a comment about someone having the heart of a dog, and emotional looks.  I sent the presenters a chat message saying they had spoken to the man I emailed and goodness knows who else, and asked them what they wanted and where we were going.  According to my Facebook account, they haven’t even looked at it yet.  It has been going on with them for some time.  On Pentecost Sunday they featured meditation and a linguist talking about languages and making them up.  OK, if they want to, they can fight like that, it’s not illegal.  But they had Michaela Strachan on recently, someone who is a friend of this presenter I listened to years ago and met a few times.  The first time was good, the rest he pretended not to remember me.  Yet he sat and talked with me in his car for half an hour and drove me to the station.  His wife remembered me, though.  I was telling my nurse Pete yesterday, that the last time I went she tore me off a strip, took my phone number and said her husband would be in touch if he was interested.  I’ve decided not to go back as they obviously don’t want to know.  Although I would like to believe differently, I see the constant songs and references that I associate with him and his calling me as being chain yanking.  And as lovely as I think he is, I think he deliberately used to torture me psychologically.  I think he had ‘psychic’ insight into me as well, particulars at particular times.  I used to feel we had telepathic communication, he would often come on his programme saying something I felt we had shared telepathically earlier in the week.  He used to talk about his dog.  I used to think it was a backwards way of saying ‘my God’, and I was offended.  I also thought he was referring to me, as often when I tuned in he would start talking about walking his dog, immediately.  So the dog reference is not a new one.  One day I lay in bed listening to him with my back to the radio, because I felt closer to him and more able to listen that way.  He said, ‘my dog has started turning its back on us, it feels closer to us that way’.  I think something I said once is being used as emotional blackmail.  I think Ruth Langsford referred to it yesterday on Loose Women when she was ostensibly talking about her son Jack, and talking about apologising.  I already have, and meant it.  I wish I wanted to again.  I have recently been willing to open up to the possibility of meeting him again.  In my mind, there is a war between him and the Church.  But until recently I had decided I had moved on from him, that he had deliberately abused me, and that I was wrong to look to him in the first place.  But the fact is, I took a resting place with him when there was absolutely no way I could hold myself together in Church and didn’t feel safe going.  It wasn’t rebellion, it was respite.  That’s how it felt, anyway.  Once I was afraid even to speak, and there was no way I could have written like this, or tweeted, or gone on Facebook.  I doggedly (sorry, no pun intended, I can’t think of the other word) took the tools and attitudes he offered and rebuilt my ability to communicate.  I feel, rightly or wrongly, that I owe him.  Defiantly, was the word I was looking for.

In the meantime, I haven’t heard from Kensington Temple following this email, or from John Pantry or anyone else at Premier.  In the email I said to John that I had got the impression that he wanted to be involved.  On his show the next day he said ‘you can be involved’, then started talking about bipolar, I think it was, putting together a reference to what I had said with a reference to ‘mental illness’.  I feel if I go back to Church, it’s something I am going to have brought against me every time I’m perceived to be out of line.  I think Premier is withholding programme recordings as well.  I unfriended John last Friday because he was answering things I put on his timeline then, when I answered, he cleared them off.  I felt hurt by this so unfriended him, I thought it was against me.  I have since thought he might just be one of those people who likes to keep a tidy timeline and does the same thing with a lot of people.  But anyway, Monday’s Inspirational Breakfast is not available.  The other week they had almost a total lockdown on programme availability, they have since restored some, but not all.  I emailed a show the other week, and I later looked for the recording so I could listen back (the man read my email out and commented on it), but it isn’t available.  I asked both John Pantry and Rick Easter, both Premier presenters who were Facebook friends until I unfriended them, if they knew what was happening with the programme recordings and why they were not available, and John cleared the question off his timeline without answering, not even to say he didn’t know, and Rick just ignored the question.  I don’t know who they are hiding from.  There is definitely something going on.

I have said for years that I don’t want to be in a Church that calls the police on people and accepts psychiatric labels against people’s wishes.  I have heard a lot about good disagreement lately on Premier, and other stuff like that.  Teaching children to manage their emotions and emphasising that you are there for them and will handle it together, instead of focusing so much on the idea of discipline.  Hearing that kind of thing, it’s making me feel that it is I who am being a terrorist in my refusal to go to a church where the police might be called, that I am the one who is using emotional and spiritual blackmail.  I feel all my years lost in my life and in the Church are all my own fault.  At one time I was so confused by the fact that all the wards had Biblical names, I thought my answers were all to be found in hospital.  That’s where I would recover my power of self-determination (watch this come up in a sermon).  And yet, I know the Church has been – stalking me, I call it, I don’t know what they call it – for years.

It’s just occurred to me, I don’t know how the programmes that have featured references to my road name and allusions to my neighbours have got the information,  I haven’t said anything about either in my blog.  The blind allusion has come up several times, I’ve only this week noticed the one about bare-chestedness.  I don’t think, again, that it is simple coincidence.

I think yesterday morning, on Inspirational Breakfast, John said something about not being too cruel, she is vulnerable.  I thought that was for me.  But my goodness, I wish they would realise that their refusal to answer my emails properly makes me feel most vulnerable of all.  It messes with my head and perceptions big time.

When I was in hospital last time I got involved with the chaplaincy service.  One day I spoke to the alternative religion person who said to me that sometimes coincidences come so thick and fast and from so many directions, there has to be a big intelligence behind it and it can’t be by human organisation.  I took that and believed it.  But now I’ve married it to a renewed belief that I am also, as I have maintained before, being stalked.

The fact that I have done something wrong does not make it OK to abuse me.  Once I believed it was OK, the stalking, the being called a dog, the psychological abuse (but Oh, how grateful I sometimes thought I was).  But now, I usually have more self-respect.  If that makes me appear cynical and unfeeling to the people who have received my emails recently, I am sorry.  I know desperation can make people do some terrible things, and I hesitate to say that those I say are stalking me are the cynical ones, but it does feel that way sometimes.  Yesterday I wanted to contact Colin Dye and say, ‘I thought they loved me, but they don’t, do they?’  I wouldn’t dare though.  I can’t bear more words coming through my computer and no response to my emails.  But I will bear it.  The alternative is a vacuum.  To some that might be peace.  It is to me sometimes, but most of the time I think I can’t live like that.

Well, it is 7.30 pm and today’s This Morning is not available yet.  That is very unusual.  It is normally there by 4 pm.  (edit note: eventually it appeared around 10 am the day after I wrote this post).

Strongly Suggested Reading

Last night I revisited my posts on Highbury Hospital, where I had a very distressing time.  I hope you will read them and gain an insight into what goes on behind closed doors in a psychiatric hospital, in terms of bullying and abuse.  I especially hope any Christians who are prepared to urge members of their congregation to seek help here and think they are qualified to assess someone as needing psychiatric ‘help’ will read them and see what it is really like.

I can’t understand why Christians would see psychiatry as a good thing, since over 100 years ago psychiatry declared war on Christianity and religion.  I have written in another post how Thomas Szasz said in at least one of his books that turning a person over to psychiatry is akin to witch hunters in centuries past ‘relaxing’ their victims into the hands of the state so they could be put to death.  I hope and pray and plead for you to see sense.

Psychiatry is not Christianity’s friend, nor is it humanity’s friend.  When a spiritual organisation turns a member over to the police and psychiatry it is an act of betrayal.  I am afraid of churches these days, not only because of my own betrayals, but because the church gives up on people and turns them over to the state, when they express distress, instead of trusting a loving spiritual involvement.  Patience and forgiveness and empathy give place to psychiatry and harmful drugs and inhuman bullying.

I no longer expect to find a church which is antipsychiatry and has no time for psychiatry, as psychiatry is fundamentally anti Christian experience.  I expect the church to attack me with a belief in psychiatry and to hurt me by upholding decisions that have been made about me.

For the posts on Highbury Hospital just click on the tag of the same name at the bottom of this post.  Please be prepared for a long read.  I trust your perseverance and respect will be rewarded.

Spiritual Rape

I noticed that ‘what is spiritual rape’ was a search term used to arrive at my blog, so I put it in myself, to see what came back.  I looked at the first 14 pages on Google and my blog wasn’t there, but I found this blog post https://hemofhisgarment.wordpress.com/spiritual-rape/.

I have been looking back at some of my posts which definitely make me look as if I am mentally ill, and I have been thinking that they might invalidate anything I have to say.  But this post that I have posted the link for says that mental illness is a common result of spiritual rape as the person becomes confused and paranoid, and the writer says they believe that mental illness is an evidence that this sort of abuse has taken place.

So if my tortured posts are evidence of trauma and abuse I hope my readers will value them as such and not dismiss everything I have to say because of them.

I don’t believe spiritual rape takes place only in the church.  I believe psychiatry itself is spiritual rape, and it can and does happen both in the home and in the world in general.  If I am disappointed in the post, it is because of its failure to recognise this.  I have experienced serious trauma in my family, in the church and in psychiatry, and in the world at large.  I don’t know which has been worst.  I hope you will read the post yourself and see what you think.

Coffee With My Nurse

Every Thursday one of my nurses and I go out for coffee, it’s part of the social inclusion programme.  He’s a nice man, his name is Pete.  He helped me out practically when I first moved in here.  We talk about a lot of things, including religion.  This week religion came up because I said I hadn’t heard anything about Raif Badawi this week.  Raif is the writer and activist in Saudi Arabia who has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for his blog on free speech and liberalism in which he criticised some of the clerics, which was taken as an insult to Islam.  (For a petition by Amnesty International seeking to get this stopped please see here).

Pete said it was terrible what was being done in the name of religion, and said the Church used to do the same thing with its witch trials, for example.  The subject of demon possession came up, and I told him about my experiences of being told either that I was demon possessed or that I was ‘heavily demonised’.

The time I was told I was demon possessed was when I was a 12 year old girl in 1973.  I had lost my frightening father to suicide the year before.  Two of the elders of the church I was going to told me that I was demon possessed because I stared too much.  I suppose I did stare.  I stared particularly at one of them, because he was my father’s age and musical like my father, and I wanted to be a part of their family, informally.  He was a father figure.  The other elder – no, deacon – his wife told me that the man I saw as a father figure just saw me as a silly little girl.  They must have thought I fancied him or something (he was 38, I was 12, he was married with 3 children).  When they first tried to pray for me they decided I didn’t want help and told me I wasn’t to go back until I wanted help.  I think they also told me I couldn’t have communion.  The second time they prayed for me the deacon was bothered that I had practised a prayer instead of just praying on the spot, but the man I saw as a father figure said he felt good about it.  Apparently they saw a mouse which I didn’t see, and they told me the demons had gone into the mouse.  All I knew was that I wasn’t allowed to get close to the people I wanted, and I was hurt and upset, and frightened.  That fear left me briefly about 20 years ago, but it quickly came back when I was disrespected at the church I was going to in London.

At the church I went to in London, St Barnabas, Woodside Park in North Finchley, soon after my first experience in a mental hospital, I was so traumatised I was shouting when I was afraid.  I asked the vicar, who at that time was John Coles, what he would tell God when He asked him why he called the police on me, and John said he would say that he was dealing with someone who was ‘heavily demonised’.

I told Pete about both of these experiences and he said about the first one that I was obviously traumatised and they should have been dealing with trauma, not performing an exorcism.  He said it was child abuse, which I agree with.  David Shearman once told me he had been angry when he found out about it.  Unfortunately his anger did not relieve my pain and fear.  I lived for years worrying about demons, and looking into the mirror and seeing something evil in my eyes.  I can’t remember what Pete said about the second time, in London, that I had this forced on me.  But he said it all sounded medieval.  He also said that he thought people were like a piano, with all the notes available, and you just decide what you are going to play.

My worry is, have I misrepresented the Church?  They meant well, didn’t they?  Although I find that hard to believe, given how much anger was expressed.

I looked up the two people involved when I was 12.  One of them died in 2012 (the man whose family I wanted to be part of), and the other is an elder in a Christian Fellowship somewhere.  I didn’t recognise him but I recognised his wife, easily.

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.

31.08.2014

My radio is playing up, it won’t transmit properly without interference unless I’m sitting still in the middle of the room or right on top of it, so I’ve been playing my way through my Napster library (yes, I’m still with Napster) to see why I downloaded the items in the first place.

I don’t normally play my music during the day, but I’ve got a few that I go to at night and play in an attempt to get myself off to sleep, so yesterday and today I thought I’d do a whistlestop tour of everything in my library, except it’s not whistlestop, I’m playing them right through in alphabetical order of artist.

I’ve got some ‘music for deep meditation’ on at the moment called Bansuri.  I’ve had Alfie Boe on, someone called Antman reading the first 29 Psalms, Amy Grant, AudioBible reading of the Gospel of John, Andy Williams (downloaded for my mother) and Arthur Rubenstein playing Chopin’s Nocturnes.  That’s just the first few.  I’m into the Bs now but I can’t be bothered to list them.  While I’ve been listening to all this I have been tweeting and retweeting on Twitter.  I’ve had a few new followers today and I’ve gone over the 200 mark.

I’ve got a move coming up in the next 2 or 3 weeks to an absolute rabbit hutch of a bungalow.  I’m very anxious about it.  There is plenty of garden so I am erecting a shed in the back to store my belongings which won’t fit into the bungalow.  Within 4 months it will have paid for itself as the alternative would be to keep my stuff in storage.  I’m worried that the shed might not be big enough, I’m worried about money, and I’m worried that I won’t be able to find the things I want inside the bungalow.

In my planning I am compensating for not having a lot of space in my bungalow by working towards being able to afford a cheap house in Bulgaria.  You can get something really spacious for about 6 or 7 thousand euros, and I’m thinking of taking my stuff over there with me.  I know it seems drastic but it’s the only way I am going to have my own space, and the countryside is lovely.  Without a landlord breathing down my neck there I should have a different experience from my first one, if I own my own property.  I should feel more secure.  I should feel secure here, but I feel doomed to a cramped and impoverished existence.  Maybe it’s my fault and I’m being too negative and ungrateful.  I can’t honestly see how I can make it home though.

I’ve got the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band on now, ‘Gorilla’.  Tommy Boyd introduced me to that on his radio programme.

The war on grief

Everything Matters: Beyond Meds

by Robert D. Stolorow

traumaThe DSM5, the most recent version of psychiatry’s diagnostic bible, makes it possible to classify grieving that endures beyond a rather brief span of time as a mental illness.

This pathologizing of grief has ancient roots extending back at least as far as the Stoics, whose stern ascetic morality preached a perfect indifference that eschewed all passionate attachments. The ideal of selfless asceticism was carried forth in early Christianity, showing up dramatically, for example, in the Confessions of the prominent 12th century monk, Saint Bernard, who was wracked with guilt over his grief for his beloved dead brother. His brother, after all, was enjoying eternal happiness in heaven, so Bernard could only feel his grieving his loss as a manifestation of a wicked selfishness on his own part.

The pathologizing of grief was continued by the philosopher Rene Descartes, usually considered to be the initiator of…

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Robin Williams RIP

Today I like so many others mourn the death of Robin Williams.  It came as a complete and unbelievable shock to me in the midnight news last night.  Robin Williams, the world has been a better place because you were in it. Your depression got the better of you, but you were an inspirational man.

Like so many people I laughed at Mrs Doubtfire, the man who was so desperate to be with his children that he pretended to be a woman to become their nanny.  It was light and entertaining but with a serious message to the children that sometimes mummies and daddies split up but still love the children.

Dead Poets Society, Awakenings and What Dreams May Come are some of my favourite films.  Serious films with serious and heartbreaking material.  I don’t remember as much of them as I would like to, a lot has happened since I saw them.

What Dreams May Come made quite an impact on me, as Robin Williams, the man killed in a car crash, is guided through the afterlife and told that everything he sees around him is the product of his own mind.  He goes on a rescue mission to hell to save his wife who died later through suicide, and he is reminded that all the turbulence he is experiencing is also the product of his own mind.  It is a very painful film, showing the pain of interplay between the wife’s surviving world after the crash and his attempts to comfort her from the other side.  There is a scene where he embraces her from behind and she screams.

Awakenings is a fictionalised drama based on the true account by Oliver Sacks about some victims of encephalitis who have been catatonic for years and then a new drug wakes them up to a new life.

In Dead Poets Society Robin Williams played the part of an English teacher who sought to inspire his pupils through poetry.  He tried to draw out their individuality and self-expression.  He was later fired after being blamed for the suicide of a boy who played Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream against his parents wishes.  The boy had wanted to be an actor but his father had wanted him to go to Harvard.  It was a traditional school where Keating (Robin Williams) used to go himself and he was challenging the system.

I liked Robin Williams because he could play roles where he was both moved and moving.  I found all three of these films completely absorbing.

Death is always hard.  Suicide is harder.  I asked some people this morning if they had heard about the death and most of them had.  I asked a couple of the domestics if they had heard and they ended up saying it was selfish.  I was horrified by the judgmentalism, especially from staff working in a place like this, it made me feel sick.  Robin Williams was loved, and for good reason.  One of them said it wasn’t as if he didn’t have a pot to piss in.  Depression can affect anyone, regardless of their status.  I was disgusted by this.

I have been heartened today to see and hear the tributes to him.  I feel as if I am going to be affected by this news for the rest of my life.  One person I didn’t expect to be going anywhere soon was Robin Williams.

I’m a Christian.  I have been taught to believe that Christians go to heaven and non-Christians go to hell.  I don’t know where Robin Williams stood with things, but I hope God will be merciful.  I hope he will rest in peace.

Broomhill House

In my last post I said the regimentalism here was getting me down.  By regimentalism I meant the 10 am get up time and the slots for meals.  Possibly it wasn’t that fair of me to say that because when it comes to it most people are quite flexible, some more than others.  For the time being this is my home, and it’s not really too bad, all things considered.  There is a lot of banter and humour between the staff and between ourselves and the staff.  However, the serious issues remain, it’s just that they are not looked at very often, and I fear that if we tried we might end up feeling the worse for it.  The serious stuff comes out at tribunals.  They said I was grandiose and had pressure of speech.  They said I lacked insight.

As a Christian I believe I need to be kind and forgiving.  That doesn’t seem to be far away from giving the impression that I am complying happily.  But then the guns come out at tribunals, the guns they have trained on me.  Dismissing me as grandiose, for what reason I do not know.  That is the people who sat on the panel.

The worst thing about sleeping here is the plastic mattresses.  Every night I wake up several times too hot and throw the duvet off, and every morning I can feel the sweat pouring off of me, and my hair is plastered to my back.  I’ve been told that my bedroom is next to the one which is right over the boiler, I don’t know if that makes any difference, or if it is just the weather and the building.  My mother says she prefers the cold weather, because if she is too cold she can do something about it, whereas it is a lot harder if you are too hot.  We haven’t got fans or anything, if we had the noise would be a disturbance.

I’ve thought about going back to the place in Sherwood to ask other neighbours if they heard the woman shouting hallelujah above me.  It seems to me that the psychiatrists want to put that down to auditory hallucinations.  I don’t know how they can be so definite without making proper checks, maybe it is just a delusion in their own heads, subsidiary to their own delusions of grandeur and power and importance.

Maybe this is a period of transition for me.  I no longer have my nice flat apart from the neighbours and the bitumen on the floorboards.  I might not get a garden this time.  I wonder how long it is going to take them to come up with a property for me.  People are saying I’m on priority listing, but there must be others as well.  I was told some Salvation Army flats were being withdrawn from people who were living in them and the number 70 was mentioned as the number of people who would be consequentially homeless.  What with that and the present shortage of one bedroom flats I imagine I might have to wait for a very long time before something comes up for me.  The tribunal said something about wanting to have me moving on by July, but I can’t see that happening.  As much as I am trying to be reasonable and understanding and friendly towards people who are really so different from me, I really don’t want to have to make this my home for a long time.  The humour and banter are just distractions from the very important fact that, ultimately, it is a power relationship that I am on the wrong side of.  I have said in the past that this is little more than an open prison.  For me that is true, being on a Section 3.  I hate coming back here when I go out.  I am trying to work on my tendency to see this as a them and us situation, but it is hard.  I have no choice but to be here, I can’t leave if I want to.  People talk about state kidnap in relation to this situation, and that does feel true at the end of the day.

People have looked at my post ‘Striking Poses’ over the last few days, so I re-read it today and still find it relevant.  Let it be noted that I had problems at Macmillan Close even on medication that I am not experiencing here.  My key nurse asked me if the fact that I am not experiencing the same problems here didn’t suggest something about being on medication, but it is not that simple.

How Should I Blog?

I’ve been feeling for a while now that I am writing for an audience and I should give it something interesting or relevant.  When I first started blogging there was a lot of emergency feeling to the material I was putting out, I’m not feeling that so much now.  I have wondered if my blog has come to the end of its useful life.  I have also thought that writing on my blog is an indulgence I can’t afford if I’m to handle my relationships right, and that maybe my blogging and fear of the consequences  has been the problem in a lot of situations.  I think my blog needs to take a different direction, or maybe it’s just me that needs to take a different direction because I am stuck in a boring rut.

I feel incapable of writing about anything of interest, and as if I have said everything there is to say about my situation.  I can’t just keep going over the same old stuff all the time, there is nothing interesting about doing that.

I get anxious as well when I see some of the posts people are visiting, I think back on it and think it must all come across as paranoid rambling.  Also I don’t know who is accessing my material and why, because comments are left so seldom.  I wish more people would identify themselves and leave comments.  At the moment my statistics show I get between 20 and 30 views per day, but people don’t stop to comment.  Maybe they find my posts unreadable and all they do is alight then leave quickly because they can’t deal with what they find.  I continue to get followers to my blog.  I used to think my readership was church people and some people from the media and maybe the police, but I don’t think like that anymore.  It might have been true once, or maybe it wasn’t, but it certainly seemed true from things I was seeing and hearing, including sermons from church websites.

Off of my stated topic, I still feel worn down by the regimented life here at Broomhill House.  I still know about studies which show that antipsychotics cause brain damage and also shrink the brain and that people on medication have a shorter life expectancy, apart from the suicides of people who can’t take it anymore.  I feel so tired I want to acquiesce to everything and forget I have read these things, to comply and be happy to comply as if none of the things I have read by other people with concerns are true.  I want to forget everything I know has happened to me and dismiss it as paranoia, just as the psychiatrists do.  It would be so easy, at the moment, just to forget.  I want to approach church people and ask them, but there seems no point because they are closed and wouldn’t tell me the truth, they want to dismiss everything as just mental illness, but I know what I have heard from them.  They would rather have it that I am mentally ill than admit to anything that might be a bit untoward.  They would want me to accept everything they have done as OK or not admit to any of it to me.  I particularly feel that about David Shearman.

Trip to the Pub

There is a pub 2 minutes walk away from us, on the other side of the road.  I’ve been in there a few times, and I was there tonight.  I went there tonight with the express intention of getting drunk.  I had 2 pints of guinness, but I was nowhere near as happy as I was the other day, unintentionally, on 2 glasses of wine in the Hilton restaurant.  I don’t go there that often, but I like it when I do.  They were doing lunch at half price, so I got a light 3 course lunch for a reasonable price.

Tonight at the pub there was a very sweet older couple just sitting at a table with some drinks and a packet of crisps.  The woman smiled at me.  As soon as the football match started they moved tables so they could see.  I looked at them and thought ‘there’s nothing wrong with this’.  An old couple enjoying a pint and a football match.

There is a lot in the Bible about getting drunk and how it’s a bad thing.  I enjoy being drunk, though, it makes me more mellow.  And Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding when they ran out and the guests were already well oiled, so what was he saying by doing that?  Would He have sacrificed a belief that it was wrong to be drunk in order to rescue a family from the social disgrace of running out of wine at a wedding?

I like to go on my own and just be with everyone else there, even though I’m not with anyone.  I like to soak up the atmosphere and just sit there on my own and enjoy it.  A few people smile at me, and I smile back.  It’s just a place to sit, with a drink and maybe some food, that isn’t the hospital.  I would do it at home if I had a home, with the radio or tv on, or something on my laptop.

Meanderings

I haven’t written a blog entry for a while so I thought I would sit down and write one.  I have no settled subject in mind so I’ve called it ‘Meanderings’, because that is what it will be.

I’ve just read something that was on Freshly Pressed a few days ago, about a kiss on television in America between a sportsman and his male lover.  It was calling people who had a problem with it bigoted.  I read the comments section and there was a smattering of people who said God and the Bible were against it.  I am someone who was brought up in Church to believe that.  You can’t just ditch your beliefs, no matter how many people call them bigoted.

When I was 17 I had a relationship with another woman which featured sex quite a lot.  This woman was about 36, and she had been one of my teachers in secondary school.  The balance of power was on her side and although I loved her, I was also frightened of her.  Sometimes I felt the way she turned her anger on me was sick.  I remember once she cooked a stew and the meat wasn’t properly cooked, but she told me to eat it or she would rub it in my hair.  When Lord Mountbatten was killed by the IRA she said she would hang them upside down and flay them alive, and before they fainted she would cut their testicles off.  I felt sick at what I was hearing.

Sometimes, a lot of the time, she was affectionate, and I liked those times.  They were times when I felt really close to her and safe.  But at the same time I was aware that I was a disappointment to her in many ways, including socially, she used to lecture me a lot.

At the end of the relationship, which lasted 2 years, through my sixth form college time, I started to be attracted back to church.  I had left because, as I told God at the time, it wasn’t working for me and it couldn’t be working for Him either, so I was getting out for a while.  That while lasted 2 years and at the end of it I believed myself to be an atheist.  I was devastated at the end of the relationship.  She told me I didn’t need her anymore.  I’m wondering if she despised my mother but was more intimidated by the people I was then lodging with, because it was when I went into lodgings with a middle class family that she backed off.  I don’t know, I’ve only just thought about it after all these years.

Before I started to be attracted back to church and at the end of the relationship I still had feelings that I would like to have another relationship with a woman.  I think I was aware for about 3 weeks of a group where I could meet other gay women, but for those 3 weeks I kept failing to go.  And then I started to be attracted back to church.

To cut a long story short, knowing that homosexuality was against the teaching of the church I had been involved with, I inwardly cried out to God to deliver me from feelings towards other women and I believed that He did.  To me that was a great relief.

While writing this I have found myself thinking that maybe I should seek a relationship with another woman.  At the moment I don’t have any romantic relationship with anyone.  You could say I’m a bit confused.  I have had sexual encounters down the years, mostly when I have been vulnerable and I have felt taken advantage of.  Those encounters have all been with men.  I have not sought encounters with women.  As a Christian (and these are not the feelings of all Christians) I sometimes feel anger and great opposition towards homosexuality, because the Bible says it is wrong and I believe people know that and practise it anyway, in rebellion.  Of course that isn’t the whole truth, for many people it is just the way they are and they have been brought up to believe it is OK.

My feelings for myself are ambivalent.  I think I wouldn’t want a relationship with a campaigner, for instance.  I wouldn’t want a stereotyped relationship either, if I were to have a relationship with another woman.  I don’t know what I want.  I’ve not allowed myself to think about it for some time and I think this is the first time I have really written about it.  I would like a relationship.  The person would have to be a non-smoker, since I hate the smell of smoke.  I’m 53, I feel it is a bit late for me to be thinking about a normal relationship with a man, I can’t have children anymore.  I don’t want to fall into the arms of any of the men I see around me at the moment.  I haven’t been to church properly for quite a while now.  I have been taught that is where to find someone suitable.  I don’t feel the part anymore, but I still believe it is right.  Maybe I would be more at home in a gay-friendly church.  I don’t know where I am with my own sexuality at the moment.

Dreaming

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

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

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

Happy New Year

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ledge

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

theoutsiderguy

Image

 

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

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

View original post 63 more words

Emily Dickinson Poem

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s Not My Fault

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

Loss, Mortality And Related Issues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christianity and Veganism – Either/Or?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Am I Just Gullible?

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

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

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

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

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

Mish-Mash Musings 2

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

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

Mish-Mash Musings

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

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

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

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

This Is Madness

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

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

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

I’ve got a bad cold at the moment.

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

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

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

John 14

I’ve just read John Chapter 14.  It is full of ‘I am in the Father and the Father is in Me’, ‘I am in you and you are in Me’, and John 15, which I haven’t got to again yet, starts off with  ‘I am the true vine and My Father is the Gardener’.  It will go on to say that the disciples are the branches.  What struck me the most was the intimacy, like Jesus saying, ‘Don’t worry about a thing, ‘cos every little thing is gonna be alright’.  It makes me pine for the days I had not heard of boundaries, for the simplicity of full surrender, total security in Jesus.  I can’t remember if I’ve ever been taught that forgiveness from the heart is not a contract or a transaction.  The Bible says that from the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks, yet we speak in terms of deliberate forgiveness of others for our own sake and not for theirs, as if the person being forgiven should not also be in our minds as someone who needs our act of forgiveness and who stands to benefit from it.

At the time of year that Jesus was crucified it was customary for a prisoner to be released.  The crowd was offered a choice between Jesus and Barabbas.  Barabbas was an insurrectionist, a revolutionary, it is said that he had killed people, but the crowd. in its manipulated and whipped up determination to be rid of Jesus, chose for Barabbas to be released instead of the Teacher and Healer and Forgiver of sins.  So supposedly Barabbas went free without penalty or any regard to boundaries.  Granted this was Pilate’s decision and not based in good theology.  So maybe this example falls down.

Part of the massive guilt I’ve felt about the way I tried to establish my personal boundaries in Church relationships when I had newly come across the concept has been that I felt at the beginning of that that in spiritual relationships it was different.  The Bible says act justly and love mercy (and walk humbly with your God), but we talk about forgive, but justice still has to be done.  Sometimes I want mercy without someone pursuing justice as they say they forgive, or talking about the consequences being distance and separation.  Certainly in Church relationships I have been afraid of making the wrong approaches in the wrong ways to people who are going to call me proud for seeking them out.  I want this inner crying to stop.  I don’t want to have to live with it for the rest of my life.

Love one another deeply, with a pure heart, fervently, it also says.  Does language like deeply and pure heart really allow for the insistence that love is first of all an action?  It could do, I suppose.  Maybe the action primes the pump.  But what if love, in sincerity, is first of all a feeling expressed in action?  You can tell I’m not a theologian, can’t you?  Or much of anything else.

I’m reading an introductory work to Foucault which has introduced me to the concept, in the chapter on madness, of knowledge as error.   Among other things Foucault was a hero to the antipsychiatry movement.   The writer, Gary Gutting, puts the word ‘creative’ in brackets before error.  It reminded me of the verse that says knowledge puffs up but love builds up.  1 Corinthians 13 says love never fails, although everything else will.

This Morning

So, what happened this morning?  R in the wheelchair told me it was either Sue or Sharon who said she had legs, she should use them.  When she told me that they were both sitting opposite me and she just said the one sitting opposite, so that is as close as I have it for now.  They started whispering together and laughing.  It came up about Sue swearing at me and telling me no one liked me again, and she said I had no proof.  They told me I was boring and my blog, which they say they haven’t read, is boring.  They told me I don’t know how to use my brain and that I am paranoid.  Sue said I was paranoid when I was saying about her swearing etc.

OK, I don’t have proof, but she and I both know, and I know she is lying.  She lies even to say she isn’t lying.  What sort of person says that another has no proof when they are expressing that kind of concern and offense?  I believe I should not need proof.  They have almost absolute power over me and I think that I should not need proof in the same way that a person reporting a past sexual offense against themselves does not need it.  We are that vulnerable.  I hope it turns out that I do not need proof.

They were all shouting at me this morning and laughing at me and letting other people, patients, shout at me.  They kept taking their side and using them to have a go at me.  I tried to talk to the doctor about what was happening and they wanted to hang around outside the door and watch, as if I was dangerous, so I said I would talk to someone else.  Jesus said the same thing – why have you come at me like this?

I couldn’t eat lunch, it was too spicy.

Whatever these people want, I will not work with them.  They are Nazis.  I will not have it said that they are working with me by my consent.  I’m not sure what they think they are trying to achieve, if it is not just trying to disempower and humiliate me.  Helen was there again, Steve who was responsible, so I was told, for the decision to not even help me with my bed.  Steve stayed laughing in the background, the women worked me over.

It started because I was told I needed to be out of my room so they could do a cleaning audit, and I let them bully me out.  I wasn’t dressed, I hadn’t showered.  When I pointed that out Sue gave me an empty stare and said ‘tough’.  I’d had a bad night because a woman on my corridor kept slamming the door again, I think it was Kerry, but I’m not sure.  It also could have been staff.  When I wanted to go back in my room Sue was sitting there and she said ‘she won’t come out again’, then we got into an argument about my right to stay in my room, and the fact that they can’t manhandle us out if we are not a danger to ourselves or anyone else.  As I said last night, they know it is the only place I have and they are taking full advantage of that. They were saying the other patients were all out and I said they didn’t have to be because the law protects us.  They were goading me, with complete disrespect.  They stripped me naked and insisted I stay among them in my distress, with them tossing me around on their horns.  I’ve had the hospital as my only home for nearly 16 months.  It has always been untenable.  I told them I would probably be gone within a month because accommodation and discharge is being talked about, and one of them threw up their hands and said hurray, or something to that effect.  Two of the other patients started on me, one said I should be in prison or in a hostel and that they were going to phone the police.  She got on the phone and asked for Scotland Yard.  I told her I would happily be in a hostel but they wouldn’t let me go.  I’ve got to wait until after 4th September when my Care Co-ordinator gets back from leave, unless I can find out from my advocate that there is a quicker way of doing it.

I had a dream last night that I was looking after Brian May’s house for him while he was away.  I also dreamt about the whole of the original Queen cast, but their hair was up in frizzy bunches on each side of their heads, while they were singing.

Oh, apart from putting me in the wrong all the time they asked me if I wasn’t sick of the sound of my voice.

Of course my constant fear about my blog is that it isn’t making the difference I want it to make, that in spite of all the clicks people don’t read it and they do think it is boring.  All I can say is that I am a real person coping,or trying to, with a terrible situation.  And I think I have something to say which should be taken seriously and should make the difference I keep saying I want it to make for myself and for others.

A Song From My Youth

I met Jesus at the crossroads
Where the two ways meet
Satan too was standing there
And he said come this way
There’s lots and lots of pleasures
I can give to you today
But I said no
There’s Jesus here
Just see what he offers me
Down here my sins forgiven
Up there a home in heaven
Praise God that’s the way for me.

Down Time

I am hijacking my blog with complaints about staff and such like, and I think I would like a change of direction.

A few weeks ago I made some notes in my notebook.  I looked at them briefly (that is, the first note), and decided against putting them all up here.  They had been intended for my blog at the time.

One thing I was thinking at that time is that I am honouring the wrong writing voice (for the sake of psychiatric staff reading, many writers recognise more than one voice.  There is a play by Pirandello called ‘Six Characters In Search Of An Author’.  It is something like that and doesn’t call for medication.  They are writing voices, not psychotic voices, whatever psychotic is supposed to mean).  I recognise at least two voices that present as – one a motivation for writing, one a source.  The one I had been ‘honouring’ was a ‘yatter, yatter, yeah, critical’ one.  A follow and reproduce one, not a source.  I felt the one I needed to honour was more grounded and sprang out  of an emotional/devotional relationship to God and love for others.  I’m not sure, in fact I know that I have not always succeeded in going with that perception or even in always believing it to have been valuable.

I will write a few of the notes I made, especially after having put this one in writing.  Some of them were made with my blog in mind, others with my psychologist.  Also I was thinking about Terry at the time, because he had recently given me some time that meant a great deal to me.

~~~//~~~

“My lecturer, on a day like the one I’m having today, said there was a lot of ‘id’ around . . . This always seems to happen when I feel inspired and best able to express myself . . . Everybody around me seems artificially happy and deliberately uncaring.  I’m even feeling as if some people are being deliberately obstructive.  I’m sitting in a cafe trying to write”.

(I then drew a line in a different place and started again with . . .)

“I know I’m not mimicking anyone”.

“The staff are supposed to be here for us, not themselves and each other.  But the way they misbehave then lie about it or get evasive shows they are basically here for themselves”.

“Thoughts, staring, fear and outrage – grief” (That is, when I get a thought I want to let run and chase where it is going, people stare at me, I feel fear and outrage which I suppose to be grief because the inspired thought is stopped).

“Honouring the wrong voice.  Writing voice – spirit”.

“Jim said ‘come on’ when letting me out of the door.  I said ‘no, I’m not a dog’.  Possible misinterpretation of what meant as affectionate support.  Bless him”.

“I love Jim – I enjoy his smile when he sees me”.

“Kiran – mimicry, bubble – I vulnerable, she not – shameless, barefaced liar’OK’ – no – slander and perjury.  She is beautiful and her eyes are full of light – makes me feel i shouldn’t have a problem with it – Mimicry, copying, matching – why is she doing it – I have a right to know – don’t I?”.

“I think the problem here might just be culture shock – I’m not used to Nottingham, I’m from London.  When I’m out I hear quite a few people talk like the nurses”.

“Robb Thompson – what did he say that I just thought of?”.

“My shame is their shame.  Voice?”

“Terry – the way he looked at me – my glory and the lifter of my head” (It was intelligent, appreciative and kind, not to say tender.  That look has passed now.  I kept wanting it again, or somehow to retrieve something it communicated and made me feel.)

The last thought was as far as I got sitting in the hotel restaurant drinking whatever it was at the time.  The rest was on the Arboretum a couple of hours before seeing my psychologist.

I was feeling afraid in the Arboretum for some reason of what people might be thinking of my sensitivitiies as manifested by my body language and wrote this next comment:

“Most of the time our heads are so full of our own thoughts we might not notice the sights and sounds around us, unless for some reason we have become particularly sensitised”.

“William Blake – damn braces, bless relaxes” (I had received that as braces are to be damned, relaxes are to be blessed.  But in recent months, if not years, I have thought of it as ‘damn’ causes you to brace yourself, and ‘bless’ causes you to relax, more often than not, for both giver and recipient).

“This nervousness and ‘no’-screaming resistance when I write like this for a meeting (comments missed out, quite personal) is just anxiety and self-censorship and I needn’t pay it any attention.  I don’t need to worry about its impact on the other person or fear lack of efficacy when notes eventually become communication.  If it serves as nothing else it can serve as a seed or launching pad for later exploration.  What matters is that we trust each other”.

~~~//~~~

I cut my notes a little early, basically I got bored and didn’t feel the others were going anywhere.  I’m bored with it now.  I might come back to this post later and fill in the end gaps.  One thing I said was that I’m not available to people – I’m walking around in a stupid cloud of fear and trauma.  I feel raw and unprotected, undefended.  That was then.  Sometimes it is now as well.

Out here writing from notes feels better than trying to think as I go, but the notes I wrote this entry from were all written in public.  I have given up the idea of ever having a home where I feel at peace and have any degree of privacy.  I feel open to everyone against my will, and it isn’t only because of my blog.  I still feel there are psychic connections between my concentration and disturbances when I am on my own in a room and disturbances happen nearby.  I’m not sure which is the cause and which the effect, but it seems to work that way, much more often than not.

Angel of Light

The Bible says that the devil can appear as an angel of light.  I said that this morning meaning psychiatric staff, but obviously I am aware that it can have as many applications as people want to give it.  So let’s not go there. Maybe for me the biggest angel of false light is that which says ‘it’s nothing to do with me’.  Perhaps a twin would be ‘the experts must be right’.

I was thinking and saying tonight, 16th August, that I can’t understand how someone can, in good conscience, take a job which empowers them to commit acts that in other contexts would be viewed as assault.  I find it appalling that someone can assault you one day and, without apologising or anything, act as if nothing has happened afterwards and put it down to general relationship problems on the part of the patient, or mental illness, if the patient doesn’t go along with that.  If they did at home what they do to us here they might not have a relationship to go back to.  I would certainly find it hard to consider having them in my home,  Do they apologise for major failings at home?  If so, why don’t they apologise to us?  Are they trying to kid us that they really think their behaviour is an acceptable part of a normal relationship, or that they think we think it is, all of us, and that we wouldn’t want or expect an apology?  When Jim grabbed me I wasn’t putting myself or anyone else at risk.  So it really was an assault.  He wasn’t the only one involved.  I’m worried about the reasons for having me on a Section 3 as well, that while I am not a danger to myself or anyone else I suffer from a mental illness of a nature and degree which requires treatment in hospital.  Being mistaken about the reasons for harassment or violence or antisocial behaviour from others does not, in my mind, constitute a mental illness.  And if people believe I am not mistaken all the more reason for them to say, unilaterally and without any assurance of my good will, that they have made a mistake.  From the bits I’ve seen and the much that I’ve heard, we are all over the broadcast media, and it isn’t because of me.  It was happening before I started blogging about them.  It’s been happening to me, to my knowledge, for nearly 18 years.

Bad Afternoon on Rowan 2

Jim has been on for the last two days.  I asked him if I could talk to him and it didn’t materialise either day.  When faced with situations which aren’t presented to him as talking he seems to have two modes with me – one is slightly crazy friendliness – tongue -poking, winking, etc, and the other is grabbing me by the arm and making me go wherever he wishes.  I think I have had another bruise left on my arm today.  I have quite a nice collection.  The one on my stomach remains the most pronounced, from being kicked.

This afternoon Re started on me, being rude, saying I had been kicked in last week and to shut my mouth.  I had forgotten that she had been there and wondered where she was getting it from.  Kiran came out from behind us at the noise and Re started to spin her a yarn and she said ‘I know, darling’.  Jim came out and told her she could go outside (it was my understanding that he asked/told her to move away, and she did.  But then she came back on the phone and I got upset and I thought he had asked her to move for my sake, so I started getting really wound up and they came out and told me if I didn’t calm down I would have to leave the ward.  They might have said I could.  I said something and Jim grabbed me angrily and started forcing me up the corridor.  I think Tracy was involved, Sean was definitely involved, and they grabbed me roughly, and I can’t remember what I was saying but they wouldn’t listen.  I know I said that when I was upset there was a reason, but that one minute they were nice and the next they were doing that to me.  I said they were the ones who were schizophrenic.  I hope there are people reading this who recognise the reason in what I said.

I wanted to go to the toilet, and I told them and they told me the toilet in the corridor was open.  It wasn’t.  I told them I had no money to go anywhere and they wouldn’t open the door.  I confronted Kiran with what she had said and she said she didn’t have to discuss it.  I said she had a duty to discuss something she had done which was an issue to me with my care.  I believe she has a personal duty if not a moral one.  When I got back later they were playing laughing, giggling hostesses.  I said if they wouldn’t discuss it with me then I will tell who I like how I like, and that I chose blogging.  While having dinner I was saying stuff about abuse and assaults and that in any other situation than a mental hospital or a prison I would be told that my first concern should be my own safety and that I should get out or get a restraining order against the perpetrators.  I seem to remember you can do that with the police these days, though I don’t know in what circumstances.

In the meantime I went outside and met the boyfriend of one of the other patients, and he let me literally cry on his shoulder.  I ended up going to the multi-faith room and Katya was there.  We had quite a stormy time.  I felt angry with her for what I felt to be her broad brush approach.  I can’t by any means remember everything we said.  We did a meditation at the end, and I wondered if in any circumstances a meditation with one person would permit them to cry and scream and come out the other side feeling washed, not repressed.  It said something about noticing the sensations in your body and not judging them, and at that point I asked if it would be OK to cry and scream.  I talked about repressing emotions being a way of judging them, because if you didn’t judge them you would just let them happen, even insist on them and your right to express them, as in other situations where social steps forward have taken place.

I went back for dinner and it was as I have said.  Katya had talked about fighting fire with fire and how it wasn’t good, and I said that was the staff, in their relationship with me.  I said I wanted to go out and asked for someone to open my door.  I demanded it, as far as I dared, rather than asked.  Tracy said she would come.  I said I was going to find out whether or not I had an obligation to go back on the ward since I had been forced off.  She wanted to talk reasonably, she said, but I told her I didn’t want to, that you can’t go from being unreasonable to reasonable whenever you felt like it.  I She said when I tried to find out if I had an obligation to go back on the ward to make sure that I told them I wasn’t the innocent party.  She just walked away, went into the clinic room and slammed the door locked behind her.

I talked to my ‘Old Wife’ who very kindly let me have a cup of tea on the house.  Both she and Katya said I should go to the Women’s Centre.  I phoned the police afterwards and asked them if I had an obligation to go back under the circumstances, and they told me there was no bar on me going back and I could go back when I liked.

But I have to go back to the same possibility of abuse and assault all the time.  In any other situation I could walk away and never go back, if I chose to deal with it that way, with impunity.  I’ve had verbal assaults and abuse from staff and patients, but the only physical assaults I’ve had really apart from last week were from staff.  My section is supposed to be coming to an end this week.  I don’t know what they are trying to do with that.  I really would feel safer on the streets.  At least I would have my benefits back, and be able to pay two lots of storage every 28 days without feeling it so much.

I can’t have special people on the staff, i can’t try to make friends of them, because the truth is that when I need them they are either not there for me or they lose it for some reason, regardless of former tongue poking and winking.  Jim did that because he felt like it.  He was really angry and he turned that into an assault he could rationalise professionally, to other people if not to himself.  Terry was on the ward.

Tracy acts as if she is the one who has a right to offendedly and pettishly disengage and not talk.  She walks away and leaves you in pieces behind her.  for me she leaves me wanting to get my own back.  I think the patient has a right to disengage from nurses or staff they don’t get on with, but these people are betraying relationships all over the place.  They overheated and dragged me and pushed me out, with no money and wanting to go to the toilet.  They left me crying on someone else.  When I turned round a nurse was watching me from inside, and walked away as soon as I turned round.

If you express concern for these people and their personal circumstances they take it for granted.  If you don’t who knows what they think, but you might feel less human, until met with a situation like this.  I feel very human in my hatred and distress at the moment, and my deep rage and anger, and hopelessness.  I said to Katya that I wanted to laugh but that there was nothing to laugh about, that it would be belittling it.  I said if they are going to call me mentally ill they should do something to make me feel better and give me hope, not give reasons for considering suicide.  I have something in my religious background that says that suicide is the ultimate act of manipulation, so I feel guilty saying that.  I feel I know better, but I can see no way out of this.   In ordinary situations of abuse and assault you are told that in no way is it your fault, but this is different, we are told.  ‘If you don’t we will have to’.  Like, ‘look what you made me do’, ‘I had no option’.

I listened to Blake 7 last night on Radio 4 Extra.  That was interesting.  It  could have been written about me.  It says rebellion is not a malfunction, but an imperative.  The woman says she hates the system and she doesn’t want to rejoin, that it has murdered her friends and robbed her of her identity.  This is just sci-fi, but it is more than that.  For me it is serious.

What is happening to me in the hospital is demeaning, degrading and dehumanising.  It isn’t about being friends with the staff.  I don’t want their so-called solutions.  I would happily be friends with some of these people, but they are unavailable for friendship, both ethically and by nature of what they do, professionally and not so professionally.  I’ve said it is like living in a gangland and that I would not choose to have such people in my life, and nor have I chosen to be there, but that there is no support or protection.  I don’t act like most of these people and don’t want to.  People have started calling on Norma around me.  I feel like the new Norma.  She said the other day that people should speak to her because she was not allowed to speak or to shout.  She is very quiet these days, i hardly hear her at all, and she used to be very voluble.

I am a victim.  I do not have a victim mentality.  I want to leave and repair my life.  I do not have a victim mentality.  Any more than any other abused group has had.  They have been made victims by other people.  They wave Section papers at you and use it as a cover for all kinds of abuse.

They don’t take Kerry off when she is being violent and abusive or behaving in ways people don’t like.  They let her get on with it.  One of the women who had a go at me last night then got nice had a go at me again today, and stuck her middle finger up at me as I was pushed off the ward.  Tonight she is not going to get such an easy reconciliation, if she wants one.  For me it is heartbreaking, because I didn’t do this to other patients when I first came on the ward, but people who didn’t know me then and how active I was in speaking out are doing it to me.  It seems obvious to me, though it might sound ludicrous, that the staff wanted to use me or silence me, while at the same time ‘treating me as though I am schizophrenic’.  It is obvious to me that they don’t like what is happening and the representations on TV and radio, but they don’t want to acknowledge any of it to say they were wrong about me.  It is hypocrisy and terrifying abuse.

Old ‘Wives Tales

I spoke today to someone who turned out to have been a midwife before her present business.  I told her what had been happening to me in hospital, the forced treatments with PRN medication and the restraints, and I find this hard to believe since the practice is so widespread, but she told me that what happened to me is illegal, but that it happens all the time.  I don’t know if it is equally true for people on a Section 3 or not.  I know where this lady is, she will be there for the long term.

While we were talking I said to her that I had thought earlier, but had forgotten to put it in my post, that the question ‘can I help this person without putting them on drugs’ does not seem to be one of the questions on a psychiatrist’s check list.  I told her I was homeless and she asked me if I was in a hostel, I told her no, I had had problems at home but they had said the problems were just in my mind and had put me in hospital, and she seemed outraged.  I told her I thought I went too quickly and cynically to the political view of things, but she said she thought it was right, and when I said that they always said there is so much call for beds that they don’t keep people in unless they are really ill, she was skeptical about that as well.  In fact thinking about it, of course she should be.  I heard someone say that the psychiatrists are the front men for the drugs companies.  Of course this is right.  Jesus, help us.

She also said that the fact they have acronyms for things doesn’t make them legal.  But if all this really is illegal, how come they are getting away with it?  I can’t understand this.  She was adamant that it is political and not a health thing, and I said that I believed that as well, but that it was different hearing it from a professional.  Of course, though, many people in other branches of medicine have no time for psychiatry, but she said the practices are actually illegal, and this is a different professional perspective for me.  I hope she is right, because then there might be some hope of dealing with this.

While I am here I might as well say that no formal support or counselling is in place to help me deal with what happened yesterday with Kerry and the kicking.  They’ve basically said talk to us if you want to, but they know how I and some others feel about talking to them about anything and it seems to me there should be something solid and more formal with appointments in place.  I have had no support offered with this at all except informally, apart from the fact that a young student took the details of what had happened and said it was to my credit that I had handled it calmly and had come back to the staff.  But it was completely by chance that the woman who agreed to be a witness for me had been passing at all.  I don’t know what I would have done otherwise or how it would have been handled.  One of the other patients told me when I got back on the ward last night to be careful because she thought she was going to try and provoke me again.  No one has followed me up and asked how I am after it.  I think I am more alone in this than I should be.  I would have thought that in a situation like this other disciplines should have been involved as a matter of course.

What actually happened yesterday was that Kerry had been vocally trolling me all weekend.  She said I was full of myself as well.  One of her friends said I had deserved it when something happened, either that I was forcibly medicated or dragged out of the dining room by staff (I wonder if Kerry knows that I am virtually a Londoner?), and yesterday she was sat outside on the pavement near the doors smoking with Sa and Re, and I passed them to go out and said see you to Sa and Re but not to Kerry.  She took exception to that andsaid something about carrying on like that and I told her what someone associated with my care had told me, that staff on the ward had listened to things I had said and tried to make changes, i told her I had been there 3 months and that many changes for the better had happened because I had fought for them for people like her, and she started doing a really horrible voice at me and I spat in her direction twice.  I was nowhere near her and it had no hope of reaching and obviously wasn’t intended to.  She got up and said I would run away then asked if I was spitting at her and I said yes, and waited as she approached, and she kicked me in the lower abdomen.  Someone was passing that I asked to be a witness and she agreed and she got kicked in the ribs, but we both went back to the ward to report it.  If this woman had not been passing I don’t know what I would have done.  So that is the whole story.

I’ve called this ‘Pastiche’ because i wanted to mention a few things.  I thought there were four but I can only remember three at the moment.  I’ve already covered the first.

When all this started with the mental health system, after my first admission I came back to Nottingham and spent a while with my uncle and going to Church at Talbot Street.  One day in London I bought a card intended for David Shearman’s birthday, a card with dolphins on.  I can’t remember if I sent it or not.  It was in Victoria Station in London, in the days before they had any public seating, and I was feeling beaten up and exhausted.  I bought a bag of fruit and nuts and sat on the floor in front of a store, and I was approached by security guards who tried to move me on.  I said I was tired and didn’t want to move.  Eventually the police were called and it was quite nasty and when I got to the London Transport Police Station I was met by this oldish officer and I was really upset and I told him I hadn’t even been told my rights and he took me by the hair and told me I didn’t have any.  I was sobbing loudly in the cell and when I was released the officer who let me out told me it would be all right.

The other thing I wanted to mention was a girl who was on the ward here, this time around, called Michelle.  She hardly ever spoke at first and when she did start speaking she was quite aggressive, but in the first place i took to her because, as I told Terry, she reminded me of a woman who tried to get close to me when I was working as a volunteer at an HIV respite care centre.  This woman did not have long to live and I left shortly before she was expected to die.  After talking to Terry about it I felt horrified that I had basically walked out on a dying woman that had warmed to me enough to move from a little suspicion to coming to sit next to me, without speaking, if I came in and sat down.  I can’t express the depth of horror and shame I felt as I saw it that way, just about three months ago.

I have my radio on sometimes in the evening and on two nights Michelle, who I didn’t know was the woman next door to me at the time, banged violently on the wall, and I was afraid because I didn’t know who it was.  When I found out sometimes I would vent in my room if I thought she was disturbing me in any way,  and I would vent at her.  So I had gone from being friendly and saying hello even though I got nothing back to being verbally angry with her.  Sometimes she barged into me in the kitchen and started shouting at me.  She was verbally and physically aggressive to other patients as well, and one day I heard a nurse telling her about her behaviour and she didn’t want the police back.  I can’t remember if this was the day she was being generally aggressive and she ended up coming to me and spitting on my hand.  I was so locked up in myself at the time, so depressed, I didn’t feel anything in particular, I just looked and ignored it.  I wasn’t offended, in fact I felt a bit relieved.  I have thought about it over the past 24 hours and realised again, if not for the first time, that that meant I meant something to her, she was angry and she spat at me.  Later on that day or the next I wanted to say to her ‘thank you for spitting at me, I deserved it, and if you feel you want to spit at me again any other time you have my permission, and I won’t retaliate’.  I struggled with that all week, and I never said it, and then she disappeared.  I feel i failed her.  I keep thinking she must have gone to a more secure place or something and that if I had just dared to be vulnerable enough I could have helped her.  I feel really upset about that, and it isn’t a distress I feel proud of.  I failed her, and I resisted God.

Definitely for the first time in the last 24 hours I thought about the phrase ‘hatred is the flip side of love’.  During that period my thinking has been, accurately or not, that that phrase is seen as negative but it could be seen positively and it would be more helpful if it were.  She spat at me = she loved me, she trusted me.  She kicked me in the stomach = she was angry and disappointed because she had a need or positive expectation that wasn’t met.  I heard J John use ‘AHEN’ as an acronym for tracing anger back to its root.  Behind anger is hurt, hurt comes out of an unmet expectation, and expectation comes out of need, in this progression.  Part of me wants Kerry punished, the other part doesn’t.  But I have little hope for the relationship.  I am tired and cannot cope with her needs.  It is possible that I am interpreting her craziness as a deliberate attack on me rather than an attempt to help herself, which it might be.

What I do find difficult about patient confidentiality is that it does separate people who would be friends, sometimes.  You’re not sure what is what most of the time.   It leads to a psychological isolation if you don’t or don’t want to trust or validate the staff approach or system.  Can do, if you are someone like me in my position, anyway, but for the rest of us as well, I am sure.

Here is the fourth thing I was thinking of.  There was something on radio 4 this afternoon on the afternoon play that reminded me a lot of Tommy Boyd on the radio.  I was thinking last night that I wanted to be welcomed back into the fold and that I wanted Tommy to be the one who did it.

I am feeling very soft and vulnerable at the moment, but also angry, possibly, but i find myself wanting to get on with staff and even validating what they have done, and I’m just not sure.  The Bible says let a righteous man strike me it is a kindness.  What does that mean, is it right, or was it just a depressed king talking rubbish?  Listening to Tommy Boyd led me to want different forms of child discipline than smacking, so how can it be right for me as an adult, the restraints, forced medication, etc.  Joseph said to his brothers ‘you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good’, but this is supposed to be meant for good.  I’m sorry, I’m so tired and I feel very tearful.  Probably over-impressed with the depth of my perceptions in this post.  Crying over what a precious and deep person I am.  That’s better, that has made me smile.  What has made me smile?  The thought that Terry might read this.  I stare at him sometimes and I think it makes him feel awkward, and I don’t like that.  I told someone the other day that when I stare at him like that it is because I think he is beautiful at that moment and I am awestruck.  Suck on that one, Tel! 🙂  Much obeisance.  Much love.

Kicked in the stomach

Today has been a day from hell.  Kerry had a go at me again, staff didn’t help, it escalated, they wanted ME to go to my room, at lunchtime, 30 minutes before I was due to see my psychologist, they brought medication, after 6 women, at least one of which had been nagging me in the dining room to calm down, had been standing around in the corridor near my room.  I said I didn’t want medication, that I wanted to speak to my psychologist with a clear head, and they said if I was shouting I wasn’t going to see him, so I accepted oral medication so that, if unchallenged, I could pretend to swallow it then spit it out.  I decided to hang around the communal area so that he couldn’t be sent away in my absence.

Kerry kicked me in the stomach this afternoon.  I have been told by one of the young students that even if I report it, because it is an acute psychiatric ward, I might not be separated from the threat.  I hope she is wrong.  The staff mismanagement of this has caused this situation.  Yet I feel it is my fault.  I had my door locked on Saturday, for the first time since being there, then told myself my suspicions were racism and my objection to her trolling outside my window was the same.  I told myself she had been risk-assessed and that she would not be on the ward if she was a threat to other patients.  I am tired this evening and have kept bursting into tears.  I feel even if I were to press charges successfully it would be a sign of failure on my part.  As a Christian.  There are no adequate words for my distress and desolation and fear at the moment.

There is a new patient on the ward, Kerry, a tall, black woman who has been harassing me for days and calling me racist every time there is a conflict.  She accuses and abuses me in religious terms mingled with hate words like bitch, says fuck God and Jesus, etc, and when I have taken issue with it the approach from staff has been to tell us both to be quiet.

Jim came back on the ward this week, he is doing nights.  He seems to think that all he has to do is turn his lovely face on me and all will be forgiven.  Or maybe it is just me that thinks it should be that way and I need to free myself from that requirement I have of myself and from the power of the need I want met by being able to do that.

His first night on was last night.  He was on with Sue, the nurse who told me to f off then lied about it and has since been calling me love and darling.  I find that aggressive and mauling, especially in the particular circumstances with her.  Last night (Sunday) I asked Jim if we could have some time to talk.  I was upset about things that had happened in the day (I didn’t tell him that), and he said no, he had things he needed to catch up on, but he would try today, but wouldn’t put anything in the diary because ‘sod’s law doesn’t work that way’.  So everything is handed over to the whims of sod’s law then, is it, with nothing to oppose or raise as a goal?  I noticed that before midnight he had time to sit around the office having casual chats with the members of his team, including one from Eastern Europe, asking her about her family, but he didn’t have any time to talk to me, and he has been away 5 weeks or so.  During this time other senior members of the staff have also been doing duties off the ward, following, it seems, my blog post about the ‘bust up’.  Ruth, the ward manager, approached me a few weeks ago saying some of the staff were hurt and upset about the fact their names had been used in my blog and that she had been advised that if I didn’t remove the names they could.  I haven’t had that in writing.  I think I should ask for it, through my advocate.  I tried to settle to sleep last night and after midnight I found I couldn’t, so eventually I went out to Jim and said I couldn’t settle and needed either ten minutes to talk or some lorazepam to help me settle.  He told me they weren’t allowed to have one to ones after midnight and that I would have to have lorazepam.  Last night was at my request, though a begrudging request.  Tonight they forced an injection on me.

Tonight Kerry kept winding me up and picking on me and eventually Judita, one of the health care assistants, told me she thought she was doing it on purpose to wind me up.  I asked her why she hadn’t tried to stop her if that was what she thought and she asked how she could.  I said she should have told Jim, the nurse in charge tonight.  Kerry started calling me racist, saying she was black and I am white, I told her it was nothing to do with race, it was just that she was harassing me and being a nuisance.  She started saying I thought I was something and saying that everyone was scared of me but too frightened to say so because I had physical bulk.  I said no one was scared of me.  I felt it in my womb every time she started on me and I interpreted it as something to do with her energy and the nature of her accusations (I think now this might have been wrong, that the fact I felt it there was more to do with the oppressiveness of the whole place and power), and I said I wasn’t a prostitute.  She has told me she had been, in what I thought was a good and promising conversation yesterday afternoon, and I felt sympathy for her, because she was on benefits and her father, she said, was a paedophile who had hurt her and her mother had thrown her out.  But tonight I realised she had had no moral necessity to go that way, not everyone who has been a victim of paedophilia does, and I said there were plenty of agencies which could have helped her and that being a prostitute had been her choice which not everyone in her position makes.  She was also saying she wanted a spliff, so I realised she was a drugs user.  Someone else told me they used cocaine, and suddenly I began to wonder why I am here, subjected to everything I get from the staff, whether deliberate or incompetent, when I don’t use drugs, I don’t hear voices, I don’t have a drink problem, and although I can shout when angry to defend myself I am not violent.  When I shout it is because I am angry or afraid or FEEL violent.  It is a substitute for violence, not a lead up to it.  At one point Jim came and told Kerry to behave, but then it started all over again with her being blasphemous and vile, and I was telling her not to attack and accuse a child of God.  She was saying she was Satan, and all sorts of things, then when I started telling her to leave me alone she started to mix in Sarah instead of Satan, out of the Bible.  No one was moving to stop her.  I threw a plastic coke bottle across the room at the floor.  It didn’t hit her, but she jumped up to attack me.  I was sitting down and I put my foot out to keep her at a distance.  I told her I hadn’t thrown it at her and she insisted I had.  Jim came out to tell her to go to her room, and I felt immediately calm and safer.  Then he told me he wanted me to go to my room.  At first I said I would because I wanted to go to the toilet but I said I didn’t want him in my room while I went to the toilet.  Jim said he wouldn’t be in my room, they would be outside.  I went to my room, then got angry at how unreasonable and unfair it was, and kept coming out shouting things, like they had just given Kerry permission to do that again any time she wanted to, that I had been calm when she was taken away from my space but now I was not calm because what they were doing to me was unjust and the dispeace I now felt was a direct result of their actions towards me.  Perhaps it had also, before, been a result of their inaction in what they knew was happening.  They said to ignore her, and I said I couldn’t because I couldn’t just walk away and be able to stay away, I had to keep coming back to it.  I told them they had no comparable situations in their own lives which were not a matter of their own choice, and that it was unreasonable of them to tell me to ignore it.  Staff had said to me on Sunday that they knew she was a problem and that I should tell them if she was upsetting me.

Anyway, I kept coming out of my room and shouting things about respect and dignity and unjustly robbing people of theirs when they had not been the problem, and I kept scuttling back to my room in fear of what they might do to me if I stayed in the corridor, so I came out of my room and confronted it in those words, saying why should I have to stay in my room and not be justifiably angry and say why for fear of what they would do to me.  I think they came and asked me to go to my room again and I refused, saying they were causing my distress by their unfairness.  I was speaking loudly, if not shouting, I hadn’t touched anyone.  Given that the law says I cannot be manhandled if I am not a danger to myself or anyone else I understand what happened next to have definitely been illegal.  They grabbed me by the arms and started dragging me to my room.  Altogether in the end there were about 8 people involved, one of whom was called Mark, who had hold of my left arm.  Adem from Redwood 2 was another.  When I said they had given Kerry permission to do what she liked whenever by what they were doing to me he shook his hand off at me and turned his back and started walking away.  As soon as we got to my room they told me to get down on the floor, and I said I wanted to go to the toilet, and they said I couldn’t.  At first I thought they might let me go but they forced me down face to the laminate flooring and told me to calm down.  I said I had good reason to be angry and that I wasn’t going to become calm for them if this was the way they thought they could enforce it.  On my way to my room I was telling Jim I wanted a change of key nurse and that I didn’t want another, that he was a hypocrite and however proficient he was in philosophy he was not fit to be in charge of this situation.  I told him I would write in my blog.  I also told Kerry that I wouldn’t protect her by using only her first initial as I had for other patients, that I had no legal duty and recognised no moral duty towards her.

At one point I said while I was sitting on the bed before they put me on the floor that I hadn’t been violent, and Mark said ‘not yet’.  I have never been physically violent to people here, even though provoked, as he was provoking me at that point.  When they had me down they wanted to gentle my arms and I told them to stop, saying they should choose between violence and assault and being gentle, but not try to mix the two.  I asked them to turn my radio up because it was interesting, but they wouldn’t.  It said at one point that if we acted in real life as we might in a lucid dream we would act more kindly.  At around that point they withdrew from my room without saying anything.  They kept stroking my arm, stroking my hair, and given what they were doing I completely resented it.  At one point they told me that this had been my choice, when it evidently had not been, they grabbed me and forced me down.  It was their choice.  People who act like this often tell their victim of assault that it was their own choice when that is factually a lie.  They turned away from reason.  At one point someone said something to Mark and he spoke jeeringly.  I said that was what they had done to Jesus.  I said they were evil and that I was not going to make that any more palatable for them.  I told them not to sigh at me but to go and deal with their own relaxation needs away from me.  I called him or them bastards and Mark said ‘that’s right, I am a bastard.’  Something was tickling the bottom of my leg and I told them to move their hand.  I was told there was nothing on my leg.  At the very least it might have been my own trousers.  I called them mental sadists who would swear that black was white then call me racist for using that expression.

They came with medication and offered me tablets or it would have to be an injection.  Bearing in mind I was calm when Kerry was removed, immediately, and that this second distress was their doing.  For them it seems to be all about power and being obeyed and not being seen to back down.  They are very high handed then won’t back down even if their unreasonableness becomes apparent, and they just go ahead obeying orders as a team even if personally they think something else.  In a situation like this I think that is not acceptable human behaviour.  They broke my metal watch strap.

After they had gone I was still shouting, even from the toilet.  I passed the office and Jim was laughing with his colleagues.  They were taking a position of not needing to acknowledge me while I was shouting, even though they had just visited a physical assault on me.  So they sat there pretending, in every way available to them, that I wasn’t there.  Jim seemed to be mirroring the rhythms of my voice with his body language.  While I was on the floor in my room they wanted me to shuffle so that I was properly inside my door.  They said something about my dignity.  I said I didn’t care what they wanted and if they cared about my dignity they could restore what they shouldn’t have taken from me in the first place.

In conversations with people I have been told that Jim does not hold grudges.  I’m beginning to doubt this or that it was ever an appropriate thing to say anyway, as if there were not issues that needed to be discussed and he was blameless.  I think they removed me from that situation because they didn’t want me there calm and rational and back in control of myself without their intervention, but all they did was make me feel worse.  I felt no feelings of violence at that point, the feelings of violence, (against my beliefs and convictions?) and practices, came directly out of their assault on me and everything that went with it.  If they can perpetrate an act of assault and violence on me, why is it not seen as acceptable if I reciprocate?  Even to acknowledge the feelings is to open myself up to detrimental decisions about me from the staff.  This tonight has been a deliberate act, out of control or coldblooded, of subjugation and humiliation.  I feel that something happened after I wrote my ‘bust up’ entry that took so many key staff off the ward for so long.  I think talk about illness is lies, eg back injuries.  One person I do believe, I talked to him yesterday morning (yesterday being Sunday).

I confront with words when I feel necessary.  They react and confront with threat and physical force and injections.  And yet am I to feel I should make exceptions for them and concessions to their so-called humanity?  I am supposed to be protected at the moment at least in my room, let alone I think what they have done tonight would have been illegal anyway, because I wasn’t a danger to myself or anyone else.  Free speech which is not unprovoked defense or harassment should not be seen as being a danger to anyone.  So Kerry is fat-ist, I’m dangerous and violent because I am fat.  How many other people are approaching and judging me that way?  I don’t blank people, I listen, that is my problem.  I listen and think.  Thinking that way is her problem, but her communication is so quixotic it cuts me to the quick.

The time when Jim said please in a way which was so painful to me afterwards, something else came up in the conversation and I said that they weren’t the ones being threatened with the closest thing they could get to gang rape, meaning forced medication if I didn’t willingly comply, on a regular basis.  He put it in my notes that I had merely meant being asked to go to bed so they could clean the chairs.  I don’t want this relationship to be retrievable now, I don’t like what he does.  But for me that is hurtful because he has this knack of making me feel as if it is one of the few that does anything like work.  His responses were visceral tonight, calling both me and Kerry selfish people, for a start, because people wanted to sleep.  But when I continued to be angry until and beyond 12.45 am he made no attempt to stop it, just ignored it, and I believed his appeal to people wanting to sleep had just been self-serving in the first place.  He was unreasonable.  He was telling me to calm down when he had just made me uncalm again, and he himself was agitated.  Unreasonable, unjust and illegal.  I said they should join Mugabe’s regime, that what they had done was so wrong and unjust they must be deliberately and knowingly participating in social engineering.  Also I said I had won by letting them play out the full extent of their savagery on me, because now I can document what happened.  I think Jim must be afraid of me to treat me this way.  I still don’t know why he was calling out ‘say you’re sorry, apologise’ from the office that day.  It had been one of the things I wanted to talk to him about and find out what it was about.  Meeting tonight didn’t happen either.  He didn’t even think it was important enough to insist on making 10 minutes for me.  He told me he had to do an admission.  I’m sure the admission could have waited 10 minutes.

Also the reason it is difficult for me when this kind of thing happens is that my love and trust and obedience kick in just because, for over a year, I haven’t really been touched by anyone else.  I can be sitting next to complete strangers and want to rest my head on their shoulders and maybe look for support.  I want love and hugs.  I’ve heard from the church that physical force is OK and should be submitted to, that it can turn people to obedience, which is where they should be.  I find this situation too cruel for words, and also my own requirement of myself within it.  I don’t go with this anymore.  Adrian Plass said in one of his books that when he had an interview with the main man at work when he was working with troubled children, the man lay on the carpet and let him talk.  Something else as well, he didn’t react punitively to someone who broke a window in his home, or something.  He loved him, from what I remember.  I can’t remember if this is also Adrian Plass, but it is definitely Tommy Boyd, that if someone came at him he would hug them from behind until they calmed down.  Those are my values, the awesome perceptions and right modes of operation, in my eyes.  A hug without further threat, even though seen as restraint, with no further threat, could easily be accepted as love and the kind of physical contact we are made for.  Men who won’t hug me here will restrain me as they did tonight.  I am struggling to recover my humanity.  I’m 52, childless and menopausal.  I feel now as if saying that is just manipulation, but I think and feel that having to feel that way is appalling.

Update 28.07 2013

Last night I didn’t sleep much, I was too hot.  Then this morning the team on night duty (Mandy, Sylvia, Reward and Aka) started bashing and banging at about 5.30 am – Sunday morning and all.  Out in the real world they might have been reported for disturbing the peace before 7 am.  And they shout down corridors all day, they don’t go up to people and speak to them.  Everything sounds loud and singsongy.  I was in the shower this morning and when it came to washing my hair I felt sick and giddy.  This is common for me here.  Apart from anything else I am having to judge how much water I can use if I want to do the job properly.  I went out this morning and felt ill, too ill to walk.  I had been heading for church, but I could hardly keep my eyes open.  I thought in terms of I might not be ill, it might be the Holy Spirit making me feel that way.  I wanted to get to church and collapse.  I was convinced in the end that it was God but decided to go back to the hospital anyway and try to sleep.  I was afraid in case I tried to get help at church but they were unable or unwilling to accommodate what was happening to me.  I thought they might call an ambulance or something.  I came out again this evening heading for church, but I’ve stopped off at a hotel for a drink and to use the internet and write my blog.  I feel really bad about that, unforgivably so.  It’s lack of faith and trust  I’ve put writing my blog before going to church.  Going to church feels like the right thing to do, but in spite of what I want to happen and what I want to be communicated by me going there, I have little confidence that it is going to help and I was afraid, earlier, that keeping on going and not responding to appeals might cause tensions that might explode on me.  John Pettifor was speaking this morning, and something is happening with the interns tonight.  People talk about an open heaven.  If feeling positive about how it would be if I went and bad about not going is an open heaven, I suppose that might be what I’ve had today, and I’ve gone against it.

I just had ‘tea’ at the hospital.  Kiran was serving.  As soon as I sat down and started talking to someone else she adjusted her voice upwards in relation to mine, then she started talking to people like children and babies.  It always upsets me when she or anyone else does that, because to me they are not part of the equation in a conversation with someone else sitting at the table with me once they have served the meal.  I explained to the person I was talking to how it made me feel angry and hysterical when Kiran does that, and how it was made even worse because if I confronted her with it she would deny she was doing it, even though it seems obvious to me that she must know.  I asked another patient how she found her and she said OK, but when I told her what she does with me she said she does it with her as well.  If it is deliberate and she knows I don’t like it why doesn’t she stop?  If it is a problem she has and she can’t help herself, apparently, why can’t she get it sorted out when she knows it upsets me, at least?  I came out feeling as if my head had been kicked in.  I sneezed in my room and someone copied me.  I sneezed twice, they followed up with exactly the same thing.  This place is making me desperate.  Then I blame myself for being unkind in my reactions, or failing to have a sense of humour.  I tell myself it proves I am really selfish for it to bother me so much, and that I see myself as superior to other patients.

I’ve noticed that staff sometimes touch their ears, as if adjusting their hearing or something.  Chantelle used to do that a lot, she would do it at a distance, and she would stare into my face every time something strong and confident came out of my mouth.  If she was behind me a little way off she would put herself in my face to do it.  I find this outrageous and am afraid of people who don’t seem to think it isn’t and do it, who are also calling me mentally ill.  I can’t cope here anymore, I am desperate.  I really can’t cope.

A Slightly Different Update 27.07.2013

I thought, about an hour ago, that my biggest anxiety is not having a home, not knowing where it is going to be, and not knowing how it is going to work.  I thought that, whether it is accurate or not.  I’m 22 months homeless now, and maybe immediate things should be more a cause of concern.  But no one is officially acknowledging any of the things I have said about previous experiences.  I just felt like jumping up and running to Tommy Boyd, but I don’t have enough money to pay the fare.  I wouldn’t have anyway, today.

Relationships and comfort zones with other patients are cooling, and at the same time I’m becoming a lot more fudged in my relationships with staff.  I have made some of them special to me, more honestly, some of them have made themselves special to me by their kindness.  All this stuff about boundaries I was asked to learn by the church, to be used against me, so it seems, seems to be going by the board at the moment.  But that may be only because I feel inhibited about being angry, most of the time, unless I flip and start shouting in my room.  If I say I am having a problem with anyone on the ward the official position and statement seems to be ‘I don’t think so’, or ‘I don’t think s/he is’.  It is never opened up or examined.  So it continues and I can’t talk about it.  I’m still being voice and expression-matched, and I find that so upsetting.  How can doing me back at me be good communication?  I thought that communication was about two or more different and distinct individuals interacting and revealing themselves, being themselves.  Have I lost the plot somewhere?  Have I missed something, a shift in what communication is?  I think copying is about power.

I started out saying that these people, the staff, knew what was happening as well as I did and that it was up to them to say so/stop it, with open commitment, whatever they got from me by way of anger and hysteria.  Now I feel I am softening and thinking maybe now we can talk about it.  But the fact is that in the meantime they have bullied me with mimicry and interventions and put me on medication, all the time knowing that what I have said is true.  It doesn’t augur well for anyone else, does it, if one person has to become reasonable to stop the assault and get the help they need.

I keep approaching this in a general way and not posting a lot of stuff i would like to have posted.  I have thought I should list people by name and their offenses, as I see them.  But I have also thought in the last 24 hours as I have before, that the best way not to be like someone is not to be like them.  But that is just in personal terms.  The relationship I have with the staff is not a cosy, life-affirming personal relationship and never will be.  I don’t think I know the best thing to be or do in this situation anymore, and its effect seems to be that I am developing a distaste for and aversion towards my blog, and an aversion to naming and shaming.  But what is the alternative?  For me personally, it doesn’t make things comfortable by any means, some people are reacting quite badly, but at least I won’t be having painful conversations with people who use their positions to abuse or disengage, from whom I later have to get food and medication and be let off the ward.

I overheard Alex say last night ‘he won’t get anything out of me’.  No idea what it was about.

I’m beginning to think of the hospital as a community run by the nurses, and interactions in public as group therapy.  It’s wild, it’s weird, it’s making my ears ring thinking about it.

Update 26.07.2013

I’m in a pub in Bulwell again and not very focused.  Jim went off ill soon after the bust up entry.  I’ve been told he has injured his back.  We have had quite a few staff on who are not normally on our ward.  The only thing really on my mind is an incident a couple of weeks ago where R was told to clean up her own vomit.  R is in a wheelchair, she has told me she has MS.  I spoke to the shift manager that day and said I was concerned about it because this was what I had been led to believe but after thinking about it thought perhaps her wheelchair was a concession to a delusion or something.  Obviously he wasn’t free to discuss her with me, but I expressed my concern and he said things aren’t necessarily as I have been led to believe, but even that can’t be seen as a definite because that would have been discussing her with me.  I have thought though that even if the wheelchair was a consession to a delusion, to confront it that way seems to me cruel and brutal, but I don’t know what has gone between them before.  She is quite big as well, and a lot older than me.  Having been 3 stones heavier than I am now and knowing how hard it was, and sometimes still is, for me to bend and get up, I expressed concern, but basically said the bottom line for me is that she is in a wheelchair and that it was distressing to me to have had to witness this.  Personally I have been uneasy if this was a way of confronting a delusion.  I talked about the time that I vomited in church and my stomach was hurting and a woman came up with a bucket of water and cloths or something and I said thank you, and she said ‘I’m not doing it.  I’ve seen this before’.  It seems she assumed I was drunk or something.  I can’t remember if I cleaned up or not, I know I was in a dreadful state after being sick.  I supposed that R must have felt the same way.  I haven’t submitted a complaint.  I haven’t named the staff involved.  Personally I have tried to have a good relationship with the person concerned, it isn’t my purpose to name him.  I feel bad even about going this far.

Update 15.07.2013

Last Friday the decision to restart medication was communicated to me, almost 3 weeks after the SOAD interview.  Myself I think this is appalling and I have never experienced it before, and when I have mentioned it to staff in other areas they have said they found the delay a bit strange.

I am still quite disorientated, attaching too much emotional importance to some relationships, strictly speaking and according to current official guidelines on boundaries.  Now I’ve said that I am questioning it, but certainly I don’t think much about the future, occasionally my anger erupts, a lot of the time a lot is being fudged for me.  I feel as if I am being tamed the same way as an animal might be tamed, with punishments and rewards.  Not having much privacy, if any, for writing my blog I’m not doing a very adequate job.  I’m sitting in a Wetherspoons pub at the moment.  Not many people in this section.  I came to download something from the internet.  I’ve just remembered I did make quite a few notes last week which I intended to be for a blog entry.  I haven’t got round to using them yet and I don’t want to use them at the moment.

I spoke to my psychologist this morning.  He was talking about boundaries to protect vulnerable patients.  I know technically he is right.  I just saw something else on WordPress about game approaches to mental health.  I’m not sure if this fits here.  I feel upset and disorientated in this pub.  Jim, my key nurse, is on night shift tonight.

I have been trying to deal with a personal offense between myself and a member of staff.  I have been trying to approach it as a personal thing, not a professional thing,, but so many other people are somehow involved without me having given it to them I feel disorientated and confused.  I am desperate, I want to scream, and I feel as if it is my fault, that I am failing.  And the truth is I am, but also i am getting confused with all the people either inputting or piggybacking or sometimes, I feel, blocking, and I keep finding fault with myself and knowing, when I am alone, that I’m not handling it right.  I’m not feeling great in here, I’m not seeing things straight.  It matters to me, but I feel as if I am trying too hard to do something and that can’t be right or good.  Underneath I am raging because I feel as if I have been manipulated and bullied into this position.  I’m really upset, really tired, quite afraid, and I’m not sure what is happening.  I’ve been suppressing laughter for quite a while out of respect and sensitivity to this situation.  What I am afraid of in this instance is that we are not going to get satisfactory closure.   I’ve seen this person cry.  I’ve seen a few people cry.  Staff.  It seems to matter to me so much I am worried about why.  But in my mind I am contradicting myself even as I am typing.  There is a lot of psychological violence I am experiencing from some staff.  This is not a personal relationship, so how can I handle this powder keg?  We both seem to be trying.  I have thought this person’s tears were about this issue between us but I have realised I might be wrong, and my greatest fear is that if I raise this I might not get any answers.  That matters to me.

I have been trying, sometimes, to respect the office, in general, if I can cope with the person filling it.  But I have realised that, a lot of the time if not all the time, I believe it is the office itself which is evil.  I have been taught to respect the office when dealing with authority and officials.  I have had disturbed sleep for the past three nights.  I am much more distraught than I am showing.  I feel as if I am at home or in church, not a place I hate and despise.  There is so much laughter underneath, and tears.  My sense of humour keeps having a go at me, but often I am afraid to show it, or ashamed.  That will do for now.

PS on the practical side, as well as the delayed SOAD decision and broken sleep caused by noise on the ward, mainly, I think, staff talking and even shouting last night, and slamming doors, on Friday and Saturday morning we had no water on the ward.  I managed to brush my teeth Friday morning but there wasn’t even enough for that on Saturday.  I mentioned it when my psychologist asked me what I do for self-care and he asked if we had been given any warning and i said not that I had been aware.  Also in the shower we get four one minute jets of water for everything we want to do, and they are not awfully powerful.  If I want to wash my hair I have to load my sponge up from the basin and basically give myself a wash down and use the shower for my hair.  Even then I still find I need to put my head under the basin tap two or three times even if I use the shower only to wash my hair.  I think this is a contributory factor to my low mood.  I think a shower should be a pleasurable experience, but at the very least it should be sufficient for everything you need to do in it.  It feels like very basic survival.  I’m in a hotel restaurant now, just had a coke.  I feel like a very miserable and repressed wet blanket.  My mood here has been better in the past.  My psychologist said I seemed vulnerable this morning.  I can’t remember if he said emotionally vulnerable or what.  This morning I was not totally unhappy to be feeling vulnerable.

Going back to the relationships issue, I am getting very confused.  I have started thinking about the role of community in handling what I had wanted to deal with myself.  I’m getting confused because I feel as if the level of expectation of me from myself and others is inconsistent with the fact that I have a diagnosis of schizophrenia and am not expected to be fully functioning anyway.  Something happened last night – I said something, i can’t remember what or who to, then I made a joke of it saying I was speaking to an hallucination, and didn’t the person know I had hallucinations.  I don’t, it was a joke of sorts, but I became afraid it might be taken seriously as consistent with my diagnosis and documented.  What seems strange though was that the shift manager laughed when I said it (oh yes he did).  That seems to me to have been inappropriate.

I feel I have done violence to myself this week by requiring of myself, maybe feeling it was required of me as well, that I stay quite serious.  On Friday I became very upset after an encounter straight after I had been injected with a test dose of the drug they want to use (I have been given no information about it).  I remained upset for hours and no one came to help me until the end of that time, and I found her approach intimidating.  I thought that to leave me in that state, especially at that time, was mental cruelty.  They always have left me.

Update 30.06.2013

Last night the light was turned on in my bedroom at about 2-3 am.  I was asleep and it woke me up and I was very upset and angry.  They told me they had to do it, I said they didn’t and it had only happened about 12 times in 17 years.  They told me to stop shouting.  I said at some point yesterday that if people in our position being treated as we are start shouting in anger and hysteria it should be understandable, but that when carers shout at us it is not acceptable and it is not our fault.  About a week or so ago Sh___n, the nurse who pushed the patient out of her way with her foot, started saying something I have had them say several times down the years, that if you give respect you get respect.  When they have said that they have been talking about patients who don’t get respect because they don’t give it.  I said that is OK among equals but that it is a playground rule, not OK for nurses and doctors and domestics to use against patients.  If we supposedly have mental health problems and are having things done to us we don’t want and being abused as well, we might find it hard to be respectful in our state of fear, anger and hysteria.  Yesterday morning K__h the domestic hammered on my door and presented herself in my room arms up and talking loudly.  I told her that when people hammer on my door it shocks me so much that I don’t answer them.  I asked her why she couldn’t knock quietly like Jim did when he knocked on my door.  She said she was sorry she couldn’t change the way she knocked, it was just her, and I said she could if she knew it was upsetting people.  She grabbed L___a who was passing and asked her to come in for support, and she stood in my room and she said my music was nice and they were having a smiley conversation with each other with Linda standing there exuding security guard and smiles.  I said they wanted me to change but didn’t want to change themselves.  I was also angry that they were in my space presuming to say that my music was nice and I didn’t like the fact that they were doing that.  A few weeks ago Sh___n knocked on my door and I was trying to insist on boundaries with her because she had offended me before.  She asked me something, I said no thanks or words to that effect, and she started commenting on my radio, after having been insistent on her own agenda towards me already.  She asked me where I had bought it from and I said I couldn’t remember and it was obvious I didn’t want to talk to her.  She asked if she could have a look and I said no, but she insisted on coming into my room anyway and touching my radio and ran out.  I tried to remonstrate with her but she blanked me and went to another room then told me she was with another patient.  To me it was about staff respecting my boundaries, as so many issues I have had here have been.  I just thought of the patients’ charter and looked it up as I have been meaning to for a while.  I looked at the section on respect and it said you should be asked whether you want to be called by your first or last name and should have your choice respected.  I was offered that choice once on a general ward, I’ve never been offered it on a psychiatric ward.  In London I fought unsuccessfully for years to have them call me Sue rather than Susan, and ended up really confused about myself and what I called myself, to the extent that I felt I had betrayed my parents by shortening the name they had given me.  I started to feel that Susan was the real me and Sue a false me and I felt superficial and artificial for having called myself Sue for so many years.  I felt ashamed for having decided to call myself Sue and sometimes I still do.  When I insist on it it sometimes feels as if my name is nothing to do with me and nothing I say about anything matters or is reliable.  I’ve often objected here to being called love, duck, darling, dear and sweetheart but no one takes any notice.  They say that is the way they are and they do it with everyone.  Sometimes they seem to be quite aggressive and purposeful in doing so.  There are two of us who sometimes object, that I know of.  When I was in London I fought for years just to be called Sue, not Susan.  I said once or twice I would like to be called Miss Barnett.  No one took any notice.  It’s about boundaries and presumption.  They all assume and presume so much, and for patients in my category that damages lives.  They make decisions with legal implications in my life.  And recently, as I have said, there has been deliberate dishonesty and maybe illegality.  In fact I would say there is a lot of illegality.  They wave section papers at us as if that gives them absolute power, but as well as the legal power of these papers is all the illegal abuse they get away with.  ‘You have to this, that and the other because you are on a section’.  Is that really true?  Do I really have to have my life subjected repeatedly to people who deliberately abuse and lie and misrepresent apart from the powers they have under the mental health act?  Not only that, but some of them seem just plain stupid and thick and insensitive.  Yet they say I have no insight.  They don’t like the insights I have.

Apart from the light being turned on last night (it was the night before as well) There were doors slamming through the night and a lot of shouting almost non-stop between 6 am and 9 am this morning, after which it went strangely silent for quite a long time.  I noticed that when my key nurse had been in charge of the night shift recently there had been no disruptions that I had been aware of for those three nights and we had all seemed to have a peaceful night.  There were no rude awakenings in the mornings either.

I remarked to someone last night that in just the same way that we don’t have to be available to everyone outside, we also don’t have to be available to everyone in hospital either, that healthy people choose who they are going to be available to.  Yet some of the nurses get rude, offended and giggly if you are not making yourself relationally available to them whenever you meet them.  It is disrespectful and not recognising my right to privacy and choice about the relationships I choose to engage with.  They won’t let me be an ordinary person, they are demanding from me all the time, some of them.  I went into dinner on Friday trying to think about and envision meetings I have planned with other staff next week, and rather than leave my head space alone they were smiling at me insistently and when I got annoyed the Eastern European girl who was on started running around and giggling and touching surfaces as I have seen so often since this mental health thing started for me.  They can’t leave me alone.  They won’t request a conversation but the keep grabbing at me and imposing on me psychologically.  It is the same for others as well, they have said so.  To me there is something wrong with that.

I was talking about doing my laundry last night with another patient.  There is a laundry service that your washing has to be sent to and you get it back in 2 or 3 days, but people have said that things go missing so I decided to get mine done at the launderette.  She asked me if it had been OK and I said yes, everything had come out that needed to, and a nurse passing by started uncomfortably.  If that had been one of us and we had said something we would have been told that no, the other person was just talking about washing and why did we think otherwise?  I noticed that all the staff were walking with security guard body language and suddenly ‘realised’ this was deliberate.  Inwardly I turned away from them and when one of them passed me I stayed turned away and not acknowledging her and her body language changed and she looked guilty.  On another occasion she had walked past me a few weeks ago and when she noticed me she looked as if she was going to smile and she literally wiped it off her face and ignored me, continuing with the same hard body language.  They swan and glide and make annoyed or blank faces.  They pitch their hardness against my softness.  It leaves me feeling like a confused and angry mess.

Last night one of the other patients said it was illegal for them to keep her there.  She is a Christian.  The nurse in charge, S___a, came quickly out of the clinic room and looked at her, afraid and uncomfortable.  I encountered my psychiatrist in the corridor during the week.  She rushed past me uncomfortably.  The SHO of another psychiatrist looked redfaced and upset.  I don’t know what is going on but it feels as if it has to be good, from my perspective.  Having said that, I had the meeting with the SHO last Monday and was told he was waiting for the psychologist’s report before a decision was made.  I would have expected on to be made by now, it has normally been a same day decision and action, but no one has told me anything, if there is anything to tell.  I feel as if they are withholding it from me deliberately to keep me on tenterhooks.

I know these things are happening, I still have problems settling on why and what my responsibility is with it.  A lot of the time I feel as if they are desperate and I am wrong and unmerciful.  I told my psychologist that last week.

In Brief

It’s a while since I have been able to update my blog.  We are not allowed computers on the ward.  It was in brief when I started. 

I absconded from Macmillan Close and was 12 days in London.  The last 4 of those were spent falling asleep upright anywhere and everywhere because I couldn’t afford a bed.  When the police eventually picked me up after many close opportunities I was taken to a hospital in London where I was put behind the nursing station and alternately I was told 4 times I could or couldn’t have my door closed.  The nurses were badly behaved all the time I was there, when in the evening I finally got my meal and tried to close the door for privacy a nurse became aggressive and said she would call security.  I was brought back to Nottingham between midnight and 2 am in something which said ambulance outside but was like a police van inside.

When I got to Rowan 2 I was met by two staff, one male and the other female.  I made it clear that night that I didn’t want to get too close to the staff as I was there against my wishes and believed I had a right to protest.

The next day I was lying in bed relaxed, I wasn’t bothered by anything that normally had bothered me, like door slamming and shouting.  Although it was happening it was separate from me and identified it easily as out there and hardly noticed it.  However, during the course of the day 4 groups of nurses woke me to confront me about getting up, and after this happened I realised I was again feeling oppressed by the other noises.  I was afraid of their unreasonableness, and angry.  One of them said it wasn’t fair to the other patients, I said something about care being patient specific and needing sleep.  After 4 confrontations all feelings of safety were undone and any benefit from any sleep I had managed was destroyed.

I haven’t got long to write this so I’m going to try and put in everything I feel relevant but it won’t be particularly ordered.

Today I have an appointment with a Second Opinion Approved Doctor.  The first time he came I was only given 1 ½ hours’ notice and I managed to get it rearranged so I could arrange to have an advocate present.  However, although I am sure that when I phoned the advocacy service last week and left a message on their machine I gave them all the details they needed, when I picked their response up on Friday they wanted me to phone them again with the time.  I’m usually good about giving all necessary details, and even on Friday when I spoke to someone directly she asked me what time it was going to be when I knew I had already told her.  They have a 48 hour call back policy so at the moment I don’t know if I will have an advocate or not.  I am worried about having to go ahead without an advocate because last time he kept interrupting me, said he wanted to ask me 2 questions then after that I could decide whether I wanted another meeting or not, and he asked me if I thought I had an illness and if I thought I needed medication.  I said no to both and he said we wouldn’t need another meeting.  I insisted pointing out he had said it was up to me and that the purpose of the meeting was to do a proper assessment, not just get my opinion of illness and medication.  I was shocked and disturbed by his rudeness and ground shifting and believed it to be deliberate, knowing that even I in his place would not behave as he had.  I shook his hand at the end and he was holding a pencil.  He didn’t even put it in the other hand.

The first meeting I had with my psychiatrist seemed quite friendly and reasonable until I mentioned that my English degree had involved a critical method path of psychoanalysis and reader response.  She looked shocked and nervous, not to say afraid.  In meetings after that she got heavier.  She told me that if I named people in my blog they could or would sue me.  I said good, it’s about time it was made legal not medical.  I’ve thought about it since and thought that must have been deliberate intimidation, as they already have enough to sue me with from before and have threatened it before but have not taken that route.  She often wears a mocking and provocative expression on her face when I am talking to her.  She has told me that because I believe things are happening I need medication, and has said that if I am heard shouting or talking to myself in my room or laughing I will be medicated.  She tried to reinstate a depot the other week.  On the day of the following review my advocate told me that that wouldn’t happen as the paperwork was not up to date and it would be illegal without seeing a SOAD.  I can’t believe she didn’t know that at the time she told me it would be reinstated.  2 or 3 weeks ago she terminated the review because I tried to tell her that what they wanted to do to me filled me with fear and revulsion, and she said she wasn’t prepared to have me speak like that.  She said she wanted to keep it rational.  I have said that when people introduce physical threat as something they believe they have a right to they lose the right to expect reason from the person they are dealing with and to expect to be seen as reasonable themselves.  Recently she has been harassing me, asking me to take just a little medication knowing how I feel about it and that we are waiting for a SOAD.  I have told them that I believe in natural healing, sleep and rest and self-management.  I’ve also said that I am afraid of what they want to do and asked how fear is good for someone’s mental health.  I pointed out that last time I was in London the panel said that in view of my feelings about medication and the fact I had held them for a long time they were not going to force me and were going to end my section, and have said that although Nottingham is a different authority this decision should be taken into account and respected.  This has been ignored.  I am worried that I have heard people here tell me they have been in hospital over a year and up to 3 or 4.  I’ve been in hospital here now since 1st May last year.  I’ve never been in hospital this long before.

I’ve seen a psychologist twice and he has given me the impression he is on my side in things I have said to him, and my key nurse told me as much last week.

I’m on an all women’s ward but we have male staff.  Although I tend to enjoy relating more to the men at the moment I still can’t see why there are male staff on a women’s ward.

One man keeps positioning himself near me and saying ‘My God’.  I have told him I find it offensive but he still does it.

One man, when I had my bedroom door open with a nurse inside one morning, looked straight into my eyes as I was lying in bed with piercing disapproval.  Recently the same man came out of the office and started playfully teasing a patient who interrupts me every time she engages me in conversation and had just done so.  It feels as if they deliberately affirm anyone who gives me a problem.

There is one female nurse who told me that she wished she had a mute button so she could switch me off.  I told her that was verbal abuse and she said she didn’t care.  I said she might not care but I did and thought she should because she had no right to be talking to patients that way.  When I told my psychologist this he said ‘good for you’.  The same woman the next night heard another patient shouting and swearing at me, calling me foul mouthed and evil and saying I should wear a sign round my neck saying I was evil.  She came out of the office and sat in a chair and watched it for about 5 minutes without saying anything.  When the other patient got up and walked away (I hadn’t sworn during the whole conversation), this nurse turned and said to me, ‘See, Sue, nobody likes you’.  I told her she had no right to say that and that it wasn’t true anyway.  She asked me why I had involved her in the conversation in the first place and I said I hadn’t, she had come and sat down, and she told me to F off.  I reported this in a review meeting, it was handed to the ward manager for investigation and I have been told that this nurse denied it happened and the ward manager said she didn’t feel that any of her staff would behave that way.  I had a concert booked one night and I was at breakfast and this nurse was on again.  One of the patients started shouting at me and I said I was tired of her shouting at me and of the nurses letting her.  One of the other nurses on with this nurse, instead of trying to diffuse the situation, made it worse, saying I was rude to nurses.  I was shouting because I was so upset and the nurse who had called me rude threatened me with an injection.  I said it wasn’t going to happen and the nurse who had sworn at me before said to me that I was going to get an injection and that when I did she would be there.  I said she wouldn’t and she said do you want to bet.  When she saw my fear when it was first mentioned she was pleased and laughed, then the first nurse told me I couldn’t go to my concert or go out at all that day and that I was restricted.  This woman has thrown a tantrum several times when she has not wanted a conversation with me, though she started it, and has threatened me twice with an injection when I’ve got upset about it.  Medication has only ever been raised as a foreseeable imposition or threat, never as an offer.  I didn’t go to the concert.  That night the man who keeps saying ‘my God’ around me stood at the end of my corridor singing ‘soldier, solider, won’t you marry me’, and ‘Red red robin’ sounding really upset.  It was two nights after I had been upset because I had been told that a depot was going to be reinstated.  I was saying they were psychological terrorists and rapists.  They just walked around me ignoring me, not offering help or support.  He said ‘bloody hell’ to another nurse and I told him to stop swearing, because they came down on us like a ton of bricks of we swore, and he repeated it.  I was touched by the singing and thought he was going to be on that night, but he wasn’t and I was upset and disappointed.  He was finishing his shift, not starting.  My advocate told me the afternoon staff would have let me go to the concert, but they never tried to communicate that to me.  I was offended by what had happened in the morning and I didn’t want to approach it with them.  I felt it was my own fault that I had missed it for not approaching them.  But I have often felt that they are making me ask for things rather than offering in an attempt to break me, because I have said that I am not playing patient to their doctor nurse and I have a right of protest.  I have missed quite a few meals through a combination of fear of harassment and protest, and in my tribunal the other week one of the members of the panel asked the staff about it in such a way that gave me the impression that they were so cynical about me that they just put missing meals down to a ‘bargaining chip’, that was the terms used.

The day after the missed concert I got to the breakfast hatch 5 minutes before it was supposed to close and it was already closed.  The nurse who swore at me was on and I asked if I could have some breakfast and she gave me a one word answer – ‘no’.  I asked her if she had brought her whip and stilettoes that morning and as I walked away she asked me if I had enjoyed the concert.  As I was trying to answer he she shut the door in my face and I pushed on it to finish my answer to her question, and she suddenly let the door go and I ended up on my back in the kitchen, so I finished my answer from there.  Another nurse threatened to have me removed if I wouldn’t get up but backed off when I said it was illegal if I wasn’t a danger to myself or anyone else.  Eventually she asked me if I wanted breakfast and I told her I had been told I couldn’t have any.  She told me the nurse had said I couldn’t have anything hot, I told her the interchange that had taken place and she said ‘that is what you are hearing’.  I said ‘that is what I am hearing because that is what was said’.  She was trying to put it down to symptoms of mental illness.  I have had this with two other nurses on two different occasions, they refuse to have a normal conversation without putting something they don’t understand down to delusional beliefs.  That’s why I don’t like talking to them.  I talk to other patients, but when I do the nurses interfere with my conversations, start mimicking me, talking loudly over me at intimate points in the conversation, matching my tone of voice to say something in the office.  They have denied that any of this happens, but other patients say it happens as well, and we are all angry.  When my psychiatrist told me I would be medicated if I was heard shouting and slamming doors I said to her that a lot of people feel and act the way I do, and rather than face the fact that the staff might be doing something wrong and need to change, they threaten us with medication on our own in the review, in isolation.  That night I went to bed determined not to let anything come out of my mouth.  I fell asleep and had a nightmare that someone was hammering continuously on my door and I was shouting ‘please stop shouting at me’.  Somewhere between asleep and awake I wasn’t sure if I was actually shouting, and waking up I took myself in hand so that I wouldn’t verbally express the distress of my nightmare.  I felt like a child in an abusive situation who lies quietly in bed as they hear an abuser coming in the hope that if they are really quiet this time it won’t happen, and in fact I have been in that position many times on the ward, but it always does happen, because it is deliberate, but when I say it is happening I am told my belief is a symptom of mental illness.  It’s like a gagging mechanism.  This morning before 6am a man who had been on duty overnight came into the corridor talking loudly and making a sound like throwing up.  That is the kind of wake up we get every morning.  Staff shout, we can’t.  Staff shout at us, and threaten us if we get upset.  If I talk confidently about something I have seen as positive for me that is not ‘treatment’ related, staff nearby laugh in derision.  When they knock on my door they hammer.  They mimic, they walk past ignoring, sometimes with disdain on their faces.  I believe this is an expression of civil war.  Because I made my position clear I feel they have withdrawn service and support and are often deliberately opposing me.  The first time I heard bedding being offered to people I wasn’t offered any.  I had been there about a week.

When I first got there there was a lot of shouting and overt bullying.  I stood up for someone a couple of times.  The shouting has largely turned to boy scout behaviour and uproarious laughter.  A male nurse shouted at a patient outside the office once, went back in and closed the door and everyone in the office laughed loudly.  I thought it was inappropriate.  I have said to my psychiatrist that I don’t want medication and that some people used it for bullying and sadistic pleasure and that it turns into a grotesque theatre of subjugation.  Two nurses have said to me when shouting at me and having threatened me that they will be pleased when I am on medication (taking it for granted it is going to go that way with the SOAD) and that they will be there when I get the injection.  They will also use it verbally and cruelly at other times.  When they first said they wanted to restart the depot I told them I wanted it once a month not once a fortnight, because I know it is available and that I was limiting their access to me.  I have told them that if they force medication on me I won’t co-operate with them over anything else and that it will be an assault.

I was out on leave one evening and a couple of times I was so touched by people’s humanity and vulnerability that I wanted to break down and tell them what was happening.  I didn’t.  But on the way back I thought that I was being roughed up in the name of medicine, and that wanting to break down and tell complete strangers my story was evidence of that.  When I got back on the ward I was upset and told some of the patients what I was thinking.  I got more and more upset until I went to my room and gradually regained control of myself and went quiet.  After I had been quiet for ages I suddenly thought, ‘I’ve got shoe laces in here, and electrical cables.  I could have tried to harm myself, and no one cares to check if I am OK.  This is an acute ward, and they aren’t even checking that I am OK after being upset for ages then going quiet’.  I started shouting that and the male nurse on duty eventually walked past my door and yawned loudly and offensively.  At least, anyone else might have seen it that way, but when I told one of the nurses they said that might be just the way he is and he might not have been meaning to be offensive.  I’ve contacted the police several times since I have been here, including about this incident.  I was given a crime number for this incident.  I’ve heard nothing back.  I have said before and know it is true, that these people can get away with anything and are completely unaccountable because all they have to say is that I am a paranoid schizophrenic and that my perceptions are part of my illness.  I said to a patient the other day when we were talking about having to send our washing away and wait 2 days for its return and I’d been told sometimes things didn’t come back, that I hadn’t expected to be here so long anyway, and a nurse laughed as if it was a funny joke.  The man who says ‘my God’ around me laughed or said something contemptuously when another female patient said she had had enough and was going home.

The staff say things like ‘vain’ and ‘rude’, just throwing the words around, apparently.  They used to say ‘baby’, which seemed to be a stop word, or acted that way anyway.  I confronted it a couple of times and for now it has stopped, more or less.  I hear them talking about other patients by name, gossiping at and after meal times.  I am sure I get the same treatment, and one or two times domestics have had a hard time hiding their outrage at me when I’ve just been relaxed and normal.  On one of these occasions it was followed by an apparently untargeted ‘we all know’, after using the word ‘wee’ which has happened a few times recently.  Patients have started mimicking each other, and one commented that the staff mimicked me a lot, but if I say so it is my mental illness making me think that.  I’ve told my psychologist this and from what he said and my key nurse said, he is on my side.  The person using the word ‘vain’ was a man, and so was the one who angrily and derisively mocked my accent from the office, which I have been told never happened and that the fact I think it did is just more evidence that  need medication.  They look through my slats without speaking and I have said I feel like a lizard at a zoo.  None of this can be good for my mental health.  There are three patients they let shout at me or tear into me in other ways.  They don’t try to stop it or express any concern for me.  I used to like talking to the patients but I have withdrawn a lot now because of staff harassment.

I realised last week that I have been having strong urges to self-harm as a result of all this.  I won’t do anything about them but the urges have been there.  I’ve wanted to cut my hair, even thought about shaving my head.  I’ve wanted to run forks down deep into the flesh on my cheeks.  I’ve thought it would be a good thing if someone would whip me.  The other day I sat upset and rigid in a wooden-armed armchair in the multi-faith room.  I was upset because of something that had been said by a volunteer I had seen as a friend.  I realised I was wanting to self-harm and dissolved the emotion by saying the words quietly out loud as a realisation.  I thought about the electric chair.  I asked myself what would be the worst thing that could happen and I thought I might wet myself and defaecate and fry, but that would be all there was to fear, and it would all be over.  When things first started years ago I used to think a lot that I wanted to go to America and be executed judicially by lethal injection because everything was my fault and if I died everyone else would be free of the problems association with me seemed to bring on them.  Now I am correctly identifying urges of self-harm as a result of what people are doing to me and not my fault.  They don’t need medication, they need a change of situation.  Enforced medication is one of the things that adds to my feelings of hopelessness.

I’ve seen a lot of lookalikes from my present situation on the tv this weekend, and I noticed one woman noticing a lookalike of herself.  It’s the multiplicity and density that makes it unlikely to be coincidence.  I am sure the staff are aware of it and I think they are blaming me.  I have said it isn’t my responsibility to address it as I have been talking about it for years and having it put down to mental illness, and that it is their responsibility to approach me and say they think they might have made a mistake.  I feel I am being harsh and unreasonable, but if they won’t raise it with me and it has been rejected for 17 years . . . I hve said that people who resort to physical assault in the name of medicine have no right to tears around the people they treat that way, but I have started feeling responsible for their emotions and obligated to them.  I think that has been manipulated and what they are expressing at the moment is cruel and puerile cowardice.  I think the same of myself though.  I keep thinking it isn’t about feelings, it is about facts.  Being rude, vain, irritable etc are not evidence of mental illness and a need for medication.  I have been told I am paranoid schizophrenic because I believe that things related to me and my situations appear on the media and that I am being stalked and experiencing vigilantism bordering on and occasionally involving violence.  I see my time in hospital as one of these latter situations.  It is psychologically violent, physical assault.  I have said and meant that it is Nazism and scientific totalitarianism and that it is barbaric and brutal.  I have said I can’t trust people who will operate this way because it is an easy out and I think there is something wrong with them as humans that they cannot or will not see themselves as cruel and unreasonable, especially when someone says that other things help them.  I have said that I don’t want doctors taking serious risks with my physical health without my consent, risks that have been known to put people in wheelchairs as a result of ‘rare’ side effects.  If there is a risk like that, it isn’t right to say it is minimal to a person you are forcing medication on and denying them a right of refusal, while refusing to acknowledge that that person might be one of the people so affected.

I’m also afraid that even if they acknowledge they have been mistaken about this longstanding ‘reason’ for calling me mentally ill, they will shift their ground and insist on calling me mentally ill for other reasons which have arisen as a result of the constant bullying, untruthfulness, misrepresentations, etc, over the years.  I was up one night at 4 am and heard one of the male nurses up the corridor, a constant stream of ‘bastard’.  I have said they are employed to do a job and I have been there on my own time for over a year, but they come down hard on me and others if we swear, although swearing is a part of life.  Enough for now.  Oh yes . . .  My psychiatrist says the expressions on people’s faces don’t mean anything, then sits there with a provocative look on her own face.  A look passed between her and the clerk which knocked me out for the whole tribunal hearing, because I didn’t dare say anything.  I’ve started confronting this, talking about drama training and conveying thought process and feelings through facial expression.  I’ve also said most people disagree with her, and sometimes I have put it stronger than that.  Everything I say is put down to mental illness, everything said about me is used as fuel fir their invalidating, undermining and subjugating theories and decisions.  I have started saying that It is untruthfulness and dishonesty.  I said when first told I would be sued if I named people that it is a humanitarian obligation to name and shame these people, but I haven’t.  Sometimes I have felt guilty that I have protected myself by not writing at the expense of others who need me to speak.  Today I feel as if I am letting myself down and being dishonourable to the staff by writing.  And I’m scared because I’m not going to have an advocate this afternoon.  I have felt it is treated as a sign of weakness and validation of the staff if I don’t write, and also that it is a validation of their position and something they can blame and hate me for if I do write.  I’ve been hoping that if I don’t write they won’t medicate, but I feel they take advantage of my silence and will medicate anyway.  I feel that this strong feeling of certainty and relief that they won’t medicate if I don’t write is a true feeling from God to which I am being disobedient and that by writing I am not trusting God.

Poetry Please!

I wrote this in an idle moment at my work desk when I was about 26.  I wrote it to Jesus.  Some of it makes me cringe now.  Let’s not go there.  I thought I would take this moment to share it in full, as I can’t on Twitter!

And when I see the love in Your eyes
It melts my heart
And makes me wish
My love for You were deeper
For as I AM
You care for me
And by Your light
You set me free
Burn deeper
To the recesses that I’ve closed for years
Barriers of tears and fears
Let me look at You
And see the key
Your love and life
Enfolding me
And Your Kingship over me.

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A Philosopher's Blog

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