Tag Archive: Love


My Lord, What Love Is This?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 121 – Safety and Security

Psalm 121 King James Version (KJV)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Manchester Suicide Bombing

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

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

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

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

 

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

I Wonder. What If . . . .

I had one of my thoughts a few minutes ago.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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! 🙂

Have I Learnt Something?

Everyone knows the background and experience from which I am saying this, so I won’t go into it again.  I think I’ve learnt that MY life and the way I actually WANT to be treated doesn’t matter to ANYONE.  No one takes anything by faith, they want to see what THEY believe to be evidence first, and even then they insist on their own terms, hiding and justifying their crimes of stalking and corruption.  I’m scared to say this, I feel as if I am committing an indecency and outrage.  My heart is really soft, I’m always aware of my own failures and inconsistencies when I say something like this.  At some point in Church I was taught that we shouldn’t defend ourselves.  That confession of sin should be confession of sin and we should make no excuses.  One pastor, at least, said that as Christians we have no rights.  I suppose that must be ordinary Christians like me, not Church leaders, who seem to feel they have the right to twist and break the law in relation to me and maybe call it discipline, I don’t know what they are calling it anymore.  The expectation seems to be that they call and identify from their studios and platforms and I should respond.  Or are they deliberately trying to keep me alienated by continuing to do something they know I believe is holding onto their corruption and criminality towards me, as a mental patient in particular?  Are they just identifying me to others, in my hearing, should I choose to listen, and criticising my life to hide their own crimes?  Sometimes I really think so, that I think I matter too much if I actually think they are calling me by these methods.  Shouting out and bullying and cowering behind the trenches, wheedling and pleading, bitter, acrid, sugary, anything and everything except send an email or something that puts any power into my hands and takes any responsibility.  I have so many memories.  That’s just the Church, let alone secular media.  And those memories are added to daily.

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)

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

Pastiche

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.

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.

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.

A Time To Mourn

I read a post that was in Freshly Pressed yesterday, which said that the writer was not going to write because there is a time to stop and mourn, and that the Connecticut shootings were that time.  I agree with that, it was an awful tragedy.  So was the suicide of the nurse who took the hoax call, in the UK.  The question is, after we stop, then what?  There has to be a significant outcome to our stopping.

I have felt very selfish and unnatural for not stopping myself, and to be honest I find stopping hard fr something that has not directly affected me.  But hearing the news obviously made an impression and caused feelings of grief.  We don’t just recover from those after stopping briefly, do we?  Surely our lives and attention, our priorities and motivations,  have to take a different direction out of the stopping?

I cannot fight legitimately for my own life while ignoring the grief of others.  So if that grief touches me, what can I do?  As a homeless person on a section 3 in a residential rehabilitation unit of the NHS, awaiting accommodation?

But the point for me is that I have to learn to stop again, and acknowledge the stopping.

Jumble

WordPress has changed its presentation quite radically in its new presentation of Freshly Pressed.  I prefer the old ‘at a glance’ approach.  If I say something it is almost a guarantee that what I want isn’t going to happen in changing back.

I was thinking today that perhaps the reason for my dark thoughts and interpretations and presentations of my situation is the colour and design of my blog, and it might be time to get a new theme. Is the difference between bright and happy and dark and brooding the difference between child material and adult material?  I’ve been thinking I’ve been writing like a teenager with angst, writing dark things like someone trying to trip lightly.  Maybe the style I attempt is too light for the things I write about.

I watched an old play radio video today that I downloaded from Youtube.  4 hours of Tommy Boyd, but the lighting on his face was awful. It made it look as if he had white patches all over his face.  I am sure they could have done better than that, so why they didn’t I have no idea.

The door slamming isn’t stopping.  It is really making me feel ill.  I am lying pinned in terror and feelings of sickness to my bed.  It isn’t just the door slamming, it is the strangeness and contempt. Julie still refuses to talk to me.  I’d like to go and get a cup of tea but I am up here in almost constant shock and feelings of weakness and dread.  My own reactions have contributed to that as much as anything else.

I’m really confused, I don’t know what to do for the best.  The things I need to do I am not sure if I can do them adequately, like write new emails of complaint to Nottingham City Homes and the IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission).

Who am I writing for when I write my blog?  I don’t know any of my respondents. Who comprises my intended readership?  I am largely aware of my stalkers and their responses/criticisms.  A lot of the time I am trying not to sound stupid to them, or I will be made to feel stupid.

I’m thinking about my pastors and their almost caveman-like approach to me, as one of their lost goods and chattels. There is something about David in the Bible who, when enemies took the camp;s possessions, ‘pursued and overtook’ until he recovered everything.  It appears that my pastors’ interpretation of this justifies stalking in their minds.  I don’t think I am imagining it.  Actually, at the moment I do, or I would not need to say that.

I’m sick of church and the thought of it.  When I remember the treatment I got there, especially in the 90s, and the fact that no apology has been given into my hands, I don’t want to go back.  I just want to sleep.  I just want some peace and respect and security.  I want some love.  I never knew a father’s embrace, a peaceful, contented, quiet and still thing.  I don’t think I will find it with any Pentecostal men, I don’t think they would sully themselves or their consciences to give that kind of support and therapy.  But now I feel as if I am being childish and that at my age, even given my background, I shouldn’t need that.  But David kisses his daughter and lets her kiss him, his 40 year old daughter who shares my birthday (I never knew that until a week ago, but David has known it for years and not told me.  I wasn’t close to the family so didn’t ask, but he could have told me when he had my birthday during the radio programme days.  But he didn’t.  It would have been a nice, friendly thing to do.).  I feel I am betraying myself and them by putting this in my blog.  And I feel I am being ungrateful by interpreting a hand up as stalking and putting unwelcome requirements on me.

The last sermons posted on the Christian Centre site are 25th November, the day after my birthday and a failed attempt to go and see Tommy Boyd.  I think they are reading my blog and my communications to Tommy, with or without his permission and co-operation, and they are holding back sermons for weeks.  If they are stalking me I shouldn’t go back, but I have been wanting to for weeks.  I feel really sick.  I can’t get my head together for anything.   Going back feels like the right thing to do but stalking is harmful and against the law, whoever is doing it and whoever they team with.

I’m reminded of a line from a Philip Larkin poem, ‘My mind’s not right’.  I offered that as the key line in a poem in 6th form and it was accepted and affirmed.  That reminds me of when David affirmed my selection of the verse that says Saul was jealous of David, because the Lord was with him and not with Saul.  I’m not sure if thinking in terms of key lines and thoughts and verses is altogether helpful now, and I could wish those things had not been asked, let alone my answers accepted.

PS The man in the ‘cinematic baguette’ post that was freshly pressed soon after I published this does not look far away from Gordon Brown who reminds me of David Shearman.  I’m not sure what WordPress’s purpose was in that.

Sketches From the Bus

This man sat next to me on the bus the other day and I felt him breathing and it calmed me down. It was a good feeling,  I just remembered it because I am playing Neil Diamond on Napster, Sweet Caroline, where he says how can I hurt when I’m holding you.  Warm, touching warm.  My breathing came into time with his and I wished it was something that was a part of my life regularly.

Another man sat near me on the bus in a different day and my reaction was completely different.  Because he looked like David Pawson, who is or was a lot into male authority.  I’ve seen a couple of people who reminded me of him.  I wondered if I am missing something, not having a personal male authority.  The male authority is supposed to be loving and caring and enabling rather than dominating and restrictive.  Sometimes I wish I had one,  But I felt this man’s presence and decided I didn’t like it and when he got off the bus he looked me hard in the eye, which is what I get a lot here, and I said some men think every woman s theirs to look in the eye and it isn’t true, it is abusive. But I might have been the one who was being abusive, I thought afterwards, and the poor man might not have had all these ideas like David Pawson, whose model is partly the protection of the woman anyway.  Right doctrine is concerned with right behaviour, and I know that, at the moment, my hormones make me weaker than most men and in need of protection.  Obviously it can go wrong if it gets overprotective and restrictive.  A woman’s wishes matter.

God Is So Close He Is In Me

I just realised tonight that when I was trying to involve God in my need He was somewhere in a level above me hearing but not ‘with’ me as such.  I decided to experience Him closer and I began to feel stronger.  Eventually I got to my breath and not feeling quite able to breathe freely until I realised I can breathe because God is closer than my breath.  He is there supporting it.  Then I moved on to I can care as well as breathe.

I thought afterwards that some confident atheists might just experience it as their sole selves without any need to refer to God.  That isn’t me though.  For me it is about having God with me.  God with me.  Not someone else or my supreme self-confidence.  The question is how much are other people involved in my experience of this?  Does that experience have to go further than just the values and wishes of my mind?  It is largely out of past experience of practising the presence of God, but what I felt this time and understood went deeper than I think I have known it before.  And it started from realising that I was wrong to put God somewhere above me.

A Taste of Freedom

I went to the Pizza Express in King Street today.  I started off with dough balls with Chardonnay, which I didn’t like much at first (the Chardonay) but it grew on me.  I wasn’t going to have anything else but I ended up having a Fiorentina, spinach, cheese, black olives, egg.  Something snapped inside me.  I felt very drunk but I knew it was just a severe emotional problem.  I’m not mentally ill, I just have severe emotional problems.  Apart from anything else I am 14 months homeless now, coming up 15  months.

I feel emotionally wrecked.  I thoroughly enjoyed what I ate.  They say food is an emotional experience and it was for me.  It was great to have egg, and I sat there thinking I could just go vegetarian.

Maybe I have seen too much militant vegan stuff.  Freedom, real freedom, is the freedom not to harm.  I can’t cope anymore.  I have been vegan for over four years now and my experiences in Bulgaria didn’t break me.  Perhaps because I could get some really nice seitan there.  But homelessness in the UK began to break me ages ago with things as small as using the room milk and eating the biscuits in hotel rooms.  Also the tricks and judgmentalism of the vegan providers in the UK.  I feel completely spent.  I’m so tired, and I have to present every day for a drug caled aripiprazole.  I am experiencing tardive dyskenesia, facial muscle twitches.  Your face expresses what is going on in yor mind, and my mind’s normal working is being interfered with by this drug.  I’m in a house now and feeling suppressed and bullied.  I don’t feel as if I am allowed to sing, and they have complained about my music.  I feel as if the bad relationship is my fault.  Music and singing is part of my self-healing.  I feel completely desperate.  I really want to come off my section and off the drugs.  The best thing about this house is that I can cook for  myself.  But I had more freedom to play my music on Redwood 2 than I do here.  I’m writing stuff to Tommy Boyd which I have been taught to believe.  I do believe it.  It doesn’t make things feel better though.  I’m in love with him, or the idea of him, I swear.  The house is part of another in-patient ‘ward’.  I feel I owe him the best I can give him, and to value his best towards me.

Striking Poses

Here’s one: because I am getting on in years I am entitled to some of the luxuries of life, and to establish the lifestyle I have always wanted.

Yesterday coming home – sorry, back to the hospital; I must be getting institutionalised – I thought that was a lie put out by pension and financial investment providers.  We aren’t entitled to anything just because we are getting older and feel we have always been entitled to it.  Not even respect and facilitation of the lifestyle we would choose for ourselves.

Is that true?  Is that really true?  Because at the moment it feels such a desolate thing to say and believe.

To bring it back to my situation, I am being told that they want to transfer me under my present section to shared housing which comes under another hospital.  I have chosen, by default or otherwise, to live on my own. Knowing the kind of harassment I have had towards me in places I have lived, I am afraid of it springing up in my actual living space and turning really nasty, maybe even dangerous.  We, I and my proposed housemates, are not people who could expect to be taken seriously if we said what was happening, because I, at least, am not being taken seriously by the psychiatrist now.  I am getting tired.  I would like some peace and protection and safety on my own terms.

But I’m not entitled to it just because I am aging.  Or am I?  Have older people, like myself (I will be 52 next week) been demeaned a little bit too far?  There we are, I am striking a pose again.  I am tired, I am grief-stricken, I am menopausal.  Is a safe and peaceful living space, and a little respect and self-determination, too much to want and aim for?  What is this third age?  Is it a new age of helplessness?

Yesterday, Today . . . Forever???

Yesterday I had my managers’ hearing, and they decided to keep me on a section 3 and ignored everything I had to say, though they took a good long time over their decision.

Spoke to John Butterworth, Benefits etc adviser, today.  He was nice and friendly and reasonable and helpful.

At 5pm, dinner time, today, Annie came and said that Dr Malik wanted to talk to me about a Section 206.  Not knowing what it was, I was scared.  Turned out that it was to tide them over the period where the 2nd opinion doctor is overdue, so they can medicate me without my consent.  First he asked me if I would consent and I said no, that I was only taking oral medication because otherwise I would be really treated like just an animal, and that forcing medication onto non-consenting people was more akin to veterinary medicine than anything to do with humans.  He said they would use a Section 206 then, and I said that was his choice, which it is.  I hope one day before I die they will be brought to book for all this.

I didn’t get to open the reports for yesterday’s meeting until after it had happened, because I didn’t know what they were when I got them on my bed just before going in.  I am wondering why things seem to be going the same way as they went in London where I always got the papers an hour before the meeting, when for the tribunal I had here I got the papers in good time.

The Trial

I am sitting in a first class carriage to London and have just finished reading the chapter called ‘The Uncle – Leni.

At this stage I think K is completely boring and self-absorbed, and I have more sympathy for the Uncle and the advocate and the director, and nervousness for K.  Leni’s approach to K’s situation is almost religious, if not entirely so ‘you have to acknowledge your guilt, you can’t argue, remedy your faults’.  I find myself feeling like this quite a lot, in most confrontational situations, that there is an element, an overriding element, that just wants to say sorry and make peace.  I’m confusing myself here.  Personal and class interest, class as in class action.  I’m not sure how much I can realistically give ground if I am to come out of this with any sense of self that I recognise.  An apology wouldn’t lead very far with people who are determined to see me as mentally ill.  It wouldn’t ultimately help.

Etc.

The Trial  So far K has been visited on by people in his flat telling him he is being tried but no crime has been cited.  So he is confused and paranoid and evasive of proper legal action.  He is playing detective and is trying to be self-reliant.  My copy has a quotation on the back from a Daily Telegraph review which says ‘This compelling, prophetic novel anticipates the insanity of modern bureaucracy’.

Pro Choice

In All In the Mind, BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday, they were talking about a new venture in Manchester where patients who would traditionally be treated with anti-psychotics, or anti-psychotics and talking therapies, are being treated with CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) alone.  The programme has several testimonials that this is working for those people.  It acknowledges that it doesn’t work for everyone, but that neither do drugs work for everyone, and stresses that it is about choice, which it says the NICE guidelines say should  be given to everyone diagnosed with schizophrenia.  The programme acknowledges that while the NICE guidelines say this, many people diagnosed with schizophrenia are not given this choice.

There is a bit near the beginning about the USA presidential elections. It lasts a short while and the above follows it.

I didn’t know about the NICE guidelines.  Maybe the team here interprets them as meaning you should be given a choice of medication.  My situation has not felt right to me for a long time.  The only choice I have been given, which is no choice at all, is oral or injection.  I am being forced to take drugs.  As I have said before, literature on our boards says that this trust does not tolerate bullying, fear and other such things.  I quoted this to the doctors and they didn’t care.  One of them talked about me being abusive when my speech became heated, totally blind, so it seemed, to what they were doing to me.

The decision makers at Highbury Hospital think they don’t have to be nice, or that niceness is all right for moving on, once the abusive decision has been made and is being enforced.  They should not be moving on like that regardless and without me.  If I am living in unreality, it is their unreality that I am being required to live in.  That one unacceptable little thing which I am visited with twice a day.  These people are not trustworthy.

How Useful is Philosophy?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

20.09.2012 One Year Homeless

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

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

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

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

Society Aggressively Anti-Christian

Said the pope on his visit to Britain.

I think I can see what he meant.

While I’ve been in Nottingham, particularly, everyone who passes me shouts ‘Oh my God’.  Well, not everyone, obviously, but enough people for it to be remarkable.  I sat in a pub last night to use the internet and people were asserting themselves at the beginning of conversations saying ‘oh my God’ loudly in the usual tone I’ve become used to.  It is like spiritual rape and burglary.

I sat in Starbucks the other night and they were playing songs about grace and mercy and sorry and things.  I am sitting in Caffe Nero now and the songs have the same feel with open use of Christian/religious references.  One of them just said something about don’t preach about morality.  There was a song that said something about ‘nothing short of a divine intervention’, at which the person behind the counter tapped, then tapped again a few seconds later – aural interventions.  He said something to someone about ‘they just accept it that is how it works/we pass it off’ or something like that.

They are messing around with their own oral output as well.  I feel sick.  I feel seasick.  Because it is marking every place I go to in my own mind.  Moments when I doubt/think are marked by fluffed speech.  These people are unscrupulous, money-grabbing thugs.

While there are some people in society who might be doing this stuff stupidly and innocently and naively, not everyone is.  I came in here for a cup of coffee and to use the internet.  It seems to me these people are playing spiritualism games.  I’ve hardly been able to think.  I’m sitting here with my earphones in, with no audio on, because I don’t want any because I need to write an email.  I only put my earphones on in the first place to try to escape this spiritual distraction, this domination and power game, this grabbing innocent and vulnerable people by the throat.

It got me thinking about J K Rowling and the fact that she is supposed to be a Christian, and has said that that is what drives her work.  Some people have leapt on to that as if it is reliable truth.  Perhaps the same people who, if an American politician said it, would express open doubt and say it was a cynical statement to win votes.

I was embarrassed when I first saw that J K Rowling said she was a Christian.  I haven’t read her books, that is true, I only know what has been made of them by the film industry.

But as a Christian, and someone who is involved unwillingly in and adversely affected by the phenomenology accompanying society’s present behaviour, I have to say that I believe drawing on witchcraft and wizardry for your stories is completely un-Christian and anti-Christian in fact and effect.  J K Rowling, and her advisers, if she has them, and I suppose she must have, are not naive.  They have played on the lure of the supernatural to create their millions.  I know that in Deuteronomy 18 in the Bible it speaks against witchcraft.  I can’t see how an honest Christian, who must have been made aware of this and heard the criticism since she started writing, if not before, can have continued against it and in spite of it.

But this selling thing in Caffe Nero.  It is violently aggressive in tone, challenging, superior in vocalisation.  It is absolutely deliberate.  I find myself wondering what training these people have had both for the job and away from the job. It sounds viciously cynical and destructive and potentially violent.  The people who use it use it for psychological attack and are effective in that way if no other, but it seems to me there is more to it than that.  There are waves.  Maybe these people deliberately create the waves.  There is also a mirroring in their tone of voice, which goes all over the place, of every change in my  mind’s approach to a problem or question.  If I get upset they approach me with fake assumed innocence.  I have been in enough of these places to know it isn’t a one off.  Some people near me just got up to leave and I was physically afraid to be left on my own here with the staff.  Every strong thought I own someone goes (approximation) ‘erwerawerawera’.  Deliberately fluffing their speech. It isn’t clever but not only that, where I am sitting it is frightening.  I paused in my mind to give them the benefit of the doubt and one of them laughed quietly.

I have said this before, they have taken my money, they are offering internet use.  But they are so competitive I can’t see how anyone can concentrate who has something they need to work on.  If they are going to be rubbishing around like that is it MY duty to ask them if they are ok, and to consider that I might have got things backwards?  I need to write an essential email of complaint.  I have nowhere private I can go to do it.

Is this just Nottingham feeling so inferior they are trying to put on what they see as London slick, or what?  Also, I believe deliberate practitioners of occultism can successfully project thoughts that present as your own to express.

Or am I personally just so far out of the loop that I am making up these explanations for these strange and hurtful and inconvenient occurrences?

They back off then start all over again, this time or next.

Further Observations from Today’s Post

I’m listening to Michael Mish, Conversations With God.  I put it on to write in the library, but as soon as  I started to listen to it I didn’t want to write anymore, and it felt as if that was all I needed for everything to be all right with the world.  Is that all I’ve been missing, all I needed, in my hospital world, for everything to be OK?  Or would I have felt undermined in that also?

I was in the park this afternoon and had tea which was meant to be lunch.  I said I felt surrounded by ugliness.  But perhaps that is because I’m not going to the park, I’m going into town, where everyone looks at me and makes comments, and I’m sometimes not sure if the comments are meant for me or not.

I think Michael Mish would not make a lot of difference to my existence.  I think the importance of his music to me would be patronised away.  I wish it had been different.  I lost all my belongings on the night of the Occupy St Pauls eviction, including my computer.  If I had had it it would have had all my music on and my temporary tenancy might not have gone so badly.

I don’t want to feel calm and pacified and happy as I do listening to this, because there were other things I wanted to say that I forgot.

Like yesterday Alison said that racism wouldn’t be tolerated and the police would be called in.  It felt like the time when my brother and sister decided to gang up and throw stones at me when we were small, and my dad smacked them when they came in after keeping me inside drawing because I was upset, then he said he would do the same to e if I did anything like that.  First they stoned me then my dad said he would smack me as well, if necessary.

I’m confused.  But everything I say gets negated if I say anything, so blogging and the complaints system feels like the only way forward.  I daren’t say I’m sorry and I daren’t say you’ve hurt me.  Pride?  Fear?  Justified or not?  In an ordinary relationship it might be a bit clearer than it is in a place where they insist I am mentally ill.  Perhaps it wouldn’t mean much to anyone.  The touchstone and the handover information from recent and distant past would still be the same.  But  I am sure that to some degree I am as addicted to writing as they are to calling me mentally ill.  I will betray anyone, even myself.  I will cause all kinds of problems for myself rather than not write.  I feel as if I am not giving myself or anyone else a chance.

While I wasn’t writing I was thinking things like all facts are for interpretation, and how you work with them affects their outcome.  If you approach them with love and through love it is better than if you try to expose people.

A practical thing about the ward is that there are no full length mirrors, and the mirrors we have in our rooms – well, mine is so high I can only see down to my nose.  And it is warped.  The mirrors in the bathrooms are as well.  I’ve been thinking that not even having an accurate idea what you look like is not good for you, especially under such circumstances.  I was wondering if I am just betraying my vanity.  I used to think that the best mirror is the eyes of other people.

Tommy Boyd used to say as well that living in bedsits was bad for people’s mental health.  I suppose it is, but plenty of rich and privileged people have mental health problems as well and commit suicide.  I used to think that if the people were nice you could live happily anywhere.  After all, I recently experimented with a tent and was looking forward to tent dwelling for a few months, the adventure of it.  I know it could have worked and, in principle, I could have been happy that way.

Back to the mental health system.  They don’t say they are sorry for the major stuff that hurts but try to carry on regardless but still call you mentally ill.  I was thinking the other day that, when they are talking about an imbalance of the brain, which brain have they been using as the ideal and the model of perfect balance?  Are we designed to live in perfect balance unto ourselves?  I read a book ages ago about temperaments and thought I had left it behind in my thinking.  Temperaments and personality types.  How they all fit together in a loving respectful relationship.

It isn’t fair anyway to be talking about imbalances in the brain while leaving intolerable situations unaddressed.  One of the problems is said to be that the brain produces ‘too much’ dopamine. Why would the brain do that?  Dopamine is a problem solving chemical.  It releases too much dopamine when it is trying to deal with an unsolvable problem.  If a problem is supposed to be the responsibility of the authorities and the authorities are not doing their job, no wonder a problem is unsolvable.  Or if a person is working with insufficient information.  For example, the mental health authorities treating me as a risk without having told me that I had been untruthfully reported to have chased a neighbour up the street with a knife.  I was accused of things by neighbours who said that cannabis was OK in their house as far as they were concerned, who looked through the slats of my blinds to see what I was doing in my kitchen when the flat was in silence and before doing so said ‘what is she doing in there?

In spite of all that I am still going to continue to be handled by them as if I have a mental health problem and might be a risk.  So if the same situation arises in the community again I have no confidence that I can report it without being considered to be experiencing auditory hallucinations.  Certainly not without feeling so degraded by the prejudice I would encounter by the things that have been said about me that living with the problem would almost have been better.

There is a very sharp voiced manageress lady here who is having a business meeting in the lounge rather than in an office.  I have Napster up as loud as it will go but every time I get a wind of where I want to go her voice penetrates.  It is a little too sharp and a little to high to feel natural or comfortable.  I am among spiritual and mental magpies again.  She always conducts her business meeting in the lounge in this way.  The other week she and her colleague even conducted a job interview right in front of me with no apparent regard either for me or the interviewee.  I have never felt more as if people are trying to tell me I am not important, or not welcome.  It is really embarrassing and uncomfortable for me, as I am not doing a good job containing and hiding my distress.  Hence another rambling post that says nothing very deeply.  I am wondering if I am ever going to be free to write as it comes to me, or if I am always going to have to make do with the approximation I am permitted?  It makes me think that maybe I shouldn’t be writing at all.  If frustration is all I am going to encounter I wish I wasn’t writing, especially when it is so important to me to communicate well.  I am wondering if they can hear a certain flow developing in my typing ad are reacting to that.  That is how it appears.  I think they are trying very rudely to get rid of me.  They must have an office for their meetings.  It is the Mercure on George Street.  I’ve been embarrassed here before.  The woman on reception is very perfunctory in her welcome and looks down at the desk.

I was thinking about the racism thing and feeling Alison had a point and that I had missed an opportunity to deal with an issue. I don’t know if I am right or not.  I can’t think here.  They are going right on, not apologising or recognising my distress or offering to move into an office.  They are being really rude.  It is like wave after wave of provocative, spiritual sludge, deliberate.  As soon as I started to type again after a break of a few minutes she started to raise her voice even more.  My audio is right up.  It feels like deliberate sabotage.  As someone who is paying for a drink here and use of the internet I shouldn’t have to approach them.  My frustration and discomfort are obvious.  I feel as if I am being grabbed by the throat all the time.

This Moment IS

The staff on the ward have found my blog, without me giving them the address but saying angrily a few times that I was going to blog.  The ward manager collared me twice, once quite softly and the second time in a way which made me feel they wanted to take my computer and my leave away.  The second time she approached me with 2 other female staff members and in public.  She said she wanted to talk about my use of my computer on the ward.  I said it was music and that I have no internet connection on the ward.  She asked me quite crossly where I wrote my blog and how I wrote it and I pointed out that I have 5 1/2 hours total off the ward and I go where I can get a connection and that I have the same freedoms as everyone else in that time.  They said they did not like having their names associated with certain things.  I said that I have things associated with my name which I don’t like also, and that they were free to write or comment.  It was probably in that context that she said that it was a matter of confidentiality, but I took it to mean that she was saying I was breaking a duty of confidentiality which I was quick to point out that I do not have but that they do.  They talked about seeking advice.  I said OK.  I hope if and when they do the outcome will make a big difference in society and for people who are held against their wishes and with other forms of abuse, harassment and bullying thrown in.

This is good.

They saw me coming towards the office/ward exit this afternoon and it seemed to me they deliberately closed the office door and I stood outside knocking with them ignoring me.  This happens often.  The staff last night were calling people rude.  I’m not sure who they meant.  At the time it seemed it was obvious they meant me.

2 nights ago a woman had 2 separate instances of being forcibly medicated.  Hefty men called and involved, on an all-female ward.  If anyone knows how that is appropriate I would appreciate the feedback through comments.  She said they had hurt her hand and it was all swollen and red.  I know I have been there, in London.  It took 6 months for my hand to stop hurting, and the man doing it at the time, when I said he was hurting me, said ‘well, you will learn your lesson, then, won’t you?’  I was never contemptuous of my own life until I felt betrayed by the church and came under the psychiatric services.

We appear to have a large degree of revolt and anarchy on the ward at the moment.  Everyone is angry and the staff are, to my mind, often unprofessional.  Everyone knows what is happening but the staff say nothing, and I think most of us patients know they know more than they are allowing us to be party to and that, if we were allowed to be party to the staff’s knowledge of what everyone knows, a lot of things might be called into question.  Just a thought.

This blog is exactly what it says in the title, that and nothing else – the thoughts and observations of a certified nut.  Why would anyone want to seek advice over that?

Did I say that I had had a bad week as a vegan last week?  I was tempted again earlier this week but I talked myself through it.  I went through the ‘so I’ll feel guilty’ bit and realised afresh that it is about the suffering or death or utilisation of an animal in a way which is not ideal.  I decided we are different from most of the animal world in that we have a conscience and can think, philosophise and moralise about our behaviour.  I had tears in my eyes as I thought it through.  I was happy about that.  It is about the animal and about me, living according to my light.

Jesus is wonderful and I love Him.  He ate fish.  I’m not sure how to harmonise that.  It is said that the prophets were vegetarian and that the Essenes were also.  And I believe it is right not to use animals.  So I can’t deal with the Jesus and fish thing – not at all, in that context.  I think I was taught at Bible College that John the Baptist was an Essene.  So while they might have said ‘but Jesus ate fish so it isn’t wrong’, why would John the Baptist have lived by a higher morality?  We were told that when it says JTB ate locusts, it actually means the locust bean, and not the insect.

These places are awful.  They see the expression of fear or anger or like emotions as things demanding to be medicated, not as an opening to a meaningful conversation with another human being.  Very roudy lady on the ward at the moment.  Threw a few things around, was screaming last night.  She has my sympathy,  The quality of some screams make you want to go to the person and help them.  She came in trying to be friendly, placatory, I suppose, but before long she was screaming.

I was thinking that they lock us up in these places in an enforced codependency.  They want us to be like them, and insofar as we are not, and the authorities can be made to look as if they permit us to be treated this way, they lock us up until we are a bit more like them, or whoever else it was that wanted to get us sectioned.  I can’t even spell this word, but it is a form of eugenics.  Tommy Boyd had some conversations on the radio about this subject.

I was thinking today that, if Tommy had confidence in me way back then and he is, as he has said, anti all the labelling of ordinary human behaviour and emotions as mental illness – if he had confidence in me and I didn’t respond as he had hoped, it might be right that I recognise that I have contributed to suffering and suicide over all the time I have been listening to him, which might have been prevented.  If these places are, as I keep saying, the UK’s concentration camps.

I have mixed feelings, always, about this.  Today there was a story about someone being force-fed because she did not have the capacity to make a decision herself. These are the kinds of stories which make me stop and think that maybe the psychiatric profession as we know it is necessary, even for those of us who are unwilling, because our fear of something so emotive and identity-challenging as being called mentally ill blinds us to the necessity of the treatment plans enforced.

If that is right then bang goes my assertion that medicine without consent is not medicine, ad that these places should only be fore people who are there voluntarily and no coersion should ever be used.

Maybe this is and should be a different issue from the incessant inconsistencies of application of policy and procedure within the institution, and the cruelty, contempt and violence, psychological and otherwise.

I don’t know.  There have been plenty of times that I have wanted to scream in distress and anger but have not dared for fear of the ‘consequences’.  I put that word in inverted commas, because so often I have heard parents say that children need to be taught that undesired behaviour has consequences, by which they mean a forfeit or a pnishment, sometimes physical.  If the consequences of behaviour are not inherent in the behaviour anything negative a person says is necessary for the offender to feel is not direct from the behaviour and therefore has nothing to do with it.

I’m tired.  I know there is more I want to write but I can’t think at the moment.

I talked to someone at a day centre in Chichester once, asking her if she knew of Tommy Boyd.  She said she didn’t like him and had heard him say that all psychiatric patients should be locked up.  I have a problem with this because I don’t know what to think of it.  I didn’t hear him say it.  And he has often said he sometimes says things to be provocative.  I didn’t hear him say it.  And he has had access to some of the essays I wrote for my English degree.

I keep being angry and ashamed, at the moment, of the ‘fact’ that I have been so arrogant and conceited towards Tommy, thinking he was taking from me rather than that he was representing to me what I had already learned, and also things of his own.  My heart twists when I think how hard he was trying to communicate with me and needing my co-operation.  Then I remember that the reason I have wanted to go it alone, as it were, was that I didn’t want this issue to be decided on gifts and abilities or social standing or connections. I didn’t want to be heard in the psychiatric situation because of who or what was on my side.  I wanted to be considered level and equal with the least gifted and the least desirable, because to fight this issue any other way is just another form of eugenics, in someone’s favour rather than against them.  From the start I have said and meant that I don’t want to be a hero (how can I be, there are areas of my life which are too awful to permit that, though I hear that the great Gandhi used to beat his wife).  I don’t want a statue erected to my part in the downfall of UK’s concentration camps.  I don’t want a foundation in my name, or my name in history for anything to do with any of this, should this great and necessary work be successful.  Because that perpetrates a mentality which says in the face of such awfulness ‘we need another (whoever)’ ‘there is nothing we can do, we don’t know enough about it, no one will listen to us, we know but we can’t do anything’.

I’m not special.  I love it when I feel I am, I feel happy and energised.  But I know that no awfulness anywhere is going to be stopped by maintaining the belief that we need to depend on the emergence of a special person.  If anyone is special, it is the people who are making me feel special.  I hope I wouldn’t be just a stepping stone along the way.  I want to be in the truck that swings the demolision ball for the whole system of coersive medicine.  I’m a Christian.  One special person, to me, did something decisive 2 millenia ago, and the Bible says that he took the keys of death and hell at that moment, and told the rest of us to do the work.

I was thinking about George Orwell’s book 1984 as well.  Where, at the end, after the ultimate betrayal of each other (so the book presents it) in wishing their own greatest nightmares on each other when faced with them physically, they pass each other without acknowledgment, the male protagonist hears the voice of ‘Big Brother’, still surrounded by his images on hoardings and everywhere, and weeps as he realises that he loves Big Brother, and that is where it ends.

I’ve always felt that to be awful and tragic, brainwashing.  That is how Orwell wanted it to be seen, isn’t it?  A very pessimistic outlook on falling into the loving arms of Big Brother and returning the love.  I was taught about the unreliable narrator.  Surely the most unreliable narrator can be the writer him or her self.

I have been ‘loving’ my Big Brother recently, who is all around me and inescapable.  Is it the government, or the media, or a combination?  If it is a combination, what happens when they fall out of love?  If they love me now, what happens when they stop loving me?  The book ended on this broken man’s realisation that he loved Big Brother. It didn’t take us any further than that, though there would have been a further to go in his life.  Is the purpose of the book just to show and present a picture of the effects of torture and brainwashing and leave it there and let the rest of us pick it up and deal with it?

Does Big Brother love me?  Who does Big Brother love?  The political Big Brother is not the same from age to age, with the same agenda.

If we are, in the positive sense, Big Brother to each other, who or what is keeping us apart?

Wow, So Busy (in my head)

I’ll make time to draft tonight and post tomorrow.  At least now I have my own laptop again and can draft it offline in the privacy of a room which is not going to disappear!

One comment only:

I wrote everything about the deaths and everything to my psychiatrist. She still decided I was section 3 material and I have received no support following my letter, certainly not any based on the content of my letter, which people who know my blog is personally sensitive, and I asked her if she considered herself responsible for the information I have given her, and she said no.  My immediate response to that was to thank her for that piece of information.

Wrote to my uncle, am now in touch with my sister again.  Wrote to Tommy Boyd, but not with this, have to clear my flat by Friday, they decided I don’t have a close enough connection in my uncle.  That was before they knew I had a sibling here, and before I did, because I didn’t know where she was, but she told me that our uncle had been accepted as a link in her case.

Does the plot thicken,or have the rules changed?

I’vehad nothing in writing about anything, just threats of getting rid of my stuff, on the phone, if I didn’t turn up with basically an hour’s notice.

Love you, you-know-who.  It feels so delusional I daren’t even say your name with that statement.

I??? Think???

Ever tried to write without any kind of privacy in a world where everyone always seems to react to you?

I’m back in hospital in Nottingham.  Section 2.  I’ve been thinking it is more like a boot camp than a place where people can heal, and people are the best managers of their own healing, I think.

Not much time.  I get 2 hours out twice a day.  Having tried to work my way through the anger of impatient and clever-clogs librarians and twitterers, I have 13 minutes left of my original 30.

People want me to come into line, but if I come into line with what I have, they would reject me, orsomething which to me would be meaningless.  So why can’t people just respect my privacy and my right to be who I am in the first place without using their job to do whatever it is they are trying to do which is, in my opinion, in breach of that?

What else was I going to say?  I started off with so much rthat shoulod have filled so much time, now I can’t think how to fill the time I have left.

I was on the bus just now.  Saw a man who looked like Gordon Ramsey.  I wondered if he knew or had been told or if that was what he was trying for.  Then I had a thought I might have had before.  If someone is trying to look like someone else, they might not be happy with who they are.  So saying to someone ‘do you kinow you look like . . . ?’ is not a very helpful thing, even and especially if that is what they are trying to do.  I decided I would not say to people again, with a pleasurable smile on my face ‘you look like . . .’, because even if that gave them satisfaction, it would be satisfaction in the wrong thing, and it wouldn’t last long, because they are not that person.

I decided any pleasurable comment about a person should be about who they are, not who they remind you of.  Also they might be sick of being told they look like someone else and feel about this the same way that I am writing now.  That they want to be a pleasure, or affirmed, for who they are, and not who they remind you of.  At root that is what everyone wants, whether they know it or not.

4 minutes left.  Time to tag and run.

Another Home, Another . . .

She keeps screaming hallelujah, day and night, several times a minute during the day, they are violent . . . talk about deja vu!  I’ve written to the council.

Guess who is feeling responsible again?

Someone knocked on my door this afternoon.  Twice.  It was an official-sounding knock but no one spoke or announced themselves, so I don’t know who it was.  I’ve decided not to do deja vu on the way I treat knocks at the door.  If they don’t announce themselves as police I won’t automatically assume they are or act out of a knee jerk feeling that they are.  I’ve decided not to answer the door if I’m not expecting anyone and I don’t know who it is.  If they say they are the police I will answer, but I am still nervous.  I never know what decisions they are going to make about me and I am scared.

They can hear my radio when I have it on, a small DAB radio.  She hallelujahs at the end of every song, and every time a song mentions baby they are they conferring together saying ‘hmm, yes’.  I’m trying not to panic, but in the circumstances it is hard.  I’m more afraid of the authorities than I am of them.

I’ve got temporary council housing in Nottingham.  I’ve been in it for 2 weeks, I don’t know if they are going to house me permanently and if it would mean a change of address if they do.  I’ve been under pressure to collect my belongings for ages and have just learned that an estimate given by a removal man’s business friend in storage was very underestimated.  I was violently ejected off a campsite in Wales by an ex-police owner.  Almost 3 weeks later and the bruise on the inside of my arm is almost vanished.  My uncle lent me money which I decided to use for breathing space rather than make a decision under pressure to enter into a contract.  The campsite owner kept all my belongings and the camping equipment I had just bought, saying I didn’t own anything anymore.  I think I left with just the clothes I had on.  I had told him that one of his staff had touched me and been harassing me, and instead of dealing with it responsibly and professionally, he dealt with it that way.  I’ve asked twice for a social worker and heard nothing.  The council here knows what is happening, I have told them.

All told I feel sick with apprehension and embarrassment.  I reported the campsite incident to the police in Swansea, under the misapprehension that Neath came under Swansea.  All told I was there from around 4pm to around 11.30pm, and while I was in the interview room I was treated like a circus act and barracked and heckled from officers in nearby rooms, and they were laughing.  They were getting all the dirt they could about me and letting me hear it, and when I joked about my wellies from Tescos being a bit too tight for me because my right leg was too fat with a couple of the female officers, one of the male offcers said ‘that’s more like it, a friendly joke, not assaulting a police officer’, as though he had a right and that was the whole story and as if he did not know the abuses I have been through myself in my life.

I’m frightened of the police and mental health services, and I have asked the council for support I haven’t received or had the request acknowledged, at least I have received no letter.  My mobile phone was among the things the campsite owner kept hold of.  I can’t afford another right now.  I’m wondering if this situation is going to be used again to frighten me with mental health admissions.  I’ve already had several assessments in the last few months where it was decided I didn’t need to be in hospital, but not having any money or security and having my stuff taken from me left right and centre and another bout of 24 hour harassment is freaking me out.  Because before, in London, they said it was all in my mind and kept putting me under a section.

The woman I last spoke to at the council seemed to be trying to be understanding and sympathetic and human, but I have heard nothing and I don’t know what is happening or what decisions are being made and why.  I have told them so much which historically has been used to section me.  And people are reacting all over the place, as before.  It seems as if everyone has an expectation that I should tell them everything.  I’m thinking about the people’s courts under communism.  It is really terrifying, not least because I don’t feel free to express how offensive I find it.  If you confront people with their behaviour they can get really nasty.  They like to pretend they are not doing anything.

I think I’ve got £15 until next Thursday.  I made sure I topped up my bus pass for a week so I can get around.  I’ve got a fair amount of food.  I feel crazy with pain and fear and anger I daren’t express, and not knowing.

But my neighbours seem nice.  I feel treacherous and stupid.  I haven’t lived in Nottingham for ages, and I don’t know what is normal and what isn’t.

As I said in my letter to the council which, all being well, they should get tomorrow, I keep feeling as if it is me that is being perverse.  I’m wondering if she has learning difficulties, but sometimes it feels like a complete wind up, and as always, her timing is impeccably uncanny.  I’m not sure of the spiritual mechanics of it, but it is.

Sometimes they seem really nice, and one of the guys up there seems emotionally upset by it all.

I’ve told the council we need help and support.  I said we, not just I.  I haven’t heard a thing.  It is a week ago.  She said she ‘insisted’ that I stop reacting as I was breaching the terms of my contract.  But after agreeing with her, I now feel and believe that the terms of the contract were not written to inhibit understandable human reactions from people who are in a situation like this one.  But I did agree, saying also that if I agreed to stop then we needed support. . .

I’m frightened of the police.  I feel I have to go through a charade with them to communicate and try to get help, and it feels humiliating, because I often feel they are being deliberately ride and obstructive when I try.  I have so much anger built up, and I often hear them getting details on me and the fact that I have a history with the mental health services.  I know that is meant to help them have some idea how to assist, but it usually doesn’t feel as if that is what it is for at the time.  I always see it as a threat when they start talking in those terms, even though rationally I believe now that seeing it that way is a mistake.

But if their idea of helping me is to refer me to mental health services . . . that is what I am frightened of.  Their own conditioning which they act on without question and resent it if I question it.  I am frightened of the powers they have which I cannot resist.

I miss Max.  I’m really upset.  I liked him and felt as if I could trust him from the first time I heard him speak.  I’ve not stopped thinking about him, but it is now over a month that I walked away feeling unable to cope.  I didn’t mean to stay away at the time.

Good Point, Melvyn Bragg

Why DID Jesus tell the disciples to take a sword and say ‘it is enough’ when they said they had two?  What did they need them for?  We aren’t told they used them.  I heard that and thought my whole anti-war argument was demolished.  I felt really embarrassed and wrong.  So did Jesus’ teaching contradict itself?  Did Jesus require obedience, or did he teach by tests and by allowing people to discover themselves to themselves?  He said ‘if you love me, keep my commandments’, so what commandments are we to keep? ‘Render to no man evil for evil but overcome evil with good’, or ‘take a sword’?

On Thursday morning I felt I had a moment of painful but completely cohesive understanding.  The writer of Hebrews (who I thought of as Paul, even though I know many if not most scholars reject that, but I had forgotten, so most of what I was thinking falls in regard to Paul) says in Hebrews 6:4-6 that it is impossible for someone who has tasted of the heavenly gift, if he falls away, to be renewed to repentance, as he has put the Lord to an open shame.  On Thursday morning I was thinking that it would be better if that had never been said or written.  But I was thinking of it out of context.  Its context was the return of Hebrew Christians to the old sacrificial system.

But I was thinking that verses like that as they are often understood and feared are the reason  for so much bandstanding when it comes to disagreements between Christians and insisting that we, really, love God.  I think so.  I think it is verses like these, coupled with some of the more heavily directive and dogmatic teaching that can be heard in church, that make us afraid to embrace ourselves and our thoughts and experiences and trust God that, if we face and handle and accept who we are, as and when in every aspect, that God will bring us through.  Rather than saying, ‘no, no, no, I love God’ without even allowing the thing we fear in ourselves to fully present itself.  We try to push it away rather than let it present itself fully to our perception to be ‘naturally’ rejected by us as Christians, recognised after a good long look, after exposing our inner eyes and ears, and just expelled by the whole person as foreign, rather than battening down the hatches and nipping even the thought and perception in the bud before it can develop to be understood and recognised.  If you don’t understand what you are rejecting, how can you REALLY reject it?  Is that why we so often struggle over and over with the same thing, because we won’t let it manifest in the first place to our recognition so it keeps coming back, because we are not rejecting it in the first place but closing our eyes in stubborn fear?

And the bitter arguments and the fear of each other, the denunciations, overtly or covertly.  It seems to me they are born of a fundamental fear, rather than a trust in the love and faithfulness and goodness of God.

For years I stopped telling God I loved Him.  I believed it was an assertion of something which was barely true.  Sometimes I would tell Him I obviously DIDN’T love Him, or I couldn’t do or be as I was.  I affirmed HIS love for ME and refused to lie, as I saw it, by saying I loved HIM.  Consequently I think pleading and asserting our own love for God in a discussion, conversation, disagreement or confrontation, or even in a public act of individual worship, can be an act of abuse and manipulation and a hindrance to humility and openness.  I think focussing on our love rather than His is a hindrance to deep and lasting change, more often than not.  Change is about more than performance.  It has to be initiated from outside of ourselves and should be something we submit to, not something we try to produce as an angst-ridden proof.  That is what I think.  Lasting change is a response to a truth which we know won’t move or change.  The truth puts pressure on us and we yield.  We don’t need to invoke God.  He is in the process and reveals Himself in the process.  In the process itself He draws us into relationship, with Him and with others.

I’m thinking a lot at the moment and having conflicting thoughts, but at the moment I would say I know this much is true, and that is where I will stop in this post.

My Imaginary Friend

I have a friend, at least in my imagination, that I always want to contact with sensitive and intimate information.

On Friday I was walking along Queensway/Bayswater Road and for some reason I was remembering the time when an old lady died who had always been in Church, never said much, or anything at all, that I remember hearing, but always, without fail, had a smile on her face.  I thought she was lovely and beautiful and serene.  I know nothing about her life.

I was remembering that, when I heard she had died, I went back to my grandparents’ house crying my eyes out.  When they asked me why I was crying and I told them, one of them said ‘what are you crying for?  She wasn’t family’.

I can’t remember who it was so no one can be betrayed by me saying so.  I can’t remember if and how I answered the question.  I know my feelings and crying were not affirmed.  For a moment in Queensway I felt the pain and the emotion again, and I wanted to write and tell my imaginary friend.

I believe my imaginary friend reads my blog.  Imaginary because we have never had a close up relationship, and imaginary because, except for when things seem very simple and obvious in his favour, I feel and believe and know that things are far too complicated.  It is imaginary because I am in denial, even having it as imaginary.

But there is pain in my heart as I am writing this, and it is always him that comes to mind when this kind of thing comes up and I want to tell him.  I used to write to him a lot.  Almost always, as soon as I started, I had to push through my ambivalence and anger to do so.  He knew that, I told him so.

I once heard him saying, in answer to someone’s question, that if someone attacked him (or something like that) he would hold them in a bear hug.  On my side there is often so much resentment, and on his there must be some exceptions, that even if no attack was involved not everyone would be treated equally.  Even if there are no exceptions for him, I think, apart from my imagination which tells me I am wrong in the strongest possible terms, that I would find it awkward and difficult.

 

 

My Autism And Me

This programme is 14 minutes long and part of BBCs Newsround series of programmes about/by/for children.

It is available until 4.59pm Friday 18th November, which as I write is almost 2 days.

The link is http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01773m7/Newsround_My_Autism_and_Me/.  Please catch it.  This is a subject close to my own heart and experience, in that I used to think I might be autistic myself, especially during my 20s.

I now believe I am not, and that it is another label we have been taught to accept which is a disservice to everyone involved.

I will write more later.  Although my blog is still on Bulgarian time because I am afraid if I change it it will change the dates on some of the posts I wrote in Bulgaria, it is 10pm here in the UK and I haven’t eaten yet today.  There are no cooking facilities where I am and I want to find some food.  I am posting it now because I want my readers to be aware of the programme and have an opportunity to watch and preferably record it before it is taken down from the site.

One thing.  The girl talks about feeling words.  Bleuler, who coined the term ‘schizophrenic’, said his senses crossed over so that he smelled sounds and saw smells, or something.  But Bleuler was a major psychiatric contributor and definer of people and psychiatric conditions while these kids are autistic.

Excuse me?

We talk about Chinese and Communist Propaganda, and the Chinese talk about Western Propaganda.  In the middle of all that are people like me who hardly understand what good values are anymore.  People in the UK moan about their lot, and so do people in China.  Homogenised international standards and all that.

I don’t understand economics and economic theory.

But I was on the tube the other day and looked at the paper of someone sitting beside me and saw the headline and my computer (my brain/mind) started to work all on its own.  I thought that China only had wealth to loan in that way because it depends on slave labour of a class which is kept in shameful poverty and without opportunities and that the money should be going to their own people.  The wealth comes from people who have bought the products of slave labour, often people in the west who have bought them, and now the people in the west are going back to that same nation of China for further financial benefits/aid, at the expense of the Chinese slave class, so they can continue in their comfort which, while dependent on abject poverty and slavery, is illegitimate and immoral.  I thought, ‘we said we don’t believe in slavery’, but here we are again, looking to a country which uses economic slavery for its prosperity to help US.

Those are my thoughts.  If they are right, as much as I have come to enjoy the benefits of modern technology etc here in the west, I do not want the EU or my country getting aid from China.  Today I heard them on the news saying that China would be requiring a shift in attitudes towards their present culture and economic and governmental system, and towards human rights issues.  Are we in the west just so pampered that we think people who see themselves as OK in China are really victims of injustice and economic and human deprivation, or are these people really, as we have said in the past, slaves kept in appalling poverty and exploitation?  While it might, possibly, maybe only just, be laudable for some of them to be feeling that they are making sacrifices for China’s future (that’s what happens to people who are exploited by their fellows, they are later hailed as heros and loyal and sacrificial and selfless).

To my country’s leaders, to EU leaders, I for one ask you to please hear the cries and screams and outrage of your people, including me, the crying sense of betrayal and moral compromise into which you would take us, if you soften your attitudes towards China with regards to slave exploitation so that we and you can benefit from the gains of that exploitation.  I know it is easy for me to say this while there is still security and we still have our comforts, but please don’t take us there.  Please let our whole western system crash rather than take us back to such blatant reaping of benefits from slave labour.

I’ve said this before, I don’t understand economics, but I do know that a monetary deficit does not decrease the availability of the earth’s resources.  I don’t understand this.  It hurts not understanding, I feel stupid and as if I could be verbally demolished, but the resources are there, in the earth.  Food, building materials, materials contributing to creativity – But the man-made monetary and economic system is saying we are going to have to tighten our belts and live without them unless we can get a bailout, even from somewhere like modern day China?  With its pollution issues, its human rights issues, etc?

The Lord appeals to you, David Cameron, Christian, and to others (that is my way of saying my emotions are too painful to put into words with this medium) please don’t go there and please don’t take us there.

I’m thinking that, in the Bible, when Israel demanded a king to be like all the other nations that had rejected God – I’m thinking it is time to pull back and rethink and repent and think of a new way to do things.  Internationally we have all been keeping up with the Joneses.  China now is justifying its enormous pollution problem by saying it has a right to catch up with the rest of the world when it comes to manufacture and production.  We need to have different kinds of international relationships based on co-operation and benefiting each other with what we have, and less on competitiveness.  Competing to produce and sell the same trinkets really is laying the earth waste and wasting the earth’s resources, and it doesn’t appear to me that it is doing us much good either.

I am all for luxury.  But I think we need to revise our understanding of what luxury actually is.  If it depends on pollution and wasting the earth’s resources and creating such desperate underclasses and so much stress and fear among those who do not consider themselves to be the underclass, I think we have obviously got it wrong.

If everything the UK has ever said about our shame over past slavery is more than political posturing, we cannot take this route.  If everything you have told us about China is true you must not make us their debtors, for our own sakes as a nation and for everything the EU is supposed to stand for, and also for the sakes of the people being exploited by their own system.  People who can see no choices for their lives.  Not by their own fault, but by what they have been born into.  If we have hearts that function properly, we cannot do this to them, if we have been right about China in the past and our understanding has been given no reason for change.  If, on the other hand, China’s willingness to loan to us is an expression of their own recognition that they need to change, that might be a bit different.  But we need that made clear and explained to us.

China’s economic success is not a factor to be taken into consideration if all that is meant by that is that the government has a lot of money to lend while the people whose labour they depend on are struggling for their lives.  Economic success is only good if it does not make those who do the work for it suffer in that way.  This has to be accepted and understood.  We have to accept and understand that. Otherwise we are accepting blood money.  And like God said to Cain when he killed his brother, ‘your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground’.

Although I am selfish, I care.  I don’t want my lifestyle to depend on the fruits of such suffering, and I don’t want that compromise to be available to me or, as feels more to the point at the moment, forced on me.  I need an alternative.  I plead with my leaders for an alternative to what looks to me like such an atrocious possibility, that our economy should be bolstered by the finance from China as it is today.

‘Land of Hope and Glory
Mother of the Free
How shall we extol thee
Who are born of thee?

Wider still and wider
May thy bounds be set
God who made thee mighty
Make thee mightier yet’

May our bounds be set wider and wider, not through prowess and economic convenience and exploitation and compromise, but by restoring the gift of freedom and justice and dignity to all, and degrading and demeaning no one, or knowingly benefiting or accepting aid from someone else doing so.

God who made thee mighty (in whatever ways that is true)
Make thee mightier yet’

Thank you, UK, for every way that God makes you mighty to and for me.

God is love.  We are made in His image.

I love you, England.

King David – Camera Snap From a War Zone

David said, ‘Let a righteous man strike me, it is a kindness’.  Is this the truth, or is it, like his affair with Bathsheba and ordering her husband to be killed in battle, a sign of emotional sickness?

Poor little guy, one of many sons, the youngest and despised, sent out every day to look after the sheep on his own.  With nothing but his target skills and his harp and singing and his idealised idea, in his loneliness, of his relationship with God, to keep him going.

When his father Jesse was asked by Samuel to get all of his sons together because he wanted to anoint one of them to be king after Saul, neither Jesse nor the rest of his sons gave David a thought.  He was out there with the sheep.  Samuel got to the end of everyone who was in front of him, the story says, and God said ‘no’ to all of them, and he had to ask if there was another son.  When Jesse said yes, he said yes but, not oh yes of course.  Samuel had to insist on him being brought in.

Later Saul kept trying to kill him, and he and Jonathan agreed a code that Jonathan would use to tell David that he needed to flee, if he thought so.  And David fled.  He got to a city and pretended madness, he lied to cover his tracks and people were killed in the wake of that.  Yet he said he would not fear.  He was very afraid and in denial, whatever his affirmations and confessions.  He said he was convinced of his own righteousness and that God was with him and knew him in his righteousness.  It seems to me his suffering and isolation had pushed him over the edge.  He felt he had to be perfect or something to be loved and approved of, and so he asserted that he was, exulted in it, and told God he was a perfect and righteous man.

And my teachers have believed his reported self-assessment.

It seems to me this is faulty interpretation and exegesis and shows no understanding of human psychology.

They are as much in denial about him as he was about himself, and as the prophet might have been who said God had said David was a man after God’s own heart, who would fulfil all of God’s desires.  And yet God had to tell David, when he wanted to build him a temple, that he was not the man to do it, because he was a man of blood.  He went around killing people and cutting off foreskins for trophies.

The Bible, reportedly, shows people as they were.  It doesn’t say that everything that came from his life and pen and lips were God’s truth.  The Bible, if it is true, is the truth about the people in it, and what they say is from God is not necessarily from God at all, and it is undiscerning and maybe a bit afraid to look at every word the people who are called God’s servants say and think they are all right and perfect and can all be synthesised into being truth in themselves, just because they are in the Bible and came from people who have been made, historically and by the will and judgment of men, both at the time and since then, into heroes.

When the Bible says God was with him, does it just mean that people loved and protected him?  The Bible was written by men, and men said that God was with him – because they had a warrior mentality?

David said I am for peace but they are for war.  So why did God say he couldn’t build his temple because he was a man of blood?  He was holding David responsible.  Or Nathan’s prophetic spirit and internal workings were.  Later David prayed ‘deliver me from blood guiltiness, Oh my God’.  So what was Nathan’s bag?  He put a real heavy on him, and made him live without formal punishment, which was obviously a psychological need and would have been appropriate.  (thought: unless man of blood is just referring to the thing with Uriah, then of course I am just being arrogant and proud again deciding it was about his killing sprees, which in the eyes of Israel were worth eulogising – Saul has killed his thousands and David his tens of thousands.  That was why Saul wanted to kill him – he was jealous.  It says the hand of God was with David because he was killing so many people.  Whose judgment was that?  Was it REALLY God’s?)

When it says the glory of the Lord filled the place and the priest’s could not go about their work, does it mean there was a sudden emotional and psychological crisis felt by all that no one knew how to handle? So they fell on their faces and worshipped until – what – released them?

I’m sure this could be taken much further.  I love the fact that it can.  But then who is God?  Who are you?  Who am I?  And what is good?  And how can we free ourselves of this evil and hero protecting mentality to pursue what is right and good, and not what is safe and cosy and cronyistic and cliquey and maudlin?

 

O . . .

(Public Health Warning: more mangled blood and guts, but also an attempt to address the issue of goading and chain-yanking, failed, unfortunately, on the whole, and I’m not the sort to incubate a post and try again.  I talk about the guy who got water thrown in his face by Spurgeon, I think, when he told Spurgeon he was perfect, and he got angry, which I think might have been the perfect reaction to Spurgeon’s mischief and therefore did not disprove his statement).

That is my open mouth, made silent with hysterical fear.

I’m living in Sofia now.  The woman above me screams hallelujah in the most hateful voice every time I feel I have a good communication and I can communicate it.

I want to scream for help and I can’t, it is that psychologically, emotionally and spiritually abusive.  I can’t express anything without feeling dishonest or that I am going to disintegrate or, if I am angry, be attacked, even physically.  She makes me feel she is my friend and I should ask her to forgive me and help me, whatever I feel she voices differently.  I said that because . . . well, if you read this blog, you know.  There is a man from whom the only vocalisation I hear is an angry or frightened throat-clearing.  That feels to me like part of the illusion, if it is an illusion, of their goodness.  If he spoke it might not persist.  But his vocal silence is also part of the oppression.

She is attacking my soul and spirit with razors and bludgeoning me with hatred which feels like a physical mallet to the head.

Combined with the banging . . .

So is this orchestrated, because it is happening everywhere I go.  Who is behind it?

The most torturous thing about this for me is the church’s dishonesty and use of these things.  Someone on Premier was talking about chain yanking this morning, and that is what she is doing and that is what Premier and the church have been doing for years – the way they have kept saying ‘crazy’, for instance, and pushing psychiatry.  This man said so this morning, he pointed it out himself.  What they have been doing is sadistic, cruel and abusive.  That must always have been obvious to them, surely, and if it hasn’t been . . . either way they are not fit to  hold ministerial duties of any description.

I don’t know if I’m imagining that when my recording was interrupted near the end this morning, John Pantry became annoyed because his attempt to build a bridge had been interrupted.  How would he have known, without illegal access to my computer?

Sometimes it feels like protection and I feel unworthy and shameful calling it criminal.  But it isn’t really.  It isn’t really protective.  They are keeping me imprisoned by their evasion of responsibility, procrastination, holding on to power, refusal to apologise officially, if not openly.

I don’t want a bridge back to the world where leaders are not first prepared to own their wrongdoing before I cross that bridge.  Own it where everyone can see, in a committed way. . .

One of the ministers involved, I think it was R T Kendall, but I’m not sure, told this story of someone who said to Spurgeon, I think, that he, the person speaking to Spurgeon, was perfect.  That he believed he was perfect.  Spurgeon (if it was him) said ‘oh, really?’ and threw a glass of water at him, and the man became angry, and everyone laughed at him.

The same chain-yanking.  That is hardly perfect, is it?

Now, was the man expressing imperfection to express anger in that situation?  Is anger a sign of imperfection?  But the Bible says Jesus was angry.  Our teachers have had it for ages that Jesus’ anger was different, that it was perfect and righteous anger.

It doesn’t say, though, that He ever pulled anything like this self-righteous, judgmental, proud, debasing, mischievous and malicious chain-yanking.  At least, not on true seekers and people who expressed something they thought they had grasped as a truth.

An exception comes to mind, possibly, in Mark 7.

Jesus Honors a Syrophoenician Woman’s Faith

24 Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre.  He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret. 25 In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an impure spirit came and fell at his feet. 26The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.

27 “First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

28 “Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”

29 Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.”

30 She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

I’m not supposed to criticise this man, but what was he about here?  If he wasn’t being provocative, it could be put down to insensitivity because of tiredness, or some sort of irritation.  Our leaders say He was correcting her attitude.  But if it wasn’t that, if it was a lack of perfect response, where does that leave us in terms of my Friend Jesus’ perfection?  He;s my friend, I can’t talk about Him and theorise about Him like this.  But I just have, and for the usual reasons it has to remain.

But back to the perfect man who got angry when the person he told threw a glass of water at him.

In the Bible David said that God’s enemies were his enemies, and that he hated them with a perfect hatred.  I’ve heard it said that David did not have the complete revelation that we have today.  Would they say that of this occasion?  No, not all of them.  There would be different opinions backed up with chapter and verse and personal experience they felt was surrounded with the approval of those that matter to them.  I know for sure there would be some who agonised more over the truth than to be satisfied with that low standard of agreement, potentially low, at least, but I don’t know how many.

I got to this stage with St Barnabas’ Church.  They opposed me in every way, locking down on me and preaching at me.  I had read a book recommended by a Christian counsellor, on boundaries, which said that negative emotions were a sign that something was wrong.  I was going home, time after time, feeling devastated, and one night in bed I was frightened by a feeling of hatred.  I was also angry, I thought they were opposing what God was doing in my life.  I find that a bit embarrassing now.

But that was the verse which came to my mind, and I embraced it, because I couldn’t get rid of the feeling of hatred, so I actively justified it.  Hindsight says if I had done this or that . . . but nothing within me which is saying anything gets much chance to be heard at the moment, it is silenced by the violence around me, and as soon as I can strongly own and express anything from within, the harassment starts without and I am left too hysterical to cope.  I’m trying to argue something when I want to scream and beg and cry, since every time I feel I can and should surrender I refuse it.  I feel I should go up to them, apologise and ask what the problem is, then we could begin to sort everything out.  That is what I see and what I feel condemned by.  Her hallelujah makes me feel joy, but what about the rest?  It is chaos.  It is also illegal, and they know what I think of that.  It is the word I am reacting to, not the people or their activity.  I feel she even steals, with her occult violence, the tone of joy which would be in my own voice if I said it myself.  That must be where the confusion comes in.  I can’t validate this, it is so wrong.  I’m not the only one who hears them, and not everyone rejoices, I am sure.  I don’t want to be patronised by people saying poor Sue, come home.  I want people to focus on the issue of chain-yanking, and if I could focus on it myself it would help!  I try to be serious and have to be humorous.  Why?  I feel thumped in the head and I can’t cope with the pain.  There is no point waiting for a better time.  It never happens.  Don’t get bogged down in the circumstantial stuff that comes pouring out just because I don’t know how to edit it away. They seem to feel it when I calm down and start justifying them in my mind, and I hear them say dobre with a smile.  But I know what they are doing and it isn’t OK?  Or is it here?  Is this a valid and acceptable expression of Christianity here?  If it is, I’m out of step.  I feel as if I want to join in, like a party.  Go up and say hello and bubble along with them.

It’s a form of psychological harassment and censorship.  Who wants to read the silage that I insist on letting pour out of me, or allow by default, instead of being a normal, generous, kind, forgiving, friendly person and neighbour?

The point I was going to make was that I think there is something wrong with the theory and theology of leaders who can make a good and positive thing out of this incident of cruel chain-yanking in one of their traditions major heroes.

If that anger from the man came out of a damaged emotional place, it was incredibly cruel for him to expose it in that way.  Granted I don’t know the whole story, maybe it was just a bit of robust male joshing. I don’t know how the man took it after his anger was over.  But what if it wasn’t from a damaged emotional place?  What if it was the perfect reaction to such mischief and malice towards what he believed God had said to him?  Then who is the laughingstock?  If there should be one at all.  If our emotions are appropriate to the situation then they are perfect in that situation, aren’t they, so what he said wasn’t disproved at all.  In a sense we are perfect, and not just by imputation.  In a sense, as individuals, we are perfect, if people don’t interfere with us.  But they do, when we are too vulnerable to resist or realise.  I can’t do this, I’m tired and hurt.  I can’t think and write it through.  I’m mixing everything up all over the place when I started out believing I knew exactly what I wanted to say and where I wanted to go with it.  I’m already editing after first reading, and that isn’t doing me much good either.  I am ill and traumatised, I must be, to put this abortion out.

Another thing:  I believe this thing we call robust joshing is itself a manifestation and denial of pain.  Or is it just a healthy switching off every now and again?  It must be.  It must be me that is crazy.  So someone invite me to come and have some fun?  To live your whole life in the perfect therapy session and healing moment after healing moment, at least one participant has to be perfect.  And where have I got this idea from that therapy and healing is all about deep and querulous and earnest talk and tears and quietly and meditatively going about your business? ‘Tain’t, is it?

But what if, instead of throwing water over him and laughing at his anger, he had accepted the statement with respect and watched his friend over a period and tried to understand what he was saying and learn something instead?

It is thump in the back salvation.  I’m wondering if I am being a pathetic wimp if I object to that.  The people I have felt close enough to to love over recent years, and want to model myself on, I am thinking possibly I have only seen them awkward and afraid and desperate and making an effort, because of me and my situation.  Maybe they too are back thumpers and I have just not seen it, and I myself need to enter the real world of rough and tumble where people do not always treat each other with reverence and respect and it is OK.

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

OK that is it.  That is my communication after being butchered by upstairs and everything knowing my account/computer is being hacked is doing to me, turned into a bucket of unmentionable stuff and screaming.

Enjoy!

I left a comment on Tommy Boyd’s blog on Friday, about how the way people treat me sometimes makes me feel, emotionally, that I want to hit back.

At the time I left it, I was aware, listening back, that it seemed as if my comments were being tracked by the radio hosts I was listening to.  When it got to the time that I left that comment, the host who was on at that time said something sarcastically and derisively about unfailing love.

Apart from the obvious fact that it is God who is perfect love, and not me, I wasn’t aware he had access to my unpublished comments in the middle of me writing them anyway.  Well, I was, and have been for ages.   Unless it is a psychic thing, and I don’t think it is.  Sometimes, but probably rarely.

So it is stalking and harassment.  Hostage-taking and keeping, maybe.  And they love bomb you like a cult.

That kind of sarcasm, if it factored in something in Biology, for example, would be called an inhibitor or a limiting factor.  It is something I came across when I got interested in vegetarian food and was given a couple of books which went into detail about it.  Talking about available protein.

If I remember it right, proteins are made up of amino acids, the composition of which can be pictured as a star shape with unequal protrusions, the shorter ones limiting the availability, release and utilisation of the rest, and therefore the amount of available protein.  It was presented as a part of the idea of complementary protein, where, for instance, rice and beans complement each other and make more protein available when eaten together than is available if you add them up separately.  Wheat and milk is another one (that was vegetarianism, not veganism).  And there are others.  Some people say that is an outdated theory now, but the diet and nutrition industry being what it is, who knows?  I suppose if it was scientifically proved it must still stand.  It isn’t something which depends on individual metabolism, it is the protein available in combined foods, and that is testable in a laboratory (I think!) before the food enters the body.  Although thinking about it I am wondering how the necessary blending of the foodstuffs would take place apart from digestive breakdown, but that probably shows the limitation of my own knowledge due to inadequate study and experience.

But in relationships, I don’t want people behaving as inhibitors towards me in that way and thinking it is good or clever.  He went on to say something about ‘don’t cry, woman’, or something like that.  But by that time I wasn’t open to anything else which came from him, and I stopped listening.

PS – the WordPress system has just informed me that this is my 275th post and called me a dope.  Honestly!  “Dope!” – just like that.

Not meaning to be self-righteous here, because obviously I am not perfect, but as a victim of constant neighbour violence and harassment, including at illegal times, over the last six months, by a household that mixes it all up with ‘dobre’ and ‘hallelujah’, I have tried to confront them and appeal to their consciences in words about what they are doing and the right way to deal with their problems (go to the police), and it has made little difference, if any.  The same house producing consistent violence and harassment is also producing consistent hallelujahs and dobres and recently men in tears, and I am a single foreign woman.   I’m not sure I understand this.  It is like one Bulgarian says that there is no mafia control, and another says most business in Bulgaria is controlled by, if not owned by, the mafia, and I encounter all kinds of stuff, as a stranger everywhere I go, which says people know me and where I am from, and sometimes I feel so much love and shame and guilt I think the mafia might be a good thing, not a bad thing, and the violence (and mentally I even put THAT in inverted commas now) really is a legitimate form of discipline and correction that a community imposes on people who are out of step, without resorting to a police service in which people whose job, which they are paid for and from which they can be sacked, one hopes (but check this out for the official policy to police accountability in Bulgaria in 2009), gives them authority they sometimes, if not often, use for abuse and contempt.  I feel the love and sincerity is among the normal, powerless people, including the people above my apartment who target my ears with violence when I’m using the toilet or shower or in bed or any time they seem to feel the need, and who say hallelujah and dobre and cry, as I cry myself.

I have to leave this weekend.  My landlord, who has known all about this for ages because I have told him in detail, has decided to throw me out without ever having sought legal support for me, knowing that my own attempts have failed.

Read it here in Scottish or English.

I was watching yesterday’s news coverage of Osama Bin Laden’s death, and found myself thinking, ‘A man’s a man, for all that’, and I knew it was a quotation, but I wasn’t sure where from, so I looked it up.  I was thinking it not to belittle a man and say he is dispensable, but to exalt him as a creature of intrinsic worth and nobility.  I was thinking it for Osama Bin Laden.  I was disagreeing with David Cameron and other world leaders who have expressed satisfaction over his death.  By extension I was also thinking it for the rest of us, including those of us who have found justification in holding the bitterness and unforgiveness that can allow us to say of a fellow human being, ‘good, he is dead’, rather than expressing regret that his killing was a necessary part, so we are being told, of bringing justice.

I believe that kind of expression of that kind of feeling brutalises and degrades us and makes us less than the ‘man’ that our own nature demands we should be.  The Bible says, in one of the Psalms, that we are gods, and that the big God gave His Son to die for our sins, while we were still sinners.  Jesus quoted that Psalm and said the scripture cannot be broken.

I have heard it taught that Islam was formed as a religion in direct opposition to Christianity and Judaism.  I think I heard that from Colin Dye’s platform.  I think we have to ask why.  Christians used to hold killing crusades.  Christians sided with Hitler in the killing of Jews.  Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant of Venice’ was one of my set texts at school.  It was about a Jewish money lender who lent money to a Christian on the terms that he forfeit a pound of his own flesh if he defaulted.  All the Christian’s ships were lost at sea.  A woman called Portia argued the Christian’s case in court, and he was reprieved because the forfeit did not mention the shedding of blood, and Shylock, the money lender, was mockingly and derisively invited to take the pound of flesh, but if in so doing he shed one drop of blood he would have a forfeit of his own.  I think it was his life, but I can’t remember.

The first line of Portia’s famous speech, ‘the quality of mercy is not strained’, is often quoted and held to be a thing of great beauty.  But earlier the Jewish money lender had a great and truly painful speech of his own, basically saying ‘I am a man like you’, and the one part I can definitely remember and that registers with me deeply on an emotional level is where he talks about being in the street and having people ‘spit upon my Jewish gabardine’.  And although the quality of mercy is not strained, it seems that, from his humiliation at the end, it was meant to achieve mercy for Antonio, the Christian, but to be a lesson, yet another painful life lesson, to Shylock, the despised Jewish money lender.  I would like to draw more points from this play but I am not familiar with it any more and would need to read it again.  Points about if Shylock had gained his money legally and honourably, why was he so despised by the people who borrowed from him?  Did they need to borrow, would they have needed to borrow if they had not been so greedy themselves?  So why despise their provider?  Shylock’s requirement of Antonio was probably meant only to express his own distaste at lending to a man who spat upon his Jewish gabardine, or represented people who did.  He never expected, in all probability, that he would be in a position to call for the forfeit.  It was probably meant as a verbal expression of hate for hate.  The fact he called for it is obviously inexcusable, but would have been an expression of his own sick feelings of hate and revenge brought on by the abuse and constant humiliation.  Antonio was a rich merchant.  Shylock was a rich money lender.  What was Shylock’s sin?  Without reading again, it must have been that he was Jewish.  Shylock the Jew did not kill Jesus any more than Antonio the Christian (by affiliation and Christian country ‘birthright’ or by life changing choice and conviction?) did.  But Shylock was hated.

I’m not sure what the point of that is in this post.  Maybe it is just a way for me to say ‘this is hurting me’, because I identify emotionally with Shylock in his feelings over the abuse he received, regardless of any consideration of business ethics and morality.  I started crying when I found and read the Robert Burns poem and found it so perfect and beautiful, and that feeling hasn’t left me while considering Shylock.

My church used to say ‘hate the sin but love the sinner’.  We are justifying hating both the sin and the sinner, and that degrades both us and the sinner.  We are justifying such hatred towards a man that we rejoice in his death.  He couldn’t have achieved anything without his followers, and even though their figurehead has died, passed through death, if they choose revenge rather than deciding to change track and work themselves for brotherhood and world peace, I cannot see how the death of Osama Bin Laden can be seen as an ‘important step forward’, or the similar words used by my own beloved and respected prime minister, David Cameron.  So I would want to appeal to both sides, in the name of God and in the name of love and humanity, to please cool it and stop the revenge and attacks and the seeking of ‘justice’.  I would want to ask that, as Christians, we love our radical Islamic enemies, enough to uncover enough humility of our own to consider what it is that has so filled them with hatred and be willing to apologise and actively pursue reparation and healing of relationships with them, to stop the self-righteous demands and invective, and to approach them with the love and honour and humility we should employ, according to the Bible, towards all men.  I’m not saying that I myself am good at that, but I hope the character of our leaders is made of such stuff that they might be different, and be so openly, and not try to ‘confound the enemy’ by presenting a different face publicly than the one they present privately.   Our enemies need to know and see that we are honest and open not only about our rights, but about theirs, and about our own failings, even historical, and willingness to make reparation.  I don’t believe it is true, for any human being, that violence is all they understand.  The Bible says that the desire of a man is constant love, and I think that goes for everyone, and we need to be braver in showing that.  Vulnerable love, not tough love.  Active and proactive vulnerable love and openness to others.  ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘I understand’ and ‘yes, you’re right’ and ‘thank you, I hadn’t thought of that’, and even ‘I love you, are you OK, can I help you?’ love and pursuit of justice.

Love and concern for each other should flow from the top down and the bottom up and spread out and come in, and maybe then the right policies will be obvious and not take up so much time in our relationships, governmental and otherwise.  I want to see the leaders of my world loving one another.  Having therapy sessions and love-ins, most of the time, instead of arguments and policy formation.  If they can pass on the benefits of that to us and across international boundaries, it might change everything about our living and thinking and being in the world and with each other.

I believe all of this is part of our intrinsic worth and nobility which we abandon at our peril and that we need to rediscover, and part of what it means to be ‘A Man, for A’ That’.

In Jesus’ Name.

Amen.

I’m Sorry But . . .

Today I feel emotionally sick and out of step with everyone, even with my own sense of decency.

Is there a time I should just shut up and let people get on with it?  Just for a day maybe, or a week, or maybe I should cut my tongue out and never be able to speak for the rest of my life!  Now there’s a thought.

As much as I truly admire the people who work so hard for our security and am very touched by the happiness and satisfaction some of them I have heard speaking today are expressing, I still find it repulsive that anyone can be happy about and rejoice over someone else’s death.  No matter how much they or others close to them have suffered.

As I said, I feel emotionally sick.  I still can’t have a thought or emotion begin to materialise without the people upstairs start their stuff.  The uncanniness of it is doing a number on me, along with some of its deliberate and markedly repetitive illegality when they bang just after the boundary line every day.  I wondered after I typed those last paragraphs and thought maybe I’m being a bit too squeaky liberal to be real.  Perhaps I should join the celebration, for reasons of my own it feels like a bit of a weight off of my shoulders as well.  Maybe all decent people are glad, and I just don’t have that level of freedom to be able to enjoy it with everyone else who is also decent.

But I remember stories of days when missionaries went among cannibal tribes, eyes wide open, taking the risks.  And dying.  No political pull outs.  Died for their peaceful, loving, non-violent beliefs, killed by the enemies, in lifestyle, that they had gone to live among and convert/evangelise/win for Jesus.

Jesus said, so the Bible tells us, if we choose to believe it (or it might have been Paul), ‘render to no man evil for evil, but overcome evil with good’.  Armies and governments and terrorist groups are made of many people who, individually, would be identified as ‘a man’.  I’ve heard it preached and taught that war is a different kind of situation to which that does not apply.  That sometimes peace has to be fought for, and that that is the justification for war.  But how can you fight for peace with weapons of war?  If you do the same you become the same.  The act of war causes and deepens wounds in the psyche, personally and nationally, which make it more likely for physical warfare to continue to be embraced as an option.  People don’t repent, they go into denial and justification, and that isn’t something which makes for a future where this is less likely to happen.

We need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12), and that means to establish new habits of acting and thinking. I’ve noticed that when I take a step to do what is right, I understand how wrong the former thing was and how wrong its support structures and rationalisations.  Especially if I thought before that the right thing was the wrong thing.  In my early days as a Christian I was taught that pragmatism and compromise over the truth were not acceptable approaches to living the Christian life.  That belief has not abandoned me, even though these days the church is more at ease with ideas of necessity and pragmatism.  I’m not sure why that is.  Maybe I just haven’t moved on as I should have done.

However, I believe that the spread of peace depends on abandoning war as an acceptable way of ‘maintaining’ ‘peace’.  If war is not an option, we have to go further in building international relationships.  Not ‘so far and no further’.  So far then ‘how very dare you, sir?’  Peace is not compromise.  Peace is Shalom, whole and vibrant.  Peace is love, not polite, formalised, ritualistic functionality.

If war is not an option, outraged people with hurt egos can’t issue a call to arms, pumping out buzz words ten to the dozen that make you feel ashamed and embarrassed to disagree with them.  People who do not embrace armed conflict as an option must surely be easier people to approach.

If we want to talk about the brave people who die in the pursuit of peace, and lay down their lives, I think there is more chance of healing for the world and of leading by example if those people lay down their lives in refusing to kill, rather than in trying to maintain peace and security for their own group by killing people and groups who are seen to threaten it or who strike at it.  If we lay down our lives for peace, sacrifice our lives in being actively peaceful and refusing to engage in war.  Let our own lives be taken rather than kill an aggressor.  Rather than a few being brave for many, I believe we all need to face it and trust for ourselves.  That way we relate with love for all, even for our enemies.  That is how peace is built.  We are governed by peace because we are founded on peace.  It isn’t the result, but the whole structure.  As long as we need to protect our lives, we live with fear.

This is what I should do, not what I do.  I am protecting too much, things and goals which wanting to achieve make me careful for my life.  Crazy things, like seeing the end of coercive medicine in the mental health system, a change in understanding and an end to labelling.  Even more, I don’t want to die on my own, maybe never to be discovered and with my life seen as worthless and full of failure, and something to be despised and not missed.  That is my craziness, wanting to hold on to my life until I feel it is worth something, not so guilt-ridden and not so isolated.  That is how I feel under the present abuse.  Too guilty to die, and guilty for hanging on.  Sorry for coming back to myself, but on the other hand, I think facing and coming to terms with yourself is a necessary part of being able to embrace this lifestyle choice anyway.  So no, I’m not sorry, really.  You have to come back to yourself to lay your life down by deliberately committing to non-violence.  I know so.  I’m only sorry I can’t express it better because of what is going on in my life at the moment.  I could possibly express it if I chose my own advocated actions, but under the abuse I can’t do it in words.  The option for me seems to be to surrender to and make myself vulnerable to my abusers (who might only be abusers in my mind anyway), or not to be able to express it in words.  But I do have a problem with my abusers if that is the point they are trying to make  by their abuse.  ‘Join us, we’ll teach you the way of peace and non-violence by making you pass through the fire of our violence’.  Jesus didn’t use violence.  The Bible says the devil can appear as an angel of light, and that means his presentation is appealing and persuasive.  But trust goes to the cross.  They present as Christians, and everything I try to say is aurally countered, either actively or with silence.  Or is it all a product of my own fear and darkness?  The Bible says in Christ there is no darkness, it also says the darkness becomes light.  To me that doesn’t just mean that a light shines removing the darkness but that, where Christ is, the darkness itself, even the darkness of violence, is light.  That is the conviction of my heart and soul.  Love, my love for those who do me violence, makes even the violence a source of light and something into which I should walk.  And these words are darlings I refuse to kill by putting them into action.  The violence and exclusion/silence, because of the ‘hallelujahs’, feel like a call, a ‘trial by fire’.  But also, post-communism, it feels somehow inappropriate.  So why am I arguing so much?  Have we talked our way out of needing to pay the price, by invalidating the price asked and demanded as torture?

God Hates Fags

So do I, ask my sister.

Dr Gallo, my Spanish psychiatrist, who called me obese in one of his reports, came towards me in the corridor once, and he absolutely stank of them.  I suppose I must have given him a questioning, intelligent, ‘oh really’ kind of look, because he looked a bit sheepish and uncomfortable.

I was thinking something along the lines of, ‘smoking kills, I don’t smoke, and I’m a nut, he smokes, and he is my psychiatrist.  He knows smoking kills, so he is addicted or in denial, or at least dishonest, because he goes out for a crafty one and looks sheepish when caught by one of his patients, or inmates’.  My actual thoughts were, ‘oh, he smokes’.  It was a bit of an enlightenment, an ‘aha’ moment.  I suppose I might have gone into my Christian prayer ministry and revelation mode.  But for me the logic behind my thoughts and feelings, as a psychiatric patient, is as previously stated.

It is my opinion that someone that insensitive, to write in a woman’s psychiatric tribunal report that she is obese, almost as though he were a vet rather than a doctor, and who smokes himself, ought not to be dealing with people on the mind level.

No, I didn’t mean homosexuals.  Not honest homosexuals.  I did that myself for two years.  I’m not sure how honest I was, maybe I rationalised my activity with the rationalisations I had been given by society and psychology until in the end it felt irrevocable and unchangeable.  Along the way of coming to terms with it I answered my own questions and my partner’s questions and probings with my own rationalisations drawn from society’s logic and permissiveness.  Of course, homosexuality used to be a reason to be detained under the mental health act, I think, or it was at least viewed as a mental illness.  But now it is a crime to show yourself ‘homophobic’.  I said that to the psychiatric staff on my ward.  I was sort of stonewalled.  Or patronised.  No one was interested in changing anything they were doing to me after I said it, anyway.

I was thinking about homophobia the other day, and wondering if there is such a word or crime as ‘Christianophobia’.  In the interests of balance I think possibly there should be.  Maybe ‘Religiophobia’ as well.  I have indulged, in myself, a homosexual relationship, though not a complete lifestyle, and I believed it was wrong beforehand and believe it was wrong now, afterwards.  And I am a Christian who believes the Bible says it is wrong and that therefore it is.  Unfortunately you can’t catch me with the shellfish argument, because I am also a vegan for moral and spiritual reasons.  Therefore I would not wear animal fibres either, mixed or otherwise.  So OK, I used to have a lesbian relationship, and now I am saying it is wrong, and that Biblical Christianity says it is wrong, which I believe.  Where does that put me as an individual on the crime scale, in relation to this issue? (By the way, I think Islam and the Quran also say it is wrong).  Not only the crime scale, but what are my own human rights on this, in terms of owning my own experience and my beliefs about it, including moral, spiritual and religious?  Can I be penalised for religiously aggravated homophobia against myself?  Do I have to limit myself in how I talk about my own life and beliefs about it?

The politicisation of ideas of right and wrong, illness and wellness.  Mental illness really is a political concept, isn’t it? Part of the irony, for me, is that an awful lot of force and assault, not to say violence, is used against some very non-violent people to make sure they take their ‘medication’.  By these people who say we are a danger to ourselves or others otherwise.  I do feel sick thinking about it.  Sick with violence and rage, the retaliatory kind.  That is a normal feeling.  I’m not acting it out.  There would be no point.  Their force and violence would be greater.

So the force and violence of a recognised professional body against an individual is OK and justified, but if that person, before not violent or physically forceful, wants to retaliate, even says they feel they want to, it isn’t?  It’s a threat to society?  But these professionals are not?

God hates fags – an interesting forage and forray.

A Different World

Here we go again, whenever my words and emotions connect there is a bang from upstairs, and suddenly both my words and emotions are in ruins.

I was going to say something like, I’m just watching a news report on BBC World News, about a killing in Afghanistan, and looking at the uncomfortable stoicism of some of the people who seem to be presiding men, and young boys crying alone and no one comforting them.   Maybe no one was there, I don’t know.  But I was thinking I am so pleased for the therapy and ministry movement in the West and that our men aren’t expected to do the stiff upper lip and upright bearing thing anymore. 

Earlier there was a story, in Extreme Weddings, about a couple getting married, an arranged marriage, and the woman was shown on her wedding day, and she didn’t look to me just overwhelmed, she looked grief-stricken, but I might have misinterpreted it.  And the older women dancing like minarets, and everyone doing the strained happy thing that people do at weddings everywhere, because it is supposed to be a happy day.  I wonder if so many marital problems start right there, at the insistence, whether it is true or not, that everyone is happy on the wedding day.  The expectation that that is how it should be, whether it is successfully carried through or not.  But I looked at that report and wanted to come home to England.  Ever the wimp and melodramatist.

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