Tag Archive: Madness


Emily Dickinson Poem

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

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

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Today I’m Going to Write About . . .

The feeling that I can’t write.  No, I’m not, I’m going to write about the fact that my head feels numb.  I should have taken procycledin but I didn’t because Tracy was on and I didn’t want to ask her.  Also I’ve had a glass of wine and I’m about to have another.

I’ve borrowed a book from the library called ‘This Is Madness’.  It’s a compilation by three young mental health professionals from the 90s.  It talks a bit about empiricism – ‘if it works, keep using it’, but that really it is about controlling behaviour on the ward rather than about sickness.  Talks about lobotomies and how neuroleptics (renamed anti-psychotics for political reasons) do the same thing and how they alter the brain.  I should think they also alter experience.  I feel very tired because I didn’t sleep much last night, until I played some Michael Mish on my mp3 player.  I fell asleep half way through but it was around 6 am by then, and people were beginning to move and slam doors.  I had an 11 am appointment which didn’t materialise until 1 pm.  Also it has been decided that doors should be locked at weekends as well as weekdays.  Terry came around saying time to lock up.  That was the first I knew of it.  At first I thought it must be Friday and I had made a mistake, then I thought maybe Terry wasn’t with it and he thought it was Friday when it was Saturday.  But no, we now have to lock up every day.  No rest days.

I’m censoring myself as I write today, because I think I’m being bitchy if I write what I have on my mind.  I’m going to uncensor myself.  I was thinking about Tracy and the time she said I wasn’t powerful enough to ‘have her job’, ie to cost her her job.  It was when we argued about what time the TV went off.  Although there is a notice up now saying 10.30 it often doesn’t happen then.  But it was her attitude, and her assumption that I’m ‘not powerful enough’.  I was told today that there was no reliable witness who saw me kicked so nothing was going to happen about it.  I’m wondering if it is in the same league.  I’m wondering if we are deemed not reliable because we are mental health patients.  If so that is definitely discrimination, isn’t it?

Tracy and Sharon both turn away from me and are nice to other people.  Tracy just ignores me, Sharon is rude to me, all the time.

I feel ill now whereas I didn’t so much before.  I have lost my alertness and sharpness, and a lot of it I can put down to emotional suppression.  I’m ever so tired, and I feel irritable.

I’m hoping I might be moving out of the hospital soon.  I’ve been told that unless I have lived in Nottingham for three years out of five I am not entitled to bid for housing but that I can go through the homelessness system.  If I do I’m hoping that will mean I will get at least a temporary flat and not get shoved in a hostel long term.  If so they have made a real mess of my life, if I end up being shoved in a hostel or B&B

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.

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