Friday, 10 January 2014

MY WAY: The opposite direction

Most of this has been posted in my Norwegian blog, 
and some of it is elsewhere in this blog.

Some days ago I wrote about  A STRANGE ANNIVERSARY, and ended with  Shirley Bassey's renditon of “My Way”.

My own way has not been dramatic or glamorous, and I did not stand tall … it was more of a grungy trek through tangled thickets in order to get to a place where I could stretch my spine.

And it began a long time ago, when I walked away from conventional wisdom on how to “heal”. Mindfulness wasn’t a thing then, but after more than 20 years of letting go and meditation and all the other tools, in many different frames and guises, I finally had to admit to myself that this was not working. I was not unloading old crap and walking towards a craplesser future – the crap kept coming back, just like the cat in this song:

So I began to let go of something else: all the tiny automatic switches that ruled my no-feel/no-show response to invasions of my Self.

And the results look good. I came on 50% sick leave in 2009 with symptoms of fibromyalgia. Now I am doing a normal day’s work, my body does not hurt any more, my cholesterol is down, and so is my blood pressure and my weight.

And today I am translating some notes from my journey, and there's even a happy ending.

Update March 2011: Scan and Puke

I received copies of my file from the local District Psychiatric Centre (DPC) today, and I am in tears over the not-seeing and sick-making that it contains.

The contents confirm that answers to «Do you really have to do this?» and «Can’t you just put it behind you?» have to be «yes» and «no». 

Next week I am going away for a while to go through this file thoroughly. But first I have to do the “scan and puke” thing again. The last time I did it, my back was much less stiff afterwards, and I wonder if it will get better this time, too.

I am thinking a lot about a poem by Stein Mehren that begins like this:  

          I no longer ask so often
          who I am
          I show it
          so that others can show me
          what I mean to them

This poem was with me constantly in the late 80s too, and in the file from DPC I can see how clearly I showed who I was. And the Health Services documented a paranoid and projecting borderline psychotic who demonstrated omnipotent control.

What will the Health Services show me now?

Update December 2011: MY WAY         

I have a plan. To continue detangling, and be able to do a full day's work in a year. Right now, that looks realistic. I am 62 years old, and I hope to continue translating and writing until I am well past 70.

I have achieved a lot in this year, and that has had a good effect on my eating problems and fibromyalgia symptoms. There is progress.

With the same approach that I am using now, I got rid of seasonal depressions in the 80s. And because of what happened then, I get post-traumatic stress reactions – again – when I try to tell my GP why I need to do things my way. 

He wants to talk about blood pressure and cholesterol, and not about "that mental stuff".

And his mental stuff supervisor is the psychiatrist who supervised another GP into borderlining me. And that other GP is now District Health Supervisor. And they have not reassessed their knowledge about me.

I know how important it is for me to go my way ... and continue working with that mental stuff. The problem is that I need to base my work on my actual problems, my actual knowledge and experience ... none of which align with psychiatric realities.

In connection with those realities, I want to take a closer look at the concept of   grandiosity, which “… refers to an unrealistic sense of superiority, a sustained view of oneself as better than others that causes the narcissist to view others with disdain or as inferior. It also refers to a sense of uniqueness, the belief that few others have anything in common with oneself and that one can only be understood by a few or very special people.”

Yes, I did think that I was unique. I still think that I am unique, like every single human being on this earth is unique. So what?

I did think that I did not have much in common with what Ibsen calls "the compact majority". And I still think that. And that is natural for a person who constantly finds herself on the bias of normal, both by nature and because I grew up a Third Culture Kid, and my “… sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar background".

And I have been lucky - I have always known people who understand what I am talking about. Which is why I was able to notice when my opinions were not understood in the health services. And it is why I notice when they still are not understood there.

From 1987, when I came out as a childhood victim of adult sexual use, until the end of 1992, when the Chief County Medical Physician asserted that I did not have opinions, (link to Norwegian document here) I tried to communicate with professionals who listened with deaf ears.

They did not tell me that they only heard emotions, delusions and symptoms.

I need to look more closely at how this correct and legal mental health care slowly and almost imperceptively corroded my identity as an autonomous, thinking person. 

I can only be free of the victim role when I see what I was a victim of.

I need to be able to trust the Health Services. I need to know that I have a right to think and have independent viewpoints in interactions with the Health Services.

And I can only know that I have that right when it is self-evident that I have viewpoints until the opposite is proved.

And if I do not have these rights in the Health Services, I need to know it.

And now I have psychiatric symptoms until the opposite is proved. And the symptoms are not falsifiable. They cannot be disproved. A Catch 22 situation. 

Earlier this year, I wrote:

During the years when I kept crashing into unvisible “realities” in the HS, I thought that I had the same rights there that a lawbreaker has in the Judicial System:

·         A right to know what I am suspected of. 
·         A right to accusations that are so precise that they can be disproved.
·         A right to self-defense.
·         A right to take responsibility for my own actions. 

But these rights do not seem to be compatible with legal mental health care.

I cannot change others. That I realized a long time ago. I cannot change others, but I can notice and evaluate what they do. And that also goes for the HS.

Time does not heal all wounds, but time  gives distance, and I needed almost 20 years of distance before I could look back at what happened. And now I need time to  fix the damage. And I need to take the time it takes, no matter how long it takes. 

And I need to be able to tell my GP about what I need to repair my identity and my integrity.

And when I do  that, I put him in a bind. So I need a situation where my GP does not have to choose between believing me or his psychiatric area supervisor (PAS)  and his district health supervisor (DHS).

Earlier this year I thought I had found a solution. I wanted to say in front of  witnesses what I often had said to the PAS and the DHS privately: "I accept your statements as your opinions, your interpretations of reality. I cannot agree that these statements are "realities" about my life and my problems. Therefore I suggest that we agree to disagree".

So I asked the Mediation Board for a mediation meeting.

The Mediation Board refused and told me to contact the ombudsman for patients.

And I have a block about doing that. Because ...

Because this, to me, is not a patient problem. It is a freedom of thought and speech problem. A decency problem.

In «The Decent Society»,  Avishai Margalit writes:

“…a decent society, or a civilized society, is one whose institutions do not humiliate the people under their authority, and whose citizens do not humiliate one another.”

Wouldn’t it be nice if mental help services stopped legally humiliating the people they are supposed to serve?

Update March 2012: I DON'T GIVE A FRAK!

To my file at the Medical Centre:

GP appointment tomorrow. Don't have time to write more now, so there will be a proper update later.

I have been doing body-oriented process work since my last appointment.

And that cannot be descibed in a few words, for it does not exist in the HS.

I feel much better that I did at my last appointment, and enormously much better than the time before that, when I could not come to my appointment because of post-traumatic stress reactions.

I have gained three kilos and my blood pressure is probably way high, and I don’t give a frak!

The process is the most important right now, and it will take the time it takes. Taking shortcuts would be like fiddling with an arithemetic problem to get the correct answer.

The goal, being able to work a full day  again – is in sight. So are reduced weight and blood pressure.

But not today.

March 2012: MOVING IN

I see unwritten Christmas cards.
And I think: There they are.
I see thick layers of dust.
And I think: There they are
I see woods I can walk in.
And I think:  There they are
I see mountains of clutter.
And I think:  There they are

Everything is THERE.
Where I am not.

I am here.
Sinking into my life.
Accepting what I find there.
Not-achieving is the greatest achievement. 

A year ago I began
to move into my life.
And my body.
Millimeter by millimeter.
Not with pressure and will power.
With confidence and permission.
Confidence in Resistance.
Permission to be aware of Resistance.
Resistance knows that I notice.
And relaxes. 
A little.

I began to allow my fear of death to surface.
Allow the thoughts and fears that Resistance hides
in my many millimeters of body tissue.
Allow the tiny, frail reactions that fear has hidden.
Millimeter by millimeter,
three millimeters forwards and two back,
my body is becoming a part of me.
No longer a hostage to society’s need
for delusions of niceness.

And now my body shows that it is ready for change.
It notices dust and mess.
It begins to clean and declutter.
A little.
It is restless.
It wants to move.
A little. 

We have been here before, Body and I, 
and this time we agree.
It is time to move into doing mode.
Little by little.
Move into my house and my health.
Little by little.

This time I will do it differently.
Follow Body into doing mode.
No plans, no objectives.
Trust my Body.
See which paths my Body takes
into my house and my health.

June 2012: The Story of Thing

Pollyanna Positive was the survival self of the child I used to be. Can you see that in this picture?

It is easy to see the smile. And I was lucky, I met good helpers who also saw the anxiety, loneliness and confusion. These people gave me something very important, silent acceptance, a friendly presence, a safe place where I could put aside my smile and rest for a while.

I was given silent acceptance and a friendly presence. 

So I know that they are. 

And because I know what they are, I now can give silent acceptance and a friendly presence to Thing.

Thing is a part of me.  

She cannot speak, she has no mouth. And I have been ashamed of her. I have denied her as long as I can remember, so she is almost lifeless. And I recently stopped Action Man, who is another part of me, from killing and burying her. And I am not crazy, I just have very interesting dreams, and I use archetypes and metaphors to find and tell the stories  that I otherwise would have no words for.

After many years, Thing has slowly been allowed to emerge. And she wants to write her own story with her own words.

And now, finally, that is OK with Pollyanna and Action Man.

And with me.


About being Thing.
Ingrid thinks she knows, she knows not.
Thing has mouth.
Ingrid sees it not.
Mouth is shut with huge stitches of shame.
To be Thing.
To be silenced.
And shamed.
Ingrid knows not.
Ingrid did it.
Silenced and shamed me.

Thing has no life.
Thing has no protection.
Thing has no borders.
Thing has no voice.
Thing has no emotions.
Thing has not.

Thing is not.
Thing is for.
Thing is for using.
Cog in the machines of others.
Chip in the games of others.
Statue in the landscape of others.
Doll in the life of others.
Pivot in the dreams of others.
Thing is not.
Thing is for.
Thing is for using.

Thing was needed so that others
could make wheels go round.
Could decorate landscapes.
Could play games.
Could live dreams.
Pollyanna was there.
Pollyanna smiled.
Pollyanna smiled the ABB smile.
Action Man was almost dead.
No room for Action Man in Ingrid.
Ingrid closed the mouth of Thing.
Thing was not.
Thing was for.
Thing was for others.

Does Pollyanna see Thing now?
Does Action Man see Thing without
wanting to kill Thing?
Does Ingrid see thing?

seemeseemeseeme see me see me
see my mouth
see the stitches
take away the stitches


I hold the virtual body in virtual mother arms. Cut off the virtual stitches that have closed the virtual mouth. I love the silenced, exhausted, harmed little virtual being that is a part of me with aching heart.

And I say:

Yes, I did this.
I closed your mouth with stitches of shame.
And I thought that I knew that you had no mouth.
I did this.
I own this.

I was ashamed of you.
So I disappeared you from my life.
You were shamed away.
I did this.
I own this.


And for now the story stops there. The concept of forgiveness is far from the thought frames of Thing. Is it possible to forgive a life in voiceless isolation?

Forgiveness is also far from my thought frames. In asking for forgiveness, I can only make Thing a cog in a story that makes me feel better.

To be in the situation.
That I can do.
Own what I did.
That gives peace.

"It is like this."

The best words in the world.
The best thing in the world: to see what is.
With no lies.
No tangles.
No filter.

And be.


Thing is now Littlest. Still not very verbal, but communicating constantly. 


As the Vulcans say: "I rejoice in our differences". Comments, questions and differing opinions are welcome.

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