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Time to talk

What it feels like to go through the thousand shades of gray that get labeled bipolar, mania, depression, schizophrenia, borderline, panic, anxiety, psychosis, attention deficit, obsessive-compulsive, self-injury and ... what's it like in your world? How do you relate to your mind and your diagnosis? What language makes sense to you?

Time to talk

Postby happygardener » Mar 17, 2019 6:02 am


Just a quick post, wanting to express my frustration somewhere, thinking that this is the best place to be understood and truly heard as I whisper my pain anonymously.

So here it is: I am sick of feeling ashamed that I don’t out myself or seek support in daily life. I have in the past and it made things a million times worse.... There is such a drive and movement that says it’s helpful and healing to share our difficulties with others. I live in the UK and time to talk dominates the discourse.

What about those of us who have been gravely hurt, physically, mentally and in our very soul, by the caring industry?

What about those of us who have been scorned in the past for sharing? Pleading and begging for help but tarred and deemed unfathomable and ultimately unworthy of it. This is not false, shamed interpretation of events, a problem of my faulty thinking. It is the reality and risk for those with less palatable stories and experiences.

What about those of us who experience extreme distress but choose to place this within the realms of normal and explainable human experience?

What about the validity of choosing to keep yourself safe because exposure feels like potential death?

I have learnt my lesson and I keep things private except to the trusted few, because that is what they are....

I choose to keep safe and protected from the ‘helpers’. I worked hard to get away from them...

Is it my job to educate the ignorant or is it my job to create an experience for myself where I feel safe?

Random thoughts from someone who sometimes feels very alone...

As ever, as it has always been, I sit outside looking in with curiosity.
"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light" Spike Milligan
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Re: Time to talk

Postby Nighteyes » Mar 18, 2019 8:24 am

hi happygardener. Versions of what you are writing have been on my mind a lot lately. I am sorry about the horrible things that happened to you, but happy you've found ways of keeping yourself safe(-ish) in this world of ours. I'll hopefully get around to write something from my Norwegian perspective soon, but for now I just want to thank you for writing up your thoughts on this subject.
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Re: Time to talk

Postby happygardener » Mar 18, 2019 2:24 pm

Hi Nightteyes

Kind words from a stranger, a welcome balm, thank you. I too am sorry that life has been difficult for you.....

Perhaps I’m not so alone after all. Perhaps it’s merely an old fear battling with the drive/necessity to find safety. Another of life’s little conundrums....

If you ever feel like putting your words and experiences down on the screen, I would be interested to read them. Both your experiences and how things are in Norway.

Thank you once again, for listening and for hearing me.
"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light" Spike Milligan
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Re: Time to talk

Postby Isa » Mar 18, 2019 5:37 pm

hi happygardner, thanks for being here and for sharing. I've also been preoccupied lately with similar thoughts and arriving at some similar conclusions.

I'm also in the UK, and have problems with the current discourse, too. In times of crisis I've had well meaning people in my life tell me to just talk to someone, anyone, call the samaritans, reach out to professionals. I've reached out to both of the above, and either it hasn't been helpful or I've felt actively hurt by it.

Even though people like to think it will be unfailingly beneficial in some way "to talk", at the end of the day medical professionals, or counselling professionals, or the people on the end of a help line are flawed humans with wildly varying degrees of sensitivity, kindness, empathy, professionalism, experience, knowledge and trustworthiness. And in a crisis situation, or in deep pain, our judgement isn't the same as it is otherwise. And sharing our deepest pain with the wrong person can hurt very badly indeed.

But of course people aren't wrong about sharing helping, it just has to be with the right person at the right time, about the right things. And that's really a case of the stars aligning.

I was referred to a crisis team at the end of last year, and i went into the situation with trust and hope (and I didn't have a huge amount of choice since I really was in crisis, I'd been reported missing to the police, I was an active suicide risk). And it felt like the right thing, until it suddenly wasn't and my trust was very damaged, and my feeling of exposure was enormous, and I felt very hopeless indeed. And I'm still dealing with the aftermath of that.

I've been seeing GPs for depression and mental health issues for many years, but my absolute mistrust of professionals since my crisis incident (and lack of belief in going to the GP at all after trying medication after medication, and having none of them work and some of them make me much more ill).

It's a colossal hurt in the soul to be begging for help and to be hurt instead, and I have been there and I have felt this. And I am very sorry that you have as well.

Privacy does matter. Exposure is diffcult. And both the medical profession and the world at large are not particularly safe places, they require navigtation that is complex at the best of times and almost impossible in times of great vulnerability.

You have a right to keep yourself safe in the ways your intuition and experience lead you to feel is right for you. Nobody else, regardless of their percieved authority can know your intuition, your experience or who you are better than you.

I am seeking different avenues for myself in the form of the search for likeminded individuals, informative books, alternative ways of exisiting to the mainstream, an open minded approach to healing and wellness ideas that i might have previously scorned, and private therapists whose kindness and safeness I can assess.

What most people perhaps don't actively think about - and it maybe doesn't necessarily apply to or require thought from certain sections of the population - is that everyone has a need for and a right to a persona/front that helps them deal with the social realities of the day to day. Everyone has a right to not have all of their innermost feelings and vulnerability in plain sight, it is too difficult. Having a persona/front isn't inauthentic, it's a very real survival necessity for people who are unsure and vulnerable, in my view.

What you wrote about extreme distress being placed within the realms of normal and explainable human experience resonates so strongly and I'm so glad you wrote it in such a well worded way. I do think that largely people are suffering for extremely good reasons, and the pathologising of this is a big problem. I think the human experience is a painful one for anyone with any real capacity for emotion, and that there are difficult times we are caught up in collectively. UK society is emotionally difficult, and surprisingly lonely for many of us.

I hope I haven't misinterpreted you or projected my own feelings and experiences too much; hopefully posting here can provide some kind of comfort. Those of us who are here, do hear you and feel your frustration and your pain. And I feel these things, too.
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Re: Time to talk

Postby happygardener » Mar 19, 2019 2:13 pm

Hello Isa

Thank you for your response and for sharing the depth of your feelings on this subject. I felt no projection, just earnestness and sharing.

I particularly liked: “I think the human experience is a painful one for anyone with any real capacity for emotion, and that there are difficult times we are caught up in collectively. UK society is emotionally difficult, and surprisingly lonely for many of us.“ When I was younger I had fight in me to want to help to change the latter, now I am weary and staying alive for the sake of my loved ones is enough and also all that I have to offer...

I like the idea of living outside of the mainstream but I fear the backlash within and without. I hope that you find a way. I practice yoga and trauma release exercises to seek healing for myself and I have done for many years. It helps and I can stay under the radar and eke out a living for myself. I hope you find a way too.

I wrote this a few weeks ago, in despair it vomited out of me. This topic has been swirling around in me for a while now. I got burnt again by getting too close to ‘the system’, hanging out with the wrong crowd. Goodness me, will I never learn!

Anyways, maybe this cathartic outpour will mean something to those of us with the mantra ‘safety first’:

“The mental health industry rattles along, consuming more souls in it’s wake. For it is a greedy, bloated and insatiable beast. Those living in the shadows of its hunger, nursing their wounds, truly know not to poke it too hard.

One of it’s newest tricks and ruses is to suggest that talking and ‘coming out’ is to be universally applauded. That those who follow this path are heros and warriors paving the way for us less brave souls.

Is it the job of the traumatised to educate others? Or is it their job to find safety for themselves?

Now, here I wish to add a caveat, an important one, so I implore you to lean in and listen hard, for I fear that I will anger you and the beast. At the crux of this paradox, that many of us live in, is the issue of consent. Oh my! Not just glibly saying yes, but deep, heart felt, informed consent. Oh my! The ground is so unstable here, “who and what can I trust?”. It is my contention that we struggle to truly consent when safety is not assured and we risk being cast out by our fellow humans. It is a tricky business indeed and we live in a paradox.

Please, please be careful out there..

I personally worship at the altar of informed consent and freedom. So if you want to talk, talk. If you don’t, don’t… I look on alone and forlorn at those who find warmth and welcoming smiles as they share their secrets, seeking absolution from the beast. They find a sense of belonging and camaraderie that is elusive and tastes bitter as a pill to me.… Am I envious of their new found salvation, as they lie with the beast? Perhaps, but never beaten….

For it is MY experience that people don’t want to see you expressing the bad bits, the anger, the destruction, the pain, the terror, the humiliation, the unseen and unknown things that swirl around… Yes, it’s time to talk, but the parameters are narrow. I counsel you to not stray too far from the script, the template or the act, or you too will feel the pain of ‘otherness’ . You can’t ‘untell’ your story, the stakes are high… Sanitised versions are the ones that are allowed.

Please, please, be careful out there.

So I scope people out, sniff out their prejudices. An admonishing throwaway remark here, a scornful judgement there. “They” should “pull themselves together”. Bang! You’re not safe, so we’ll play that game. It’s OK, I don’t mind. You can set the rules. How do you want to play? I only ask one thing, please don’t hurt me and ssshhh, don’t poke the beast.

So if you wanna talk, then talk and if you don’t, don’t. It’s your choice alone...Eyes wide open, steel yourself, breathe well and be careful that the beast doesn’t bite you or worse...

Please, please, be careful out there...

Oh sorry, I forgot to tell you, there is another beast. Remember how I told you about the first one’s wrath? It is enlivened by ego monsters, saviours and other varieties of bleeding hearts. They mean well, but they just don’t get it. I am sorry to say that unlike the first, this second beast can’t be hidden from. Stealth mode doesn’t work on this powerful being. It is also much, much scarier than the first. The second beast not only lives in your house, it lives in you. That is why you cannot escape it. It must be confronted, but not in the usual way that one imagines you would slay a beast. It can be defeated, but not with machismo bravery, destruction or with psychic or physical muscle. Although these things can perhaps quell its roars and thrashing for a while. You may be allowed to go about your daily business, make a living and carve out some sort of life for yourself. However it will not stay hidden or be ignored for long, for those are the rules, it’s simply how it works. Sometimes you may have to limp home, hiding and protecting your wounds as the beast roars and convulses inside you. It demands to be heard, to be noticed, it will not be denied forever. So you crawl and stagger, until you are back to the place where the paradox is at its strongest. You are home, the door is closed, only safe people are allowed in. That’s the rules, if you are lucky, you get to set them in this place. It is here that you should be utterly safe, yet the tense guarding of body and mind grips and strains even more strongly. The beast is also home with you. Neither of you feel safe and you desperately try to find a sense of ease, as you writhe and thrash around desperately searching for a break from the tsunami of yet another of it’s overwhelming attacks.

Please, please be careful in there...

So what’s the answer? How can the paradox be resolved? It doesn’t involve time machines and stories of ancient or epic battles from your past. For the latter, is the deception of fight and flight. You are safe. The key is to sit with the beast, to not poke it by rejecting it or disowning it or hating it. It is you and not you at the very same time. I did warn you that it’s a paradox! It is the most fascinating and trickiest game that I know. It still catches me out after many years of trying. So I remind myself to stop trying, to stop fighting and I surrender to the beast, in awe of the devastation and annihilation that it is capable of. As I stop resisting its vengeful anger and sickening shame, I see the beast. It is not a creature promulgating fear, it is fear. I watch as my nervous system and my body enact the same sensations and tensions over and over. I watch some more, gently dipping my toe in and out of the water. It gets easier and the beast thanks me, for just like me it wants to be heard, truly heard. It wants to be seen, truly seen. It wants to be accepted, truly accepted. This is titration, we don’t jump in too fast, belly flopping into the dark depth of our past, drowning in the overwhelming dark. The beast and I make friends. We hang out, resting and digesting. We help each other to keep moving forward, not through force, with quickness or by riding roughshod, but through respect, acceptance and taking our time.

So sometime it’s “time to talk” can result in retraumatisation. An endless loop of the poor misunderstood beast crying out in pain and in fear, desperate to be allowed to exist. Others call it triggering. I call it the poking of beasts and the picking of wounds. The telling of stories too quickly, in too much technicolour. It’s not safe and both beasts may punish you for your mistake. The first beast can be ignored and hides in plain sight. The second embodies paradox. It’s fury and violence cannot be matched. You will not win, it overwhelms you and takes control as it slashes at and takes huge gauges out of your very soul. So surrender well dear friends, and know that the beast needs exactly what you need, for it is you. Your needs are simple - love, acceptance, respect, autonomy, freedom, fluidity and safety.

I seem to have spent a while telling you my secrets, the things I’ve come to know. It’s ‘time to talk’ is also a paradox my friend and I laugh at the irony and ridiculousness of me spilling my angst over this electronic page into the ether, without comrades cheering me on for my bravery. The beast and I have been hanging out for a while now, listening and learning about each other’s lives, views and experiences. I rejoice in the joy and freedom of being friends tonight, for we really are the same being. We are human, I don’t have an illness or a disorder. I’m just trying to find my way, like everyone else. I urge you to heed my warnings, my musings on life and why I believe uncritical acceptance of ‘Time to Talk’ campaigns and rhetoric is problematic. As is my theme, paradoxically, I also urge you to ignore me and shout aloud “poppycock”.

So if you (and the beast) want to talk, then talk. If you don’t, then don’t.

Never be swayed by loud voices, claiming special knowledge or an easy cure for all your woes. That is another aspect of the many paradoxes to be reflected upon another day, for the fix is both incredibly difficult and easy at the same time.

Whatever you do, breathe well, hold your head high, keep your eye out for beasts and please, please be careful both out and in there...”
"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light" Spike Milligan
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Re: Time to talk

Postby Isa » Apr 09, 2019 4:36 pm

This is all makes sense to me.

Trying to stay under the radar and survive is what I'm aiming for, too.

I hope you're doing okay and that things are going a little better
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