Manna from Heaven


Hiding from the Wreck

Hiding from the Wreck

Or, rather, from my loft (same difference?)..

I very sensibly arranged to have my loft insulated lately and today is the day that the event will take place. Indeed, I am writing this just 40 minutes prior to men entering my home to find that preparation for their work has turned my home, which had lately begun to look quite civilised, into wreck of the hesperus – not that I’ve ever read that poem, but it’s entered daily parlance so I’m assuming that the overwhelming chaos in which I daily find myself is a fitting tribute to that concept.

Not that I had or have ever wished to make such tribute. It seems that my life has been predisposed to the matter. No sooner do I exert myself to the huge effort and commitment of a mega clear up than something comes along in my life that undoes all my good intentions and returns me to this whirling disorder.

I’m not, at the best of times, the most domesticated animal ever born, so maintaining simple dignity is a challenge even then, but when my life is turned upside down like this, it’s like beginning to drown in life’s drivel..

I maintain my sanity by ignoring it and sitting down to write. It hardly answers to the demands of the occasion but it answers to my need to hide from ugliness by living inside my mind.

It is, perhaps, one of my more crazy habits.

Still, in recent years my crazy habits have been very kindly tolerated and accommodated by an ever growing circle of true friends who seem to acknowledge, accommodate and forgive them all by focussing on what virtues I possess. If it weren’t for these dear friends I dare say I would still be living half my life in the loony bin, drugged up to my eyes on anti psychotics and hardly able to walk in a straight line, so deleterious are such drugs upon one’s co-ordination, hope factor and social opportunities.

I was reading a very interesting account by Jan Wallcraft in her recently initiated blog – I can’t recall it’s name now, which is infuriating – I’ll get back to you about that.. She was writing about ‘recovery’ and her attention was focussed on the use of that concept, and the bending of it, by psychiatry. Psychiatry has taken the concept of ‘recovery’ on board by emptying it of any meaningful content. They have to because, as dealers for pharmaceutical companies they must, perforce, continue to peddle the crappy idea that people who have intense life crises that see them ending up in front of a psychiatrist will probably need to be held down with drug addictions for the rest of their lives.

Jan has a very good point. The concept of ‘recovery’ has been utterly corrupted by these idiots. And around the country, certainly in Worcestershire, the regional mental health trusts are ‘leading by example’ of identical idiocy. Pernicious idiocy is what we’re talking about of course.

Still – there’s a case for re-claiming the proper meaning of the word. In the last couple of years I have been ‘reclaiming’ – and ‘recovering’ the identity of ‘Janie Greville’ as it had been ‘identified’ prior to `1997 when I fell foul of my ex husband’s good will and thus the mental health services.

Little by little I have noticed that I am addressed as an intelligent, creative, productive and affectionate if impulsive human being. This would fit nicely with the ‘Janie’ I was prior to meeting my ex-husband. I managed to sustain something of that identity even during much of my relationship with him. When it became impossible to ‘be myself’ with him I ended the marriage.. And apparently my entire edifice of being. His temporary blind rage ignited the mental health services in 1997 to an energy of purging. The intent, it would appear, was to purge me of my identity, my personality, my character, my aspirations, my earning power and my reputation. It all fitted in well with how my enraged ex-husband would like to see me punished for the crime of ending the marriage. It barely fitted in very well with my purpose of improving my – and my children’s – lives, however.

So I kept rebelling. Each time I rebelled I found myself back in hospital drugged to a state of bare consciousness. A steady stream of psychiatrists and cpn’s and one very silly social worker, ‘maintained’ this despicable culture. May I name a few people? I’d better not, I’m not wanting to excite trouble I can avoid.

I’ll name those who stand innocent of this fiasco, though. Verity and Fez, social worker and cpn respectively, who have intervened in my life in only beneficial ways.

There is a Dr Dhaya in the background, also, who doesn’t appear to have input much harm into the situation. He has stayed in the background, exactly where he belongs. To that extent he must be praised. It’s just a possibility that he is notably less dogmatic and arrogant than so many of his colleagues.

There is also a man called Dr King, now largely if not entirely retired now, I think, who ‘saw me’ in ways that were not merely hopeful but positively flattering. I like being flattered, don’t we all? Most of all, though, I like it when I am treated as a person I can recognise as me. He had that capacity. He occasionally addressed the part of me who saw me in my potential even hypothetical best possibilities. That tended to make me feel a bit nervous – I always fear disappointing others and prefer to underplay my abilities rather than the reverse, though at times I too see the possibilities, fear of failure has held me back.

But I support the attempt to paint my picture in as optimistic a light as possible – after all, it’s encouraging and hopeful. And a huge contrast to the kinds of portraits offered to me by his predecessor. I feel I owe him a tribute for this; partly because it held me for a few years in a state of survival instead of probable death; partly because he may in fact be somewhat a designing architect of the identity I now approach.

After all – we, none of us, are ‘islands’. This cliche needs to step out of its space as simple cliche. We are in fact less islands, or lands, than junctions into which and from which energies move and flow, or become stuck. Everything that encourages flow enhances the self, everything that inhibits flow or excites explosion, is to be condemned as destructive of the self. Every successful achievement is the achievement of a community of goodwill and support and input – even those achievements that appear to be the production of a single person are in fact the achievement of a community of this kind.

It is true, likewise for destructive as well as noble actions. None of us act alone however lonely we may feel at times. This knowledge tends to support the idea that we should choose our friends carefully for undoubtedly we shall in time become the measure of the friends we spend most time with and the values we nurture most in our minds.

Well! What a splendid way to avoid the clearing I need to do to turn my wreck back into a home, and the loft insulators are still not here, they were due 15 minutes ago – gosh I hope they haven’t forgotten!!!

By Janie Greville 2013.

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