Archive for the ‘psychotic depression’ Category

In mind of my father, I would like to say: [Poem follows]

December 8, 2013

This is a piece of work I  have written in memory of my father, who died just over a year ago.  I have been grieving over the loss of him since his death, but for the first few months I was so busy organising the funeral and dealing with family conflicts viz his will, and liaising with my sister over the house & contents sale that followed his death that I didn’t begin the popularly understood phases of it until the spring this year.

When the fire burns will you cool me down; Will you love me enough to be there, still love me when I'm cool when I'm cool too?

When the fire burns will you cool me down; Will you love me enough to be there, still love me when I’m cool (!) too?

Then later on, nearer to the first anniversary of his death and burial, but before the estate had been divided, ‘case closed’, I entered a different ‘hypo-manic’ phase of grief.  I recognised the signs and resolved to remain mindful for fear of a full ‘relapse’  due to (unresolved) trauma and grief, and I relied on friends to help me to learn to take control of this little beast, – the adrenalin driven ‘depression with severe anxiety’ which appears to psychiatrists as colourful symptoms of ‘early stage onset’  of ‘hypo-mania’ which might be treated by daily visits and drug popping but no case for involuntary hospitalisation if at all unless hyper-mania is suspected to be imminent.

Janie beng very zany - and not in a good way : it just gets toooo much!

Janie beng very zany – and not in a good way : it just gets toooo much!

Family names are different. To some family members it is ‘here are early warning signs – what can I do to help’ . To others it is ‘she’s effing mad as apeshit, and as crazy as a box of frogs’ and then exasperation and impatience, even intolerance ensue. Other friend’s are patient and accepting and nurturing – that’s the best medicine of all.

That my dad and I were and are ‘classic and colourful cases of bipolar disorder (class 1)’ we both know. He’s gone now, but I hear him (no not literally, calm down) laughing. I’m still here.  I miss him dreadfully but I’m far from done with my little spot in ‘heaven on earth’. I’m creating a chilling space out of what is yet a house I’m hiding in; it’s going to be the palace of my life and loves.

Even alone sitting in my own house, houses either side of me, one of them audible and connected: I can get to feel claustrophobic. Especially when one of them’s connected all down one side. So -I’m gonna keep some of my wild patch amongst the apple and plum trees just as it is. Then beside it I’ll have a ‘the shed’:  a place for chilling while I work, rest and play,  ‘away from the madding crowds’.

It’s where I will go when I want to get:-

At Rest, Mindfully.

At Rest, Mindfully.

In mind of my father,

I would like to say:                                                                      [Poem Follows:]

Dad Formal & Serious

Dad Formal & Serious

My father’s not going,

my father’s not gone:

He  was never much in –

though  nature gave

him that clefted chin,

those ice blue eyes;

that laziness in his swing

That swung in everything  –

Including the drumming

And the piano blasts

All singing All smoking

All singing, All smoking

And the music that jazzed

Wherever he was.

He is a swinger, a jazz man,

An artist of soul

Who mere mortals judged

And pilloried

When the shit hit the fan

inner pain, outer glimpse

inner pain, outer glimpse

And that’s music too,

A story of love,

And Tragedy-


His Labours of Love:

Jainey in a very zany pose - her dad was never photographed when off his nut lol

Jainey in a very zany pose – her dad was never photographed when off his nut lol

He loved too much, too deeply,

For the tall proud swan,

Though not enough,

as a cash-flow king,

For the one who took her place:

Cute little kestral

Cute little kestrel

Who was a cute little kestrel ,

Beady-eyed, who doubted

this Cash-Meister big-time.

So she curled up,

in disappointed fear,

Something to grip onto for dear life and death

Something to grip onto for dear life and death

Around the cash that was left –

And wouldn’t part with it.

Leaving him lonely.

And that was the nub of it.

the ultimate cause of the heartbreak.

His Acute yet prolonged Despair

His Acute yet prolonged Despair

The true love of his life was music:

Cameras, cash & women came

a close-run second to that.

But  his fatal addiction

was women..

Though his appetite for

Savile Row rags,

Handmade Italian shoes

and his Frank Sinatra hat,

showed a passion for finery

Be yourself:- a beautifully ridiculous genius.

Be yourself:- a beautifully ridiculous genius.

That needed cash

that wasn’t made quite right.

You could see it

In the way he smoked  his fags

–           It was his critical weakness point:

That cute, possessive little kestrel with her eyes on the look out for his wanting any cash.

That cute, possessive little kestrel with her eyes on the look out for his wanting any cash.

When that went, too

He lost the taste for living,

and found the air too stale to breathe.

So, while no-one

continued to listen,

Got trapped & killed at Depression Stage; NHS & Charity partly responsible according to Janie Greville.

Got trapped & killed at Depression Stage; NHS & Charity partly responsible according to Janie Greville.

He fucked off

to the bar

(in the sky).

You’ll find him there still:-

Dad's safest where he is just now...

The gate-way to heaven above, bouncers below keeping the masses out. Dad at the bar near the piano & drums, probably chatting with Doll.

In peace – at last!.

For Anthony Pierre Greville, Born 14th July, 1930 – Died 4th October 2012.

His  spirit was purified by Sept 28th at the latest; his spirit was released during a private family service about three weeks later.

His spirit was purified by Sept 28th at the very latest; his soul was released, during a private family service, about three weeks after his death.

This entry, like all published in this site to date,  is the intellectual property of MissionMiraculus Ltd., and in particular all the copyrights of its contents belong to ‘J.Knee Operations Ltd’ . Anyone else who is invited to write for this site will keep their copyrights intact with a contract with MissionMiraculus &/or ‘J.Knee Ops Inc’  in relation to it’s publisher rights.

This  piece December 7-8th, 2013

Merry Christmas and an Aborted Old Year !

December 10, 2012

228483_10150573506395514_893365513_18705285_5857753_n sisters

Like my style? 😉


What might we like to abort today?

Justice? Barely.

Injustice? Possibly.

Abortion is a sensitive, delicate subject.

..It is particularly delicate and sensitive for me.

Every Christmas since December 30th 1994 I have approached Christmas with an intent to please and make everything lovely.

And then completely ruined it.

Well – actually – I managed Christmas 94, 95, 96 just about Ok.

Probably the first because I hadn’t quite hit the wall.

Probably 95 because, well, I’d convinced myself that silence really was the way forward; false smiles the cheer of the good.

’96… 96 I was fraying within. Reaching the end of my personal, fragile weave…

’97 I’d already tipped over to the point where I’d so successfully repressed my pain and its source that I didn’t even have a conscious awareness that this… This.. THIS was the cause of my unbearable trauma.

This year I’m determined to focus on this earth, this blessing, these blessings, the beauty of all that is and all that can be.

I refuse to bleed my griefs into the fabric of the season.

Were I a good Catholic girl I would find myself in commune with those who understand my undying pain.


But I’m not even a Catholic, let alone a good one.

By culture I’m a Scandinavian-Germanic-(Celtic) Calvinist who happens to abhor abortion simply because in my own bizarre, no doubt, eyes, every conception is, at the very instant of it – a miraculous wonder of life burgeoning: a ‘god given blessing’ to share this earth with a new innocent emerging..


My husband-of-the-time, who had announced, most decisively from my point of view (‘shared values’ etc) that he ‘wanted at least 4 or 5 children’ ordered me to have an abortion in early? mid? December 1994.

The Doctor I visited in the fervent hope and belief he would refuse such a crime on the grounds of inappropriacy and unsuitability simply reached for his form and sent me to the hospital for a scan and abort.

Question asked: ‘Why do you want an abortion?’ Question answered, in a hesitant, reluctant and reticent form as a quotation as required ‘because my husband and I think our family is complete’. Response: reach for form. Eye contact: Nil.

My husband-of-the-time came with me for the hospital appointment. He would. He’d want to ensure I went through with it.

I sat in the waiting area after the scan to assess age of gestation. I sobbed. Then sobbed. Then sobbed some more. I begged my H-of-the-time not to make me kill my baby.

He sat beside me watching some tv screen ahead and above him as if I weren’t there. He didn’t say a word to me. He didn’t look at me. He didn’t give a shit how I felt.

When we were called in the sister/nurse did give a shit. She took my right hand in hers, or both my hands, can’t be quite sure, and she showed caring. It was a caring I hadn’t experienced in a long while.

She told me that she had something to tell me that, under the circumstances maybe was a good thing.

The foetus, as she named it, had died within me a fortnight before. It had been poisoning my body as a result of not naturally aborting (as a ‘miscarriage’) and so if I hadn’t come for this scan I could have died.

I saw this as my baby giving up on life in the belief that I didn’t love him/her enough.

I suffered years of flashbacks and dreams about my lost baby. I imagined the nurse having been bribed to tell me this and that my baby wasn’t dead but was killed because I believed the lie.

However absurd the idea of that :- my sense of myself as a murderer of my longed-for baby sat in my ‘god shaped hole’ for years. And years. And years.

It spilled out one day in 2009 in a preceptorship course session. Not very neat. Not very tidy. Not well handled (by me, I mean).

It made one of the students cry.

I shouldn’t have been glad.

But I was glad.

Especially perhaps, because it was a male student. He healed my total loss of trust in men (apart from my father and my grandfather.
(I use an ‘in-service soldier’ image because – I believe that mental health practitioners need to realise that – that’s what they have to have the courage to be in order to do their job well)

Only now do I look back with shame as I realise –

I was glad.

At last I had shared a bit of my pain.

(But shouldn’t have got such a healing from the comfort of strangers… sadly no comfort had come from anywhere else..)(Not that it had had a chance – I’d shared it with no-one else.)

It must have lessened it.

Because in 2012 I sit here writing these words: sure – I’ve cried a river as I’ve written this, have had to stop, at times, just to protect the keyboard and find a way to carry on.

But until 2009 I was driven by my unconscious and my sleeping nightmares.

I had spent a full 11 years or more, by that time, attempting to live with an unbearable reality.

It had driven me round the bend.

Not so crazy that I so lost the plot that I didn’t know the difference between truth and reality.

I was very clear on that.

Some bits in the middle were not so easy to determine.

I must say though.

I only have and would only ever publish what I know.

I know that you visit. I know that you skim through to see what you find interesting.

I have no idea what you think.

On this particular entry: I would love to hear from you.

I imagine that most of you probably come from a pro-abortion background and may feel offended.

Please don’t.

Try to imagine that for ME PERSONALLY pregnancy in my body is always experienced as an existence of 2 in 1.

I don’t assume or judge others for having different views.

Who am I to judge?

I do judge internally and very rarely, openly – those who act to transgress my essential identity and values. Identity and values that, as it happens, are entirely legal. I don’t judge others in this value/view: I can imagine that experiences outside of mine could lead me to hold different views. But I haven’t had them. So I don’t.

Especially where I been explicit and honest about them. I used ‘the pill’ a few times. Probably about 3 months in the whole of my life. I doubt it was that long. Actually I used the ‘rhythm method’. Oh – and celibacy.

I didn’t mean to be a catholic.

It was the way I was brought up.

It was the way my heart beat.

It was where the stars were placed on the instant of my birth.

It was the result of my father’s piano playing.

It derived from my adoration of babies..

From my yearning to share the joy of living

From my wishful conviction in the multiplication of love

From my conviction that the world is always as big as the heart


..or as small…

Tell me.

What do YOU think? 🙂

Ghost from the Past

November 22, 2012

Thank Friendship for Hopefulness

Gosh – Now this is a find that traces the temporal flow of my mental health undulations. I have been feeling so empowered and ‘in the flow’ in recent months, including the period of my intensest grief following my dear father’s recent death, that this evidence of self doubt and ‘hope fading fast’ mood had entirely been eclipsed from my being and memory. It is still eclipsed from my sense of emotional memory, including the question in my mind as to whether at the time I may have published an entry similar to it, but still – here is ‘my (depressed) state on July 1st 2012’. Luckily hidden, I believe, from my father when Michael and I and other members of my family arrived to celebrate his 82nd Birthday on July 14th. An achievement less successful at the University of Birmingham I suspect.

It’s odd, memory – if reminded as I was today by recovering a saved draft for this blog, I do remember that I was pretty low for several months this year – so horribly low, in fact, that I just didn’t want to start the advanced research course I’d signed up for because it would mean leaving my house (‘cave’) and seeing other people (‘being seen by people’). I felt ugly, dirty, unkempt, stupid, empty, and somehow ‘infectious’ in a very bad way. It was impossible for me to believe, in my heart of hearts, that others would fail to perceive me as I was perceiving myself.

When I’m not suffering from depression I simply don’t recognise these perceptions of me as a ‘picture of me’ as I am. I see people from time to time who kind of do ‘look like’ those ‘portraits’ – usually they are homeless and unhappy people, or very ill and food deprived people, or very ill and overfed people – either way, severely neglected people – toward whom my feelings of compassion and pity are raised but about whom, also, feelings of some fear and discomfort are raised.

What I do notice, however, is that as I spiral downwards into these long and annihalating depressions I begin to assume the characteristics of the associations I perceive myself to ‘have’ – I become dirtier, more unkempt, untidier, more disorganised, less focussed, less able to concentrate, less able to remember or mentally process even the simplest thought or utterance. It gets to the stage, usually, where I can hardly string a sentence together of the most functional kind, before the spiral finally stabilises at that paralysed low for a few weeks, or months, before finally beginning to spiral upwards to ‘normality’ again.

Maybe, the associations I hold with my internal depressions are bound up with neglect and dirt and ugliness to such a degree that unconsciously I create myself as the very embodiment of them. Perhaps that is the case with others less luckily held by friends and family and one highly skilful psychotherapist.

I begin to wonder if my need is to separate my experience of these ‘qualities’ from persons. Especially from the person of me. If I cease to see myself or anyone else as ‘possessing’ ‘dirt and neglect’ perhaps I will cease to fear or be disgusted AND also cease to pity and have compassion for signs of it. Either reaction is a manner of embracing it and, as it happens, I don’t enjoy dirt and neglect so I really don’t want to carry on embracing it in any way.

I may choose to allow it to some degree – I DO choose to allow it in two rooms of my house, my front and back garden and in the loft of my house at the moment, for example. Although, as it happens, during the past year (in fact – three or four months) moves have been afoot to alter even this degree of neglect.

Nevertheless – as a home maker and maintainer I do leave a lot to be desired and, I must confess, as a woman in our culture I am more than averagely self-neglecting: I forget to file my nails; I can seldom remember where my moisturiser is, let alone wear it; I frequently leave my home and jump into the car before brushing my hair or applying make-up and not infrequently have to use my fingers as a brush and a slap to the cheeks as make-up. Were I more attentive to the decorative requirements of humanity I would no doubt apply more of my time to these immensely important matters. But I always wash and I always brush my teeth and I never leave home without clothes on – so I kind of meet my own lowish standards of ‘clean and cared for’. Ditto in relation to maintaining my home. It may be a standard that Ikea fanatics would simply die on seeing as distinct to die to see, but it’s a standard that I merely live to rise above.

And – if anyone has read this far – why thank you, for you have accompanied me, post-haste, along my journey of self-therapy ‘from chronic and severe depression to nirvana [concept not band]’: May you live a long, joyful and prosperous life.. and so may I. 😉

Now for the precipitating ghost promised at the beginning:-

July 1st 2012.


The project for Renata Aazman weighs upon me. I can’t have the draft I sent her published because her criticisms were spot on and I don’t want to publish so ungracefully and one sidedly. I don’t want to be in battle. I need to lay down arms. I need to move on. Yet I need to be an author in this (her) anthology – I need to be in a place where that is appropriate, not in a place I will later regret.

Anyhow, that’s not why I came back to this page. I returned with an amused recognition about my creative blocks. May God forgive me for them – and that’s not blasphemy that’s genuine prayer. Nonetheless, the prayer takes a light hearted turn.


Diagnosis Hopelessness

I’m so powerless it exhausts me.
The grass grows despite me,
Taller every day,
Waving at my cares, carelessly
As if to force me to see
It’s free.

The honeysuckle on the lilac tree
Is strangling its delicate flowers;
The tree will soon be dead,
So strong is that persistent honeysuckle;
So weak the perishing lilac tree.

You’d think that I could overcome
that little piece of grass, but its an army
advancing and looming
like the honeysuckle on the tree,
And thus I have no possible chance
Of saving the beleaguered lilac tree.

Fear not, however. I have prowess
In relation to the sunshine
Who smiles at all who venture out
And touches all their hearts:
I stay in resolutely:
It has no power over me;

I am fear and shadow,
How can the sun reach me?

Blast from the Past – Psychotic Depression Rises to Protect the Kids

January 17, 2012
Life Against Death: The Psychoanalytical Meani...
Image via Wikipedia

It has come to my attention that some readers may mistake this publication for a ‘letter to my ex husband’ in the present day. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s title is ‘blast from the past – psychotic depression rises to protect children’. ~There is it’s context. In order to protect the children’s residency with their mother the mother was obliged to erase his crimes against her in her mind and implicitly hold herself responsible for everything, whilst denying that he was capable, let alone guilty of wrong doing within his home in secret.

The other clear clue is the date: 2001




Dear [Husband]

Once a momentum is under way it is extremely difficult to overturn, stop or change it. To do that you have to be able to develop an enormous energy, strength and determination to make the upheaval required.

Last year you determined on a momentum of change which you have used great energy, strength and determination to proceed with, assisted by the involuntary alteration of your feelings regarding what you can live with and what you want – you decided that and you went for it, in response to my having denied the need for medication one fatal last time, and then becoming utterly unbelievable in the behaviour of my illness.

I seem to have been on a momentum since 1997 when, in utter madness, I jeopardized our marriage, our family life, the children’s security and joy and my own mental, emotional, economic, social and physical health and validity. Since last year I have been walking a road to death, a road of death, a momentum of helplessness, hopelessness and despair which is of its own kind, in its own way extraordinarily strong and relentless. A road of death so lifeless that there isn’t even the energy there to make a distinct action to speed destination.

It will now take a miracle to transform the road of death which I’m on, one which shows itself in my body, as well as in my infuriating behaviour and lack of functioning, through an inability to sustain weight regardless of how much I eat, which at times is a lot.

You are not God, and you are not Jesus and you are not in this world simply and purely to provide succour for others. Your position in this drama of life and death isn’t, though, as irrelevant as you either think it is or want it to be.

I beg of you to realise that for whatever reasons, reasons which are extremely complicated and profound, my link with life, and the return of my energy to that pursuing life and health and sanity rather than death, disease and madness, is you: your willingness to forgive, and through forgiveness, to take my hand and help me back to a place in which I can become a mother and a wife deserving of that status and brought to the stage where you can want for me to have that status with you and for the children. Along that path lies the chance for us to form twin pillars for Lorna and Amelia, so that they can finally move through and past these dreadful times and up into a healing adolescence – a hard stage at the best of times, for them it will be extremely painful and difficult and they will need all the support and firmness and security they can lay their hands on. Along that path also lies the chance for you and I to form the arch we could be for each other, to be there for each other always, and to share our joys and sorrows together, knowing that that shadow is always behind us, never forgotten, but finally fading in the distance.

It seems to me that you have decided that the girls don’t really need me and that if I can’t carry on or I die or I continue to be a dead person in a half living body, it won’t matter too much for them. I won’t deny that their bodies wouldn’t die if I wasn’t there or if I carry on in this death living with or away from them – but it will without doubt devastate their lives for good in either case, and I believe the present situation is devastating their lives and therefore their future lives.

Our marriage of me in denial of my illness is over, our relationship of that order is over. Would a relationship of forgiveness and assistance to health, and a marriage of loving following upon that regaining of health be so damaging to your life that it would do to you what is now happening to me? We both know it wouldn’t and we both know that this is my only chance of transforming my own appalling momentum and becoming the woman you thought was there when you fell in love with her (I won’t call that me, since I so little resemble her right now) so long ago – if you will let yourself remember just how much you believed in her, wanted her, loved her, enjoyed being with her, then perhaps you can come home and help me to bring her out of the deep freeze and put this appalling thing away for good.

I can’t make you do anything. I can’t force you to accept how much power you have in your hands to change the history of these years around so that in a future context they take on a different set of meanings and a different shape and are a reminder to take medication, not a threat of further pain or havoc. In such a scenario your initial strength and energy and determination to change momentum for the good of us all as a family would be looked back on as the most heroic, ambitious, wise move you ever made in your life – and in health I could never, would never, nor would ever want to, deny that without you I simply could not have made it through. The children would know that too: though they’d think less of me for not having the gargantuan strength to come through without you, I guess if you are honest with yourself you would realise that it would feed their souls immeasurably to have their mum back as A remembers though B has no conscious memory of it, I don’t think.

I don’t want to suck your life spirit from you and I don’t want your life to become just a resented chore. I want, desperately want, for you to want us all to grow through and heal through this ghastly mess together, and move beyond it together and to NEVER EVER VISIT IT AGAIN. If you can want to see me living through to health, vibrancy and lovability rather than to ignominious death, if you can take up your part in that process then you will have performed the first miracle of a larger miracle – the achievement of just that. I say miracle because right now it all seems just impossible – but it isn’t impossible, can be done and if you can want it to be achieved it will be.

I’m not fit to be a wife of any kind right now, I’m fully aware of that, and right now what’s needed is a bit of firm fathering more than anything else. When I grow up again, this time properly, I think, I truly believe, that you will remember, in what you see then, the desirable woman-potential in realisation which you sought in me so long ago.

Please oh please listen to me this time and respond positively. I don’t want to die this way. I don’t want to lose A and B this way. I don’t want all of my positive qualities, not that I can think what they are right now, but I must have had some, to be permanently extinguished this way. I know I’ve been so much, so very much trouble, and I know I’ve caused us all so very much pain and shock – please don’t close the book on us, our family, our history on this note. Make a leap of faith – and remember this, that if I let you down: smoke a cigarette, fail to complete agreed tasks, fail to meet ‘getting better’ targets, or god forbid ever talk of not needing medication or fail to take medication again – then we both know I would have to be the one to leave home, not you, so you know that you wouldn’t ever have to think about the ‘itinerant’ bit again.

Under the circumstances of your anger and your determination around that it was easy for you to close your heart to me, to turn your emotional back on me, to cut me out of your life, which isn’t to say life’s been easy for you since last year, I don’t mean that. To make the decision to forgive, which would be a massive decision and a massive achievement, will be harder. Harder because to do that you have to open your heart again, you have to be open to learning to trust me again, and allowing me to show you that it is safe for you to do that, show you that there are no more barbs, no more shocks, no more flares in store, only a slow but steady healing for all of us towards a future in which the children can heal, I can gain and maintain health and balance and you can embrace a family life which actually does give you space, love, fun and rest.

Been here before? In an echo yes, but not in reality. What’s different this time [husband], is that before, and I’m thinking of 1999 now, it was genuinely meant, but at some level presumably, I hadn’t taken in just how much further I could fall, how dangerous the illness was, how vital were the cautious steps I needed to take, how very very very carefully and tenderly and sensitively I needed to treat your feelings of affection, how important it was to ensure I allayed fear, anxiety, alienation, the time it takes to heal, the importance of your feelings and needs. I hadn’t learned my lesson of acceptance of the illness, most importantly. And this time the state of my body and other things show very clearly that we are talking life and death here, at the moment mainly death and of A and B’s emotional and mental welfare in the future.

Whenever I speak/write like this you think of blackmail, which is how something feels when a lot rests on you to make a commitment you’ve decided you don’t want to carry on with/make. I don’t know whether this point might help a bit – if I wasn’t sincere about what I’m saying, and determined to make a lasting miracle of the miracle of your commitment then I would pretty quickly either be: found to smoke a cigarette (have to go); fail to complete tasks set for me to do each day (have to go); fail to meet set (reasonable, achievable) getting better targets we set (have to go). So you’d be pretty quickly rid of me in any case if I weren’t unbelievably determined, which I’d have to be to pull through this miracle to meet the miracle of your commitment. Lorna and Amelia are in mind here, very much. I don’t want to lose them, I don’t want them to lose me, but as things stand they’ve lost me anyway and that’s almost worse, or would certainly get to be pretty quickly now. It’s the structure of their lives as much as or more than outings which form the basis of whether or not they’re going to come through this in tact. At this rate, quite frankly, they won’t.

The point precisely at which you may be wanting to say: right Janie – off you go now then, you’ve admitted you’re not coping, I’ll take over right now. But before you take that step be sure that you are confident that they deserve for you to give up on me like this, that your washing your hands of me at this unbelievable point in our lives and then saying – there we are, she’s sunk, her fault, the girls will be better off without a mother. Be sure, in other words, that in years to come you will be able to live with that, because once you’ve definitely refused to bargain around the miracle making that I propose, and remove, effectively the chance for A and B to have an emergingly positive mothering once more – then, there will be consequences for them which aren’t small, or to be brushed off. I sometimes wonder whether you or Honor consider that having lost your own mother in early adolescence shows that loss of mother isn’t utterly crucial in life – barring any comments on that in particular, our children have already had unbelievable traumas to cope with from young childhood, it is my unutterable grief to live with. There’s not a lot I wouldn’t be able to do to begin to make amends to them – the first step in that process is for you to make some move, some positive/responsive/negotiative move on what I’ve said. Incidentally my dad took us out for lots of outings. We got utterly buggared anyway. It is the answer in some families. It isn’t the answer in this family. What I’m asking of you will be tasting like raw tripe right now: bear with it, please bear with it. I may have bi-polar da da, – well, I demonstrably have, and I may be the world’s worst most impractical housewife which I’ve been this year for sure and which is one of the things we’ve got to tackle, which we’ve got to get me to tackle, – but I’m not stupid and I’m not without perceptiveness. In two ways. I wouldn’t have terrors about the children for no reason, nor fail them without working out what I need in order to stop failing them. I wouldn’t ask of you a commitment which you aren’t capable, fully capable, of making, nor, more importantly, ask that commitment of you if I were not ready to make a commitment in return which would ensure that your own pledge and the effort and sacrifice of that were not met in full by my own determination to make that commitment something which paid off for you as well as for the children as well as for me. One thing is for sure – you will never be in love with me as you once were, that would simply not be possible. Through and beyond forgiveness, though, lies love, and through forgiveness, through my own emergence as someone who can (with medication) achieve balance and express what positive potential I possess, I can become someone to whom you can turn when you’re in need so that the relations between us can become balanced, too.

I unleashed a drama I can never ever fully understand, never forget, never unmake, never paint as something minor or forgettable. You have done your level best to leave me as much as you possibly can, to cope inside it with the children without you. But I need you too, not to chew you up and spit you out, but in order, finally, to put things right, really right, for the children, for myself, for the history of our lives together. There are all kinds of ways people go through life in a living death, and often couples live inside a living death all their lives, without event, and never realizing that’s what they’re in (I guess that doesn’t work out so badly for the children in those families, I don’t know). For all the faults you find with us, and there are many, and they’re the only bits you can remember at the moment, probably, we weren’t in a living death together, though we did sideline each other a lot when the girls came along, and the drama of the 80’s had already stolen us some time. I should have accepted diagnosis then, I should have seen the writing on the wall after 1997, I shouldn’t have been listening to my sister and to the anti-psychiatry I schooled myself in as a student ; should, should, should… too late now.

But not too late for you and I to work together towards a miracle for the girls, for my health and humanity and for what could later be seen as the history of our relationship, which means it would be a miracle for you too. Forgiveness is the starting point, and that is what must be very hard for you to consider possible, even if you can accept that a huge amount is at stake in your ability to do what heart work would be necessary for it to be achieved. I guess it might have been a whole lot easier if I hadn’t let myself and everything else go so terribly badly – but I guess if I had held myself together a whole lot better when I crashed to oblivion then the situation wouldn’t be so critical right now; a bit of an irony really.

A miracle – an event which astonishes, which is unexpected, which brings much good, which few saw it as possible to achieve – well, that just about sums up what I am suggesting we go for together. I guess I was wrong about writing books, stupid and unimportant ambition in a world full of unread books and a life so much in need of living, learning working and loving, not commentating – delusions of grandeur or badly misplaced priorities.

More than anything else in the world I want to stop thinking about the past, thinking about health, about things which need doing, thinking about priorities, about A and B, about all the points at which I did wrong to you, behaved badly with you, still do, and want to, instead DO.

People surely come together because there are things they can give each other, problems they can help each other with, weaknesses they can help each other overcome. In various ways, by grievous default, I have helped you to find your strength, independence, resilience, confidence, to truly value yourself and so forth – in the face, that is, of the unutterable hell you went through when I was ill, ill, ill, ill, you pulled up those potentials in yourself – god help me I wouldn’t have wanted to help you find those strengths in that way, I wouldn’t want anyone to find them that way.

Theoretically in your leaving me and not being able to forgive me, or find love for me, maybe in an ideal world it would help me by default to find my practical abilities to cope with the every day, my emotional strength to overcome adversity for the sake of the children, the determination to sustain recovery and build real self-esteem, not arrogance, finally. Except that there’s one fairly well documented fact about what happens when people are unloved: they curl up and die. Not all people, perhaps, but most. Babies pretty well routinely do. Adults whose early injections of love weren’t healthy or sufficient do.

My behaviour in illness hasn’t been lovable to say the least of it. My behaviour now, in the curling and dying, and ‘spitting’ is far from lovable. To make the commitment, to start the miracle, you would have to do this: take hold of a person in your mind who you knew was lovely, lively, bright, full of potential, if too arrogant (you didn’t see that properly then, shame really, you could have ‘beaten’ it out of me, still another if), take hold of the idea that this person has got lost behind/inside a vicious illness which is under control in its rabid bits but the consequences of which are eating up that person, that person who A and B would so dearly love to see, be with, be mothered by – and, with that person in your mind, share with me the task, momentous task, of pulling up that person and adding in a DOING approach to the space where arrogance needed to leave in any case. ( I haven’t always been quite so awful at doing – that is, there is potential there too).

YOU’D HAVE TO BELIEVE THAT AN OLDER, WISER VERSION OF THAT PERSON IS STILL THERE, ALBEIT LOCKED UP IN THIS SELF-PUNISHMENT, DESPERATELY WANTING TO EMERGE and dismiss the ghastly excuse for a human being which I have been enacting, and which is taking a stronger and stronger grip in its death drive – everyone has a death drive, most, sensibly, keep it at bay – I want mine to be put at and kept at bay too.

I can’t predict whether or not you are willing to let the bucket down into your heart-mind in order to rescue the aspects/potentials/trapped personality of someone who you loved very much, I think, and who, I hope really hope, needs, if not right now deserves, some love now. I know it’s a schizoid way of talking incidentally, but it’s difficult to know how to express what I’m saying, and I think possible versions of ourselves can get stuck and lost and trapped at times – if it’s the crap bits great, but if it’s the best bits, well, not so good to say the least.

I can’t predict. All your energies and focus are away from wanting to think about, let alone centre, any part of me good or bad except with reference to explicit aspects of the children’s welfare, so I guess the odds aren’t strong. Stranger things have happened though, and when strange things happen, wonderful things can follow, so I have to hope that this is one of those times.

In all this talk about aspects and ‘I’ who is the ‘I’ who is talking? Not an easy question: maybe it’s partly a naff me, since needing help and rescue is pretty naff I guess, and maybe also it’s some central core of me knowing that this is just too huge for me to handle without you [husband], just too much for me to achieve on my own without your forgiveness and your willingness, through forgiveness and my extreme efforts with that forgiveness and support, to release love again in my direction when it has been earned, when this ghastly and unbalanced version of me is reformed/gives way to an older, wiser, kinder and less verbose version of who I was when we fell in love.

Published by Jessica Clements; Names and details witheld for reasons of security. The writer of this piece now regards it with surprise: she didn’t remember ever having genuinely being ‘in love’ with this man. Though she does remember being infatuated, a related sensation at the time. She had never been in love at the time of writing this letter and simply didn’t know the difference. She does now. She looks at this letter, doesn’t remember writing it, sees the gaslighting impact inside it – she had at this point blamed herself for his domestic violence. And was wholly complicit in its secrecy – by adopting it and claiming it as her own, even within her own mind. THIS is the power of the ‘gaslight’ effect.

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