Category Archives: Suicide

A Beginner’s Guide to #Ethics in UK Public Life

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Bullshit

Every so often, the UK government finds itself mired in scandals of sleaze and corruption. At present, we have a return of allegations that the UK Parliament is ‘home’ to a ‘ring’ of high-profile child sex abusers; there are lingering allegations of continued expenses fraud; and today both the Guardian and Huff Post report that the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee into Standards in Public Life  is saying “MPs should be required to undergo an induction course to teach them about the seven principles of public life that are meant to promote openness and honesty.”

For those unfamiliar with the Seven Principles of Public Life, you can find more information here.

 

So why are ethics so  important? From the perspective of a member of a presently socially-exiled social class, this is one HUGE reason as far as I am concerned:

Tories discuss stripping benefits claimants who refuse treatment for depression

We can be grateful to Dr. Sarah Wollaston, former GP now Conservative MP for Totnes, Brixham and the South Hams, – who clearly does understand the role of ethics in public life – to provide the appropriate professional response to the above.

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She elaborates on the issue of ethics in this report.

 

So given that the UK has existing standards of behaviour for public and elected officials, how is it possible that the Department of Work & Pensions floats ideas in the press that are clearly and plainly professionally unethical? Well, perhaps this might explain it:

 

A report by the committee pointed to reports that fewer than one in five of those elected for the first time in 2010 attended even one induction session, and one on dealing with ethical dilemmas was cancelled when too few signed up….

It said it understood that the issue was “delicate” as many elected representatives saw being taught ethics as “impugning their integrity and their common sense”…

HuffPost

 

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What we can be certain of, at this juncture, is that the ‘common-sense’ and ‘integrity’ of many present incumbents of public office in Westminster leaves a great deal to be desired, and this is a cross-party problem likely to be best resolved by a cross-party solution.

 

I believe that the casual breaching of ethics in public life by many of our parliamentarians lies at the heart of the social problems currently being created by the same. Whilst we have – as a country – tried to address this problem in the past, our attempts have clearly been unsuccessful because here we are again. The question in my mind is how do we manage the problem now?

 

As with any other ‘disciplinary’ problem, it is important to restate the standards likely to be applied. The Seven Standards of Public Life have been around for a while now but I wonder whether their importance has been framed correctly for our recalcitrant MP’s?

This is the frame I would use were I to be writing/delivering a training course on the topic. In addition to the reminder that those with public responsibilities are answerable to the public, I’d echo the Committee on Public Standards’ warning that those who fail to adhere to these are likely to find themselves deselected or recalled at best, or jailed at worst. Election or appointment to parliament does not come with a ‘Get Out Of Jail Free’ card and failings in our personal public responsibility may well be punishable by the courts. In addition, those reluctant to apply the Seven Standards to their own behaviour could find themselves embarrassed by other public servants refusing to comply with orders they regard as unlawful.

 

Ceasar Chavez

 

Whilst I am certain the models used above are imperfect, they still provide a sound-enough foundation of the ethical principles that inform all professionals, whilst allowing for variations depending upon the exigencies of individual professions. When we start to see cross-professional ethical violations in matters of public political life (as with the DWP’s ‘forced therapy’ proposal which violated the ethics of both GP’s and mental health professionals), those of us who understand the issue’s importance need to ask ourselves what we intend to do about it.

 

Ethical violations are harmful to the point of criminality and beyond, wherever they may occur. When such violations are occurring in public life, the harm to the public will be extensive. As someone who could be personally affected by a DWP ‘forced therapy’ requirement, I have my own personal response to the Ministers of that department (past, present and future):

Forward Planning and

Atos and the Day of Judgment

Whilst the above were prepared for an impending WCA, the principles remain virtually unchanged because my response was designed to confront existing ethical violations within the DWP.  In addition, I’ve contacted and briefed my own MP on the matter because, in my own understanding of applying these principles, when we are faced with clear evidence of ethical violations, we must respond forcefully and vigorously to both correct and prevent them because they are always harmful to vulnerable others. I’m lucky my MP understands this; just as all those benefits recipients experiencing depression are fortunate to have a former GP in the House who understands ethics and abides by the Seven Standards, regardless of political hue.

 

This blog is for all those who want to understand the ethics involved and why they are so vital to public life, up to and including all those MP’s who missed out on their induction to public standard ethics after 2010. Perhaps those readers who think these are standards worth applying to our contemporary public life might bring them to the attention of their own MP’s. Any who persist in their failure to respect these standards, erroneously believing that ‘it doesn’t apply to me’, will still be measured by them, if not by their peers then certainly by their constituents. We don’t want them to complain they weren’t warned!

 

It really is time we all remembered how we are supposed to behave when faced with those whose behaviour is unethical.

 

What will you do?

 

 

BrEloEsCIAAoov4

#Atos and the “Day of Judgment”

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This post follows on from “Forward Planning“, posted on 9 December 2013.

Since it appeared, there has been additional material posted to the web on this subject. The first came from TynesideMind and is a video of stories from their clients about the experience of being subjected to a Work Capability Assessment. If you  don’t yet understand the problems facing those subjected to the test, I urge you to watch it.

I’m deeply grateful to both TynesideMind and those clients who gave consent for their stories to be told both in general principle and personally. Personally because I am presently a counseling client of TynesideMind and am due to be subjected to the Atos test depicted in the video this coming Thursday probably in the same Assessment Centre in Newcastle.

So, following on from my previous post, I checked my GP’s letter and arranged for it to be faxed to Atos. My doctor says the following things about the present state of my health (apologies for the poor quality):

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There is more. When I called Atos to ask for the right fax number, the man who dealt with my query asked me the following question:

What do you expect that will do?

I had to explain to him that during the previous WCA I had been summoned to, last March, a letter from my GP had been faxed to them. As a result, my WCA been cancelled and my file was closed. Only then would he release the fax number to me.

There is one ‘small’ problem with my GP’s lette, which both of us missed. It makes no reference to the specific regulations that empower both Atos and the DWP to cancel a WCA. The particular regulations can be found here:

ESA Regulations 29 & 35 – Substantial Risk Exceptional Circumstances

(Further details and information can be found via The Black Triangle Campaign)

I don’t know how serious this oversight is yet but neither Atos or the DWP can deny its existence in my own case because it was used last March after my GP wrote to them quoting these regulations.  It is therefore perfectly within Atos’s authority to listen to my GP and take him seriously. It is also reasonable to assume that, prior to writing the letter, he checked the opinion of my counselor – he did. My counselor confirmed my suicidal ideation under the exemptions applicable to counseling confidentiality, although she had already been given my full, free and informed consent to do so.

This is the situation at the time of writing.  Tomorrow, I will discover what Atos has decided.

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Please bear in mind that what I am attempting to do here is to bring a forensic insight into the processes of being subjected to the WCA.  Any  decision in my case is likely to hinge upon whether my suicidal response is authentic or not and/or whether my belief that the stress of the WCA is likely to cause further damage to my already failing heart has any validity in fact. I understand that, at present, Atos is ‘unable’ to assess my mental and physical health together – its an either/or matter even though I suffer from both.

In matters of true judgment, we have to consider and weigh the evidence. What I’m going to do now is invite you, the reader, to arrive at your own judgement based on the evidence. This is the kind of evidence I would want presented at any inquiry into my death, whether ‘natural’ or by my own hand, so I see no harm in weighing it ahead of time.

With regard to my suicidal ideation and the likelihood of my acting upon it – is there any evidence that supports this proposition? You are invited to consider the content of the following blogs:

Tales of Suicide Survivor

Further Reflections on Suicide

Medical evidence can be obtained from Hull Royal Infirmary (December 2001)

Further evidence can be obtained from the HMP Prison Service during 2003-5 and 2008-10 with particular reference to actions relating to suicide prevention.

So, in answer to the question: Yes I do have a history of acting on my suicidal ideation; latterly, this behaviour is most noticeable when I believe I am being abused by the systems I depend upon.

My claims to heart failure can be verified as follows :

I was subject to a heart attack in November 2012.  I was subsequently hospitalised with heart failure in November 2012 and again in September 2013, not long after I had received my WCA ‘call-up’ papers from Atos. These details are all available via my medical records. I believe that attending a further WCA puts me in danger of further potentially-lethal harm because it leaves me feeling like this and such high levels of distress impact directly upon my blood pressure which places unnatural pressure on my already failing heart.

This is my evidence with regard to questions around the authenticity of my health and mental health claims. I would challenge Atos and the DWP to provide an equal standard of proof of duplicity by both my Medical/Mental Health teams and me if they intend to call our word into question.

The next step of this Judgment are the allegations I make of lethal intent in my post ‘Forward Planning‘. I allege that the present Coalition government, with particular reference to those issuing orders within the DWP, together with others unknown, are engaged in an attempt to deprive me of not only of my life but of my Right to Life. Is there any evidence to support this contention?

Interestingly, there is.  It comes from a very reliable source and has only recently been released:

Government Reviewer Opposed Rollout of ESA

What this information makes extremely clear is that, against professional advice, the decisions being taken in the DWP at the time were based on ideology, not the best interests of claimants. If it is understood that such decisions were being made then, and we assume that the underlying ideology remains unchanged, then any intent, lethal or otherwise, contained within subsequent DWP behaviour will make this apparent.

So this is what the DWP have been doing over the last three years. The department has been told repeatedly that the WCA is not fit for purpose:

This is the LSE explaining the problem in May 2011.

Here, in 2012, GPs warn that the WCA is “driving our patients towards suicide” and accuse Ministers of using work assessments to ‘hound’ disabled people on benefits.

In 2012, again, MSP’s challenged the Tories about the WCA in the Scottish Parliament. Their response was to claim the stories being told were ‘anecdotal’.

It became far less anecdotal in October 2012 when the WCA mortality statistics were released.

In 2013, however, the mortality statistics ceased to be available, even under FOI rules – this presumably returns the issue of WCA mortality to the realms of anecdote.

These are the findings of the 4th independent review into the WCA.

This is an Appeal Court judgment against the DWP and supports the contention that the WCA discriminates against those with Mental Health problems. Please note the following paragraph:

 

Instead of accepting the tribunal’s findings, and conducting an urgent trial, the Government appealed to the Court of Appeal against the tribunal’s finding of “substantial disadvantage”.

Mental Health Resistance Network

 

This is a study that demonstrates how the DWP and Atos apply targets when passing or failing those subjected to the WCA.

This concerns a new ‘layer’ in the WCA Appeal process, introduced on 28 October 2013, which deprives me of any income at all whilst I exercise my right to appeal a WCA fail. (It is a matter of record that I failed two previous WCA’s and won both my appeals at tribunal)

 

I would submit that the UK government’s behaviour, as detailed above, points to a callous and casual disregard for my Right to Life. I would also submit that my contention that the UK government is actively and unlawfully seeking to deprive me of my life is a validly held opinion based upon the facts submitted.

 

I would invite both the DWP and Atos to submit evidence, of the same standard, to prove otherwise.

 

Let us all observe what happens now.

 

BRVocprCUAAIVRN

Letter to Raquel Rolnik, UN Special Housing Rapporteur

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The information and detail regarding the background to this letter can be found here.

Dear Ms. Rolnik,


United Kingdom:  Coalition Government Welfare ‘Reform’

This is in response to your request for feedback on the above, with particular regard to the Employment Support Allowance and the Work Capability Assessment as I have direct personal experience of both.

May I first express my gratitude to you for enabling this formal communication.  The present inability of the ordinary people of the UK to affect any real understanding within Government concerning the human impact of their present policies is a source of considerable alarm and to finally be invited to share the detail of our experiences is a rare source of hope for me. May I also express my sincere regret at the deeply disrespectful and aggressive behaviour of UK Government representatives towards you personally. I hope you will understand, however, if I also say that this behaviour is quite typical towards those who disagree with the coalition’s viewpoint, particularly when this disagreement is expressed by women. Whilst I would not wish anyone to be treated in such a manner, that you now have direct personal experience of this can only underpin the emotional intelligence of the situation that I and so many British women now find ourselves in.

I have been a recipient of Employment Support Allowance/Incapacity Benefit since 2001 when first my physical health deteriorated so badly I was unable to work. This was followed by a severe deterioration in my mental health from which I have yet to recover. Prior to this I had worked my entire adult life with the exception of a year, in 1984 (when I suffered a similar psychological breakdown), up to and including running my own business for twelve years.

Following my mental health deterioration, in 2003 I committed a crime (my first) so serious that it resulted in a seven year sentence which included nearly five years of prison. I mention this because any and all decisions made regarding my ESA claims included this information and inevitably would have informed the decision-makers involved. It would be reasonable to conclude, in these circumstances, that any standards against which I was measured were likely to be more strictly enforced, with particular attention being paid to potential fraud on my part. It is the UK coalition government’s contention that ESA applicants are seeking to defraud the public and it is therefore useful to know that some decisions will have been made using stricter standards that might otherwise have been applied. Between 2008 and 2012, all my ESA applications were based on mental health issues up to and including active suicidal ideation.

Sometime in 2006, I experienced my first Work Capability Assessment via Atos with a male GP. The assessment, as structured, took little or no account of my mental health issues, focussing mainly on physical impairment. Since my claim was due to mental health impairment, needless to say I failed my assessment. I appealed and my appeal was upheld at Tribunal. During this hearing, my legal representative drew the panel’s attention to the WCA GP said “He would certify a chair fit for work”.

In 2007/8, I was called to a second WCA by Atos. On this occasion, my mental health had deteriorated so severely that, with the support of my GP, this assessment occurred at my home. The outcome is unknown because I was recalled to prison by the Probation Service soon after.

In 2010, on my final release from prison and the end of my sentence, my mental health (including suicidal ideation) still rendered me unfit for work and I renewed my claim for ESA. In 2011, I was subject to my third Work Capability Assessment. Given that the measures applied still related to physical impairment, I failed again and appealed. In full awareness of my history, the Appeal Panel continued to uphold my claim.

In November 2012 I experienced a heart attack, so when I was called to a fourth WCA in February 2013, my GP was successful in halting the process on the grounds that it could place my life at risk. Atos closed my file and the DWP accepted my claim for a period of six months. During this period – March-September 2013 – my mental health, which had been recovering, deteriorated so severely that my suicidal ideation has now returned and has now become almost impossible to manage. The personal detail of this can be found in my internet blogs here, here, here and here.

At the time of writing, Atos is in receipt of my most recent ESA/WCA form but I have yet to receive a response. It is nevertheless the case that my GP, my Mental Health support worker and I are all seriously concerned about my present suicidal ideation, which is based on the following:-

The WCA assessment still fails to enable me to fully share my mental health problems. Whilst the WCA failure to incorporate mental health issues has been known for years and has been the subject of numerous representations to government, the assessment continues to favour physical impairment measures. The likelihood, therefore, of my failing this next WCA are extremely high.

When I fail my WCA, I will have to appeal this decision in order to pursue my claim for ESA. In the past, this meant that my income would be reduced to the ESA minimum until such time as my appeal was decided. Now, however, the government has introduced a further stage of consideration by the DWP where my claim will be reassessed by that government department.

Despite many representations, the government has determined that I should receive no income whatsoever during this reassessment process and has placed no time limits on how long this might be expected to take. The government suggests that, if I need income during this period, I can claim Job Seekers Allowance. This ‘solution’ requires the following:

– That I am fit for work which, clearly, I am not.

– That my application for JSA will be accepted by the DWP, as I have to declare that I am fit for work. To make such a declaration would be untrue and the DWP, quite reasonably, sanctions all benefit applicants who make false claims.

– To apply for JSA, I am required to relinquish my claim to ESA. If my application for JSA is rejected on the grounds that my claim that I am fit for work is untrue, I must then reapply for ESA. This means that I will acquire a ‘record’ with the DWP for making false claims. It is also without doubt that I will receive no income at all whilst the matter is being settled. In the absence of any income, the likelihood of my destitution – loss of home and social supports – becomes extremely high.

In addition to the above changes, the government has also now removed my access to legal aid. This means that I face dealing with the above alone, unsupported and legally unable to challenge any of the above unless I do it myself at a time when I am experiencing severe mental health problems, am deprived of income, without legal assistance and where, if I were well enough to cope, any practical resources to do this are completely absent.

The combination of these most recent revisions, coupled with the circumstances I am placed in, lead me to believe that the desired government outcome in this situation is my death, either by attrition or by my own hand, which exacerbates my suicidal ideation to the point of action. I am deprived of a ‘fair trial’, legal resources/representation and any form of income whilst, at the same time, being ‘invited’ to behave fraudulently as a result of fearing complete destitution. It would be fair to say, given the present state of my mental health, that I experience the above as psychological torture which contributes to my suicidal ideation because, from my perspective, the only avenue I can see available to me to stop this is to die. If you can see any alternatives to this solution, I would be most interested in hearing them.

These are the facts of my personal situation but the problems do not end there.

The UK coalition government has a record of treating people in my position with the same levels of disrespect and aggression as has been shown to you. To justify their actions, the UK coalition government, aided by the UK mass-media, have engaged in a ‘campaign’ of misinformation and propaganda against those in my position. Coalition government ministers can be shown to have repeatedly and consistently misrepresented statistics in order to promote the false belief that claims like mine are fraudulent, suggesting instead that I am workshy and a social parasite. This has resulted in a marked increase in prejudice towards those in my position. When such views have been successfully challenged in the courts, the coalition government refuses to accept these decisions up to and including retrospectively changing the law to make their refusal lawful. Those who do actively represent people like me have been referred to as ‘extremists’ in the House of Commons in order to justify government refusals to meet with us. I experience this as a total unwillingness by government to consider the consequential impact of the ideological changes they have imposed, which further exacerbates my suicidal ideation and my belief that the only satisfactory outcome to the matter is my death. The levels of disrespect and aggression towards people like me are reflected in your own treatment by the UK government, the only difference being that you can leave and I cannot.

Again, if you can see any alternative viewpoint that might assist me to overcome my mental health problems so that I might actually recover and return to ‘work’, please do let me know because, at this present time and under my immediate circumstances, death really does seem to be the only way my government will permit me to contribute to my community. I blog about it because it is the only means of free self expression left to me. Given recent revelations of UK government internet surveillance and the various calls for censorship presently occurring, I am not confident that my present access to both factual information and free expression will continue.

There is one last point I would like to raise with you – the issue of gender discrimination. This is not the place to go into the UK government’s treatment of women but there exists considerable evidence to suggest that ordinary British women and children, already subject to existing discrimination, are bearing the brunt of these austerity cuts to welfare. The evidence of poverty, food poverty, destitution and other hardships falling on this group is now incontrovertible. The law is applied particularly harshly to us whilst those who are wealthy, and mainly men, enjoy the benefit of the doubt under law. If there is a way that these issues can be addressed within your organisation, I would be most grateful if action could be taken to ensure British law is applied equally to all.

From my own perspective, it seems that the UK government is making war against us and actively removing any and all legal safeguards that might protect us under the International Declaration of Human Rights. Indeed, it feels as though we are no longer considered human in the minds of those elected to represent us. As one woman to another, if you can help us please do so because the death toll is already in the thousands. Whilst this situation continues unchanged, it can only get worse. I am passed the point where I can point to any particular human right being breached. Could I indicate towards in entire Declaration of Human Rights and ask you to decide which ones are no longer being applied in the UK?

Thank you so much for taking the trouble to listen to me. I really can’t express how grateful I am.

Yours sincerely

Dylanie Wilde-Walker

PS
For information, I will be posting this letter on my blog as a way of modelling one way of writing to you, for those with less experience than myself. I hope this doesn’t present you with any problems. I will also be forwarding this email to my MP for his information too.

Thank you again for your interest and invitation – I really cannot express how grateful I am for this opportunity.

Further Reflections on Suicide #WSPD

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Yesterday was World Suicide Prevention Day. As some of you already know, I experience suicidal ideation (under very specific circumstances), so encountering the sister of someone who had successfully acted on their own reasoned ideation was a sobering event.  Apart from myself, I had never met someone caught up in this same dynamic before and their feelings are undoubtedly as complex as my own. The common ground between us was the experience of helplessness. His sister described listening to a similar kind of ideation to mine. Her brother was as rational as I – the only difference was that he succeeded whereas I had ‘failed’.

There are not words enough to express my gratitude to this sister. Despite her own profound grief, she was able to sit alongside me without any judgment or censure… and she validated me. She understood that it was possible to arrive at this ‘death choice’ in a rational way and then follow through. She knew I wasn’t ‘joking’ or ‘attention-seeking’ because she had direct experience of the devastating consequences. For someone in my position, this is the greatest gift one human being can give another. It’s not so much the listening that counts, it’s the validation – the shared recognition that something can be so seriously and rationally wrong that it causes someone to choose death over life and act on that choice. This is about as deep as it gets on the ‘life’ side of suicide.

As WSPDay progressed, many and various suggestions were posted for addressing the problem. Some work with the thought-processes of what is being expressed. Whilst such interventions can be helpful if our reasoning is irrational, they fall at the very first post when it is not. Those who approach me from this angle frequently get stunned into silence when I sharply explain the route I took to the edge of this abyss. I get angry because the proffered solutions are the equivalent of treating the outcome of open heart surgery with a box of Elastoplasts. I already know my own worth. To those in the suicide-prevention ‘biz’, these interventions may form part of your tool-box but they are the equivalent of using a hammer when a drill is required and are more likely to contribute to the problem than resolve it. You are going to need to go much deeper to get at the stuff I am dealing with.

For those who understand this need for depth but have never actually lived it, quoting Viktor Frankel, who said – from his own experience of the Holocaust – that the key to survival was to have found meaning, also works to a point but not with me. As a shaman, I can give chapter and verse of the meanings I have applied to my suicidal ideations and whilst you are right, you also miss an important issue. I may still here to write this but this wasn’t achieved by turning away – my achievement came from walking straight into my ideation with my eyes wide open. Perhaps you might like to consider another Holocaust wisdom instead. It was Bruno Bettelheim observed that those who survived were those who were able to express their feelings; it was those who didn’t who died.

The feelings and emotions involved with a rational suicidal ideation are deep, broad and long. Most ‘normals’ cannot hear them which, for those of us down here on the edge of the Abyss, adds to the problem in spades. Such ‘normals’ exhibit tendencies to label folk like me as ‘attention-seeking’, ‘manipulative’ or claim that we’re ‘making it up’ or ‘don’t really mean it’.  My personal response to such attitudes is to walk fast and hard into my suicidal abyss without a backward glance because it’s the only way to prove them wrong. I intend to present them with evidence of the real-life consequences of their own ideation. These are going to be much harder to deal with than simply acknowledging we were wrong and, consequently, can actually change the situation we all find ourselves in.

To address my kind of suicidal ideation, we all have to understand the very specific emotional ground we are standing upon. The common ground both Frankel and Bettelheim share with me is that they drew their conclusions when facing their own deaths. Much of the advice from those who have not lived the experiences is going to be untested theory which is useless at best and lethal at worst. If folk genuinely want to help those of us on the suicide abyss, it helps to understand the following.

Most of us with suicidal ideations normally, at the very bottom, actually don’t want to die – what we want is for something harmful within our life experience to die instead but find ourselves helpless because try as we might, we can’t change it. Over an often extended period of time, we come to believe that killing ourselves is the only way to effect the desired change, which is to stop what is occurring to us. During that time we will have tried various options and failed. Sometimes it is true that we need to understand our internal psychic structures to make the necessary changes – this is the area of expertise suicide prevention excels in, so despite their failures with me, lets all be deeply grateful for the work they do for others who can respond. These strategies only fail with me because I know how to effect change in myself – my problem is that the changes don’t impact upon my environment. When I am walking into my suicide abyss, it’s because the world refuses to change, not me. I walk in full awareness of my feelings (Bettelheim) and chock full of meaning (Frankel) because I want to change my environment so badly I believe its worth dying for.

The trigger is always the same: abuse.

I refuse to consent to abuse. I believe there is nothing wrong in my refusal – I like and admire the woman-who-is-me for her courage and obstinacy in the face of such behaviour. I refuse to be ordered about or governed by those who behave abusively and if they refuse to change, then I reserve the right to refuse to live. Anyone capable of sitting alongside me when I am in this frame of mind will hear, if they’re willing to listen, example after example of abuses I have challenged or confronted and how the abusers refused to change. In these circumstances, what the listener needs to attend to most – especially if they carry social responsibilities – is where the ‘system’ has failed. Somewhere in the reporting will be personal actions the listener can take but there will be no comforting tickbox list for this. Each conversation is unique, each potential action will be personal to the individuals within the dynamic and, remember, the chances of the listener failing to effect the necessary abuse-reduction are likely to be equally high as well. Nevertheless, it is this – deep listening followed by action – that makes the difference for me personally. It is this that marks the turning point – where I step away from the edge and begin the return journey to life because someone changed their actions as a result of mine. Someone did something they would otherwise not have done because of me. The change maybe minute but it is no less valuable for that. Sometimes what is done fails and I turn again to face the abyss but this time I know there is one more person trying to change the situation with me. I am no longer alone because another is facing down the problem and I want to help them as much, if not more, than I want to help me. If I do die, then my companion at the edge of the abyss will have more evidence to show they were right and the perpetrators of the abuse were wrong. As far as I am concerned, this is a win-win situation for all of us because, with each additional person ‘getting it’, at least we build the hope that the problem of abuse can be changed.

The road back from the suicidal abyss is very long, slow and painful for everyone involved. It has to be taken step by step. The kind of change I demand, as I confront and challenge my abusers, needs to be effected by as many people as possible for it to work. The long-term abuse of ‘helpless’ people by those with power to behave otherwise is not just wrong, it’s a crime against humanity. It’s a crime whether it’s perpetrated by those at the top or those who follow their orders and if that’s the world society wants me to dwell within, it can fuck off. I refuse. It will be over my dead body before I consent to such an arrangement because it breaks the law and I am a desister.

Is my strategy effective? Well, considering that I have been using it for nearly twelve years and I’m not dead yet, it would seem that it might. All I would say is that I’m sick of having to live on the edge of this abyss whilst so many of my peers are tumbling in through a lack of understanding how this dynamic works.  Perhaps, for this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day, my contribution might make enough of a difference that it saves the lives of some of my peers because, in a world ruled by increasing and unrelenting criminal abuse, it is quite evident that the wrong somethings and someones are dying.

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Desistance and the Path of Blame

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A Female Whirling Dervish In Capadocia by RicardMN Photography

A Female Whirling Dervish In Capadocia
by RicardMN Photography

 

Hazrat Alim Azimi made me irritated, which caused me to examine my irritation, to trace its source. Alim Azimi made me angry, so that I could feel and transform my anger. Alim Azimi allowed himself to be attacked, so that people could see the bestiality of his attackers and not join with them. He showed us the strange, so that the strange became commonplace and we could realise what it really is.

Idries Shah: “The Dermis Probe”

Some forty years ago, when I was learning how to use my intellect, a woman friend told me I thought backwards. It’s a very strange thing to hear when we’re only nineteen and I’m grateful she elaborated on her opinion. She said that when a question is asked, I appeared to know the answer in an instant but I had to think backwards to the question to find out how I got there. In the intervening years, her insight has served me well because it is quite true and describes my intuitive experience of being Sagittarian.

Some years later, when I was learning to become a psychotherapist, I discovered there was another way to gain knowledge and understanding. Mostly, in contemporary society, learning is thought to come from without, to be ‘taken-in’ by the mind – our ‘upside-down’ education system is a very good example of this model. However, I was learning the language of the emotions. In this model, it is the feeling that arrives first, thought comes afterwards. It is only once we have explored these feelings that the knowledge and wisdom contained within them makes itself understood to the mind. In ordinary life, more often than not, emerging feelings are judged as mad, bad and dangerous by minds afraid of learning from the unknown, yet the lessons gained are worth every discomfort. I can attest to the truth of this wisdom because it well describes my Water-ruled birthchart.

The last lesson I learned, when starting out on my shamanic path, was to trust the promptings of my heart in any given situation and act on them, no matter how mad, bad or dangerous those actions might appear to be to either myself or others. What I discovered, when I did this, was that the spiritual wisdom suffusing my actions came later. It’s a very slow way of learning – this experiential path – but once the lesson is learned it becomes a part of me that I can trust deeply in any future situation. This methodology is described by my Moon in Taurus on 11th/12th house cusp.

In a world where many do not understand these processes, these lessons helped me realise that I have always educated myself this way. My thoughts, feelings and deeds have nearly always got me into trouble in one way or another. I suspect that it was only as a result of being with people who, in their own way, understood me that I didn’t wind up in prison sooner. With my backwards, downside-up, experiential, feminine personal reality dwelling within a forwards, upside-down masculine world insisting that I fit into its ideas of me, becoming ‘criminal’ seems almost inevitable. I am reminded of Faith Whittlesea’s remark: “Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but she did it backwards and in high heels.”

It was whilst in prison that I discovered there was a ‘school’ of spiritual wisdom that used a similar technique which could also explain my actions. It comes from the Sufi and is called “The Malamati Technique“. This is how Idries Shah describes it in his book, “The Dermis Probe”:

  • to allow oneself to be attacked to dramatise the situation.
  • to incur reproach to illustrate its absurdity, or the shallowness of the attacker, or the superficiality of the assumptions of the audience
  • to incur blame for a higher purpose.

I am not Sufi and this blog is not a Sufi teaching. I am a contemporary, white-western-cultured shaman who is walking my own path and, needs must, am dependent upon existing spiritual world knowledge to correct my mistakes. This shaman deeply grateful to Sufism for sharing their wisdom because the understanding I have drawn from their lessons has proven to be a reliable anchor during storms at sea. My deep gratitude, too, to the Sufis who thought to share this wisdom freely with prisoners by placing it in prison libraries.The following is an example of how I put my understanding into practice:-

 

Recently, I was asked to help in a difficult situation and engaged the Malamati Technique in order to deal with the behaviour of this man. I was seeking to elicit the upside-down ideas pertaining to a deeply emotional situation and I gather the twitter results were as informative as I had hoped for. Having been supported to work through some the feelings I was expressing in order to understand them (downside-up learning), I am better able to return to this lesson in desistance and perhaps take it to its next stage. But first, it is important for me to reflect upon my actions so far.

 

If I view my blogpost “Attitudes towards Women in the Criminal Justice System” from the upside-down view, I probably look like a crazy, emotionally-manipulative female whining about something only real men understand. The judgment will be made about the ‘sorry-for-myself’ complaints and it is likely the suicidal ideation will be seen as a made-up story that does not hold any truth to it. “People who don’t know you may get the wrong impression” said some feedback, which was filed under ‘extremely useful’, alongside the implied threat of libel. I can live with this because the conclusions are based on a false premise. It’s false because there were some things I chose to leave out of the blog at the time. These were excluded because I was concerned that my actual confrontation might be harmful to innocent others and I wanted to make sure that those responsible for public protection were aware of the problem. As a desister, I have a social responsibility to ensure that my actions are not harmful to witnesses and we were already in a harmful situation. In addition, those who believe my suicidal ideations are manipulative need to take a look at my deeper reasons because these are not as they first appear either.

 

 

This blog is a lesson in desistance. True desistance is transparent. We don’t hide anything we do unless there is good reason, yet there comes a time when we must come clean. So here is the unedited exchange of tweets between @Prison_Screw and myself.

 

FireShot Screen Capture #074 - 'Twitter _ Prison_Screw_ @wildwalkerwoman hello my twitter ___' - twitter_com_Prison_Screw_status_372487098898857984

There is always a very grave danger in thinking our personal beliefs about ourselves or others is accurate. Unless we test our beliefs for veracity, they can sometimes come back to bite us.

To make us invisible for, to the man of the world, ‘visibility’ means that you are looking like something or someone he expects you to resemble. If you look different, your true nature becomes invisible to him.”

                                                               Idries Shah: “The Dermis Probe”

To understand desistance is to understand that there are some behaviours a true desister simply does not do – it’s an essence that belongs to the decision to desist, no matter how imperfect that individual might be. To be a desister is to trust that ours is always going to be backwards, downside-up and experiental world because it’s the only way we learn about compassion, mercy, kindness, humility and the need, on occasions, to put ourselves in danger for the sake and safety of endangered others.

If my reading of this man is correct, the information in this blog-post will be new to him, so his reaction will be fresh. What he does is of no interest to me whatsoever – this is about teaching the essence of desistance. For those who wish to observe, it is important to remember that this particular confrontation occurred several days ago in my reality. Although I’m not certain how my heart might react (my physical body seems fully aware of the danger given the number of times I’m having to use the Glyceril Trinitrate spray for my heart pains), my emotional responses are well worked through and my intuition says that if the Spirit I Serve wants me to stay alive, I will. Issues of life and death belong to ‘God’ – my issue is how I live the life I have and this seems to be as good a reason to die as any I’ve come across so far. Desisters learn from their knowledge and experience and I’m clearly still on my own path to learning, as well as taking up my responsibilities as a teacher of desistance. Let the avenues of learning unfold as they may.

For those wishing to observer, consider the following question: how well is this man practicing his knowledge of peace and reconciliation.

The transformation of Gunn – nicknamed Ben many years ago when he had a long beard – to a balding, middle-aged man has been captured in a portrait recently drawn by a fellow prisoner and sent out in the mail. The scholarly air is heightened by a short beard and Gandhi-style glasses. No surprise, then, to hear that he has used his time in prison to gain a BSc (Hons) and a master’s degree in peace and reconciliation. Gunn’s dedication to the cause of peace stems, he says, from the need to explore “why I had done the terrible thing that brought me to prison, and to repair the parts of my personality that had clearly broken down”. His soft vocal tones still carry a hint of his Welsh upbringing.

                                                                Eric Allison – 2009

“We may think we are wise, but nothing can be put into a full pot”: Saadi

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Attitudes towards Women within the Criminal Justice System

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Warning: Suicide and other PTSD triggers

 

When I was a prisoner, there were times when the atmosphere on the wing – or sometimes even throughout the entire prison itself – would become so toxic that I’d bang myself in my pad. There were times when I actually asked wing staff to bang me in so I could get away from it. I may be a battler but there are times when all I want to do is get away because my own mental health can’t take anymore. This worked but only to a certain extent.

 

A toxic atmosphere in prison as always very loud and nearly always violent. These are the times when the riot bell keeps going off until I no longer have to ask to be banged in – we all end up on lock-down because it’s the only way the staff can cope. Whilst there are always ‘screws’ in prisons, I was always grateful to the authentic professionals because they dealt with the worst kind of behaviour human beings can display. It may have taken time but it got sorted and those of us who simply wanted to get on with doing our time were able to with some degree of civilisation.

 

Mind you, there were times when even lock-down was a nightmare. Prisoners can still be loud and violent, even if they’re alone in their own pad. Flooding the cell, smashing up the fixtures and fittings, smashing TV’s, playing loud music, shouting at other prisoners, shouting at the staff and simply just shouting. The violence in the atmosphere would trigger self-harming and suicidal ideation amongst those of us with mental health problems, which meant that the pressure doubled on the staff. It could take days to sort out, which meant that if I was feeling suicidal or in need of support, I often had to wait as long for assistance to arrive. I often found myself caught between my own needs and the needs of those who were resolving the problem, simply because I was grateful that they were. My crimes had occurred because no-one stepped in to stop what was happening. I learned, in prison, the behaviour that would set the riot bell off. I learned that, in a healthy community, there were some attitudes that were simply not tolerated and which would incur sanctions if the individual persisted. Through the complaints procedures, I made certain this was applied to both prisoner or staff which was not difficult – staff are lawfully obliged, under Prison Rules, to set a good example too. All I wanted, when the prisoners went FUBAR, was for the Prison Rules to be applied fairly and equally to everyone. That’s not because I want to be particularly authoritarian because I believe some rules need to be broken; I wanted the Rules applied because, when they were, peace broke out. It meant we could get on with making life bearable. I lived on long-term sentence wings for the most part and, in peace-time, we could get our chores done – cleaning, washing, cooking and hanging out together. In peace-time, the staff were able to have conversations with their ‘no-bother’ prisoners that weren’t just about the emotional fall-out living with ‘prisoners-at-war’. We could remember we were human beings together instead of ‘just-doings’.

 

The reason I tell this story is because I’ve just come through a prisoner-inspired shitstorm. This one I wasn’t able to step away from, so I ended up doing exactly what I did in prison. I reported what I was seeing to those who hold positions of ‘authority’, both prisoners and ‘staff’. Because this kicked off outside prison, ‘staff’ in this instance were people who know what it is to hold authority within the criminal justice system that happen to be part of my twitter community, and particularly who have responsibility for enforcing either rules or law in person. I ‘spoke’ to both prison and police officers, together with one leader outside enforcement – none of them had any personal authority to act but they do know how to listen and I needed someone to hear me. In prison parlance, my counsellor put me on an ACTT last Friday. I hadn’t realised that this benefits torture stuff I’m experiencing had gone so deep but I’m way inside my Red Zone and the meter is still rising. I know about the ACTT because she did something afterwards that showed her concern for me and I’m very grateful to her for that. It validates how I’m feeling. The only other time I’ve experienced this has been in prison. An ACTT, for those who don’t know what I mean, is a suicide watch, which can range from four times a day to constant observation – I’ve been on every scale. What the procedure did, in my experience – (I think I’d probably be on around 15 min obs if this was an ACTT) – was to ‘concern’ the professional officers and, again, it showed in what they did.

 

I am so grateful that in this latter-day woman’s jail I find myself in, on an ACTT, the ‘procedure’ still seems work.

 

FireShot Screen Capture #074 - 'Twitter _ Prison_Screw_ @wildwalkerwoman hello my twitter ___' - twitter_com_Prison_Screw_status_372487098898857984

 

That kind of brief check brings a visit afterwards because I’m not only feeling suicidal, I’m expressing fear too. Fear usually comes after I’ve done something that challenges the thinking process of so-called ‘authority’ and attracted some inappropriate or unprofessional comment from a ‘screw’. The screws learned, the hard way, to treat me with respect but there are always those who don’t want to learn. Someone has to stop them but it comes at a very hard price for those who try – ask a prison officer. It means they can hear me when I say I just can’t take anymore and unless this energy stops, women are going to start dying. We’re already cutting up.

 

My friends are expressing concern for me but I appear to have fallen out with quite a few people who didn’t quite appreciate that I really do make up our my mind and reserve my right to strongly disagree with them. They are disagreeing with my conscience and, if their behaviour is being socially condoned, being behind my door seems like a wise place to be. I need to talk because this is how women work through their problems and I am a woman. I refuse to be silenced when, as a desister, I see a very serious problem concerning public protection that isn’t being dealt with.

 

If trigger behaviour like that of Ben Gunn (which involved these women – here, here and was complicated by this ) had occurred in prison, we’d all be heading into deep shit because, in the words of my bestest prison officer friend IRL, ‘the lunatics are running the asylum’. I’ve been told to leave this bloke alone by a number of people but, you know what, they can fuck off now. I’m not going to play this game even if it kills me!

 

As a desister, I want to register a formal complaint with the entire Criminal Justice system about this! Why isn’t his behaviour being reined in? It wouldn’t be permitted on the wings! This is deliberately provocative behaviour and I’m appalled that anyone is colluding with it! Could we please remember what often happens to these so-called ‘predatory’ 13 year olds after a middle-aged man has finished with his statutory-rape fantasies about her! Let’s have some fucking reality in here!!!

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2008/mar/30/prisonsandprobation.mentalhealth

http://www.newstatesman.com/alan-white/2012/11/women-are-suffering-prison

http://www.howardleague.org/francescrookblog/women-and-the-criminal-justice-system

 

What is this? I hear a great deal about his ‘rights’ but whatever they consist of, they are inhuman to women like me. The Criminal Justice system has been told about this time and time again, and you are still not listening! Let’s have a discussion about who actually HAS any Human Rights in this situation. I haven’t ‘spoken’ to a single woman who agrees with his views about us. When we step out to object to his deeply disrespectful and offensive behaviour, we are subjected to the most appalling responses. Any woman who approves of what he’s been doing is in an absolute minority – we’ve all told him and I bet he’s still not listening (don’t tell me, I don’t want to know – I’m just dealing with the impact this is having on me – I’m on an ACTT, remember).

 

Do you know the thing that worries me the most? It’s this: I’m being told that there are political reasons why this “*removed under threat of libel*” ** seems to be untouchable – I question the standards of anyone involved in such an arrangement and I question them as a desister. I have no doubt that the man has buried himself deeply into the CJS changes going on at the moment and, as a woman, I have the strongest objections possible to that continuing. Not after this. Given his publicly proclaimed ideas about my ENTIRE GENDER his contribution could only worsen conditions for women prisoners. This is why I object so strongly and will not be silenced. Aren’t the women already in the CJS, or caught the aftermath in this concentration camp of a society, suffering enough for you already? How dare any of you point to this criminal as some kind of model of rehabilitation! I don’t give a fuck if he ‘doesn’t know any better ‘cos its environmental damage’. That’s absolute bollocks! I know ex-cons from far more hardened criminal backgrounds who do desistance – they wouldn’t dream of treating me this way. Neither would any of the other authentic CJS professionals! We treat each other with respect even if we can’t stand each other to begin with. I much prefer respect because it continues working in the worst kind of places.

 

In a place like this, the very best staff listened and made up their own minds – we were allowed to tell it like it is, not have to spout some misogynist fantasy. Ben makes out this is the old sex war stuff and what a hero he is. Bollocks! What kind of hero sides with a convicted rapist? Every hero or heroine I’ve ever met is looking out for the victim but is willing, with conditions, to allow sinners to repent – which is desistance in a nutshell. And every quality prison officer knows the procedure for dealing with bigots and bullies – which does not include staying on normal location. Not unless the lunatics are running the asylum.

 

I know I’m going to be hated for this but you know what? Each time I’ve done something like this in the past, the people I wanted to help often told me how grateful they were that I did. I know exactly what kind of prisoner I’m dealing with in this man – he likes hurting people – they come in all genders and they are the ‘few’ women that need to remain in prison as a matter of public protection. I’m not involved in a sex war – I go after women who do this too. He won’t change because he doesn’t want to – he’ll always hold these opinions – and this is the man ‘politics’ is making untouchable? Whoever is involved with this has no business in the Criminal Justice system unless they can wake up and see whats going on here. How dare this man have any traction or influence within the CJS? And exactly what else is being condoned because, one thing is for certain, its got nothing to do with public protection! Not if half the population have to tolerate this level of disrespect and no behavioural sanctions are being imposed!

 

Perhaps it might be worth remembering that the UK is being told – by EVERYONE – that it’s treatment of women is already breaking Human Rights law. This is how it is done – by giving abusers the power to abuse and not stopping them. I think what is occurring here is hate crime.

 

If you could see a way out of this – my fucking ‘reality’ – do let me know because I’m damned if I choose to live with this. And that’s my own moral and ethical judgment as a desister. And I choose to be ‘banged-in’ about it because that’s what desistance is all about.

 

And the biggest thank you to every prison officer who ever caught me in this frame of mind and managed to get me laughing after I’d ranted and so I could remember to cry. This stuff is so hard on every single dimension. It hits me physically, emotionally and instinctively. It makes me hyper-sensitive, touchy, with very sharp claws that I have to use very wisely – in the face of abuse and abusers, we have to be so fucking perfect because they’re so fucking not.

 

Oh, and if anyone wants to check if Ben Gunn’s knowledge about women is reality-based or merely carved out of a bar of prison soap, get him to write about me. He knows exactly who I am. Get him to tell you about this woman and then you can really get to choose which reality you want to live in.

 

Oh, and I’ve already bagsed the Lawful one in the name of desisters everywhere!

 

 

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**

I notice how quickly the world comes in to edit me. As a woman, I believe I can justify the phrase I used in fact, which then makes it fair comment. As a desister, I will take the advice as a way of demonstrating my ability to learn and correct my behaviour. I’m sure I am as regretful, in this instance, as the man is himself – I would suggest he be very careful with his thoughts though. They can kill.

 

“The Wormhole of Evolution”

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When I was first being taught the shamanic pathways of my Land – the Spirit of the Islands of Britain and Eire, with all their tribal diversities – my teacher, John Matthews, spoke of the shaman’s way as being ‘seamless’. I have come to understand this to mean being alive to both Spiritual and manifest reality – to ‘live my visions’.

 

When we follow a true shaman’s path, especially living in the ‘West’, it is inevitable that we will encounter opposition. It is fascinating to observe, now I have ‘arrived’, how those I oppose define who I am and who I believe myself to be (with all my flaws visible to the eye). Equally, if I look at the behaviour of those who oppose me, the sins I am clearly guilty of seem to pale into simple misdemeanors by comparison – it would seem there’s hope for me yet.

 

The Chalice Well - Glastonbury Source - unknown (happy to attribute)

The Chalice Well – Glastonbury
Source – unknown (happy to attribute)

 

Nevertheless – a shaman must deal with the ‘reality’ they find themselves in. I am not ready to go back into that fray yet. I haven’t completely closed off the option of seeking medical help yet – if only for the sake of the hearts of my friends – but I first want to share my experience of stepping through the Veil of Death. In some ways, it is the equivalent of Jesus’s ‘eye of the needle’.

 

(As I was writing that last paragraph, my electricity meter cut out because my credit had run out. Clearly, I’ve been able to top it up but the process involves lifting a heavy ladder to get to the meter. With the ‘weight’ in my chest reminding me of it’s presence – and being in the middle of this blog and not at the end – I chose to lie down afterwards. My Otherworld Allies and Teachers have been doing a lot of healing work on my heart and, just now, we removed the most toxic black object (a long lightless sharp-edged sliver) from it I have ever been asked to ‘handle’. Whilst most of my other symptoms remain, the ‘dark weight’ in my heart has gone.)

 

tumblr_lavqrsd7jY1qephwdo1_500The world of the ‘Dead’ speaks the Language of the Ancestors, I have found, and She imparts her Wisdom to me through the legends, histories and deeds of the People and our past.  It’s where the richest seam of practical Ancient Magic of Britain resides; where we find the Halls of the Heroes and the Weavings of the Wisewomen. We have to be True in our Intent when we cross the Veil – any wavering of our intent topples us into the Abyss, for Death becomes quite real now… for some people. For others, we are merely experiencing a transition from one form to another. The journey into the Underworld is well mappedit involves a stripping away of ego and property until La Búsqueda is brought before the throne of the Queen of the Underworld (this is a woman’s tale, remember!). It is a tale told in many Lands of our Great Earth Mother, but the major template for the West is this one.

 

When I was in prison, I did a number of Soul retrievals and power extractions for both staff and prisoners. It was always interesting to see who still clutched to their selfishness afterwards. Nevertheless, there was one lass who approached me again after I had been recalled to prison. It seems that the written record of my work had been stolen from her by an ex-boyfriend and ‘ could I do it again?’ Well, no – and my present sense of ‘unfinished business’ makes me think that I need to share the work I did for her now. She’ll know who she is when she reads the parts I remember.

 

I cannot recall how I got to the Lower levels of the Lower World, but I do know that when I got there, the Soul part I was seeking was cornered and under severe attack. I know I was able to bear the Soul part safely-enough away, despite continued pursuit because a portal to the Void opened before me and I stepped through it onto the back of my power animal. My Power ally then conveyed me, with the Soul part, through the Void to another portal of Light into which we stepped with perfect safety. All our pursuers fell into the Void and were lost to light – I’m told that what occurs to them afterwards is God’s business. This is what I remember from some seven years ago.

 

tumblr_lqcjztuOdF1r1vfbso1_400When I step through the Veil of Death, I step into the Void. I am reduced to Spirit alone – nothing ‘manifest’ can accompany me. It is at this point my Soul is ‘weighed and measured’ and shown the correct destination for me to follow. The ‘judgement’ is always about which way to go next – I’m never going to be perfect at present because I have no desire to be. I grow much more from my mistakes and I have yet to tire of growing. This is how it works in my ‘Heaven’ anyway. Once we know where we are going, the path opens up before us because we are in accord with the Will of Heaven. I know this path well because I have walked it in both Spirit and Life.

 

To pass safely through this portal and into the Wormhole of Evolution; the Eye of the Needle; is to become ‘naked and bowed low’ because this is the only place we learn where we truly belong in our Universe. When our own Honesty drives us to the edge of Death, we need to understand what we are doing. Not all of us do, and we die in great pain and suffering. In the Underworld of the Dead, this soldier – and all those like him – dwell in the Halls of Heroes; the Soul’s of Love severed from them in life restored to full glory and honour for holding to the truth of their situation. In the Realms of Women dwell all our unsung and unknown heroines who were ‘tortured to death’ in the same way. These wounds are healed with Forgiveness and Compassion. But there is also a place in the Underworld of the Dead for all those who inflict such wounds upon the ‘Children’ of Love and in this Queen’s Kingdom, any hierarchy gets determined by behaviour-on-earth or by learning. By our deeds shall ye know us. In this world, everything is turned upside-down and topsy-turvy compared with the ‘real’ world – and it is in this living experience of ‘here’ that we learn to ‘see’ Truth face-to-face.

 

tumblr_m3bmiqYSCs1r2zdh7o1_500It is a rare breed of human who can withstand the pain of watching someone they love go through their personal experience of facing Death – I am Blessed with dear friends of this nature. They are willing to trust that this journey is needed – this blog is, hopefully, about proving them right. More often than not, these days, the tale of the descent to the Underworld seems to end in Death alone. This is the man’s way. It does not belong to women and children. We have our own path – which a man might walk only if divested of his ego. In our legends, there is a Return from Death. The Hero/Heroine descends for a reason – to claim some ‘prize’ for the community – and is reborn to Life ready to share it with those who can hear.

 

According to Jesua, the first to recognise the Truth from a returning hero or heroine will be ‘last’ and the last will be first. He turns mundane understanding on it’s head. The ‘gift of knowledge’ borne by the hero/ine contains the power to overcome the tyrant Holdfast. In my ‘real’ life, Holdfast runs my country – if I am truly the returning hero then something in these blogs of my journey to the underworld will enable those, previously disempowered, to act in ways they were in some way prevented from doing before. I hope, too, that those who presently find themselves in the Void of Despair see their path to new Life opening up before them.

 

tumblr_m3g57cWoIW1r312weo1_500Remember that true change often comes disguised at first – we believe we are dealing with one ‘thing’ only to discover that we have loosed a ‘jinn’. If we are in the midst of living this nightmare, please keep trusting your feelings and sharing. For all those who have been lost, how many are still miraculously alive and finding their way through? We have to make our own way but if we trust that Love is real, we will encounter it in our lives and each hand of kindness offered is the handrail through to your own version of the Light. Expect the unexpected – the more unlikely it is, the more authentic it is likely to be. Trust your instincts – not every hand offered will be that of a friend. Use the experience for learning – then you can spot the problem coming in future and side-step it. In my Otherworld, No is a word that is respected but our best results come when we say Yes.

 

It’s the gift of this journey to be able to write authentically about the process Holdfast the Tyrant is inflicting on my country, Her People and Land. It is an Abomination in the eyes of my Goddess – She who gives Life. In my Heaven, the Power to apply the Law of the Creator Spirit on Earth resides with Her. This is the Message I bring back. The plethora of difference in human spirit currently present on our planet is to be likened to the Cambrian Age of Life on Earth. We are all the result of Free Will and we have all been necessary for this stage of our Spiritual Evolution. Nevertheless, Mother Earth is cleansing Her Body as She has done many times before. Following the cleansing, only those Spirit/Souls chosen by Mother Earth will remain. The Choice is ours but Earth Mother is only likely to nurture those children who Love and Respect Her in return for Her Gift of Life.

 

tumblr_m2y10u0jRM1qav48no1_500I say these things because I believe we are in the midst of a Spiritual, Instinctive, Thoughtfully-Awake evolution with Mother Earth. We are going to have to align ourselves to Her Laws if we have any desire to survive. She’s testing our resolve now. Those, from the White Peoples of Medicine Shield must step forward and take up our Spiritual Duties to our Earth Mother, whether we perceive it in that way or not.  When all four Peoples of the Rainbow Medicine unite, more pathways will open. Those who have already Chosen will find their paths Blessed with Assistance or necessary lessons. Those who freely and generously share their wealth with those in need will find their actions Blessed in the same way. Our proper attitude is Gratitude for all Life. The proper approach is to deal with your realty and begin removing that which does not favour Earth Mother in all her life-forms – the task is huge and will not be completed in our lifetimes, or even that of our greatgrandchildren. What results from we begin now is for Earth Mother to determine, not us. Simply put, we are ‘merely’ the turning of the tide marking the onset of the tsunami that will be human transformation. Wise are those who have learned to heed the signs and start moving to safe ground. Wise are those who trust the ‘messages’ that find them during their waking life or in dreams. Wise are the men who, not always ‘understanding’ but with trust in our ‘mystery’, listen to the intuitions of their mothers, sisters, wives, daughters and friends. Wiser, still, are those men who ‘hear’ the same ‘secrets’ within themselves.

 

I hope the above is enough to heal the wounds and wipe the tears from the Love of my friends who stood with me yesterday. It is a terrible thing to do to anyone. I am ‘free’ to do this because I have no children. Mothers should never have to walk this path – I can do a better job because I have no future to be concerned about. There is a very special place in my Heaven for the Stephanie Bottrill’s of our country and an equally special Blessing for her children and grandchildren, for she died a heroine and an honest woman. She died believing there was no Hope – Jesua has things to say about those who make good, honest folk believe lies like that. For sure, I would never want to be in their shoes now. For others, still living on their last knockings of hope, I hope this blog shows a possible turning point.

 

When we turn to face death as result of the murderous behaviour of others, we are not choosing to kill life itself. We are choosing to kill that which murders life that has, in some way, attached itself to us. If we truly are honest, Life will show us mercy through release or it will return us to life without the parasite obscuring our vision or mind. This is the shamans way.

 

Today an increasing number of us are stepping through the Veil that is the Fear-of-Death because there is something more important than just the life we call our own. This trickle is going to turn into a flood as the prophecies about secrets being shouted from rooftops comes into manifestation. The pattern is the same each time this dynamic plays out only this time, Mother Earth isn’t playing and we humans are expected to be responsible adults about it.

 

Within all of this are going to be my generation’s flaws – there are things I cannot see that seem blindingly obvious to those who follow. My errors are supposed to be corrected on the understanding that their solution will also be flawed too, and so on down the generations. The intention of any Spirit path I open to others is to enable you to find your own connection and make your own course corrections.  Our own Soul is always our best pilot.

 

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Idle No More UK

Idle No More UK

 

 

‘The Disability Extremist’: Choices and Consequences

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Today I find myself back in the realm of making life or death decisions regarding myself. Last Saturday, on the return journey to our coach, I think I may have overdone it. Most of the villagers who attended the Durham Miners Gala suffered aches and stiffness the following day – including me – but the exhaustion has not worn off in my case. The sensations I am presently experiencing remind me of when my heart failed last November and, at the moment, I am undecided as to what action to take.

So, No; I haven’t been to see my GP; I haven’t reported it to anyone until now (by posting this blog); and, No, I have no immediate plans to anything about how I am feeling at the moment. Of all the ‘intellectual positions’ I am capable of taking, I suspect that this is the one that frightens people the most – particularly those who care for me. Nevertheless, I will not relinquish it because, for me, it is the position of greatest ‘power’ I can hold. It is a shaman’s position and I claim to be shamanic in my spiritual practices, so the issue ought to pop up sooner or later.

This blog focuses on this ‘power spot’ and the energies I believe flow in, around and through this ‘point of choice’ – do I choose to live or die? And why? How does anyone come to this point in their lives? This is my version – perhaps it might illuminate the path that so many others find themselves upon.

The Road to the Choice between Life and Death has been a very long one for me – it’s taken a good twelve years to dig itself into my psyche with the result that, now, I’ve become very familiar with the place. The roads leading to this choice spot can be many and varied, but they all have one thing in common: the choice they offer me is, as far as I am concerned, no choice at all and I prefer death than the ‘offer’ of ‘life’ being made to me.

BOesCKQCAAEJ888The Road to this current choice began here, continued here and is culminating now as I come round to completing the ESA50 that leads to my next Work Capability Assessment. I hope each post explains the detail of my situation, together with the facts that support it. The consequence of this is that either I accept the bigotted and proven lies of this coalition government about me – and if I refuse, then I will be subject to the kind of sanctions I regard as closely akin to psychological torture.

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As far as I am concerned, these are moral and ethical matters pertaining to law. As a desister, I have to obey the law. This becomes far more difficult when the government of my country has embarked upon a wholesale undermining of Law in Britain and I find myself on the receiving end of its declared ideology.

 

 

On the Today programme (BBC Radio4) on July 15, this exchange occurred (JH is John Humphrys; IDS is Ian Duncan Smith; Secretary of State for Work & Pensions):

JH: “The problem is that you made claims about how things were changing on the basis of the trials that were being carried out and all the rest of it, and they turned out not to be well-founded. You said we’ve seen already, already you said, this is a statement you made in May, already we’ve seen 8,000 people who would have been affected by the cap move into jobs. But when the National Statistics Authority looked at that, they said ‘not true’.”

IDS: “No, what they said was that you can’t absolutely prove that those two things are connected.”

JH: “Your statement is unsupported by the official statistics published by your own department.”

IDS: “Yes but by the way, you can’t disprove what I said either. The reality is [interruption] no, no, no, let me finish. There’s an answer.”

JH: “You can make any claim on that basis.”

IDS: “I am, I believe that this to be right. I believe that we are already seeing people go back to work, who were not going to go back to work until they were assured of the cap. Look we just published some polling today, John, on this very group.”

JH: “Polling isn’t statistics.”

IDS: “Hold on let me just give you this. We polled and we found that something like 72% of those who report have been very infrequently in work in the past since being notified by the cap have gone back to work. I believe that this will show, as we go forward, that people who were not seeking work are now seeking work because that’s the way to avoid the cap.”

(link)

For anyone still in any doubt that these coalition-espoused policies are ideological rather than evidence-based, try this from Chris Grayling, The Lord Chancellor:

 

The minister also insisted that his proposals to cut legal aid for much of prison law were ‘ideologically’. In a striking exchange, the minister was pushed by Jeremy Corbyn, Labour MP for Islington North about the place of prison law in the legal aid scheme.

‘I suspect Mr Corbyn is very aware that there is an ideological difference between us on this,’ Grayling began. ‘I’m absolutely of the view that somebody in prison should have the right to legal aid when it is a matter relating to their sentence and the length of time they spend in prison. When it is any matter relating to the conditions in prison or the choice of prison in which they are detained, we have a prison complaints system and an ombudsman.’

Corbyn quoted the HM Inspectorate of Prisons stating the internal prisoner complaints system could not be ‘relied upon to consistently resolve prisoners’ complaints in a fair way’ and that there were ‘many examples’ where prisoners had been able to take the case to court through legal aid and achieve resolutions where the internal prison system failed.

Corbyn continued: ‘There might be an ideological difference, but you have a duty of care to ensure that prisoners are able to exercise their rights. You are trying to save £4 million on prison law. Is this ideological or practical?’

‘It is ideological,’ Grayling insisted. ‘I do not think prisoners should be able to go to court to debate which prison they sent to.’ Corbyn asked him about cases where prisoners claimed ill-treatment or suffered neglect to medical conditions. ‘I think these are matters for an ombudsman. What we are seeing is the area of prison law expanding dramatically. It has more than doubled in the last few years and, in my view, it now covers areas that it should not.’

(link)

 

I’m very grateful to all those interviewers who managed to coax these admissions from our government because at least everyone knows where they stand now. We are not dealing with people who based policy on evidence or facts, but upon ideology alone and I am already clear, in my own mind and after considering facts/evidence, exactly where this ideology intends to take us.

 

Returning to my own situation, these newly obtained comments are particularly informative. and contribute to my decision-making processes, which now goes something like this:-

 

I am clear in my own mind that my personal ethics, morals, faith and principles of desistance cannot allow me to collude with government ideology about me. I am also clear that my country’s government intends people to kill those who refuse to comply with their plans by resisting them. This presents me with a dilemma. Do I choose to preserve my own life in order that I might ‘live to fight another day’ or do I die in battle? The Honourable Warrior aspect in me says the latter is necessary at this point in time because the issue is still not being acknowledged by the wider British public. Until the public collectively decide that we prefer the rule of Law rather than the imposition of a psychotic (as in ‘unconnected with factual reality’) ideology, many more thousands of people are going to find themselves in my position but lacking the intelligence and resources I have been blessed with. If I have been so blessed, then I have a duty to speak my truth where others, for simply lack of authentic learning, cannot – it becomes my social responsibility to those more vulnerable than me. So who is it that deeply attracts and calls to my compassion – who needs my ‘blessing’ most? Those who are still half-asleep, or those who have already been marked for death?

 

"I know that people who hate have good reason to do so. But why should we always choose the cheapest and easiest way?" Etty Hillesum (B: 1914 D: 1943 in Auschwitz

“I know that people who hate have good reason to do so. But why should we always choose the cheapest and easiest way?”
Etty Hillesum
(B:15.01.1914 D: 30.11.1943 in Auschwitz)

 

When the peoples of Europe experienced the imposition of this kind of ideology, individuals responded in different ways. Some escaped in the ‘nick of time’;  some survived the concentration camps; some were sent to safety (<< this is my ‘uncle’); and some, even though they had the option to leave still chose to stay – and die – for their own reasons.

 

There is no doubting the value each and every survivor (above) contributed to the wisdom and culture of humanity following the demise of ideology and the rise of Human Rights. I could use their example as a template for my own behaviour now except they are all men and I am a woman. Etty Hillesum’s tale of personal and spiritual development in Amsterdam, during the Nazi-occupation of Holland, is the one that resonates with me most deeply at present.

 

I was a prisoner when I read her story for the first time as preparation for an ‘art’ display commemorating Holocaust Memorial Day. She led me to question many of my deeply held opinions as well as hone my ability to shine a light into the surrounding darkness.

 

 

I see no alternative: each of us must turn inward and destroy in himself all that he thinks he ought to destroy in others, and remember that every atom of hate we add to this world makes it still more inhospitable”.

…you must be able to bear your sorrow; even if it seems to crush you, you will stand again, for human beings are strong and your sorrow must become an integral part of yourself… you mustn’t run away from it, but bear it like an adult. Do not relieve your feelings through hatred, do not seek to be avenged on all German mothers, for they too sorrow for their slain and murdered sons. Give your sorrow all the space and shelter in yourself that is its due, for if everyone bears his grief honestly and courageously, the sorrow that now fills the world will abate. But if you do not clear a decent shelter for your sorrow, and instead reserve most of the space inside you for hatred and thoughts of revenge – from which new sorrows will be born for others – then sorrow will never cease in this world and will multiply.”

What is at stake is our impending destruction and annihilation; we can have no more illusions about that. They are out to destroy us completely, we must accept that and go on from there.”

Etty Hillesum

 

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This is exactly the kind of woman I admire – soul-searching the Light of Love in the darkest of places. Etty is a model of everything I value in a human being as well as a woman. Courageous to the last, she chose to remain with her people right to the bitter end, knowing exactly what she was facing and looking it straight in the eye. She doesn’t turn away and she doesn’t flinch from death but walks towards it in full awareness.

 

On witnessing the trains:

“There was a moment when I felt in all seriousness that after this night, it would be a sin to ever laugh again.”

About the guards:

” I study their faces. I try to look at them without prejudice… Now I am transfixed with terror. Oafish leering faces, in which one seeks in vain for even the slightest trace of human warmth”

Etty Hillesum

I saw those same kind of faces on the government benches during the recent Commons debate regarding the need for cumulative impact assessment on disablity welfare cuts. The result included the same absence of human warmth.

BNtdtxWCAAIsj1CLike Etty Hillesum before me,  I hope I have looked clearly at my situation. To the shelter of pain and grief, I would add the need to honour our rage. Rage is not hatred when it erupts in the face of hate-filled circumstances – what is dangerous is to let it loose. To act from our rage is what they do – if I am the polarity of this particular expression of human behaviour, I must apply the same controls to myself as I would apply to them. This is why we have Laws – to enable such healthy boundaries to be established by fair minds. But there is no law being applied to Britain to halt the vicious and cruel treatment of citizens like me. No-one is launching a D-Day to deal with this as far as I can see. From here on in, I’m going to be on my own. Yet I am not alone – millions of British citizens are facing this ‘purge’ and, more alarmingly, a large section of society doesn’t appear to even know, so completely have they swallowed Coalition propaganda.

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I will die from repressed rage at what is being done to my home; to my country and Her people. I will defy these lies by shining a bright light on every unwilling single step I have been forced down that brings me to the point where my body starts telling me my heart is failing. All true matters of Life and Death are the property of my God, except in issues of murder, as far as I am concerned.  If, at this point, I better serve my God’s Will by dying then so be it – these are issues of Soul and I don’t argue. Death looks attractive because I will be free of my government’s insanity. Whilst I am alive, however, it is important for me to share this part of the journey with others in my position.

 

I believe that for as long as the sick, disabled, poor, jobless, homeless – all our social exiles regardless of physical form – are subject to the ideological whims of this government, each and every death in our community is now a result of serious breaches of our Human Rights. Each one of us who records our journey and whose name and memory is recalled by groups like Calum’s List (who, as far as I am concerned, follow in the footsteps of Simon Wiesenthal) provides evidence that will nail these bastards to the Law. If I have an ambition, for all of us, it is to make every Soul being destroyed in this way known. I want us to stop being statistical footballs and step out of those inhumanly-applied figures into our full humanity. I am not a statistic to be discarded for the convenience of liars. Perhaps my death – and the manner of my death – will change things; perhaps it won’t, but God and I won’t know unless I try.

 

BOOSe_lCMAEaMwONo – I am not going to do anything about my instinct that my heart is failing. I realise this is going to upset a lot of people – many of whom I share ties and links of the deepest affection. They always vote Life each time I ask them; just like I’m asking them again to, once more, trust the Spirit I Serve.

 

The problems we face are going to take – at the very minimum – seven generations to correct; for human beings to relearn how to live gently ‘in the Womb’ of Mother Earth. My one life is supremely unimportant in this grander scheme of Life. What is important is what I do with that life. Etty Hillesum agreed.

 

And whether or not I am a valuable human being will become clear only from my behaviour in more arduous circumstances. And if I should not survive, how I die will show me who I really am.”

“What I fear most is numbness… And yet there must be someone to live through it all and bear witness to the fact that God lived, even in these times”

Etty Hillesum

“In such extremes, when everything is stripped away, people can only survive if they have discovered meaning.”

Viktor Frankl

 

If I lose my life – which must be lost one day anyway – then inevitably the parts of you heart you allow me to occupy will break. This hurts. It’s supposed to because this is the Greatest Teaching of Love human beings can experience. It’s a precursor to transformation. I don’t know how it would work in anyone else – I only know that it does. It’s why those who mourn are called Blessed.

 

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When we have a ‘brush’ with Death, we learn the difference between what is truly valuable and that which is mere illusion.

 

If I die a warrior’s death, your grief will also contain gratitude. Gratitude, such as I feel, for every small kindness and every gesture of greatness shown to me along my path through life – I only got this far because of you. Be grateful for grief because it measures the depths of our capacity to Love and teaches us to beware those still unable to feel it because they have lost their compass to life. Love – which embraces and shelters grief and pain gently – is our guide to the Light. Both Love and Light own the Law of Life where pain informs judgement whilst Truth is revealed by evidence.

 

In my Law, I have to demonstrate a callous disregard for Life on four separate dimensions: spirit; intellect; instinct; and manifest. The Spirit Aspect is my own – no-one else has to believe any of it; it is enough that I believe. I believe I loosed an ancient instinct amongst the people last month and I am satisfied that it has taken root. The Spirit aspect has been honoured under the Law as far as I know. The Intellectual aspects of the case are summed up in one word – ideology – from which many unexplored consequences have already emerged. The personally-related Instinctive response shows up in the responses to this blog of mine. Which leaves the Manifest dimension.

 

The evidence is there – no doubt about it – but still nothing is being done to bring this insanity to an end. For as long as I see ‘No Change’, I see no point in living. My personal circumstances go FUBAR in about six weeks time – with a Work Capability Assessment inbetween that will fail me and a system which will deprive me of any income whatsoever whilst they ‘make up their minds about me’ again! It’s not going to be much different from four months ago, except this time I have symptoms.

 

If I’m right and my heart does fail, and my body dies, I want it known that I named my murderers before I died – every single politician or senior officer – public and private – who issued, followed or profited from orders that drove me, personally, through this psy-ops nightmare into total social exile in my own country, and in so doing deprived me of my Life. I am fully aware I am simply one amongst many but this blog is where I get to share with the world how I feel about it.

 

The Talmud asks why the human race was created as a single human being, as opposed to creating many people at once (like the animals which were created en masse1 )?

This teaches us that just as Adam was created in the beginning, and he was the entire human population of the world, likewise we need to look at each individual as if he/she were the entire population of the world. Therefore, when you save one life it is as if you saved the entire world.

Talmud, Sanhedrin 37a states:

“FOR THIS REASON WAS MAN CREATED ALONE, TO TEACH THEE THAT WHOSOEVER DESTROYS A SINGLE SOUL… SCRIPTURE IMPUTES [GUILT] TO HIM AS THOUGH HE HAD DESTROYED A COMPLETE WORLD; AND WHOSOEVER PRESERVES A SINGLE SOUL…, SCRIPTURE ASCRIBES [MERIT] TO HIM AS THOUGH HE HAD PRESERVED A COMPLETE WORLD.”

(link)

 

A butterfly may only ‘live for the day’, but if she figures out how to start a tropical storm where it is most needed, she will be ‘Some Butterfly’!!! That sounds like a great kind of Life to live – one with no regrets other than having to say goodbye to those I Love.

 

Unattributed through ignorance - would be delighted to correct.

Unattributed through ignorance – would be delighted to correct.

“Extremist”: My government’s latest ‘label’ for me!

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Door to Hell, Darvaza Gas Crater, Turkmenistan

Door to Hell, Darvaza Gas Crater, Turkmenistan

 

Watching UK parliament in action is not something I do very often because I find the levels of cognitive dissonance too great to tolerate, but there are exceptions and yesterday was one.

 

The debate centred around a request from the opposition for a Cumulative Impact Assessment of the variety of welfare cuts affecting the sick and disabled in the UK.

 

During the debate, an MP from the government benches made an allegation, repeated several times, that some of the disability activists who has been trying (repeatedly) to meet the Government to discuss the impact of cuts were ‘extremists’. The reason, apparently, is due to the fact that these ‘extremists’ refuse to accept that government changes to their personal situation are ‘constructive’. I’m not going to go into detail about this because the subject has been covered by other ‘extremists’ more knowledgeable than me.

 

No doubt, analysis of the detail of the debate will occur but I want to look at the ‘psychic effect’ this statement – this is not a blue-print for the ‘correct’ response, this blog is about the impact the extremist ‘meme’ has upon me personally. I am directly affected by what occurred yesterday and, despite all my training, knowledge and acquired wisdom, this ‘meme’ still had the impact of ‘internal destruction’ that, I suppose, it was meant to have.

 

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The government’s ‘spin’ on their refusal to reveal the facts of their welfare reform is very telling and fits with observations I have made in the past.  Nevertheless, within the social structures I dwell within, they have ‘social power’ and I, apparently, do not. The attitude and demeanour of those very few government MP’s who actually made the effort to turn up for the debate made it very clear how they viewed the folk they were debating; comply with our view or be excluded from any and all discussions on the grounds that we are extremists. Basically, this seems to include anyone who disagrees with current UK policy – no matter how lethal, harmful or damaging to those on the receiving end. Pain, suffering and death are not things the present British government need to worry itself about because it holds to the certainty of its own ‘righteousness’ – anyone who disagrees or protests becomes an ‘infidel’ to be condemned, rejected and ignored.

 

This reminds me of all those criticisms leveled at all those folk who meekly filed into the gas chambers of the Third Reich. Why didn’t they fight back or protest, goes the narrative of post-apocalyptic studies? Well, if we consider the dynamic that occurred yesterday, the answer is fairly easy to find – they had been bombarded with the kinds of messages delivered to the sick and disabled of Britain by their own unelected government.

 

BMNphbECMAENZdHIt really gets me down when I am coerced into accepting views that are based upon prejudice rather than fact, particularly when those views are espoused by those who have ‘control’ over my personal circumstances. It gets me down because I have been around this dynamic for most of my life. It could be argued that this ‘meme’ or ‘irritant’ has been a stimulus for my own growth and development – I would not disagree with this. Experiences of closed-mindedness has prompted me to explore it in very great depth. My problem is that although I have learned a great deal, many more have not and continue to perpetuate such ugly ideas to this very day.

 

The ‘Extremist’ ‘meme’ is a cluster-bomb of the psyche because attached to the word are ideas, experiences and histories that explode into my internal experience with the same devastating effect. It’s a word that, in recent times, has been used by government after government – particularly since 9/11 – to justify the most appalling atrocities against their civilians. The meme refuses to differentiate between justified objections to abuse and cruelty inflicted on innocent others and encourages those who oppose it to become as reactionary and close-minded as their oppressors.  It assumes a righteousness to the opinions of those in power that, when examined under the cold light of evidential fact-finding, can be proven to be flawed at best and downright prejudiced at worst. In the case of the British government versus their sick, disabled and vulnerable citizens, the arguments for seeing government policies as prejudiced gain ground every day, not because opponents and protestors are ‘righteous’ as such but because their protests are validated by facts and evidence.

 

BNfv1psCYAAplJnThis government ‘meme’ about folk like me seems to act like a cancer-cell within my psyche. It reproduces itself very quickly, invading and colonizing much of the hard-earned lessons of my life, reducing me to a state of ‘No-Worth’. According to the label ‘extremist’, I can never be trusted to tell the truth, no matter how much evidence; how many facts; or, even, how many predictable deaths weigh in to validate my viewpoint. The meme is not interested in facts – it’s interested in reproducing itself as fast as possible until nothing remains of those who might remove it. This meme is intent on ruling everything and everyone and destroying anything that does not accord with its distorted and corrupted world view.

 

As far as I can tell, the message it seeks to impart to extremists like me is that I am not only mistaken, I am so ‘wrong’ I am not even worthy of existence. It feeds my suicidal ideation; bolsters hopelessness and despair; and ultimately makes suicide/self-destruction personally attractive. I start asking myself “What’s the point? Give these death-dealing ideas what they want!” whilst I reexamine my suicidal methodology for effectiveness – what do I need to do to die?

 

I have powerful feelings and opinions about those who promulgate such memes which, no doubt, are the extremist views being complained about. It appears I can no longer demand that they back up their claims with fact because yesterday’s debate makes it quite plain that no such facts will be forthcoming. Prejudice against those who think differently is regarded as entirely justified, not requiring explanation or examination, up to and including eugenics, mass-incarceration, slavery and mass-murder. It’s a very poisonous seed designed to destroy everything that it is not and my response, at the very thought to being required to live under such circumstances, prompts me to self-destruct rather than comply. I suppose that is an extreme response to a government notion of who I am, but the meme itself is a far more perniciously destructive idea than anything I could ever dream up. My destructive impulse is turned upon myself – the death-toll of this meme in my reality will be 1 person; me. However, this meme is actually being used by those who turn it’s destructive power on others and who are refusing to even gather the information which shows how effective it is.

 

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So my question is this: who, exactly, is the ‘extremist’ here?

 

In those psyches who refuse ‘personal growth’; who refuse to countenance facts that ‘upset’ their world view; who cling to old ideas and reject the new; there exists a psychological phenomenon called ‘projection’.

 

Psychological projection was conceptualized by Sigmund Freud in the 1890s as a defence mechanism in which a person unconsciously rejects his or her own unacceptable attributes by ascribing them to objects or persons in the outside world.[1]

Although rooted in early developmental stages,[2] and classed by Vaillant as an immature defence,[3] the projection of one’s negative qualities onto others on a small scale is nevertheless a common process in everyday life.[4]

Jung writes that “All projections provoke counter-projection when the object is unconscious of the quality projected upon it by the subject.”[28] Thus what is unconscious in the recipient will be projected back onto the projector, precipitating a form of mutual acting out.[29]

Carl Jung considered that the unacceptable parts of the personality represented by the Shadow archetype were particularly likely to give rise to projection, both small-scale and on a national/international basis.

Wikipedia

 

Projections – of the ‘extremist’ variety – occur when we refuse to engage with our fears of others; when we decide our perceptions are ‘right’ whilst refusing to explore the evidence that we might be wrong. What we project has little to do with the individuals (in this case) we are forcing our beliefs upon – there will be something ‘true’ in the projection to create the dynamic – but the subsequent beliefs extrapolated from this first ‘truth’ are all about us. We have cut ourselves off from our own ‘shadow’ – all those aspects of Self we disapprove of or reject – and project these qualities onto others.

 

BKjUw8NCMAA6GiwSo what was Paul Maynard MP* talking about when he justified government refusals to meet disability campaigners like Spartacus and Pat’s Petition by accusing them of being extremists? He claimed they weren’t ‘constructive’ – that they refused to consider the ‘good’ aspects of government welfare changes. Could someone please explain to me how my suicidal ideation – triggered by yesterday’s events – is to be regarded as constructive? How is removing – at great speed – everything my society has determined I need for basic survival (like food, warmth and a roof over my head) for the last 65 years (longer than my own 58 year lifetime) to be considered constructive? And how does a complete refusal to countenance the real-life consequences of those affected by these changes render me an extremist?

 

I ask these questions for a reason. I need a reality check. I do not assume that my views are accurate. For this to be ‘true’ the evidence needs to be weighed by less-involved minds than my own. All I have is my response: a desire to die and not have to dwell in this small-minded, cruel and abusive environment where my very being is considered a negative.

 

Yes, I know I can ‘get over’ it but, frankly, why should I want to? I’ve been ‘getting over’ these notions all my life and, now, I am not well, I’m hurting and very very tired of this. I’m sick to the back teeth of having to justify my existence to those who believe they can ‘order’ Life itself and I find it increasingly difficult not to fall into the trap of playing into the projection.

 

This is my personal response. I share it with those in similar situations for the purpose of swapping notes – perhaps others feel the same way I do but I won’t know until I ask.

 

And to all those who want me to ‘buck up’ and get back into the fray? I won’t deny my feelings and I’m not going to collude with your demand that I do so because it’s the same kind of ‘instruction’ issued by those who define me as extremist. I may have extreme thoughts and feelings in response to such a projection upon me – shutting them away just renders me more liable to act on them when the time is right. At least, in the moment, I’m talking about it and not doing it.

 

You’re going to have to settle for that for now!

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* I originally attributed the ‘Extremists’ quote to MP, Philip Hammond. I apologise unreservedly to Mr. Hammond for my mistake; thank Fibromites for bringing it to my attention (see comments below). The comment was made by Paul Maynard MP.

And thank you, Creator Spirit, for enabling me to prove my genuine imperfections 😉

 

“I am a Fighter and a Lover” #Prison #TellingTale

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When I publish material like this it upsets my friends. Some come to stand alongside my despair and urge me to rest whilst other fellow warriors demand that I fight on; to not let the bastards win. They are all right but, when seen together, these are paradoxical injunctions – a “Catch-22”.

 

Here is a woman prisoner’s Telling-Tale about that problem which, this morning, I found myself relating to a very dear friend of mine:

 

 

The stuff you talk about re fighters is quite true and 35 years ago I would have agreed with you – until I learned, in therapy, to take my armour off. Here’s why…

You are quite right to say we need armour when dealing with the Dark Side. The thing to remember is that, although there will always be one Dark Star somewhere in the midst of cruelty, they lead groups of ‘followers’ who, in one way or another, behave like Dark Stars but would choose differently if they believed they had an authentic free choice. A true warrior must be able to differentiate between the two – absolutely vital if we are not to ‘become’ our enemy –  so we have to engage each person individually to find out what they are made of. Whilst Jesus might use the sword against the Dark Side, he offers the other cheek to brothers and sisters. To be able to learn these differences requires us to take our armour off. In therapy, the best defence is no defence and it is this that is the key to transforming others.

Here’s how it works: Those who battle the Dark Side need armour in order to survive – this is the Warrior aspect of shamanism – but our armour is our faith, which means we battle within the Law. We must make every effort to avoid inflicting unnecessary harm. However, once we have beaten our opponent, we must offer them a choice – true Faith is always rooted in Free Will. If our opponent – at any stage in the war –  surrenders to the Truth, a true Warrior must immediately move to the Healer position. Our opponent may have fought with us because they needed to be shown that the Dark Forces, who had “possessed” their Soul’s absolute entitlement to free choice, can be vanquished because they didn’t know it could be. When they went into battle, they endured terrible losses instead. When that has happened to me personally, and my opponent has surrendered, I must immediately put up my weapons and extend the hand of friendship if I am to remain ethical – I must support and empower this new choice they have made.

The example I’m thinking of occurred on the block at New Hall – when I was first in prison.

In 2003, the women’s prison ‘Area’ which covered all of the North was managed by this man. So despite the fact that HMP New Hall actually had a very competent women Governor-In-Charge who authorised all kinds of innovations (certainly for me), she could be easily undermined by going over her head to this Area Manager. One governor who did this was in charge of the Segregation Unit where I was first remanded from court. He was an active Dark Star, so all the orders he issued would have carried that energy. Responsible for the day-to-day running of the Unit, was a chap – let’s call him John – who, although a committed ‘by-the-book’ man – carried out these orders, so his behaviour looked just like the governor’s. I was to learn later that he didn’t know how to challenge what was occurring on his watch. He did, none-the-less, have a very high reputation amongst those efficient staff he managed, and he needed his ‘governor-given’ authority to deal with the ones that weren’t (there were a few of them too).

So when I arrived in prison on remand, instead of coming into the prison on ‘standard-treatment’ (with my known suicidal ideation/behaviour less than 2 years old), instead of putting me on suicide watch (a very common occurrence amongst women on remand at that time) in Healthcare, I was actually taken to the punishment block and put straight on to their full-on punishment regime. I bet the unit’s governor got a nice little back-hander from the criminals in Hull for doing that.

Punishment regimes are 23-hour lock-up. No TV. No nothing apart from a fixed bed and a cardboard chair and table. I wasn’t inducted into the prison regime so I had to learn as I went along. I know the wing has me recorded as being ‘standard’ but that is not how I was treated. The wing day officers were casually abusive and the governor took great pleasure in ensuring our lives were as rotten as possible. Meds were abused by staff on the unit. There were a couple of bi-polar women experiencing the mania that is triggered by such casual abuse. ‘Nessun dorma’ (“No-one sleeps”) wasn’t the half of it. The whole place had the aura of a medieval torture chamber. So I fought.

It took me a month to force the unit to start treating me as a standard prisoner. I did that by putting in an “App” asking to be informed of the ‘sins’ for which I was clearly at fault, due to my punishment regime, but which I couldn’t correct because I didn’t know what they were. John, the SO – “Rulebook Man”, must have squared-off the governor because the way I was treated improved dramatically. It was still 23-hour lockdown but I was given proper furniture to begin with and, soon after, moved to one of the ‘long-stay’ cells for prisoners like me.

(Let’s observe here that I spent 9 months continuously on that block – solitary confinement. Prison Rules forbid the use of solitary confinement for longer than 28 days if a woman has been convicted – if, however, you can use mental health reasons, there is no limit to how long you can keep a woman in solitary confinement. If you are guilty, it’s fixed. If you are ‘innocent’, they can throw away the key – or that’s how it seemed to me at the time. Certainly, there was one 21 year-old who spent 14 months there. The Unit taught her serious self-harming and suicide – fortunately she ended up at Rampton but not before two other prisons had fucked her over too.)

So, anyway, my conditions improved but by this time, I’d become very difficult. I was demanding copies of the Prison Rules, Orders, Advice etc from governors who had to visit me daily (Prison Rules require that prisoners in solitary are visited daily by a governor, a GP and a ‘priest’). There were some lovely people who were ‘forced’ to visit me daily and there were some absolute dogs. From the best, I would ask for things I could reasonably guess were permitted (like library access) and they’d issue the orders to John who would carry them out. He would also carry out the Dark One’s orders and, much like now, I got handy with the complaints procedures to deal with the problems they caused.

This one day I put in a complaint about the way I was being treated and said it put me in a Catch-22. As Senior Officer on the wing, John was always first port-of-call for complaints and, although he was a competent man, he hadn’t had the benefit of a wider education. I didn’t know this. From what followed, I learned a great deal about what he thought I was doing. He marched into my cell whilst I was sitting writing, threw my complaint on my desk, furiously demanding I write in plain English and cease using my intellect to play tricks on him because he didn’t know what a Catch-22 was. He thought I was trying to make him look stupid when I was, in fact, treating him as the intelligent human being I believed him to be. It was a moment studied with irony and paradox. He was also wrong and I had to sit and take all his pent-up aggression (probably from dealing with his governor boss) in silence and without response. How does anyone respond to such an attack anyway? Fighting would certainly not have worked!

When we are good people, we know when we’ve done something wrong. If we’ve been subject to abuse we were unable to stop ourselves, we are instinctively drawn to people who do know how to stop it. John will have figured out – somewhere in his being – that here was someone he could ‘show’ his problem too (however unconsciously). By getting himself into that ‘sin’ of mistreating a prisoner, he woke up. I don’t know what happened to him but he never treated me that way again. I think I got hold of the Segregation Unit PSO soon afterwards. It was the strangest experience because here, written down in Prison-speak, was exactly what I had been arguing for in the unit in my own ‘over-educated’ way (not bad for a 16 year-old school-leaver!). When I started using PSO rules, the SO and I were singing from the same hymn sheet. That was when I could start showing him that the unit governor was issuing forbidden orders.

For example: the treatment on meted out on that block triggered my suicidal ideation and I was eventually put on suicide-watch (PSO2052) by the Governor-In-Charge. The Unit governor hated this but although he was forced to follow procedures, it meant he did it badly, seething with fury all the while. On one occasion, when my ideation was running high, I asked this governor – during his daily visit – if it made any difference to him whether I lived or died? I insisted on a Yes or No answer. His answer was No. John was witness to that. When I complained about it, I was informed – by one of the governor’s acting-PO lackeys, that I had asked an inappropriate question. When I appealed, it was answered by the Governor himself (I’m sure I sent a copy of it to Ann Owers – I met her when I was on that Unit); when I appealed again, it was was the lackey who  replied again; he was indignant that I had dare to question a governor (as far as I recall). I suspect that particular complaint never found its way into the records – there was something odd about the reference number – if John wasn’t around, some staff had no problem with circumventing the system for their friends. (Another example was how the Unit managed to update my computer records to show I’d been convicted but failed to update the reasons why. I discovered my record showed I’d been convicted of Attempted Murder when I was in HMP Durham. I had to write to Hull Crown Court asking them to correct the Prison Service because they clearly were mistaken. I wonder what difference that mistake made to my treatment in Durham?)

 
I have a very great deal of affection for that New Hall SO. He was a good man, subject to managerial abuse, trying his best in a nightmare situation for all of us. He had to witness the governor ‘ordering’ me not to ‘Love’ him, at which point I asked if it was alright for me to like him instead? It is not possible to share such experiences without developing affection – call it ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ if you like but people who know – or are willing to learn – how to remain human under fire are worth their weight in gold. We take off our armour in the presence of such people and compare scars, treat wounds, heal each other.

But to do that, we have to know how to take off our armour. If we can’t, all we can ever do is repeat the problem. We need every bit of armour we can muster when we are dealing with the Dark Ones but we MUST take it off when we are amongst friends so we can find out just how much our battle is costing us.

 

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Idle No More UK

Idle No More UK