There is no Dark Side. There is only fear of the dark.


This story did
not come easy. I knew it was there, for I had told it to a friend some years
ago, and it came out neat, forceful and viable. And now that I need to write
it, it has been refusing to be written – so I finally went away to give myself
alone time and writing time.

And in my
alone time, I slipped into the no-feel/no-show mode that I was very good at as
a child, my reptile brain’s freeze response when fight or flight was
impossible: Feel no emotion, show no reaction.

When I am interacting with others, I have learned to recognize the signs of
impending no-feel/no show, and I can divert the shutdown by choosing to be
aware of what is going on.

But now I am
interacting with Littlest, my most vulnerable, almost non-verbal inner
metaphor, and Littlest is scared. And when Littlest is scared, mindfulness cannot
get me out of no-feel/no show.

I can, as so often before, allow Littlest her fear, accept it and respect it,
and then show her that there is no need for no-feel/no show in the life I am
living now.

I can, as so often before, show her that the shutdown of no-feel/no show
creates more problems than it solves.

And I can allow room for the dignity of Littlest by thanking her sincerely and
respectfully for helping me survive all the years when shutdown was needed.
When shutdown was essential to survival.

Sleep helps a lot. When I go away to be by myself and write, there is often
little actual writing, much aimless wandering and many daytime naps. My mind’s
eye sees a lot of rewiring going on in these periods, and it is the results of
the rewiring that eventually get written about.

So, as often before, when I try to force myself to write, thoughts and words
scatter like tadpoles.

And this time, Littlest is actively scattering. She does not want to go where I
am heading, and being told that we are perfectly safe, on a huge ferry sailing
between Oslo and Copenhagen, with hundreds of people around us, is completely
irrelevant to her.


THEN AND THERE, the past that I want to write about, is scary and dangerous, and Littlest
does not want to go there.

Going there is to die.

So Littlest and I shared three days of almost nonverbal togetherness, sleep and
aimless wandering before I could begin to scratch words in pencil on paper in a
flurry of eraser crumbs.

Keyboard time, now time, is rewriting time. The keyboard creates distance, and my
handwriting shows me where I am in myself.

I have thanked
Littlest for her shutdown, for helping to rewire my thoughts and adjust the
story, and she is with me this time, virtually sitting on my shoulder and
clinging to my hair as I wind off this preamble and begin to discover what the
story looks like with her additions. It begins like this:


Let’s get this
completely straight. We are not in the Star Wars universe. There is no dark
side, ready to engulf the unwary and turn them into Darth Vader.

And – I deeply regret having to say this – there is no Force that, like duct tape, has a bright side and a
dark side and holds the universe together.

There is fear.

Fear of the dark.

And George Lucas mined heavily into this primal fear when he created the Star
Wars stories.

I have another
story. I have no idea if it is true, it’s just a story,  a story that makes it easier for me to see harm that
is done to children and the powerless, and that is good enough for me.

My story is a story where you don’t become Darth Vader when the dark engulfs

You become dead.

On this day of rewriting I have been with a grandson when his parents were away,
and he asked me to stay with him whilst he fell asleep. I was thinking of
Littlest when I lay beside him and felt his small hand on my arm, thinking of
the primal need to feel the warmth of another body, hear the breath of another
person, as one relaxed into sleep. And I was so pleased that the parents of my
grandchildren had done as we did, and let their kids sleep with them.

In Go Ahead—Sleep With Your Kids, Robert Wright
explains it like this:

According to Ferber, the
trouble with letting a child who fears sleeping alone into your bed is that
“you are not really solving the problem. There must be a reason why he is
so fearful.” Yes, there must. Here’s one candidate. Maybe your child’s brain
was designed by natural selection over millions of years during which mothers
slept with their babies. Maybe back then if babies found themselves completely
alone at night it often meant something horrific had happened – the mother had
been eaten by a beast, say. Maybe the young brain is designed to respond to
this situation by screaming frantically so that any relatives within earshot
will discover the child. Maybe, in short, the reason that kids left alone sound
terrified is that kids left alone naturally get terrified. Just a theory.
Littlest is
nodding in recognition at this, and it makes sense to me. My story begins back
then, around the campfires of some of our early ancestors. And it begins with
the smallest and the most disposable child in the tribe.

Are your
sensibilities offended by the word “disposable”? In this time and place, a long
time ago, survival is the main priority. Not survival of the individual, nor of
the fittest. Survival of the tribe.

Without the
tribe there is no survival at all.
Those who
contribute to the survival of the tribe, are useful. 
Those who do
not, are disposable.

New babies
keep coming all the time, and as long as enough of them grow up, the tribe will

Littlest is
disposable. And in the marrow of her bones, that is something she knows.

ancestors live permanently on the brink of death. Were there taboos against
killing babies to eat them? Maybe. And maybe not. I find it easy to imagine
that a baby can be an essential source of protein that gives hunters strength
to go hunting one more time.

Littlest, the
most disposable child, lives in fear.

The tribe is
life – or at least a chance at life.

Outside the
tribe, beyond the tribal campfires, in the dark, there are predators.

There is


Only death.

In my
native Norway we have killed off most of the predators, but there is
still much dark and much wilderness. Here we know that «the forest shakes» can overwhelm the
most seasoned outdoorsperson who is alone in the wilds, even in daytime. Is
this our monkey brain telling us that «alone» is just as dangerous as “dark”?

Huddling is

Sleeping next
to a warm body is good.

And growing up

Littlest is tugging
hard at my hair when I get here. Yes, growing up is essential. As in life-or
death-essential. And there are stages to that, and each of them is a step up from “disposable”.
Useful is
good, and each new degree of usefulness gives
a better chance at survival.

Children can
fetch firewood and water, feed fires, take care of smaller children, help in
whatever adults are doing, and learn, learn, learn all the time in their life-saving struggle to become more useful.

There are many
useful skills. Hunting, of course, gathering, scouting, fire technology, building,
making, cooking, knowing and teaching … and it would be wonderful if I could
state that in the tribe of my story, skill and talent determine what you do,
regardless of what sex or social status you were born into.

But there is a special category of people at
the apex of this tribal pyramid. They are the ones who determine. And they are more than essential, they are …
The people who
bring food to the tribe are not indispensable if they are many. Neither are the
makers or the teachers of the edible and the poisonous. Not if there are
enough of them.

And the new-thinkers,
the inventors, the explorers, they are not indispensable. 

indispensable are the ones who secure cohesion in the group, because without
cohesion, the survival of the group is threatened.

indispensable are the dispensers of bullshit, if bullshit is defined as
assertions presented as truth in order to strengthen a story. The indispensable are truth-sayers, law-making labellers, knowers of right and wrong and good and bad.

The indispensable have the right to decide who gets to stay near the campfires, who has to stay at the outskirts, and who gets out-cast into the dark.

Into the dark. Where you die.

And at this, Littlest
is not only pulling at my hair, she is jumping up and down, and I tell her: 
Oh, yes, we
still have them – the Labellers, the dispensers of cohesive bullshit.

In my country, which sometimes calls itself a superdemocracy, Mental Health Labellers get to decide who is normal and who is sick in the head and can legally be deprived of human rights – for their own good.

people are killed for blasphemy, which is the crime of not believing in cohesive bullshit. 

beings are gang raped or imprisoned or killed for loving someone the bullshit labellers
deem inappropriate. 

And people get beaten up for bullshitty reasons that are important to subgroups of Labellers
and their true believers.

Yes, Littlest,
I fear that we, human beings in the 21st century, are still blindly
following the imperative of cohesive bullshit that was so essential to survival
around the campfires of our early ancestors.
THEN was a
time when the cohesion of the tribe outweighed the needs of the powerless.
NOW is a
time when respect for the powerless might be essential if humanity is to
Continued here:

Linking to a  relevant post by Laura K Kerr, PhD: 

Roots in the British Museum

Norwegian version here / norsk versjon her:

I regret having to leave London before the lecture “On not going home” at the British Museum on February 7, when Professor James Wood “explores the estrangement of voluntary emigration – the sense of losing the country you leave and failing to find another”.

Here is a link from the British Museum blog:

‘Exile is strangely compelling to think about but terrible to experience’
John-Paul Stonard, art historian 

My experiences are with another aspect of this theme: Growing up as a 3CK – Trans Culture Kid, an involuntary émigrée, a 
child of voluntary emigrees – and the process of finding my place in the world as a Between Cultures Adult. 

A friend once told me about taking some visitors to a scenic spot near her childhood home, and surprising herself with a childish and unspoken response when they were admiring the view: “This is mine!”  

I could not recognize the emotion behind “this is mine”. I had read «Roots» by Alex Haley a long time ago, and some years later, when my husband and I subtitled the TV series, I began to wonder: If I were to look for my roots, how would I go about it? My answer was “Don’t go there. Between is as good a place as any.”

And a few years after that, when I visited The British Museum for the first time, I almost burst into tears of belonging.

At the time I did not have the leisure to explore this discovery, but now I am back, and I went to the Montague Place entrance, as I had done before. And even before I got inside there was a root: an impossibly handsome and noble lion.

I have no idea how or why, and I don’t believe in the supernatural, but this lion is mine. It belongs to me. The most probable and very prosaic explanation, of course, is that I must have seen this picture in a book somewhere.

A few steps further in, near the Member’s cloakroom, there are some bas-reliefs. This lovely women with the mischievous grin reminds me of someone I loved and called “big sister” in India a long time ago. She belongs to me.

All these figures belong to me: Images like this are woven into the rich and confusing tapestry of my early life. 

The huge bronze bells from China in the stairway … they aren’t visible now because of renovations, but they belong to me. And, like the lions at the entrance, I do not know how or why, and I think: Book? Probably.

But I do know why the moa belongs to me: Thor Heyerdahl was Norwegian, like me, and “Aku-Aku: the Secret of Easter Island” was much read and much loved by the bookish child I was.

Time seems to have shown that many of Heyerdahl’s theories were wrong, and a biography has revealed that my hero had feet of clay, but he is mine.

As are the moai, and the harrowing story of Easter Island that Jacques Cousteau has told so well in “Blind Prophets of Easter Island”
Cousteau belongs to me. As an adult, I spent a couple of years virtually sailing the seas with his expeditions, translating his voice-over commentaries in the comfort of my own home.

This handsome and determined Roman youth and horse certainly belong to me, and to my teenage years in Rome.

Where the statue of Anita Garibaldi on a galloping horse, baby on one arm and pistol in the other hand, was a huge contrast to my repressed life in a convent school.

from Wikimedia Commons

Anita connects me to Marian Heyerdahl’s sculptures of “Terracotta Woman”, which I saw before I saw the Terracotta Warrior exhibition the last time I was here at the museum. Why is there so little to see in the museum about how revolution and war affect the lives of women and children and non-combatants? 

I found these posters in the corridor as I was going to the plane, They were probably travel ads … 

… as the warriors were wearing flipflops. 

All the five legs of the winged Assyrian human-headed bull belong to me. And I know why, too: They fascinated me in one of my history books in Darjeeling in the 50s.

And these were also in schoolbooks and books I read for fun … The snake-tailed harpy ….

And Ramesses II …

Who reminded me of “Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair”. 

And now I read that Shelley’s poem about Ozymandias might have been inspired by this massive fragment.

I could go on and on, but I’ll get to the point instead: 

I had not fully realized the importance of Real Things. Three-dimensional objects in the museum trigger recognition, belongingness, in the same way that smells do. And with recognition come stories … and memories of many different cognitive frames.

I would guess that most 3CKs know about frames from an early age, even if they do not have words for this concept. A book that helped me make sense of it as a child, was Edwin Abbott Abbott’s “Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions” from 1884.  

It brought home to me that some people are incapable of recognizing other viewpoints than their own. And as an adult I know that when people in one frame have power in a situation, persons from other frames can get quashed. Invaded. Colonized. 

In “THE CERTAINTY OF NORMLIGHTS” I wrote about such an experience. I soon learned to give in immediately when met with one-framed certainty from an adult … the only alternative was to bang my head against a wall of aggressive incomprehension and get a reputation for being difficult.
But I was lucky – I also met many whom I thought of as REAL PEOPLE. People who surfed comfortably between cognitive frames, showing me that it was possible. People who used communication tools for bridging frames when there was a mutual willingness to do so … as I have described here, about a discussion on religion:

In my wanderings around the museum, thoughts about cognitive frames have led to thoughts about power. About the difference between win/lose power and win/win power. I haven’t found an English term yet, from Norwegian it translates into “static power” and “expansive power”.

There is only a finite amount of win/lose power, and if someone gains power, that means others have lost power. There are many depictions of win/lose power here, and all are now demonstrations of power lost. 

I have been looking in vain for a human statue with the noble forcefulness of the lions at the Russel Square entrance. Ramesses II, huge as he is, has the face of a boy. King Edward the Seventh looks bored and uncomfortable, even if he does so from above us: 

In the Wikipedia article on Ozymandias I found another sonnet, by Horace Smith, on the same theme, with a different ending: 

          We wonder,—and some Hunter may express
          Wonder like ours, when thro’ the wilderness
          Where London stood, holding the Wolf in chace,
          He meets some fragment huge, and stops to guess
          What powerful but unrecorded race
          Once dwelt in that annihilated place.

A fitting epitaph to win/lose power.

Now I am looking for manifestations of win/win power here at the museum. Expansive power – power that grows with use and sharing.

And the win/win power that I see here lives on in the creations of craftspersons who made everyday objects with competence, inventiveness, artistry, flair and … sometimes … humour.

Like this little jug, that can also be used as a sprinkler. 

I have made a lot of mediocre pottery in my past, and jugs very much belong to me. I could spend a year here just exploring jugs, looking at the design, discovering what the potters did to try to avoid annoying drips without making the jug look as it it’s pouting.

There is art here too, of course, and much of it seems to transcend what should be possible with the tools that were available. 

And to me, the real immortals are the artists and the little people, people whose lives might have been under the radar and outside the frames of the powerful, people who just got on with it, making objects that speak to us centuries later, that impress us with the neatness of their design and their utility, objects that make us marvel, and catch our breath, and sometimes smile, and … objects that make me paraphrase Shelley: 

Look on their works, 
ye Mighty,
and despair!

Ishmael Beah on the radiance and beauty of life

Link to information about a book that I have not read, but will read:

Ishmael Beah’s New Battles

The former boy soldier has a new book and is getting good at living between two worlds

Read more: Ishmael Beah’s New Battles – TIME,9171,2162269,00.html#ixzz2qNYc8hyQ

In the interview, Ishmael Beah says

The villagers’ biggest obstacles, however, are not one another but forces beyond their control. “I realized as I talked to people that everybody thinks that peace means the absence of any challenge,” says Beah, who noticed a sharp drop-off in interest in his homeland’s destiny after the fighting ceased, as if living there were now a cakewalk. “The radiance and beauty of life is that people are able to move on with their lives even with the backdrop of all these difficulties.”

Communication 101

Elsewhere in this blog I have written about problems I had with mental help that was judged to be legal and ethical. I thought then that I had communication problems, and looking back, I still see communication problems, exacerbated by psychotherapeutically correct terminology. 

Now I have written a 10-step communication guide that could have prevented those problems, and I hope for feedback from professionals and customers of mental help.

I do realize that for many who need help, there is no choice. I had none – it was “take what is offered or prove that you are treatment resistant”. 

So if I had done things differently, it would not have changed anything. What did help me, was to finally the difference between what communication could have been and what it was, to remove the niggling sense that “everything is OK, it’s just my reactions that are wrong”.  


I: Written information about the helper’s views
and methods
, read and signed by the customer if they agree to be helped in this way.

II: An
agreement signed by both parties
at the start of help, where both commit
to using the following communication tools on an equal footing:


check if one is actually communicating. And if there seems to be a pattern of
misunderstandings, this can be expanded:




“I feel that …» is a thought. For example:

Instead of saying “I feel that you
are invading my boundaries”, one can say “I am feeling invaded. Would
you please join me in looking for a
grain of truth
in that feeling?

A helper who is used to treating the
customer’s reactions as psymptoms might find this difficult, and the question
can be just as difficult for people who have problems protecting their borders
and noticing border violations, but when both persons are willing to look for a
grain of truth, we get a win/win situation.

Instead of discussing if the reaction is transference
or an overreaction; it can be seen as a double reaction: A reaction is always
triggered by something in the here-and-now, even when the trigger is tiny
compared to the reaction.

Finding the grain of truth affirms the
intuition of the person who asks for it, and it also shows that the rest of the reaction belongs


Go through the recording together and look





Ignoring, making invisible

Withholding information


Double binding

Blaming and shaming

Interpreting reality for others

An always-wrong
is a
communications dilemma
where others know
that our reactions are always wrong
and it is
impossible to discuss the problem or resolve it.
In this situation
confusion is a natural response,
and we can only
get rid of the confusion
by removing
ourselves from the situation


Set aside professional theories,
symptoms, jargon and diagnoses,  and check with the help of a mediator if it is possible to communicate on a basis of ordinary good manners and common

X: A
written agreement to end help, where both parties note their reasons, signed by both parties.

Claude Steiner on schizophrenia


Alienation from Our Minds, or from the Capacity to Think. 

We all have the capacity to understand the facts and workings of our world, to predict the outcome of events, and to solve problems. This capacity has been developed to a large degree by some people but has become unavailable to others who, in their alienation from their minds, are incapable of thinking in an orderly way. 

Because of the way people are treated from early childhood on, some grow up unable to use their minds effectively. They cannot keep thoughts fixed in their consciousness long enough to combine them with other thoughts so as to derive logical conclusions. At the same time, they cannot exclude from their minds chaotic thought patterns and emotions. Complete confusion and the utter terror of mental breakdown are the extreme form of this kind of alienation, which tends to be misdiagnosed by the psychiatric establishment as “schizophrenia.” Those who suffer from mind alienation are singled out for the harshest and most unjust treatment.

Tranquilizing medication, shock therapy, imprisonment, padded cells, straitjackets, hot and cold water treatments, forced feeding, experimentation with dangerous drugs, and brain surgery have all been applied over the last century on people who have shown extreme forms of alienation from their minds. These methods, whose principal effect is to terrorize people into submission causing them to temporarily conform to the expectations of their “helpers,” have proven, one by one, to be totally ineffectual in anything but sweeping the problem under the rug. Recently, mental patient’s right groups in some parts of the world have succeeded in curbing some of these abuses, but there is no doubt that the mistreatment of the “mentally ill” continues. 

Alienation from our minds is a result of systematic, lifelong lies and discounts. A discount occurs when another person denies the content of our experiences. If, in addition to being told that our experiences aren’t valid, we are also fed false information in the form of lies, the combined effect is an interference with our thinking functions, which eventually can lead to total mental breakdown. 

One particular well-known form of alienation is known as “paranoid schizophrenia”; here the natural intuitive perception of the facts of our persecution, which some become keenly aware of, are systematically discounted by others who also often lie to explain away their oppressive behavior. People’s budding perceptions of oppression, persecution, and abuse are most often effectively squelched and ignored; but for others, these perceptions can evolve into large-scale obsessions that develop into systems that, when elaborated, become fantastic and unreal, at which point they are called “paranoid delusions.”

Radical Psychiatry holds that paranoia no matter how fantastic, are always based on a kernel of truth, and that is why we say that “paranoia is a state of heightened awareness.” Consequently, we encourage the expression of people’s “paranoid fantasies” by willingly searching for the grain of truth in them and validating whatever aspect of them that may be realistic.

MY WAY: The opposite direction

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

Some days ago I wrote
ended with  Shirley Bassey’s renditon of “My

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

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

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

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

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

March 2011: Scan and Puke

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

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

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

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

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

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

What will the Health
Services show me now?

Update December 2011: MY WAY    

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Earlier this year, I wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So I asked the Mediation Board for a mediation meeting.

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

And I have a block about doing that. Because …

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

In «The
Decent Society»,
 Avishai Margalit writes:

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

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

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

my file at the Medical Centre:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But not today.

March 2012: MOVING

I see unwritten Christmas

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

Everything is THERE.
Where I am not.

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

A year ago I began

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

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

And now my body shows that it is ready for change.

It notices dust and mess.
It begins to clean and declutter.
A little.
It is restless.
It wants to move.
A little. 

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

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

June 2012: The
Story of Thing

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

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

I was given silent
acceptance and a friendly presence. 

So I know that they are. 

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

Thing is a part of

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

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

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

And with me.


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

And I say:

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

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


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

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

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

“It is like

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

And be.


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

I will not fight

Written in December 2012, 
translated now as a
continuation of «A
strange anniversary»

I have to write this before I can move on.

And it
is scary to write about.

…? The reason is not important.

I  do not want to. That is important.

doing it anyway. That is important.

I will not fight. That is important.

I will
not fight in The Help Services, will not fight in the rest of my life.

is very important.

I will
not fight.

I will not discuss who is right or wrong.

That is not an important discussion.

I do not want to be in a win/lose

Situations like that are very

for someone who does not want to win,
and I do not.

I will not talk about right of definition.

That is not important.

It does not fill a need in me.

What is important?

Needs are important.

And I have needs.

I have …

A need to be outside the definition rights box.

A need to be somewhere else.

A place where everyone has the
right to own their their stories

and no one has the right to invade the
story of another.

I have a need to notice when others
invade my story.

A need for solid ground under my feet.

A place to stand.

Give me a fixed point, and I will move the


I do not want to move the world. That is
not important.

What is important? To move myself.

Move into the shadows, into the white
patches on the map.

Notice when I do not stand on
solid ground.

A need to straighten my back, lift my head 
and take my share of space in
the world.

Not more space than others, not less
space than others.

As much space as others have the right to take.

I have a need to notice when others take
my space

and make it impossible for me to straighten my
back and lift my head.

I have a need to own.

Own what I think, own my opinions, own
what I know,

own what my senses tell me, own my emotions, own
what I do.

A need to notice. Notice when it is
impossible to own

what I know, what my senses tell me, my
emotions, my actions.
Sometimes, certainly not always, I have a need to speak out:

«There is not room for all of me here.»

«My story is being invaded.»

Often it is enough to notice,

Mark it on my life map,

so that the map matches the terrain.
And maybe, most of all, I have a need to notice when others

make it a problem that I

take my share of space, straighten my back,
lift my head,

and tell my story. Because:

I need to protect my integrity.
My mental skin

Without that, I cannot live.

And I have a need to live.

A need to know that we all have a need
to live.

Links about "mental illness"

Adding this:

Person-first Terminology Doesn’t Validate Psychiatric Diagnoses
January 8, 2014

via Psykisk Daily

This is an interview with  the president-elect of the American Psychiatric Association, Dr. Paul Summergrad:

I have also renounced the concept of “mental illness” – more about that here:

And I’m linking to Harold A Maio’s article in the Guardian:

While I’m at it, I might as well link to Gary Greenberg’s interview with Allen Frances:

Inside the Battle to Define Mental Illness

and his book: 

The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry 

Other books:

Bias in Psychiatric Diagnosis [Kindle Edition] 
Paula J. Caplan (Editor), Lisa Cosgrove (Editor)

Women and Madness: Revised and Updated Paperback 
 by Phyllis Chesler

by Johnstone, Lucy and Dallos, Rudi 

History of Madness 
Michel Foucault (Author), Jean Khalfa (Editor), Jonathan Murphy (Translator)

Is there anything you would like to add to this list?

A strange anniversary

Are the only good ex-patients 
those who stuff deep inside
the ways the system hurt them?
     – Paula J. Caplan (@PaulaJCaplan)
On January 31st
I have been “a borderline psychotic” in the health services for 25 years. Well, somewhere
along the years the diagnosis disappeared from my electronic file, but it
has never been re-evaluated, so it feels safer to assume that it still exists.

The diagnosis
itself doesn’t bother me, mostly because my children
and others close to me thought it was ridiculous. And I still remember the
immense relief when I finally found out that I had been borderlined for almost four years: “I’m not being paranoid, they really do think
I’m crazy!”

But the
years of not knowing about the diagnosis, and the tangles and confusion caused by
what later was determined by the Chief County Medical Officer to be therapeutically correct and legal health care, caused
serious problems that I had to put on hold in order to get on with a huge freelance workload and years of taking care of older relatives.  

Putting problems on hold blocked my ability to recharge. 

I used
up my strength.

I used
up my reserves.

I borrowed
from the future. 

And future loans have a very high interest rate.

Four years ago my mind and body finally refused to cooperate with my will, and I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia … because exhaustion is not a diagnosis. Now I am back to finally being able to do a normal day’s
work, after years spent detangling the aftereffects of harmful mental health

And the
scariest thing I have learned in these four years, is that being compliant and
cooperative would have taken me through a labyrinth of “help” that could only end
with full disability … similar to the labyrinth health services placed me in 27 years ago,
after I came out as a childhood victim of sexual use. I was working well with a GP on psychosomatic problems like myalgia until his psychiatric supervisor told him, without having seen me, that I would become psychotic without professional help.  

The only
alternative I could find, both times, was to be contrarian.  To show “lack of insight”.

A year ago I
had to renounce welfare benefits in order to do things my way, like
I had to leave the health services in the 90s to get away from legal and harmful borderlining. Fully realizing how lucky I
was, both times, in being able to live off my husband until I could start
earning again.
And no, I’m
not putting what happened behind me. And I am not going to protest the diagnosis – as I see it, “borderline” is a modern version of
drapetomania, the mental illness that caused slaves to flee captivity in the USA. 

My translation of borderline dx: 

‘I don’t like you, don’t understand you 
and don’t know what to do with you.’ 
— Lucy Johnstone (@ClinpsychLucy)

Hurt and harm and confusion and tangles are
being transformed into experience, and with that experience I can work the words from my peaceful corner of the world. 

But not

Today I

To myself.

As I
can’t carry a tune, I’ll let Shirley Bassey sing it to you:

For what is a woman, what has she got?
If not herself, then she has naught
To say the things she truly feels
and not the words of one who kneels

The record shows I took the blows and did it my way!

Link for those who can’t see the embed: