WHEN I HANG FROM AN OUTCROP

Wikimedia commons *
by bruised and bloody fingertips

there are certain actual needs I have.
Even when the cliff is not of stone.


I need eyes that see the abyss.
Eyes that see me, where I hang.
I need strong arms that hold a rope.
Even when the arms are not of flesh and bone.

I need a friendly presence
while deathfear cramps itself out.

I need safe silence when I have no words.
When words are there, I might need:

“What happened?”

I need a clear brain that reality tests with me:

Did I stumble?
Was I pushed?
What do others own?
What do I own?

I need someone who gives me time and space
to find what I can learn from my past.
When the time is right.

My time.

Someone who knows that it is my abyss.
These are my fingers.
This is my past.
Someone with guts to stay beside me
and does not try to show the way.

Can you give me what I need when I hang over an abyss?
If you can’t, more than anything else,
I need sentences that begin with “I”:

I won’t


I am afraid

I do not see you
I cannot help you
I don’t know what’s going on 
I do not understand what you are talking about
I am afraid of doing something wrong
I am fed up with talking about this
I cannot bear to go where you are now
I don’t want to know.
I can’t …
I won’t …
       I …
    I …
I …

When you say it like that
you own your reactions.
You don’t give them to me.

Rude, you say?
Subjective, you say?
Have a look at this:

Patients with your diagnosis …
You really need …
You are delusional
You are paranoid
You lack insight
There’s nothing you can do about it
Don’t worry about it
Your problem is …
You have to realize that you are ill
You can become whatever you want to be
You are overreacting
You …
You …
You are so aggressive and unpleasant
You have talked so much about this
Why did they do it?
Why did you do it?

You need to understand and forgive
You need to love
You need …
You need …
You need …



Don’t think about it

Don’t feel guilty
Don’t let problems stop you
Don’t be so negative
No limits to what you can do! 
Realize your limits!
Learn to live with your problems!

Put them behind you!

GET OVER IT!





Is this polite?
Objective?





Postscript: Have I been “psychotic”? I don’t know. 24 years ago there were months when I was hallucinating, hearing voices, suicidal and very confused, and I managed to hide these symptoms from my family and the health services.  


I had an inner image of  hanging on to a teetering “me” when people in my surroundings were trying to push me into a void. And this “me” was validated and strengthened by memories of people I had known and loved as a child, so I was actually hanging on to them, to what it felt like to be with them, what safety and trust and acceptance felt like. 


And I knew how my mother acted and what she did before she lost touch with reality, so I knew not to go into her world of polarization, of insisting that everyone else was crazy. 


And I finally managed to communicate with my inner critic, who knew that I was wrong, and that the world would be a better place when I was dead. That story is in “Psychiatry or liberation?“, but you need to scroll down a bit. That broke the spell. 

* “Preikestolenjuni2009” by Kjwathne – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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