Exams, Lunatic Asylums and The History of America

I thought I should make an appearance- so here I am! Fresh from revision hell. On the upside I’ve done eight of my GCSE’s, I’ve only got three exams to go and I’m now enjoying a week off.

It’s nice having time to myself as well, due to my schedule I do an exam in the morning, walk home and spend the rest of the day (well, until 4 in the afternoon) on my own. I have my music on really loud and dance up and down the hallway. I’ve been practising my gymnastics and doing the splits– I can almost touch the floor!

In slightly more relevant news, I’m writing an essay, it’s entitled: The Flaw in our Society: Why Lunatic Asylums Will Make a Comeback. And is about the stigma of mental illness, why it’s around, how we deal with it and why it is more dangerous than we realise.

I got the idea for the essay after thinking about one of my novels, which is set in a lunatic asylum (it’s still in the planning stages, I have several novels to write before I get to that one) and then thinking about how people respond to lunatic asylums now- I was then struck with the incredibly unsettling realisation that we don’t feel any remorse for what was done to those people, we’re too detached.

Anyway, I’m currently trying to do several things. I don’t have to revise for a few days so in that time I’m trying to plan novel number seven. One of the subplots of the novel is a string of disappearances, at the end the culprit is revealed and it turns out to be the person they all would least suspect. In fact, the culprit is so mysterious that I have no idea who they are, why they’re taking these people or even what they’re doing with them. As you can probably guess this does not bode well for the stories.

Another one of my writing woes is that I’ve really started getting into an idea I had for a huge, epic of a novel that I know will take me years to write. I can’t tell you the whole plot for fear of plagiarism, but I can tell you half the plot, it’s: The History of America.

Now that sounds rather grand and epic, which was exactly the effect I was aiming for- however I have now realised that in order to write the novel I will have to learn, in great detail, The History of America.

Well done Wren.

So, you should be seeing the above mentioned essay on this blog soon, and if you hang around for a couple of years I’ll direct you to my novels.

Another little nugget that’s cropped up in the past few days is the resentment I feel towards my parents. I’ll go into this in detail in another post, but right now I’ll just say that I’m angry at them for not being able to cope with my illness, for leaving me alone to face the voices and the strange men who live in the shadows of my bedroom. I’m angry at them for not being able to cope and always saying and doing the worst possible thing at the worst possible time.

Add to that the fact that the person who frightens me the most in the world is my dad and you’ve got a pretty stressed and screwed up little Wren.

There’s lots of stuff that’s bugging me at the moment, I feel like a pressure cooker that’s going to burst- I don’t know if that’s even technically possible but it’s late at night and I need to go and figure out who could be snatching random women of the streets of a secluded and generally creepy village.

 Listening To: Mneme by Seventh Harmonic. I love the gospel feel to thier music and the drumbeat in the background. It gives the song a really strong base.

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Parental Loyalty and Self Harm

***WARNING- Self harm is discussed pretty openly here, so stop reading if you think you’re going to find that TRIGGERING***

I’m writing this on Friday night when I can barely keep my eyes open- so anything that doesn’t make sense is down to that. Such as that horribly worded sentence.

Anyway.

I’ve had an interesting couple of days, it started with my mother putting her foot well and truly in it- something that she seems to be very good at. It was late at night and we were talking about stuff, I was trying to find the words to tell her about the nightmare (it was a nightmare, there’s no way that she can blame me for it) however we got a little side-tracked and I got frustrated because she doesn’t know about my delusions, my awake nightmares (wandering around at 2am hysterical and trying to get a knife to defend myself from the ‘shadow people’ who were surrounding me) or the small matter of me hearing voices- something that is being put down to stress.

So I’m sat there getting upset and tongue tied and sounding like a stroppy teenager when she says: You’re not hallucinating are you?  Her tone dripping in sarcasm.

I, sensing that it would not be a good idea to say: perhaps, went with the equally true:  I hope not. To which she replied: good- because we’re not going down that road.

She then said a few more words and left the room, leaving me reeling in shock and incredibly distressed.

Well mum, it’s nice to know where the line is, it’s really bloody wonderful to know exactly where you’re going to throw your hands in the air and walk away.

I mean, she’s said worse to me, she’s said much worse than that. Both my parents have- I don’t want to pull some crappy  poor little me act, but I’m really upset by all this- I feel totally isolated and betrayed. I’m just really hurt.

Speaking of hurt, her comment was translated from my mind onto my skin. I haven’t cut myself in almost six months, I prefer slapping, pinching and punching these days (I gave myself a wonderful black eye last autumn) as I find them less messy, but a few nights ago I broke the pattern and pulled out my old friend: my scissors. They’re stupidly blunt, it takes me about half an hour of solid work to break the skin, I end up removing most of the surrounding skin the process. So I created a cut on my left thigh and then got hold of a biro and covered my legs and stomach in swirls and flowers- my memory of the night is a little hazy and I only really remember waking up the next morning and finding biro all over my covers- that was a bit of a shock.

Then last night I caught a glimpse of my feeble cut and decided, in my stupid warped mind that it couldn’t convey what was in my head. So I picked up my damn scissors again.

I’ve now been left with most of the skin on my left thigh raised and pink, and five three inch cuts. I’ve spent the day limping and wincing and trying to hide the fact that it’s been burning like hell. I’m okay now, I should have cleaned it better- I was stupid enough not to clean my scissors but I’ve learnt my lesson and gave them a thorough clean today as well as wrapping them in cling-film to keep them fresh (?!?) I have to say that showering was hell, the water and soap made my leg sting so badly- I was biting down on my lip to stop myself hissing in pain.

I feel dirty even thinking about the boys- dirty and violated. I can smell them on me- it’s been three years and I haven’t had a peep- why now? Why now when I’m trying to do my GCSE’s? This really isn’t helping with the whole ‘let’s try and get some qualifications so we can get the hell out of this shitty town and away from my screwed up family.’ But I refuse to let them stop me. If there’s one thing I’m glad of it’s my rabid stubbornness.

Listening to: Tiny Vessels by Death Cab for Cutie. this song has such wonderful lyrics that we can all understand. It’s soft and sweet for the most part but the guitars come in towards the middle and just make me want to crawl out of my skin (in a good way)

The Rapist in My Closet

Into the disorientating dreamworld...

I had a dream last night.

As you know my dreams are a recurring problem- they mess with my head and my sense of reality constantly, so naturally having nightmares makes me even more messed up.

 The dream I had last night has outstripped the others in the disturbing department, what happened is as follows:

In the dream I was in a house- not my own in real life but it was my house in the dream. It was me and my mum, I walked out of my room and down into the kitchen. Mum walked up to me and said: wren, I think there’s been someone in the house- you need to lock the windows.

She handed me the keys and I said: the windows? But no-one can come through the windows can they? I have my window open all the time.

In real life I have my window open a lot and I often open it when I’m having an episode, it calms me down and makes me feel safer and freer.

In the dream mum frowned and said: If you have it open all the time he might be in your room- lock the windows and check the house.

I remember walking into my room; it was a little room with grey floorboards, white walls and a bed. The windows were small and I locked them carefully, making sure each one was properly closed.

I then went to check the room, the entire time that I had been in the room I’d been feeling uneasy and scared. The only thing in the room was the bed, so underneath was the only possible hiding place. I bent and glanced under the bed, there was a dark lump underneath but I dismissed it out of fear, I didn’t want to admit what could be there.

Then my mum came in the room, paused and picked a hair up off the floor. She held it up, looked at me and said: that’s not your hair is it?

It was blonde, (I’m brunette) so we both knew the answer to that question. We looked under my bed and there was a man there.

After that things go a bit blurry- the police came and dragged him away for questioning and he admitted that he’d been hiding under there for weeks, and at night he would wait until I was asleep and then rape me. He’d been doing that several times every night.

He knew everything about me- every little detail. I spend a lot of time in my room, talking to myself and playing music and generally relaxing.

I remember being told- I already knew to an extent, I knew he was under the bed and I knew what he was doing, I just couldn’t admit it. I saw him in the police cells and I told him that I forgave him, and I told everyone that I didn’t want to mention it or think about it again, and then I woke up.

Make of this nightmare what you will- I think the themes are fairly obvious: remembering past trauma, not wanting to admit things that have happened, having something dark lurking in the corners, danger being everywhere… I could go on for a while.

Listening to: Transatlanticism by Death Cab for Cutie. This is such a beautiful, haunting song. I love it to bits, I’m a huge Death Cab fan, I love the way they build their songs up slowly and have a really raw feel to their music.

Dealing With Non-Mental People and Irony

How am I in any way supposed to communicate with people who have no idea what it’s like to be… you know, mental?

It’s a question that has been running around in my head for the last six months or so- how am I supposed to interact with them? Talk to them? Deal with them?

As everyone I know falls into the category of ‘knows nothing about my mentalness’ this is a problem that frequently crops up. For example, when I try and explain stuff to my friends they think I’m joking or exaggerating- even when I put on my serious face.

So when I mix things up and people laugh and say that I must be hallucinating I leave the room and pace about for a bit thinking: Shit, my mind’s slipping away… instead of laughing and making some offensive comment about how I must be a nutter, and when my friend starts smacking my other friends arm with a pair of open scissors and laughs at the way I flinch it’s hard to communicate that it’s not funny.

To further illustrate my point I should elaborate by saying that in the above scenario said friend followed up the laughter by asking: what’s the matter Wren? Do you not like seeing people hurt themselves? In a sarcastic tone of voice. As you can imagine I gawped for a moment and then screeched that: No I don’t- stop it! To which he laughed and carried on.

It’s sort of hard to communicate that I’m not joking- that what he was doing wasn’t disturbing me, or making me squeamish, it was exciting me.

I hate it when I snap at people and they turn away and pull that face- you all know the one, the: Ooh, what’s crawled in her and died? Face. I want to smack them- or tell them the truth, that would knock them for six, but I don’t have about six hours to explain my life.

Someone should write a pamphlet: How to Deal with the Normals. Someone should also make me a sticker that says: Irony Magnet. As it seems to dominate my life, every time I walk out of the door someone says something stupidly ironic. Like my best friend stating loudly in English that: murder is much more common than suicide- nobody tries to kill themselves. Whilst I was in the room- the best part is that she knows that I’m suicide obsessed! And then my friend, just after we discovered that I’d had weird hallucination, said: You must be going mad Wren.

Hence the reason why my facial expressions deviate constantly between ‘bewildered/astonished’ and ‘freaking out’ and not much else.

I think one day I’m just going to have a total social breakdown and sit in the corner of some classroom laughing hysterically at people… it’s really the only sensible course of action.

Listening to: Dead To Me by Dyonisis. This is such a wonderfully hate filled song, with a really nice rock feel to it- though it manages to be easy on the ears with the beautiful, slightly ethereal singing.

On the Fear of Violation

Wherever I go I can't get away from them...

That’s it. No more school- I’ll the great big introspective post for some other time, I want to talk about something else now.

I want to talk about the boys.

A few months after my thirteenth birthday two boys in at my school decided they were going to use me.  They would put their hands on me and stroke various parts of my body; my face, my hair, my back.

It’s been three years since it happened. I don’t see them much around school; they’re not in any of my lessons. but I always thought that when I did see them I’d hate them- I’d feel scared and I’d run away.

That never happened- every time I saw them I felt nothing, just a big empty ache inside. I’ve tried and tried to feel something- to feel scared.  I’ve stared at them as they walked towards me down the corridor and tried to feel scared so many times, but I’ve never felt anything.

It’s always worried me, if I’m not scared then I won’t stay away from them, if I’m not scared I won’t stay away from their friends, if I’m not scared, if I’m not truly terrified, then won’t have the adrenaline running through my body and I won’t run fast enough, I won’t scream loud enough.

I’ve never felt anything- until Friday night.

We were at the leaver’s ball and I was sat around a table with my friends. It was good and we were all laughing and joking.

Then he walked past me  and started talking to some people on the table next to mine. I think it was the sound of his voice that did it, it seemed to flip a switch inside me and I remember looking at him, at his face and feeling sick.

I started shaking, I couldn’t breathe, it was like I was thirteen again- stuck in that room and waiting for them to start. I reached out and grabbed the knife from the table, it was just a blunt little table knife but I grabbed it so tight that it left marks on my hand. I wanted to cry, I was so scared. He kept walking around behind me- he brushed against the person I was sitting next to and I jumped a mile in the air.

I was sat there, surrounded by people, with teachers only metres away, but in my mind that was no safety net. I was sat there, waiting to feel his hands on my shoulders again. It was like it was just me and him.

Across the table my friends kept telling me to cheer up and smile- I just shook and shook, I felt angry and bewildered and so scared. I wanted to run but I knew I couldn’t. I knew that wherever I went he would follow me. He would always find me. Because it’s not just him- it’s the knowledge that someone can hurt me- anyone can hurt me, even when I’m surrounded by people. I sat there in a crowded classroom at the age of thirteen and cried whilst they rubbed their hands over my skin.

I can remember all of it now. All the stuff that I shoved down so deep that I started to doubt whether or not it actually happened, I can remember it all. I remember his voice and his smell; I remember how much I cried when they wouldn’t stop. I remember it- and I have no idea what to do with it now.

Listening to: The sound of dad drilling downstairs, he’s repainted everything in the house and is generally driving me nuts.

Submission and Violation

Comfort in the darkness

When I said I’d take a break from this I meant a week or so- I’m pretty rubbish at maths (and dates and counting and general life) so please take this as the reason why one week turned into… three? Yeah, three weeks.

Anyway, a lot has happened in the last three weeks. We have a new member of the royal family, my mum woke me up at some stupid hour to watch, we all went and sat in the front room in our pyjamas, it was quite sweet.

We also think that I have depression. All we have to do now is wait for the psychiatrist to make a formal diagnoses but I’m almost certain that she’ll agree with what both my counsellor and my psych nurse have said- we’ve also been discussing medication, apparently it’s far too risky to give me anything because I’m  ‘highly suicidal’ I’m not sure how I feel about that- I hate taking pills anyway, it freaks me out that I don’t know what’s in them, but I need something more than what I’m getting at the moment. That’s my mental health work is such an interesting profession- it’s not about fixing things, it’s about finding the solution that does the least damage, and it’s up to the individual to define what ‘damage’ is.

I also had a horrible night a few weeks ago when I started seeing shadows and hearing voices, I was wandering around the house in the early hours crying and whispering to the Shadow People, begging them to leave me alone.

Yeah, so all in all I haven’t been having a good time of it.

At the moment the problem seems to be dominance. I am submissive is social situations, especially with anyone older or bigger than me (that’s most people- I come in at five-foot-one) and this is something deeply ingrained in my behaviour, I’m quiet and good in class because I’m submitting, not because I’m shy. It’s always puzzled me- and my friends, they notice it more than most people. I do what the teachers want me to do because I don’t want to challenge their authority, their dominance.

Over the years I’ve learnt that it’s best to just let people do whatever they want to do and then slink away. That behaviour was so deeply ingrained in me that I didn’t respond or challenge it when the boys started doing what they did. I just sat there and let it happen.

It’s not because I’m weak, or because I’m a coward, it’s because I’m resigned. I was reading an article last night on something called learned helplessness. I think it really sums up what I’m talking about.

I have my last day at school tomorrow. I can’t believe it- all those years of praying and hating and crying- they’re finally over. I’ve always hated school; it’s a place that embodies my deepest fears: being surrounded by people, but totally alone; people I despise having power over me; being forced to lie- having people abuse their power and me being helpless. I want to get away from that place. I want to get away from the place where teachers and other people have power and control over me. I want to get away from the place where I was violated.  

Listening to:  Valensanimi by Seventh Harmonic. Being a drummer I love the epic drum beat in the background of this song. It gives a really cool ritual feel.