When I awoke at about four this morning I might have known why and what was about to happen.
After a few days of depression I’m swinging back up.
But the depression was very mild. Relatively. No depression is ever pleasant. All depression is soul-crushing to some extent. I call it mild only to distinguish it from the suicidal hell I have experienced in the past.
I want to tell you about a couple of things that happened yesterday to illustrate that this ‘demonisation’ thing is not all in my head!
I received a letter by Special Delivery. I thought uh-oh. I wonder what that’s about. It crossed my mind it could be a letter from the police as a result of Equals’ complaint about me. I somehow knew it would be something unsavoury.
It was a letter from a project that I did some training for. The ‘WISE’ study, a substantial piece of user-led research being carried out by Camden and Islington Council. We were being taken on as service user researchers, to interview other service users who are receiving a particular type of help into work. While at Uni I actually did a presentation on this topic. Now I can’t even remember what it’s called!
The point is, the letter was to tell me that my CRB check had been found ‘unsatisfactory’ owing to a caution, the only blemish on my record, for ‘criminal damage’.
At the time I was ‘floridly’ manic, and receiving the usual inadequate ‘help’ from the Home Treatment Team, having been refused a bed in the hospital.
It was obvious even to the police that I was off my head. I don’t know why I was charged as a criminal. I had been to visit a crack user with whom I had a whole history of financial and other exploitation (by him, of me). Smoking crack is something I have only ever done while manic. The pain and pressure of mania I found could be relieved, however temporarily, by smoking crack.
I never became addicted. I didn’t have time to, and in any case, the kind of pain and pressure that I’m talking about is only ever fairly short-lived.
He had told me to come round that day at a certain time, with money for the drug. As so often this proved unreliable, though I showed up with money at the stated time.
When I found he did not respond to repeated knocking and calling, I did what, in my manic state, seemed a perfectly logical thing to do. I found an implement on the pavement and caved in the glass of the front door, so as to open it from the inside.
Irony upon irony, this ex-con crack user/dealer then phoned the police. Introduced himself as ‘James Bond’. The cops showed up, addressing him as ‘James’. I was carted off in the police van, thence to a cell in Hornsey Police Station.
This is the source of my ‘criminal’ record.
I was released later on, still manic and vulnerable as ever, having been fingerprinted and so on. No mental health professionals were contacted, even though I stripped off in my cell (is that ever a classic ‘mental’ piece of behaviour!)
Anyway, all that is just for the record. It wasn’t pleasant to be turned down, even for a job I had decided I didn’t want, on this basis. They advised me in the letter to always disclose convictions in advance in future, so they can be explained. I didn’t really know it counted as a conviction, but I guess that I was ‘charged’ and convicted, even though I got to go home with no further action taken.
Demonisation two. My son is in foster care. We are due to have contact, and it has been arranged for him to stay at my mother’s house for a few days. That’s OK. What is not OK, with Haringey Social Services, is for me to stay overnight with them.
I am mental. Dangerous. Beyond the pale of ordinary folk. A danger to my own son (in some strange, always unspecified way).
Demonisation is not good for the health. Human beings have an inherent need to belong, we are social animals. Feeling like outcasts will affect us physically, emotionally, spiritually. Duh.
Like I said in the previous post, all of that baggage is way worse for us than the ‘illness’ itself.
But, with that WISE letter in hand I reflected that I have now come to a point in my life where I no longer aspire to a ‘normal’ job. I am an artist. Words are my medium. There is no earthly reason why I should not exercise that skill and attempt to earn a living at it. I would have been useless on the WISE study, because I simply cannot plan ahead of time to be available to work on certain days.
Fuck the WISE study!
While I was undergoing my own ‘demonisation day’ (that’ll teach me to tell the world to ‘bring it on’!) a friend was struggling to access a certain facility which has been the subject of a critical post on this blog.
The team in charge of this facility (who are exhibiting paranoiac group dynamics) seemed to be doing everything they could to obstruct her admission, although she was at the end of her tether and very vulnerable indeed. They don’t like her, because she makes them feel uncomfortable about themselves and their own modus operandi.
Like me she has the unfortunate knack of ‘seeing through’ people and their strange behaviours. When people are engaged in something dodgy, and not standing on firm moral ground, they fear the light. They will not love the person who makes them feel exposed.
Equals did not love me for that self-same reason. I was not sure why I had to be the one with the most alert bullshit-detector in the whole group. I certainly was not the only one detecting a certain amount of bullshit. But I was commander-in-chief of the bullshit detectors. And still am. Bullshitters of Haringey, beware! Your number is legion, but Zoe will find you out. Forewarned is forearmed and all that.
The sharper your radar, the worse the consequences for you. However, I was strong enough to weather the consequences and even grow from the experience. There is no question that none of the Equals Team will forget about me in a hurry. Maybe they’ll even be convinced that I have ruined their livelihood. Sadly they are more than capable of ruining it all by themselves.
Incompetent, inadequate people with little psychological insight into themselves and a sense that integrity is a moveable feast or may be dispensed with altogether when the situation requires. They get a little bit of power. Just a little. Then suddenly we see Stalinist tendencies emerging.
OK, total change of topic. When is it going to rain peeps? I mean proper rain? Not this ‘light showers’ shit? I’m missing the wealth of different sorts of English rain. And if it rains on your barbecue, meat-munchers…good!
I know, I’m a horrid person. It’s well documented…Lotsa love, Zoe xxx