Posts Tagged memoir

Speaking unspeakable shame

Speaking unspeakable shame

The night I put myself on trial and began to see my madness and shame in a whole different way.
 
Childhood trauma gave me shame, and shame sent me mad, growing over time like a mad monster.
 
How unravelling my shame in a ‘mock trial’ helped me to heal.
 
Trigger warning: This post talks in detail about the emotional impacts of rape.

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Writing about me without me.

Writing about me without me.

What is written about us in hospital records? Whose version is the truth? Can we find ways to co-create narratives about our lives?   I recently watched Madness Made Me, the short online film about Mary O’Hagan’s story. It got me thinking about the power of words and those who use them.   I have long been inspired by Mary O’Hagan. I still remember the first time I saw her speak at a conference, and her strength stretched out to me across the auditorium. I wanted to be like her. A survivor, speaking her words with intelligence and humour, unashamed […]

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Living with the magnetism of madness

Living with the magnetism of madness

I am on intimate terms with my madness. Together we have been seducers and lovers, escapees and bad asses, competitors, companions and mortal enemies. These days we are more like constructive collaborators. Well, that’s a bit of a fib. It’s like that most of the time, but some days my madness and I still have a bit of a barney. The important thing is that I am the one who retains control. Mostly. It wasn’t always like this. For most of my life my madness was an unknown. An invasive other self and alien other world. And sometimes, awful as […]

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Just keep typing: A night of madness

Just keep typing: A night of madness

What is it like to lose yourself in suicidal urges? And how do the police and mental health system respond? Read about one night when I got lost in my madness and was on the edge of suicide, and what happened over that evening and the following day.
 
This article draws on actual journal entries. It may be triggering for some people to read.

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When I went down the rabbit hole: My beginnings of madness

When I went down the rabbit hole: My beginnings of madness

A first admission to a psychiatric ward is a startling experience. I am not sure that anyone ever expects to end up in the ‘looney bin’. Certainly I didn’t. This is a place reserved for other people, for properly crazy people.
 
As it turned out, most of my fellow patients were far removed from stereotypical nutters themselves. We crazy folks have many experiences and talents, but none of them sufficient to keep us out of the ward. I was to meet mathematicians, artists, musicians, an admiral, and several versions of Jesus. Mostly people were disappointingly and comfortingly normal.
 
Read this reflection on some of my first experiences of madness, and my first stay in a psychiatric hospital.

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