Laing, R.D. The Divided Self, New York: Pantheon, 1965. (Preface to The Pelican Edition.)
The rains have come
now winter’s here
all is mist and cool and calm
I breathe the spray through every pore it seems
I taste the fir and walk
cupped in the hands of sacred love.
The stretching firs dance
in the light my heart reflects from a long ago star.
If I could only lock the stillness into my soul
that vivid flash of immortality into these thoughts
and direct these words to carry the scene of
“Peace on earth….”
Somehow I felt I had “come home” on that little farm nestled in the calm Douglas fir forest in the Pacific Northwest upon our return to Oregon, summer ’70. My daughters, aged 12, 10 and 6 were going to school close by. My son, 9, who has a severe hearing loss was going to a part of the school for the deaf where I was teaching, in the Portland public school system. At the age of 31, I was beginning to feel good about myself. Again.
But December ’70 was a turning point. I was becoming agonizingly aware of feelings about my marriage I had repressed for years. Since there was no way I could tell my husband, I learned to push a switch in my head, to escape the hell of the moment of his insistent, demanding touch, to escape to a void, where there was no feeling, no thought, no one, for a few seconds of oblivion.
December ’70 I became aware of other feelings, beautiful feelings with which I was totally unfamiliar, in a relationship to a man with whom I’d been in graduate school. I had felt accepted, had met someone who proved he was capable of “taking care of me,” things I had no conscious memory of having experienced. I started writing.
June ’71 I spent a lot of time outdoors in that beautiful green paradise. For days I wandered in lush beds of lily of the valley and bleeding heart blooming beside the secluded pond, explored luxuriant undergrowth under a canopy of serene fir trees in majestic pristine forest, my being penetrated by the stillness of primeval mist, retreating under the protective umbrella of a low, spreading fir branch as hushed raindrops softly spread a curtain around me, shutting out the world. There were dewey mornings in the sunlit meadow of daisies, wild strawberries, lupine, wild iris and – stillness. It was as if I were seeing everything for the first time.
Feeling…thinking..”praying”…feeling more and more like there is an inside of me, not just an outside…I kind of gather me up from all over…Vague thoughts I’d had for years started taking solid form.
“I’ve spent all my life looking for ‘God’ ‘out there’ and all that time ‘God’ wasn’t ‘out there.’ I was born with the sacred in me, like everybody else! I will never be able to find ‘God’ ‘out there.’ I must look inside to find ‘God’ and inside everybody else…It’s a matter of letting ‘God’ out!” (A quantum leap from my fundamentalist, Southern Baptist upbringing!)
An escape to the beach, alone – comfortably alone, comfortably myself. Suddenly, the autonomous sex I had discovered only three years before gave me a feeling of independence I had not experienced before. A beginning autonomy…
On the road again, going nowhere to see no one
in no hurry to get there
Running, but from – or to
It’s all so very strange to me
but just once, not lonely
I need no name – or games
finding a warm blanket of secluded anonymity.
As just one infinitesimal wave
in that majestic sea that pulls me here
Leaving no more trace of my wanderings than that ripple leaves
on the stone cliffs where it breaks into oblivion
Only time alone with her infinite number of drops has been granted
the talent to mold and sculpt on those so bold
as to run out to
But since my “driven” feeling never left me for long:
Can I walk it out in the sand
Can I sit it out by the fire
can I wash it out with vodka
can I drive it out under the wheel
Who are you, what are you that you torment me so
always beckoning yet keeping to the shadows
so I’ve yet to see you clearly,
to see the demon face to face
to meet my possessor.
Because of my experience of my father having been killed when I was five, I had sworn I would not raise my kids without a father. And, with my upbringing it was bad enough that I already had one divorce without adding another! I would need help to go through with it so I made an appointment with what I thought was a psychiatrist, and continued to write. From that:
Every night about sundown another me starts waking up
from somewhere down inside
rejecting sleep, rejecting my life.
As lonely as that deserted fir tree my hungry eyes
find silhouetted against the silent twilight sky.
As sad as the black shadows appearing all around me
making a place for me to run and hide
finding a secluded camp for my memories and restless thoughts
loosing my mind to roam the world of my night
I look to the heavens and recall as a child
I made a wish on a star.
I long ago walked on coals in the fire
I’ve run the gauntlet, been put on the rack
My soul’s been set afire at the stake
long hours I’ve stumbled on the rim of hell
feeling the hot breath of that lord himself
while just evading his grasp
unable to shut out the sounds of agony below
unaware that some of those sounds came from me.
But Time interceded, I withstood every pain and torture
though with a lot of scarring you’ll find.
And now the Inquisitor speaks again
but in a different voice
The questions he asks I can’t answer
It looks like a part of me must surely die.
And, oh, what an interlude of exquisite torture
locking you in your world, and me, in mine,
after which, God threw away the key.
Somehow you managed to steal part of me
now what do I do with what’s left?
As I dart in and out of the shadows
I feel like I’m falling to bits and pieces
Will the night wind come now and blow me away?
Jack and I had been discussing building a new upstairs on our log house. Since my mother moved walls to where she wanted them and we helped put on a new roof twice, I thought nothing of my four children and me having most of the roof lying in the yard when he got home from work one day. It was total chaos as the new upstairs for my house was started.
(Years later I became aware of the symbolic portent.
Through the years I saw other physical
events representing inner experience.)
To make sure there was no physical reason for my anxiety, I went to the gynecologist I had seen since coming to Oregon initially in 1963. Back at his desk, for some reason his first question was, “Have you met another man? It won’t matter if you meet a man with a million dollars, it won’t make the inside of you OK. I don’t know what the psychiatrist will say but I want you to see this Nazarene minister.”
Though he would never consider giving me tranquilizers, or even diuretics before, he prescribed an antidepressant, Sinequan, and asked,”Have you ever had a religious experience?”
The minister gave me a book to read and recommended C.S. Lewis. I bought one of his books – a fantasy.
During the next few weeks I was often to wonder, “Is this the religious experience Dr. Co.
was talking about? Just wait till I see him…” for I took Sinequan about a week and something popped.
My mind was plunged into total chaos, like my brain was “caught” somewhere. To try to explain what it was like: It was “as if” I found myself in the middle of the ocean with never having seen or even having heard of an “ocean,” like going from the middle of the Sahara Desert to the middle of that ocean without the journey in between.
Floating in this unknown were some “islands,” more or less recognizable, some “islands” to which I could attach words. For seven days and nights I didn’t sleep, in bed most of the time, sometimes knowing something was wrong with me.
Going to the kitchen in my gown once, I saw chaos; no one was cleaning house. I started to wash dishes but my mind started “submerging,” back into that “ocean.” At night, sounds of the animals around our farm were particularly threatening to me,”as if” they were going to come through the window and devour me. (I learned much later that my mention of “animal sounds” to the city psychologist was one indication to him that I was hallucinating.)
Some thoughts were more distinct, thoughts I knew must be “crazy” since I’d never heard of any of these ideas in my life: I was in the process of being “saved” as in the religious sense I had been taught except that it might occur over a period of years instead of in a moment as I had been told; I had to “give birth” to myself; many ideas about trust, complete with examples; thoughts I knew were pretty crazy (learning many years later were ideas about archetypes – at that time I’d never even heard the word much less those ideas) The functions of the left and right brain hemispheres became an important issue.
While lying in the bedroom alone once, I “felt” presence, my father’s presence, looking over me, taking care of me, would see that nothing bad happened to me. Even in the condition I was in I knew I had no memory of having felt “protected” like that and I knew I wanted to retain a very distinct memory of what must have been a lost feeling.
Paranoia. My sister, my brother, my mother, Jack, and Jim from graduate school. I conjured up every horrible thing they could have possibly done to hurt me, but finally, “shake myself” mentally, think, “Hazel, you KNOW that didn’t happen. You KNOW they didn’t hurt you like that. Hazel, YOU KNOW!” went to the next person and repeated the same process. One by one I put them all away, managing to not get caught in the quicksand of paranoia.
Somehow, I KNEW it was a battle – for my mind.
Seven days and nights I laid in bed TOTALLY UNABLE TO FUNCTION before Jack called the doctor who said, “Don’t give her any more medication” A few days later I got up and dressed for the first time in more than a week. Then I seemed to start drifting in and out of psychosis. There were days I was quite “sane” interspersed with days of varying degrees of observable confusion between my inner and outer realities. Jack blamed C.S. Lewis since I had started reading his book, a fantasy. How many weeks of this went by I’m not sure, nobody knows. It was August, 1971.
Time was spent in an immersion of a density of “patterns,” at times not being able to be unaware of them, sometimes more than visual “patterns,” inexplicable multi-dimensional “patterns.” Not only being aware, but being IN them and though ultimately strange, it “felt good” some way.
Many lacy, brick and tile patterns gave me a “crawly skin” sensation, and would for a few years, getting the most acute reaction to patterns on bodies – like the painting of a man, the lower parts of his legs painted as if they were bricks or building blocks, that were disintegrating. An extremely uncomfortable, disturbing feeling, approaching “evil,” (I learned when these had the most pronounced effect on me I was getting ready for “mental” problems.) Off and on everything I ate tasted “metallic”
There was one almost ethereal element of that altered state that was difficult to put into words without sounding like there was something wrong with me, very hard to put into words that could explain it in a sane sounding way. One way I expressed it was, “Omega was at the beginning.” Somehow, in some fuzzy way, I knew the very unusual future, where this was all going. (I still wonder if the papers I destroyed contained any of that). (I found this many years later.)
In Jung, Synchronicity, and Human Destiny Ira
Progoff wrote that the reason or goal for what’s going to
happen is there as an image in the psyche as the process
begins to unfold.
Standing in the garden, I observed that my feet looked normal for the first time since I was 16 years old when they had started the chronic swelling – and wondered why. I thought of what the Bible says about having “faith the size of a mustard seed” as I looked at the row of mustard in my garden – it had all gone to seed!
When Dr. Co. recommended a new edition of the Bible, a feeling kind of “hung” over me making me wonder if I might see pictures of myself when I opened that Bible since I “felt” my pictures had been used somewhere in illustrating concepts. (Was I surprised the next spring when I walked into a room at the school where I had taught. My pictures completely covered one wall and had since September ’71. Some had been used in a brochure for the school system, pictures from the study the photographer had done in my classroom.)
I learned later I was having nightmares while awake when mental visions in color were going through my mind during a period when I was quite catatonic, visions showing how some events of my life had FELT, eg. being chained, tortured, sold to the circus, used sexually by the animals, visions in my head, while I managed to cling tenuously to the knowledge that was NOT what had really happened to me, but FELT like that.
I was not psychotic the night after I’d started seeing the psychiatrist. (Who’d turned out to be a psychologist. I was brainwashed by my mother. If it wasn’t M.D. after the name it was a waste of time.) He’d given me Thorazine but I didn’t like the feeling I got at all! It was as if I went to sleep and woke up, with nothing in between, like I had been “dead” in some way and I was AFRAID of it! That night there was water all over the floor. Jack was mopping it up with a towel. There was no heat in the house and God, was I cold! Not just cold on the outside, but cold all the way through, like something inside was dead.
I begged Jack, “Can’t we go to a motel for tonight, just tonight if nothing else? I need to be in a warm place, I’m freezing to death, it’s so cold, so wet….”
He called the psychologist who wanted to talk to me. He commanded, “Mrs. S., you either stay at home or go to the hospital.”
There I stand, in utter chaos, in a house that’s had the roof torn off, a gap of about a foot all around between the walls and the plank ceiling that’s been laid down on beams, rain had come in, there’s no heat and he says, “Stay at home,” like some command from God on high. With even more authority I said, “Go to hell,” gave the phone back to Jack and as he continued talking, I got in my car and drove towards the mountains where I got a room for the night at a motel. I turned the heat up as high as it would go, took all the blankets off both beds, put two wool army blankets down, all the other blankets on top. I took all my clothes off down to bare skin and crawled in between the wool blankets. Though I can’t stand wool to be next to my skin, I was so cold I could not feel the wool! I got warm some time during the night. By morning I was completely delusional again. I thought “the doctors” were reading my mind again, through the TV, watching me, learning from me. I got dressed and went home.
Trying to escape the intolerable situation, a couple of days later I left my husband in an incompetent doctor’s office and made an overnight trip to central Oregon, delusional most of the time yet knowing I had to escape. Leaving Portland I began feeling/thinking I had been a salmon in a previous life, now my instinct was taking me upriver, back to where I was born. (That would reappear in various forms time after time through the years.) The hours that night on the side of the mountain I felt my pain. In a deserted spot between midnight and dawn, I “prayed,” came to feel peace and KNOW I was not going to kill myself, something that had always hung out there as an option.
Still following my “instinct” the next day, I ran into a stranger who called the county sheriff’s office about me. The only time I relaxed enough to doze for days was when the county sheriff put me in his car, locked the door and started taking me to town. I had felt so “safe,” so “taken care of.”
Waiting in a jail cell I experienced many significant feelings and ideas. When Jack came to get me, I didn’t want to go with him. …But I did
After Jack took me home, I don’t know how many days before he took me to Dammasch State Hospital. Not till after I entered that altered state had I been able to tell him I wanted a divorce. He acted like that was part of my insanity, that there was no possible reason I could REALLY want a divorce.
At Dammasch I watched a Dr. Petty write “Undifferentiated schizophrenia” in my file. He put me on 20 mgs. of Stelazine and 100 mgs. of Melleril a day that would never be changed and acted like he wasn’t aware of my existence for the few minutes a day he allotted to our ward. Able to sleep from the first night, by the end of three days I was just about completely sane. Since some part of me always knew what was going through my mind was “crazy,” I never told anyone.
After being given Thorazine one night, I fainted and continued fainting every time I was upright so a nurse sat by my bed the rest of the night taking my blood pressure every 30 minutes or so as I came and went out of what I guess was sleep. It was all pretty fuzzy.
I tried to talk to Dr. Petty as he was breezing through one day. ” What’s this about me hallucinating, I don’t think I hallucinated…”
“Dr. Abrams and your husband said you were having hallucinations. Apparently you were in no condition to know what you were doing,” he declared in a detached, cold voice of superior authority.
“But I thought the definition of ‘hallucinate’ meant when one thought he heard or saw something outside of himself that wasn’t really there…” I protested.
“You hallucinated; I won’t argue with you about it.”
“But is that the definition? Is that right? If it is then I did not hallucinate. I always knew those things were inside my head, not ‘out there’…” I persisted.
“I refuse to discuss it,” he said as he turned on his heel and briskly marched away from me.
Another day he sought me out. “Someone tells me you’re not taking your medication,” he whined.
I was shocked! I had never failed to take it. I had not even thought about not taking it; I was too scared!
“If you don’t take your medication, we’ll put you in the quiet room” he threatened. I never knew why they thought that.
“What am I SUPPOSED to act like?” I wondered. “I’m acting like ME, like I always act. I acted like this when I came in and I didn’t change when I started taking Stelazine.” I didn’t perch in the row of chairs against one wall, chain smoking and gossiping and bitching all day. True to my lifelong nature, I was content to go off with my crochet and ignore everybody a lot since they bored me stiff. The only stimulating people were the student nurses – a mind to talk to! Especially when I started getting the reaction to Stelazine was I content to keep my crochet hook going since I couldn’t sit still and be still all over at the same time. The only reading I could make myself do was a little in one of my books I had brought, a collection of research articles in education. The Stelazine interfered severely with my concentration. ( I didn’t know how bad the side-effects from anti-psychotic drugs could be yet.)
Stelazine has a cumulative quality so the reaction progressively worsened until it peaked. It’s very difficult, perhaps impossible to adequately describe those feelings. I’ve read the terms, psuedo-Parkinsonian effect, etc., but words just don’t mean much when I feel like everything in me, every single cell, every atom is going to pop or explode physically; like something is tense and shaking; like it’s impossible to relax any muscle cause to relax it I would have to tense another muscle to make that one relax. It finally became intolerable.
Entering the nurses’ station, I unflinchingly announced, “Somebody has to do something. I can’t stand it anymore,” calmly sat down on the floor, leaned against the wall and sat there. It took an hour to get a prescription for Artane for the side effects. Waiting for the Artane to work, I went through a LITERAL neuromuscular HELL. After starting Artane, I did not experience it at that intensity again but it was never even adequately alleviated.
It continued to build. I became a robot, a word to be used by friends and relatives to describe me. I HATED to wake up in the morning to confront the walking hell I had become. STANDING STILL was unbearable; standing in line for medication was unbearable. Though I had absolutely NO interest in anything, I had to keep my hands busy – the crochet hook, knitting needles, sewing needles. Trying to make a shirt for my son I found my coordination was being so affected I couldn’t sew. I spent hours rocking in the one rocking chair when I was quick enough to get to it first.
The second week there, Jack informed me, “Someone from school called. They said to tell you to send in a letter of resignation since they can’t keep the position open for more than two weeks. You only have two weeks of sick leave and you’re not on tenure. If you don’t send them a letter, they’re going to fire you.”
Teaching deaf children was my life.
I wrote the letter…
Everywhere we were watched, even the partitions between the toilets were only about 3 1/2 feet high. I didn’t like not being able to take a bath when I wanted, or as long as I wanted. We could bathe only at a scheduled time because a nurse had to unlock some doors to get to a master control. As we lined up nude to wait our turn she had to stand there and WATCH while everyone showered. There were no shower curtains. For some reason I had always thought of Dachau…
When I left at the end of seven wasted weeks, Dr. Petty said, “You’ll have to take the medication for at least a year.” I believed him, though I knew I wasn’t taking anymore of what he gave me as I walked out the door of the hospital.
From there I went to see a doctor at County I’d seen a few times when Jack had taken me in there as an emergency when I was appearing catatonic in August. He changed me to Navane, same amount. My menstrual periods had stopped in September, my breasts were draining profusely, so much I had to use padding and was afraid to go anywhere, not that I wanted to. And the side-effects from the anti-psychotic drug continued to build. In December I called Jack at work.
“I have to see the doctor. I can’t take it anymore. I’m getting those side effects too much again; something has to be done…” so I drove myself an agonizing 30 miles to his store so he could take me another 3 miles to the doctor. He gave me a shot of Benedryl and changed me to Haldol, same amount.
Jack took me to the doctor once a month who said, “I don’t know why you’re getting the estrogenic effect, nobody knows.”
Years later Jack told me that doctor had asked HIM if he could use something about MY case in a paper he was writing!
I slept till about 10 or 10:30 every morning, woke up and laid in bed, unmoving, till about 2 or 3 in the afternoon, sometimes even 4. Just laid there, zombie like, not sleepy, doing absolutely nothing. I did not read one book, not even one magazine, not one newspaper. I did not watch one TV program; I did not make one single thing. My coordination was so messed up I would not have been able to make anything anyway. I noticed I could not use my hands in coordination with each other so I couldn’t fix my hair to go to the doctor’s office, the ONLY place I went besides occasionally forcing myself to go to the grocery store. My handwriting was almost undecipherable! I don’t know how the checks I wrote at the grocery store went through the bank. I lost my balance when walking. I was stiff, jerky, did only what I absolutely had to do, cooked meager meals, swept the floors, ironed enough clothes that everyone had something to wear the next day, always having to force my muscles to perform and feeling like at the time of making them move they were going to explode. From the time I woke I lived only for the time I could go back to sleep – for months! Jack would insist I go for a walk with him on Sundays, his day off, over the property, out in the woods. I followed, like an obedient dog, unable to feel the beauty of the sights and sounds and smells. A friend called occasionally; I had absolutely nothing to say – to anyone. After dinner, Jack took me to the recliner, sat me down, he sat down beside me and we watched TV. At least he watched TV; I do not know what I did. Night after night! I was so grateful, so relieved when it was time to go to sleep again, to once more be out of my misery.
In March Dr. B. reduced the Haldol to 5 mgs. a day. After some time I started having menstrual periods again and the breast drainage stopped. All during the time on medication I had no sexual urges or desires of any kind, none. And – I DID NOT CARE. Come to think of it, I DID NOT CARE about anything, no feelings about anything – except the agony of writhing hell alive inside me.
By the end of August, after 11 months on medication, I had had enough. Horrified of becoming psychotic again, I knew that was better than the way I was on medication! I stopped taking it. I didn’t bother to tell any doctor, much less ASK! I would not continue living like that; I never will again. I would kill myself first! That side effect was much worse than being crazy. I will never suffer like that again just to make order in other people’s lives, so they don’t have to confront what they don’t understand, because they’re afraid.
I started “getting back to myself” but I didn’t start thinking about leaving Jack. I was afraid of him now since I’d told him about my single sexual experience with Jim, afraid he’d take my children. He had started drinking heavily while I was in the hospital and had not stopped.
During the time on medication I had felt no pain, no sorrow, no sadness, NOR ANY JOY, about anyone or anything. I saw no beauty anywhere. I heard no beauty anywhere. I was cut off from the sacred. When I went off it, I cried every night for a week about Jim – as if it had just been postponed.
“How did you know I hallucinated?” I asked Jack once.
Without hesitation he answered, “I just knew.”
“But what did you see me do, or say? You had to see me do something. You couldn’t read my mind…”
After some time of thinking he said, “Well, you’d sit there and laugh – for no reason.”
And that told him I was hallucinating!!
My husband molested my oldest daughter, 15, his step-daughter. When she told me later, after a different, very frightening experience with him I asked, “Why didn’t you tell me before?”
“I was afraid.”
And I understood so well since it was the same way I had felt when my maternal grandfather molested me not long after my father’s death. I had never told anyone till I was over 20.
I must have thought, “Now we’re even somehow. Now he can’t take my kids away from me,” continuing to hang on. Still afraid, too, I think, to be alone with life as a “mental patient” with the responsibility of four children.
Without flinching, without batting an eyelash I told him, “If you ever touch one of my girls again, you are a dead man.”
I knew, and I think he knew, I would kill him in cold blood. Certainly, the county sheriff that had come to the house when I called wasn’t going to do anything, in fact, had advised me against doing anything!
Me, cold blooded murder? I couldn’t even kill the chickens I had raised for food. The only time I had killed anything was when the dogs got into my half grown chickens. I didn’t hesitate to get the .22. I dropped the first dog in his tracks just before he ran out of range. The next one I wounded as he was running back through the pasture. He ran under the house making horrible noises and I had to get the flashlight so I could see to finish him off. Then I made the rounds of the outbuildings and shot anything that moved.
I stayed but I couldn’t forget. When late getting home, though I had given the girls orders never to be alone with him, I’d almost be a basket case by the time I got there from imagining what I’d find.
Time passed. I existed. I was losing my national professional certification. Later I realized it wasn’t the “mental illness” that was so destructive, but the TREATMENT for it and SOCIETAL ATTITUDES.
My feet started bothering me for the first time in years. Once again, swollen dreadfully, hurting so much it was extremely painful to walk. (My left foot had been swollen when I got up one morning when I was 16. The right one started two years later, remaining in varying degrees of swelling since; being normal only during the altered state in 1971. The pain had occurred only three times over the years lasting about two weeks each time, but I had sensitivity in the tops of my feet that never subsided. No M.D. had ever been able to offer an explanation.)
My mother came the first of June and stayed all summer. That summer I made wine from some of my raspberries and made the mistake of letting her see me drinking a glass of wine.
“What’s that?” she asked from her sickbed on the couch after she had broken her back during the visit.
“Wine,” I answered unhesitatingly.
“Oh, God, I didn’t know you drank that stuff,” she wailed. She started crying, “I just pray you don’t get hooked. Oh, Lord, I just pray..I don’t know what will happen to these kids…” as the tears rolled down her cheeks.
Looking her straight in the eyes I said, “Mama, you lived your life like you thought you should; you decided what was right and what was wrong for you to do. Now I’m 34 years old and I’m going to live my life the way I think I should. I decide what is wrong and what is right for ME to do.
And I don’t happen to see anything wrong with drinking this glass of wine. ”
I entered the local talent contest held on July 4 even though I hadn’t been on stage for 8 years and was still recovering from the trauma of being a “mental patient.” I won first prize. It was the first time my husband had seen me do anything on stage since he’d always refused to go the few times I performed. I sang then at the County Fair. Mama had not heard me sing since high school. Going home that night I asked her, “Well, what do you think about my singing?”
“It wouldn’t do any good for me to tell you,” she answered, same as always.
And I felt like that disappointed little girl of long ago as I felt tears come into my eyes. I could never tell how Mama felt about me by looking at her eyes.
Hearing about “jam sessions” at clubs for the first time, I started going to sing. At first Jack was excited about it. My singing brought back a lot of good memories. After a few times I began to be practically in tears by the time we’d leave from having to sit there while everybody else had fun. Jack wouldn’t talk and didn’t want me talking to anyone – especially the musicians. Jack wouldn’t dance and didn’t want me dancing with anyone so I sat there like a knot on a log. I went out a couple of times by myself, had a marvelous time, just good clean fun, not feeling threatened, being ME! Then would have to go home…
After I got home one night Jack started drunken raving – telling me he was going to get a divorce and take my children away from me.
“On what grounds?” I asked.
“When I tell the judge that you’re out drinking and dancing and singing, that’ll be all it will take,” he shouted. Another thing he threw up at me was, “Nobody else’s wife is doing that kind of stuff, nobody would allow it.”
I countered that with, “I bet nobody else refuses to let their wife see them nude, either.”
“I wouldn’t know, nobody talks about it.”
“Course not cause nobody else has that problem. If you don’t believe it, just for the heck of it sometime, on your coffee break, throw into the conversation that you have this friend who has this problem and see what happens. Just try it, I dare you.”
Incredibly, though we had been married over ten years, his profound inhibitions made him unable to overcome his modesty. I had tried talking, teasing, praying, ignoring, but by the end of seven years, I gave up, feeling this to be the ultimate physical symbol of a four dimensional communication barrier between us. (I also NEVER knew for sure when he had an orgasm, not once during 14 years!! He showed NO overt reaction, including not losing his erection!)
A few years before he had twisted it around, “Hey, YOU are the one with the problem.
YOU are the one that wants to see me naked. YOU are the one that’s sick.”
(And not one time during 14 years of marriage did he ever tell me he loved me.)
I wrote my first songs that fall of ’73.
People are like the three types of electricity I know about. There’s the 110 with one hot wire and one cold wire. They can start the motor that turns the blower but don’t give off much heat. There’s the 220 with two hot wires. They give off a lot of heat but can’t start the motor that turns the blower. Then there’s the combination 110/220 with two hot wires and one cold. They get real hot and can start the motor that turns the blower.
WHEN SOMEONE PUSHES THEIR BUTTON.
Occasionally when things got to be too much for me, I would not be able to go to sleep. Getting up, I’d read, sometimes in the Bible, sometimes in other things, looking for something that might give me solace, direction. And I would “pray.” I use that word for lack of a better one. It’s not something I do in words. It’s a total experience, total mind/body concentration. Possibly doing something with my brain, like reaching out and/or opening up with my brain, with my being. I could do it for only a few seconds. I did it to gain only strength, strength to live my life. I’ve compared it to “trying to plug my brain into an outside energy force.” After doing this, I gradually became peaceful, becoming able to go to sleep.
Jan. 13, 2019 Just found this:
“My brain is only a receiver. In the universe there is a core
from which we obtain knowledge, strength and inspiration.
I have not penetrated into the secrets of this core but I know
that it exists.” Nikola Tesla
One night I was reading, thinking and “praying.” As I was coming out of that “praying,” as unexpectedly as a lightning bolt out of a clear sky, an enveloping torrent of overwhelming, paralyzing FEELING engulfed me. Feeling, that my words started interpreting as; “There’s something I’m supposed to do in my life, a special thing, a very special thing. I’m being called upon to do this very special thing. Left motionless, buried in that numbing avalanche of unmitigated cataclysmic feeling consuming that space, words tumbled through my mind:
“Religion…philosophy…psychology…education…and…communication.” I couldn’t pin it down to a specific one; they were all connected somehow to this special thing I was supposed to do. That was followed by some moments of KNOWING…utter absorbed uncompromising penetrating body/mind KNOWING…I was reeling mentally, as if having been snatched up by the nape of the neck by the hand of God, dangled…and dropped. I became aware I was trembling, all over, and I couldn’t stop. I was AWED…and SCARED!! Whatever “IT” was, “IT” was too much; too much for LITTLE ME and there wasn’t any way on God’s green earth that I was going to have anything to do with “IT!” I wasn’t going to touch “IT” with a ten foot pole!! NO WAY!! NOT ME!! I had had feelings off and on like there was a purpose for my life but never anything like this!! I physically shook for three days…
Fate leads the willing and drags along the reluctant.
That winter my oldest daughter and I had been doing an ESP experiment, me sending, her receiving. We kind of scared ourselves with our results as the room took on sort of an “eerie” feel. She started around the table towards me where I was standing and suddenly stopped, just stood still looking at my chest.
“What’s wrong? ” I asked.
She kind of shook herself as if she had been dazed and said, “I saw a face, an old man’s face against your chest. It looked like Pappy* but it wasn’t him.”
She saw the same face at another time behind me on the wall.
(In 1983 I was to run across a picture of C.G. Jung. Looking at that particular picture, the resemblance to my maternal grandfather was striking. At the time of the above event, I’d never even heard of the man! I’m just throwing this in. I’m not the one who saw the face. I don’t know what to do with it.)
“It is as though mankind, gripped as it is by the icy cold cosmic space which stares
at it horribly from every side, sans God, sans soul and sans humanity, has no other
option than to huddle closer together, if it is to hold its own against this tyrant
power. Slowly but surely, the human is withdrawing the psychological projections
by means of which it had peopled the emptiness of the world with heirarchies of gods
and spirits, heavens and hells; and now with amazement, for the first time it is
experiencing the creative fullness of its own primal psychic ground.
And yet, out of the midst of this circle of humanity, which is beginning to take shape
from the coming together of every part of the human species – nations and races,
continents and cultures – the same creative God-head, unformed and manifold, is
emerging within the human mind, who previously filled the heavens and spheres of
the universe around us.”
Neumann, Erich. Depth Psychology and a New Ethic, New York:
C. G. Jung Foundation for Analytical Psychology, 1969.