It is nearly 1 am and I have just finished speaking with my family on the telephone, not my biological family but the family God brought me into in order to help me heal and to learn.
We happened to discuss Albert Einstein and I was sharing how, in many ways, I could relate to how isolated he was as a child and I admitted that so often when going into my dark places I yearn to be able to explain the countless web of thoughts that are spun and that entangle my mind. But how very difficult it was to place into words the myriad of different hurts, doubts, self-criticisms, and self accusations that go on in there.
But I want to reach out, I want to shout out, “Moms, Dads, family, I love you and I trust you and I need you. I want you to be able to walk freely inside my pain without your being hurt by it and yet able to help heal it and to experience or at very least understand the maniacal labyrinth that imprisons me suppressing my emotions, my anguish my very sense of hope.
All I could come up with is this, to try somehow to place on paper (or at least a computer screen) a snapshot if you will of the dialogue that goes on in my mind between me, my selfs, and I (with of course the ever present additional comments from the peanut gallery of hate thrown in). I also wanted to try and share with those who do not understand mental helath, schizophrenia or self-harming, just some of the things that go on in the mind of someone who does or at least this mind at least.
And so I am writing this dialogue. Just one of the many different dialogues that go on inside my mind. Just one of the many conversations that happen within me.
I warn you now that for some this may be disturbing, even painful. I apologize for this but how can I truly share the pain, the torment, the desperation without being open and honest about it? So if you are easily disturbed please do not read on.
If you do decide to read on then I guess the best way for you the reader to try to make some sense of this is to view it or read it as f it were a script like the script of a play…
Some wherein my mind, it is slightly dark and somehow sinister and becoming more and more dark and sinister as each minute goes by. Somehow all around fades, all activity, all life all sound fades and the only thing left is the darkness, me, my selfs and I and of course off in the distance the peanut gallery.
me – is the real me, the central me, the core me.
selfs – all the other parts of me, the voices and thoughts that seem so strong so dominant so loud.
peanut gallery – the parts of me that I know are there but can’t seem to identify and yet that I hear in the background and yet still am so very much aware of their presence.
I – the collective of all the parts.
(The words appearing in bold and italics are ones often emphasized with sarcasm r accusation within this internal dialogue.)
selfs: “You were an awkward child, you know that don’t?”
peanut gallery: “A very awkward, a difficult child.”
me: “Yeah I know”
selfs: “Yes a very awkward, difficult child.”
me: “Yes but still a child.
selfs: “Your parents never stood a chance of loving you.”
peanut gallery: “No! You never let yourself be a child.”
me: “But I wanted them to love me and anyway they did love me, it was me who messed it up.”
selfs: “Yes, you did mess it up and so they couldn’t love you.”
peanut gallery: “Because you wouldn’t let yourself be a child, not their child, not anyone’s child.”
me: “Was it my job to let myself be a child? Or their job to help me be a child? Does a child know it is meant to let itself be a child?”
selfs: “Does any normal, undamaged child even think about whether to be a child or not? You shouldn’t have even been thinking of whether you should let yourself be a child and should have just been one.”
me: “Wait! did I say I didn’t let myself be a child? And anyway I don’t think I thought on those terms back then.”
selfs: “We’ve already agreed you never let yourself be a child, and anyway you were the one who brought up having to think about being a child.”
me: “We agreed that? I thought we were talking about being loved?”
selfs: “But children are loved.”
peanut gallery: “Not this child. He was never loved. He never let himself be loved. He never let himself be a child.”
me: “But I just said I was loved.”
selfs: “No! you said they loved you. You never said you were loved.”
peanut gallery: “Because he never let himself be a child. Never let himself be their child.”
me: “Wait, I admitted it was me who messed up, I had mental health problems, and I did say I was loved by them.”
selfs: “No, you said they loved you. But you never said you were loved by them.”
me: “I did! Didn’t I? I mean if they loved me I must have been loved.”
peanut gallery: “Not you! No not you. You never let yourself be loved. You never let yourself be a child. You were damaged goods.”
selfs: “If a man goes to hit you, but you duck out of the way, are you hit?”
me: “What? No of course not, be cause you ducked. So of course you aren’t hit.”
selfs: “Aha! So in the same way if someone goes to love you, but you wont accept it (or you duck out of the way of it) then you aren’t loved.”
peanut gallery: “He was never loved. He never let himself be loved. He never let himself be a child. And anyway he was hit. He was hit a lot.”
me: “Wait! that’s different! Hitting is physical, loving isn’t physical it’s emotional, it’s spiritual.”
selfs: “Sometimes loving is physical.”
peanut gallery: “Hitting is physical. You were hit a lot. You let yourself be hit didn’t you.”
me: “I had no choice! I was a child!”
selfs: “Ok, so if someone hates you but you don’t accept that they hate you are you still hated?”
peanut gallery: “No. You weren’t a child. We’ve already established that you weren’t a child. You never let yourself be a child. Remember? Hell, You still won’t let yourself be a child.”
me: “Shut up! I want to talk to my selfs! If someone hates me, but I don’t accept that I am hated am I still hated? No because I haven’t accepted that hate.”
selfs: “But it is still there in them.”
me: “Yes, but not in me. So I don’t have their hate and so I am not hated.”
selfs: “Our point exactly. So you wouldn’t let yourself be loved. So you weren’t loved.”
me: “No that is not what I said. “I said, I was loved.”
selfs: “Make your mind up! You can’t have it both ways. Were you hated or not? Were you loved or not? You said if someone hated you but you never accepted that hate then you weren’t hated. So by the same theory, if you were loved but never accepted that love then you weren’t loved. You can’t have it both ways. Which way was it?”
peanut gallery: “He still wont accept love. He doesn’t know how to accept love.”
me: “Wait! I can’t argue with you all. I mean I can argue with you all, I just can’t communicate my argument with you all at the same time.”
peanut gallery: “Why not? We can communicate our arguments with you at the same time.”
selfs: “So which one is it? You haven’t made your mind up. Come on make your mind up! Were you loved or hated?”
peanut gallery: “He was hit. We agreed he was hit.”
me: “But there are lots of you and only one of me. How can I communicate with all of you when there is only one of me? And I was loved. I know I was loved. I just couldn’t experience it somehow!”
peanut gallery: “But you experienced being hit. You could experience that! And anyway, we are all inside you and so we are you and so if we are you then surely you can communicate with you at the same time, because you are you and we are you. So, we are all one and one person can easily communicate with one person.”
selfs: “So you were hated but didn’t accept it and so weren’t really hated. But you were loved and didn’t accept it but were really loved. That doesn’t make sense now does it? “You’re not making sense again. No wonder no one can love you.”
me: “They can love me! I said they can love me! Didn’t I just say they can love me? I can’t remember. I am confused. You are confusing me! And anyway we are not all one because we are all many.”
selfs: “But only you see and know the many.” Everyone else just sees the one. The you. Are we not all part of you?”
peanut gallery: “The you who can’t be loved.”
me: “Yes of course you are part of me. Who else would you be? And I can be loved. I admitted that I can be loved”
peanut gallery: “Can be loved or are loved? Make your mind up, you keep changing it.”
selfs: “He isn’t loved. We already agreed he isn’t loved”
me: “I am loved and I can be loved, it is you who are un-loveable. You are damaged and hurt and you spread that hurt. You are poisonous.”
selfs: “But we are part of you and if we are part of you and we can’t be loved then there is a part of you that cannot be loved and so if there is a part of you that cannot be loved then actually you can’t be loved. Now can you?”
peanut gallery: “He can’t be loved. We know he can’t be loved. We already agreed he can’t be loved.”
me: “My family loves me.”
selfs: “No. your family loves the you that you show them. They don’t know the rest of you now do they?”
me: “How can they know the rest of me? You are the rest of me and you are inside of me and you keep hiding and changing and you keep hurting and running. How can I possibly let them know the rest of me when I don’t really know the rest of me? I don’t even know where you came from I just know you are there.”
selfs: “Then they can’t love the rest of you and if they can’t love the rest of you how can you say that they really love you? They don’t even know you. No-one really knows you. Hell, you even said it yourself – you don’t really know you! You can’t really love someone you don’t know.”
peanut gallery: “See! Didn’t we say all along that he couldn’t be loved and isn’t loved? See, he is awkward and difficult. He is damaged!”
selfs: “No, you have it all wrong. He isn’t awkward or difficult or damaged. We are all awkward and difficult and damaged.”
me: “You are! You are awkward and difficult and damaged! And even worse than that you are harmful and dangerous and toxic! You hurt me and tear me down! You are evil!”
selfs: “And yet we have already agreed that WE are part of YOU.”
peanut gallery: “So since we are all part of you, then the truth is that YOU are harmful and dangerous and toxic!”
selfs: “The fact that we are part of you is undeniable. So since we are ALL agreed on this and therefore all agreed that you are therefore harmful and dangerous and toxic then YOU are not safe to love.”
peanut gallery: “So, if you are not safe to love, if you really love others you will not let them try to love you – because you are harmful and dangerous and toxic.”
selfs: “YOU will only hurt them!”
me: “Wait! I can’t think! I am so tired! You are starting to make sense and I know you are wrong but I am finding it so hard to find the lies hidden in the corrupted truths you keep twisting and throwing at me!”
peanut gallery: “You are the one doing the thinking! We are ALL part of you remember. You just don’t like the truths that you are thinking! You are tired because you are arguing against the truths that you know we are showing you. ”
selfs: “And we are You! So you are telling yourself the truth but not wanting to accept it because the truth hurts.”
peanut gallery: “No wonder you are tried!”
selfs: “You are seeing how dangerous and harmful and toxic you really are! You know we are right you just don’t want to accept it!”
peanut gallery: “You just don’t know what is real, can’t accept what is real. You don’t know how to handle it.”
selfs: “You have all this inside you and don’t know where to go with it. You have to get it out! But you are dangerous and harmful and toxic. Not safe to be around. You hurt people, won’t let them love you, you can’t let them love you.”
peanut gallery: “No, you CAN’T let them love you. You have to protect them!”
selfs: “Yes you must find a way of dealing with this pain, this harm this poison in you without hurting others.”
peanut gallery: “Yes you have to get it out but must not let anyone else suffer it.”
selfs: “You need to stay hidden, to keep the real you hidden, to stop the poison, the harm, the danger from spreading to others especially the ones you love. Only you deserve that pain, that harm, that danger. ”
peanut gallery: “Yes only YOU deserve it.
selfs: “But you must find a release for it before it destroys you!”
peanut gallery: “You know how to release it don’t you.”
selfs: “You need to see it being released don’t you! You know you do.”
peanut gallery: “Need to see it coming out of your body!”
selfs: “Yes, to actually, to physically, see it leaving you.”
peanut gallery: “leaving your fat, useless, ugly, decaying, rotting body.”
selfs: “It’s only a body and it’s already damaged and rotting, another scar, another line, more pain, won’t hurt it. Won’t hurt you.”
peanut gallery: “Yes you know how to deal with physical pain. You’ve experienced physical pain, you can handle physical pain!”
selfs: “Yes, You need to experience that pain. Something real, something tangible, something physical.”
peanut gallery: “And anyway you need to be punished for all your toxic-ness, for all your harmfulness, for being so dangerous.
selfs: “For never letting yourself be a child.”
peanut gallery “For never letting yourself be loved.”
selfs: “For still not being loved.”
peanut gallery: “Maybe if you punish yourself now, maybe if you release that toxic, dangerous, harmfulness now, whilst you are alone you will be safe to be loved.”
selfs: “But only a little bit loved. Remember YOU Are still dangerous, toxic, poisonous, harmful.”
peanut gallery: “Yes, dangerous toxic, poisonous, harmful – damaged!”
selfs: “But you will at least be a little less toxic, less dangerous, less poisonous, less harmful.”
peanut gallery: “You know what you must do. You have to release it so you can see it.”
selfs: “Yes release it. Feel it. You need release.”
peanut gallery: “You deserve punsihed”
me: “I can’t think! I am so tired so desperately tired!”
selfs: “It’s the poison.”
me: “I need help!”
selfs: “You can’t be helped, you are toxic, poisonous, harmfull, dangerous, you can’t take the risk of hurting others.”
peanut gallery: “You must let the poison out. Only you can do it and only one way is safe.”
selfs: “Do it now before you are too tired and it consumes you.”
me: “I need help.”
selfs: “You need release.”
me: “I need to pray.”
selfs: “You are too tired to pray.”
peanut gallery: “You need punished.”
me: “God loves me”
selfs: “You can’t experience love”
peanut gallery: “You can experience pain.”
selfs: “You can experience release.”
me: “I need that release.”
selfs: “Release is certain, Release is sure.”
me: “I need to sleep.”
selfs: “You need to act!”
peanut gallery: “you need to be punished.”
me: “I need to be held.”
selfs: “You need to hide”
peanut gallery: “You need to bleed!”
selfs: “You need release.”
peanut gallery: “You need to hurt.”
(And so the darkness consumes all and then the release and possibly some form of sleep. An unsettled, restless sleep where nightmares dance with guilt and failure and pain).
So there you have it. My attempt as sharing at giving an insight into my internal dialogue.
It is so hard to describe what goes on and indeed this is just one example.
The truth – God does love me because NOTHING is bigger or stronger than God’s love.
The Truth – My family do love me because my mental health does not limit their ability to love me only my ability to experience it.
Again please understand that this is but one of the many internal conversations that go on inside my head on a regular basis. Please also understand that I seek not to suggest that this is what all schizophrenics or folk with voices or mental health suffer, just what I do.