‘Sin your way to heaven and get slaughtered: A byzantine general problem of the self’ (part twenty-two)

Filed under:Sin your Way to Heaven and get Slaughtered — posted by Schizostroller on January 22, 2019 @ 2:49 pm

The last post looked at the experience of voices over one day, this second one looks at a more, what Lacan would call S1, S1, S1, apophenic narrative to give more of a relation of voices to dreams. The experience isn’t over a day but over a twenty-minute period where the experience was intense enough that I needed to lie down.
I had been thinking I could hear gossiping about my personal business outside, this made me very upset. But on top of this it was as if my thoughts were being interrupted, badly, the interruptions seemed to focusing on criticisms with regards what I was eating. With regards both the gossip and the food criticism (seemingly based on the right to decide what I ate as ‘they paid their taxes’) the local community seemed to be involved, I could hear some criticising, some bullying but also some supporting voices and voices defending me.
It became clear that a large part of the community was upset by the worst elements of the abusers attitude and comments. I ended up shouting out of the window in a pique of rage, in what I imagined to be in earshot of the people gossiping but also with in hearing range of where I perceived the voices that seemed to stem from supportive neighbours, I shouted what I thought were the true details of the situation being gossiped about and slandered with the gossip rather than my ‘facts-about-myself’ being discussed as if the slander were true. I then noticed someone leave the local pub (a ‘real’ visual sighting), and heard a voice saying he had left in shame at the level of slander.
At this point the voices seemed to be silenced and much of the cognitive dissent had calmed down. However, then the smaller number of bullies voices increased and became more personal, and the voice experience more internal. I then heard their names shouted out. Dave, Carol and Sara. I had previously been to the police to talk about the perceived harassment, and I shouted the names of the bullies out of the window. “We know them” came the shouts of other voices. Chaos amongst the voices seemed to start up with sounds of the community telling the bullies off.
Later in the evening, as I was lying down I hear voices say that Dave has ‘done a runner’. (The impression my mind created from trying to untangle what the voices were saying was that he was the ring leader winding Carol and Sara up). Sara carried on the harassment alone and Carol tried to make amends. Carol then came under attack from the community defending herself against charges of Nazism. However, her harassment seemed to stop from that point on.

The voice named Sara continues the harassment and then ropes in voices with names Paul, Tim, Heather and Rachel. One by one these voices get pulled out of the fight by ‘the community’ (other unnamed voices). The voice named Dave then comes back for Sara and they ‘go for one last night on the town’ (they ‘paint the town red’) and then the voices all disappear (at least from this narrative arc).
At the time I wrote down associations I had with the names of the voices, Sara was a name that, according to a book I had recently read on Twentieth Century classical music by a writer called Alex Ross, was given to Jewish girls in the holocaust by the Nazis. It was also a name of more than one previous girlfriend, both of whose relationships were short (although in different towns) where the split in one had been bad (with later gossip about me), and the other friendly, we had continued to go out ‘on the town together’ regularly. It was also the name of a cousin who had been involved in musicals when younger, and had a partner still involved I the music scene, whose great grandfather’s (my great, great, grandfather and my father’s great grandfather) Jewish East End roots I had written about a few years before and then got paranoid about (partly because my mother who told me the story may have confabulated some of it, as I found out later). My cousin’s name when using her maiden name is the same as a feminist Foucault scholar who I had read before moving to this new town, before my daughter was born, with regards running themes of voices and unresolved cognitive conflicts, it was whilst my daughter was in the High Care Dependency Unit at Great Ormond Street when she was first born, but after I had started my PhD that (was not specialising in, but) included a lot of work based on Foucault scholarship, that I found myself sitting by my daughter’s bedside with the name “FOUCAULT, FOUCAULT, FOUCAULT” screaming through my head and chasing me through the halls of the hospital. This led me to break down and have to return back home leaving my partner there, and then set up a series of events and a poor future relationship with hospitals and my daughter’s care needs after that.

Dave was the name of a ‘voice personality’ used by another mental health survivor who had bullied me on line. But was also the name of two old friends from same town as the Sara I had gone ‘on the town with’ who both ended up with schizophrenia. It is also the name of a character in a book by Will Self I had recently read, who was a taxi driver, I job I had also had previously. It was also a job I had in the town where I had the friendly relationship with the ex-girlfriend Sara, shortly before my breakdown and later hospitalisation.

The relationship with the name in the Alex Ross book seemed to be related to the fact that my partner’s dad converts Jews as his Christian mission and as part of that mission teaches about the holocaust in schools.

I would also point out that it during this voice episode my wife told me she has ‘come on’ her period. It is after this that Dave comes back to take Sara on one last night on the town (and paint the town red) before they both leave. There is clearly a relation to relationship stress here, to libidinous desires and frustration, with Sara playing different roles, but possibly related to my partner and her state of mind at the time. Given this as a period where we were both exhausted and often cranky due to the amount of time my daughter was in and out of hospital as well as the care at home.
My voices later ‘informed me’ that Carol had worked in a sandwich packing factory. I had recently come across a social media meme joke about how actual real-world help was better than thoughts and prayers which didn’t really do anything, with the punchline by the male, American, black comedian being ‘make me a fucking sandwich or something’. I had also in the past worked in a meat packing factory in Kentish Town in London (although I knew no Carols there, it was at Christmas and I spent most of the temporary job packing frozen turkeys).
I wonder if this is also associated with the eating voices, as eating is often associated with ‘control’, food disorders are sometimes considered to be related to the fact that putting food in one’s mouth is the last stop of control over one’s own body. At the time my son was struggling with his food as a picky eater due to the stress of our circumstances and of course my daughter was peg-fed as she couldn’t swallow food without aspirating. So the eating and the gossip and bullying all seem to indicate relations to control issues and stress. As well as some relation to the sandwich joke, and relation to Christmas and packing factories. My father’s mother had an anxiety swallow issue that stemmed from her father dying when she was a young adult at Christmas. At the time whilst there is an association with my partner’s father mentioned here I had no contact and no support at all from my own father. Is there a ‘substitute’ issue here too?
With regards the family relationship Heather is the name of my sister-in-law although that name only takes a small role, and oddly seems to be the only name with a direct reference, the other names being code for other people. But basically, this period seems to be about relationship struggles, interference, frustration with work, I get voices that bring taxi driving up often (along with the ‘get a job’ voice from the last post), a job I have down in three different cities and is often my fall-back job when able to work but don’t have work experience. There also seems to be an aspect that whilst before my daughter was born and I had my second breakdown I had been working on changing my ‘job skills’ but they had been frustrated. The ‘on the town’ references seem to be both a desire to enjoy myself, get out of the house, and a reference to the reasons for my partner’s ‘mood’ although it is interesting to know that upon being given the information my voices ‘leave’, the gossip Sara turning to the friendly Sara. As mentioned in last post the ‘gossip’ seems to be related to a wish for recognition, perhaps tempered with disappointment with the lack of support my partner and I were receiving, other voices at the time spent a lot of time calling me ‘ungrateful’.
I would like to point out that this is a light ‘voice work’ as I am not prepared to go to deep into my unconscious (neither was Freud), especially not the more libidinous aspects, which will be involved, on public record, that work is best done with a therapist. But hopefully I have given enough information and done enough voice work here to open up the possibility of such forms of voice interpretation.

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace