no way in, nor out

no one ever gets cured by the medical industrial complex

credit – politifake

As I was pondering a title for this post, the visual of a whirling circle came to mind. Something like a frenzied game of ‘Ring Around the Rosy’ my five-year-old daughter would have played all day had I not stopped from sheer dizziness.

I am dizzy again now. All I can think is ‘ashes, ashes, we all fall down.’

For months I have worked closely in the community with a woman who has been in and out of prison for years longer than I have known her. Many more. She has also been in and out of the state mental hospital, when Vermont had one.

What has become ashes is my hope of truly helping her. All the reasons are beyond my control. None of which makes me feel any better. This woman has significant mental and physical health issues. She is too belligerent for crisis assistance; too claustrophobic for her cosy apartment; too distraught to see herself, though she tirelessly seeks relief.

Her team wants her to learn to self-soothing skills. This is beyond her. She wants them to keep her safe. They think she isn’t trying. All fall down.

No drug, no therapy, no amount of reason can provide the safety she seeks. So she has perfected the one form of self-help that works when all others are denied. She gets herself arrested for assault or trespass when she demands, and cannot get, the security her frightened mental state cries out for.

This smart talented woman, trapped in a body and mind riddled with dis-ease but without prospect of improvement, has given up advocating for herself. She is exhausted and dispirited. Her life on the outside is no match for what lives inside. She has decided she’s better off in jail. She has fallen down, ashes.

why we write inside

Following last week’s writinginsideVT circle, we received the following comments from three of the participants:

‘This writing has helped me realize how to let go of things. I write my thoughts and feelings, think about it, and then let it go. I have a better way of handling myself. It has saved a lot of heartache and unnecessary arguments with my loved one.”

“Being with the group for so long, I have come to realize that it has been one of the best forms of therapy for me, that I never would have thought to try. Walls and layers of ‘thick skin’ have been pumiced away, as the words I write slowly began to soften my heart and open my mind to new ways to release the horrors I kept locked away for most of my life. This group is absolutely my saving grace.”

“I can leave whatever stresses/chaos are in my life at the door; or feel free to bring them in with me and work through them with pen and ink. This circle allows me to open up and purely create. It is constantly reminding me there is beauty, creativity and even light in the darkest of places.”