Maybe that is why it has been so important that I learn that I can choose to die. Then maybe there is life.
‘DB,’ from Ben and Jock’s article in the Journal of Child and Youth Care, special issue on ritual abuse.
I finally got a hold of this article to read. Surprised to find more humanity in it then I have seen in any Haven writing in a long time. The article itself was much less self-aggrandizing than the description of it online (which vanished after I posted the link.)
When I started this blog, I didn’t think I would survive either. That was part of why I wrote it.
The identity of DB is no longer a secret, but I will use the initials used in the article.
I believe that at one point, it is quite possible that Haven believed in allowing people the space to choose life. However, things have changed. At times I was treated like I shouldn’t be responsible for choosing my own breakfast.
I remember realizing that no one would stop me from death. After I broke free from Haven, no one was trying to save me, control me, tell me why I was wrong or bad.
I started to laugh. The whole thing suddenly seemed hilarious and ridiculous. It wasn’t until I really faced the possibility of death that I could accept life.
Thus, it is possible that the original intent of ridding of the position of clinical expert and savior has reversed entirely. It has been more salient for me at Haven than it was in the mental health system. And since the role of expert was mixed in with the role of friend, employer, mentor, etc., inequality became all I knew.
At one point, a Haven leader wrote me a reference letter that listed my emotional challenges. I don’t think she ever realized why that was inappropriate. And there are several reasons. It was also inappropriate for me to get all of my reference letters from Haven, but Haven was my entire world.
When I expressed my discomfort, she told me, you aren’t curious!
It seems that in Haven speak, you aren’t curious translates into fuck you. Which is part of why I believe that the communication model doesn’t make us more clear or personal but actually less so. It merely writes a new dictionary.
Now I am tempted to go back and delete half of this blog. I think it is important that it remain, in some form or other. I still plan to go back and organize/edit so that it is actually readable.
I really wish for Haven to go back and read that article, remember its roots. Remember that the intention was to have people heal through equality, through there being no expert, through connection. No one can be the authority on anyone else’s emotional challenges, and having my day-t0-day life labelled as character flaws landed me in a place where I didn’t have to choose life or death, it was just a dream. I was a puppet in someone else’s fantasy.
It was the intermission.
This is not a resolution, not even an intermission. This is a bathroom break.
PS I said earlier that I broke free a year ago. Of course that isn’t really true. I cut off contact (mostly) a year ago. I broke free when I wrote this blog. I broke free when I laughed at death. And I will have totally broken free when I stop writing it, do some editing, and laugh at invisible super anti-hero pajamas.
Already terrifying, I am already forgetting what it is to need such an item, or the actual pajamas I used to wear in institutions.
Maybe I am not personal. Maybe I am all of the horrible labels Haven has put on me. But I am alive. And for once, because I chose to be.
PPS DB, I wish for you to find the honesty of yourself from that article. I haven’t seen it in a long time, from anyone.