Monthly Archives: April 2012

Where am I?

The blaze of the solar plexus

The gravel drain of the mind

The cliff edge of the throat

And the Self?

Where is that creature

Amidst the sound and the foam

The leaves and endless trees.

It is nowhere to be seen.

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Posted by on April 29, 2012 in Anxiety, I Am Lost, Poem


Where next?

I’m looking for a job but have no idea where, what or when. By default, I’m applying to work in shops. I’d like to work for a charity but, having anxiety, I don’t know what I could contribute. I like writing and researching but I don’t think such roles are too common. I’m in a fugue, a limbo, a forgetful place…

Sat before the mirror

Trapped in the mirror

Shades in the mirror

Particles in the mirror

Poised in the mirror

Sitting in the mirror

Life outside the mirror

Is but a tiny flutter

That feels like a universe.

If only that mirror man, sat on the edge of the pond, would come out

join this fluttering man of particles, amongst the whipping trees

and be whole

then I’d never look in a mirror again.

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Posted by on April 27, 2012 in Uncategorized


The Daddy Snare

Perhaps, there is a better title but what I am referring to is the trap of dependency and indebtedness to a benefactor. Daddy (be it person, organisation or institution) provides for you, so that you are, in some ways, indebted to them, as well as dependent. The effect of this debt and dependency is that it becomes difficult to blame them for the harmful things that they have done/are doing. The good and the bad combine and clear moral judgment becomes frustratingly difficult to reach.

Clearly, the less dependency, the weaker the physical Daddy Snare. But, even if you escape dependency, the moral indebtedness remains. How many people are trapped in a frigid, irritable relationship with their elderly parents? They blame their parents for their not being happy in adulthood but, recognising that their parents also made painful sacrifices for them, they can’t simply hate them. The result is a limbo emotion between contempt and guilt, making for a cold relationship which has some form of appreciation buried deep within but never demonstrated.

Yet, as disspiriting the lingering Daddy Snare is, the immediate version of the snare is clearly the most harmful. It is what traps spouses to a Jekyll and Hyde partner who is an abusive benefactor. They are giving, as well as harming. If the abused partner is isolated, they might well stick with their “Daddy”. In fact, they might continue to feel emotionally attached to them, finding it hard to overlook the generosity of the Daddy, in spite of the abuse.

It is why people might stick with a job despite a difficult employer – not just for the pay but, often, the employer will have a generous side. Then, it becomes hard to truly reject the employer who occasionally provides you with perks or praise.

The Daddy Snare of the dominant benefactor creates a practical and moral trap for the “victim”, who is both beneficiary and victim. The question is, how to escape the snare? The weakest in society, the isolated and impoverished are hardly in a position to abandon their Daddy. This is why tyranny continues in our society, in families, in employment – in every environment where their are relationships of inequality.

Some might say that the solution is independence. But, no man is an island. It is impossible to create a society of independent individuals. Dependency is inevitable and necessary. However, dependency should exist in equal relationships. Equality is freedom, as well as unity. Equality can only be achieved through dismantling unequal institutions and rebuilding them.

Institutions such as employers and families are flawed where they are hierarchical and based on inequality. They perpetuate the Daddy Snare of emotional and practical entrapment. They deny freedom. All work and, in fact, all human relationships, must be bound be free choice, not economic or emotional necessity. This means rampant capitalism and tribalism must go if we want to free ourselves.

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Posted by on April 24, 2012 in Abu, Tyranny


This is me, this is how I am

I wrote a fancy piece about acceptance of anxiety here, suggesting that maybe you reconcile with this “snake”. Unfortunately, wise as this advice sounds, it doesn’t really help working out the really difficult bit – how do you go about “accepting” anxiety?

I guess what’s really important is not to try and disguise it. In most cases, no horrible outcome will occur if people see your anxiety – and trying to disguise it rarely works, so why bother?

Why not accept that anxiety is part of your personality? Once you “let it all hang out” and don’t bother about disguising it, you can concentrate on important stuff – what people are saying, what is going on, your task in hand.

Accepting Depersonalisation

More sound advice but the TRULY important part of accepting anxiety is accepting the depersonalisation that comes with it. Depersonalisation is the emptiness of the mind that comes from fear. You don’t know what to say, think or do. This is a quite frightening situation to be in because interaction with people requires a sense of self – but your self has all but disappeared. How do answer questions or give opinions without meaningful thoughts?

I think depersonalisation is the crux of the anxiety problem. It is in this place that most languish. Myself included.

The way out is to refind yourself and your thinking. I think acceptance is key. You have to accept depersonalisation, recognising that it is caused by fear. Acceptance means not hiding. If your mind is slow, forgetful, careless, disorientated because of depersonalisation, you just have to accept that this, for now, is part of your personality. You can’t hide it. Think of it as a disability if need be. It is who you are and you – and other people – have to work with it. If they don’t like it, you try to improve – but you cannot deny this truth. You, as guardian of your self, have to accept it is who you are and what other people must see.

This is the key: symptoms of anxiety feel like abhorrent warts that must be covered over desperately. This must change. Whether they are warts or not, they are part of you and it is counter-productive to try to hide them. Let people see your warts – you did not choose them and nor are they, in the grand schemes, harmful to anyone.

Let people see your warts and judge you. Let them think you’re weak, pathetic, pitiable, sweet etc. etc. Their judgment feels vitally important. You want to feel accepted, appreciated and liked. But, MORE important is that you accept, appreciate and like yourself, including the anxious/supposedly weak part of you.

People will appreciate you, no matter how feeble you think you come across as, if you appreciate yourself. Some won’t but that’s beyond your control. Appreciate yourself. This is what it comes down to.

Rational self-inquiry

Dissatisfaction with yourself is natural. However, it should always be rational rather than vindictive. Anxiety holds us back so badly and it leads us to make wrong decisions. We can choose to hate ourselves or to look at situations and investigate how we could have tried to do things differently – in order to reach a better outcome next time.

1. Appreciate oneself, no matter how, seemingly, weak or fearful.

2. Reflect upon yourself rationally to seek to untie knots rather than flogging yourself.

There will be so many failures and regrets. Yet, we have to keep accepting our weakness and reflecting rationally in order to improve. Stand in the light; think, this is me, this is how I am. Judgments might come down saying, you’re not good enough and so on. But, as you interact with these judgments, you have to keep believing, this is me, this is how I am.

In a way, it is like ugliness or a disfigurement. It makes you stand out and questioned but does this mean you hide it? This is, I feel, the ultimate anxiety question.

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Posted by on April 23, 2012 in Acceptance, Anxiety


The rain falls

The shares are down quite badly. The financial sectors have taken a hammering. His debts are biting back and the monthly payments are growing like tumours in the imagination. It is the night and the rain is falling outside. He sits with his Koran, chanting. He rides the waves of the Arabic in the undulating strain of a Bangladeshi reading God’s tongue. Each undulation rises to a tuneless crescendo, as if he seeks to wall himself in with his voice. The dull song floats out of the gaping windows, into the darkness and the patter of the light rain.

It makes him feel as if he is not sat imprisoned in his house and debts but flying. The Arabic is crunched through his throat without much grace but he is still moving. Even better, he is crushing the vegetation as he charges. His strength is too much for the world.

His roars grow louder. There is no shame in God’s tongue. No-one can complain, not his family nor the neighbours. A frenetic rage urges him on, rampaging through the page of strange sounds. He detests music but he is making it. Music is a refuge from the hunt of thoughts. This is where he is scampering like the hunted fox.

Nextdoor creak out into their backyard and the tinkle of their dog’s collar can be heard. He roars the Arabic even  louder, daring for them to doubt its sound. There is silence in which the neighbour cowers. The dog quivers with a whine and then a growl. Then, it starts barking up at the window violently. Shhh… the neighbour whispers. The dog barks, he roars Arabic and the rain falls.

Then, in the silence, the trickle of liquid can be heard between his recitation. The dog is pissing and, in the tomb of night, it sounds loud, as if the moon is melting. The door creaks shut, as dog and neighbour return indoors and he continues to recite, his voice rising and falling. He is looking for escape from the world but there is none.

He is my father.


Posted by on April 19, 2012 in Abu


What do you do…?

What do you do when your life feels link a crazed tangle of rope? Everyway you pull, you’re snagged instantly. Not by an outsider but by the knots within. Well, you give up, wear your chains like clothing. Only, if despair doesn’t start to gas you, the outside world will come and nip you. “Get up! Get out! Now! Now!”

So back you go to the scrambling in your rope, wrestling and rolling, hoping that you might just tumble into somewhere safe – and not a canyon.

Then, you tire and rest again. But the voice comes back: “Stop wasting your life! Get up! Get out!”

And the flailing in the rope continues. Well, that’s where I am now. Here’s hoping that some divot comes my way where I can fall into and rest awhile.

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Posted by on April 19, 2012 in I Am Lost


The Lodger in the Head

Argh… to wake to a lodger in your head. Less a worm than a snake, in the brush. It has no venom or fangs but a shady spirit, of deafening furtive shame. It is white, camouflaged on the white-wash walls. This way, it can be everywhere but nowhere. You can never expect to see it but feel its slither across the sand of your heart. It is Shame. It is Pride. It moves your tongue to flicker, your lips to smile. It makes your steps fall and your shadow to follow. It follows you down the tunnel of time. It eats away at you from the core to the skin. Soon, there will be no time left or nothing to hold up that heavy smile. Then what?

There is no trapping Shame and its slither of Pride. Your fearful chases and dreams only hold you to its unseen trail. Whilst you lose yourself in its infinite labyrinth there will never be a glimpse of it, not even in the mirror where it often lurks.

No, you must realise that this infestation, so large, so grotesque, so much of your life, does not have to be your master. If you can only stop to breath and let the hiss recede, that devourer of your life, might just turn tame. Freed of your wild steps and wilder breathing, it might stop hiding and come out into the light. You cannot fight that which is you; you can only listen to it, understand it and sympathise with it.

Simone Weil wrote: “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.”

What is attention? It is to listen to that hiss and try to understand what it means. After all, the snake is no lodger but a flatmate for life.

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Posted by on April 16, 2012 in Acceptance, Anxiety