The Notebook.

I decided that this story would not be complete without the transcript of the writings from the notebook that I carried with me. They may help the reader fill in any gaps or serve to answer any questions they may have.
Some of them make grim reading. Some I find rather embarrassing on reflection. However, they are as much part of the whole story as everything else I’ve written; so I feel they need to be included.
God help me! I can’t get a clear picture of this hell hole. I’m

like a lost child, running panic stricken from one door to

another. What happened that death seems a preferable alternative?

How could they do It, how could they hurt a child so badly as to

turn it into an emotional cripple? To break Its spirit so


Why is it that more than six months on, You’re still in my

system? I’ve gone through hell trying to get shut of you. I never

thought I could cry so many tears, feel so much anger and


        I’ve never been closer to the edge of insanity. I even

planned my own suicide. At 40 I thought I’d pretty well got life

sussed. Maybe the same can happen at eighty, I don’t know.

        Why did I bother, you were confusing, you gave out

contradictory messages, you became hostile and in the end

downright cruel. What did I see in you? Was It sex? Oh, yes! That

was a strong attraction. Though sex is an inadequate word to

describe it really. It was like making love with an angel and a

whore combined. All wrapped up in the sensuality of a cat. All I

wanted to do was bury myself inside you and feel you respond to

that. I’ve never known anyone get so lost in the total pleasure

of sex. It was as if I wasn’t there, you were so wrapped up in

pure sensation.

        But what else was there? Your arrogance was at the same

time, delightful and infuriating. Your sensitivity and sense of

what’s important in life. Watching you at the open window, taking

in the evening atmosphere and looking at the Moon. Listening to

you talk about art and music. Your irreverence and sense of fun.

I think if you had a religion it would be ‘Hedonism’. You seem to

be a pleasure seeker in the extreme.

        That was probably part of the attraction. Most of my life

seems to be a struggle to break out of the negative. So someone

who seems to be totally focussed on pleasure, is going to be

quite an attraction. Maybe I hoped some of It would rub off on


There’s a degree of disbelief about the last six months. If the

truth be told the whole experience frightened me. It’s left me

with an incredible sense of tiredness. What have I got out of the

whole thing. My beliefs have been shattered. People I believed in

and even held in awe, I now realise are imperfect. Just as anyone

else. I looked for answers and found confusion. It was as if no

one could help. Thrown back on myself, I felt like an insect

trying to make sense of It’s existence. Praying to God. Looking

for someone or something bigger than myself to take over and look

after me and take away the hell I was going through. I’ve never

felt so incredibly alone and small. No one can know it unless

they’ve been there and I’m always at a loss for words to describe

the experience.

        Some disbelieve and see it as an incredible self

indulgence. Was I in control of it, did I choose it? Why would I

choose to feel such terror, why such crazy behaviour? Was there

some sort of status in it? Did I have such a low opinion of

myself, that I put myself through it, to gain some sort of

respect from other people? Some cultures do have a form of

reverence for the so called mentally Ill.

        I still get glimpses of the desperation. The sense that

my very life depends on my understanding something that I can’t

understand. The tremendous fear of loss and isolation.

        I gain more insight but the more I become aware of the

more difficult the task seems to be. The threads that hold the

web together begin to snap one by one to reveal the silk wrapped

carcases of half dead memories, that have to be dismembered and

sucked dry before I can move on.

Mother you failed me. Oh, you probably weren’t to blame, maybe

didn’t even know. But at crucial periods in my life you just

weren’t there. You let me down. I was helpless. All was chaos and

fear to me. Didn’t you know? Couldn’t you put yourself in the

position of someone just born? I didn’t know what I was let alone

who I was. I came from a world that was totally safe warm and

nurturing, into something alien cold and harsh. The experience

was devastating. I needed you more than anyone else at that time

and you let me down consistently not only then but throughout my

life. You were just never there. I needed you to hold me, to see

me through.

        Instead I faced every experience, every trauma, totally

alone. The shock to my psyche was so great that I had to numb

myself emotionally. It was the only path left open to survive.

But I’ve decided I just can’t live with It any longer. It’s just

living life as death. No wonder I consider suicide. One doesn’t

seem much different from the other, so it’s an easy choice to


        I keep hoping I can push through it and find life. It’s

amazing that something that so many people seem to find easy ie,

living and just feeling alive, seems such a difficult option to


Morning. The awful feelings again. All is chaos and confusion

mentally. Torturing thoughts and happenings. Babyhood again. Like

a mouse in a busy kitchen full of shouting and clatter. Please

God make the hurting stop. Just feel torn apart. No logical

thread. Just hurting terribly. All I want Is comfort and peace.*
*Need to nurture the baby within, because he just didn’t get


I love you mother. I sensed your struggle, but I was helpless to

do anything about It. I just ended up carrying your pain as well

as mine. I wanted to help you, to help me. I struggled to

communicate but we just didn’t understand each other. I don’t

think I was ready to leave you. Just not ready to separate. But

that decision was taken out of my hands. Somewhere though,

because it wasn’t my choice, I’ve been hanging on desperately,

for fear of imminent death if I should let go. Sometimes now

though, I get glimpses not of death but of life and freedom and

joy. A sort of relaxed, Delightful, excitement in letting go.


        (relating to incest assault)
Did I want to be a part of what they were doing because at some

level it was pleasurable. But needed to understand and for them

to understand my needs. Part terror part pleasure. Is that why I

want to join in now. There is a Joy in it and love in it

somewhere but I just wasn’t ready.

So much damage gets done in the first couple of years of life.

I’m convinced now that everything that holds me down and cripples

me emotionally in the present was laid in place at that time. My

mothers absence when I needed her, the lack of attention, touch

and nurturing led to my tremendous insecurity carried through my

life. My confusion about who and what I am was part of the same

thing. If my mother left the room I felt like part of me had

gone. Death was always imminent. My fear of women, particularly

aggressive or authoritarian women, was laid in by the abuse

incident. My powerlessness and seeming inability to walk away

from situations I find intolerable were also laid in at this

time, since I couldn’t physically remove myself from the

situation at that time, it actually feels like that now. My

emotional discomfort about teasing or women laughing colusively

about me, also probably comes from the same incident. My

desperate need to understand, stems from my belief that if I

could understand the situation ie, get the information I needed

or find out what it was I had done wrong. Then I could put the

situation right and stop the person I so desperately needed, from

withdrawing and leaving me to die.

Morning. Dreadful again. I screamed, I actually screamed. And in

it were the sounds of anguish despair and terror. I was tortured.

awful things were done to me. I keep thinking of my brother. I’m

not fooling myself it did happen. He did things to me. He abused

me. I’m left with the physical and mental echoes of that assault.

Mental images of tearing apart and beating one of those rag doll

babies. Literally killing it. Is that what was done to me. It

certainly killed my spirit (almost). I need to forgive myself for

the feelings that I have. It really did happen!

Claws buried in a body no bigger than a new born lamb.

Crushing muscle and bone,

Compressing head into chest.

Twisting neck muscles not yet strong enough to shake the head in


A mind not yet formed enough to know what head shaking means.

A being composed of flesh and feelings and needs.

Thrown into space from it’s liquid sleeping place.

Where it had lain cushioned and supported in warmth and soft


The only sensations, safety and nurturence.

Every need catered for automatically by it’s miniature universe.
New sensations, suddenly not safe.

As universe collapses, crushing flesh, pressing down.

New inexplicable feelings and no knowledge or intellect to make


Imminent death.

Sudden recognition of something other than current state.

Now becoming previous state.

Survive, go back, hang on!

But no.

First learnings of powerlessness, as crushing forces destroy the

trust of a safe place.

Now coldness and blinding white light, noise.

An alien void, huge, incomprehensible.

And a new sense of beings other than self.
As creature grips flesh with claws, tearing from safe place.

New learnings of powerlessness, terror and pain.

Why do we continue with lives composed mostly of empty space.

Continuously chasing dreams of dust. Hoping beyond hope that a

speck of that dust will hold a grain of truth. Count the hours

and days wasted, struggling with worthless problems. Like

scurrying ants, busy with a purpose but not knowing what that

purpose is. Somehow driven but not driving.

        To stand still and step out for even an instant. To stand

back and watch the frenetic activity you’ve been a part of,

shocks you into realising just what you’ve been a part of. Some

sort of self organising chaos. Random messages and activities

that come together to make a whole. But a whole what!

Still a tremendous amount of rage in me. Still so hard to push it

out. The impulse to turn it in is still very strong. Feel like

I’m fighting for my integrity. Violence seems to be around

sexuality. Have fantasies about being a passive victim to people

just using me. Also fantasies about gay sex and aggressive sex.

Still the emptiness and desperation. Triggered by a group of

women talking about a man. Found myself wanting to know, to ask

questions, to understand how they relate to men. To understand

there culture. These somehow distant mysterious creatures that

seem to be so important to me. I ache to know ache to connect.

They seem to hold the power of life and death over me. Will I

ever know any woman that well. Will I ever connect as one. For an

all to brief period I was one with a woman. Up to the moment of

birth and cutting the cord, I was both male and female. From that

moment on I feel as though I’ve been forced away from the part of

myself that is female.

        Like some sort of vessel, suddenly split in two and the

halves drifting apart but each knowing their dependency on the

other for life support. Frantically trying to reconnect while

powerful tides drag them further away from each other.

(about walking into “The Acorn”)
Still the dilemma. Is it me that’s choosing or the distress

that’s pushing? Always the conditions not quite right. Seem to be

frightened of people noticing but that’s unavoidable.

Embarrassment and humiliation still there. Would it make any

difference if I went in on my own, or with someone. I punish

myself still for avoiding the place. Seem to be waiting to get to

the point of knowing that I’m free and that I’m choosing but will

that ever arrive?

Do you know what child abuse does? do you know? Like a hypodermic

needle drawing blood, it sucks out your soul. Everything about

you that is light, blithe, happy, joyful, sensitive, it draws


        Like a fly it vomits it’s gastric juices into the most

precious part of you in order to do the most efficient job of

digesting everything that is intrinsically you!

        It leaves nothing behind and gives nothing in return. No

love, no tenderness, no compassion. Just an empty vessel. You no

longer exist. A husk abandoned in space and left to drift,

frantically searching for itself.

        Left with feelings of being alien. Not part of humanity.

The most awful sense of isolation and loneliness even within a

room full of people. Feeling that there all normal, talking and

laughing with each other. Between each other some sort of

connection and rapport. If I should speak up, silence falls and

eyes swivel in my direction, but blank eyes that don’t connect

with me.
Desperate for attention all the time. Every little nuance of my

behaviour seems to be saying notice me. Comparing myself to

others all the time. So tired, so damn tired. Why do I hang on?

Hoping, or is it desperation? Touch me, please touch me. Space to

relax but unable to. Who is doing the torturing. Every muscle in

my neck, shoulders and arms, aches with tension.

I’m beginning to see the subtleties of this. My fight to continue

working is out of fear. I’ll be killed if I don’t. My desperation

around women stems from the need to be rescued and kept safe. I

need to face my fear of death. Then maybe I’ll see that I wont

actually die.

        Everything seems to say, must do, have to, keep going,

struggle, fight, survive, and all I want to do is stop! To yield

and give in and take time and space for me.

        All the messages went in early. They made a thorough job

very early on. I was made to feel that I would be killed, if I

didn’t comply and fit in.

In the acorn at last. Predominent feelings, a bit of fear but

mostly anger. Betrayal, dishonesty, humiliation. Underlying

violence. Can reach for relaxation and the ordinaryness of the

place. The place itself is benign. It’s just the associations. In

reaching for past connections am I just denying the present. I

have a right to be downright angry about what happened with X It

hurts right now. Still want to pick up a baseball bat.

Why do I feel so agitated, restless. Is the baby fretting. Feel

like I’ve set something in motion I wont feel in control of. Soon

the money will stop but the bills will still have to be paid. It

was the right decision, to pack my job in, there’s no doubt in my

mind. But still not sure where I want to go. I think I’m hoping

that something will formulate as I go along. This is a success

story. I’ve thrown myself into the unknown, Wow!

Like a child who has suddenly realised that people behave in

hurtful ways. I feel I’ve lost some sort of innocence or

naievity. I put a lot of trust in women and suddenly I feel let

down. Things have changed. Everything seems tainted. I think I

was happy in my ignorence. Knowledge just confronts me with

something I don’t want to see.

Time and time again in this period I went through sensations and

experiences that I struggle to find words to describe. People

have tried in the past to describe the experience of what feels

like mental disintegration and the feelings of sheer terror that

accompanies that state.

        One occasion that sticks in my mind. A train journey from

Hebden Bridge to Liverpool. One and a half hours of hell. Sitting

with tears in my eyes looking out of the window. The muscles in

my upper body Knotted in pain. Feelings of terror coursing

through my body. In one awful moment taking in the reality of the

devastated landscape outside. A grim flattened industrial mess

stretching into the distance. In a state of utter despair at what

we had done and were still doing. Looking round inside the train

wondering if people could see the fear in my eyes, and if they

could what was going on for them. Were they struggling through

their own embarrassment or fear. Perhaps wanting to help but

unable to.

        The terror, the absolute utter terror. Something inside

screaming help me! help me! And a sense of total isolation and

aloneness. On a train half full of people. Like drowning while

people watch dispassionately.

I’m terrified of absolutely everything. It’s as simple as that.

From the moment I was born everything moved along so rapidly, to

suit the adults around me, that I didn’t get the chance to come

to terms with life itself.

        I’m frightened of being alone, I’m frightened of being

with people, of being indoors, of being outside, of madness, of

sanity, of life, of death. You name it I’m scared of it.

        Scattered thoughts and images only serve to divert

attention from this fear.

I dream of compassion and the tears fill my eyes. Of a hand

reaching out not in rescue but just to touch. To prove once again

the existence of love in the face of bitterness cynicism and

pain. A hostile world suddenly calmed by one light touch and a

voice that gently says, “Hey, It’s alright, It’s ok,” and watches

and permits the tears to flow as frightened eyes tentatively gaze

into eyes that smile a caress of peace. If only for that moment.

23-11-91 (in the Blackie)
Why do I feel so clumsy, useless, helpless, hopeless? I know my

behaviour disconcerts people and I don’t want to be that way. I’m

just so damn tired. What is it about this place I’m so curious

about? It’s partly the people, what makes them tick? They seem to

be so passionate about the place. They all belong, I never have.

I’ve been part of similar projects in the past but feel I failed

miserably. They just keep going. Where does their energy come

from. How do they maintain their humanity in such difficult


        Why can’t I forgive myself? I’ve gone through what most

people would see as complete mental and emotional collapse over a

12 month period and I seem to think I should be like other

people, up and out and on top, but maybe thats just not me. It

just seems that, that’s the way the world is structured and if

you’re not like that then you just get crushed.

I need to let go of this. For some reason I keep holding onto the

bitterness but It’s just destroying me – Some sort of self

righteousness. I remember seeing it in my father, he would never

back down. He would hold onto his hurt for days, he just couldn’t

forgive. It’s just meant to punish others. Like trying anything

to get at people and make them feel guilty, and the simple fact

is, they don’t.

        Let go *****, let go. There’s no point in holding on to

your anger and grief any more It’s just going round and round and

only hurting yourself. You can punish people till the cows come

home but it won’t get you anywhere. There is no shame in giving

up the fight. It’s not powerlessness to admit that the odds are

stacked against you. I need to admit I’ve been wrong and that’s

the hardest thing in the world.

        Why do I see it as someone winning over me? There are no

winners or losers. Only a world full of people in confusion and

pain trying to make some sense out of life and to be happy.

        I’ve explored every avenue, I’ve seen the whole picture.

If I’m still hurting it has to be because I’m holding on to it. I

know I nurse and rehearse the same feelings over and over again.

Paradoxically it seems, team building is about individual


        A team will function at its most effective level when

each individual is supported by the rest of the team or group in

their own personal development.

        Each individual brings with them to the group and the

task in hand all their skills knowledge and potential. They also

bring any current limitations they may have. These limitations

are going to be different for each member of the team. The job of

the team is not to carry these limitations but to expect each

other to push back their limitations and to give each other the

individual support and encouragement necessary to achieve this.

I don’t think I’ve been this bad for a while. Since waking up

this morning I’ve been hit by wave after wave of terror. Just sat

or curled up on the sofa, hugging myself, sobbing, wailing,

moaning oh God, oh God.

        Anyone who saw me, other than my counselors, would be

shocked I’m sure. They just couldn’t handle it. Outwardly most of

the time they see me as a capable adult male, seemingly very

together and someone they themselves could turn to for whatever

reason. For them to see me disintegrating in front of their eyes

would stun them. How could I begin to describe what I was going

through. How do I begin to explain that sometimes I find life so

overwhelming that I end up frozen in one spot with fear. Things

that many people seem to take in their stride, feel

insurmountable to me.

        I eventually got round, in the early evening, to phoning

one of my counselors. It’s amazing how even after nearly two

years of working through this stuff, I’m still pushing away the

idea that some sort of trauma (or trauma’s) was inflicted on me

in my infancy. Something so big and overwhelming that I wanted to

die rather than continue with whatever was happening to me.

        A flash thought went through my mind, that my mother

tried to kill me. I accept that this may not have been the

reality, but what’s important is that that was my experience of

it at the time.

        Where I’ve got stuck is that when things seem to be

overwhelming in the present, I get tipped right back into that

early trauma where I quite literally didn’t have the knowledge or

the ability to handle whatever was happening. This in turn gets

mixed up with the present, so that I feel there is no way out of

the current situation.

Sitting on a bus. Opposite me there is a young couple probably in

their twenties with a little boy of about two years of age. He’s

just been passed from his mother’s lap to his father’s and he

seems to be upset about it. He reaches for his mother, she

brushes his hand away snaps at him and turns her back to him. He

starts to cry. Father slaps the boys thigh and hisses at him to

“shurrup!” More crying. Another smack on the thigh and an almost

imperceptible pinch, probably just hard enough to hurt without

leaving a bruise, and just to re-inforce the message another

hiss, “shurrup or I’ll give yer summat ta cry about!” (how many

times did I hear that in my childhood, have we progressed at all

in 40 years?).

        Mother decides to chip in and sneers, “yer cryin like a

fukin geerrll!” (is this an example of a woman reinforcing


        All this, it seems to me, is a perfect example in

microcosm of the socialisation of males. A male infant reaches

for reassurance from the first person he had any connection with

emotionally, his mother, and is rebuffed. Then instead of getting

that reassurance from his father he gets punished for expressing

his feelings of loss. To cap it all his mother then gives him the

message that there is something inferior about girls.

        Thus he learns that women will ultimately reject him.

That men cannot give him what he needs emotionally. That men are

aggressive and inflict physical pain. That sensitive feelings are

something that only women have and that for this reason women are

somehow inferior to men.