You are about to read my life story, as I wrote down in 2010. Recently added is everything between 2011-2020. From the beginning of 2020, I started producing articles, which can be read on the Articles page.
Because I have had mental health issues my entire life, the focus of this life story is on my symptoms, and the therapies I have had to treat these symptoms, which unfortunately had disastrous results.
All names are fictitious, except my own.
A renewed look at my parents
A brief clarification
After the part-time treatment
Love after all…
An attempt at more activities
An intense new love
Referral to Center for Psychosis
Being targeted by Dragons
On February 8, 1984, I, Jesse Musson, was born along with my twin sister Lauren. We would get to explore the world together. I also had a 2 ½ year older brother, Anton. And my parents were Maria and Hector. My parents are very sweet people. They will do everything for you, know a lot and like to always help you out and I always really liked getting that support. I viewed them this way, my whole childhood. In all that time I was able to experience many nice things. When things were going well, I was busy, passionate, enthusiastic and a real clown, but this alternated with periods in which I wasn’t really happy: I suffered from incredibly strong fears throughout my childhood, and I just did not always feel comfortable. I also often had the feeling that I was being bullied, and this was probably simply because I did not show my feelings sufficiently in the contact with my peers. I preferred to move around outside all the busy social traffic, playing often alone or with my brother or sister. Yet I did play with friends. I brought them home or went to play with them. But this fine friendly contact could also suddenly be over, because of something that happened. Then I withdrew into myself, lost faith in the other, and in myself.
I was a very good student. I always got straight A’s, had the maximum exam scores, and also enjoyed learning, it just went natural. My sister Lauren was the same way, although in the elementary school years I was probably just a tad better. My brother Anton was highly gifted and skipped a class. They allowed me to do the same, in the 4th grade, but I didn’t want to. I wanted to stay with my twin sister, who was in the same class. Most of the time I just followed her (she once called me ‘duckling’ because of this fact). We went to school together, we went to music lessons together, we went to judo together, in short: we did a lot together. And she was very important to me. If she came back from school a little later because she was still helping out with something, I would sit at home, worried about where she was, if nothing bad had happened, and if she was still coming home.
I looked up to my brother enormously. I also always had the idea that he got more attention than I did, because in my head there was the idea of getting more attention if you are smarter. So I wanted to be like him, and did everything I could to achieve that. He seemed like the perfect brother. I followed him when he walked down the street in his Batman suit, I was Robin, but I didn’t have a suit. If I had asked for one, I would have gotten one, but I preferred not to stand out like that. Actually, I just didn’t have a clear identity.
Since fifth grade there was always a nice girl who caught my eye, but I made little or no contact with them. Sometimes I even hid from them, because I was very afraid of their opinion of me. One time I had hidden again in the little porch in front of the garage door of a garage box, all the time looking around the corner to the schoolyard, to my silent love. Apparently her sister had noticed this, because suddenly they were standing in front of me together. I babbled something like “Yes, this is my usual place to stand…” but I was really dying inside. My sister’s girlfriends were also favorite subjects, because I didn’t have to make much effort to make contact with them, because that happened automatically when they were at our home. I exchanged sweets with one of them, and played footsie, because she also liked me then. But this went away by itself, and then I would let my eye fall on another girl again.
In summer 1996, I, along with my sister, entered the first year of high school. The school had enough students to form a ‘vwo’ class, which is pre-university education. And so for the first time I sat with people of equal intelligence. It was all very exciting. Walking through town without parents for the first time, on our way to school, with huge bags on the back of our backs. My mother thought book bags were better than regular backpacks, so I had been guided by her opinion, as I often did. At school it turned out that everyone had a normal backpack, and people laughed at our bookbags. It took me some time to get used to it. Occasionally I was bullied by people from other classes, for example at gym class and at recess, and sometimes, to avoid this, I spent the breaks in the school library. In my class there were some people with whom I did not feel at home, but there were also some with whom I did feel at home and I spent most of my time with them. For the first time I really got the feeling of friendship. The second year was already a lot more fun, and it would get better every year. In the breaks I usually sat with the same people and had a lot of fun! But even here my fears did not stop. I suffered from great insecurity, I did not always feel safe and puberty only reinforced this. Who was I? I was incredibly critical of myself. I developed a huge clothing problem and felt super insecure in new clothes and it was common for me to stop wearing certain clothes because it caused so much anxiety. Meanwhile, I was very busy, demanding a lot of attention in class by making noises, and constantly making fun of everything and everyone. These were all ways for me to deal with the intense, engulfing anxiety I had inside.
The school vacations were a disaster. I had no distractions left and was hopelessly confronted with myself. I fretted like hell, and my fears were omnipresent. I totally destroyed my nails, gnawing them off until they bled. This gave me a sense of control. If I saw an exciting movie, I would not sleep for nights on end, and I would lie in my bed sweating, afraid of ghosts and other such things. I was also afraid that I would go blind, and get diseases. I missed my friends very much, one in particular, because I always had so much fun with them during school, and that was a reason to start doubting my orientation. But it wasn’t that simple, because the idea of being intimate with him really disgusted me, I didn’t get an erection at all when I thought about men, but the idea just kept popping up in my head whenever I thought about nice girls. I talked about this a lot with my parents. If they said they would love me even if I were gay, I felt like they were forcing these feelings on me, that’s how impressionable I was. Fortunately, when school started again, I was able to put this idea aside and focus on all the cute girls walking around the school. I had always been interested in girls; during puberty I also became sexually interested in them. I often fantasized about them.
During the breaks I often went to make music in the music room with some friends. We played the piano and the drums, and in this way I became more and more proficient with music. At home I did a lot with a music program that I copied from Mr. Hans, a music teacher at elementary school. I listened to music on a CD or on TV, and then tried to reproduce it note by note. I enjoyed that immensely. I also wrote my own music with this program. In the fourth grade, Vincent, a friend of mine, had the wild idea of writing the music for the upcoming school play. I was cautious, but in the end I went for it. And the result was cool! Even better: the next year we would do it again, with an even better result. At that moment I felt really special. And only then could I be proud of myself, and really feel like someone.
But then the vacations came again, and the doubts started again. I noticed that I found a woman’s body beautiful, but that I could also find a man’s body beautiful. It didn’t turn me on, but I found it beautiful. This again was reason to become very anxious. It was really a problem for me, because I was undermining my self-confidence so much. I had periods for years where I was constantly testing: am I straight, gay, or bisexual? I was tossed back and forth and felt like someone else all the time. I was obsessed with it. This was horrifying. If I saw an ugly woman next to a handsome man, fear would strike my heart. Back at school, when there was structure in my days, those identity fears disappeared like snow in the sun.
Another thing that happened during puberty was that I became terribly afraid of transsexuals. When I rode the bus home from school, on a certain day at the station of a neighboring village, a woman always got on, who had some masculine features in her face, and she also had a bit of a low voice. I was convinced that she was transsexual (which, by the way, didn’t even turn out to be true), and every week on that particular day, I was highly panicked (inside), when we approached the station.
Great moments at school were the trips abroad. For example, in the third grade we had an exchange with Italy. Based on letters, you were paired with an Italian. And I was paired with what his classmates thought was the biggest loser in the class, how surprising. I was able to laugh about this for a long time. Details of when he was here I will spare you, even though it is hilarious. Later in the year we then went to Italy. For the first time abroad, because with my family we always stayed in the Netherlands. With my sister it didn’t go so well then. She felt very ill. I was doing better at the time, but at a sports competition I had to run a few kilometers. And I fainted during the run, exhausted, because I kept going and going and going without limits. I kept laying still on the track and my legs were fire-red. Soon my friends came running and lifted me up. I hardly had any strength left to walk, and my blood pressure was recorded at the ER, where they advised me to go to the doctor when I got home, and tell him about this incident.
In the fourth grade there was the Rome trip, where I took a lot of pictures, and later a trip of a few days to Belgium, where I mostly filmed, all moments that lifted my spirits. School was a great distraction for me and I had accomplished a lot there.
So when I was in my sixth and final year, doubt struck. What should I study? Why does high school have to end now? I was especially into filming in the last year, and for social studies I made a film together with Anne, a classmate, as a practical assignment. That all became more and more fun, until we fell in love. But I was so afraid of the reaction of others, and so terribly ashamed, that at my request we kept it a secret for a while. We often wrote each other letters, which we then gave to each other at school. By the end of the school year, everyone knew anyway, it was gradual. I really enjoyed it, but when school ended, the doubts returned. I started to worry again. And it got worse and worse, the more intimate I became with her. In a sickly compulsive way I tested again all the men and women I saw, whether I liked them and whether they turned me on. Once again I was torn between heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality, and once again it turned out that I had no clear identity, but I didn’t know that yet. Every time I thought of Anne, sexually speaking, a man came around the corner in my head, who took away all lust and made me afraid, so that as a conciliatory gesture to that inner man I started having cuddle fantasies, which completely upset me, because I also undermined my self-confidence in this way. Later this turned out to be a model for what I went through in the relationship with my parents. A new side effect was that sometimes it just felt like I had a woman’s body, bizarre that was. My self-image was so distorted, as if I had breasts, and a vagina, which I didn’t want. (And that used to be one of my fears that I talked about with my mother: I was afraid that I would get breasts. I became afraid that I would have to undergo a sex change operation, against my will. Because I didn’t want it! But I was forced to do it, I felt. And I also had the compulsion to make feminine movements, but only when I was alone. I was very depressed then. I was first put on an antidepressant, Effexor, and that immediately brought some relief. But in the meantime I was taking my problems out on Anne. If she didn’t pay attention to me for a while or if she was talking to another boy, the blood would rage through my veins, I would be extremely jealous, and this was really painful. Only when anger for shared attention is allowed to exist, then a person can share attention, but with me my anger was very much constricted, it was not allowed to exist. And I felt like a pathetic heap. Because I also wanted to feel like a man with self-confidence, who was content with himself. But I was far from satisfied with myself. And was getting angrier and angrier. Whenever I was annoyed by Anne, which was more and more often, the infatuation was over. It was very black and white. During the graduation gala, which should have been so beautiful, I felt really bad, even though I had a beautiful girl next to me…
And then the vacations arrived. We were going to Paris at that time, and I was angry with Anne for a trivial thing. We talked about this on the phone, and then I hung up the phone in anger. Later, in tears, I tried to call her, but she was no longer there. I did not speak to her during the entire vacation, and it was clear that it was over. I was doing very badly and I was devastated!!! But with the medication I could put it into perspective better. I thought: I just let her walk away like that! What have I been worrying about all this time!? All at once I was rid of my symptoms, and I regained some healthy fighting spirit. At the end of the vacation, just before I left for university, I brought her a large framed drawing I had made of her as a farewell. I think it looked very similar to her. And then I could get on with my life again.
After the summer of 2002, I went to University to study psychology. It was the only thing I liked, and it turned out to be a fun year, because I soon had a group of friends I hung out with. Of course I had my eye on several girls, but I never really made contact. I was very preoccupied with myself, and I couldn’t focus on my studies, so I regularly failed my exams.
Sometimes I would meet up with friends from high school who had dropped out and were now again in the exam year of school: Frank and Chris. We would go into town, eat a burger at McDonald’s and go to the arcade to play air hockey. We had a lot of fun! One afternoon in November there was an extra lecture, while I had arranged to meet Chris. He never had a phone with him, so I couldn’t call him either. That’s when I made the (wrong) choice to go to my extra lecture, because I was way too afraid of missing something. And I kept Chris waiting. I hoped he would figure it out and go home. In the evening I called him and explained. He sounded a little down. I closed with: “Well, then I’ll see you soon!” to which he said, “Maybe!” I didn’t quite understand this, but I assumed that “maybe” referred to “soon…”
A few days later, one evening, Chris’ mother called me to say that Chris had not come home. I knew he wasn’t always comfortable in his own skin either, and he had mentioned it, so I immediately became worried. The next morning, while I was in college, I called his mother, and she told me that the police were with them, having the bad news that Chris had committed suicide. He had started walking on the rails from the train station, and was caught by a freight train at night. I was really bewildered and had to think back to our last phone conversation. Told some people who were there and then sat outside for a while to think. When I went back inside, we were just getting a sociology lecture, and what was it about: about suicide! I don’t understand why I stayed until the end, but I felt empowered by my friends there. It was scary to travel back home by train then. In a neighboring village we gathered with some friends. Only a little later did the sadness come. After a few long tears, I had already processed and sorted it all out before the funeral, and at the funeral I addressed the audience with the words that I was at peace with it. !!! The speed of it all was almost surreal. But that was in me, everything went fast and had to go fast. And so everyone has their way, I noticed.
I didn’t make it through my first year of college.
The reason I didn’t make it through my academic year was, as I said earlier, because I was very concerned with myself, because slowly the problems came back, despite the medication. The hypochondric fears came back. The sexual identity fears. The clothing problem, and so on. I couldn’t handle the image of me in the mirror, I looked like an alien, could no longer bear the glasses on my head, bought the craziest things to make my dry hair a bit greasier, suffered a lot from allergies, and also suffered from fatigue. In the meantime I had conversations with a nice psychologist, who I told about all these strange feelings after a number of sessions. She concluded I had one or multiple traumas, upon which she referred me to the psychiatrist Dr. Dalemans, in the hospital. The antidepressants were increased and every time I had a session with Dr. Dalemans, I was crying. It was time to take tests. I didn’t get an intelligence test, because they knew I was smart, but I did get a lot of other tests. I will never forget the afternoon when we heard the results. It was another psychiatrist who told me everything, Dr. Willemen. This one was strict and critical. In the tests I scored incredibly high on conscientiousness, incredibly high on anxiety, incredibly low on adaptability. I also scored incredibly high on female role behavior. He added that this doesn’t always have to be a problem. I also scored incredibly high on anxiety. And he asked me, “Do you always think so deeply?” At one point I broke down again and was crying, and so was my mother. He said, “These problems often come out at this age.” He also said, “You won’t get rid of this just with some therapy or some medication,” to which I then thought again that I would have to undergo forced sex-change surgery, which, by the way, I didn’t express. I can laugh about this now, but at the time it was seriously what I was panicking about. “Have you ever thought about a clinical admission?” he said to me. And another thing I can remember was, “Please let us do the diagnosis!” because I was horrified by giving up control and thought I had Adhd, Pdd-nos (an autistic disorder) and so on, because I really needed something to identify with. These disorders gave me a kind of identity. I decided that I did not want to be admitted, but wanted to go to a part-time treatment, so that I could still live at home. I was referred to the part-time-treatment center, where I had conversations with a friendly psychotherapist, Eelco de Smet, who later on would mean a lot to me, in a negative sense. He told me that my personality had arisen because I had experienced fearful things, that I had too many escape routes to ‘escape’ from them, and that a clinical admission would be better. He referred me to specialized treatment in a psychiatric hospital in a large city. My exact diagnosis was still unclear to me, because I hadn’t asked for it and they hadn’t told me clearly, and maybe that was just better for me.When the medication was increased one more time, I was finally able to feel a little good again. I met a girl, Tanja, through a forum on the internet. We met for the first time, and it was very nice at the time. We quickly moved on to sexual acts, but I wanted full control. And it was often pure defiance. My fears were a lot better, and as a result I was no longer bothered by feelings towards men. I was then very focused on myself and there was always something holding me back, I found it exciting, but at the same time gross to be so intimate with someone. I broke off my relationship with Tanja later on during my clinical treatment, because there would be a lot of aggression released in this treatment, and that was absolutely not compatible with an intimate relationship. It was a pity, but I really had to work on myself.
The psychiatric hospital where I was to receive the specialized treatment was a clinic consisting of three sections, where people with personality disorders are treated, who cannot be helped anywhere else. The people who come there did not feel that they were loved unconditionally. In September 2003, I had an intake interview there! I was told that I could be admitted quickly, because I was given priority, due to the severity of my symptoms. I remember the first day well. Where have I ended up, I thought. All these crazy people with whom I had absolutely no connection. And then the therapists, superpowerful people who I was immediately afraid of. The trial phase I entered now, I spent in a reasonably tough group and was very shocked by a young man who wanted to end his life. That was drama, and not a good start. I was often walking around very gloomy, and trying to control my fears by doing a lot of computer work, which has been a way for me to do this all my life. One night I really couldn’t cope and went to see a socio-therapist, where I burst into tears. I felt so alone and had so many bad symptoms. She said that the beginning was always difficult and that I had to take small steps, not the big steps that I was used to. She put her arm around me for a while, and then I could take it again. I really had a hard time. Fortunately I could already make some contact with the other people. For example, I heard someone play the violin, Janine, and because I had been so active with music myself, I started listening and so we regularly hung out together. I also got along well with Salma, a young Moroccan woman who came a week later than I did. Her Dutch was already very good and she jokingly tried to teach me Arabic script. But I only had one lesson, because I was much too busy with playing games on the Playstation….
I shared a room, at the very back of a long corridor, with three other men. At night, while dreaming, I often lay kicking the air, a roommate of mine once told me. And every morning Marvin, another roommate, would wake up the whole room with Gimme all your lovin’ by ZZ Top, or House of Pain (appropriate for the clinic, haha) by Deep Purple, on his stereo. When I was alone in my room, I would often sing along to music by Toto, which I had on. And then I hoped that someone heard it. And yes, a woman who had a room across from mine had heard it once, and thought it was really nice that I had been singing. And it felt really good that someone responded positively to me, because I really felt like an alien.
The trial phase also included some tests, which of course I finished within very little time. When the pilot phase was almost over, there was a meeting with my therapists scheduled one afternoon. On the morning preceding that afternoon I was gaming on the Playstation and then suddenly my therapist from the trial phase walked in very intimidating. She was angry. I was playing games again while it was actually the scheduled time for having this conversation, and she was wondering if I actually wanted to make an effort! I went with her to the discussion room, where another practitioner was, Anke. I found her incredibly powerful. I knew I was actually having that conversation in the afternoon, but I was losing my own thoughts and feelings in this one, because they came across as so intimidating, and they fooled me immensely. I lost confidence in them, and then I lost my self-confidence as well (they called it dangerous), a mechanism I have carried with me all my life, and that was exactly what they described to me when I was sitting in their room so desperately and in tears. This came in incredibly strong and I felt like they saw me right. They also told me that I had an awful lot of trouble with anger, that I was afraid of losing control of such feelings, and that the treatment was aimed at exploring these feelings in interactions with others. I was a little anxiously attached, they said. I was also very focused on others, and how they treated me. My aggression I directed at myself, in the form of severe self-criticism. Three main goals were formulated. To gain more confidence in others, to gain more self-confidence, and to learn to think realistically, which was also very important for me because I had bizarre thoughts. A choice was made as to which section they would place me in. In one of the sections I would probably become too anxious, so it was changed to another. I was placed in the friendliest group there was, group 2. And I was very happy with that. Anke van Brunssum became my main therapist.
The first period was intense. My goals were “to fit in with the group,” “to be active in the unstructured time with fellow group members,” and “to express thoughts and feelings in the therapies”. If something happened in the contact with my therapy mates, and I withdrew to dampen escalating feelings, I had to start writing. But of course I was the best boy in the class again, and I was now going to force myself obsessively to be among people. So you could always find me in the living room from then on. And there I looked for those people, who felt safe to me. I always put new people at ease; I usually got on better with them than with people who had been there longer (with some exceptions). In my first evaluation I also tell that I have been much too strict with myself again.
In one of the first group sessions Anke immediately made a harsh remark, which I still do not understand, even though she repeated it again later. In one of the other first sessions, she told me that I was going “in stealth mode” very quickly, and was therefore not transparent. And when I voiced my opinion in a Patient Staff Meeting (PSM), she made a comment about my behavior, that was too adaptive. I always felt publicly embarrassed, and was terribly afraid of losing face. After the PSM I had a very intense fight with Salma (I had a kind of love-hate relationship with her: one moment I loved her very much, and the next I could shoot her). When Anke heard about this incident, she told me that I was actually angry with her, and that I transferred it to Salma, who defended herself as vehemently as I did. Usually I tried to make up for it afterwards, but it also happened that, when we made up, we got into another fight, something that still makes us laugh heartily. Every remark of a therapist hit me hard, and I interpreted it as if I did something wrong, after which I tried very hard to do exactly the opposite, in order to meet the demands of the therapists.
In the first evaluation I also describe having great doubts about the therapy because it makes me so anxious and confused, but that despite this I already feel better than before. I also describe that I see ‘Jesse’ in the mirror again, instead of an alien, and I hear ‘Jesse’ talking again, when I listen to myself. In the second period I would work mainly on expressing my thoughts and feelings, because there was still no connection between my thinking mind and feeling. In this period I also had to discover when I acted from the “free child” and when from the “adaptive child” (concepts from transactional analysis). And I also had to seek contact with fellow therapists when I was not doing so well. Again, I had to work very hard on this.
In the meantime I also experienced many nice things. I can remember one woman where everyone was constantly getting on her nerves. I had this too regularly and I always had to laugh when I noticed this in her, because she would make very strange faces. Once something happened that almost made her burst out laughing. She quickly left the living room and went into an adjoining room. I ran after her and in the other room we both burst out laughing. Then she went on about what she thought was terrible about some people. Another funny thing was that I started giving Salma bike lessons. Moroccan women usually haven’t done much of that and so has Salma. She often fell and made the same mistakes as children do when they learn to ride a bike: not looking ahead, and becoming overconfident. At one point she could do it reasonably well and started practicing some more on her own. I was sitting inside the living room, watching with Michael. She even waved, but that was a bit too much, because she started to wiggle the steering wheel with one hand, and then she made a hard smash. Michael and I were in stitches, because it was slapstick. Fortunately, she didn’t have anything, and it didn’t stop her from riding her bike many more times!
My second evaluation is a special one. I tell how I already feel a lot safer in the contact and how there is always someone I can tell my story to. But I also focus a lot on what the other person expects of me, so that I cannot hold on to the feeling of an ‘individual self’ for long. What the other person expects from me also changes constantly in my head, so that I do not have a stable identity. I also tell them that I constantly want to be the nicest and the best, and if I don’t get attention for this I can feel an awful lot of anger towards someone. And that I constantly feel like I’m not doing it right, especially when I’m getting directions. I also express my angry feelings towards Anke, who with her authoritarian attitude and her directness makes me very angry. In discussing this evaluation, I describe to her for the first time that I have all kinds of aggressive thoughts towards her, which include knives. And this gave me tremendous peace, because she responded very well to this, which surprised me at first. Again many tears flowed with me. Anke insists (for the second time) on a systemic conversation with my family, and I arrange this immediately, whereupon I get an affirmative nod from her for the first time. She also says that I will find it very difficult in the time to come, because she is going to be on top of me (metaphorically speaking), so that I will need a lot of support from my group mates.
In the systemic conversation, my father and mother, and my brother were present. My sister could not be there at that time, which I thought was a pity. Anke describes that I can enjoy things again, which was gone for a long time. In the systemic discussion I always start crying when the subject comes to my sister. This is striking. I also start the conversation with my mother, who freezes and shuts up at times, just like what happens to me in the therapies. My father says he is also a perfectionist, to which Anke says that it probably doesn’t bother him. My father says that we can look back, but that it is better to look ahead, to the future, and Anke agrees. We also talk about my outbursts of anger at home and how my parents and brother and sister should deal with that. Anke tells us that it is better to do a time-out then. And that aggression has a big link with identity problems, which I suffer from so much. She also says that she doesn’t think my parents have made any more mistakes than other parents. I am extremely happy about this. I thought it was a good conversation and it brought the world of home together with the world of therapy. That was nice.
I can’t look inside Anke’s head, but she fished several times for what exactly I was afraid of. Whether it was fear of destroying someone else with my aggression, or fear of being destroyed by someone else’s aggression. What was striking is that in the period following the evaluation she did not fight me at all, as she had previously announced. I thought for a long time about what the reason could be. But I think it had to do with the systemic conversation, in which it was striking that I kept crying whenever we talked about Lauren, my sister. Because I think this showed her that I had the fear that my sister would be destroyed by my aggression. And then it makes sense that you can’t get on top of someone, because that fear gets in the way. And the same fear of destroying another person I had toward my mother, who did not defend her boundaries well and was easily hurt. This also became clear in the conversation. If I had not had this fear and was only afraid of being destroyed, it would have been good if Anke had challenged me to overcome this fear by being on top of me. This makes sense to me. So in the third period I continued with my goals from the second period.
I regularly went for a walk along the river that ran along the hospital grounds, with a few therapy friends, to relax. We also sometimes received visitors in the contact center or just went for a drink with a few people. In the contact center you could see people from all over the hospital terrain, including the other departments and buildings, and there were many people walking around who were far gone. One time we saw a woman there losing her diaper; that was really disgusting. And we also made contact with Jan, a schizophrenic man who was always talking about higher mathematics, and regularly asked how his eyes looked. He was also always patting his stomach and showing off his agility by throwing his leg in the air. Of course, we often asked him if he wanted to show this again, and we had fun again.
We also regularly went to the neighboring villages to do some shopping. One time I had gone on a bike ride together with Vanja, a group member, who went on skates. She was so tired when we got there that I put on her skates, and she put on my shoes, so we could still get back to the clinic. With Salma I also went for errands sometimes, and one time was the highlight. She wanted to go into an underwear store. And she asked me to hold a bra while she was trying on another one. I asked if I could judge the result, but unfortunately she wouldn’t let me. Tough luck!
One time I would go skating with Robin, a groupmate of Salma. I borrowed Vanja’s skates, put them on and went outside while she put on her skates. It took a long time, and just when I went back inside to see where she was, I heard a deafening noise. I quickly went to look and that’s when I saw her lying there floundering. She had pulled an entire closet of contents with her. It was hilarious. Fortunately she could laugh about it herself.
In those days I also hung out with Erik, my new roommate, a man of great humor, and we were always joking and laughing. The sociotherapists called us Frick & Frack, and wondered whether it was wise for us to hang out together, in the context of therapy. Erik and I then started making fun of those sociotherapists. Later he also hung out with Salma a lot, and I was always terribly jealous when Salma gave him attention too. Then I felt the same jealousy as I felt with Anne, my friend from high school.
In the third period I would learn to express and articulate my thoughts and feelings better and better. I really got into this everywhere, even when I was taking a bath at home. And this made me a lot less attention-seeking. In this respect it is an advantage that I’m such a fast learner. A sociotherapist who had not seen me for a while complimented me after a few weeks on the great progress I had made in this area. At first my stories were impossible to follow because they were so confusing; at that point I was clearly telling what I had experienced over a weekend, and how this affected my feelings. I had already become a lot more aware. I learned to ask for attention in a direct way, so I didn’t need all the indirect ways, and I became a lot calmer.
I also continue to investigate when I behave in an adaptive way, and when I behave more freely. What I started to notice here was that I behaved very adaptively when therapists were around, and just felt very free with fellow patients. I also looked down on some of the patients, and I remember one older woman standing by the socio’s office tying her shoes with her rather fat ass in the air. I walked by, and an aggressive thought crossed my mind to kick her ass. From then on I caught myself having these feelings/thoughts more often, but it felt wonderfully strong, especially when I discussed it in therapy, and felt it was allowed to exist. Vanja, my groupmate, describes in my third evaluation that the free child is loose!!! And that’s how I felt. I felt the power gradually move higher and higher in my body and I also felt it in my head. Because I had no escape routes at all, and my fears were exposed, and at the same time I received good guidance, healthy ways of dealing with these fears emerged. By discussing everything, I became a lot calmer. I had never talked about my illness-related and sexual fears in the clinic, and they never asked me about them, although I assume they knew about them. And I was actually glad about this, because the more I started to feel ‘myself’ and my strength, the less I suffered from these fears. Sexually I also became stronger. I often fantasized about some of the women who were in the clinic. I felt less and less guilty when I did this, and I was very happy about that.
It had been clear for some time that the clinic was going to relocate to a new home in a neighboring town. And the relocation was rapidly approaching. Before the move, Anke informed my group that we would be getting a new primary care provider, named Desmond Prinsloo, who we had already experienced as a psychiatrist. That was a bit of a shock, because I was very used to Anke, but fortunately I got used to Desmond quickly, and besides, Anke was often there during the group sessions. We called Desmond the pill gnome. He was a small man with a South African accent and he seemed very reliable. I remember very well a session at the old location, just before the move. Desmond wondered why I didn’t express my anger easily. Of course, he already knew that it was partly due to the fear I had towards my sister, but this fear can only exist (I found this out later) if, in the contact with my parents, I have gotten the idea that my anger is not seen, or is rejected. So Desmond talked about me in a defiant tone to my group members. “Why would Jesse be so afraid to express his anger? I think he’s afraid he’s going to get thumped!” I found it irritating, but was not really impressed at first, and decided to sit through the rest of the group session with an angry face. It did stick in my head, though, when the session was over, and I was sitting downstairs in the living room. I decided to go see Desmond, so I could talk about it and tell him I was angry. I went upstairs, and knocked on his door, but he wasn’t there. I repeated this three more times, but he was not there each time. I didn’t dare ask anyone where he was, because I didn’t feel comfortable at all. I wanted to talk about it only with him, because I was, I think, extremely ashamed of this, and certainly didn’t want to talk about it in front of my group mates. Since he wasn’t around, I decided to move on to other things and got so distracted by other things that were happening and that I could bring up in the therapy sessions, that I forgot about it and didn’t come back to it….
And then it was time for the move. A lot of stuff we didn’t have to pack of course, just our bag. And I drove with a group member to the other city, where we had already visited the brand new building complex a few weeks earlier. Then in the pouring rain, but now with beautiful weather. The complex consisted of three residential buildings, the two outermost for people with personality disorders from the three old sections, and the middle one for the anxiety and depression group and crisis care, if I remember correctly. In addition, there was a large therapy building. It was quite a struggle for me to get used to that. There were so many new people. I got a room all to myself, and I was super happy with that.
And then the clinic was opened by the queen. I had asked in advance where she was going to walk past, and had prepared myself well, so I could take pictures with my camera. I had a good view from a room upstairs in the residence. But even when she walked through one of the residential houses, I could be found inside. I think she thought: what a fanatic, with his camera. I immediately had the photos printed at a 1-hour service, in duplicate. A stack for me, and one for Salma. And I still look back at the photos with pleasure.
During the first weeks in the new accommodation I sometimes felt quite lost, according to my group mates in the third evaluation, but I did try to work on the contacts, so that I did feel safe. Moreover, I had great support from my group and I knew a lot of people in our house and in the other houses from the old section. I would start to feel more and more comfortable as I got to know all the new people, and I would dare to speak out more and more, even unprepared.
One evening we all had to gather in our own residence. Gerard Stoffels, a man with a high position in the clinic (I don’t remember exactly what), came into the house, and came with a terrible announcement. Michael, my former groupmate, had committed suicide. Everyone was in shock… With Michael I had often been able to laugh, especially the last months he was in my group, and we sometimes fooled others. He had been found in his car, with a hose attached to the exhaust that he had led inside. I was stunned again, and I was immediately reminded of Chris, my friend from high school. I sought support from several people. Many people who knew him cried. I at that time was not. I thought about how it could come this far. A few days later I went to say goodbye to him together with Vanja, while his body was laid out in the auditorium of the cemetery. And then came the grief, a lot of grief. The next day would be the funeral, but I did not want to go there, nor did I feel obliged. I had had my moment of reflection, and I thought that was enough. And now it was important for me to continue my therapy.
In my therapy I discussed that I also had anger towards Chris, and now towards Michael. I had been very much at the bottom before I started therapy, but I couldn’t really understand why a person would end his life. Why didn’t they just fight themselves out of it, just like I had done! I’ll come back to this.
One night I couldn’t sleep… I was thinking about my sister all the time. It felt very oppressive and very important, like I was at the source of everything. I went downstairs and started writing. About how I felt myself stuck to her. I wanted to develop separately from her, but this made me terribly anxious. An important part of developing separately from someone is that your negative feelings (aggression for example) towards that person are also allowed to exist. I felt so much love for her, but also so much hate and fear towards her. And an enormous conflict, because I was terribly afraid of destroying her if I went my own way. The next day I took what I had written to the group therapy session. Desmond and Anke started to ask me questions like: “What would you like to do with her?”, to which I said: “I would like to shove her …. eh… under the bed” (that came out very awkwardly, and it didn’t make sense), to which Desmond and Anke said: “I think you would like to do more with her!” and they clearly stimulated my aggression towards her. After this, the stage was set for the big change. I started to actively live out my aggression towards my sister in fantasy. Whenever I felt her in my head (which was very often), I would blow myself up and go on a rampage in fantasy. Later, in therapy, I told Desmond that I also felt my parents in my head. Desmond said that I could also allow my aggression towards them. My parents were facing me inside (they were not behind me), and my sister was next to me. My brother did not bother me much. Before I made this change, my therapists did wonder if I could distinguish between fantasy and reality, and I could! Otherwise you can’t incite someone to this kind of behavior, very understandable! A long period of mourning followed. For I was now separate from my sister, and this felt incredibly lonely. Also, I had now freed myself from my own ‘critical parent’, also a concept from transactional analysis.
The personality change was not the only result of the therapy. In the past months I had also undergone an enormous behavioral change. As I mentioned earlier, I obsessively dealt with all the criticism I received, and made sure that I met the therapists’ expectations exactly. So on the one hand I had embraced my maladjusted feelings, and lived them out in fantasy. And on the other hand I had learned to adapt to the therapeutic environment with its therapists and clients, so that I could just be in contact (while living out the aggression internally), make contributions, tolerate feedback/criticism, think realistically, but also give very good feedback/criticism myself, without judging anyone. So I had learned to handle my aggression, as it were! And above all, I could enjoy life to the fullest again, I no longer attributed my fears to the people around me, but to a trauma in my youth, and I had a clear sexual identity, in short: a very solid foundation!
But every time I indulged my aggression in my head, a wave of fear came over me. An unfocused fear. I discussed this in a group session. Then Anke asked what exactly I was afraid of. Whether it was fear of not being seen, or was it fear that other people disapproved of my anger! What happened then was very important. I felt a great fear at the word “disapproval”, and instead of describing this fear, I ignored it, I fought it, and said, “No! It is fear of not being seen.” I denied it, and in the “not being seen” I recognized myself very much after all as well! Moreover, I was ashamed and unconsciously thought that Anke and the group members would be disappointed in me if I told about this rejection fear. I pretended to be stronger than I was. But what matters now is that these words, in addition to Anke’s and Desmond’s earlier thoughts about me and my family, determined whether I should do follow-up therapy part-time. Anke also told me that: if I had a fear of disapproval, then I had to stop doing therapy, for then I needed my agression as a way to cope with this trauma. And if it was purely fear of not being seen, then they were happy to send me on to part-time follow-up therapy. But this was all so unconscious to me that I didn’t think about it at all. I also didn’t think back to the times I knocked on Desmond’s door, which actually revolved around the same big question. Besides, I wanted to get rid of that fear, so in that sense I wasn’t finished yet, and so I was looking forward to the follow-up therapy, not knowing that it would be my downfall. But it would not be until years later that I would remember this important session again….
I experienced some nice things throughout my therapy, especially the last few months. For example, at one psychomotor therapy session, Jos, the therapist, challenged my group. He described how sick we were, and called us patients. I said something to counter him, to which he said, “But it’s true!!!” It touched on my vulnerable part of my hypochondric anxiety, and I was hurt and when the session was almost over, we were free to do whatever we wanted (pillow fight!!!), whereupon I grabbed a pillow and focused my efforts entirely at Jos. I have never put that much agression in hitting someone, in that way before. Afterwards he gave me a big thumbs up! And I was satisfied.
And another nice thing in the last months was the following: After a week of hard work, on Friday afternoon it was time to go home. Bas, a groupmate, always dropped me off at a subway station in the city. The summer was in full swing; often the weather was nice, and we drove having the windows open. On the way, we would listen to the album Eye in the Sky by Alan Parsons Project. At a certain point we knew the lyrics by heart and sang along. It was an absolute pleasure! And that was a good thing, after a tough week. That summer I also cycled a few times to an old fortified city with Bas, from the city where the clinic was. There we ate some ice cream and walked around a bit, and then we cycled back to the clinic at top speed. How I felt was a world of difference from before the therapy. They were two extremes. At such moments I had no fear at all, and I could enjoy myself intensely. I felt powerful, I had stamina, I didn’t tire easily, and I had a lot of fun. It was a very nice time and I felt better than ever!
The fourth evaluation was also beautiful, but it was also the last evaluation, so that was also sad. After all, I was supposed to finish the therapy. During the last period I had focused mainly on connecting with everyone around me, and I had oriented myself to a follow-up treatment, which would be in line with my therapy process. I would follow this at the part-time-treatment center in a town closer to home, the same town where I had been in school, and where I had previously been diagnosed by Dr. Willemen and Dr. Dalemans. I had my intake scheduled for a month later, with Eelco de Smet, who had previously referred me to the clinic.
A big compliment in my evaluation came from the drama and creative therapist Dinah, who had been with us for about three months (from the move till now). She described that in drama therapy I had made history in a short time. “Loud, playful, a clown, imitating, attention-grabbing and overacting, but also quiet, inward, touched, inquisitive, and the courage to be truly vulnerable. It’s all Jesse and all these qualities are allowed to exist.”
And then the final week of my therapy at the clinic dawned. Anke complimented me in a Patient Staff Meeting (which included the entire residence), how much I had changed: at the beginning of the therapy I was so preoccupied with myself, and now it was the exact opposite: I was so preoccupied with others, and she thought that was a good quality. It was very nice, that last week, but I was also a bit down, because I was leaving the clinic. I remember Anke saying, “Enjoy it.”
In the last music therapy session, we listened to the CD my group had made for me. They had each chosen a song. And it was very beautiful. After listening to it all, there really was one of those telling hushed moments. Very beautiful. But also scary. Gerna, the therapist, asked if I wanted to sit like this for a few minutes and enjoy the moment? But I said “no!” I ran to the drum kit and went for a final blast, and the group members stood up and danced to the rhythm! And then I said goodbye to Gerna with three kisses, because I had become quite attached to her as well.
Anke gave me a stone in the last group session, which she had found on the beach during her vacation. She called it “the philosopher’s stone”. The stone had two different sides and she had a description of them. The one side of the stone was very flawless, and untouched and symbolized, she said, the fact that I didn’t let myself be affected in contact with others. That was before I started therapy there. The other side of the stone was rough and tarnished and symbolized the fact that now, after the therapy, I did allow myself to be affected in contact with others. I have carried this stone with me for a long time in my wallet. I had to let myself be affected, especially in the follow-up therapy that was on the program, because that was good for further development. And I have often thought back on this. I thought it was an incredibly sweet memento. My group mates took another photo of me together with Desmond and Anke. I felt that Anke was looking at me proudly, but I did not dare to look back, from so close. After the therapy I went to my room to write farewell cards for everyone and for some therapists. Suddenly there was a knock at the door, and there stood Anke and Desmond. Anke told me that she wouldn’t be here tomorrow, the day of my farewell, so she wanted to say goodbye now. I asked if she could wait a little longer, so I could write a card. I quickly wrote a text in which I told her how much I had feared her at the beginning of my therapy, and how free I felt now, and that it was really a world of difference, and that I was very grateful to her. I went to her room, and gave her the card. She was happy with it, we talked some more, and she got three kisses from me. It was a beautiful farewell.
That night my group and I had our own party! We ate separately from the rest, and so we were able to say goodbye at length. I got a present from the group: four colored t-shirts. Because I always wore such boring white t-shirts because of my identity problem, and different clothes making me feel like different persons. They hoped that I would now be a little less self-conscious, so that I could wear something different. And I did. The next day, the day I said goodbye, I was wearing a bright green t-shirt, and I showed it to Desmond once again when I went to see him to say goodbye. He gave me the referral letter for Eelco de Smet, I saw my full diagnosis for the first time and I was startled for a moment, but I recognized myself very much in it. We talked a little more, I gave him my farewell card and then I gave him a firm hand!
The rest of the day was very special. My group mates, who were all dressed in black pants and white t-shirts, gave me a booklet in the form of the same black pants and a white t-shirt. In this booklet were farewell texts from each group member and photos, and a text with photo of my therapists Desmond and Anke, that they were proud of me, and that I should carry my ‘philosopher’s stone’ with me. I also received a booklet with farewell texts from some of my clinic colleagues, also from the other house. I still cherish these, it is a wonderful ending to a wonderful time. I was picked up that day by my father, mother, and grandmother, and that felt very familiar. I gave everyone who stood outside to say goodbye a hug. And then my group walked with me, down the driveway, to our car. One last group hug and lots of kissing, hugging and shaking hands. And then I drove away with my family to my hometown.
While waiting for my follow-up therapy, I was now at home for about four weeks. And I was doing only a few things: staying up late, listening to loud music, and singing along loudly with rock music. I was often angry, and thought everything my family said was nonsense! I was no fun for them to live with, but it was also very close, living at home with my relatives, for whom I felt so much hatred, although deep down I loved them very much. Anke had said in one of the last weeks, when I told her that I was often so angry with my family, “Don’t do it! They are trying so incredibly hard for you!” But it was such a structureless void, when I was suddenly back home, that I blew up very much and could show little love for them. In the clinic I was often angry during the last weeks, but I felt I could not do that at home, and that intensified the fear and anger…
The part-time treatment was to begin with a psychological assessment: several conversations with therapists and psychiatrist. But about a week before these talks were to take place, things got out of hand at home. I was annoyed with my mother, and my father defended my mother, giving me an aggressive reaction, which made me extremely angry with him and led to mutual insults, at which my mother said to me: “Timeout, timeout”, which made me feel like I was being punished like a little child for my anger, and my father could do anything to me with impunity. In the end, I cried for a long time. The clever ones among you may find that the first sentences of this event remind them of the piece I wrote earlier, about my sexual fantasies. I quote myself: Every time I thought about my girlfriend, sexually, a man came around the corner in my head, taking away all lust and scaring me. … Later this turns out to be a model for what I went through in the relationship with my parents.’ The parallels are, of course, striking. I will return to this later.
Eelco de Smet, who had referred me to the clinic at the time, could still remember me from the previous year. He especially remembered that I constantly corrected myself when I said something wrong. He thought I had changed a lot, and it felt good that someone saw that, because, after all, I had worked very hard at it. I told him very openly about my therapy at the clinic, that I had mainly talked about my sister and the trauma I had suffered towards her. We also talked about sex and love. He suggested that maybe those were two of the same things to me. I disagreed, but later I came back from this. I did indeed see it as two of the same things. And what also came up was that I was having many sexual fantasies about women (which he found SM-like), but I found the intimate part of sex gross. It was a very nice conversation, and I felt very seen.
Also, before the therapy actually started, I was supposed to write a short life story, so that the therapists knew something of my history. In this short life story I tell about how I was as a child, and what development I went through in the clinic. At the end I tell how important it is for me to be independent, to be able to view the other person in contact correctly, and to view positive and negative feelings unified in one person. And Eelco was able to help me with this. So I had a lot of confidence in the therapy. I also had a conversation with one of the sociotherapists, Karin, about my daily activities. With her I also had the feeling that I was very much seen. I also had a talk with psychiatrist Lieve. What I remember most is that she asked me if I had been spanked in the past. This was a bit of a shock for me, because in the clinic nobody had ever asked me that directly before, apart from Desmond. I answered in the affirmative, and when asked who did it the most, I answered that I did not know. I found it very scary to think about this. I also told her about my aggressive fantasies, which made me feel very powerful, and which I was also very proud of. Some people wonder why I was proud of aggressive fantasies, “that’s not something to be proud of”, but for me it was totally new to feel these feelings, which could never exist before, and for me it was a big step in my development, because every person needs his aggression, admittedly for most in a controlled form (but I didn’t know that yet), but still! It ensures that you are able to withstand attacks, it is your defense. It is your feeling, your personal strength, the passion in your body, you can fall back on it when you feel bad, and it makes you stay upright when someone attacks you. It allows you to be excited about something, or sexually. And of course we were able to see earlier in my life story, what happens when these feelings are not allowed to exist.
Finally, I had a systemic conversation with my parents and Tineke, another therapist. Keeping in mind the out-of-control event from a week earlier, I said, “I’m afraid of my dad, and he’s afraid of me.” Tineke came to the subject of boundaries. Whether there had been any in our home, and how my parents felt about pointing these out to me. My parents replied that they had always found that difficult. I broke in and said, “There certainly were boundaries!” to which Tineke said, “Yes, I can understand you saying that!” I then got the feeling that my parents were seen as helpless victims, and I as the guy who terrorized the place with his supposedly unbounded personality. I didn’t taste any awareness from her about what therapy I had done in the clinic for the past year, and what trauma(s) I had dealt with.
In the time that followed, I would begin to feel more and more fear of the therapists there, who came across to me as very fake, incompetent, and narrow-minded. I started my therapy in the intake group, which lasted several weeks. I got used to my therapy companions, and to the therapists. But to my mind, everyone was much closer together, than was the case in the clinic. In one of the first weeks I expressed to the sociotherapists that their behavior made me anxious. They were very controlling, unlike the therapists at the clinic. They remained controlling towards me, and also towards others, but I felt supported in a way, because they knew how to reassure me, even though I had no idea what was going to happen.
There was a nice girl in the intake group, though, and I tried to impress her. She was aware of this and she sometimes hinted that she did notice that I was flirtatious. This felt like an attack to me, even though she did not mean it at all, but I had the feeling, partly because of the controlling attitude of the therapists, that she was very dissatisfied with me. But fortunately I was reassured by Brenda, the psychomotor therapist.
After a few weeks I moved on to the present & past group, the group best suited to work on your identity, according to Eelco. What I kept in mind from this first period was that the therapists occasionally indicated the direction I should take. Miranda, the creative therapist, wondered why I was fighting my fear so much: “Why don’t you just let it come over you?” She also told me that I was now overreacting and obessively going in the opposite direction, and that the idea was that I would go take a middle path, while maintaining my qualities. At least, that’s what I understand now, looking back on it. But at that moment I thought she meant something else and that felt like rejection. But I didn’t ask any questions because I was going to stand my ground anyway. Nobody could hurt me: I had my aggression by my side. I would feel much more rejected in the time to come. One time at psychomotor therapy we had to pick a spot in the hall and I had sat on top of a closet, with some pillows around me. Then a group member asked if she could have a pillow from me, to which I said “no”! Then the therapist said that I was not nice (is that required?) and that I had purposely chosen a high place to feel safe (logical, cause I am not yet comfortable). If this had happened in the clinic, I would have received a compliment that I had chosen for myself by not giving away the pillows and looking for a safe place, but apparently you were not allowed to feel safe here and you always had to be nice, at least this was my interpretation. When I discussed events like this in sociotherapy, and said I felt disrespected, it was said, “I don’t think you feel disrespected, I think it’s just confronting what we’re saying,” to which I then felt disrespected again. I tried to let all the anxiety, which was getting pretty intense, just come over me.
In the first evaluation I describe that I was confronted a lot, and that I was terribly afraid to be angry. I describe how I have felt trapped between my sister and brother. And I describe that I hardly ever destructively vent my tensions at home anymore, and that I am working very hard to build up activities. And I tell that I no longer see ‘control’ as a bad thing (but that was mainly to justify the controlling behaviour of the therapists). Eelco describes that my behavior can be summarized in a symbolic medal with two sides: on the one hand I can idealize people enormously, and on the other hand I can devalue them (not appreciate them). And I did recognize that. I am also told that I must be especially naughty in the coming period and that sounds like music to my ears. But I would hardly be able to do that….
What I remember about the second period is that there was an enormous confrontation. Eelco confronted me with the fact that I was throwing myself obsessively into activities and that I was exceeding my limits, whereupon I went in one fell swoop from doing everything to doing nothing. I was afraid of not being adequate enough, so I stopped with the activities, I became passive again, despite attempts by a sociotherapist to get me active again: “But it will make you feel so proud!!! Do it anyway!” But for me there was nothing between everything and nothing, that was just the way I was. Moreover, at that moment I could only cry, whereupon Eelco urged me that my boundaries would be taken seriously. In the group sessions I mentioned that I was very afraid of Eelco. I made contributions about identity and spontaneity and told that when being angry with my mother and my father saying something about this, I would then direct everything at my father! In the time that followed, I discovered even more about how I was at the inside.
After the therapy I regularly walked to the center of the city to have a drink in a café. This was always nice. One time there was a woman with twins sitting one table away from me. We started talking. At one point she asked me what I was doing in daily life and I told her about my therapies. I told her I was also a twin. And she was very nice. At one point I wanted to elaborate, and I told her that being a twin had caused me trauma. What she said shocked me and made me think. She said, “But then maybe your parents have been at fault.” This was about the worst thing you could say to me. Because saying that someone did something wrong was worse than hating someone terribly, in my experience. I hated my parents at that moment, but I kept telling myself that they hadn’t made any more mistakes than other parents. After all, that was what Anke from Brunssum said in the systemic interview with my family and me. Moreover, in the clinic therapy I had learned from Gerna, the music therapist, not to talk in terms of “you did this wrong” and “you are to blame for this” but rather in terms like: “what was this like for you?” And “this is what it was like for me!”. This event in the café was actually the stepping stone for me to look clearly at my parents (despite all the hatred), and to put into words what I thought they had done wrong, and believe me: that image did not correspond with what Anke and Desmond had thought about my family all this time, and what made her decide to refer me to the part-time therapy. One evening, I was angry with my parents again and then I verbalized it to them; my brother was there too. I told them that I was angry that my father always reacted very aggressively when I was angry, and I was angry at my mother for always standing by and not intervening when my father reacted aggressively. This was very courageous of me, but I did not get the desired reaction, and my brother even stood up for my parents. In therapy I did not talk about it, because I had not gotten the impression that it was rewarded in this therapy if you said something negative about your parents. After all, I was that guy who could get so angry, and I had to restrain myself from saying anything negative. If only I had told what I knew, but I just couldn’t, the pressure of the group and the therapists was just too great for my liking, so I hid it away and forgot about it.
Throughout the second period, my aggressive fantasies ran rampant, especially toward Eelco, but so little attention was paid to that that it kept building up. I was very suspicious. I couldn’t express it, because this part of me was totally ignored, and this caused my head to almost explode at my second evaluation. On the outside, however, I behaved nicely. And just at this moment Eelco told me that I desperately want to feel real contact, and my aggressive fantasies are destroying this contact. I went home surprised, I had not heard this before, and before I got home something strange started to happen in me. I felt myself weakening… Instead of the fantasies, Eelco came into my head who I kept hearing saying: “your aggressive fantasies are destroying intimate contact!” And intimate contact was precisely my greatest desire at that moment. My aggression started to subside, I felt the enormously increased forces slowly move downwards in my body. I tried to fight it, but I just couldn’t, because Eelco was there, in my head. I thought it was terrible. I felt weaker and weaker and felt my sexual identity changing, against my will. Because in my aggression I could identify with men, but now that I was obviously letting go of my aggression, out of survival, it seemed as if I was becoming more and more feminine. I was totally confused and made many contributions in the therapy sessions about my sexuality and how my parents reacted to me at home when I was angry. I also mentioned that my father could get aggressive towards me, to which Eelco said something like, “He was a bit clumsy!” At that moment I was also afraid that my for me very valuable ability to get excited by women would disappear more and more because of the therapy, on which Eelco said: “Women can get very angry too!” on which I felt that I wasn’t safe anywhere anymore and became even more confused. I no longer had the feeling that I had any control over others, the fear increased, and the compulsion slowly returned. Was I going to feel the same as I did before I started the therapies…? This frightened me so much that I scraped together all my fighting spirit in my body and tried to push it up as hard as I could. I blew myself up terribly, but I couldn’t manage to fantasize aggressively. I was raging!!! But I didn’t feel this rage in my head anymore, but instead through my whole body. But didn’t know what to do with it. My head was completely filled with aggression, but it was not the usual boundless rage, no, it was controlled aggression. And then all of a sudden the therapists at the therapy session said, “Now you are allowed to be angry! Then I became even more furious inside, because they had completely fooled me, by totally ignoring my anger in the past period and not affirming it at all. If I would express my anger now, I would be judged by the therapists whether I did right, I thought! I could get a reaction, and that was exactly what I was afraid of. Because it would have no effect, they would not take me seriously, because it felt as if THEY were controlling me, as if they were playing with me, like predators with their prey. I felt like a figurative plaything!!! I didn’t want to be angry anymore and kept everything inside. Eelco said at that moment that I was dangerous! Several times he urged me to share what I felt, but I refused.
But the longer I kept my anger inside and the more that happened in therapy, the more weird feelings I started to have. It was then summer 2005, and my sister had set up the tent in the garden, to sleep in it, just for fun. I would also sleep in the tent, just for fun. It was more fun for a time than lying in your bed. And that night, among others, I had delusional thoughts. I had the delusion that I had a woman’s body again, very overwhelming, and I was convinced that I had to undergo the sex change operation, then I would surely feel better. It even turned me on when I thought about that. And when I brought this up in therapy, I cried a lot again and Eelco said that I was becoming almost psychotic, but apparently he was still hopeful that I would be able to cope. I had fears of merging (as if I was merging with some of my “internal objects” that I had previously tried to keep at bay with my rage, (I don’t know the proper English term for it, maybe ‘fusion’ anxiety)), and he also said that he wanted to make clear the difference between my sister Lauren and me, that we were two different people, and that I shouldn’t have slept in the tent with her. As if it was fucking my fault that I had these fears! Besides, to my mind it wasn’t my sister I was merging with in my head, it was my mother as well! I had to be like her according to the therapists supposedly. I also had homosexual feelings that I didn’t want, because at the same time I didn’t find men interesting at all. I had the feeling I was forced to be gay, and female, by those therapists. I still tried to trust the therapy: if I continued it would automatically get better, because quitting was not an option: then everyone would be on my back saying it was unwise. In my third evaluation I described what was happening in a very adaptive way, and I wrote about what I thought Eelco wanted to hear: that I can admit those feminine and homosexual feelings more and more (although I did not want to, and it felt as if the therapists were responsible for this). But I also described that I felt very bad and that I suffered a lot from anxiety and compulsion. But I didn’t get any support for my feelings. I felt so worthless and the only thing Eelco de Smet said was, “The compulsions have increased, but those are immature mechanisms!” He also said, “The idea is for you to start doing lots of things, otherwise you’ll still be here next year!” I felt abused and I didn’t dare say it, that’s how incredibly powerful those therapists felt. “You making us up to be very powerful,” they sometimes said, but I couldn’t help it, it was just in my ‘blueprint’, my system. I felt they were trying to push me to express my anger. Eelco said, “You’re not afraid of being controlled now anymore!” In other words, what’s stopping you from expressing your anger…. On the one hand, I now looked down on them in dismay, on the other hand, I still had hope. So I went on. I was really overflowing with anger, but I was also very much in touch with the reaction that followed each time. As a result, at one point in the group session I described how my father used to repeatedly hit me in the face and shake me furiously, when I was angry. This was incredibly brave, but all Eelco said was, “Did it ever happen?” to which I thought he thought I was trying to escape therapy by saying that. The pressure was so great for me, that I lost my own feelings, and could only express myself destructively to the therapists, or very adjusted. And that sweet adaptive behavior was very much rewarded and seen each time, but it did not feel as if it was me. So I remembered that at that time I sometimes felt I was doing everything on autopilot. And meanwhile I felt alienated from what I was saying and doing, a kind of depersonalization. I felt so much hatred, but couldn’t listen to it, because then I wouldn’t survive for my feelings. I was torn apart!!! I splitted internally. And every time I tried to bring out my anger, it was always in a clumsy way, and I felt I was being controlled again, which made me cry a lot (“the crying will remain for a while”, Eelco once said), so that piece of power disappeared from my head forever. And they controlled (and manipulate) me very cleverly: Eelco told me again and again that I wanted nothing more than intimate contact and I had to think of the moment I spoke to him at the second evaluation, when he told me that my aggressive fantasies were destroying intimate contact. Then I had to cry a lot, because I had just such a need for intimate contact, and it made me feel further controlled again. Eelco then interpreted my grief as if I was mourning for what had not been present in my family, but in my head a completely different story was playing: I was crying because I felt belittled again! But I didn’t have the strength to express it.
One time I thought back to what Anke had once said. Someone in the clinic had been very angry. And Anke understood that well, and saw it in perspective. She said: “Sometimes damaged people test whether they can still express their anger in contact with the therapists!” Once when Eelco asked why I had been angry during that tumultuous time, I said, “It was like a test!” Eelco had absolutely no understanding for this, and he came back with the usual line that I wanted intimate contact so badly.
At one point I was so desperate and destructive that even my therapy mates turned against me, and I cried a lot. At one point I was completely silenced. I had no defense at all and I was catching heat from everyone, loyal to the therapist they all were. From that moment on I felt totally alone. Dead. Broken. Alienated. I walked to the bus station on autopilot, without it looking like it was me who was walking. I felt that this was going completely wrong. I was on the bus, and I no longer recognized the places I was going through. I mentally knew where I was, but the feeling of recognition was totally gone. Total derealization. I also no longer had any emotional memory of the past, everything was gone. At home the first thing I did was to hug my mother and look for support. And she supported me as she always could do so well! But I went crazy. I thought I was going to die. I thought, I have to go back to the clinic! This is not possible! I suddenly thought of Dick, a therapy mate in the clinic, who had been psychotic, and had finally ended up in the clinic. His therapy was abruptly terminated while I was still in the thick of it. It was said he had some kind of a defense mechanism, which prevented them to get his aggression to ascend. And as a result, he would have to live the rest of his life in a very structured way, to prevent deterioration. I remember very well that he told me he would have to live the rest of his life like a vegetable. This was terrible. And I was convinced that this was now also true for me! This added to the fear! And it was unstoppable!
The next day I had to go back to therapy but I was terrified of returning. My mother drove me by car to the therapy location, and we went in together. I wanted to ask the desk clerk if Eelco could come down, but immediately burst into tears. Eelco came and we had a talk. I told him that I was so frightened and felt so alone. He said, “It’s good that you are pointing this out.” Such an annoying therapy oneliner, to which I said that he could really go to hell! He said: “The aggression is in your system” and: “You are estranged from contact inside.” He asked if I wanted a time-out and I agreed. I would stay home for a few days. These few days at home I spent mostly with doses of Oxazepam, lots of sleep, but mostly staying busy, because that was the last pointless handle I had been given by the therapists, which again I tried very hard to comply with. It did not make me feel better.
I felt awful: terribly depressed, anxious, angry and desperate, but I didn’t want to believe that the therapists would let me leave in this state. If I continued the therapy, it would get better gradually, I told myself again. I was unstoppable! So after a few days I called again to find out when I could start again. Eelco told me that he wanted to discuss this in person and that I could bring my parents. At the meeting he told me that he didn’t think it was a good idea for me to continue with therapy. He said that in therapy they put/had put a lot of pressure on me, and that I had a vulnerability, which made it better to stop, and say goodbye. I thought, who created this vulnerability? You!!! Who exposed that vulnerability: You!!! Bastard! But I was very adjusted again. I felt cast aside, as if I had failed in therapy. As if two years of intensive therapy had been for nothing. I told him that I felt worse now than before I started all the therapies, to which Eelco assured me that I was no worse off. After all, I was no longer compulsive, but to be honest I just didn’t dare to do that anymore, because he had said that is immature. And what did I still dare to do? Nothing really. I had become a patient for life.
In one of the last conversations with Lieve Deruyter, the psychiatrist, she told me that I was never really allowed to express my anger at home and that I was allowed to be angry, even though I now had the feeling that I wasn’t. And she assured me that the process I had gone through during the past year was not irreversible. And then I totally looked down on her, because I thought of Dick, the vegetable, and knew that Lieve was wrong.
Since I had been diagnosed in the regular hospital (2003), my antidepressants had been significantly increased. After the clinical therapy in the psychiatric hospital, when I felt so well, I had even reduced them partially, but in the last periods in the part-time therapy, when I was having such a hard time, they had been increased again, even doubled, “just as a helping hand! So not as a regression” Lieve and Eelco assured me. But when this almost maximum dose did not help sufficiently against the anxiety, I was also given an antipsychotic for the first time in my life, which was constantly increased to a fairly high dose, “just as a helping hand!” But the expected progress that would make me no longer need my medication, did not materialize and has not materialized to this day. I was damaged too far.
The worst part is that it was a puzzle for me what had actually happened, and what part the therapists had in it. At the farewell they behaved as infallibly as ever, as if nothing had happened. That was terrible. They just went on with their ways and techniques, and they let me go in this state, without looking critically at themselves, and admitting their own mistakes, although Eelco said that it was their responsibility, but what that meant exactly, I did not know. I had to find out for myself what went wrong, where it went wrong, where the mistakes were made, how it all works psychologically and so on. That is hard! They unfairly had so much faith in their therapy and nothing came of it. They assured me at one point in the therapy, when I could no longer fantasize aggressively, that I was allowed to exist the way I was, but I did not go home with that feeling. I felt the conditional love, which I had experienced in the past within my family, and which now, with this event, came crashing down again. Because I was not like they thought I was: I was like I came out of the clinic, that was the real Jesse, back then I was still standing. Back then I had the extra space in my head that I always needed so much, to keep my great fear (of real and actual danger!) manageable. This was unbearable. And I was furious, but kept this all inside.
By applying a lot of pressure on me, not affirming me, and challenging my boundaries, the therapists hoped that I would bring out my dire anger, defend my boundaries, so that I would gain self-confidence, and then be able to release my anger and push my boundaries! And at first glance, they thought that’s what was happening to me. But that was not what was going on in my head, I have already made that clear. The therapy had a completely different effect than what had been intended. If their estimations had been correct, and I had no serious trauma towards my parents anymore, I would have been free of diagnosis after this therapy. Unfortunately, things turned out differently for me, and I was brought fully into contact with a serious trauma, from which you can actually only run away or fight if you want to remain intact. And it was precisely those ‘flight and fight’ ways (black and white thinking (splitting), aggressive fantasies, going out of contact), that were taken from me. And when they saw what effect that had, they also admitted that fleeing was justified. Now I know that Anke and Desmond, the therapists at the clinic, should not have referred me to the part-time-therapy. The stakes were too high. Apparently they were willing to take the risk, and perhaps I had unwittingly misled them. After all, they had raised this issue several times: the time I had knocked on Desmond’s door at various times after the therapy, because I wanted to talk to him about it in person. And the time Anke asked me about what exactly I was afraid of when I was living out my aggression internally. It is the function of a therapist to confront his or her patients with the trauma they have suffered, and to make it known to the patient’s conscious mind. This was done well with the trauma to my sister, but not with the trauma to my father. I have, out of great fear and shame, subconsciously avoided talking about it. I denied that part of myself. Sometimes I feel very guilty about that, but I can’t handle it to look at the damage this all has caused with guilt, so I try not to listen to it…
A renewed look at my parents
At the beginning of this story, I wrote about how I viewed my parents. But there were a lot of repressed feelings. Even though I was in worse shape than ever because of the part-time therapy; I now knew exactly how I was put together. Most people, especially the psychologically-inclined, have long since been able to form a picture of how things were in my home, but I will still share what kind of picture I now have of my parents.
My mother is a good person, and a sweet woman, who is always ready to help me. I always looked for security from her. She always talked to me a lot, and I liked that very much. She is always there for me, but sometimes I felt a little limited in independence, she would rather do things herself for me, than that I could do it. And she would rather think for me, than let me think for myself. And she warned me too much about everything, and stopped my autonomy. She also did frequently deal with her own fears, worries, and practical problems. Because of this, I never really had the feeling that she saw me well. Moreover, from the time I was born, I had to share all of her attention with Lauren, and I was in a kind of symbiotic relationship with her and Lauren until I finished the clinical therapy.
My mother was a teacher and was always good at explaining things. When I was little she was always very enthusiastic when I could do something well and I always appreciated that, in fact I wanted to impress her, because she reacted so well to that. Also, when I was older, I was always able to talk with her about myself and all my fears. But she didn’t really understand where it came from. I got a lot of attention from her when I could do things well, and when I was scared, she was always there for me, but when I was very angry, I didn’t feel like she saw me. And when I behaved badly, she didn’t put convincing consequences on my behavior, and then when things got out of hand, my father had to protect her. She couldn’t defend her boundaries very well, although she had a good sense of where they lay. Bringing out her own anger at important moments is hard for her. But I am very grateful to her for all those years.
My father is a good person and a sweet man. He was usually working during the week, and we would see him in the evenings and weekends. He wasn’t really in contact, but the times I had contact with him, were very nice. Then he would tell stories, or sing songs, or act crazy. I am grateful to him for the good things, but unfortunately as far as being a parent goes, the negative things overshadow the positive things. Namely, he lacked a convincing parenting role. He never set boundaries in time when we were annoying, as if he thought that this would automatically get better, and we would automatically behave. Of course it does not work like that. And if we were annoying and there were no boundaries, it could get out of hand, and then he would build up his anger, and as soon as he noticed that my mother was having a hard time with us, he would jump up threateningly, and turn into a monster. Then his features would change completely, as if he really was someone else! He would be very aggressive and hit me right in the face and shake me, and if I got angry he would hit me again until I was completely silenced. Usually I would be sent to my room, and then he would come up after a while. He then forced me to apologize to my mother or to him. Also at the dinner table it went wrong often. I would get angrier and angrier at my mother, and when my father would say something about it, I would be so angry that he would work against me again, when I tried to make contact with my mother, that I would focus everything at him, and then he would stand up threateningly and slap me around the head or slap me around the ears.
Sometimes I got a spanking on my bare bottom, very humiliating. My mother usually stood there looking shocked, and shouted “HECTOR!!!” but otherwise she did not intervene. Spontaneous reactions startled him. And before I knew it, I was either thumped, or he ran after me and then grabbed me wildly and hit me.
And the worst part was that I was a spectator to him when he hit Lauren or Anton, repeatedly, even when they were angry. And especially that he beat Lauren, my twin sister, I found even worse than when he beat me. This caused me to be traumatized not only by the fear of him destroying me with his aggression, but also by the fear of him destroying my sister. I couldn’t express my feelings to him, nor to my mother because he blocked that, or because she was hurt, so then I directed everything at Lauren, with whom I always had to share my mother’s attention. So it used to happen often that I would hit Lauren. But then I was so shocked at myself and I immediately thought of my father, I identified with him, so that also became a serious trauma. And when I was 19, I was ready for a therapeutic admittance, and that story is pretty well known by now!
My parents in turn have also experienced negative things in their lives, within their family, which has influenced them and made them more vulnerable. I realize that all too well. Thus, their behavior can also be understood. For them, keeping three children under control has probably been disappointing at times too! In my father’s family they were also always very focused on having to comply and my grandfather also hit him and so he was often shocked by a spontaneous or angry reaction from me, so he couldn’t accommodate or limit me. My mother also had her experiences of being punished in an aggressive way, leaving her vulnerable and unable to correct my father, and unable to bound us convincingly. As I said, it’s all understandable, but it’s unfortunate that it had to turn out this way, and I’m not condoning it. Such personality problems are passed from generation to generation in this way. Fortunately, these days there is more talk about it (the supernanny programs also contribute positively to this), and it is more common to seek help than in the past. And by doing so, you can also stop the problem, so you don’t pass it on to your children. My parents also find this very difficult, and are very sorry that it has turned out this way, because they see in such a TV program how it can be done differently. My parents always do their best for you, they want the best for you, and would certainly have applied a lot of what they hear and see. Perhaps they would even be overly concerned with what is good for the child, so that the child is overprotected, but I think that is still better than ignorant parents, who think they are doing the right thing, but actually make a very critical and crucial mistake.
A brief clarification
Especially when children are exposed to great fears over and over again at a young age, it becomes a part of their personality. (This really differs from people who experience something like this at a later age, because a child at a young age does not have as many reserves to deal with fear. A person of an older age, often does have enough reserves, especially of course if they have been given a stable and solid foundation from home).
What you see in such children is that in their adult lives, seemingly small things that happen in the outside world, can make them extremely anxious. In therapy it is the intention to make someone stronger, and giving aggressive fantasies free rein is very effective against such traumas, because it dampens the painful feelings of fear and provides more stability. In many cases, they’ve experienced a lot of aggression or disapproval towards them. And teaching someone to fight back against this is very effective.
Great fears also lead to disturbed behavior, in order to deal with these fears. In therapy this behavior is often unlearned, and healthy behavior is stimulated. In this way the sharp edges can be removed. But what remains, and what is also healthy for these types of people, is their demanding nature, and the fact that they need more attention or space than healthy people. This should be seen in perspective, because it keeps them (and this kept me) going.
After the part-time treatment
The weeks that followed the hell of events that took place in part-time therapy were tough. In everything I did, I had reached my limit very quickly. All the things I liked to do when I came out of the clinic, I couldn’t do anymore. I still wanted to do them, but the fear was just too great. Every time I tried to use my strength/aggression to do something, I was immediately overwhelmed by fear. And that had never been so strong. I really couldn’t do anything, or I became frightened. And the fear had become bigger and bigger during the therapy and occurred faster and more violently, because there was so much pressure on me in the therapy. It kept the aggression down, so to speak, and my aggression was not allowed to exist when I left the part-time therapy. And an important part of identity is that your own feelings (including anger) are allowed to exist. I felt like a nobody and there was nothing unique about me. I let everything happen to me. It was now important that I received guidance so I could rehabilitate.
I was referred to the psychiatric clinic of the mental health care facility, in the same city. There I had an interview, after which it was decided to send me to the RIC (reintegration center of the mental health care facility). There it was decided to let me come by in part-time, because I was managing reasonably well at home with my parents. I would come three times a week for one part of the day. Rina became my psychiatric nurse. When visiting for the first time for part of the day, I was surprised that there were no therapies. It was just a house where psychiatric patients lived. And I saw more people who had it bad and were doing nothing. I absorbed all their feelings, and it didn’t make me feel better. I hated being so downtrodden, but I was able to make contact with the people who lived there fairly quickly, which made them a little less scary. But I was also incredibly anxious, and didn’t trust many people. Especially not the counsellors. My trust in the social workers had dropped to zero point zero. Moreover, they still had to get to know me, and therefore they often said things that were not correct. Because of this I was fighting with them at home in my head. I told them what kind of therapy processes I had gone through and how much I had felt that my aggression was rejected in that part-time therapy. For a long time I had the idea that they did not understand how I was, and that they thought I was just a spoiled and evil little boy who finally had to grow up. The first time I was in the RIC I was disgusted by everyone and everything and regularly gagged. Desmond, my therapist at the clinic, sometimes asked, “Which is your emotion laying behind this disgust?” To which he himself already gave the answer: “Murderous rage!!!” and I totally agreed.
I focused pretty quickly on doing relaxing activities, because I really needed that, and I couldn’t do much more than that, because of the great anxiety. I kept repeating that I wanted to do things, something that was emphasized a lot in part-time therapy in the last few months, and I wanted to comply very much. For some activities, I was signed up at the activity center of the mental health care facility. I would go to the gym once a week and play badminton once a week. Actually, I did this on autopilot for a while. I didn’t enjoy it. In fact I didn’t enjoy anything. I was very preoccupied with death and sometimes wished for it on the one hand, just to be put out of my misery, and this thought came back very compulsively. Now I understood Chris, now I understood Michael, now I understood Sanne (the sister of a friend of mine). They had just felt so incredibly bad, and they had had so little hope of getting better, that death seemed the only option. Fortunately, I was able to resist my thoughts reasonably well, so I wouldn’t do impulsive things.
The end of the year was approaching, and a letter from the social security agency fell on the mat. I would soon be re-examined. I decided to go there alone, which turns out to be stupid. Because during the interview I was playing nice, like I always did, and I didn’t want to show my limitations. I let myself be led by the doctor I was talking to, and didn’t dare contradict him. And then I was declared fit for work, at which point fear struck me. Because there went my income and on top of that I now had to find a job. It was impossible and fortunately I had good support from my parents and from Rina. We decided to object. Together with my parents and Rina I went to this meeting. And my father had written down what he thought of it in a story, and became emotional. He said that I was suffering, and that it was impossible, with so much pressure, to demand that I go to work, after all that had gone wrong. My mother agreed. Rina also told her view on the matter. And this time I told how much I suffered from anxiety. And finally my objection was upheld, and I was declared fully disabled, on psychological grounds. I was very relieved. But the people from the social security agency did want a report from my part-time therapy, and Rina went to ask Eelco de Smet for one. I finally read that report, and I hated it! In the report they constantly pointed at me, that I had aggressive fantasies at the beginning, that I splitted, that I react aggressively to criticism, that I keep breaking the contact and so on, that I am passive and don’t seem to grow. Nowhere did it say what the therapists had done to get me to the point of destruction. And nowhere did it show that there was an understanding of how the situation had come about. All that was said was that I was too vulnerable to continue. Nowhere did it say that they were responsible for exposing this “vulnerability. (That word, by the way, sounds as if it is an acceptable state of being, but it is by no means). I mentioned this to Rina, and then she said that Eelco spoke of a vulnerability, to which she had said, “Yes but it’s a very serious vulnerability!” to which he admitted that he had made a wrong assessment, although sometimes I doubt that he really made an assessment. Rina also told me that Eelco offered me some more sessions to talk about it, but I still felt so bad that I did not want it. Besides, I didn’t trust him one bit. I had the distinct impression that he wanted to cover up the mistake; that he kept all his fellow therapists stupid and didn’t tell them anything about it, to save his own skin; that he had no insight whatsoever into what this mistake had meant for me. And it was clear to me, what would happen in those sessions he offered: I would not be able to defend myself – because my distrust and anger were so enormous that, at one sentence of his, I would like to lecture him for 30 minutes, but I would not be able to – and he would constantly defend himself, and in my opinion he did not have the right to do that! What I noticed with Rina was that she didn’t waste many words on the mistake that had been made. I would have liked it if I had gotten a more convincing understanding. It seemed somewhat as if she wanted to protect Eelco. But I could be wrong.
The months that followed remained tough, but faithful that I had always been in following my therapies, I also came faithfully to the RIC. And I slowly got used to everyone. With new people I always tried to talk immediately, so that I got to know them and they got to know me. I didn’t feel at ease yet, I was still too anxious for that. I had a conversation with a psychiatrist called Henk de Koning. That was bizarre. He was very quick to judge. And I didn’t argue with that and played nice again. He said, “So you’ve been in therapy for two years, and it hasn’t helped anything,” not knowing that I was torn between extremes, and it had definitely had a big impact on me. He also wrote in his report (I heard this later from his successor, Dr. Blankenberg) that he saw no signs of anxiety or depression. Then it became clear once again that I was very capable of misleading, unintentionally. I couldn’t help myself. I couldn’t show myself in those moments. Because I gained a lot of weight on Zyprexa, the antipsychotic I was taking, and my cholesterol was too high, it was decided to try another drug. Dr. Blankenberg thought of Orap, an older drug. I tried it and it didn’t work. I couldn’t tolerate it. It made me feel more mental pain, so to speak, and my aggression was jumping around in my legs, trying to ascend, a way to muffle the painful feelings, but it was also pushed back to my toes by how I was now. Because of this I could hardly sit still and constantly wanted to flee (akathisia). It also made me very stiff, and I walked the streets like a Parkinson’s patient. And the strangest thing was that one evening my hand went completely inwards, I looked like I was spastic. The pharmacy manager was called late at night to see if she had any medicine for the side effects, and she went to the pharmacy especially for me. Fortunately, this medicine gave immediate relief. Later at the psychiatrist’s we decided to switch to Risperdal, a drug that I was given when the increase in my antidepressant Effexor did not help enough against the anxiety, at the end of the part-time therapy, but which made the symptoms worse, so I was then given Zyprexa. Anyway, I was going to try it again now. I had a whole list of fears that were going on at that time (a lot of death and destruction), but Blankenberg assured me that this was temporary and that things would get better and better. And that was true, but I wasn’t quite at the same dose as with Zyprexa. I was doing well for a while, but sometimes bad things happened, which of course had an exaggerated and traumatic effect on me, causing my condition to deteriorate and at a certain point the anxiety to become so great that it was barely manageable. I discussed this with Rina, and she wondered whether it wouldn’t be better if I came to live at the RIC, so that I would have more structure. But I didn’t want to do that, and I asked if Risperdal could be increased to the same dose as Zyprexa. And that was allowed. And that helped me a lot. But I don’t want to imagine what it would be like if I didn’t have these medications.
Eight months after things went so wrong, I wrote a letter to Anke, my therapist from the clinic. In this letter I tell what happened, how I feel, and I tell about my own ideas whether I can still be helped. In my opinion, there was only one therapy that could still help me, and that was a therapy in which the aggression would be brought to the surface again, the same therapy that I had already gone through once, there in the clinic. A therapy that someone only undergoes if there is nowhere else to help him. But I also tell her that I don’t feel like that’s possible anymore, because I have a defense mechanism (just like Dick, whom Anke has known as well), which makes sure that the aggression can’t ascend anymore, the same thing she described when she stopped Dick’s therapy. I ask her for advice, and tell her that she has been a kind of mother to me in the clinic, and that I have appreciated that very much. I received no reply to this letter. It remained very quiet. A few months later I heard from a former therapy partner that Anke had not worked for a few months, and that she was now back. I still have the conviction that she received my letter and was very shocked by it and took responsibility for it, because I know she is a very responsible person, and that what happened to me is close to her heart. She has treated me intensively in that year and has seen me grow and she has been concerned about me, and partly because of her error of judgement, I was sent to part-time treatment. I forgive her 100% for this, because although she could be very hard (she really had hair on her teeth, we say in Dutch, it means you’re a very strong woman), I also got to know her as someone with a big heart for her profession, a lot of specialized knowledge, and very capable in her role, but also very committed to her patients. And she accepted me unconditionally when I had discovered my own identity, with all the negative points, that came with that. Because outside the therapies I was busy, easily angered, demanded a lot of attention (although I could share attention), and was demanding, but now I know that I needed this to remain upright. And what I liked about her was that she was clear and said what could be done and what couldn’t be done, and that she clearly drew a line when she felt it. In short: a top class woman who helped me very well!
Now back to how things went with me, in the years after things went wrong. For at least two years I was still thinking about the therapists from the part-time therapy. What they had all said to me, how I should view this, I was fighting with them all the time in my head, just like I was fighting in my head with the counsellors of the RIC. I thought about what they would say if I were angry. And then thought of a defense to their reaction. This all took place in my head, because to do this during real contact was impossible for me. The fear was too great, and so was the chance of further damage. In order to defend myself properly, I had to think on the level of the therapists, about how I thought I was, how the treatment should have been, what they should not have done and so on. For this I tried to think as logically as possible. After my letter to Anke, on which I heard nothing, I also started to remember things that had been said in the contact with her. I suddenly remembered the important conversation somewhere at the end of my therapy – which I discussed earlier in my story – where we talked about the anxious feelings that followed the aggressive fantasizing, and where Anke asked if it was fear of disapproval, or fear of not being seen. I realized then that I was afraid of both, but that I didn’t tell her about this disapproval fear because I was pretending to be stronger than I was and was unconsciously ashamed of this. I felt very responsible for this and thought that she had sent me to part-time treatment purely because of this answer, but then I realized that she also had certain ideas about how things had gone in my family before, partly because of the systemic talk we had had, and that the responsibility lay with her and Desmond, even though I myself had a share in this. Perhaps it would have been better if we had planned another systemic discussion at the time to talk things through properly, with my parents present.
Meanwhile, it was incredibly important to me that I was seen properly at the RIC but I still didn’t really have the impression that I was always well understood. I had clearly told them that after the clinic my aggression was in, and that I had learned to handle it. But when I repeated this later, Rina said: “Yes, but you were too powerful then! But such remarks struck a chord with me, because what was clear to me was that, even though I was in psychiatry, there was less specialized knowledge here regarding my problems and what kind of therapies I had been through, and that in severely traumatized patients it is justified to have aggressive fantasies. Fortunately, the calmer I became, the more understanding I got, for my feelings. Because Rina later understood that my aggressive fantasies had kept me going. And that did me good. And so there were more things that happened at the RIC, of which I was fighting at home, but I did not dare to discuss them, because I already had clear in my head what would be said, and those were certainly not understanding words. I imagined buckets of shit coming at me, for which I had no defense.
But time went on, and I got more and more organized. As a result, I was fortunately able to defend myself better and better in my internal battles. And that was important, because it meant that the psychotic feelings and the extreme fear also diminished (although now I may be reversing cause and effect). I could slowly see the good in people again. And then I thought it was time to write a letter to Eelco de Smet as well, in which I wanted to make clear to him how damaged I was. It was not an angry letter, because I did not dare to do that. I was afraid that if I would show my anger, he would not read my letter in its entirety. So it was a tame and sensible letter. But I did make it clear to him how I felt before the therapy, and how I felt after the therapy. And what a world of difference this was. But also on this letter I heard nothing back, whereupon my image of Eelco, that I described earlier, unfortunately did not really change.
Love after all…
2007 – 2008
The following time, I found out more and more what I liked and what I didn’t like. This was because I became calmer and less angry and because I felt more and more comfortable on the RIC. I didn’t feel as controlled as before, because on the RIC they didn’t demand anything from me, and treated me well. And I got more identity again and started doing more things. For example, for a whole year I took pictures at all kinds of festivities in connection with the anniversary of the founding of my village. I had previously been much involved with photography, and it was nice if I could do something with this. And from then on people knew where to find me if they needed a photographer. I also took a beginners’ course in Spanish. Here I met someone, who told me she had a friend from my hometown called Suzan. I saw them together once in my hometown, and when I ran into her on the bus once later, I talked to her. Suzan had also had periods in her life when things were bad. But at the time I met her, things had been going really well for a while. I never expected that I would be able to get a girlfriend again, but Suzan became my girlfriend. That was a fun time, although I didn’t always feel completely comfortable at her house. I always felt very inhibited, and could not really be myself, because I was afraid of the reaction of her parents. It felt like some kind of exam, to visit the parents of your girlfriend; as if you were constantly being judged. I never dared to speak out about this.
When we had been dating for a month, Susan changed a lot. She started having all kinds of symptoms again, and she seemed like a different person. But I supported her, even though I sometimes thought: what am I doing? Fortunately that went away after a while. After a few months I went to sleep with her on the weekends, that was certainly a special sensation and I liked it. At the start of the relationship I had already indicated that I was a sexual wreck, but we decided to give it a try anyway. But it was soon clear that it was not going to work out. The doctor gave me some erection pills, but to be honest they didn’t help much. The defective part of my personality just worked against me, and no pill can help with that. I focused on her internally all the time, and couldn’t reach my own feelings. The intimate contact made me impotent, although I did find her very attractive. And this can all be explained very well, with what I’ve been through. A person needs his aggression to get excited, it’s your passion, and for most people these feelings are allowed to exist in a controlled form, in the form of your sexuality. But since the part-time therapy I have to do without those feelings, they are very suppressed by a mechanism I have no control over, and I am paralyzed by the incredibly large capacity to become anxious.
Occasionally, Suzan expressed doubts about the relationship. She didn’t know if she liked me enough, and she wanted me to see a sex therapist. I felt so attacked when she said something about this, and I was so convinced that neither I nor a sexologist could do anything about it (and I still believe that, because I have never seen a sexologist cure a psychiatric patient), that I said that to her honestly. It went on for a while and then she told me that my passivity also bothered her (while she was very passive herself too). I said that would always be the case, because of my great fears, and then she broke up with me. This was bad, but I had been true to myself, so it took some time to get over it, but it didn’t damage me. It was better that way. And at 7 months, this was my longest relationship ever. And I was more aware than ever of how twisted and torn I was sexually.
I am incredibly dissatisfied with my sexual identity. I have told about my identity delusion before (before I started the therapies). Feeling as if I had a female body. This was hell, because I wasn’t happy with it, nor with the rest of my personality. When I had done the clinic therapy and I had a lot of aggressive fantasies (which, as you now know, kept me going), I finally felt like a man, and I fell for women 100%, even though they were pretty aggressive fantasies that I had. But I did feel super good then and was finally satisfied with myself. And now, after part-time therapy, I feel super bad again, and on top of that, sometimes it again feels like ‘I’ have a woman’s body. And sometimes it feels as if “I” am only ‘allowed’ to have sex with men. I put “I” in quotes on purpose, because it doesn’t feel like it’s ME (the real Jesse) who has these feelings. These feelings always felt (and still feel) like they were forced upon me, first by how my parents reacted to me, and again later in part-time therapy, by how the therapists reacted to me. I have to be someone that I AM not, and that I don’t WANT to be. They are “compulsions” for me. Compare it to some men who have the compulsion to put on women’s clothes, and have great difficulty with it. That’s horrible. I don’t suffer from it constantly, but from time to time it comes up.
I do make contact with myself (the real Jesse). I only want friendship with men! I only want to make love with women, just as I was when I left the clinic. Then I was the real Jesse. I now feel like ‘a wrong spirit in the right body’. This is really awful! I have been stripped of my masculine feelings with a lot of disapproval and under duress, and as a result I’m impotent as well, and the only way to stay upright under so much violence is to blow yourself up with your own strength, your aggression, the only feeling I had that made me Jesse! But then again, I can’t do that anymore.
An attempt at more activities
After the relationship with Suzan, I had a great need for contact. I looked for support from different people and that helped. And I quickly let my eye fall on other women again. In recent years, also before Susan, I have had many obsessive crushes. Sometimes with several people at once. I really needed it, because I felt so much pain. Women were a fairly safe haven for me, and moreover (just as I always wanted to impress my mother) I still wanted to impress them, even though I found that I can’t do that very well now, because of my softness, and great vulnerability, and because I just feel bad and have so many limitations. Sometimes I thought: now I have had therapy for so long, maybe they like me now, and I saw women being nice to me, as a sign that they liked me. I have long since let go of this idea, because it just doesn’t work like that. What stuck with me after Susan was the fact that she found me passive, even though she was just as passive herself. And on the RIC I received a jokey remark from team leader Steven, saying he thought I was a ‘vegetable’. This hurt me very much. And it may have sounded harmless, but I have so much inner intensity that little things have a big effect on me.
I decided to ask Rina if I could go and work at the office of the activity center. And this was possible. But I did look down on this work, and I discussed this in an intermediate conversation with my therapist at the RIC, Mira. Rina was there too. I told her that I wanted to do all kinds of things in my life (I mentioned all kinds of nice professions) but that I was obstructed in my mind. It was like a prison. Out of necessity I had to lower my demands, and so I did. I would just go work at the office activity and we would see.
At the office activity, Alfred became my supervisor. The work was very simple: most people were folding, or stacking, and Mike, he was stapling. I felt perfectly comfortable in the office, because there were few demands, and no pressure on me. So I was very cheerful. And I immediately got an angry reaction from Mike (whose mother had just died, which I had no idea about) because of this. This, of course, had a great effect on me and stayed in my head for days.
Alfred knew that I was good with computers, so he usually had something more challenging for me than folding and stacking, such as designing things, making booklets, editing a movie and so on. He did often ask too much of me, in my opinion, but I didn’t dare say much. I worked very hard, and every time I did, I got a concerned comment. He was sometimes too demanding, in my opinion, and too concerned.
In the meantime I had also become very involved with photography. I regularly photographed concerts of choirs and music societies in the neighborhood. And I also started taking pictures for a magazine of the mental health facility. At the RIC they encouraged every form of activity, and they always stressed: you mustn’t avoid your fears. Usually I would say something like, “Well, I’m afraid of having a stroke, so should you give me a stroke to overcome my fear? Or, “I’m afraid of being hit, should you hit me so that I overcome my fear?” What I wanted to indicate with this is that all my fears could be traced back to a very big fear of real and actual danger! And that I had dealt with this fear in the clinic, by fighting it, and now it could no longer be overcome, because of what had happened in the part-time therapy. But at the RIC they saw my increased activity and they rewarded that.
At the activity center I felt more and more at ease and started to make rather jolly remarks now and then, also to colleagues. In an evaluation with Alfred (where Rina was also present) I received a critical remark about this from him. “We have to do something with that!” he thought. “Maybe we should make it a goal!” This again worked traumatically on me. It didn’t stop there! It felt to me as if yet another of my qualities was not allowed, while I needed that very quality so badly to stay afloat. I went backwards a bit, the other person became more powerful in my head. Fortunately, I was able to talk to Alfred about this and he understood that I couldn’t do much with his remark and that it was better to just let me be a little freer. This incident gave me a terrible bang, and I became a lot more passive again.
It became increasingly clear to me that I was slowly deteriorating in terms of my feelings, due to very small incidents, which would mean nothing to a healthy person. This is very frightening. The obsessions with women became worse and worse: they started to bother me. Even physical complaints. If my obsessions were to bother me now and I was forced to let them go bit by bit out of survival, while I actually need them so badly to feel reasonable, then I was in a very bad state. And now it’s true, that they have gradually disappeared: I have given up the struggle to impress women. But that makes me a lot more depressed and very tired, because, as I said, women were a safe haven for me.
The incident with Alfred made me realize, that it is better if I don’t undertake too many new things. My fear cannot be overcome by doing a lot, and that is exactly what I predicted. Every time I take steps, I become extra sensitive to the reactions, and I get it back ten times as hard. So I’ll just have to live like a vegetable. I am just too vulnerable to undertake all kinds of things outside the structure. The chance of further damage is too great. I have to think of myself. And I also made this clear to Rina, when she said again that I shouldn’t avoid things. In that respect, Anke, my therapist at the clinic, was right when she talked about Dick, the vegetable, who couldn’t be helped because of his defense mechanism. He had to start living in as structured a way as possible in order not to be damaged further, and I am doing the same now. So now I try to find a balance between ‘distraction’ from the bad feelings and ‘take heed of myself’ as much as possible, and what helps with this are my regular visits to the RIC, and my regular activities, such as the office work, an occasional photo assignment, and for an old music teacher of mine I also do some odd jobs musically.
An intense new love
At the end of 2010, at the activity center where I have enjoyed working for several years, I meet Eline, a young woman 6 years older than me. We fall in love, and she gives up her relationship for it, something that later turns out to be a particularly persistent pattern of hers. I am so incredibly in love that I morally justify it, just to be with her. In the end, we are together and it makes for a very wonderful time. We send each other long mails, simply because we want to see each other as well as possible, because that’s what we lacked in our youth. Eline also has psychological problems, but of a completely different kind than I do. I had decided for myself that I wanted a woman who was a bit tougher, a bit more boyish, and Eline fulfilled that perfectly. She was a very tough girl. I was addicted to being intimate with her, and loved her a lot, but she was sometimes a bit on the antisocial side. If I got irritated by that, she didn’t really respond with understanding, and wanted to shirk her responsibility. When we were a bit done sharing so much with each other, she started to focus a bit more on herself. I had a hard time dealing with that, obsessive as I was, and was regularly angry when she did or said something anti-social. I invariably got a reaction that I could not handle. But my love for her was so strong, and I liked to be with her so much, that I did not want to give her up. For months I continued to deteriorate. And each time, we made up again, but this could not go on indefinitely. Also she started to distance herself more and more, because she found me oppressive and she felt like she was in a prison.
At one point she went into a months-long therapy. She was going to live on her own, and we would go into couples therapy at that location. I remember it as a very atmospheric time. I took many long train rides to that clinic, and then listened to music by Rush, an American rock band. Seeing Eline every time was so incredibly fun. We clicked on so many levels. But what remained was that because of my anger, she kept distancing herself, and the couples therapy eventually ended in a “break in the relationship”. We got to talking about needs in that therapy, and that maybe Eline had a need to be hit on. I found this ridiculous, because I can hardly be positive towards her all the time, I think the negative should also be expressed. In the end she decided to break up with me.
In the meantime I had deteriorated so much that I started to undermine my self-confidence. I mentioned it to the relationship therapist and he wanted to see me once without Eline. Then he admitted to have made a mistake and he wouldn’t have thought the therapy would have this effect.
A few months later, however, she got in touch with me again. I went to her place and started hitting on her like crazy for a while. When it was of no effect, and she still didn’t want to be intimate with me, I set a limit and said that otherwise I would give up and no longer want contact. And that helped, because then she suddenly did want to. It’s striking how that can work. Before it was “on” again, however, she had something to confess to me, which was that she had had sex with another man. I was extremely pissed, and almost wanted to leave, but she begged me to stay. I decided to try again anyway (because the crush was still huge, so huge that I pushed my moral objections aside again). We had several more convivial weeks. Until we got into an argument over something small. I expressed that I had grave doubts about whether I should go through with this. And then she did get so angry, it only confirmed me. I had used her to restore my self-confidence somewhat, so it made sense that she was angry. But that was the end of our relationship, which had lasted a year and a half.
It was clear to me I was in great distress. Otherwise you don’t do such things, although at the time it wasn’t consciously done. And she in turn also did things she shouldn’t have done. But I was really sorry that things turned out this way, because she was a very great love for me.
Meanwhile, I had deteriorated to the point where I needed more talks. A good Belgian psychiatrist named Dimphy Peeters went to help me in the Anxiety and Mood Disorders department. She really gave me a lot of attention and apologized for not being able to see her sooner. At some point she knew enough, and saw the seriousness of the situation, so she decided to intervene. She made nasty remarks, until I got furious with her, in her face. She disapproved of my behavior, and when I then cried, she disapproved of that too. I was not used to this over the years. They had treated me very gently for years, to prevent deterioration, but once you get to the point where you start to undermine your self-confidence, which is very dangerous, then the hard approach is in order.
I walked down the street crying. I understood why she did it, but it felt like I was the culprit in the story again, and I was only getting more of the same negativity thrown at me. I didn’t think I deserved it, but again, I understood why she did it. By repeating the trauma in a moderate way, I can be forced to deal with it differently. Something they had done in the clinic, after all, because of the rock-hard confrontational attitude of my psychotherapist Anke van Brunssum at the time. But I really had the feeling that now I could never be angry again. What happened then is somewhat special: From then on, I only allowed myself to be sweet…
Referral to Center for Psychosis
Dr. Peeters wondered if I could become so anxious that I became psychotic. Or maybe the psychosis was source of anxiety? She gave me another drug to go with my Effexor, and Risperdal, called Zoloft. When I took this, I immediately became psychotic. Again, I felt like I had a woman’s body, and it made me panic. By then it was clear to Dr. Peeters that the psychosis was source of anxiety, and I had a psychotic vulnerability, and gave me a referral to the Center for Psychosis, in a neighboring town.
Meanwhile, I never wanted to be angry again, because Dr. Peeters had so disapproved of this. This ensured that I had learned to stop expressing my anger all the time and that a healthy way of experiencing my aggression was stimulated, precisely because of the unpleasant treatment: aggression under control. Subconsciously, however, I now thought that I was only allowed to be nice to women, and also in this I clearly crossed boundaries. During these years I began to hit on women around me obsessively. Didn’t matter if they were taken. I was so desperate that I tried it on everyone around me. Of course, they had figured this out and predicted it at the Center for Psychosis, and they tried to treat me with the help of the activity counsellors at the activity center of the mental health facility. Only I didn’t realize that at the time. What I did realize was that every time I had discussed something with my case manager at the mental health facility, there would be comments about the same thing from the activity counsellors at the activity center. They said they were not in touch, but it was just way too coincidental every time.
However, when an attractive and cool intern was hired there, who was going to get involved with me a lot, I realized what was happening. I expressed to an activities counsellor that I thought they were getting instructions on how to treat me. And the next day, this tough intern said in response to a question of hers that I answered, “Wow, you’re pretty smart!” Which was really completely out of place in that context. And then it was completely clear to me. I was being treated, and they wanted to let me know indirectly that I was right about these thoughts. I came to understand over time that I had both positive and negative “delusions of reference”. And that the activity supervisors were instructed to confront me about these situations precisely by saying things that applied to me.
When I finally started hitting on several women at once, all were taken, out of total desperation, and one of those ladies with the same name as my second girlfriend, Tanja, took the bait, the heat was on. Because my anger was now completely rejected, and all my strength had been sucked out of me over the years, I couldn’t do anything sexually anymore, but in the meantime I was always hitting on women around me, with the goal of a sexual relationship. It was clear that by hurting me well, they had to unlearn this, otherwise there would be a big chance that the hurts I would get in the future would be disastrous.
But anyway, Tanja took the bait. And had her sights set on me. I refused. I had hit on her first with all kinds of sweet remarks, but now that she was biting, I couldn’t give her what I wanted to give her at all, and I became so anxious that I set a big limit. Besides, Tanja had a boyfriend at home, and I was terrified that she would end that relationship, and then become disappointed in me, and then have no one. So I explained, and since then she cooled down. But I still felt like I was only allowed to be sweet, and crossed boundaries in that again. So at a certain point Tanja came to the activity center and said she felt strange, probably because she felt the infatuation towards me again because of my sweet remarks, but she couldn’t do anything with that feeling. She started talking to our project supervisor. And since then she turned 180 degrees. It was as if she was a different person. She now seemed to be actively participating in my treatment. And rejected me again and again in very cunning ways, which can only be thought up by very clever psychiatrists. I thought: is Tanja still Tanja? At a certain moment she hurt me incredibly, and it instilled in me the conviction that I was not allowed to be angry, but also not allowed to be sweet. Then it escalated. I became furious. I was now giving myself permission to be furious, without it being obsessive. It was authentic anger, even if it was still very raw, and I scolded her big time.
My project supervisor and Tanja, were then again full of disapproval against me, but one of the male activity supervisors supported me, and gave me a sausage roll for free. It was clear that they treated me exactly the opposite as my parents had done in the past. The male figure, who used to disapprove (my father), was now rewarding me (activity counsellor), and the female figure, who used to be hurt (my mother), was now disapproving (project supervisor + Tanja). It was so obvious that I was being treated, and that was oil on the fire!
Having experienced this negative rejection from Tanja, I then moved on to another young girl, Celina, with a peculiarity, she was a lesbian. That didn’t matter to me, desperate as I was. I started trying to hit on her too, until I celebrated New Year’s Eve at her house with her. I was totally smitten with her again. A few days after New Year’s, she suddenly posted about 10 texts on her Facebook profile, and every one of them related to me. It was clear that she rejected me, but she did so in such a loving way, that I was so touched, that after I had expressed my anger at Tanja (who rejected me in a mean way), my grief was triggered now, and I let go of this anger for good. It was symbolic of my dear mother whom I now let go of and who was always there for me, when I was afraid, or needed her, and it was very great grief. For hours I cried, it was so intense. I expressed it to Celina, and she said the text she posted applied to her, but I knew it was a lie. This wasn’t getting triggered by someone by chance. This was targeted treatment.
But then the question was: does the mental health facility instruct patients at the activity center to give me targeted treatment? This sounds ridiculous, of course, and no one with whom I voiced my suspicions could believe this. But I am firmly convinced that these so-called patients did have instructions, but not as patients but as…. agents of the Matrix. The people who were treating me in such a targeted way were all taken over for the purpose of treating me, but I would not realize that until much later!
Being targeted by Dragons
Starting in 2006, I had become an avid reader. I liked nothing better than to read as many different books as possible. It started with books on near-death experiences, then came the books on quantum physics, morphogenetic fields, then books on ESP, then books on water, a lot of esoteric stuff like auras, then parapsychology, and books on aliens and conspiracies. I went further and further and dove right into my fears. Everything I had previously rejected, I began to examine, to see if I was justified in my rejection. Usually not much remained of it. By thinking integrally, I could discover the real truth of the world. And most of the things I had learned before were just focused on lies, I found out.
But little did I know that, with my intention to learn the truth, I would end up becoming a danger to the same occult group I had read about in David Icke’s books. Usually I didn’t talk about the things I read. But when my therapists, by necessity, treated my psychotic disorder, and I therefore began to speak out more on my own initiative about these things, the attack was opened on me. But I in turn also opened the attack on anyone who threatened me, and let me just find out that these Dragons had infiltrated all institutions, including the mental health facility. No, the mental health facility had not instructed patients to treat me secretly. It was much worse. They had taken over these people so they were under the control of the mental health facility, but the loyalty of these taken over people was not to the mental health facility, but to a much higher power. The mental health facility is a Satanic institution, and they therefore serve Satan (the Cabal), and their only job is to give as many people as possible compressive treatment, that is, aimed at controlling aggression. In that sense, something that is much needed in a world full of aggression! But let that be just the wrong treatment for my problems, because I was never allowed to be angry in the past, and then you need your aggression badly. All women who rejected me, first in the nasty way to trigger my anger, and then in the sweet way to trigger my grief, were fulfilling a Satanic role. It wasn’t until they deliberately disclosed that these people had been taken over, with the open display of the first victim as an alien on Facebook, that they switched to the Antichrist role, which unlike the Satanic role doesn’t just provide compression of the mind, but rather destructive compression of the mind, which you have to be a lot stronger to handle. It’s the last step. I had experienced this Antichrist energy as a young child, in the form of my father’s destructive attacks on me, at a time when I was not ready for it at all. But I was convinced, I could now handle it, because the damage done to me had been completely isolated, processed and played out.
The rest of what happened is history and future at the same time, and you can read it on the Articles page.