Döden och jag.

Bild på Ylva Kristina Larsson

Det är sällan vi talar om döden.  

Kanske inte det muntraste av samtal men ändå en så naturlig del av livet.  

Tror vi oss lura döden genom tystnaden? 

Det som inte syns finns inte. 

Döden och jag har en märklig relation.  

Jag har varit vid gränsen och vänt.  

Just då ville jag stanna på andra sidan.  

Jag är inte rädd.  

Tvärtom.  

Men jag är tacksam för livet.  

Jag har aktivt valt bort livet och jag har även blivit fråntagen det med våld.  

Dråpförsök.  

Självmordsförsök.  

Men vad jag undrar över är vad vi räds för? 

Jag tror att behovet att få tala öppet är stort bland oss.  

Plötsligt är ett liv slut.  

Borta.  

Man vänjer sej.  

Bilden bleknar.  

Men här står jag mitt i livet, livrädd.  

Jag ser tiden gå via alla omkring mej.  

Själv står jag stilla stel av skräck.  

Betraktar.  

Blundar.  

Vill inte.  

Vill.  

Jag ser mina nära och kära åldras.  

De är vackra alla.  

Men det är hemskt!!! 

Det kommer att komma en dag jag inte vill uppleva när mina föräldrar går bort.  

De åldras ju som du och jag.  

Vad gör jag då? 

Hur ska det gå? 

De har alltid funnits här.  

De finns! 

Jag ser barnen växa upp till unga vuxna.  

Vart ska de ta vägen? 

Vart är jag?!? 

Förvirrad.  

Livet dansar omkring och förbi mej.  

Jag inser allvaret i att faktiskt leva i nuet och investera i framtiden.  

Jag vill oxå våga närma mej mörkret för att kanske ge det ett annat perspektiv, ljus.  

Jag önskar ge luft till orden som kväver våra röster.  

Död 

Död 

Död 

Döden och jag. 

/Ylva Kristina Larsson


Jag lever alltid med rädslan

Rädsla är ständigt närvarande i mitt liv. Min livskamrat har bipolär sjukdom, som är en av de psykiska sjukdomarna med högst dödlighet. Risken för självmord är hög. Min livskamrat har redan gjort försök till självmord under livet.  
Jag lever alltid med rädslan att han ska välja att avsluta livet. Det är en fruktansvärd känsla att vara rädd. Jag har ständigt en plan i huvudet för hur jag och barnen ska kunna gå vidare med livet om min älskade inte orkar mer.  
Tro inte att jag önskar att det ska ske. Jag älskar honom jättemycket, men jag måste våga tänka det värsta tänkbara.  
Livet går upp och ner för alla, men för min familj är topparna extra höga och dalarna extra djupa.  
Jag är rädd att säga eller göra något som får min älskade ur balans, för vem vet vad som händer då. Han har dålig impulskontroll på grund av sina npf-diagnoser.  
Jag är inte helt stabil själv, jag har utmattningsdepression till följd av allt.  
Jag är så rädd att inte räcka till för mina barn. Är jag en tillräckligt bra mamma? Gör jag det som är bäst för dem? Jag ifrågasätter mig själv och mina förmågor ständigt.  

Men jag låter inte rädslan kontrollera mig. Den finns där som en påminnelse att inget varar för evigt.  

/Lindha Holmqvist


The cave you fear to enter…

Part Two 

Följande inlägg av Lovisa Rydén är skrivet på engelska, då detta är språket som hon främst använder i sin roll som författare. Användandet av ett (för inläggen på RSMH:s blogg) nytt språk görs i förhoppningen att nå ut till fler personer med psykisk ohälsa.

UPPDATERING: På förfrågan finns en kort svensk översättning av ett utdrag av texten, i slutet av detta inlägg.

TRIGGERVARNING: Texten innehåller berättelser om sexuella övergrepp.

You never feel your soul more than when you’re being raped. You feel it break physically. As the trauma is happening, you can feel it start to crack up like thawing ice. Most of the panic and pain I experienced happened from the moment it started breaking until it exploded into a gazillion pieces, and I died. Because you do die when you get raped, in a very literal sense, you die in every single way except the fact that your body is still alive. I never understood why the rape victims I knew weren’t afraid of being raped again until it happened to me. You can’t lose the same someone to death twice. I was raped six times during the span of two weeks, and I have forgotten most of what happened after the time that I died; after that point, everything else lost importance. Because without a soul, there is no life. And you never realize how pointless a body is without a soul until yours is gone. I had never been suicidal without mental illness causing it until I felt that feeling. That kind of emptiness is hard to fight because, in a way, you lose everything that you have ever had and been since you were born. You don’t even have the sense of self that the narrator of nature documentaries describes in orcas or other intelligent animals when they compare them to humans. You are empty. You don’t know what kind of fruit you like, or what hobbies you want to spend your time on. You don’t know who you are because you have become a blank page. You are no one. Well, you are someone, but you don’t know that at the time. You have to relearn everything about yourself, everything about the people in your life, and everything else that life encompasses. You have to spend years remembering and discovering who you are. 

For the first time in a long while, I decided to watch one of my favourite documentaries. Finding Joe is basically about how to find/create the best life you can have, based on Joseph Campbell’s teachings. It’s a sort-of feel-good documentary for me, and it helps me focus on what’s important. Watching it this time was a real aha-moment. It felt like the puzzle of the last few years, and what I should do with the experiences I’d had, fell into place. ”The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek” has always been the most baffling Joseph Campbell quote to me. Mostly because I couldn’t imagine what kind of treasure I must’ve missed when I was trying to escape my horrifying cave. Watching the documentary, I realized that I wouldn’t fully have dealt with everything unless I spoke about it in public, so here I am. (Hi! Welcome to 101 Fascinating Ways to Die by Lovisa Rydén. Have a marvellous time!). I also realized that I had been doing something I had always been strictly against: not talking about something because others didn’t want me to. When my memory came back, many people in my life didn’t want to talk about it. They were afraid of being useless and had that ridiculous idea that people often have: that they are supposed to fix everything. So, instead, they become afraid of failing that they hide. Don’t get me wrong; my loved ones didn’t abandon me. They tried to help me in every way that didn’t really work, and God knows I love them for it! (Side-note: if you want to know how to be around a person who’s been raped, think of it as the death of the closest person to them. That is, in effect, what has happened). After that fear passed, some still didn’t want me to speak of it in public because they were afraid of other people in my life finding out and wanting to kill the guy. I felt the same because I still felt powerless after my last relationship. Not anymore. I can speak about it now, without the feeling of needing permission. I decide the consequences of what happened to me, no one else. It happened to me, no one else. They don’t get to take my right to decide away. Going after him would only make things worse for me in every possible way, and if they did, the result would only be disaster, betrayal and that I wouldn’t be able to stand the sight of them. They would be risking themselves and me. I would feel guilty over anything that happened, and with that, they would be risking my well-being. My life would be ruined all over again. I can speak those words out loud now. I’m not hiding anymore; I’m not going to stay silent. 

Some stories don’t want to be told. Experiences we go through that lock themselves inside of us, holding on to us like leeches, preventing us from sharing them while they slowly suck life and meaning out of us. Creatures of darkness, the things that haunt us in the night, do not want to be dragged into the light. Light washes away fear and prevent the shadows from making things bigger, darker, and more frightening; light is where darkness dies. And often, when people around us see them, they want us to hide them away too. Because they feel helpless, thinking they should be fixing us but not knowing how. So, for their sake, we hide them away. As I said, I have been struggling with this issue for quite some time. In several of my Swedish posts here on RSMH, I have danced around the issue, trying to explain certain circumstances without actually mentioning the fact that I was raped. Except for the reactions of my loved ones, there was an additional reason for this: the other thing light does, is show what is and isn’t real. This is frightening for anyone trying to bend reality until they can believe that the demon in the middle of the room isn’t there and that the ghosts haunting them are not real. That everything is fine, and they are feeling great. That there are no shadows. As a rape victim, you also feel a bit like something used, something that should be thrown aside and that will never be interesting to anyone ever again. Because look how little that’s left of you. That’s how you feel, but you are wrong. Because the more difficult things we go through, the brighter we shine. Every scar is a diamond ore. You don’t get strength without pain or empathy without suffering. Isn’t it time to stop hiding things away and just talk about things openly? Most of us experience most things anyway; what is the point of pretending it’s not there? Think of all of the wasted energy. Think of all the wasted opportunities to help and save. It drives me mad(der!). No matter if your monster is made of trauma, mental health issues, gender, sexuality, or just heartbreak and painful experiences, shine a light on that sucker. Monsters in the dark can eat you slowly, while monsters in the light have no teeth to bite. Even when it’s hard, it gets easier in the long run. I wrote this post because I needed my monster to be drowned in light. I used to read these kinds of posts, thinking they were kind of dumb. I didn’t understand that my monster was consuming me like a parasite and couldn’t see that talking publicly is something we do to crawl out of our caves. I’m not only writing it now to make it easier for someone else, even if I want that too, but to tell every other ”younger me” out there that maybe you need to do it for you. Maybe you need to talk about it, not for others, but for you. My pain is not a secret that I should have to carry, and neither is yours. You are beautiful the way you are, warts and all, and you don’t have to hide. This is the last step of the Hero’s Journey. Don’t take my word for it; ask Joseph Campbell. 

I remember reading a book by survivors of sexual abuse. One of them said, ”You are going to have to try everything anew to find out who you are, and you are going to make mistakes, and that is okay.” I want to thank that person because reading it was the start of my journey to find my way back. I hope anyone who needs to hear it and is reading this will take it to heart. You will make mistakes, and that is okay. And that goes for anyone who has been struggling with anything. Don’t ever feel like you need to defend your struggle to heal from pain, trauma, or any other kinds of obstacles. You do the best with what you have, we all do, and it’s okay to make mistakes. Just make sure you learn from them and find your treasure in that cave you fear. Let your dark creatures into the light and remove the power they have over you and everyone else. We are pack animals; we get through things together, so let’s do it together. And remember, every wound heals if you just give it time – so give it time. I hope you guys have a wonderful year and that you find your bliss. And if you feel alone, know that all of us stand with you. You are our people, we are your people, and we stand and fight together. And remember: 

“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are” – Joseph Campbell 

A thousand hugs and lots of love, 

Lovisa.  

På förfrågan kommer här en svensk översättning av ett kort utdrag av texten: 

Du känner aldrig din själ mer än när du blir våldtagen. Det känns som att den går sönder, rent fysiskt. När traumat inträffar kan du känna att den börjar spricka som tinande is. Större delen av paniken och smärtan jag upplevde kom från det ögonblick den började gå sönder, tills den exploderade i en gazillion bitar och jag dog. För du dör när du blir våldtagen, i bokstavlig mening, du dör på alla sätt utom det faktum att din kropp fortfarande lever. Jag förstod aldrig varför de våldtäktsoffer jag kände inte var rädda för att bli våldtagna igen förrän det hände mig.  

(…) 

Jag läste en bok av överlevare efter sexuella övergrepp. En av dem sa: ”Du kommer att behöva prova allt på nytt för att ta reda på vem du är, och du kommer att göra misstag, och det är okej.” Jag vill tacka den personen, för den läsningen var början på min resa tillbaka. Jag hoppas att alla som behöver höra det och läser det här tar det till sig. Du kommer att göra misstag, och det är okej. Och det gäller alla som har kämpat med något. Känn aldrig att du behöver försvara din kamp för att läka från smärta, trauma eller andra typer av hinder. Du gör det bästa med det du har, det gör vi alla, och det är okej att göra misstag. Se bara till att du lär dig av dem och hittar din skatt i den grotta som skrämmer dig. Låt dina mörka varelser komma in i ljuset och ta bort makten de har över dig och alla andra. Vi är flockdjur; vi tar oss igenom saker tillsammans, så låt oss göra det tillsammans. Och kom ihåg att varje sår läker om du bara ger det tid – så ge det tid. Jag hoppas att ni får ett underbart år och att ni hittar lyckan. Och om du känner dig ensam, vet att vi alla står med dig. Ni är vårt folk, vi är ert folk, och vi står och kämpar tillsammans. Och kom ihåg: 

”Livets privilegium är att vara den du är” – Joseph Campbell 

Tusen kramar och massor av kärlek, Lovisa 


The cave you fear to enter…

Part One

Följande inlägg av Lovisa Rydén är skrivet på engelska, då detta är språket som hon främst använder i sin roll som författare. Användandet av ett (för inläggen på RSMH:s blogg) nytt språk görs i förhoppningen att nå ut till fler personer med psykisk ohälsa.  

TRIGGERVARNING: Texten innehåller berättelser om sexuella övergrepp.

There are monsters among us. Cold, dark creatures that suck the joy from our limbs isolate us in rooms full of people and tell us we aren’t good enough right after we cross the finish line. They are made from silence, from truths unspoken. They follow us around, reminding us of the secrets we carry, constantly whispering about how they define us, about how others will judge us, and slowly convince us that we are the monsters. 

Before I begin the main story of this post, I will let anyone reading this know that this post will be triggering. It probably will be triggering for me too, but I figured, why not live a little? I’ve been a little bored lately, and there is nothing like trauma to make you feel that you’re alive! Jokes aside, if you are having anxiety or feeling depressed, or if you are triggered by sexual assault, this might not be the post for you. This does not mean that I’m planning on describing details or aiming for this to be a dark post, but I know enough about triggers to give you a fair warning.  

When I was a teenager, I fell in love with a boy that was a few years older than me. In the beginning, the relationship was great (as all these stories go), and it was a really healthy relationship. He was a really good guy who genuinely loved me. He is probably one of the few I’ve been with that actually loved me for me – there is no one better at sarcasm than the universe. It was good for a long time, but as these stories go, it didn’t last. When my illness changed from cyclothymia to bipolar type II, I lost control. He (like all teenagers) had a bunch of crappy behaviours, and my mania (which I call myself when I’m manic because I am not my illness) came down on them like the curse of Cain. Considering my knowledge of psychology and human behaviour, he didn’t stand a chance. I became severely mentally abusive. I was fighting to stop, but because I had never been sick this way before, I could do even less than I had been able to before. And when I lost control, he lost his mind. 

 For most of my life, I remembered the rest of the story in the following way. I was constantly trying to find ways to manage my illness. The only way I knew how to stop was to program my brain, never to harm anyone I knew in any way, including self-defence. This was obviously problematic because programming my brain that way meant that I wouldn’t be able to decide whether to defend myself or not. It was basically like putting a block over any harm/defence-reaction inside my mind. But eventually, things became so bad that I did just that. I couldn’t keep doing what I was doing. It worked for a while, but as his behaviour declined further, my mania’s behaviour seemed to become psychopathic for no reason and tortured him emotionally in a way that I never imagined I could. He became suicidal, I became suicidal, I tried to end my life, and eventually, our relationship ended in chaos and mayhem in the style of nutcrackery. Today, I’m thankful that we both got out alive. 

In the following years, I would medicate my body to the point of being injured in desperate attempts to find the right treatment. Anything to make sure my illness could never affect anyone like that ever again. It took about seven years, but in the end, I became so well medicated that I’m almost entirely stable now. During these years, I began to develop behaviours that I didn’t understand, including several phobias that I had never had before. My agoraphobia and social phobia became so bad that I wouldn’t leave the apartment unless I had to and couldn’t be home alone for long on my own. I also developed facial blindness, which meant I couldn’t recognize people I knew when I saw them in situations I didn’t expect to see them. I have walked straight by so many people I know that I’m still too scared to look at people when I’m out walking just in case it would happen again. My previous fear of heights became so bad that I could barely walk on the top floor of houses I hadn’t been in before if the floor was made of wood, and my fear of deep water (and things in it) even made it hard to swim in swimming pools. Logic and phobias have a complicated relationship, don’t they? I had always been an extrovert, and although I wasn’t prone to stupidly try dangerous things, I had never been afraid of the world. At this point, I was hiding indoors so that no car could hit me, and I even stopped seeing old friends because of my social phobia. I couldn’t understand it; I could only hide. The other strange behaviour that I had developed was in regard to sex. As before, I still didn’t sleep around, have one-night stands, or do anything sexual outside of a relationship (it’s just the way I am), but for some odd reason, I stopped caring about sensitive photos. Nothing graphic, of course, but the fact that it didn’t bother me confused me. It felt like I was just sending a picture of my room that someone had asked for. It wasn’t like I sent them to half the country, the number wasn’t high by any means, but considering how conservative I had always been about sex, the fact that I didn’t mind sending them to the people I did was odd to me even back then. The third area of strange shifts in behaviour was in regard to saying no. I stopped being able to say no to 80% of the things I wanted to say no to in every aspect of life. I have always been one of those obnoxiously stubborn know-it-alls that wouldn’t change their minds if God himself asked them to, but out of nowhere, my voice was gone. My defences were down, and there was no one and nothing to protect me from danger. I knew it, and so did all the wrong people.  

My following relationships can be summarized as one toxic and/or abusive relationship after the other. In the end, I began to date a guy who had (undiagnosed) anti-social personality disorder on the lower part of the spectrum. I didn’t mind because I figured that it might make him less capable of being hurt if my illness would somehow go insane again since I didn’t know why it had the last time. Long story short, the relationship ended up being just as bad as you probably expect, and he ended up being one of the most mentally abusive people I have ever known. When he became jealous and was too proud to talk about it, he spent two years breaking me down, and in the end, he owned me. I’m pretty sure that he would’ve been able to persuade me to jump off the balcony of our flat if he had wanted to. One of the areas I couldn’t say no within was (obviously) sex. Difficult for most people at one point or another, but it’s even harder when you are falling down the rabbit hole, while the person who is meant to love you is the one ripping away any safe landing over and over again. One night after a party, he wanted to do something that ended up hurting me. I had unsurprisingly agreed to do it, but at this point, he was using the fact that I couldn’t disappoint him in any way he could to get what he wanted. He would rationalize it by saying that I should just be able to say no, and if I didn’t, that was on me because I had agreed. This clearly becomes beyond ridiculous in the shadow of the five years we’d been together, during which I had never been able to speak up for myself properly and during which he’d been making the problem significantly worse by breaking down my identity through manipulation, neglect, and coercive control. His reaction to the fact that I got hurt was, unsurprisingly, not what it should have been. The lack of remorse to the fact that he had hurt me and that he chuckled as if he thought I was cute when he finally bothered to react to it disgusted me to the core. Despite all the brainwashing, I knew that what had happened was wrong and that he had crossed the line. When you love someone, you stop if they get hurt. Hell, even if you dislike a person, you stop if they get hurt. So what if they had agreed in the first place? It’s called being a decent human being. It isn’t a grey area, and it isn’t rocket science. Instead, he decided that he just wanted to do what he wanted to do and used the fact that I’d say yes to anything. My well-being didn’t matter. Somewhere in the back of my mind, a nuclear explosion went off. I could see all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place, explaining things that had never made sense as the world crumbled around me, and the blast turned who I was into dust. 

Remember how I had tried to save Ex nr 1 of this text, and it worked for a while but then got completely out of control? How I fought for years to make sure my mania could never get out of control again? How I changed in bizarre ways, and how I had begun to accept the unacceptable because I couldn’t say no? Well, it turns out that the universe had decided to rip out a few pages of the book of my life and reschedule the issue to a later date. The real story was different. Significantly and horrifically different. In 2019, two months after the current boyfriend had triggered the latent PTSD-bomb that had been lying in the back of my mind, I had my first introduction to the real story. Short version: flashbacks really suck. You don’t know how long they last in real life; all you know is that life just picked you up, pulled you out of the real world, and dropped you into the worst nightmarish moments of your life. You can’t get away, and you can’t change anything; all you can do is relive it; act after act, moment by moment, feeling by feeling, over and over. As if the devil had been studying Shakespeare but didn’t grasp the whole story-aspect, became bored and made a b-level PowerPoint presentation of his favourite moments in hell, playing it on repeat. 10% of me was aware that I was lying in my bed because I could feel the sheets, but the rest of me was back there, in the flat, saying that I didn’t want to, and fighting to protect myself but being unable to. Unable to because I had programmed myself that way to save the monster that was destroying everything I was.  

Part Two of Lovisa’s story is released on the 14th of February.