writing about my life

The Ubiquity of Bullying

with 3 comments

In some ways although I try not to be big headed I guess my problems do stem in part from being mentally “different”. I seem to fight this battle with the world that I perceive cowardice and cruelty and then vow to go a different way to that. I experience this as causal to why I get in a stew like that, but maybe this is in fact something that we all get. Each of us is suffering and feeling out of harmony internally at times.

It is so lucky for me that I have a life and mind where I hardly ever get bored, since I know this torments quite a few people. Hell I don’t even watch TV and still usually find plenty to think about.

I wrote a letter to Martin after he told me off for trying to fight what he called the King – ie society. I explained that progress needs people to be creatively unreasonable in the face of injustice and oppression. I got inspiration from Pete on this subject, but now I also have to struggle to take Pete’s influence with a grain of salt, since he has become more mad and a little dangerous. We used to talk about anarchism a lot, and I am still interested in the way it is such an extreme expression of libertarian ideas. Most people think it is madness, but there is a highly sophisticated moral and ethical aspect to anarchism that isn’t seen when you look at “Sex Pistols anarchism”. Don’t forget that great men like Tolstoy and Thoreau were also anarchists.

In my exploration of anarchism I have tried to understand this most hopelessly idealistic of philosophies. It starts with a supreme act of optimism which runs along the lines of “people don’t need someone to give them orders in order to run their lives”. Indeed you can go further which is “human beings are innately good and will act in a morally sound way when they are left to be completely free.” phrased like this there is a clearer understanding that we are dealing with a proper philosophy which warrants the dignity of the name.

Some christian thinking also results in similar ways of action, because if a loving and just god knows everything that you do then the flavour of an action is indelibly real, and therefore moral acts are their own reward. When I got glared at by the builder in the wine bar before I saw you I was having such a complicated perception. I felt that society had requested that I should adapt to occupying an inferior role. This role was that of the “schizo”, “weirdo” or “subhuman”, but I was fighting not to have to accept it. In the days of apartheid blacks were not supposed to make direct eye contact with whites, as if merely by being who they were they had to accept a shame which was bonded to a forced humility. I sometimes get the impression that I am supposed to be like this because of my illness. I always fight it hard when I feel this.

Actually I usually then go into a personal debate where I try to establish that people cannot be forcing me into this because these strangers don’t know that I am ill, or with what diagnosis. I assume that there is no way of telling that I am ill visually. This might not be the case if I was dirty, had nicotine stains or talked to myself, but fortunately I am well enough to stay just presentable enough.

So why do I get this powerful impression that I am a misfit in the world around me? well you kindly referred to my good intelligence as an explanation, but then we hit the problem that no one can “see” this either. My working assumption now is that I pick up on the kind of hostility and judgement that all humans do experience in going about their lives. Why don’t more people complain about it then ? I think this is because they repress, and the experience is barricaded away into the unconscious for them. This sounds reasonable to me since I am sure that part of suffering from schizophrenia is to suffer the eruption into daylight of lots of mental material that is meant to stay in the darkness of the unconscious.

When I was on the bus yesterday we drove past Thanet Tech and some 6th form students got on the bus. Most of them were well dressed and seemed to be assured and adapted, but one chap who was a little overweight and odd-looking caught my attention. He hesitantly walked through to the back of the bus and I could see that he was a “loser” type who was suffering bullying. I often notice this and feel a large weight of compassion for such souls. He was uncomfortable in his skin and I could read how his strong expectation was that people around him would judge and condemn him, or tease him cruelly. This poor guy looked like he wanted to crawl away into a dark hole and hide somewhere.

Strangely when I take time to examine my own role and place in the world I realise that I am quite popular and indeed get a fair bit of respect. But there are times when I feel exactly like that poor kid. The easiest explanation for this is that I am imagining it because of my illness, but sometimes that one doesn’t work for me and I feel like a reject. Its a terrible thing, and I must continue to fight it and reason about it. IS it solely because I do admit to feeling a big lot of compassion for people who get bullied, pilloried and rejected ? I don’t know but the idea that it happens to me is so vivid I actually hallucinate causes and events that aren’t there.

Sometimes the concept that there should be a base line of respect and dignity that we accord to every human being without exception itself feels like madness, in a world of such competition and struggle. But I am convinced that the quality of our world would become tangibly improved if we tried to be kinder and more sensitive to others. In some way this is all that is mad about the way I think. Cruelty and bullying harms all of us. To me anarchism is even about this, and you wonder whether the best ideas can seem the most mad.

This is what sometimes attracts me to Christianity and Buddhism (hence my bond with Martin), but I don’t like to practise magical thinking in my life so I could never be a real believer in either of these. Maybe the Kingdom of Heaven that jesus spoke of is just a society where people feel truly comfortable and that they belong. I feel when I think like this that maybe the spiritual view of life is the right one. Trouble is that then you can set yourself against the sinful world and start to feel persecuted and like a martyr. If my ideas of persecution are founded in reality then life can get pretty ugly, like imagining you will be lynched in a supermarket. On balance I have to say that I think I do usually imagine it, but I don’t always remember to think this when my persecution syndrome is upon me. Its strange that I have spent so much time cultivating scientific logic, but irrational thoughts can still get to me. I think it runs in the family !

I have learned that the best way to write is to find someone to talk to, or tell a story to. Without an audience we don’t get into the spirit of it so much. That’s why I am vowing to write more letters, so you’ll probably get another one in a few weeks !! Thanks for listening.

A whole lifetime has passed since I last wrote. How blessed that I can remember to use my diary as the ultimate psychotherapist. I have been very stressed a couple of times, first after Justin borrowed another 10 quid off me, making 20 owed in total. Then Colin phoned and referred to his latest spending spree without mentioning any of his debt to me. Then Pete got 2 bottles of wine off me on tick, after my mother had warned me this would happen. Overall I have questioned my determination to help others. It is a harder job that I thought it would be. Jesus was prepared to die for it, so why did I plan that it would not cost me anything: any stress, pain or debt.

Sometimes I forget that writing about this stuff helps me so much. I just saw Miranda in town and had to conceal my purchase of codeine from her. The good news is that Wilkinsons do the right dinner plates for me. Now the coders is seeping in I am feeling better.

Essigned has already been a taxing project which has contributed to my woes. I have taken it upon myself to do nearly all the work, hence my feeling burdened. I get a fear that system processes won’t work despite having done everything I knew to do right. When things do go wrong I take it hard. Me and Danny worked for a week on trying to set up django, and we failed. I took this hard. shit i take everything hard, what’s it going to be next ?

The failure at Django caused a loss of morale and then i started getting the nauseous feeling when I thought about the project. I thought about what it would take to chuck it in but I couldn’t do it. I am banking on this nauseous feeling passing because i can’t work if i have it. I think it will and of course primal breathing would help too.

On the plus side i have overcome a lot of the fears I used to hold. I don’t tend to think that rough or criminal people will think I am a wrongun and hurt me. I don’t fear people thinking I am a pervert either. Was it Spain that helped me overcome this ?

Also I am learning to juggle multiple balls, like a hectic social and philanthropic life mixed with the software development work. I can switch from one to the other and back with more ease now. I realise what a luxury it is to enjoy work and I am grateful, I realise the luxury of benefits and am grateful for that also.

+ next morning +

I awake and struggle to get to full consciousness while not having bad or depressing thoughts get to me. Sometimes it will be a foul taboo thought, sometimes something will irritate me. I believe that the smoothness of the first hour influences the quality of the day. Sleep brings such blessed relief that it must be made the most of. I fall asleep with worries in my mind but when i wake they are cleansed. It’s an art to prevent the concerns of the previous day from returning to the mind next day.

+ next morning +



I am worried I will not be able to do the job for Abu. Last night I freaked out. No one is immune it seems.

The situation blew up into a drunken outburst and rant. I sent a negative poem to my dad and was sarcastic with my old maths teacher Doc Mal. I ranted about bombs on the phone to Bill and Pete.

If I could perfect the art of diary writing and its calming effect that would be an achievement indeed. It would make me more autonomous from others because there is a lovely calm feeling that comes. This feeling is to be at peace, and is precious. My life is not unexamined ! I need to use my diary to untangle myself from yesterday’s karma and return to balance.

The likelihood of violence increases with mental illness and drug abuse. I courted danger last night. I seemed to be operating with an experiential backlog of negative experiences, little nicks and cuts of the usual social variety. I thought I got overcharged in the garden centre, a taxi driver was offhand with me, two drunks bullied and tormented me, Danny was offhand with me, Duncan didn’t answer an email, nor did Doc Mal and probably a few other things, I felt guilty for having abused Fishy George. I was headed to a last straw type situation. I slagged off thanet people to Bob, my mother gave me two days notice for the catsitting, I was frightened that I would fail at Abu’s tasks. I felt guilty and self blaming for the drinking and the codeine. I drank way too many double espressos – shit I was lucky to get off as light as I did.

I was near Churchills which is a bad place for me, and started to kick off. I pushed the door of the artillery, then smashed some wing mirrors off cars. I ran back to the flat fearing the police and decided I was going to smash up cars in my road with a hammer. I rang Pete and screamed at him about bombs, terrorism and the police state . Pete told Bill, Bill rang and I ranted to him too.

Overall I was also having thoughts about the impossibility of doing high quality intellectual work while receiving so many visitors. I have spoken to Bill about this and he has been supportive and told me not to let them in. I feel I am a soft touch or weak, although others tell me I am not. I struggled with seeing myself as a green onion who doesn’t know the ropes and isn’t tough enough to avoid being used. Then the rubbish men didn’t collect my rubbish and i thought they were refusing to serve me because I was seen as a pervert or deviant. Ridiculous that an ordinary practical error should be interpreted as persecution but as I said, by now the pressure was building.

“Adversity makes men of us, prosperity makes monsters”. or is it “God created Arrakis to train the faithful”. Wow there’s an idea: maybe Thanet = Dune, desert planet.

I had as background the usual stream of taboo breaking thoughts, as if I am somehow compelled to challenge social taboos and court the fate of being held as a pervert or deviant. This is within my mind and of course ironically in the outside world I am seen as reasonably conventional and socially conforming. It is perhaps not surprising that someone with fears about deviancy would end up being an anti-deviant. Anti in polarity perhaps but not anti insofar as i would persecute deviants. I am no queer basher or racist !

All the unsatisfactory experiences in the last few years seemed to boil and bubble up to the top of the pan in one go. I felt that life was a joke and society a cruel hell. I resolved to challenge this and risked becoming a criminal, a fate worse even than mental illness. I was unpleasant to my sister too which is silly, although it was partly a response to her bossiness. Deegee had come round earlier and interrupted me repeatedly with intense “instruction”. He left a bottle of sour kombucha vinegar which shows he hasn’t a clue about brewing.

In a way I usually carry a kind of personal magic which allows me to roll with the punches of life and mostly I don’t get bad tempered like this. Maybe that fluctuates too and at this moment I was at a lower protective level.

In a yet deeper buried layer was my bad experience at Chartham Terrace and my anxiety not to screw up my tenancy again. This too is of course related to my feelings about reputation and social standing. Like a young Malay who ‘runs amok’ my pride had been wounded and I was seeking redress. This is a dangerous mindset though. Graham and George never leaving me alone is also contributory. It would be awful if low status disturbed me so much that I made critical mistakes and reduced my status even further.

What is to become of me ?

“Great things, Luke” says the voice. “You will liberate the Fremen from their bondage.”


Written by Luke Dunn

October 18, 2012 at 5:38 pm

Posted in Prose

3 Responses

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  1. You obviously wrote this at a low point. You know I’m trying to picture you. Initially I thought you were a man in your fifties, a computer programmer of some sort obviously, a man with enough income to give him time and think and write. Now I see you more as a boy, confused and angry about the world, breaking mirrors off car doors. Really, I don’t want to know how old you are or what you look like, I just want to read your words. I think you’re both, an old man and a little boy. That’s how I feel about myself. I’m all sorts of things.

    Jeanette Moore

    February 9, 2014 at 8:26 pm

  2. Hey, by the way, what does ‘Pythonism’ mean? I’ve looked it up in the dictionary but it’s not helpful. Does it mean ‘a study of the absurd and irregular’?

    Jeanette Moore

    February 9, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    • When I started this blog, I was mainly using it to post about my programming. The language I use is called Python !

      Trip Technician

      February 10, 2014 at 7:11 am

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