Michael Gilhaney


...leaning with one elbow on walls or standing propped by one foot at kerbstones.

1,276 words

Thank Guestbook
You'll only receive email when Michael Gilhaney publishes a new post

Saturday 28th September 2019

I read in the local paper a report from a coroner's inquest about a 32 year old mum who killed herself at home days after being discharged from an acute mental health ward. She was diagnosed with a personality disorder. One of many who are let down and too often vilified by professionals charged with 'treating' their 'disorder'. Vilified as a means to evade accepting responsibility and possible blame for inadequate care.

The coroner expressed concerns about future deaths. The mental health trust said they would take note of and act on the coroners concerns. So typical. Nod and agree in earnest but miss the point entirely.

The assortment of features used as diagnostic criteria for boarder line / emotionally unstable personality disorder are coping skills. Coping skills pathologised by government agencies. Pathologised as a means to make opaque the societal and economic factors that create the medium in which such 'personality disorders' manifest.

It's a dishonest nonsense to pretend that mental health services have the means to 'treat' such 'disorders'. At best they can only help to relieve the acute suffering associated with people's lived experience. Mental Health services can't change people's lives. People like this young lady are discharged because admission does little if anything to reduce risk and because social, economic and environmental issues cannot be 'treated'.

Monday 12th August 2019 | be yourself

To thyself be true. Polonius in Hamlet.

Just be yourself. How many times and in how many ways has that advice been heard?

For a very long time, the notion of being true to myself eluded me. Not my understanding of the idea but more so the application. Berating myself that, of course, I should know how to be myself. Who doesn't ehh! Living with an inkling that I was not authentic. The feeling my actions were led by and mostly served to meet the needs of others. A type of manipulative altruism. Hidden agendas. Being driven by a need to be accepted. To be wanted. To be loved. That this need motivated decisions and actions in life. That I had lost myself along the way. No surprises I guess is the supposition this all comes from poorly processed and unresolved childhood angst.

This Be The Verse

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.

They may not mean to, but they do.

They fill you with the faults they had

And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn

By fools in old-style hats and coats,

Who half the time were soppy-stern

And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.

It deepens like a coastal shelf.

Get out as early as you can,

And don’t have any kids yourself.

Philip Larkin

The realisation that acceptance is a two-way exchange came to me some time ago. That not being accepted was as much if not more about the other than it was about me. That acceptance by others was in many ways out of my control. That acceptance won through second guessing and people pleasing was contrived and transient.

Thinking more on this just the other day. I had a light bulb moment. There is nothing to know. That is the idea that there is some innate meaning, purpose, and essence to me, to my life, that I have never discovered. To know and be true to. I have been looking for or rather thinking there was something to be found. Feeling all this time just a bit awkward, a bit inadequate for not having a stronger and clear sense of just how I could be more myself.

So back now to acceptance. I am thinking that being yourself comes only from accepting yourself. Accepting we each have our own intrinsic value as a human being. No approval is required. Not holding back for fear of judgement. Of thinking about looking bad. Of trying hard to look good. Being yourself is not something hidden and to be unearthed. It instead comes from self-acceptance, reinvention and courageous expression. That feels good to me. Feels like an access point to being myself has been created.

Polonius was a bit of an arse. Wish I had bothered to find that out sooner. Life isn't about finding yourself; Life is about creating yourself.
George Bernard Shaw

Monday 12th August 2019 | Getting things done.

Yeah. I shall get those reports finished before we go away. I'll make a start over the weekend.

I'll make a start this afternoon after they all leave.

This music website if fucking great.

It'd be worth transferring a lot of this to my music player.

You know what? I best switch off the computer now. Go to bed. Make an early start on those reports tomorrow. Ohh what's that? A message from Dave. Am I going for a ride tomorrow? Of course. He's welcome to come. What time's good for you? 7.30 am. Sounds great. 160km. Oh. I'll do the reports when I get back.

Okay. Have a shower when I get back. Make a start.

I'm fucking knackered. Think I'll just gouch out before they get home. I'll get up early and do the report before I go out.

Best get up then.

Feed the cat.

Let's have some breakfast too.

Should get the washing in really.

Time for a shower.

This would be worth making a note of.

Right. I suppose it's time now to get on with that report...

Sunday 11th August 2019 | Note to self.

Be it drugs, food, entertainment, sex, exercise, work or (add your own addiction here). One always lurking on the sidelines to follow the curtain call of another. The unceasing ebb and flow of habitual behaviours. Unregulated childlike consumption.

A distraction. Cold comfort. Suppress and deny. A means to belong. To be accepted. An identity. Compensation. To fix something that is not right. Was not right. Attachment to means past their best before date. Pleasure morphed into a chore. Mindless gratification. Illogical justification. Contrived added value. The cover-up. The racket. A loss of integrity. Life on autopilot.

Understanding and insight without action are little more than mental masturbation and dull conversation. Yeah, we know about your issues. Your childhood. Your fucked up parent(s). Your shitty partner. Your meaningless job. Join the club of unresolved upset and unmet expectations.

Habit and routines are a part of the human condition. Accept that and let it go. Experiment with moderation and diversity. Seek out the unexpected. Indulge in new and novel experiences. Reinvent and transform.

What's in a name?

‘Michael Gilhaney, said the Sergeant, ‘is nearly sixty years of age by plain computation and if he is itself, he has spent no less than thirty-five years riding his bicycle over the rocky roadsteads and up and down the hills and into the deep ditches when the road goes astray in the strain of the winter. He is always going to a particular destination or other on his bicycle at every hour of the day or coming back from there at every other hour. If it wasn’t that his bicycle was stolen every Monday he would be sure to be more than half-way now.’

‘Half-way to where?’

'Half-way to being a bicycle himself,’ said the Sergeant.

‘Your talk,’ I said, ‘is surely the handiwork of wisdom because not one word of it do I understand.’

‘Then watch the bicycles if you think it is pleasant to be surprised continuously,’ he said. ‘When a man lets things go so far that he is half or more than half a bicycle, you will not see so much because he spends a lot of his time leaning with one elbow on walls or standing propped by one foot at kerbstones'.

Flann O'Brien - The Third Policemen