Tuesday, November 30, 2010

01.The important mentors who made my Epileptic Journey possible. (Article 5 of the history of my epilepsy.)

Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs


According to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs we have the basic human needs, which consist of physiological needs, security needs, social needs, which first must be satisfied before the appreciation and self-development can be met. Maslow studied healthy populations and what he called exemplary people rather than mentally ill or neurotic people. He claimed that studies of different types of handicapped, sick and immature beings only lead to a stunted and weakened psychological philosophy ...
Since Maslow’s pyramid or Hierarchy of Needs was fully expressed during the same decade that I developed epilepsy and started to study and got my first management training, I could not help but evaluate my own situation, with or without epilepsy, according to the Maslow theory a number of occasions. When the Primal Therapy came into the picture, I have also occasionally wondered about how the effectiveness of therapy activities best could be organized to provide patients with the minimum of subjective well being necessary to make a holistic dynamic treatment process successful. DR Janov is a brilliant pioneer and writer, but leadership and organization are not part of his specialities (according to himself, he cannot) and therefore, therapy has been stunted.
At one point in the early 1980is,  there were plans to build a pan-European organization, which I was invited to participate in. The work of investigation was too psychotherapeutic one - dimensional, and it called for no modern management strategies or tools to take care of other dimensions of a holistic treatment.
With the support of my epileptic / therapeutic ballast, my career and my experiences growing up, I have met many interesting mentors / bosses (including spouses) and  leaders. I will try to appreciate in special which advantages different leadership styles have had in order for me to maintain my subjective well being and how I have managed to find an equilibrium between private life, career, neuroses, epilepsy and therapy.
It has been a trial and error activities, which sometimes has been off the track but with good support it has, for the most part, come up back on the track again. I had during more than 25 years, within ambitiously oriented organizations, been given the opportunity to be specially trained while working with many of the tools that modern leadership and management over the years have developed. The collected experience has later given me a new perspective of why my epileptic life was possible and why I experienced so much subjective well-being during the journey.

02.The important mentors who made my Epileptic Journey possible. (Article 5 of the history of my epilepsy.)

My home

I will later describe my experiences of my parents and my uppbringingfrom different angels. At this stage. I want to make a summary that my uppbringing was stable. My parents were always on hand, and we had a protected, authoritarian environment at Alnarp (a university). Except for my first three years of life, I had very little unconditional support, esopecially from my father, which I during decades acted out in my neuroses. The emotional back I received from my mother while my father under pressure gave financial back up when I got myself in an economic dilemma.

The Alnarp Castle

My parents repressed the existence of my epilepsy and I did not receive any support from them to develop ambitions to one day be able to manage my epilepsy and to know its background. Our upbringing, however, stimulated the imagination to create ideas. Nobody could stop me from building my castles in the air. I had practiced my imagination at the Alnarp castle a forbidden but exciting playground.

03.The important mentors who made my Epileptic Journey possible. (Article 5 of the history of my epilepsy.)

 Four sisters: Almida, Elsa, Annie and my mother Olga

and my cousin John Eric

Undoubtedly, much of my life or subjective well-being occurred due to the presence and influence of women and that this phenomenon in large has its roots in how my childhood was like. The most unconditional emotional support I received from my mother for almost six decades, very truly thanks to the fact that it was my mother who faithful to the Bible caused my painful birth process leading to epilepsy.
My mother, however, was not the only woman who influenced me. When my mother and I in October 1940 came home from the hospital in Landskrona, it was my mother's younger sister Annie, who took care of and looked after us both for a few weeks until we had regained our strength after the painful birth. Annie who lived and retained her adorable personality until she reached the age of 94 lived most of her life in a house on a few rocks in the village Ellös on the Swedish west coast island Orust. She meant a lot to me, and we kept in touch until she died. Her name and memory are passed on to my oldest daughter, Annie.
Despite my lifelong contact, and my emotional dependency with my mother and Annie, it was their eldest sister Almida that mattered most during my childhood and youth. Almida was the first emancipated and unconventional woman who impressed me in my life. She was married to Arthur, who was a musically gifted wrangler. She addressed him lovingly with their family name ‘Hakansson’, but said always respectfully ‘Arthur’ when she talked about him. Uncle Arthur never asked for equality, but subordinated himself during a long and seemingly uncomplicated life to the matriarchy that existed in his world.
It was not just me and my siblings who looked up to Almida. Everybody did, her husband and son, her eight siblings and so did amazingly enough my father. In my home at Alnarp, there was a classic male-dominated lifestyle with a submissive spouse / mother who never received or asked for fair treatment. I was 5 years old when we moved to Alnarp and Almida helped us to decorate and furnish our new home. I had two years earlier been dethroned by my father / sister, and I now got the opportunity for a mental compensation when Aunt Almida asked my father to pinch jaw when he tried to instruct her how to put up a curtain. This memory etched forever. Aunt Almida and my father got along fairly well, but from that moment it became clear to me who had the authority and courage.
Everybody loved Almida. Unfortunately, she worked herself to death as a banquet cook at different estates and manors in the center of Scania. She died suddenly of a heart attack. She was 65 years. ‘Hakansson’ lived for another two decades. 50 years ago It was to aunt Almida, I went after I had seen DR David Ingvar in Lund and had been informed that I had epilepsy. Almida reacted with the apparent peace and the strength that was her hallmark and convinced me that life would go on as usual. My immediate feeling was a disappointment, since I had high expectations for her ability to solve problems ...  Her reluctance to let herself knocked out, a good dinner and a drink which she had flavored herself with herbs, made that I could go home with the certainty of mental support from my mother's most important ally, despite the dram. It was a secret between me and Almida.
As if that was not enough with my mother, Annie and Almida, they had another younger sister, Elsa, whom I had relatively little contact with, but who was constantly in my thoughts and fantasies as a kid. I was in love with Aunt Elsa, who was the most beautiful woman I knew as a child and I adored her attractiveness and lovely smile, which she kept throughout her life. With a childhood that hence was strongly marked by four sisters, who in an almost magical way liked and complemented each other and in combination gave me both social and emotional support it's no wonder that I felt myself calm and safe in dealing with the women who come in my way. I definitely think that my childhood women were a prerequisite for my successful and unscathed survival during 10 years in Spirellas female domination.
To my mother and her sisters' influence, I would add the prominent complement of my cousin John Eric in Borgeby, who was the son of my fathers eldest sister. When I was 10, he introduced me into the world of sports. He played soccer and was orienteering. He was / is 11 years older than me, and it was in his home that I for the first time read Idrottsbladet and became acquainted with Idrottsbladet and Torsten Tegnér, All-Sport and Edwin Ahlqvist and it was John Eric, who took me to my first premier league soccer game between Malmö FF and Helsingborgs IF. John Eric was a socially gifted conductor, and he had the opportunity to fulfill his own unique destiny in Kockum’s Shipyard, the largest workplace in Malmö where he developed his leadership as President of the union, which in turn led to the mission of the national board of the Metal Trade Union.

04.The important mentors who made my Epileptic Journey possible. (Article 5 of the history of my epilepsy.)

Torsten Tegnér (TT) and Birger Buhre (BB)

Thousands of opinion chronicles, I've read of these two giants of Swedish sports journalism. Both were pronounced leadership types, and their words were for many years, my law. They gave me verbal ammunition to use in heated debates with fans from both sporty as ‘unsportsmanlike’ background. That they then despite the disparity between the lifestyle they represented, the one, TT, ascetic exercise addict but gourmet and the other, BB, bothered by smoke and alcohol consumption and the tendency of a gourmand, respected and admired each other,  made my world seem wide and “secure”.
Both, especially TT, replied to my letters (which I sometimes wrote, in particular, verse form), with personal responses, dedicated newspaper cuttings and memoir books. Both have during a lifetime helped to keep me on track, and they taught me both to lead myself and make independent decisions. It is sometimes easy to forget the influence they exercised over my well being.

Thor Ohlsson

Jonsson, Sternhagen was my employer for four years, which happened to coincide with my Sturm und Drang period. We formed the Malmö branch of a Gothenburg company, and we imported plasterboard from Ireland, glazed roof tiles from Holland, laminates from England plus sold also flooring tiles from Kallinge. My boss was managing director Thor Ohlsson, who was a tall fancy, reasonably organized charmer and star salesperson with summer house at the coast. He had before his sales career graduated in the evening and was an accomplished handball player. Thor was as a talented negotiator and taught me how to sell. My selling was done mainly by telephone since Thor was mostly on the move or ‘sat at the Residence Schweizeri, on Adelgatan with customers’.
The reasons Thor put up with me for four years were due to the facts that I sold well and was very popular among the flooring and construction companies we worked with and my official monthly salary was low. I could stand Thor because he had all the patience with me which my father lacked. He shared in great my sympathy for TT, BB and SH (SH was the legendary editor of SDS, Sven Hansson). He thanked me every time I brought home an order of glazed tiles for a luxury home or had solved a problem with a delayed shipment to a frustrated builder. He took me to fairs and various gimmicks, which was not usual those days. We made up a cash report, which was my responsibility, for transmission to the headquarters every month and the records were never up but that Thor took with equanimity, and he solved the problem / difference with a ‘miscellaneous receipt’. The same thing with the office and especially mine looked like a knockout even though we weekly had a cleaning lady, but never a criticism just a proposal like ‘we'll probably tidy little Jan Åke’, Billy, the owner from Gothenburg, is supposed to come down.’
Thor gave me both the social and emotional support and suffered with me when I developed epilepsy. Some time after that I started with epileptic medication so changed my outlook on life and my nightly adventures, which I often slept off for an hour or two with my head against a newspaper or a magazine, gradually became a closed chapter. When Thor on one occasion said something which I in a sensitive mood perceived as an irony, I exploded and beat my fist on the table in front of Thor, and said: ‘devils now enough is enough,’ and so I went home. It was a very relieving feeling and emerged afterwards as one of my most important and crucial decisions in life!
Thor called later and said that I was well come back if I wished and if not then I would at least come back and get my salary. I went for the last time to the Norra Vallgatan 88 in Malmö and collected my final pay. Thor at the same occasion gave me a painting by his cousin Alf Ohlsson (who is represented at the Swedish National Museum) with a friendly dedication. A good memory, which still hangs with me, from a fine fellow who made my youth revolt took place under relatively controlled conditions with someone who cared about me.

05.The important mentors who made my Epileptic Journey possible. (Article 5 of the history of my epilepsy.)

My first spouse and our children Annie and Anders.

Those steps of Maslow's pyramid, which is about security, family and sexual intimacy,  my first spouse, helped me meet between 1962 and 1974. Although we both often used each other to smooth our sharp edges, the marriage and the fellowship with our children Annie and Anders gave me a total well being that gave me confidence both socially and in my career. The maturation and development I got together with them formed the basis of that I could seize the opportunity offered in the drain when I met Sven Moller Andersen during the autumn of 1974.

DR David Ingvar

DR David Ingvar was my neurologists for years at the hospital in Lund where I went for a routine examination once a year. (He also helped me with a referral to an experienced specialist in the 90's when my ambitions and neuroses were about to kill me). A skilled neurologist and brain researcher with a solid international reputation. An intellectual, academic person typical for the University of Lund, who radiated a warmth in his sparse aloof elegance, and he was easy to feel confident with without the contact for that sake became particularly deep.
DR Ingvar, I am particularly grateful to because when my fiancée 1965 called him to check if it was true that I could not have children, which I claimed, reassured her directly (and indirectly me) by saying that we could get both married and have children despite my epilepsy. Here we can talk about an important support, both emotionally and socially, which had as well a direct as a long term effect on my subjective well being.

Bert J.

‘Hello you motherfucker’ used to be Bert’s cordial greeting during many years when we initiated a phone call. Often, I became so deeply emotionally involved that I was stumbling about to start crying, and sometimes I got some kind of minor hallucination. Being able to say: ‘Motherfucker’ in such a way that it feels like emotional support, there is no more than Bert, who has been capable of. In 1968 he came in as CEO of Spirella and when he put his feet with shoes with rubber soles on the desktop then I was not the only one to wonder what it was all about. It did not take more than a year, and he had lifted me out of the clerk chair and moved me to the sales department, made sure that I got a modern sales and sales management training and sent me on the ground to kick-start the ‘beldames’ corset sales. The step that followed soon afterwards was to build a new direct sales organization, selling fashion clothing called "Democratic clothes." Appetite grows with eating and the appetite for career achievements created during Bert’s leadership years at Spirella did that I discovered a world of business outside Spirella. The fact that Spirellas new owners did not submit the same confidence as Bert made it easier when I decided to leave for my next fortune in Denmark.
From a leadership point of view during my last four years on Spirella, Bert was a boss and mentor who gave unconditional emotional support. He for sure believed me when I told him that I had epilepsy, and his belief that it would not hinder my career as a sales manager quickly became my own, and my doubts dispelled. The fact that Bert had an impact on my health and welfare then, during future joint collaborations, as well as in all the years that we have kept a personal contact cannot be overstated.

06.The important mentors who made my Epileptic Journey possible. (Article 5 of the history of my epilepsy.)


My subjective well-being and my social status was rescued by G.L., when my first spouse had become tired of my neurotic job and home exchange. For both of us there was certainly a mutual experience of both euphoria and status. Shortly before I met G.L., I had come across Svend Moller Andersen, read The Primal Scream and established a dream to go to L.A . The goal was established, but there was much maneuvering left. After we had lived through the tragic fact when our child died in foster-poisoning in 1976 G.L. became eventually as enthusiastic for the idea of LA as myself and the process to go to the USA seemed to us both unstoppable, when a number of in itself difficult obstacles had been overcome.
In retrospect, I used for sure G.L.’s youthful enthusiasm to get through a non contemptible number of practical barriers such as migration, changing houses, apartments and refurbishment of Brokamåla to move to 1440 Veterans Ave., Beverly Hills, LA, Cal, USA. G.L.’s emotional and useful support, not least to get from an idea in 1974 to the therapy with Janov 1978 and 1979 was a prerequisite. It can easily be underestimated.

07.The important mentors who made my Epileptic Journey possible. (Article 5 of the history of my epilepsy.)

Niels Burchardt Overgaard 

As early as 1974 I run across Niels for the first time, and it was through his brother Jörgen in his home on Johannes W. Jensen Allé, situated close to the Zoological Garden in Copenhagen. I had just moved back to Denmark from Gothenburg and was about to take over responsibility for the Danish subsidiary of Brio. The Overgaard family ran a print shop and a cardboard box factory and was a supplier of such printed packaging for our factory that made board games. The Pharmaceutical Industry and Brio were their prestigious clients, and Brio accounted for an important part of their total turnover.
I learned over the years to know the whole family well and kept my contacts long after my Brio employment. It appeared very quickly that Niels was special, and although he radiated  talent and sharpness soon I was entrusted that he was the family's black sheep. For many years, he had no control over his anxiety and neuroses so when he got anxiety attacks, self administration of alcohol became during certain periods his painkiller and then Niels disappeared from the company and sales increased in the inns and taverns, where he steered his course.
Gradually, I took the side of Niels partly due to my own hidden epileptic problems but also because his father Walther Overgaard asked for help to review the future organization of the family company which during his leadership had been profitable. One step was then to develop the print shop manager Niels to take greater responsibility for external sales and key customers. Especially in a sober state Niels was deeply knowledgeable having first-class education from Denmark's leading commercial printer faculty and with a natural aptitude for sales and with a representative image. Niels got qualified sales training and his subjective well-being increased in the new more comprehensive and constructive role in the company, and so his alcoholism was held in relative control.
It was only after my LA stay that our friendship developed, and we got to know each other. Niels changed partner about as often as I did and the same pattern was repeated with our home exchanges. The difference between us was that I held my anxiety, my neuroses and my epilepsy, in check by Tegretol while Niels during certain periods drowned the pain in alcohol. Thanks to Niels solid economic background, this sometimes led to absurd situations, such as when he on one occasion when he was drunk bought a grand piano of DKr 75.000 and at another time he bought some Hereford beef cattle. In both cases, without having planned where he would place the acquisitions, which in both occasions led to hilarious situations.

The fact that Niels during these years was an active private pilot, both in and outside Denmark, and was a deep-sea diver, shows the width of Niels talents and interests and of course of the risks he took. He was, moreover, as a young man, a gifted boxer and trumpet player and everything he attempted, he had a natural talent for. Anxiety gave him though no peace to develop or enhance his talents.
From 1987 until this day Niels has been a recovering alcoholic and has himself chosen never to touch booze. It's been and is a tough struggle with much humiliation and much anxiety to get through, which he has passed thanks to AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) whose support he received and which he has rendered by developing himself, with the help of his  insights, into a very skilled and highly respected therapist in the treatment of alcoholism in Denmark.
Although Niels is alcohol free he has kept his good humor and his contagious Danish smile that in too many Danes unfortunately is associated with ingestion of one or more Tuborg or Carlsberg. We have supported each other and given our subjective well being a kick many times, and we have a contract since 1982, that we in 2032 shall go to Paris and visit the ‘Les belles femmes’ there and investigate whether there is anything left of our charm. More than half the time has already elapsed. Agreement shall be held. Niels has, by the way, the original contract in his wallet.

08.The important mentors who made my Epileptic Journey possible. (Article 5 of the history of my epilepsy.)

The Publisher Albert Bonnier, Jr.

I start from the end. When The Publisher turned 75 in 1982, I was managing director of Yngve Ek, AB, Höör, which he by some "international development and strategic reasons" kept an eye on. With the help of the company's designer, we sewed a black tracksuit with blue fleece lining. Black as the AIK (his favorite soccer team) club shirt and blue as his eyes. He sent a personal handwritten letter and thanked, in particular, for the considerations to match his eyes with a blue lining, and he was happy to start using it. From 1977 when I started on Regment until September 1982 when I got fired from Yngve Ek and Frosta Fritid, I was privileged to work in the Bonnier organization where The Publisher Abbe Bonnier then was the obvious leader figure. 
The atmosphere in the Bonnier Group was sophisticated, and you were allowed to be different and make mistakes as long as you tried to create something new and had the courage to test. I found myself in my two attempts of the Bonnier Group in unprofitable divisions, which both had the future behind them, but Abbe Bonnier, The Publisher, I was privileged to meet a number of occasions and feel uplifted by. He could show interest and give help and support which to an immense degree have enabled my epileptic and therapeutic experiments.

Olof Stenhammar

Olof was during my last two years in the Bonnier Group my boss. He was the division manager of Frosta Fritid, where I started as an investigating consultant and by way of financial director of Frosta Fritid, I became CEO at Yngve Ek in Höör. Olof is one of the genuinely nicest people I've ever worked for in a neurotic world. In contrast to myself, I had no feeling that Olaf had a double agenda. It felt as easy and spontaneous to be engaged by him as it felt two years later to be fired.
He was a child of nature and spoke to me as a fellow human being. He had brightness, humor, and despite his burdensome ancestry, he was liberating prestige free. Those for sure empathically said jokes that he had to endure on his fortieth anniversary May 2, 1981, how he failed in both the pool business and in the Hutton brokerage firm (in U.S.), he enjoyed with the same great feeling as all others in his generous festive occasion. There are few others, of those I have had the opportunity to meet and who held prestigious positions, who could have matched this. To deepen my picture of Olof and simultaneously provide two examples of how Olof and Bonnier Group created a different approach in my ‘Lutheran’ world of work and seriousness:
1. We were a few members from Alga, which was the toys and games business included in the leisure division Frosta Fritid, who were named to Bonnier head office for an impromptu board meeting. This happened in 1981 and I was still investigating consultant. A number of points on the day's agenda were preceded by quickly and the Publisher took the floor and looked like he was a little worried. He thought it was exciting and rejoiced in the fact that Alga had got the agency for very well known Japanese computer games, but "we have been informed that Alga has signed a guarantee for 80 million SKr in that context, is that true, Olof?" "Sure Mr Publisher, it is true! But it's only money!", was Olofs spontaneous answer. There was an exchange of glances between The Publisher and the finance guys on Bofö but no further comments. When we came back later to Vittsjö, Olof offered me to become financial director of Frosta Fritid.
2.Once again, we were in the head office for a board meeting, when Olof, for some reason, before the meeting wanted to hoist the mood a little. When The Publisher swept past and saluted and wondered how it was, Olof said suddenly: Thanks, all is fine but my grandmother is worried! Why Olof, is something wrong? No, but she says business is certainly bad for Bonnier because they do not run up the flag any longer! It did not take many minutes so the flag was hoisted!
The joy I, and probably many others, felt when Olof got his pyramidal success as an entrepreneur with OM 1984 and later OMX, Stockholm Stock Exchange, it felt authentic and was a shining proof of the value of being capable of transmitting unconditional positive vibrations and distribute welfare (and in OM's case prosperity) to others. He was, and I assume continues to be a joy spreader as long as his nature will prevail.

09.The important mentors who made my Epileptic Journey possible. (Article 5 of the history of my epilepsy.)

Gösta Wiking
GW I first met in Spirella, where he appeared as a consultant before Berts different entrance. As a matter of curiosity I was a student friend in the evening high school with GW’s younger brother, whose spouse was friends with my spouse. With GW, I had very little contact then, and I mainly heard about him, when Bert later joined Perstorp reporting to GW as a manager.
Only when my Bonnier years suddenly ended so I happened GW, for a contact mediated by Bert, when he acted as the board responsible for a unit that strategically should be registered as a limited company and be disposed of. This project I ran in a discreet manner as miscellaneous manager during two years. Then we had a number of contacts, but not so many as they might have thought in the current unit, and here I got a first glimpse of GW. Then I worked three years in the Analytical and Biotec Division responsible for personnel and administration with Bert as CEO and GWs Chairman of the Board and got to experience their different directions with GW as the overall organizational visionary setting the demands and with Bert as president and down to earth market strategist. There were high ceilings and I have seen kindle discussions guided by the intensive acquisition pressure of those days which GW forwarded from the main board.
After three years, in the beginning of 1988, my neuroses and an offer from Perstorp (initiated by GW) happened to coalesce, and I moved for five years to Valencia in Spain, where Perstorp bought a laminate factory that was part of the Surface material Division. During these years, both when GW was a division manager and later became CEO of Perstorp AB, we had at a limited number of occasions intensive contact. GW released no grips, and informal occasions were temporally contingent. However, seen from my well being point of view, I felt comfortable with his formal style, which conveyed the support, I needed to handle difficult situations in a group with many repressed desires and opinions.
Even during my last five active years in Perstorp when I first worked for a division chief, who from neurotic point of view was at least my peer, I had a sense of security in the leadership that Bert and GW mediated by divisional and Group level, which enabled me to maintain my effectiveness, albeit at the cost of that I burned myself out. GW had assimilated and represented a highly developed system of philosophy on how leadership and management would be developed and implemented. The ORientation, PLAnning and PROgramming process which biannually was initiated from The Group Board meant a lot to how we conducted the work and for the security and development that it created. Although GW was very choosy with his latent emotional resources, I experienced a supportive leadership on his part. I tried to express it in a humorous and satirical couplet to him at an early stage. It should be valid yet. A taster:
Democratic, educated and gentle indeed
Sure, you know what is required to lead
Convertible bonds and other fringes
Threatened by Feldt, who taxes as he binges
Synergies, profit and strategic Grand Slam
Sure, you know what is required of a good No. 1
Like Wallenberg, PG and this kind of men
Our Lord has made you, but he’ll take you again.

10.The important mentors who made my Epileptic Journey possible. (Article 5 of the history of my epilepsy.)

DR Art Janov

Much of my material is about DR Janov and what I failed to report is available in his books. What has created confidence, well being and security for my part regarding Art is that he always responds when I write to him and usually by return mail. He answers short and to the point of my long stories, but I have the feeling that he always cares unconditionally and if there is something he doubts he asks. His genius has been my good luck during almost 40 years. It has been an adventure with neuroses, insanity, epilepsy and birth primal feelings, which have given me insight into both myself, my brain and the evolution. The fact that Art repeatedly asked me to come to LA and to work as a therapist has not lowered my subjective well being. However, I have had enough of my own pain, it has been more than sufficient!
It is very hard to overstate the significance of what Art has meant to me!

11.The important mentors who made my Epileptic Journey possible. (Article 5 of the history of my epilepsy.)

EA and Isabel Artigues Johnsson

1988-92 EA worked as my secretary and assistant. I hired her against the testing psychologist's advice, and our cooperation was a direct hit. We developed a rare performance together when we worked. This brought with it that we often got our mission beyond the daily operational chores, such as to organize events for the Swedish parent company, which included both the board of directors, corporate management, divisional management and individual visits.
When my contract with the Spanish business went out  this coincided with that I discontinued a few years old Teutonic common-law marriage, which didn’t lack its bright points, but it had stopped working and gone over the time of my neuroses. Then EA succeeded as the most natural thing in the world and came with me to Sweden when I was offered a new position in Sweden as Administrative Officer in the division, to which the Spanish company belonged. Seen from an epileptic, therapeutical and experimental point of view, my years in Valencia, which is ‘the city of the flowers, light and love,’ were relatively peaceful and 'harmonious'. For sure the neuroses appeared in hallucinations at rare occasions a few times and the feeling of being bored and locked was well timed with my move to Sweden. In many ways, this period can withstand to be compared to the 1978-79 stay in Los Angeles. The same climate, which itself is an antidepressant, made me feel quite excellent with friendly, sweet people, both on my Spanish workplace and in my private living environment in the center of Valencia.
During the following years, we moved a large number of times, first within Helsingborg, but also abroad to France and Germany, before we in 1998 settled down in Ramlösa, Sweden. During the first few eventful years EA was a condition that I could keep pace with all the change assignments I had around the Surface Material Division. She also had time to amazingly fast learn Swedish through adult education, give birth to Isabel 1994 and to study and achieve certificates in Spanish and French at the University of Lund and maintain contact and communication with her parents in Valencia. When in 1997 I had worked myself into a burnout, and I decided to go into my epilepsy, this was obviously a dramatic change for EA. However, she stood up sincere and got to experience my ‘crazy’ experiments first hand and helped me to film epileptic seizures and / or birth primal so that I could study them afterwards.
EA worked brilliantly during the stressful and eventful career years, and her neurotic energy could then be channeled into positive grooves. Of course, when I finished my career, a tightening economy became a consequence and the need for additional revenue was initially matched with EA’s own desire for a teaching career. This situation put new demands, and because I suddenly became a home going dad so it was not just the outer Swedish weather which was gray and overcast, even at home, it became a little grayer and a desire for Spain became increasingly stronger. This desire was not lessened by the fact that EA at occasions felt aggrieved by the Swedish view of children's education both at the Waldorf kindergarten where Isabel, our daughter, went but also in her own teaching acts at a few different schools in Helsingborg. EA neurotic energy could no longer as elegantly be sublimated into special projects, which was her elixir of life, but sometimes they took other forms. It would, however, take until 2006 before EA made up with herself that her future did not lay in Sweden.
EA has over 21 years from 1988 to 2009 had an important role in the fact that all stages of Maslow's model from time to time have been met. I have trusted her loyalty, her generosity and her willingness to devote herself, and she has accepted my different experiments. Especially the years 1992 to 2002, I was completely dependent on her commitment and energy for my well being, and I can say that during the following years when EA was struggling with both herself and with her teaching career, so she indirectly caused that I was undergoing a personality development which meant I for the first time learned to manage a home and a child.
This meant perhaps the finest development in my career when I learned to take care of Isabel and to wash and clean. This I owe to EA. Like everything, I have done during my life since birth, first I would fail before I awkwardly, got the insights into the most important things in life. 
Her neuroses and different view on educational methods, I had to accept that I was not able to handle. They could not be accommodated within a neurotic decision in the beginning of our time together, ‘to show all doubters that I could hold together a marriage indefinitely,’ and give me subjective well-being enough to cope with.

Friendships based on business is better than business based on friendship. John D. Rockefeller

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Man with the Hat (Article 4 of the history of my epilepsy.)

From the age of 16, that is from the mid 50's, I have most of the time worn hat. The reason for this was simply that in my childhood home closet, which had a hat rack with a collection of hats from my father's youth when it was fashionable to wear a hat. There were hats by Borsalino from Italy, Pechel from Austria and Failsworth from England. My father used them no longer so I laid hands on a black felt hat from Pechel and simply cut off 1 cm from the brim which added more "swing" to the impression. Since my father and I were not very attached to each other you can say that hats joined us, and I passed on his weakness for hats.
I felt that my black hat, was seen by a sizable goodwill, wherever I went. Even my girlfriend liked the hat. However, her mother could not stand it. I think it was me who she could not stand (so from that perspective, she was an unusual mother) and when I once by carelessness had left the hat in my girlfriend's home so it was gone when I would get it. Her mother had thrown my beloved hat from Pechel in the trash. I never forgave her. A new hat from my father's collection, I think it was a Borsalino, lost a little of the width of its brim, and I was myself again. If it was because of the bad influence from my own or from the neuroses of my potential mother in law I do not remember, but the relationship with her daughter did not survive.
1961 I wanted to move away from Malmö and Sweden when I tried to adjust to a new life with epilepsy, so I searched and found work at the Commercial Hat Company on Bredgade in the heart of Copenhagen. The company represented Stetson, Borsalino, Pechel and other brands, so I was really on my dad's street. It was a veritable “harem of hats”, and I could “pick and choose” from the sample collections. The Danish family who owned the company really grieved me when I quit in 1963 to move back to Sweden again. Such a hat lover, they did not find every day and one who although he was Swedish, spoke Danish so that even the hats ‘understood’.
Hats have not only been a fun thing because while I was given anti-epileptic medication, which was beneficial as far as my seizures vanished, but the tragic fact happened, because of the medicine, that my hair fell off rapidly. This created an additional complexity to be bald before I was 25 years and has in turn strengthened my need to wear a head ornament. Many have analyzed and indicated that my very early baldness might be due to my "hat abuse", but they have not had the whole picture clear for themselves. My hair growth was, before I started to take epileptic drugs, impressive after a slow start when I was 2-3 years old.
Anyhow even 50 years after the adventure at Stetson and Borsalino at Kongens Nytorv in the King's Village, I am a faithfully wearing their hats. They are now often shipped by DHL from a dealer in England, where they still have an understanding for felt hats. Wherever I have lived in the world, and it has been to create a personal description to identify me quickly in a certain situation and at a specific place it has always worked to say it is ‘the man with the hat.’ Issa, my daughter, and I never feel anxious about losing each other when we go shopping at the modern-day mad hypermarkets such as Carrefour. Issa will always be able to see where "the man in the hat" is staying.
Several years ago the Anglo-American neurologist Oliver Sacks published a popular science book, which was entitled "The Man, Who Mistook His Wife for a hat". The book contains some 20 cases from Sacks’ practice, and they are about peculiar problems; memory losses, mental disability, loss of body image that occurred due to disorders of certain brain functions. He describes the victims' fates with skill, insight and empathy. Everything happens, however, based on Sacks' own or alternative viewpoint, and other promises are not given. It is a fascinating read and gives an interesting picture of the brains’ complex design and about what can happen if the motor or sensory capabilities are damage in a patient and how it changes the patient's social situation. When the intellect, emotions and lust for life are reduced the person changes, and Sacks give examples of the remarkable changes when the patients lack insight into their defects.
The questions raised by both Sacks and David Ingvar (in a preface) about the functions of the memory are still unresolved after 20 years, although much has happened and among others Art Janov and the scientists he refers to have spent much time with this science and these phenomena. How and where are the memories in our brains? Do they consist of three-dimensional signal patterns between neurons, or some form of complex molecules? The information on nervous system structure and function is increasing exponentially and  thousands of reports are published annually in neuro science. New neuro transmitters that communicate and modulate signals in our synapses are detected continuously.
In this context, I have no white rabbit to pull out my Stetson. My ambition is not to contribute with scientific information. However, it is my hope that my exciting experiences are to raise questions among neurologists and researchers. I hope they will create new connections in the brain research and the psychodynamic therapy treatment to ensure that the memory, the different functions of pain and the brains neurotic pain reliever can be focused on in a mutual perspective, all under one hat so to speak.
My story about a life with epilepsy, as the result of a pain caused by a religious belief, I have tried to restructure so that it covers several dimensions. In many ways, my various approaches follow the Abraham Maslow's needs’ theory, the upper edge of which pyramid is about self-actualization. To reach this level I have first had to fill the underlying basic needs. When then dramatic changes have taken place during the fulfillment process, stimulated by a subjective idea of well-being, I have several times been forced to start over and strengthen my safety base and my physiological needs before I was ready for new experiments and so on.
My understanding has gradually increased and my ability to adapt myself to Janov’s recommendations and to my brain's incredible ability to remember and relive the trauma which it could not resist on a fetal stage but with the help of self-produced drugs and later anti epileptics had to put a lid on. The brain's own production of painkillers has stimulated neurotic behavior (or vice versa), which contributed greatly to my subjective welfare, for long periods of my life and only de-escalated when I could experience, feel the traumatic pain fully.
You do not become someone who wears a hat just because you own a hat.

Pandora's Box. (Article 3 of The history of my epilepsy.)

From one of many interpretations in the Greek mythology, I have downloaded the following: Pandora means the ‘all-giving’ or the ‘all-gifted’. She was originally a metal statue that was so beautiful that Zeus decided to give her life and endow her with qualities from different gods. From Aphrodite, she got her beauty and Apollo gave her musicality and the gift to heal. From Hermes Pandora got the Box, which she never was allowed to open, but when curiosity, which she got from Hera, took over, Pandora opened the Box, despite the ban and all accidents and diseases, flew out over the world. Pandora closed the box just before the Hope, which was all that was left, was leaving the box. The world then experienced a period of despair until Pandora opened the box again to free the Hope that came out of the box as a small bird. This has created the phrase ‘Hope is the last thing to die’. 
For almost 35 years I have had a red plastic box, 45x30x30 cm, designed to be used as an archive or a tool box. It has been my Pandora's box. In it I have collected all my letters, drafts, thoughts, poems about my accidents and my hopes. It has survived moves to many countries, several divorces, thorough house cleanings and multiple decisions that it should be burnt. Many times I have been faced with the difficult choice, whether to type the content or to throw it away. The material includes all the pain and all the liberating insights that I could express when I began to understand that there was a connection between my birth, my birth defects, my epilepsy and my subsequent neurotic superstructures. 
There has always been an invisible lock on my red box, and I have subdued my curiosity, even if hope has never left me. After that I during my first 40 years had built up neurotic tricks and manners to defend my fragile internal order, it took almost as long time to resolve the knots and straighten out tricky behaviors and to learn to live in a less neurotic way. Not until now I've been in a sufficiently good balance with myself to be able to deal with the shit without it’s hurting. 
When I am going to tell you about my epilepsy and my various adventures and insights it will not happen in a perfect systematic order because the circumstances will have an influence of what happens to be the entrance to a story. The content and the core of each story will still not fundamentally be accidental, because it depends on my brain's history, which in turn is a reflection of evolution. 
Letter to Art Janov regarding a retreat in Frutigen, Swizerland (February 1982):

"Since a couple of days I’m back in Sweden from our week-long meeting in Frutigen and I want to try to clear up some questions about my defense mechanisms, which had a hard time during the week. 
I have never been able to express my needs in a straight and honest manner. Very early in life I learned to get my needs met by acting smart.  I have begun realizing that my smartness is nothing but a great anxiety and pain of not being good enough and of not being heard. On the second day of the retreat, after having been through two frightening experiences the day before (not to get help and to experience a combination of hallucination / seizure, which in reality was nothing else than an endless need to scream out my repressed pain) I experienced a feeling of being pulled out backwards in a breech delivery. Suddenly, I got an insight that this was the feeling that had persecuted me all my life. I cannot complete anything in a normal way. I try to and try to and fail, and then I start all over, making it the opposite way. It is painful and frustrating until I suddenly realize that I can do it like everyone else, only much later ... 
To Frutigen I had traveled together with G.K. (S.O. had introduced her to me) and when I met her, I became obsessed with her blonde curly hair, and I remember I touched it a few times, and I told her about my daughter A., who had the same hair when she was 2-3 years old. G.K. and I spent some time together and among other things for that reason I dropped some planned business in Lausanne and stayed all week with people who participated in the retreat. I realized that it was only now that I began to understand the basic principles of Primal Therapy. 
There was a connection between G.K.’s hair and you. During our breaking up dinner, the last evening, I was sitting together with G.K. and you were seated behind us so that you could see us. My mind was working throughout the meal with the supposition that you observed us, and I did everything to make it look like G.K. and I had a great time together to show you how much she liked me. I acted compulsively and knew that something was amiss but could not break the pattern. Shortly after you had left, I also broke up and went to my room, packed my suitcase and went to bed. 
In the middle of the night I woke up having a feeling of a grand mal / birth primal and suddenly there was a flashback as a double image of my sister (she had dethroned me when I was 3 years old). One of the pictures showed how she looks now, with long dark hair and the other how she looked when she was 3-4 years old with blond curly hair, sitting on my father's knee. Memories of my brother, who also had blond curly hair swept past. Curly, blonde hair was in the 40's very special in Sweden since the country's crown prince had 5 curly, blond children and my mother who was a big fan of the royal family was proud to have two curly own kids, her ‘prince and princess’. My hair was thin and straggly, and my father shaved it off to ’kick-start the growth’... 
The pain of not feeling accepted and loved because of the lack of curly hair has been one of my traumas for decades. I have been obsessed with curly hair. Many girlfriends, spouses, my daughter, G.K., you and many others have triggered the pain (not to feel loved and accepted and add to that the feeling underneath of being epileptic because of an abnormal birth). In my feelings during the night, an endless number of curly haired people reviewed in a playback, and I got a burning sensation (similar to a petit mall) when your image from The Primal Scream came up. That picture of you and your beautiful curly hair was not without significance when I was first become fascinated by Primal therapy and its opportunities. 
One day during a group meeting you came suddenly almost crashing into the room and said: ‘There is a person here in this room, who really pisses me off’! I felt instinctively hit and rightly it was me, you had meant. You said that you had heard so much shit about me during the week that I did not stand up in group meetings and talk about my problems. This attack on my defense gave me a lingering awareness if I want help, then I must be straight and stop pretending that I do not have any problems, whether about myself (the most important problem) or with others that are willing to help me. I had until then not understood how important it is to work with even small blockages in pain (obviously with less “dignity and prestige”) which I carry on until I can get to the birth feelings and epilepsy. 
The continuation of a long letter is about my view on female therapists and my lack of confidence in their authority. I got key insights / feelings in this regard when B. (primal therapist) stood up during a group meeting and told you how humiliated and "pissed off” she felt when you had commented on her uncertainty because of a hysteric patient's behavior. Suddenly, I began to respect the female therapists after B. had dared to stand up for herself and straight out tell you how she felt in a way that my own mother never dared to tell the truth to my father. That set the stage for some of my later views on women." 
Hope is the last thing to die.