Hello, Kitty!

I need to write. My mind is such that its output comes really quickly, like massive data dumps, that often don’t entirely make sense. So writing is perfect as a means of communication for me. I can go in massively quick bursts on a keyboard, then take time to read over, edit, make it sensible. I’m useless in the flesh, unless you’ve got a similar type of mind, in which case we probably get on like a house on fire, and have really loud, non-stop conversations about absolutely everything that go on for hours and leave onlookers confused and occasionally hostile. (If that’s you, then I love you and we need to catch up soon. Message me.)

I have not written much for public consumption, except dabbling in a few listicles. It’s only recently that I’ve been conceited enough to think of my vast output of what I was repeatedly told were the most coherent and well written reports to ever grace a Safeguarding as proof that I can actually write, and if I can write 10,000 words on the Manchester runway disaster in 1985 for fun, then I can start blogging again, and I can start showing people the fiction and non fiction that I write, and I can start evolving myself a good writing voice.

I always enjoyed writing, but it’s not something career advisors had high on their recommendation lists for me. I got the idea about 7 years old that being a forensic scientist would be a cool thing to do and just repeated that. Of course that never happened. I’m now 40 and have finally decided that what I want to do is tattoo people and write stuff. I’m tattooing people, so now it’s time to start writing again.

There will be writing. Some sermons, some listicles, some fiction, some non-fiction, some anything, as long as at least once a fortnight I put something on my blog that counts as writing.

Thanks to Simon, who writes, for telling me I was a writer in a tone that suggested it was the most obvious thing in the world.

[It is in fact the twenty-eighth most obvious thing in the world.]

Time to Talk Thursday

So apparently it’s “Time to Talk Thursday”, in a bid to get people across England talking about mental health problems and help break the stigma. So! I thought it might be helpful if I spoke about my experiences. For the first time, properly. Deep breath…

Because I am high functioning, an extrovert and a clever clogs, I mostly pass for “normal if eccentric” to the mundane. People find it hard to believe that I have mental health issues because I present well, as they say. I also now have insight into my conditions, on the whole: this has made my interactions with professionals frustrating and off-putting. When you present with suicidal depression and you’re told it can’t be that bad because you have insight into it, it’s enough to make you homicidal. Why yes, I can watch myself going mad. What a treat.

If I was a child now I would be statemented as “on the spectrum”. I know some people think statementing functional kids is a cruelty; I say it’s the opposite. It’s cruel to expect your kid to struggle to be functional and have nowhere to go when they need help. I believe that the lack of a diagnosis or any awareness of what was “wrong with me” absolutely contributed to the development of the mental health issues I live with now. In my day we didn’t know – but now we do. There’s no excuse.
I envy modern kids with their vast vocabulary to discuss their mental states. It’s only recently that I have been able to even slightly articulate the things that I think and feel.

I have anxiety, and compulsive behaviours.

I get depressed. I self-harm.

I have been though periods of my life where I was so suicidal only last minute lucky thoughts saved me. Like, one time I didn’t do it because there was a kid staying at the house and I didn’t want him to find my body. Another time I was about to kill myself but realised I was cleaning the scissors I was going to cut myself with and the irony stopped me. It’s always cutting. I used to visualise cutting my arms open and just letting the blood flow out. It was only years later when I took Champix and suicidal depression was forced on me I realised how ill I had been in the past.

I self-medicate.

I have interesting “delusions” that I might even tell you about one day.

I can’t control my extraversion, and spend at least half of my interactions with other people wishing I would shut the hell up and stop showing off.

When I’m not pretending to be normal, I stim, I flap, I behave like a kid and I don’t know what I’m doing. I enjoy time to myself because I can indulge all those behaviours without people seeing me.

There have been times in my life where normality is torture. I spent much of my 20s drifting from shit job to shit job and twice dropping out of Uni because I just couldn’t cope with “real life”.

I don’t like being touched.

I don’t like noisy places and I’m terrified of the Tube, despite also being obsessed with it.
When I get distressed by anything, I have to subsume my urge to drop to the floor, clutching my head and groaning. This is why I rant and rave and yell when things go wrong. If I didn’t, I would have a spaz.

I downplay my struggles because I know people have it worse. “Oh yes,” I said during the Champix times, “I’ve been a bit down before but never like this.” It was all lies; I thought if I described what I’d been through before as depression it would be taking the piss out of people who are so sick they can’t fake wellness, like I could.

My faith in God has kept me together at times when I would otherwise have just stopped.

One thing I do know though is that our society’s definitions of sanity are way crazier than I am. Basically the diagnostic rules were laid down by a load of old white guys who defined sanity as “the way old white guys like us are”. This at a time when they were happily pumping housewives full of sedatives to cure their “neuroses” – when really, they were just unhappy because they were oppressed and downtrodden.

We need to accept that all human traits are a spectrum and that most of the problems we have as people with mental health issues are actually caused by society’s refusal to accept a variety of human conditions. Like how people in wheelchairs are actually disabled by the lack of ramps rather than their wheels, we are often disabled by the lack of tolerance for human differences.

Hopefully this is one of the areas in which we will continue to evolve.

I’ve been thinking about the Post War Consensus.

There’s an important demographic found in Britain, one that transcends politics, generation and class. Because it’s such a diverse demographic, representing a minority in whatever party, class or organisation each individual is in, its voices are not often heard.

I’m definitely in this demographic, and I suspect there’s more of us than even I suspect.

The members of this demographic hold certain things in common, even if they disagree on literally everything else. Our common roots lie in our knowledge of history, usually the 20th century, and our fear of tyranny (of any kind). We aren’t all history experts by any means – many of us just “paid attention in school” or enjoy watching documentaries – but many of us are actual historians or armchair experts.

We might not know it, but the thing distressing us is the final betrayal of the post war consensus, best advertised by the wilful ruination of the National Health Service.

The post war consensus of course wasn’t just about the National Health Service – its the reason why we had so much post-war housing, education reform, nationalised vital industries, British Rail and useful trade unions and so much more. It was supported by the Right and the Left alike, and that’s probably why it lasted. The post war consensus hit its peak in the 1960s, and then declined.

There’s a case to be made that the Left hastened the decline of the consensus by not being able to manage the economic woes of the 1970s. It’s also true that the Right went far too far in dismantling the institutions of the consensus in the 1980s and 90s, and that New Labour did not do enough to reverse what they did.

Those of us who like to pick over history can work out the details over a pint in the Winchester, but the important thing is that right now, the last (and most important) vestiges of the consensus are seriously under threat. If you want to know how bad it’s going to get, look at social care. It was basically privatised years ago and is now completely failing. The Social Care Crisis now is nothing compared to what will happen if the NHS is allowed to die and be replaced with any kind of private enterprise, even if it’s run by a beardy billionaire we for some reason seem to trust implicitly (unless it’s with balloons).

There’s a European aspect to this, as well. The need for European unity of some sort was well established in the efforts to rebuild after the war. The Cold War made this ideal a necessity. Even those of us who disapprove of the current EU know that the nations of Europe must remain friends of some sort, even without benefits.

It’s not just the external forms of the consensus that are under threat. The freedom of conscience, personal behaviour, social mobility and self-expression we have enjoyed are also under threat – how we choose to use that freedom is really not important, but is the root of why, as a crucial demographic, we are split. We have all wandered off in many directions since our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents came together after the horrors of the Second World War. Imagine the history the people alive in the late 1945 would have lived in, with living memory going back to the mid 19th century. The voters – 72% of the electorate turned out – gave Labour a landslide victory because they knew Labour would be the trustworthy party to deliver what the British people knew was needed at that point, which came to be known as the post war consensus.

Since then of course the push and pull of politics from left to right has changed the way things are done and there have been triumphs and failures and we’re capable of applying hindsight. We can confidently say things like “the railways shouldn’t have been privatised”, “the current shower of politicians are a bunch of eejits” and “people shouldn’t be crippled by student debt” without feeling controversial in mixed company.

I’m not quite sure where I’m going with this, just that I think that there’s way more of us sensible people than there seem to be, and we need to find a way to transcend our varied political affiliations and defend the pillars of the post war consensus that hold us all up. In 1945, it was easy, vote Labour, vote safe hands to do this properly. These days it doesn’t seem as easy. Politics has degenerated into fearmongering and hate-baiting and doesn’t feel representative, all that “first past the post” and politicians only playing to whiff-whaffing constituencies.

My own feelings as a cardigan wearing, card-carrying loony lefty are that I wish Jeremy Corbyn got a bit more support from his own party. They could easily promote him as safe hands, his dullness an asset – like a sort of lefty John Major. I find it bizarre that the Labour party won’t embrace the upswell of general Millennial and Gen X leftiness that has been triggered by all the recent unpleasantness.

I have observed that many people in the post war consensus-cherishing demographic who lean more towards the right also feel a bit adrift – finding yourself in the same boat as Nigel Farage is always an unpleasant experience, especially if you thought it was the NHS-saving boat and it turned out to be a load of bollocks and not even a boat at all.

There is nothing we can rally round together, it seems.

We need to come together to defend the things that the post war generations came together to make for us – but how?

Election sermon

So this:douglasadams

Douglas Adams excerpt is doing the rounds again. It’s right you know. There’s an “elite”, a “Them”, ruling classes who carefully breed and produce children they raise to join their class and rule in turn. These days in our “democracies” we choose between members of those classes.

This is not News. This is Olds.

We might as well call this class “lizards”, to handily label the various manifestations of this class in our various countries and systems, and this suits them as well as any other name. That much privilege can dehumanise even the best of us to one extent or another. We’ve seen many examples of the various types of person the ruling class can produce. We have a long documented history of how those classes have behaved, and we are more educated and able to judge them than ever.

Thanks to the global communication miracle we have today, we have a much broader view and understanding of people and how we think and operate in the world. And we are all getting richer. Even the poor are getting richer. More people have things like clean water and bicycles than never before. In many ways, life all over the world is legit getting better. We’re getting towards a point where we have the technology, skills and labour to actually make a better, fairer world for everyone, and maybe even live in space just for the heck of it. More and more people are thinking this is not utopian dreaming, but actually doable, and the more you think about such a future, the more you realise it is the Lizards in the way.

The reaction of many people on realising this is despair. Why choose between Lizards? They need to be denounced! Overthrown! IT’S ALL SOME TERRIBLE CONSPIRACY. And it kind of is, and it kind of isn’t. Yes, they all know each other (and breed with each other). Yep, they even occasionally meet up at hotels in the middle of nowhere and get drunk, let off steam, and talk freely to each other. So what? That’s what social classes do. It’s what subcultures do. It’s what big workplaces do. It’s also perfectly normal to raise your kids to carry on the family trade. When it goes well, no-one cares, because it works well for all of us, and most people wouldn’t want to run the bloody country anyway. They’ve got their own role in life to worry about and don’t challenge the world they were raised into. That’s how the Lizards get away with war and belligerence and being immoral despots. But that is the world that most people live in and I don’t think most Lizards have challenged the worlds they live in either. They are also just taking a role. They are likely to be a “sheeple”. Even the ones at those Bilderberg meetings and “worse”.

The forces of “good” and “evil” are at work throughout all of us individually, not as social classes, and this includes the Lizard types. The Light shines even on their scaley hides, and for them too, it’s not a religious, corporate or social decision but an individual one to put the ego aside and work for goodness and the future instead of self and the now. Most of our jobs are actually morally neutral. This includes most Lizard jobs. It’s the decisions we *all* make on a day to day basis that plant the seeds of good or evil for the future, and increase or decrease the likelihood of a future Utopia.

If we are stamping around being selfish, miserable bastards, a Lizard will say things like, “blame your immigrant neighbour for your misery!”

If we are being happy and kind, a Lizard will say things like, “Let’s not spend money on war, but on hospitals!”

Humans are all both selfish and kind, so we have an assortment of Lizards all appealing to our various good or bad natures, based on how we appeal to *their* good or bad natures.

If humans were more concerned about other people, we would only vote for candidates who promised to help people, and Lizards would have to work on that basis. We are as much to blame for them as they are for our greed that lets them do bad things to the world.

So, the more humans start to think outside of their ego, and more about others, the nicer our Lizards will also become.

Obviously, nice Lizards sow the seeds of their own downfall. In a better educated and fed free world, awareness that the Lizards are the problem will spread. Even among Lizards. So we can expect the evil lizards to get more desperate, and desperate people make mistakes and get exposed and disposed of. Shrewd voting is a kind of lizard-breeding done by the voters, choosing (actual) memes not genes.

Imagine if the world went vegetarian overnight – what would happen to all of the cows? It would be a silly thing to do and be bad for the cows. You’d have to phase meat eating out and come up with cow sanctuaries and whatnot. For the same reason, we have to carefully manage the introduction of Utopia – what would happen to all of the Lizards? 🙂

The revolution will not be political. As long as people are ego-driven there will be hierarchies and so there will always be Lizards (or even pigs) in whatever political system we live in. Right now we are in a democracy, so vote for the nice lizards and you’ll eventually get Utopia as rights and education open more minds and Lizards become redundant. You can work between elections in any way you want to speed that process. The only real way to bring in that world is by living in it already and being good and honest in every aspect of your life, no matter what you do. Vote for the “wrong lizard”, and you make that goal even harder. Freedom is lost. Books are burned.

Where is all this rambling going? To this shocking twist: THIS ELECTION IS NOT ACTUALLY BETWEEN TWO LIZARDS.

It’s between one perfectly competent lizard and a complete and utter idiot who has used his money and appealing to people’s ego and worse natures to buy and bluff his way into the competition.

It could be so much better if it was two lizards. Imagine if it had been two competent lizards, each making an honest and coherent case for a conservative or progressive approach to the various problems the world was facing. Because if that was what we wanted, that’s what we would get, and it’s what we will get, if we keep selecting for the competent lizards who don’t seem immune to goodness. Calling Trump a lizard is a complete insult to every honest lizard who ever ran for any elected public office after decades of hard work, or who got promoted to the top of their non-elected system after the same!