24 April 2016

Description of a Dark Day

I'm at the start of a dark day.  I can feel it.  The darkness, sweeping in, avoidable; like the tide coming in on a beach.

If you have never suffered from depression, it is hard to understand.  I am lucky.  I get these days, rather than weeks or months.  They happen now and again and they do not affect my life, much.  I am thankful for that.

Earlier in my life, I went through a couple of years experiencing the darkness of depression.  I would not wish  it on anyone.  So I am thankful.  Because I know how bad it can feel.

But, this is not the point of this post.  The point is how to explain what a dark day feels, to someone who doesn't understand depression.  How you can have been having a fantastic day and then suddenly, it hits.  The swift downward spiral.  The way the next day, I am back to myself.

So let me try and explain.  *This is only from my view point.  How I feel.  What I experience.  It is different for everyone.

A deep seated sadness overwhelms you.  There is no rhyme or reason.  You could have been having the best day in the world. and then it hits.  

Your heart hurts.  Your soul hurts.  Fot that time, you question whether you are really happy at all.  Whether your life is just a mask to cover the hurt that is overwhelming you.  You cry. A lot. 

You are scared.  That maybe this time. the pain will stick.  That you will get stuck in this world of hurt.  That you cannot escape.  

You are angry.  Because the day before, you were happy.  Maybe even an hour before.  A minute. There is no logic behind it and for a logical person like me, this infuriates you.  You want to break it down and rationalize how you are feeling.  But you cannot rationalize depression.

It is the kind of pain where you feel that nothing can save you.  Your head is a black hole and you are falling down it; desperately trying to grab hold of something to stop your descent, but nothing is there.  

You feel guilty.  So guilty.  Especially if you are normally happy.  If you have a great life.  You see so much suffering in the world and you think to yourself "Why do I feel like this?  Others have truly terrible lives." That you are somehow indulging in a first world, inconsequential thing.  Except it isn't inconsequential.

Again I say that I am lucky.  Because when I had my couple of years of this, I understood why people tried to hurt themselves.  Cut themselves in order to feel.  Because I did it myself.  I am lucky because what I did, didn't leaves scars.  Yet again though. I feel guilty.  Because if I had truly wanted to hurt myself, there would be scars.  Feeling guilty because my pain did not leave a mark, Fucked up, isn't it?

You develop mechanisms of coping.  You try to shield those around you from it.  Because you know they will never truly understand.  You tell yourself "Just get through this day and you will be ok".

So here I sit, typing away, telling you how my dark day feels.  It is late.  I am hopeful that tomorrow, the darkness will be gone.  I am riding that wave, the rise and fall of pain that makes you want to curl into a ball and block the world. 

But that is ok.  You are allowed to block out the world.  As long as, when you are ready, you come back it.

This is my explanation of my dark day.  Like I said, it is different for everyone.  But for those who do not experience it, but know those who do: you cannot help them.  But you can understand.  You can give them a hug.  Let them deal with it. the way they know how to; but watch for the signs that it is overwhelming them.

Depression does not define who I am.  It is a part of me that I deal with, but it does not rule me.  Have compassion.  Do not judge us.  That is all we ask.

14 April 2016

The Outspoken Opinion

This is a conversation that I had with someone this week.

"You have a lot of opinions on a lot of stuff"
"Your Twitter feed is full of things you are spouting off about.  Don't you get tired of being an angry person?   Chill out for a while"
"I'm not an angry person at all.  But if I see something shitty, I am going to say something about it.  That is just who I am"
"So you are a social justice warrior then right?"
"Well if giving a shit about important issues makes me an SJW, then yes, that is what I am".

I thought about this conversation for a while.  Am I an angry person?  I would have to say no.  I am a happy gal.  My Twitter feed has a lot of things that I have shared that I disagree with, yes, but you know what?  Twitter takes up maybe thirty minutes of my day.  The rest, for all you know, is playing with bunnies and singing "The Hills Are Alive With The Sound of Music".  

So I decided to take a look at my feed over the last week and see what "controversial" things I had shared.  In reverse order:

  • 9 women's refugees in Lancashire facing closure because of budget cuts.  Shared a petition - please sign!!
  • Adam Johnson appealing his verdict.  Dude, you admitted child grooming and sexual activity with a CHILD.  Shut up.
  • That 8 out of 10 most abused writers on the Guardian were women.  No surprise there.
  • That body shaming is not ok.  
  • That Dennis Skinner called David Cameron "dodgy Dave".  LOVED this.
  • Laughed at the idea that the films that MRAs cried about were some of my favourite films.  (A woman, being the lead in a film: misandry!!!) lol
  • A guy on a dating website who went full throttle psycho on me within two messages of speaking.
  • That 5 horses died in the Grand National meet.  Find a ray of sunshine in that.  I dare you.
  • That Missouri Republicans want Planned Parenthood to provide a list of any woman who has ever had an abortion and that the woman who is refusing, is facing jail.
  • That being blocked, is not the same is being censored.  Brilliant article from Clementine Ford who rightly points out her right to block a man from her own page who says "Good job you slimey fat cunt, I really do hope you are the next one raped."  Or that she deserves to be gang raped.

So there you have it.  Ten "controversial things I have tweeted about in the last seven days.  Look at them.  All of them.  Then put them together.  

So lets summarize.  Women losing a safe place to go when they have been abused.  A paedophile,  Women being abused for saying what they think.  Calling out body shamers.  Dodgy Dave (enough said).  MRAs moaning about women being a lead in a couple of films.  A misogynist guy who messaged me (and after that message, offered me money to go out with him).  Animals dying for human entertainment.  Women losing client confidentiality because the Republicans think the rights to a woman's body belongs to a man.  (A percentage) of men thinking that losing the right to threaten to rape or kill a woman online on her own page is a loss of a freedom of speech.

You know what?  Fuck that.  I am angry.  

10 April 2016

Mind Full, or Mindful?

I wrote a blog post on Friday about the Grand National.  Nothing new about that, I write one every year.  The new thing was that I had not written prior to that for over six weeks.  I have only written nine this year.  This is not me.

I love to write.  I have fifty different opinions on various subjects every day.  I am not short of material.  When I wrote my Grand National post it felt like coming home.  Everything was the same, the planning, the writing; the ease of putting what is rolling around in my head on to the screen.

But there is a disconnect there that I cannot deny.  I think of blog posts that I want to write and they remain in my head, unwritten.  I see so many posts from the inspiring and wonderful bloggers I read and I think "This is what I think, I could have written this, why didn't you?"

In order to unpack my feelings about why I am not actively writing any more, I have to look inside.  I have had a fucking shitty last two years.  My step dad being in and out of hospital, his fall, his subsequent nine months in hospital and then a care home; his death.  The aftermath of that.  My beloved little pooch dying.  It has been utterly shit.  Coupled with the fact that I have my sneaking depression that usually likes to creep into me when I am having a good day.

I need a head clear out.

I read something the other day that struck a chord with me.  "Humans are unhappy because we spend our time and energy thinking about things that don't exist - the past and the future" - Oli Doyle.

It really made me think about how much time my head is in the past, or thinking about the future whilst the present is just passing me by.  The past does not affect this moment I am living in right now.   Each second that passes by I will never have again.  I want to make it count.

The quote I mentioned was from a book called Mindfulness for Life.  It is a six week course that gives you a challenge each day in order to make you live in the present.  Not letting the past affect you now, not worrying about the future.  Just living.

So I am going to try this out.  Will it work?  I don't know.  But I am going to document my journey here.  Living my life in the present, not in the story of me.

8 April 2016

Nothing so Grand About the Grand National

I want to give you some names.  

Kingfisher Creek.  Provident Spirit.  Properus.  Clonbanan Lad.  Marasonnien.  Minella Recption. Gullinbursti.  

Sound familar?  Probably not.  But these are the names of seven horses who have died this week in UK horse racing.  At Ascot, Doncaster and Aintree.  Three fatally wounded, two collapsed and died after the race and two who fell and died during the race.

From the time that Animal Aid began their record, some nine years ago, 1378 horses have died in UK horse racing.  That is 3, every single week.

Tomorrow is the Grand National.  The nation's past time.  Families get together and play bets every year.  Workplaces have sweepstakes.  There are "jokes" about who will get the one who came last, or died.  Because we know that they die in the Grand National, we watch every year as it takes place.

The course is much safer they say.  The horses would not race if they did not want to they say.  But they cannot deny that in a race which is entered by the best race horses in the country, less than half have managed to complete the course in the past 3 years.  In 2012, only 15 made it.  As for the horse wanting to race, I am sure no one has ever managed to explain to them the odds of them dying, or that they will be beat with a mandatory whip whilst trying to get around the course.

Yes you did read that right.  Riders in the Grand National are actually required to carry a whip in order to race.

I'm not going to show you photographs.  Because we have all seen what happens.  It is more a surprise when no horses die in the Grand National then when they do.  But as the jockey Ruby Walsh said a couple of years ago "You can replace a horse".  

They are not given value, they are just ever replaceable stock, without worth; especially when they are injured.   When they die, as we saw in 2011, they are merely "obstacles in the way".

So what is so grand about the Grand National exactly?  We dress it is as being the nation's past time.  The one time a year that many ever place a bet.  We talk about what people are wearing, we have "Ladies Day"; we glamorous this barbaric institution with family fun and champagne.

The interesting thing to note is that we describe ourselves as a nation of animal lovers.  We recoil in horror at places like Spain with their bullfighting, calling it inhumane and disgusting.  Yet we think nothing of the fact that we routinely kill 3 horses every single week in a sport that cares nothing for their safety.

Imagine if this was any other sport.  Like football.  Can you imagine players dribbling the ball around a dying Wayne Rooney?  Theo Walcott being carried off on a stretcher and shot because his broken leg made him useless to the sport? People cheering as only half of the players made it through the game?  People cheering as a player fell and broke his neck, because their favourite player was still in the game.

You will either place a bet tomorrow or you won't.  My words will either affect you, or they won't.  But my mission, as it has been every year on this blog, is to give you the facts, and let you make up your own mind.  

I ask you a question, are we not better than this?