Sunday, 11 December 2011

Depression: the lurker in the shadows.

I write this whilst off sick from work (thanks to a respritory infection exploiting the damage done years ago by pluerisy) and emerging from a very dark place.

I find that, at times like this, this is when depression steps forward from the shadows where it lurks and gets you at your weakest.
And boy has it had me.
By the start of this weekend my self esteem had evaporated, my outlook on the world was beyond grim, positivity could not be found and I felt a total failure.
That's right, a failure. How ridiculous, in hindsight, is it to feel a failure for something you have absolutely no control over!
But that is how I felt.
I'm lucky though.
I have a wonderful wife, great sons, a supportive family, fab friends, a supportive employer and the tools that the NHS have given me to help get through it.
Make no mistake, without my wife I'd still be in a very, very dark place.
I'm eternally thankful for her love and support and it makes me feel for those without their own pillar of support and love.
So how about now?
Well I'm still unwell, but on the mend, and I'm still in a grim place, but I'm heading out towards the light once more.

There is always hope, the dawn always follows even the darkest of nights and things do get better. :)

Sunday, 27 November 2011

The time is now!

The tragic death of Gary Speed, like Terry Newton and thousands of other people, has once again brought mental health to the fore.

Now I have long been quite a low key advocate for talking about Mental Health and fighting the stigma that exists around it. Those that know me, know that I am happy to talk about my own mental health conditions and how we can change the way that mental health is dealt within society.
I believe that via education we can make a massive positive difference to the world.

Today's news has made my mind up to try and make more of a difference.

At this point I'd like to say that I live with OCD and Anxiety and fight an on/off battle with depression. I am by no means perfect and I have my bad days as well as my good.
I have no qualifications other than having lived with this for most of my life.

I am willing to stand in front of any size group of people and talk about my experiences and share what I have learned in therapy, in the form of tools, that may help them.

If I can help with something you are planning then drop me a line.

I'm going to try and blog some more about mental health related stuff and will end this with one thing.......

There is ALWAYS hope, talk to someone (anyone) and please don't give up.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Lost Generation? Hell no!

Why oh why have the media started labelling the young unemployed as the lost generation?
Talk about kicking them when they are down.

But more to the point it's not true.

We should be telling and showing them that a tough start does not mean the end of everything. If anything it will make you stronger and prove to future employers that you never gave up.
Yes it's crap, and I am not trying to say that there is any spiritual wealth in hardship and poverty, but the sooner that you realise the life is often going to be crap the happier you will be in the long run ( sounds crackers but it's true believe me).

So if you are young (or not) and struggling to find work then don't give up, never give up because it will come good in the end no matter how unlikely it may seem right now.



Tuesday, 15 November 2011

A quick post to freshen up the page

Hello dear reader,

I just wanted to quash rumours of my demise with a quick post.

The world at the moment fills me with both joy and despair in equal measure and I can feel my writing mojo returning so expect more updates soon.

Rock on and take care out there :)


Tuesday, 12 April 2011

My thoughts on the French ruling on veils

What I feel is wrong with France's decision to ban on Muslim women wearing viels is that it is a blow against individual and religious freedom.

As a person who relys on lip reading in noisey enviroment and as someone who is not Islamic, I may find the wearing of the veil inconvenient and the motives behind it hard to reconcile but I can respect the right of someone to wear one, especially if it is not preventing them for carrying out a particular function (for example, not obstructing the field of vision when driving).

Now I'm not French either, and therefore the arguement could be raised that it's none of my business. Fair point, but it does raise important questions for people outside of France.
The law further adds fuel to the fire of extremeists across the world.
Islmaic extremeists will quote France's law as an example of the "West's" intollerance of the Islamic faith.
Far Right Extremeists will quote France's law as an example of how their country should be run.
It further polarises the extremes of this argument and makes the middle ground harder to find.

The last government to actively, negatively, target a particular religious group in it's law making was the German government of the 1930's.

Make no mistake this is a step on a very dangerous road.

As someone who likes to have the freedom to decide what to believe and what I wear that denotes my beliefs without the fear of official pressure to dress in way that is deemed correct.

If you think that what the French Government has done is a good thing then consider this:

I wear a pentagram, a charm of a dragon and several beaded wristbands. These are often combined with T-shirts that are of a nature that the more conservative members of society may deem unsuitable.
These things display both my beliefs and my freedom to express myself.
All these things could be deemed as preventing me from integrating into society if the people making that decision wanted to a society of button down, suit wearing conformists who attend a christian church on a weekly basis.

And if you're secular rather than spiritaul think of it like this:
How would you feel if you were told that wearing replica football shirts was to be banned because it emphasises the divisions in society?
How would you feel if you were told that wearing your hair down in public was no longer appropriate because it contravened a state ruling on decency?

You might think that my examples are far fetched. I disagree.

Rather than alienating Islamic women that choose to wear the viel can the state not alternatively raise it's concerns and maybe pass a law saying that, where there is good cause, a Muslim woman wearing a viel must reveal her face to a government official to confirm her identity?

If there is really an issue with the viel causing rifts in society then surely it is better to broker a compromise and educate both sides of the argument to help them understand the issues that each have.

I can't help but think that no good will come of this.

And if you don't think it's your problem then read this and think it over.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

A pagan's perspective on recent news events - Spring 2011

I hope that you all had a good solstice and that the arrival of spring has helped raise you spirits after what has been a cold winter.
Since my last look at the news, in the Winter issue of the Incantation E-zine, the world is no less odd, worrying, scary, amazing, wonderful and cool and it certainly has lost none of its magic.

I'm going to kick off by passing on my sincerest best wishes to the survivors of the events around the Pacific, particularly in Japan, and my deepest condolences to anyone who lost someone in those events.
Once again nature showed contempt for mankind's advances and architecture.
I do not believe that any religion can offer any explanation for events such as this and those who offer such explanations deserve everything they get. Strangely enough I'm not going to offer any such explanations - ever.
It really does reveal the very fragile nature of our existence, whilst at the same time revealing the strength of
the human heart, our will to survive and our resourcefulness.
In amongst all the sorrow and bad news the reports of survivors being found in amongst the rubble and wreckage bring some relieve and, in my opinion, bare out the old saying "where there's life, there's hope".

So from natural chaos to man made chaos.

Across the Middle East and North Africa dictators and their regimes are being displaced and challenged. Whilst, in a lot of ways, this is can be a good thing (and I'm not about to start campaigning in some pro-dictatorship way) with it comes uncertainty and fear for many, many people. Not only is every day life disrupted but also their futures must seem very uncertain and, as someone from a stable country, it's hard to imagine how it feels to live through that kind of event. Quite why these despots are surprised that the masses that have been so deprived of so many basic things whilst they live in riches is beyond me, after all history presents us with plenty of examples, but then again I'm not some egocentric, power hungry nutcase surrounded by yes-men.
That may have something to do with it.

And then there's Gadafi.

Now here is a perfect example of power corrupting. Colonel Gadafi has been incharge of Libiya for a long, long time. In fact some would say for too long.
In my opinion, this guy is not just mad, he's A-grade insane.
He's as crazy as 6 rainforest's worth of hallucinogenic toads, all gathered together in one place, fed LSD and then forced to watch a 48 hour marathon of Jamie and the Magic Tourch with their eyes taped open!
It takes a special kind of nuts to deny what is going on outside your window.
I just hope that the men and women who are now involved opposing Gadafi remember the words of Obi Wan Kenobi in Star Wars, "if you strike me down I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine".
A man is hard to defeat, the idolisation afforded to a martyr is even harder.

So what is happening here on this fair isle of Albion?

Well the ConLib, or LibCon (I never remember which way round that should be), government continue to make cuts to the essential services in this country. It is interesting that they expect many public sector workers to take pay cuts in the near future but there has been no indication that the members of the government will be doing so.

What ever happened to not asking someone to do something that you would not do yourself?

Politicians would get a lot more respect from people if they shared the burden that they do rather than making these decisions whilst still living the high life - they may not be on footballers wages but it's not a bad life that is for sure.
And don't even get me started on overpaid sportsmen.
The recession is certainly biting but they seem to think that, by making everything more expensive (don't even get me started on the cost of fuel) that people are going to spend more money. My friends and I are all having to cut our cloth accordingly these days and it actually results in less money being spent across the board because impulse spending drops per person.
Now I am not an economist by any stretch of the imagination but the whole system seems counter intuitive.
It almost feels like a system that someone made complicated, whilst showing how clever he was, is now running itself and that the people involved are too scared to admit that it doesn't work and therefore just allow it to force them to make ridiculous choices.
I admit I could have that wrong but that's how it feels to me.

The cut backs that are taking place in this country will leave some of the most vulnerable peole in society unsupported. One group of people that are particularly close to my heart are those in need of the help of the Mental Health services. Waiting lists are long enough to get some of the much needed life saving help that these services offer and they are only going to get worse.
I wish the politicians, bankers and those that get rich from their actions realise that the mess they have made is going to cost peoples lives.
But I have a feeling they won't.

The actions and motives of the ConLib government hark back strongly to origins of modern British society. That has it's origins in the order established by William the Bastard in 1066.
1066 was the year that everything changed on this fair isle.
Prior to the arrival of the Normans in England the rulers of this country had a strong link to their subjects, there was a social order but is was an inclusive one rather than an exclusive one.
Their society, whilst Christian in name was based soundly in the traditions of their pagan ancestors.
Whilst there was undoubtably "have's" and "have not's" in that society, those that had honoured the obligation to look after those around and beneath them.
There was less detachment between the populace and those that governed them.
When William conquered this country he installed his social order, with it's strong links to the roman church, and his knights as the ruling class of this country and thus began the exclusive class system that still exists to day.
I'm no communist but a society that prospers together should also work through the tough times together and currently it feels like the well off in this country are expecting those "beneath" them in the social order to take the brunt of the hit.
I feel that that is wrong.

On a more postive note, despite the tough financial climate, this years Comic Relief raised a phenomenal
amount of money to help those in need in Great Britain and across Africa, which goes to show that the spirit of giving is alive in well in the hearts of society.
A society that is often portrayed as being insular and uncaring.
A brilliant example of this spirit of giving is Jack Henderson.
His brother, Noah, has been in the Children's Hospital in Edinburgh a lot and Jack wanted to raise money for them as a thank you. His web developer dad set up a website offering people a chance to request Jack to draw them something and for which they would make a donation.
Despite originally being intended for Friends and family , and having a target of £100, the site has proved amazingly popular and has already raised over £3,000 pounds!
The link to site is

Just goes to show that one small lad has a great idea and, with the support of a family member, is making a real difference.

Giving is something that was certainly at the heart of pagan society. In Heathen society giving, and receiving, gifts was an important thing. It is something that, if we all practiced it, would certainly make the world a better place.
Life is, after all, about what you give not just about what you get.

And now this is written,  I'm going to take part in  what is possibly the most exciting event of the year for people who love filling excessively long documents in. Yep that's right, more confusing than a self assessment tax return, I give you, the 2011 UK Census.

Happy form filling my friends.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

No title, just thoughts

First and foremost I want to send my condolences to all those who have lost loved ones, relatives, homes, life's worth of possessions or their life in the recent earthquakes and tsunamis in and around the Pacific in recent weeks.
I cannot imagine what it must be like to go through that kind of event.

Secondly I just want to put on record the fact that I for one do not believe that the recent events are the beginning of the end of the world.
Not that brave a statement, as if the world is beginning to end then domestic electricity is going to go pretty high up in the order of things and therefore what I type here won't matter one bit because no bugger will ever read it.
But I honestly think that we as human beings can survive most things, after all our ancestors lived through ice ages and other such events.

I'm not saying that the events of the last few weeks are not serious because they are more serious than words can ever begin to express.
What I am saying is that I do not consider them any kind of divine message nor heralding of some sort of "end times".

Humanity can be smart.
We can be strong.
We can survive.
We can adapt.

To allow my own spiritual feelings to creep into what has otherwise been quite a secular post, I would like to say that the teachings of the Wyrd show us that life twists and turns and to be able to adjust to the events around you is a great advantage.
Rather than dreading tomorrow, try living for it.

To all those effected by recent events, directly and indirectly, I wish you all the very best.