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Monthly Archives: July 2012

…and the worst about it is, I’m basically not.

Usually by this point, my stomach’s in knots, and my mind’s fallen into a vortex of negative thoughts; I’m sweating, and blushing madly, and shaking. During my lost years, I’d tell myself it was excitement about the night, and I’d down half a bottle of vodka then head out. Now, without the drink to numb the nerves, I’m often lost without any coping mechanisms other than just forcing myself through it, which is horrible, or cancelling, which is usually worse than forcing myself, eventually.

I watched a fantastic programme as part of Channel 4’s ‘4 Goes Mad’ season yesterday. ‘The World’s Maddest Job Interview’ was presented in a typical 4 fashion, but as is also often the case with 4’s programming, it was excellent and eye-opening and well worth a watch if you’re affected by mental health problems, or know someone who is. It reveals a little of the innate discriminatory attitude of employers, and something of the difficulty of knowing you’re experiencing mental health problems but feel unable to tell anyone. And there’s one or two big surprises in there too…

It’s on 4OD, and well worth a watch.

First therapy session one week today… Watch this space for updates :/

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This post began life as a comment on Addicting Info. The author of the post was trying to dispel the myths of homosexuality and the bible. Obviously some of the commentors were disagreeing with this, vehemently clinging to their beliefs that homosexuality is considered wrong in the Bible, but somehow ignoring the obvious argument that so is a lot of other stuff we all do now…

One commentor in particular, who unbelievably claims she has a gay son, said she doesn’t judge, but that “Sinners can boo hoo all they want, and speak against what the Bible says. It is only to cover up their own sins. There will come that day, when the “gay” man will stand before God. And it will be dealt with as God sees fit.”

For obvious reasons, this got me riled right up. My response wasn’t quite what I expected at first, but I realised that it’s what I really think about the matter. So much so that I felt it was worthwhile posting here, on my blog about anxiety, since being brought up in a religion at the very least contributed to my anxiety as a youth, and since people’s reactions to me since based on the imposition of their faith have also added to it.

“Why is it you think your god is the right one? After all, many people of many faiths believe in different gods, and different divine laws. Many of whom came way before your religion. Why is yours the right one? Can you honestly answer that?

And if you agree that there are many people who believe in their own faiths, and worship in their own ways, do you also agree that there are many people out there who *don’t* believe in God, or religion? You may disagree with them, but that’s a simple fact.

If you don’t think atheists should inflict their beliefs on you, why do you think it’s right to inflict your beliefs on them? You don’t say you BELIEVE that a day will come when the “gay” man will stand before God, you say there WILL be a day – therefore, you think that your beliefs override my own, since I don’t believe that to be the case at all.

Can you honestly explain to me why you think it’s right for someone Christian to apply their beliefs to anyone else?

I want to live in a world where you can believe what you want, and I can believe what I want. For that world to exist, we have to mediate for our differences. If I believe that I was born gay, if I fall in love and settle down in a loving, comfortable and enriching relationship, don’t you think that *my* beliefs should be accommodated for?

If me living as a gay man doesn’t prevent you from believing in God, or carrying out the laws of your Bible *as you see fit, for yourself*, why would you even *think* to pass judgement on me? To say that I will be “dealt with” by a God I don’t believe in?

If you can honestly and considerately answer these questions, then perhaps we can get somewhere. If you can’t, then you’re being unreasonable, and it’s that lack of reason that is setting so many people in opposition to the Church at present.

No one cares what you think or believe – we just think you shouldn’t be allowed to decide the fate of people who DON’T believe the same as you. That’s the reason Church and State should be separate – there’s more than one Church, more than one belief, more than one type of person under the jurisdiction of the State.

You don’t want to be oppressed – I don’t want to be oppressed – we all have to find a way to live our own lives, the way WE want to, without getting in each others way, the best we possibly can.”

And that’s it, really. I realised that that’s the simplest thing in the world, and the one thing we can’t get right. Me expressing my sexuality is about me expressing my sexuality – it’s got nothing to do with oppressing someone else’s beliefs, or persecuting someone for believing in them. The state, and by extension, the large body of public within the state, legislating to allow for and protect my rights does nothing either to persecute or diminish someone else’s faith or beliefs.

If I had the power to, and decided tomorrow that all the vile and vitriol spread by the Church hierarchy over homosexuality was a danger to the overall health and well-being of the State, and threatened its existence, and tried to pass a law preventing people from celebrating their faith in the way they chose, so persecuting them in the process, I would rightly be castigated. That’s my opinion – that doesn’t mean I have a right to oppress anyone who sees things the other way.

If I have the power to, and decide that gay marriage and homosexuality in general is a danger to the overall health and spiritual well-being of my congregation, and threatened the existence of not only the sacraments of my Church, but also the Church itself, and tried to block a law which would allow self-determining individuals the chance to celebrate their faith and their beliefs in the way they choose, I should rightfully be castigated. Instead, because my beliefs are religious and somehow held sacred, I am allowed to continue this battle to invade the rights and lives of those who don’t follow my beliefs.

This is not an easy argument. There are points of contention on both “sides”. But ultimately, this is about whether a book written thousands of years ago that has arbitrary rules written in it, for a time and society that no longer exists, should be allowed to be used as reference for the application of law and freedom in a country that is made of up many different such faiths, and a good many people who believe in none of them.

I think that in the 21st Century, our country, the UK, and the States, and everywhere else, should be looking to try and forge a future that allows for all of us to be welcome, accepted and included members. That one person’s beliefs should not impinge on the rights of another, that no one should be able to say my religion or faith is stronger, or more true, than yours. Where religion and state are separate not only so that individuals who do not believe are not oppressed, but so that religious freedoms are also safeguarded.

How many people out there, how many of you Christians and atheists would stand for a second to see Islam used as a rule of law in Britain? How many Muslims would stand to see Christianity accepted as the only officially recognised religion in Britain, or a law passed that prevented all forms of religious expressions? Hmmm? How many?

No. Didn’t think so. Then ask yourself this – why do you think you have the right to apply your beliefs to anyone else.

So I’m NOT a psychic – how depressing is that? I want at least one mutant power. Mind you, I think I’d prefer telekinesis to telepathy, but I wouldn’t turn it down…

Anyway, this is what’s known as a cognitive distortion – exaggerated or irrational thoughts perpetuated by some psychological disorders, including depression and chronic anxiety. It’s when you spend your time “making up” what others are thinking about you in their own heads, with no evidence, no proof, that they’re thinking anything of the sort.

It’s seriously damaging and debilitating for a number of reasons – for one, it’s hard enough juggling your own thoughts, but juggling everyone’s in a room? That’s a recipe for disaster (see also fatigue o_O).

For another, it’s totally meaningless. We spend our time judging ourselves in the voices and thoughts of others, which prevents us fully being who we want to be, and it unfairly lays the responsibility for that at the feet others, most of whom are unlikely to be thinking anything like the thoughts we ascribe to them.

So yes, The Great Mentalist is rather shit. Sorry about that…

In other news, I had my first check up appointment at the Doc’s yesterday, which was a kind of strange one this time round. Not much to report, not much change, so it’s a holding pattern and more pills until I start CBT therapy on 6th August…

Wee bonus post for today - saw an excellent post on a Tumblr account with an image by an artist called Michael Marsicano with a little definition of the word TORSCHLUSSPANIK (check the link for details...). Anyway, it's a cracking image, an immediately inspired me to do this, which is a visual metaphor for the tightness of the stomach that anxiety causes...

So Citalopram makes you yawn. I mean really yawn. I mean really yawn

It’s crazy – no matter how active or inactive I am, I get these really weird bouts of yawning that almost dislocate my jaw. I’ve noticed that when I’m going out, or about to do something stressful, it gets worse, so I’m not sure if it’s a direct reaction to the increased levels of serotonin or what, but they seem linked.

I’ve also noticed though that I’m experiencing what I can only describe as severe fatigue. I decided to do a little research on this, and it’s noted online that anxiety and depression can cause real exhaustion and fatigue. I tangented to this link: http://www.wellcomecollection.org/tiredness/index.html, which is a cool little psychomotor vigilance test. People with enough sleep and rest should score about 220. People who are very tired take 300 milliseconds. My average is about 356. And this is after an afternoon nap.

So obviously that’s something that’s getting added to the long list of “weird things about me” that I’ll be discussing with the doctor when I go back on Thursday…

 

Bit saucy, this one  (#^.^#)

However, catholic guilt’s a bit of a bugbear for me. I’m largely over the damage done to me by my Catholic upbringing, but I think it’s important as an ex-Catholic to try and spread the word of Reason, the same way Catholics often think it’s their duty to spread their word…

I can think of few things more psychologically damaging to a growing kid than thinking there’s an all-seeing, all-powerful eye of some desert deity watching their every movement and every thought. It’s the idea of the Panopticon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panopticon) writ large. Bentham, designer of the Panopticon, said it offered “a new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example”. Well I disagree – I think religion got there long before Bentham did…

Anyway, I think it’s damning that anyone – religion, state, individual – would try to control the personal sex life of another. Mind control that makes you feel guilty about something that causes no harm, only pleasure and connection, either to oneself or to another, is just plain wrong – but is a great way to make sure you have a malleable throng. You can make them feel guilty about it, then sell them either absolution, or guilt free sublimated sexuality in the form of advertising etc.

I say a big loud NO to that – you should take back your sexuality, whatever it is, and accept and enjoy it as a personal expression of who you are.

 

 

 

I’m just going to let today’s post speak for itself, as it’s open to some interpretation, which is noice.

For those who’re interested in a this kind of thing, you may have noticed that I’m playing around with the format a little bit. It was nice to start off with this 6-panel grid, which I think I’ll stick to most of the time, but I also like breaking out of that a wee bit when it feels appropriate.