Springingtiger's Blog

I Choose Not To Be Depressed

Why would I now find myself on the verge of sinking into another depression? It seems to have been started by last Sunday’s meltdown. I firmly believed I got my life under control, Kinetic Chain Release had broken my susceptibility to loud noises and my blue glasses, to photosensitivity; they also help me read pages without jumping backwards and forward and recognise faces as a whole rather than as a collection of pieces. I was in control and my meltdown stripped away any illusion of control.

I like to feel in control, I may know it’s really an illusion, but as long as I’m not reminded of that reality I am happy. I have invested so much energy to construct the illusion of control, that when it’s stripped away I find myself wondering why I bothered. The other big problem is that, because the illusion was constructed to prevent depression, when the illusion goes, the possibility of sinking into depression returns and so does the memory of being depressed. It is the memory of depression that makes suicide attractive.

However I must also accept that every time I have been depressed I have come through it. I know I have a pattern of recovery from depression. It occurs to me the language of depression is the language of powerlessness. If I say ‘I have been depressed’ I am saying SOMETHING depressed me. When the dread of powerlessness is so poignant it is little wonder depression is so dreadful! I am reminded of the Richard Bandler question, ‘How do you do being depressed?’ It turns the language of depression on its head and tells me I can only be depressed because I am doing ‘being depressed’. But I feel depressed. However 5 Banks would stay that those feelings just indicate that there is something wrong with my thinking. The most important thing is that I am still in a place where I can take action and I have the tools to do so. I choose not to do being depressed!

Heathrow Meltdown
December 9, 2014, 11:04
Filed under: Parenting, Travel | Tags: , , , , , ,

On Sunday Neelam and I flew back to Glasgow from London Heathrow Airport. I have never liked flying, I find it extremely stressful. The problems begin with packing to meet the rules of the airlines, sizing bags and weighing them, but on a return journey with no shopping there was no cause for worry. They continue with the anxiety induced by having to get to the airport on time, on Sunday that presented no problem at all. The biggest anxiety for me is an irrational dread of not getting through security. On Sunday I successfully ensured I did not set off metal detectors, I should have been able to relax, but Neelam both set off the detector and activated a bag search. Then as I replaced my bits and pieces in their proper places about my person I discovered my favourite ring was missing, my stress was beginning to build.

We were to fly at 21:00 and our gate should have been announced at 20:10, we waited for the announcement until 20:35. I was beginning to be anxious, I don’t like my schedule to be changed without prior notice, actually I just don’t like my schedule to be changed. At last we were directed to  gate A6, but while we were queuing the gate was changed to A4a. When we reached A4a we discovered we were actually leaving through A4b. We were in a confined space full of people, some of whom were very apparently upset, most of whom seemed to be talking. The circumstances were conducive to meltdown.

I could feel my body’s tics beginning to become pronounced. I pushed through the press and got to a seat. I put my earplugs in and closed my eyes to try and block out stimuli. Then came that moment I always dread, when my body and my mind separate and I find myself looking on impotently as my body weeps, shakes and makes strange noises and there is nothing I can do. Were I insensible it might be less terrifying, there are few things, if any, I know more terrifying than being trapped powerless in my own body. Fortunately this time, as on some other occasions, my conscious closed down, in itself scaring, but insensibility provides a relief from unimaginable horror. I don’t know how I would have managed had I been travelling alone, but fortunately Neelam was with me, she took my ‘Autism Alert’ card and took control. She got me on the plane and then home.

As I come out of the meltdown I am confused. It is as though as I gain control of my body, I lose control of my mind. My speech becomes jumbled, my emotions confused and my ability to process information is drastically reduced. However after a meltdown I am totally exhausted, all my energy is drained. I just wrote Monday off and slept. Sleep is the only thing that brings my recovery, which is fortunate, as I am usually incapable of remaining awake. It is now nearly thirty six hours since my meltdown, I am awake and able to write, but I am still incredibly tired. I don’t think, unless someone has experienced a meltdown themselves’ anyone can appreciate the mental or physical toll of meltdown. Mentally it is terrifying, physically it is so draining that it can take days to recover.

Are there lessons to learn from meltdown? Firstly, If you are autistic carry an alert card! We never advise the airline in advance because I so rarely have a problem; after Sunday I know that, should I ever fly alone, I will advise the airline of my possible needs in advance. I am grateful that none of my fellow passengers had any objection to staff getting me on the bus first, not that I was aware by that point, but I would ask that people do show forbearance when someone is in meltdown, trust me it is far more upsetting to experience than to watch. I think thirdly, recognise that the person who has experienced a meltdown may need time, peace and quiet to recover; if you are the one recovering, take as long as you need and to everyone else, please be patient.

Keep The Songs Alive
November 30, 2014, 20:04
Filed under: Politics, Scotland, Yes Scotland | Tags: , , ,

James Connolly told his daughter to keep the songs alive and for good reason. Every movement has its fallow years when it progresses little, when hope seems sterile, but it is in its songs and stories that it lives. Dogmas do not inspire as the great religions know, people forget dogma, but they remember story; Islam may be founded on the Koran, but it is the Hadith that provides the inspiration. Socialism does not live on the teachings of Marx and Engels, Mao or Keir Hardy, but on the stories of its heroes and upon its songs. I did not live through the Spanish Civil war, but my generation inherited songs like Jarama and tales of Dolores Ibarruri ‘La Passionara’, whose statue stands beside the Clyde to remind us that, “It is better to die on our feet than live on our knees!”

James Connolly was before else a socialist and a Trades Unionist, but he is remembered today as much for being a leader of the Irish Rebellion in 1916. Connolly is remembered because his memory is kept alive by the songs and stories, no only of the Labour Movement, but also by he movement to free Ireland from Westminster’s dominion. Today I was at a CND event in the early afternoon and was impressed by how many of us older attendees remembered the CND Buskers and the real desire to promote the movement through song.

We are in the aftermath of the Indyref and although the Yes Campaign did not win, it remains vibrant and full of optimism whereas the Unionist campaign and its promoters are largely despised by the people of Scotland, even by those who voted No. Sadly the Unionists have presented Scotland with no post referendum vision except for very limited tax raising powers, but no increased control over the things that really matter like Employment Law. Further the Yes Campaign, now the 45 has a vision of an empowered democratic Scotland, our campaign had the songs and the strories. Our campaign still has the songs and the stories and so our movement continues because we are in the heart and soul of Scotland unlike the unionists who only have their hands in her purse.

Facebook Changes and Personal Protection
November 30, 2014, 12:09
Filed under: Uncategorized

Because recent changes to Facebook have a direct bearing on your intellectual rights and ownership of your own material, a friend of mine has put on her profile a useful statement to assert her rights. However because it is not possible in some cases to copy and paste in Facebook, I have reproduced the text below do those who choose may copy it.

Due to the fact that Facebook has chosen to involve software that will allow the theft of my personal information, I state at this date of November 30 2014, in response to the new guidelines of Facebook, pursuant you articles L.111,112, and 113 of the code of intellectual property, I declare that my rights are attached to all my personal data, drawings, photos, videos, texts, etc…published on my profile and my page. For commercial use of the foregoing written consent is required at all times.
Those who read this text can do a copy/paste on their Facebook wall. This will allow them to place themselves under the protection of copyright.
By this statement  I tell Facebook that out is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, broadcast, or take any other action against me on the basis of this profile and or its content. The actions mentioned above also apply to employees, students, agents and or other personnel under the direction of Facebook.
The content of my profile contains private information. The violation of my privacy is punishable by law (UCC 1-308 1-308 1-103 and the Rome Statute).
Facebook is now an open capital entity. All members are invited to publish a notice of this kind, or if you prefer, you can copy and paste this version.
Of you have not published this statement at least once, you tacitly allow the user of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in the profile update.

Love is Peace, Peace is Love

SSF friary garden, Alnmouth

This morning, as part of the homework of Darren Eden’s “Transformation”, I tuned into one of my choices, “I love filling myself with peace — I choose to be peaceful”. Just a couple of days ago I had been discussing Peace with my friends Cerys and Alan and while we were clear that peace is not merely an absence of violence, nor even an absence of fear, I don’t think we reached a  conclusion.

Peace does not come naturally to me, I have had for most of my life a default setting of angry. When you are a Scots Irish, republican socialist, in a semi colonial society rife with inequalities and injustice, anger comes very easily. Using the Three Principles I tend to realise when my anger is using me instead of me using my anger, and I have my friend Don to point out when I am misusing anger. I have much in my past that people may consider justifiable causes for anger, however while anger has frequently provided an impetus to action it has never brought any lasting benefit.

Today as I tuned in to my creative choice to be peaceful, rather than seeing a symbol, I heard a voice saying, “Peace is love, love is peace!” I think it was telling me that there is nothing passive about peace, Peace is always a dynamic choice. It reminded me of the Nazarene’s, “Love thine enemy and do good to those who spitefully use you” as he says it’s easy to love those love you, the real test is to love those who don’t. The love that is Peace positively embraces others and their differences and affirms their right to differ. It does not mean that we have to accommodate injustice or that we should not prevent them from actions we consider wrong, but that while doing so we should never cease to honour their humanity nor, more importantly lose sight of our own. As Jesus says it’s not those who keep their heads down and avoid conflict who are blessed, but those who actively cause peace. Ultimately to know peace you first have to love, however difficult and incomprehensible that may be. The peace which follows from love is a peace that transcends logic, and we can only appreciate it when we cease to define peace and live it without judgement.


Bracken’s Response (to a Labour Party that has lost its people)


A friend of mine who lives in England received a request from the Labour Party for help or donations to win the Scots from Independence. I copied her reply because it is a powerful response from an English Labour supporter, and former member of many years, who opposes her former party’s stance on Scottish independence. It puts a lie to the myth that Labour is united in its opposition to Scottish independence, and she speaks with the voice of the Labour left who feel excluded and betrayed by the party they love. Labour was once the party of ordinary people made extraordinary by their solidarity and passion for justice, this letter shows that passion is still alive; it also shows that in England, as in Scotland, the traditional supporters of Labour are divided from a Labour leadership that has lost touch, not only with its own supporters, but with the principles upon which it was

“I read your correspondence and hope you will read my response.

I support the right of the people of Scotland to express their preferences about the future governance of their country  in a referendum. Living in England and having an interest in politics I have formed my own view of the forthcoming referendum. However, I believe in self determination – and it is up to Scotland to make the choice.

I have heard Labour Party spokespeople comparing a possible yes outcome to a divorce. Perhaps Scotland will vote to leave the union because they have been treated so poorly within the union. The Labour Party must take some responsibility for that.

I note that polls have indicated that many people who voted Labour in the last general election intend to vote Yes in the referendum. I wonder, given this fact, why  Labour Party MPs  arrive in Scotland to campaign for a NO vote rather than having the humility to listen to the concerns of the people in an impartial manner.

I do not think people are impressed by MPs absenting themselves from Westminster and neglecting to hold the Prime Minister to account on our behalf in order to lecture the Scots on how they should vote.

I  feel badly let down by the Labour Party, when in power they took us into an illegal war and in the run up to the forthcoming general election the leadership have promised to retain spending cuts.

I oppose further nuclear power stations and want to see the country acting to implement their obligation to nuclear disarmament from the treaty we signed. It seems clear to me that Labour is wedded to the retention and so the consequent cost of maintaining Trident- this will be a major fact in my decision when casting my vote next year.

I look at the way the Party responds to US demands for action over ISIS and sanctions over the situation in the Ukraine and the slow and inadequate response to the ongoing situation in Palestine.

I wondered if the photo of Ed with the Sun was photo shopped- but no, it was real – what an insult to the families of the Hillsborough victims who are still fighting for justice.

Almost every week the leadership, or sometimes the lack of it, gives me another reason to look for a different party or candidate to vote for.

I couldn’t help but compare the  influx of English Labour  MPs into Scotland with their relative lack of presence in supporting marchers who walked 300 miles to raise their concerns about the NHS.

I have a lot of respect and time for a small but  dwindling number of Labour Party MPs who do their best to represent and help their electorate whilst  staying  true to those who first established the party and the values and principles they held.

A UDA camp has been established outside the police station in Rotherham and today our region witnessed the spectacle of rival far right groups coming to blows in Rotherham; a town which has been pretty solidly Labour for all of my lifetime.

Labour representative have failed young people there for decades. The vacuum left by disillusionment  with the Labour Party has produced an alarming and dangerous situation which will lead to further alienation from the political process and serious tensions between different groups in the town.

I see little evidence of any sense of urgency from the Labour Party to tackle the situation.

So no – I don’t wish to donate to your work on the Scottish referendum but I will continue to make donations to assist people and organisations here and overseas who strive to defend services  like the NHS and who provide humanitarian help to those who are suffering as a result of military action and the failure of the international community to defend them for example in Gaza.”

I hope that when you read this it will remind you that the working people of England are not our enemies and their struggles are ours. Our freedom from English rule should not separate us from the English working class, or indeed the workers of any nation, but should rather be a pledge to stand beside them their struggles, as they have stood beside us.


Ninety Seven Percent (thoughts inspired by the Tony Benn film)

Ninety Seven percent, 97%!
In Scotland, in the run up to the independence referendum we have got ninety seven percent of those eligible to vote registered on the electoral roll, experts are predicting a turnout of over eighty percent for the first time since 1951. However Scotland votes on the eighteenth of September we have an almost unprecedented opportunity to promote popular engagement in the political process, or to put it another way, get ordinary folk involved.

Last night I went to see the Tony Benn film, “Will and Testament” which was followed by a question and answer session. Needless to say a member of the No campaign tried to cheapen Tony’s legacy by reducing the evening to “would Tony vote no?” and ignoring the lessons the film contains about democracy, public ownership, misuse of resources, nuclear weapons, colonialism, capitalism. I squashed the attempt by saying, “The point is not whether we vote Yes or no, but whether we put power back into the hands of the ordinary people of Scotland!” I personally believe that it does matter that we vote Yes, and that a Yes vote will best increase democratic engagement among Scots, but I have too much respect for Tony Benn to misuse an occasion like the screening of his film.

I must admit I was annoyed to see the No camp trying to co-opt Tony Benn to their cause when they are, in many ways, opposed to his views.
Tony stood against nuclear weapons the no campaign wants to keep them and continue to squander resources on them.
Tony set up an oil fund to use North Sea oil for the benefit of the people, but the Unionist parties of Westminster plundered the oil to support financial misbehaviour and to subsidise banks. The YES campaign supports an oil fund. The NO campaign does not.
The YES campaign wants finances to be managed responsibly, whereas No campaign parties are opposing European legislation to cap bankers bonuses to fifty percent of their salary.
Tony Benn stood for social justice, the Yes campaign is committed to preserving the European Community Human Rights legislation and the Court of Justice; No campaign parties have announced they intend to repeal the Human Rights Act and withdraw as a signatory of ECHR. Why? Because the Human Rights legislation provides protections to workers, refugees and minority groups from abuse and exploitation.
Tony stood for social justice and equality, the United Kingdom is more socially and economically divided today than it has been for half a century and the Unionist parties are committed to perpetuating this inequality, even the Labour Party has promised continue the Tory austerity measures and so we will see queues outside food banks some time to come of we allow them to continue.

Tony Benn would be delighted by the level of political involvement in Scotland at the moment, across all levels of society. I was leafleting for YES in Springburn when a little afro-caribbean boy said he’d take one into his house, he stood halfway into his house and read the leaflet. As I came back past his house he asked me, “How old do you need to be to vote?”, sadly I replied, “sixteen, sorry.” and his little face fell. It reminded me of news reports of black South Africans queuing to vote for the first time and of just how precious a privilege it is to have a vote. However the vote may go, NOW is the time to to build democracy in Scotland! The people of Scotland have tasted the possibility of power; whichever side wins the vote, if they fail to move government closer to the people they will be guilty of a terrible betrayal. There is no evidence that a No vote will bring power to the ordinary people, indeed yesterday we saw William Hague assuring Conservative MPs that the promises of more powers for the Scottish Parliament, made by the party leaders, carried no more weight than election promises and are not policies. A YES vote begins a process of democratic involvement such as these islands have never seen, as we build a new country, with a new constitution, enshrining human rights and bringing government close to the people neglected for too long by a distant parliament in another country.


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