Filed under: disability, Health, Parenting, personal development | Tags: CFIDS, chronic fatigue, chronic illness, ME
Recently a friend posted about her continuing health difficulties. She overexerted herself while suffering from influenza, now a year later she is still unwell and it is being explained as post-viral debility. That is a road down which I too have walked.
When I was a manager and training officer as well as being the Managers’ Association Branch Chairman I was busy. I had been busy in the Union Of Communication Workers negotiating around Operator Grades Restructuring and then I was promoted. As well as being in charge of night staff training I was travelling all around the country training people in Customer Care and I loved it. I also deputised for the Night Manager when he was away for any period. I also managed both a team of Operators and Senior Operators as well as the Exchange training Team, in one year I had to appraise thirty people. I enjoyed the responsibility of management, the satisfaction of running successful trainings, negotiating as am Association official, speaking at conference. I used to get the occasional cold and flu, but they didn’t stop me, I worked through them. Iworked through them until my body just gave up on me. During one bout of flu I became too ill to work and was forced to take a little time off. I rushed back to work as soon as I could, but was hit by bout after bout of illness. I was exhausted, tired all the time. At first I was diagnosed as being ‘post-viral’. Eventually my Doctor diagnosed me as having Chronic Fatigue and Immuno Dysfunction Syndrome. I spent months in bed , but gradually built up my levels of activity. However I was off for a year before after a phased return of several months I started working full time again. Sadly it was felt that the irregular shifts of the night staff would no longer suit me, nor the rushing around the country and so I worked for some years a a day staff team manager.
After a while I was so much better I began getting busy again, taking on all sorts of extra activities. What I had not realised was that the illness was dormant rather than gone. It was not long before I found my body rebelling again. I fell prey to every passing virus and the muscle pain and exhaustion returned. However I gradually learned to recognise when my CFIDS was getting ready to hit me again, and I learned to reign back my activity and rest. Didn’t always manage it and I paid, but I discovered that there was a particular physical sensation heaviness which when accompanied by a distinctive sore throat generally meant an attack was coming. Sometimes I still do too much especially when after weeks of rain I get a couple of good days to get on with the work in my garden. Several times I have paid heavily for excessive enthusiasm. This year I have been struggling with discomfort for much of the summer, but I haven’t hit the point of shut down because I have finally been self disciplined about pacing my activity. I have used a timer to measure my physical labour and made sure I rested. When I have been tired I have forced myself to accept that some tasks had to be postponed. What I have learned is that it is always possible to substitute a lighter physical activity for a heavy one. Sometimes I have to spend a day resting, some days I have been unable to stay on my feet for any period of time. However when I take the rest I need instead of just forcing myself to continue, the sooner I am able to get up and get on with living.
One of the greatest lessons I have learned is that my duty is to myself first and if I cannot function I cannot effectively serve others either. The frustration of my CFIDS when it was at its height aggravated my periodic depressions. Now I have learned that my happiness matters and restores my health and energy. I have found that being ill does not mean I have to be miserable. I have long used the Marx Brothers as a counter for an incipient depression, now I try to always do something pleasurable when unwell because it seems to promote recovery. I read, I watch DVDs, if I am up to it I go to the cinema or even use my over Sixties bus pass to take a day out (sadly I’ve only managed it once so far this year). It is important to have fun and it promotes recovery. Feeling good makes me feel better. Feeling good about myself makes me feel better and feeling good about myself means accepting what is so and being good to myself instead of wallowing in regrets or resenting what I can’t do. And sometimes I reflect on how lucky I am to be able to do all that I can when so many people are compelled by circumstance to do so much less. My illness was a blow, it was inconvenient, I believed for a while it was ruining my life, but what I now know is that it was teaching me the lessons about living sensible and looking after myself that I was too stupid or too busy to learn for myself.
As those who know me know, every day I practice gratitude as I journal. I cannot honestly yet say I am grateful for my CFIDS, but I am grateful for the lessons I have learned from it, and I am glad I have learned to be kind to myself. People say, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” I think it’s probably better for everyone if you do unto yourself what you would have others do unto you. After all why should others treat you well if you aren’t aren’t willing to?
Filed under: asperger's syndrome, disability, Justice, Parenting, Politics, Religion, Scotland, Yes Scotland | Tags: Better Together, Brexit, Jeremy Corbyn, Labour hustings, Labour leadership, Labour Party, New Labour, NHS, Owen Smith, PLP, Red Flag, Scottish Labour, Tony Blair, Welfare Bill
I watched the live stream of today’s Labour leadership hustings from Gateshead. Afterwards I posted a couple of comments from Hootsuite, but I deliberately didn’t go into Twitter because I didn’t want my thoughts to be influenced by anyone until after I had captures them in the raw.
To give credit where credit is due, Owen Smith performed well for the most part. I liked the policies he was putting forward, most of them appear to have originated from the Corbyn left wing of the party, but all the time I had the nagging thought that he is a very recent convert to socialism. I don’t get that there is any consistency in Smith’s position whereas with Corbyn his whole life is in alignment with his policies and stated beliefs. I want to believe Smith, but on his record I find myself suspicious of his conversion to socialism.
Owen Smith and the right claim Corbyn is unelectable, however if –as they claim – the country didn’t elect Labour because their policies were too left wing, why would they vote for Owen Smith who is putting forward the same left wing policies as Jeremy Corbyn? The only difference is that we know Jeremy Corbyn is standing for what he believes, whereas there is a strong suspicion that Owen Smith will quickly ditch his newly adopted socialist policies again in order to make himself electable.
I was a little disappointed at one point by Jeremy Corbyn. When Smith was talking about the importance of opposing the Tories I think Jeremy should have asked him why he just sat on his hands and watched as the Tories passed their Welfare Bill. Corbyn and the left actually did oppose the Bill and voted against it. Sometimes I wonder if Jeremy isn’t too decent and too noble, but he has a strong moral code and he doesn’t hit below the belt.
I have to confess I gave up voting for the Labour Party a long time ago and my last few votes were because I respected the candidate as a person despite them representing Labour. I used to love the Labour Party, I was a very active member, but the day came when it dawned on me that it was pointless to support them because they had become just another party of business. It is small surprise they never sing the Red Flag beyond the first verse and chorus because they might choke on the words of the fourth verse:
“It suits today the weak and base
Whose minds are fixed on self and place;
To cringe before the rich man’s frown,
And haul the sacred emblem down.”
Whenever I sing it I see before me Tony Blair’s New Labour and his acolytes in the Parliamentary Party as they try to cling to control of the Party whose values they perverted. I am not saying labour should be some sort of revolutionary Marxist party, But it should be the peoples party, the workers’ party. Labour was built by the trades Unions and their members, its roots lie more in nonconformist Christianity than in Marxist theory and its founding fathers travelled the country with all the zeal of Weslyan preachers. When I look at Jeremy Corbyn I see that zeal, when I look at his supporters I see the vision that brought the labour Party into being and gave us the National Health Service, council housing, education accessible to all. I look and listen to Owen Smith, I want to believe he shares the vision, but I’m not convinced. I see how the establishment has launched a war on Jeremy Corbyn and all he stands for and I see Owen Smith on the wrong side of that war. I want to like him, but I cannot bring myself to trust him.
However much Owen Smith impressed me, and he did impress me, he’s a very good performer, he totally destroyed that on the last question when in his answer he made it clear that regardless of how the party votes in the leadership election, rather than work with Jeremy Corbyn to unite the part and take the fight to the Tories, he would prefer to continue to stay out of the shadow cabinet and undermine Jeremy Corbyn from the back benches. However much I had been willing to see Owen Smith as a possible leader, at that point all his words suddenly rang hollow. It was as if after everything he said he ended with “Oh and by the way I’ve been lying to you all the time and I think you’re stupid enough to let me get away with it!” I have always been inclined to prefer Corbyn, I must admit, but now I am actually opposed to Owen Smith. I don’t want to be, I want to believe he’s a good man, but I have sincere doubts about him. I could well vote for Corbyn’s Labour Party, but it would depend on their position on Scottish Independence.
However I will watch the other debates before I make a final judgement, I hope they will clarify whether they could accept Scottish Independence should the Scots call for it. I can’t help but feel that the final nail in Scottish Labour’s coffin was sharing a platform with the Tories in Better Together, a trap Corbyn didn’t fall into over the EU Referendum. I would also like to hear how they will handle a post Brexit Britain. Owen Smith tonight made it very clear that he will block Brexit if he gets the opportunity whereas Corbyn respects the democratic will of the people, but seems intent on mitigating the damage it might do. Id like to hear their proposals for protecting human rights post Brexit.
This is going to be an interesting summer!
Filed under: disability, food, Health, Justice, Parenting, Politics, Religion, Scotland, Technology | Tags: Bible, Christianity, ethics, god, Jeremy Corbyn, Jesus, Jews, Judah, just war, Matthew's Gospel, Muslims, nuclear weapons, Parliament, Romans, St Paul, Trident
I was watching on the Parliament Channel a re-showing of the debate on trident renewal that took place on the 18th of July and what became clearer to me than anything was the incredible dishonesty of many MPs on both sides of the house. It is ironic that while MPs try to smear Jeremy Corbyn with being anti semitic the majority of the House of Commons including many of those who pretend to be Jews, Christians and Muslims voted to replace Trident. A move that at best displays no faith in God, by whatever name and at worst displays an utter contempt for God. Any one who supports Trident and professes to be a Christian or a Jew is a hypocrite, possibly a liar. I wont comment on Muslims as I don’t know their scripture well enough. However anyone who voted to replace Trident is demonstrating a faith in the works of man rather than God, effectively everyone who in the face of a dangerous world puts their trust in weapons of mass destruction is an idolater.
The only people who support the use of nuclear weapons are those who reject the power and promises of God and it occurred to me that the story of King Asa of Judah who had on God’s promise defeated a vastly superior Sudanese army but later instead of faith turned to paid allies to defeat the Syrians (Do they never stop fighting in that part of the world?).
‘At that time Hana′ni the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said to him, “Because you relied on the king of Syria, and did not rely on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Syria has escaped you. 8 Were not the Ethiopians and the Libyans a huge army with exceedingly many chariots and horsemen? Yet because you relied on the Lord, he gave them into your hand. 9 For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show his might in behalf of those whose heart is blameless toward him. You have done foolishly in this; for from now on you will have wars.” 10 Then Asa was angry with the seer, and put him in the stocks, in prison, for he was in a rage with him because of this.’
Those without faith trust in man made solutions and like Asa attack those who stand up for the truth like Hana’ni, who point out the flaws in depending on nuclear weapons.
I don’t profess to be a Christian, I have far too much respect for Jesus to support the hypocrisy of the churches. However I was reading, the other day, that theological tour de force the ‘Letter to the Romans’ even for those of us who don’t accept Paul’s theological premises it is a magnificent argument. Christians are bound to believe it and so I might remind them of Paul’s observations on Abraham,
‘Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”[d] 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthenedin his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.‘
If someone prefers to put their trust in Nuclear weapons rather than in the promises of the God they pretend to follow they can protest their faith as much as they like but as Jesus says you know the truth about them by their deeds,
“Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” And Trident is a weapon for faithless cowards. I can say that as someone who has in the face of physical attack turned the other cheek…okay that didn’t actually go too well, if I’m honest, but at least having lost I didn’t go and murder not only my aggressor, but his family, everyone he knew and burn all his possessions. Trident is not a weapon of deterrence, but of revenge and only someone without courage or any moral decency would consider using it. Jesus was awfy hard when it came to morality, he’d say that anyone who is prepared to use nuclear weapons is a murderer; if you don’t believe me read the fifth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel.
There is a somewhat suspect idea that wars can be just and there are criteria for a Just War. Anyone who accepts the possibility of using nuclear weapons is committing themselves to injustice. We should expect that of the Conservatives who think nothing of condemning millions of hard working people to lives of grinding poverty, but we should expect better of the Labour Party.
There are six conditions must be satisfied for a war to be considered just:
- The war must be for a just cause.
- The war must be lawfully declared by a lawful authority.
- The intention behind the war must be good.
- All other ways of resolving the problem should have been tried first.
- There must be a reasonable chance of success.
- The means used must be in proportion to the end that the war seeks to achieve.
A war that starts as a Just War may stop being a Just War if the means used to wage it are inappropriate.
- Innocent people and non-combatants should not be harmed.
- Only appropriate force should be used.
- This applies to both the sort of force, and how much force is used.
- Internationally agreed conventions regulating war must be obeyed.
(What is a Just War? http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/war/just/what.shtml)
It is impossible to use nuclear weapons without killing innocent people. Anyone who is prepared to accept the deaths of millions of innocents is someone who effectively considers the lives and rights of human beings as immaterial compared to the achievement of their own ends. They are exactly the sort of people who accept that it is acceptable to throw people out of work to protect profits, that it is appropriate to exploit those who are powerless to resist and to legislate to remove the power to resist. Anyone who claims to support socialism, yet would squander billions on Trident is a liar. There is no socialist nuclear weapon and no one who has supported nuclear weapons has a right to be called a socialist. Quite apart from the waste of resources nuclear weapons represent, they display an utter contempt for humanity, they generally lead to repression in the name of security and an undermining of democratic rights. If someone who truly believes in God cannot accept nuclear weapons how much more of an abomination are they to anyone who professes to love humanity!
Filed under: asperger's syndrome, disability, Justice, Politics, Religion | Tags: Any Answers, Any Questions, BBC, Bible, Jeremy Corbyn, Margaret Thatcher, Peter Hitchin, Teresa May, Tony Benn
Sometimes I don’t manage to avoid listening to BBC’s Any Questions and on a Saturday the following Any Answers, known to its fans as ‘Bigots’ Corner’. I was interested to hear peter Hitchin’s take on Jeremy Corbyn because I tend to think of Hitchin as a bit of a right wing bigot, however he speaks his mind without fear or favour. He pointed out that although he disagreed with almost every one of Jeremy Corbyn’s policies, Jeremy Corbyn was the only political leader in years who actually cared about the country and its people, he suggested that Corbyn was unique in his honesty although Hitchin thought him wrong in his politics. Even more surprising was that there were a considerable number of callers in Any Answers who supported Corbyn and the BBC allowed them to speak. Like Hitchin some disagreed with Corbyn’s politics, but none doubted his integrity.
One of the problems with reading the Bible everyday is that it tends to provide a background commentary, in ones mind to, current affairs. In Psalm 18 the Psalmist sings,
“I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity. Therefore hath the Lord recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight. With the merciful thou wilt show thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt show thyself upright; With the pure thou wilt show thyself pure; and with the froward (contrary) thou wilt show thyself froward.” (Ps. 18: 23-26)
It is very apparent that even those who disagree with Corbyn respect his integrity and thousands have been moved by it. Those froward politicians who seek to discredit him dishonestly merely appear dishonest themselves because their contrariness is too blatant to be concealed. There is room for interpretation of any event, but it is apparent that opinions are greatly divided about Prime Minister’s Question time this week. Some praise Teresa May’s put downs from the dispatch box. Others deplore her inability to actually answer questions put to her. Worse many in Britain watched her performance and when they saw her lean forward and demand, “Remind you of anyone?” they were reminded of Margaret Thatcher and few people have divided the British people like her. In Scotland we rejoiced more at Thatcher’s death that at the Queens Jubilee so hated is she still. The Tories may mock Labour for losing Scotland (which they first lost to Labour) but as long as they are led by Thatcher’s ghost they can resign themselves to the continuing hatred of the Scots. I think this is why Hitchin respects Corbyn because he is his own man. Each of them speak their truth without tailoring it to win appreciation or applause. Jeremy Corbyn’s mentor, Tony Benn, used to say that there are two types of politician the signpost and the weathervane, the signposts always point to what they believe right regardless of changing opinion whereas the weathervane altered direction with every change of public opinion. Jeremy Corbyn is a signpost like Tony Benn. The winds may blow, but he is not blown off course because his strong foundation is, as Peter Hitchin recognises, his commitment to the ordinary people of the country.