Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Yeah, I'm okay

Things are starting to look better. I'm trying to keep busy, while making time to relax, which sounds deceptively easy.

I had a fun night with Emma on Saturday, it was great to catch up with her and we drank 3 bottles of wine(!) Well it made up for spending all day doing housework.

Sunday I went birding at Carsington with Michael which was really nice, some good birds ( 4 year ticks and one life tick, curlew) and reasonably pleasant company too. Few too many kids about, which is not helpful when you're birding, but I can't complain - they looked like they were learning something and appreciating the wildlife anyway.

I'd planned to go to lectures yesterday, but after a night of not much sleep I didn't go. But I did get some other stuff done, and went to rehearsal. Where I shocked myself by being able to find some notes that have previously eluded me (the secret for me is to stop thinking about it, because my ear and my voice knows exactly here the note is, it's just my brain that doesn't!)

Today I'd planned to exercise with Emma, but she's cancelled as she's going to the doc, and we've re-arranged. We're planning on inspiring each other to exercise more, as we both want to lose weight/get fitter. I'm going to have to be very careful not to overdo it though, because that makes me feel worse.

And my plans for tomorrow have fallen though as well. Jonathan was coming to visit, but he texted me this morning to say he's having problems with the bank and can't make it. Maybe I'm a bit cynical, but he often seems to make that excuse, and it doesn't sound as genuine now that he's working and doing lots of overtime. I could have said I'll go see him, but I'm annoyed and don't see why I should. I can do without the train journey. Perhaps I'll do some uni work instead. Ha ha.

Thursday I'm hoping for a singing lesson, and I have choir rehearsal. Friday someone's coming to (hopefully) fix our fridge-freezer, and our new oven's being delivered. And maybe my game at the role-playing club won't be cancelled.

And Saturday I'm going to London to meet Pete, Nic, Mark and whoever else is going. We'll look at birds and drink tea, and if I know Pete, eat bacon sandwiches. Should be fun.

So I'm sitting on my arse much less than usual. And I do feel better. I still have loads of things I need to do, like talking to uni people, but I'm getting there. All I need now is a visit to the doc. I'm pretty sure I've had a little urinary/kidney infection the last few days - I'm weeing lots and my lower back is very achy and it's not the muscles, it's inside. The hot water bottle helps.

Now to find something fun to do this afternoon....

Friday, February 23, 2007

Sorry guys

I've neglected you again. Seems that when I'm feeling low my self-destructive streak kicks in and my friends are the first thing I let go. Because I deserve to be miserable. Stupid insecurity.

I'm really going to try to comment more. I've been reading and thinking about you guys, just not saying much.

I realised last night that the past few months (okay, the past year) of not feeling great has been leading me back towards depression again. And it's become clear that I've been at least mildly depressed - I just didn't know it. I felt pretty bad last night, and it was familiar from when I was off sick from work for 6 months with depression. I'm sure I've picked it up a lot earlier this time though (I'm nowhere near as bad) so it should be easier to work through it.

I'm neglecting myself. Not eating properly, not taking medication (for diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep) or vitamins, not taking care with my appearance, not doing anything wich gives me a sense of achievement (apart from singing), staying in the house all day and not seeing anyone (except Michael and choir people).

I thought about going to the doctor, which I've been meaning to do for while. But my surgery is maybe 3 miles away and takes two buses to get there and that is enough to put me off. So I bit the bullet and walked to the surgery that's near me (10 minutes walk) and registered there. I should be in their system soon, then I can go chat to their mental health and diabetes people and see if they can help me.

So my short term plan here is to see a doctor and sort out my meds, etc., and to try to make more effort with people. I've invited my friend Emma round Saturday night and I'm meeting up with Jonathan on Wednesday. I've also been texting people I haven't seen for a while today, and I'm going to try to get on chat more often too (sorry chat people).

And also I'm going to see the Disabled and Dyslexic Students people again, see if they can do anything for me. And I'm going to keep a mood diary, starting from tomorrow - that will help me focus on activities that make me feel good.

I do feel better for having a plan.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae

To me it's just pretty Latin words.

I've been thinking a lot about religion recently.

And before I actually get into it, I'd like to say that I don't have a problem with religion per se. Most of you know I sing (mostly CofE) religious choral music with the three choirs which make up the University of Sheffield Singer's Society. Many of my choir friends are church-going Christians, and I'm perfectly happy to sing in church (not that I'd go to church if it wasn't a singing thing).

I make no secret of the fact that I'm an atheist. And I've recently realised that I don't believe in anything supernatural. Ghosts, Feng Shui, fairies, horoscopes, gods of any description, angels, reincarnation, psychic abilities. And in case anyone feels the same way, have a look here at TheBrights.

Essentially, I don't have any sort of faith. I feel that I've weighed up the evidence and based my belief system on that. I haven't seen convincing evidence for God or any other supernatural thing, so as far as I'm concerned, they don't exist - however if at some point someone gives me compelling evidence, I'll change my views.

I'm perfectly happy for anyone to believe whatever they want. It's nothing to do with me.

The problem I have is when someone starts to push their beliefs onto others. Or when a particular group decided that they are superior to the rest of us because of their religion, and therefore deserve special privileges.

Two particular groups are in my mind at the moment. The Catholic Church essentially wants to be exempt from the new Equality Act (due to come into effect in England, Wales and Scotland in April), which outlaws discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities and services on the basis of sexual orientation. They claim that church teachings prevent their adoption agencies from placing children with homosexual couples.
Why on earth should their homophobic attitudes be allowed, simply because "God says so"? If it's deemed unacceptable (and illegal) to practice discrimination, how can they be justified in simply ignoring this and making up their own rules?
If I started killing young children and explain my actions by saying that God told me to do it and that the murder laws shouldn't apply to me because of my religion, I'd still be locked up (one way or another), and rightly so.

So now I've pissed off some Catholics, I'll move on to a fair chunk of America, i.e. those creationists/Intelligent Design-ists who keep on trying to get evolution removed from the science curriculum in schools.
Firstly, there's a lot of evidence for evolution. Huge amounts of it, in fact. I'm yet to see anything that even remotely convinces me that (a) God created the earth in 6 days, around 6000 years ago. And the majority of scientists agree with me. So teaching ID as fact (despite lack of evidence) and neo-Darwinism as "just a theory" (misunderstanding of the word "theory", and deliberate ignorance of science), is both wrong and stupid.
Secondly, kids deserve the respect of being allowed to make their own minds up. Give them both sides, show them the arguments for and against creationism. Don't force them to believe whatever you believe - they have the right to form their own opinions.
I was pretty happy to read that
the Kansas state board of education deleted language from teaching guidelines that challenged the validity of evolutionary theory yesterday. Good for them.

I basically don't agree with the indoctrination of kids. I'm with Richard Dawkins on this one, although I won't go anywhere near as far as to call it child abuse. Bringing a child up to be a good person is one thing - telling them they'll go to hell if they don't believe in God is another. Let them decide for themselves, when they're old enough to make that decision.

It reminded me of something Nathalie said about raising her (future) kids as vegetarian, because if you give them meat they don't have a choice about the animals you've killed on their behalf - as adults they'd decide whether they wanted to eat meat or not. I eat meat myself, but I can see where she's coming from, even though I probably wouldn't go that far myself.

And I'll stop now, before I get started on circumcision (I'm against it, because the child doesn't have any say in it, and it can't be reversed if the child later decides they'd prefer not to be snipped. Oops, too late!)

I must stress here that I am in no way attacking anyone's belief system, so please don't feel that I'm trying to undermine you or the things you stand for, if you don't agree with me. Think what you like. I think you're wrong, but we're all adults here. ;) We can get along despite our differing opinions, surely.