Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Life as we know it in Britain

Blog 11                                                                                  22/03/2017

Life as we know it in Britain

Children and babies do not ask to be born. Thinking of it: no one does, but one hopes that most have found an ability to make it all worthwhile. I suppose many animals don’t ask either: momentum is gathering of the rate of species now becoming extinct.

When we, because usually most people have a choice- not all, are given the opportunity we also become responsible not only for our own lives, but if able -to those around us, our place, environment, country and the planet on which we reside. One hopes this is the case?

With age – an awareness grows, just how transitory life is, it is a blessing and a gift. Scientists may be able to describe how life evolved and the time it took but as yet, as far as I am aware, no one knows why?

The reason of necessary responsibility is a necessity for future continuation of life on the Planet. We often hear confusing, in so far as conflicting, messages from different disciplines. I think particularly of the scientists. My observation is politicians may choose the messages conducive to their rule. A scientist with an unpopular message stands the risk of vilification.

I think in particular of a doctor who linked autism with certain vaccines. Rather than deal with a small number and research the reasons or not for his findings: expediency appeared to be preferred. It is often people with concerns: about the planet, war, suffering - the list is endless, who expose themselves to isolation and various degrees of vilification.

It appears members of the public in the main are best as compliant? If asking too many questions security may be alerted and any uncomfortable questions may be regarded as a breach of national security.

Most, are unaware what goes on in regard to what is deemed the interests of the country and its security. Most, I think believe it is all for the good- their good. It appears people do not have a say and because decisions now like going to war, the creation of more nuclear rubbish, the next war, the real economy, how dependent on certain other countries we may: are apparently; all decisions taken well outside public view and public choice.

Messages are repeated and repeated and if repeated enough times sway the people. Sometimes fear is used to get behind their government and usually to go to war. Bin Laden. Gaddafi, Saddam Hussain – were a reason- and it continues. People appear to be so pre-occupied with phones/iPads/social media and accruing followers.

We all hope that Brexit will be a success. But, expecting me to believe those leading are representing Great Britain in the interest of its citizens I find stretches any hope I may muster.

I see a group of ‘the right of the Tory Party’ wishing to spend money which would have gone to the EU. Largely in the well-endowed heartlands - on HS2 and a new runway for a City already oversubscribe to saturation (especially regarding property value) and now choked with fumes! It is also more money for the legal system as land owners squabble in their claims for compensation.

There will be plenty too for the new negotiations with the EU Countries. Fighting our corner within: would have been more sensible. To me it seems unnecessary and as things rocket up in price while talks go on and small farms go out of business no doubt the Eton educated group of Oxbridge continue talking.

People in the rest of the country remain outside, aghast and ignored. Dysfunctionality comes to mind illustrated well by present antics of the labour party.

As an on looker it appears self-interest and selfishness, party loyalty- appear more of a concern rather than for people, and a country. Tribal tactics and protection of each other’s backs continue unabashed.

At the end of the day they may say it was all for their wives! That way, it was women after all who were responsible for the mess. Perhaps going to war with women would have been less harmful instead of where we are heading perpetual war and misery for more millions. The economy usually picks up with more weapons and bombs. This has already been decided by people who know what we want and what is best for us!

Scientists have said it is when rather than if, (we can argue about the timing not if ) we are no longer able to remain on the Planet.  Nuclear waste and plastics in the seas are two elements which will deter life starting over. My observation is most scientists have proved over optimistic about the speed of development of climate change. People can continue to argue about the reason for the changes in our climate.

H. Bolton

New Horizons?

Blog 8

New Horizons?

Looking at a particular illustration: rather than ‘the grand’ or larger picture, we are all familiar with the ‘side stepper’. Some of these steppers are more adept than others. I refer to the politician under scrutiny by an interviewer.  Imperceptibly, almost - the interviewee changes the original football pitch. The football pitch on which the game started!

The interviewer can be left none the wiser and rather frustrated, the viewers may feel there are other issues they were unaware of, and feel a little foolish: whereas the politician blithely leaves the studio feeling satisfied the waters are muddied sufficiently and may continue unabashed. The public will continue not to view that which was not intended.

The actions of any individual wishing to distract another asking a question (that they would prefer not to answer): are known. One, may be visual- pointing to some movement in the far distance, or perhaps in the immediate vicinity. Making the question and often the questioner not the main issue at present time or staging a mini-accident/distraction; those adept at this could give a much longer list

My thoughts in writing this perhaps illustrate that clarity is probably unachievable. Focus on one factor without surrounding circumstance: distorts. Add an interplay of players; and the art of time casting a different light makes all nebulous.

One of the greatest deflections I perceive at present, although it has been happening possibly in this country since the 1960’s is by blaming- the other side (in what has been a two-party system), or it could be displacement to another country, or another person. Observation of squabbles between young children illustrate this. Siblings are capable of elaborate plots to implicate the other at a very early age!

One apparent reason is to deflect attention from themselves. When individuals started to be highlighted as “evil” (the George W. Bush speech after 9/11) this appeared to be a new ball game.

It may be recognised that countries appear, at times to act with the nature of individuals. Some, we need to admit, are more mature that others. Some with older experience, (although more may be expected of them), may deliberately seek to influence those with less.

The balance of weight of weaponry on two sides created a type of ‘peace’ after WW2, fear also being a factor: by recognition of the might of the modern bomb. The inhabitants of Japan, their children, children’s children bear testament.

The issue basically is based on blindness and a presumption of superiority and a right to exist where others don’t. This can only work with a strong sense of nationalism and identity. If groups are portrayed as alien and dehumanised, castigated through lies and generally unworthy- it is easier apparently to drop bombs on them. If too, they are portrayed as some threat to the dominant race it is easier to manipulate ‘their people’ into (through fear) which leads to persecuting the down trodden further (Afghanistan is rated as one of the poorest nations on Earth).

The root is ‘money’. The West, relies on sale of weaponry and wars to test latest new developments with a view to producing more. The difference today is some of us at least, are aware of the mammoth wide scale suffering this is causing. Another change being a development of global both in finance, trade and the movement of peoples.

To conduct war - you need enemies. Weapon production is mammoth business and reliable. It has been a corner stone in injecting a boost into the system a, a system now favouring fewer and fewer. There is little incentive for the powerful to rely on anything else, or change. Change requires more effort and imagination and after all they have done very well so why change it?

Politicians morph into corporations which is of mutual benefit to some individuals. At the same time funded from the Public purse.

There is now an awareness, a waking up and it is only through public opinion and the ballot box, that Joe Blogs: me - the people next door, can change anything.

The American President has distracted or focused away from US problems- the third world within- lack of mental health care, shootings by police, and unrest by pointing at Muslims. Mass murders in public places are frequently due to mental health issues (break down of community structure), alienation of individuals. and/or the number of weapons widely available to the public. On the other hand the President has offered hope to the dispossessed needing jobs even a new view on world order by suggesting working with Russia and its allies to find strategies to deal with extremism in the ME.

Monitoring Muslims complies with the finding of the new enemy after 1989 when the Cold War ceased, but it is apparent the embers are being stoked again. Other embers are being stoked of elitist Western supremacy. Whether this is due to fading memory of WW2 and Hiroshima, or due to Western economies dependence on arms creation, or Western wish to be omnipotent by having Power to destroy: or some, or all of these - is an open to question.

The basing of economies on the suffering of multitudes, the destruction (as in Iraq, Syria and Palestine) of their Cultures while preaching something other, war making, protection of boundaries, aggression tends to be more male than female. Perhaps it is admirable to celebrate difference but as lines become blurred that too needs to be acknowledged.

Those ‘Liberals’ who wished a different outcome to the US election the only alternative was of continued destabilisation of the ME. The previous President however well-intentioned continued almost like the previous one. It was done more covertly, but in the same direction.  The Democrats there, and the Blairites both merely dress up the unpalatable to make palatable like a sugar-coated pill perhaps naked reality could offer more – at present? Let us hope so.  

The Real Cost of Medication

BLOG 10                                                                               13/02/2017            

Not so long ago I was rather alarmed by the number of young people being diagnosed with ADHD, (an attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity): and the taking of medication at such an early age. Medication whose long- term effects are unknown.  The potential difficulties of withdrawing from such are probably unknown. If the medication makes permanent changes to brain/personality is also an unknown.

It appears today there is almost an epidemic of what is termed “mental illness” in teenagers. This is followed by a natural reaction of “getting help”.

After a lifetime of experience of services offered for the diagnosed “mentally ill”: I have not just become skeptical I have become hostile. I had hoped the “care” had improved. But now when the younger potentially are being added to “the system” I feel obliged to divulge my experience and what I know.

Many people are convinced that once there is a diagnosis, an understanding emerges, a specific peg to hang all that has gone wrong on, a tailored treatment - and a great improvement. This may well be the case for many. For many years, intermittently, I too believed this was the case.

I also believed that “mental illness” had some scientific basis. This is insofar as, as is stated, is a “disease”. At this juncture, I need to admit I have been, potentially still are, “a patient” and I also worked as a Development worker and Vice Chair for a local branch of MIND in the 70’s and 80’s.

Over the decades, I have been aware that researchers have re-iterated there has been some link with physique and psychosis then scientists were almost to discover a physical brain abnormality. It was then linked to a chemical imbalance almost specifically identified, now some difference within genes is almost identified as the base for mental illness.

 The “chemical imbalance” gave rise to a “revolution” in the array of new drugs available. Now, the genes base is being explored for a new array of psychotropic drugs.

Only as my observation as “patient” and experience of such did I witness others on a cocktail of coloured assortments. Perhaps a side effect or another undesirable part of the “illness” would manifest itself. Another pill was added to the mix. One lady, I recall: had 12 in her cocktail.

One was also aware that specific illness (apart from basic anti-psychotics and lithium for mood disorder) did not necessarily merit specific medication. In fact, it was known by “patients” it was very much trial and error. Therefore, having specific diagnosis was not particularly helpful: when it came to treatment.

There used to be a magazine called MINDOUT, it included research into treatment/care. I recall reading that in different Centres within the Country the same diagnosis inspired intervention of different areas of the brain.

ECT remains “a treatment” although I have heard recently from a psychiatric nurse that they have come on from that. The basis for ECT has no scientific basis for its use whatsoever. Furthermore in 1978 a survey into the apparatus found some out of date and faulty.

Returning to “diagnosis”, recently I learnt about its evolvement. Not only is there no scientific base – the myriad diagnoses are from machinations of a group of eminent psychiatrists who meet every few years and usually add to an already extremely hefty manual the DSM. (the diagnostic statistical manual of mental disorders).  The number of disorders is said to have grown around 10 times since 1952. This (there is also an equivalent in Britain) gives the American Psychiatric Association $10 million annually.     

My little experience with MIND showed people treated as part of the human race - showed improvement in general well-being. Healthy life-style for all, the mind as part of the body, appears to be catching on with GP’s. They and they alone have aided an escape from medication I now know made me appear mentally ill.

Furthermore I was more likely to be ill with it rather than without. Many of those working in Statutory service were unable to define which were drug effects and which was illness. Most tended to follow Psychiatrist diagnosis which help exclude people from society, rob them of their rights, take their accountability away-…worse than a life sentence. Mine is …

I hope care for people who may suffer emotionally now takes a new turn. All thankfully have not had the devastating experience I have.

My husband and I travelling by train met a Minister for Health from Indonesia. He confirmed the view that all of us experiencing trauma will suffer emotional distress. The level of tolerance only: is different.

H. Bolton