Conversations with Depression (1)

Conversations with Depression

Depression: You are pointless. You should die.

Me: Oh, bugger off. I have things to live for. Look – I found some! I love all these things!

Depression: Yes, but you’re poor and you’ve got me, so you’re incapable of managing stuff. Sooner or later, you’ll be homeless…

Me: Piss off! I can work on changing that, even if it takes me ages. I can make you small.

Depression: Haha. Good one. I’ll get my way and I can prove it. You’re way too stressed. Did you even think to check your blood sugar lately?

Me: … [stares in dismay]

Depression: [laughs maniacally] Oh, go on! [jumps up and down] Do the blood pressure next! GP is going to be taking your pulse in disbelief when you finally see him.

Me: I hate you.

Depression: Oh, Pip… [smiles broadly] I am you.

Me: [sighs]

Repeat from the top.

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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Pt. 1

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

TW: mentions of suicide including discovery

I thought, as well as my previous recent postings, I may as well add a little about this, seeing as I’m in the mood to write blog entries.

What it is, and what it means, and how it can affect your life. As I’ve been writing, it’s occurred to me this is a fairly lengthy topic. I’ll write several entries covering different aspects. So today, I’m going to talk about nightmares in particular. I should add that anything I write can only ever relate to my own personal experience. Your mileage may vary.

If you’ve read my other blog entry about suicide, then you’ll grasp that I suffer from PTSD. I have an official diagnosis, for what difference that makes, and the mood stabiliser part of my medication regime (Topiramate) was chosen for its ability to suppress PTSD nightmares – a job which it is actually performing admirably well. I can’t say the same for the anti-depressant, even though I’ve been through almost every SSRI and SNRI and have now moved onto MAOIs. Seemingly nothing helps with depression for me.

The fact that I already suffer from prior mental illness, Bipolar Depression (as far as they say), means that it’s difficult to distinguish some symptoms, but there are a few that are quite obvious, which were not present before. Some are very blatant, and some are surprising in that I had always assumed, before they happened to me, that they were specific to combat veterans.

Nightmares

Under this heading I am also going to include night terrors, night sweats and similar occurrences. I’ve always been the kind of person to suffer from insomnia, and terrible dreams. I have a naturally dark and morbid turn of personality, it’s true. But PTSD dreams are very different to any of that.

I find for me personally, that a lot of symptoms grow. What I mean by that is that over time they become worse, and settle in you. For instance, the actual day that I discovered them, I hardly flinched. Some more capable version of me took over, called the emergency services, and calmly went through giving my statement to the police, as many times as they needed me to do it. I kept my mother away from the scene. I rescued my living dogs from the house (those dogs have since died). I deleted the angry answering machine messages my mother had left so as to save her from feeling guilty later on.

I’ll talk about flashbacks in another section, but in the moment, when I saw, I didn’t see my Dad. I saw an empty shell. It wasn’t a horror film. It was merely a situation to be handled. There were no eerie connotations then. Unfortunately, I’ve since come to realise that some of the things I noticed that day went on to form the basis of my terror, and I have to live with that. I don’t even know if this is something that can be worked through. I don’t know. I think that perhaps it’s just where a mind gets scratched and damaged, like a record. It’ll always jump there when you play it through. It’s no longer smooth. You notice it, and because you notice it, you remember, and because you remember, you can never forget.

Those things then. When I called the emergency services I had no idea who to ask for. I had never seen a dead body before then, but I knew immediately he was dead. It’s an instinctive feeling. Besides, there was the smell. He was face down. I went to the door and told my mother to stay outside. I let the dogs through the house. I went to the phone. Eventually, after a few seconds, I asked for the ambulance.

I explained on the phone as best I could. The lady didn’t seem to understand me, and told me to call out to him, which I did, though I knew it was pointless. Then she told me to touch him, and I laid down the phone, wandered over there, and I could see where the blood had settled in him, and I couldn’t do it. I didn’t want him to be cold, and I knew he would be. I have no idea how long I spent, caught between wanting to obey the will of the emergency services, and resisting what I knew might hurt me. Eventually I turned away. I hadn’t done it.

The dreams didn’t start straight away. I had the grief to get through first, and that took over a year, even while manic. I was working nights. I spent my days clutching a giant teddy bear, crying and screaming along to nu-metal records. Grief like that feels like someone has stabbed you in the gut. I hardly slept. The dreams bided their time.

By the time I was signed off work over a year later with depression, I was living with someone, and perhaps that kept the worst of them away. I don’t remember the things that I dreamed about, but that’s when I began to have fighting dreams. I hit him several times in my sleep. I don’t feel guilty about this at all, because in the end he turned out to be violent himself. He did it once, and I threw him out. I moved back home shortly afterwards because I was too depressed to manage my own affairs.

Home was where I had found him. The same council house. I told myself it would be fine, because it’s also the same house where I grew up. Apart from the short space of time my mother and I lived away, as a family we’d never moved. I’d lived away from home several times, but always ended up back there. I told myself this was no different.

Nightly I began to wake up drenched in sweat, but not hot. Shivering cold, terrified of who knew what. I couldn’t remember the dreams then. For a while that continued. And then they began in earnest.

I don’t know if any of you have watched the recent horror series ‘Channel Zero’ and it’s ‘No End House’ story, but if you have, you might have some indication how those dreams present themselves. I haven’t mentioned my brother before now, but he was in the house that day too, and in my dreams they follow me around. They don’t speak. They’re dead. They move slowly, heavily, shuffling, and I can run but I can’t hide. They want me to touch them. So you see, the things we notice leave scratches. I wish I hadn’t noticed that so very much.

I stopped being able to sleep with the light off. I stopped being able to sleep through the night, and even now when I wake up from those dreams, to save myself going back there I have no choice but to get up. But to return to the past again… this wasn’t insomnia. It was sleep avoidance, because I didn’t want to dream. Sleeping in the day was sometimes easier, but not always. These dreams are like horror films. They do have eerie connotations and heavy atmosphere.

Sometimes I’ll dream of them, and they’re alive. We might be doing something ordinary, but then there’ll be a chance word or a turn of phrase, and the entire atmosphere will degrade, and we all remember what’s happened then. I’m not sure which dreams are the worst. Probably the first kind are the worst for sheer horror, the second are the worst for making me cry.

It’s a strange thing, to wake up screaming. You don’t really wake up screaming, but whimpering, like an animal. The whimper, it changes to a scream as you become more conscious. I guess it has something to do with sleep paralysis. I don’t really know. Sometimes, you wake up whimpering, and you don’t recognise the sound is coming from yourself. It’s a terrible, lonely, awful sound.

For a long time, I seemed to spend my days getting over the night before. Even when I couldn’t remember dreaming, I knew they were there. I could sense them having happened to me during the night. It’s a strange sensation. Like you’ve been living some other life. You wake up just as tired as when you went to sleep. I couldn’t make any progress because of it. I was haunted, not by ghosts, but by my own psyche. Mental health services provided me with a psychologist around this time, who refused to talk to me of my dad and brother for fear of ‘destabilising’ me.

At long last I was given the Topiramate, and I had my first taste in years of sleeping through the night, of waking up in the morning without having the feeling of needing to recover. Of finally waking up to a new day. The relief was incredible.

I’ve got to say that until that point, I really didn’t understand how bad the dreams had become. I’d been having them for so long. When they waned, I knew, and I was amazed. I still have them now and again, and I think when my mood is lower, like now, I’m having a lot of those unremembered ones. But on the whole, I’m better than before.

I know there is a good chance I can wake up in the morning, and be ready to face the day. That makes a huge difference.

I said at the beginning of this that I have a dark turn of personality, and I’m glad of it. I honestly think in some ways it’s helped me to survive all of this. I can bear the isolation easily enough. I think if I was someone else, I might struggle with that.

Well… that’s that for now. Next time, I’ll write about Hyperacusis.

Energy levels falling…

Well, I’ve decided to write another blog entry, since I can see the latest one has had no visitors whatsoever, I feel (and have decided) I am quite safe doing this.

Why? Well, let’s have a pick through my reasoning. It’s as good a subject as any other, I suppose. I have tried journalling and blogging about my mental illness before, of course. It hasn’t made a blind bit of difference. I’ll be absolutely stunned if WordPress turns out to be the ingredient that was missing all along, however, I have to try. It’s a condition of life that we try to live, and to survive.

The phone call this morning, minutes after I’d woken up robbed me of any agency for the day. That attack of worry, and of feeling that enormous sense of inevitable ending rise up before all over again. I call it ‘rabbit in headlights’ and if you’re anything like me, you’ll be aware of that sensation. Another blogger made a great post about spoons in regard to disability. This morning stole each and every one of my spoons. I’ve had no energy for anything today, which is rather unfortunate because I booked a week off work and have yet to make any progress.

A lot of my life revolves around how to get better, how to improve and how to make little steps along the road to some kind of… life. It’s not a life now. It hasn’t been a life for quite some time.

The first thing I have to do each day is put aside my worries, and sometimes they cloak themselves very well. It’s likely that tomorrow won’t be very good for me either, since one of my dogs has to go to the vet to have his teeth looked at under anaesthetic – and he’s thirteen. That’s a genuine worry. Some of my health concerns are genuine worries. I am, after all, diabetic, and yet I can afford to put those aside, because they will stop me from making any progress. It’s a little minefield. Things that take me by surprise are very difficult to process.

When I had a CPN, I was dismayed when they used to chat. I wanted to address the tasks I needed to complete each day in order to make progress. I have a list. I still have that list. I know the things that are on it. They’re the ordinary things that other people would take for granted. To get up each day, to have a shower, to take the dogs out, to keep on top of any housework and washing, to exercise, to eat properly and to read/write/learn something each day. It shouldn’t be such a big ask to do all of these things… and yet it is. Somehow, it’s enormous.

We’re getting to where the garden will need adding to that list, and I can’t manage the things that are on it now. I haven’t been able to manage those things for a long time. I know if I could, that the resulting feeling of achievement would make success ever more likely. That it wouldn’t be such a struggle any more, but I can’t begin.

If there is a timetable method known to man, I have tried it. I have micromanaged each minute, and I have not. I have been strict, and I have been easy. I have forgiven myself and began again each day. Nothing helps. Nothing works. I feel that I resemble a dying fly on a windowsill. I can’t get up, but I can’t stop trying.

And so, this afternoon, when I’ve spent a lot of the day asleep because of overwhelming tiredness, I find myself and my intellect reduced, yet again, to zero. And I wonder, if I can do nothing else, if this will help. Perhaps it will. So I try it.

I seemed to be doing so well just a couple of weeks ago. I had made a little headway. Now it all seems to be gone; everything I held for the shortest of moments just slipped through my fingers like water, and there was nothing I could do. No way to stop it.

This tiredness is not real. It’s a trick, but if I tell you it feels so real. I feel weary down into my very bones. Somehow, I have to find a way to move… and soon.

Tomorrow, I plan to drop the dog off at the vets, then distract myself with work. Actual physical work in the house, if I can. Then, hopefully, if all goes well when I pick him back up again that evening, I will have achieved something, and I will have resisted the urge to sleep the day away.

Let’s see how that goes.

Some thoughts…

TW: Suicide

So I’m pretty sure no one reads this blog, and therefore I can say what I want here, safe in the knowledge that it doesn’t matter. That I won’t have to worry about it, and that I won’t have to respond to any comments. Good.

There’s a reason for the trigger warning on the top of this post though, so just in case anyone does happen upon it, please do pay serious attention. If you’re likely to be offended or otherwise made vulnerable by the kind of talk I’m going to engage in, save yourself the upset, and click away now.

Well, if there was any kind of readership, hopefully, you’ve all gone now.

If you’d have asked me a week ago, I’d have blithely said that twitter couldn’t scare me. I would have been wrong about that. Turns out I can’t handle being seen by lots of people at once, even in two-hundred and eighty characters or less, though I suspect it’s not being used to it more than anything deeper. Usually my tweets are sinking into anonymous obscurity before I’ve even finished typing them out.

So I’m taking a little break from twitter. Difficult, because I’ve been off work this week, which probably accounts for me tweeting a little more regularly. Why not write a blog post instead? Fiction seems to be out of the question lately, for whatever reason. The muses have gone off to play with someone else, and left me all alone.

Since a twitter account I follow was asking about mental health professionals and their lack of help around suicidal patients, I decided to get out some of my deeper thoughts on the subject. I suppose this is less of a blog entry, and more of a journal entry. Call it a kind of thinking out loud.

I’ve had contact with mental health services in one form or another since I was eleven. Sporadically, true, but contact. I’ve had suicidal thoughts, yes, that got worse in my teens. I suppose I was always heading towards some kind of formal diagnosis of something. But then, when I was twenty-five, and my moods were kind of “interesting” something tragic happened.

My brother finally managed to commit suicide. He’d been trying for a while, and we’d warned the hospital about this after his last admission, but they’d refused to keep him safe. They’d told us, when we begged, that if we didn’t take him back they would release him to the city’s homeless section. We told them he’d be dead within two months. This happened roughly seven weeks later.

My father, instead of calling anyone, took an overdose of opiate painkillers himself, and I found them both a few days later.

There are some moments in life that you can feel pass, so that you’re sharply aware there is a moment before this, and a moment after this, when things will never be the same. My mother and father had separated a few months prior, and I’d moved out with my mother since it was the only way she could afford a place of her own. I remember the bus journey clearly. I’d been working nights. She’d woken me up, in a panic because she couldn’t get an answer to her phone calls or her knocking on the door, and she no longer had a key. I did, and when we got there I made her wait outside. She didn’t have to see anything. To this day I am glad about that.

The bus journey. That was the moment before. I remember thinking it, though what it portended to, I really didn’t know, only the feeling was there. My heart knew what this was about.

The moment after… the weeks after were numbing. Tragedy puts a comforting arm around you, it’s true. The real pain comes later. But the idea of suicide and suicidal thoughts changed forever in that moment for me.

For a long while, I thought I couldn’t possibly ever entertain the notion again. Having seen it up close, no. Not a chance. Except… eventually it happens. And then you find out that your chances of suicide have gone up, not down, because you’re a survivor of bereavement by suicide. It seems so ridiculous, and yet fitting.

I have often tried to describe this to professionals, but they either don’t understand or don’t listen. Yet to me in the years afterwards, suicide seemed to take on a persona and an incarnation of its own. Not literally, of course. Imagined, definitely. But, it’s definitely a him. How could it be anything else? The men in my life have taken that route.

Suicidal thoughts used to happen at a time of crisis only. It used to be something that happened at times of great stress and upset. When I couldn’t see a way out, when my depression was at it worst. Now, I never know when it will come. The moment after changed that. The moment after changed the whisper of suicide to me. No longer is it an escape or a way out. Now it is a whisper of kindness, of welcome and compassion. It is a siren song.

For the longest time, I have denied it by keeping in mind that I know the consequences. That knowing those consequences makes it a terrible thing to do to my mother. This works, for the most part. The darkest times make me unsafe to be around her, and these are few and far between, but extremely frightening.

So suicide lurks in a corner, waiting, infinitely patient, and he’s going to win. Because year by year I get older, and so does my mother. At times I’ve worried for her health, and at those times I’ve felt an overwhelming sadness, because I’ve felt that maybe it’s almost time. Because if she goes, I have no defence left, as if I no longer have a reason to be here.

I’m aware that if I can change something about my life, perhaps there is an escape that way, but it’s proving difficult. He waits.

Above all, I know that if this world were only different it wouldn’t be so bad. It’s not death and grief that daunts me. I’ve faced them. I stared at it. I read their autopsy reports and I read the report to the Coroner. I know the mistakes that were made. I am not afraid of that. If I lost my mother, and I had to physically bury her, that would not be such a hardship that I couldn’t go on. What I can’t do is navigate this world the rest of you have made. I can’t pick my way through the labyrinth of rules and procedures, nor stay well enough to keep it up. I will be lost, and homeless, and I really don’t think I could bear it. No.

I love so many things, and yet I suspect that come the day, it won’t matter what mood I am in, or if the sun is shining. When I lose her, I lose it all. The moment before will be the last, and the moment after… the moment after will be commitment. I keep it from her, of course, but… He always waits.

That was last night. This morning, my mother is in hospital again, having been taken ill this time on the way to work. I’ll feed the dogs, and then make my way there.

Is it the end? This time? For all of us? I don’t know, and my lovely dogs… I have to inform someone when the moment is here, for the sake of my dogs. No matter what happens, even if against all the odds I choose to live, they can’t come with me.

I guess that even in an ideal world, there would be no one on the crisis team equipped to deal with my relationship with suicide. We’ve got unfinished business, he and I. He’s never cruel, and that’s the worst part. Suicide has become a kind of compassionate specatator, watching me from the sidelines, aware what the ending will be and offering no judgement. There’ll be no encouragement at all. It will be entirely my decision. Incidentally, just like the crisis team tell you.

So far this morning, as I write this, I am struggling to keep my eyes open. In twenty minutes or so, I can feed the dogs and then go. I wish I had not woken up.

For what it’s worth, it doesn’t feel like the moment before. Not yet.

~ Pip ~

9th April 2018

 

ETA: I have been called from the hospital to advise me not to turn up, as she is fine and medicated. She says she is going to try and go in to work 😦 I don’t like that, but the moment is not here.

Response to Owen Jones

Ok. Here goes…

I do not like the title. The title is an assertion that I, as the reader, must do something for you, without discussion. Why? What do I owe you? Or, are you trying to say that because I am a Corbyn supporter I must do this? I don’t think so. You are dividing me from the rest of the party unfairly.

You then present your opinion as an assertion that can’t be debated, then pre-emptively complain that the reader will not allow for opinions to be debated. You go on, as you yourself noted, to make a lot of complaints about how you have been treated by… who? Are you still accusing all of us at this point? It’s not clear. For the record, that’s an unfair accusation. Many of us have counted you with us, and have not criticised you. Or, wait, you must be talking about those “bad” Corbyn supporters. Now you are dividing us again.

I really do not like how you’re making me feel by this point. And so far you haven’t even written much of anything at all.

Once this is done, you are afraid for the future, but you don’t say this. Instead you accuse us of disagreeing with you immediately. Do I disagree with your fear? No, I feel it too. Despite the fact you still haven’t written anything of substance, I know that fear. I see your point of view. Do I think we should allow fear to dictate what we do? Absolutely not.

I don’t need your CV. I’m not an employer.

I’ll skip over the rest of your complaining about not having your suggestions followed to the letter, and whatever it is you’re asking for from me (sympathy?).

I have to say, it is these things that have resulted in criticism of you, not the points you make.

And yet because of the way you began, you attempt to put this vast onus of personal responsibility and liability on each individual. On me. As if we are not an organisation. As if we are not a party of people that campaign and work together. As if the energy that is flying around is something that can be harnessed and controlled by one person if only they would pull their socks up and concentrate – and that person is the reader.

No. That isn’t how it works.

These are things that have to be debated, but there is no room for that in how you present this. There is no mention at all that meetings are suspended, where we could discuss these things. Are you holding us all responsible for that too? You present this to those of us who do use social media, but then say that social media is not effective. So what would happen to our answers, even if such answers existed?

You end by enforcing the sense of isolation that you have created in the preceding article by explicitly stating that if the reader doesn’t come up with answers then they are complicit in whatever doom you are certain must follow (and we mustn’t discuss that opinion).

I imagine it’s not just me who would genuinely like to know what we’ve done to deserve being divided and isolated in such a way, denied collaboration with our comrades in Labour, told we must personally give answers to questions that the whole party is struggling with or be held up as objects of scorn for ‘complicity.’

A more productive use of our time (while we are confined to social media) would be to debate with members of Labour who aren’t supporting Corbyn and see if we can get a template for the PLP to follow. The terms of such discussion should be as follows:

We accuse them of being so power hungry they will deny people the change that is needed.

They accuse us of being so married to principles that we don’t even want to win.

If the left and right agreed not to fall back on those default positions, what kind of conversation would we be having now? What are the things that we all agree on, however small? How can we move forward – together – from there?

Open Letter to Labour Right

Open Letter to the Labour right

This is not addressed to those who are busy attacking and undermining Corbyn in the media. As far as I am concerned your behaviour is disgusting and reprehensible. Leave this blog now.

Instead, this is for those Labour members who didn’t vote for Jeremy, and have grave doubts and fears about what this will mean going forward. I’ve had some interesting discussions with a few of you lately, and so I wrote this. I hope you read it and that, even if you aren’t convinced, it sparks discussion. I don’t want to dismiss your thoughts, but I do want us to talk.

It’s impossible to speak for the movement, and I wouldn’t presume to, but broadly speaking this is about breaking with austerity and with consensus. It is about a new settlement. If those words strike fear into your heart, I ask you earnestly to provide an actual alternative that addresses the many problems we face and debate it. Gloomily muttered complaints to us about “the electorate,” failure and naivete will not subdue us, nor will they convince us. We have hope and confidence. We have new ideas with popular appeal. Hope catches. If you think that talk of hope is irrelevant, then I respectfully suggest that you consult some basic psychology textbooks. We are human, and our politics (without regard to Westminster) are human things too.

We will no longer be satisfied with crumbs from the table. For too long, electoral victory has been separate from victory for the majority of ordinary people. We want those two things to be the same thing: that if Labour wins, ordinary people win, and win big. That is what a new settlement is about. Everyone benefited from the Labour victory in 1945, when the only alternative offered was austerity. Everyone in this country right now, regardless of how they vote, whatever their views are, or wherever their perceived interests lie – all still continue to benefit from the things achieved by that Labour government. All will benefit from a Corbyn-led Labour government, likely for whole generations to come. That is what a new settlement means.

However much it frightens you, it is about not just changing the words we use, but a revolution in the way we think about issues like social security, employment and yes – representation. It is not enough for Labour MPs to pursue their own favoured agendas against the expressed wishes of the party membership as a whole. I should add that those wishes soon will be expressed. There are many of us attending our branches and CLPs now, and we will be heard with the aid of Corbyn. The things our MPs stand for must be the things that we agree together. We must be united in order to change the direction of travel. The Overton Window will begin to move back towards the centre at last, despite the best efforts of our mainstream media, and I have no sympathy with those who tacitly approve of political debate in this country moving further and further to the right. Even in the most basic interests of balance, that is undesirable. Democratic socialism of the kind we support protects a society against civil unrest further down the line, and due to the decline in our manufacturing industry, there is a dire shortage of pitchforks. Let’s not go there. Let’s change things now.

On the economy, it must serve everyone. A society which leaves people behind is an enemy to the basic premise of civilisation and invalidates the social contract. An economy that benefits the few or otherwise panders to the interests of an elite is a failure. Full employment is necessary not just for growth and governmental income, but because it raises the living standards of all by providing quality jobs with real benefits and higher wages. Realistically, combined with adequate public services, a properly funded NHS and free education, that is what most people want. It’s not too much. It’s fair, it’s reasonable, and more than that, achievable.

Ideological opposition to Quantitative Easing for capital investment in infrastructure is below you, please let go of it: you are Labour. Osborne’s failure to contain the deficit by cuts shows that the multiplier (when reversed) would lead to greater income and would pay for the original investment, plus generate extra in tax returns. Many economists agree on this.

I fear that, having considered some of your responses to our popular election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader, I must leave you with this quote, and remind you that the “children” you patronise range from teenagers through to those in their nineties. We are not stupid, naïve or even destructive. But we are eternally young. We are the optimists. Debate this, come up with an argument, and if you can’t do that, please put down your doubt if you can and join us, because together we will win!

And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They’re quite aware of what they’re going through”

                                                                David Bowie – ‘Changes’

Open Letter to Jeremy Corbyn

Dear Mr. Corbyn,

tweet

Some time ago, I addressed that tweet to you when I heard you were running for the Labour Leadership. I’d never heard of you before, except probably in passing. Even then so many were expressing their disapproval of you (most of them people I disapprove of), that I was certain you were worthy of further investigation.

In one way I was disappointed. You didn’t impress me to vote for you. Like Clement Attlee’s quote about charity, in some ways voting is a cold, grey and loveless thing. Voting, if we’re honest, mostly involves passing responsibility onto someone else. Instead, you did something amazing that I never expected and had forgotten to hope for – you inspired and encouraged me to actually join in and get involved.

So we had the Welfare Reform and Work Bill, and you made a stand. With that you announced your determination not only to properly oppose the Conservatives’ plans, but also to represent people instead of opinion. How refreshing! I dared to imagine a Labour Party that stood its ground; that no longer followed, that did not act like a member of the electorate, that didn’t allow the Tories to set the terms of debate. I was angry with abstaining MPs, but I tweeted them with a view to encouraging them to support you.

You released policy documents that I read and re-read, finding ways to edit your sentences so that they’d fit into tweets I could share with others. I changed my name temporarily to Corbynette, to reflect my cheer-leading.

I was there when you visited Doncaster. I was listening carefully when you talked with us, rather than merely to us. The Jeremy Corbyn campaign is our campaign. The ideas are there for us to debate and discuss, and take forward. How wonderful!

We made endless blog posts, made videos, tweeted, shared statuses, talked to people every day about policies and ideas and what we really want for each other. Do we want austerity? No! Do we want everyone to share in the success of this country? Yes. And what we want most is for our campaign, the Jeremy Corbyn campaign, to win.

I donated to our campaign with countless others, as much as I could afford. I volunteered to help in any way I could, along with many others. So I was there when you came to Sheffield. And while you spoke with the hundreds of people outside, I was behind the ticketing desk, working together with someone I’d never met before, but with whom I shared an enthusiasm for this new politics which involves us all.

And now, if we should win, what then? You will have your own part to play, just as we have ours, and the campaign will continue. I hope you give that speech on Saturday, Mr. Corbyn, I really do, because we are all about the aims and values of the Labour Party: peace, hope, equality, democracy and prosperity. But most of all, solidarity.

Remember us. We stand with you on Saturday, and every day. We stand with you at PMQs. We stand with you in your efforts to unite the parliamentary party. We stand with you against opposition. If you represent us, we shall represent you on every doorstep, in every town, every public house, every workplace, every constituency Labour Party meeting that will have us.

You did so much more than impress me, and I did more than vote for you. Should all we hope for come to pass, we have five years, and we will pick up many others along the way as our movement grows. Then, together, we will all win in 2020.

Thank you so much for standing as Leader, and for inspiring and including so many of us. Thank you for uniting us. Thank you for not allowing all of our praise to go to your head. You are the same man who began this contest, and we can rely on you to remain constant going forward. With hope, I say: lead on! We are with you!

Review: Year of the Badgers – Paul Howsley

Review: Year of the Badgers – Paul Howsley

Set in the not-too-distant future, this is a story about a man, and his struggle to come to terms with a society that doesn’t care what becomes of those at the bottom.

Given today’s protests against workfare, it’s amazingly current, and eerily prophetic.

To those who think the events in this book are far-fetched. Respectfully, I’d suggest to go work in an Amazon warehouse for a week (if you can take it), or a call centre where every second of your time is micro-managed (and I do mean every second). Spend a month trying to satisfy the DWP, and see how long it is before you enter your first food bank.

It’s a brilliant story, and I’m wary here about giving anything away. But we’ve all known a Joanna. Whatever happens to those people? The legends in our lives. You may or may not find the answer in this book.

What you will find is a perfect juxtaposition of despair versus hope, and I’m not going to tell you which one wins out in the end, but I will say the sense of prophecy continues all the way through.

This book costs next to nothing for the digital version. Buy it – you will not be disappointed!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00XII7YFK?keywords=year%20of%20the%20badgers&qid=1441405832&ref_=sr_1_1&s=books&sr=1-1