Friday, 26 July 2013

5 Simple Steps To Avoid Atheists Spamming Your Mentions On Twitter

Here are my 5 simple steps to avoid having your twitter mentions spammed by numerous atheists:

1) Don't Tell Us We're Going To Hell.

Seriously, we don't believe in hell so it doesn't frighten us. All it does is make you sound like an intolerant sadist who gets off on the torture and suffering of anyone who disagrees with your beliefs. Imagine if someone said they think that everyone who believes in any god(s) deserves to spend eternity in perpetual pain and fear, that'd probably piss you off too, right?

2) Understand That The Existence of Monkeys DOES NOT Disprove Evolution.

Just stop and think for a second, what is more likely? That hundreds of thousands of scientists, who have trained for years to evaluate information without bias and have access to all the evidence, research and critically robust and peer reviewed studies have somehow failed to notice the existence of monkeys OR that you don't understand how evolution works?
 (On a related note, the word "theory" has different uses depending on whether it's being used in a scientific or general sense. In scientific terms "theory" doesn't mean "guess", as it does in general terms, instead it actually means "collection of understood facts supported by masses of evidence", learn this distinction to avoid (a) looking stupid and (b) atheistic mention spam!)

3) Don't Try To Claim That Atheists Are Immoral.

Firstly, PLEASE READ YOUR HOLY TEXTS OF CHOICE! Those books are filled with condoned "immorality". Incest, torture, rape, murder, child abuse, slavery...I could go on and on! Seriously, if you live by the standards set by any holy text then your moral compass is about as reliable as as those crappy little plastic ones you get in cereal boxes and Christmas crackers, it may look like it should work, but relying on it is guaranteed to leave you wandering in the ethical wilderness!

Secondly, statistics, worldwide, have shown that, of all religious demographics, those without a belief in any gods are less likely to divorce and are notibly underrepresented within the prison population.  

Basically, if you allow any book that actively encourages you to discriminate against huge swathes of the population to guide your behaviour and how you treat others, you have no moral high ground to stand on and are likely to piss off a lot of people!
 (On a related note, don't call us "satanists"! We don't believe in home either, see step 1 for how this makes you look!)
4) Don't Try To Force Your Beliefs Us.

We don't give a damn what you choose to believe. It is your right to believe anything you wish. However, that right doesn't include changing legislation, that affects everyone, to reflect or give undue support to your beliefs. 
Neither does that right include trying to convert people to your belief, they have the right to believe whatever they want too!
Nor does that right include having your beliefs treated as facts in any secular establishment. This includes schools, universities, hospitals... in fact, anywhere that isn't a church, temple, synagog, etc!

5) Just Don't Be A Dick!

This is probably the most important one. If you're going to say something that sweepingly prejudiced, grossly offensive, startlingly ignorant or just downright stupid, and don't want to be barraged with masses of criticism, well reasoned rebbuttals and abuse then either set your tweets to private, or consider  removing yourself from public forums. Otherwise you deserve everything you get!

Sunday, 14 July 2013

A New Dirty Word?

Being (A) a woman, (B) a survivor of rape and sexual abuse and (C) a fairly intelligent person capable of reading a variety of media sources I cannot fail to notice that discrimination, abuse and violence against women is still shockingly prevalent worldwide. It's somewhat of a stain on the human conscience that things such as victim blaming, honour killings, wage inequality and denial of women's basic rights have been allowed to continue into the 21st century. I have, and will continue to campaign for equality and raise awareness for women, worldwide, who struggle and suffer purely for the sake of their gender. It is something I have always felt passionate about.

With that said, I am NOT a feminist. It is a label I refuse to apply to myself due to an increasing negative connotation that is becoming attached to it and what appears to be an expanding minority that are just propagating that negativity.

I found myself embroiled in a twitter "debate" (I use the term loosely as there was little rational discourse coming from some participants) last week and was truly astounded how there are some people out there who will twist absolutely any scenario so that they can cry "misogyny" and act the victim. Anyone who disagrees with them is shouted down with such vitriol that it seems as though even if all chauvinism and inequality disappeared overnight they'd still be angry tomorrow. They are blinkered to the suffering of any group that isn't women and they tarnish the reputations of the many, rational, feminists who continue to support the goals and ideals that the feminist movement first began with.

I fail to see how this is supposed to benefit the cause for equality. I refuse to gain rights by taking those of others, I refuse to play the victim and I refuse to let the sacrifices and advancements made by those who first fought to get out from under the subjugation of a male dominated world to be subverted by those who seem to believe it gives them the right to dictate what other women should think, feel or do!

It's a shame that it has come to this. That a movement that began for all the right reasons and with the very best of intentions has, in the public eye, become a standing joke that evokes mental images of bitter, man-hating women with doc martins and moon cups angrily hollering at any woman who dares to shave her legs that she's a traitor to her sex.

Feminism has become a dirty word, a parody of its origins that instantly removes any hope of being taken seriously as a woman the second it is uttered and prevents us from bringing about any real change.

So, while I will continue to oppose the sexism, discrimination, the violence and abuse that is carried out against hundreds of thousands of women every day, I am NOT a feminist, I will oppose all discrimination and injustice wherever I see it. I am an egalitarian!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Going Dark

Having read Stephen Fry's frank and heartfelt Blog piece I realised that, while depression in general is pretty widely discussed, the various different types and the multitude of ways it affects people is not really that well understood at all, partly because it's hard to put it in words and partly because we tend to develop our own phrases and terminology to discribe our experiences. The only way to combat this is for those of us whose lives are affected by depression to speak out and let people know how it is, for us.

I have what's classed as a form of Reactive Depression. This means that rather than a chemical imbalance or genetic predisposition my depression is a direct result of things I've experienced, specifically, being sexually abused as a child. In the majority of cases reactive depression is easily treatable with medication and therapy. In some cases, as with mine and many other survivors of abuse, the trauma event(s) leave us suceptable to a multitude of possible triggers that can reignite the depression.

What this means, for me, is that I can go months without feeling down at all, then all of a sudden my mood drops and I become pretty much useless, I call this "going dark". I lose the greater majority of my energy and motivation, I avoid leaving the house, I neglect most of my housework and personal hygiene, partly because I lose the ability to care but mostly through a conscious decision to focus what little motivation and energy I have into ensuring I continue to meet my son's needs. I feel worthless and sick and almost constantly anxious, I have nightmares and delayed sleep phase at night and flashbacks and panic attacks by day. I obsess with reading anything, books or online, to escape from all the horrible thoughts running through my mind, memories and fears that push themselves to the forefront of my mind when I let my guard slip.
 And then, just as suddenly, I'll hit what I call "the bounce point" and everything will gradually improve until I'm no longer depressed again. 
Sometimes it lasts days, sometimes it lasts months, I can't predict it and I can't control it.

This unpredictability makes antidepressants ineffective. By the time they've started to take effect I'm usually out the other side and all they achieve is to numb all my feelings, making it impossible to experience all the joy in my life when I'm not down. The last time I tried them was when my son was a baby, I remember watching him laugh as he played and knowing I should've been able to feel happiness watching him but it was like it was trapped behind a wall of grey. That was the moment I decided never to used them again. Yes, the bad times are hard but not hard enough to make it worth sacrificing the good ones!

I've also had counselling for my experiences. I know it wasn't my fault, I know I'm safe now, I'm no longer angry, or hurt, I've faced and fought every demon it left me with but no amount of counselling is ever going to make the memories go away and all the while they're there they're always going to be a trigger point for my depression. It's just something I have to live with. Much like an amputee must adjust to living without a limb, this is my scar tissue.

Fortunately, I have a wonderful partner, a guy who understands what I go through and is there to take the strain when I stop functioning. He's my rock and I really don't say how much I appreciate him as often as I probably should! 

I apologise if this post is a bit rambling and morbid, I'm once again in the dark, but I will bounce back again, I always do!