The Man in the Mirror

WARNING – there may be some upsetting images. 
For my regular readers you will know that animal and planet welfare is something I am passionate about. And even though I don’t want to make it regular complaint I did want to share with you my feelings on some of the events I have become aware of.

We in the western countries feel privileged or better educated than some other countries in our moral stance on animal rights. Together we campaign against the Yulin dog meat festival, bear bile farms, the ivory trade and a host of other acts of cruelty.

Inspite of this in the last year the following animals have become extinct

Northern White Rhino 

Amur Leopard (30 considered left in the wild)

South China Tiger

Saolas

Hawaiian Crow

Javan Rhinos

These animals have gone due to human action. In the coming years many more are likely to disappear as well, animals such as the vaquita. This small marine porpoise was only discovered in 1958 and already it is almost wiped out. 

 

But it must be said that we in the west are not blameless. We speak in out rage on how animals are treated in Asian and Africa. How they are abused and butchered. However we have failed to look at the way we treat animals in our own countries. In Britain, despite the ban, fox hunting is still rife along with cock and dog fights. Creatures are put against each other to see which one would tear the other apart first. 

 

Our meat industry is a thing of horror stories. If we look at chicken farms where life from egg to store is just a conveyer belt journey, we see the animals that are pumped up full of growth hormones that they cannot support their own weight. Other livestock see a similar fate by being force fed, caged and killed at young ages.

 

Beyond our consumption needs we test on animals chemicals we wouldn’t dare try on humans. One such incident told of a mother chimp that had each of her children taken away for testing. The last one she clung on to for dear life knowing what would happen and didn’t want to lose her child.

 

Then we have our classic hypocrites that travel overseas to hunt and kill animals in the wild the name of sport and trophy. I cannot believe that to shoot down a defenceless animal is a sport.

 

And finally we have our celebrated public figures that dress themselves in furs paid by their fans.

We need to change the way we think and act. We need to change how we treat our animals. And most of all we need to change how we treat people that commit such crimes.

This world is for everyone but humans are killing it.

 

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Peace in the madness 

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Today is the last day of Ramadan which means tomorrow is Eid, God willing. It is important to remember that the last 10 days of Ramadan hold an extra special meaning and to pray on the odd nights gives you the opportunity to be forgiven for previous sins.

This year during this holy month it saddens me to say that some people have not embraced the idea of peace furthering hate in our community. However I am not going to dwell on that in this blogg (I think the news does enough of that for us). Instead I want to share with you the moments of quite pray and reflections that I observed.

Above is a picture of my garden. In the evenings after I broke my fast, recited one of my daily prayers and changed into more comfortable clothing I took the the garden to remember God and the gifts he has given us.

To set the scene let me describe to you what it was like on one of those nights.

The air was filled with the sweet perfume of summer rose and jasmine that was carried in the soft cool breeze. There was still some heat lingering from the day as the birds sang their bedtime song. A gentle babble from the pond joined the birds chorus while the cat’s bells jingled as they walked. I lay on the cushioned porch swing rocking as I counted by devotion on a tally. In this moment of quite and solitude I forgot about all the anger, hate and crime in the world. I was allowed to be at one with my surroundings embracing the peace that it offered. In my own little space I was safe and the madness of the world was non-existent.

Whether you are of faith or not I think we can all enjoy moments like this in our lives. A time we can either engage in silent prayer, reflection or meditation. It doesn’t take much to find time and a place, so I strongly recommend it.

Please tell me about it when you do.

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A Thing To Remember 

This is just a reminder to all. In light of the horrible attacks of terror over that last few weeks it is likely that some people might take out their anger and fruition on a whole community.

When Indira Gandhi stormed the Golden Temple killing Sikh pilgrims and militants we did not say that this was an act by the wider Indian communities.

When Hitler marched European Jews to death camps we did not say that this was an act in the name of Christianity.

When the IRA took to guerrilla warfare in its attempt to claim Northern Ireland back from the British no one said this was Irish Catholicism.

In Burma where the Muslim population are suffering genocide we have not claimed this to be the work of all Buddhist.

And as Israel kills, tortures and tries to wipe out Palestinians from their homeland we do not say that this is the work of all Jews.

It is important for us all to remember that these are the acts of a misguided few. They do not represent everyone and we must work together in stopping them.

If you suspect it, report it. The law is not ours to take into our own hands. And if you happen to be unfortunate enough to be in a place where an attack is going on; Run, Hide and Report.

Please stay safe.

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True Minds – A Campaign for better mental health

 

Some of you may know already that I have started a campaign in the hopes of improving the understanding and support of mental health within the LGBTQ+ community. At the same time I aim to help free us from the stigma attached to it.

Let me begin by telling you why I have chosen to do this. Over the last few years I have spoken to many people in the community and it turns out that most, not all, had experienced some form of mental illness. Now this might not have been a direct result of being LGBTQ+ but it still prevented them from seeking the proper help. Some people accepted mental illness (depression, anxiety etc) as being a part of their alternative sexual identity. Many have said, “it’s just part of being gay.”

That is where they are wrong.

Despite being in an advance culture in which sexual orientation is viewed with less negativity we still have some way to go in order to gain complete equality. Up until the early 90’s in the west it was considered a mental illness to have an alternative sexual identity with some of the most horrific treatments preformed to cure it. Some remnants of those days still linger, after all it was not that long ago. In addition to that we as a people put extra pressures on ourselves (sometimes forced by others) to look a certain way all in the hopes of finding a partner in an ever competitive environment. The results have often led to eating disorders and low self-esteem. The campaign is going to try and tackle all of these issues with the intention of evolving as it goes.

It is an ambitious venture and I am learning as I go (feedback will always be welcomed). However my small team and I are hoping to make positive changes.

If you want to get involved we are conducting a survey to understand where the needs currently are and we have a facebook group to continue the conversation. The facebook group is open to all friends and allies as well.

 

The links are:

Survey: https://surveyhero.com/c/0c4f7bc

FB: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1685034671799587/

If you also wish to get in touch then email us directly at Trueminds2017@gmail.com and we will get back to you promptly.

 

To all my readers please wish me luck. To you I wish excellent mental health.

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My Day at the Workshop

I promised you a series of short videos on my journey through mental health and so far I have yet to deliver. Be assured I have not abandoned this project; in fact I am still working on it and hope to have the next episode posted in a few weeks. As I told you all before technology and I are not the best of friends so there is a little (I really mean a lot) of work for me to do.

In this post however I will like to tell you all about one of the other projects I have been involved in over the last few weeks.

About two weeks ago I had the privilege of being invited up to the city to take part in a workshop for a new TV short movie. This particular movie was looking at the life of one man who had OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and how it affected his relationships, life style and his own behaviours. I don’t want to spoil it for you by giving too much away although I will say that the whole thing got me very excited.

The production team involved had invited me along with four other OCD suffers to come and share our experiences about the condition. We were joined by a small troop of actors who brought the characters to life while we guided them in getting the personalities of OCD right.

The idea of the event was to really get behind what the mental illness was so that the public opinion on the condition would shift from the typical stereotype (of checking doors, washing hands, always doing things in threes) to a more rounded representation on what life is really like. For those of you that have the condition you would agree that about 10% of it is what people see and the remainder is the internal, and constant, mental battle we face that exhausts us to no end.

We started off the day by getting to know each other. That may sound a bit cheesy but in fact it was a really emotional and eye opening experience. We all know that even though we may have similar life events or illnesses we all experience them in different ways. With mental illness there is never one exact form so for each person it changes shape to suit the individual. All five volunteers (OCD suffers) had a different story to tell about how their lives had been affected. At times it was all I could do to hold back tears or prevent myself from giving my fellows a big hug. I have to commend them for their bravery in speaking up to a room full of strangers about something so intimate.

After sharing we were then set in groups to act out scenes. This was interesting as we could really relate to the story being told which meant that guiding the actors was easy (especially as they were so responsive to our instructions). Watching another person almost become us while we acted as the voice inside their head was surreal.

I must thank everyone involved that day for the level of respect, understanding and empathy showed. This was not an easy topic to bring to life, especially if you have not experienced it yourself. As I understand the production team are now working on adjustments to the script based on the things they learnt from the event and will keep all the volunteers posted on how it develops. It is great to know that the media is looking to tell accurate stories on what real life is like for people with mental illness, bringing awareness and understanding rather than just creating inaccurate entertainment. The name of this film is ‘For Want of a Nail,’ so when you see it hit your TV screens make sure you give it a watch. I will of course give you all a heads up for when to look out for it.

In the meantime let’s keep talking about mental health and not stop until we really break free from all the stigmas attached.

P.s. The picture above includes the director (lady on the far left) and all the volunteers.

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My Mental Health – Introduction 

This is the first video of a ten part series documentin mental health  for me.

I hope you find this useful.

Oh a please forgive my terrible recording. I’ve not gain the touch for video blogging.

Best wishes 

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What Is My Worth?

Over the last two weeks I have been thinking about what drove me to take as many pills as I did. Why did I want to put myself into a deep sleep, one in which I might not have woken up from? And where am I going now with it?

The answers I have come back with are hollow. I spoke to a friend of mine the other day about it and she told me that there must be something more that has brought you to this point.

She might be right but I couldn’t tell you what.

The conclusion that I have come to are;

  1. Loneliness. Having a lifestyle that revolves around going to work, coming home and weekly meeting with people to play games just lacked something. I have no one to come home to so that I can share the pros and cons of the day. Moan about how my boss was unfair or a customer made me smile. Of course part of that is my fault for not putting myself out their enough however some people out there, most that I have met, don’t really give you the sense of wanting more than just a passing affair.
  2. Self worth. For a while I have felt like a useful tool not a person. What I mean is that people need me around them because I bring a service that they need. I may do well with customers or keep the house clean or a great shoulder to cry on. A friend even told me that she needed me more than I needed her. Which sounds lovely but didn’t help. I guess a sense on wanting would be great. To have someone who wants to be with you no matter what.
  3. Mental peace. It has been 14 years since I was given my diagnoses of mental illness and I feel no further along the path than I did when I went started out. I get pushed back an forth from specialist to doctor to  someone else. I am tired.
  4. And this is the last thing. Moving on. I am where I was 10 years ago. My friends and family have got married had kids moved all over. I am still in the same place. Of course I had an early start. Getting on the property ladder fast and working but its the little comforts in life I have missed out on.

Now you have read this far and wondering what this has to do with the picture above. Well I think that is what my life is all about. I am the little bit of light in the life of others. I am the one that is here to make their life easier or brighter or help them through the darkness. It doesn’t matter where I am because they are the ones that matter.

My friends, family and people I meet have so much more to offer this world/life and it is my job to make sure that their journey is not as bad as it could be.

Sounds very anti-climatic however it is the only way I think that it will work. I’m at the top of my life circle so all that is left to do is share it with everyone else.

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