Saturday, 8 September 2018

Love Hurts

Whilst there's truth in it I slightly disagree with the quote attributed to Liam Neeson in the image above.

Love opens you up, it opens you up to yourself and to other people. If you love someone you start to feel their pain, that's empathy. Everyone hurts. You can't love someone without feeling pain. And it opens you up to yourself. If you've been numb, dulled yourself to your own pain, then love will hurt. The difference is that it's a good hurt, it's the hurt that brings healing. Love allows you to accept and to let go of your pain. So love definitely hurts, because life hurts. It's just that there's beauty in it too and the beauty does actually make it worth the pain.

A deeper secret. The healing comes not from being loved but from giving love. Often of course it's only through being loved that we're really able to feel love. Because love itself is so beautiful we can't help loving it. We respond with love and that's how we find our healing, how we unfurl and our own beauty is revealed. The beauty that's in everyone. Who we really are.

To be able to love is the most beautiful thing in the world. Worth living for and maybe even worth dying for. We only find it in the struggle to be free. We're freedom fighters. The fight is the freedom and the freedom is the fight.

I don't think you die if your heart breaks. I think you die if you don't let it break.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Two Tales of the Ancestors: Boudica, the Glorious and Tragic Warrior Queen of the Britons

Those who simply want to love, must in the end become warriors.
This is a tale of the ancestors, or at least it's my version of a tale of my ancestors. It has some truth in it of a literal kind and truth of other sorts too. It's my version of a tale told to me by Natasha Harlow, so the good parts are hers and the misunderstandings are mine. Hopefully she'll correct the more egregious of them.
It's a tale of legends and lies, of glory and tragedy. It's a tale of Europeans of old. It's two tales wrapped into one, or at least two versions of one tale. The tale is the legend of Boudica and the Roman occupation of England and Wales.
Towards the end of the Bronze age, around 2450 BCE is the current best guess (the bronze age is charted as ending around 800 BCE) a people walked across Europe and then made their way into England. It seems like they entered mostly unoccupied land. The archaeological record tells a tale of a mass depopulation event, with about 90% of the population disappearing, but with no evidence of large scale battle or invasion as was previously assumed. It seems likely that epidemic or other disaster wiped out most of the presumably Neolithic Britons.
The people who followed we now, much to the irritation of anthropologists, call the Celts and they went on to live in most of the British Isles. Modern genetic evidence tells us that these people did share a common bloodline but there is little to no evidence supporting the idea of a single "Celtic" culture and tradition across the geography and time of the Celts. What we call Celtic culture is a largely modern invention incorporating Norse and medieval art and ideas as well as disparate elements of culture spanning the whole era of English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish history. So the Celts were a people with a common genetic inheritance and bloodline, but not a tribal identity or a people in the way we might imagine them to have been. The Celtic era is so compelling a part of our history not least because of the Romans and our glorious tribal warrior Queen Boudica.
The Romans came for us several times. First was Julius Caesar in 55 BC and 54 BC. We mostly held him off. The version I've heard is that the Celtic warriors of the time were experts with the sling, a ranged weapon. They could keep the Romans at a distance and hold them off. By 43 AD the Romans were back under Claudius. One version of the story is that by then they'd developed new military technology, the turtle. With a legion of Roman soldiers, all carrying large metal rectangular shields, they formed an impregnable unit. The legionaries in the front held their shields to the front, the ones on the right held their shields to the right, the ones at the back to the back, at the left to the left, and everyone in the middle had their shields above them. The turtle was impervious to ranged weapons like the sling and the Romans could get close enough to slaughter the Celts.
The Romans conquered Wales, but got as far as the Picts in Scotland and reversed direction pretty hastily. They built Hadrian's wall to keep the Scots out and settled down in England and Wales. The Roman technique for occupation was brutal demonstrations of force to quell the populace and then forcing the existing ruling classes to administer their rule, enforce their laws and collect their taxes. Pax Romana.
The existing religious authorities were a problem however. For a spiritual cause people might fight even a hopeless battle, and might even find the courage to win. So the Romans set about slaughtering the indigenous religion of Britain and killed all the Druids. The Druid religion, a pagan religion of the earth, was an oral tradition. The only thing that is known of this religion is what was told to the Romans by one traitor Druid who spilled their secrets. The Romans tell of a bloodthirsty religion of human sacrifice, their excuse for killing them off. The modern Druid revival, for there is such a thing, is based on a re-imagining of the Druid religion alongside the European Occult revival of the 17th century and has virtually nothing to do with the original and now-lost-to-history traditions.
The tale that we get handed down to us by history, via the Roman historians Tacitus (one of the very few sources outside of the gospels to confirm the existence of Jesus Christ whilst saying not very much about him and nothing at all flattering) and Cassius Dio, is that an English rebellion started in Norfolk whilst the Roman occupying legion was busy in Anglesea in Wales putting down the Druids.
The people of this time and region Tacitus called the Iceni people, ruled by a tribal warrior Queen called Boudica. Both the Iceni and Boudica are pronounced with the latin hard-c. Ick-ay-knee. Boo-dick-a.
The legend is that some Roman soldiers had Boudica flogged and raped her daughters. Outraged she roused the people and raised an army of 100 000 Iceni warriors. They marched on and burned and sacked the Roman strongholds of Colchester, Verulamium (St Albans) and London. It took a week for the news of the revolt to reach the legion in Anglesea who turned from butchering Druids to face Boudica's army.
Ten thousand battle weary Roman soldiers versus one hundred thousand blood thirsty and victorious Celtic warriors fighting for their freedom. But, as the legend tells us, the Romans were not just hardened they were clever. They trapped the celts, somewhere near the A5 (Watling Street, an old Roman road going from London through St Albans and all the way to Wales) in a an area with dense woodland on either side. The Celts had their chariots and supply lines behind them and the Romans had shields and a marching formation. The Romans and Celts met as two lines. With every other step the Romans would push forward with their sheilds. This pushed the Celts onto their back foot, pressed back by the Romans. With the next step the Romans would thrust out with their swords and then push forward again with their shields. In their hobnailed boots they marched through the lines of the Celts slaughtering them by the thousand. It turned into a rout, but the Celts were trapped by their horses and carts and chariots behind them. They had nowhere to run and the legend tells us that only a few thousand escaped from the one hundred thousand brave warriors who marched on London.
Boudica herself escaped, but having watched her countrymen put to the sword and her dream of freedom for her people smashed she killed herself with poison. Our glorious and once victorious tribal warrior Queen now tragic. But what a legend.
The only problem with this version of the story is that the only evidence that it's true is the story itself. There's no other record of Boudica. There's not even any evidence that Iceni people existed but it seems more likely that they were a Roman administrative region rather than an idigenous tribal identity. The archeological record of the era shows no distinguishing regional marks that would suggest a tribal identity unique to the area. What's more, aside from the sheer unlikeliness of moving an army of one hundred thousand people around, there's no mass depopulation event in the record. There's no burial ground. There's scant evidence of a battle ground (although various places are suggested).
What we do know is that around 70 AD the three Roman cities were attacked and partly burned in uprisings, possibly several times, but there's no other evidence to support the existence of Boudica and a mass revolt of the kind described by Tacitus and Cassius Dio (who wrote after the events anyway and is considered a secondary source).
So here's the situation. There have been uprisings in occupied England. One version of the story, a story that travels back to Rome and to the other occupied lands, could be that the revolting English nearly threw out the Romans and took back the country but the Romans only just put them down. Here's an alternative version. One hundred thousand bloodthirsty and victorious Celtic warriors, fighting for their lives and their freedom under their glorious Queen, were slaughtered by a single legion of battle weary Roman soldiers. That's a much better story. Don't you want it to be true?
If you make your story a legend people will tell it for you. The tale of Boudica, unfortunately, looks very much like Roman fake news.
I tell this tale as an enthusiastic amateur who loves story telling. I find this story so compelling because Natasha's approach to history is via empirical archeology. Or rather it's an empirical approach to history based on archeology. Not, what is the story we have been told about history but what story does the evidence of the past actually tell us. She forms theories about the past that can be tested by referring to the evidence we have. This matches the approach that Katie Fox uses in her books like "Watching the English", where she devises theories about the behaviour of people living in different cultures and then comes up with experiments to verify or disprove them. Empirical anthropology. It also matches the approach that Daniel Kahnemann takes to understanding the psyche in his work like "Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow". Devising theories about the operation of the human mind and experiments to verify or disprove. Empirical psychology. The soft sciences, like sociology and psychology, are much harder than the hard sciences because people. The scientific method can still be applied however and I really enjoy the way that Natasha applies it to the period of the Roman occupation of England and Wales and the legends of that time.
Applying the scientific method and taking Boudica as the hypothesis we sadly come to the conclusion that the tale is only a myth unless it can be proven. But all is not in vain. The Romans ruled much of the world through the legend of the might of the force of Rome. That legend persists to this day. In slaying the legend of Boudica we get to also lay to rest some of the legend of the might of Rome. Natasha found in her archaeological digs around Norfolk artefacts of Iceni origin incorporating Roman technologies and techniques. The Romans, brutal acts of oppression aside, lived alongside the local populace and were primarily interested in trade and peace. In laying down her life once again we are freed from the grip of the legend of force, we her people are grateful again for the noble sacrifice of our warrior Queen thousands of years after it all never happened.

"I can walk through and around some pretty serious messes without disturbing them, or even barely acknowledging their existence. It is through years of determined practice that I have acquired this valuable life skill, of being able to ignore a big mess and pretend it isn't there. It has served me well thus far, so into the brave and bright tomorrow we travel. Blissful ignorance and all."

Friday, 20 July 2018

Leaving the Past Behind: Christian No Longer

It isn't always possible to feel innocent. It's always possible to become innocent.
For a couple of years I identified as a progressive Christian. Progressive Christianity is a broad church, with as many meanings as adherents, but for me the essence was the understanding of the teachings of The Christ (particularly as explained by John) that God is love. And all the rest is window dressing. The Bible is a library of books written by fallible humans over thousands of years. It is full of beauty, horror, contradictions and myths showing part of the unfolding of the relationship between humanity and the divine over the span of its authorship.

Unfortunately the term Christian comes with a lot of baggage, both my own and other peoples'. To most people to tell them that you're a Christian is to tell them that you ascribe to particular patterns of behaviour and beliefs, some of them ridiculous and some of them awful. I no longer want to be associated in any way with the horror perpetrated in the name of Christianity.

The bottom line is that everyone who identifies as having faith has their own religion. Their own particular way of believing based on their own experiences and personality. So even if you think you're pretty orthodox your faith is personal.

So I believe what I want and I call it what I want. I don't know what I call it but I don't think calling it Christian any more is helpful to me, and whatever I believe it's so far from what most people call Christianity that I don't think it's helpful to other people either.

I still find transcendent experience in the worship of The Christ. Christian worship, at its best, is a wild and abandoned adoration of love. A revering of love as sacred and holy. A recognition that the highest love is sacrificial, a life laid down in the pursuit of transcendent beauty that can be found anywhere and in anyone if you know how to look.

I'm still fond of saying that the only part of the bible anyone really needs, and honestly the world might be a better place if this was all we had, is to be found in the first letter of John. Chapter four and verses 7-9 or something like that.
Dear children, let us love one another for love comes from God. Everyone who loves knows God, and is born of God, because God is love.
So wherever love is at work that's God at work. Because God is love. Love is my God. I love love, I adore love. Worth living for and worth dying for and nothing else comes close. And love *is* everywhere, so God is everywhere. Hidden in plain sight.

So, your mission and my mission, should we choose to accept it, is to help people believe in love again. To have faith in love. I believe with all my heart that love heals, love saves, love transforms and love wins. People lose hope, and lost hope makes people bitter and hard. Demonstrate that love is real, that love works. No point in talking about it, that counts for nothing. It doesn't even matter what you believe. What matters is how much you love. Jesus even said as much, according to the gospels.

Matthew 25, verse 34 on. Look how little is has to do with what you believe or think you believe.
34“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
37“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
41“Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.g 42For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. 43I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’
44“Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’
45“And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’
I've removed the word "Christian" from most of my public profiles. Having identified as a Christian for almost all of my life that feels like a big deal.

Despite all the problems of my last church they taught me something beyond value. The understanding that the teaching of Christ is that the kingdom of heaven is now and that it's found in shared lives. That's still good news and it's still worth living for.

Just over a year ago I wrote the following about my faith and how I see God. I still believe.

I wrote up some of the parts of the Bible I particularly revere and find beauty in:

I love you. I love God in you. 

""Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die" is a conflation of two biblical sayings, Ecclesiastes 8:15, ‘Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry’, and Isaiah 22:13, ‘Let us eat and drink; for to morrow we shall die.’"

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Chasing the Dragon

Your greatest work of art, of course, will be yourself.
Heroin, like most of the other strong narcotics I've tried, had no effect on me the first time I've tried it. Until my naivety was crushed along with my spirit my only association with heroin was watching the Zammo from Grange Hill (a BBC TV kids program) descend into addiction, eventually caught with smack in his calculator when he wasn't even going to a maths exam! Zammo chased the dragon and got a smack on the nose was the graffiti found in Grange Hill school the next day.

Like Zammo I chased the dragon, and it did nothing the first time. Chasing the dragon is vapourising the heroin by heating it on tin foil and breathing the fumes with a funnel usually also made of foil. The first time was with the friends of a girlfriend in Cambridge. She was a lovely hippy called Sharon, and as far as I know is the only woman to ever flee a city to escape me. She ran away to Manchester. True story. This was all a long time ago.

The second time was with a beggar called Jesse. He had long dreadlocks and a large good natured Alsatian dog. He wasn't homeless as he had a bare room in the YMCA hostel in the centre of Cambridge. It was there I chased the dragon with him. I was mad and homeless at the time. I thought I'd been enlightened and was the archangel Michael. Ah well, it's a way to pass the time.

We smoked the heroin together and then went out into Cambridge city centre to beg. He stood on a street corner and I sat down on the pavement and closed my eyes. It felt like the pavement folded over me and the world ceased to exist. Along with all my problems and the weight I was carrying. I was floating over mountains of evergreen trees. The mountain and the trees were the green of green screen monochrome computer monitors. I floated merrily.

I can see why it's so addictive. I did follow Jesse around again in the hope of more heroin but he left me looking after his dog and then shouted at me for losing him when he returned.

Not long after that I was picked up by the police and taken directly to Bedford prison for breach of a civil injunction, undoubtedly saving me from heroin addiction in the process.

But that's another story.

"People think they're so grown up. Why would you ever want to grow up? You can be smart and sensible without having to do that."

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

A Collection of Short Poems: Here I Sit, The Cult of None, Just Keeping Quiet, Does Christmas Exist, A Tribute to Linux and more

There's nothing like the a cheeky grin from a child you don't know for cheering up the soul
A collection of short poems from the last few months.

For more of my poems give these pages a whirl:

Didn't There Used to be Magic

Didn't there used to be magic?

When you were five the world was magic.
And then gradually, the magic fades.
But it hasn't gone, it's still there.

When you were five.

A Short Poem by Irina Foord

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
We're weird,
Just like you!

Free to Fly

Free to fly
To soar and roam
For a fire burns for me at home
That I can see as far away
As infinity.
I know my way back
For wherever my mind may go
My heart stays here
With you.

Here I Sit

Here I sit amidst the wreckage of my life.
What pretty ruins I have made.
I always loved a broken down castle,
I just never imagined I'd be one.
All we need now are sound and lights,
And we have a show.

Just Keeping Quiet

Just keeping quiet,
Playing it safe.
Hoping nothing too terrible happens before we all die.
Wrapped up in my kids,
They're my whole world.
Although one day they'll leave,
Because everyone does.

I'll keep taking the pills,
Doctor knows best.
So help me pretend
That everything's fun
Keeping up that big wall that keeps out the world
But blots out the sun.

The Cult of None

The Cult of None
And no-one is in it
Plus anyone else who wants to be,
But no-one is definitely in it.
So it's entirely true to say that no-one is in it.
And you can join
But no-one knows how.
So that's how, you ask no-one.

If I Could Hurt You

If I could hurt you, that gives you power over me.
For I will try hard not to hurt you.
But I will also try to learn the difference,
Between you hurting you,
And me hurting you.
And I will try to remain innocent.

Love is My Home

Love is my home.
Where I belong and where I'm set free.
Where I'm made whole, made me.

Love help me to love.
Love help me to care and help me to help.

Love I hurt. Help me to heal.
Help me to walk with my heart open
To live with my life open
To seek you out
With all my heart
And in all I do.

I've seen you love
And I cannot turn
Nothing else can capture me
As you have captured me.

Love Lives

Love lives.
Let this be the song of my life,
The message I bring through silence and the cry of my heart.
Let my heart break with those who hurt,
Let my soul be glad with those who are lifted up,
In all things may I be grateful.
For all the grace and mercy I've been shown,
For all the goodness in my life,
May I never cease to rejoice.
If I can bring hope, if I can bring joy,
Then my life has meaning.
And I am happy,
For love lives.

Does Christmas Exist

Does Christmas exist,
Is it real,
Is it even a thing that can be?

Where does it live,
where is its house,
Can you eat it or smoke it or touch it?

Is it all in your head,
is it all in your mind,
in the sky,
just a myth or a legend or tale?

Perhaps that misses the point,
and a thing that is thought,
that is shared,
and enjoyed,
is as real a thing
as a thing can possibly be.

Nautical Nonsense

If nautical nonsense be something you wish. 
Irrepressible joy. 
Come and admire this impossible world of absurdities we have created. 
Isn't it fun. 
Come and revel and frolic. 
Spongebob Squarepants
Or squongebob sparepants as I call him. 
Much to the annoyance of my daughter. 
Who takes her ridiculousness 
Very seriously. 
And why shouldn't she?

A Tribute to Linux and Open Source

Talking to a friend about my current pain with Ubuntu and our company VPN and he tried to lure me, once again, back to the dark side of Mac OS X. I think my complaint, which is also my reason for staying, was accidentally in the form of a poem.

So I need to look at starting openvpn myself and passing in the password - I have the cert and the config file
so it's just annoying
but I'd still rather be on Ubuntu
it's like an old friend now
I hate it in many ways, but I have become rather fond of that love-hate relationship I have with it
and I'm reluctant to part with it.

It so wants to be good and it so isn't
which is just like me.
I can totally relate to it 
so dissatisfying in so many ways, 
but so much the right idea.

"Now is where infinity meets in the middle. The infinite stretches before us and gapes behind us. The point where they touch is now."

Ignorance and Intuition

"The measure of intelligence is the ability to change" -- Albert Einstein
Stupidity and ignorance are not the same thing. In fact I reckon they're kind of the opposite of each other.

There is an infinity of things that each of us doesn't know. So just being ignorant, not knowing things, can't possibly be the same as being stupid. No matter how clever you are, no matter how much you know, there's still an infinity of things you don't know. And a lot of what you don't know will seem blindingly obvious to other people, and they might think you're very stupid for not knowing.

What's really stupid is not knowing that you're ignorant. We're all ignorant in so many ways, so I reckon the first step of being clever is acknowledging that. Know, as much as you're able, what you don't know and be willing to learn. And that makes you pretty clever. Being able to learn. If you're able to learn and to change and to grow then you're not stuck.

Being stuck is the worst thing in the world, so don't be stupid. Be ignorant. Be willing to learn.

There's an interesting corollary between ignorance and intuition. Intuition is not quite the magic innate understanding that some people think it is. We all start life as blank slates, not knowing very much at all but with the ability to learn. The only thing that is intuitive, innate, is the nipple and the breath. We're born knowing how to breathe and to seek out food, and that's about it.

Intuition is where your subconscious minds prompts your conscious mind about something. Either it's a response to an external stimuli that you didn't notice consciously, but notice the unconscious response to, or the result of thought processes (possibly emotional thought) where you're not consciously aware of the process but notice the result (typically the feelings).

All unconscious behaviour is learned. Watch a child learning to walk. All that tortuous balancing and adjusting of weight and movement of limbs has to be learned. When a toddler makes their first unaided steps it's a huge achievement and a massive conscious learned effort.

Fast forward a few years and all of that behaviour is completely unconscious, habitual. You're no longer aware of the continuous micro adjustments you make as you walk. The same is true of driving, or any habitual activity. This includes human interaction and emotional behaviour. It's all learned, but through constant application you no longer need to think about it. It becomes entirely intuitive.

The danger is that you forget that it's all learned behaviour and think that it's innate. People with different emotional responses, or underdeveloped emotional responses in any walk of life, are clearly stupid. They don't have the same innate and intuitive behaviour patterns as those around you. These learned behaviour patterns are highly culturally influenced, you will have learned them from those around you as you grew up. That doesn't make them right, it just makes them normal. Other cultures may have very different behavioural patterns in the same area, and someone from a different culture may find your behaviour very odd and hard to understand or learn. They'll seem stupid. They don't know what, as far as you're concerned, everyone knows. You've likely forgotten that what appears intuitive is actually learned.

Don't mistake ignorance for stupidity.

The flip side of this is that intuition isn't always right. Intuition is the result of the operation of the mind in ways that you're not aware of. Your intuition may be very good, if you train your subconscious (habitual behaviour and awareness) then it can be a useful tool. But it's not gospel truth, it's just you.

"Who do you think you are, who do you think you are? I think that's a fair question to ask of anyone, so long as you're willing to believe the answer they give. You don't have to believe it, but I think you have to be willing to believe it."

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Anti-depressants and SSRI Discontinuation Syndrome

The iris in your eyes is a ring muscle, a sphincter. Making the eyes the sphincter to the soul.

I was on antidepressants for about six or seven weeks this year. I was on the lowest normal dose, 50mg daily, of Sertraline. It's from a class of antidepressants called SSRIs, Selective Serotonine Reuptake Inhibitors. The most effective one, normally prescribed first in the UK, is called Citalopram. This is the one most of my friends on antidepressants are on. Citalopram has a reputation for being the hardest to come off of the common SSRIs.

SSRIs work by raising the base level of serotonin in the brain, by reducing the ability of the body to re-absorb serotonin. Serotonin is the hormone responsible for love, happiness, and it turns out capacity to actually feel like doing anything.

Antidepressants helped me for a little, but I sort of came off them by accident. A friend of mine suggested that her experience of life was flattened by antidepressants. Another friend described it as "letterboxing the emotions". The low isn't so low, but in compensation the joys and pleasures of life are flattened too. I wondered if this was true for me, I thought it might be so I stopped taking them a few days in advance of a Bufo Alvarius healing ceremony I attended. It was excellent and helped a great deal.

A week or so after I thought maybe they would help again, so I took one to restart them. Within a few hours I was hit by an incredible physical stress, to the point of vomiting, some anxiety and other physical symptoms involving the expulsion of fluid from the body with comparatively tremendous force. At first I thought I'd given myself nicotine poisoning, or was suffering from stress to the point of physical sickness (it felt like that but the anxiety I experienced, whilst elevated, didn't warrant the great physical stress and turmoil I felt) or maybe illness? Benjamin had a twenty-four stomach bug shortly after.

With a little bit of research I came across SSRI Disontinuation Syndrome, which is experienced by between twenty and eighty percent of those who just stop taking an SSRI. It can also be triggered by restarting them after stopping. Like I'd done. Basically you get all the possible side-effects of antidepressants in one go. That's what it felt like anyway, it was pretty awful. But it only lasted one day, and whilst they helped me I'm not taking antidepressants again.

I'm pretty sure I'm through the worst of my own causes of lowness. The inner conflict, diverting my psychological resources with incompatible pulls, has mostly resolved in various situations of my life. Particularly the ones that have been a cause of major emotion trauma over the last year or so. Things will remain difficult, that's for sure, but I get to pick what kind of difficult.

"The best quality a person can have is courage. Because with courage you can get most all the other qualities anyway.

The great news is that you only need to start with a tiny bit of courage. The more you use it the more it grows."