restlessness

not quite here nor there

in limbo between inspiration and disillusion

whilst trying to know who I am.

what I am, what I stand for, what I believe in.

though none of this interests me.

i want to explore the horizon.

to go to foreign lands, experience difference, cultures, diversity.

let the alien streams of inspiration sweep through my psyche and baptise me.

for their impact is not without consequence; the very same result i yearn to feel.

how can one expect to be fulfilled when his surroundings never change.

it seems folly to me to want to broaden understanding and personality yet never venture to see what lies beyond.

resign yourself to rules and dogma, embedded within a principle of subordination and expectance of reward for morality?

a concept as human as war.

this perennial battle between good and evil, with forces of unknown proportion and divine nature at work; trying to guide chaos to fit some over-arching plan.

without bad there is no good, but to have created evil means benevolence is not a significant factor. why provide temptation if we are already flawed from sin?

but, of course, there is forgiveness. simply repent and bathe yourself of past transgression and step into the light of divinity.

no moral cost is paid aside from an adoption of guilt.

which is as powerful a motivation as fear.

there’s nothing wrong with being spiritually inclined to adhere to institutionalised codes of morality but then to claim a monopoly on the concept of deity?

it’s contradictory, to say the least. It operates within its own rules and interpretations. Rigid and controlled. 

Like my mind, wracked with doubts and second-guesses.

I’ve gotten so used to it though that it doesn’t phase me so much.

But it’s maybe this detachment that’s alienating – coasting through the monotony of the human experience leaves too much for your imagination to fill in.

An overworked imagination in itself is a choppy sea, it’s energy too much for its own good. For your own good.

Rock-solid sense of self is the end goal but you need to get there first.

Restless because I’m not where I wanna be but I know where I want to be; “Happiness is the difference between your expectations of a good life and your reality”.

Makes sense.

H.B.A.

One.

The tide ebbs and flows;

the waves crash and recede;

the sky stays still.
Between them lies a

shared dominion,

stretching as far as the eye

can see.
The vastness that surrounds

you

is but a drop in a bigger

ocean.
You are one of many

but there is

only one

of you.

So Divine.

Your lips taste of the sweetest nectar,

the most satisfying quench for the thirst

within me,

the thirst for your loving.

For your mind.

For your soul.

So divine.

 

So heavenly you sound when

you whisper your

sweet words.

So soft to touch, as my

fingers glide over

your skin.

You burn within me.

You’re a taste of the sublime.

So divine.

 

A walking spiritual enigma,

so profound is your presence,

so sensual your touch.

I can’t seem to get enough,

my eyes forever

yearning for the sweet embrace

of your face.

Illuminating; my life and my soul.

So divine.

 

As the stars shine in the

night sky,

my love for you will burn eternal.

You awaken the deepest emotions within me,

it surprises me that I could ever

feel so fulfilled.

Your eyes soothe my soul,

your hands relieve my stress,

your love releases my soul.

So divine.

 

You’re a part of me.

So insignificant the world seems in your company.

So insignificant the world feels without you.

Just as your soul shines,

as does your spirit

fly, sky high,

 

so divine.

So divine.

 

H. A.

The Fire of Heritage.

I write this because I will spend the rest of my life subject to hatred

subject to scorn

subject to oppression

just because of the colour of my skin.

Just because of a biological difference between me and another human.

Just because of my weird sounding name.

Just because of those other brown people who killed people.

Just because others are oppressed and manipulated by political and economic systems which have been put in place by those more privileged.

Just because it’s easier to lay blame on others rather than acknowledge the problems and work to solve them.

Just because I am who I am.

Just because I am different.

Yet I am the same.

The same as every. single. other. human.

The same as you.

Ignorance is not bliss.

Do not lie to yourself.

It is the foundation of any form of extremism that we see today or have indeed ever seen.

How much longer?

How much more does it take for you to see that?

How many more of us have to die?

Sometimes I find myself doubting why I even try to voice my opinion.

Why do I even try to change anything

when it all seems so surreal to be happening in the first place.

History doesn’t seem to be teaching us anything.

Nothing seems to be working.

The horizon is always there but I don’t see it.

I’m working towards this dream

I’m striving towards it

I’m chasing the wind

I’m running over bullet casings and blood-soaked shards of glass

I’m running through smoke darker than the souls of those who murdered Trayvon

of those who murdered Sandra

of those who murdered Alton

of those who seem to live so free.

Who can act upon their own twisted beliefs with such ease.

I wonder when that day will ever come

where I don’t feel obligated to warn my future daughter of walking to the shop late at night

of warning my future son to not hold his ground when dealing with the law

wilfully perpetuating subjugation out of helplessness

because if I don’t I worry I would never see them again

just like the parents of the 1,134 young black men murdered in the U.S. in 2016 – and still counting.

What more do we have to show you?

We’ve shown you we can work as hard as you; slavery saw to that.

We’ve shown you we can die as willingly as you; both World Wars saw to that.

We’re showing you we bleed the same as you; they’re seeing to that right now.

I don’t like to be hopeless

It’s not a characteristic I would like to have to own

yet in this state of affairs

in this vile, twisted, deceiving world

it’s one of the few things I feel I am guaranteed to be.

But despite all of this

despite all the hatred

and the vengeance

and the rock-solid ignorance that perpetuates the subjugation of us

I move forward.

I carry on

because I know the history of my people.

Of my ancestors

who died for the right to even be here

for the right to be seen as equal

for the right to be seen as human.

I could never forsake them

so long as there is life in my helpless soul

I will carry on for them

because they saw the light rising over the horizon

because they were people full of strength

of love

of empathy.

They were people.

As am I.

As are we all.

Though the world may seem to be waiting for you to make a mistake, do not be wary.

Do not be afraid.

Walk forth with your head held high

because you are the child of lions

of free spirits

of humans whose souls had the power to show colour to the blind

whose passion burns within you

who look down on you now and will for the rest of your life

telling you ‘o, sweet, young, soul.

do not forsake us, we are here for you to have been there.

you are more than you know, you are greater.’

When the clouds roll over, masking the light

and the heavy thuds of ignorance begin to pound and echo through the air

look toward yourself

for the fire that burns within you is eternal

a fire that isn’t controlled by you

yet is you in every sense of the word.

The fire of your people.

The fire of heritage.

So long as you breath, it will breathe,

so long as you live, it will live

and it will always carry you forward

because we are of those people who knew no bounds,

of spirits who soared beyond the skies and to worlds unknown

and so will you.

 

 

H.A.

 

 

What the fuck do we do now?

The two self-proclaimed bastions of democracy and western civilisation have so swiftly crumbled to the seemingly rapid rise of nationalism and fascism within their respective populations.
Yet we act surprised.
We act shocked.
We lie to ourselves and pretend as if we didn’t know that racism was so prevalent within society. But we did. We had always known.
The result of the EU Referendum in Britain and the rise of the “cheetos-faced shitgibbon” Trump in the US isn’t surprising. Conservative backlash has always ensued within America when social and economic policies are dominated by democrats and liberalism – within the UK, these racist attacks we see on immigrants and coloured people within our country are nothing new either. This has been happening before the Referendum and before the Leave campaign manipulated the concerns of the WC which arose due to economic policies enacted by the austerity measures of the Tory govt. – WHICH WE VOTED FOR.
The difference now, however, is not that “all Leave voters are racists” but that all racists now think that 17m+ people agree with them. All ultranationalist organisations and far-right supporters believe they are the majority and that is the most stark realisation that any of us can have in this moment in time because, alongside this, politics in Britain has gone to shit.
There is a power vacuum within Westminster as, in the prolific words of Peter Hitchens, “[both parties are] political corpses propping each other up with each other’s rigamortis”. We don’t need to look far back in history at all to know what can happen when there is a power vacuum and when the tensions of the public are at peak levels.
Yet, despite this, I am still hopeful.
Yes, the economy has been hit badly, the pound has severely depreciated, uncertainty has crippled businesses and markets across the board but we still have hope because an actual Brexit seems so far-fetched to occur in reality.
Cameron, in a rare moment of rationality, essentially check-mated the leaders of the Leave campaign by pushing the burden of triggering Article 50 onto them. They will now have to decide whether they have the balls to enact the necessary legislation whilst all the short-term effects have started to come into play; we haven’t even seen what the long-term implications are yet either.
That’s why Boris has, in true Churchillian style, U-turned on his position and now states he will: maintain the free movement of labour, claims to still want preferential access to the EU Single Market and, perhaps the cherry on top of this gigantic piece of shitcake, is the claim that Brexit never had a plan if we decided to leave – that was the govt’s job.
On top of that, Farage’s speech to the EU Parliament was full of passive aggressive insults and clear parallels to one of Hitler’s own speeches following the fucking Holocaust (- “isn’t it funny..”).
Yet, in that same speech, there are strangely desperate undertones which almost come across as if he’s pleading with the EU to be Britain’s “best friend”. Yep, nice one, Nigel – vote to leave, label them all corrupt bureaucrats who are ruining our country and say how none of them have ever had a real job or even created one and then beg and grovel for a deal that doesn’t screw us over – fucking simple, mate!
It’s not hard to see the parallels between Trump and Farage. They both have manipulated the tensions and genuine concerns of the lower half of society and, simultaneously, laid blame directly at the current ‘establishment’ – how all politicians are the same. It works.
But there are 16.5m of us who know they’re both nothing more than a pair or shit-spewing baboons.
Despite all of this, I do not lose hope. I do not feel like we have lost because we can still win.
We can protest, we can actively engage with the political system and voice our concerns.
Yes, it’s hard to try to not feel disillusioned with our current state of affairs but keep faith in democracy, if anything.
Keep faith in a future.
Work and strive to do your best to keep this country free from the influences of the manipulative, self-serving elites and borderline-psychotic individuals who couldn’t give any less of a fuck about any of us.
We do live in the most liberating time of human history, we do live in the most informative and technologically brilliant time of human history, we do live in the most encouraging time of human history because we all have access to so many opportunities.
But, do not make the mistake of shunning and ignoring the concerns of the WC. The concerns of genuine individuals who have been shafted by austerity measures, who have dropped out of a failing school system and thus are more prone to being manipulated by the bullshit that political campaigns advocate, the Leave campaign being the most appropriate example.
Listen to them, hear their frustration, highlight the causes and work to solve them because if we, the young, the future of our great country do not, then who will?
The shit-spewing baboons?
I think not.
I am proud to be British and I am proud to be a part of this country regardless – it’s because of that reason why I will always, always strive to keep us as liberated and great as we claim we are.
Because we can be.
And that’s a good enough reason for me.
H.A.

stigma, depression and mental health.

There are countless articles, blog posts, theses etc. that all aim to provide a comprehensive view on what depression is and it’s impacts on an individual’s life.

The main cause of the stigma surrounding depression arises due to the inability to truly understand and empathise with the condition.

Depression isn’t just a few bad days. It’s not just being sad all the time.

It’s an active, parasitical illness which feeds off of any kind of positive energy within the psyche of an individual. It’s debilitating and is very much a physical burden as well as being extensively mentally draining.

There are a numerous causes of and varying degrees to which a person may be depressed: from acute to crippling depression where you can’t even leave your own bed because you’d just rather not experience the burden of everyday life which can be so menial. It actively saps away at a person’s energy, rendering them unable to live an ordinary day-to-day life that seems so simple to others.

Maybe you think that you can just take a few pills from your doctor, go to counselling for a while and you’re on your way to normality.

Except you’re wrong.

The mental health services within the UK are failing. Terribly.

We don’t even need to look that far back to see the detrimental impact that has been exerted onto our mental health services. Articles published by Community Care, a platform for news related to mental health services alongside numerous other relevant projects it runs, states how “NHS mental health trusts saw their budgets cut by 8% in real-terms over the last parliament” and that “Local authority spending on mental health fell by 13.2% in real-terms between 2010 and 2014.”. (1)

Alongside this, surveys show that the financial failings due to the Government’s actions have led to “rising suicides, long waiting lists and problems accessing beds for acutely unwell patients”. (1) – “The number of beds for mental-health patients has fallen by 8 per cent since 2011, according to a Care Quality Commission report” and in 2014, over 230 young people with mental-health issues “were placed in police cells because of a shortage of beds”. (4)

Just pause for a minute. There aren’t even enough beds to treat people. Imagine if you went into hospital for a physical injury that required admission into a ward and were delayed for hours just because there weren’t enough beds available?

The lack of beds also “raises concerns” over potential staff shortages and “significant gaps in support for new mothers with health conditions”. (1)

After all the physical toll and emotional trauma of pregnancy and labour, mothers with health conditions face another monumental hurdle of overcoming the shortages in care after birth. Another ‘side effect’ of poor funding and “chronic underinvestment” by numerous NHS Commissioners. (2)

This isn’t the fault of the doctors or the nurses or the psychiatrists who try their absolute hardest nor is it a reflection on their abilities as professionals. It’s all about the money and it isn’t going to the right places. It isn’t being used effectively and it isn’t being provided through competent administrative decisions either.

This isn’t just a systemic failure, it’s a social failure – “England’s mental health crisis care system is ‘unsafe’” and there patients who have reported problems with care “that would be unthinkable in physical health emergencies, a review by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has found”. (2) What this highlights is essentially the clear “lack of transparency” which has, in turn, “masked a growing inequality between spending on mental and physical health”. (1) It’s clear that we can no longer operate within this system of care, it isn’t working anymore. Reform needs to happen and it needs to be swift and effective. It’s our responsibility too, as active members of society we are also a part of this.

Furthermore, surveys of numerous crisis teams which were included within the review by the Care Quality Commission “found that over half (56%) failed to meet any of the criteria deemed to indicate effective alternatives to hospital admission”. (2)

The use of these crisis teams has become another talking point in the debate surrounding mental heath reform as they raise “serious questions” in regards to whether these teams “had processes in place to manage people at risk of suicide”. (2) Overall, “only 14% of people…felt that they got the crisis care they needed” and “almost half…were not confident” that they would receive a “timely or helpful response” should they experience a future crisis. (2) That is unacceptable. The use of these crisis teams is failing and they’ve simply become another drain on funds. Efficiency can be improved but it isn’t the only root cause of these systemic failures within the mental health system or, indeed, the health care system in general.

Alongside this, “investment in key community services to keep people out of hospital fell by 5%” which only worsens the strain on our health care services.

What this shows is how the current system is failing. The crippling lack of funding has resulted in widespread systemic failures which only exacerbate the underlying problems. The utilisation of ‘crisis teams’ is all well and good but they are clearly failing and things must change. At this moment in time, according to research carried out by the Mental Health Policy Group, “mental illness accounts for 23 per cent of the total impact of ill-health” yet receives “13 per cent of the NHS budget”. (4)

That’s simple maths. And we’re failing at it.

After researching and reading up on the chronic lack of funding, it’s no surprise that suicide rates have “more than doubled” for patients who have been treated by these crisis teams “in the last few years”. (4)

Though there is some cause for hope. The Government has announced “£1bn a year for mental health” which also includes “spending commitments outlined by Cameron” in January of 2016. (1)

He announced that there would be around “£290m for perinatal mental health care”, “£400m in 24/7 crisis services” and roughly “£250m for liaison psychiatry services” to be spent over “the next five years”. (1)

Whilst this all sounds well and good, it isn’t entirely accurate.

Recently, The Department of Health confirmed to the Health Service Journal that “Cameron’s announcement included no new money”. (1) It instead outlined “priority areas to spend previously announced funds”. (1)

The BBC also reported that “the £1bn is not “new”” as it comes from the “£8.4bn extra already awarded to NHS England for 2020/1 by Chancellor George Osborne”. (3)

There’s the catch. It’s fine to throw around big million-pound figures but they mean a starkly different thing when it’s coming out of funding that the NHS has already earned and deserves to receive. This means we will still experience huge strains on our health care services as the areas that are in critical need of this money are simply not receiving enough of it. The announcement for this new ‘injection’ of cash “will take ten years” to materialise into any kind of improvement of care. (3) The goal is to “have most of the implementation in place by 2020/1” but that’s frankly too little too late in the eyes of many report authors who admit that the “parity of esteem between mental and physical health will not have been achieved” by then. (3)

On top of this, the NHS is already required by the Government to deliver “£22bn of efficiency savings by 2020”. (1)

How can you honestly expect that to be achieved when we’re already experiencing critical failings across the board that aren’t solely because of inefficiency? Even local councilmen and government leaders have “predicted a widening funding gap for social care” in the subsequent coming years. (1)

The fact of the matter is that our physical and mental health care system is chronically failing and it’s due to inefficiency but also a chronic lack of funding. Inefficiency, for the most part, has worsened due to the lack of funding as incompetent administrative decisions are being made by NHS Commissioners and the Government alike which only exacerbate the underlying problems. The crisis teams are a clear example of these failings.

Things need to change and they need to change now.

There’s no time to wait around anymore.

There’s no time for anything besides reform.

 

H.A.

 

 

Sources:

(1) – http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2016/02/15/nhs-agrees-five-year-plan-address-unacceptable-mental-health-failings/

(2) – http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/06/12/mental-health-crisis-care-system-unsafe-finds-watchdog/

(3) – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-35575457

(4) – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/11397729/Mental-health-in-the-NHS-My-son-wanted-to-die-we-begged-for-help-but-there-was-none.html

emotional expression.

It’s a very strange experience when people, males in particular, feel that they can’t express their emotions in their entirety out of fear of infringing on their own ‘image’; whatever they feel like the persona that they’ve created is.

Emotions are strange. They’re abstract. They’re unquantifiable.

Maybe it’s because these emotions are so deeply embedded within the individual that they become a source of insecurity. Yet they shouldn’t be.

Emotional naivety should never be underestimated. I know too many people who don’t actually know how to process their own emotions and this only causes further heartache.

It’s a touchy subject, by nature, but it should never be associated with embarrassment or any kind of view which intrinsically marries emotional transparency and social identity.

Be at one with your emotions. Experience them fully, let them take over you, let them make you feel.

Emotions are one of life’s greatest blessings, they influence everything and they can be a source for true happiness and content.

I went through too long a time of personal hate because I couldn’t deal with my own emotional volatility and it only worsened the more I tried to ignore it, the more I tried to uphold whatever image I felt like I should.

Live life fully, take everything as it comes, experience everything in its entirety. For if you don’t, you risk missing out on one of life’s greatest lessons: that of maturity.

Maturity doesn’t just develop through intellectual prowess or physical dominance. Nor is it influenced by aesthetic. Maturity requires self reflection but, more importantly, self criticism.

Learn your weaknesses, learn your strengths and learn the things you’re mediocre at. It’s only through this which allows for growth and personal advancement in regards to character and personality.

Just because you’re a guy doesn’t mean you should cower in the face of emotional distress.

Own it. Throw yourself into it. Be critical. Learn who you are.

Life is too short to spend allowing yourself to be influenced by societal expectations and the judgement of peers and/or family. They will always love you for who you are and, if they don’t after you learn to fully express yourself, then they never loved you to begin with.

Do not deceive yourself. Do not belittle yourself.

You are more than you think. You are better than you know.

Emotions are a part of life, they have the ability to be as destructive as the waves yet as soft as rose petals.

Let them happen. Let yourself live.

You’ll be all the better a man for it.

You’ll be all the better a person for it.

 

H.A.