Monday, July 25, 2016

Ruminations on schizophrenia


Schizophrenia has positive symptoms (strange name – they include delusions, confused speech and thoughts, all sorts of hallucinations) and negative symptoms (lack of emotion, lethargy). For more details see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schizophrenia

Well, schizophrenics eventually stumble across coping strategies – things that can help make life with schizophrenia a bit more bearable. One of my strategies is sleep. However, that tends to eat into the day so just over a week ago I started getting out of bed early. Discovered that you can’t change sleeping habits just by deciding to do so – I decided to bribe myself to get out of bed by promising a cup of tea, porridge and a DVD – but it is an ongoing fight. Discovered that you need to choose your battles wisely – by all means, get up early on some weekdays – but for days where an early rise isn’t quite so important, have a modest lie-in.

Another coping strategies for me is music. I find it helps suppress me from hearing voices and from having “mind’s eye” visions. I have been having a disturbing vision where parts of my body turn completely black, a light blue hexagonal pattern covers those parts and then they disintegrate into nothingness. Is there any wonder why I sleep a lot and listen to music? People with vision are sought after in organisations however, if you tell them you have visions, they are not so keen. Another well known strategy is distraction. So I read computing books and test pre-release versions of lubuntu Linux. It keeps my brain active and healthy.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

A letter to the EU president.

Dear President Juncker,

I am a 47 year old British citizen and one of the 48% who voted to Remain.

I also have schizophrenia, am living in the community, and have experienced the dreadful cuts to NHS mental health services over the past few years made by the Conservative government. I have had friends who self harmed and some who are no longer with use. I have a blog, http://schizopanic.blogspot.co.uk/ that I have used to  document my experiences.

Whilst I am unable to hold down a salaried position, I find that if I keep learning things, it helps keep the schizophrenia under control. I attend a drop in centre run by http://contactmorpeth.org.uk/, a charity set up to help people with mental health problems, their carers or relatives. I help out on occasion, doing what is necessary.

I feel that whilst not perfect, the EU is worth saving. I voted for the UK to remain – with the intent to vote for reform. Yes, it is nice having two places for the parliament to meet – Strasbourg and Brussels. But it is hopelessly inefficient and expensive. Surely give the advances made in Information Technology, you could have some people work in Strasbourg and some in Brussels and have the two parliaments linked by some kind of video link?

In the UK, It is hard to get good information about the EU. However, some of the EU’s policies have been unhelpful. It would be helpful if the EU developed a website which could be used by the population of Europe to see what the EU is doing. They should be able to see what is going right. They should be able to see what is going to plan and tell their MEP to vote/lobby for change.

Also, MEP elections get scant coverage in the UK’s news organisations. As a result, we end up with people like Nigel Farage, who’s behaviour in the European Parliament has been both unprofessional, appalling and hypocritical.

The EU Referendum in the UK was a fraud. The “Brexit” camp drove a big red bus around the country with the phrase “We send the EU £350 million a week let’s fund our NHS instead”. This was proven to be a fraudulent claim. Immigration was a factor, as well. A significant portion of our population feels that immigrants are unfairly affecting the job market – driving wages down. Also, the economics theories pursued by our government assume the private sector will invest in new jobs and this just doesn’t happen on the scale needed. We have a concept called “zero-hours contracts” where people have to sign up with an employer and only work if the employer needs the staff. This is a disgrace in modern Europe.

Refugees are a challenge. When they arrive in a country, they need housing, help and feeding. Their children need teaching. Simply greeting refugees into Europe is not good enough. Potentially, new towns will have to be developed to accommodate them, plans made to make this work and given a sensible budget to make things work.

Despite the tempting claims made by Brexit, a full 48% voted to say within the EU. This means that nearly half the people who voted wanted to stay in Europe, despite the flaws in Europe.

I am writing to beg of you and your fellow European counter-parts, please don’t write us off. Please, find a way to let the half of the UK who want to remain EU citizens to do so. We share your beliefs and values and we want to be an active, positive, contributing part of the EU. Give us a life line, an option, anything. Please.

Best wishes,

Ian Bruntlett

Saturday, June 25, 2016

We've lost!

Well, how the Remain in the EU vote was lost will be discussed in documentaries for years to come.

Here are some observations from Northumberland...

* Our nationwide media just reported EU activity as a figure of fun or evil dictatorship.

* There is a culture of "Us" vs "Them". A lot of people in the UK regard the EU as a joyless, bumbling elite bureaucracy or as a completely united group of countries "just over the channel". Don't know what the EU think of us but our media has a tendency to quote them as if the EU was a teacher telling a naughty pupil (the UK) how to behave properly.

* The EU wasn't open enough. Given the poor coverage of EU activities, couldn't they (the EU) have an easily understood website about what they were trying to achieve, how things worked out and admitting when they got things wrong?

* However, technology marches on. In particular, I've been using Google to find things out since about 1999 (I think). Google has become better and better at finding things for me. So I used it to find out how the EU was helpful for the North East - their fund (ERDF - European Regional Development Fund) has spent lots of money supporting poorer regions in the EU - and here is some information about their support of England. Warning - various politicians are entertaining but that page is just plain information.

* The EU was too distant. It operated at the level of governments and international bureaucrats. It ignored the concerns of the people. Consider immigration - many people in the UK faced or perceived unequal competition for jobs from immigrants. The people in power called them racists, incompetent etc. No wonder they voted exit.

* The younger part of the population voted to Remain. Part of me feels that eventually the young will have their way and we'll become part of Europe again.

* I voted Remain because I felt that we should be part of the EU and, in particular, we should play a role in reforming the EU.

* To quote Johnny Vegas, "Leaving Europe is like telling your parents you want independence, and then you move into the garage“.

* New word - brexopanic. Where you panic thinking about the consequences of the UK's EU referendum.

* And... people are saying this referendum as an advisory referendum.  Who knows what will happen in the coming months?

Friday, June 24, 2016

Brexit

Last night I went to bed hoping for Bremain.

I felt uncertain about the future. I was wondering how the future would work out for me. Last time I felt like that was when I'd been readmitted into Hospital.

Now it seems that more than 50% of the UK population should be sectioned under the mental health act.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

An episode

Some time earlier this year, I started becoming unwell. In fact, I was paranoid about a certain thing so I hid the episode from people. Looking back it was probably a psychotic episode. After coming through the episode with no-one hurt I was ecstatic. Next time I might not be lucky.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Getting in touch

I don't know how to edit the top of this blog.

For the moment, if you need to contact me, don't e-mail schizopanic@hotmail.com, please email IanBruntlett@hotmail.com

Saturday, January 24, 2015

A bit more code

And here is the brains behind my stufftar backup (Bash) script...

# perform_backup
# $1 - stub of .tar.gz filename
# $2 - name of log file e.g. "scripts/stufftarlog.txt"
# $3 - directory to do the tarring in
# $4 onwards - files/directories to put in .tar.gz file relative to $3
function perform_backup()
{
  if [ $# -lt 4  ]
  then
    echo "Error perform_backup() insufficient no of parameters";
    return 1;
  fi;

 FILENAME_STUB=$1
 DESTINATION_FILENAME=$1`date "+_%d_%B_%Y.tar.gz"`
 LOGFILE=$2
 TAR_DIR=$3
  if [ $STUFFTAR_VERBOSE -gt 0 ]
  then
    echo $0 $1 $2 $3 $4 $5 $6 $7 $8 $9 ${10} ${11} ${12} ${13} ${14} ${15} ${16} ${17} ${18} ${19} ${20}
    echo DESTINATION_FILENAME=$DESTINATION_FILENAME e.g. Desktop_28_December_2014.tar.gz
    echo FILENAME_STUB=$FILENAME_STUB
    echo LOGFILE=$LOGFILE
    echo TAR_DIR=$TAR_DIR
  fi
  CURRENT_TIME=`date "+%H:%M:%S"`
  cd $TAR_DIR
  echo_and_log $LOGFILE $CURRENT_TIME Backing up key $TAR_DIR $4 $5 $6 $7 $8 $9 ${10} ${11} ${12} ${13} ${14} ${15} ${16} ${17} ${18} ${19} ${20}files to $DESTINATION_FILENAME

  /usr/bin/time -f "%E mins:secs " tar -czf $DESTINATION_FILENAME $4 $5 $6 $7 $8 $9 ${10} ${11} ${12} ${13} ${14} ${15} ${16} ${17} ${18} ${19} ${20}
  exit_if_failed $? "perform_backup to " $DESTINATION_FILENAME
  echo File count:-
  tar -tvf $DESTINATION_FILENAME | wc -l
  ls -lh $DESTINATION_FILENAME
  echo
  cd;
  return 0;
}