17 February 2010


The US House of Representatives passed the Missouri Compromise in 1819, prohibiting slavery in all US territory north of the 36°30' North parallel, except for the proposed new state of Missouri.  The first ship passed through the Suez Canal in 1867.  Madama Butterfly was performed for the first time at La Scala in 1904.  Flooding from the North Sea left 318 dead and 60,000 homeless in Hamburg in 1962.  The London Congestion Charge took effect in 2003.

Born today:  Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713), Lola Montez (1821-1851), Chaim Potok (1929-2002), Patricia Routledge (1929), Ruth Rendell (1930), Alan Bates (1934-2003), Barry Humphries (1934), Julia McKenzie (1941), Brenda Fricker (1945), Loreena McKennitt (1957), Michael Jordan (1963) and two that I may well be the only Utter who cares about:  Joseph Gordon-Levitt (1981) and Bolton midfielder Joey O'Brien (1986).

It is Independence Day in Kosovo.


  1. The word on Habib, courtesy of his friend Eddie:

    Hab looked like death yesterday much better today. Doesn't need an op. back in about two or three days. still got fever.

    Eddie printed off Monday's thread & took it to Habib in hospital. This is Habib's reply for us:

    You daft buggers! Don't you know I'm a creature of the night and only a silver bullet can bring me down? Can't tell you how much your words mean to me, hearty handshakes, hugs, kisses and love to all of you. Thank You.

  2. A manly hug for you Habib! Anything to do with the kidneys going wonly can be really sore, and you are bearing up much better than I could.

    El, many thanks for that info on Orpheus yesterday - I didn't know that Offenbach didn't write the overture which I have never liked so hooray. There was an ENO translation of the libretto a good few years back that was wonderful -

    If I were King of the Beotians
    Then you would reign here by my side -
    Ah, do not shudder at the notion,
    I was attractive before I died.

    Such tunes!

  3. Hugs and xxx's to you too Habib and so glad to hear you're on the mend. The old place isn't the same without you.

  4. Morning all,


    hope to see you back here soon.


    having a good old chuckle at your LGBT navvies post last night.


    an appalling statistic (but not surprising) on Oxbridge and Journalism.

  5. Edwin: Nice lyrics there, and very faithful to the French original :-) John Styx is (along with Lady Bracknell) one of the roles I feel I was born to play ... *g*

  6. And habib, good for you to recover ;-) Get well soon!

  7. So glad Habib is getting better. Hugs habibi

  8. I read the headline "Britain and Canada face curling clash" and something in me stirs; a kind of excitement and anticipation that is so overwhelming I almost want to keep it to myself. But I'm sharing it.

  9. el, I went to the world premier of the 'de-Stalinised' Prokofiev War and Peace the other week. I loved the music. but the libretto - even allowing for translation - was not brilliant. It ended with a big surge and with the surtitles proclaiming 'We shall crush the invaders like garlic' which provoked fits of giggling all over.

    'curling clash' is good Ms Robinson thank you for sharing!

  10. One funny thing I noticed about librettos in languages I don't understand, when reading the booklet I tend to read the English translation instead of the German one, as the German translations are often so damn kitschy. (Of course, as someone has pointed, we recognize kitsch in our own language far more easily than kitsch in another language.)

    However, "We shall crush the invaders like garlic" is a perfectly appropriate last line to an epic opera - if the invaders are vampires, that is. (Are there any vampires in "War and Peace", the opera? If so, great idea by Prokoviev to add those to the story, the original Tolstoy novel could really have done with a few more sideplots.)

  11. '(Are there any vampires in "War and Peace", the opera? If so, great idea by Prokoviev to add those to the story, the original Tolstoy novel could really have done with a few more sideplots.)'

    The wolf hunt could become a werewolf hunt I suppose. And when Andrei dies he could back with fangs and wreak havoc upon the French/Germans.

    Let's sell it to Joss Whedon el! Come to think of it though, there is already a genre devoted to this sort of re-creation, eg that zombie Pride and Prejudice - not that good alas.

  12. Hee hee hee - have just finished reading yesterday's thread. Am too hung over to think of any witty responses.

    Habib - stop malingering and get back here. ;-)

  13. Methinks Habib is planning something big..you know like the mother of all UT posts. He has the explosives, he has the knowledge but he needs the time to build it. So he gets sick. There is no other reason to explain his behaviour.

  14. Off now to Gartnavel for hernia operation - Montana should rebaptise the sire

    The Unwell


    The Rusted!

  15. Take care Edwin - lang may your bowels reek. Or something else North British and hernia-related that comes over better than that.

    Be back soon.

  16. Edwin - sorry to hear that you are enjoying ill health as well - get better soon!

  17. Oh dear, we are falling apart aren't we? Best wishes to Habib and Edwin.

    "Britain and Canada face curling clash"
    You think that's good, tomorrow it's Russia v the USA in straightening drama, and one of Chinese has been sent home for (re)conditioning. And that's before anyone mentions the Brazilians...

  18. Philippa,

    I hear the Brazilian is up against the USA entry from Hollywood..........

  19. I am another utter that cares about Joseph Gordon Levitt. Third Rock from the Sun was genius.

  20. tigerdunc - me too! got a bit worried when I saw your post, that he'd died or something...then checked the birthdays.

    he's done some very good arthouse stuff as well. and a cameo in Halloween:H2O. Obviously I prefer the arthouse stuff *cough*...

  21. As for falling apart, I've been wiping the right lens of my glasses for days, just can't seem to get the damned thing clean. Yesterday I eventually figured out that it wasn't my glasses lens that was the problem, but my own, in house, lens in my eye. Curse these damned cataracts.

  22. @PhilippaB Very funny. I'm just wondering who else besides those who ahem 'Curl' actually read this stuff and go "Shit that's going to be great but I have been invited to a three star Michelin restaurant and will miss it. Fuckity fuck fuck."

  23. Several posts have decried 'identity politics' but this is no more meaningful a term than is weapons of mass destruction. All politics is about identity as interest is a function of identity. Identification (the process) is involved in (social) group formation.

    Lacking an adequate theory of (social) reality, of being, most discourse (and all posts are equivalently so and thus subject to representational and discursive analysis, a bete noire for many and a high horse for others) tends to the repetitious and dull. Despite the infinite potential debate space the routes taken, the positions visited, the views seen and expressed, are few and familiar.

  24. Good day all,

    Clunie is battling courageously on Yarl's Wood children face 'extreme distress', report reveals (not CiF thread).

    Hoping to tempt some Untrustees to support. Disgusting 'news' though ...

  25. #Identification (the process) is involved in (social) group formation.#

    In which case I think we define 'identity politics' as the process of group formation which concentrates on producing groups with unique identifiers rather than looking for, what is in effect, a common social denominator.

    Whereas it might be possible for a working class (or exploited, if you like..I do) muslim, a working class lesbian and a working class black guy to regard themselves as, above all working class, there is now societal pressure from peer groups, the media, government, large branches of academia and elsewhere to regard themselves as first and foremost lesbian, muslim or black.

    They are..and excuse the mathematical analogy...looking for mutually prime or exclusive characteristics to differentiate themselves, rather than common factors. Given that the traditional left in all its many forms shared a mantra which emphasised unity and solidarity, this tendency has not been a good thing for the left or indeed and especially the working class. Identity politics tends to divide rather than unite or bond various elements of society and produces small exclusive groupings rather than large, effective and politically significant groups..which then for some unfathomable motive call themselves 'communities'. It's not a good thing..but it is a 'thing'.

  26. Blimey, medve, the moderation rate on that thread approaches that of a cabinet minister's contribution...

  27. Hi Philippa, indeed, but it seems bigots have been the victims for a change.

  28. Moderation is ridiculous on CIF now. It's like fucking school. Treat people as children and they will behave.

    Meanwhile the depression thread is the usual shit - 'talking and CBT it will help''exercise' 'some good friends' "sleep'

    Yeah and what if like me they had to give you 60mg of Prozac when everyone took 10 25 years ago just to get you out of bed so you can do your exercise (5 times a week) and read your philosophy and your CBT and your books about apparently loving yourself. And then you try to go to meet a friend but the darkness intervenes. You get off the bus, sit in the bus shelter and cry. And then they give you new drugs and for a few years they give you a floor. And then they don't. And then you go to the stupid NHS fucking doctor and he hasn't a clue. You meet some junior psych who just won't get, despite a file three inch thick from the top man in Oz who was your psych, that you are an unusual case and if you were not so philosophical you might kill yourself. But you think it's weak so you fight on. And so in desperation you email this top man in Oz and you say "Help me, I can't move anymore and I am play acting life." And he is brilliant because he understands. He emails your NHS GP and suggests a very unusual combination but explains you have highly resistant depression. You passed sad six months ago, despair 4 months ago and now you are just hangin in 'cos your mum loves you. But you need these drugs. The GP says no we don't do this in Britain. So you get the drugs shipped from Oz and finally you are no longer scared. You can actually touch your skin again. And even cry. Next week you might even chat a bit about it.

    That is depression WhatDo YOu Want To Talk About CIF.

    It's the closest to a near death experience many people will have.

    Sorry but I really cannot abide people who think it's just temporary sadness. Some of us have it always but we function only because the drugs allow it.

  29. I should add that real depression is very very hard to spot. I used to present stupid ad campaigns selling clients millions of dollars of work and I appeared on top form. Then I went home at night and dug my fingernails into my hands holding on to the duvet for dear life. Same thing next day. But CIF has no capacity for this sort of reality. And so they play at it.

  30. You should pitch a reply Ms R, my partner has a mild depression, but your situation sounds awful. Try to remember.

    This too, will pass...

  31. Fucking hell MsRobinson - that was one powerful, powerful post.

    The best ever Cif post on depression (not) was MAM who thinks people just need to get a grip and advocated using the tactics used by the Americans during the war, where they sent depressed soldiers straight back to the front. It apparently stopped soldiers turning up saying they were depressed and for this reason MAM thought it was a cure and that the same tactics should be used by governments here. For that post and that post alone I have always hated him/her.

    Habib - I hope you get well soon.
    Best wishes Edwin.

    Whilst talking of our frailties - I have the worst acid stomach today but it is just about worth it for the nice feeling having a glass of wine gave last night. Ah the joys. Roll on the tests (yes even the dreaded camera one - which is in four weeks or so) - I think my love of the sauce is starting to outweigh my fear of the camera.

  32. MsRobinson - I hope you are feeling better now on the Oz doctors prescribed treatment plan?

  33. Blimey, I've just read that Sunny's a sikh. You could have told me, MF...

    Best of luck to HH and Edwin.

  34. I am struggling each day. Today I cannot move. I have to take some pretty serious stuff and my Oz doc (an Irishman actually)saw me twice a week for six years. He is a very eminent fellow and a Doctor of Philosophy as well which always made for good chats but most importantly he understands that the average drug treatment of one 20 mg of something a day won't work so I have combinations that I suppose would kill a dinosaur. But they work. I need a two weeks for it to bond with chemistry but now I feel a bit of hope.

    Thanks ChipChops. I have a couple of girlfriends making sure I turn up at their houses to eat and a trainer pal at the gym who schedules me to come and box (and cry at him!!) so I get out of bed earlier than the afternoon. And I sit here reading Marcus Aurelius who strangely I find calming.

  35. @PrincessChipChops..the camera test is ok. I've had it a few times since when I am depressed I make myself physically ill. They should give you some nice Valium or similar and then you don't really feel the camera going in and they have a look.

  36. Just read that "depression" thread, MsR. It's not as bad as I was expecting. Only one or two flippant tossers who think you can cure people by telling them to snap out of it.

    Ally's got a real bee in his bonnet btw. Most unlike him.

    Pills for me btw. Tried CBT and it was a hopeless failure, just made me dwell more on the events which had led to the depression in the first place.

  37. Ally's had a bee in his bonnet for a while. He's not so much into discourse these days as bashing people over the head.With him in that mood and Jessica being almost satirically contrary and horrendously judgemental it aint working for me.

    You know it used to be a place where you could read and engage whether you agreed or not. Nowadays if you disagree with the prevailing group view-and there are groups -you're hounded. So it's not really about having an argument. Believe me I thought things were bad when the head of the PLO in Australia used to come around and have shouting matches with my dad (Lebanese parents) about Nasser but that was at least interesting. And then they stopped shouting and we all had lunch.

  38. Habib - hope you are fully recovered soon!

    Edwin get well soon!

    Pen - re: identity - agree totally with MF's analysis- its a case of choosing the identity that is politically socially and economically the most significant and unifying.

    What I mean by 'identity politics' is specifically the choice of idenities that divide us rather than unite us, eg gender race religion etc. This as MF says has been disastrous for the left.

  39. Ok (this is tricky) you need to discriminate between identity and group and interest in order to understand sociogenesis - group formation. An identity is not the same as a group, a group is an entity. Male / female, for instance, is an identity and a category with actual cases. It is not a group as there is no coherent unity to the members instantiated mechanistically that allows coordinated action. The same is true of class and of many other such 'identities'.

    Essentially, (and mundanely) they are too big and have too many members given current constraints.

    Of course, one may be a member of an infinite set of countable categories or identities. (And of course, the attributes ascribed to each identity can vary too, another infinite set?) Shall I start counting?

    So, I agree that using more dimensional and basic measures such as 'power' (exploited / exploiting) often is more useful and these do not map neatly onto any one category, do they? Not even such identity / groups as 'I', 'we', 'us' or 'them'?

    Orwell imagined a future for all of a boot forever grinding down on a human face. Does one have to choose between looking up or looking, grinding, down?

    (And my sympathies to HH and MsR)

  40. Ms Robinson very moving posts on depression. WE really don't deal with it well in this country.

    Someone on the thread spoke of 'walking through treacle' both my daughter and I recognise that feeling.

    In our case I think it was largely event/stress driven. I do believe that some depressions can only be lifted by a huge societal change enabling us all to achieve happier more stress free lives. Others of course need chemical intervention.

    In my case the physical effect of my 'self medication' (comfort eating - it didn't actually work of course) was all the doctors saw. I think in my case some sort of help/support through what was a very difficult phase in my life might have resolved this sooner but of course I dont know.

    All I got was advice on dieting - I'm a biologist I didn't need that. Its absolutely miraculous the difference loosing all the stress actually made to me.

  41. I am sorry it is still bad MsRobinson. I cant imagine how it must feel. I am lucky never to have had such crushing depression. I get bad anxiety and have severe panic attacks (I have run out of a classroom shaking and crying before in the middle of a lecture - hence the not teaching anymore) - like Hank I have found CBT pretty useless at best and downright dangerous at worst. A therapist last year decided to carry out exposure work using flooding techniques and she spent three hours getting me to work on my biggest freak out situation - lifts.

    Anyway the lift got stuck. I think she panicked too because she said to me afterwards that she thought I was going to physically attack her - she saw me go beyond panic into total fight or flight.

    My mum suffers badly with depression though and has had four major episodes in her life - some days she literally couldn't get out of bed. I really hope that it improves for you with the help of the doctor.

  42. Pen

    It is not a group as there is no coherent unity to the members instantiated mechanistically that allows coordinated action. The same is true of class and of many other such 'identities'.

    Surely class has a 'coherent unity' that 'allows co-ordinated action'(e.g. the working class consists of those whosurvive only by the sale of their labour power)? Or am I misunderstanding you?

  43. MsR - immensely powerful post.

    I probably made myself worse by making sure (hah!) I didn't 'crack' at work, which meant I was running on panic-stricken adrenaline and regularly having to get off the train to throw up. And could be basically catatonic at home. When this frankly brilliant approach to condition management started to fall apart, the first time, I just quit my job. Second time, fortunately, I'd started getting help and it was easier to unclench the fists a bit. Third time, moved to France. Not that I'm trying to outsmart my depression by doing unexpected things or anything *cough*. The constant low-level panic is largely gone but the attacks can come down like a hammer, I just have to hang on (physically as well as mentally)...

    I think a lot of people mistake 'down' for 'depressed' because everybody gets 'down', so they think that is the same thing - yes, there are a couple of those numpties on the thread but also people asking about it, the difference. And some good explanations coming back to them, which has to help in perception terms.

    Agree that AllyF is being very un-Ally-ish on it. Puzzled.

    Anyway, hope the new self-funded approach is helping the weight lift a bit, MsR. Good vibes to all...

  44. "Of course, one may be a member of an infinite set of countable categories or identities."

    and indeed we are...but we seem to be pressured lately into identifying (and identifying with) only groups whose characteristics are those which in the past were regarded as subordinate to some supposed able-bodied, white, Western, Christian male ideal. Rather than a united response to undermine or change this supposed ideal where it still exists, the solution adopted seems to be to identify and isolate all potential groupings which match the description: non-white, non-Christian, LGBT..etc and 'empower' (fuck..I hate that word) such groups individually.

    Lest, I'm giving the impression that this 'empowering' ever grants them any real political clout...let me point out that instead it involves all sorts of other peripheral shit (media exposure, awareness raising, positive image reinforcement, quotas, notional 'rights', local government diversity initiatives etc) which does little for anybody except provide a convenient gloss of progressive intent and...probably most significantly...creates intra-group rivalry and discord..funding disputes / quango seats etc.

    #(And of course, the attributes ascribed to each identity can vary too, another infinite set?) Shall I start counting?#

    If you want, but I think you'll find that the only groups which seem to count and receive official recognition are those identified ultimately by relativist academics as 'oppressed'...this is very different to actually being oppressed...actual physical, financial or legal oppression is very different from a finding via a revisionist reinterpretation of some 19th century text that a particular writer was a bit dismissive of travellers, say.

  45. "And some good explanations coming back to them, which has to help in perception terms."

    You reckon that they are interested in hearing anything which might ameliorate their ignorance, Philippa?

    Divesandlazarus just lobbed a grenade on that thread btw. He is of course a prince amongst men compared to Ally...

  46. some of 'em, no. but DocMolotov seemed genuinely interested and thanked respondents for providing explanations.

  47. It's a great thread actually, some really moving posts (paddybrown, nickboorer etc) and a proper bunfight in places. Haven't enjoyed a Cif discussion so much since Ruth Fowler was in her pomp.

  48. Oh come off it. Ally F is having a go at psychoanalysis isn't he? Isn't that fair enough?

  49. ay, monkeyfish, misread him upthread as being against anything but pills / CBT - think I know what he's saying now...

  50. "Tell her to go and lie down and think about puppies."

    Well, that cheered me up!

  51. Annetan, when has the working class acted as an entity? Point to an instance, there are none historically. The issue of attributes is relevant since you are defining it in terms of sale of labour power so one gets into arguing inclusion / exclusion re actual cases. I guess all those rich footballers (a category, a team would be a group) are working class as the sell their labour in some ways don't they?

    Monkeyfish, I (an identity with an entity, a group, attached) used to be an academic (a category) and find it funny that you give them so much credit.

    I am not defending the weak analyses etc that fill Cif (where have I done so?). But unless you progress your analysis what are you doing / saying that's much different?

    Surely a more inclusive group is human ( but even that isn't really wide enough)? Class is just another divisive discourse.

    As much as you dismiss relativist academics you (an identity with probable entity attached) and most of us (an identity, maybe entity? self included) are largely incoherent relativists in practice.

  52. "Tell her to go and lie down and think about puppies."

    That's an image that does indeed cheer me up. On several levels.


  53. The discussion that's developing about advice on how to deal with a friend who is depressed (sparked off by JYD asking) is very good.

    A friend of mine was clinically depressed and in a very bad way. I was round his and he started talking about killing himself in a very probably-tonight sort of way. It was very scary and I didn't know what to do. He got on to the phone with his psychiatrist, who talked to him for a while - not sure what was said, really, as his answers were monosyllabic except when he described in graphic detail exactly how he wanted to kill himself (slitting his throat - it made my blood run cold).

    Eventually he put me on the phone to her and she advised me to get all the knives out of the house secretly.

    Now, I felt that at that point I was the only person he trusted and that to do this would be considered by him as a massive betrayal of trust as he had already promised me that he wouldn't do it "tonight". But he wanted me to leave so he could be alone.

    Huge quandary.

    In the end I decided to go with my gut instinct and rely on his promise. (He very much considered himself as a man of his word and one of the triggers of his worse episodes part was when people didn't accept his avowals - he took it as a repudiation of one of the things he thought best about himself.)

    He made it through the night and, slowly, got to a better state although I reckon he'll always be battling those demons.

    I still don't know if I made the right choice but, knowing him as I did, it seemed that the shrink's advice was utterly wrong.

  54. Evening all,

    very interesting thread on depression.

    Unless I've missed it (although Alasdair did mention it), the influence of the Depression Report by Layard et al has not really been discussed.

    It's proposals designed to get an army of CBT therapists on the NHS is designed simply to get people off IB in the short term with no proper recommendations for patients who do not respond to CBT.

    Key quote:

    ''The treatment costs £750. The result is nearly two months extra in work, and nearly two months less on incapacity benefits. And the cost of one month on incapacity benefits is £750 (if we include the fall in tax receipts as well as the benefit payments). So the treatment pays for itself''

    At no point in the report is the benefits for the Patient explained except in base monetary value.

    And of course like all good New Labour initiatives, it mentions neither the strongly established links between mental health, poverty and inequality or what to do in the case of patients who do not respond to treatment.

    A one size fits all mental health approach for short term economic benefit.

  55. thauma - agree, which is why I see DocM's question, like JYD's, as different from someone just 'blithely' making assumptions (as, yes, MAM did in the past, possibly the only time I really lost my cool on CIF).

    Huge quandary indeed - at some point you have to decide whether your knowledge of a person as a friend means you know them better than their psychiatrist (who may know the condition better) does - being a 'man of his word' seems to be the key thing in your story, that he would not save himself for himself, but for you. And you could know that's how his mind works, whereas the shrink might/could not.

    I don't know if the shrink's advice was 'utterly wrong' - it was focussed on a crisis, probably the best 'general' advice they could give. But that could have had bad knock-on effects afterwards (relating specifically to your relationship with him, but also trust issues more generally). They were trying to keep him alive 'tonight' perhaps, and pick up the pieces afterwards - you were seeing the longer term.

    Got a bit weepy when responding to JYD - mainly because I know I've scared friends that much myself. Add that sense of guilt to the depression and...it ain't good.

    But you did good. Very good.

  56. your grace
    "So the treatment pays for itself"
    I am simultaneously disgusted and utterly unsurprised. That's the issue with CBT (which worked for me) - "it's cheap" is seen as a better rationale than "it works". Policy-based evidence making in a treatment setting...

    Have already opened bottle of wine due to weepiness resulting from depression thread. May become less coherent and more calypso later...

    less coherent.
    obvious joke here...

  57. thaumaturge

    I was in a simillar situation a couple of years ago. I don't want to go into too much detail, but 24 hours later, the person in question threw herself under a train. I don't think I could have done anything to prevent it, but I will never be sure.

  58. Philippa - my thinking was that, if he went to look for a knife - just to see - and found they were gone that he'd just break a bottle or something in despair that I'd broken his trust. Or that he quite likely had one hidden somewhere.

    This was a proper Freudian psychoanalyst who spent ages digging into his childhood and I reckon it did him no good. He recognised himself that he spent a lot of time 'ruminating'. I think dissidentjunk's onto something with the 'Stop' reaction although I also realise that's much easier said than done.

  59. Very powerful post, MsR. I'll freely 'confess' to having been hospitalised for depression, and that's one of the reasons I get aerated when folk conflate the huge black crushing bleakness with a touch of sadness, or unhappiness.
    @ Duke, the Layard situation is interesting (the wheels are falling off IAPT now, which does have the one benefit that other therapies are getting a look in). FWIW, I think his own motivations are/were sincere, though his outlook too narrow, but the Govt seized on his work as a means of beating up on those who are rationally unhappy (note not depressed) because madern neo-liberal life is shite. Furthermore, it's a con-trick with the implementation:here's six sessions of CBT by some underqualified rookie, and you're cured (because our technocratic data says you must be after 6 sessions), so shut the fuck up, and get to work in your shitty, min wage low security job. Nowt to do with mental health, but a means of keeping people in their lowly place, suggesting that they need to be rid of their (correct) perception that their life in crap and kept that way deliberately.

  60. TigerDunc - that is absolutely horrible. I think that once a person has made their mind up absolutely there isn't anything you can do. My friend was at least not so completely certain that he did agree to talk to the psychiatrist and to promise to at least put it off.

    Oh, and Philippa - re the psychiatrist - he'd been seeing her for a couple of years, on and off, and if she didn't realise that a large part of his self-esteem was wrapped up in being believed and having his word respected, then she wasn't very good at her job.

  61. Tigerdunc - "I don't think I could have done anything to prevent it, but I will never be sure."
    I think you can be sure, pet - if things are that bad, they're that bad.

  62. Philippa,

    enjoy your wine, hope you'll be back later.


    More needs to be brought out into the open regarding the abuse of CBT for these reasons. The projection is by 2013, it will 'pay for itself' by as you say getting people off IB and into shitty jobs with nary a care for their welfare.

    I would be very interested to see what the Conservatives plans are because guaranteed they will be exactly the same as Labour or worse.

    With depression being the biggest cause of disability in OECD states, it is a ludicrously ignored area, both in causes and in treatment.

    As you are an expert in the area, would you consider writing an article on CiF or do you think it wouldn't be appropriate?

  63. alasdair
    "it's a con-trick with the implementation: here's six sessions of CBT by some underqualified rookie, and you're cured"
    Have just shared my experiences of initial assessment on the thread. Feel a bit less exposed here (!) so can add that anyone having started the conversation with "Well, I've just graduated from Cambridge, and now I'm doing my psych placement, we all have to do it, you know" who moved onto "can I see?" when he realised from my notes that I had issues with self-harm, is, and this is a technical term, a fucking muppet.

    not PC at all, but the look on his smug face, when I did show him, was an absolute classic.

    And then got written up as having 'anger issues', 'display issues' and being a 'significant danger to myself'.

    Fortunately actual therapist was better...

  64. Alisdair,

    when I said you're an expert in the area I didn't mean because you've suffered depression, I meant because I remember you saying you're a professional in the mental health field.

  65. I was depressed as a child and teen, but I think it can be classified as situational depression and not clinical depression. (I still have some very bad coping skills left over though.)

    While I thought about suicide a lot, I could never make up my mind which way would be best, and it was always a maybe-tomorrow option. My friend's experience brought home to me how different true depression is: he'd clearly envisioned over and over exactly how he'd do it in an obsessive fashion.

  66. I've only been depressed once, for a short while (when I changed my contraceptive pill) so only have a tiny insight into what it feels like. But that three months was absolute hell and the second worst experience of my life.

    The worst was when my very depressed and alcoholic youngest brother killed himself (aged 30). The family did everything humanly possible to help him - he rejected it all. It had a catastrophic effect on my father who blamed himself, god knows why, as he was an absolute darling to us all.

    My brother was determined to kill himself and there was not a thing we could do about it. The effects continue to echo down the years.

  67. Duke

    With depression being the biggest cause of disability in OECD states, it is a ludicrously ignored area, both in causes and in treatment.

    It's been asserted that rates of mental illness rise dramatically with the level of industrialisation / urbanisation in a society. I think *that* would be a very interesting topic. It could possibly be down to the fact that it's more likely to be reported, but quite likely not.

    It'd be really good to see someone with a grasp of sound science writing on the topic. In fact, I think I may suggest it on Waddya.

  68. "Monkeyfish, I (an identity with an entity, a group, attached) used to be an academic (a category) and find it funny that you give them so much credit."

    I don't give them credit. It's more the case that I'm disparaging those elements of the left that were so devoid of ambition and the will to actually effect change through traditional political channels that they turned to the relativists for inspiration in achieving influence. The academics, of course, would happily serve up bullshit...and not just ordinary bullshit; relativist bullshit..all day long.

    #Class is just another divisive discourse.#

    Or an economic reality in fact whose existence happens to suit some classes more than others. It suits some classes to try and do away with this particular 'discourse' by inserting a new taxonomy based on attributes other than economic circumstance...destroying any potential solidarity and still looking sounding and feeling radical and progressive.

    That's no doubt why a group of comfortably off, privately educated Oxbridge journalist can look you in the eye and tell you with a straight face: "yes..I believe in equality..look at what I've done for the X, Y or Z 'community'"..and I dare say they even believe it. They can probably also convince themselves that talk of class is an anachronism and calls for say, working class writers are just the dying strains of a near extinct species of bolshy dinosaurs.

    #most of us (an identity, maybe entity? self included) are largely incoherent relativists in practice.#

    not a viewpoint I share, but a perfectly valid narrative no doubt ;)

    Anyway..where d'you stand on Freud and psychoanalysis? He seems to be making a comeback among the liberal media set.

    he's even been recruited to attack atheists

  69. thauma - have to admit, standing on a crowded platform after a shitty day, I'd wonder what would happen if I jumped. But it was more speculative than intentional - I would actually spend time wondering what my funeral would be like. And I could never have done that to the train driver / other people on the platforms (Methodist upbringing, ahem).

    Weird thing is - spent 12 or so years self-harming, and everyone who found out thought I was on the verge of killing myself. Which I wasn't. And it annoyed me - yes, annoyed me - that they couldn't understand that.

    The speculation is still there - but still no intention - have never actually considered killing myself (as opposed to wondering about what songs they'd play, etc). So I find it as difficult to understand that feeling as JYD (for example) finds trying to understand 'being depressed', perhaps...

  70. thauma,

    please do so.I was going to do something similar myself on WADYYA but it´s time for my dinner!

  71. I could have prevented it at the time, but as it emerged after the event, she'd been planning it for a while. We could have delayed it, but maybe not have prevented it.

    I've dealt with irrational behaviour in many forms in my life, from pub drunks to criminals and thugs but I have never, ever seen someone quite literally go mad in front of my eyes. (Knives being waved, threats, extreme paranoia). And trust me, I never ever want to see it again. Possibly the worst thing I have ever experienced.

    And I need to qualify this immediately by saying that my friend was not suffering from depression, she was suffering another form of psychiatric illness (undiagnosed), but hid it from everyone until it was too late.

  72. sheff - shit, so sorry to hear about that. like with tigerdunc, those left behind can end up torturing themselves - you may know, objectively, that there was nothing you could have done - but subjectively...I found that my concern for those around me did rein in my behaviour - I doubt that's just me - if someone gets to such a stage that that isn't enough, well - nothing would be enough.

    the changing meds thing (whether the meds themselves related to depression or not) does seem to me to suggest that the chemical element is a huge part of it - whenever my prozac scrip was changed, up or down, I'd go fucking crazy.

    ironically, one of those changes provoked the crisis that actually got me help. so what was supposed to help me did, but not in the way the doctor was expecting...

  73. Not to change the subject at all, but maybe because I feel the need to lighten the mood, or my mood at least, I'd like to recommed this site


    It's not as good as puppies, but it does cheer me up.

    (don't know if the link will work, but cut and paste should).

  74. "Or an economic reality in fact whose existence happens to suit some classes more than others. It suits some classes to try and do away with this particular 'dicourse' by inserting a new taxonomy based on attributes other than economic circumstance...destroying any potential solidarity and still looking sounding and feeling radical and progressive."

    And passing themselves off as "elements of the left".

    I don't understand how any analysis which fails to place economic class at its centre, which dismisses class as peripheral, can possibly claim to be left-wing.

    But then, to be fair to our identity politics obsessives over at Cif, they probably wouldn't claim to be lefties anyway.

  75. tigerdunc
    "but I have never, ever seen someone quite literally go mad in front of my eyes. (Knives being waved, threats, extreme paranoia). And trust me, I never ever want to see it again. Possibly the worst thing I have ever experienced."
    this may seem very weird, but I was always terrified of being seen as 'mad'. And terrified of scaring the people around me. i later realised that it is impossible to be honest about tthe condition without being a bit scary. but i still make sure, when I am well gone, that i am alone. don't want to lose anybody else - i don't blame the friends I don't see any more, i understand it must have been immensely hard for them, too, too much - but i don't want to lose anybody else.

    so one is trapped, perhaps. nobody has ever seen me at my worst, and as I rein it in when describing it...

  76. "nobody has ever seen me at my worst, and as I rein it in when describing it..."

    That sounds familiar. The one comfort I take at times like that is knowing that, having been there and got through it before, I will again.

    Hang on in there, Philippa.

  77. This was a pretty accurate description of my mental state many years ago: the lunatic is in my head.

  78. Hank - thanks...think i should probably stay away from that thread as it is not doing me a vast amount of good at the minute...oh, the competing issues....

    annoyingly, the 'happy song' I relied on a lot at college is not up on youtube. or deezer.

    but going onto youtube homepage I see that all the 'recommended for you' vids are Pink bloody Floyd. I blame you for this, thauma!

  79. Tell you what cheers me up, try 'Dark side of the Rainbow'.

    You put the MGM Wizard of Oz on the DVD, mute the sound, and as the lion roars drop the needle on Darkside of the Moon.

    It is really weird, but they just go together, strange lyrical synchronicity..

  80. Sorry, Philippa, but I think the Floyd knew something about mental illness, wot with Syd and all. I reckon the rest of them knew something too. A lot of war-baby problems working themselves out.

    For Syd.

  81. shine on you crazy diamond certainly a classic.

    and loved 'rock and roll' when i saw it. good play

    and certain covers are rather good.

    it's just every recommend?

    throw in some wooden shjips, for me sanity...

  82. Not Wooden Ships, Philippa, but how about this one? (I know I've posted it before, but it's a fave and has to do with coming to terms with things.)

  83. Pen as MF says its more that the working class is an identity that is capable of acting together in its own interests. The ruling class/bourgeois/capitalists certainly do act in their own interests and support anything that divides the working class as 'identity politics does'.

    I think the trade union movement and the Labour Party (as it was anyway) are examples of the w/c acting in its own interests.

  84. Philippa, Comfortably Numb is an interesting one. Apparently it's not about illicit drugs, as most people surmise, but a severe allergic reaction.

  85. Evening all

    Another evening where you won't get anything sensible out of me, I'm afraid, but just wanted to check in and say Hi.

    Habib - get well soon, hon. We miss ya xx

    Edwin - best of luck with the op

    TigerDunc - hope you get it sorted.

    MF - identity politics = wool over the eyes to divide and rule.

    Everyone else - hugs. Will be browsing a bit but dozing mostly. Shite day. Lay magistrates want taking out and shooting. No other country in the world allows amateur muppets like them to make decisions in criminal cases. Ah well - end of rant.

  86. "my hands swelled up like two balloons" indeed - still love the break into 'some kind', ah....

  87. It all sounds rather nice:

    there is no pain; you are receding...

  88. a distant ship, there, on the horizon

    aye - am logging off now - night all, and good vibes...

  89. Hang on in there Philippa.

    It really does seem to me that we need a concerted campaign on mental health issues. Its such a complex area and people are too keen to propose quick fixes that don't work.

    the word depression is misleading and is also apt to lump lots of similar conditions together. Not surprising as they all concern human emotions/feelings and as yet we don't seem to have an understanding of how these things relate to the chemistry of the brain.

    Drugs certainly have an important role to play but there also some of us who are in situations that simply cause depression. Remove the external cause or help someone deal with it better and in these cases the problem may be solved.

    I think this was true in my case. I had the walking through glue feeling, constant tiredness self loathing and self harming (used to bang my head against the wall - its a wonder I still have brain frankly!). I often considered ending but was still just this side of sanity to realise my daughter needed me. I think she saved my life.

    Then the pressure lifted and I can honestly say I cannot remember feeling so positive.

    So more research is desperately needed so we stop confusing a complex of disorders with many different causes. First to go should be the word 'depression' all the conditions we are speaking of are so much more than 'feeling depressed' that word is just plain unhelpful.

  90. Very moving thread today. Sheff and Tigerdunc I am so sorry for your losses.

    I second Dukes request for Alistair to do an article if he felt he could/should.

    Re the CBT thing - they are trying to roll it out for everything not just for depression etc. They now get people with ME and MS and other illnesses to have CBT. Now if it is put to you in a way of 'this may help you cope with your illness' fair enough maybe but the way it is used as a first line treatment is a disgrace!

    There is a very worrying movement at the moment that links in to all this stuff that Alisdair and Duke are talking about. It is spearheaded by a group of psychiatrists one of whom is Simon Wessley. This man has appalling views and he is using them to try and get a lot of previously physiological conditions re classified as somataform disorders along with other shrinks in the states and here.

    Of course the beauty of that is that most income protection policies have exclusions for things like depression and stress for certain occupations so labelling something psychiatric means less of a chance that you will have to pay out and most American insurance policies only have to pay out for a maximum of two years on psychiatric disorders.

    Wessley believes that people with certain chronic illnesses and other things such as chronic pain should not be aided and abetted in attention seeking by well meaning doctors. They should also be denied social care and state benefits. These are the people at the heart of what New Labour are doing regarding the sick in this country. Yep deny them state benefits and they will just get up and go to work because really they are just a bit lazy and a bit down and not really suffering with a real illness or crippled by real and terrible depression.

    Thauma - you learn something new every day - I never knew Comfortably Numb was about an allergic reaction. I always thought it was about drugs.

  91. I always thought Comfortably Numb was about a mental illness episode of some kind.

    Just goes to show, eh?

  92. Huge hugs for Tigerdunc, Sheff and Philippa. xx

  93. Hi all, have had my contacts with health services and such too so sympathies to all. (Could go on about them but hey ho it's just identity politics. Did end up teaching the staff to ensure better treatment but whatever).

    No Monkeyfish, I did read Freud when I was a kid duh. That was quite a long time ago. As an academic I was not prepared to do bullshit for a shilling, exploit neither my students, the other staff or the wider public. I am not one now. I wonder why?

    You are playing the same exclusionary petty identity politics as those you detest.

    If you only seek confirmation you never learn anything.

    Marx was a 19th century author, one could try to be more up to date.

  94. Back in harness guys. Tiger I've known three people who killed themselves with absolutely no indication to others there was anything going on. Keeping it locked in is far the worse thing cos people don't know to help - the chaos and guilt left behind is terrible but you can't torture yourself with 'what if'.

  95. Very serious thread. Find myself only able to communicate via YouTube at the mo.

    Always crashing in the same car.

    And, similarly: Baby, I've been breaking glass in your room again.

    Both from the album appropriately titled "Low".

  96. Edwin,

    good to see you back so soon. I assume you'll be calling Ian McCall to let him know you're ready for selection for Saturday's match?

    princess, that is a really interesting but sadly unsurprising post. I must admit, having never suffered from depression (touching much wood at the moment) it's an area I hadn't given much thought to with the exception of the causal links between poverty, inequality and mental health. I had no idea of the Govt policy governing CBT until today's thread when I started to investigate it for myself followed by you and Alasdair's posts above.

    I do like to think of myself as fairly up on things so I was shocked when reading about CBT and Incapacity Benefit and believe it's something that has to 'put out there' a lot more than it is at the moment.

  97. "You are playing the same exclusionary petty identity politics as those you detest."

    hmmm? Couple of points: If I am guilty of showing preference for a particular in-group then at least its a large community and the qualifications are economic rather than faith, gender, sexuality or race based and one of the attributes required of fellow members is a lack of effective political clout or representation...at present.

    And..who am I excluding?..the members of my group are passively defined by having been themselves excluded from the power structures.

    "Marx was a 19th century author, one could try to be more up to date."

    OK..and you're right; he was dismissive of various other identities; principally capitalists and those who collude in their hold on power...in that sense he is still relevant. I'm not sure but you seem to feel that doing away with any societal conflict is the way forward. If this is so, I wonder how you justify this. Is there no injustice or any other issue you'd like to address? I can't imagine how you'll achieve anything without conflict.

  98. Monkeyfish, my phd was in games theory, a theory of conflict and cooperation. Why would I thus dismiss it? It is a dynamic or in marxian terms a dialectic.

    I am trying to understand it duh. My background is much more science than humanities. It is the sciencey types who get more of what I am on about. Politicos tend to be ideologically driven and largely crap re analysis.

  99. Its goodnight from Thauma and its goodnight from me. Nite all.

  100. @ thauma
    Always crashing in the same car. Outstanding choice, outstanding song.Off to bed myself soon. Would be intrigued to write about CBT as a means of social control/conditioning people to accept their crap lives, but am snowed under at the moment, plus to do it justice would really want to canvass colleagues' views, as I'm not a psychologist,therapist or CBT practitioner.Will keep it as a live possibility, but need to get through to the weekend first...

  101. Edwin

    Glad to see you're back - hope everything went well.


    I'm not very up on what's going on in psychiatry/mental health but that "movement' is one of the most horrendous things I've heard about.

    I know a bloke called Tim Kendall - Mr psychiatry UK, (he lives in sheffield and studied under Prof Jenner) - the beeb often wheel him out as a pundit. I'd be interested to hear what he had to say about it as it doesn't sound at all like his thoughts on the matter.

  102. Good night. It has been the most horrible of days, one of the worst.