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Anxiety, depression and fatherhood – for Mindtank.co.uk

I’ve written a bit about my experience on fatherhood / pets and depression / anxiety for the excellent Mindtank blog – found at @MindTankBlog on Twitter or Mindtank.co.uk.
Check it out here

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Go for a walk? Breath of fresh air?

Oh, hello there. Haven’t seen you in a while.

I’ve been rather busy since the last blog post. I’ve gotten engaged, married, changed jobs a few times, changed cars a few times, and now have a baby boy on the way. Life, isn’t it?

I can even look back at my previous blog posts, tip my head at an angle, and give a condescending “awww” to my earlier efforts. Much like I do with every time I read back over the first draft of something I’ve written (including that novel I’ve been ‘writing’ for several years, and the Transformers live action movie treatment that’s existed mostly in my head and a few Notepad files). Maybe opening the vent on this blog will help with those creative writing muscles (*flexes for the audience*) and kick-start some fresher, better attempts at fiction. Everyone wants to be a writer these days, don’t they? But real life can put paid to that sometimes.

I also waste far too much time on Twitter, conversing with fellow idiots, sharing silly jokes, lusting after new Transformers I’ll never legitimately afford, and becoming amused by the sheer abundance of people who call themselves ‘journalists’, and yet they only ever seem to spout vapid, empty, narcissistic drivel, making supposedly provocative statements, and take pleasure in being distinctly unpleasant to fellow human beings (but hey, that’s what the internet’s for, right?).

Then there are those who try their best to fight for every cause in the name of equality for all cultures, races, sexualities, and genders – certainly a noble behaviour – and yet, disappointingly, when anyone tries to diplomatically converse with them, and (shock horror!) perhaps doesn’t agree with them, they become so defensive, they put up the shutters to any further discussion, explanation, or reason, forcing their aggression upon you a bit like this guy does.

A key factor of Twitter that has occurred to me recently is that of the social justice position. I often retweet statements, jokes, articles or pictures that represent my beliefs as to what is ‘best’ for the world, i.e my ideal utopia of equality, peace and tolerance (I know, right? Ludicrous). But there’s a trend whereby people take this a step further and start telling others how they should think. Now, I’m all for, and am certainly guilty of, calling a bigot on their hatemongering. We all do it; “Look at this horrific person and the things he said – let’s make him reconsider his evil ways!”

And yet, there are those slightly less clear definitions whereby I might retweet a blackly comic joke and have someone passive-aggressively inform me via a tweet to her followers that “retweeting jokes about domestic violence (trust me, it wasn’t) gets you unfollowed, people!”. Even if this particular joke HAD been about domestic violence (and trust me, it wasn’t), that doesn’t necessarily mean I support domestic violence, does it? It would have simply meant I enjoy really bad taste jokes. And furthermore, what right do these people have to tell anyone how to think, especially in these potentially more grey areas? I don’t know. It occasionally makes me reconsider any moments where I’ve highlighted something I disagree with on a moral level.

I was discussing this matter earlier today with someone else on Twitter. He quite enjoys some of Frankie Boyle’s comedy, in spite of the often sensitive subject matter. While I’m not a huge fan of Mr Boyle’s work, there are some comedians or comedy shows that I enjoy which certainly toe the line between black comedy and shocking. He summed it up with the following:

“Dark humour is funny BECAUSE it’s unacceptable. Making light of serious and inherently unfunny material. But Twitter is terrible at knowing when it’s OK to laugh, and when it’s important to stand up and challenge.”

And he’s right. We spend so much time looking for what could possibly offend us or another party we like to stand up for, we kind of lose track of real life. You remember that thing? It’s what happens when we step outside into the fresh air. When we drive around in the car, or get the bus, or the train. Or when we speak to other human beings we meet. Too many people are safely behind their device screens, pelting out moral justice (or in the case of some, horrific bigotry) at people they can’t physically see, hear, touch or smell, and they’re forgetting what real life is like.

Then there’s that guy in his imaginary castle who likes to spout vapid, empty, narcissistic drivel, making supposedly provocative statements, and takes pleasure in being distinctly unpleasant to fellow human beings. And you know what? Take away his computer/laptop/tablet/mobile device and any wifi/broadband connection, and he loses all that ‘power’ he supposedly has. Because when he steps out into the fresh air, he’s just a person like everyone else. And he wouldn’t get very far by being the same arsehole in person. You might argue to the contrary, but you’d be wrong. No Twitter – no followers, acolytes or sycophants. Get some fresh air, and get a real life.

The point of all this, then? Just a vent. If I’m going to write an aimless blog post, it might as well be about something. The irony of a blog post about people needing to get away from their social media and go for a walk doesn’t escape me of course, but I’ve already been for two walks today already.

See you soon.

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