Not the best way to build trust


I won't go into too many details here, but I would note if any medical professionals ever end up reading this, reporting prospective parents to child services - even if they never work out it was you - is not the best way to foster trust.

Now, I understand that clearly there are situations where this is reasonable or even necessary. There are, however, also situations where it really isn't. Well-informed parents that have clearly considered all the things you bring up and have no serious vices probably already falls into the latter, even leaving all the other factors and details aside. Certainly I am unimpressed that my depression was in the report, given the fact that I am clearly open about it with those around me and well-prepared to seek help should things deteriorate (due to, say, post-natal depression piling on top), both from my support network and medical professionals.

My next appointment with my midwife is very soon anyway, so I will still be going. We'll see how things go, but I am seriously considering changing midwives. I'm truly not sure what she was thinking or exactly why the report was submitted, so I can't judge her motivations at all. Perhaps she truly only meant well.

Unfortunately, intentions have very little to do with the fact that my trust and confidence in the one supposed to keep me safe, sane and healthy throughout this process has taken rather a large blow, and that could potentially become dangerous if it makes me hesitate to mention concerns in the future.

Not sure how I never heard of this one before


Sensory Processing Disorder.

Autism interests me. I have, in fact, long taken a small bit of amusement out of an aspie whose monomania... is Asperger's. This just strikes me as chuckle-worthy.

So, I've read a number of resources regarding autism in my time. Usually, when something is also its own condition, it tends to get listed as such. ADD/ADHD is a common co-diagnosis for autism, and if I recall correctly it's actually one of the criteria to have at least one of the various dys- disorders (dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia - the last, also known as clumsy child syndrome, is by far and away the most common, and the one I personally fall prey to).

For some reason though, I can't recall having seen sensory processing disorder mentioned even once. It doesn't take more than a glance at Paris' description of the condition to see it's clearly part and parcel of autism - issues with specific textures, or notes/sounds, being sensitive to even a light touch or small smell, etc. Or, alternatively, noticeably less sensitive. I'm pretty sure the various and varying hyper- and hyposensitivities of autists are also among the diagnostic criteria.

There's not really a lot else to say here... it was just a mildly startling thing to run across and find it had its own name too, and I find it a little strange that this is the first I've heard of it.

Why must there always be a 'them'?


Nothing so much happened to prompt this particular post today, it's just something I had on my mind.

Intolerance bothers me. When I see people particularly indulging themselves in it, I like to try get them to rethink the situation at hand.

Actually, that got me bitched out a few days ago. Semi-constant stream of almost exclusively intolerant and nasty anti-religious pics reposted on my news feed by one particular person. I tried to point out as gently as possible that calling out religions on being intolerant by being intolerant was, at best, a little hypocritical. There's only so gentle you can make that message, though, when it basically boils down to "Hey, you're making an ass of yourself right now you know". I'm actually anti-organised religion myself, because of the tendency for it to become a breeding ground for mobs. The faith itself has little to do with it though.

Still, I might've been more annoyed at being bitched out if the attempt to do so wasn't so comically sad. The big 'take that' in all of it was that the person in question was no longer going to bother giving me the extra-special congratulations on having a baby (that I haven't actually had yet anyway)... extra-special because usually she doesn't give congratulations on that because "I don't see getting pregnant as an accomplishment". For some strange reason, I don't think that had the effect she was looking for.

What bothers me even more, though, is that some people can absolutely never take that hat off. I do't just mean they have a particular group they can never, ever stop hating on... I mean they must always find someone to single out and point to as bad. Even in places that are specifically meant to remove the factor of 'us' and 'them' so everyone can relax for a while.

I'm a member on FetLife. Not currently active right at this moment... I may get back to checking things there again at some point. Whenever I am active, though, there is a singular common theme at any given time to my contributions... not all the threads I'm posting on, but more a matter of a constant presence. There is always at least one thread I am actively contributing to, trying to push back intolerance.

FetLife is supposed to be a safe place for those in the BDSM community to hang out and talk with each other. You'd think a group which gets attacked so much from those outside of it would know better than to be bullies themselves... but apparently not.

Nor is it a few people, or even all that infrequent. It's mind-boggling. The number of times someone will come along and post a question, and be immediately buried in a downpour of attacks from basically everyone else on the thread. Accusations of abuse start flying, and somehow, not a single one of them even bothers to answer the damned question.

Now, I'll grant it's important to be watchful for abuse in the BDSM community. There are always those who will use the excuse of BDSM to get away with things that are actually just outright abuse. But being watchful and constantly jumping to conclusions are two very different things.

These conclusions are generally (and kind of necessarily) based on the assumption that the OP's partner is not, in fact, into X. On one thread, an attacker tried to defend their position to me by pointing out that the OP never said otherwise in their question.

Now, the kink in question is one of those that will quickly result in the other person leaving if you try spring it on them and they don't share your joy... and the post fairly heavily implied that this was not the first time trying this. All the OP was asking for was a couple ideas for a specific situation within it. I was left staring at this reply, my mind boggling, thinking, why on earth would you assume that his wife doesn't like it? Why is that the first place these people's minds go? There was no evidence that OP's wife would up and leave him over it if he dared, which is what everyone was insisting.

As for not providing the information outright in the first post, why should he have expected to be attacked immediately? He was asking a question. For most people posting on FetLife, this does not need to include the disclaimer "yes, my partner is into this as well so please just give the specific advice I'm looking for", and it should not have been needed now. So no, defending your intolerance and bullying with "well he didn't tell us any different" doesn't cut it. Aside from having been a stupid assumption to begin with, if there's information missing that you need to answer a question, you don't just fill in the blanks yourself however you damn well choose. You ask. Very few people are likely to think to mention every relevant factor immediately from the first post.

That wasn't even the worst instance I saw. Another thread, later down the track, was about CNC (consensual non-consent) and marking - someone just sharing a particularly good time they'd had with their sub.

Hoo boy did that set off a gigantic firestorm of abuse accusations with great speed. CNC is indeed an extreme in the BDSM community... but mostly due to the difficulties in making it work on a practical basis, especially standing-agreement CNC as opposed to single-session CNC. Even then, it's not exactly vanishingly rare. Those that do it are noticeably around, and those that like the idea but can't really make it work make up an even larger group. So I'm really not too sure why this kind of attention around it seems to crop up a lot on FetLife. It's very similar to the more common humiliation-play; if you don't like it yourself you're not really going to understand the appeal, and on the surface of it, it can look abusive. Would be, if not for the fact that it is consensual and even desired by both parties.

In this case, a most baffling cry went up that she said no, so it was abuse. It was enough to make me wonder if everyone had forgotten where we were. The very reason that safewords are so important in BDSM is that no does not always actually mean no - CNC even takes it a step further in that that fact is the entire point. If the tale had included her saying 'pineapple' and OP not stopping, sure. But just 'no'? Especially when the end also included clear indications of the happiness of both parties and aftercare from the Dom?

The reason that this threat was so much worse, though, is that the sub in question actually ended up weighing in herself, pointing out that it was, in fact, consensual. Most of the attackers who hadn't been dissuaded already at least had the decency to look a little shamefaced at this point and stop calling the OP a liar. Two people, however, did not.

One just continued to say it was wrong anyway. Clearly a proponent of the "one twue way", this man seemed to think any way that wasn't his way was the wrong way. This is really more a particular brand of idiocy than anything else.

The woman, however, was far more stunning. She immediately accused the sub of either being a fake puppet account for the Dom (five seconds of glancing at the profiles was enough to fairly thoroughly put that to rest), or otherwise clearly mentally infirm. That's right. She was so thoroughly intolerant to CNC that, as far as she was concerned, anyone who would consent to that is basically just clearly incapable of making their own decisions, and on par with some severe mental disability; to be pitied and helped and kept away from the ebil Dom-man at all costs.

BDSM is a group above all that should know better than to single people out, bully them, and rain down accusations of abuse without looking at the actual situation at all. After all, as a group we get it from everyone else all the time. And yet, even in the one place that is supposed to be a safe refuge from that sort of thing, it's still rampant. So many people are just apparently incapable of helping themselves from turning around and attacking someone in any given situation, even up to and including for much the same things they object to having been unreasonably attacked for. Even "benefit of the doubt" and "innocent until proven guilty" are not just thrown out the window - it's like such concepts never even existed.

I truly and honestly do not understand it... but it definitely makes it hard to maintain one's faith in humanity.

I probably shouldn't be allowed these things...


So today, in the midst of all the town stuff, my darling husband and my metamour clearly went to a second-hand store of some kind. I stayed home, so I'm not entirely sure where. One thing they got was a couple of sets of drawers, for which I am very glad.There's still lots of clothes that need sorting among the various boxes, and the lack of home for them has given my nesting a serious stumbling block, which has in turn made me antsy.

Now we just need bookshelves. Lots and lots of bookshelves.

What they also found and grabbed while they were there, however, is this:

Yes, the photo sucks. It's really hard to take photos with your webcam. Someone should totally send me a digital camera.
The idea was that it would be a great activity for me to share with baby as he got older, and that in the meantime, I might enjoy it myself. Certainly not an idea without merit; genetics is of great interest to me, and science and biological sciences too in a slightly broader sense. I originally went for the course to become a veterinarian at uni; when I didn't quite make the entrance cut, I fell back on genetics as a major.

If anything, the biggest flaw in this plan would be that I might get a little... too interested.

The set includes a simple light microscope, a magnifying glass, a (rather poor) pocket telescope, two collecting vials, a 'hatchery' thing, 8 blank slides, 2 prepared slides, spatula, tweezers, stirring rod and a small  plastic box with labels, slide covers and cover glasses. Sadly missing is the petri dish with what looks, on the picture, to be a magnifying lid. Probably the best of all the equipment for the kind of things most kids are likely to want to look at; really, a dissecting microscope is probably better than a light microscope.

Immediately, my mind sets into gear considering possibilities for actual usage. The prepared slides are definitely an awesome touch, but the novelty of looking at a bee's wing and what appears to be a bee's leg (the second slide is unlabeled for some reason) can only last so long.

Firstly, any kind of regular usage is going to mean getting new cover slips, especially as about half of the original twelve appear to have been used already. Fortunately, that's unlikely to be too expensive at a guess, given the enormous volume of usage they see in labs. Certainly the containers at uni tended to come in groups of 100 or more; they're small, single-use items, and kind of fragile to boot. Slides get washed, but every single successful and failed slide both means a cover slip disposed.

Then of course, there's the fact that like all low-end light microscopes, it doesn't have its own light source. So a desk lamp is probably a good idea at some point, because natural light is notoriously unreliable and makes actually using the things a bit of a nightmare.

Then there's the problem of the ideal things for light microscopes to look at... even of the fairly easily obtained samples, practically all of them require more precise tools than the cheap mostly-plastic ones provided, and many of them require stains to be properly viewed too...

Um. You can see where I might be inclined to get carried away, no? Actually, the tools problem is fairly easily solved... but that solution probably supports the point all the more. Namely, I'm fairly sure I know which box my dissection kit from animal bio is in.

Certainly I am sure, if my son displays any interest in science, that things will be very interesting.

I think perhaps my husband's attempts to restrain me from creating a small laboratory in a suitable corner of the house in the process might be more interesting, though...

Anyone got an Ark?


So, for the past few months or so, the North Island of our fair New Zealand has been in varying levels of drought. I'm not sure entirely how bad or how long; I know Napier was on water restriction, but until recently I lived in Palmerston North. Not only has it not been as bad all the way down the bottom of the North Island there, but Palmie itself is on a floodplain. Possibly even the only one in NZ. At any rate, the Manawatu breaks its banks fairly regularly there and as a rule the city is pretty chronic for rain, so the rest of the country could be in a drought and we'd experience maybe moderately dry.

When I moved to Tauranga it was certainly dry and hot enough to notice, though, and up this far the ground was noticeably dry. Then, maybe a week ago, it started raining. Like, raining. It has pissed down at least once a day every day. I was already starting to get a little concerned that we might see flooding.

But this was not the last to be heard from the weather, oh no. Tonight, we have even heavier rain, accompanied by thunderstorms. Not just here, either. So far I've heard of similarly severe rain in Palmerston North, Wellington and Christchurch. One of my Wellington relatives has been asking on facebook if anyone there happens to be building an ark, a call which I think I'll second.

Of course, for some strange reason, it's sunny in Ashhurst, approximately 15km out of Palmie.

What the hell, weather?

Worries in the Night


Night is not a good time for me. The time when I've finished reading all my feeds, and all my online friends in other time zones were in bed hours ago, and finding something to occupy my mind becomes more difficult. Or even worse, when I'm settling down to try and sleep. It's not always a good idea to leave me alone with my thoughts, with nothing to keep them at bay.

Last night, specifically, was a bad night. As sometimes happens, a song I'd put on gave me the urge to pick up the guitar and start singing. Now, I love to sing. I have my whole life. Alone in my room, there was certainly no reason not to. So I did. Only... it didn't last long.

Because there is one thing that most assuredly does not love me picking up my guitar and singing.

Here, I'm going to tangent for a bit. Recently, in this post, the Bloggess linked to 21 Tips to Keep Your Shit Together When You’re Depressed. The post was inspired by 21 Habits of Happy People, which Rosalind essentially called out as unhelpful bullshit. And it is - is it ever! Because much as people tried to backpedal once confronted and claim that the list was not targeted at those who actually have depression, we need to be realistic about this.

People who are down right now, for whatever reason, but do not actually have depression, do not need your lists. Life sucks sometimes, they'll be down for a while, and then they'll carry on. They don't need to be told to "enjoy the little things", "be optimistic" or "appreciate life". Even if they've lost sight of those things right now, they'll work them out again eventually and all well and good. Without your help.

Take this quote:

Happiness is one aspiration all people share. No one wants to be sad and depressed. [...] I’m not saying happy people don’t feel grief, sorrow or sadness; they just don’t let it overtake their life. 

 Quite clearly, this is not aimed at people who can manage happiness by themselves. Therefore, it is aimed at those who can't. And, what do you know, there's a reason for that. They're quite right when they say no-one wants to be sad and depressed, which is why, if the answer is as simple as "buck up and think happy thoughts", that person does not tend to stay depressed. So automatically, anyone for whom the listed strategies are not horribly unhelpful and insulting, isn't going to need them.

The bit that gets me most on these lists - which I'm sure Rosalind directly addressed at some point, but I can't seem to find the relevant bit - is the "do what you love"/"make time for things you enjoy" piece of advice. Especially for those with chronic (as opposed to acute) depression, there's one big flaw with that particular suggestion.

Depression takes away your ability to enjoy things. How can you do what you love when you can't love what you love?

A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I can remember a time where I could regularly play the guitar for more than two and a half songs (on a good day) without being overcome by an overwhelming wave of apathy. If I've got a set performance, with specific songs I need to play and finish to show people, that's one thing. But just sitting down and enjoying playing guitar? I can't anymore. Sometimes I can make it through two and a half songs... sometimes one and a half... sometimes I'll start five different songs and sort of trail off halfway through each one because I just can't bring myself to finish them.

Last night I think I made it halfway through the second song and somehow managed to barely limp through a couple more before I finally gave up. Last night, it got to me.

I'm tired of not being able to enjoy the things I know I love, that I should enjoy. I tried to get medication, once, several years back. Basically walked into the doctor's office and said "Please put me on antidepressants. Now." Unfortunately, I was a somewhat suicidally-inclined, autistic teen, which the doctor took one look at and returned with "How about we get your parents in? And take a look at other options? And literally anything we can manage that does not include putting you on these drugs?"

I can't say I blame the man - it's a fairly alarming collection of contraindicators. Due to the changes in brain chemistry that teens undergo, depression is very common and frequently temporary, tapering off along with the end of puberty. They don't like to risk a life-long addiction medicating something that could very well just correct itself. They also hesitate to medicate anyone with suicidal tendencies because anti-depressants tend to make things worse before they make them better. Lastly, we have autism. Due to the quirks in brain wiring and chemistry, any drug that affects either of these things have been known to go a bit... awry in autists, from time to time. Even worse, frequently not even in the same ways from one autist to the next. Anti-depressants are already a very hit-and-miss, keep trying until you find one that works for you kind of drug. It makes that search all the more difficult and risky when any given one just might act as, say, a psychotic, for no really discernible reason.

So while I still seriously consider anti-depressants, I'm not sure I much like my chances of getting any now, either.

Frustrations over not being able to enjoy much anymore, though, is not what caused the rest of my night to quickly devolve into clinging to my husband crying for at least a good couple of hours. What did that, was fear.

I am currently well into my second trimester. Sometime around the end of July, all going well, I will be bringing a new baby boy into the world. What had me in tears last night is the fact that I have no idea how I'm going to be able to be any good as a mother.

I'm not feeling as bad right now, but I can't say I really know the answer now either.

See, my dad taught me to play guitar... at first, anyway. Thing is, he has clinical depression too. I have no idea how hard he had to work to manage that... I do know, however, that eventually it just became too hard. Over time, my requests to play together got turned down more and more, until eventually I had to resort entirely to self-teaching. I wasn't a little kid when this happened; dad didn't hide the reason for it and I was plenty able to understand by then. But still, it sucked. There wasn't an awful lot I really got to share in with my dad, and it made me sad to lose something we did together.

I've never doubted that my dad loves me, and cares for me. I've certainly never felt unloved or neglected by him, or any such thing. But I do feel distant. I don't remember a time I ever really felt all that close to my father, and a big part of that was depression putting a barrier between us. Not just his, either. My own became noticeable to me somewhere around eleven, and I'm sure it didn't help matters any either.

I don't want my son to feel distant from me. I don't know how I'm even going to manage as much as dad did,  though. I can already barely play guitar at all; how am I ever going to hang in long enough to teach my child? Especially if, like me, it's another decade-plus before he's ever interested enough to actually learn? In another decade, am I even going to be able to pick up a guitar anymore?

Obviously this isn't the only thing in the world to share with my son, and it's full well possible that he'll never be interested in guitar anyway. This might never become a relevant point... at least, not directly. But the problem isn't the guitar. It's what it represents. It's one of the things I've managed to hold on to the best, for the longest, and even that's slipping away from me now, and has been for some time. It was the one, clear thing that made it really hit me: this is going to affect my child. It's going to affect my ability to be a good parent.

And god help me, I don't have any idea what to do about that.

Insert Obligatory Introductory Post


So, I've decided to try making a blog. About me, basically.

A place to ramble, to talk things through (even if it ends up being only to myself) to try get them straight in my head, to share my thoughts. Somewhere where I know I won't be bothering anyone, because anyone who hangs around long enough to read anything does so of their own choosing, and can stop at any moment. I have difficulty with social networking like Facebook because it's always seemed a bit like randomly breaking out my guitar in a room with other people; vaguely intrusive, and I forever feel like I'm going to bother someone.

I'm splitting this off to keep it separate from what I actually want to talk about that prompted this blog. And because random introductory posts are obligatory. Even the Bloggess had one. Of course, hers was totally way cooler than mine, but that's beside the point.