Riley Speaks

"all i have is a voice" ~ w.h. auden


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Environmental vs. Chemical Depression

I’ve had this theory for a while. That there are two cloud causes for depression. There is environmental depression – caused by the environment around you, and chemical – caused by your brain chemicals.

In 2013 (I know ages ago, but New Zealand statistics are impossible to find) the amount of children and teenagers diagnosed with a mental health condition had almost doubled over the previous five years. But it’s known that the rate of those diagnosed with depression and anxiety is on the rise and we’re seeing some of the highest numbers yet. I think this is down to environmental depression becoming more prevalent. We have put pressures on academics, friendships, extra curricular, university entrance, job options, etc that adolescent are understandably struggling under the pressure. The way to distinguish environmental depression is if you were to have no stresses would you still be depressed? If you were climbing a mountain and no essays were due, you had just won the lottery so money wasn’t an issue, and you had a steady job source – would you still be depressed? I believe environmental depression still sees a decrease in serotonin but as an after effect – as a direct result of the environment and the situation one is in. The simplest way to determine environmental depression from chemical depression is it typically starts around adolescence and puberty.

Most people won’t admit that the environment has caused their depression, some think it makes it less real, others just don’t want to have to change everything in their life to cater to their depression. But it’s not any less real, and it’s important for one’s health to be in a position where you are able to live as stress free as possible. Of course in this consumerist, money hungry society it’s hard – and that’s on us as a nation and a globe. We have to change the demands if we want to see environmental depression decrease.

Chemical depression is as it sounds. Just like ADHD, and other chemically changing disorders, chemical depression changes the serotonin levels in your brain. Not when you reach puberty or stressful times, but from birth. It would 9/10 times go unnoticed, because children aren’t good at explaining their emotions, but it can produce as shyness. A child may seem shy on certain days and not shy on others. Looking back on my childhood I wonder how no one noticed I was depressed. It’s this lingering sense of “what’s the point of it all?” I remember thinking – as a child, about 6 or 7 – about being killed and aside from it hurting and me being scared of the person should they be a stranger, I didn’t really think it would make a difference. It wouldn’t matter if I was alive or dead – it was all the same. That’s chemical depression. And it typically goes away with anti depressants and minimal counselling. I have never received adequate counselling because it never helped. It was just annoying to me. And I think this is why. Because it wasn’t anything that happened to have caused it – sure things had happened to me, but talking about them and learning to cope with them wouldn’t make it all go away. It was just the way my brain was and when I found the proper medication, I saw my mood rise. I still get sad about the things that happened and happen to me, but they aren’t the reasons I want to kill myself. They’re just “life” to me. But for those with environmental depression they are the root of their depression.

Why does all this matter now? I’m sure we’ve all heard about or seen the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why”. There are numerous reasons I am against this series, but this is a very crucial part. By killing herself, Hannah has stopped all living. She cannot grow to see the happy. From the portrayal of the story on her tapes, all her reasons were a direct result of her environment. If she was removed – flown to a remote island – she would most likely not want to kill herself. In 5 years from when the suicide happened, Hannah could have very well not even believed she was going to kill herself – had she made it out alive. But because she threw it all away at high school, she will never be able to see anything she could have accomplished. Her story ends there. She could have done so much to raise awareness on bullying and sexual assault, she could have become a spokesperson for mental health, but instead she killed herself.

This means so many of those struggling with environmental depression will see this as a plausible and very real option. But they will fail to see that the situation will change. That school will end, and 90% of your friends will be people you haven’t even met yet. But because of this ill filmed and poorly devised show, people will think that it isn’t worth fighting for. That it’s better to just quit. It is not. It is worth staying alive for. There are so many great things out there that you can’t dream of because of school stress, and peer judgement. But it’s there and you can see it, but you have to stick around.


NOTE: Chemical depression is in no means a reason for suicide either. With the help of medications and a steady plan you can enjoy life. Please if you are feeling suicidal contact a 24/7 helpline

INTERNATIONAL:

LIST A (Wikipedia) LIST B (Suicide.org) LIST B.5 (Suicide.org, USA)

LIFELINE AUSTRALIA: 13 11 14

KIDSHELPLINE AUS: 1800 55 1800 (Ages 5-25)

NATIONAL (NZ):

LIFELINE AOTEAROA: 0800 543 354

SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)

DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757 – or free text 4202

YOUTHLINE – 0800 376 633

KIDSLINE – 0800 543 754 (0800 KIDSLINE) *up to 18 years old


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Pro-Choice /= Pro-Abortion

It’s 2017, why is this even a blog post I am writing? This debate has been going on for decades and it’s the most ridiculous thing to exist. How I got to be so understanding and have the compassion that “pro-lifers” seem to lack is beyond me, but here we are.

I’m not pro-abortion. I believe you have the right to make decisions based on your own beliefs and ideals. By keeping abortion illegal and by making it a criminal offense, you are taking away other people’s right to make decisions based off their beliefs and ideals. You are taking away the same right you have – to choose not to have an abortion – from another person. My belief is that if you do not want the pregnancy, you can terminate it. Say you fall pregnant and maybe you don’t want it but you’re against abortion so you have it anyway – I could realistically come in and say well no, you have to have an abortion. My belief is that people should be able to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. Does it sound completely unfair and definitely unjust? Welcome to compassion and understanding.

Religion. This is a huge part of why abortion is illegal. Church should not find itself in the Government. It is a separate entity and should be treated as such. How come other religions don’t get to be included in the Government? What makes Christians so special? I believe in God. And I also believe that other people deserve the right to choose. I choose to believe in God, I choose to do these things. Why shouldn’t others get that same opportunity? Why should I be any different and special so as to be the only one who gets to make a choice? My God does not care if you kill some cells. He has a soul up in heaven waiting for you and if He cannot bring it to you through your own body He will find a way. After all he is a miracle worker. If when my times comes, and I’m called before God and He tells me that He did in fact oppose abortion, I know I would still be welcomed into His kingdom because it was not my place to pass judgement. It was not my place to force another of His children into my beliefs.

Being pro-choice is not the same as being pro-abortion and I’m willing to bet there is no one pro-abortion. People have somehow confused the two and begun to see pro-choice as if it were pro-abortion. What I am asking for – and what every other sane human being is  asking and promoting – is the right for people to have the choice.

Scenario I – My friend and I walk into an ice cream shop. My friend picks chocolate flavour, but I don’t like that flavour. I tell her no. She has to have vanilla. Here I am telling my friend that she cannot have chocolate ice cream for no reason other than because I don’t like it. Am I going to be eating her ice cream? No. Am I going to even be affected by her chocolate ice cream? No. Is the person behind the counter going to be affected by her choice? No. Do you see what is happening here?

Scenario II – My friend and I walk into a pet store, she’s looking for a dog. I don’t like dogs (I do, but for the sake of the scenario I don’t) and so I tell her that I don’t like dogs. She tells me “okay, don’t buy a dog.” I don’t buy a dog. When she gets to the counter to pay I say nothing and I walk out with her. Was this wrong? Yes. Why? Because I forgot to remind her to get dog food. Other than the lack of nutrition, there is no reason why my friend cannot buy herself a dog if she wants one. It’s her choice. Regardless of my opinion on the matter, she can choose to buy a dog if she wants because she’s allowed to make her own decisions. Remember how they tell you that about 100 times in primary school? It doesn’t change…or it shouldn’t.

I am not promoting abortions, I am not pro-abortion. I am human and I realise that people who fall pregnant and don’t want to be/cannot be are going to find a way to terminate that foetus. I would rather they have the option of it being done safely by a professional. No one wants an abortion. Not like you want an ice cream truck or a bouncy castle. You want an abortion the way you want to get a filling done. You don’t (unless you have a filling procedure fetish?) want to do it but you have to before it gets worse.

One more time for the people in the back – pro-choice /= pro-abortion.


If you live in NZ – or are just a good human being and understand that everyone has the right to choose – please sign this petition to get abortions decriminalised in New Zealand. At present, although you can get an abortion, it is still classed as a crime to have an abortion. It’s got to change.

>SIGN THIS PETITION<


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I’ll Pee on Your Face if That Makes It Better – Trump is an a**hole.

I wish the title weren’t so vulgar and angry but I’m tired. I’m sick and tired of hearing about what other human right the dickwad has taken away each day. I’m so goddamned tired of the hate he breads by making things “legal” or “illegal”. It is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever witnessed and I own two cats that are dumb as heck. I can’t believe that someone can be so cruel…so full of hate. I’ve learned today that he is a far worse human being than I ever imagined anyone to be – even the devil himself wouldn’t be this cruel.

In May of 2016, Barack Obama – then US President Obama (please come back!) – administration made federal guidelines that allowed transgender students to use the bathroom of their chosen identity. Obama let these students be who they were, he realised that nothing made a difference where the person pees. No one wants to pee in public any way.

If transgender youth can be attacked for being who they are why can’t I hit a nazi (no I will not capitalise that, autocorrect) or a white boy wearing a “make america great again” hat? It’s the same deal – except one of these three groups isn’t hurting anyone. I would be more terrified to pee in a bathroom with a trump supporter in it than a transgender person. Why? Transgender people aren’t killing, spreading, and promoting hate. They aren’t taking away humans rights and woman’s rights. They aren’t pulling apart families and sending people – living breathing humans – back into war zones. They just wanna get rid of the goddamned water they drank earlier for f*cks sake.

His whole ploy was to create jobs. That was his focus and his main goal if elected. You want to know what jobs he’s created? Hospitals will see more fight related injuries among transgender, black, mexican, latino, hispanic, muslim, islamic, lesbian, gay, and other minority groups being beaten by bullies. The hospital walls will see more suicide attempts because of bullying. I bet his supporters didn’t think these were the jobs he meant. Wake up Bob, he doesn’t give a shit about you and your suburban family with soccer on the weekends. He has an agenda and you were simply a pawn that will be sacrificed among the play. Hurry up – wake up and realise this, then join the resistance.

And yet people STILL stand by it. They still support him and wear their hats and shirts and crap not even made in the USA as if it were something to be proud of – a badge of honour. I hope you still feel pride when your neighbour weeps for their dead child because you wouldn’t let her pee in the girls toilet. Or when your boss comes to work beaten and bruised because they had the ‘audacity’ to be black. Or Muslim. Or a woman. Or gay. I hope you still feel pride when your own child looks at you with eyes full of innocence and trust as you spread hate and pain. I hope you still feel so goddamned proud when you are standing among a mass grave. Because, at this rate, you inevitably will. I hope you still feel proud when he screws you over. He never cared about you I just wish you could have seen that before November.

Is this my most aggressive and vulgar post yet? Yes. Will it be my last? God I hope so. But at the rate this presidency is progressing…this is as tame as it will ever be again. I am mad, and I am not going to be sorry for it. I have every right to be angry. These kids, people, and humans deserve more than what they have. They are supposed to be protected. My heart aches when I think of all those that fought so hard to get where we are, Rosa Parks, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Martin Luther King Jr, and so many more seeing the hell that has become the US. My heart aches when I know how alone these transgender youth may feel seeing trump supporters yelling slurs and ready for a fight. My heart aches because I cannot hide them all in my home and give them the acceptance and love they deserve. I am broken, and tired, and exhausted of feeling the same pain each day as I see the world trump is creating. But I am not going to stop. We are not going to stop.

“Nevertheless, she persisted”


If you are a transgender student, or even just a transgender human being existing in this hateful world, please know you are not alone. Please know that there are people on your side and fighting for you. Do not give up. You deserve to live and you deserve to be given human rights. I am so sorry for the way this has gone down, but it’s not nearly over. We will fight for your rights once again and we will make sure you are loved and treated with the respect and dignity every human deserves.


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How Does Hatred Rise to Power?

We have seen this rise before. We have seen a man with an agenda, a false agenda, come into power and have the nations hanging onto the words like gospel. World War II, Hitlers “claim to fame”, was one of the most shocking instances where power and desperation proved fatal.

We are seeing the same signs arise with America’s new supposed leader. Will Donald ever reach the heights and genocide numbers that Hitler did? I don’t believe so. The technology of today is far advanced and gives the world a better look into what is happening. We as humans have evolved too. We are beginning to question everything we are told. While I do believe damage will be done, and lives will be lost, I don’t believe it will be on the scale of World War II.

How does someone so horrible and mean become crowned a hero to many? Do the imitations, slurs, and derogatory words mean nothing or are they blinded by the falsehood of promises? Probably both. I want to believe it’s solely the former but these past few months have shown me some people are still bred among hatred and believe that hate is the way through.

People want an answer for why their jobs are disappearing. Why are so many people getting laid off and losing jobs? Donald claims it’s the immigrants, but they are in the same boat. What is it really? It’s not a simple answer but he’s provided a simple answer and that’s what the people love. Even if it’s wrong.

People are out here asking “well who took our jobs? Where have our jobs gone?” Donald said the immigrants did. But they didn’t. They are not responsible for the decline in job openings and opportunities. You want to know who took the jobs? The technology we created. We’ve been fortunate enough to create computers small enough to fit in our pockets but with that means we have created technology that can outsmart and outperform us as humans. While it’s exciting and new and revolutionary, it also poses a problem for us as humans. It means we now have technology that does twice the work, for half the price of as a human.

And on top of this, people and companies have gotten greedy. They are raising prices so their pockets get bigger. People EXACTLY like Donald and his friends – his cabinet full of rich, white, men. They sit idly by as their pockets grow and yours shrink. It’s not a simple answer to who took our jobs and why we are struggling to survive. But we want a simple answer. We want someone to blame. Donald provided that – albeit false – and the people ate it up.

It’s exactly what we saw in World War II, people wanted to know who had caused the problems they were facing and there was no answer. There was not a simple answer but the people wanted one. Hitler provided one . It was a lie, it was false, but it was someone to blame – nothing else mattered. They couldn’t have cared less WHO created the problem, Hitler could have said anyone. But Hitler had an agenda, and the people wanted a person to hang.

Just like today. We want someone to blame but don’t want to admit it’s just what happens when we grow as a world. What happens when we progress with technology. And we definitely don’t want to admit we are being cheated by others. So we believe the lie. We believe it because it’s simple and it’s convenient.

People would sit in history class learning about the second world war, thinking ‘how the hell could they let this happen?’ ‘how did they let a man with such hatred come to power?’ Well look around you. We are in the same position. We have let a man of hatred come to power. He has an agenda other than helping the people. We are at the beginnings of World War II. You asked yourself how it could happen, how could they be so naive? Ask yourself now, how could we be so naive? How did we let a man of hatred come into power? How the hell did we let our worst moments of history become a repeat performance?

People wanted an answer to an unanswerable question. People wanted answers and someone with an agenda of hate provided them. We must learn from our past and our history. We cannot let hatred win.


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It’s Not Okay.

20th January…the third Friday of the year…the most horrific of them all (and we had a Friday 13th already).

It is the day supposed President elect Donalda Trumpet gets sworn in. We watch as Barack Obama has to leave the oval office for the last time. Our hope of pushing forward is leaving with him.

To those that are scared sh*tless, I understand. I’m scared and I live on the other side of the world. I’m terrified for you. I’m terrified for the immigrants that face the fear of being deported back to a land that is destroyed. I’m terrified for the blacks, Latinos, and other coloured groups that will face racism beyond anything we’ve seen.

When you elect a tyrant, a mean and racist man, you allow hate to prevail. People voted for him with the prayer that they would be able to hate on specific groups of people. That’s what’s horrible about this election. We have seen how many people hate minority groups. We have been shown that the citizens of U.S do not care for disabled people. What should have been the end of his campaign was nothing but a stepping stone. We have seen that the citizens of the U.S do not care for woman – wanting to destroy their rights, the people of colour – being called rapists and other horrid unjustifiable things, and the LQBTQ+ community. Hate won out this election and it’s not okay.

Many voted because he promised to send the immigrants back to other countries. He promised job opportunities that will not exist. Immigrants are not stealing your jobs. We are stealing them from ourselves. We have created an excess of technology that complete the job at a lower cost – forcing many people out of jobs. There was no ONE group to blame. People wanted an answer, even if it was wrong. And Trumpet provided one. Remind you of another time in history?

It is an eerily similar election to that of Hitler. There is nothing that will compare to the holocaust, but this election is headed there. Fortunately with technology and the worlds ability to be aware of the situation in America, I predict Trumpet will not get far in the likes of Hitler’s regime. Other countries will force America to rethink their elected presidential choices. But the fact that we are in this place yet again proves that we are facing hard times ahead.

Sexual assault victims/survivors must watch a man known to think woman are his entitlement and a man with multiple assault claims under his name, woman are forced to watch him for four years. It’s not okay. I weep for these woman (and men) that have been through this and now have to watch a man known for sexual assault change their rights. They have to live with the knowledge that those that voted for him don’t care about woman (and men) being attacked. And they shouldn’t have to. None of this election is okay.

To anyone in the U.S, these next four years are about surviving. About making it through. Do not fear if progress is not made – if it is then what an accomplishment! But progress most likely will not happen in these next four years. You may see rights we’ve fought for be taken away. I want to say it’s okay, but it’s not. It sucks. But you will make it through. You have to. There is a fight on the other side of these four years that we need you for. There is a revolution growing and you are going to be apart of it.

If you need to remove religious items for the safety of your own life, your God will understand. It does not mean you believe any less, it does not make you a sinner or a pariah among your faith. This world is far worse than any God would have ever imagined it to get and people have deterred further from humanity. It is about keeping you safe and alive so that in four years from now – or earlier! – you are here to fight.

To those woman, men, and children that are taking to the citities around them in protest, bless you. You are the strength that so many of us are pulling from. I know many people felt alone after the news, seeing the solidarity proves no one is alone. Thank you.

It is okay to be upset. For all those saying “it’s just an election, you don’t need to cry” well aren’t they lucky? They don’t have to face the fear of losing their family, they don’t have to face the fear of having their medical insurance destroyed, they don’t have to face the fear of walking down the street terrified for their life. They are lucky. But they are wrong. It is not just an election, it is not just a loss of a vote. It is a hateful man being put in a place of power that can (and will) destroy minorities out of pure hatred. Nothing more. And it’s not okay.


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Why I Will Never Be As Happy As I Was When I Was A Kid…

That’s not to say I won’t have happy years ahead, in fact I see many happy years when I am older and settling down maybe with a family, maybe on my own. But my happiest, peak of it all, purest moments are gone. I look at photos of my childhood and I see a child so in love with the world. A child that holds trust in the world and believes that good people exist and bad people are just made up in the stories read to me. By about age seven I had seen and heard of enough bad things to know that the world could be kind, but the people were not.

img_0965I was always a quizzical child – questions being asked by my peers now, I posed as a child. This is not a humble brag, this is a factor in my loss of trust in the world. I was always asking questions and wanting answers, and when my questions where “why is the sun bright?” they held answers. The sun is bright because it’s a star burning due to it’s nuclear fusion (or some other scientific answer). But when I grew a little older, maybe age seven or eight, my questions became philosophical. Why do people do bad things? Why are some bad things excused and others punished? What is right and what is wrong? Who gets to decide that? No one had answers for me. No one had the answers themselves but they didn’t seem to mind. They went about life like it didn’t matter. How could these fundamental facts not matter? They are what makes humans function the way they do. And so my quest for answers began too early. I never really enjoyed things. There were always questions to follow and wonders that never ended.

I remember asking my babysitter at the time if they ever wondered what their life would be like if they were in the place of someone else. Would they still like the same foods? Would they still believe the same things? When you became someone else did everything about your personality change too? And my babysitter thought I was crazy. I remember her tone and I instantly knew these questions weren’t meant to be asked. She said she didn’t know, she didn’t care. Maybe it was her fault, maybe it was mine. Maybe the world is just a horrible place and no one is to blame. But that day was like a knife to my heart and I decided that day to never ask those kinds of questions again. I stopped asking her, held her hand and skipped merrily to the store. It still bubbled inside me though. The question. Still does. But at least now I’m old enough to know that circumstances create personalities. So if you were born in their life, yes, your personality would be different. Maybe you would still hold parts of it, but ultimately you would not be yourself.

My life from then became a big series of unanswered questions that were never even asked. I stopped questioning everything. Did everything that I was told, and stuffed the questions so far down in me that I hoped never to see them again. All the wonder and pure enjoyment from childhood was gone before I even really began. I was having an existential crisis at age five, six, seven – I still am. The one question that

I will never have answers for is the one I keep asking. Why. Why was I the one who had to IMG_0888.JPGhave such philosophical thoughts as a child? Why didn’t I get to enjoy it like others did? Why was I always pondering the greater life? Why me? I’m sure some other kid out there would have been a much better candidate. Maybe a scientist who would have discovered why we exist the way we do. Instead, it was me. A small kid who had no idea what to do, and only wanted to please everyone around her.

I definitely feel cheated from my childhood, but at the same time it was the happiest – albeit shortest – moments of my life. When people talk about their childhood they can mean anywhere from birth until thirteen. When I talk about my childhood, I mean from birth until six. After that I didn’t feel much like a child. I had too big of questions, too much unanswered. I was a kid facing questions adults face today. No wonder I didn’t feel like a kid. If you asked me at the time I would have told you I did. I thought everyone felt like this. I thought these were questions every kid had. Until I grew older and realised that they weren’t. Whether they hadn’t cared or whether they just hadn’t thought about it didn’t matter. The fact is I was a child having adult thoughts and I never got to have questions that had answers. It wasn’t fair. It still isn’t.