Author Archives: Kirrus

Taking a break from Twitter, a Ramble update

Recently, and as a result of the studies showing that Twitter is chemically addictive, and bad for mood, I decided to take a break from Twitter, especially. This was intended to mean I didn’t hear in great detail any more of the tribulations going on in the US at the time, over the invasion of the Capitol, which was on my Twitter feed in great detail.

I *intended* to only be off during January, but have ended up being off for longer. I still regularly find myself opening my Twitter app, looking at the red number of unread tweets incrementing (over 1,400 last time I checked), and then closing it immediately.

I’ve also massively cut down on my news reading — previously, I was spending 1-2 hours a day reading news via The Guardian app. I’ve had an addiction to reading the news since I was a teenager, so cutting myself off has been odd. Still scanned the headlines now and then — need to know what’s happening with lockdown, but otherwise I’ve mostly disconnected.

Did end up reading a fairly horrific news article on BBC News, some reports coming out of Xinjiang in China. I ended up writing a letter to my MP, the Conservative Steve Barclay, asking what the government was doing in response to it. I’m hoping the response is more than just waffle, but at least I’ve done something, even if it’s very minimal.

My mental health has been fairly dreadful. Still hopeful that my twitter break is helpful, but it’s hard. I tried to only read the tweets of people that a) I found very useful/interesting, or b) who talked to me at least periodically on twitter. It’s been odd not talking to people on twitter, but the past few years I’ve mostly been Re-Tweeting things I agree with, rather than interacting. Might be time to call it over.

Currently, trying to resume work via a phased return. So far so difficult. Still, really struggling to control focus on work, to be able to concentrate on a task steadily over a period.

I think this is enough of a rambly blog for now. Will try to get some more interesting articles/analysis posted, as mental health allows.

Mood drop

I use moodscope to monitor my mental state, and my daily score is sent to Patsi and my Psychologist. He emailed me to ask what was causing drop in mood today. This is what I replied.

Had a migraine, exhausted, couldn’t work. Guilty I couldn’t work, plus ashamed I called off work, and a little worried taken too much time off work, and feeling dumb and stupid, wanting to curl into a ball.

I hate being ill.


In a fit of desperation, I tweeted asking for *simple*, *easy*, cheap recipes. This is what I got in return. I’m totally posting this so it’s really easy to print them.

And season to taste 😉 Salt & pepper of course, but you can add any herbs you like to it as well.
I must admit, I don’t know what Orzo is..
sunset photo, taken 20th april 2007 in Wales, UK.

Depression & Suicide

I wrote this as a response to an image post trying to guilt-trip people into not commiting suicide using friends and family, on reddit. The reddit OP removed his post due to criticism, so I’ve copied it here.

Here’s the thing most people don’t get about suicide.

Those who choose to kill themselves aren’t (normally) irrational. They’re making a considered option. They’re aware of the pain they’ll leave. They’re aware of the pain of the method.

Someone who chooses to commit suicide is exactly the same response as the person who chooses to jump to death from a burning building. It’s not that the suicide is a good option. It’s that staying is unbearable.

Severe depression, or severe recurrent depression the type I suffer from, is a cruel, evil disease. It eats at your joy of life, it eats at your ability to look after yourself, it eats at your ability to function day-to-day, even simple things like cooking a meal being more akin to climbing mount Everest in a wheelchair, blindfolded, with your hands tied behind your back, than anything else.

You want to help someone like me not decide in the darkest, most painful times not to die?

First, don’t try to guilt-trip them with friends and family. It won’t help, I already know all those things. I’ve already considered them. I’ve discounted them. Sometimes the suffering is just too great.

Second, be there. That friend who you’ve not heard from for a while? Phone. Suggest popping over for a cuppa tea. Suggest they come to you. Push a little. Text. Email. IM. Skype. Reach out.

Third, if you know someone is suffering, offer to listen, anytime, anywhere, anyhow, and mean it. Keep your phone on next to you, and pick it up at 3am if they call.

Forth, if someone is really bad, struggling day to day, offer real help. Not “I’m here for you” but “hey, I’m coming over Friday, we’ll watch a film and order pizza”. Or “Hey, I’m bringing over my pasta bake, and leaving it with you, I’ll pick up the dish tomorrow.”. “Hey, need any help with housework? I’m free Saturday to come help if you want?”

Finally, Accept that, even then, sometimes someone like me will be suffering too much, and it’s not about you. It’s not about your pain, that they were suffering too much, and decided enough was enough. They’re in less pain than they were before.

P.S. Vote. Vote for people who give a shit about mental health support (in the UK, NOT THE CONSERVATIVES FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD). Vote for those who care about basic medical support. Consider donating to research.

p.p.s edit; please don’t say anything along the lines of ‘why don’t you just decide to be happy?’. That doesn’t help.

But seriously, be there for your friends and family, especially if they’re being weirdly distant. You may just save a life.

Swappiness in linux

Shamelessly stolen from wikipedia because they’re thinking about removing this, as  “Wikipedia is not a howto”. *sigh*.


With kernel version 3.5 and over, as well as kernel version 2.6.32-303 and over, it is likely better to use 1 for cases where 0 used to be optimal.

To temporarily set the swappiness in Linux, write the desired value (e.g. 10) to /proc/sys/vm/swappiness using the following command, running as root user:

# Set the swappiness value as root
echo 10 > /proc/sys/vm/swappiness

# Alternatively, run this
sysctl -w vm.swappiness=10

# Verify the change
cat /proc/sys/vm/swappiness

# Alternatively, verify the change
sysctl vm.swappiness
vm.swappiness = 10

Permanent changes are made in /etc/sysctl.conf via the following configuration line (inserted, if not present):

vm.swappiness = 10

10 is generally good for ‘I don’t want swapping to happen except if you *really* need it.


Systemd is the stupidest piece of stupid brain-dead init software ever invented.

A tale, in a log.
systemd: BOOTING !
systemd: Oh noes! /var needs fscking! let’s drop into emergency shell
systemd: Emergency shell! You should check out the log. It’ll totally tell you something pointless that’ll send you on a wild goose chase for half an hour.
systemd: Oh, by the way, I mounted /var cos I want to log there, and I won’t unmount it for you in emergency shell, cos that’s just helpful.
systemd: What, wait, you’re not going to use SysV are you? No, don’t touch tha<URK>
SysV: Booting.
SysV: Oh noes! /var needs fscking! Let’s try fscking it for you …
SysV: /var failed. needs manual intervention. Here’s an emergency shell. Not with /var mounted because I’m not a moron of a boot loader.
SysV: What’s that, you’ve fixed it? Oh, you can reboot with “shutdown -r now”, it’s fine, I won’t force you to use my own internal reboot command, because we’re all adults here.

*sigh*. Can I get those 2 hours of my life back please?