7

Update – 5:30 – The bill as amended includes only adding “In God We Trust” to the state seal and a provision to create a committee to look at writing a religious protection law that wouldn’t be discriminatory. So, no discrimination for now. This is via Deep South Progressive. You can read their status update and thank you to folks who helped with this here. Last update on this post; I’ll write something about it later this week.

Update – 5:20 – The amended version of the bill passed, so now it has to go to conference. I’ll have more to say about it after I have time to read and think about this last round of amendments.

Update – 4:50 p.m. – The House took up the bill about 30 minutes ago. It looks like they’re going to create a study committee to keep this bill alive. You can find the House webcast here. (via @ACLU_MS).

Update – 1 p.m. 03/12 – The latest news I’ve been able to find on this is that the House skipped over this bill this morning, and the deadline for them to vote on it is midnight tonight, so it could still come up later in the day. That’s from the ACLU on Facebook. If I hear anything more about it, or think of anything more that might help, I’ll post an update.

I promised to run amok this week, so let me just do that. This is both a surprise post and one that pushes the Monster’s boundaries. Enjoy!

ACLU Nationwide posted a Facebook update a couple of hours ago, and the Mississippi ACLU promptly shared it. Here’s what it said:

The next 24 hours are key – tell politicians in Mississippi to vote NO on SB2681, the bill that could write segregation and discrimination into law: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/tell-mississippi-legislators?source=c.em.cp&r_by=7111305

GiveItUp

I spent 15 minutes trying to figure out if there is some legislative maneuver planned for tomorrow, and then decided it doesn’t matter and the thing to do is share this on the biggest blog I have access to. So here I am. I signed that petition they’re linking to.

No idea whether things will come to a head tomorrow or not, but if you want this bill defeated, I think Wednesday is as good a day as any to speak the fuck up. And here’s something that just happened a few hours ago. It’s what got me looking for updates in the first place.

Milsaps College, a private, United Methodist university, has condemned this bill. They’ve issued a statement that I must say, is a work of art, and is just about as strong a statement as they are capable of. Both students and employees are signing it. Those of you who who live and work in higher education need to think about that for a moment. This is a big break, and it is important. How many times in your life have you seen students, faculty, and staff get together and sign a document that has something to say about current legislation?

They’re not concerned about their religious freedom, and they see this bill for what it is. They quote John Wesley, for goodness’ sake. Read it. And then do this.

Make a phone call. Send an email. Send a fax, if you have access to one of those. Here’s the House roster, and most of the Representatives list personal contact information. Shut down the capitol switchboard in Jackson with your calls. Call their cellphones. If you don’t get through, leave voice mails. Text them. Find them on Facebook and write on their walls. If you can find their Twitter accounts, send them tweets. Email them.

Be polite, and friendly, but let them know just how stupid this whole thing is. How it embarrasses us all and has the potential to kill our our economy. How it targets our brothers and sisters and cousins for no good reason.

It would be best for all of us if this bill were just killed quietly without debate, but we cannot trust them to do that. Most of these people have no idea how the rest of us live. Their decisions are either based on the last conversation they had, or what they think will help them in the next election.

Don’t count on your neighbor, or you sibling, or your coworkers to do this. Do it yourself. The numbers are there, but only if you communicate. You don’t need a majority. You just need a wave of communication that’s timed correctly, and Wednesday is the day.

That’s all I have to say. I have no idea how this will come out, but I’ll be sure and do my part.

Mississippi, please. Impress me.

8

I’ve yet to tell many professors about my anxiety disorder, though it might in some ways make my life easier. It’s just a personal thing, and I’ve gotten flack from family and friends who I’ve discussed this with in the past. The consensus seems to be that life-especially when you’re a mother and graduate student-is supposed to be difficult and drive you crazy, and that if it’s not then you’re not working hard enough.

This article doesn’t really take into account that many students come to grad school with anxiety and depression issues already, but I think it’s more important that at this point we just expect grad students to have those issues. I say I have GAD and depression, and the answer is generally something along the lines of “welcome to the club.” I can talk medication with most students I know, because we’ve almost all been medicated or are medicated.

Some of this, I think, is a general public attitude toward people with anxiety and depression issues. To those who haven’t suffered from anything like it, or who have been able to use alternatives to medication successfully, it seems like whining. It’s difficult to see, and much like ADHD, these things are often misdiagnosed and over-medicated, which leads to a belief that it’s not real.

I don’t mean to suggest that everyone holds these views about depression/anxiety or will not be understanding. I’ve actually encountered far less understanding from people outside the program who know about my depression and anxiety than the few faculty members and other students I’ve shared it with. I think this is an overall cultural stigma that carries over into academia.

I’m having a very, very hard time studying for comps, as the last few years have been full of changes and circumstances that have left me exhausted. I’ve lost a grandmother and a cousin who was also a friend, and I’ve moved to a new city. I could’ve stayed in Waynesboro a year or two longer, but I underestimated the effect moving would have–and either way I was commuting upwards of an hour to classes while raising the Little Jedi and studying.

I’m very nervous about taking another exam. I failed my quals exam the first time I took them, and I have a snowball of anxiety every time I think about taking comps. Unstructured time is also difficult for me, as it’s another chance to think about all the worries, and I spend more of my studying time than I should just worrying. It’s difficult for me to explain all of that to a faculty member who I know has a lot going on as well, knowing also that while my circumstances might not be ideal, there are worse to be in. Anxiety also makes me rather intimidated in front of some of these folks. Sometimes I mean to say all of these things and just can’t get them out.

I should probably come cleaner about that with my committee, but it’s a double bind–some of it of my own making–between sounding like a whiner and/or procrasinator and being realistic about what I can accomplish.