I KNOW…. It’s been ages since I posted.
I’ve been neglectful.
My life has been busy.
So, unlike my usual posts, here is a Lauren Lloyd update
- THE BOY
The most exciting thing to happen is that my brilliant son got three interviews for medicine, and now starts Edinburgh University in September. My alma mater.
Getting into medicine is tough. Not only do you need top exam results: there is a personal statement; a three-hour pre-medicine exam (called the UCAT – the ridiculousness of which I’ve written about previously, all zipzaps and boings https://lauren-lloyd.com/2021/12/06/lets-talk-about-personality-tests/ ); then a three-hour interview with multiple stations and role plays.
Most medical school’s interview three times the number of applicants they have places for. Any of these hard-working, enthusiastic kids would make good doctors.
Despite (or maybe because of) the challenges he faced through school with dyslexia, dyspraxia, a speech impediment, he triumphed.
I’m so proud, I could burst.
He’s going to make one helluva doctor.
I hope the University Medic’s Rugby Team (yes, it does exist) realise they have Scotland’s greatest junior hooker coming their way.
2. THE PANDEMIC
23rd March 2022 saw the two-year anniversary of the UK’s first lockdown.
As much as the Westminster Government would like us to believe Covid has disappeared – they are not reporting, recording, testing and have lifted all restrictions – the reality for us at the coal-face is very different.
Health Boards and social care providers across the UK are under pressure again. Many hospitals are exceeding full occupancy. As I write, 1 in 11 people in Scotland have Covid.
The resurgence is thought to be driven by the more transmissible BA2 sub-variant of Omicron.
The impact on all services has increased over the past few weeks. Staffing is reduced through sickness and demand is increasing again. People are understandably angry or frustrated by long waits.
We are doing all we can, but we are tired.
It hasn’t left a lot of time for writing
3. THE WAR
24th February 2022, the day a pathocratic Russian leader changed global politics forever.
More about this in blogs to come.
As I watch the footage In Ukraine, the psychology fascinates as well as terrifies me.
Throughout history leaders have sought ‘just cause’ to kill people in pursuit of their ambitions.
And as far back as Augustine of Hippo in the 4th Century CE, there have been academics, theologians and useful idiots who have been only too willing to enable and lend credence.
In the run up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 for example, the British Government famously touted that dodgy dossier. Less well remembered are the slew of sympathetic historians and writers on Question Time and Newsnight who were trotted out to talk up the case for war.
We know that ruthless, psychopathic, narcissistic or Machiavellian types (Pathocratic Leaders) are drawn to political power (https://lauren-lloyd.com/2022/01/23/our-love-affair-with-boris/). Soon other people with psychopathic traits emerge and attach themselves to the pathocracy, sensing the opportunity to gain power and influence.
At the same time, responsible and moral people gradually leave the government, either resigning or being ruthlessly ejected.
As Ukraine moved ever forwards towards a more liberal, independent future, Putin’s dream of re-establishing a ‘greater Russia’ began to slip.
On 20th March, he told the congregation at Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow that Ukraine as an entity did not exist, and that:
“we (Ukrainians and Russians) are a united people who, though living today in different countries, came out of a single kyiv baptismal font, united by a common faith and common historical destiny.”
Pathocratic leaders present a compelling, simplistic ideology. They promote notions of future greatness, with a need to eliminate alleged enemies.
Many Russians find Putin charismatic. His impulsiveness is taken for decisiveness; his narcissism for confidence; his recklessness for fearlessness.
And utterly terrifying.
I have just finished the book The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri,the story of a Syrian couple fleeing war and making the dangerous, heart-breaking journey to the UK.
Passing a jar of Nutella without crying is now difficult (seriously, read the book).
I am ashamed and embarrassed that our Government does not do more to help people fleeing war and seeking asylum.
4. THE WRITING
I have not stopped writing.
The past month has been dedicated to finalising my entry for the annual Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival (SMHAF) writing competition.
SMHAF runs from 4th to 24th May and is one of Scotland’s most diverse cultural events, covering everything from music, film and visual art to theatre, dance, and literature. https://www.mhfestival.com/whats-on
Launched in 2014, the writing competition is one of the festival’s most enduring successes, providing an opportunity for first-time writers to be published alongside established names.
The theme for 2022 is ‘Gather.’ After two years at a distance, the festival explores what it means for people to come together. How does sharing a space influence our mental health and our experience of art?
My own story ended up being something very close to my heart.
Can’t say any more.