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Mon, Mar. 20th, 2017, 03:01 am
Dreams, Sickness, and (I think an important) Rant

I've been depressed for two months, which I finally nailed down the probably causes. It started with me switching to gummy vitamins, which did NOT cut it. (After three days of no vitamins, I get super depressed, and I took them till they were gone.) And then got a cold from AgtOrange, and went sporadic on my meds, and then I caught another cold from him, and stopped my meds altogether. Stopped talking or responding to good friends and girlfriend (she really needs a nickname soon along with a few other people here) and I just tailspinned out of control for a couple of months. Plus I may have some issues with either my hiatal hernia or gallbladder or something. Nausea, puking, and diarrhea. But then my diet hasn't been super great either, because I couldn't be bothered to care.

Day before yesterday I finally felt well, so I made weekend plans and had a great day Saturday. Toured a mosque for the first time and learned some incredible stuff, and really felt the presence of what I call the Great Aum (my version of God/Goddess/Om/The Great Consciousness, I Am) for just a moment. It's like a cross between "Om" and "I am" when God says "I Am in the Bible" and I feel his/her/its presence it's like this total sense of compassion and love and thereness of being. Yes, I admit I may be crazy as a loon, and religious folks say "how do you know it's God and not a devil and I'm like, if you feel it YOU KNOW. I've felt it also in some Catholic churches and Wiccan altars, though not generally in a Baptist place yet (I think it might be that they tend to use converted warehouses a bit too often which isn't very transcendent with all the salesman vibes already seeping into the place).

But then I had crazy nightmares all night. The first one I was related to President Trump, and Secret Service kept breaking into my house and rearranging all my stuff. The second we were trying to move but couldn't until the mountains of laundry were done, and I was watching a dog for a friend. I left the dog in the laundry room and ran upstairs because I needed some more quarters (my laundry room doesn't even take quarters) and in the five minutes I was gone someone stole the dog. So I was up and down all night, and that meant I slept all day. Plus my already sick and chronic fatigue tired. Napped but was up every hour, mostly to pee. Too sick to read or watch tv, which is BAD for me. Like, the worst kind of bad for those who know me.

Well, my system cleaned out and I managed to get to a friend's and toked. Haven't puked, though lately it makes my back hurt some and I get paranoid. (Also, the Lyft pulled a U-turn at the end that almost had me sick in the bushes when I got out.) Home again, I feel totally better except for that edgy feeling. No nausea, no diarrhea. And I should not have had that smoothie because puking day-glo green is just not the thing, even if it only tasted of bananas. (It was banana, soy, and organic green health stuff.) But even if the gallbladder is part of the problem I am NOT having it taken out. There are several non-surgical techniques, and from what I gather the diet for having one and not having one is mostly the same, so why take it out unless you are having some kind of nasty acute attack? It's like when they tested me for some of my reactive hypoglycemia, because all I was told was to change my diet to high-protein, which I could have done anyway without having to take a nasty test that put me almost in sugar shock/passing out. It could also be the hiatal hernia getting worse, so I started back up on my prilosec even though I don't remember that making a difference in the past and new studies show it isn't great for your heart (though that's more true of black men).

It occurs to me that I also started my medicine back from zero to the dose I was taking lately, instead of tapering up, and that's for ALL of them, which is probably not the best and brightest maneuver I could do. I should at least cut them in half, or look around for some of my old pills that are a smaller dose. And meat and dairy still don't sit well, so I'm watching that (may still be some kind of gallbladder thing). I've also heard one of my meds can make lactose intolerance INSANELY worse, so maybe this is totally it for dairy for me. No more ice cream or butter. How very sad.

I am also probably cycling, which tends to give me some of those same stomach ailments. So long as I can still eat a little bacon from time to time, I can live with my horrible diet (no dairy, little sulfites, little heavy meats or grease, no canola oil or yellow five, low processed sugar. But I was shocked at the doctor checkup -- I weighed 115 with steel toed books and clothes on, and my ideal weight I like is about 118 with clothes on, so I'm like at least 5 lbs underweight even for me.

Also, I did eat some smarties not so long ago and yellow #5 has made me puke blood before if I eat too much. And yes, I ate one or two yellow ones but they weren't VERY yellow. It was also not so smart. I was craving them something awful. I don't know why I have no impulse control when it comes to craving bad foods (or anything else). I keep talking to my shrink about it but he isn't being terribly helpful. They don't really have "impulse control drugs or therapies" that are terribly effective. Maybe I should develop one using Buddhist meditations and philosophies. Then I can put it on YouTube and get famous. If he wasn't also my pain doctor I would switch, but I still can't find a good pain doc at the pain clinic. Yes, I have problems with uppers at times (can you blame me, chronic fatigue and when I had that nasty big polyp it was the only thing which helped the awful, awful pain and once begun the trick is quitting after they surgically removed it, plus my PMDD/hormones really mess me up. For the longest time I was craving drugs like other crave chocolate, and while they say cravings go away in a few minutes, mine would last the three days while I PMS'd and that is a LONG time to withstand psychotic level PMS). But everyone in the know (addiction specialists) will tell you that uppers and downers are two different brain chemistry issues and not related AT ALL, I even took the genetic test and I'm not predisposed to pain pill addiction. I've been on them for years with no problems, but I still get the runaround. Which is what I get for trying to be totally honest about myself to my doctors. The one shrink pill that I thought I might have a problem with I even told a prior shrink about and refused to take it after a two week trial run. And yes, I'm less honest now because of all the flak I've gotten. But they still treat you like a leper. Especially now with the crackdown on the opiode addiction. I used to visit the ER for breakthrough pain/Percs when I really needed it, and now if I do (which is not often, it was usually like a three day supply maybe once every two or three months) I can't obtain them legally, which was never a problem before. I couldn't even get oragel/lidocaine for my dentist the other day when my latest filling went haywire. Like, ORAJEL FFS!!

Part of me wonders if a prescription for ritalin would cover up my cravings (I'm back on the NAC supplement too, which also effs up my stomach and only works a tiny bit, but I think the chances of me getting ritalin legally are like a a million to one). Which is just too bad. If you can get methadone and suboxone etc for downers, why not a mild upper to counter an upper craving...and I would probably only need it half the time, close to when I think I'm cycling. The Drug War just needs to end and people just need to have compassion. I've had one friend get shot and killed and two OD in the last 4 months or so (one lived, one died), which would never have happened if this so called war did not exist. And I have been visiting one who is trying to quit desperately and I'm so proud of him because he cut his use in half. He tried to go cold turkey but puked all over himself and his bed and his roommate had to clean him up since he couldn't really move. He finally gave up, but just that was enough to knock down his habit.

So then if you have chronic pain or even prior addiction issues (regardless if they have nothing to do with the pain pills you need) you HAVE to deal with scumbags and act like some kind of crazed addict to get what, like five or ten percocet? Even though I've never used them irresponsibly at all. So mostly I just muddle through in agony, because the kinds of people you have to go through for THAT are the worst of the worst. They assume as a woman they can make you do all sorts of things because your are desperate. I may be in horrifying pain, but I"m not that kind of person. I really feel for women on the street subjected to that. If normal people only knew how ladies like that were treated, like, they pay for the stuff, and then they still have to deal with things like groping, hitting on, guys trying to force sex on them even after that, and being shortchanged because they are female. Can you imaging paying for a drug you need (because for those people, they get real sick if they don't have it) and then having some guy try to force sex on you even though you legitimately paid him? What the fuck is wrong with people? Now, I know a lot of dealers who are just stuck in their lifestyle because they were stupid in their teens, and uneducated, and have bills to pay, but there are just as many who need to be locked up and have the keys thrown down a cesspit. Or maybe they need thrown down a cesspit and the keys destroyed.

That's right, not even all dealers are scum. I know what who takes care of his elderly, incapacitated mother who is like in her eighties, can't move and on dialysis. He cooks all her meals, bathes her, the works. All by himself. And pays for the house bills and everything. But he can't do that without an education, with a criminal record from his past, unless he sells drugs. No one will hire him, and certainly not in a job with a flexible schedule so he can always take care of his momma that pays enough. And I know more who are taking care of kids, like being the GOOD DADS that minority men generally seen as not being. I know addicts who work like demons to support their habits, they don't leech off the government and they aren't on welfare and maybe they aren't model citizens, but they only hurt themselves really. And yes, 7 of 10 are probably awful people who con and steal, but they all (the remaining 30) get treated like scum by normal people. If drugs were decriminalized (not necessarily legal) we could deal with the scum like scum, and the people with problems like the people with problems. People who want to quit would come forward when they were ready to do so, instead of being afraid to admit they have a problem.

I often want to wash my hands of these folks I meet, but then I learn of people dying, good people sometimes, and I just can't. It hurts too much. One of them OD'd because the drug mix was too strong...lately Fentanyl is getting mixed in with heroin because it's more powerful and it is killing people. She'd been using too much because she is having serious family issues, which I really feel for her even though she has been doing really awful shady things and I've been avoiding her even as I understand that right now, with her really hurting emotionally, she can't handle the emotional pain. What she needs is therapy, but people with problems don't want to go to doctors and say this because of how they are then treated forever after. She's actually been telling people she was in jail rather than admit she OD'd. It's that bad. The other one quit for awhile, and he slipped and went back to his normal dose when his body had no tolerance now. That's often the way people die. They quit, then they slip once and it's over. Dead.

I did actually have a little smoke here, but lately I don't like vaping it. I prefer micro-amounts in a one-hitter and I left mine at a friends recently and someone walked off with it. The vape is really just a bit much more me because you have to pack a whole bowl/tray. I need to raise the money to renew my medical card, because those strains from the dispensary don't give me so many side effects (I can get high CBD stuff which counters all the THC). I tried just straight oil but it didn't work. My friend gave me another one hitter which I had him clean out really well since I didn't want any residue from what he uses (ahem) so at least I can toke my ganja now. Even pencil thin joints are too much for me.

I actually listened to the gospel music one of the drivers was playing, and thanked him (and totally meant it) when he said he'd pray for me. At this point, I will take every bit of help I can. Seriously. Normally this pisses me off because I'm Buddhist and they take assumptions when they say that. I feel like one should say, "Would you like me to pray for you?" rather than "I will pray for you" because it shows more respect for my personal beliefs. The latter is more to make the person praying feel better about themselves because they can then be proactive, rather than making me for respected and listened to and cared for in a manner I appreciate. But today? Pray away. Do shamanic dances. Light incenses. Candles in church. Lay on of hands. Hail Jesus and Muhammad (peace and blessings or whatever you are supposed to say there) and Mary and whatever angels you prefer. I hate lighting incense late at night because of neighbors but I kind of want to do it anyway, just to show my empathy for all sick people anywhere. And I can't find my prayer paper instructions for others, just my metta, and I certainly don't want to run the printer at 0200 even though I slept all day and now I feel, if not perfect, at least much, much better.

And I AM restless, for whatever reason I can actually stay up for days just toking. No shit. If I take a blast every thirty minutes I can stay up for like two days. Because I can't sleep for thirty minutes after a puff. My chemistry is strangely bizarre. I keep saying I've developed some kind of crazy ADHD or something. It no longer makes me hungry and sleepy. I want to do dishes, but again, that would seriously disturb the neighbors. Maybe 0200 laundry? But that's to close to my nightmare of last night, lol, so maybe tomorrow if I get any rest.

And yes, I know this is all TMI, but if I can make even one normal person have compassion for all the people I have seen, and make them understand that not every person with an addiction is a bad person (yes, yes, LOTS of them are, I don't deny that in the slightest) and that even those who are sometimes have reasons (like this woman, she is so completely messed up emotionally that all she wants is to basically kill herself with drugs so she can't, simply can't, see her way to care about anyone or anything else right now). I know many people with family members who have had super bad experiences. I'm not saying be a doormat for a person who is treating you badly. But no one wakes up one morning and says, hey I want to be an addict/alcoholic/junkie! Something happens or is happening to make them that way, and after awhile they bury that shit so far down they don't even feel what is wrong anymore. They become, as my therapist said, "insectile inside".

I can't turn my back on these people completely. I've lost so many of them, to the streets and to drugs and also to disability and suicide. And even the worst of the worst have glimmers of humanity. Like that woman. She once picked my pocket (or tried, but she didn't get much), and then later, guilty, helped me clean a kitchen for a friend and offered me drugs when she didn't really have much, which for her was the most compassionate thing she could think of to do. You see these things and you know that somewhere, buried under all the pain and awful, they are still living, hurting people, who love and want to be loved so desperately.

My compassion is not a weakness, no matter how people see me. It takes a strong person to love like that, and love doesn't mean me being a doormat or giving them money. But it might be a roommate cleaning up puke. Or just being there and listening to them, even if you have to guard your wallet and zip up your pockets at the same time. Or feeding them and making sure they aren't sleeping on the streets, or dropping them off somewhere in the neighborhood where they can score. Or just calling them to make sure they are okay after a court date or a surgery (I have several friends whose use went haywire after they got cancer or were hospitalized for whatever reason.) People mistake love for weakness, but loving like that is some of the hardest work I've ever done, especially when someone has done me horribly. I forgave the friend who stole my wallet, especially since I learned he took some/most of the money and bought groceries for him and his family, after he'd screwed up and spent his own grocery money on drugs. But if I see him, I make sure I know where my wallet is AT ALL TIMES. I'm not a moron.

And I don't fault people who think druggies are the worst of all people, and dealers even worse, because I know they are hurting too. Loving yourself is just as important. I love you even if I don't know you. You are all beautiful people. I wish you all peace and prosperity and an end to suffering. Blessed be.

Wed, Dec. 14th, 2016, 09:24 am
Nightmare Dreamscape of War

I dreamed there was a war. It didn't feel like a true dream, thankfully, more like a response to what is going on in Aleppo and the United States. Sometimes I do start having true dreams around the turn of the year, though, and I can only hope if I do have one it bears no relation to last night's.

I dreamed that people were writing and tattooing numbers, parts of social security numbers etc., all over their bodies. Not because the government was making us do it, but because it made identifying the bodies and body parts so much easier and they didn't want relatives to go on never knowing if they lived or died.

I dreamed there were packs of orphaned, feral children, that roamed the streets in gangs during the day and slept in parks at night. They slept in trees to avoid the wild animals and packs of feral dogs and coyotes that scavenged rough the night.

One group of children was more ostracized than the others, whether for mental deficiencies or because they were LGBTQA wasn't clear. The adults decided to burn out the trees in their park, and though they had been repeatedly warned, these kids had no place to go.

I dreamt that temples were claiming children as property to protect them, by placing collars made of wreathed flowers around their necks. They tried to mark this group of children, only due to a shortage and need to order more collars, only seven or eight (about half) or the children could be official claimed and brought into church property.

And I dreamt the fires were laid, and adults watched with indifference as the trees burned. A few of the remained children made it out, and the rest burned in their trees, unable to escape when they woke to fires burning in the branches all around them.

And this is why I am awake, early in the morning, despite having gone to bed late. I don't want to dream anymore.

Tue, Jan. 5th, 2016, 01:28 am
My Legacy

Some things I've learned in this lifetime so far:

Don't judge -- not the druggies, nor the prostitutes, not the pimps nor the pushers
You don't know what motivates them, and even the ones doing wrong are sometimes just confused and unenlightened. There's a difference between not allowing someone to hurt yourself or others and condemning them for their actions.

Be kind to all of the above, to the rich elite as well as the homeless panhandlers, whether you believe they deserve it or not. Kindness is not a measure of other people, it's a measure of yourself.

It's better to regret doing a thing than to regret not having done a thing. We learn best by our mistakes.

For the above reasons, forgive others their mistakes. Allow people to learn and grow. Encourage them to make new mistakes, rather than repeating the same ones of the past.

Life is a spiral. Sometimes it can seem like you're going in circles and back to where you started. Each time that happens, take stock of what you did to put yourself there. The difference between an upward spiral and a downward one is simply turning around and facing the other direction.

There is no shame in accepting help from others. Pass it on.

What doesn't kill us often breaks us. There are a lot of broken people out there. Be kind to them.

Violence only begets more violence. To have peace, cultivate peace.

Nothing belongs to you. You can't take anything with you. You keep nothing, not even your body. Everything is on loan, so take care of it because you'll have to give it back some day. Learn to share with others who respect this rule and protect from those who would violate it.

Above you, be kind to yourself.

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Tue, Jan. 5th, 2016, 01:16 am
Depression Suicide Checklist

I've walked beside a number of people contemplating suicide, and I'm pretty good at offering both hope and solace, but I've not taken to same hard logical look at my own life, because I've got a pretty good idea of what the outcome is going to be. For future posterity, here's my checklist criteria:

How old are you? Depression and other mood disorders hit hard around the time the hormones are up, and some people can grow out of them. I don't recommend the final recourse for anyone under 25 unless they are already suffering from some fatal illness. In which case they get the right to decide.

Are you sober? Emotions are chemicals, and the so-called negative emotions can be caused by chemicals. I believe a person needs to be sober of mind-altering substances for at least 30 days before one can make a sound decision of this magnitude.

Is this a lifelong chronic illness, or did this begin because of a singular event? For people who didn't start off depressed, I have good news! The chances that this depression is a permanent condition are slim. That doesn't mean it sucks any less, because without assistance the feeling could last as long as two years. Average seems to be four to six months or so, but people vary greatly in resilience and circumstance. You should probably still reach for outside intervention if you can; hopefully someone sees your struggle and lends a hand when you can't ask for one. The more bouts of depression you suffer from in your lifetime, the worse your prognosis. A few unlucky souls carry this dread malady 24/7, forever. I urge those who have ever suffered from a singular bout of depression to both understand the depth of this darkness and also to please not confuse the two with unrealistic expectations. A person with a chronic lifelong illness is not going to feel better when you tell them they will feel fine in the future.

Have you started anything new, including new antidepressants, or a new and what should be an exciting chapter of your life? Things that we think "shouldn't" cause pangs of ill feeling often do, like having a baby, a new and better job, buying a house, or an awesome new relationship. They resurface old inadequacies. Why? Because life is a spiral. Counseling, a change in meds, or simply talking with a trusted friend might help. Either way, give yourself six months to adjust to the change. That's about how long studies show it takes most humans to adapt to new situations.

Finally, how many things have you tried? Dealing with depression, like any illness, takes a lot of hard work. I didn't promise it would be easy, only that not being depressed is worth the effort. At minimum try a couple of different counselors in a couple of different styles, one of each of the classes of medication (which takes two months to adjust), gratitude meditation (the one most proven to work for this condition), and the "3 Good Things" daily journal exercise, where you write down in a log three good things that happened to you each day (you have to do it for at least thirty days).

If you have alternative reasons for wanting to end it all, such as other illnesses or toxic relationships, have you worked with those? These may also be deciding factors to consider, especially if your condition is excessively painful or fatal. For those with pain conditions who are now on the highest doses, consider ibogaine treatment, which can reset your tolerance to pain meds and set up back up on the ladder. It's expensive and illegal in many places, but desperate times....

Once you've gone through the checklist, then it's simply up to you. I can't say I offer up much hope past all of these things, and yet some people still want to live, while others don't. Don't forget that old adage of, "you can always kill yourself tomorrow, but you can't bring yourself back to life if you kill yourself today." Either way, my blessings to all of you.

As for myself, I think lack of sobriety is the only thing keeping me around. That and the fact that my life is an unholy mess. I think that once I get everything straight, and get myself totally sober, rather than feeling relieved I'm going to realize I'm still insanely depressed. Still, I'm determined to do both of those things. And then I'm going to take a hard look. Because my doctor has told me I'm completely out of drug options. I've tried all the therapy a million times. I can recount about six months to maybe a year of my life total WHEN I WASN'T DEPRESSED every single day to at least some degree, and that's an awfully long time. I'm in pain, I have no real function in society anymore since I can no longer work, and I barely leave the house. Illness has robbed me of everything. And I'm so very, very tired. I regret nothing, but I think it may be time to close the door and let the wheel turn. We'll see.

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Tue, Nov. 24th, 2015, 09:26 pm
Fails on Metro

I fell on a metro train today, or almost fell. As usual, everyone was crowding at the doors instead of moving towards the center of the train, blocking my way to empty seats. And some guy was compounding the problem by being leaned completely against a pole so he could fiddle with his phone. As I stepped around, over, and through a pedestrian obstacle course, the train lurched forward and I completely lost my balance, stumbling several steps sideways and managing to maneuver so I'd somewhat hit the wall and pole next to the doors.

The guy sitting there put his arm out to catch me before I went ass over teakettle, and just as I was thanking him (while practically across his lap, having stumbled over his feet) he looked me dead in the face and squeezed my ass. *irritated sigh*

Under normal circumstances I would have kirked out, followed by a complaint, but he did keep me from truly falling and probably really hurting myself. So I figured he got one ass grab that wasn't followed by an ass kicking.

The thing I'm wondering is, what kind of gem of a person, when woken from a doze by a girl tripping over them, not only has the fast reflexes to catch them but immediately thinks to cop a feel? Like, it was so fast he went from sleep to buttgrab in zero-flat, so that had to be pretty much an auto-response. I need to be rich so I can have a permanent chauffeur.

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Wed, Nov. 11th, 2015, 10:39 pm
New Life Plan Ahead

I abdicated all my life because I was sick, which only led to depression and resentment toward my mate for not either a) helping/encourage me to do more, or b) not doing absolutely everything for me and taking care of me. I'm working now to reach that fine balance of doing as much as I can for myself, despite my illness.

At heart I am independently natured, and if I don't do this I will die. Hopefully, my S/o will also learn how to be encouraging and persistent (the positive form of nagging) because that will be more helpful to me long-term than if he just does stuff for me.

My responsibilities currently are:
take my meds
straighten kitchen at night
order groceries etc. online (the only house chore I was still keeping on top of) and put up said groceries (with some hit or miss results there)
self-care grooming, which I hope to improve to daily as time goes by (also some hit-or-miss, when you've been disabled or depressed for awhile, regular grooming is a monumental chore; I think I brush my hair every couple of days at best)

So, today is day one and I did kitchen and meds plus my reading goal. We'll see how it goes from here.

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Wed, Jul. 29th, 2015, 06:14 am
Cosby, Facts and Opinions

If you'd like to read the Full Cosby Deposition courtesy of the NYTimes, I'll warn you that's it's long and takes a bit to load.

Cosby Facts:

Generally, I'm as loathe to condemn via the media as the next person, but given his own previous, in court, confessions that have been released via the deposition, I've pretty much come to the conclusion that I can safely conclude (for my own conscience anyway) Cosby did assault these women, or at least some of these women, at a time when they were not able to consent. But here are the facts known, because it isn't enough (to me) that a number of women have come out.

FACT: Cosby did have seven different prescriptions for Quaaludes which he received by lying to a doctor about.
FACT: He did not take these drugs, but rather gave them to women he wanted to have sex with. He has said so, and viewed them as similar to buying a woman a drink that you want to have sex with. While I do see his point (that there isn't much difference), I would also like to point out that if you have sex with a very drunk person, it's also rape. Furthermore, who wants to have sloppy drunk sex with a stranger? It's a good policy never to have sex with drunk people; I don't.
FACT: Most of the woman admit to knowingly having taken the drug, although in the deposition in question supposedly he gave her Benadryl with her coffee, but she believes it was a much stronger drug.
FACT: In some cases, the women were drinking at the time they accepted the Quaaludes (a very common practice in those days).
FACT: Drinking and Quaaludes can often causes stupor and unconsciousness.

If I'm interpreting right (so this is not a fact), at one point he seems to be "not sure" as to whether a woman in question was of a mind to consent or not, but that since she made no protests or complaints on the way to the door or afterward, that meant she was okay with the sexual encounter.

FACT: The women overwhelmingly report a very similar MO, that they had a sexual encounter while unconscious or semi-conscious. In some cases they only remember the beginnings of the encounter, or realized something had happened after it was already over.
FACT: Cosby did, in the past, take steps to cover these allegations. The full nature of these steps (money offered, whether or not he agreed to be interviewed to squash stories in papers) is unclear. We will probably never know all that he did or did not do to cover his tracks. That in itself I don't find incriminating because who would want these kinds of allegations floating around?

It is entirely possible that some of the women may be lying, but I find it hard to believe that all of them would be lying. It's a common practice when getting really effed up to do it in the presence of someone you trust to protect you from harm, and who inspires more trust than Bill Cosby? They only found out that they weren't safe all along, and of course no one is going to believe that he would harm someone, and that's an entirely believable story. We're not talking about heading up to a room with thuggish Mike Tyson (not that that's the fault of a victim either, but he's basically a bruiser), we're talking about COSBY. It's like going out with a trusted guy friend, heck, a trusted gay guy friend, that you expect is going to keep you from doing something stupid, like getting drunk and leaving for a one-nighter with a stranger, only to wake up in HIS bed the next morning with only a vague memory of what happened.

Like, if ever I wanted to get seriously effed up with someone I thought would be safe and protect me (babysit, as the term is called), it would be the Jello pudding pop guy! Well, before the shit hit the fan anyway. These days, of course, if you let him so much as buy you a drink, THEN you could argue that you probably should have known what was coming and no longer deserve a whole boatload of sympathy. Still not your fault, but you should have known better now.

And that's why I believe these women are telling the truth, because it simply makes too much sense in light of the fact that he admits to giving the women drugs and then having sex with them. I think they believed they were in the presence of someone who they thought it was safe to get high and relax around, and then they found out otherwise, or maybe even after it happened (because booze and ludes can probably give you strange and trippy nightmarish dreams if they are anything like booze and other sleepy pills) they may not have believed it at first themselves.

Or maybe a few didn't believe it was rape. If he told them he thought it was consensual, and they don't remember what happened, they might still have gone along, at least for an encounter or two. Nowadays, we are more enlightened than that. Someone that messed up can't consent. Which is a word to the wise for men who think it's okay to feed women alcohol until they are too drunk to stand.

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Mon, Jun. 22nd, 2015, 03:48 pm
Schizophrenia, Also, Why Shrinks and Descartes Don't Get Along

Just finished reading A Very Short Introduction to Schizophrenia (I love this series, BTW) which has deepened my understanding of the neurological underpinnings of this disorder. I think I can better explain how it happens, for those interested.

There's a part of your brain that differentiates things internal from things external. It doesn't totally mute those things, but it does tone it done. That's the main thing that breaks down in schizophrenia, and depending on what other systems are affected determines how it manifests.

Say you move your arm. Simple maneuver, right? Now if someone else were to bump you and push your arm, you can tell the difference pretty easily. That's that section of your brain at work. But imagine a world in which you wanted to, say, pick up a pencil, and then instead of you picking up a pencil, someone else then took your hand and used it to pick up the pencil. People who experience this, after awhile, begin to think that someone else is controlling their movements. Even though their body is doing everything they want it to, because that section of the brain is broken, the one that tones down your own movements as "less important to pay attention to because you intended for it to happen" they don't feel in control. It may even digress to control of thoughts. Maybe someone else wanted them to move a certain way.

Did you think that thought or did someone else?

The same thing happens with speech. We all have an internal voice which is muted, and in addition, even the words we speak out loud are rated by our brains as slightly less attention-worthy than what others say. After all, we know what is going to come out of our mouths at least a fraction of a second before we say it (even if sometimes we, to much embarrassment, say things we didn't mean to express out loud). If the internal thoughts are where the major misfiring is occurring, you get auditory hallucinations, and because they are so "close to home" they may actually be louder than external voices. In a few instances, it's been known for schizophrenics to actually mutter the hallucinatory words to themselves, without being aware of it, and then answer those same "voices". And of course, since you can hear "them" too (because the person just said it), obviously those voices are real!

Now, it is entirely possible to hallucinate sound without being schizophrenic. They are the most common type of hallucination. ANYONE who experiences extreme anxiety, after awhile, will naturally begin to have this happen. I don't know why; I know it has something to do with the excess cortisol. But for those people, when the anxiety drops those hallucinations usually dissipate. Not so in schizophrenia.

Visual hallucinations are pretty much the end of the road. Usually by that time the whole system has degraded. You know where your eyes go, but if I poked you in the eye your vision would be jogged. You know when you daydream, remember that we take in information with our eyes but "vision" actually occurs when our brains process this information. And by this time, if you are under delusions that someone is controlling you, or hearing voices, etc. nothing you imagine is bound to be very good.

It's of note that in quite a number of non-Western cultures, schizophrenics tend to hallucinate "helpful" voices. They experience soothing, calming, and guiding spirits, or a mix, such as spirits that protect them from another evil entity. Here in the so-called civilized world they are more often to think the government is listening to their thoughts and out to get them.

Your internal subconscious, the stuff of dreams, including all ridiculous dream logic, has now become your reality. You cannot tell it from reality, but your emotions flavor all that you encounter. If you are anxious or paranoid, the world is literally warped to that delusion. If you are safe, secure, surrounded by love and light, maybe it's not quite so scary. Imagine being trapped in your dreamworld and that has become your waking reality.

Descartes is famous for the line "I think, therefore I am" because it was all he could prove that was real. Obviously the mad experience a reality all their own, what I call "the Blue Car World". For those who haven't followed along, it's living in a world where there is a hallucinatory blue car parked in your way. No one else can see it and everyone else can pass through it as if it isn't there. You try and try, because you know it shouldn't be there, but all you get is smashed up knees from trying to walk into solid metal. Yet everyone continues to encourage you to try walking through the "obviously" imaginary car. Until, one day, frustrated and exhausted, you give in, decide to humor your delusions, and walk around the damn thing, because it's easier to just go on with your life with the understanding that for you, there's a blue car, THE Blue Car, and you don't get to live in anyone else's reality, and they don't have to deal with yours.

And if you're lucky it's just those Blue Cars are parked, rather than trying to run your down in the street, and they don't talk.

I once, as a teen, told a shrink that he couldn't prove to me that anything was real, not the room, not him. Descartes would have been proud. I was a very philosophical teen, used to say that no one could disprove that the universe wasn't created only moments ago by a highly advanced civilization, a "pack of wild Saturnites" pretty much on a whim. That they'd made it all, including our memories and aged dinosaur bones. Almost no one else around could wrap their heads around this; they'd say dumb things like "but I remember last year!" To my eyeroll and reply, "duh, if someone could actually do all of that don't you think they could create you with memories too?" Not that you can prove to me a memory anyway; eyewitnesses to crimes are full of false memories.

When our brains fail, our senses fail, and that part of our experience, that part of our reality no longer exists. When the entirely of our brain fails, we die, and this whole universe ceases to exist. If we were cut off from all our senses, only our thoughts would exist, only our thoughts would prove (to us, anyway) that we exist.

The shrink, by the way, put me down as psychotic for this, me and Descartes. I continue to think that shrink was kind of an asshole, but now I know better than to wax philosophical with shrinks.

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Thu, Jun. 11th, 2015, 04:51 pm
Rant About a Traffic Accident

Just witnessed a pretty heinous accident on Connecticut Avenue NW. I heard this amazing screech (over 2 seconds) and looked over just in time to see one car slam into the back side corner of an SUV. I don't know why the SUV had crossed over that lane, whether it was to turn into the fast food drivethru, changing lanes, or because of a tire blowout (one was flat, but that might have been because of getting hit).

Either way, both cars just sat there, and then the person who hit the SUV got out and started taking pictures, during rush hour, blocking all but one lane on a major street.

PEOPLE, IF YOU ARE IN AN ACCIDENT AND CAN STILL MOVE YOUR CAR, GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE STREET. Even with the flat the SUV could have finished pulling into the driveway that led to the drivethru, it was maybe 15 feet. And the other car seemed mostly okay, totally able to pull over instead of just sitting there fucking up traffic. Cars were honking all over the place because it backed up enough to block the nearest intersection.

Assholes are why we have some of the worst traffic in the nation.

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Wed, Jan. 28th, 2015, 06:31 pm
At Sixes and Sevens

I can already tell the new neurologist is working up towards an "it's all in your head psychiatric diagnosis". I can smell it.

First she tells me that Topamax isn't used for nerve pain. Funny that, doctor, considering it was the only thing that saved me when none of the other drugs worked, a low dose of Tomapax cured the horrible burning sensation and was the only thing that stopped me from killing myself. She says it can cause burning (which is true), but it never fixes it. For me, it took burning, of the "I've spilled boiling water on myself" magnitude and turned it into a "tingling, mild sunburn" sensation.

And I'm not alone:

Move over Lyrica and Cymbalta? Could Topamax (Topiramate) Be More Effective in Fibromyalgia?

Then she asked me if I was bipolar (no, that's the OTHER sister), and what my official (mental) diagnoses were. And she did ask me if I'd had an MRI, but looked at mine from six years ago, and said it was fine so I didn't need another one. Um...I was fine six years ago, so yeah, I would hope that damn thing was fine. This problem came up 18 months ago or so, and I never had it before, so exactly how does a scan from six years ago, when I was fine and had no trouble, show that I'm fine now?

If you come in with a broken leg, and they look at an x-ray from pre-broken leg, that has nothing to do with your leg right now, does it? Duh. So how does an MRI from years before the problem have anything to do with now? Hmmmmmm.....

I'm supposed to go in for a memory test, if I can find a place that covers it with my insurance, but I already know how this will go. It will say my memory is fine, because (as I TRIED TO EXPLAIN) if you compare my memory to Joe Schmoe, it IS fine. Now, if you could compare my memory to me of two or four years ago, it would be shockingly different. I compensated for my visual processing problems by having a scary memory for certain kinds of detail, not as scary as some people's I know, but pretty damn scary overall. And now that is gone. You know, the kind of person who understands that pie is always 3.1415927 (technically I've rounded that up) and never just 3.14, or who knew every poem from the Hobbit, LoTR, and Dark is Rising Series by heart, just because. I can't find my way around town visually or by spatial sense like a normal person, so I have to compensate by MEMORIZING THE DIRECTIONS, I know that from my front door to the dr I:
exit apt door, turn right, elevator left, pick correct floor, turn right to exit, turn right on sidewalk and follow to end of block, turn right and follow to end of block, cross street cattycorner-left, follow straight to metro entrance (stairs down), which turns left, escalator down right, entrance stiles on right, platform train on right, switch trains by exit train go left, u-turn go downstairs, platform train right (making sure to pick correct train line), making sure to exit correct side of station when leaving subway system, go forward until you reach the correct street, turn left, go forward until you reach the destination on left.

Obviously, I also have the train lines, the streets I turn on, the final address, and a few names of places I pass to look out for so that I know I'm still going the right direction and haven't gone to far. In many places, I can't do "shortcuts" because I'll get hopelessly lost. It's not as bad in the city because many of them are laid out neatly with numbered and lettered streets, but I can't just find my way back by sensing directions--I have very little direction sense. And having gone some where, I then have to MEMORIZE THE ROUTE BACK as if it's a whole new set of directions, because it is.

I do it with people too. If I need to recall later what someone looks like, I'm doing it like I'm writing up a crime witness report in my head, tall/short, fat/thin, dirty blond hair, tattoo of butterfly on left wrist or whatever. The constant need for insane levels of meticulous memory details are necessary because I can't just "visualize" certain things. Maybe I couldn't draw up a make or model of a car (or hell, even what color it was, if I didn't "memorize" it in list form), but I might be able to give you the license plate instead. It was easier for me to memorize a license plate number than for me to try and visually recall a blue 4-door sedan.

Only now it's gone. I'm living in this hash blur, where everything is vague and fuzzy, like a cloud or a dream. Like a very, very bad dream. But when they try and run your standard memory tests it mostly comes up pretty normal. I guess by most standards it would BE normal, after all, most people don't need to memorize a list of directions for every place they go, or a list description for all the people they know, or phone and license numbers for everything around them. They just know "that's so and so's car" because they see it and recognize, or they look over and say "Oh hi so-and-so!" But none of you people were ever familiar to me, most of you never will be, I just don't see you often enough, or your features are not distinct enough to register past the prosopagnosia (faceblindness).

I'm losing the whole world around me, and I feel like I'm losing myself with it. I don't even want to go outside anymore. It's become this big scary place full of STUFF.

As far as the pain meds fiasco is going, it turns out my shrink is now a suboxone prescriber (when did THAT happen?) so when I told him the nonsense between my pain doctor and my new GP, he offered to put me on that. Huh. Sounds like a plan, better than battling it out with the new GP anyway. For those not keeping track, I can't get pain meds from pain management mostly because I have an addiction history, so legally they are kind of tied up. How we had it before was they consulted with my old GP, who wrote for my meds. It all came from one dr to one pharmacy (it's tramadol for crying out loud, we're not exactly talking morphine here) and everyone was happy. At least, until my GP and I parted ways over a couple of items which had nothing to do with my pain management.

My new GP started in on the thing that my old GP originally was like "I don't want to prescribe pain meds...that's what pain management is for!!" Only this one is worse, she's like, "I WON'T prescribe them, not even under consult." Basically tough titties. And tramadol isn't exactly easy to come by. As I told my shrink, I can do one of two things. It's not my pain dr's fault that laws make it so tough on her and she can't prescribe meds to me, so I can either shop around until I find a reasonable GP, which by the way, having an addiction makes me feel less of an addict than being forced through this nonsense for TRAMADOL pfft, and do all this bullshit and be treated like shit, or, I can make a phone call and in thirty minutes (maybe the first time might be hard, since I don't know anyone who deals in it off the bat), I could go out and find some heroin. Because, as I said, people who use pain pills don't want tramadol, they want oxys, or heroin, or something heavy like that. I've never heard of anyone going, "hey dude, I really want some tramadol." The real stupidity of this is, I DON'T EVEN HAVE AN ADDICTION TO PAIN PILLS. Which of course everyone knows, it's just if you have ANY addiction history, they treat you like shit.

They actually made me sign a pledge form the last time I got my tramadol, that said, "I will not use illegal drugs." I almost peed myself laughing, like, what next, a chastity pledge? Do I get a promise ring? Because I had an addiction history, you think having me SIGN A FORM for my prescription will change that? I told my shrink that if addictions were that easy, I would have signed a form and stuck one to my front door years ago and been cured. Hallelujah! Sign this pledge and be free! Hell, I've got a sign on my junk food cabinet and I CAN'T STOP EATING ICE CREAM even though I'm lactose intolerant. Who comes up with this shit, anyway?

So he writes for suboxone only he forgets to put his DEA number on the rx, and the snooty pharmacist (NOT my regular one) gives me the eyeball (because, yeah, I'm going to fake a suboxone rx *eyeroll back*) when I offered his business card. "I can only call the number on the prescription." Yes, okay, that's fine, gotcha. But she didn't have to say it in that tone of voice, you know, the tone of voice that says I obviously spend my time faking expensive laminate-type clinic business cards so I can turn in suspicious prescriptions with my horrible druggie self, which is all people who take suboxone are, right? Not people who also may have chronic pain.

pffttttt Bitch. It's the cane, makes me grumpy. One day it's going to make me so grumpy I'm going to freak the fuck out and someone is going to eat it and shit splinters for the rest of their life. Two doctors appointments, one shitty, one good, but I was exhausted and did not need a snooty new pharmacist to give me "eyeball" and "tone" at the end of my day.

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