Pill Shaming (Yourself)

It seems like you can’t win.

When you’re depressed and/or anxious, people tell you to get help. It’s all over social media. Protect your mental health. Speak to a counselor. They give you (not so) helpful advice to cheer up, get out more, get some sunshine, just try harder.

So, you speak to your doctor, and your doctor recommends medication.

Now, the tone of the conversations change. Oh, you’re taking pills? What about side effects? You know, a pill won’t magically solve your problems. Can you get hooked on those? How long are you going to take them?

So after some time goes by, you start to feel better. You have spoken with a counselor and you learn some better coping mechanisms. You wean yourself off your medication. Your family is proud of you for learning to deal with your emotions, and you are so relieved to be off the pills. You have maligned them so badly in your own mind, you feel almost like some junkie every morning when you take it.

Then life still keeps happening. The stuff that nibbled away at your stability is still there, because it isn’t in your control to change them. You don’t understand why you have these bad feelings and thoughts, especially when they seem to happen at such odd times, apropos of nothing. Like, when you wake up, and the anxiety attack falls on you like a bucket of cold water. Not when you open your eyes, mind you, but as soon as consciousness surfaces. You get a hot flash, your heart rate takes off, and your stomach tightens up into a hot little ball, high in your abdomen.

And it’s more than those physical things. Sometimes, the feeling of doom and oppression smothers you like a living thing. Then, just as quickly, the symptoms begin to fade. There are whole days when you feel fine. Then it rains, maybe, or you experience some conflict in your life, and it all starts over again.

You decide it might be time to go back and talk to your doctor again. She recommends you go back on your medication.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

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Big Lie

We all lie to our kids. Anyone who says they don’t, well, they’re lying. Sometimes, though, we tell a lie that we don’t mean. Sometimes, we don’t even know we’re lying until it’s too late.

I was feeding Evelyn today, and she was nodding off while she was eating. To those who don’t know, my daughter fights sleep. She will startle awake and practically jump out of the chair sometimes. She will sleep for some arbitrary number of hours at night, then her feet hit the floor, and there is no getting her to go back to bed.

I laughed at her and said, “You can go to sleep Evelyn, I’m not going to let…..,” but the words died on my lips.

I was going to say, “I’m not going to let anything hurt you.”

But that’s a lie.

Something has been hurting her in her sleep for years. Something I can barely control, let alone stop. When I held her after she was born, I told her the same thing. I told her I’d keep her safe. I wouldn’t let anything bad happen to her. I didn’t know then, you see. I didn’t know I was lying. As I started to say it today, I realized. I realized something was hurting her, and I am powerless to stop it.

Seizures.

She has them mostly in her sleep now. They scare and confuse her. She had two in a row a couple of days ago and sobbed for fifteen minutes after, presumably because she was scared and felt so bad. They’ve gotten better, god knows, but they are far from over. They are still hurting her.

I wonder if, as a special needs parent, that’s the hardest thing. The thing that eats us, that sickens our hearts and discourages us, especially at night when you’re tired and low and can’t do much besides feel sorry for yourself. I wonder if it’s that we can’t do anything to change the outcome of our child’s illness. We have no control. We can’t stop the bully. We can’t fix it.

We can’t stop it from hurting them.

So here’s my message to you: hang in there, (not so) special parents. I’ve never felt so (not so) special in my life. But I know we’ll keep fighting. We’ll try to keep our promise.

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Bah Bah Black Sheep (I Can’t Find the Asterisk)

I don’t think it’s fair to refer to myself as a black sheep.  I mean, sure, I seldom fit in any group.  Okay, so I almost never agree with popular public opinion.  And fine, my family usually looks at me with something like mystified disbelief when we talk about relevant current affairs.

Maybe I am a black sheep.

In case you’ve been under a rock or in a coma for the past couple of weeks, the issue that is lighting up our [sarcasm alert] “fair and balanced” news media is the current immigration policy.  Our little twerp….er…..I mean, our Attorney General Jeff Sessions has implemented a new policy which takes the children of families seeking refuge and asylum at our boarders.  They are sending the adults to detention to go through the alleged due process (in courts that are backlogged beyond comprehension) and keeping the children to be detained “in the system.” So far this system consists of a completely overwhelmed group of people trying to sort through thousands of frightened children.  There is no apparent oversight of this process, no guarantee of sponsors or placement, and no clear way for the families to find out what happened to their children once their “due process” has taken place.

In a word, it’s chaos.

This policy (NOT a law, by the way) was implemented by Sessions and the current administration.  No policies from past administrations detailed a process for separating the children from their families.  Look it up.  I’m not doing the research for you.  I’ll wait.

Well?

This is a power play by the Trump administration to show a crack down on illegals, and to gain more support for his wall.  This is the “hardass” stance on illegal immigration.

And it’s wrong.

Tearing apart families who are already trying to flee from regimes that are, in fact, tearing families apart, is a shameful outrage.  If they need to go through due process, fine.  But keep them together.  Don’t make children the pawns in a sick game to prove who is right.  That’s what happening here.

In the meantime, all of us are arguing about who is right, but what is happening to these kids?  What will happen to them? It’s time to forget about who is right and start doing what is right.

And on that note, the twerp…..er…..Mr. Sessions busted out his eye glasses and bible to shame us all into blindly following him.  What he quoted was the book of Romans, which are Saint Paul’s letters to the Romans, Chapter 13.  However, he only reads the beginning of the chapter, about doing what is right by law, and furthermore, that is described as a law that is subordinate to God. (That in and of itself is a whole other debatable issue.) It also says to pay taxes when they are due, to give honor to whom it due, and respect to whom it is due. Sessions said this is our guide to be subordinate to our government.

However, if you study Saint Paul, you know he was imprisoned a number of times.  Clearly he didn’t believe in following just anything his government told him.  He used his knowledge of Christ’s teachings to guide him in the discernment of just and unjust laws. He obviously had no problem disobeying what he deemed as an unjust law.

Furthermore, just a few verses on in the same chapter, get a load of this: “Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.  The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not covet, and whatever other commandments there may be, are summed up in this saying, [namely] “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.”

Since everybody got all “biblical” during this argument, here is another for you.  Jesus himself said this one, in the 13th Chapter of John.  “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” [emphasis mine.]

Now, granted, this came from my Catholic Bible, but go ahead and look it up in the King James Version.  I think you will find the message little changed.

I searched and searched for the fine print.  You know, where Jesus might have really only been talking about people who agreed with him politically, or people who looked like him physically, or maybe people who shared his views on fashion.  However, I couldn’t find the asterisk and I couldn’t find the fine print where there were exceptions to what he said.

I think it boils down to the fact that we’ve lost our compassion.  We’ve lost our courage to speak out when someone is doing something wrong, even if it’s someone we tend to agree with.  We’ve forgotten we have our own minds, and if we don’t fit into any political group, so what?

I’ve given up on ever fitting in.  When I say I’m pro-life, that’s just what I mean.  I believe we are obligated to defend those who cannot defend themselves, such as unborn babies, the elderly, and yes, these poor people seeking asylum in our great country. I see these all as related.  I think we are not qualified to decide who lives or dies.  I think we can only offer comfort and compassion to the best of our ability.

I also think that wool is itchy, but, black is my color, so at least there’s that.

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Fun Subjects: Rape, Incest, and The Master Race (The Culture of Death, Part 2)

Warning: Foul Language Ahead

Any time you talk to anyone about abortion, unless they are one of those soul-less “free abortions for everyone!” people, you will always come back around to this pro choice question:

“What about in cases of rape and incest?”

This is a valid question.  There are no easy answers.  Both rape and incest are unimaginable crimes, arguably the worst things that can happen to a woman (or child.) Imagine getting pregnant from such a violent act.  It is almost unthinkable.

What I don’t understand is how an act of murder somehow makes this unthinkable crime more tolerable.

I’ve never been raped, or been the victim of incest.  I haven’t walked in those shoes, so all of my opinions are based on suppositions, and on what my conscience and common sense tell me. If a child is conceived in rape, or incest, that is a horrible thing.  But it isn’t that baby’s fault. It’s almost like the pro choice people are somehow suggesting that by ridding the victim of the baby, the act can somehow be forgotten, or lessened.  How is that possible?

On an even darker end of the spectrum, pro choice advocates love to use the rape and incest argument to push a pro choice agenda, when in fact these abortions make up less than 1% of the abortions that happen in this country every year.  If that isn’t exploitation of a victim, I don’t know what is.

People have asked me, what if your daughter (who is severely disabled) were molested and became pregnant? My answer to that is I would be distraught.  I cannot predict what my husband would do.  I’m sure it would make the world news.  I can tell you this: that hypothetical child in my daughters womb is half of my daughter, and my heart will not let me destroy that.

That takes me along to a different subject. This is where the foul language comes in.

Over the past few months, imbedded in the abortion debate, I have seen some discussion about disabled kids, sometimes referred to as “profoundly” disabled children.  I’ve seen discussion about what a burden these kids are on their families when they aren’t cute little kids any more.  You know, when they get heavy and not as cute and they still need diapers and all that.  When society isn’t as anxious to parade them across TV.

A good example of this is Iceland.  They have almost no babies born with Down Syndrome! Amazing! They’ve found a prevention for Down Syndrome!

Wrong! They just abort the babies that have it! So, in short, it’s like the Nazi’s declaring, “Hey! No Jews live in Germany!”

No shit.

When I was pregnant with Evelyn, we had to go see a “specialist.” She was causing all kinds of problems in my womb–not moving enough, not processing the amniotic fluid like she was supposed to, you name it–and we had to have a more intensive ultrasound (this was before the whole 4D ultrasound thing) and have an amniocentesis. Early in my pregnancy, I had elected not to have an AVP screen, which supposedly can warn you that your child has Down Syndrome or some other horrifying disability.

Long story short, the specialist scolded me for not having this test.  If the test comes up positive, they recommend further testing, aka amniocentesis, to provide a more exact diagnosis. Fine. But what he said next shifted my entire world right on its axis.  He said, “no one is obligated to raise a child with a profound disability.”

Isn’t it a shame how you can never think of the right comeback when you are right there in that moment? It always hits you later.  What I did at that moment was stare at him blankly and try to put my brain and my heart back in their respective positions.

What I wish I would have said is, “Yes, you fucking prick, we are obligated to raise and love and care for whatever child is born to us!”

We’ve reached a place where we can abort because it’s a girl or a boy when we wanted the other.  Or maybe we can keep those pesky Down Syndrome babies from sullying the general statistics of our extremely white, extremely blond population.

Guess what else? Now old people are on the chopping block.  Oh, and very very sick people.  Are they a burden? Let’s convince them that they are better off dead, that they deserve to “die with dignity,” and then rid ourselves of the inconvenience they pose to us.

It’s sickening.  It’s heart breaking and soul crushing.  And it’s perfectly acceptable. In fact, it’s more acceptable to defend “a woman’s rights” than to defend human life. As I’ve said before, if you are against abortion, you hate women.  You don’t think woman should have healthcare or rights.  It’s all very cleverly worded by some deeply sick individuals, and a large population has swallowed it, hook, line, and sinker.

I don’t hate women.  I don’t think victims of rape or incest should be cast aside.  It isn’t mutually exclusive–quite the opposite.  Compassion and love should extend to all.  Why can’t we see that?

Why?

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Welcome to the Culture of Death (no guns allowed)

One of the reasons I’ve stepped away from my blogging a little is because the political climate over the last two years has been, well, exhausting.

In trying to deal with my increasing anxiety and a possible excessive use of alcohol to calm my nerves, I’ve cut myself off from people quite a bit.  Let’s be honest: social interactions are hard.  You can’t talk to anyone without eventually coming upon some subject that is unpleasant to talk about and causes people to argue.  I had reached the point where I was literally too emotionally exhausted to have these arguments with people.  Have you ever convinced someone to see things your way by arguing with them? Well? Have you?  I’ll wait while you think about it.

[insert Jeopardy music]

I’m going to make an assumption here that none of you (and certainly not me) have ever changed someone’s point of view by arguing with them.

Then, of course, there’s an entirely different population of people who it is almost physically painful to argue with. (I’m looking at you, anti-vaxers.)

If all of your arguing was done with stupid people, I think we’d all be a lot happier.  However, that isn’t the case.  There are highly intelligent, compassionate people out there in the world who completely have their head up their collective ass.  You might think this statement suggests that I think everything I believe is right and everyone who disagrees with me is wrong.

Of course that’s what I believe.  Duh.

Anyway, I said all that to preface the fact that I’ve basically sat on my hands for long enough.  Some things are worthy of argument, and if human life isn’t one of those things, then I don’t know what is.

 

After any mass shooting event, a gun debate breaks out.  This is irrationally fueled from both sides of the fence.  Some want all guns banned; others are preparing for the government to knock down their doors and disarm them. (Outta my cold dead hands, right?) It’s a passionate debate. Our natural response to any sort of tragedy, especially when it involves children, is to find someone, or some thing, to blame. Video games, Marilyn Manson music, violent movies, and of course, guns.

No one ever, ever, looks beyond direct causation.  That shooter played violent video games and so they acted out what they saw. Or Marilyn Manson told them to do it. No one wants to talk about the fact that the last couple of generations in this country have been raised, since the day they born, in a culture that minimizes the value of human life.

There’s a whole other blog post involved in talking about accountability and responsibility, and how feminism has kindly removed any and all of both of those things from the shoulders of the males involved in the whole procreation process, but I won’t get into that now.  I won’t talk about how we are all so wrapped up in how we feel, let’s talk about how we feel, that we can’t focus on anything except how something makes us feel. It’s all about us, it’s all about me, me, ME.

Like I said, I’m not going to talk about that, except to reference the fact that most of the people alive in this country today have no idea, and certainly they don’t care, how anyone else may feel, or what the consequences of our actions may be.  If someone makes us feel bad, well, we can just shoot them.  We can kill them, and then the media, social and otherwise, can explode with how guns should be banned and mental health needs to be addressed.

I’ll give you that one.  Mental health does need to be addressed, but not just for the kid who shoots up his high school.  We all need to step back and take a look at our priorities.

If you don’t know where I’ve been going with this, then I’m sorry.  We’ve arrived.

The value of human life in this country is approximately (and I’m just guessing here) dick. Abortion on demand–that’s what they want.  If you are pro life, you must be a conservative Christian who thinks woman shouldn’t vote.  You hate women.  You are waging a war on women.

Let me be clear.  The only war I see going on is the war against the unborn babies in this country, and around the world. We don’t eat meat, we hate guns, but having an abortion is just okey dokey.  If you are against abortion, you are against women.

It’s not that you value life or anything.  It’s not that you see the wholesale elective destruction of human life as a bad thing.  It’s that you hate women. It’s that you want to tell women what to do.  It’s that you want to be in a woman’s uterus, and take her rights away.

You cannot expect teenagers, or anyone, to feel guilty about the taking of a human life, when half the country thinks it’s a matter of convenience.  You may think these things are unrelated, but you’d be wrong.

This post has run on long enough.  I’ll take a rest, but I’ll be back. This subject is far too vast, and too important, to be wrapped into a thousand words or less. We’ve spent too much time making abortion a political issue.  Democrats, Republicans, liberals, conservatives, none of these words have anything to do with abortion, although our society would like to convince you differently.  At some point, our own moral conscience, and in fact, our common sense, simply must come into play.

If not, the death will continue, with or without guns.

 

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Doggy Destiny

I thought some of my dedicated and loyal fans (hi mom!) might be interested in learning about how we ended up where are right now.

Last February, I took my entire crew to our state capitol to participate in a medical marijuana rally. Obviously, there were tons of like-minded people there to talk to.  One, however, stood out among the others.

She was a lovely young lady, with long curly hair and a fashionable red coat.  In addition, she had at her side a large black dog.  The large black dog was wearing a harness.  Attached to the harness was a patch that said, “Seizure Alert Dog.”

Wait, what?

I had to talk to that lady.  Forget social awkwardness.  I had to talk to her.

As it turned out, this fashionable, curly headed lady had, in fact, trained her own service dog. I took her information, which she gave me gladly even though I was some awkward, Pink Floyd tee shirt wearing weirdo who more or less cornered her and bombarded her with questions. I  stayed in contact with her (Francie, as it turns out) and we talked about dogs and seizures and dogs who predict seizures.

Francie hadn’t just trained this large black German Shepherd named Segen, she had trained most of her own service dogs through the years.  More than that–she had trained service dogs for other people, and did it on her own dime.

To say I was fascinated is an understatement.

 

This is Francie’s doggy soul mate, Segen. To know him is to love him.  He changed Francie’s life, and as a result, changed mine as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We stayed in touch, and one day I received the following message: “I think I found you a dog.”

And so she did.

I won’t give you long version, although I tend to do that.  Instead, I will tell you that she found us a dog that she knew in her heart would be a good fit for us.  That’s what she does–she follows her gut and her heart, and she finds dogs for people who are having trouble with traditional service agencies. She has worked with dogs all of her life, and I consider her instinct to be infallible.  I didn’t know it when I first met her, but it did not take me long to figure it out.

I have been training Dutch, the pup she found for us last year.  He is shaping up to be an amazing dog, and has already shown proficiency for responding to Evelyn’s seizures.

See, Francie is extra special.  She doesn’t just help you, she helps you help yourself.  Teach a man to fish, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. In training Dutch, and in being in contact with Francie, I got to be there with her when she finally gave a name to the wonderful thing she was doing for people.

K9s to Furkids was born.

Now, I am volunteering for Francie.  I’m her secretary.  I’m learning about dog behavior and training. Mostly, though, I’ve given my own life so much purpose, and filled my own heart more than I ever thought I could. I am helping Francie find these dogs and even, on a limited basis and under her guidance, doing some of the training.

I’m meeting wonderful people and doing something to help people.  I’m paying it forward, and trying to help others the way that Francie helped me.

I think there’s a lesson to be learned here.  If a socially awkward wallflower like me, the chubby girl hiding behind others in a black tee shirt and jeans, can go up to a beautiful, smart, fashionable woman walking a large black dog and start a conversation, then so can you.  You never know what the result might be.

Ask the question.  Take the leap. You never know where it might take you.

It might lead you right to the dogs!

If you are interested in what we do, or know of someone who might be in need of a service dog, check out our website!

K9s To Furkids: We All Survive on Second Chances

We are also on Facebook!

 

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(not so) Compassionate

It is no secret that West Virginia has a problem.  Truthfully, the word “problem” fails to grasp the true magnitude of what is happening here in the Mountain State.

They call us pillbillies.  In the (not so) distant past, one of our larger towns, Huntington, was declared the opioid capital of the country.  We have more opioid related deaths than anywhere else. Check out this article in the New Yorker about the crisis.

There is another “problem,” though, and one almost as deadly and dangerous as the pills, and the heroine that eventually shows up on the scene. That problem is a little more complex, a little more deep rooted and hard to define.  There are several words that come to mind–cold-heartedness, pride, snobbiness, judgmental (that’s a good one), and down right cruelty.

Consider the recent story about some teenagers who not only watched, but filmed, as a man drowned.  The obvious outranged reaction of nearly everyone in the country has been everything from disdain to down right rage.  I’ve seen comments suggesting that the guillotine be brought back in to service. While I’m not calling for any beheading, the story makes me sick.  I think it is a sad testament to how this current generation of teens has developed empathy (or the lack thereof.) But that’s a post for another day.

At any rate, we can all pretty much agree that standing by and watching, laughing, and filming while someone drowns is not acceptable behavior.

The people of West Virginia are drowning, and yet somehow we have deemed it acceptable to stand by and watch.

There are conflicting reports as to where opioid addiction starts.  Some reports say that users start with prescriptions.  Others say that is not the case. It is generally accepted that opioid pill abuse leads to heroine, which is about one tenth the price of the pills, which, incidentally, have been shipped into this state by the truck load.

Let me sum up my feelings on this matter by paraphrasing a statement from the novel Warm Bodies: once you reach the end of the world, the road you took to get there hardly matters.

This post isn’t about the opioid epidemic.  It isn’t about the causes of addiction, which are as diverse as the addicts themselves. It’s about the rest of us–the non-addicts, if you will.

We’re watching our neighbors drown.

I’m as guilty as the rest.  I get frustrated and talk about “the druggies” and “the pill heads” and bitch about how law enforcement isn’t doing anything about it, and how you can’t even walk around in a small town that, by definition, should be one of the safest places in the world. I get it.  It sucks.

I’m not telling you to invite these people to sleep in your house at night. Maybe, though, we might do well to stop and realize that these “druggies” are still people.  Sadly, so many of them are young people who are following in the deadly footsteps of parents who were hooked even before their doomed children were born. They are moms and dads and grandparents and cousins and uncles.  In short, they are just people–people who are drowning.

And all we are doing is judging them. We are watching them drown, and lots of times we are filming it as well.

I see it every day, especially on the accursed Facebook, where the whole population feels entitled to the role of armchair quarterback. We wag our heads and make faces of disgust. Druggies.  Pill heads.  Worthless losers.

We are trying to do something about the overdose death rate.  Early this year, Naloxone was distributed across the state to be administered to overdose cases.  It reverses the respiratory depression caused by opioid overdose.  It is on hand for paramedics, police officers, and even in some schools.

Are people glad about that? I’ll let you guess.

Need more time? Or did you figure it out already?

The amount of negative commentary on this lifesaving drug is astounding, especially when you consider how many of these naysayers are “Christians.” Why should our tax dollars go to save these druggies? People are going without health insurance and are struggling to make ends meet, and you are taking our hard earned dollars and giving them to the pill heads.  Let them die.  They have made their own beds, let them lay in them, right?

Wrong.

Shame on anyone who feels this way. Shame on any who get on social media and brag about how they and their family exist on some higher astral plane than the rest of us sinners, how they and their sainted families have never dealt with addiction because they are Godly and the rest of us are not. Shame on Sunday morning “Christians” who sit in the pew and praise Jesus, then go out into the world and speak words worthy of the Devil himself.  Shame. Shame, shame, shame.

I think each and every one of us who hasn’t been stricken with this epidemic had better drop down on our knees right now and say a prayer that we have been spared.  I think we better take a minute to remember that if we live without compassion, we are living an empty life–a selfish life full of self-important goals and ideas.  We have forgotten that each of us has just a short time here, and each of us is fragile–as fragile as blown glass.  To judge and sneer and turn our backs on our neighbors seems to me the greatest sin of all.

I know I’m guilty, too, but I’m trying.  I’m trying to realize that I have no idea what struggles other go through every day.  I know what it’s like to have an addictive personality.  I know what escapism is.  If you go to the fridge or the pantry when you are stressed, you do too.  None of us are immune.

To the pseudo Christians out there, allow me to leave you with this, some verses from the Book of Matthew, chapter 25, starting with verse 40: Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.  For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ Now skip ahead to verse 45: He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.

Cheers!

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(not so) Top Secret

My husband and I had a pretty important milestone lately.  We celebrated twenty years of marriage.

In today’s throw-away society, that’s a pretty big deal.  I’m reasonably sure the divorce rate is now well over 50%. (I could research that, but this isn’t one of those serious, research-y blogs.)

Anyway, as an act of benevolence, and in light of the upcoming nuptials of some beloved family members, I have decided to share with you the secret of my marital success.

You read that right.  I am about to share with you, my faithful readers, top-secret, highly confidential information that may change the way we look at marriage, and, in fact, all of our relationships.

Come close now.  A little closer.  Lean in here.

Here is the secret–the secretest of secrets–

There is no secret.

I know, you’re thinking, “Wait–what?”

I’ll say it again: the secret is, there is no secret.

Part of our culture’s collective problem is that we think there is some magical answer to all of our problems.  There has to be some secret to how two people can stay married for twenty years, right? Some formula that makes it easy and does all the work for us. Do this, get that result.  A plus B equals C.

Oh, if only life were that simple.

My husband and I have stayed married for twenty years because we made the choice to stay married for twenty years.  If you think there haven’t been times during these two decades when each of us hasn’t thought about running for the hills, then you’re deluded.  Everyone has those feelings.  Human beings are volatile creatures.  We get angry.  We harbor resentment, and say things without thinking.  We hurt each other again and again.  Truthfully, no one has the power to hurt us more than the people we love.

It would be so simple for people to give up, to say to Hell with it and walk out the door.  Tons of people do.  Matt and I have not.  We have chosen forgiveness, and patience, and compassion.  We talk to God about our problems instead of the neighbors. We talk to each other when we have an argument instead of posting it on Facebook. In short, we make our marriage a priority.

To me, that isn’t a secret. We should treat all of our relationships, and the people in them, with respect.  We should give our best to the people who mean the most to us.  After all, that’s what we expect from them, isn’t it?

It’s so easy to think someone else will be better, someone else will do better, when in reality we are the ones who need to do better. We need to try harder.

That isn’t a secret, my friends.  That is a fact.

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(not so) Common Sense

Generally speaking, humans are highly evolved.  As far as brains go, we are at the top of the evolutionary ladder.

As such, one would assume that it would be very difficult to fool us.  We would never fall for media trickery, pseudo-science, or political dishonesty. Right?

(Awkward pause…)

Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling slightly red-faced right now.

The somewhat embarrassing truth is, for such a highly evolved species, we are quite gullible.  We accept things as fact with very little context.  Headlines and memes are used to support our opinions as opposed to genuine research and inquiry. We accept reporting from obviously biased news sources.

Worst of all, we put our faith in our government, and its agencies, thinking they have our best interests in mind when creating policies and regulations.

Spoiler alert: they don’t.

I live in West Virginia, a beautiful state full of good -hearted people.  It is also a state full of poor, unemployed, struggling people.  Our primary industry, coal, is dying, if not dead.  Most unfortunately, we are leading the nation in the opioid epidemic.

This beautiful state has been poisoned.  First is was Oxycontin and all of its cousins. Now, because pills became so expensive, heroin has made a comeback. The most infuriating aspect of all of this is that the drugs made their way into West Virginia on a prescription form.

We all sat here and watched it happen.  We enabled.  We participated.  Why? Because these were FDA approved drugs.  The government, in other words, told us to go ahead and take these drugs.  They handed us that scary paper with all of the warnings and indications and sent us on our way.

We see how that turned out.

I’m not writing about the opioid epidemic, although I certainly could.  I’m really not even writing about government corruption or the prescription pill pandemic in this country.

I’m writing because “we the people” are swallowing something infinitely worse than a prescription painkiller.

We are swallowing a load of crap.

We are swallowing the belief that the FDA is acting in the best interest of the people of this state and, indeed, this entire country.  We have convinced ourselves the government knows what is best for us.  We are errant schoolchildren who need Big Daddy to correct us upon our path and set us right.

Is that what this country was founded upon? The need of constant government interference? Think about it–they tell us what to feed our children, what to let them watch, they tell us what to eat and what to think and, of course, how to medicate ourselves.  They even tell us where we can and cannot buy our milk.  (Think I’m kidding? Do a little research into legislation concerning raw milk.)

I’m as guilty as everyone else.  Like us all, I didn’t so much agree to these things as just passively let them happen, but at the end of the road, the mode of travel is somewhat irrelevant, wouldn’t you say?

And so here we are.

Now my interest is slightly more than passive.  We are fighting epilepsy in this house, and when I say fighting it, baby, I mean fighting. We knock it down, it gets back up, more determined and sadistic than before.  I’m afraid we’re losing.  I don’t know what comes next.  Every day I feel like I’m running out of options.

Can I count on my government to help me? Another spoiler: no.

The sad fact is just the opposite.  My government is opposing me.  It is trying to keep me down and keep me from fighting for my daughter.  It seems to want epilepsy to win.  Of course no individual member of any government would admit to such a thing, but The Grandparents taught me that truth lies in the actions of a person, not the words.

The actions of the people in the government of my state and the whole country tell me a story that makes me sick.

It’s a story of men and women in positions of power groveling to big business, particularly Big Pharma, and I mean groveling, practically licking the soles of their filthy shoes, just to keep the dollars rolling in.  Our government is run by lobbyists and money.  All intentions of those first Americans who fled from tyranny are gone.

And we have allowed it to happen.

It isn’t too late to start changing things.  Passivity needs to come to an end.  That’s it in a nutshell.  We need to vote, we need to call, we need to write, we need to speak!!  We need to stop sitting back and waiting for other people to fight our fights and fix our problems.  We need to have our own backs.

I’m going to keep fighting for my daughter.  I’m going to fight for the right to treat her epilepsy with a plant if need be, regardless of the stigma that plant has gained because of a media campaign so many years ago.  I’m going to use my highly evolved brain and science and logic rather than the media and government to make my decisions.  I should have that right.  So many fought and died to give me that right, and I intend to make sure their sacrifice was not in vain.

Won’t you join me?

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This is the first in my series about medical marijuana.  It started as one post, but I found that there is just too much information to share in a single shot.  Consider this as the introduction.  Please share, and stay tuned! 

 

 

 

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Prozac (not so) Me

Do you ever get the feeling that God is speaking to you? Maybe sending you a sign?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not those kinds of signs, but the kinds that only you see.  I’ll give you two examples.

Wednesday of last week was Ash Wednesday.  My sister was watching an episode of Roseanne.  It was from either the last season or the next to last season.  Roseanne is teaching some rich white folks how to be white trash.  She said, “Women who yell don’t need pills.  Pills were invented by men to stop women from yelling!”

It struck me as funny, but it also lodged itself unknowingly into my brain.

Fast forward a few days, and my best friend makes this casual comment to me over the phone:  “I’ve heard you laugh more in the past few days than I have for a long time.”

This has all been foreshadowing.  (See how literary I am? Don’t you just want to throw money at me for my writing?) Last Tuesday was my last Prozac. Absolutely not on purpose! Don’t be impressed! No indeed–my prescription didn’t have any refills, and we got hit with a massive storm that knocked out power early Wednesday morning.  Power was out not only at the pharmacy, but also at my doctor’s office, so I couldn’t call in for a refill.

Now, if you can follow the Tarantino-ish order of this post so far, here’s what has happened:  I have inadvertently given up Prozac for Lent.

It just so happened my last pill was on Fat Tuesday.  I couldn’t get it refilled on Ash Wednesday.  When the day finally came for me to submit the refill because the doctor was going to be in the next day, I hear that very, very important comment from my friend.

She’s heard me laugh more in the last week then she has in a long time.

The week I haven’t had the Prozac.

If that isn’t food for thought, I don’t know what is.

I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder.  In old fashioned terms, I’m hyper, nervous, neurotic, etc.  This is not revolutionary news to anyone, I assure you. A few years ago, though, it was moving past the point of comedy routine material into the land of serious issues.  Sleep was nearly impossible.  When I did sleep, I had terrible nightmares.  My first panic attack prompted me to talk to a doctor.  I didn’t even have a regular family doctor up to that point.

The panic attack was a thing I cannot describe. It happened on the way back from a beautiful, stress free vacation.  That was the most upsetting part.  It came from nowhere.  It wasn’t  a “break” or anything like that.  I was just riding along in the car on the way home from the ocean, and bam.  Well, more like BAAAMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!

I started to notice the semi in the lane next to us.  It kept distracting me from the ongoing conversation.  It kept catching my eye.  Suddenly, I started to get afraid.  (Although afraid fails to truly describe the feeling.)  I sweated.  I cried.  I shook.  My mouth tasted like pennies.  I became convinced we were all (me, my husband, my kids, and my sister) were going to die in a horrific accident.  I saw it.  A good imagination is a blessing and a curse, let me tell you.  My throat closed up and I felt like I couldn’t breathe.  I had to fight the temptation to literally tear open the door of the car and jump out.  Really.

Well, I confess to you now that I took one of my sisters strong narcotic medications to knock myself out.  I slept for a couple hours of the ride home, and when I woke up, I felt a little better.  It’s hard to describe, but somehow, that event made me more aware of the feelings that I guess had always been there,unacknowledged,  hanging like some sort of poisonous snake around my neck.  It was ready to slither up any time to whisper in my ear all of the tragic and terrible things that could happen, that were happening, in the world, and in my life, every day.  I had to do something.

So, to cut this long story slightly shorter, Prozac galloped onto the scene like my White Knight, and I found I could deal with daily stresses without being quite so “hyper” or “nervous” or “neurotic.”  To me, this was a good thing.  To my family, who loves me and worries about me and, to be frank, is a little afraid of me, it was a miracle.

I short, I squashed the bad feelings.

Here’s what scares me: have I squashed all of the feelings?

I am a loud woman.  I am passionate and sometimes overbearing and sometimes overemotional.  My temper has gotten me into more tough spots than I care to recall.  I love to laugh, and laugh loud and hard.  I have a hard time keeping my opinion to myself.  I think all of these things are what makes me Janice.  They make me Mom, and The (not so) Special Mother, and the woman whose husband said, “There’s no one like you, babe.  One’s enough,” and he said it in response to my query as to whether or not he was sure he really wanted to marry me.

So here is the question (the one that is keeping the stars apart): Have I, and other’s like me, medicated ourselves right out of living?

Life is supposed to be hard.  The hard is what makes it good.  It’s scary and tragic and beautiful and funny and horrible and everything. It is anxiety causing!!  Is it possible we are taught to squash feelings rather than deal with them? Are we in a cycle of denial and repression that sucks in not only ourselves, but everyone around us?

I don’t know the answer to these questions.  I’ll be frank–they scare the hell out of me.  The thought that God is trying to tell me something so specific equally scares the hell out of me.  I’m not the best Catholic lately.  Maybe God is telling me to rely on Him, and on my own faith, rather than chemicals from a bottle.  Maybe God is telling me that my life is a gift, warts and all.  My feelings and reactions are a part of that life.  They are a part of me.  I’m going to give them a chance this Lent.  I’m going to try and deal with them instead of trying to squash them.  Not to get too deep, but I’m going to feel them, then I’m going to try to let them go and give them to God.

Pray for me.  I need it.

We all do.

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Disclaimer: In no way am I suggesting that every person who takes some sort of depression or anxiety controlling medication should just toss those pills out the window and embrace the agony.  It’s a story about my own life, and if it speaks to you, then so be it.  Cheers!

 

 

 

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