Archive for February, 2007


Look Straight at the Coming Disaster

Women on the Verge of Thinking has championed the cause of mental health for a long time and I agree that it is just as important as good physical health. Unfortunately, not everyone is comfortable doing what is necessary to maintain it. There is a stigma that comes with counseling or therapy, and I find that extremely disturbing.

Everyone needs a little help now and then. There are just some things that we aren’t meant to handle on our own. When someone close to use dies or we dive head-first into some unexpected transition, it is important that we have someone to talk to. If you’re not comfortable talking to friends or relatives, a therapist, counselor, or whatever you want to call them, can often shed some light on a subject you may be approaching from only one point of view.

When you know something life-changing is coming your way, it doesn’t hurt to check in with someone who is not personally invested. There is no shame in seeking advice or consolation from a neutral party. It just may be what you need to take the next (or the first) step toward better mental health.


How Long ’til my Soul Gets it Right?

Karma’s a bitch. I just wish I’d known that when I was 21. Now I’m nearly 30 and reaping what I’ve sown. I used to be the one to break up with people. I didn’t play games, exactly, but I didn’t really think about what I was doing. I’m sure thinking about it now. I could be somewhere else completely. With someone else entirely. Sure, I wouldn’t have my son, but I wouldn’t be in this position, either.

I had someone who was in love with me once. Truly, madly, and deeply. I was too young and too wrapped up in myself to know how rare that is. I let it go, and boy do I regret it. Really, what does one do when they’re trapped in a marriage with someone who’s not in love with them? Usually they leave, but of course, there’s the boy to think of. He deserves a father. Even more importantly, he deserves HIS father. So, I guess if we stay together, my son and I have both gotten what we deserve.


There is No Pain You Are Recieving

My college boyfriend sang to me. He didn’t sing those stupid songs lovers so often try to mimic. Billy Joel isn’t really in his musical vocabulary. Instead, I got Led Zeplin and Pink Floyd, not that I’m complaining. It’s just that the words of those songs creep into my mind when things get a little rough. When I read a post at Women on the Verge of Thinking yesterday, I really understood Comfortably Numb for the first time.

Barbara asked if there is an upside to pain. That’s one hell of a question, I know, but it needs and answer. It is one of the universal questions. Pain is the one thing we spend our lives trying to avoid, and yet, it’s completely unavoidable. How can it be so elemental and so complex?

I think we learn things from pain. Sometimes we only learn how to avoid it, which in most situations is enough. If we’re lucky, we spend our lives learning not to cause it, or repairing the damage we did when we didn’t know any better (or knew better but didn’t care). At some point we find a way to accept that we cannot take back the pain we have caused and we force ourselves not to dwell on it. But we never make that mistake again.

The most difficult lesson, though, it that we cannot avoid pain. It comes, and it comes hard. Sometimes it’s more than we can handle. It drives people to religion. It drives people to drink. It drives people to have a five-minute nervous break-down in the faculty parking lot. But we accept that pain is unavoidable, that we have been through it before and will get through it again, then we take a deep breath and do what needs to be done. In fact, we become Comfortably Numb.


General Hospital Tackles Medical Marijuana

I’ve been glad to see General Hospital taking on more serious subjects. Since I’ve been watching (about 15+ years), their main topic has been HIV/AIDS, but recently a main character has been diagnosed wit lung cancer (even though she’s NEVER smoked cigars or cigarettes) and she’s been having a bit of trouble with all of the chemicals being put into her body. The chemo makes her incredibly sick, and in order to keep up appearances for her young daughters and to be able to function on a semi-normal level, she took to smoking marijuana (suggested to her by a friend). Though her ex-husband is using this as a ploy to take away her youngest daughter, the rest of the cast has been extremely supportive of this decision, telling her that cancer is a horrible disease, the treatment is as bad or worse, and anything she can do to make herself feel better is fine by them.

You can bet that medical marijuana is going to be an issue, however small, in the upcoming Presidential election, and if it isn’t, the press and the politicians are just being negligent. Marijuana is not a completely harmless herb, but the adverse effects are well within the requirements specified by the FDA for anything Americans put into their bodies, and it’s effects are far less than that of alcohol or smoking cigarettes.

Marijuana is especially helpful for pain in those with certain cancers, especially that of they eyes, and other painful conditions with limited treatment options such as Fibromyalgia (which my sister suffers from after 4 open-heart surgeries, 1 spinal surgery, 1 shunt, and several hearth catherizations, all due to being born with Tetrallogy of Fallot, better known as Blue Baby Syndrome), Multiple Sclerosis (which Montel Williams and my friend and mentor Annie suffers from), chronic back pain, and MANY other conditions.

Eleven states (AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, ME, NV, OR, RI, VT and WA) allow medical marijuana for the treatment of various illnesses or side-effects associated with major illnesses, and many others are debating it. Whatever your opinion, please educate yourself on the benefits AND the risks, then form your own opinion. You owe it to those who are suffering daily and deeply.

Other Americans who are suffering daily and deeply include:
3,129 US Soldiers killed in Iraq
23,530 US Soldiers wounded in Iraq


Buried on the Politics Page

Well, not exactly. If the American people would just take the time to look at the Politics Page, they might find out that the Pentagon manipulated pre-war intelligence connecting Saddam Hussein to al Qaeda. The media, who hit the story hard when the Bush Administration said there was a connection, didn’t even make this story front-page news.

I’m tired. I’m frustrated. My little cousin is leaving for Iraq again on March 1st and I have no idea why he’s going there. Nothing anyone in the Bush Administration has said in the past 5 years even rings true, and yet we all sit at home pretending that our government is not deceiving us on a daily basis. The thought doesn’t even occur to many Americans regardless of report after report of misconduct on the part of soldiers, misleading information given to the public by Administration officials, and misuse of billions of dollars of taxpayer money. What is everyone waiting for??? How many more of our young men and women need to die for a reason known only to a very few??? Does our government not trust us enough to tell us the truth???


Do No Harm: Self

The idea that someone else has the right to decide what we do with or to our bodies is absurd. There is something to be said for the survival of the fittest, and there comes a time when compassion must be balanced with caution. Removing personal responsibility from the person can only be a recipe for a disaster. While there are people who mentally or physically cannot care for themselves, the majority of us should be on our own. That is not to say that help should not be provided to us, but whether to seek or accept that help is our responsibility. For any government to suggest that they have the right to limit our personal choices is arrogant beyond belief. To do so is to say, “we know better than you”, when in fact, they don’t.

If a person wants to end their life, it is their choice. In some situations, ending one’s life is the highest form of honor, in others, it is simply an act of mercy. If a person is experiencing chronic and unrelenting pain, dealing with a chronic or terminal illness, or suffering from a degenerative disease, the option to end their lives without consequence should be available to them. If someone wants to kill themselves simply because life has become too difficult for them, by all means, allow them to do so, after reminding them that their family will not be able to claim their life insurance. It is their life, and by definition, their choice, assuming, of course, that they are of legal age and not suffering from mental illness of some sort.

Chemical substances of any kind should be regulated, clearly labeled, and seriously considered before they are used. Organic substances, however, should be consumed at will. Each of us is responsible for what we knowingly put into our bodies. Why should anyone else get to decide how much I eat, drink, or smoke if I am doing it in the confines of my own home? We should all be held responsible for our own overuse as well. Medical conditions resulting from abuse of any substance should not be covered by the government, nor should the government be responsible for the detoxification or rehabilitation of anyone who overindulged.


Christians Seem Happy

People who don’t believe in religion (or non-believers) often don’t understand the appeal of Christianity. Since they have rejected it on principle, they often overlook the very powerful psychological and sociological elements that Preachers use to increase and manipulate their flock. The careful use of these elements increases the happiness or the perception of happiness in people of the Christian faith.

First, Christians seem happy because every question they could ever ask has been answered in the Bible. Even if the answer goes against common sense or is incredibly old fashioned it’s still an answer. Not only that, it’s an answer they believe to be sanctioned by the creator of all things. If there is ever doubt, the Preacher is there to remind them that it is not their place to question the answer, it is only their place to live by it. No thinking is required. Thought and discussion leads to a disquieted mind, which can lead to unhappiness. If a Christian’s mind is rarely disquieted, he or she is happier, or at least appears to be so.

Second, Preachers remind their flock over and over again that there is no suffering in the next life, so nothing that could happen to anyone in this life really matters. This is a powerful notion. If someone believes that there will be an and to their suffering, even though it may not be in sight, they are more easily able to bear their current burden. Reminding a person that they will eventually live in a place where only happiness exists can lift their mood, if even only for a short period of time.

Third, those being offered the carrot are much happier than those subjected only to the stick. Christians are repeated told that they will go to heaven, and there they will be with God. Who doesn’t want to be with God? And most Christians believe that in order to go to heaven, all they really need to do is believe in Jesus Christ, who loves them unconditionally regardless of their actions. Who wouldn’t be happy about that?

Finally, believing that someone died to give you a better life gives people a sense of self-importance and makes them feel more valuable. Christians also feel like they “owe” it to Jesus to live up to his (or the Preacher’s) standards. This idea gives people a mission and allows for a sense of accomplishment when one feels they have “done right by God”.

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I am not perfect. I do my best to practice what I preach, but I am human. My mantra is, "DO NO HARM". I may not always succeed, but I will always try. My goal is to be a better person today than I was yesterday.

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