Local (Daily Prompt)

Today’s Daily Prompt is: Local.

My wife and I went to a farmer’s market last week. They hold it right here in town, right off the main drag, and we were expecting big things. Boy, were we disappointed. There were maybe 5 booths, and there was hardly any produce to be had. No tomatoes, very little salad greens, nothing we were looking for. It was just pitiful.

I know that buying local is a thing now, and people try to support their local businesses and farmers, and that’s good, as far as it goes. But what do you do when the local stuff sucks?

I’ve seen lists of people we should boycott, and while the lists make sense–boycott the Koch Brothers, and Fox News and their advertisers–it does seem that if you boycotted everybody you were supposed to boycott, you’d never buy anything. Hell, I should be boycotting Walmart for their shitty labor practices, but if we did that, we couldn’t afford groceries.

It’s all a dance between what you “should” do and what you’re able to do. I’m sure there’s a lot of people who would like to boycott Walmart, but who can’t afford to. Our only other option for groceries is Safeway, and we can’t afford Safeway prices on everything. It’s really that simple.

So, the Senate is supposed to vote on repealing Obamacare sometime this week–Thursday is what I heard. My Senators and Representative are already on the right side, and I should probably be calling them to bolster their resolve, but I haven’t. I hate using the phone. It’s part of my disorder I’m sure. I had to make three phone calls today, to make appointments for various things, and it nearly gave me a fit of the shivering hits. I felt very anxious and didn’t feel better until it was done and I could lay down. I really think the world, especially the political world, is going to have to keep spinning without me and my input for a while. I just don’t have the stress tolerance to deal with it. I feel guilty about that, but it’s what I have to do to take care of myself.

I still think the “health-care” bill will pass in some form, and take Medicaid away from 20+ million people. Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems that this is what the billionaire class wants, and they very rarely get denied, especially by Republicans. I’m taking some solace in the fact that the Medicaid cuts wouldn’t start until 2021, in the hope that Bernie Sanders could take over as President in 2020 and force changes to the bill before it really begins to hurt. But that’s probably a fool’s hope. I’d love to see Bernie as President, but I know that the Establishment will throw everything they’ve got at him, and I question whether the American people are smart enough to see through it.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading. =)



Commit (Daily Prompt)

Today’s Daily Prompt is: Commit.

My wife and I have committed to improving our physical and mental health. We’ve been walking every day for the last week or so, eating better, and meditating at night before bed.

Now, if I had a dime for every time I committed to losing weight, I’d be a wealthy man. But it feels different this time. My wife said it feels different to her too. We’re more serious. We’re looking for ways to challenge ourselves to walk longer each day. We’re making time at night to meditate. We’re avoiding fast food and junk food. But this time I think we’re doing things in a sustainable way. We’re not following some Draconian diet where we can’t ever eat anything we like, we’re eating normal meals that we like. And we’re able to walk inside our building when it’s too hot or raining outside, so there’s no reason we can’t walk every day.

We haven’t been quite as disciplined about meditation. The only time our cat will let us meditate is at night when we lay down to go to bed, and some nights we’ve been too tired to meditate. We are using a meditation CD of guided meditations from New Kadampa Traditions. It’s a great introductory CD. However, I have bigger plans for meditation in the future. I’m a Zen Buddhist at heart, and after I’ve lost some weight and can sit more comfortably, I’d like to find a local Zen community and begin to meditate in the Zen tradition. I’d like to do a meditation retreat sometime. I don’t know if I can ever reach what Zen masters call “kensho”, which is a form of enlightenment, but I’d like to give it a try. My mind seems so uncontrollable, but I know that this is what most people experience. My main goals for meditation are to be in better control of my mind, to be more mindful on a day-to-day basis, and to reduce my worrying and ruminating.

Meditation and mindfulness are also wonderful tools to help with bipolar disorder. Obviously they don’t take the place of meds or therapy, but many therapies for bipolar and other mental illnesses and traumas incorporate mindfulness. Mindfulness is a great way to stay connected to the present instead of getting yourself stuck in regrets about the past or worries about the future. I’m trying to stay more mindful, but it’s a constant struggle.

Well, my wife is awake, so I’ll end this for now. Thanks for reading. =)

Tiny Bubbles

My wife has a migraine and went to bed early, and my best friend’s phone is going straight to voicemail, so I’ll try to blog even though it’s been eight days and I still don’t have anything in mind to blog about.

We have a new walking program, and we’ve been doing good with that, we’ve taken a walk every day for the last week or so. Also have a new meditation program. That’s been a little more hit and miss–we’re doing the meditations when we lay down at night, and some nights we’ve just been too tired to do them. But I have noticed, in the short period of time we’ve been meditating, that my worrying and ruminating seem to have gotten a bit better. I’m not thinking about being homeless as much for sure. Part of that may be that I haven’t been paying attention to the political news. I did note that the Democrats lost that special election in Georgia, which doesn’t surprise me. Nothing about them has changed since last November, why should they start to win in red districts? Now personally, I don’t understand how anybody other than a billionaire could be a Republican, but I’m sure Republicans wonder how anybody could be a Democrat.

We all live in our own little echo chambers, our own little bubbles where the only news that gets in is the news we want–or at least, ask–to hear. On my Facebook feed I get everything from Bernie Sanders, Liz Warren and Jeff Merkley, and nothing from any Republican. Why would I bother? Nothing they could ever do or say would make me change my mind or my opinion of them. Why let them poison my news feed? But the problem is, we’re all like that these days. I’m the only person I know whose political viewpoint has ever done a 180. I voted for W. in 2004, to my everlasting shame, and it wasn’t until Katrina in 2005 that I woke up and realized that the Republicans were nothing but a sham. That was before iPhones even existed (I think), and before I ever heard of Facebook. But I started out as a Democrat (I voted for Clinton in 1992, the first election I was allowed to vote in) so I guess I’ve just come back to my roots. But still, my family is loaded with Republicans, and we seem to have a mutual understanding that I will ignore their posts if they ignore mine. I’ve unfollowed most of my family, and I assume they’ve either unfollowed me or chosen to ignore me when I post some of my pro-Bernie propaganda or something about how the government is bought and paid for by billionaires.

Nobody ever talks anybody around anymore. Everybody I know has their political viewpoint, and it’s set in stone and nothing can really change it. Now granted, I don’t know a whole lot of people, but I sense this is a problem in our larger society. Nobody can even agree on facts anymore. We used to be a country that believed in science. We still seem to believe in technology, but I don’t know that people believe in the science behind it. In my opinion it’s because we’ve become a nation of morons. I saw some poll on CNN the other day, where 48% of American adults don’t know where chocolate milk comes from. 7% of them thought it comes from brown cows. When I hear shit like that, I just lose all faith in humanity. Well, not humanity in general, but Americans in particular. Most of Europe seems to have its shit in one sock, especially the Scandinavian countries. You know, all those rotten “socialist” countries who have the happiest populations in the world? But can we use them as an example and do things they way they do? Oh, hell no, I don’t want my tax dollars going to this program or that kind of people or whatever. Jesus wept.

We’re never going to get anywhere as a society when 48% of the country is so stupid that it doesn’t know where chocolate milk comes from, and thinks electing Donald Trump as President is a good idea. Our problem isn’t the politicians, it’s that people in America are so goddamn stupid they’ll vote for whoever puts the most commercials on TV. That’s the truth. If we had an educated and informed population capable of critical thinking, buying elections wouldn’t work because everybody would be following the money and know that Congressman X only thinks Bill Y is a great idea because Corporation Z donated a million dollars to his re-election campaign. But instead we have Republicans sitting on mountains of cash (and corporate Democrats too) and shooting down any and all potential opposition by just throwing money at an election. It shouldn’t be this way, it’s not SUPPOSED to be this way, and the only reason it ever got this bad is because a ridiculously high percentage of American people are just plain fucking stupid and/or ignorant. If that burns, it’s because it’s supposed to. The truth hurts. We’ve got a country that’s 45% Democratic, 45% Republican, and 10% undecided–meaning they think so little about politics and what’s good for the country that they can’t even be bothered to have a goddamn opinion. And it’s the 10% undecideds–the lowest common denominator–that decides 95% of our elections. Reminds me of an old quote I’ve heard attributed to P.T. Barnum: Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

And it’s not just the school system–otherwise the millennials would be the worst of the bunch, since most of our schools had already gone to shit by the time they got to them. It’s our whole fucking society. This anti-intellectual, anti-science, hate-the-smartest-guy-in-the-room culture we have permeates every aspect of American society. Trump is not the disease; Trump is the symptom that the disease has progressed to the point of being potentially fatal. Everybody and everything is to blame, from the media, Wall Street, and the big oil companies right down to you and me who aren’t calling our Senators and Representatives every single day and bitching to high heaven about damn near everything they do. It’s all of us. It’s modern-day America. Our nation has a cancer, and that cancer has metastasized into every limb and every organ. There is only one answer: the patient must die in order to live.

In other words, we have to scrap the present system, write a new Constitution that’s up-to-date (version 2.0, if you will), and restart the whole goddamn government from the ground up. This time we have to make it not only idiot-proof, but money-proof. I mean, the Founders did a great job and I love the Constitution as much as the next guy, but what other document never needs revision and updating? Hell, they even reword the Bible every now and then. I’m not saying we need to scrap the whole thing, just that it needs a solid rewrite to be in line with the 21st century and the problems and challenges we face as a people and as a nation. The government the Founders gave us worked pretty well for over 200 years–longer, I’m sure, than any of them ever dreamed it would last–but the system is broken now. The rot is too deep, the cancer is too widespread, and there is no way out of this except to rewrite all the rules from scratch, making sure the corporations and billionaires and lobbyists can’t rule over the people. It’s SUPPOSED to be WE the PEOPLE. We the PEOPLE are the ultimate authority. We the PEOPLE are the ones who have inalienable rights. We the PEOPLE are the court of last resort, and the government is supposed to work to OUR benefit. Right now, it isn’t. Love Obamacare or hate it, it’s wrong to take insurance away from over 20 million people, causing an extra 30k or so deaths every year. But it’s going to happen, because it’s what the billionaires want. All the phone calls and letters to the editor in the world don’t matter when there’s a guy on the other side giving out million-dollar checks.

So what is it going to take to make this happen–to get a new Constitution, or at least a new Amendment saying corporations aren’t people and money isn’t speech? I don’t have the answer to that, but what I think is this: it’s going to get very bad in America, and it’s going to happen faster than we imagine. We’ve been on top for a long while, and our fall from grace isn’t going to be a gradual decline. We’re going to fall and fall and fall until we hit rock-bottom and the people, even that 7% who think chocolate milk comes from brown cows, get so sick and tired and fed up with everything that there’s open rebellion in the streets. It’ll happen when people can’t find homes and can’t feed their kids. That kind of desperation has brought down governments since the beginning of time. And it will again. But unless we wake up of our own accord, which I don’t believe will happen, it’s going to come to that. It’s going to come to people rioting in the streets and hanging effigies of their Congressmen from every lamppost and tree they can find.

Maybe I’m being unduly pessimistic, although I don’t think I am. Maybe we can elect Bernie and he can lead us to the Promised Land. But right now I can’t see it. All that money will pour in against him and everything he tries to do, and the people aren’t awake enough yet, by and large. That’s going to be the hard part, the awakening. I’m not saying it’s going to happen tomorrow…things may continue to sputter on as they have for quite some time. But when we hit bottom, we’re going to hit hard, and we’re not going to get up for a while.

Well, I guess I found something to blog about after all. Finishing just in time, because my wife’s migraine got better and she’s awake now, so I’ll stop here. Thanks for reading. =)


No daily prompts that I like today, but I’m up early and I have nothing else to do, so I need to think of something to blog about. Problem is, it seems like everything I think of to write about, I’ve already written about. The other problem is that I just write about everyday life and thoughts, and those get repetitive in a hurry.

In a comment about my last post, somebody said my views about the apocalypse were “abnormal and unhealthy”. The commenter was, I think, afraid I would take offense, but I rather agree with him/her. I am, and the thoughts I have are, abnormal and unhealthy. That’s not just because I have bipolar disorder–it’s because I am an unusual person, or at least I think I am. Once in college my friend and I were at a sports bar, and I was complaining that everybody I met was either a fratboy, a Goth, or a wannabe cowboy. I asked where all the “normal” people were, and my friend quickly said, “Dude, those ARE the normal people.” Barring Alzheimer’s disease, I’ll never forget that comment–it told me a lot about where I stand in relation to society, which is that I am on the outside observing the happenings within. So, yes, I am abnormal and unhealthy. Hopefully, that makes my blog more interesting to read. I think reading “normal” thoughts from a “normal” person would get old fast. Of course, nobody’s really “normal”, but some people are more normal than others.

All that being said, I’m still running low on topics for this blog. Just as some people are more normal than others, some people are more creative than others. I’m smart in my own way, but I’m not that creative. I have a great short-term memory, which made me a whiz in school, but which doesn’t come in all that handy in real life–except I rarely need to write down a grocery list. I score high on traditional IQ tests, but am a plodding thinker in many situations. I have trouble holding images in my mind and visualizing things clearly.

So, since I’m low on topics, here goes nothing: my wife and I had a good day yesterday. We exercised, we meditated, and we ate healthy. I have high hopes for meditation–I hope it will help clear my mind somewhat so I can think more clearly about things. I’d love to be in better control of my own mind. Left to its own devices, my mind wanders to the same worries over and over like a tongue repeatedly checking out an empty tooth socket. I worry about death and homelessness, the same thoughts and images over and over. It’s very bothersome and very distracting, and keeps me from enjoying what’s actually happening in my life. I get especially resentful of my own thoughts when my wife and I are spending quality time together and I can’t enjoy it because I’m worried about something that, in all likelihood, will never happen.

My thoughts go something like this: Trump wants to cut housing assistance programs, so maybe we will lose our government-subsidized housing and become homeless (notice the huge leap there). We have to give our cat away and live in a tent. My worst thoughts are when I imagine that my wife is crying and there’s nothing I can do to comfort her. My second-worst thoughts are imagining that one or the other of us has died, leaving the remaining partner to a cold, empty existence. I picture no more hugs, no more snuggles, no more laughter, and it just rips me up inside. I don’t want to endure that, but I want my wife to have to endure it even less. I want to outlive my wife because I don’t want her to be alone after I die. But if that happens, I’m going to be like Carl from “Up”, a grumpy old man with nothing left to live for. Neither option is good. I just hope it doesn’t happen for many, many years–which is why we need to work on our health.

So, yeah, we meditated yesterday for the first time in a long time. I didn’t do so well–I wasn’t sitting comfortably and my thoughts were all over the place–but it’s a start. My goal isn’t to attain Enlightenment–if I’m going to be a Buddha it’s not going to be in this lifetime–but simply to better control and manage my own mind, so it doesn’t eat me alive the way it does now.

I feel like I’m doing a very poor job with this blog entry. I’m all over the place and I’m not explaining things well. I think maybe it’s because I’m forcing it, so I’m going to stop forcing it and go back to bed now. Thanks for reading. =)


Revelation (Daily Prompt)

Today’s Daily Prompt is: Revelation.

Now this, this is a prompt I can get behind. Revelation, I can dig it. You’ve got your whole Biblical thing if you choose to go that way, or personal revelations aplenty, or political stuff to choose from. I don’t believe in the Bible, obviously–rather, I should say I don’t believe it’s divinely inspired–but Revelation is an interesting book. I’ve always been fascinated by apocalyptic stuff. I don’t know why. I think the apocalypse is necessary so humanity can take the next big leap forward. Of course, whether humanity would survive at all depends on the kind of apocalypse we’re talking about. If we nuke ourselves to death, well, I guess that’s our final chapter. But if we have a pandemic or a big solar flare or something, then humanity’s future is very much an open question.

Right now, as it stands, there is very little natural selection going on with humanity. We’ve gotten so good at survival that we just don’t get eaten by tigers anymore. With our complex civilizations and their social safety nets, just about everybody survives until breeding age, and then most people breed. Now, I’m not a social Darwinist, but I have to admit we’re watering down our own gene pool. In an optimal society, you’d want the people with the best traits breeding the most, while people with less desirable traits breed the least. Now, we could argue about the traits for days, what’s desirable and what’s not, and again I’m not advocating anything specifically aimed at any particular group, but if there were an apocalypse of the survivable kind, then I believe that natural selection would start kicking in again. People who survive the apocalypse are going to be intelligent, socially adept creatures. They may also be violent and cruel. Many of them may be sociopaths. It all depends on what the apocalypse is and how the story of the survivors plays out. If it goes the right way, though, we could be looking at humanity’s next big leap forward, genetically speaking. Instead of an average IQ of 100, maybe after the apocalypse and the resulting rebuilding of society the average IQ is like 140. Maybe the people who survive are adept at consensus building and growing communities in a sustainable way. Then again, maybe they’re like Negan from The Walking Dead–violent sociopaths who kill to survive. I would expect to find a mix, depending on the manner of the apocalypse.

That’s what fascinates me about post-apocalyptic fiction. I want to see how things get rebuilt. I want to see what kind of society comes out on the other side. It could be brutal and terrible, but it could be great. It could be just what we need for humanity to start fulfilling its full potential. It won’t be great for me personally–I’m not positioned to survive any kind of apocalypse, really–but it could end up being a good thing for humanity.

I kind of expect some kind of apocalypse to happen in my lifetime. It seems like we’re pushing up against all sorts of Earth’s natural limits. I don’t know how much more overpopulated we can get before there has to be some kind of reckoning. Of course, the apocalypse may not happen all at once–it could be a gradual decay, as climate change and energy depletion and resource wars all take their toll. I personally would vote for a more sudden apocalypse, like a pandemic or an EMP, that would be more likely to bring about the downfall of the existing power structures. In a slow decay, the power structure will do everything it can to stay in power, likely at great cost to the survivors. Better to start fresh.

I am taking a few common sense steps to prepare for a calamity, although it’s more in preparation for a Cascadia earthquake or a big ice storm than it is for something worldwide. For my birthday I am getting a solar-powered, hand-cranked radio (you can check it out here) and a Lifestraw. We have a river less than 100 yards from our building, and with a Lifestraw my wife and I will be set for clean water for quite a while if something should happen to our running water, as it could in a big earthquake. I’m slowly building a little stockpile of food–I’d like enough to last us two weeks. I figure if things aren’t getting better in a couple of weeks then we’re really in trouble. We don’t have the money or the space to plunk down five years’ worth of MREs. So I’m preparing for a small-A apocalypse, but if the big-A Apocalypse comes, then we’re rolling the dice with everybody else.

Well, my wife’s awake, so I’m going to end it here. Thanks for reading. =)

Doctors and Whatnot

I’m having a week full of doctors and lab tests and X-rays and the whole shebang. I was having heart palpitations, so they put me on a home heart monitor for a couple days, and of course I didn’t have any palpitations while I had the monitor on. I have a high white blood cell count but no sign of infection. I had low potassium, so my doctor put me on potassium pills. After a week of the pills, my potassium is even lower than it was before. Now I have to take the potassium pills twice a day. Nobody knows why my potassium is low, or why it would have gone down while I’m actively taking potassium. And to top it all off, I pulled my goddam left pectoral muscle folding laundry yesterday. Getting old is hell.

Speaking of getting old, I turned 45 yesterday. I had a good birthday, spent the day with my wife and the evening with a couple of friends. I know a lot of people my age don’t necessarily care to celebrate birthdays, but I figure it’s a good chance to spit in the eye of Death. HA! Beat you for another year, you motherless bastard!

I’m not really worried about my health problems, although maybe I should be. Low potassium can cause cardiac problems, which is about the last thing I need. I think I have a bad case of magical thinking, nothing-will-happen-to-me syndrome. None of this stuff is sinking in. High white count, low potassium, heart palpitations, pulled left pec, back trouble, shoulder trouble, knee trouble…lions, tigers and bears, oh my! It’s all coming too fast and my mind can’t or won’t process it because nothing “SERIOUS” has happened yet. But in my case, the first “SERIOUS” thing that happens may be a heart attack or a stroke that kills me, or worse, incapacitates me.

But, whatever the reason, I’m not too worried about things right now. My wife and her friend (our friend, I should say) are in the other room coloring, and I’m here blogging and listening to music and drinking Four Lokos. Life is pretty good right now, despite the medical shit that’s going on. I’m not freaking out worrying about things I can’t control, I’m not depressed, I’m not manic, and everything is more or less OK mentally. That makes for a pretty good day. I’ve been worrying a lot lately about being homeless, but that seems to have ebbed the last day or two. So, yeah. Not worrying is good.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Thanks for reading. =)

Health, Buddhism and Death

The other night, we watched the documentary The Buddha. I’ve seen it probably a half-dozen times or more by now, and know it pretty much word-for-word, but it’s great to watch because it’s so relaxing. It makes me want to take up meditating again, but we have to figure out what to do with our cat while we meditate. She won’t sit still for us sitting still, lol.

I consider myself a Buddhist, although a very poor one. I also consider myself an atheist. In my mind the two are not mutually exclusive, as you can be a Buddhist without believing in an afterlife or a soul, or much of anything really. At least, you can be a Zen Buddhist that way, and that’s what I consider myself, is a very poor Zen Buddhist. I’m also a pretty poor atheist, since I still pray every night. I guess I’m really just a closet agnostic.

Whatever I am, I have no fear of death. I don’t welcome it, and I hope to be around for a long time to come, but I’m not afraid of dying. Dying to me just means eternal dreamless sleep.

Speaking of death, however, I went to my doctor this week. I’ve been having heart palpitations and he’s putting me on an EKG monitor for a couple days. A couple of my labs were abnormal also, including my white blood cell count. And now tonight I felt a bit short of breath while lying down. My back and my shoulders and my knees all hurt. Tonight it’s mostly the shoulder, but all my joints hurt at times.

I desperately need to lose weight. According to my doctor’s scale, I weigh 411 lbs. and I haven’t lost anything in the last three months. Haven’t gained, either, so there’s that at least. My wife and I have been better about walking lately, and our diet has improved somewhat, but it’s going to take a long and concerted effort for me to lose the weight I need to lose. My 45th birthday is coming up in less than a week, so I’m getting older and losing weight is just getting harder with every passing year. Everything hurts more, too.

I’m very embarrassed by my weight. I have trouble fitting into chairs sometimes, and I’m always worried about how the seating will be everywhere I go because my back isn’t comfortable if the chairs are hard. If I were to have to take an airline flight anywhere, I’d need to buy two seats because I simply wouldn’t fit into just one. All this stuff is very embarrassing to talk about, but if not here, where?

My main worry is that I will die young and leave my wife to face the world alone. I’m not a kid anymore and I don’t think anybody would be that surprised if I just up and had a widowmaker of a heart attack. But losing weight is tough. It’s so hard to be disciplined and eat right and exercise. Some people seem to have no trouble with it, diet and exercise come easily to them, but they don’t for me. I’m a carb addict and I hate to exercise even on my good days. I just don’t like the sensation of being short of breath, I don’t like getting sweaty, I find walking to be pretty boring and I just plain don’t like to exercise. I don’t like vegetables either, or fish that much, which makes the diet part kind of difficult too.

It’s hard for me to find meals that I like which aren’t bad for me. I’m a picky eater, something I should have grown out of years ago but never did. We can’t keep peanut butter in the house because I’ll eat too much of it. I love me some peanut butter. PB&J’s are my favorite food. Jesus, what a mess.

I almost wish I could be manic again–when I was manic, I lost 75 lbs. in 6 months. But the other effects of mania are so bad it’s not worth it. I don’t think I’ll ever really be manic again, I was only ever manic when I was on the Zoloft and not on anything else. Now that I’m on Zyprexa (a med that makes it VERY hard to lose weight) I don’t think mania is in the cards for me. My insurance won’t cover weight-loss surgery since I’m not diabetic (yet), so I have to lose weight the old-fashioned way, through diet and exercise. It’s very, very difficult for me.

I’ve been overweight my entire adult life–the least I’ve ever weighed was 219 lbs.–and I very much fear I will die that way. The number of age- and weight-related issues I’m having seem to be multiplying exponentially year after year. What I really fear is something like a stroke that leaves me unable to take care of myself. I fear that more than death, because I neither want to be a burden on my wife nor do I want to go to a nursing home. I’d rather just die.

Well, that’s enough for now. Thanks for reading. =)

Weed and Bipolar Disorder

Right now, I can’t smoke any weed at all. It will be that way until I’m off of probation, which is about 17 months from now. After I get free from probation, though, it’s fair game and I will probably smoke daily.

Marijuana is truly a wonder drug for me. It helps with my depression and anxiety, helps with my ever-present worrying, and makes me more social and friendly towards others. It’s a joke that it is more strictly regulated than alcohol. And yet, when I was manic, even weed couldn’t keep me sane. I was smoking all day every day, just trying to keep myself somewhat tethered to the planet, because I continually had this feeling of too much energy. I felt I couldn’t contain it, and the weed was the only thing I had that helped at all. Now, of course, I know it was the Zoloft making me feel that way. One of my prosecutors actually called me a “pothead” and intimated that smoking weed led to me committing my crime, which is the furthest thing from the truth. Of course, these are the people who thought I was faking my mental illness to get off the hook. Funny how they believe me now and insist that I get treatment, despite denying that I was mentally ill when I committed my crime. Hypocrites of the worst sort.

Nonetheless, I have come to believe that weed is best appreciated in some sort of moderation. Wake-and-baking all day every day is a recipe for trouble because you tend not to get anything much done, which ramps up your anxiety because you’re falling behind on everything, which leads to more weed consumption, and it becomes a vicious circle. That’s what happened to me, but I still maintain the weed wasn’t the problem, it was the untreated anxiety that I was self-medicating with weed that was the problem. However, when I do start using again, I will only do so later in the day when things are winding down and I’m trying to relax. There’s also something to be said for letting out both sides of your personality. My unmedicated personality is much different from my medicated personality. I’m more task-oriented, for instance. Things like that tend to help when you have a job or something else you have to do.

All that being said, I wouldn’t recommend weed as a drug of choice for somebody who is manic. It can make you paranoid and can make your delusions more powerful. Weed is much more useful for the depressed side of bipolar. There really–and I speak from personal experience here–aren’t any good antidepressants out there that actually work at lifting your depression. I’ve tried just about all of them at this point, and frankly they don’t work. Weed DOES work. Weed lifts your mood and (usually) limits your worrying. Weed gives a sense of euphoria and well-being that you can’t find in an antidepressant. Now, if you have troubles, real troubles, that sense of euphoria can be fooling you into not dealing with your problems, but if you’re just depressed, it can be a real lifeline back to some sort of stable relationship with the world around you. It can keep you out of the worst of the depression and make you more functional. But it’s still a drug, and a very powerful drug at that, and I have come to believe it is best used in moderation. You don’t want to be smoking away ALL your worries and anxieties, because some of them are probably prodding you to do things that need to get done. But when it’s just pointless worry about things you can’t control anyway, and hopeless depression that robs you of the spirit to fight back, weed can help much more than it hurts.

That’s all for today. Thanks for reading. =)


Trace (Daily Prompt)

Gonna try today’s Daily Prompt, Trace.

I can trace my problems with mental illness back as far as kindergarten. I hated kindergarten, oh God how I hated it. I cried and screamed every day I had to go. I’d cry so much I’d make myself sick.

I was always afraid my parents were going to take me somewhere, leave me there and never come back, and for me the place that I feared that the most was kindergarten. I don’t remember participating in normal kindergarten activities, although I guess I must have or they woulda kicked me out. What I remember is that, come the end of the day, they let us all out in the yard to play. But I didn’t play. I stood at the fence and watched the road, waiting for my dad to come get me.

My dad, recognizing my plight, gave me a pocket watch, and told me that when the little hand was on the 4 and the big hand was on the 12, he was on his way and would be there soon.

I have an actual memory after that. Me standing by the fence, watch in hand, waiting for my dad. There were two little girls behind me. One asked the other, “Why does he stand there like that every day?” The other said, “I don’t know, but at least he doesn’t cry anymore.” So I can surmise that I was crying every day I watched for my dad until he gave me the watch.

I wish I still had that watch, but I don’t know what became of it. I’m not sure how I got over the problems I had in kindergarten. We moved from Mississippi to Indiana, and I started first grade up there. I went through fourth grade without incident before we moved again–but that’s another story.

My dad and I grew apart as I grew up, and I’m not really sure why. He died in 2008, and we weren’t on speaking terms–at least, not on my end. I think about kindergarten and the watch and how he used to do little cartoons for me–dad going to work, dad coming back home, stuff like that. I don’t have any of the cartoons either. I don’t really have much of anything that belonged to my dad or that he made or anything. My family’s not a big one for heirlooms, I guess. It’s a shame, really, but what can you do? Things turn out how they turn out, and sometimes they just take on a trajectory of their own that you either can’t, won’t or don’t change until something big happens.

That’s all for now, I suppose. Thanks for reading. =)

Streaming, Vol. 2

Well, my wife is going to bed early, leaving me to my own devices, so let’s see what kind of trouble I can get into.

I take online surveys to make a little extra cash, and I had a survey today asking all about my feelings about Trump gutting Medicaid. That put me on tilt a bit and I haven’t quite been right the rest of the day. I know his budget is not likely to pass, but just knowing that Trump is gunning specifically for disabled people just makes me feel vulnerable. I don’t know what we’d do if we lost our Medicaid. We can’t afford to pay for our meds out of pocket. I guess we’d end up going without meds and just letting the chips fall where they may, showing up at the ER every time we needed to see a doctor. I’ve lived life that way before–I’ve spent much of my adult life with no health insurance–and I’m not eager to do it again.

As a matter of fact, Trump’s entire budget can be boiled down to a series of cuts to the very programs my wife and I rely on for survival. Affordable housing? Gonna cut that. Disability? Gonna cut that. Medicaid? Food Stamps? Heating assistance in the winter? Cut that, that, and that. It’s nothing less than a war on poor people, but nobody’s calling a spade a spade except for Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Well, Jeff Merkley is doing a pretty good job too.

I just can’t believe that in the year 2017 we find ourselves in this kind of shape, with Republicans in control of every aspect of the government. On the other hand, I guess I kinda can. The Republicans have a clear message: we hate change and we hate everybody except for “normal” white people. The Democrats no longer have a message. They take almost as much money from Wall Street as the Republicans do; how can they be the party of average people when they’re all bought and owned by bankers and lobbyists? They can’t, and so they end up chasing their own tails trying to come up with a message that resonates with the American people.

How about this? We believe in fair pay for a hard day’s work. We believe in decent health insurance for everybody. We believe in the right to form a union. We believe we have to start fighting climate change NOW. We believe that the billionaires and the corporations should be paying their fair goddamned share of taxes. We believe in good schools. We believe in free tuition and a $15 minimum wage. And we believe in being fair and just to EVERYBODY.

That sounds about right. That sounds like something that might work for the American people. Sound familiar? It’s practically stolen word-for-word from Bernie Sanders, who, just by the way, happens to be the most popular politician in America right now. And yet the Establishment Democrats still don’t want to listen to Bernie. They are so goddamned stupid and insulated in their own little bubbles that it’s hard to believe. They just don’t get it. And if you’re thinking that in 2018 there’s going to be some miraculous Democratic wave election to save us from these goddam Republicans, then you’re dreaming. It ain’t gonna happen on its own, not unless the grassroots decides, “Fuck it, we’ll just run it all ourselves.” But the Establishment Democrats haven’t hit bottom yet. Trump in the White House, GOP running Congress, a Supreme Court that likely will be killing us for a decade if not a generation, GOP running most of the state governments, and the typical Democrats still just don’t fucking get it. They don’t understand that they are seen as nothing but shills, up for and available to the highest bidder. At least the Republicans are straightforward about it; they’ll tell you with a straight face that a corporation is a person and should have the “freedom of speech” enabling them to shovel money at any politician they choose. The Democrats give lip service to overturning Citizens United, as if we had no problems before 2010. Does anybody remember before 2010? I sure as hell do, because I got suckered by a young man by the name of Barack Obama, who promised to put paid to all these lobbyists and change the way Washington works. Yeah, what a laugh riot that was. I don’t hate Barack Obama, but he was selling nothing but snake oil. Yeah, we’ll change the game by letting Goldman Sachs and Citigroup run the economy, just like they always do. The Democrats let Trump get ahold of the “change” mantle, and he ran with it. Every election, every single election between now and whenever we fix this clusterfuck of a government that we have, is going to be a “change” election, because everybody you meet on the street knows that the government is corrupt, the government has been bought and paid for, and the government is out to help the billionaires and the giant corporations and out to screw the little guy. That sound familiar? More Bernie Sanders. It’s like I’m channeling a 75-year-old Jewish Vermonter. The reason Bernie says all this shit and the reason he’s so popular while saying it is BECAUSE IT’S TRUE AND EVERYBODY KNOWS IT’S TRUE. Trump won because everybody hates politicians and Hillary is the dictionary definition of a politician. Obama pegged her in 2008: “She will say anything and change nothing.” That’s all you need to know to understand why Hillary lost. Hillary is the Establishment, the very embodiment of the Establishment, and your average Joe, whether in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin or California, hates the goddam Establishment so much they can hardly stomach it. My father-in-law practically blows a gasket spewing vile invectives every time a politician of either party dares show their face on his TV screen. And there’s millions more just like him. Most of them didn’t vote for Trump because of his policies, they voted for him because they thought he would throw a monkey wrench into the system. They voted for him, many of them, out of sheer desperation that somebody, ANYBODY but the same old crew be put in charge to see if they could do any better.

Well, we see how that’s turning out. Because Trump is a sociopathic, narcissistic pathological liar, as anybody listening to the better angels of their nature now knows to their core. But next time–and I mean 2020 here–next time somebody gives you a choice between change in the form of Bernie Sanders (or, maybe, Liz Warren) versus the Establishment in the form of Joe Biden, Cory Booker, or God save us, Hillary Clinton again, you better pick Bernie Sanders, because if you don’t you’re liable not to see the back of Trump until January 20, 2025. Or even worse, Mike Pence.

All of that from one little online survey? Jesus, I need a chill pill.

Thanks for reading. =)