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. =)

 

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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. =)

Misc.

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. =)

 

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. 1

OK, I’m having trouble finding a prompt I like, so I’m just going to start typing.

I used to want to own a house more than just about anything. I’d envision myself buying a fixer-upper and turning it into a grand abode. The fact that I know nothing of carpentry or plumbing or electrical work was of little importance to me then. Pish-posh, I’d figure it out.

Nowadays, I’m glad we never bought a house. We probably would have lost it when we went bankrupt anyway. These days the only kind of house I’d be interested in would be turn-key ready. Who wants to do all that reno work? Forget that, I want a house ready to move into.

Of course, unless I hit the lottery, I’m not going to have to worry about buying a house. And I don’t have to worry about raising kids, which is something else I once thought I wanted that I’m now glad I don’t have. One cat is enough.

It’s funny how so often, life’s big choices get made for us. If you wait long enough, things will figure themselves out. Of course, you may not like the answer you get, but hey, that’s how the cookie crumbles. Maybe you’re more of a take-charge sort than I am, and want more control over your destiny. I wish you luck, but I suspect your destiny will find you whether you try to control it or not. I’m closing in rapidly on age 45, and I never would have dreamed my life would turn out the way it has, or that I’d be mentally ill. Of course, had I been playing close attention to my depressive episodes at age 19, 23, 25-26, etc., etc. maybe I would have figured out there was more going on. I just thought I had a depression problem, I wasn’t until the Zoloft revealed a manic side that I realized I had a bipolar problem. And of course, by the time I realized it I was already in jail, the damage had already been done. I wish I could go back in time to mid-2011 and warn myself: don’t take the Zoloft! But, c’est la vie, can’t change it now.

I’ve been bored and depressed for the last several days, and sleeping a lot, so I haven’t felt like blogging. I never feel like blogging unless I wake up early in the day. It’s part of my morning routine and on the days that routine gets cut short, blogging goes out the window. It’s too bad because I like blogging and it makes me feel better, makes me feel like I’m at least being sort of productive. Nothing much has been happening the last few days, and I don’t have a lot to blog about. Today we have to take our car to the dealership for a safety recall–something about one of the air bags spitting shrapnel if it deploys–so we’re gonna be stuck there all afternoon. Then it’s off to Wal-Mart for groceries. Oh well–boring, but it could be infinitely worse. At least we’re both relatively healthy, we’re safe, we have a roof over our heads, etc. Gotta remember to be grateful for the things we have. We’re a lot better off than a lot of folks.

I still don’t know when the hearing for my disability will be. I’m worried I won’t get it and that my PO will then be all up on me to go get a job. He’s gonna have to understand that I’m not physically capable of doing most jobs because of my back (and my weight in general). I can’t stand around all day shlepping boxes or whatever. I think he gets that, at least. Last time I saw him he suggested I drive for GrubHub, which maybe I could, who knows? We’ll see when the time comes. The thing is when I get depressed like I’ve been off and on the last couple of weeks, I can barely even get out of bed.

I haven’t been paying much attention to the political news, which is good. The world seems to have kept on spinning despite me ignoring it for a while. It’s gonna have to keep on without me for a while longer–the last thing I need when I’m feeling down is to get triggered by something Trump says or does. So I’m going to continue to ignore the political news for a while.

I’m stumbling to a halt so I guess that’s it for today. Thanks for reading. =)

 

 

 

Depression and Anxiety

I’ve been very depressed and anxious the last couple days, ever since the Trump budget proposals came out. The orange gorilla is attacking every single program my wife and I utilize to survive and avoid homelessness. SSI/SSD, subsidized housing, Medicaid, food stamps, LIHEAP, everything. It feels like he’s coming for us personally. I can’t even look at his ugly stupid face anymore without getting angry and then scared.

Fortunately, according to CNN, this budget is just a Trump campaign rally on paper and has no chance whatsoever of becoming law. But just the idea that the President of the United States wants to rob my wife and I of what little dignity and small income we have is frightening. How is it possible that 40% of the population still supports this man? What the fuck is wrong with these people? Don’t they realize that, if this stuff were enacted, millions of newly-homeless disabled people would be wandering the streets in every town and city in America? Is that what they want? Is that what they voted for? If so, fuck them. I paid my taxes too, when I was working, and now that I’ve fallen on hard times it’s time for all the things I paid taxes for to come my way for a while. I’m not ashamed of my status; I have a severe mental illness and so does my wife. We didn’t CHOOSE this; we don’t ENJOY being poor and reliant on the government for everything we have. Just the idea that we have a President and members of Congress who are so rabidly evil–and that’s what it is, evil–is frightening. I mean, these are the people who want to take away the free school lunch program, for God’s sake! They don’t even want poor children to have a hot lunch to eat! Something is seriously wrong in this country. I don’t know how we got here, when it started or if it’s always been like this, but we have some sick, sick fucking people in this country.

I feel a little better now that I’m up and blogging about this, and after reading that CNN article. It’s good to get some of the poison out. I’ve spent the last few days worrying about being homeless, with no income, no insurance, nothing. This is why I try to avoid most political news these days–it can be very triggering for me. I get angry and scared and depressed and anxious all at the same time. Now, the Trump budget may be dead on arrival on Capitol Hill, but who knows what atrocities those fuckers will approve? So even if the Trump budget is a joke, I still sit right in the crosshairs of these Republican bastards who want to cut every program I rely on. The war on the poor is in full swing these days, and we’re going to need a lot of help and a little luck to keep from losing some of what little we have.

In other news, my prescriber is changing some of my meds. I’m getting off the Vraylar and back on Prozac. I’m also getting off of Cogentin, which I think has been making me be tired all the time. The Vraylar only seems to be good at keeping you from getting manic, it doesn’t seem to help with depressive episodes at all. So I’m back on (basically) the med regimen I was on while I was in prison. I was stable in prison as long as they left my Prozac and Zyprexa alone, so I think I’ll be more stable on them than the other combos we’ve been trying. My prescriber doesn’t really want me on Zyprexa because of the risk of weight gain, but I’ll worry about that on my own. Zyprexa is the only med that helps me worry less during the day and helps me sleep better at night. I’ve tried just about everything else at this point, and Zyprexa is the only thing that really works. But it doesn’t work on my depression, so I need an SSRI, and Prozac seems to be one that works for me and doesn’t make me manic. I was on Prozac and Zyprexa 18 months ago before they started messing with my meds (for no real good reason, I see now) and now after all these med changes that haven’t worked, I’m right back where I started. You keep thinking, wow, with all these meds they’ve got today, surely something must work better. Nope. Once you find a combo that works for you, hang on to it and don’t let them mess with it. Next thing you know you’re taking twice as many meds, having side effects, and your depression isn’t any better. I’m OK with being mildly depressed–that’s my baseline, and I’m used to it–but I’m not OK with not being able to hardly get out of bed. That’s where I’ve been lately with the Vraylar and the Cogentin. That Cogentin is nasty stuff–you feel like a zombie all day, and to top it all off you’ve got the Sahara Desert in your mouth. And the only reason I needed it was because of the side effects of the Vraylar. My prescriber is in love with the Vraylar, but luckily she was amenable to changing things since it just wasn’t working for me.

When I’m depressed like I’ve been the last few days, all I can imagine are bad things. I have visions of myself and my wife living on the streets, or being forced to give our cat to the pound because we can’t take care of her. I wonder, if we were homeless: how and where do you go to the bathroom? Where do you get water? Where do you sleep? I have all these visions of horrible things happening, and I just can’t shut them off. They interfere with my ability to sleep, my ability to spend quality time with my wife, everything. They are all-consuming and I cannot be distracted from them–not for long, anyway. I feel a sense of relief right now that everybody else sees the Trump budget as just as crazy and unrealistic as I do, but those bastards in Congress probably have some tricks up their own sleeves. I trust Paul Ryan about as far as I can spit him. Mitch McConnell less than that. So I feel like I have to stay vigilant, but that wears on me greatly. I find it hard to relax, it’s hard to sleep, it’s hard to stay focused when working on other things. A little bit of my brain is always wondering what’s going to happen and if my wife and I are going to be OK. It’s like I can never stop worrying. It’s going to be the death of me, literally, if I can’t get it under control. I have to stop looking at political stuff, but how do you do that when your life is in their hands?

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

Know Your Enemy

OK, this isn’t a Daily Post prompt…my wife suggested I listen to one of my favorite songs and come up with a blog post based on that.

So, my blog post is based on Green Day’s “Know Your Enemy”.

Do you know the enemy? Do you know your enemy?

Who IS your enemy? Is it the cop trying to contain a protest? Or is it the billionaire lobbyist forcing that cop out onto the streets to contain you?

Sometimes I fear we’ve become so inundated with the teachings of Gandhi, John Lennon and Martin Luther King that we no longer know how to construct a violent protest.

Don’t get me wrong: non-violence has shown its worth in dealing with civilized oppressors like the United Kingdom of the 1940s or the United States of the 1960s. But is it enough to overcome the Trumps of the world? What if Mahatma Gandhi had been facing not the British Empire but Nazi Germany during his protests?

I know people like to quote him: “First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.”

The first problem with this is that there’s no evidence that Gandhi ever said it. Check Snopes. This attribution actually started with Donald Trump!

The second problem is: how does this quote fit in a world in which they don’t just laugh at you, they claim you are being paid by George Soros to protest? In other words, how does your protest work in a world in which it isn’t taken seriously?

To use another quote from Green Day: “Another protestor has crossed the line, to find the money’s on the other side”?

What do you do when it’s not an INDIVIDUAL you’re protesting, but it’s the entire SYSTEM which that individual represents? How do you protest the SYSTEM?

Will signs and marching do it? I don’t think so. These people only understand one thing, and that is power. “Power concedes nothing without a demand.” That’s from Frederick Douglass, and is a real quote. It finishes by saying, “It never did and it never will.”

So, since Trump was inaugurated, we’ve had the Women’s March on Washington, the Scientist’s March on Washington, and others. What effect have these marches had? I would argue they have done nothing other than make the marchers feel good about themselves for “doing something” about the Trump administration.

I freely admit I have not been a part of any of these marches, but you tell me: What’s different because of these marches? How has the Trump administration or their lackeys in Congress taken note of these marches? What’s different? What good have these marches accomplished?

I would argue that they have accomplished nothing. What we really need is a million people with pitchforks and torches along the National Mall. People ready to be arrested, people ready to do whatever is necessary to take back our government. Now, that! That would get something accomplished. It would scare the shit out of the cops, that’s for sure. With luck, it might scare the shit out of the people actually in power. Don’t think a million is enough? I agree with you. What about ten million? I’m in Oregon, so I can’t exactly make a trip to DC, but I could sure do the state Capitol in Salem, if I thought that marching and holding a sign was going to make a difference. If it’s a new Battle in Seattle that’s about to happen, I’m down.

I’m not arguing for anyone to hurt cops, or to destroy property, but at some point we have to get past the point of just having a march for a march’s sake. The enemy no longer takes us seriously, and they don’t care if we’re marching. We have to make them care again.

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