Monday 27 April 2015

Sabet & SAM ... Blindfolds On.

Kevin Sabet from the organization SAM is at it again pretending to be concerned about you and I and the kiddies.  I commend him for his confidence as he takes on Dr. Sanjay Gupta and his support for immediate worldwide legalization of Cannabis.  The Cannabist shared Sabet's views here and these are my thoughts on the matter.

So ... Sabet didn't inhale.

And Sabet ... armed with a degree in philosophy is here to save the day against We, the inhalers.

Now, what ammo is that?  Knowledge, power, valid and diplomatic statistical evidence ... nope none of that.  Sabet has a degree studying 'general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language.'  Or at least that's one definition of his area of study.  Wow.  And he doesn't smoke weed?  Really?  Are you sure?

(Aside) I guess you asthmatics are truly and rightly screwed then aren't you?  I mean, some meds ARE inhaled Sabet!  Oh yes that's right, it's fine if the inhalation is one composed of a synthetic chemical concoction created by the white-coats eh?  Newsflash Sabet:   We humans are organic beings.  Why the super duper synthesizing when a plant will do?  And in this case, would arguably do a better job with fewer annoying side effects than steroidal inhalers.

I know I know, you're looking out for us.  You want truth and transparency.  Look at that ... we agree on something!  So let's talk about that.

Dear Kevin,

I have depression that I have been managing successfully with Cannabis for the last six years.
Before that, my organic body was filled with chemical concoctions and combinations-of-the-day, in order to heal my mental illness.  They didn't work.  They harmed me.

You speak of the "millions of people who have been negatively affected by long-term marijuana use".
Okay, I guess you must have evidence to back this up, but I don't care about that evidence Kevin.  I want to be selfish for a moment.  I wanna talk about me!

I have a condition that requires medication.  After years of fighting that idea, I have accepted it. You and your statistics lead me to believe that you think I should be using one of the many pharmaceutical antidepressants on the market.  But see, I tried them.  They didn't work.  They harmed me.

How'd they harm me you ask?  Causation and correlation right?  Let's see how my biology has improved since cessation of chemical meds and the addition of Cannabis:

My orgasm has returned.  Woot woot for sexual therapy!
My bowels now move normally.  Woot woot for waste removal!
My stomach acid issue has dissipated.  Woot woot for proper digestion!
My relationships with family members are more real now because I'm no longer a zombie.
My emotions are in the open now, no longer hidden in that chemically-induced fog.

For me, Cannabis just makes sense.  It works.  It doesn't harm me.

And you wanna talk about inhaling.  You do know that's only one mode of ingestion right?  Are you saying that you want to withhold this medicine because it COULD be used in a detrimental manner?

Tell me, Philosopher King ... do we withhold Ritalin from teens with ADHD because there's a chance they may crush and snort them?

Do we withhold T3's and other meds that contain codeine from a patient simply because some of the people know how to extract it?

Do we withhold Vicodin from the stressed out patient even though the chances of addiction are skyrocketing?

You mention dosing.  And you say it as though the medical industry has that down to such a finite science.  Laughable that.  I had my gall bladder out in the spring and was given the opioid Tr@madol who's dosing was as follows:

Take 1 to 2 tablets every 4 to 6 hours.  That's 4 to 12 pills per day or 150-450 mg of opioid per day.
That is just dangerous.  You can see how many I took.  Insta-barf and depression overload ... all from two LEGAL white-coat creations.

I get what you're saying though.  We need studies but they can't study an illegal plant.  The cleverest of vicious circles.  Problem is, studies have already been done and you don't see them.  Countries in Europe have done studies.  You can read them too.  Or you can look at society as a study in self medication.  Deaths per year count don't they?  Why the beef with the herb when Tobacco kills millions every year on this planet?

Sabet ... you say you want to protect us.  How can you do that with a blindfold on man?

In closing, I earnestly desire your opinion on how I should treat my mental illness.  Do you really believe that I should give up so much of my health simply because no studies have been done?

My body my rights my brain my medicine.

Sunday 26 April 2015

Hopeful and Talking ... a great start.

Content warning:  PTSD

Every Saturday night that I bartend, I come home thinking about certain custies.  I seem to be someone who people feel comfortable talking to.  And to be honest, I have this uber curiosity for all things human.  Tonight my shift was no different.

About ten minutes after I did last call a gentleman rushed up to the bar and asked if I would be open for a few minutes longer.  He was in his late sixties with a familiar and friendly face.  He ordered three glasses of wine and pulled up one of our rarely-used chairs to sit on.  Having bought three glasses of wine, I assumed he was buying a round and that his party was sitting somewhere away from my view.  But I soon realized that those three glasses of wine were for him and they were how he has been dealing with something for years and years and years.

You see my new friend-- we'll call him Tom-- he wasted no time in sharing some of his thoughts with me.  Tom was on his way home from work ... his retirement job as he called it.  Now, I come from a long line of chit-chatters.  Growing up, neighbors and especially relatives came to visit often.  In fact, rarely did a Sunday go by without someone stopping in to "chew-the-fat".  So when Tom started sharing his details and his thoughts with me, I stopped what I was doing and leaned in.

To make a longish story fairly short, my new friend Tom has post traumatic stress disorder aka PTSD and Tom drinks wine to forget what he cannot.  Years of seeing atrocities and years of hearing confessions of atrocities has worn on him as Tom's profession was in Corrections.  As Tom says, that role has an expiry date on it.  Or it should.  I mean, the act of confessing one's crimes, desires, fears may give relief to the confessor but where does it go then?  Do those words, oftentimes dripping with emotion and sentiment and grotesquely vivid details, simply dissipate into thin air?  If only.  But no too often the words cling to the person hearing them.  Like Tom's words have clung to me, and here I am at 3:14 a.m. writing this blog post after a very busy night of tending the bar and cooking fast food.  I deal with this transference of memory and emotion by writing about it.  Tom deals with it by drinking wine.

Yet I'm hopeful.  Sounds odd doesn't it considering I only just met Tom a few hours ago?  But I am hopeful because Tom is hopeful and most importantly ... Tom is talking.  In the half hour that we visited, me tidying up and shutting down the bar, and Tom drinking his therapy, we covered a lot of details.  PTSD has been messing with Tom for a long time.  Wine worked as far as he was concerned, but his wife disagreed.  From where I stand I see so very clearly both sides.  Both views are familiar to me.  Tom's wife left him a while ago, not sure exactly when.  She is currently caring for her dying mother and told Tom that she can't take care of two of them.  He wants her back, says he'll try to get her back.  "She's a good woman," he says.  Connecting the dots of details leads me to think this all is recent and has been earth shattering for Tom.  He told me he called a Hotline two weeks ago and out of that one call he now has a connection to real therapy for his disorder.

As I put together the details of our short convo, I can now see that he has already come a long way. We discussed how 'you' just didn't talk about stuff back then.  He says if ever he began talking about a situation with emotion, he was told to suck it up.  Shut it away.  Out of thought~out of mind?  But never out of mind, just tucked away into the vault.  But this Hotline connected him with a trained professional who came to speak with Tom the day after he called.  This happened in the city I live in, and happened mere kilometers away.

Tom called the Hotline and in doing so, he called for a life-line.  He asked for help and help was briskly given.  This was and is a human moment of greatness.

How our brains react to and process real life experiences is not a fault of our own.  It is survival to shut it away.  I think I said those words to Tom tonight, and I said "If you don't deal with these things, your brain will bring them back and ..." Tom interrupted and said with a chuckle, "bite you in the ass."

Please ask for help.

And find someone to talk to.

Maybe a bartender .... better yet a budtender :)

I mentioned Cannabis for ptsd to Tom and he said he had heard it.  I repeated to him the quote I will forever link with this disorder.  The words come from a Jewish holocaust survivor who says that "cannabis helps him remember how to forget."

When I told Tom this, he nodded and said, "yes ... that would be nice."

Sunday 19 April 2015

When the Pills Don't Work

Hey, have you ever taken a pill expecting it to work ... but it doesn't?  How many times have you kept on taking that pill because the package insert, your prescribing doctor, and your pharmacist tells you that it sometimes takes weeks before you feel the effects?

Pill after pill ... day after day ... holding on to feel the effects.

Looking back with a clear mind I see that for me, pharmaceutical antidepressants were more about placebo effect than medicinal effect.  I remember walking back to work from the pharmacy after my benefits finally took effect, and thinking, "okay ... I'm good now ... everything is gonna be ok."  I was so sure that the key to my contentment was in those little pills in this crisp white bag.  They cost me mere dollars that time, though last time they cost me over $40.  And that was cheap!  I was 'lucky' then that I finally found ONE PILL instead of having to pay for a cocktail of pills the way I did for years and years.

Rhetorical newsflash:  I hate most of Big Pharma.

Why?  Because over the years, I have given them too much of my money!

For me, being on antidepressants was like having a gaping head wound that doesn't hurt anymore.
But it's still there.
You still know it's there.
Yet whenever something touches it, it's numb.

So is this seemingly incurable depression just a 21st century side effect?  What the hell did people do before?  Well in other parts of the world where pharma hasn't infiltrated, the people used and still use plants and fungi and the compounds therein to treat their depression and traumas.

I just finished reading about how CNN journalist Amber Lyon treated her anxiety from years of submersion journalism in very dangerous places.

One word:  Psychedelics

Cue the peace signs and the tie-dye ~ make way for the well researched info.  It seems that google is all but overflowing with studies ... YES STUDIES ... proving the safety of many psychedelics.  You should read her story How Psychedelics Saved My Life.

Now I wouldn't really say I myself am into this array of medicinal plants, but I know about them. Sitting on my coffee table half read is the book "The Doors of Perception" by Aldous Huxley, in which Huxley describes in first person the effects of Mescalin.  Aldous himself it is said, believed that perhaps plants could bridge the gap between human and the divine~whomever that may be.

Let's look back at my numbed gaping head wound.  We know how the pills 'treated' it.  How would psychedelics treat that head wound?

According to Amber, during her first session with a psychedelic tea called Ayahuasca  which is made from the leaves of a perennial shrub called Chacruna, she immediately saw a brick wall with the word "anxiety"spray-painted on it.

So for one, in this instance and in many others, psychedelics simply ADDRESS the issue rather than numbing it or covering it up.  The process from which healing comes is a painful one.  This is almost always true.  That head wound is no different.  It needs to be scrubbed out.  The old, dead, and unrelenting memories that keep you down, need to be brought out and rehashed, reviewed, re-experienced.  It's gonna hurt.  Nothing great comes without a little pain.  But pharma doesn't want you to know that.

How many of us go to the doctor with the inability to sleep because one of these nagging memories wants out?  And how many times does your doctor simply give you a sleeping pill?
Too many times.

These memories come out in your dreams and in your unconscious thoughts because the brain wants them dealt with.  Keeping memories in that vault so many of us keep, hinders the ability of our brains to work properly on a daily basis.

Now I'm not suggesting anyone go out and score some zoomers, pop some peyote, or down some shaman tea.  What I'm suggesting is that we all look at how the pills 'treat' our ills.  Or in my case, don't treat them.  I'm suggesting that you make friends with google.  I'm suggesting you check out Amber's new site called reset me.  Why the quirky name?  Because the abilities of psychedelics to purge one's psyche of fears, trauma, stress disorders, depression and other ailments has been noted by several experts and frequent users.  One well known author and Ethnobotanist named Terence McKenna likened psychedelic therapy to "hitting the 're-set' button on your internal hard drive".

It seems many looking to psychedelics for therapy do so in a multi-session way.  As you may have read in her story, Amber did seven sessions with the Ayahuasca tea and five sessions with Psilocybin mushrooms.  And it showed her how to manage her PTSD and anxiety symptoms.

While your doctor and so many of the 'expert's in the field of medicine want you to stick with the pills.  Give them a chance to get working.  Hold on til you feel the effects.

Pill after pill ... day after day ... for all of the days to come.

Or you could look into something that our great great ancestors used and really heal yourself.

Saturday 18 April 2015

Copycat N!ke and Just Do It!

I sit here with this completed and partially edited manuscript beside me and dream of the day.  I'm stuck in it.  Stuck beside it.  I google for info and am overwhelmed by the immensity of it.

Dreams are good but they can hold you down like quick-sand.  They let you pull your foot out a little, just ever so slightly to give you hope, then the suction takes over.  Down I go.  So unsure.  And so sure.

Sure of what you ask?  Go with that!  The answer to that is wavering and changing on the daily but I'm sure when my book is published and I can hold it in my hands, I'll be complete.

Silly thoughts that bubble up out of my mental illness, my self-doubt, from out of all of my uber inefficiencies.  They come from every corner and in every colour of the rainbow lately.  I'm at the bottom of a hole I've dug to hide myself and just outside the tasks are piling up.  They build the height surrounding my hole til I can no longer see the day.

I must break it down.
Step by step.
Be like NIKE and just do it.

Step one:  complete the edit
Step two:  write a precis describing the premise
Step three:  COPYRIGHT ... only $50 in Canada!
Step four:  put ... it .... out ... there

I have to try to enjoy the climb as much as I'm so sure I'll enjoy the apex.

I'm talking about publishing my book ... but I could so very easily be talking about LIFE.

Friday 10 April 2015

Imprinting Via Music

Growing up in a music loving household meant there was almost always tunes in the air.  My Daddy had the "Sunday Oldies" blaring in his shed, and Mum had 98.3 or even Chez 106 playing classic rock on the inside.  My oldest sis would pop in a cassette tape periodically and that wasn't always a good thing for me, or so I thought.  I mean, what young girl wants to listen to Bruce Cockburn or Billy Holiday?  I wanted cool, hip, happy music.

But Tam was into social issues.  A very proud moment for her was meeting and having a pic taken with Bruce himself while she was at Queens.  He still lives very near to us both, and can be seen perusing at the market sometimes I hear.

A friend recently posted the song, "Call It Democracy" by Bruce Cockburn on fb and it brought back all of these memories from my childhood.  I started listening to more of Bruce's songs on the Youtube link, and realized once they began playing, that I knew them.  Not only did I recognize the tune, but I found I knew the words too. They were a part of me. Some even made me tear up.  Was I imprinted with social compassion and the desire for fairness simply through music?

As a pre-teen, feeling like I was being forced to listen to these songs, no tears fell then.  I didn't feel the words the way I do now.  My biggest gripe was not being allowed to get my own horse!  I knew nothing of social issues or environmental issues.  So the songs didn't touch me.

Or did they?

Did these songs help mold me into the tree hugger I am today?  I mean, if a tree falls does anyone give a shit?  At present day, trees are falling at a rapid rate some 25+ years later.  I may not have heard them way back then.  But I hear them now.

Check out these songs!

"If I Had a Rocket Launcher" ** man! how many times have I wanted one of those?  How many times have I felt the very same sentiment as Bruce?

"If I had a rocket launcher some son-of-a-bitch would pay!".

"If A Tree Falls" **is this song why I give so many shits about the Amazon being torn down? Do we hear those trees falling?  Do we hear the voices of the indigenous people who still live among them?  Is this song why I know in my very core that GREED is the enemy and COEXISTENCE is the key?

"Green brain facing lobotomy,
 Climate control centre for the world.
 Ancient cord of coexistence,
 Hacked by parasitic greedhead scam."

Hear those harmonies?  Do they pull at your heart the way they do mine?

"Lovers In A Dangerous Time" **is this song why I believe in my core that we all deserve the right to love whom we want to love?  Is this why I have this fight in me?

"When you're lovers in a dangerous time,
sometimes you're made to feel as if your love's a crime.
But nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight,
Got to kick at the darkness til it bleeds daylight."

"The Trouble With Normal" **is this song why I'm a card-carrying Liberal?  Did this song introduce me to the word "democracy" or the term "personal rights"?  Is this why I'm an annoyingly squeaky wheel when it comes to fair pay for all?

"Strikes across the frontier and strikes for higher wage,
Planet lurches to the right as ideologies engage.
Suddenly it's repression;  moratorium of rights."

"A Dream Like Mine" **is this song why I seem so foot-stompingly sure my voice needs to be heard nowadays?  Nobody can push me around, nobody can take me down.  Is this song why I'm forever hopeful that with enough raised voices, enough petitions signed, governments will see the err in their selfish ways?

"The picture shifts to how it's going to be ... balanced restored."

Music is therapy and music is freedom.  With the right words, music can also influence.

Have you been imprinted this way?  By what artist?