Monday 25 April 2016

Tip Over the Sexism Iceberg & Slap Its Ugly Face

Last week, Conservative MP Michelle Rempel was published and praised for her op-ed piece on sexism in parliament.  She speaks truth;  it exists here, there, and everywhere.  But I found the entire piece to be lacking in comprehension of the true depth of the issue. Kind of like complaining about Camembert being served cold on broken crackers while others rely on the food bank.  Though Rempel is correct in her observations, she's truly only seeing and speaking of the tip of the sexism iceberg.

Personally, in 29 years of working I have encountered sexual harassment at almost every single job I've had.  If not sexual harassment then most definitely sexual marginalization.  For years I ignored the comments, the "compliments", being called "sweetheart" and "doll" in front of customers who were meant to respect me.  Being told of my physical assets as though they should matter at all at work.  I've been told all kinds of things that I suppose were meant to make me feel good.  Or were they supposed to set me off my track?  Were they said to marginalize me? Define me?  Intimidate me?  Who knows.  I know that some of us say things before we even think.  Doesn't mean it's right though does it?

At the moment, I am pushing through the mental scarring so I can pay my rent. What scarring you ask?  To make a long story short, I started a new job mid-December and by mid-January, a male supervisor decided to share with me in detail, his alternative lifestyle in which a little BDSM often falls.  This was the first time I had to work alone with him, it was 2 a.m., and after he sent the other employee home early. This was also after he stressed to me how our boss relies on him and his opinion of new staff~that new staff being yours truly.

As he described his escapades and what his partners and he did, all I could think was, "just do your job" ... "you're almost done" ... "just smile, he can get you fired".  And I might have been able to forget the words, but being a visual person, it's what happened next that is imprinted in my already shaky grey matter.  After going out for a smoke, this supervisor stopped beside my desk and put his phone in my face.  There was a clear-as-day picture of his erect penis, not a foot away from my eyes. I sat with my head-set on, ready for the next phone call I was expected to answer, unsure of how to react. My eyes widened and as once again that instinct to laugh-it-off took over, I turned back quickly to my computer screen telling myself it was a joke.

But I was a fool to think it was over.  Oh no it wasn't over, because this pig wanted to know my opinion of the picture.  He asked me how it compared to others I'd seen.  He held up his arthritic hand and with his thumb and index fingers he showed the circumference even, as though I needed to know that.

This is raw, and it has affected me more than I ever imagined.  It has affected how I see myself and how I see my own sexuality.  This co-worker has taken something sacred between my hunni and I and made it feel ugly and dirty to me.  But it's what we deal with daily in minimum waged jobs or in jobs that require tipping.  I would LOVE to be told I'm being too emotional sometime.  It would certainly be better than being told something that whittles my entire existence down to two mounds of flesh.

So here's the rub Michelle.  I went to our boss and office manager.  I wrote it all out in print as hard evidence.  He got a week off.  And though I received lots of concern from my office manager, I also got informed twice that if I couldn't work those same late-night shifts with my harasser, I'd likely lose hours.  So as it stands today, aside from two other weekend shifts free from him, I am expected to work 8 out of 32 hours every week with this man that turns butterflies into angry bees in my stomach. Why should I lose hours when I did nothing wrong?

Sexism and this over-sexualized culture we have, is rampant in the workplace. And clearly Michelle has not worked where I've worked. She is correct though in stating that this cannot be fought on the ground by those in the action. This too is an ideology, a belief system that sees women as lesser. Perhaps MP Rempel can start a hot-line for women like myself to call for assistance in matters like these.  I cannot lose this job, what am I to do?

As it stands today, as Michelle has rightly pointed out, we have a normalization of sexism and female marginalization in the workplace.  I cannot change it.  I can only be affected by it.  Dear Parliament, over half of your workforce are at risk of being treated as less than or as the brunt of a bad joke over and over and on the daily.

In the year 2016, we should be calling that a barbaric cultural practice.

Sunday 24 April 2016

My Body, My Choice in Medicine

I was recently told by a cannabis legalizing clinic that ...

"A person can't just say that they've used cannabis for the
past 15 years to treat something and expect for us to make
them legal. That's not how it works."

Hmmmm ....

I get maybe sometimes they're correct, but sometimes
that's exactly how it should work.

For instance, I've lived in this body for 42 years.

I know that white breads give me gas.
I know that mangos give me a rash.
I know what binds me up; and what makes me run.
I know when a pill will help; and when it'll make me barf.

I know my body and I treat it in a way that I have learned
ameliorates its daily functioning.

So .... if the whitecoats think this isn't how it should work,
they should take a seat.

We know our biologies.
We're not the first humans to self-medicate.
That's what humans do and quite often, we do
it better than the white coats can.

Scenario: I've gone thru the gamut of meds for my depression.
I've used cannabis for it for 14 years.
NUMEROUS bodily systems improved when I began this and
finally stopped the pills.

So they're saying that I need a white-coat to look over my system and the
many studies on cannabinoid therapy and then decide to give me permission
to use the plant that I know works.

Is it about control? Are we minions?

Once I lock my apartment door, they cannot control anything.

Especially not my mind.

Sigh .... just legalize it ffs.

Thursday 21 April 2016

How Did I Spend My 420?

As the sun shone down upon the land, and the revelers took over Parliament, I sat scouring the net and printing out homework for my Doctor.

Tomorrow is my appointment.  I'm going to ask him to sign for me.  I'm doing what I never thought I'd do.  But I'm tired of only taking what I can get.  I'm tired of Kush.  I'm tired of couch lock.  I need to be able to investigate strains that these streets have never even heard of.  And it's time for me to start growing my own.  Horticultural therapy is real.  The rules for home production by legal MMPR patients are expected with the next six months.

What do you think of my homework for him?  I mean, if the medical system isn't going to teach him about Cannabinoid Medicine for mental illness then I will.  In fact, when we met several months ago for the first time I expressed my strong views on Cannabis as medicine.  He actually stated that he believes he will learn from me.  That's when I knew I had finally found a healer.

The following are the articles I've printed off to give to Dr. P to help him decide.

"RIA Neuroscience Study Points to Possible Use of Medical Marijuana for Depression"

"Elsevier:  Decreased Depression in Marijuana Users"

"Antidepressant like and Anxiolytic-like Effects of Cannabis Sativa"

"Is there a role for the endocannabinoid system in the etiology and treatment of melancholic depression?"

"Cannabinoids and emotionality:  a neuroanatomical perspective."

"Cannabinoids promote embryonic and adult hippocampus neurogenesis and produce anxiolytic and antidepressant-like effects"

The hour is growing near and I'm nervous as heck!   I'll let you all know how it goes in my next post.

Remember ... my body, my brain ... my rights!

Monday 11 April 2016

Cannabis, the Ever-Versatile Medicine

Hi, my name is Dianna and I've smoked Cannabis every day for the past 14 years.

If you and I were to meet, you'd never guess it.  Other than the fact that I find a way to work
cannabis into the conversation often, you'd never even suspect that I smoked at all.

I don't mean to visually profile.  Nowadays, it's all but impossible to pick out the cannabis users.
We are every body!!

Unfortunately though, the media does this for us.  Every time the news shows anything cannabis-related the pictures are always of smoking.  Usually big gaggers.  Or the big clouds over rallies.
Don't get me wrong ... it's like incense to my hunni and I.  But there a lot of people who abhor smoking, and every time they read or hear about medical marijuana or cannabis, they see young people smoking. This conditioning goes deep.

I just gave my co-worker 3 gelatin caplets filled with my home-made cannabis-infused olive oil.
She has severe insomnia and the last time she took a prescribed sleeping pill, she woke up in her neighbor's back yard.  Funny, that never happens when she drinks wine and smokes doobs.  But this oil is different than doobs.  For my pooch Molly and for yours truly, the oil in these caplets is like a friendly hand coaxing you to bed and rubbing your back til you fall asleep.  It does not sedate, it only allows your brain to do what you want it to do, when you want it to do it.

And it's so easy to make.

Last week I did something to my lower back that pinched the nerve.  I took two of these caplets before work and took two for later.  I also applied my own home-made cannabis infused coconut oil cream several times throughout my shift.  It contains Castor oil and bee's wax as well, both medicinal.  The effects were astounding.

The manufacturers of Ibuprofen pills and muscle creams don't want legalization to happen.  This is why.  Making medicines like these are as easy as baking cookies and stew in a crock pot on a Sunday afternoon.  I've even made some cream in which I steeped some of my home-grown hot peppers.  My hunni absolutely swears by this stuff.  More than made with love.  Made with that which your body easily accepts.  Natural, organic stuff.

I come from a long line of do-it-yourselfer's.  I grew up with gardening genius parents who were partners with mother nature.  We had carrots and potatoes buried in the 'hole' in the basement til into the new year.  My mom lined the shelves with preserves, and filled the freezer with veg.  Home-made is simply better.

Personal freedoms are a core belief that many of us still possess.  Deleting the middle-man and truly providing for yourself by making your own medicine and food is at the very heart of this belief.  This is a good belief;  this is universal.  It can bypass boundaries because health is life.  And food and safe medicine is a part of health.

If you want to learn more about this, google is your friend.  Also, there are Cannabis information clinics like Canadian Cannabis Clinics opening up all over.  Many of which are covered by ohip.  But the best way to really learn about cannabis as medicine is to normalize the conversation.  You might be surprised who's still in the cannabis closet.  They may be waiting for someone else to bring the topic up.  A friend found this out once after telling a co-worker about cannabis being good for so many things.  The co-worker said, "yep... it's the only thing that controls my husband's Crohn's".

If I could momentarily bend Parliament's ear, I would tell them that you cannot mandate personal choice.  Otherwise, "personal choice" would be an oxymoron.  It is not.  It is a right that we as hard-working, life-loving, and tax-paying citizens deserve.

And we're here to demand it.  Cuz we got oil to make!!

Thursday 7 April 2016

Anxiety ... the Unannounced Guest From Hell

I feel renewed after another amazing CBT session with my Psychotherapist.  We talked briefly about anxiety.  I realize now that I don't have it.  I get anxious before events that stress me, but I don't have Anxiety.

Did you know it comes out of nowhere?

Like one minute you're fine;  the next your heart is beating out of your chest and you're in the fetal position.

You can't prepare for that.  You can't prevent what you don't know is coming.

Because I don't have it, I have few wise words.  But I saw this video on The MIGHTY that I wanted
to share with you.  In turn, you can share it too.

Here it is.

Wednesday 6 April 2016

Prohibition Promotes Predator Pricing

I never wanted to be legal.  I always thought that putting my name and address on a list that Heir Harper could see, was crazy.  In fact, when I recently met my new Doctor, I told him that I would never ask him to sign for me.  I said that I didn't want to be legal until everyone was legal ... as in full Cannabis legalization.

But my opinion has changed.

The Supreme Court of Canada recently ruled that legal Cannabis users MUST be allowed to grow their own medicine.  That's a big deal.  Depending on how much of these dried plant flowers you consume in a day, the costs can be choking.  For instance, it's said that the average legally prescribed dose is 5 grams per diem.  

The math:

5 grams x 30 days = 150 grams per month

If the average price per gram (through LP or green-thumbed friend) is $7 then ....

$7 x 150 grams = $1050 per month

**if you're buying through a Licensed Producer, you're also paying tax and shipping.

Now before you start ranting about how that's too much Cannabis per week or month, realize that many patients do not necessarily smoke those flowers.  Many of us make other medicines out of them. Let's just say that when it comes to converting this plant product into medicine, the ratios are similar to sap and maple syrup:  it takes a shitload of sap to make a pancake's worth of syrup and it takes a shitload of dried flowers to make medicinal oils, butters, tinctures, and baked goods.

The past few months have been rough for me.  I have depression that doesn't respond well to pharmaceuticals.  It responds well to cannabinoids though, pulling me out of the cyclical negative chatter in my brain.  But because of prohibition, lack of societal education, and capitalism, many people still smoke their flowers.  It's the cheapest way to get the cannabinoids in and get them working.  I'd like to be getting even more cannabinoids in my system by way of a vaporizer but I can't afford one of those.  I'm eager to medicate my blues with whole plant cannabis oil too, but the moolah isn't available for that much sap ... er flowers.  

Speaking of those flowers, there are a few hundred different strains of this flowering plant and more being bred every day.  Each one has a unique cannabinoid profile with differing amounts of healing cannabinoids like THC, CBD, CBC, CBN, and the list goes on.  Each of these compounds assists the body in some way via our already existing endocannabinoid system.  Legal growers grow the strains to treat their ills or the ills of the patients they're growing for.  But I don't have that luxury.  I take what I can get and save my seeds for someday.  

What if that someday could be sooner rather than later?  What if I got legal too?

You see, prohibition creates and promotes predatory pricing that could rival the greed of even douche-bag Martin Shkreli who raised the price of his company's HIV pill $736 PER PILL. Prohibition and restrictions on growing raise the price astronomically for those of us who use Cannabis daily. After equipment and seeds or clones are purchased, many legal growers boast a cost of mere dollars per gram.  One friend says she grows her medicine for 50 cents per gram. 
Let's do that math shall we?

.50 x 150 grams = $75 per month

Do you see what I'm saying?  The mark-up on this product is huge!  By simply legalizing this plant and giving its users the same respect we give tobacco users, we'd be saving ourselves so much money! When the Liberals implement the regulations for growing, as instructed by the supreme court decision, legal patients could pay their rent with the money they'll save each month.  That would leave a lot of extra spending money so we could help build that sacred economy.  

To speak plainly, it's disgusting how much we pay for Cannabis.  It's so valuable that it's being traded on the stock market, or at least some of its legal growers like Tweed are.  That's gross isn't it? While children with Dravet's and Epilepsy die around us because the plant that helps them remains illegal, players in the stock market can line their pockets trading stocks in the medicine that could save them.

And for those of us wanting to catch a buzz, $10 will get us 4 tall boy beers or 1 measly gram of cannabis, enough for 3 modest joints.  To save money, those beer and even wine drinkers can brew their own at home, but they can't grow this plant.  It's a complete double-standard and it's harming society as day after day we educate ourselves via google and choose the safer option. The fact that we pay so much more for weed than we pay for booze is thanks to prohibition.  

Legalize it please.  Legalize cannabis for me and for every person who has asked me where to get Rick Simpson Oil.  Legalize it for the children and the parents fighting for their lives from diseases that Cannabis treats.  Legalize it for the addicts who don't want to be on methadone forever. Legalize it for the chronic pain sufferers who don't want to feel drugged out anymore.  Legalize it for the Veterans we said we'd take care of.  Legalize it to set precedence that science trumps financial or political gain. 

And finally, legalize it for that enormous part of our country that still believes in personal rights and freedoms.

Natural Disasters Not Covered by Insurance?

Being a responsible adult means insuring your home.  Being a responsible adult means reading the fine print.  As coma-inducing as your insurance contract is, we've all read and chuckled over the clauses that void said contract.  For instance, in home insurance there are clauses that state that the contract is void if damage is done by "natural causes" or even at times worded as "acts of God". What does that even mean?

Well one family from Oasis, B.C. now knows exactly what that means.  The foundation under their home is shifting, and though they've made several attempts to steady it, the middle of their home is sinking.  An immediate evacuation order has been made and this family is now totally uprooted and fighting to keep their home.

How is a young family supposed to recover from a natural disaster like this?  Shari and Trevor are still paying on that home ... a home that they may be forced to walk away from.  Essentially having given up years of mortgage and insurance payments, money they'll never get back.

What must this be like for their children Kaylin and Lucas to see their parents wracked with worry? To know that they may never be able to move back into their home?  I can't help but put myself in their shoes, and I can't imagine how they're feeling right now.  I'd imagine "lost" is a good way to describe how they all feel.

And all of this is because mother nature has a clogged drain?  All because there is more ground-water this year?  Who's fault is that?  This brings up a good question:  why is there no-fault insurance for car owners but not for home-owners?  You can read here about their on-going struggles with drainage in the area.  As clearly implied in this article, today it's Shari and Trevor being evacuated, but tomorrow could be their neighbors too!!

Mountainous British Columbia ... I'd still move there in a heartbeat.  For many of us, that vast expanse just signifies freedom.  Oasis is located in the West Kootenay region of British Columbia. Nestled near the Selkirk mountains, it's one of the most beautiful places in the world.

This blog isn't really a political one, but with ventures in fracking and other ground-disrupting practices flourishing, can we really be sure this is from natural causes?  As recent as last June, numerous communities including some close to Oasis, were awoken by a thunder-like boom that has been chocked up to possible blasting, road construction or rock quarrying.  Though none were scheduled. But as you can read here what some of the locals thought, many suspecting fracking in nearby Idaho and Washington.

It seems like a lost cause to fight the insurance companies.  They are too big to fail.  So when this type of disaster strikes, the communities step in.  It's a beautiful thing to see so many people giving money via crowdfunding sites like this one.  It truly feels good to help, it feels good to give.  The loving community that this family live in and among has blessed them with generosity.  The money raised will help them pay rent on their home away from home, as well as pay the plethora of other bills that are surely coming their way.  Who knows, with exposure comes miracles.

So, if you can give, please do.  If not, please share.

It takes a community to make sure we all make it through.

Saturday 2 April 2016

The Dissonance of Depression

We are made to want to survive.  We are made to thrive.  So much so that countless systems in the body work without us even knowing it, including our hearts that beat from a spark of electricity. They just do what they do because that’s what they’re supposed to do.

On the other hand, my depression and millions of others’ forms of mental illness is all about self-loathing.  Frankly, we hate ourselves. We question our worth, and our purpose for even going on. Our brains magnify the negative and the rest is relative hell manifested in millions of different forms of mental illness.

Our bodies inherently want to live;  our minds often want to die.  Such disharmony.

The cognitive dissonance of knowing you’re supposed to want to thrive, and seeing so many people around you thrive, can make you doubt your value even more. If they can do it why can’t I?

For a long time, I allowed my depression to define me.  And seeing healthy-brained people on television and movies, as well as all around me, made me hate that I had this disease.  It’s not a far stretch to start hating yourself.  You are your depression.  You’re why you’re depressed.  It’s all you.

So a while ago, while I was down in the deep, I had a moment of clarity that has changed how I see my mental illness.  I was noticing how when I’m depressed, I pull away from loved ones.  I thought how my depression itself was like a many tentacled krakken closing itself around me, keeping me down, keeping me away from everyone else I love.  Like a spoiled child wants a parent all to itself.

Separating the depression from ME has made a difference.  I feel like I’ve effectively chosen sides, and I’ve chosen my side.  And it is a fight.  Every day, every friggin hour some days is a fight.  But I’m on MY side now.  Knowing I have my own back fully and completely is powerful.  That other side of me that is depressed and wants to surrender belongs to the krakken not to me.

If your mental illness were a monster, a demon, a rabid animal … what would it be?

Visualize it and then fight it.