Illegal credit card policy

I had fraud on a credit card. It’s one of those “bad credit” credit cards you can get that I never use. The fraudster maxed out the card, but it’s only 300 dollars.

When I reported the fraud I expected the same policies any other credit card has. This one insists that I send them a notarized statement AND file a police report.

I think this is asking too much of someone who didn’t even commit a crime. Don’t you?

In order to get this charge taken off I have to do this. So basically they’re holding it over my head. I figured out how to get notary service free of charge. You don’t have to pay! Just go to your bank where you have an account. Or do it at a local hometown bank where you might go to get bus change. They are likely not to charge. I hope.

Now for the police report, here’s my workaround. I have a feeling this credit company isn’t even going to check up on me. You’re supposed to sign this paper saying you did file. This is what I am doing. I have written a letter to the local police telling them that there was fraud on the card and the card has been canceled and replaced. I am sending this snail mail. They are not likely to care, but now I can say I “filed.”

I don’t want any further police trauma. I don’t want contact with them and I don’t want a “record” with them. I feel that it’s my right, as victim of a petty crime, to report, or not to. Taxpayers pay for police service and as a non-criminal taxpayer myself, I feel I have the right to use this local service or not to use it.

I have a feeling that this policy on the credit card company’s part isn’t legal. Well, then, instead of reporting fraud on the card, should I report the credit card company to the cops?


So much for the medicos!

Today I narrowly escaped capture! I have noticed something wrong with my foot lately. What do most people do when they have even the slightest ache or pain? Straight to the doc they go! What do they get? A bill, radiation called X-rays (which do not cure!) a long wait, a misdiagnosis, and harmful pills! Or even worse.

After the foot pain didn’t stop I finally called the telephone doc service I use now and then. The tried to tell me it was my heart and urged me to go to the emergency room. I told him, Okay, I will go.”

What now? If I don’t go will he call the cops? I’m not an MP anymore so that kind of thing never happens anymore. Still, the memories linger. I assured him I was going right away! Meanwhile I had images of being abused all over again. I knew if I went to an ER I would get unnecessary tests and drugs, and a misdiagnosis! I can’t let them coerce me onto dialysis! I am afraid of being given treatment I don’t want, don’t need, and could kill me.

I looked up on the web to find a local podiatrist. It took a number of calls but I found one. I have left the office and am headed home. I have a brace on my foot. No X-ray needed!

A podiatrist knows feet better than an ER doc. Thankfully, she took into account that I am a runner and I also mentioned that I carry groceries home on my back. Another thing I told them was that I work a desk job.

The diagnosis? Sorry to disappoint some of you, but I am hardly at any medical risk. I am not dead yet either, so you all can expect plenty of writing from me! I have tendinitis! I have had it before maybe 30 years ago.

The podiatrist said this will take eight weeks to heal. I can still walk the dog but I can’t run on it for a while.

This is yet one more example of how putting on one’s thinking cap and taking charge of your health helps you stay healthy. I saved my life by avoiding the ER, and saved taxpayers an awful lot of money.

Study on Advice-giving

Here is a surprising study on advice-giving.

When you think about it, if the study holds water, then this is a huge reason why self-help groups are helpful.

What the study said nothing about was whether advice-giving helped the recipient. I learned in coaching school that giving advice is a bad idea all around. Was this true? Maybe, but maybe not always.

I hate receiving irrelevant or insulting advice, don’t you? Here’s an example of insulting advice that was once given to me (paraphrased):

“If you don’t have a car you will have to take the bus if you want to get to work, friend.”

Yes, the “friend” was tacked on there. Oddly, I didn’t even know this person, so she wasn’t a “friend.” She knew nothing about me and went ahead and assumed I didn’t know how to take a bus. I was insulted by this unwanted, unhelpful and insulting advice.

Here’s an example of advice that wasn’t relevant.

“It’s easy to get off disability. I did it! People do it all the time! What is wrong with you?”

This “advice” is based on her own personal experience of being on disability for under a year. She is ignorant of the facts. Very few people who are on long-term disability ever make it off. Being on disability increases difficulty getting back into employment. There are many reasons why this occurs. The exact figure is 0.5 PERCENT. This means that for every 200 people put on disability, one will eventually get off of it. This figure remains unchanged even after the Ticket to Work program started.

This advice was not relevant because she was representing her own experience of being on disability a very short time. My total ended up being about 35 years. According to Social Security, very few get off after this amount of time. It is extremely rare, I was told.

While irrelevant or insulting advice is certainly unhelpful (or even hurtful), what about simply stating the facts without making insulting slurs toward the advice-seeker? Read the article carefully. People who are trying to accomplish something may, or may not, be informed. Just learning a basic fact you didn’t know before can be immensely helpful. Another way to give advice that might be helpful is to steer a person toward a source of information.

Here is an example:

“I just started taking lithium a month ago. I am noticing that my skin is broken up into pimples. Should I go back to my doctor and get a drug for pimples?”

Advice might be: “Did you know that acne is a side effect of lithium?”

Will a person be insulted if I say this? Some might get mad at me and claim I have no right to “interfere” because I am not a doctor.

Oh, oh, how I wish someone had informed me, decades ago, about the harms of lithium. Simple facts! I wish someone had told me that the pimples I had in my late 20s and early 30s were signs that my kidneys were deteriorating. I don’t care if that person is a doctor or not!  The facts would have helped, especially since my own doc wasn’t supplying them.

Simply stating the facts without judging the person would be more helpful than “opinion” or using value-based words.

For instance, saying “Psychiatrists are evil sociopaths” reeks of paranoia, or rather, they might think you are! I hear this from people all the time. As a listener, for me, it’s very important to realize that if a person was deeply harmed, they are likely also to be very angry. We need to realize that a statement made in anger is just that, it’s not paranoia.

I have even heard psychologists, therapists, and psychiatrists confuse trauma and resulting (and understandable) expressions of anger with paranoia.

Paranoia is real, and people do experience it. But to say, “I was harmed by my psychiatrist” isn’t a paranoid statement. If you think it is, then please tell me, where is the paranoia? Where is the departure from reality?

A statement such as “All psychs are evil” is a sweeping generalization and contains no specifics. It is also a value judgment. I personally do not say that, (though in the past while traumatized a few years back I made some generalizations about “doctors” which I likely should not have said).

What can you do when you see someone falling down a rabbit hole and you want to prevent that person from years of lost productivity, medical problems, and early death? What can you do that is helpful that doesn’t sound preachy and doesn’t make the person think you’re paranoid?

After you share the simple facts, the person may reject the facts or rationalize what you are saying. Another reaction is to get on the defensive, defend the diagnosis, defend the words of some doctor who gave that diagnosis, and defend the drugs like they’re miracle pills.

Sharing specific experience that you witnessed first-hand, or that happened to you personally, is a way to share facts. Personal experience IS factual if reported truthfully. Consider the following:

“I was held in Walden Behavior Care’s Alcott Unit for over a week in July 2012 and after eight days I learned, much to my shock, that the attending psychiatrist didn’t know why I was there. The nurse practitioner never read the notes except for one thing: My weight.”

Or….”I was at Newton-Wellesley Hospital as inpatient when a guy was admitted who dropped dead during the admission interview.”

Or…”I developed diabetes insipidus, a kidney condition, from lithium when I was 26 that went undetected for the next 28 years.”

Where is the paranoia? Where is the confusion of the facts here, or distortion of reality?

You may not like hearing these things, but you can’t use your own discomfort as a reason to accuse the speaker of “mental illness.” It’s projection, isn’t it?

I still get accused of mental illness, psychosis, or paranoia. I feel like I have to walk on eggshells around certain people who might suddenly accuse me of psychosis if they don’t like what I am saying, or if they feel uncomfortable. Even other survivors and people who claim to be activists accuse each other of nonexistent mental disorders, just to silence each other or discredit each other.

I do not think it’s any form of compromise to refer to books. When attempting to be helpful, you could say, “Here is a book called Anatomy of an Epidemic that explains why the field of psychiatry is corrupt. RJW was a finalist for Pulitzer. Why don’t you take a look?” Hand the person the book, or any of those wonderful books out there such as Psychiatry and the Business of Madness by Bonnie Burstow.

Now you have steered the advice-seeker toward a source of facts. The advice-taker may or may not open the book. You can try supplying a link, but if they already see you as paranoid, they’ll be afraid to click on the link. They don’t want to know the facts if they come from someone they think is paranoid or “mentally ill.” This is why referring to books written by others might work more effectively.

Or of course you might hand them the FDA insert that comes with the pills. You can pick these up at most pharmacies.

Oh, how I wish someone had informed me, way back when. We need to keep sharing information and personal experience. We need to keep talking. We cannot allow accusations of MI to silence us. We have to realize that an accusation such as, “But you’re not a doctor”  is essentially a statement about social status as a way of discrediting or silencing.

While it is true they don’t want to hear, don’t want to listen, don’t want to believe, we need to be persistent. When it comes to “advice,” actually, about the best advice I ever got was “Be persistent.” I am grateful to the person who said that.

Why don’t we take a moment to thank those who informed us? Some of the advice we may have received, ages ago, was lifesaving, even if given inadvertently! Let’s take a moment here to think about those who gave us great advice and acknowledge their wisdom and insight.




Is there an alternative to Amazon?

I am hoping to order less from Amazon and eventually, end my association with that business altogether. I feel that the company has made some bad business moves that hurt people in the lower income brackets. I also am appalled by the way Amazon treats its workers. I know someone who worked for them who tells me the culture is exactly as the media has reported. The company is overly demanding to the point where workers are afraid to take a minute of personal time to go pee. The company is also brutal to its home workers. I just read about Amazon’s pushing their electric bill costs onto townspeople in Virginia and Ohio.

I am wondering about alternatives. My concern is that I want to find a mail-0rder company that offers low prices and discounts, and at the same time, a decent variety to choose from so I can price-compare.

One alternative is Walmart dot com. You do  have to pay shipping but if your order is over a certain amount they will waive the shipping cost. I have found stuff there that I couldn’t get at Amazon. One example was a 20-lb bag of dry, plain white rice, for which I paid $8. I had it delivered for free because I also ordered a few other household things that are either too heavy or too bulky to carry home from their physical store (such as laundry detergent). I fear, though, that Walmart also might treat employees badly or not pay them enough.

I also know that much of the stuff at Walmart is poor quality. The clothing is not made well in general, rips or falls apart easily. The food selection is decent if you know where to look for the good stuff. Even in the appliance section you’re likely to get something that is a cheaper version of the real thing, which due to poor workmanship will either break quickly or doesn’t work to begin with. I have not gone there to do grocery shopping in ages.

I have been ordering vitamins and herbs from Amazon. In fact, this is the main expense I make with that company. I am hoping to order directly from the various merchants instead.

Here is how you do that: If you see a product being sold on Amazon, see who makes or packages the product. Go to that company’s site and see if they are offering the product at the same price. Many companies are knocking down their prices to compete with Amazon, so I believe a departure from Amazon can be done in an economic and practical fashion.

I will compile a list of herb packagers and sites I have found where you can order various other things and post it here.

Asking again, because I did not get a response to my question

What do you guys think about a book that would be a guidebook for those who took lithium. We are all entering our senior years if we are still alive. Many are considering dialysis and even more are very sick with kidney disease.

Kidney disease makes you exhausted. You are always anemic. Your skin itches like mad. You swell up until your legs and even your arms are enormous. You have fluid around your heart and lungs. You huff and puff like a smoker doing ordinary things. Most cannot walk. You are typically limited to very little water per day and you feel like life isn’t much fun, to say the least. You will drop dead very soon anyway.

All these things will come to pass, and I think doctors do not give the right advice to lithium survivors. This is why I want to write this book.

My question is….Do you guys think there’s a market for this book? Will you help me out trying to publicize it? It would really be a booklet, but i would put it on Amazon for visibility. Would you be willing to review it if it cost only 99 cents to buy on Amazon?

Please respond. Even if no one does I am likely to write the book anyway and hope for the best. My self-esteem doesn’t depend on the “approval” of others, after all.

I know there is such a lack of information on post-lithium life that the book would be appreciated by many people.

Another reason to avoid online school

I was just browsing job openings. I saw one for an online school admissions officer. These scumbags are on commission. I think that’s enough reason to stay away! Yes, they get kickbacks for coercing you into their program!

This explains a lot. I remember when I called SNHU. They are very pushy. The admissions officer kept saying their school was a “perfect match.” This made me wonder, but I fell for it anyway. It was really obvious she was pushing for another reason, but I didn’t even think she was on commission. This is not even ethical.

When I inquired I told them I already had a masters, and maybe I would be interested in some sort of certification to “earn money” on top of the masters that gets me no money. She coerced me into an associates. This is such a slimy thing to do…I was disgusted when I found out h0w bad the classes were.

When I applied for aid they told me I didn’t qualify for a Pell, because they said I already used up my Pell for my bachelors. Suddenly, they informed me that they had finagled a Pell Grant for me. Not legally!  I didn’t realize this until it was too late. Then they said that I now qualified for a loan, too. This was all done illegally.

Then when I called the Dept of Education a couple of years later, to report that the school was a scam, and told them I’d been given a Pell illegally, they wanted “proof.” I called Bennington and they said it was so long ago they did not have the paperwork. But they said by all means, the gov’t had it. Why? Because SNHU knew about it when I applied. However, I called the gov’t back and found that all records of my former Pell Grant were obliterated from gov’t records. What now?

I couldn’t prove anything! They wouldn’t believe me that the grant and loan were done illegally. Instead, they offered me a disability waiver. I think that was to silence me.

Why I am sometimes perceived as “negative” even though I am not

In the past I have been perceived as “negative.” I hated being called that, since I don’t see myself as a pessimistic person. I’m not certain there’s such thing as a pessimist and optimist. Look closely at these labels. They are black-and-white, all-or-nothing, and also, sweeping generalizations. I don’t think anyone is all negative or all positive, or all hopeful, or all hopeless.

My aim is to be realistic. I hope to face the facts instead of sugar-coating them. This might mean telling bad news on occasion. I don’t think that’s “negative.”

What am I supposed to say? “A guy died. Yay!” Or, perhaps, “A guy died but all’s just fine and dandy.” Another option is to completely leave out the bad news and only tell glowing, happy stories.

A lot of people do this. We are taught to censor out bad news, like it’s a swear word that cannot be said in public. This is exactly the principle behind drug coverup, malpractice, rape, corruption, etc. Why? Because the perps of all these atrocities are hoping you are afraid to talk about what really happened.

I don’t want to be called “negative,” since it implies that I might be unpleasant. I fear people might avoid me and I might end up isolated again.

But think about it: This is an example of how peer pressure silences people who are telling the truth.

Sometimes, I discourage people from doing certain things since it would break my heart to see a person waste time and energy on a project that ends up in a dead end. I have been through dead-end projects countless times and have lost huge chunks of my life that way.

Here’s an example. Say a person who is on disability, receiving under $10,000 a year, who doesn’t have a driver’s license, tells me they want to move to LA. I can say, “Sure, great!” Is that helpful?

Now, the person starts to research LA, starts to call apartments (off Craigslist) and spends money on preparations for moving. Say the person finds an apartment for 600.

Now what? Should I say anything? 600 is high rent for  a person who receives under $10,000. It would break my heart if they gave up their current apartment, flew to LA, and then, discovered they were not accepted at this apartment because they couldn’t prove they made nearly enough to pay the rent.

What now?

Looking back, there were a few things I did in my life that I wish I had been warned about. One was “online college.” While online education is okay, paying college tuition prices for it isn’t okay. The reason is that the quality of education is very poor compared to classroom learning. Even “accredited” universities are now offering 100% online programs. These programs aren’t worth the future debt you incur.

You can get excellent quality classroom learning at an adult education center, with instructors who are just as good or better, and you don’t pay an arm and a leg. You can even get a low income discount at many adult ed centers.  A lot of the instructors are college teachers, too!

I ended up being suckered into online school at SNHU, which is only one of the many ripoff programs out there. I have no clue how they got great reviews (unless they pay people to do that, highly possible).

I wish someone had talked me out of it before I signed up. I would have liked to have read a realistic, honest review of the program. Sadly, I signed up too quickly and later was very sorry.

What about you? Do you want to be warned about pitfalls, or do you want to fall flat on your face multiple times?

I don’t know if you guys realize how exhausting it is to make these mistakes. I only want to spare people the discouragement and disillusionment.

Remember when I signed the contract with Chipmunka? Another error. What if I told you guys Chipmunka was great and left out the ugly part? What if I encouraged people to use them as a publisher? That, in fact, would be cruelty disguised as optimism.

I refuse to bend to peer pressure to be “positive” to the point of dishonesty. I tell it like it is. Of course, if anyone doesn’t like that, you can just x out your browser tab.

Please add your input! What if I…….

Good morning to everyone out there! I have just downloaded and am eagerly digging into Duncan Capicchiano’s website and e-offerings. You can find information about Duncan here:

About Us

I purchased his material last night. What he offers is truly impressive. He goes above and beyond what these usual money-making gurus do. I see nothing scammy about this product. He includes some goodies added in as extras. Some of the extras contain borrowed material which he credits to these authors and other naturopaths who contributed recipes and the like. What he also includes is a full, CD-length audio “pep talk.” This is not at all like your typical condescending pep talk written by a therapist. (Compare, say, to Marsha Linehan’s book, which is nothing but demeaning bullshit!)

I am noticing something amazing. All the naturopaths, or the ones that I have found that seem genuine and actually speak to you or somehow don’t seem scammy, all of them seem to have a few things in common.

Almost all recommend similar dietary changes. Now we may argue that there’s an insane amount of conflicting info out there. This is true, but we need to peel away the scams, the money-makers, the power-seekers, and those that just want to sell their stuff. Now once we have done this, take a look at the few (very few!) that remain.

(Note: if you are concerned about the number of scammy health gurus out there compared to genuine ones…then think of all the licensed MD’s out there who don’t know what they are doing or cause harm….Ratio’s about the same, right?)

Back to naturopaths. Now if we take all the honest ones and look at their messages, they do all say similar things. Each has a way of saying it differently, communicating that message in a way that speaks to some, but others may not find the naturopath’s message useful.

If what they say is true, then shouldn’t it speak to everyone? Not necessarily. It will ring true for you if communicated in a way that you can understand, that you appreciate, that strikes a chord, that educates…and all this has to do with the how of the message. The medium. The genre. Given that humans come from different cultural backgrounds, I can’t imagine we all soak up info exactly the same way.

I listened to the entire CD, which is not on kidney disease but on health in general, and am right now looking over the written material.

Capicchiano is spot on in every way. Almost. I see him waver here and there in his claims. I plan to tell him so because these minor details can be edited out of his material, or changed.

I believe that for the average kidney disease sufferer, especially if your GFR has dropped below 60, his material will be so helpful that you will not regret the purchase.

I do not see anything about lithium in there. I know as a fact that for those of us who took lithium, the protocol to survive and thrive after lithium-related kidney and thyroid damage is not the same as that which the average CKD sufferer might follow.

Capicchiano’s book is designed for the average CKD sufferer and likely is not totally relevant to most of us who took lithium. The material is immensely helpful and worthwhile, but it does not cover lithium-specific issues. Similar to other naturopaths, he recommends steering away from pharmaceuticals and staying healthy instead.

In fact, going to a kidney doctor for lithium-related damage quite likely will harm you or kill you. Some of the advice these doctors give is actually the exact opposite of what lithium survivors need to do to stay alive.

For instance, the typical kidney doctor will tell a patient to limit fluids drastically, even to limit to a pint of water a day. This will very quickly dehydrate a person who has the common lithium-related kidney consequence called diabetes insipidus (DI). In fact, adhering to water restriction and dehydrating yourself will further damage your kidneys, and could put you into renal failure.

Another example is potassium restriction, recommended to those with severe renal damage. I am finding this is not true at all. I lose potassium and even carry potassium supplements around with me when I go out on long trips (as PRN’s!!!).

What about protein? What about fat? What about caffeine and sugar? Can I eat legumes?

I do not think there’s any material out there to guide us. Lithium-damaged patients are dying because they lack information.

What if I published a short booklet on how to survive lithium? Do you guys honestly think there is a need for such a book? I don’t believe I need credentials beyond the very fact that I am alive, happy, vibrant, energetic, employed, feel a sense of purpose, have decent relationships, am strong and fit. And my GFR is 18.

At a GFR of 18 a person likely couldn’t even write this much, couldn’t concentrate, couldn’t sit this long, couldn’t do the research I regularly do, and likely couldn’t take care of daily needs either. Most people who have that low kidney functioning can’t walk or can barely walk. They are tired, so tired of being sick that some beg for dialysis. Not me!

If I did this, should I publish what I have taught myself, it would be groundbreaking material.  I could save people’s lives this way.

I have so often told myself if I could share just a little of what I have learned, give it away, or somehow impart it to others, maybe a few will catch on.  What do you think?

Of course, as anyone who writes about health does, I would add that little disclaimer that you are in charge of your health, that it is YOUR CHOICE to pick and choose from all the health material you can access, and you choose how to act upon that information. You choose to use what is relevant and discard what doesn’t work for you. As always.


Great news! I’m not anemic anymore!

Hey anyone out there! Hello world!

I was told the situation was “hopeless” and that due to my kidney disease I would be anemic for life. I was told I would have “poor blood quality” and that would continue on and on. I was told I would feel “tired” and “depressed” all the time, meaning I would surely require a shrink for that, if nothing else.

I just took another look at the blood test results that came back a while ago. The date was some two weeks ago that I had it done (without a doctor’s prescription but in a real lab).

I AM NOT ANEMIC ANYMORE! My hemoglobin is healthy, at 14.1 and RBC are right in range at 4.93.  No wonder I’ve been feeling great lately! No wonder I look so much happier, too.

If they tell you it isn’t possible, don’t let that stop you.

Death and taxes

Today I filed my taxes and paid them. First time filing state taxes EVER and first time filing taxes in 37 years.

Today I went grocery shopping. It had been a while. I picked up “stuff” for me and for Puzzle. Lotsa organic food. Then I carried 67 pounds of groceries home on my back. I beat my previous record of 56 pounds. Now I have topped my age even.

I wore my hair loose yesterday. I am amazed. MY HAIR OFF PSYCH DRUGS.

I ran 10k last time I ran. The weather is turning beautiful. (10k is about 6.2 miles.)

I paid off my debt to almost zero and my credit score went up.

All of this because I left the mental illness system behind in the dust.

Leaving the System does not mean just stopping the drugs. In fact, if you do that and only that it won’t solve anything and will likely make things worse.

Freedom means you don’t rely on shrinks anymore. You think for yourself. You stop believing their lies. You stop the limiting belief that you were told about your supposed “mental illness.” It means you do not live in a mental health setting, nor require one.

What happens next? Eventually, you will no longer want or need their drugs.