Booted off Monica Cassani’s blog!

I’m so thrilled! Another stripe for my uniform! Monica Cassani booted me off her blog because I wrote and said I wasn’t going to waste what is left of my life looking for diseases. She deleted the comment.

That is  okay. Sometimes, an emotional response to something I say often means I have hit right on the mark.

When she responded she obviously didn’t even know I was a psych survivor myself. Guess she is so self-absorbed she hasn’t quite noticed the rest of us.

Hmm…she asked for feedback, didn’t she? I gave her feedback. Guess she only wanted disease-validating feedback.

Guess what the topic is for my upcoming speech? In part, it’s about looking for imperfections and the harm that happens when you do.

Why I quit retail

I quit my retail job about a month ago. One reason was the constant use of scare tactics that I mentioned in my previous post. In that particular job we received threatening emails once a week. These were form letters that were exactly the same each time, saying that “Your business is at risk for being removed from the line,” and so on. It pissed me off that when they threatened they didn’t address us directly, but called us things. “Your business.” I was offended by this subtle depersonalization.

We never received compliments. Ever. They handed out bonuses but were sparing about this. Thankfully, the pay was decent so most of us didn’t rely chiefly on the bonuses. They often dangled bonuses in front of us to get us to work harder or to obey more. You had to read between the lines. The amount of work you had to do over a period of days only to be put into a drawing to get a $35 gift certificate wasn’t even worth it.

I was already disgusted Thanksgiving weekend. They even called me begging me to work more, telling me I’d get a good bonus if I did. Many of us worked ourselves to exhaustion during the holidays, only to receive more threats and no bonus. I realized it wasn’t worth it to bust my ass for these folks. I even told my boss I wasn’t going to go overboard for them anymore since I wasn’t even thanked when I did.

The ratings system (Stats) was a joke. They only rated some things and not others. They rated how long your calls were, and threatened you if you spent too long listening to customers. I’m proud to say I consistently failed this, as did some of the other workers. I spent extra time helping out elderly customers who may have had very individualized needs. I feel strongly about not rushing a person off the phone. The reason is that I was routinely cut off or rushed off the phone by mental health professionals, including the Crisis Team, my own shrink (15-second phone calls!) and even the Samaritans (ten-minute limit!). I refuse to do it now.

I never saw a rating for using correct grammar and good enunciation. I never saw a rating for writing cohesive emails. I never saw a rating for showing compassion to customers. Wait! Can that even be rated?

We had something called CSAT. That was the survey ratings. This was another issue altogether. Customers had a chance to place their complaints in an open-ended question as part of the survey. Given that the company was cutting corners from the top down, many of us lower on the totem pole ended up the brunt of customer complaining. When I got low CSAT, most of time if was because the customer’s package had arrived late or they didn’t like the product, or because the website was down. By the way, our website was always down. You could browse just fine, but trying to get through the shopping cart invariably led to error messages and purchase failure. This was because of cutting corners. I know this. They could have expanded their available bandwidth, which would have been costly, but they didn’t. Every time we had a sale the website crashed due to too much traffic. Who ended up with bad CSAT because of this? Those of us working the phones. We didn’t even make the decision to cut corners and we got threatened because of this.

I stuck it out only for the money. Finally, at the end of January I received a CSAT written by a very nice elderly couple who said that after their package arrived (I had fixed the delivery issues for them) they took the pants to the store to have them hemmed and found the store employee incredibly rude.

My supervisor must be grossly lacking in her reading comprehension ability. She likely only skimmed. Maybe she only read the word “rude,” which had nothing to do with me, clearly. She wrote to me and said she had seen a comment where the customer complained that I had been rude. This was the last straw, my excuse to quit.

After I quit, I felt extremely relieved. The level of threatening is much lower at my other two jobs, which I am mostly enjoying. The other two jobs are run far more democratically. The workplace tone is more positive and encouraging. One of the jobs is monotonous, but I deal with that by letting my mind drift and using any spare moment I have to do productive thinking (or I read in secret). Or another thing I do is to consider it an acting job. I challenge myself to act more convincingly each time.

I found out that my coworkers have heard my efforts at dramatic performance and find it amusing and impressive. The customers don’t really notice, not consciously. Some realize my tone reflects a positive attitude. Some have even told me that it’s a relief to talk to a call center worker that sounds like she isn’t sick of her job. I take that as a major compliment. Will all this pay off? Will I even be considered for advancement?

I do want this, packaged with a raise, of course. I am waiting to see if it happens. If it doesn’t seem like it’s on the horizon for me I am likely not to stay.

I keep a modest aloofness at work, but still I make effort to be friendly. I make jokes a lot. People kinda see me as a character because I am fiercely independent, am single and child-free by choice, run to work and run home, am always cheerful (that’s not an acting job!), bring healthy food to eat during break, and am not your typical 61-year-old. When this is pointed out to me, I laugh and say, “I’m immature!” This might sound like a joke. I gotta laugh at how very true it is, not that I’m going to admit the exact reasons why. I’m supposed to winding down at 61, worn down by health problems and thinking of retiring. Instead, I’m at the prime of my life, running ahead. If I look back, it’s to assess, with much amazement, at just how far I’ve come.

What do we do about the gap between rich and poor?

The Poverty Gap, as it’s now called, has bugged me since I was a little kid. Interestingly, when I was a kid we heard a lot about the evils of so-called Communism. I wasn’t even sure what Communism was at the time. It was this big devil according to the news reports. If you said you were a “Commie” you could get arrested. I knew kids who called themselves “Commies” but we were little so they didn’t get in trouble (what the heck is “trouble,” anyway?).

Sometime when I was in college all that talk ended. We didn’t hear those scare tactics much anymore. It was clear that Communism wasn’t a good solution to the Poverty Gap. But what was?

Right now, in this supposed land where we’re all, ahem, equal, we have tax brackets which means the rich are more heavily taxed than the poor. That is the theory, an attempt to level things off a bit (a weak attempt, I must admit!). What happens when you set rules like this is that people will find ways to circumvent them. The wealthy aren’t going go along with this so quickly. Have we not heard of tax loopholes? If you want to hide your money, there are well-known ways to do this, and most are legal.

What can effective ways can the rich get less rich, and the poor get less poor? Wait a minute…this isn’t the real goal here! Who is in power? And wants to stay in power?

I think they only want to make it look like they’re making an effort. After all, if you’re in power you don’t want to piss off your supporters.

The idea of charitable donations makes me laugh. This is just one more way lower your assets and even get tax credit for doing so.

My mom was giving a lot to charity toward the end of her life. On one hand, she knew she had more funds than she needed as a widowed woman whose kids were grown. On the other hand my guess is that her assets would have been over a million had she not given a portion of it away. She was solicited by charities so frequently that it all resulted in a huge pile of junk mail. She couldn’t bear to toss it out.

Mom didn’t grow up with email. She had this odd habit of printing out every single email she received. I kept trying to explain that this wasn’t obligatory. She was solicited so much by charities that eventually she was taken advantage by a few bogus ones. My brother found out she had some of these auto-paying huge amounts from her bank account. It was sad.

The very presence of rampant capitalism is traumatic for many people. You apply for a job and you are competing against 500 others who want to make good money, too. You go to work and you’re competing with others who are similarly trying to stay afloat.

It all reminds me of watching Puzzle as a tiny puppy in litter of ten puppies, all competing for their mother’s milk. I was amused watching little Puzzle crawl on top of her brothers and sisters to get to her place at the dinner table. Breeders I have known have told me with large litters they sometimes have to hand-feed the ones that can’t get to Mama in time. But wait! Isn’t there enough to go around? Most of the time, yes.

Is it true that world hunger is caused by overpopulation? I doubt it. We have an overabundance of food as it is. Aren’t we supposed to share? Isn’t this very basic principle, learned in childhood, relevant when we become adults? Why should the wealthy be forced to share by complex taxation? Wouldn’t a gentler approach be better?

When kids are forced or heavily pressured to share, they’re going to resent it. However, if you leave them alone they will willingly share. It is way too hard to get a substantial income in this country. The pressure to survive and get ahead is exhausting. This results in oppressive workplaces. The bosses know there are people out there desperate for jobs banging on the doors to be included. Bosses often use scare tactics on employees knowing they’re disposable. Why should work be like that? They hold firing over your head which is essentially bribery. “Do what I say or you will end up unemployed and broke!” Scare tactics have become standard HR protocol. This really pisses me off. However, it says something about the basic economic fallacy we live in.

What if that pressure were alleviated? What changes would occur? I suspect we’d share more. We would quit the cutthroat competition, lessening financial-related trauma in the entire population. Am I completely off base here?

Listen carefully to this TED Talk….Dylan Klebold’s mother

Please listen carefully…if you can. I found it very hard to listen to this because she continuously assigned mental illness labels to ordinary experiences. I found it very tiring. Some of the experiences were not ordinary, of course, such as Dylan and Harris shooting up a school. It really does get disgusting how she has bought so heavily into the hype and even gave herself an MI label for having stage fright! Did you notice this?

Stage fright is about the most common fear that humans have. I’ve helped a lot of people overcome stage fright. Now that, too is a disease worthy of therapy and pills?

Notice carefully that she completely glosses over the destructive friendship that Dylan was involved in (notice she doesn’t even name Harris!), and barely mentions the “incidents at school” that had upset him. There very well may be legal concerns here with naming names. Still, if Dylan and Eric were involved in a destructive teen relationship, doesn’t this need a little bit more examining besides just dismissing it all as a “mental illness”? What happened at school that had upset Dylan so much? She mentions there were incidents, but stays mum on what they were.

When I recall the destructive teen relationship I was involved in decades ago, I know in my heart that it could have turned into something much more ugly than it did. I remember how she bossed me around, wouldn’t let me have other friends, was highly jealous and vindictive, and actually fit the narcissist label perfectly, although I refuse to use it on anyone. She was very destructive. In her wake, her sister developed anorexia, from which I believe she recovered. Anyone she associated with was affected, likely the boyfriends she dated (one right after the other, like an assembly line of them!) and a few others, likely her parents also. She had a negative effect on our family. One of my brothers started having behavior issues at school. He doesn’t seem to remember anything from childhood now, so I never say a word. My other brother, the one that talks to me, well, we never bring it up, either.

There isn’t much reason to talk about it or think about it anymore. I got over the relationship ages ago. It is one more life story I have filed away in a back cabinet of my mind. When I hear Sue Klebold get up in public and label all this as a mental illness, it’s time to go find that story and retell it.

Proud to be a DENIER!!!

Check this out:

Mental Illness Denial

So this is written by a guy claiming to be the epitome of “science-based medicine.” Of note is that he felt the article needed to be written. Think about that one. If it was really obvious that Hari’s article was full of holes, then why did Steven Novella even need to write this? If Hari was that much of a kook, wouldn’t we all know it and how on earth did a kook like Hari get published in a prestigious magazine, anyway?

Don’t even bother reading the comments. They are mostly off-topic.

Interestingly, Hari’s article drew much attention and many have agreed. Hmm…maybe he had some good points there. After all, Novella doesn’t want to lose his job.

I’m proud to be a denier! Interestingly, I see those who continue to believe in the chemical imbalance (or “broken brain”) myth as deniers of the obvious truth.

I don’t understand why folks take this so life-and-death seriously….

Check out this article:

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2019/02/24/first-came-home-dna-kits-now-come-support-groups/lrQbt7wMAZXAboSsTlybJL/story.html

It is well-known that Ancestry dot com and other DNA sites are doing this so they can sell your data. Also I have heard that these using these for-profit companies yields inaccurate results.

My friend did it a while back and found out a tiny part of her was Ashkenazi Jewish. Well? Big deal! She’s the same person to me. Friends of mine have found out they were part Jewish and I don’t see that as a big deal unless you make a big deal of it.

Two of my friends discovered the truth about their adoption when they went to renew their driver’s licenses. One discovered that during the course of her adoption her name was changed. The other did not know she had been adopted until her license renewal and then, found out. For both, it was a life-changing experience. Many adoptions, now and in the past aren’t quite legal.

Two other friends of mine who knew they’d been adopted ended up feeling separated from their adopted families. Like they did not belong. Another person I knew never gave it a thought.

My friend Rachel Ann Klein was actually Rachel Schleimer. I am not sure of the spelling of her last name. She told me her mother had changed it to Klein for some bizarre reason. She had a weird relationship with her mother, who sounded very possessive and manipulative. Rachel died of cancer in May of 2014, only days after I left the country.

I found out the truth about Rachel’s death quite some time later. She had cancer but due to past malpractice she was denied medical care.

The one thing I always wondered was why Rachel stayed in the Boston area when she actually had the chance to start her life over. Her Section 8 apartment building was going through changes so she was forced to move. She could have used that Sec 8 certificate anywhere. Why didn’t she just take off? She could have gone someplace where no one knew her, where her reputation hadn’t been smashed to bits. But she chose to stay.

This is what I heard, and likely it is true. Bits and pieces. She gave herself an IV, which was likely an unwise decision. I do not know why, but I’d say the cause was medical negligence, refusal by the Boston docs to assist her in any way. After all, their aim was to keep her quiet or make sure no one believed her. She ended up giving herself a stroke. She died shortly after.

I doubt most folks knew the truth. Many believed she committed suicide, which was untrue. It was all kept secret. It was in the doctors’ best interest that the general public continue to believe she never had cancer, or that her cancer had been cured ages ago. And there the lie stays. I hope somehow she is posthumously vindicated and that people learn she was right all along.

Added chapters to Life After Lithium

I added a chapter to Life After Lithium called, “I gained weight from psych drugs. How do I safely take it off?”

I figure this is a common challenge, well worth exploring. In this chapter I will be warning against crash dieting and encouraging a few lifestyle changes that might help.

I am also adding a chapter on depression and insomnia. People with kidney disease are often also depressed because they become anemic.  I think many of the folks I knew in the hospitals were depressed and slowed down due to anemia. This is common  in college-age women, sometimes just from menstruating. I was anemic in my late teens. I don’t know the cause because my periods weren’t that heavy. The remedy shouldn’t be antidepressants, but helping to raise hemoglobin, iron levels, etc. No, having periods is not a mental disorder! (Thank you, Paula J Caplan!)

Kidney disease will cause insomnia and that also can contribute to overall exhaustion and depression. I have researched like crazy and have found some forgotten studies showing that antipsychotics will damage your body’s ability to make natural melotonin (as you continue to depend on the drugs). This is why people who stop anti-p drugs will often experience insomnia which can be long-lasting. There is likely glandular damage because your glands “think” they don’t have to produce melotonin anymore.

The recommended dose of melatonin is under 1mg, actually about 1/3 of a mg. I suspect that people who have been damaged by anti-p drugs will need a lot more melatonin supplementation…but I am not really sure about this yet.

I’m going to try a whopping dose of 20mgs melatonin to see if it helps. I’m not sure of the proper timing but experimentation might answer this question.

Chipotle

I was lucky enough to locate some pure chipotle in the supermarket. Chipotle isn’t just a style of cooking or the name of a fast-food restaurant. It is an actual seasoning. This is different from the various “chipotle blend” seasonings which might contain salt and other additives, even preservatives.

Plain chipotle is made from jalapeno pepper. They are smoked and that is what gives chipotle a smoky flavor. This stuff is delicious if sprinkled on a variety of foods. Gee, I never knew you could get it plain and unadulterated.

Funny pics

                                           Very spoiled! In this photo she knows I am almost done cooking her food!

 

 

This is my fridge right now. I just came home from buying groceries. I spent $169! I have never spent that much on groceries, ever. You would think I am wealthy! The reason why I can afford all this is because I do not go to restaurants or bars. Cook at home and save money! Now I wonder how on earth I will eat this much……

My comment on the Globe story

We have to realize that these abusers know the victims, who are psych patients, won’t be believed. Abuse by supposed “professionals” to those who have been psych diagnosed happens far more frequently than the general public could possibly know. Those I have known were terrified to come forward. Furthermore, it is extremely difficult to find an attorney to take on your case. The few attorneys who will even talk to abused patients ask, “But what is your diagnosis?” Then, it’s all over.

Back in 2013 or so I went to a therapist who seemed somewhat unconventional. Oddly, I never saw any other patients seeing him in the waiting room. During our third appointment he asked me out on a date. I declined. I left, feeling scared and also wondering if there was any hope left for humanity. Two days later I phoned him to ensure our subsequent appointments were canceled. His last words to me, over the phone, were, “I love you. Goodbye.” Then I was really glad I stopped this before it got worse.

I went to my psychiatrist and told her what happened. Maybe I shouldn’t have. She told me, “That is impossible. Then she said I was manic and needed more drugs. From what I have gathered my experience is rather typical.

Many thanks to the victims who have come forward and many thanks also to the attorneys and others who believed them. We need more of this.