One job down, more in the works

I decided to back out of the second job I got. The reason is that the pay rate is not very transparent and it is actually far lower than it appears. One of their positions pays under $7 an hour, and that’s with no benefits whatsoever. The highest paying position available right now is between $10 an hour and $11. I am better off staying at my current job than taking one that pays so little.

There are also many red flags. The company is a sub-company of another, larger company. I found out this company is hurting for hirees. It looks so tiny there are only six employees or so. The reviews of the sub-company are over-the-top glowing, clearly faked. If you look at the parent company, the ones you are really working for, reviews are terrible.

I messaged the CEO with my concerns about the lack of transparency with the pay. Yes, you can message the CEO. She has now called me a couple of times. Now if this was as big a company as the reviewers state, the CEO wouldn’t be calling me directly like that. She is also a terrible presenter, very disorganized and seems inexperienced at doing presentations. I am going to gracefully bow out and sign nothing at all.

The pay at my first job took such a dip that many of us have been scrambling for other jobs. However, I believe they overhired or had too many signed up for the shifts. All that changed since the weekend. Suddenly, shifts are open and I am seeing more work.  I am not worried about losing my job at all, not at this point anyway. I am beginning to consider renewing my contract after all.

My supervisor is being replaced by someone else. I’m not sure what is up with that. This came without warning. They seem to be shuffling things around back there. We aren’t privy to the goings-on really.

I am still working on my Lithium book. Every day I work on it and also during slow periods at work.

The difference between critical psych and antipsych

I am turned off more and more by critical psychiatry. People in that camp generally may view survivors and “experts” in “lived experience,” but sadly, they discredit any other expertise we have such as college degrees and other training. Oh no, if you are a nutcase you couldn’t possibly be an expert in anything else but your nutcase experiences.

Those in the critical psych camp often continue to view MH professionals as the experts on life. They validate psych diagnosis, or at least partially. Some even believe that forcing a person into a nuthouse is just fine. They view survivors as permanently damaged goods.

Get out of the camp! Do you really want to be among people who show such disrespect and disdain for us? Critical psych sees us as second-class citizens.

Antipsych honors the individual, and completely disregards past diagnoses. We agree that there’s been some crossover between survivors and providers, but we are also wary of those who venture too far into professional life, which could taint their thinking too much. A few ex-professionals are also antipsych, such as filmmaker Daniel Mackler. An example of some who are antipsych but often have had no first-hand exposure to the field are Scientologists.

I like the antipsych views of Scientology. I am friends with several who are known Scientologists. I like talking to them because we agree on many things. Not one has ever tried to recruit me, or even come close. EVER. This in stark contrast to many religious and political groups, whose make it their business to be pushy.

Just being anti-drug does not make you antipsych automatically. Many who choose to avoid pharmaceuticals will also validate diagnoses, such as those touting “herbal cures for bipolar.” Note that here you are still seen as a diseased creature who needs fixing.

I hope I have made the difference between antipsych and critical psych clearer for some of you. Have a great day!

Practical tips for budget living

Good morning! Today I am sharing some practical tips and tricks that might make your life easier.

Cooking hard-boiled eggs that don’t end up with the “peeling” problem. I have devised several ways to do this, but my favorite is to use a rice cooker. Use a small rice cooker if you have one. Mid-size rice cookers are cheap in dollar stores and you might even see a decent one for cheap in Rite Aid or Home Depot, or a tag sale or thrift shop.  Here’s how to cook the eggs: If you wish, put a crinkled piece of parchment paper inside the rice cooker to prevent cracking while the eggs boil. Add about an inch of water. Put in the eggs, as many as you want. Plug in the rice cooker and push down the heater to heat on high. The eggs will now boil. You can watch the cooker and time ten minutes from the time the water starts to boil, or, you can even walk away and not worry about burning the eggs! If you forget about the eggs because you’re too busy texting with your buddies, no worry! As soon as the water boils down the rice cooker will automatically switch to low heat. Because the heat is consistent you won’t end up with the peeling problem.

How to deal with a headset that hurts your ears. If you are wearing an over-the-head headset you may find your ears ache due to pressure from the headset. To obliterate that, wear a baseball cap under your headset! Alternatively, some of you may be able to tie your hair on top of your head with a low-profile clip. Now, your hair raises up the headset so it will not hurt.

Cutting down on coffee? Making a fraction of a cup of coffee isn’t easy unless you have an espresso maker. I do not. I’m finding that quantities smaller than one cup do not make well in a manual drip maker, so my guess is that making tiny quantities won’t work in an auto-drip either. I don’t want to make it ahead of time and store or toss out what I do not drink. Here is my solution:  I have a little trick I devised that you can do in a coffee press. You can buy an excellent insulated stainless steel camping one by Coleman (would recommend!) usually in stock at Walmart for $20. This is high quality and can’t be beat! No more worries about breaking those glass beakers! The insulation is great for those of us who only sip on coffee and don’t gulp it down. Add the desired amount of coffee into the coffee press. You can also add herbs of your choice. I drink Kidney Tea every morning so that is the herbal combo I use, now with added kick of a tiny amount of coffee!

How many mgs of caffeine in coffee? That depends on strength of the coffee and other factors, but as a general rule, a 16-oz cup of coffee is 200 mgs of caffeine. I have been using caffeine pills and have cut down to 50mgs every morning. I calculated how much fresh ground coffee would yield 50 mgs.

People do not realize this, but caffeine, in pill or liquid form, is indispensable for many of us suffering from the long-term aftereffects of high-dose antipsychotics. I am cutting down because over time I have needed the caffeine less and less. For a long time the benefits of coffee outweighed the potential harm to my kidneys, especially considering I didn’t drink multiple cups per day.

How to take herbs that require boiling but you do not want as a tea. Here is how I take Valerian Root. I have some pure Valerian root that was shipped to me from India for cheap. I ground that up in a blender to a powder. I realized that the Valerian still needed to be heated in water to extract the healing elements of the root from the powder. At night when I want Valerian, I put it into a pot with a small amount of water and add plain pasta. I boil these, partially covered, not very long, until the water is almost boiled out. Because you want the water to boil down and do not want the pasta or Valerian overcooked, you don’t want to start with too much water. Now I have pasta with Valerian! It actually doesn’t taste gross if you have it like that. I believe Valerian has to boil 10 or 15 minutes to get the full benefits.

Does Valerian work? I think you have to play around with the dose a lot to before concluding that it doesn’t. I suspect that a smaller dose may work better for some people. It doesn’t cause me to fall asleep but it does make me feel sleepy.

I am finding that 600mcg of Melatonin is about right for me. You may find 300 mcg works for you. The drugstore kind is overkill. For many it takes hours to kick in, meaning they have to take it during the day (who can remember that?). For me it takes more like an hour.

How to consume healthy fats. People do not realize just nutrient-packed nuts can be. Two Brazil nuts will give you a full day’s supply of Selenium. Do not consume more than two per day or you overdose on something in them. I also keep on hand hazelnuts, almonds, and sunflower seeds. Be careful buying toasted nuts. Many are toasted with unhealthy oils. Buying the nuts raw will avoid the additives and other unhealthy things. I would suggest refrigerating them. I don’t consume almonds whole because they are too hard and bother my teeth. These I grind into a powder. MHT oil, if you can get it, provides many benefits. The only healthy butter is ghee, and I hear that if it is made from grass-fed cows it is free of unhealthy chemicals added to other types of cattle feed. Decent ghee is not hard to find. It is sold in many supermarkets now. Organic eggs are good for you and generally do not raise your cholesterol even though they contain it. High cholesterol comes from overall unhealthy lifestyle, organ failure, or from pharmaceuticals. So many people leave out the yolks, depriving themselves of the benefits of egg yolks (Yes, it used to be a sin to eat them!). Organic olive oil (extra virgin) is also good for you. Avoid olive oil “blend” because undoubtedly it contains canola oil. Almost all margarine is loaded with chemicals. If you need a nondairy alternative, try red palm oil. All commercial salad dressings overpriced, packaged, trendy junk. Why not save money and make your own at home?

Most Americans do not consume enough healthy fat. I am surprised at the number of people who think “low fat” will help you lose weight. Low fat diets often lead to eating disorders and yo-yo dieting. If you are yo-yoing, add more fat and you will be amazed at how well your eating evens out.

Jabari Bird of the Boston Celtics arrested for DV

Apparently he is being “evaluated” at this time. Will they check for head injury? Typically, it’s the football players that are subject to head trauma, but any athlete should be screened for this automatically.

Add to that list children, roofers and others who work high-risk occupations, anyone who has recently had a car accident, anyone who has been in the penal system, mental institution, or hospital due to high risk of unreported injury, elders at risk for falling, and anyone who was subject to child abuse or domestic violence, even if it was in the past. Examiners should remember that many abuse victims have been threatened and told not to squeal.

Now I didn’t say domestic violence is okay, did I? If anyone thinks I said that, please read what I wrote again.

Anyone who is exhibiting unusual, concerning, or out-of-character behavior should be screened for head injury. Asking, “Did you bump your head recently?” is no excuse for not checking, especially if the person is showing the classic signs of head trauma. Head trauma sometimes causes memory lapse. Not only that, but while under the duress of a psych exam a person may feel uncomfortable sharing certain details of their past.

One type of TBI often overlooked is electroshock, also called ECT. Many people show marked personality changes in addition to cognitive difficulties after electroshock. Also we might see apathy, depression, and suicidality. The number of people who complete suicide after electroshock is poorly documented because facilities do not disclose that a person had ECT. Institutions claim HIPAA prevents them from disclosing this information. Of course this policy is not protecting the victim or their family, but protecting the offending institution.

ECT victims generally do not realize that electroshock always damages the brain, often rather seriously. A victim of something called “treatment” rarely realizes that something sanctioned by doctors and medical institutions could possibly do harm. This means that any question, “Have you had a bump on the head recently?” used as screening for TBI will not get a YES answer. In fact, many ECT victims do not acknowledge the ECT during examination or in therapy sessions. This may be due to memory lapse, shame, or emotional trauma over the procedure.

Some people who have electroshock eventually make a partial or almost full recovery. Recovery can be very slow and usually takes years. I personally made an almost full recovery, but from speaking to other shock survivors I am realizing that the media has distorted the effectiveness and safety of this procedure. When you see a shining star interviewed on television or in magazines who claims the procedure doesn’t damage the brain, please do not assume this story is a typical one. If you read between the lines, you might learn of damages. For instance, a victim of ECT may state, “My life is wonderful now, but of course I have some memory gaps.” How can this not be brain damage?

As for myself, I have a few memory gaps left but not a lot. Mostly I forgot some of the late 1980s and early 1990s.  My recovery took a very long time. As of now, I am  unsure if ECT damaged my musical ability. I am very afraid to find out. I am so afraid of being devastated over it that I avoid doing music altogether.

News from me: Second job!

Many of us at my current job are seeking “backup” jobs or jobs to supplement what we are getting paid currently. We all experienced what amounted to a pay cut because the company overhired, meaning there are too many of us given the work load. This means we are paid less. Although the pay is mostly still decent, I feel that the company was deceptive when the supervisors promised that the work load would remain the same. It’s likely that just as many calls are coming in but with too many of us hired now, obviously each individual worker is getting less, therefore, lower pay. Last time I met (via teleconference) with my supervisor during a work meeting, I asked to speak with her privately after the meeting. She did, but immediately, she said if it wasn’t about the content of the meeting she wasn’t allowed to answer it. She said these meetings this week were only for one topic, and that topic only. Yes, it was silencing, but I said nothing. She said I could email her, but I notice she doesn’t really answer email (except to copy and paste stuff). (A lot of people out there can’t really write very well….)

She has addressed these things in meetings before, but I suspect since she knew I tend to be the one to point out discrepancies she really didn’t want to deal with whatever I had to say. I know many are complaining quietly among themselves about what has amounted to a pay cut.

My coworker friends and I are helping each other get other jobs. After I found the company yesterday, I emailed a link to the application site to my friend. She has been sending me links, too. We feel that our current position isn’t as stable as we would like.

I don’t plan to renew my contract with the current company in November. Many of us are not, despite the company’s false promise that “almost everyone renews their contract.” This couldn’t have been possible because we were the first ones hired to work for this retail establishment. I wonder if anyone else caught onto that obvious lie.

We have to keep our mouths shut, of course. I am well aware that what I am posting is public. I feel safe publishing this because 1. People do not read, 2. There are millions of webpages out there, mine is only one, and 3. Employers usually go straight to Facebook. That is the snooping end-all. Let ’em. They won’t find me.

 

Are you in the UK? Speak out about psych drugs!

Here is an event that those of you on the other side of the Atlantic might find interesting:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/london-soapbox-mental-health-day-detained-injections-psychiatric-drugs-registration-49929861560

This came floating into my inbox earlier.

PREVIEW, outline

Here is my tentative outline of the book. I’m planning under 40,000 words. I am hoping for something people can read in one sitting.

LIFE AFTER LITHIUM

My life as a patient
Before lithium
12 years of lithium “therapy”
Consequences

Lithium basics
Why are people given lithium?
Is lithium still used?
My doctor prescribed this. Doesn’t that mean it is safe and effective?
But doesn’t lithium save lives?
My doctor told me lithium is a salt, not a drug. Is this true?
Lithium is found in nature. Doesn’t that mean it’s natural?
How could lithium be dangerous if the FDA approved it?
But I get my blood drawn regularly. Won’t this protect me?

The consequences of taking lithium
Short-term effects
Long term consequences

Social and economic consequences of taking lithium
Psychiatric diagnosis
Risk of being prescribed or forced onto other harmful drugs
Risk of hospitalization

Taking your life back
Reviving your thyroid
Reviving your kidneys
Taking your life back

Life After Lithium
My life today
My wish for all of you

Endnotes

Poster children don’t necessarily represent the majority

Here’s a guy who is being paid by MyKidney:

https://www.mykidney.org/Lifestyle/NicksStory.aspx

Many of these kidney “help” organizations are for-profit. This includes DaVita, which owns and operates many dialysis centers in the United States. Dialysis centers are generally for-profit. I don’t trust any personal stories that come out of these organizations. If they are profiting from providing dialysis, then obviously anything coming from them will be biased.

Here is a shocking article from ProPublica, republished in The Atlantic:

https://www.propublica.org/article/in-dialysis-life-saving-care-at-great-risk-and-cost

The entire procedure and the life these patients live sounds scary and dangerous. Hmm…Should choosing dialysis be classified as risky or reckless behavior on the part of the physician?

I would hope that anyone choosing that would have to have exhausted their options.

But…Are they even told their options? Are they told that alternative medicine (hate calling it that, actually) has real and proven methods to help the kidneys?

What doctors don’t tell us! I have met so many people with kidney disease who were never told to eliminate as much sodium from their diets as possible. They may have been told “low sodium” and then they go out and buy unhealthy, processed foods that say “low sodium” on the labels. They may have been told not to exercise, since exercise raises creatinine. Those that recommend this fail to recognize that the benefits of exercise are immense. Exercise increases overall health, meaning that your body will be able to handle the temporarily raised creatinine just fine (like any other person who exercises!). I have never heard a Western doctor recommend herbs to me, yet many herbs are helpful. Most pharmaceuticals were originally derived from herbs. One major difference is that YOU control and choose herbal medicine for yourself. Your free choices aren’t regulated by a prescription.

The success of naturopathy is a threat to Western medicine. I have studied the writings of many of them. There are so many common denominators, things you can do that almost all recommend, that I feel such cures cannot be ignored. While we also see in Western medicine publications articles stating that there’s no truth to what these naturopaths say, I would think twice about the motivation behind such articles. We have to realize that if more people adhered to the teachings of naturopathy, Western medicine would be seriously threatened (or go broke). Your doctor counts on your ignorance!

In fact, ignorance pays! It pays your doctor handsomely. What can be done about it?

I started writing the book on lithium and kidney disease yesterday, on my breaks from job. I know in my heart there is a dire need for this. I feel it is my duty to share what I know. I will keep you all updated on my progress.