my Thinking spot
31 December 2006
i thought about a 'year in recap' postbut i won't. you all were there. :) instead, some randoms are in order for this kid.
finally, some wintery-feeling weather! we got around to watching 'an inconvenient truth' the other night. it didn't help much that it was 60 degrees out. there wasn't too much in it new for me after taking the course about global warming this summer, but it was still a great viewing for me and i'd recommend it to anyone that hasn't seen it yet. the way he presents the data is key, though i don't quite get all of the political stuff he threw in on top of it. when will said that he found it to be a bit of a political campaign commercial, i said that it worked. seriously. i told will that i'd vote for him tomorrow if he did something, ANYTHING about this mess we've created for ourselves.
while i'm not one for making resolutions, i'm going to do more this year to further cut back on our CO2 emissions and push harder for change on a larger scale... i looked through our bills today and they are reflecting the changes we made in our gas and electric consumption over the past year. it was more than i even expected it to be! it's a drop in the bucket, i know, but it's definitely a start! now we need to somehow lick all the aspects of oil, even beyond gasoline. i posted this piece up a way's back, i think before anyone was really reading, so i'll link it again. the photograph always blows mind my, no matter how many times i see it! so much to do, so little time... the planet is warming, we're running out of natural gas and oil... what next? don't answer that.
after reading the frog's post yesterday about saddam hussein's execution and bush's soundbite, i'm still disgusted. probably more now than yesterday. he quotes bush as saying, "Today, Saddam Hussein was executed after receiving a fair trial -- the kind of justice he denied the victims of his brutal regime."
fair trial?!?! justice?!?!?! it was no fairer than what he did to the hundreds of thousands that he executed - save for the time consuming falsity of a "trial." we all knew what the verdict would be the moment he was captured. leader hung, public beheading - dead is dead. murder is murder. as for justice? pleeeeassssse. we LET him kill all of those people who did nothing more than speak out against him and this present war has nothing to do with humanitarian effort. it reeks. and it boggles the mind to think of how many people actually believe this has anything to do with iraqi freedom.
oh wait. the 'operation' has a new name now: renewal in iraq.
apparently amazon.com thinks i'm a heathen too. barnes and noble had the monopoly on books that i needed for school over the past several years, so i always tried to find them in the local independent places. when that would fail, i'd turn to amazon's used section, as they usually would feature some mom and pop type places i could order from.
i got this note today from amazon: As someone who has purchased books on religion and spirituality from Amazon.com, you might like to know about our new Bible Store.
a bible store? i had to see this. assload is the only way to describe it. there are HUNDREDS of bibles in there! in a ton of categories, even! of course i'm wondering what bibles have to do with my very few spirituality orders placed, but, whatever. it's cool. i'm used to assumptions. and you can never go wrong with bibles.
it's like when people used to look at me and ask if i had any rolling papers back in my barkeeping days. come to think of it, people used to always ask me if i had coke, too.
seems that people have to do drugs to get to where i'am naturally.
and lastly - here's to all of my new friends i've found here in bloggerdom. you've saved my sanity, stretched my brain muscles and provided comic relief just when i needed it - and to all of my old pals that i've reconnected with this year - cheers! and for everyone - may this be our BEST. YEAR. YET.
may a new way come to being this year - one that embraces the well-being of the planet and ALL of her people!
i can't believe there isn't a different video for this song floating around out there somewhere, but it will have to do. this song has been in my head all day, thanks to all of the auld lang syne references. it always makes me cry, i heart it.
be safe out there. and i'll see you next year!!!!!
i couldn't resist.
28 December 2006
hill made me do it.don't you love how i've passed the proverbial buck two days in a row?
i posted this little story up over on hill's blog yesterday in response to her post about superstitions - specifically the one that involves the tossing of salt upon being gifted with knives. it made her laugh really hard. i'm a fan of laughing really hard, so here it is again. :) with the parts i left out over there so my comment wouldn't be the size of a novel, of course!
NOW you tell me about the knives and salt! 'splains why the housewarming steak knives turned on me. i ended up sticking one through my hand while de-pitting an avocado (shut up! i thought everyone did it that way!), ended up perfectly severing a nerve, had to have full on knock out surgery to repair it on september 12th, 2001. dirty dirty knives. still don't have all the feeling back in my hand. dirty dirty surgeon.
the best part was at the e.r. - the doc in training was asking me all sorts of bizzaro questions after we had sat there for 2 hours waiting, gushing blood, and i finally said "what exactly are you getting at?"
sheepishly he said, "well, i need to assess if this was a suicide attempt."
to which i replied, "what? by stigmata? JUST SEW ME UP ALREADY!"
he disappeared behind the curtain to the sink, which he turned on full blast. will looked at me and said, "he's cleaning off the saw."
he came back around, fully scrubbed and rubber gloved.
he tried to numb the area, but didn't realize how deep i'd gone in. i've never felt that kind of pain before - like when he high pressure flushed out the wound to clean it. he seriously sat back after i screamed, " AHHHHHH! i can feel that!!!!" and said, "oh god! oh god! you shouldn't have felt that! why did you feel that?!"
my utter shock at his lack of composure when he was supposed to be my rock made the pain go away.
he numbed the area deeper, cleaned it, and called for the attending to come have a poke around inside. (coolest thing i've ever seen! i put that knife in close to an inch deep - i could see every layer of everything!) after she gave him the go-ahead, he prepared the 'needle' and 'thread.' he managed, with much difficulty due to his shaking hand (mental note - question going to a teaching hospital, no matter how close to the house it is in the future) to get the needle through the skin on one side of the wound. the poor kid was literally sweating and wiping his brow with his sleeve every couple of seconds, as he poked and re-poked. he started to poke the needle through the other side of the wound when HE BROKE THE NEEDLE OFF IN MY HAND(!!!!!) which of course sent him into another round of "oh godding" and profuse apologies.
...and my other rock, will, only almost passed out 4 times during the ordeal...
27 December 2006
this is all tua's fault.you can hop on over and thank him for this sparking of thoughts. he wrote, amongst other gems, "The United States Of America's form of Government is flat busted. As in it simply does not work for the people it was intended for."
a-to-the-men, brother! sing it!
oh, what a day!
i learned that edwards announced he is running for president...
and then, as-always-on-spot anthony had to go and post up this.
all i can think about now is utah phillips. again. i find that i think about him more and more lately. he had this to say, so long ago, from 'the past didn't go anywhere':
"Mark Twain said, "Those of you who are inclined to worry have the widest
selection in history." Why complain? Try to do something about it - you know,
it's [been] goin' on nine months now, since I decided that I was gonna declare
that I am a candidate for the presidency of the United States. Oh yes, I'm
going to run.
Shopped around for a party. Well, I looked at the Republicans. Decided
talking to a conservative is like talking to your refridgerator. You know, the
light goes on, the light goes off, it's not gonna do anything that isn't built
into it. But I'm not gonna talk to a conservative any more than I talk to my damn
refridgerator. Working for the Democratic party, now, that's kind of like
rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
So I created my own party: it's called the Sloth and Indolence Party. I'm
running as an anarchist candidate in the best sense of that word. I've studied
the presidency carefully. I have seen that our best presidents were the do-
nothing presidents: Millard Fillmore, Warren G. Harding. When you have a
president who does things we are all in serious trouble. If he does anything
at all: if he gets up at night to go to the bathroom, somehow, mystically,
trouble will ensue.
I guarantee that if I am elected, I will take over the White House, hang out,
shoot pool, scratch my ass, and not do a damn thing.
Which is to say: if you want something done, don't come to me do it for you,
you gotta get together and figure out how to do it yourselves. Is that a deal?
we need a lot more of figuring out how to do it ourselves, methinks. 'cause these
asses are failing us. miserably. repeatedly. d or r, no matter. yes, i'm having one of those teetering days where i don't think that any real change can come from such a flawed system, that it must come from us.
because we couldn't have collectively done much worse by the folks in new orleans, just to name one:
Greg Palast: New Orleans -- One Year Later -- Nothing Much Has Happened
A Buzzflash Interview
December 22, 2006
"The White House knew [the levees broke] because the Army Corps of Engineers sent them photographs. Again, I want to emphasize that the White House had the photographs of the levees breaking, and didn't tell state and local officials who had stopped the evacuation because the hurricane missed New Orleans. Everyone thought they dodged a bullet, but the White House didn't tell anybody the levees broke and were drowning the city." -- Greg Palast
Greg Palast is just unstoppable, and after you watch his remarkable new DVD, "Big Easy to Big Empty: The Drowning of New Orleans," you'll understand why. You have read about the Katrina disaster for more than a year now, but you'll see it in a new light after watching Greg Palast's reporting.
In an expanded documentary that now includes a half-hour interview with Amy Goodman, Palast, in his usual bold style, reveals new factual details about the Bush Administration complicity in the deaths of Katrina victims. You'll be convinced by the end of watching "Big Easy to Big Empty" that what we are dealing with here is criminal negligence.
BuzzFlash: Greg your new DVD, "Big Easy to Big Empty: The Untold Story of the Drowning of New Orleans" is absolutely shocking because all of the footage you shot was one year after Katrina hit New Orleans. After all the devastation, virtually nothing has happened to recover from Katrina, and the residents have been left to fend for themselves.
Greg Palast: It's unbelievably ugly. You will see in the film mile after mile of destroyed houses. The 9th Ward looks worse than Berlin after the war because there's hardly a building standing. And this was just filmed a couple months ago! This was filmed one year after the flood. In Indonesia, they have rebuilt after the tsunami. The only thing they are rebuilding here is a Disneyland on the Mississippi to recreate a new, white, conservative city.
And don't forget, keeping African-Americans from coming back into New Orleans is amazing political gerrymandering. This is going to be crucial to keeping Louisiana in the Republican column in 2008. That's really part of the story.
BuzzFlash: Sometimes I'll see you on TV or read something by you and I'll think to myself, there goes Greg again, saying something crazy -- Greg's saying they want to destroy the public housing in New Orleans to build new condos and keep the African Americans out.
But let me read you this from the Washington Post from December 7th: "Public housing officials decided Thursday to proceed with the demolition of more than 4,500 government apartments here, brushing aside an outcry from residents displaced by Hurricane Katrina who said the move was intended to reduce the ability of poor black people to repopulate the city." (Read the Washington Post Article)
Well, you were right again.
Greg Palast: Understand -- I used to work for the Housing Authority of New Orleans. The most beautiful housing in New Orleans are the townhouses near the French Quarter. And as Malik Brahim, an African-American leader there, says, "They just don't want them poor black people back." That's a crucial part of the film. It's about keeping the working class black people out of the city.
They're talking about knocking down 4,000 public townhouses. These are dry, safe, good houses. That's why they're still there. They literally want to bulldoze these homes because they don't want those "black people back."
You'll see in the film a woman, Patricia Thomas. We help break into her home because they've boarded it up. Everything is dry. You could eat the dry cereal. They've shuttered up their houses with steel bars. Katrina didn't do this, she says, "Man did this." And "the man" is in the White House and in the Mayor's Mansion.
BuzzFlash: Why do you think the rebuilding effort and relief effort in New Orleans has just come to a complete halt?
Greg Palast: It's not stalled. This is the plan. This is another White House gimmick to hide their evil intent in the clothing of incompetence.
The same with Iraq -- oh, we screwed up? We didn't get all the cheap oil that Wolfowitz promised in his congressional testimony, when he said the price of oil would decline. Well, it's gone up. Golly gee, who funds the Bush Administration but the oil companies and Saudi Arabia? Who profits when the price of oil goes up? That's "Mission Accomplished."
Look to New Orleans. Golly gee, the black folks haven't come back. There are no labor unions anymore in New Orleans. There are no public schools. It's all vouchers. Worker wages have gone down. It's "Mission Accomplished." This is the plan. This is the program.
The idea that this is just a screw-up, or a delay, or a stall is wrong. This is the plan. You're seeing it in effect. They don't ever want those people back. You still have 73,000 POWs - prisoners of "W."
New Orleans residents are locked in these "aluminum Guantanamos," also known as FEMA trailers, as you'll see in the film. There are a thousand mobile homes next to the Mobil Oil refinery. These trailers are in the middle of nowhere, and there's no way those people can get any jobs. It's a cycle. Some businesses and homeowners would like to rebuild New Orleans, but they can't get workers, and those who would like to work live too far away to get any jobs.
Families are not even allowed to move their trailer to their own home property. It's a deliberate program of ethnic and class cleansing in the City of New Orleans.
BuzzFlash: One of your big scoops in "Big Easy to Big Empty" was you found a company, "Innovative Emergency Management," that gave large donations to the Republican party, to create an evacuation plan in case of a hurricane. No one seems to be able to find that plan.
Greg Palast: The most innovative thing about their emergency management is that they had no plans that anyone knew about.
When I went and talked to "Innovative Emergency Management," they called security. I just went in and said where's the plan? What makes you qualified to do an evacuation plan besides your relations to the Republican Party?
These people had zero qualification to do this planning. We were told that the main problem was that they had no plan for getting people out without cars. I mean, their whole plan was "jump in your car and drive like hell."
But what if you didn't have a car? We had one guy who didn't have his car with him, and he was abandoned for four days in the rising water, standing on the overpass. He told us how he closed the eyes of a grandfather who had died giving his last bottle of water to his kids. The guy died of dehydration.
That's a story that no one has reported. Forget Anderson Cooper and his tears. By the way, we can't find Anderson Cooper after the fact.
BuzzFlash: Have you been able to find "Innovative Emergency Management's" evacuation plan yet?
Greg Palast: Actually, I finally got the contract that said they were "supposed to create" an evacuation plan. FEMA had withheld the documents we requested for a year and a half. FEMA was keeping it secret and was telling us it's a national security document until we threatened to sue.
I worked on an evacuation plan in Long Island, New York, for a hurricane. And you know what the key part about an evacuation plan is? You have to have it. Cops have to have it. Emergency workers have got to have it. The bus drivers have got to have it.
The most important thing is that we found out from the experts at the Hurricane Center at Louisiana State University that they had a detailed evacuation plan.
BuzzFlash: Do you think part of the reason is that they may have had an evacuation plan for a hurricane, but not necessarily for a breach of the levees or a major flood?
Greg Palast: That's part of the problem, because they had no plan in case of a breach. Number one, the LSU Hurricane Center told the White House before the flood -- and I want to reemphasize this -- before the flood -- that New Orleans would be under water on a class 3 hurricane, that the levees were deficient, and that they were 18 inches short. The White House completely ignored their warnings.
You have to understand that the LSU hurricane experts actually spoke directly to the White House about this and what they saw as an emergency situation.
You should also know that the White House knew for nearly a full day that the levees had in fact been breached, and were about to drown the people left in the city. The emergency crews and police stopped the evacuation because they thought the city had survived Hurricane Katrina because the storm missed New Orleans. The hurricane watch center didn't realize that the levees had started to crack.
The White House knew it because the Army Corps of Engineers sent them photographs. Again, I want to emphasize that the White House had the photographs of the levees breaking, and didn't tell state and local officials who had stopped the evacuation because the hurricane missed New Orleans. Everyone thought they dodged a bullet, but the White House didn't tell anybody the levees broke and were drowning the city.
BuzzFlash: What explanation could anyone have for that kind of "criminal negligence," as a City Councilman says in the film.
Greg Palast: It is criminal negligence. Remember, I was a racketeering investigator.
The levees are federal property. If the federal levees failed, then it becomes a federal evacuation issue, and Bush and his gang did not want to be responsible.
Even more important is that they are financially responsible for all the homes lost, because the levees were deficient.
The original story coming out of the White House was that the Mississippi River and the lake north of New Orleans simply overflowed, right? Just big waves crash over the city and later the levees broke. Uh-uh. The city flooded because the levees broke.
Ivor van Heerden of the Louisiana State University hurricane center said he flew over those levees and he counted 28 levee breaks.
He said the White House, when they knew that the city was about to drown, said that there was one break. And he found 28. As he said, "That's not an act of God. That's an act of negligence."
BuzzFlash: You have a lengthy interview with Amy Goodman as part of the bonus features of the DVD. At one point, you spoke about the wetlands and the marshes that protect New Orleans from storm surges and floods. You place at least part of the blame on the oil industry, which is continuing to drill off the coast.
Greg Palast: The oil industry laid pipelines and canal routes through the marshlands. People say, "How come these people live in a city that's below sea level?" Well, they weren't anywhere near the sea, is the answer, except that over this past century, the oil industry has drained and destroyed the marshes. Now the Gulf of Mexico has come real close to the city.
BuzzFlash: What needs to happen to turn the situation around, when you have so many people and families displaced and so much profiteering going on? How do you ever break the deadlock?
Greg Palast: A couple things. One, people have to know what the hell's going on. That's why they should get the film, invite friends and family, and have a screening so people can get informed. If you don't know what's going on, you can't solve it. This is like the war in Iraq. Once people figured out what's going on, they started wanting to get our troops the hell out.
And second, we have to allow the people of New Orleans to rebuild their homes. We need to give the people back their homes, and give them the jobs to rebuild their homes. And that will take care of it.
In fact, I show an example of a group called "Common Ground" which is rebuilding homes with the residents with their own sweat equity and a few bucks for materials. And this week, they're being evicted.
You have a group which has already put 115 families into homes that they've built themselves, and now they're being evicted this week. And by the way, all the money -- the million dollars of material and the hundred thousands of hours of sweat equity -- are all being stolen away from them by developers who are saying "Oh, you didn't have the right to rebuild those houses, we own them." And they're literally stealing their houses. That's what's happening.
And that's all with the grand approval of the Bush Administration. It's all with the grand approval of the Mayor of New Orleans, who is doing nothing about the mass evictions of people who have rebuilt their homes, and now their properties are being seized by banks and land speculators.
BuzzFlash: Greg, as always, thank you for speaking with us.
Greg Palast: Thank you.
26 December 2006
saddam hussein = to be hung (or) this is what happens to bad puppetshad the car for a bit today and heard a snippet on npr about saddam hussein's death sentence ruling.
imagine my surprise when i heard that he wasn't found guilty of all of the awful things that he orchestrated, all of those things that i've heard for years in the line of conversations that went something like this:
me: iraq doesn't have anything to do with septemeber 11th - this war is/was a horrible, terrible, awful option.
whomever: but they have weapons of mass destruction! he wants to kill us all!
when that all fell through for the pro-warrers, it turned into this:
me: there are no weapons of mass destruction. this war is/was a horrible, terrible, awful option.
whomever: BUT HE GASSED THE KURDS! HE INVADED KUWAIT!
and here we are again, back to my surprise. nevermind that overthrowing a regime is against international law, but one would still think that he would've received this death sentence based on the above, but no. he was found guilty of the deaths of 148 people in a botched assasaniation attempt against hussein in '82. i don't recall this being a talking point in the days leading up to "operation iraqi freedom?" they have dropped all the other court proceedings for the mass gassings and kuwait invasion.
i call bullshit.
i wondered what was going to happen when it came out - about the u.s. diplomat's response to saddam hussein's wanting to invade kuwait over their oil theft. i wondered what the response would be if it was brought to light that saddam hussein's killing of his "own people" mirrors that of the rest of the world that believes that state santioned killings in the form of death penalty should continue to be invoked. and while one can't compare between the executions that hussein ordered and those imposed by the u.s. government on her own citizens, they are both horribly wrong. i wondered how the world would react to the u.s. involvement in what saddam hussein accomplished. i was equally surprised that he even went to trial. i had assumed he would be assasinated or some such before that could ever happen - as everything would come out. i wondered... but we will never know - his hanging is to be carried out in 30 days.
while many may find comfort in his death, i don't. this hanging isn't justice, it is the easy way out. he should have to sweat it out like the rest of us, not knowing when our demise may find us. i think that a far worse sentence would be an imprisoned one. one in solitude where he would find himself alone, powerless, and with his own thoughts that would certainly make the days seem much like years passing. he isn't a threat anymore. the threat lies in what is being created as we speak. same goes for bin laden - dead or alive, does it matter anymore?
the whole thing just reeks to high heaven. side of red herring, anyone?
23 December 2006
a little of this, a little of that - part deuxnote: this post has disappeared twice now, through the course of the day. divine intervention of some sort? luckily i started saving drafts after the second go-round. i shall try one last time, omitting what i think may be the culprit...
it has been a Very Bonky Sort Of Day around these parts. bebe has Bonked his head on the following things once, sometimes twice already and we have only been up for 4 hours!
*the futon - back and side
*his doll (?!)
Big Sad Bottom Stuck Out Lip and tears ensue. not even the mention of a poop sandwich brings a giggle. i hope that he is having his nap now because it is nap time and hasn't been knocked out due to concussion. i also hope that this doesn't mean that he's inherited his mama's uncanny knack for Clumsiness.
sad sad news came via the telephone last eve. my friend hammond was found dead on wednesday. he had been dead for a week. they are doing an autopsy, but don't think that fowl play was involved.
i met hammond a few years before i officially moved into the neighborhood, at the neighborhood coffee house that you could find me in most everyday of the week. i would go there to write and read and, of course, drink coffee. one day, my friend jessica and i were talking about her upcoming journey to chiapas, mexico to assist with building houses and providing support for the indigenous people that live there. the talk naturally turned to the zapatistas. hammond came over to our table and introduced himself, saying that he needed writers for a publication that he was doing and had overheard our conversation. every time he would see me after that, he'd ask if i'd written an article for him yet. soon, we were sharing a table most everyday, engaging in conversation that went from here to there and there to here. we rarely agreed on anything that had to do with politics or economics, but it was always always always respectful. the years went by, that coffee house closed. he started to spend his days at the coffee shop up the street, but i didn't see him too often. he also began filling in at the bookstore when needed, so i would still see him from time to time, but long gone were the days of hours of talking on end.
it has been several weeks now, since the last time i saw him. he talked with bebe and smiled and laughed. he always seemed to be smiling and laughing - even in the most heated of debates. he rolled his own cigarettes - a special blend of pipe tobacco and regular tobacco that smelled really yummy when it burned. he had a deep passion for all things space and had big plans for kansas city. he continued publishing and volunteered his time teaching seniors the ropes of the internet. he was dedicated to his community and spent so much time trying to make his corner of the world a safer place.
i will miss him very much. hammond, i thank you for being the truest of friends and cherish the memories i have. i'm so sad that your final moments were spent alone. fare thee well...
my z and . are giving out. if they are missing anywhere above, you know why. i'm honestly quite surprised by how often i use the letter z! i never realiied it before. see? i am the keeper of the phantom disappearing z.
some more disastrous effects of climate change.
bears in the mountains of spain have stopped hibernating and more:
* The osprey found in the lochs and glens of the Scottish Highlands in the summer months, usually migrate to west Africa to avoid the freeze. This winter, osprey have been spotted in Suffolk and Devon. Swallows, which also normally migrate to Africa for the winter have been also seen across England this winter.
* The red admiral butterfly, below, which hibernates in winter, has been spotted in gardens this month, as has the common darter dragonfly, usually seen between mid-June and October, which has been seen in Cheshire, Norfolk and Hampshire.
* The smew, a diving duck, flies west to the UK for winter from Russia and Scandinavia. This year, though, they have been mainly absent from the lakes and reservoirs between The Wash and the Severn.
* Evergreen ivy and ox-eye daisies are still blooming and some oak trees, which are usually bare by November, were still in leaf on Christmas Day last year.
* The buff-tailed bumblebee is usually first seen in spring. Worker bees die out by the first frost, while fertilised queen bees survive underground between March and September. This December, bees have been seen in Nottingham and York.
* Primroses and daffodils are already flowering at the National Botanic Garden of Wales, in Carmarthenshire. 'Early Sensation' daffodils usually flower from January until February. Horticulturalists put it down to the warm weather.
* Scientists in the Netherlands reported more than 240 wild plants flowering in the first 15 days of December, along with more than 200 cultivated species. Examples included cow parsley and sweet violets. Just two per cent of these plants normally flower in winter, while 27 per cent end their main flowering period in autumn and 56 per cent before October.
as if this weren't enough, a german researcher issues a warning re: warming and rising oceans.
(insert culprit of disappearing posts here - a mini-rant on consumerism and it's role in climate change. the post is still here. so far, so good. don't push it, kara. don't push it.)
here's to hoping that 2007 begins the great time of collectively examining our own footprints on the earth and making changes accordingly. speaking of footprints, go here. see yours.
i'm a calendar girl! ms. august, to be exact. whodathunkit? the divine ms. hill, of course! i'm surrounded by other wonderful blogger friends! want a peep? hill, thank you for including me and for all of the hard work and thought that you've put into into the calendar! i heart you!!!
i'm also sending out peace and love and happies to each and everyone of you through these electric veins. and may they last through the years to come!
happy happy happy merry merry merry!
please bring them home...
22 December 2006
bebe talkspeaking of paintings...
bebe likes to look at mine. the other night, he was gazing away at my partner's all time favorite infinity painting, when he looked at me and said, "i loooove mommy painting." i. melted. and while he proclaims his love for many a thing these days - my little lover bug - it was the way he said it - all serious like.
here he is, trying to ride the vacuum - and vroooming away:
the selective service system has just announced that it is gearing up to test the draft machinery. in 2009. what does this mean? for starters, could it be that there is no end in sight to this deadly course of waging war that we've been thrown into? i can't help but to think that reinstating the draft would bring a swift end to war(s) - that other solutions would first be sought in the future. if *their* sons and daughters (if selective service advice is taken) are called up to serve...
they can have the above beautiful, loving bebe (as i imagine that *they* will still be waging wars in 17 years and 4 months that can never be *won* by these means)
over. my. dead. body.
ok. you're NOT going to believe this - but i swear it's truth on whatever you hold sacred. bebe just started running all around, pointing at different paintings, saying, "i love mommy painting" over and over and over...
you'll have to excuse me. i have to go cover someone with all of the smooches in the world.
21 December 2006
happy winter solsticeeveryone! i love this day - a day marking a time of introspection and future planning - and the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere. the days shall grow longer from here on out and i don't know that my hibernation is yet complete.
this is so trivial, compared to everything else that is happening in this world around me as we speak, that i feel ridiculous for even posting it. but i have to get it out. i have to say it out loud.
i decided today, after much ridiculous stress about the whole gift exchange in a family that refuses to scale back christmas day festivities and we being of No Funds That Aren't Earmarked For Bills, to give away some of my paintings.
it will be like handing over a body part, only worse. the ones that aren't hanging somewhere in the house are stacked in other rooms and i have no idea how/when i'll ever be able to get my website up, so... they might as well go to homes where they will be looked at. i only hope that they won't end up in the back of someone's closet, in the dark, all lonely. and of course that little voice in the back of my head is saying that that is exactly where they will end up.
my brain hurts still from the comments section in pam's thread, though. i can't think straight about much else at this hour.
19 December 2006
thinking about the bigger picture andtrying to chase away the bah-humbugs... a new year is quickly approaching and while i'm not one for resolutions, i think that a little soul searching is clearly in order for this gal in light of a myriad of seemingly unrelated, but connected, recent events.
i've got quite an affinity for the butterfly, you see. and the idea of metamorphosis. i'am a butterfly, in so many respects... i hope that i never stop evolving, learning and questioning. my life, in all of it's 33 years, has been so full of extremes and change. i'm excited to see what happens next.
i've really been feeling the pull lately - my eternal struggle of fight or flight. but i'm realizing that it is never that simple. i've grown quite weary as of late, of "fighting" the status quo. i do this in cycles, and i know when i need to take a break - as much as my feisty spirit will allow me, that is. i'm finding that feeling to "run for the hills" is beginning to win out over the "stay and fight." there really is only so much that i can do... often, in my criticism of popular u.s. socio/political doings, i get, "well, if you hate it so much, why don't you leave?" because it's my country too! or is it? am i simply playing some silly little head game with myself that is grounded in denial? there just so happens to be this little town on this little island in canada that is calling my name. i haven't even been there yet. but it calls just the same. somehow, someway, we will go visit there this spring.
a few weeks ago, i sent off a note off to island amazon saying as much, and questioning whether or not this was weak of me - to want to just pack up everything and all of us and go, get away. it was different when it was just me - but now i have this little bebe dude (and big dude) i must take into consideration. the response i got was a perspective that i'd never considered. it's all about perception. it's not about running away so much as it is about running towards the life i want for me and my family. the opting out that i try so hard to accomplish still finds me falling flat on my face. whether i like it or not, i'am still contributing to the pain and suffering of so many in the world, and it literally breaks my heart. every day.
island amazon posted up this invite for discussion some time ago and it's been bouncing about in me head since. now is the time.
1. What are the basics we need in order to survive?
clean water, clean air, healthy food, support, options, shelter, health, love, kinship... anything less is simply existing, most likely finding one struggling to try to survive.
2. What are the basics we need in order to thrive?
a sense of worth, a stake in it all of our own design - not one that has been prescribed for us, freedom (true freedom - not the varietal that has been packaged up neatly and sold to us as freedom... ),meaning, hope, harmony, the absence of fear, having access to the tools and options needed to create a life that transcends simply existing, community, balance, openness, truth, work that is meaningful, words/language, a recognition that we are individually but one tiny but key part of a whole, safety, an outlet, respect - a basic level for self, other cultures, other people, the earth, and of course - the basics for survival are also needed for thriving...
3. What can we reasonably assert to be fundamental truths?
tricksey question for me... truth in and of itself is so subjective - my own truths have changed and transformed over the years, even if in the smallest of ways... i'm going to have to fall back on a couple of quotes that i hold near and dear to me and think a little more.
"humankind has not woven the web of life. we are but one thread within it. whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. all things are bound together." ~chief seattle
"do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. but after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and take it as your guide." ~ buddha
and i don't know who to give the credit to for this, but, "what we think we become."
4. What does it mean to live ethically?
to me, living ethically basically boils down to leaving the least amount of footprint humanly possible in my day-to-day wanderings/doings on this earth and that my actions have a significantly positive impact on the world around me and the people that share this place with me. i try my best to be conscientious of this every waking moment. oh! and the first rule of medicine is good too: do no harm. i try. and sometimes i fail. miserably. but i'll keep trying...
5. What does a good life mean to you?
a good life, to me, is one that is filled with love, being surrounded by people with similar views and desire for a better world to leave for our children - sharing and celebrating. it means living closely to the earth and achieving balance in all aspects. it means respect. it means living in the moment, learning from my mistakes, making connections and building bridges where there were none before. it means live and let live, so long as that living doesn't equate to unnecessary death and destruction. it means being part of the solution, not part of the problem. it means gaining more knowledge and continuing to evolve as a person. it means to not simply exist, but to live.
my "dream" life would be much like my life is now, except we'd be living in a place closer to the ocean. i would spend my days painting and writing and reading and exploring and having adventures - and showing bebe EVERYTHING. i would have an organic garden. i would live in a community, in the truest sense of the word - and be an active part of that community, that village. bebe could actually play outside to his heart's content and not know the fear that has surrounded me for the majority of my life. he would be given the opportunity to develop a sense of self before being bombarded with all of the culture's twisted messages.
that was a lot harder than i thought it would at first glance! i've literally been working on it for hours and i know i still left something out... and so it goes.
18 December 2006
it's a veritable love fest up in herefor pam. a public display, if you will, for my dearest, most sweetest, thoughtful, giving, amazing, pam! how did i get to be so lucky? through the good, the bad, and everything in between - you have been the truest of the true, with the kindest of souls and passion that i so embrace in those close to me...
our friendship is sacred to me, and treasured.
how you have enriched my life on so many levels! and now this! what you did today for me and will and bebe will never be forgotten. not ever.
I LOVE YOU!!!!!!
"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born."
17 December 2006
a little of this, a little of that... and quotes, quotes quotes!late last night, early this morning, i decided to try that "next blog" button on blogger. i couldn't sleep and bebe was snoozing away. i looked at 50 + blogs and found a handful that were picture sites advertising so-called "HOTT" CHICKS, a few were in languages that i can't even begin to navigate, a few more were your basic day to day journals - but over 80% of them made mention of the author feeling depressed and anxious and alone while being surrounded by family and friends that love them in posts specifically dedicated to that topic.
of course, i became deeply saddened. this culture seems to breed this in us, this organic response to how empty and messed up it all can be at the core - BUY! BUY! BUY! ME! ME! ME! NOW! NOW! NOW! YOU AREN'T COOL IF YOU DON'T DO IT! WAR? WHAT WAR? WOOO-HOO! *snap snap* LOOK OVER HERE INSTEAD! IT'S A HUGE SALE! terrorists are coming to get us, the middle class is slowly disappearing, the economy is "great," but we're all a paycheck away from the streets. there is a "war" on all the wrong things. we live in a disposable world, where even life (in the most encompassing sense of the word - on every level) is also disposable. you get my drift.
so i stopped clicking the next button and went to my favorite links instead.
this caught my eye first, in a comments section:
Have a problem you are dealing with? Pick up a book, any book. Close your eyes. Open it to a random page, put your finger on it and read those few words.
Be honest about interpreting what is there, this is where a lot of people get in trouble with that because they are always looking for something that favors them.
(i'm saying not where, simply because the author of the comment was actually being fairly mean in his string of different comments that came one right after the other. but who he is really doesn't matter. you'll see. he is simply the vehicle.)
on and off - over the past couple of months - i've been reading, manifesta: young women, feminism, and the future. when i woke today, there it sat. taunting me. i remembered the above comment. i picked up the book, closed my eyes, opened it and let my finger fall. this is what was there, a quote from alice walker: "whenever i have walked a path has appeared, whenever i have knocked a door has opened."
i'm walking... i'm knocking... and synchronicity has always seemed to favor me, so be it.
on that note...
a new blog is in the works and i'm hoping that you all can help me get the word out - AND help me get it going. i don't know how i'll be able to accomplish what i need to do so that people will be able to post their own entries, i imagine sometimes anonymously - i think there is a guest blogger way to do that? or maybe i could have people email me their stories and i could post them? i'm getting ahead of myself... here's the basic idea.
i've been thinking a lot lately, ever since finding out about my friend's attack, about silence. audre lorde once said, "your silence won't save you" and i believe that with every inch of me. my subsequent digging into violence, (specifically sexual violence against women) and finding out that only16% of rapes are ever reported - AND that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 7 men will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18 equates to there being a massive void of silence where all of these stories fall. with statistics like these - we all know someone, or many someones, that have been violated and attacked. yet, we never hardly seem to hear about them or from them.
i would like to create a safe space for women to share their stories - and have links available in which people can go to for further information or help - all the while being open to be viewed by whomever should pass through. i know that some won't want to share their identities and i understand completely. i'm just at a loss at this point on how the stories can be posted up anonymously, by the author herself/himself...
so that's that. if you have any suggestions for me, please do share!
i've been thinking about utah phillips today, too - and some quotes that i love from the past didn't go anywhere - a joint project that he did some time ago with my girl ani difranco.
this first snippet needs the set up. he was speaking at his son's school graduation and he had promised him that he would "be good." as he approached the stage to speak, he noted the collection of suits flanking the podium - the hierarchy of the school and prominent businessmen, ".....well something inside of me snapped. And I got to the microphone and I looked out over that multitude of faces and I said something to the effect of: 'You are about to be told one more time that you are America's most valuable natural resource..... Have you seen what they do to valuable natural resources?! Have you seen a strip mine? Have you seen a clear cut in the forest? Have you seen a polluted river? Don't ever let them call you a valuable natural resource... they're going to strip your mind.. your soul...they're going to clear cut your best thoughts for the sake of profit unless you learn to resist. "Cause the profit system follows the path of least resistance and following the path of least resistance is what makes the river crooked. Hmmmm...."
this next one always gets me, right to the core:
"the stories I tell don't just come out of my own life. many of them come to me from my elders. i strained to hear them through the roar of my own ego, my own needs and desires. but when i became quiet and open to the thoughts and feelings of my elders, i learned that my life-story deepens, grows richer, by taking in the stories of those who have led extraordinary lives, lives that can never be lived again. except in memory - through mine, through yours - as the fragments of our story - lives mix and blend into a common whole, the great river of our collective memory of which we are all a part and into which each one of us will, some day, dissolve."
i have a good friend in the east, a good singer and a good folk singer...who comes and listens to my shows and says you always sing about the past, you can’t live in the past. and i say to him, i can go outside and pick up a rock, that’s older than the oldest song you know and bring it back in here and drop it on your foot. the past didn’t go anywhere. it’s right here, right now.
i heart him.
happy sunday, everybunny!!!
16 December 2006
page 123 tagging!pam done went and tagged me. i meant to say it that way - unlike *SOMEONE* else - who clearly can't mean to talk thataway. there. i did it again. now where was i? oh! yes! i've been tagged to play, and we all know how i DO love fun!
Here's the idea :
Find the nearest book.
Name the book
Turn to page 123
Go to the fifth sentence on the page
Copy out the next three sentences and post to your blog. Tag three more folks.
the soul's code: in search of character and calling
"this is how it is; its gestures, style, colorings, motions, speech, expression - in short, the actual complications of the image - tell exactly how it is.
for all this insistance on the phenomenal i do not mean that there are no reserves, no shadows; i do not mean that an event is but a persona, the front it puts up, mere showcasing. reserves and shadows are not invisable."
...and now i'm thinking of the ani difranco line, "taken out of context i must seem so strange...."
hhhhmmmmm... whom shall i tag?
island amazon, melissa, and tua.
15 December 2006
curse the internet if you willbut it is times like this that i find cause for celebration.
connections, building bridges, breaking through silences - AND FOR GIVING US A PLACE TO FIND ONE ANOTHER AND A FORUM IN WHICH TO DIALOGUE!
earlier today, i received an email from a woman that had read my blog post yesterday about the latest black box warnings to be added to antidepressants. her name is summer. she sent several links along with her note. i was quite moved by her journey and her experiences with paxil - another commonly prescribed ssri drug.
there seems to be a misconception amongst not only the population, but with doctors, that these medications aren't dangerous in and of themselves. i know that many people have been told that they can stop taking them at any time - and that there will be no side effects. this simply isn't true. as i've mentioned before - the ssri drugs particularly scare me. they are designed to balance a chemical imbalance, hence providing relief. but there are several things wrong with the theory.
*if you don't have a chemical imbalance, the meds can create one, which more often than not finds many people with a life long need for medications that are only intended to be used short term. as for the long term use effect - who knows? they haven't been in existence long enough to see what effects this will have on the taker.
*people aren't being tested for chemical imbalances before being given the pills.
then it gets even murkier:
*does panic/anxiety/depression cause the chemical imbalance or does the chemical imbalance cause the panic/anxiety/depression? again, no one really knows.
*no amount of pills will ever, in and of itself, get a person to the root cause of the problem. for our bodies to enact a fight or flight response, something must be causing it. it is far too simplistic to simply write this all off as a chemical imbalance. or hope that pills alone will do the trick.
*this isn't like having diabetes, where tests can be done to know and then the proper dosages of medication are prescribed. doctors are continuously changing dosages with antidepressants and hoping that one right combo of pills will eventually stabilize the patient and do the trick.
it's an awful lot of playing around with medications that have come under scrutiny for their role in creating violent or suicidal people.
*combine all of this with big pharma companies and reps that court doctors; insurance companies that will only cover the medicating of a population and not the other needed aspect of therapy - and we have ourselves a real horribleawfulterrible mess.
and then there's a whole 'nother level: you've been taking the meds and you want to stop - the other therapies have reached the source, the root - and you want to wean off.
i'd like you to meet summer b.:
I had my first panic attack one night in my dorm room at college when I was a sophomore. I was laying in my bed, waiting for my body to fall asleep. Suddenly, I felt a very uncomfortable sensation -- the right half of my body felt WRONG. It felt limp, heavy, and it tingled with very tiny pins and needles. I bolted out of my bed and into the bathroom, where I stared at my face for about an hour in an attempt to convince myself that both sides were perfectly symmetrical. It FELT like one side was sagging, but the mirror told me otherwise. I couldn't understand what was happening. A tiny seizure? A stroke? I worried myself to sleep.
And then it kept happening -- night after night. So, I began taking the Xanax that my doctor prescribed -- but of course, I only took it as needed for the rest of my sophomore year. When the school year ended, I packed up my car and headed eastward along PA-118. About fifteen miles into the trip, I got a panic attack so severe that I had to pull into a stranger's driveway and knock on her door. Feigning low blood sugar, I explained my situation and asked for a candy bar or something of the sort. The woman was very nice and took me into her kitchen where she offered my ghost-white face a chocolate bar and a chicken sandwich. We chatted some small talk until I felt well enough to leave. The next time I passed her house, I dropped off a thank-you card and a replacement chocolate bar. She wasn't home, so I wedged them inside of her screen door.
Eventually, the time came to go back to school in the fall. I couldn't drive like a normal human being -- I had to stop every 20 minutes or so to let yet another panic attack pass. I usually had to get out of the car, walk around the car a few times, and open up the trunk and re-arrange a thing or two so that other drivers would simply think something had some loose in my trunk, and I had stopped to fix it. I didn't want them to know; I didn't want anyone to stop and ask me questions.
However, I began to have more severe problems during my junior year. I was in the fall semester of my junior year, and finals week was coming up. I felt like I had a tennis ball wedged in the middle of my chest, below my breastbone and above my stomach. It was tight, made me breathe erradically (because it felt so restricting), and caused me to panic on several occasions. I took Xanax all week -- a relatively low dosage; about .25 per day -- and I knew it was bad for me. I decided that something more had to be done; this wonderful drug that was previously able to stop my panic attacks was just barely able to keep me calm now.
I began taking Paxil when I was in my most fragile state. At the time I swallowed my first pill (Paxil CR, 12.5 mg), I was so panic-striken that I could barely move around my father's house during my Christmas break. I would sit still in the living room chair and notice how any tiny movement would incite a surge of adrenaline, in the most awful way, to each and every corner and crevice of my body. I felt, for no rational reason, like I was going to die soon. Swallowing that first Paxil and knowing that I would further be changing my already screwed-up brain chemistry made me even more anxious.
After about one week of faithfully swallowing a pill each day, I began to feel better. I didn't feel "medicated" at all; I simply felt better. I was able to enjoy the remainder of my Christmas break, and slowly began to forget what a panic attack felt like. And "forgetting" the panic-attack feeling was paramount my "success". Often times prior to Paxil, I would have a Tuesday panic attack simply because my body still remembered what the Monday panic attack felt like.
During the spring semester of my junior year, I noticed that my panic attacks had virtually ceased. I wanted to stop taking the medication eventually -- perhaps a few months from then -- but, being a poor college student, I couldn't afford my next bottle. My father had recently lost his 35-year job in the glass industry to some low-paid workers in overseas, and so we had both lost our premier health insurance as well. Previously, I would have to pay only $15 for any name-brand medication -- and now, on a meager student health plan with no prescription coverage, Paxil CR was costing me about $140 per month. I couldn't afford that on my meek $6/hour part-time job in an economically recessed town in central Pennsylvania.
So, I started taking the Paxil every other day without doing any research on the withdrawal effects. I just couldn't afford it any more, and I had no choice but to stop. I probably could have asked my father to pay for the Paxil, even just for a month, but I didn't want to do that to a man who had no job. About three days after this every-other-day regimen, I began to feel more tired than usual. The "Paxil quakes", as I called them, began -- those electric-zap sensations in my brain. I had no idea what they were, but I vaguely remembered feeling a similar sensation during childhood when I had a high fever. I checked my temperature, just to be safe, and it was fine.
The "Paxil quakes", or "zaps", are a peculiar phenomenon. If I sat completely still, stared directly in front of me, and moved my leg or arm, my entire field of vision would quake. All of my visual input rocked back and forth very quickly a few times and then stopped. And THAT was when I was sitting still -- walking around was another story in itself. The quakes continued almost constantly with every step I took, and I felt them over my entire body. Trying to complete routine tasks (like going to class, eating meals, and studying) became arduous. I tried to pay attention to professors but became more concerned about my teetery vision and zapping body. Lifting a fork to my mouth and bending my neck down to look at my plate of food would incite a round of quakes. And studying was nearly impossible; sitting in a chair and looking down at a book made the quakes repeat indefinitely. I had to hold my books straight out in front of me so I could read with a straight neck.
About two weeks into my every-other-day turned every-two-days regimen, I went to my usual Thursday night newspaper staff meeting. Before the meeting started, I laid down on the floor -- and slept through the entire meeting. When I woke up, I barely had enough energy to stumble back across campus to my dorm room.
I couldn't take it any more. I began to suspect it was from my every-other-day (turned every TWO days, due to decreasing numbers of pills) Paxil schedule when it did not correct itself. It was a Friday, and I had another two hours to get ready for my formal induction into Phi Kappa Phi -- a prestigious all-discipline academic honor society.
The induction was at 5:30. At 3:30, I was so tired that I could not stay awake and my quakes were awful. I had four Paxil pills left, and even though I had just taken one the day before (after two days of skipping), I swallowed one and then took an hour-long nap. I woke up refreshed, but still full of the quakes. Halfway through my Phi Kappa Phi induction ceremony, however, my quakes suddenly disappeared and my fatigue was gone. My brain, for the time being, had satisfied its hunger. I now definitively knew that my symptoms were caused by withdrawal from Paxil. I wrote about it in an online journal of mine:
fyi: it really sucks when you don't have a prescription plan, and you can no longer afford the goddamn paxil ($125 per month!) that keeps you nice & calm & regulated. i tried to wean myself off of it last week because i know i can't afford to continue taking it.
please, all: never do that.
instead of taking one every day, i started taking one every other day, and: i had terrible mood swings all week. all i wanted to do was sleep. i would shake randomly, and it felt like i was having tiny internal seizures. i felt like something was wrong. i felt like i was going to die. i felt like something terribly dangerous was happening to me. i felt worse than i ever had before i ever started taking those meds.
i cried for two straight hours on the phone with my dad, and he agreed to pay the $125 (which he cannot afford either, being jobless and whatnot) for one more month of paxil. i hate money. i really, really hate money.
A friend of mine read the journal entry and told her mother, who is a 40mg/day Paxil lifer. She called me one night and put her mother on, who talked to me for about 45 minutes about the benefits of Paxil and how i should NEVER try to go off of it again. She told me about the generic and told me horror stories about how your anxiety will rebound if you try to quit Paxil. Once you're on it, you're ON it, she insisted.
O-kay; not the news I wanted to hear, really. But, sadly, I listened to her for awhile and continued to take it faithfully until July. It was summer break, and I was working near home at an E-Bay drop-off store. I decided that now, after having discovered the generic and non-time-release version of Paxil (paroxetine), I would safely be able to decrease my dosage and go off the drug by cutting pills in half and slowly tapering off. I did exactly that -- I used a knife to split the pills in half for one weeks, in thirds for the second week, and then in quarters thereafter. By the time I was taking the "quarters", or 2.5 mg, I had developed strong withdrawal symptoms including zaps/quakes, general flu-like symptoms, and panic symptoms. I figured that because the panic symptoms had "returned", I clearly had some sort of a "chemical imbalance" and thus, my friend's mother was right -- I would need to be on this drug for the rest of my life. I did not want my summer break to be ruined by withdrawal symptoms, so I sadly went back up to my original dosage.
Time went on, and I began to notice that I was no longer interested in things that I had previously felt passionate about. My journal-writing had sputtered to a stop, my concert-going had declined, and my interest in friends & conversation had absolutely disappeared. After some though, I was able to pinpoint Paxil as the cause. I recalled my previous withdrawal attempt, noting that while on 2.5 mg, my passion for music had ripened again until I was forced to go back up to 10 mg. I couldn't take it any more -- I would go to the local diner with good friends and stare into space as they talked about things that had used to be fascinating to me. Where was my life going? I physically couldn't will myself into conversation; it was as if there was nothing to say. The drug had turned me into a complacent being; the drug had removed all sense of motivation from me, in every sense of the word.
College graduation came and went without any sense of completion, as did many "big" life events while on Paxil. After I moved to Delaware to attend graduate school, I realized that I could not go on in higher education with a chemically-altered brain, a lack of motivation, and the general cognitive problems that I had developed while on Paxil. I found the website paxilprogress.org, educated myself about the proper manner in which to withdraw, and set off on my tapering adventure.
Over a period of six months, I was able to reduce my dosage from 10 mg to 2.5 mg per day. After each 25% dosage cut, I needed to wait a full month to "stabilize", or wait for the withdrawal symptoms to pass. I painstakingly cut the small 10mg into 7.5 mg doses (by cutting the pill into quarters and taking three of the four quaters). Then, in an attempt to maintain my 25% tapering level, I spent hours conceiving of a viable way to seperate the 10 mg pills into a dose of 5.6 milligrams. After an exhaustive effort, I split each pill into two, and lined up crumb-sized shards in descending order -- it was the best approximation that I could make! From there, I reduced to 5 mg after it became too annoying to chip .6 mg pieces; most of my .6 pieces ended up as Paxil powder anyway, which is a significant amount of money down the tube (considering that each bottle is over $60 dollars, and my prescription plan will not cover it, AND I am a relatively poor graduate student!). From 5 mg, I decreased to 3.75 mg (constructed by using a nail file to shave a small amount off of a 5 mg pill), then to 2.5 mg (by chopping a 10 mg pill into quarters using a pill cutter). I am currently on 2.5 mg, and my next dosage cut is going to be an absolute riot -- imagine trying to split a grain of sand into two pieces without it pulverizing between your fingers!
Many people have suggested that I acquire the liquid form of Paxil -- however, I cannot afford it. At $200 a bottle from my local CVS pharmacy -- that's HALF of my meager, bi-weekly university paycheck -- it's simply too expensive. The cost blows my mind -- I find it unlikely that the actual chemical formula in liquid form is worth so much money. I suspect that GlaxoSmithKline knows that many patients use the liquid to wean themselves off of Paxil, and charges them accordingly because of they know it will result in the loss of a "faithful" customer.
So here I am, in December of 2006, in the final stages of my tapering process. As of two weeks from now, I will have been taking Paxil for two years. I have spent six months of that time dedicating myself to withdrawing from the drug -- that's 1/4th of my entire duration on Paxil. I suppose I am fortunate that I'm not one of the unlucky 10-year folks who need to spend an agonizing two and a half years (or more!) withdrawing from a drug that promised the world.
There's no way I can deny that Paxil delivered that it purported to -- it immediately stopped my panic attacks and reduced my anxiety level, thereby assisting me in getting my "life" back and giving me enough composure to seek out alternative treatments. However, there exist several problems in the current model of SSRI administration. First and foremost is the issue of informed consent. While it may be true that the drug information is listed on a brochure that many receive while picking up their first presciption, it seems unlikely that anyone with a panic or anxiety problem would be comfortable enough to even so much as glance at the brochure for fear of finding yet another odd side effect to "worry themselves sick" over. Often, many don't even have the opportunity to look at a patient leaflet -- when I was prescribed Paxil, my doctor gave me a one-month sample of the drug that was provided to him by a GSK sales representative. The only information on the 7-day CR packet dealt with how to remove the pills from their individually foil-sealed slots. Had I been presented with alternative treatment options or some type of warning about what withdrawal would be like, I would have been able to weigh my options in a more intelligent fashion.
The second problem is the issue of doctor-patient trust. We have trusted our general family physicians for years of beneficial treatments for strep throat, bronchitis, and other common ailments. So, for what reason would a patient even begin to question the recommendations of an authority figure who has proven to help them in the past?
Third, and most importantly, the whole design of the SSRI program is constructed with no end in mind. For some time, I was ready and accepting of the fact that I would probably need to take an SSRI for the rest of my life -- not because I needed it to control my panic and anxiety problems, but simply because withdrawal proved too difficult a task. Addiction, in the pharmaceutical industry's definition of the word, means that one engages in drug-seeking behavior; this definition makes it easy for them to deny that SSRI drugs are addictive. I consider myself addictive, and I certainly never did and never plan on burglarizing a pharmacy to get my "fix" of Paxil. Thus, I propose a new definition for drug addiction: the inability to stop taking a drug. No drug-seeking behavior is necessary. The bottom line is tihs: GlaxoSmithKline and other manufacturers of SSRI drugs need to step forth and take the humane step of either creating pills in lower doses or reducing the cost of liquid SSRI's in order to assist those who want to stop the drug. The pharmaceutical industry, it seems, has failed the average American. The system is currently arranged such that, literally, one can "check out any time they'd like, but...can never leave".
I have two more months until I am finally finished tapering, if all goes as planned. I feel as though I am one of the lucky ones, having experienced only the zaps, nausea, disequilizbrium, migraines, tension headaches, cognitive fog and loss of short-term memory, flu-like symptoms, fevers, trembling, panic, anxiety, and depression during my withdrawal.
And others, unfortunately, have it even worse.-Summer B.
and lastly, here is paxil progress.
summer - thank you for letting me share this here, for finding me and taking the time to write! i'm sending you all of my healy vibes and hopes that the next two months pass by without a hitch, and that you are successful in your journey and life. let me know how you're doing, wouldya?
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