Category Archives: drugs

The good, the bad, and the illegal-for-profit.

Naps & Sundries

So it occurred to me the other day that I neglected to put one major thing in the last post:  I STILL NAP.  This makes my version of the "typical overworked monophaser" sleep-schedule a bit different from the norm; but it also illustrates that 20-minute naps can still be awesome in that context.

I don't nap with the kind of regularity I think would be best; I still get tired at my usual nap-times (unless I'm running too hard to notice), and if I'm going to snag a nap, it'll often be nearly where one of my naps would have been on Everyman 3.  I never get more than one a day lately, though; but on the 3rd or 4th day of sleeping 4-6 hours at night, that nap can really save my skin.  I don't wake up feeling perfectly rested like I'm used to, but it keeps me going.

Oh, and yes, I can still fall asleep really fast (in 2-3 minutes, max), and I still wake up fairly automatically after about 19 minutes.  I set an alarm, but more often than not I wake up ahead of it — I deliberately set it a little past when I would normally wake up though, to give myself the chance to wake up naturally, and that generally works great.  If I'm extra-tired, I may sleep through and the alarm will have to get me up. 

Hm, come to think of it, I had a late night last night (went to my first convention, hung out with a bunch of great people — arguably Southeast Michigan's best! — and went swimming, yay), and I'm still recovering from a crazy week past and preparing for a crazy week to come…and I have about 40 minutes before I need to jump in the car & run…so maybe it's time for another 20 minutes of wonderfulness right now. 

That's the thing with naps…especially once you learn to take them…you've got to get them when you can.  When they're this short, that's pretty easy, thank goodness.  And no, taking naps is not the same as being polyphasic; but it's better than being monophasic without them, if you ask me!

In other, somewhat more personal news, my husband stumbled across this great article (he's awesome for that, among other things ;), written by a drug-treatment counselor with 20 years experience, on what the real causes and effects of treatment programs for teens are.  As someone who was put through that exact thing when I was barely 14 — not over drugs, but general misbehavior – I could not more strongly urge parents, and future parents, to read this entire article and take what it says to heart.  Agree with the drug message or not, the truth is that more often than not, such problems have deeper origins involving the whole family, and the worst thing you can do about them is pack your kid off to an institution…that's something I would pay a lot of money to impress on people.  If you read the article because of this message, thank you!

Things that make you go o.0

Oooo-ee, has anybody seen The Economist’s feature on How to Stop the Drug War?  I’m still reading it, but it’s worth noting the comments are up over 400, and that their very calm, well-supported conclusion is that “legalization is the least bad option”.  So far I’m agreeing completely.

Did you know there IS probably such a thing as Hair Blindness?  Yup, seems that the brain processes hairstyles separately from faces, and some people have a perfectly legitimate neurological reason for never noticing when people change their hair.

Marijuana Pepsi Jackson is a real person with an awesome and surprising story.  You really want to read it, I think.  ;)

My, what a strange day this has been.  Also of note, it’s my first perfect 3-hour Everyman day since I hurt my stupid back last week.  *yay*

End-cycle Reorientation (drugs optional)

According to Matthew Good, a CD with cricket-sounds on it will put you to sleep amazingly fast.  Mr. Good’s not polyphasic, but he is an awesome musician and he once had T-shirts made that said "I hear Matt Good is a real asshole", so I think he deserves honorary credibility anyway.  (Being married to a musician and self-proclaimed bastard probably contributes to some bias on my part, but that’s the beauty of having your own chunk of th’ Internet:  Plenty of room for your biases.)

To say that my schedule fell apart over the holidays would be to understate it along the lines of "the Titanic had emergency-preparedness issues".  But I’ve gotten through okay, fitting naps in when I need them, managing to somehow not be tired in spite of downright silly amounts of random running-around and panicking.   (Unfortunately, several older members of my family picked this holiday season to commence exit-procedures from Planet Earth, which basically means they’re having a nice relaxing time sleeping all day and trying out new and exciting drugs, while the rest of us run around trying to find the money for plane tickets, lawyers and funeral homes.  And naturally in exchange for all this, we got cards with $5 in them for Xmas.  Is being old a hell of a racket or what?)

But, now there’s a blessed three whole days off work, which I plan to use to get the schedule back in order, and make some adjustment for the new year besides.  It’s funny how, over the course of a year, enough will change that by the end of the year, I need to adjust my schedule so everything fits nicely again.  Examples:  Now I’m not in school; now I have a 6a.m. kungfu class once a week; now I work from home once a week; now I have a book club and other standing commitments to go out that I didn’t have before…and suchforth.  I now know from experience that once I explicitly schedule these things in around my sleep and other tasks, I’ll feel much, much better and get much more done.  I’ve actually done this Schedule Reorientation every year that I’ve been polyphasic (possibly more often once or twice), but this is the first time I think I’ve realized that it’s going to keep being necessary, Hail Eris Hail Yes.  ;)

My goals for the next year are to keep regular study-times (whether or not I’m bound for grad school this fall), keep regular writing-time, add some cardio to my exercise routine and get back on the dots-counting wagon (did anybody else find marking one’s hands inconvenient?  I did, but I haven’t thought of an alternative yet…), and to find a way to squeeze in regular music practice — this is hard because everything I play is loud and there are lots of people in my house who are prone to inconvenient things like sleeping.  Dratted hibernators!!

 

Anyway, Merry Endings to everyone, Happy Beginnings to Come!

Rights, weaknesses, superpowers.

Two days ago — Aug. 26 — was the anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment, the one that gave women the right to vote. If you’ve never read the story of Alice Paul, the Silent Sentinels and the amazing and harrowing protests that led to that amendment’s passage, I strongly suggest it! (They made a film about it, too, called Iron Jawed Angels — the pic is from it.)

—–

And this is not Personal Mental Health Awareness Week, but I’m declaring it anyway: Take some time to learn your own mind and its quirks — what sets you off and how to combat the effects of negativity — so that you can survive weeks like I’ve had with maximum grace and minimum medication!

…In all seriousness, if you don’t make a habit of surveying your brain and learning its strengths and weaknesses, please do, for your sake and your loved ones’. You pay attention if you have a bum knee, don’t you? And perfect mental health is about as common as perfect physical health.

As I often explain in real life, I haven’t gone fifteen years without taking psychotropic drugs for my depression by simply "not being depressed" (I love how many people think that’s possible–again, can you just "not have a bum knee"?), but by learning as much as humanly possible about what my situation is and how to handle it. …You might be amazed at what you don’t know, too. For instance, I never realized I was claustrophobic until I made an active effort to figure out why I felt so disoriented and uncomfortable in certain situations!

—–

On the flipside, what are your superpowers? Come on, everybody has some. I have abnormally good luck with words. I know people who have no body odor, who can’t get lost in the woods, and who can spot the smallest detail at great distance in spite of wearing glasses for normal seeing! It’s fun to figure out, not only where you’re amazing, but where the people you know are, too. And it promotes gratitude, which is a darn useful thing to have around for Mental Health Week, too.

What’s worse than drugs and therapy? Oh yeah…drugs and NO therapy.

From Scienceblog:

"…[scientists] analyzed trends in psychotherapy provision using data from national surveys of office-based psychiatrist visits from 1996 through 2005.

Over the 10-year period, psychotherapy was provided in 5,597 (34 percent) of 14,108 visits lasting longer than 30 minutes. The percentage of visits involving psychotherapy declined from 44.4 percent in 1996-1997 to 28.9 percent in 2004-2005. "This decline coincided with changes in reimbursement, increases in managed care and growth in the prescription of medications," the authors write.

The number of psychiatrists who provided psychotherapy to all of their patients also declined over the same time period, from 19.1 percent to 10.8 percent. "Psychiatrists who provided psychotherapy to all of their patients relied more extensively on self-pay patients, had fewer managed-care visits and prescribed medications in fewer of their visits compared with psychiatrists who provided psychotherapy less often," the authors write."

Yet another example of how our f’d up system of letting for-profit entities run health care as they see fit is resulting in more and more of a "drug-em-bill-em-and-forget-em" approach.

Caring: It’s not good for the bottom line.

Even funnier, though — when you pull up this article, the "Similar Entries" section reads:

Similar entries

 

Shrooms, anyone?

That “spiritual experience” you had on acid that one time?

Don’t be so quick to discount it as “just the drugs”. (As if that’s a phrase that actually means anything…everything is “just” something!)

Recent research on psilocybic mushrooms shows that hallucinogenic experiences have all the hallmarks of commonly-thought-of-as-valid “spiritual experiences”: The positive effects are real, and they last.

(This doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. You?)

Don’t Get Too Excited Now

Have you ever read about how women used to be diagnosed with "hysteria" for basically anything that made them act "overexcited"?  Or hey, to back up a little further, how excitable and/or mentally ill people were treated as "possessed by the devil"?  Or oo, here’s a good one, remember way back in the day when children who didn’t sit quietly and study were said to have an "attention disorder" and given strong drugs to make them "behave"?

Seems that humanity loves to invent fake, usually derogatory, medical diagnoses with which to "handle" people who get loud or cause problems for the status quo.  Nobody wants to admit that kids are being raised with too godsdamned much sugar and television, so we invent a disease for them to have instead, which gives us a convenient excuse to cover up their symptoms with dangerous drugs instead of addressing the actual problems.  (Fun fact:  I have known, personally, at least five kids prescribed Ritalin for "ADHD".  Not a single one had sugar restricted from their diets beforehand…or even afterwards.)  Nobody wanted to deal with mental illness, so it was re-cast as a moral failing and the work of the devil, which gives us a good basis for locking them away in hideous places to die slowly.  And loud women, the scourge of the patriarchy…yeah, better call them sick too.  (I do forgive the "hysteria" diagnosis a little more than the others, because at least it resulted in the invention of the dildo.  Nothing good came out of the other two, unless you count the good ol’ "icepick lobotomy"…)

Why am I on about this topic?  Because there’s another fake disease, and you’d better keep your eyes on it, because the next victim could be you, or someone you know.  Unfortunately, the treatment for this new fake disease isn’t just a drug or incarceration, either — it’s death.

Or I should say, the death happens first:  "Excited Delirium" (sometimes even called "excited delirium death syndrome", a euphemism so bad it would be funny if it weren’t for the topic) is a fake cause of death being widely used in this country to cover up cases of police brutality.  (Like most invented diseases, there’s a grain of truth behind it — it was originally a term used to describe the peak of an overdose episode in long-time cocaine addicts, which could be but wasn’t always  Not anymore, though.

Excited delirium as a fake cause of death is not new (remember Malice Green?).  It’s also not recognized as an illness by either the American Medical Association or the American Psychiatric Association, or any other reputable group. 

The company that makes Tasers swears by it, though, using it frequently as a legal defense.  And cops are all about it, blaming "50 to 125 deaths a year in the United States alone" on this imaginary illness, which, you know, they need to protect their poor misunderstood selves from.  In response to the fairly widespread knowledge that Excited Delirium as a cause of death is hooey, cops and those dependent on their money have resorted to trying to tie ED directly to drug use, but the numbers themselves show that this is crap:  the numbers cited in this very earnest article (by a pepper-spray manufacturer) are from the ’80′s and ’90′s, and don’t at all explain the leaping number of police-custody deaths and subsequent attribution of "ED", often in cases that had nothing to do with drugs.  (I’ve even seen a claim that autism can cause it.)  Regardless of what they claim the "underlying cause" is though, it’s impossible to ignore that so-called cases of Excited Delirium are always diagnosed after some kind of police brutality — mostly beatings at first, but lately, increasingly and unsurprisingly, also the use of tasers.

The idea behind "Excited Delirium" is that, in a nutshell, police "have to be" rough sometimes, and sometimes they’re "maybe a little too rough" with someone who is "weak or sick" or old or on drugs or something, and then the "person" dies, and why should that be the cop’s "fault"?

That’s a basic emotional appeal, and I can answer it very easily:  Because letting someone get away with [insert usually-minor crime, civil infraction, or accusation of crime here] is better than killing them, you idiots.  This idea that cops must Assert Their Authoritai, that they must be obeyed even up to the cost of someone’s life, is just ridiculous, and it’s out of this assumption that crap like "Excited Delirium" comes.  We’ve got medical examiners being sued for saying that cops tasered someone to death, and judges re-writing autopsy reports so that, you know, the brutal beating was only incidental to someone’s dying from it, all so we can protect this precious idea of Police Authoritai being more important than anything.

Protect and Serve does not, I offer, include beating the hell out of anyone.  Ever.  You want to hurt people, go be a bouncer, or a soldier, or take a volunteer job escorting people in and out of abortion clinics.   While the "literature" on the cop/manufacturer side often cites "restraint" as the cause, if you read some of the cases (which, um, obviously I spent a good chunk of time doing), you’ll see that beatings and/or torture (hog-tying, tasering, etc.) are actually the issue here.  None of which, in my opinion, are ever acceptable, especially when perpetrated on civilians by those supposedly protecting them.

Seriously:  For people who are supposed to be "servants", you see cops taking a punch surprisingly rarely, don’t you?  If your job is "protecting and serving" the civilian population, don’t you think that would mean that you got beat up more than you delivered?  Don’t you think it would mean that nothing short of a direct threat on your life or that of another civilian would justify using force against the people you’re supposed to be protecting and serving?  Or would it mean that you could taser students who are engaged in no criminal action whatsoever, while bystanders beg you not to, just because said student refused to stand up when you told him to? 

[WARNING:  That video is really disturbing.  It happened in California, no less.  Make sure you watch it if you think Tazers don't hurt, though, and don't fail to note the whole string of similar "taser videos" YouTube has -- a sterling example of citizen journalism, those, as well as a stinging example of the failures of big-media journalism.  ...Oh, and don't read the comments on the video, unless you have a puke-bag handy...it's unbelievable how many people think refusing to show your ID and swearing at a cop are grounds for physical torture!  ::boggles and throws up::]

An idea I’ve had:  No cop should be allowed to carry a taser (or any other nonlethal weapon) unless he agrees to be shot with it a minimum of once every three months.  If it’s so safe and effective, you do it.  Maybe that would cut down on the epidemic of "taser deaths", and the subsequent abortions of justice that cause them to be mislabeled as fake diseases like Excited Delirium so that those responsible can get off the hook.  Similarly, how about for every incident of cops beating up a citizen, those cops have to get beat up by the same number of citizens that they ganged up on?  I’ll even be nice and say we won’t give the citizens nightsticks, because we don’t want any cops dying of Excited Delirium, now, do we?

What I’ve just proposed is nothing but fair and reasonable, but I bet the idea of actually implementing such a system sounds shocking and far-fetched to most people.  Why?  Why do these "serve and protectors" have the right to beat the hell out of people and torture them with high-technology weapons, just because they won’t "obey" or there’s a perceived violation of a law going on?  Don’t the courts exist to punish people who violate laws?  If I break a law, and a cop beats the shit out of me, can I get out of the fines or jail time, since I’ve already been punished?  No.  Why?

To the inevitable "but they have to" response, I say take this picture of Gandhi and shove it up your — ahem.  I’m sorry, if one man can stop a war without getting violent, then eight cops can stop one perpetrator without getting violent, too.  The oft-used example is a "knife-wielding maniac" "threatening everyone" "in the middle of the street".  Okay, so what’s preventing you from surrounding him and defending yourselves and others until he calms down or runs out of juice?  You are being paid to protect people, and that includes the "maniac" who may simply be sick, having an adverse reaction to a prescribed medication, etc.  Just because he’s making your day difficult doesn’t mean you get to tackle him and beat the shit out of him for expediency’s sake.

 

In short, watch out for cops; they’re turning more and more into complete thugs as time goes on* Watch out for "Excited Delirium" and other fake diseases and defects tossed around to discredit the inconvenient and protect the guilty.  And don’t get me excited, or I’ll throw a zillion links at you. 

pd

 


*To be fair, I must cite the exception that proves this rule:  Someone I know recently had a psychotic episode, and was screaming and waving knives around when the cops were called.  They took three hours to make sure that standoff ended with no injury, and got the (innocent, mentally ill) person to a hospital with not a scratch on him.  That confrontation could have easily been the death of someone I love, but because one cop–the one leading that squad–was willing to put in the extra effort to negotiate and be compassionate to someone he’d never met before, and had no way of knowing wasn’t a "raving maniac", a tragedy was averted and a young man has the rest of his life ahead of him.  This is proof positive that violence is not necessary, and that cops are capable of taking the high road and still doing their jobs.  And a big thank you to that nameless officer on the Southgate force…you gave some faith in cops to someone who would have had none otherwise.

EDITED 2:00 p.m. to fix some typos and clarify some language.

Sleep Drugs?

Hey, folks.

This morning I started on the "Sleep Drugs" appendix of the Ubersleep book.  Now, I don’t know much of anything about the usual sleep drugs, since I’ve managed to avoid them all my life (with no small help from my polyphasic schedule).  But I am going to do a bit on Modafinil (Provigil), since it’s a different class of substance than sleep-inducing narcotics or normal stimulants, and I can see that particular class of drugs having a huge effect on how people sleep — and possibly how they transition into and/or maintain a polyphasic schedule.

My question to you is, is there any particular information on the topic of sleep-related drugs that you’d like to see me cover, Modafinil-related or otherwise?  Speak now or forever hold your peas!

-pd

Another One Flew Over…

"A Regent University law student who posted an unflattering photo of Regent president Pat Robertson on his Facebook page has been indefinitely suspended pending a psychiatric evaluation." (poenews.com; emphasis mine)

Because…anybody who thinks a photo of Pat Robertson flipping the bird is notable… must be mentally ill?  Maybe he was just constipated — did they send him to a gastroenterologist to be sure? 

Or is this yet another example of the convenient double-whammy of punishment and credibility-damage that psychiatric medicine puts in the hands of those in Authoritai?

Watch that line, people.  Medical treatment, especially psychiatraic treatment, has been used as a punishment since the days of the sanitorium and the icepick lobotomy.  Not only does it encompass some of the worst that you can do to someone this side of the "cruel and unusual" provision*, but because the person who just stood against you now has a mental record, you can feel a little safer that no-one will listen to them.

And the practice isn’t going away nearly as much as we want to think it is.  In fact, it’s getting worse, but it’s smart enough to do it quietly:

Now we toss difficult teenagers in what is effectively jail, where they’re exposed to brainwashing techniques designed to make them distrust their own senses and abandon their inconvenient ideals;

Now we feed strong mind-altering drugs to grade-school kids whose high levels of energy are difficult to manage in a state classroom;

Now we dope up "problem" five- and six-year-olds who are only responding normally to trauma received in their infancy — the message is "you’re doing something wrong" and "it’s not okay to be who you are" and believe me, they get it;

Right now, today, we do all those things.  (Sadly, each of them is a true story from my personal experience.)  And right now, today, if the State wanted to give drugs to my perfectly healthy child and I objected, I could go to jail, and lose my rights as a parent.

What will we do tomorrow??

-PD

*obviously, I think the provision needs recalculating…

No Lesser Evil: Health Insurance

Health insurance is something I don’t explode about very much here, but in case you haven’t guessed yet, I have a lot more Internal ‘Splody than I have time to type.  ;)  In real life, both of my parents have medical backgrounds — one very much so — and I live in a state where health care is a bad joke, from Medicaid on up to vile money-grabbing hospital policies, so actually I rant quite a bit about this, at least offline.

I’m your typical humanist, I suppose.  I’m in favor of universally-provided health care, and I think that capitalist corporations are supremely poorly suited to provide it.  That doesn’t necessarily mean that governments should; but whoever does, their primary stated concern should not be profit — it should be health.  This, I think, is one of those painfully obvious things that doesn’t get said enough.

There isn’t much that I can do to uphold my own beliefs in the real world, though.  I’m not rich enough to pay for medical care on my own, or to buy private health insurance (the cost for just myself and my husband would be as much as my rent), and I fell into the huge pool of full-time family-supporting workers who aren’t provided health insurance years ago.  I study up on natural, home-brewed medicine for everything I can safely treat on my own (as you’ve probably noticed), and we try to practice good prevention and stay healthy in my family, and the rest of the time we cross our fingers and wait for some stupid accident to decimate our life savings, all hail America.

But enough about me — what about you guys?  Tick the poll, and tell everybody what you think in the comments.

Do you have Health Insurance?
View Results