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each here, and each now

A few months ago, I wrote about visiting a new-to-me nurse practitioner. She was less interested in the mole I wanted checked out and more interested in my anxiety.

She recommended that I look into kundalini yoga. I said, sure, I’ll definitely do that.

I did nothing of the sort.

A few weeks ago, I read a book by a doctor who recommended kundalini yoga for its stress-relieving properties. Yeah, yeah, I thought, it’s magic, but no, thanks.

Then some serious insomnia hit me. I figured just about anything would be better than staring at my ceiling, wishing I were asleep. I followed a routine I found online, and was asleep within a few minutes of wrapping it up.

A couple weeks have passed and I’m starting to feel great.

Well, mostly.

I tried a new routine yesterday. “Ha! This is easy!” I thought, for the first 70 seconds or so.

Now, naturally, I’m sore all over. But you know what? Even the soreness every time I move is kinda nice. It reminds me what it’s like to be truly lost in the moment–in the movement–instead of thoughts and worries. 

Each little twinge reminds me that “here, now” is a pretty sweet place to be, each here, and each now.

so-called imbalances & so-called cures

In 2013, I began to suspect that mental illness was more than a simple matter of “chemical imbalance.” I didn’t say much about this suspicion, because I had very little–apart from personal experience–to substantiate it.

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks reading Robert Whitaker’s 2010 Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America. Above and beyond confirming my suspicions with abundant (non pharma-funded) research studies, he tore apart the whole idea of mental illness as resulting from “chemical imbalance.”

Whitaker’s research suggested that “science” here was designed to fit very profitable pills from the beginning. Furthermore, and most alarmingly, he discovered strong correlations between medication and worse long-term outcomes. It was as if, he hypothesized in the book’s early pages, the medication itself was responsible for today’s mental health epidemic, with outcomes far worse than those reflected in a century’s worth of mental history data and for far, far more people.

There’s no way to summarize nearly 400 pages of meticulous documentation here. I won’t even bother, though I will encourage you to read the book if you’re curious what science actually supports.

What I do want share is a startling segment from the 2015 research afterward. It’s one thing to have a critic suggesting standard wisdom is far from wise; it’s another to have a member of the critiqued group confirming the same.

In a section titled “The Death of the Chemical Imbalance Story,” Whitaker includes an excerpt from an article written by the editor-in-chief emeritus of Psychiatric Times: Read more…

nope –> yep

about a week ago,
i finished reading
my 90th or 100th
thoroughly depressing
political book
in a year

my mind went, “great!
on to the next!”

alas, when my
eyes landed
on my to-read
pile, my body
replied with
a
visceral,
NOPE!

(enough grimness;
enough despair;
enough aching,
for now)

a week later,
my mind
continues
to say, “read more!
don’t become
complacent!”

meanwhile,
my body continues
to say,
NOPE!

so i tried
reading a health book
on my ereader
on break

one of my son’s
diary of a wimpy kid
books popped onto
the screen

i navigated away,
to my library,
and felt that
now-familiar
NOPE!
when i looked
at all the
“adult”
books

so i went
back to my son’s book

for ten minutes,
i laughed
from
my belly;
mind and body
together
hollering,
YEP!!!

Categories: Books, Health Tags: , ,

missed

Where software and clothing converge

For many months, I lost touch with the physical world while immersing myself in a virtual political one. To sustain that, I had too much coffee and too much beer; coupled with the fact I was no longer getting outside to move, I gained a lot of weight. 

I’m not too concerned with my weight as an isolated factor. I see it as a symptom, not itself a problem. Happily, after almost four years of figuring out which foods hurt my body and which ones heal it, I know exactly how to tackle the root causes of my feeling-crappy-ness. Doing so, I’ll feel much, much better … and my weight will change as a result.

What had bugged me, then? My clothing! I got to the point where I had four skirts and zero pairs of pants that fit me. I didn’t want to invest a bunch of money in clothing I’d only wear once or twice, so I spent a month wearing my least favorite clothing before deciding I had to change something.

How, I wondered, could I spend only a few dollars to cover a transition period? The answer came to me by virtue of my work in software licensing.

For ages, most companies bought their own hardware to run their software. Maintaining hardware was expensive and time-consuming, so that cloud computing was pretty exciting: all the software benefits, none of the hardware costs!*

Using software in the cloud, someone else has to maintain the hardware. With that “someone else” investing in all that infrastructure, the client company can use a little or a lot of hardware capacity … without having to constantly worry about hardware itself.

In a word, cloud computing offers easy scalability.

I needed that, but in clothing–something that would easily scale up and down with its hardware (me).

You know what provides scalability? Maternity clothes!

I bought a few pairs of pants and a few pairs of shorts. For the first time in a month or so, I actually felt good in what I was wearing.

It cost me all of $40, and will keep me covered across many sizes.

So, hey! Here’s to scalability, and making small investments to feel a little better now!

* There are plenty of other costs, by the way. Just don’t expect techies to care too much while oohing and aahing over new technologies!

Categories: Health, Learning Tags: ,

#IBelieveYou

Many times, I’ve explained how the Democrats lost me.

No times, until this week, did I explain how Bernie Sanders won me.

I committed here to writing about the love, ultimately pouring my heart into 1,500 words of “Bernie, Because I Was Poor.”

Writing about my love instead of my earlier rage felt joyous. Right.

Something unexpected and beautiful happened even after I posted. Someone tweeted three magic words that made me cry: I believe you.

For years, my slogan has been, “your belief is irrelevant.”

All the same, seeing those three words opened the floodgates for me. Those words of support weren’t only about me, but my mom, who spent her whole life yearning for people to believe and lift (instead of castigating) her.

I’ll include some more tweets behind a cut below. One was retweeted more than 80 times, which meant I saw the hashtag #IBelieveYou every few minutes throughout Saturday. Each time, I said quiet thanks.

In ways I’ll have to explain later, the piece only happened because I got out to vote for California delegates last weekend. Actually stepping out into my community and interacting with people here changed everything for me.

If you’re yearning to do something but don’t know what to do, you might consider attending an Our First Stand: Save Health Care rally tomorrow. People will gather across the U.S. to demonstrate our commitment to health care as a human right.

IBELIEVE-300x169.png

By showing up, you have the power to help save lives … all while setting aside worrying in favor of acting, from love.

It may not be everything, but it’s a fine start.

More #IBelieveYou tweets below the cut

Read more…

Not only can, but do

This afternoon,
I ran for the first time
in months.

(Sometimes,
a girl’s just gotta
feel the wind against
her face as her feet
propel her
forward.)

Near the end
of my run, I saw
the woman who called
me a whore.

Her older
children stood
on the sidewalk,
and shouted after
me about the fat
white lady
jiggling.

I raised
a bird for them,
which shut them up.

And then,
when I reached
the opposite corner, I turned
around and ran back.

The boys jumped
back as I plowed
through. “Sorry,”
said one.

“Yeah,”
I said
as I
ran
on.

I
smiled,
looping
back on
the other
side of the
street.

Do they
think they
could possibly
say anything
I haven’t
already
heard
on
dozens
of
runs
before?

This
is
L.A.;
the only
way you
run is with
confidence
that no words
can hurt more
than running
heals.

I’ve run
two marathons,
and, barefoot,
a half marathon.

While they
sit idle and sling
harsh words, I’ll keep
running … running
toward something
better than
just sitting
around cars,
shouting
at the
people
who not
only can,
but
do.

Summited K2! Oh, wait.

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