Saturday, November 21, 2015

Political Rant: Fear Mongering

I have to speak up. The fear mongering in this country is out of control. The Paris Attacks didn't even happen on our soil, and yet we are talking about slamming the door on people in need out of fear of what might happen. We are ignoring the plight of people fleeing brutality and war in an attempt to firewall ourselves off from terrorisism, when we the terrorism in this case was HOMEGROWN. Have we forgotten Waco, Texas that quickily? Or what about Sandyhook, Connecticut? This is the same stupid fearmongering that has us more worried about the ONE addict, when ther are over 100 people suffering in chronic pain PER ADDICT. The unsubstantiated boogyman under our bed frightens us more than the very REAL problem of suffering we see every day. We do nothing sensible about the real problems, and we lose our head over spooky possibilities. And it's destroying this country.

Most people get behind the wheel of a car every day, multiple times a day, never thinking that we are operating a deadly weapon. We require no background checks for these weapons, no psychological exams. We advertize their sale on TV. Nobody thinks twice about it. Yet a car can kill you just as dead as a gun. We tell people who are bullied to speak out, never thinking, "Hey... What happens when there's no grown-up around?" As someone who was bullied as a child, I'll tell you what happens: you get it twice as bad after you've informed a teacher than if you kept your mouth shut. And the bullies at school weren't nearly as bad as the bullies I had to face in my own family every summer break. School was a vacation from violence for me.

Now I'm living in a country I don't recognize. I read about this type of country in school, and the book was 1984. Big Brother is alive and well in Trapwire, in the local traffic and people cameras, and even in the fat-shaming on the TV, even though any look at the numbers will tell us there are more unhealthy skinny people than there are unhealthy fat people (thank you, Science Friday on NPR). We are punishing people for stupid reasons, all to attain some dreamlike society where no one does any wrong, ever. AND IT'S JUST NOT POSSIBLE.

Our politicians and police keep saying, "We need more power to keep you safe!" Can you keep me safe from my own body? Can you keep me safe from the arrogance of a respected surgeon who let me wake up on the operating table and infected me with MRSA? Because those are the things that have nearly killed me. Can you keep my uncle safe from the cholesterol drug that paralyzed him? I still see the ads for it on TV...

LIFE IS DANGEROUS! We all die of something. And we are letting our fears cripple our lives. This must stop. But as a good scholar of history I know that we will make stupid decisions like locking up Japanese-Americans just because we know who they are and ignoring all the German-Americans because they're white and European looking. We wanted to shut out German-Jews because we feared the saboteurs that might try and sneek in amongst their ranks! How many more died in the Holocaust over our fears?

There is a new holocaust going on. The Kurds have already found the mass graves full of women and children. Yet we'd rather believe the monsters are made over there than admit that they live amongst us right now. We'd rather let hundreds of millions of pain patients suffer and live in torture then deal with the minascule few who use drugs to escape from emotional pain, despite the fact that 50% grow out of their addiction with no intervention whatsoever,, according to the DEA.

Politicians talk big, saying they will keep us safe. But when have you actually seen a mass-murderer stopped before a shot was fired or a bomb exploded? NEVER. We were only able to pacify the Germans and Japanese through occupying those countries for FIFTY YEARS. It takes a generation or two to change people's warmongering ways, but we've lost the stomach for that, wanting quick solutions and fast results. We focus on the small problems like terrorism forgetting that two hurricanes (Katrina and Sandy) did more damage and cost more in economics, and human lives lost and disrupted, than their suicide bombings could ever do.

We are insane in this country. It needs to stop. Reasonable voices and facts are being drowned out by fear and hate. We ignore pain and suffering, then pat ourselves on the back for a job well done. It shames me that we speak of freedom and liberty. We are such liars. This is not the United States of America I was taught about in school. I don't know where She is. We need to return to Her, and I don't know how.

Together, we might be able to. But it's going to take courage-- courage that I don't know we have-- to start doing right again. God(s) help us.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Applying for Social Security #Disability

I have been doing Social Security cases since I applied for Social Security myself 14 years ago at the tender age of 29. For the first 12 years, my success rare was 100%, and no one ever needed to go to trial. Times have changed since then.

I tweeted last year that the Disability fund was going to go bankrupt in 2016. Thankfully, Congress fixed that, but at the expense of our debt. There's no other way right now. As a side-effect, however, there's still terrible news. People who used to be considered disabled (quadriplegics, for example) are being denied disability and thrown off the disability rolls. I have 3 clients right now for whom that is the case.

It’s a terrifying time to be disabled in this country. That’s why I wrote my book, Chin Up! 50 Ways to Make Money While Disabled. People don’t understand that thigs like the ABLE act is only if you were disabled as a child. Even though I was disabled so young they consider me retired, labels are a big deal to government programs. I thank my lucky stars ever day for my writing career prior to when I got sick. As Ben Carson and Hillary Clinton are learning, words are slippery and the pen is mightier than the sword. (Which, by extension means Twitter and Facebook are more powerful than the TV news).

The point is, no one gets rich on government cheeze. Oh, they’ll tell you about fraud cases and widely publicize it, but I can guarantee I make less than 25% of what I could make if I were able to work full time. When I can’t work, I’m poor. When I can, I’m okay. Kicking me off SSDI isn’t necessary to motivate me. I still work today, though only part time. My disease is a full-time job that no one would want. But damned if I can’t quit being disabled like I can quit a job.

Obama exploded the disability rolls from 9 million to over 15 million at the peak. And people wonder why people in wheelchairs are being thrown off and no one can get on disability. We’re broke folls! The gravy train is over, and real, legitimate cases are being thrown out with the bathwater (pardon for mixing my metaphors). A lawyer I know in Phoenix won’t even take a disability case if the applicant is under 50 years old.

Times are hard, and they get hardest for people at the fringes first. Here’s how to prepare for your SSDI/SSI application:

1. If you can apply online, has an easy application process. If you need to apply on paper, you can call and ask for the forms to be mailed to you, or you can pick some up at your local Social Security office.
2. Gather all your medical information, make xerox copies. ALWAYS KEEP YOUR ORIGINALS. You can send/take in your paperwork with your application. This can help you to avoid an appeal.
3. If you need assistance with the initial application, many disability advocates can do this for FREE. You can never be charged money for your initial application, otherwise it can be considered government fraud.
4. If you do have to appeal, you don’t need a lawyer to file (this is what I do for my day job). Lawyers are only required if the appeal goes to court. You CAN be charged money at this stage, but it won’t come out of your pocket. The Social Security Administration pays for you.
5. If you require a lawyer, a lawyer from ANY STATE will do, since Social Security Disability is a federal program. (This is not true for state disability.)
6. You can appeal as many times as you want. You can also go to court as many times as you want, as long as there are new circumstances (you got worse, you got something new, etc.)

If this is too overwhelming for any reason, find a Social Worker in your area. They can help guide you through the process. DO NOT trust what the workers at Social Security Offices say. Many times they aren’t current on the laws. They’re bureaucrats after all.

What You Can Expect Once Approved
If you were disabled before 18 years old

You are in a special category.

You will be placed on SSDI and SSI because you havent been able to pay into the Social Security Trust fund, not being old enough to work full time, since it's expected you did school full time (if you could attend school, that is). You will have access to benifits stipulated in the ABLE Act (for more information, check out this list of 10 Things to Know About ABLE Act).

Your first check will be dated according to when the federal government considers you "Officially" Disabled, minus five months. If there was a delay from when you were first disabled to when you were approved (sometimes the process can take years to be approved) you will receive a large sum payment. It is every monthly payment you would have received if you had been recognized as disabled when you actually were disabled (minus five months).

Approval for Medicare benefits runs on a different clock. More on Medicare to come in a later post.

If you are approved between the ages of 18 and 29

Again, you are in a special category.

You may have worked as an adult at this point, but if disabled at this age, you haven't had enough time to pay into your Social Security Trust Fund. As a result, there is a special formula the Social Security Administration used to calculate your SSDI payment, based on your income for the last year you were employed. You will receive a larger SSDI check as a result, and you may not qualify for SSI as a result.

The rules for your first check are the same as above.

If you are approved between the ages of 30 and 61 (or there abouts)

You will receive SSDI based on what you have paid into your Social Security Trust Fund. If that amount is too small (i.e., you're WAY below the poverty line), you will also qualify for SSI.

Your first check follows the same rules as in the first section.

If you are approved at the age of 62 and up

Because you are the age of retirement, you will be pushed into retirement and may not revieve approval for SSDI. If this happens, APPEAL! You can receive both your Social Security retirement check and a disability check if you can show your disability is severe enough. This is because most retirees are healthy for a while before old age itself becomes crippling.

Your first check(s) will still follow the rules as mentioned in the first section.

Feel free to ask me any questions. You can reach me through Twitter at @MakeThisLookAwe or @DsabldMnyMakrs

Monday, November 9, 2015

Life is a Double-Edged Sword

Now that I'm the age equivalent of the answer to "life, the Universe, and everything," I'm hoping to grow in wisdom. For my birthday, I "celebrated" with a double dose of ER visits. It wasn't my best birthday, but then I've had worse too. I've been on this earth long enough to have a number of educated complaints, but I can also have a sense of humor about it too. That's the way it is with law, which a lot of people don't realize. Words are a double-edged sword. They can cut, and they can heal. Medicine is a double-edged sword: it can hurt or or can harm. Information too: your data can be used to redeem you, and it can be used to bury you. It just depends on which side of the sword you're on: the cutting edge, or the flat of the blade.

Stories are like that. Who you're cheering for really agrees to the side with whom you most identify. We all can skip over the bits we don't like, or are too boring for us, and find the plot which interests us. It's a field of study called semiotics, a part of language that acts as signs and symbols we can all follow like a roadmap. But the direction they take us is not necessarily where we think we're going.

I had a great exchange with the doctors yesterday. I know I can get combative with doctora. It's not something I do on purpose. Hurt, confusion and fear easily lead to anger. They can also lead to submission. It just depends on what sogns we see in other people's language as to which road we end up on. I had a moment when I didn't understand what the doctor was telling me. I had a feeling she was not as well informed about endocrine issues like I had. Whether or not I was right really doesn't matter. She was seeing a pattern that I couldn't see, and in it there was something that worried her. She was able to explain it to me, and suddenly, I relaxed. Yeah, it meant getting a spinal tap on my birthday, but at least I was in the clear for meningitis!

On my way out I ran into a man who had been thrown out by the doctors from the hospital (contrary to popular belief, they can throw you out or keep you as long as possible at an ER, the only recourse is medical malpractice, if you live, can afford the attornies, and win your case). He was hostile, and the people there didn't understand his difficulties were not because he was messed up or drug seeking, he was still recovering from a stroke. But piss the staff off or anyone else, and they'll throw you out as equally skillfully as they will treat you.

So yeah, they doctor hit a nerve in my spine, but it wasn't as bad as the first spinal tap I had where the poor student really jabbed me, and the doctors didn't bother to tell me to take it easy afterwards. Apparently I have tough skin, too, probably a side effect from my Sjogren's, but at this point who can say if it isn't from the nerve damage in my skin too? Sometimes my Sjogren's is in remission and I sweat like normal. Other times I don't and save money on underarm products.

It's the same way with medication. It can heal, cause harm, or get you high. Truthfully, the drug doesn't care which it is. Crestor can save lives, or it can cause paralysis. Marijuana can get you high, hungry, and horney, ot it can take away pain, instill joy, boost proper immune and endocrine response, and heal PTSD. It can make you forget, or it can help you remember. Any medicine can do that. Any medical prodecude can do that. Is having a permanent condition bad? Sure. But not so bad if you consider the alternative was dying.

In Iceland there's a saying: it's not the drugs who make the addict, it's the need to escape. What's the difference beetween a food addiction and drug addiction? You can't quit eating food. But then it's just as dangerous to avoid all drugs. Christian Scientists have a huge problem with early mortality for that reason. Heck, you can get a prescription for oxygen, and that stuff is free in the air! Oxygen is a drug that causes euphoria. But you don't want to quit breathing just like you don't want to quit eating, just like drugs can be helpful, harmful, and fun all at the same time. Life is a double-edged sword that way.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

My Wish for Doctors

If I had to give one sentence to a doctor about who I am it would be: "I'm going to work anyway so you may as well help me get paid for it." That is my purpose in searching for healthcare. I just don't understand people who say, "It must be nice to to have to work." You know, forget that chronic pain is awful, forget how frustrated I get with my body throwing wrenches into my plans. I am a writer, and this blog is proof I'm going to do what gives me the most fulfillment no matter how much I'm tortured. Since my contributions can still help others, then doesn't it make sense to give me the tools so I can?

The Internet is a godsend to someone like me. Not only can I get research from around the world, translated by others into my native language and vice versa is the greatest revolution of all time. It used to take centuries to send an idea around the world, now it takes as long as your download speed. In this kind of world, I want to use my powers for good. I don't want to dull my falculties or my ability to think, that's how I make my money! I can't be blotto and get things done. My job requires that I am able to learn complex complicated computer processes and then explain them to others so they can get their work done. It's called technical writing and I love it.

On my job, I get to work with really smart people, people far smarter than me. They're doing the cutting edge work, and I get to learn about it from them, in person. I get to ask them all sorts of stupid questions, while not lookind stupid doing it, because if I have questions, the reader will have questions. It's the equivalent of getting the exclusive first interview with the creator of the latest whiz-bang technology. I get to be the first fan, the alpha follower, the ultimate technology hipster.

Then I get to take their brilliance and translate it within English to audiences of all kinds. It's an amazing stage on which I get to perform. Yeah, the audience isn't vast, but that's not the point. I don't need to be famous. There are a whole lot of other, more brilliant minds who deserve it much more than me. I stand on the shoulders of giants. It gives me a great view.

This probably explains why I can write fiction very well. I'd much rather explain and inform than entertain. A story is a puff of smoke. Technical writing is explaining how the magic is made. The second is much more useful. You can build a house on truth. You can't walk on smoke. Fun is fun, but I can make my own fun easily, regardless of my pain level. In fact, sometimes the greater my pain, the more amazing my sense of humor. Sometimes things get so absurdly serious, they become seriously absurd. You laugh or else.

Cops make lousy doctors and doctors make lousy cops. Ask amy employee at the dispensaries in Colorado and they'll tell you it was easy to tell the real medical patients from the ones who just wanted to get high. For one thing, sick people go through tons more medication becuase they're fighting an uphill battle. One dispensary I used to frequent even changed their prices on a perticular strain, because they noticed only their medical patients bought it (back before recreational pot was legalized there). It went to top shelf prices to discounted below bottom shelf. I used to take concentrated pills of the strain, and it was amazing for body pain. It's high in CBDs and is recognized as such a good medicine, even Missouri has legalized it.

I wish doctors had the same freedom to say, "Okay, so your an addict... That's normal for 1.3% of the population. We know that it's a medical and psychological problem. There's no need to be ashamed, here's how we can help you recover." And then people with real pain problems can go, "Doc, I hurt!" And the doctor can know to take it as a serious medical clue, rather than a trait to be doubted

Wouldn't that make this a better world for everyone?

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Verifiable Neuropathy Symptom

Quick update: #goodnews! Thanks to a very observant medical student in the ER this morning, I finally have the doctors takig my small fiber neuropathy serieously. This student discovered I have a rare, easily-observed symptom, and one that NO ONE can fake! Even though my main complaint of my nerve damage in a stocking-and-glove pattern, we've long known the nerve damage is throughout my body. One effect is I have vision problems that cannnot be corrected with glasses or surgery. What we didn't know is that you can sometimes see my pupils flutter rapidly when you shine a light in them. It's a symptom that is impossible to fake, cannot be induced with drugs, and is a clear sign of nerve damage. As a result, not only did I get pain relief in the ER, they also put me on a fast-track referral! (I'll have an appointment this Monday or Tuesday.) Merciful heavens, they also gave me medication to be out of pain until then.

Thank you everyone for your prayers and well-wishes! They were answered!!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Bravery & Folly

I am sometimes way too brave for my own good. I will dare to do what other people won't to shake up people's preconceptions. It's not that I don't understand that what I'm doing can get me burned. It's not that I don't hurt when I burn. It's not that I haven't considered both sides. In fact, I go so far as to collect information from multiple sources. It's the old joke: take two people and there are three stories: his, hers, and the truth. My way of thinking isn't necessarily truth because it's all built on the foundation of what I think I know, what I've been taught, what I believe, and what I've had the fortune or misfortune to experience. None of that means I'm right. But if I can explain and give overwhelming evidence other people might agree. Prove it through experimentation, and other people will build an industry out of it.

I wish I had th money to establish an open anonymous forum for patients. Doctors would be allowed to read but not to comment. There used to be amazing forums at but they've been gone for a while. If such a message forum existed with a viral hit like The Spoon Theory that made people gravitate to the site, I think doctors would be pretty surprised. Oh sure, there would be a lot of mistakes, but that's not what's important. What's important to see is how easily people can compare stories to see if their stories match. Do that publically, and other people whose stories kinda match can compare notes, ask questions, and find out head in this direction or head in that. Someone who is actually experiencing the same thing can suss out whose stories match and whose don't. The marketplace of ideas separates truth from fiction, and lies from reality.

When you're a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail. And the hammer doesn't like being confronted with screws. This is why multiple tools are needed. It's easy to be a screw and have your purpose and surroundings destroyed because a hammer came along and pounded you into the wood. This is exactly what happens in a misdiagnosis, whether it's the patient or the doctor who has made it. it's called patternicity: the ability to see patterns in what appears to be noise. Sometimes there is a pattern there, and we've got it right. Other times there are multiple patterns depending on your perspective. Still other times the pattern creates an illusion. And sometimes it's completely random. Schitzophrenics have an overdeveloped sense of patternicity. When they're in reality, they make amazing mathemiticians and economists. When their brain has gone overboard, they can be a menice to society and themselves.

We all have this potential for glory and madness, depending on the function of our brains, our environment, and what results as an interplay between the two. When it works, it can be an amazing feat of genius. When it doesn't, it's just as radical, only in another direction.

Bravery can be folly and vice versa. It really depends on how we judge the outcome. we can never take bad luck too seriously, because there's no telling that it won't work on the hundreth time. On the same hand, good luck has the same vulnerability. Skill and luck are sometimes indistinugishable. We often don't know ourselves which is which. There's a lot of work that has to happen to find out sometimes.

This blog post was inspired by the comments people have left here, so please share your ideas! Even absurd ones. The only thing I will block is spam and personal attacks. Attack an idea, sure, or even a stereotype. You can even be angry, the world knows I get angry. Just please don't verbally shoot one another!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Legalization vs. Regulation

Ending Prohibition of Drugs does not mean heroin is going to be sold over the counter. Yet most people think that's what's going to happen if we end prohibition. Think about it. We ended the prohibition on alcohol, but that doesn't mean a young kid can walk into a bar an buy a beer. Many states have legalized marijuana but that doesn't mean it's available in your grocery store. And grocery stores have been carrying a more lethal drug than heroine for decades: acetaminophen, known under the brand name Ty----l. If you OD on this drug, you die horribly as your liver dies over the next three days. It's a brutal way to go, and it's responsible for more deaths every year than heroin.

Legalizarion does not mean unregulated. We regulate all drugs and we use all drugs in science and medicine already. We do this through the scheduling of drugs. We could easily reduce the classes from five to two prescription-ready class and less for non-lethal drugs like marijuana and marijuana concentrates. Yes, you can OD on marijuana, but the worst thing that happens is a seizure (also known as "falling out"), the OD itself does not cause death. Our endocrine systems require cannabinoid chemicals to function. This part of the endocrine system is called the endocannabinoid system as a result.

Peter Crist wisely said: "You can recover from an addicion. You cannot recover from a conviction. And admitting you're an addict means you're admitting to being a felon." so true. The only addition I could make is thank the stars for Alchoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, and bless the alcoholics/addicts they serve. We woke up from the prohibition on alcohol in 13 years. We've had this crazy "War on Drugs"for 44. The lifting of the prohibition of marijuana is a good start.

The DEA could remain, and simply refocus its efforts: away from prohibition and move to regulation. We have a federal bureau for Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. The FDA could move its doctors to the DEA and focus on Food and Over-The-Counter medication (and imagine the amazing food safety to follow!) No jobs need be lost, and we'd probably see a boon to our economy on a number of fronts (just look at Colorado for an excellent example of regulation of marijuana and they just extended buying hours!), most of all, relief for millions of pain patients, their doctors, and our hospitals who are prosecuted and persecuted excessively under our current system.

Ending prohibition does not mean a free-for-all. Remember, we are far more sophisticated than that, and we solved these problems ages ago. We just need to recognize these facts. Speaking of facts, when the first drug prohibition laws started in 1914, 1.3% of the population were addicts. And if you've been reading, you know that 1.3% of people are addicts today! That number hasn't changed since there were opium dens. Also, it means that 98.7% of people can take drugs just fine and never become addicted. control and regulation hasn't changed those numbers, but it does generate a load of revenue that is currently disappearing into the black market. If you want to improve the world, end the War on Drugs; America's Longest War.

We should not put people in prison for what they put into their bodies. We need to stop prosecuting doctors for doing their job. We should include harm-reduction policies in our laws. Treatment is possible, we know this. We also know relapse is as natural as not wanting to take a blood pressure medication. Ideas and new habits take time to set in!

Therefore, I will keep shouting this from the rooftops as long as necessary.

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition has a number of excellent videos if you want to find out more. Jack Cole's 12-minute talk is amazing— he was a narcotics agent at the beginning of the War on Drugs in 1970.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

High Costs of Prohibition

One of the biggest misconceptions about pain control comes from the myth of the addict. Addicts are only a very small percentage of the population, according to many sources, 1.3% of the population. These people wish to escape their reality, because they have difficulty coping with it. Yet 20% of the population, a staggering 25.5 times the number of addicts, have the same problem coping with their reality due to chronic pain. But chronic pain patients are trying to avoid reality, not to separate themselves from responsibility, to be able to be responsible for themselves and their lives. This is just one reason why our current drug prohibition is completely insane. There are many other reasons, a few of which I'll give here.

We only need to look at the number of people employed by hospitals and emergency rooms to see the human cost of drug policy. A little bit of math on the numer of employees per bed in an ER gives a ratio of 14 employees per bed per shift. That's fourteen people to take care of one. When we are incapable of taking care of our most basic bodily functions, a very small number of patients suck up an enormous number of resources. Looking specificly at the cost of chronic pain, the costs of lost productivity and medical care (in 2015 dollars) is an estimated $613 billion to $694 billion, accorting to the National Institutes of Health. This amount, according to the study, represents more than the annual cost of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer combined. Chronic pain is the largest continuous drain on our resources, both medical and economic.

And the reason chronic pain is the largest continuous drain on our economy is because of the behavior of 1.3% of the population, most of whom outgrow their addiction naturally (50% of addicts give up their addiction naturally, without intervention over time). When we include the $41 billion spent on drug prohibition, we're talking about less than one percent of the population costing our economy an average of $674 billion, annually. This is not counting the human costs as a result of crime, violence, and suffering that results from this prohibition.

Can we please admit that our current drug prohibition is absolutely insane? We have for decades now done the same thing over and over, expecting that we can irradicate drug addiction with catastrophic results for people who are not addicts. We are hurting law-abiding citizens in the tens of millions for the behavior of a minute few, half of which get better on their own!

Let's wake up, America. There is no boogieman who lives in chemical substances. No one becomes an addict simply by injesting a drug. Doctor Jeckle and Mister Hyde is a dangerous myth, one we desperately need to dispell. We went to war on drugs, but it has become a war on patients with astronomical costs. We thought we learned our lesson by 1933 with the failure of alcohol prohibition, but the sad truth is we are still delusional fools today.

Come on, America... We're so much better than this. End the War on Patients.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Case for Mercy

We forget so easily the struggles of our past, and how much time it took us to mature. Time has a dopplar effect. We don't remember every time we had a meal, we don't have to. We just have to remember the important things. How to survive, how to advance and aquire, how to make ourselves and others secure so that we may enjoy life and love. We forget the generations it took and the suffering, and the luck required to be successful. The true story of the past is reduced to history. We leave out the boring bits, we gloss over the pain and the loss, and we focus on the happy ending or the trauma. The former begets motivation to overcome obsticles and reach for a brighter future. The latter begets a cruel system of might makes right, also known as the Laws of Beasts.

I will be the first to admit I have a pidgeon brain. Success is actually not the best teacher. When we're too lucky, we begin to think the magic dance we're doing makes the magic food pellet fall from the sky god. If we can't see the scientist with the food pellet dispenser set to go off at a random interval, we think it's magic. Oh look what a good job I did! No, silly, you were born at the right time to catch a wave of opportunity that you then surfed into the future. that doesn't mean you weren't also lucky to have escpaed the razor sharp rocks below the surface that have claimed others.

We forget we came into this world screaming, and that it took time to learn how to address our own needs. We take for granted the work of previous generations. We forget how long it took us to figure out how to stand on two feet. We forget how many times we skinned our knees learning how to run. We remember how to soothe our wounds. We forget how uncomfortable it was while we healed. We remember that when we put this into our bodies it made us feel better. We remember that when we get a good night's sleep, we wake refreshed. But when we're unable to heal, when we're unable to eat, and we're unable to get a good night's sleep, what happens? We turn into canky babies again.

When living in harsh conditions, one must be harsh to survive. It's school-yard ethics: the bully gets to takesmaller kids lunch money, and people will attach themselves to a bully as a survival mechanism to not be victims themselves. That's a goon squad, and it's co pletely natural and totally inhumane. That's why we train our children out of that behavior. Most of the time.

In times of trauma, our minds switch off and instincts kick in. Your brain goes into hyper-awarness-crisis-mode. Reflexes are sped up, time seems to slow, but only because we're going faster than normal and are able to process more visual stimulii than normal. If we're lucky, there's a hard-wired circuit where we encountered this before and survived. If so, we act seemingly without thinking. That's because our general reflexive thought processes (our awareness of our awareness) is redundant and slow. Second-guessing costs valuable time in a crisis— time which could spell the difference between surviving and dying.

This is why the ability to self-soothe is so important. All children have a fear of the dark at somepoint in their lives. Heck, many adults have it. And that's completely natural, probably permanently hard-wired in our genetic code. That noise you just heard coming from the place you can't see... Was that floor-bords creaking as someone rolls over in bed? Or is that the big scary monster that's coming to eat you? Guess wrong and it's your life. It takes years to learn how to sleep alone, because to our cavemen-child minds we know it's just not safe.

Civilization is a very thin veneer over millenia of animal wiring. And our boogeymen and our need to punish wrong-doers even at sacrifice to ourselves is how life is for most. What animals fight for territory, mating rights, and resources? All of them, down to the microscopic. Reason is the luxury of a safe and fulfilled body. Self-soothing is vital to recovery after a crisis. If you lack those skills, or if you were never taught those skills, or if you are just unable to meet your body's demands, your reasonable mind shuts off and your fight or flight instincts kick in.

And if you are trapped in your suffering, you scream and flail. Flight is no longer possible, so fight kicks in. Animals do this— any vet will tell you that chronic pain in animals often results in aggression. Dementia patients do the same, and why wouldn't they? What's more humane: chaining them up as we do to animals, or easing their distress so they don't harm themselves or others? That's your choice: treat people as intelligent beings capable of being reasonable, or watch them behave like animals and then treat them like animals because you wouldn't be reasonable?

On the Today's Show today the mentioned that 2 million are addicted to pain pills and 500,000 are addicted to heroin. But those number are a drop in the bucket compared to the 63,800,000 who are crippled by chronic pain. For every two addicts we address, we punish fifty-one people in chronic pain. We are destroying ourselves over trying to control a few when the masses are crying out in pain. Do you know how much money we would save every year if we got rid of the stupid assertion that adults are children and cannot be trusted not to touch the poison?

Addicts in open recovery, such as comedian Russel Brand have confessed never once did they think: I musn't do drugs because drugs are illegal! and if we just taught all doormen how to do the sobriety test at the bar, you could direct them to the sobering up area and release them when their safe to drive (the "follow my finger" neurology test is impossible to do when you're drunk, and possible when you're sober, no matter how much of an alcoholic you are). But there's a whole lot of money and very little paperwork in prosecuting drunk drivers. Real criminals are difficult and cost a lot of money and the jail makes the money.

But we will willingly destroy ourselves to punish "evil-doers." Never once realizing that "evil" is completely relative based on tradition, superstition, animal brains, and a planet that can shake us like a cold. It is us who are fragile. we don't understand the world by a long-shot. We're writing laws based on a morality code that is only going to change with time. The laws still live, enforced by a generation who weren't there to experience why we made that decision then, and whether or not it's still applicable now! Times change and what offends grandma and grandpa we're not so uptight about.

Can we not give up this silly crusade called the War on Drugs? Can we take back some of our dignity as adults and show some mercy on people struggling? Pleasure-seeking is not a sin, nor is pain avoiding. We all do things to ease our bodies and our minds, and we have been taught by generations and our own biology to do so. We have 52 people suffering for every two that use the same substance for psychological pain rather than medical pain. Either way it's someone suffering who needs compassion and mercy, not control, gatekeepers, and punishment.

End the Shadow War on Patients.