Re: CBT And The Importance of Self-Care

I have to admit I’m coming from behind. Always. Always coming just short of the start line. It’s called, in sports, a handicap. And, oddly enough, it is called that in medicine too.

Recently, I have had CBT as a part of my therapy with my pdoc. Actually it’s been going on for several years. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is when you take the thoughts you have that make you feel bad and neutralize them. So if you are having NATs, or negative automatic thinking, you present yourself with a pleasant, plausible alternative. It works. Your NATs go away. Nobody in the medical field knows why it works; but, they just know it does.

At first, I thought, CBT was for people who told themselves lies to get through a difficult reality. Now I see that CBT has to be more honest than I’ve ever been, more profound than I’ve ever been, for it to work on an ongoing basis. Once you stop, you lose weeks worth hard won steps of progress in a few hours. That’s why I don’t counsel suicidal people anymore. I can’t afford to be brought down too. At the scent and whiff of a person who will bring me down, I make a gracious, but firm, exit from the conversation. You should as well. People who bring a vulnerable person down, and won’t stop despite your protests, don’t have a place in your life. You just can’t afford it. They are just using you. And some may not really understand that repeating the same circle of thinking doesn’t help themselves or the person they’re dumping on. They need to be immediately referred to a doctor or the nearest emergency ward.

For your own sake, you need distance. If that means hanging up or blocking or cutting off all contact, so be it. Since when is a NO!” not a categorical no? How many deficit points do you have to get to before you drag yourself out of the peat and bog, and start recovering? And just how much does this person mean to you? And can they take it elsewhere? Or are they just making excuses for using you as free therapy? Does it improve your life? What does it take to get to the point of no return? Do you really want to go there? Think about it honestly. Be true to your essential person. Call yourself on things that feel off. Stop sabotaging, or stop letting others sabotage you.

In short, you need to look after yourself because there are enough people out there who, when they are given a chance, will tear you down. Ancient advice, but so relevant. Be good to yourself, first, because nothing matters more—nor should it.

Or in short: why should I give a fuck about someone who doesn’t give a fuck about me? ~V.

©2018 Veekwriter All Rights Reserved

Tough Talk: What It Means To Be A Writer

Your calling as a writer mandates certain meaning in, and of, your life. You were never meant to let that calling go to waste. You were meant to find your bliss when you sit down, take out your device, and start to write.

You were never meant to be happy. Happy writers don’t have the depth of empathy that good writers have. And given the mess our lives are in, emotionally, and how you see that manifested in your community or other parts of the world, you have a lot of misery to generate a plethora of timely topics, and timeless ones.

You were meant to be alone. Writers suffer from what I call the Writer’s Vicious Circle of Isolation. The very nature of their calling isolates the writer. It makes the writer awkward and sullen at parties. Writers yearn, unusually more than they’d like to disclose, for love and people and good company; their very inability to turn off their torturous sensitivity, and their lack of refined diplomacy, inhibits relationships. Their given strength drives away what they most yearn for, and makes them isolate and write even more, only to yearn all the more. If they are honest with themselves, they will admit that there is nothing social about writing. They may move many hearts, or many millions of readers, to fall in love with their characters, or, even, the writers themselves. But, nothing in the act, vocation, and fallout of authoring a bestseller, a classic, or anything at all, encourages their truly communing with others.

With that being said, you must adjust to your realization, after your initial dismay, and accept the role as a solitary and competing alpha wolf. It isn’t that you are evil and don’t have high ideals, or even that you lack good, humane, and compassionate intentions. It is that the nature of writing, the nature of the beast, is to hunt. The industry isn’t to blame; it just conforms to the nature of the phenomenon of writing, itself. If the industry can’t turn a quick buck out of you what are you good for? To them, you are essentially a high-class escort–a highly-skilled, highly-valued, and conversational prostitute–in print. I mean, in their point-of-view, why else should books exist at all if not to sell? They may ask, “What is the justification to the existence of your writing? Why are you not, instead, a grocery clerk?” Without the industry, how else can you, the writer, reach the masses? It cuts both ways. Both parties benefit. Yes, you paid a price, but you got what you wanted. So, stop whining.

There is never a good balance to the gold-painted, particle board on which you balance upon a lever, because on the other side sits a circus elephant. It does tricks. And trompe-d’œil, or illusory vision, is its specialty. Often more than not, writers must leave their post and walk over, risking adversity, to do violence to the unfortunate bloated fool of a clown on the other side. Only, we realize, tardily, that it is merely a mirror. And, the weight bearing us down was our reflection. We don’t like ourselves. But we have to deal. It is our lot in life. After our demise, we will be forgotten or celebrated, but we won’t know nor be able to care about it, by then. Meanwhile, our fate is to write. And write we shall. ~V

©2018 Veekwriter All Rights Reserved

Implementing CBT As An Excuse For Not Finding A Cure

I just came out of a chat conversation with person familiar with the mental health system. What was evident to me as we chatted is that there has been a stagnation in treating people needing better medication, or, God help us, in finding a cure.

Admittedly, 99% of the world population are not benefitting much from this worldwide austerity, either. Well, there is still progress in medical breakthroughs. The problem is that psychiatry isn’t a priority. Psychiatry just isn’t sexy – that is, if you go on a hospital tour and don’t find an ambivalent Kiera Knightly bending over, in her Edwardian undergarments, waiting to be paddled, softly…Nope, psychiatry is seen as the black sheep of medicine. (But even then, black sheep are still sexier…to some…)

What happened? The medical drug industry has found it easier to stay with rehashing atypical medications of the same tenor as the previous generation of drugs. There are no advancements: only cosmetic changes. Turn the drug into a wafer. Turn the drug into a long-acting-slow-release tablet. Turn the drug into a micro-chip that lasts – really? I mean, Really??? Oh ok, no I missed something: CBT, or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. This is the ultimate insult to our collective, mentally-defective cognizance. Go on, stay focused on this next paragraph.

CBT is a somewhat-thoroughly, researched method used in the psychiatric community that is more similar to a philosophy than a science. Their basic tenet is that our interpretation of our perception is off, it’s skewed, it’s screwy. If you can intercept between perception and interpretation (i.e. reframing perception), you can change the thought that passes through your head, and hence the feeling, into something positive, upbeat, more worth calming down about, smile-worthy! Do it often enough and you could change your brain chemistry…sometime in the indeterminate future…but, if you skip it, just once, when facing some faulty perception, and you go back to square one. What is wrong with this? Well if it works for you, it’s because you don’t have a racing mind with what seems like hundreds of different paranoid thoughts assaulting you within waking hours.  Moreover, and most importantly, CBT is the the excuse made from funding a find for a cure. Governments love it. CBT, distributed through talk-therapy, is hence inexpensive. It makes their denizens behave and stay out of trouble – meaning that if we don’t stay out of trouble, it’s our fault. It is not quite in the range of severity as mind-control, but it is a form of thought-alteration. I mean if the next-door neighbours in front of me turned around, looked at me, and started laughing, they were probably thinking of their uncle’s joke about the same hat that I happened to be wearing? REALLY???? I mean I know I’m a kind of creative type, but I don’t go around reconstructing reality to compensate for my paranoia. Maybe I should? Maybe you should…

Honestly, I feel CBT is bogus and dangerous. The basic assumption is that our interpretation is flawed anyway, and we can never know what people are referring to in our presence, it is thus a practical solution to an age-old problem: paranoid thinking in the mentally-defective. After all, we only see unreality anyway, so who has time for us? Do we really think that in the age of austerity where the top 1% still get millions in bonuses each year, we’d be considered a priority? Come on, woman! Get real! Get sexy!

Thing is, we are a subpopulation of captive consumers whose illnesses are the drug industry’s cash cow that a cure would kill off. So there. I said it. They don’t want to fix the problem. They are redolent and resplendent in cash. In our age of austerity, the psychiatric drug lords are rolling in cash. If they aren’t, they’re doing something wrong. After all, it is a numbers game to them.

They’ve given up on us. With CBT, no new medical or medication breakthroughs, and with the drugs we do have, fourth-generation drugs, mimicking each other and mimicking previous generation of drugs, do you really think we’d get much further than our chemical straightjacket? Or do you also not care? ~V

©2016-2018 Veekwriter All Rights Reserved

The Inequities of the Sexes: An Ancient Story

Too many Judaeo-Christian scholars and clergy, mostly men, give their blind praises to kings David and Solomon. Virtually unlimited wisdom. A man after God’s own heart. Righteous men, right?

Most Jewish and Christian clergy would say so. Of course, they don’t take into account how David married many wives and had many concubines. He was so righteous that he locked up his defiled concubines with a eunuch out of compassion so they’d never have a man again and thus sin…after what Absalom did to them on the palace roof. And he demanded Michal back, even though she was already long unloved by David and was married to another man, who followed her, as she left, and he weeping desolately after her. All in the name of godly righteousness. Kudos, Dave.

Solomon had 600 wives and 400 concubines. He was favoured by God. 1000 women? Really? But the Jewish and Christian clergy have no problems with this as they blithely sing their praises to the wisest king ever. And, of course, the insignificant downfall was pinned on the lure of his foreign wives. Really???

Thing is, what do we make of God, thus far? Is he fair? Is he righteous? Does he care about the welfare of women? Well the prayer of thanksgiving that Jewish men from ultra-right goes like this, “Y-w-h, thank you for not making me a woman.” That is the first thing they utter every morning as they get up from their marriage bed. Nice going, dudes.

Recently, some bloke told me his boss was harassing his female employees to the point that they would cry and/or quit. I asked, quite reasonably, that if his boss hates women, why not hire all male staff? He responded, casually but shocked, at first, “Because girls work harder,” and then qualified it energetically, or frenetically, by saying his boss was a good guy and was just trying to get by like any other boss in the country. He also said that he said some consoling things to the girl, but it was too bad that she was already married. WHAT? Excuse me? He also said that he hated doing the ironing, the only other task besides patrolling the premises and napping on the couch.

He would Skype me after taking his meds and before falling asleep. I got the sense I was a mere past-time for him, and so deleted him. Our mutual friend then advocated for him, saying he found me good entertainment value (wtf?) and that, sheesh, does every guy have to be assessed for his marriageability? I thought that odd, coming from another woman. Then, I realized, she shared his values and also preferred the company of men over women, hence the passionate advocacy. (She swore on the lives of her two kids that this guy was harmless). Whatever.

Is God friendly, if he isn’t going to be fair? I revisited Genesis many times while searching for the specific curses God put on Adam, Eve, and the snake. The curse was that a woman’s desire will be for her “husband” and that he shall “rule over her”. Take that, Eve, for eating the forbidden fruit. Ouch. It’s not whether in contemporary times if it is fair or not. It was a primordial curse that God justified. So, in the end, it seems God can’t even take it back. He is then justified despite the unfairness of how we as women suffer. It is the way it is.

I don’t blame the ultra-right male Jews for their prayer. If I were a man, I’d be praying the same thing. ~V

©2017-2018 Veekwriter All Rights Reserved

Why Biblical Scholars Don’t Deserve Our Respect

The men of this, or of any age, studying the Judaeo-Christian canon of biblical books are social anthropologists, and not necessarily as divinely inspired as they would have us think.

Think about it: although there is conceivably such a thing as the Living Word that, I believe, is God’s communication with us directly through the Holy Spirit, theologians, however, in their desire to make sense of an A.D.E. world are only judging the book by its cover, literally. It’s called hermeneutics. If the bible is divinely inspired, then we don’t need middlemen. Yet era after era, the tradition persists. Men, predominantly, are favoured to tell us how to interpret the Holy Writ. Sigh. Let me get comfortable in my morning porridge first before I continue.

No single human being, or group of humans, holds the “correct world-view”, despite their emphatic Statements of Faith to justify themselves. Also when it comes to 2000+ years after Christ walked the earth and apostles wrote their epistles, the modern man is only digging around. That’s all. Social anthropology at its finest if we might allow that. What they have, without the Holy Spirit, is a dead stack of papers and their blank stares to try to make sense of today’s world according to two centuries after the words were written. They have no living knowledge of that world 2000 years ago; they weren’t there. They are so removed from the world of the apostles that they have to literally judge on the fragments of ancient text, cultural artifacts, and the many past and current versions of the Holy Bible.

And you know what? In the end, they still can’t agree with each other. The Truth, which is supposed to be absolute, depends on the variations of the culture then and now, and at all points in between. Polygamy was permissible since Genesis. Murderers got punished, then compensated. We THINK Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for being gay and promiscuous, but really it was because they were “arrogant, overfed and unconcerned”, says the Good Book–which potentially describes anyone and everyone from any culture. And yet we have the nerve to look at the Bible within our cultural framework and just say, “polygamy was part of their culture then”. We don’t seem to let much of OUR evolving culture of sexual lifestyles have a say in the interpretation of the Word of God. Hence, when challenged, theologians will get upset and say we’re asking the wrong questions for which there are no answers. Then they shut you out and refuse to pray for you. Wow. Nice cop-out.

The question remains that if theologians, (I mean real ones and not amateurs), cannot answer the most palpable, the most relevant, and the most damning of biblical principles, that is whether sex outside of a unique and single spouse is wrong (adultery and fornication being preached against), how can we trust them with any other more metaphysical questions? If they are representatives of God on earth, and if all our questions can be answered by intense bible self-study, why are basic questions ridiculed? Isn’t that the basis of the abortion fight? The seed of all podium-toppling, infidelity scandals in any church?

Theology is the art of conjecturing what happened yesterday to apply misguidedly for today so we might have, we hope, our tomorrows in heaven, if we adhere. No thanks, as interesting the fanciful arguments may be (for what writer doesn’t like to hear stories being told). Even though we’ve progressed from the number of angels dancing on a pinhead to rights for the unborn, something is terribly out of sync. And you know, theologians and pastors and evangelists are cowards because over the last 75 years, the moral state of the Church regarding sexual sins committed by priests, pastors, male leaders and female accomplices have only gotten worse. In the end, a thought in the heart is as bad as the actual action, after all. ~V

©2017-2018 Veekwriter All Rights Reserved

What Banks Don’t Want You To Know…Especially, At Xmas

…That they are duping you to becoming delinquent while they play the disciplinarian at the same time. In other words, they are making you into a financially suicidal, indebted, nervous wreck.

Let’s begin at the beginning. A bank rep might tell you in the midst of a phone call that you are eligible for a $2K limit credit card. They sweeten the deal with no fees, reward points, and halving your monthly banking package plan. Yes, you know, so you pay half of what you do to get dinged monthly on your debit card, cheques and withdrawals. All at a 19.5% annual interest. “All you have to do is buy coffee to keep the account live,” says the winsome banking rep.

Let me tell you what credit cards mean to banks. It is currently their bedrock of income revenue. It is how they pay for overhead, for their workers, for their parties, for their executives’ luxury homes. They can’t live without a predictable source of revenue. And your minimal payments, with increasing compounding interest, provide for that. Also, many bankers are greedy, despite showing up at “charity” functions and fundraisers.

You see, banks are in it for the profit. They don’t care if you suffer. They do care if you no longer have income, because, then, neither will they. But they want an army of debt-slaves, or why else would they go into banking? Your interest repayments are always variable too. The rates may technically remain the same, but it is calculated and compounded daily. So, when you ask a rep for the amount of interest you’d be paying that month, well they wouldn’t know. They don’t know how much you’d charge that month. And in the end, they can’t understand why you make stupid decisions, and can’t control your credit. They claim publicly that, though they lured…oh, sorry…offered you the card, they’re not responsible for you making stupid and irresponsible decisions. It’s all your fault for being a defective human being. Makes sense right?

Now, if you don’t see what’s wrong with this picture, let me give you my personal understanding with credit debt. Let’s look at the situation behind credit. On our side, to cover the credit limit we agree to take on, we have to have at least that much in cash, and then some, to make sure we don’t go into debt-slavery. In fact, you need to make as much as twice as much of your credit limit to make sure you can survive and not depend on the revolving door of credit debt. With 4K+ every month, why not just use cash debit? Well, with 4K+ you wouldn’t need a credit card unless you also travel and need to book a hotel room. I suppose if you have the cash to travel, and can pay off your credit cards every month, then, all the power to you.

But, you see, the rich are not the only people banks target. They go after the desperate, too. They don’t want you to pay back your credit bill every month in full. They rely on your bouts of depression, compensatory shopping binges, or electronics shopping. They depend on your isolation and confusion and loneliness and suggestibility and intellectual fragmentation for making that one extra purchase that sends you flying over your personal credit goals. I’ve been lucky enough to have had a saintly boyfriend who insisted I cut up my card and pay back $200 every month to my bank. It took me a year and my parents matching my last $200 to close that chapter of life. Now, gratefully out of that slavery, I am no longer suicidal or spending nights worrying. But, the damned bank keeps offering me credit cards, with a much higher limit. They entice me with partial discounts on my banking fees. I’d save $60 a year if I sign up for a $10K limit at 19.5% annual interest. Now, they have thought this through. They delved into my situation in life, my spending habits, my psychology and my emotions, and my shopping patterns. They know $60 is a drop in the proverbial bucket for which they can claim a daily compounded yearly interest of 19.5% on $10K a year. It’s a no-brainer for them. Only, they think I don’t have a brain either.

Banks exist for a good reason in our economy. Without them, our markets would be a clusterfuck. But they are angling in on the poor. That, to me, is reprehensible. Yes, bankers deserve profit for doing their job. Yes, they need to pay their own business bills. Just don’t do it on the backs of the vulnerable. Don’t go for their jugular just because they no longer have people who care for them. Banks must get their ethics straight and revamp their story, or karma will come to visit them, too. It’s not that far from the top floor to the redundancy pavement. C’mon guys. The banks have our brightest minds and our best workers. They can do much better with their business ethic. They need to, because now we see through them. ~V

© 2016-2018 Veekwriter All Rights Reserved

The Permanent Mute Switch

Housing and treating the mentally ill have always been problematic. From tying them down to bed railing, to nailing shut the hut with the crazy person in there alive–to die slowly of starvation and self-harm–it is always the same response: society doesn’t know what to do with the mentally ill and doesn’t care enough to try. In this day and age, society is trying, if half-heartedly and with a little lip-service; but, now that the Segal Family, of Vancouver, Canada, have tried and seemingly failed to raise the monies needed to build a permanent hospital “resort” for the mentally ill, something else must be done.

Enter legislation for physician-assisted suicide for the “severely mentally ill”.

This tricky piece of legislation is telling us we can conceivably stop the suffering through ending life instead of healing it. Really what society is saying is that normaloids can live more convenient lifestyles if society just practices the good principle of eugenics. No longer will it be “kill the mind but save the flesh,” but, rather, as one policeman put it, “I don’t have time for this,” shooting the young schizophrenic man in distress in the head, unapologetically, and even framing it as a suicide.

Who cares? Why do research for a cure when you can warehouse death for the menaces to society? Why should you care, ye normaloids? What if your daughter or son had schizophrenia? Or your father, depression; your grandmamma, borderline personality disorder? What real difference would it make?

From my understanding, if I can be allowed to be as objective as possible for once, the principle and practice of eugenics is a good and reasonable thing, biologically speaking. If mental illness has a genetic component, it makes no sense to have a schizophrenic parent to pass his/her genes to an innocent and vulnerable young life, making that life more vulnerable as the child approaches adulthood and passing on to old age. Raising a child as a mentally ill person makes no sense, as instability and lack of parenting skills make him or her unlikely to pass on good tools to make well-adjusted adults out of their children (or, simply, well-adjusted and happy children). In fact this whole libertarian advocacy for letting the mentally-ill breed is right up there with advocacy to let all mentally-ill stop their medications if they should so desire (and they will!) It is irresponsible, unethical and downright harmful, if not dangerous. Breeding mentally-ill offspring is like blowing smoke into a child’s face continually during its first crucial decade of development. I can’t say enough about how breeding fragility into the human gene pool is completely and utterly self-defeating as a race.

Having said that, think of Vincent van Gogh. The prices you normaloids pay for his prints, or, even, if you’re extremely sophisticated, one of his originals, reflect the contribution that this man, the supposed consummate painter, has made–not just on the art scene–but to all of the whole world. Say if, after some counselling, he was told he had the option to die through doctor-assisted suicide, would he have painted “Starry, Starry Night”? Would he have painted things that made him truly happy? Would you have been impoverished of the joy from his work if he had logically decided life was not worth living? Eventually, yes, he did decide on suicide; but, if he had a cure, which we should have had by now, would he not have remained alive and painting prolifically? There you go. Eliminated from the gene pool: Talent, genius, compassion, and generosity of spirit from his genes are wiped out. Are not these things in themselves an enrichment to the gene pool, or rather to the human race?

Think of the practice of more or less, the random eugenics that doctor-assisted dying is, as a permanent mute switch for those whom you don’t understand and cannot bother trying to. Out go the van Goghs, the Christopher Smarts, the Virginia Woolfs, the John Nashes–the 20% of defective humanity who don’t fit your criteria of “fit minds” to warrant being alive. They deserve everything they get, after all. It is simply a matter of keeping the 80% untainted by insanity and any atrocities that unmedicated, mentally ill persons may or may not end up doing because the system is not equipped to handle them. Why? Because in times of austerity and in prosperity alike, the mentally ill are severely taxed and punished, or, at best, are of lowest priority. (After all, here in our province the provincial government already spends $5 billion dollars a year on mental health, so it seems as though our provincial Premier likes to advertise, but to what avail?)

To some, keeping the mentally ill alive means fostering entitlements. And countries in the first world are already up in arms about sharing their disgustingly lavish goods with those who have, literally, only a shopping cart filled with junk.

You can send an iPhone-sized spaceship to Alpha Centauri on a laser beam and give a great cheer! But, you can’t even meet the basic needs for stability, food, shelter, warmth and acceptance for the “defective” 20% whom Big Pharma has given up trying to cure and, in some cases, even treat.  What is left after eliminating that defective 20% from the gene pool? You are left with the calloused, the greedy, the mediocre, the competitive, the corrupt and inhumane leaders and sheep of tomorrow, who will still rape, riot, loot, murder, commit arson, thieve, abuse and assault others despite having passed as genetically sound and mentally fit to live. Congrats. You guys deserve everything you get. ~V

© 2016-2018 Veekwriter All Rights Reserved