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Weird History

That was a hell of a week, wasn’t it?

Not content with Congressional attempts to monkeyfuck the vote, thousands of Trump’s unofficial “militia” overran the Capitol grounds, climbed the walls, broke into the building, shit and pissed on things, stole property and posed for selfies in MOC offices. Lawmakers hid in the chambers with gas masks, waiting for the mob to be dispersed. Only a few pistols and barricaded doorways stood between them and the rioters. It was truly a close call.

Now, Trump himself has done more than anyone to bring the events of January 6th to fruition, but even he is now saying that his goon squad shouldn’t have defiled the Capitol. His Doltishness clearly did not know who he was winding up with his incendiary rhetoric. Apparently it’s taken 74 years for Trump to discover that lit matches can burn you.

Nonetheless, I am thankful that it was mostly just a bunch of hooligans on a wilding spree rather than actual revolutionaries ready to establish a new government. Because some of these motherfuckers were out for scalps. One was seen carrying zip ties and a gallows was erected. And I hear they’re gearing up for more direct action, this time with guns. I am hoping that our law enforcement and military will be ready to defend the seat of government from these crazies, even if those self-same soldiers and officers are sympathetic to their cause.

Now I don’t want to give succor or legitimacy to this crew of madcaps, but this is the most threatened our government has been since 1860. The BLM protests over police brutality don’t even hold a candle. This here is a rightist “revolution”, and the roots for it are a little deeper than there ever were for leftist insurrection activity. We’ve been working up this crowd for decades with irresponsible news outlets, talk radio, and permissive social media. It’s got to stop.

The Republican party has some thinking to do. Many of its members hitched themselves to Trump’s star and now lives have been lost for following and encouraging him in his quest to usurp power. What happened is unacceptable in the extreme. As I write, Democrats are huddling to impeach Trump a second time, this time on a count of insurrection. It’s very late, but perhaps it must be done to make a statement. Will he be lucky twice? That’s up to Republicans-and they’d better do the soul searching required to make sure that a thing like President Trump never, ever gets to pretend to the highest office in the land again. Now that his reign is ending, it should be an easy choice. But there’s still lots of Trumpists in Congress without shame, so I am not holding my breath for justice to be done, even as the evidence gathered over the past four years cannot be ignored.

Out Of Trump Cards

Well, we are still stuck in the longest Election Period Day ever. That’s right, over a month has passed since the official day, and Donald Trump is still insisting that he won while flailing in every legal direction possible to validate his wacky claims. I myself am bored to tears listening to his puling on Twitter. It won’t be much longer until he exits the national stage for good, thankfully. However, it’s unfortunate that while we will be done with him as President, the toxic effect he has had on our country’s national discourse could linger for years, perhaps decades. All the blather about Democrats causing divisiveness sounds awfully quaint after one term of Trump.

We just got done watching the Supreme Court swat down a multi-state complaint started by Texas about supposed voting irregularities in the swing states that Trump was unable to hold onto in 2020. I’m sure Trump thought that he fashioned the SCOTUS in his image with his three justices, but he was wrong. The trouble he’s having is that he doesn’t really understand conservatism. At bottom, conservatives revere above all the ideal of decentralized control, making a fetish of radical self-governance. And it follows that “state’s rights” (notwithstanding how racist the concept is) is an important doctrine to advance these ideas. Small wonder then that this kind of push for some states to meddle in the affairs of others would be found repugnant to their bedrock conservative principles, regardless of who was bringing a suit of this nature.

For once, federalism has saved the day.

It’s hard to say where Trump’s going to go next to get relief. In his head, this Texas suit was “the big one”, because it was a super fast avenue to getting his complaints to the supremes as quickly as possible. We still have to grit our teeth and hope the Electoral College will do its duty and sit the president who officially got the most EVs. What a system it is where we have these unelected people in control of so much, huh? As I understand it, an upset of this nature is as unlikely as this giant suit had in helping Trump stay in office, especially since it’s going to be hard to come by 38 faithless electors selecting the guy who lost the popular vote by nearly 8 million. This gambit’s never worked before, but it’s an ineluctable fact that Trumpism has poisoned this election process at every critical juncture. Every process is a nail-shredding experience as we have to watch the steps be stress-tested in real time.

I’ve tried to sit back and relax with the proverbial popcorn but we’re all fooling ourselves a little if we aren’t internally fretting to some degree about what could happen from now until January 20th. We’ve shook through some intense moments and survived, and we’re past the safe harbor point so there will be no more attempts at recounting or any decertifying actions spurred on by his wildly incompetent legal team. Trump’s options lessen and lessen as time grinds by. The best days of an attempt at a coup are behind him. I’m confident but cautious that the trend will continue to favor American democracy over the conceits of a petty, tiny-minded, power-drunk rich fool.

UPDATE: The estimable Steve at No More Mister Nice Blog outlines the next challenge to the will of the people. It doesn’t involve Trump, but it’s no less than a congressional rebellion if it comes to pass.

Logistical Nightmares II

I have recounted some of the positive effects I had on the Army’s medical supply system, in theater and out. When you do something in the service, especially in wartime, you have a blank check to complete your mission. The comptroller wanted a tally of what you spent but you were free to spend as much as needed.

When I went to the private sector, it was the opposite. Looking back, I was no longer a logistician. I became a bean counter and actually cut the supply lines in order to track every penny spent by providers. My job was partially one of automating the space between the loggies and the nurses. Here’s how it went.

I finally got my BA in sociology in 2015. As many know, the paper pedigree opens you up to new job opportunities. I was a college graduate, but I was also terribly sick from bipolar. Still, I managed to get hired somehow because of the magic paper and my enthusiasm for returning to logistics.

Now back in the service, we in supply either controlled what left the warehouse or the supply was behind cabinets you couldn’t access without a keycard. Those approaches helped us curtail abuses by providers. Now I know when someone in healthcare needs something fast, you tend to not give a damn about logging your choices. But it was for their protection as well as helping us keep track of what was being used. Let me explain a little.

At one of my Army gigs, every type of supply used in a unit had its place in a cabinet and underneath it was a button you could push whenever you took something and the machine would debit the amount you took in the computer system. It couldn’t have been made easier, but for some reason people couldn’t abide by the rules anyway. That in turn made it difficult to know what to bring them on a daily basis, because the levels in the machines were off every single day. So there was no easy solution to allowing providers to access what they wanted while keeping track of what they accessed. That problem was much more intractable at this private hospital I began to work at in 2016. People, it was a mess. There was no locked cabinet with simple pushbuttons to encourage people to account for their supply. It was just sitting there on shelves and there was a computer adjacent to them and they had to badge in and enter their transactions by scanning the barcode below the product. Needless to say, providers were not encouraged to do the right thing because everything was right there for the taking. And when their closets were short on supply, they’d bitch to upper management about the logistics shop. We had to tell them time and time again that if you want the right amount of supplies, you have to use the damn scanner so the computer can generate a proper pick sheet and then we bring you the right amount of shit. The lesson never took with most units. Thus, we had the extra task of counting the closets before we generated pick sheets so that the proper number of supplies were brought up.

It fell on me to go to war with the providers. I am sad to say that I participated in making it harder for the nurses just so we could tightly manage supply. On one level, we were just trying to make the system work for everyone. There were egregious mistakes that I made, though. Once I tried to stop nurses from abusing the special order system to order basic supplies. That function on the computer was only to be used for supplies outside what was in their closet, not for them to push a panic button and make logistics hop to whenever they ran out of the basics. I tried to punish them by removing the button and got myself in a lot of hot water. There were nurse managers who supported some of my reforms but I did not feel like I had the backing of upper management in logistics. No one was guiding me on how to do things, I had to learn the system on my own and come up with my own fixes to these dilemmas. And I was crazier than fuck throughout all of it.

I developed a vicious case of anxiety over the job and quit after seven months. Following this position I took a job as a produce clerk while I waited for a disability rating from the VA. It was favorable, and I’m totally and permanently disabled which means my work career has come to an end. I think that’s a fair conclusion. Being housebound is not the greatest thing for me, but it might be a shade better than not doing a thorough job in the working world. If I get wound up and stay that way, I can’t do anyone any good. It’s simply too easy to wind me.

Logistical Nightmares

I was trained as a medical supply logistician by the Army. It’s the only job I’ve really ever felt good about. My first instinct was to help people get well. Yet, along the road in my career, I found myself in the service of the devil. I went from making it rain for healthcare providers to counting beans to deprive caregivers of quick logistical service. It’s been a weird ride.

I had a good feel for the job, coming in first in my class in advanced training. I spent a few idle years at Fort Bragg doing nothing for anybody until George Bush decided to blow up the Middle East in 2003. I was shipped to Iraq and began a six month stint in the deserts around Karbala with a forward mobile hospital. Sadly, my co-workers and leaders had no acumen for the job; we were constantly being torn up by providers because we couldn’t do simple tasks like keeping them in gloves. None of us had ever deployed so we didn’t understand the scope of the job. In due time, I was separated from the logistics shop to work solely with the pharmacy. Procuring drugs was an important job and I was pretty good at it. I created my own system by hand for reordering supplies, counting each day what we had and judging the velocity of a product by comparing the previous day’s total.

Now, pharmacists are the most wound-up people you could ever work for. I went through three of them while in Iraq and they were all the same, constantly fulminating and panicking that supplies would dry up. In fairness to them, I may have been a little unaware of just how important some drugs were. Nevertheless, the pharmacy always got what it needed even though I kept a tight shop. I became a master trader, and I built a network of goodwill in the units stationed around us. Later we moved to Baghdad and I repeated the mission for another six months, doing a job I was proud of. It feels weird to say it, but I felt good about my time in Iraq even though I was part of a machine that had decimated a country for no good reason at all except to commandeer and control the second largest pool of oil on the planet. At the time, I was too naive to understand that.

When I came home in 2004, I spent one more year at Fort Bragg and then was transferred to Fort Bliss and began work at the William Beaumont Hospital. At first, I worked with the regular crew in the warehouse, filling OmniCell units daily to a dozen areas in the hospital. The director of logistics took a shine to me though, and once again I separated from the normal crew to work at the hospital as kind of a facilitator between the warehouse and the providers. Having a logistical face at the hospital that providers could access seemed to calm the nerves of medical professionals who felt that we were too far removed from the healthcare mission. And that was true everywhere I went; the relationship between logistics and healthcare was always antagonistic even if it was a matter of life or death. We did not understand or appreciate each other at all.

I started unraveling a bit at William Beaumont. I didn’t know what was wrong yet, but there was something shaking loose in my brainpan. While I started to lose control I was sent to leadership training to become a sergeant (not my choice; I was always content being a specialist who knew his shit but they push upward mobility), and did a terrible job there except when it came to testing which earned me another award. But that shit had nothing on Korea, which I was shipped to after exactly 364 days in Texas.

I got picked up as a sergeant as soon as I arrived. Good lord, I was a terrible leader. What a year. I could not keep track of my soldiers to save my life. The opportunities to show my skills as a logistician disappeared because I was now technically no longer in that business. I was a laughingstock and I couldn’t get out of my own way. I began to hide from everyone and I could not sleep. It was in Korea that I took my first medicine for depression. I was not diagnosed but was given trazodone for my troubles. Trazodone was tricky; if you took it at the right time and got enough sleep it was OK but god forbid you fall short of your sleep quota. It would actually make me feel worse than I had before I took the drug. That would be true of a great deal of the medication I was to use going forward.

I was separated yet again from the daily grind at the warehouse. This time it wasn’t because I was good at what I was doing, though. I was given a mission to reorganize the warehouse a little. I kept watch over two soldiers, moving and consolidating supplies from the top floor to the bottom floor of the warehouse during non-business hours. I knew how the computer supply program worked more than most and so was able to alter locations, quantities and print reports. I had that going for me, but mostly I was removed from the day shift so that no one had to see me suck. I was hated. I think that year in Korea was one of the worst in my life. I was getting tired of being separated from my wife and young sons. Near the end of my hitch in Korea in 2006 I began to think seriously about leaving the service. I wasn’t up for the leadership role and I was not going to be sent anywhere again. It did not occur to me that life would become infinitely harder if I left the Army. It was a steady job that paid OK but I couldn’t see past hating my work suddenly.

Our final move was to Colorado to Fort Carson. Again, I completely failed as a leader. But I did get a chance to show off my logistics chops because as in North Carolina, I was the only one with a good grip on the ordering system. Incompetence tends to pool in the Army. I made it rain again; happy customers were getting supplies regularly. In three months time, guess what would happen? Another trip to Iraq was on the schedule. By now I was suffering mightily in the throes of undiagnosed bipolar but it would be a long time before I found out what was troubling me. I was positively livid about a possible trip. I was not going to accept another deployment and made that clear (I had initiated separation plans and they stop-lossed me). Fine by them; they didn’t want me anyway. They would send me to do some bullshit task in leadership where I would lose it completely. That’s another story, though.

First we had to ramp up for deployment. Customers began submitting large orders to prepare, and I fielded many with skill. I went on a week’s leave about a month before the deployment and I left a group of orders to be submitted to my soldiers and my sergeant. When I returned, the orders had not been touched at all. I was very frustrated my co-workers’ lack of urgency. Desert training was scheduled shortly thereafter and I hatched a plan to get the orders filled while we were at the training base. In my head it was unacceptable that these orders not get filled before we left. So I put them all in at training and got in trouble with the comptroller sergeant because we had not allocated the money to pay for all of that supply. I didn’t give a fuck. To me, it wasn’t about the money-the unit needed to be prepared for Iraq and once training was finished we would only have about three weeks to get our shit together before we packed up. I worked hard to get the remaining needed supplies at home and the unit eventually left without me.

That was the end of the Army portion of my logistics experience. I always thought I was on the side of the angels because I consistently got results that customers needed. My experience in the civilian world was the polar opposite. I guess I can tell that story next. Hopefully I feel like it.

What’s Left Of Conservatism

No rational person would support Donald Trump in 2020. That circus freak is still going to get 50 million people or more to vote for him, though.

Ever wonder why? I have a guess. Besides them all being members of a death cult of personality.

Dead babies and Stalin.

There’s really nothing left of the conservative movement except for its opposition to abortion and its hatred of socialism and it’s more severe brother, communism. Everything else is basically out the window.

For example, used to be a time when fiscal conservatism meant something. Now it’s only part of a catch phrase for glib libertarians who tell you should you be unfortunate enough to have a dialog with one that they are “fiscally conservative, socially liberal”. Republicans give no fucks anymore about manic spending sprees; the only difference is to whom they are shoveling cash to (hint: not to you).

So with things like fiscal discipline a thing of the past, the only thing conservatives are very concerned about any more is abortions that they are not having and the socialism that no one is pushing. Donald Trump and the pack he runs with know you are suckers for those hot buttons.

He has so much contempt for you that he asserts that abortions are happening after birth, which is something sane folks like to call murder. And no one is using abortion as birth control in the main. It costs way more than a pack of jimmy hats. The pro-choice position is that abortion is safe, legal, and rare.

Then there’s the fear of socialism, which only usually occurs when a major moneymaker needs taxpayer money to make more. Joe and Jeanette Average aren’t as lucky. Take a look around and find me the corporations whose output has been seized by the state. And we’re definitely not communists. This country has never been more full of god-botherers so please miss us with the charge that America becoming more godless. I mean, it kinda is, but still it’s not the way you all think it is out there just because you can’t pray with your students. And there’s definitely no functioning proletarian movement anymore-I think that we’re about down to 10% of the workforce that is still unionized.

So not only do you suffer from a paucity of salient issues to vote on, your two big issues are ghosts. But that won’t stop some of you from being so panicked about dead babies and Stalin that you will throw your vote to some demented, unqualified, twittering, do-nothing orange rage goblin rather than take the chance that those two things are happening in your world. And you’re taking the rest of us with you when you base your voting on your fear of them. I won’t ask you to stop, because if you had any sense, you wouldn’t have let it all come to this.

Hey Nineteen

That’s exactly how many days are left before we either elect a man of integrity or re-elect an insane homicidal clown.

This fucking country primarily needs to get a handle on this virus, tout suite. Trump’s already decided that herd immunity will happen, and that approach of course requires no special effort on Trump’s part and that’s the way he likes it. However, herd immunity usually only comes about after a vaccine has made its way through the population. Epidemiologists are agreed that the policy to infect as many people as possible is as harebrained as it comes. Should Biden be elected, I hope it is not too late for contact tracing and mass testing- and if we must quarantine again, let it be for the sake of ending the pandemic for good.

Let’s crack that nut soon, Joe, mmmkay? I want to eat out again and go to a damn movie.

Next, let’s redevelop a vigorous federal government to tackle social problems that states and locales cannot. That’s a broad request; but I merely want the government to be able to do what it needs to uplift and protect the country and its people. This whole insanity about “regulations” drives me nuts. Regulations are there so that there are limits to negative behavior. I know these days it’s like some kind of curse word, but it became one on purpose so some incurious people could reflexively just hate anything that the government puts into effect.

Let’s see. Is there anything else on my Christmas list?

I want us to rejoin Paris and lead the way to a greener future. There’s no point in surviving a pandemic if the earth is on fire and people are drowning. We have to have the appetite for massive social projects on the scale of the TVA and the Interstate Highway System; it means jobs for anyone who wants them.

I want dope to be legal and I want the jails emptied of drug offenders. If there’s anything America needs, it’s a good bong rip so they can mellow the fuck out, especially in light of the nerve workout that Trump has subjected all of us to the last four years. We are so uptight and high-strung by all our daily stress. I want pot shops on every corner from San Diego to Ocean City. Our day to day would be so much easier to endure. I like my beer, but a little green don’t hurt no one. The time for its taboo has come to an end.

While I am on the subject of jail, I would like to see Reality Winner pardoned.

I want an end to the filibuster and an end to the electoral college. All the roadblocks to democracy must go.

I want to pack the SCOTUS with liberal justices. I don’t care if I’m not supposed to say it aloud. That seat stolen from Obama deserves hard fucking payback. In general, I want Republicans to pay for all the hardball they played with us with impunity instead of negotiating and compromising in good faith. It is time to scorch the earth Republicans stand on and plow their soil with salt. Let them not forget easily that we fuck back if fucked with.

I’m amassing quite the list here.

I’m sure I could go on, but I won’t. I just felt like doing some writing today for fun. I am almost done with my med change and am getting better by the day.

She’s Ready

Most people find the vice presidential debates unnecessary, dry, and boring. Last night’s was anything but.

Because there will probably no debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump that won’t be a five alarm conflagration, it devolved upon the vice presidential hopefuls to perhaps actually talk about the issues.

Some of us were worried that the oleaginous Pence would dispense of Harris in the same manner that he coolly handled Tim Kaine. But Biden purposely picked someone with more pluck than he, and she completely made Pence her bitch the whole ninety minutes.

I would tell you if she sucked. Scout’s honor.

I daresay Harris had fun flaying Pence. There was a light in her eyes. She was nearly bouncing in her chair, ready to fight. She had command of all of the issues. She made it very clear early on that she would not be interrupted, and that was important since Trump and Pence are using interruptions to throw their adversary off track. Harris was having none of it. She answered all of the questions and left Pence wasting his time trying to rebut her attacks. While Pence droned on about how great things are and how wonderful Donald Trump is, Harris swatted down all of Pence’s arglebargle, indicted him and his running mate, and laid out a hopeful blueprint for the future.

What we now know is that Pence and Trump’s vision of America is stale. Everyone is tired of all of it, how it sounds, how it looks. We’ve mostly realized we have made a treacherous detour by electing a failed businessman/internet troll who sucks his own dick all day long and his smarmy god-bothering sidekick. Last night, not only did Kamala Harris make that clear, but she showed she is worthy to represent today and tomorrow’s Democratic party, and the world may just get brighter with her at the helm come 2024.

More Drug Follies

Not the fun ones.

I’m talking crazymeds again.

Last night I began my withdrawal from Clozapine and began transitioning to a milder, somewhat analogous anti-psychotic, Zyprexa.

It was a hard night, marked by chest pressure and dreadful squirming anxiety. I have nine more nights of that to go. I am hoping it works itself out along the way. However, the good news is that I did wake up as myself this morning (I left open the possibility I would be delusional and hospitalized) and almost felt good about it. I put my Olly Stress Gummies, a Klonopin and my Koi CBD tincture on board, which if you are looking for an efficacious way to deal with stress the product works like a motherfucking charm. Lots of folks don’t seem to get anything from CBD, but I believe in the compound 100%. Caveat emptor though-you get what you pay for when looking for effective CBD. But anyway, today feels normal-not completely so as I will not be free of Clozapine for another sixteen days, but as I said, better than expected.

I’ve been on Zyprexa before, and if I recall I didn’t have the side effects that were common at all. That’s a stark contrast to my experience with Clozapine, where I suffered from several of the known side effects. Zyprexa has a lighter touch overall, which is weird because its side effect sheet is a mile long. It doesn’t carry a black box warning for me, and that’s a bit of a relief. It’s formulated to control bipolar with mania, and that’s exactly what turned my life upside down in that grim summer of 2008. Since then I’ve been on a lot of shit trying to figure what works best. If I recall right, Zyprexa didn’t do a whole lot to calm my ass so we’re going to have to work on that once I am truly free from Clozapine. That is the main thing I need to concentrate on. I am not going to tell my provider at this point that I regard Zyprexa as a bridge drug.

What I don’t like about this switch is that it’s going to do nothing to help some emergent liver issues I’m having. As antipsychotics go, Clozapine is the reigning king for necrotizing the liver, and Zyprexa follows close behind. So I’m gonna keep pestering my providers to find something that doesn’t put so much of a hurt on it. There’s things like Abilify that control bipolar with mania and is not metabolized at all by the liver.

One thing at a time, though. Eventually I will find a balance for mind and body, being mindful that in the end no drug regimen will be perfect.

The Worst Debate That This Planet Has Ever Known

Despite an anxiety condition, I decided to put the debate on.

That was the wrong move. I was up all night with palpitations.

I expressed the thought that Trump was going to turn it into a circus to a friend, but I never thought it would get as out of hand as it did.

Ever hear of the Gish Gallop?

That’s what Trump did for the 50 minutes of the debate that I could stand. He launched fusillades of filibustering untruths and they came so fast and so furious that it would take Joe Biden days to refute all of it.

Chirs Wallace lost control of the debate completely. Each candidate could have two minutes to respond to an issue he brought up. But Donald Trump steamrolled right over that rule. He wouldn’t give anyone, including Wallace, a chance to speak.

I don’t know what’s worse; a terrible moderator or a terrible debater. But both of those were on display last night.

Regarding Joe; he was a little nervous at the start, offering a shaky answer as to why Coney-Barrett was the wrong choice for the Court. He could have elucidated the hypocrisy of the Republicans for creating the rule that no president should seat a nominee in an election year. Instead, he offered two reasons: Obamacare and Roe. OK.

And that was the end of the sanity.

It devolved rather quickly into a crosstalking, grating miasma. And Wallace let it all happen. Biden couldn’t get a word in edgewise; at one point he asked the president to shut up because of his incessant babbling.

I hear there were other moments but I called time of death of the debate at 9:50pm. Forty more minutes of that shit was a bridge too far for me.

I imagine there will be calls for moderators to mute microphones to obviate whatever it was that happened last night. I also think Joe Biden has standing to decline debating Trump again. There’s clearly nothing we can learn when these two men get in a room together. Frankly, I am surprised Joe didn’t swear, leave the stage or pop Trump for denigrating the lives of his boys.

Trumpers will be thrilled at the outcome of the debate; to them, he must have “dominated” since he threw everything but the kitchen sink. The more reasonable among us will disagree because he showed a serious lack of self control unbound by rules and custom. It’s alright for a debate to get a little contentious, that’s expected. But one was reminded here of the proverbial pigeon who walks around shitting on the chessboard claiming victory. We’re reminded of what a piss poor president he truly is; a man not confident at all to state his positions calmly. A man with no command of facts or depth. Insults instead of insight.

In 2016, we deserved Donald Trump for one reason or another. This is 21st century America and it turns out that it’s a suckier place to live than one might have thought. But I would like to think some of us have learned a little over the course of these godforsaken years since then.

One thing is clear: the fact that this election is going to be anything less than a runaway for Joe Biden is cause for lots of fucking worry.

Forty Days And Forty Nights

That’s a long time to go without writing on a blog. I’ve seriously thought about quitting, but it’s not necessarily because I want to. There are a couple of factors limiting my output.

#1: I’m getting off Clozapine. I intimated in some recent blog posts that the heady atypical antipsychotic was actually helping me gain perspective on some “stuck” memories, events and situations I involuntarily flash to that torture me in ways large and small mostly when I try to sleep. They turned out to be OK stories, some of my longest work. So why am I getting off this drug? The side effects became too much to bear. I was fine over the summer at my highest dose of 250mg. When school time for the kids rolled around, finding it incompatible with that schedule was a mild understatement. Every fucking night I had a fit an hour into sleep that would sit me bolt upright, heart pounding, mouth dry, clutching for breath. I would often fall asleep sitting upright to stop it from happening. An then there was the mornings. It took my wife twenty minutes to a half hour to get me out of bed, yelling my name loudly at least 40 times. And when I did fall out of bed, I went straight to the couch downstairs and fell asleep again. I was no use to my learn from home children whatsoever. And when I tried to help them or let the dogs out when I woke up, I was unsteady on my feet. Orthostatic hypotension became my new horrible symptom. I nearly passed out standing up too quickly. I could not make the 8 foot trek to the bathroom at night without seriously screwing up some courage. I decided this was not going to work anymore. I am crazy, but I might switch a little crazy with some of these symptoms, I thought.

So I stepped down 50 mg without consulting the pharmacologist, who really, really wants me to stay on this shit, even going so far as to say I needed 100mg more and I’d be better. I can’t imagine what that would feel like. It feels like a trip to the psychiatric ward is what. The thing is, I am not schizophrenic, and I imagine this drug is handy for shutting some voices up. That is what Clozapine was developed for. However, I am just bipolar. I did have a wild journey into schizoaffective disorder about a decade ago that ended in a locked ward trip for three weeks, where I experienced all kinds of delusions and hallucinations that still boggle my mind. The important thing is that I came back somehow. But anyway, down 50 was the only way I was going to get out of bed without being yelled at. Instead of going straight to the couch, I stayed upright until the wife left for work and then I would doze until 11 on the couch. Again, not much use to my learners. So I couldn’t seem to win.

Along with the drop in clozapine came serious symptoms. Neurons hungry for the homeostatic neurotransmitters they needed were being cut off from the drug that helped them along their way. The physical symptoms from that brought huge amounts of panic, and I became unable to get across a room without wanting to go back where I came from because I was going to fall down otherwise. I couldn’t do the shower for more than two minutes. My only safe spot was downstairs at the computer chair. And even there anxiety threatened constantly. I couldn’t get up to get the mail because I didn’t think I was going to make it back and no one would be around to notice that I was knocked out in my driveway. I became very concerned for my wife because everything had come undone so quickly. She’s been a champ putting up with me.

I decided enough was enough. I was out, and told my shrink I was done. He listened and is going to put me back on Zyprexa, which I had some success with in the past. It didn’t always put a damper on my daily bipolar struggles, but I didn’t feel like shit when I took it. Again, I think I’d rather that than be in some quasi-vegetative state.

In order to get through the gauntlet of getting off Clozapine, I am employing several natural remedies. I started off using Charlotte’s Web CBD gummies and that’s been a game changer, real good for calming down. I am also using L-theanine, an amino acid with proven results to tamp down stress levels. Also, lemon balm seems to be somewhat helpful. But the hero so far has been my old Klonopin prescription, which I abandoned over the summer because it can be dangerous with Clozapine. But I kept the bottle. I was desperate and wanted to try anything and everything to not feel bad, so I popped one.

Wow. I’m almost alive again!

I wouldn’t be writing this if it weren’t for that discarded prescription. I haven’t informed the doctor yet but I will soon. It’s good news because now I can step down further and have plenty of backstops to combat the withdrawal. I have enough Klonopin to get me through a month.

Bottom line, things have been looking up after being so nightmarish.

Oooh. I forgot I was doing a list! Let’s see, what else has got my shit fucked up?

#2: Donald Motherfucking Trump. I’m having trouble finding non-four letter words for some of his antics. I’m struck dumb. At this point I am just trying to keep my head screwed on straight until it is time for me to vote. I can’t keep up with the outrages, which may be by design.

#3: Twitter. Once upon a time, not long ago I moved to Twitter because I was hooked on Facebook. Hah! Turns out that’s like going from fentanyl to heroin. I’m now a full blown social media junkie again and I don’t know how to turn that around. I miss the blog days where I could get my news from them, but so many of my favorite bloggers now eschew the medium and have Twitter accounts instead. Is there any way out from using social media to get my news fix?

I’d love to hear about your struggles with any of the three phenomena above. We, so often atomized by the cult of individualism, need each other more than ever.

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