Setting My Alarm

I’m determined to be prepared for my doctor’s phone call in the morning. I know he’ll call and try to get ahead of me and what I’m feeling/thinking, but I am still very much in a state of shock and betrayal. I’ve considered cancelling my appointments with him for the rest of the year; but that likely won’t be helpful on too many levels.

I do feel composed enough to set him straight, but I’m going to respond to tone and behavior. I should not have to preface everything I say with, “Please leave this out of my medical record.” I’ve seen what other doctors have written in my chart. There’s so much incorrect information, their personal perceptions of me, and even when quoting me, they get it wrong. A lot. Whenever I’ve confronted other doctors, they have vehemently denied what is right there in a file they signed off on. One denied saying something to my pharmacist and turned his back on me when I confronted him. Legitimately turned his back to me, pretended to fiddle with the computer, and would not look me in the eye. Since she was defending me, as a patient, three guesses who I believe. Patients should NOT have to feel like this.

I was voted, “A Strong Voice for the Mental Health Community” a few years ago, and I take this seriously. At the core of who I am, having others respect my voice is truly important to me. If I advocate for other people taking charge and fighting the system, then why should I do any less for myself?

I would love to come back in a few days and say, “Okay guys, I got angry and reacted, but everything is good now.” I’d like to be 100% wrong or partially wrong, except I know I am right in feeling as I do. I know I am right to say, “Re-read your notes and please remove every personal detail you have entered. The personal stuff is for you to remember, NOT for outsiders to peruse, twist to their own benefit, or for me to see and get pissed off at you, because some of this is disrespectful as fuck.” I highly doubt he’d appreciate me going over his head, either, but I’m more than happy to get on a first name basis with the hospital adminstrator. I fucking LIVE for setting these kinds of people straight (According to my brother, who says I should have been a lawyer because I “love to argue”. I don’t, but I will always fight when I am right.), especially since I tend to leave all of them dumbfounded.

Another doctor of mine happened to confess their hate for this person (the hospital admin), and despised that the first thing they did upon taking the job, was choose their own salary. They mentioned how this strips many departments of much-needed funding, and since this is not a gossipy type of person, I take them at face value. Moreover, I know this is how things operate. At the end of the day, hospitals are a business, and in this country, they don’t care if they bankrupt you once a medical bill is in play.

No one needs another overpaid, glorified paper pusher banking on the pain of every single person who enters the main hospital buildings, all affiliated hospitals, practices, medical buildings, etc., which accounts for nearly half the damn state of Massachusetts. I could go on, but I’m tired.

The gloves are OFF. You guys can start a Go Fund Me in case I need to be bailed out. 😉 I’ll keep you posted.

copyright © 2021 by Lisa Marino & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Cats Are Life

It’s been a rough week. At times, Kitten was my saving grace, curling up next to me to sleep and keep an eye on me. When I rested after my procedure, she didn’t disturb me, as she is wont to do. She often jumps up at my head and scares the shit out of me with her silence. Even if I wasn’t able to sleep, she was hanging out with me. Cat has only shown interest in me today, when I offered up fresh catnip.

If you aren’t a cat owner, I can’t explain the bond of raising kittens (which is what builds trust), but it’s amazing and such a good life lesson. My cats go where I go. That’s always been my rule.

As I approach the 13th anniversary of losing my first (owned solely by me) cat, I feel terrible. She is buried at a small pet cemetery out of state (Obviously, since I’m not from Massachusetts and haven’t lived here that long.), and I have not been back. It’s so painful, and completely breaks my heart. I’ve been reliving her last moments over the past few days and it has nearly killed my soul, at times. I lost her sister over five years later, during an awful time in my life, and when finally given no choice at all, I went against my core beliefs and had her cremated. Her ashes are with me. She is the photo on my laptop screen and the everlasting love I have in my heart. The only thing I have left of her are some photos on my camera, and all the memories of adopting her and loving her right up until she took her last breath. They leave this plane of existence, but they truly do stay with you.

Kitten is her namesake (Her real name is translated out of Old Norse and Hebrew.). My amazing cat, who chose me, taught me how to be a mother, how to love, how to be patent with animals and small children, and she loved me probably as much as Kitten does. They are similar in some ways, with Kitten being less gentle, but I will always have a Tortoiseshell by my side. They are a color, not a breed, but they have these unique personalities and spirits that let me know I was probably once a cat. Kitten was meant to be mine, just as Cat was meant to go home with me and keep me honest with myself.

Today is the first Saturday in a while where I’ve embraced, “Caturday”. I didn’t wake up early and rush out anywhere. I’m hanging out in sweats and a t-shirt, and they are enjoying the sun and bird watching. It’s a low-key afternoon. I’m contemplating whether to cook or order in. The mourning doves are cooing. But I still remember my first “Cat and Kitten” with all my heart. I made promises to them and I kept them, and I made the same promises to these two characters.

They ARE family. Even when they torture me at 4:00 a.m. or harass me for treats an hour after they were given treats. They’ve been happier, a lot more playful, less stressed out, and more affectionate since recovering from the trip to the “evil vet”. 😉 She’s not evil at all, but I know it’ll go better when I can go in with them. They really don’t like not being with me. Dogs have their place, but when a cat is waiting for you at the window or the door, it’s not because they’re trained to do so. Nope. It’s one hundred percent their choice. That individuality is one of the things I love most about cats, but when I see mine waiting for me, it makes me smile. Even if only for a brief moment.

copyright © 2021 by Lisa Marino & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

The Importance of Doctor/Patient Trust

Today, I received multiple messages from my treating hospital with information I had never sought out because it was off-limits. However, they are now one of the first hospitals in the country to allow patients to view all of our medical records, respond to comments made by anyone who has treated us, and request corrections to the records themselves. This would not be a big deal, under normal circumstances. I’ve already had that level of access and would have to continually roll my eyes, be frustrated with the lies in the file, and ignore the ignorance and stupidity I was dealing with. Until today, when my psychiatric notes were revealed. I read one note from this week, scanned over it three times, and had to calm myself down because I contemplated breaking my doctor’s hands. Pissed is NOT what I felt at all. Worse, he is one of the people who knows me better than others, so I had a hard time swallowing the bullshit.

It took me leaving, and subsequently deleting, nearly ten messages before I was able to calm down enough to say, “I’m not sure if you have been made aware of the fact that I can now see your psych notes. We need to discuss this because I now feel I will have to edit 90% of what I say to you, and that is NOT how we’ve worked to establish trust as doctor and patient, not once from the first day I sat in your office. I’ve always trusted you, and you have always assured me your notes were clinical; yet THESE NOTES WERE PERSONAL. Without correction, they will follow me for the rest of my life. This needs to be addressed. You know precisely what I have been through with doctors writing their perceptions of me, as opposed to the facts I am spelling out, so we don’t need to talk about it next week, but it must be addressed at my next appointment.” I felt like I left the most honest, professional message I could, under the circumstances, and I changed my tone of voice so that he understood how this made me feel and how it would effect me moving forward.

For example, if I say, “I’m a mess.”, I don’t expect to see my doctor put that into clinical notes as the header of our discussion. Really?! Under typical conditions, I can only see we have discussed depression, trauma, PTSD, anxiety, suicidal ideation, etc. I’m using those topics as an example, not as facts. But to read my words twisted slightly to make me seem like a much different person. it retraumatized me from my previous medical trauma, and immediately made me want to say to him, “Are you OUT OF YOUR FUCKING MIND?! How stupid can you be?

Here’s what many people don’t understand about psychiatric notes; they can be subpoenaed in ANY court case. They can be used against you. One improperly written note can be twisted legally into something it isn’t. This has happened to me before; TWICE. He knows this. He knows it has deeply affected my life to terrible degrees, which is why I reacted as I did. I will, one hundred percent, be going through every damn note he writes from now on, and requesting our private discussions be removed from the medical record. They don’t belong there, especially since he processed this as “psychotherapy notes and ten minutes discussing medication”. We actually discussed medication for under five minutes total, with him saying he’d give it some thought and call me in a few days. I missed his call, and he’s damn lucky I did, because I’m not sure I’d be able to have controlled the tone of my voice or the aggression in what I was saying.

I used to wonder how he kept all of his patients lives straight, because his recollections are as precise as my own, until one day, I saw a notebook on his desk at the start of my session, and it’s one of a few he has on me. It’s a nice, leather bound notebook. The kind I’d journal in, and it is filled with his private notes on me. Lord only knows what’s in there! Yet, the actual medical record had way too much private info on me for him to claim he, “keeps it strictly clinical”. I am going to force corrections from 2017 right up until this past week. If he thinks I won’t go over it all with a fine tooth comb, then he’s forgotten the woman who first walked into his office, and declared herself, “A pretty mess.” I have been assured I looked like I was going on a date, but that nothing about what I’ve been through or said could ever be covered up with concealer and properly blended eyeshadow. At my second appointment, I tore him a new asshole for referring to my pulled together appearance as, “a mask” (after he ended the appointment by saying he was leaving in five weeks.), and he admitted I was right and he was wrong. He earned my respect by being a down-to-earth human-being who saw me as a human-being, and didn’t treat me like another annoying mental health patient who doesn’t respond well to medication. But this? This is a deal breaker. It violates everything I hold dear, and now I feel like my entire medical record needs to be turned over to me for review. If I seem like I’m calm, trust me, I’ve got fangs and I’m not afraid to claw those records apart. And I will absolutely hire a lawyer to get the personal information, which is not necessary for such records, completely omitted. He does not want to test me on this.

When my appointments were cancelled due to quarantine last March, it took me three months to get on board with Telehealth. Initially, I felt like other people needed the appointments more than I did. I had weekly appointments for months before I was forced to go down to twice a month. Before agreeing to these appointments, I kept asking myself, “Am I just a pain in the ass patient, am I a challenge for this doctor, will I ever feel better, or am I going to have to look for someone else?” I strongly considered a new psychiatrist because I was confused about how laid back and comfortable our communication is. It has always felt comfortable, human, and safe. It doesn’t feel that way now. In fact, I feel betrayed beyond words, and I wonder how much will require correction.

In this particular moment, I probably need to hear him out first, and then decide if I still want to break his hands. Of all the people I have met as psychiatrists and therapists throughout my mental health care journey, he is the first I have trusted the most. He’s also the first who isn’t completely afraid of me, but probably should be right now.

He won’t hear my message until Monday, and that’s fine. It gives me a few days to cook, read, maybe get in some yoga, do some psychic work, and remind myself that even though he’s taller than I am, I can still knock him out, and by that, I have to say that my message should be enough to make him see reason. As honest as I’ve been here, I will be ten times more honest with him because he needs to know what those notes did and can do.

Anytime there has been an issue between us, he has been good about hearing me out and fixing the problem. On that level, I should consider this before getting upset, but I couldn’t help reading through it and thinking, “Is this how you perceive me?” Because if it is, then there’s a bigger problem underneath it all and that won’t fly with me one bit.

In my message, I made it abundantly clear I might be undermining and/or underestimating my coping mechanisms going into the month of May (If you know, you know. If you don’t, you’ll see what I write next month or you can go through the previous years’ of work. It’s a rough time for me. Period.). I had said, “I don’t think I’ll make it through the month unmedicated.”, and he wants to revisit this discussion because he’s concerned about side effects, even though I suggested a medication I am extremely familiar with. I said this mostly because he will be away next month, during the worst of what I’ll be dealing with and that’s never a good feeling when I have to relive one of the worst months of my life, despite the fact that I have his permission to have him paged no matter what, and also have his personal cell phone number in case of emergencies.

The level of my trauma is a terrible loop and if I block things out, they can (and will) come up out of nowhere and throw me down a metaphorical flight of stairs. It cycles the trauma over and over again, and as he and I discussed this week, “We can’t medicate trauma.” Maybe one day, in the future, this will be possible, but for now, it isn’t. Not being about to help trauma victims and survivors is something the mental health community fails at deeply; in my personal experience.

I wanted him to know I wasn’t demanding the medication, and that I will defer to his guidance, but he also knows I agree to disagree with him a lot. And I do so respectfully. I might be upset, but that’s because this is a relationship I highly value. I’ve felt blessed that someone cared enough to have my back, and today, I felt stabbed in it by the one person who should know better because this is someone who, long before Covid, is the person I spent the most time talking to about the heaviest shit in my life. I will wait to see how this is handled on Monday, and next month when we speak at length. But I’m not going to lie; I am now contemplating dialing my appointments back to once a month and not being anywhere near as forthcoming as usual. As a direct result, I will be searching for a full-time therapist because clearly, if personal things are going to end up in the record, then he is not following proper procedure under the psychotherapy terms and conditions, where every note truly IS clinical and boring as hell.

***On the plus side, the notes state I’m ten years younger than I am, so that’s something he can keep on record. 😉 I’m maintaining the whole reverse aging thing. The fact that a specialist told me this week, “You’re young. You don’t need ANY cosmetic enhancements. There’s not a single wrinkle or mark on your face, and this has not changed since the day I met you.” These are the small things that make me smile while I am going through internal and mental HELL. Last weekend, I stopped into a liquor store to pick up wine and a few other items (I am craving Pina Coladas like nobody’s business! It’s odd. I’m not much of a drinker. I feel like quarantine turned me into a maniac I don’t always recognize.). The second I asked for two small bottles of Jack Daniels (for a recipe I love, but one that is very time consuming and doesn’t require more than a few ounces of JD. I think it calls for a few tablespoons, but I usually eyeball it.), was the moment when, not even realizing I’m behind a mask and sunglasses, the cashier asked to see identification. I could have been anyone. She couldn’t tell my height, eye color, NOTHING. Legally, they have to ask and I always offer, but it amused me. Like I said, these are the small things that make me smile.***

I hope everyone looks into their own medical records for this very reason. Don’t hesitate. Once I calm down, I’ll be tearing through mine like a starving vampire. It’s a good thing I’ve already fired most of the doctors who are in my chart, because they can’t fight me when I ask for something to be removed. It is my legal right. I’d hate to have to do the same with this doctor, so here’s hoping everything gets straightened out. I’d like to think that maybe this situation was a slip on his part, but I won’t ever make excuses for him, and he knows that.

It would be a shame for him to be on vacation with no hands. 😉 I have zero shame in being mean. After all, this involves my life. I should be fully involved in what is written about me, and so should you.

copyright © 2021 by Lisa Marino & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Work, Work, Work, Work, Work

Lately, my every day expression is the side eye emoji most people use. Especially when it comes to hiring people to assist me in any way. Opportunities are opportunities and the door doesn’t always remain wide open.

Much like me, some artists are perfectionists. From a realistic standpoint, I know nothing is ever, “perfect”, but can you come close enough so that you are pleased? Absolutely, and if not, you can wait a while and revisit it. You can always revise something up the road. You can always make a radical change.

I am lucky to have amazingly talented friends who I can turn to (Friendship aside, I chose them because I would much rather pay a friend, and support them by doing so, as opposed to dealing with a stranger who might not understand my vision. Especially friends with small businesses. They need all the help and promotion they can get.), but sometimes trying to agree on something is exhausting. Because ultimately, we are all seeking the same thing, in different ways. (If you know a freelance graphic designer who isn’t terrified of women with strong opinions, please message me.)

This week is already stressing me out and it’s only Monday! 😦 Lots of work to get done, but I know I can do all of it. I keep telling myself I can do anything, but I have days when getting out of bed is the worst kind of difficult (Today was one of those days.). I could hardly stay awake at my appointment, but I did and it’s behind me. Small victories are still victories.

Yes, I most certainly do.

Mid-Week Humor & a Little (Cat) Back Story

I’ve been off all week. 😦 I don’t feel like myself and I don’t feel good. It’s an obvious rough patch health-wise.

My right hand is healing, but the deeply damaged spot, which is much deeper than I originally thought, is still a problem. It shouldn’t hurt this much. I’ve done all the correct things to attempt to speed up the healing process, but ultimately, this is going to scar. Some of the smaller areas are almost fully healed, and other spots are a bit swollen. I’ll live. Thankfully, the skin on our hands and feet regenerates quicker than the skin on the rest of the body. Besides, scars teach us lessons.

Next week, I have three appointments on back-to-back-to-back days. I don’t have to go anywhere for the last one, I just have to answer the phone, but one of those appointments is a procedure and while used to it, I still get a little anxious thinking about it. I will be fine, unless my doctor is feeling heavy-handed next week. I willingly submit myself to small amounts of torture; I should probably see a doctor about that. 😉

Today’s image perfectly captures how quickly Kitten adapted once returning home from the vet. She was suspicious that night, quickly eating her dinner and going to bed. They both stayed away from me and neither one felt great from the new vaccines, but Sunday she was back to being sweet and now she’s completely herself again. She’s been taking care of me. My migraines have been torturous and they’re causing additional insomnia, so every night she sits with me, hangs out, watches me type or read, and then she curls up with me when I am able to sleep. She is right by my elbow as I type this. I was so happy when she came to me and asked to be let under the covers. It’s been our thing ever since she was eight weeks old. The first night she was home, she jumped up on my bed, curled up in a ball on my left side, and didn’t budge until morning. Mind you, Cat was hissing at her and spitting; completely enraged that this new animal who didn’t smell like family had taken over. She didn’t bat an eye, because she felt safe. They still sleep in the same spots they chose as kittens, at least when they’re with me.

When I’m really not 100% okay (and saying I’m fine), they jump up, go to their chosen spots, and put me in the middle of their love fest. Those are precious moments when you realize you’ve raised these little creatures and they love you, because they know we’re a team. They definitely look to me for guidance, for reactions, and sometimes, when I laugh, I think they’re deeply concerned that something is wrong with me. They stare at me like I’m about to die, and then they look at each other, as if one of them is more responsible for me than the other. This only makes me laugh harder. Their expressions are so human, so full of concern. G-d genuinely knew what He was doing when he created cats; people, not so much.

Great things are coming up for me, and as a result, I do feel overwhelmed at times. These next few weeks, I have to remind myself who I am and not allow an ounce of doubt to chase after me. It’s easier said than done. Wish me luck. 🙂

I’ll be back soon. Be well, everyone.

Sedate Me

Yes, I’m still writing. Yes, I am still reading (Check out my Goodreads challenge. I’ve read 111 books, so far. Crazy, right? Research pays off!). But for the next few weeks, I think I need to take it easy.

Today I took Cat and Kitten to the vet. I was already stressed out and barely keeping myself together in terms of appearing mildly sane. Naturally, Cat, who is sweet, loving, quiet, flirty with all men who have a Russian or Ukrainian accent, and an overall, “I want to be with the people.” kind of cat freaked out and used her back claws to rip me open. I can’t open and close my right hand without serious pain. If I hadn’t moved my hand, which is what allowed her to get into contact with my wrist and forearm, I probably would have needed stitches because she was so relentless and putting up such a physical struggle. This quiet little being, who barely ever meows, used up a fifteen year quota of meows and screeches today, and she’s not even eight years old.

Every time she meowed, my panic reached a new level of traumatized. 😦 However, I knew I was doing the right thing for her health. Some of the news wasn’t great, unfortunately. I had forgotten that her breed is prone to certain genetic predispositions. I’m upset, for her, but will do whatever is necessary to let her live the rest of her life in peace and good health. I can’t spend money when I’m dead, but I can work harder and recoup whatever goes towards her care moving forward. Her breed is known to live between 12 and 20 years, which is precisely why I adopted her. I wanted a cat who I felt I could give a good life, but also one who’d be by my side through a specific chapter of my life. I’m aiming for 20. <Fingers crossed.>

Kitten wasn’t happy about any of this either, but I got her into her carrier with far less fanfare, and she got a 99% clean bill of health. The fact that she weighs almost two pounds more than my Bombay makes me question their scale. Especially since she is always running around, jumping, and playing. She’s much more physically active, and always has been. This is where I disagree with the vet. I know that if I change anything in their diet, it can lead to thyroid issues. I’ve dealt with that twice before, and I will not put them on a different diet unless they require it for their long-term health. I measure everything out carefully. Also, when a vet encourages you to make sure they get extra treats to help with health issues, you don’t feel as bad as I do since I feel like they’re constantly in my face begging me to give in (Which I often do, because I’m a sucker.). They are shameless little con artists.

The downside of a day like today is day’s end when you are exhausted beyond measure and hurt from head to toe. Add in poor sleep, and this is ridiculous. Hopefully I can feel less rushed tomorrow and sleep in a bit. I need it. And I need to replenish cat supplies.

In the future, can we sedate the owner who was triggered today, right along with the cats? Is there a tranquilzer we can use? I’m asking for future reference, of course. 😉

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, folks. I’ll be on the mend. The sliced part of my hand might slow me down this coming week, but I will do my best.

Until next time…

All I want is a Pina Colada.

For Your Consideration…

Working on half a dozen different things for the site. Unfortunately, I am plagued by a bout of migraines which aren’t responding to medication. I think this will be my last month taking Ubrelvy as a rescue med. 😦 Maybe my doctor will have another option when I see her in three weeks. I try not to use this stuff at all, but when a migraine hits and effects your neck, mouth, face, and the entirety of your skull, you’ve got to cut yourself some slack.

I feel bad that I’m not accomplishing anything today, but being coherent enough to write this is falling under the, “good enough” category I rarely, if ever, settle for.

Here’s an updated photo of Kitten to make up for my lack of words. She was being especially cute yesterday while I was working. I only came away from the altercation with two scratches (Her nails are currently longer than mine. Vet appointment in a week and a half for the terrors.) and a smack. She asks for belly rubs and then grabs my hand like she’s human. She doesn’t mean to hurt me. She’s quite gentle and sweet, really. Yet, like me, SHE BITES. 🙂

Have a good one. I’ll be back ASAP with something that is hopefully more interesting.

Positively Honest

I would love to sit down and write hearts and flowers nonsensical prose, but right now, it isn’t where I am. Also, if I ever DO write anything remotely like that, please send men in white coats to do a psych eval.

Life is crazy at the moment. My primary care doctor is leaving, so even though I will be handed off to another physician during the remainder of Covid (Someone to authorize three of my prescriptions a month and handle a few referrals.), I will still need to find a new doctor for post-Covid care. 😦 This sounds like no big deal, but could take 6-18 months in total. I’m talking from experience. It will be my fourth primary care doctor, too. If you’ve been lucky enough to never have to change doctors, kudos to you, but I have lived in many different places and in each place, I’ve needed a new doctor. In Massachusetts, primary care physicians aren’t very good, so this should explain why I am extremely nauseated at the idea of a fourth one since moving here.

I’ve been dealing with self-induced stress, because I am always in fight or flight mode. It’s not a good place to be, but it’s how you survive, sometimes with (or without) lasting damage. I am doing my best to pull myself out of the quick sand. I’ve asked no one for help, nor have I discussed this with anyone. My independent streak about many things is taller than I am, but at the end of the day, no one else can credit themselves for digging me out of my own pain and suffering.

I’ve made some important decisions over the past six months. “Invest in yourself” is the best advice I can offer up to anyone, at any stage of their life, and I am proud of myself for following through on this, and continuing to make investments as I move forward. A few more steps and I’ll be sharing a whole new venture with all of you. One I know will be better at maintaining connection. 🙂

In the past year, I’ve realized connection, in all forms, is quite important to me. I can’t express enough disgust at those who’ve not even bothered to check in or ask if I’m okay. That’s doing less than the bare minimum in a friendship, and I don’t need friends like that. I am not a surface level friend in any way, shape, or form. I like depth, partly because I can talk about anything, but have no patience for small talk. I catch myself tuning out the second the subject matter isn’t of a higher level. It’s sad, really, because far too many people prefer to stay surface level. It’s boring.

When all of this craziness began last year, I reached out to everyone I consider a close friend or family member, and I included a few people I’m not the least bit close with anymore, because it doesn’t mean I’ve stopped caring. It was disheartening to watch, as the year came and went, very few people remain connected. It must be nice to live in your own bubble and not care about anyone else (Yes, that’s sarcasm.). I can’t relate to that kind of behavior because, as a writer, I live inside my head, but I do come out to check on those in my world. I don’t pretend I’m too busy or that a text or a few lines of an e-mail is too much work for me to fit into my day. That would be bullshit. I can track how much time I spend promoting on social media, and I can always reduce that time, or multitask.

I am learning that it’s perfectly okay to move on without closure. I am learning how to do this because I don’t aim to come off as a bitch. It isn’t who I am, but am I ending friendships which, if you follow the Marie Kondo philosophy, aren’t bringing me joy? HELL YES. Especially if there’s nothing to hold onto.

Friendship, and all relationships, are built on a foundation. If both of the people involved aren’t doing the work, why should one person alone carry all the weight? They shouldn’t. I will not allow myself to feel guilty for cutting people off. Clearly, no one cares enough to even realize they’ve been cut off, so it goes.

I have to thank all of the new subscribers. It is such a joy to reach out to you and realize I AM connecting with a broader audience. I appreciate all of you. Every time I log in and see new subscribers, I feel proud of what I’ve been doing with this site. Many readers have been with me for YEARS, and I feel blessed knowing I still keep you reading. I’m never 100% sure why, but I do feel that people relate, and therefore, they connect to the things I talk about.

Of late, my time has been spent in rewrites. I am trying to complete a novel for sale. Not because I have to, but because I want to establish growth. I read plenty of fiction (The darker, the better.), but writing it is different. My entire career has been based on truth, and I feel confident in the things I have written which have made an impact on others. I’m not good when boxed into one category, because I know I can do more than that.

I remember, quite vividly, shredding years and years of fiction before I moved away from home. If I think back to those days, I remember trying to develop compelling characters. It was, quite frankly, a never-ending story that I eventually saw for what it was. Thus, the shredding. Coming out of that experience shuddering, and embarrassed, I knew any fictional work I might do in the future would have to grab the attention of the reader immediately. I’ve already got editors breathing down my neck for this novel, so I’ve thrown myself head first into rewriting and developing the characters into multifaceted jewels.

I am confident in how the process is going. Instinctively, I know when something is working and when it is not. I trust my own judgment. Someone recently told me that because I trust my judgment, I don’t seek approval from others. They were accurate in this assessment. I will only ask questions if I’m unsure about something, and this rarely pertains to what I write. I write specific material, but I know a lot of my personality shines through. Sarcasm, humor, and wit, can all be involved in serious subjects. If you lose those things, you lose the individual voice.

Other things are happening, too. I am looking at almost all of it as positive. Sometimes, things occur and I am reminded of my strengths and how much I can achieve. Those are good moments, but we all have to take a step back at times and remind ourselves to achieve without feeding the ego, the superego, or the Id. I have watched people, over the past few years, truly feed their superego and it is such an immense turnoff. I choose not to say anything to them because you can’t talk someone down from that level. It slowly becomes a disease and I’m not trained to deal with everyone’s disease-feeding. Factor in that we all know someone who has reached this level of narcissistic behavior, and they now feel free to share their hideousness with the world. Over time, it is shown for the cancer on society it truly is. Add in closet racists and it’s very easy to see why many people choose to fully back away from society at large.

Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead. Mine involves some stress. I am meeting a new doctor this week (a specialist) and have had the appointment for five months. Before I got an appointment, I waited eight months just to get the phone call! Here’s hoping it goes off without a hitch. Fingers crossed.

Boker Tov,

copyright © 2021 by Lisa Marino & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Written work by author may not be shared or posted anywhere without express written consent from the author. Excerpts and quotes from the material also require consent. This authors’ work and personal photos are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws. Further protection is under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Check In

Is it really Thursday? AGAIN? My best friend and I say this every week, especially if we don’t get a few hours to chat about what’s going on in our lives. Factor in a seven hour time difference. I won’t lie; there are many moments when I have almost crawled into bed and stayed up because she was messaging me as I was about to turn my phone off for the night. What’s a little lost sleep between the bonds of friendship?

This week took its toll on me. Neurologically, I’m not looking forward to having, “the serious talk” with my doctor next week. But I have to, because everything I’m experiencing is indicative of a stress related breakdown or a possible stroke. When I’ve brought these issues up to both my primary care physician and my neurologist, both of them refused to order tests, deeming them, “unnecessary”, and proceeded to ignore my suffering. I’m putting my foot down and demanding an fMRI of my brain to rule out specific issues.

My mother had half a dozen strokes, and because they don’t always show correctly in women with precise indicators, we didn’t know about them until after tests were run and doctors were shocked that none of them had been serious. I remember the first one quite clearly, because she nearly hit a newly planted tree and I was with her. We both thought she’d had an anxiety attack. I talked her down, got her cold water and a tiny dose of anti-anxiety meds. She said the medication helped immensely, so she believed it was anxiety. Fast forward two hours later when the police showed up to ask her where she’d been and if she’d hit a tree, because some asshole called it in, but didn’t bother to come out and make sure either of us was all right. I have to wonder about the priorities of a person like that. Ultimately, nothing came of it; there was no damage to her car and no damage to the tree, unless you count some earth getting moved around (I thoroughly checked it all before we left.), but as I have thought about that day many times, I am experiencing some of the same brain related issues and it’s scary. Language issues, where I type not in English, but in another language entirely, or where my brain scrambles the words I use in my daily vernacular, is difficult for someone like me, who prides herself on her memory and her skill set. Generally, I type with zero typos or spelling errors, but now, I am having to retrace my steps through everything because I find the most basic mistakes. One has to be concerned about their brain when they are experiencing such troubling symptoms.

A close friend is trying to help me navigate this mess, from another state, and while I appreciate the bits of guidance and encouragement, I also get annoyed at times because I don’t want to be anyone’s pet project. I should not have to fight this hard for proper medical care. No one should have to endure this.

Add in a month long migraine, vertigo attacks, balance issues, and a lot of neck and shoulder pain, and I’m basically a husk. One day, I will have better news.

For now, I thought I’d check in. It’s the equivalent of sticking my head into a room and then ducking out gracefully. 😉

Amid all this craziness, I am doing the final revision on a novel. I cracked 150,000 words, and realize this is an achievement all by itself, but I’m still polishing the diamond (because it needs polishing, and a few more facets.). The character development has far exceeded my expectations and I’m pleased with the new material I’ve written, and what I’ll continue to write as I head toward the finish line. I’ve also done some writing on the psychological thriller, which I feel good about. I chose to do it to challenge myself, and I’m so glad I listened to that voice that told me, “You have a story to tell.” Those characters are developing at a slower pace, but they will get there. In between, I’ve been focused on a lengthy piece about racism and then, I began writing about a few incidents which occurred earlier this week. When I get mad, I make sure I am doing something constructive to get it out of my system, and help others think or look at it from a different point of view. I don’t write anything I don’t feel is valuable to others, so hopefully, upon completion, these pieces will make an impact on someone. Both will be submitted to magazines. I have an additional creative idea for my followers, so stay tuned. I am determined to make major changes this year, and I’ve been doing a lot behind the scenes. 🙂

Someone had the audacity to make it sound like writers don’t actually do any, “real work”, and they, quite stupidly, said it to me, as if that kind of thing is acceptable. Not understanding something does not mean you get to insult it. It’s a good thing we’re still social distancing, or someone would be missing their face.

If this person knew how hard I worked (sometimes for 16+ hours with no real break), with no guaranteed salary, they would be in a psychiatric wing, because what I do is not simple, easy, or lesser. Writing is a high form of art. It’s not black and white. It is full of grey area, and I tend to drown myself in the grey most of the time. I am a writer because I have talent, a voice, and I know how important it is to use that voice on the right platforms, at the right time. I’m not trying to be funny or force humor, which is usually when people find me hilarious. When I’m serious, sometimes people think I’m kidding and they laugh even harder. Other times, I’m genuinely kidding and people think I’m serious. <shrugs> This person doesn’t seem to grasp that if you insult me, I will work harder and, eventually, make you cry for your disrespect. What’s worse? The fact that they don’t grasp that it is an insult to begin with.

As such, I will now return to work. Then I’ll catch some sleep. Wish me luck!

Buena notte,

We Only Have Ourselves

No, this won’t be a cheerful post. If you ever expect that level of dishonesty from me, please unsubscribe/unfollow now. I’m many things, but direct and honest are the top too words used to describe me as a person. Obviously, I share the good things, too, but I temper most of my enthusiasm. I am not about ego.

Today took its toll on me because I was remembering this precise Saturday, many years ago. I had weird dreams last night into the morning, and then the realization jolted me harshly. Despite taking medication for Complex PTSD, I can see that this time, on the lowest possible dose, it’s failing. Instead of keeping pain and nightmares away, it worked against me. 😦 As the day progressed, I ended up doubled over with what I believe are kidney cramps. I have to give it few days to see if that’s actually what it is. If it passes, or not. Having had kidney stones, I can tell you the pain is excruciating. Right now, I can’t do a whole lot. I can barely go up and down a flight of stairs, but I digress.

I talk about life and loss because it’s part of who I am. I am formed out of loss and built up by life, love, and loss. It’s a vicious, yet honest circle of life.

On the back of my neck, beginning just underneath my hairline, is a tattoo. I call it “The backbone of my life.” because there are others that stretch down the length of my spine (and more to be added), but the first symbol means Life, Death, and Rebirth. It also means Maiden, Mother, and Crone; the three phases of woman. The third definition means Past, Present, and Future. Love, Loyalty, and Friendship is another meaning of this particular symbol. It looks like stained glass. It is done entirely in shades of blue. I get constant compliments on it, but the truth is, I forget it’s there. I forget, until I take a deeper look at my life and how it always cycles back to Life, Death, and Rebirth.

Essentially, it cycles back to all of the key meanings I have shared here. When a friend mentioned how much she likes this symbol and wanted to get it done in the exact same spot, I cringed. She didn’t fully grasp what it means; it was just a symbol she liked, as if looking at flash art in a tattoo studio. She ended up with a massive cross instead, and I breathed a sigh of relief because of how I hold the values of my chosen symbol deeply. It’s not something I did without thought. I actually waited a long time before I decided on something so permanent. I sort of regret the second symbol, but that’s a story for another day.

We all have private pain which is hard to discuss. Some more than others. For me, the memories are so fresh, as if this happened yesterday, but it’s been a long time, and it still impacts my life deeply. As a result, it conjured up dreams about multiple family members. Generally, I don’t dream much about the living, so that was the weirdest part. The dead always visit me. It’s never a question of will they, but when will they.

The past few years have really reminded me how solo I am as a person. This has nothing to do with my relationships, but with how I face life each day. I face it with the knowledge that no matter what, I am an independent individual. I face it without asking for help because people throw what they do in my face. I face it stressed because I am constantly criticized after being praised, It goes back and forth. Nothing I do is ever good enough, so I’ve reached a point where I focus solely on my needs. I’m not a moron and I don’t need to be reminded of anything, especially when I am in pain.

Certain types of people want things they do not give. Respect. Courtesy. Decency. RESPECT. They demand it instead of earning it. Clearly, they don’t know what will work with me, but disrespect and demands will never get you anywhere. I’ll do what needs to be done when I can, but if you place pressure on me, I will snap. Now, more than ever, I am aware that snapping is the next step because I’ve disengaged so many times, and people assume I’m ignoring them. Please don’t mistake my silence for anything beyond silence. I’ve yet to plan a murder out loud. 😉 But man, do some people PUSH until you feel like maybe an orange jumpsuit wouldn’t be so bad. 😦 And please, don’t ever deign to tell me how to speak. I will say what I need to say when I’m ready, not less than half a second after you tell me what you wanted to hear. Genuine thanks comes from the heart and will come once I’ve collected my thoughts; they will not come at all if you try to coach the words. That leads you to, “Go fuck yourself.”, instead of “Thank you.” Obviously, this is a case-by-case basis, but I’m damn fucking tired of being spoken down to.

Tonight, I go to sleep without words. Wash my face, brush my teeth, say my prayers, and that’s the end of the day. Tomorrow, I will relive more of the pain and suffering, and hopefully get a few things off of my list. After all, in the grand scheme of things, we only have ourselves. Obviously, you can believe as you wish. That’s your prerogative.

copyright © 2021 by Lisa Marino & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Written work by author may not be shared or posted anywhere without express written consent from the author. Excerpts and quotes from the material also require consent. This authors’ work and personal photos are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws. Further protection is under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.