Three

“La tristesse durera toujours.” [The sadness will last forever.] ―Vincent van Gogh

The past four plus days have been a nightmare. First, I ignored a very obvious death sign. I won’t explain it since most people are not believers, but it shakes me to my core. Between Thursday and Sunday, I lost three people. Two old friends, and a relative. I am upset about the former, but the latter really took me down. I haven’t really stopped crying, and I am NOT the person who reacts like this to loss, either. I’m not the crying type. My eyes are swollen, though, and my head is on fire from a migraine I simply cannot shake. Someone needs to make sure I never drink two shots of espresso in anything, for as long as I live. 🤦‍♀️

I believe in the preservation of life and memories. I have a photo of Tim and I in my jewelry case. I was never sure how it got in there, but I am glad it’s with me. It reminds me of a previous life and career. Losing Dave startled me; he was actually the first person in this terrible cycle of loss, to pass away. Both of these individuals were friends of the family and treated me like a damn Queen in every situation. They will be missed. My Great-Uncle, Uncle, and two cousins should be up there to greet them, along with the many other friends we lost along the way.

Losing a relative who did nothing but love you is very hard. She was the last mother figure with family ties that I had. The last person who truly saw me for who I am and accepted me so completely. So yes, the sadness will last. For those who may have wondered, YES, this triggered me badly. I am retraumatized as someone who has already lost her own mother. If a few people hadn’t cared about me these last few days, I’m not sure where I would be in all of this.

This year, my best friends have both lost their mothers. One lost her father 3-4 weeks prior, as well. It’s something I can only be supportive about because I have lived it, and their experiences are different from my own. Coming from a place of experience, you can often help others navigate the pain, or simply listen to them. I wish I’d had that kind of support, but I can give it.

The Traumatic Journey: Part I

I’ve been quiet for what seems like forever, and anyone who knows me knows I use my platform to communicate and inform; even if my subject matter isn’t popular.

It’s likely obvious to my regular readers that I am going through some heavy shit. I am. Unfortunately, I am also numb to a lot of the things other people are talking about right now. Not because I lack empathy or compassion; neither is true. I am trying to work through a 747 full of trauma, and through that journey came more trauma, and more, until I reached a breaking point.

Let me be clear: I’m okay. I am on the other side. Mostly, I am angry, in a lot of pain, and trying to be strong. A lot has been going on for me, and it will come out in the pieces I am writing, just not all at once.

I am coming off of a fresh set of nerve blocks and once again, I am sorry I did it. Once I feel better, I get to begin to fight for occipital nerve blocks. My doctor has already heavily documented occipital neuralgia in my chart, but my insurance has refused to pay for these injection sites, claiming they are experimental. They aren’t. She actually told me not to fight for it. Any doctor who would say that to me clearly doesn’t know me very well. I know it’s a covered procedure. The nerve blocks they immediately agreed to pay for are actually far more expensive than the one’s they don’t want to pay for. It makes NO sense, and I’m nothing if not a fighter.

This was my third time getting supraorbital nerve blocks. These hurt like I cannot explain. There are multiple injections, and they go under and into the brow bone on both sides. Because of the dose, it’s not quick. You’ve got a needle jammed into your bone for a good 45 seconds or so. The majority of my facial structure is bone, as so observed by my doctor. For me, I then have to apply pressure because these locations bleed heavily. There are a few which go into the supratrochlear nerve, a series goes into muscles in my shoulders, and she chose to add extra starting at the top of my spine, under my hair, going 3/4’s down the spinal column where I already have arthritis and Lord only knows what else, because my doctors won’t order additional tests if an x-ray will do. If she didn’t give me the medication, she’d have to throw it out. They are paying for an entire vial of medicine, but telling her not to give me a particular set of injections. One day she mentioned, in her frustration, how she is forced to account for every drop of medication she tosses, and how it’s incredibly wasteful for them to only pay for small amounts of these medications, and then ask her to throw it out. My nerve blocks are steroid free and are supposed to last 6-12 weeks. I was asked to give it a year before I say yes and continue, or decide to stop them. I don’t know where I stand on this moving forward. It’s a lot of work suffering from chronic migraines and worse with a spine that’s badly damaged. I’m definitely not having any fun on that level. 🙄

As she was injecting my shoulders and spine, my doctor told me she could feel how tight the muscles are. Mind you, I am also on long-term muscle relaxers for a full body experience. I’m careful with them because too many, “relaxing” medications can cancel each other out. If I don’t take them, I can’t always move, and if I do take them, I don’t always feel them working. 😔 I worry they will be taken away because so many doctors are making pain patients choose between treating our pain and treating our mental health. It is wrong, and I am vehemently against any doctor who tries to pull this on anyone. Mental health IS healthcare, and if doctors ask you to choose, find another doctor. The fear-mongering in medicine has got to stop. I’m sick of it, and I know I am not alone.

Much of the time, I factor in how long I’ve suffered from migraines. It will be twenty-five years in December. That’s a long time to suffer from anything, but imagine daily migraines. I was given my diagnosis at my very first appointment, a diagnosis most people wait 1-5 years to get. I tried all the usual suspects medication-wise, and they failed me. Each time a new symptom surfaces, I hesitate to bring it up with my doctor. I asked about a medication I had never heard of and she shifted her tone and behavior immediately, because the medication in question is a narcotic abortive nasal spray. I’m glad she decided she, “Won’t be prescribing THAT,”, but I wanted to say, “What if it REALLY helps me? What if that drug is the only medication to stop my suffering?” She was so dismissive, she wouldn’t even look at me. I immediately felt less trusting, overall.

Most doctors require a reminder of the Hippocratic Oath when they make such bold refusals. “Do no harm.” They absolutely, be it intentionally or unintentionally, ARE harming their patients. I have seen things in my medical record that make me want to scream. So, many doctors are harming their patients, en masse. As is the government, which needs to get the fuck out of my health care, as well as the insurance companies. Our pain is a political business to them, nothing more. All they care about is money, and if you don’t believe me, look into how much the government paid for your Covid vaccinations. They don’t come cheap. Doctors at hospitals are on salary and insurance, along with the government, dictates what they can and cannot prescribe. That is NOT okay. Pretty soon, they will be regulating alcohol and killing off millions of dependent alcoholics. Just like with pain patients, the only people who care will be those who get left behind. And the brands who depend on the business. It could all come crashing down.

I am frustrated as hell living with multiple diagnoses of pain disorders and only having a tiny percentage being looked after. Something I take, as needed, might be causing serotonin syndrome. I have to stop taking it, and this is something that costs a fortune out-of-pocket, until I speak with my doctor, who will almost certainly run lab work to make sure I’m not in the rare danger-zone. My symptoms indicate I might be, and that’s scary as hell.

The more I deal with medical professionals, the more I am marginalized and traumatized. It’s a system that is irreparably broken. It is rife with systemic racism and people who never should have gone to medical school in the first place because they have mind-blowingly limited knowledge in their chosen field. If you can’t do a little bit of everything and truly care about your work and how you are perceived by your patients, then please go the world an epic favor by going into a different line of work. We don’t need anymore crappy doctors. You’re embarrassing the few good doctors we’ve got!

With all of this going on, I am also working on two manuscripts. I wanted to make them a Spring/Summer project to see which one would be near completion by the end of October. They both have enormous potential, but I’ve written double the word count on one, whereas the other is about seventy thousand words. If either starts to get on my nerves, I’ll work on the dark urban fantasy material, instead. Because I’ve been in such crippling pain, I have written and read a lot less this year, but I am trying to get my shit together on that. Even if it’s just to challenge myself to get two thousand words written a day, that’s reasonable. Others would say to start at a page, but I am experienced enough to know I can accomplish the higher word/page count. There will be days when I double, triple, or quadruple on this, and days when a page will be enough. Know yourself, know your limits. It’s not dissimilar to the days when I’ve walked eight miles and it takes me a week to recover. There was a time when I wouldn’t stop until after dark, but those days are long-gone. Coming to terms with that, with the loss of complete health… It’s not easy. For people to insinuate that anyone enjoys suffering is just plain sad. For them. For the warped mind who dares to go against every doctor you’ve had to struggle through, for every diagnosis you’ve fought for. There’s a special place in hell for people of that nature.

And on that cheerful note, I’m on my way for now. I’ll be back as soon as possible.

Have a good week, everyone.

copyright © 2022 by Lisa Marino & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Poison In Lethal Doses®™ is a registered trademark.

Black New Moon In Taurus

Closing out the month of April on a high-ish note. Change is coming, and I am preparing for it to the best of my ability. This month was rough, and I am trying to recover to avoid issues with trauma moving forward.

Anyone who has been reading my work for more than a year knows May is a difficult month for me, filled with loss, mourning, and more tragedy than any one person should have to endure. I am hoping this year, it’ll be far more positive. To start, a very close friend is moving to the area and I look forward to spending time with her and (finally!) having some fun, as well as mutual respect and appreciation. Most of my closest friends live overseas, so it’s not like I can call them and ask if they’d like to see a movie, go hiking, shopping, or simply have dinner together. It’s a luxury and a privilege to have my friends close at hand, so I am excited she will be here soon. 😊

If I’ve learned anything in life, it is to go where I am most appreciated and valued. Anyone who chooses not to see the real me is someone I do not want, or need, in my life. They can take their negative energy and vile attitude somewhere else. I don’t deserve the bullshit, and yes, I am working on a piece where this subject will come up. I don’t play games and I’ve reached my boiling point. Unfortunately, I have simply been too sick the last few weeks to complete what I’ve been writing, but I assure you I’m getting there. Slowly, but surely.

Bright Blessings, one and all.

Days…

I was up early this morning. I’m going to tackle what I can today (Important mid-Spring cleaning.), and whatever can’t be tackled today can be done another day. Bits and pieces until it’s clean, packed up, and done. It’s hard to think about, especially coming off of a week full of pain, sickness, and stress. I’m still not one hundred percent okay, but I also don’t expect to be any more. My neck is apparently getting worse, and yes, I’m about to make appointments with new doctors to see if I can find a good fit.

I’m so fucking tired of showing up, though. 😒 Not just tired, but fed up.

Sinking

The precise word I’ve used to describe the hell I’ve been going through is, “Sinking.” I say this to my doctor at least twice a month; “I’m sinking.” He gets a confused/torn look on his face and tries to distract me with questions. I’m thisclose to losing my patience. 🙄 I worry that one day, I will not employ a filter and will say, “You went to medical school to give me that face? I hate to inform you how ripped off you were.” Alas, I try not to be rude to the one person who, medically, has my back. I respect the fact that he doesn’t humor me, roll his eyes, or try to dismiss what I’m saying, but sometimes, I think we’ve collectively met a frustration moment because nothing is helping me.

Am I sinking right this second? Yes. I had a mental plan in my head for how today would go. I woke up early. Much earlier than I planned, so I shut off my alarm and started my day. I cooked a real breakfast, which seems like nothing special, but I am not always afforded the time and space to do this. Today, I was, and I feel healthier for starting the day without having my eating disorder screaming at me. I took care of Cat and Kitten (mostly because Kitten came looking for me a little before 5:00 a.m., but also because she was staring at me. Hard,). I responded to some business e-mails and found out a package will arrive today, one which was not expected to arrive until the 16th. Not bad. Then I started hearing potential construction. I figured maybe a neighbor was having gas or oil delivered, but when I checked and found all these trucks and equipment, I nearly lost my temper. My next door neighbor is having her driveway ripped up and expanded. Okay, great, but did they have to start working before 7:00 a.m.? 😡 They are also incredibly close to the property line, so I keep waiting for them to do something stupid, knock something out, or damage something. At this point, nothing would shock me. There are chunks of concrete just piled up on the street. I don’t want to assume they will remove it properly. I can’t be the only person agitated by this. They are taking up half the damn neighborhood.

Ultimately, this incident messed with my mindset. I had a panic attack from the noise, and now my adrenaline is dropping. Turns out, adrenaline crash is serious business. It made me realize I didn’t get enough sleep to do what I’d planned for today, and whenever I can’t do something, I feel worse than anyone could possibly imagine. I am going to give myself some time, and if I can do it, great. If not, I will add an additional hour to my prep time and do it tomorrow morning. Not ideal, but at least it will get done, and I can see how I feel when I leave the hospital.

I have to stop beating myself up when unplanned things trip up my anxiety or add to my stress levels. I’m not good with external noise. It’s reached trauma-level for me. I used to think I was being unfair with that, until a friend admitted she feels the exact same way and talked about how it affects her. I suddenly realized I’d been gaslit into thinking I was the problem. Mind you, I’m not outside attacking anyone or screaming. I’m just suffering in silence, and that’s unhealthy.

Over the past few days, I’ve received some texts and lengthy messages thanking me for various small gestures. That was nice (Wait, I’ll get there.), but having to turn down a standing invitation nearly made me tell one of these people that I will never, ever spend a holiday with them.

Let me preface this by saying that this person is a repeat offender and I’ve got no patience left to deal with the rudeness. A deeply disrespectful comment was made to me about a year or so ago by this person’s partner. Instead of putting this person in their place for how disrespectful they were to me, I moved into a place of, “This isn’t going to work out if I can’t be honest.” I’m tired of having to protect the other person from their spouse. I chose to say nothing, because sometimes silence is the only answer someone deserves. It’s not about being mean or manipulative, or even hurtful. Those thoughts don’t cross my mind because I know who I am and where I am coming from when I stop speaking to someone. The silence is more about someone crossing your boundaries and you deciding what’s best for your well-being. I decided it was best for me to back away even further, because I don’t need anyone’s toxic opinions or bullshit directed towards me. That’s not welcoming, that is behavior which instantly pisses me off and let’s me know that I will not be able to remain civil moving forward. Like I said, I know where I’m coming from. This person has no clue how I think/feel, and they don’t care. It’s not worth me turning it into an argument because there’s no peace to be had. I know this.

If I am, for example, having a horrible day (Usually pain related, but it can be other things affecting me, as well. I’m human,), it doesn’t give me the right to go out and be toxic towards others. It doesn’t give me the right to be a disrespectful bitch, either. It’s actually when I most need to withdraw from society, write, listen to music, cry, whatever I need in that particular moment, on that particular day. I give myself the space to honor me. I say nothing. I speak to very few people. Believe it or not, about ninety-eight percent of people don’t care about your feelings or what you’re going through. They care that they aren’t the one going through it if it’s bad, though, so it’s important to surround yourself with the two percent who actually give a damn about you, good or bad, no matter what. For me, that’s under ten people. I am okay with those numbers, because it’s honest. I see these people clearly, and their support and love comes from a genuine place.

One message I received sent me right back into a state of pure silence with a specific individual, after I rolled my eyes in disgust. It was a lengthy, “all about me and my life” kind of message, with a few lines asking about how I am doing. Three in total. If my phone wasn’t expensive (I feel like they ALL are, especially these days.), I would have thrown it across the damn room. I came away angered, irritated, and physically ill. This person is so fucking toxic, and my body responds negatively to interactions with them. I tend to keep them to the bare minimum, and I’ve actually ceased most communication. I’d sent a polite holiday card and received verbal diarrhea as my, “reward”. I have to make the decision to cease communications permanently. I have to put my health above their stupidity.

Sometimes, there are clear signs you need to cut a relationship off. You might try to hold off on this for days, weeks, months, or in this case, YEARS, but inevitably, you cannot continue on. Ten plus years and I am still trying to give this person chances. It is okay to acknowledge this and the fact that I can no longer do it.

It doesn’t necessarily matter who the person is, because if you feel sick after dealing with them in person, or you get physically ill after reading a message from them, then your body is keeping the score. Your vibration is rejecting their stupidity, selfishness, ego, attitude, or something else that you inherently CANNOT work with. It is completely fair to honor this about yourself.

I am moving in a different direction. I wish people well, but I can’t stay on their level. I have grown and I have leveled up. I can’t take myself down to their level whenever it suits them to deign to say something to me, and then be sick from giving them the benefit of the doubt or another chance. I’m not going to shrink myself to make anyone else feel better ever again. I deserve better, and they deserve to have people in their lives who vibrate on their lower level. It isn’t my responsibility to take care of everyone. I tried. I even asked someone if I was being fair and they said, “Lisa, you’ve been fair for twelve years. This is out of fucking control.”

I am many things, but I’m not a people-pleaser. I’m not going to gossip about anyone. I am not going to engage after you disrespect me or mine; that’s a line you don’t want to cross with me. I am not going to play into anyone’s victimization of self. I’m not going to constantly give someone chances to hurt, minimize, or disrespect me. I feel like that’s been a running theme lately, and I refuse to engage with it. I’m not going to permit ANYONE to re-traumatize me. I’m going to be stronger, smarter, and meaner. I’m going to be exceedingly discerning as to who I let get close to me on ALL levels. The door to my life is not open for newcomers. A spot at my table is a spot which must be earned. My time is valuable, and I won’t waste it on anyone who doesn’t understand that relationships are two people giving one hundred percent. Yes, there are times when you cannot do that, but you admit it instead of pretending.

I won’t be responding to anything or anyone while I focus on myself. I’m truly done giving out extra chances and opportunities. If people fall to the wayside as a result, that’s fine. I know who I am and what I bring to the table. This isn’t about being cruel or hurtful to anyone, as they have consistently chosen to be unacceptably rude to me, but it is about taking my power back. It’s redefining the term, “No.”, and sticking to it because these interactions affect my sanity. I deserve to let, “No.” be what it is. A complete sentence.

We’re currently in Aries Season♈, which is the first sign of the zodiac. For me, one means ‘New Beginnings’. I also look at the Hebrew aleph bet in a similar way. Aleph is the first letter and represents the number one in Kabbalah. One means starting from scratch, if you must, and rebuilding things in YOUR true vision. It’s the beginning of the zodiac wheel, and I take it seriously.

As the eighth sign of the zodiac, I am the embodiment of life, death, and rebirth. I might fall, but I’ll come back stronger. The actual symbol for this is tattooed on the top of my spine. You’ll sometimes hear people say we have four phases as Scorpion, Serpent, Eagle, and Phoenix, where others will omit the Serpent completely. I’m moving towards my phoenix phase. I can feel it. Others can see it in me. People have commented about my new energy or my good energy, usually people I don’t expect it from. That, in and of itself, is a positive thing.

Some people can see/read auras and some people simply pick up on a vibe from others. I saw auras more as a child, and I still see them around babies/infants and animals. Most animals are gold or silver, which to me, represents their pure natures. Babies might come up in lighter shades of purity, too. If I close my eyes, I can feel my aura is indigo and blue. Sometimes I can see the colors out of the corner of my eye. I don’t come across a lot of people who have these colors intensely attached to them. Sometimes I know there’s purple or yellow around me, or even grey or red. Not all colors are permanent aspects of one’s aura. Sometimes we will temporarily have an inauthentic color attached to our aura due to life circumstances, stress, illness, etc. The issues will pass and the color will leave. Anyone who talks about auras and their colors will see things differently and read color differently. I know someone who constantly talks about how rare pink auras are, but then declares every other woman pink. They will also say not all people are empaths, but will then declare every other person they read as an empath. That’s inaccurate, so I give myself space from people who don’t practice what they preach.

I’m moving towards physical, mental, and emotional betterment. I don’t have time for anyone who isn’t on the same frequency. I have to release all the negative energy which others have placed upon me in their journey towards whatever… A true empath knows it’s not his or her energy to own, but the ugly energy others have given out. It can cling to us like soap scum. Not only am I wearing sage perfume from here on in, but I’m done being the emotional dumping ground for people who cannot return my energy. I know my worth.

In life, sometimes silence and walking away is the healthiest choice you can make before officially cutting people off. Today, I’ve made my choice. I say goodbye to the energy and happiness vultures, for which there are many. I wish them growth and healing, just NOT with me in their lives. My journey no longer involves their presence.

I thought I had finally gotten a handle on my sleep, until Saturday night. I tossed and turned for three hours. I was then furious at the wasted time, so I got up and occupied my mind until I finally knew I would fall asleep. It was freezing, so Kitten was with me, trying to stay warm and still be close by. She was pacing in agitation, because she knows I’m not okay, and she tries to make sure she’s with me as much as possible, but to own a cat is to know that they will choose where they’re going to lie down and they will also choose who they will be with. Unfortunately, I don’t have the option of my current sleep cycle this week. I have four doctor’s appointments beginning tomorrow, one of which is an emergency appointment to rule out surgery. Only one is a video this week, which means I can stay home that day, so I am trying not to have a complete and total meltdown knowing I am dealing with so much. It brings a lot of anxiety to the surface, unfortunately. If you are lucky enough not to experience such feelings, that’s all well and good, but for those who do suffer from anxiety, we aren’t harming anyone. We’re struggling.

Two appointments this week are for in-office procedures. One hurts like hell, but isn’t a huge issue. I have experienced far worse pain, but it’s something done without anesthesia, and my doctor is exceptionally blasé about telling you how it will feel and how it will or won’t heal. She has repeatedly failed to provide information to me which she puts in my medical chart, which genuinely angers me. I only found out when her partner informed me during a Telehealth appointment, and he was very helpful and descriptive. I followed his instructions and was pleased that he got me in three months earlier than originally planned. I will likely say something about her lack of information this time because I’ve had enough. The other procedure requires at least two solid weeks of physical rest. It means adhering to little to no activity, except for walking (You live, you learn. When I rest, I don’t suffer constantly. If I don’t rest, I suffer terribly.). That’s if I get the okay from the orthopedic surgeon to walk on my injuries. I have no idea what he will or won’t say.

A little over two years ago, I fell and injured my right knee, foot, and ankle. I had fractured bones in my foot and there were some tears in various tendons in all areas. The doctor saw me about two weeks after I fell. He wanted me to make big changes to my footwear (I have.). He also wanted me to stay off of my right leg whenever possible, while still being realistic that even in pain, I have to move around. He was hopeful that it would heal on its own and I wouldn’t require surgery, but he was honest and made no promises. At the follow-up appointment, I was lectured that if I didn’t stay off of it more, I’d almost certainly require surgery. Inevitably, I left the office incredibly frustrated because I had truly stayed off of it to the best of my ability. Then Covid put us all into lockdown and my June follow-up was canceled. Without calling me, his office proceeded to cancel appointments for July, September, and then they didn’t bother to get back to me at all when they reopened. He was backed up with surgical patients, post-op appointments, etc. I let it go because I wasn’t in constant pain, but a few months ago, I felt things get bad again. I thought I’d sprained my ankle, but no, it was the whole knee, ankle, foot combination all over again. I have since done something to my left knee, as well. I was granted an appointment via their cancellation list, mostly because they saw that they’d canceled on me multiple times without an official notification of any kind. Mind you, I hurt myself in January of 2020. I don’t know what he’s going to say this time. He had initially prescribed high strength Aleve, and I still have most of the bottle. It simply isn’t strong enough. I’m not going to argue with him about it, but if surgery is involved, I am getting it in writing that my pain will be fully managed before, during, and after the fact. I am not playing the, “You need six months of physical therapy.” bullshit with him, or anyone else. I can’t even say how often I am using Magnesium Spray or topical lidocaine patches for temporary pain relief. I’ve barely made a dent in the bottle, but it feels like I use it way too often. On the plus side, it is fast-acting, as opposed to taking a daily supplement. It’s drying on the skin, but nothing a little extra moisturizer won’t fix. There are days when it is my saving grace. I try to use homeopathic remedies so long as they work, even though they aren’t covered by my insurance.

Having a week with a bunch of appointments squeezed together over the course of three days isn’t common for me. This happened and I had to give myself time to agree to it. I’ll feel a lot better when it’s over and I know more. At least I hope I will. A girl can still pray for good news and quality medical care.

So, that’s where I’m at this week. One hour at a time. I’ll be back, as I pray for a complete reduction of pain from head to toe.

Have a good week, everyone! 😊

copyright © 2022 by Lisa Marino & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

The Truth, The Pain, The Breakdown, & The Small Breakthrough

Many, many years ago I read ‘An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness’ by Kay Redfield-Jamison. Anyone who suffers from any form of depression, or any form of mental illness (I hate this phrase. It was once referred to, and sometimes still is, as “behaviorial health”. No, this is completely off-base. These phrases don’t explain why your brain is the way it is, and neither does the term, “mental illness”. We’re not crazy; we’re suffering. It isn’t something we’ve done to ourselves, either. Many people unknowingly have chemical imbalances or very real illnesses, like schizophrenia. To lump it all under one category is unfair and disrespectful.) has probably read this book. If you find yourself in Psych 101 or in medical school studying psychiatry, you will also have likely read this book. If your diagnosis is new, grab a copy, even if only through your local library. It’s not the kind of book you would willingly read repeatedly. Once is enough, unless you want to refer back to it for therapy purposes.

I remember reading it and feeling slightly understood, but my story and Kay’s are quite different. Our backgrounds are drastically different. Moreover, I’ve battled this journey almost entirely on my own.

Were you thinking about suicide before age ten? Probably not. The word was never used in my home. Ever. What I felt and observed brought the word forth and gave it meaning. I have spent the majority of said life not being taken seriously for how I think or feel by family, friends, and most especially, by doctors. I left those “friends” behind, and I don’t regret it. I also walked away from judgmental family members who never bothered to take the time to get to the know my heart. And yes, I’ve fired a plethora of psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists. There’s no shame in my pursuit for appropriate medical care with caring individuals who treat me like a human-being, No matter what illness you’re dealing with, we ALL deserve to be treated fairly. Unfortunately, this is part of the problem; we aren’t.

These past few months have been daunting. I will explain at length in another post, but for now, suffice to say, I’ve reached both a breaking point, as well as a breakthrough. I’m fed up with the world, with life, with the hardcore activism I feel is necessary, with other people’s bullshit, with feeling like the only honest person in the room most days. It’s a LOT, and I’m tired. Physically, mentally, and emotionally SO drained of my life-force that I am having my groceries delivered tonight because getting out of bed makes me feel ten times worse than I already do. I’m fully capable of going and getting them myself, obviously, but today I broke down in pain. Every bone, every muscle, every part of me is screaming in pain. It’s intolerable beyond words. I found some CBD oil hanging around and have used it, to no avail. It doesn’t touch my pain at all.

My pain is at an all-time high because it was triggered, not just by extreme stress which has badly screwed with my body, my health, and my sleep, but by certain types of people who don’t care whether or not they are harming me. My health is of zero concern, and again, I will be writing about it, mostly because this is my website and I get to tell the truth here. I don’t have to be believed by anyone who does not respect or value me, but I do have a job which requires me to be forthcoming. Actually, it doesn’t. You can do what you will as a writer, but my main focus as always been steeped in honesty. Even in my fictional work, anyone who knows the real me knows the truth in those pieces. It’s our personal message to one another, like a wink, because so few people know me that well.

I am using lidocaine patches all over my body to try and stifle some of the agony, when I am not actively taking Kratom to help with the rest. Yes, Kratom is something you’ve probably heard about either on the news or within the pain community. No, it isn’t addictive. Yes, it helps take the edge off. My doctor encouraged me using it because he’s disgusted that my primary care physician ignores my pain. I am contemplating recording this man talking over me whenever I bring up how much I am suffering. Note to self: New doctor, STAT!

I am both sleeping too much and sleeping too little due to chronic insomnia. My pain is worse at night, but if I didn’t sleep well or I moved around too much when I did sleep, I can’t function. By looking at me, no one would ever be able to tell, and that’s where doctors come in to play.

A friend once asked everyone in a group to share the, “Faces of Fibromyalgia”. I was going to, until I saw how truly unwell everyone in the group looked. Photo after photo. Granted, the age group was not even close to my bracket, so perhaps some of that had to do with the way I reacted to the photos. Images that haunt me all these years later. Even without makeup on, I looked like the picture of health, and I still do. People often ask what my secret is. Good genes, water, sunscreen, and having an anti-aging routine which started at age eleven. I actually went through my steps tonight and was mortified. Anyone who wants the steps and a list of products can ask for it; I’m not gatekeeping. Alas, I digress…

Those photos made me feel like this was the reason I wasn’t being taken seriously; I looked, and continue to look, too healthy for doctors and others, to see the struggle. They don’t listen to me because my face does not match what I am saying, and that’s all they’re interested in. Apparently I should crawl into their offices, drool on the floor, be half-dressed, and maybe they’d take me seriously for a moment. God forbid you mention pain and look healthy; it must mean you’re a drug-seeker. 🙄😡 If I was, I’m obviously terrible at it based on my current Kratom order. In fairness, I haven’t placed an order in four months and I was down to half of my supply, so I sort of ordered in a panic. The pain is that bad.

Since the start of Covid, whenever I run errands, I might tap on a bit of eyeshadow and a coat of mascara once I’ve finished applying skincare and sunscreen, but who the hell sees it behind a mask and sunglasses? No one, really. I’ve only seen a few doctors in person during the past two plus years. For some unknown reason, they all remark on how I look in their notes. It’s downright insulting for any doctor to be judging your health based on your appearance. The fact that my headache specialist takes time out of her busy day to comment on how great I look as a patient (A note which goes into my permanent medical record and to my insurance company!), disturbs the fuck out of me. I’m not there for a critique on my looks or speech patterns; I am there for treatment. And every time I’m there, I come away with a lecture of some sort. 🙄 Again, not what I went in for. The last couple of times she was running late, still hasn’t figured out that my name isn’t Stephanie (Or the laundry list of names she goes through before sort-of getting part of my name right. Honestly, she’s looking right at me and I wait until she gets close. Lisa and Elizabeth are NOT the same thing. She’s kind of stuck these days on calling me Mary something, Trust me, I don’t look like a Mary!), and I walk in pissed. If you’re waiting for about two hours on a bad day, you have every right to be annoyed. Each time she’d say, “Oh, I can tell you have a migraine.” Only once did I actually have one worth discussing. More often than not, I leave her office with one. There’s too much stress involved, and I recently told a nurse off for screaming in the office. The first time, I thought maybe she was ill, but I’ve had listen to her do this to others for a year, now. She screams out highly personal information, yells out at people from behind the plexiglass, etc. She called my name and I was about a foot away. I looked at her and said, “I’m standing right here. You do NOT have to yell at me.” For me, that was borderline kind. Her response? “I’m sorry, I didn’t know I was yelling.” Well, you work in a doctor’s office and someone should check your fucking hearing! I’m pretty sure that’s what will come out of my mouth the next time she does it, because she’s a repeat offender and one of the rudest, most judgmental nurses they’ve got.

I had agreed to nerve blocks last year, desperate for some relief, and this last time, I had a vicious reaction to the depo-medrol my doctor forgot to mention was in my injections. I’m not kidding, either. She never even handed me paperwork to describe what I was going through; the only thing I saw and signed was a document giving her permission to treat me and bill directly to my insurance. I asked what was in them at my first appointment, and she said, “Anesthesia. It should last 3-6 months.” I return to her in ten days. This time, I am passing on the nerve blocks completely. I clearly don’t handle steroids well, and as it’s leaving my system, I can tell it wasn’t actually helping a damn thing. It’ll be another appointment where she gets to remark on my looks. “Patient looks normal and healthy, but suffers from chronic, disabling migraines.” I am dead serious; all of her notes state this. The best part is when I read, “Patient is enjoying a reduction in pain.” I am? Is she kidding?! Which “patient” is she talking about? I have to say, it isn’t me. If you read enough of this crap, you stop believing in doctors and their level of honesty.

Even my psychiatrist, who I do video appointments with a few times a month, has to remark on whether or not “the patient” looked normal today. What the hell does that even mean? I’m pretty sure the first time he saw me with no makeup, glasses, and my first breakout in a few years, it was noteworthy. 🙄 I have access to those notes, but have refrained from looking at them because he does take me seriously, but sometimes, when I am feeling as I do now, he looks for ways to push me in a different direction. It’s an unsubtle distraction technique which annoys me, but it’s not any different than taking medication, which can also temporarily distract the mind. At least the medication is a little more straight-forward.

Depression does not discriminate. It can hit anyone, for any reason, at any given moment. It can take you from the highest of highs to twelve feet beneath the surface. That’s kind of where I stay. I’m not on the surface, but I know I am sinking. Throw anxiety on top of that, along with complex trauma, and you have a recipe for disaster. Especially as my anxiety medication is beginning to fail completely. I could take double my daily dosage and still end up hyperventilating. Most people wouldn’t be able to handle the dose I am on, but I hesitate to bring up going off of it and onto something shorter acting. Despite the fact that long-term use of this medication has affected my health to a really bad level. Alas, it’s not visible. I see it. I know the damage is done, I feel it, and I also know I was never warned that any of these long-term side effects were possible. Unlike my doctors, I actually remember what gets said and by whom.

The flipside for my life has always been my writing. Having talent and creativity. Having business sense. The downside is that when I feel like this, I either don’t write, or I am way too honest. I have over two hundred drafts, which is the very definition of “too honest”. There are some things which I openly admit are too personal to share. As things stand, I will be changing the format of how I write and what I say, and I hate knowing that certain things have to change, but change they must. People think blogs and websites are online diaries. If you heard half the things I think, you’d run to the opposite side of the globe. Be glad I sort of employ a filter here. Most of the time, any way.

The other night, due to insomnia, I opened up a fiction file for the first time in months. I’m happy to say I was able to get a few thousand words written. That was the breakthrough; progress through pain, through madness, through the thinnest shred of sanity. I can still do amazing things with the written word. I should be proud of that, but I’m not. Because the pain truly is breaking me down to nothingness.

People don’t always talk about how lonely this journey is. Sometimes I am relieved to live in a place where no one knows me, and other times, it’s so isolating I want to walk into the woods and scream until I have no voice left. Depression, trauma, anxiety, and multiple forms of chronic pain which are incurable.

The other day I realized I am only speaking to four people with any kind of regularity, aside from my doctor. I am grateful for their e-mails, texts, and phone calls. I am grateful for them sticking by me. My best friends have legitimately grown up with me, despite the fact that our relationships are long-distance. We’ve been through so much together. Visits are few, but far between, but they are always on the other end of the line to listen, to share, to talk, and to be real, and the same is true for me. They have been immensely supportive through these past few months where I’ve been made to question who I am, only to be told, “You’re honest, you’re loyal, you’re real, and you’re a fucking bad ass. Anyone who says or thinks differently does not know YOU. The real you. Maybe they don’t deserve to know you at all if they dare question it.”

When you’re sharing something difficult, and emotions are involved, and someone actually steps up and says, “This is NOT your fault and you should not be blamed. This is an awful thing, but it’s no one’s fault. There should be no pointing fingers at all. Remember who you are, and what a fighter you are deep down. You don’t back down, you step up.” Another part of the breakthrough is hearing about who you are through the eyes of those who love you.

So now, my groceries are all put away. My poor Bombay growled like a pit bull at the lovely husband & wife delivery team who I am grateful for. Tomorrow, depending on how I feel, I will whip up a big batch of tabouleh (A key “soul food”, at times.), and try to write a few notes to friends and family. I’m also contemplating a big batch of homemade ice cream, so maybe I can accomplish that this week, as well, even though I have to get five missing ingredients. I pray everything is still available. I only make this once a year and I haven’t done it since 2019, so I would like to see the achievement.

If you don’t see me writing for a while, I might be working on fiction for a bit. Or, I’m going through the motions of life and trying to keep the madness at bay. Who knows. Take care of yourselves, stay safe, and I’ll see you next time.

Shavua Tov,

copyright © 2022 by Lisa Marino & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Poison In Lethal Doses®™ is a registered trademark.

Impolite Zionist

I’m fed up. I’m also sick and tired of this. Leading up to every major Jewish holiday, attacks begin in earnest and it triggers everyone’s PTSD. People I know have spent so much time on the phone of late, trying to track down relatives after each attack. This is not how anyone should have to function, and it makes me angry to a level no one wants to see.

Never have you seen Jews take to the streets in order to murder others. We don’t teach our children to stab people for being of a different faith. We don’t strap our people with bombs to kill as many people as possible and then call them, “martyrs”. 🙄😡 There’s nothing normal about any of this behavior. It’s beyond radicalized. They kill Israelis (Jews are not the only residents of Israel.), and pass out sweets to celebrate. They participate in “Pay For Slay“, which should be illegal. In any other country, these people would be in jail and up on child endangerment and child abuse charges. They would never see the light of day again. Just imagine that kind of abuse going on in America or Canada… (God Forbid!) It would be reported immediately. Especially in a school atmosphere. This is not a, “cultural difference”, this is a true level of sickness. It’s important for me to talk about it so that many people will get a clear picture and understand.

This isn’t a fight over a piece of land smaller than the state of New Jersey. No, it’s about them wanting to annihilate Jews, “like Hitler did”. Those are the words that have been directed towards me, and it usually starts with, “Go back to the ovens. Why did they allow you to survive?” Has that sunk in?

Let’s say you aren’t Jewish, but you are a Zionist (The term “Zionism” was coined in 1890 by Nathan Birnbaum. Its general definition means the national movement for the return of the Jewish people to their homeland and the resumption of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel. Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Zionism has come to include the movement for the development of the State of Israel and the protection of the Jewish nation in Israel through support for the Israel Defense Forces. From inception, Zionism advocated tangible as well as spiritual aims. Jews of all persuasions – left, right, religious and secular – formed the Zionist movement and worked together toward its goals.); they want you dead, as well. Anyone who isn’t like them. Anyone who isn’t giving them what they want. That’s what they mean when they say, “Globalize the Intifada”. It’s not about land, it’s about wanting Jews to die. The level of hate they carry in their hearts is sick. By all means, support what you choose.

I’ve well and truly had ENOUGH. Terrorism has no religion.

copyright © 2022 by Lisa Marino & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Poison In Lethal Doses®™ is a registered trademark.

“Zionist” definition is fully credited to the Jewish Virtual Library. Photos are credited to @joanofjudea

Loss, Grief, and Solitude

I don’t have much to offer right now. The past few days have been fraught with sad news. My best friend buried her Grandfather (It took a few days for the body to be flown out of the United States to its final resting place.), and the other is burying her father, who passed away this morning. Both lived long lives, but there are mixed emotions for those involved, and I feel it.

These issues bring up my own losses, because I am dealing with a lot of trauma at the moment. As one person said to me, “You know how it is, because you did all of this by yourself.” That’s right; I did. I arranged everything by myself. Two funerals. A headstone. An unveiling. I have not been back since, but I need to go and try to get a feel for things because avoiding it is not helping me.

I remember asking a family member about a word for the headstone and being told, “I’m not paying for it; they weren’t MY parents.” Yeah, my jaw dropped for a second before I composed myself. All I did was ask if they wanted a word added to one side of the stone. I displayed an act of kindness which shouldn’t have been shunned, and yes, I paid for the word and the stone. I showed respect to someone who disrespects me constantly. Nothing has changed in almost thirteen years. I see it, and I’m paying attention. I don’t have to understand why this person chooses to behave this way towards me, I only have to understand and control my response to it.

Grief and loss were once the only things I felt I had to offer others, but not anymore. Now I see myself clearly and I know I am not the cause for these things. In fact, I’m actually the person who will offer someone the most guidance and support. If my pain can help someone else, then I will allow that, but my pain isn’t going to be used against me.

I’ll be back soon, hopefully with better news.

No One Was Safe

There are many correlations between 1692 and 2022, in the sense that women are still treated similarly. Constantly being told we’re crazy, dramatic, or worse. You might not get hung or burned at the stake, but social media is always present to chew you up and spit you back out into nothingness. Keep that in mind.

This exhibit, which was based on historical facts, was also a tribute Alexander McQueen put together during his 2007 Paris Fashion Week show, in honor of Sarah How, a relative of his who was hung during the Salem Witch Trials in 1692. There are other photos I will share of modern day “witches”, but ultimately, the exhibit made me angry. I see the connection clearly. We’ve come so far (as women), yet things can easily revert back to times of this nature. If you don’t see it; you’re blind. Worse? As you look at the historical facts, you have to question why this was pursued at all. To this day, people use the words, “witch hunt”, without understanding how derogatory it is because people lost their lives, and the phrase is also incorrect for the current state of being.