Crickets, Dark Depression, Change, & Investment Power

I haven’t written anything here in a while, and I have my reasons. No, I wasn’t too busy. I was stuck in my own head, with my own thoughts, and then I had work in front of me which I was so determined to get done. Most of it went great, but now I’ve got some things I hadn’t anticipated sitting on me. I am handling it. Begrudgingly. The more prevalent issue which has kept me quiet is the fact that my depression has been so bad, I haven’t been myself for a really long time. Most people didn’t pick up on this, though I am certain I’ve mentioned it before.

Despite being under the care of a physician, I’ve had to fight for almost two years to be prescribed new medication. I pick it up this weekend, and there simply aren’t any guarantees it will make me feel more like myself. Honestly, I have no expectations. I’ve been on this hamster wheel a long time and I no longer place any hope on what medication will or will not do for me.

I’ve never taken this medication before, which is surprising because I’ve been on over thirty-five different drugs in various medication classes. It can take up to four weeks for this one to work, and I am starting out on a really low dose because I am chemically sensitive to anything which messes with my brain chemistry.

The benefit of knowing my body really well is that any time a drug starts to screw with me, I mentally shut down the ability for it to change me. I don’t want to be a mindless zombie, nor do I want to take something which shuts off the intelligent creativity I feel is a gift.

For example, I was put on a new (to me) drug a little over three years ago. One of my first reactions to it was, “Okay, I see why this is a controlled substance. If I had an addictive personality, I’d be in trouble.” Early on in my journey with this medication, I was out in public one day and had to take a mid-day dose. I felt it immediately try to give me what I refer to as a, “head high”. It shuts off your thoughts and then you’re basically left thinking, “Oh, this is what normal people’s brains are probably like. I could hang curtains in here. But wait… It’s not normal to have nothing going on inside your mind.” I fought against it. It would shut up my thoughts, but it would also distract me until it wore off. There were times when I didn’t mind the quiet, except that I needed to still be a high performance kind of writer.

My doctor was shocked and impressed that I had the ability to say, “Yeah, you’re medication, but you’re not going to screw with me or turn me into someone who is obsessively dependent on a tiny pill 2-3 times a day, every single day, for the rest of my life.” In all his years as a physician, no one had ever said to him, “I can see why this is addictive, but I’m NOT letting it reach me in that way. I’m only going to take it as needed.” Most people would never have caught the tiny change to their brain, which I did, and that’s because I am realistic about how science works within the body. I could physically feel it try to tickle my brain, and I rejected it. Bear in mind, this drug was one of the most successful I’ve ever been on and I still take it on occasion. It does help, but it’s brief and because I am careful with it, I don’t worry about taking it. I know that taking it every single day is unrealistic for me from a health and mental health perspective. The less synthetic crap in my system, the better off I am.

My doctor and I later talked about the mind and will power it takes to fight off the addictive qualities of something that is supposed to help you feel better. To this day, that drug still makes me feel better temporarily. I can focus in a sharper way and get more done in a day, because it often provides me with a false sense of energy. I’d recommend it to anyone with my ability to fight off addictive qualities, but because it is so often abused, I never talked about it publicly. In fact, the reason I didn’t speak about it is because I had a former friend tell me it was poison when I was suicidal (Which, to this day, still pisses me off. That is medication shaming, and I’m not here for it.), and another friend recently told me, “You don’t need it.” I’ll be the judge of that, thank you very much. She did not present her medical license after the fact, so I set her straight very quickly. Here’s a little known fact I want to be clear about; when I talk about a prescription and you feel the need to be a disrespectful twat, I will NEVER confide in you again. I have boundaries and if you cross them, I am okay with you no longer having access to me.

When someone says, “I take this so I don’t hurt myself.”, please respect that. Do a little research before you say something hurtful, cruel, asinine, or go straight to, D) all of the above. You don’t know what others might be fighting when all you see is a smile or someone who is put together, or all you know is the person who always has your back, so please judge less and educate yourself more.

I remember when someone told me they’d been diagnosed with a specific disease. I didn’t know much about it at the time. In order to not offend or say the wrong thing, and to be supportive, I researched it. It takes five to ten minutes of reading about something so you don’t come off like an asshole. Never once did I want to make this person feel bad about themselves, about medication, doctor’s appointments, etc. I came from a judgment-free place because it could easily be diagnosed for someone closer to me tomorrow. Those are simple enough facts to put me into research mode, as opposed to, “Let me hurt this person’s feelings.” and show how ignorant I am. Yup, I just rolled my eyes. Basically, no matter what you suffer from, I probably understand far more than you realize and I’m NOT going to judge you. Especially if it’s something someone is confiding in me. My brother always says, “My sister is like a Mossad agent on steroids. She will never tell you a fucking thing. She magically knows things before you even say a word. It’s fucking creepy.” Yet, when I do speak about something or someone, I don’t name names. I’ll discuss a situation, but I keep names out of it.

A few days ago, someone I’ve known for about six years took offense to something I said about a newer migraine medication. Her comment was directed at both myself and a close friend. I replied by saying it ISN’T recommended for chronic migraine. It isn’t, and anyone who suffers and does their homework knows this. It’s on the damn packaging and they make it clear in all of their commercials, as well. She said she suffered from chronic migraine and hadn’t had one in about six months. Okay, that’s great, but be honest about how often you get migraines and how it is prescribed. The new injectable CGRP drugs are not for people who have over thirteen migraine days a month. That’s not considered chronic migraine, either. I’ve had migraines which have lasted for months on end, so I am coming from a place of knowledge and experience. I keep track of every new drug being researched or tested within the pipeline, and everything that’s in the final approval stages. I do this on a global scale for everything involving mental health care, migraines, chronic pain, etc. I can’t afford to be a stupid patient. Nothing I said in response was even remotely offensive, so when she decided it bothered her, I almost laughed. Mostly because she said nothing, but acted like a child. I will never force someone to remain friends with me, but I also know I didn’t come from a cruel place or say anything insulting. That’s not who I am. Her being offended is not going to magically change anything about me. In fact, I am good with being unfriended, especially when I didn’t do or say anything wrong. People who are uncomfortable or who somehow feel inferior with me being myself aren’t my real friends, and I know this. I’m not taking it personally because I do find it amusing when a person can’t admit that another person makes them uncomfortable. Those aren’t my issues to carry, so as far as I’m concerned, it’s all good. I also know I didn’t offend the person I am actually closer to, and that’s more important to me. I don’t go out of my way to offend people.

This year I have felt especially protective of my real friends, and far less protective of anyone who merely wants a surface level relationship with me. I am not the kind of person who will do surface level bullshit with you. I realized this about myself during lockdown. There was a serious shift in priorities. There still is, because we’re not out of the woods yet.

For starters, I stopped wearing makeup entirely. That sounds vain, but for me, it took away the creativity I channel when I do put makeup on (Eye makeup is my art project. It still is.), and pared me down to the most basic of self. My skin was probably thrilled for the break, even though I never wore heavy foundation or anything like that because I didn’t need it. I still don’t. The downside was that I developed a lifelong skin issue because of a chemical used on all of the paper based masks we were all wearing. Even after switching to cloth, my skin still hates being confined. My doctor said I’m allergic, so I have to be careful with everything more than I used to be. The bonus was (finally!) meeting with my dermatologist who said, “Whatever you’ve been doing, just keep doing it. You don’t have a single sign of aging, you have zero sun damage, and it’s obvious you’ve always taken really good care of your skin. Trust me, this doesn’t happen every day. Most people are coming in with things they want lasered off because they have never worn sunscreen in their lives, and you wear SPF 100 anytime you’re going to be in the sun for more than five minutes.” At my most recent appointment, we talked about the treatment regimen I use to help the skin issue I developed. The treatment I am using is both life-changing and skin-changing, and I’ve recommended it to so many people who’ve talked to me about being embarrassed that they don’t have flawless skin. Neither do I, but on a good day, and skin deep, I appear to. I remember sending a new photo to a family member and the first thing she said was, “What foundation are you wearing? Your skin is flawless.” The truth was, I only had concealer on in that photo and a very basic neutral eye look, which I’d matched with a lip gloss I’ve had for way too long (Seriously, I should replace it immediately. I’m not even sure the company is still in business!).

People actually thought my wearing makeup was a mask, and it never was. Now, people are seeing my skin and asking me more about skincare. There’s a reason I still consult with brands on their skincare lines. When they send me boxes of products to try and give an honest opinion on, I am working with a blank canvas. As a result, I no longer feel the need to do a full face of makeup. Unfortunately, I should at least use the eyeshadow because a company sent me five palettes recently and I just had to turn down nine more. Five years ago I would have been ecstatic over this opportunity. Now, I am trying to be more minimalist than ever before. You’ll hear me say, “I don’t have to put makeup on. No one is looking at me.” I have days when I do grab a palette and do something a bit dramatic with my eyes, but I also wear sunglasses wherever I go, even in the dark, so sometimes that defeats the purpose.

I chose not to be a freelance makeup artist, and decided to invest in something more valuable; myself. I pared down the one slightly dramatic thing about me, and now, people listen more. I noticed pretty quickly that people were more inspired by what I have to say. That’s fantastic, and a lovely compliment, but I’m not going to stop washing my face. 😉

I appear to have been quiet for many months, but the truth is, I’ve been working and working through shit. Writing has been good to me this year. I will have success, and potentially the occasional failure, like any other human-being, and I know there’s nothing wrong with not being “normal”. There’s nothing wrong with being transparent about the imperfections of life, health, etc., and still managing to remain authentic.

I don’t buy followers or readers. I will never do that on social media or on my website, because I’m not desperate for attention. The right attention finds you when you’re putting out the right vibe and the right material. Period. This is nonnegotiable, and I hope people realize I practice what I preach.

Back to work I go, at 5:30 a.m., on a Saturday. What will I do next? You’ll have to keep an eye out for all of it. I am already incredibly proud of the work, and hopefully you will like it, as well. 🙂

Wishing you all a healing, restful weekend,

copyright © 2021 by Lisa Marino & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Poison In Lethal Doses, and all involved logos, are registered trademarks ®™ owned by the author. Information about the designer is available via written request.

Judaism is NOT “just” a religion…

I’ve had to say this to a LOT of people over the past few years. They would then argue this with me. 🙄 Yes, every single one argued it because they weren’t educated to have this knowledge. Sorry, Not Sorry; these are the #Facts. There are only a few who wanted to learn from me, and be a friend.

When I have to explain being multicultural, it makes me feel defensive at times because I am not truly accepted in my various cultural groups. There’s internal racism involved regarding what a Jewish woman looks like, what an Asian woman looks like, and what a Latina looks like. Don’t tell me I “can’t possibly be all three”. I AM. We come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors. Google the word, “expelled” and then Google, “diaspora”.

I’m not common, and I’m not going to apologize for being a rarity. Instead, I’m going to embrace those who embrace me. Most especially those who do so for WHO I am, and who learn from my being different.

Thanks to Hen Mazzig for putting the facts down in purple and white. 😉

Post Script: After writing this, a family member chose to attack what I had expressed with multiple racist, unfeeling, rude comments. It’s the umpeenth insult, and I’m DONE.

Kicked In The Heart

As you evolve, you learn things about yourself. It’s important to me to always be evolving, to always have goals, dreams, and to keep achieving. One of the most crucial things I learned, many years ago, was to eliminate jealousy completely.

I’m a Scorpio, and we’re known for being jealous individuals when it comes to our relationships. A great deal of this is mythology. Let me be clear when I say we’re not all like that, but for a few years, I was. I eliminated it by being in a toxic relationship, sadly enough. I’ve written about this relationship and how important it was to get out of it. To this day, I am still grateful that someone else came along (for him) and interrupted my cycle of suffering. On occasion, I still pray for her because she ended up forever tied to the jackass. I cut all ties and I don’t look back.

When a person is supposed to love you, they shouldn’t turn around and use other women to make you jealous, uncomfortable, or angry. The same is true if a woman is doing it with other men. It’s not acceptable to try to harm the person/people you’re in a relationship with by using others to get a rise out of them or emotionally harm them. That’s not the behavior of someone you can have any kind of healthy relationship with. A truly loyal person would never do that to you, or disrespect others by involving them.

I no longer feel jealousy when something of that nature arises. In fact, I feel indifferent. I immediately shut down and it’s amazing how quickly love shuts off. I have a built-in mechanism which shuts down so quickly, it should scare me, but it doesn’t. It helps me eliminate being embarrassed publicly by someone. It’s a complete and total shut down in terms of respect, love, and caring about the other person. It may seem harsh and it may seem cold, but it is necessary. All of us have a mechanism we may or may not be aware of which shields us from the deepest levels of emotional harm. Especially if, like me, you have lived through so much trauma, you often question your own survival.

A reaction very similar to what I’ve described happened to me this past week. Instead of investigating more deeply or reacting in an emotional manner, I immediately shut down. My exact reaction was, “Fuck this. I don’t need the drama. I can do better, and I will.” When you love someone and they hurt you in a way you know you can’t forgive, that’s probably the correct response to have. It’s a response that takes toxicity out of the equation and moves you straight into the healing process. There’s nothing to grieve.

I am not sitting and listening to sad songs. I am not dwelling. I’m not feeling anything, actually. I’m in an erasure method. I never realized how quickly I can delete someone from my life when they hurt me. Anyone with a trauma history likely has similar coping mechanisms, or different ones. Done truly means DONE for me.

Sadly, I give certain friendships more chances than I am giving this particular issue. I won’t even refer to it as a relationship because it’s done. Acknowledging it as more means I have hope. I don’t.

And so, I’m taking some time to heal and move forward. I’ve got much bigger fish to fry. Sometimes I need to burn the past, however little or much, and journey on. For me, this is the core of real strength.

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

Ink To Paper

Hello, everyone! Despite being under the weather, I wanted to take a break from the manuscript I am working on and see what I could bring to all of you fine individuals today. 🙂

Writing is going incredibly well, knock on wood. 110,000 words in approximately six weeks, minus things I ended up cutting. That isn’t a normal or common word count in that amount of time, but immersing the story in so much truth is possibly part of why it’s been smooth. This is the truest piece of fiction I’ve ever written (or read), and I’m sure I’ve said this multiple times. I try not to repeat myself, but life happens.

I am in the process of fine-tuning certain scenes and adding things I intentionally skipped at the start because, for certain things, I need to be fully in the correct head space to write it. Some scenes require more anger, more emotion, more sarcasm (Someone I know is reading this and thinking, “Lisa is NEVER without a sarcastic, witty, acerbic, biting comeback. EVER.” It’s true. That’s part of my personality which 99% of the people I know love about me. Only one person has no respect or appreciation for it, and often interprets the most banal comments AS sarcasm or some form of self-imagined cruelty, when it’s generally just dry delivery. To know me is to know that my sense of humor is a combination of all the different personalities which reside in my head, in a non-schizophrenic/dissociative identity disorder kind of way. I have always been a keen observer of anyone who was dark, funny, interesting, or compelling sense of humor. Ultimately, the core of my humor is dark, and I inherited that from my father, who would be pleased to see this project, and others, going well for me.), more love, more passion, just, something more. We’ve all been there. A writer who instinctively knows when more is needed, or less, is one who knows their craft and knows themselves.

I don’t usually write a project from start to finish. Usually I put scenes together as I visualize them. Creative visualization is especially crucial for fight sequences, which I genuinely love writing. This has been a process of A to Z, and then I read through it and add a few things here and there, as needed. Part II of this project is nearing 10,000 words, and the final part of it is at about 5,000, so it’s clear I took this seriously from day one. You might write 20,000 words to challenge yourself and see what you can do, but you don’t write a full-length, highly detailed novel as a challenge. This story came to me out of nowhere and I ran with it. For me, it’s so incredibly different from what I’d normally write, and that’s part of the love for me. I enjoy the lead characters so much. Their story is an easy one to tell, and at times, an emotionally charged adventure. There is so much honesty in it, so on some level, it’s probably easier for me, someone who has a background in nonfiction, to be able to write an honest story, even though it is fictional.

Some scenes I am working on require a certain level of research so that I get them right the first time. Minor details are big details at times, and it’s always important to be accurate, as opposed to attempting to be imaginative. That’s my process, but it isn’t the same for everyone, and I am well aware of that.

I have another large project in the works and was able to get some work done on that this past week, as well. Basically, I am running on physical, mental, and emotional fumes. My eyes have suffered major strain from 16+ hour days doing nothing but writing. However, it is a privilege to do it, and I look forward to everyone’s response.

What else is going on? I’m thinking more about my mental health advocacy in light of specific events. I have a lot on my mind, really. As so much as I can when I am devoted to a project headed for completion. It’s getting all of my attention and mental energy to the exclusion of much, but those things can wait. When I am not writing, I am focused on my health. There clearly aren’t enough hours in the day.

If you’re wondering what I’m up to in my silence, I am putting a lot of ink to paper. I will talk to you all soon.

Be well!

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

Always A Funeral…

If I tallied up all the funerals I have been to, it would be a percentage of over 99%. How many weddings have I been to? Three. Please don’t invite me to anything you don’t truly want me to attend.

Let me clarify that my own family has chosen to exclude me from every wedding, even my first cousins managed to exclude me. If ever I choose to get married, I can do so with less than ten people in attendance. My list currently stands at under ninety people, most of whom are friends of five years or longer; the kind you feel will happily stand up for you and those you will hopefully have for the remainder of your life. The person who stands by your side is ultimately far more important than the numbers, believe me.

Last Monday was a somber affair. I’d never attended a Catholic funeral before. I found is colder and unfeeling, but I suspect part of my newfound emotional detachment had a lot to do with how I viewed it. It’s not about religion, so much as it is about the state of a funeral while we are still actively dealing with Covid.

I know a Jewish funeral backward and forward. I can probably recite it by rote. If you have a good Rabbi, there is a very emotional, spiritual feeling in the air. Even my non-religious/spiritual friends have told me they feel like Jewish funerals are more involved/in touch. In essence, it makes sense I’d feel more connected there.

I remember my father’s funeral very clearly because I gave the eulogy. We are incredibly lucky to have an amazing Rabbi who deeply cares for our family, so even now, over a decade later, speaking to him is heartwarming. He will always leave you with a piece of wisdom, and I never forget his sparks or good deeds. He’s an innately good person. Prior to meeting him, I had never been able to connect with any man/woman of G-d. I found all of them so clinical and uncaring. He is the exception, not the rule.

Funerals are something I’m used to. I shouldn’t be, but I am. I get invited to more of them than any other thing in this world. While that is a strange thing to be invited to, I don’t feel like paying your respects is something you get invited to, or not. It’s something you do. Hopefully for the right reasons.

As the funeral was winding down, the “host” gave me a hug and told me I was a good person. I was taken aback by that statement. I wish more people said positive things through their pain, as opposed to those who shut everyone out. Yet, I did not feel the need to thank anyone who came to my father’s funeral or my mother’s. For me, showing up (if you are able) is a sign of respect. It is not your good deed.

Perhaps I am alone in these thoughts. Perhaps not. But unlike many, I try to show up and be present. I actually try harder than most. Even if it means being the only person who speaks and is fully present.

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

Stopping By

Hello, everyone! It’s been a while, and under normal circumstances I might apologize, but the truth is; that’s not necessary.

It’s been a very rough period of time for me, and as a direct result, this has affected my health in some very serious ways, which I am trying to reconcile. It’s not simple. I am coming off a few weeks of two doctors dismissing my concerns, triggering me into a very dark place, and me coming away angry and triggered into a place where I’m determined to fix the feelings and my approach. I’m lucky to have one doctor who takes me seriously and validates what I’m saying, how I make decisions, etc. That helps, but my support system is nil. I have noticed, more than ever, how people come to me with their thoughts, feelings, pain, and problems, but rarely, if ever, ask if I’m okay or if I need anything. The stronger you are as a person, the less people think you are actually in need of anything. 2020 showed me people’s true colors and 2021 has shown me their level of selfishness and privilege.

Those are two things I will never grasp; coming from such a profound sense of privilege that you actually believe the world revolves around you AND the selfishness of others. I’m the polar opposite. I know what I am most grateful for in this world and that there are privileges attached to that, but as a person, I am not selfish and would want to rip my own throat out if ever I came off as privileged. That’s genuinely not how I operate.

I have struggled for over a decade with how invisible I seem to be. I’m struggling with other issues, as well, and I speak to someone about these things and I do the damn work. That’s my responsibility to myself, and to others. Not to come from a place of ignorance or selfishness.

I realize I’ve reached a new level of fed up. Burnt out. Severe Insomnia. My stress levels could kill me. And yet, a doctor had the audacity to ask me yesterday what in the world I have to be stressed about. She can have an answer when she finally learns my damn name!

We’re all going through something; some more so than others. I’ve been hard at work on various projects which I’m not sharing information on just yet, but one of those projects in particular has been my saving grace over the past two and a half weeks. It has been my catharsis. It has been every bit of my truth. Think a novel can’t be finished in that time? Think again. A solidly good idea means the story will flow. I don’t normally write things of that nature from start to finish, but this one has worked out differently. Over two hundred pages and closing in on 85,000 words in the final draft. I am extremely proud of how therapeutic this experience has been. It will go out into the world in a month or so, and I’ll see who is willing to publish it. It is the most honest, authentic, fair, reasonable, and emotional piece of fiction I’ve ever read, or written. But once it leaves my carefully crafted storytelling, I am on to the next project. That’s my new rule. Write, sell, and keep writing. Sell your brilliance, but keep some on hand because the world needs it.

I wish I had more to say in the moment, but I’m keeping things very close to the chest at the moment; much like a deck of cards. It is unfortunate I have to adhere to those rules, but they have served me well.

I will be back as soon as possible. Maybe I’ll have more to share then.

Wishing you all the best for now,