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.

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.

Chronic Insomnia & Trying To Combat Terrorism

I only have a few days to recalibrate before I have to force myself to function like a “normal” human-being. I can’t exactly walk into multiple doctor’s appointments and fall asleep, though that might help the message sink in for some of them. I’ve been trying so hard and today I failed. Epically. I hardly even know what day it is. All I know is that I was in bed last night by 8:45 PM. I was up after 2:00 a.m. due to pain and my cats waking me up, all upset. I couldn’t get the pain to calm down, so I waited for lidocaine and a muscle relaxer to kick in. Once they did, I was out like a light, and I stayed that way. That’s the most disturbing part; I remained asleep and would not have woken up without having a twelve pound cat jumping up onto my head, then to the floor, then back up. She finally made an alarming sound which jolted me awake, and I found myself feeding my cats and trying to figure out who/what/when/where/why and how. I still feel shaky and out of it. Then I saw the news, and I was sick to my stomach.

I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. But I’m also sick of the violence directed towards Israeli citizens. Yes, it’s the only Jewish state in the world, but it is also home to Christians, Druze, Muslims, and people of other faiths. Every year, during Ramadan, Arabs attack in completely unprovoked ways and they kill people. Whether they themselves live or die, their families are then paid for the rest of their lives as long as a Jew was killed. That’s YOUR tax dollars, no matter where you live, paying a terrorist and their family. How does that make you feel? Are you sitting in comfort over your vote(s)?

For me, I don’t judge based on party affiliations. It isn’t my business and I don’t feel that politics should decide who my friends are, or aren’t, but the murdering of truly innocent people? Yes, that’s my business because those are my people. I would love to see the reaction of people all over the world if Jews suddenly took to the streets with guns, knives, swords, and other illegal weapons and just started taking people out. Here’s the truth; THIS WILL NOT HAPPEN. We’re civilized. We value life. We don’t have “Pay For Slay” programs, because we aren’t sick bastards. We are not evil. Let’s face it; terrorists are evil and they have no religion.

My prayers are with the city of Tel Aviv and those who lost loved ones and have injured loved ones. My prayers are with every single person who had to check in with family to make sure they were safe. Thirteen Israelis have been murdered in less than two weeks, and all I am seeing from the people I know is silence. It makes me question so much about people who claim to be activists or to care about humanity at large. You’ve chosen to leave certain groups out of your activism. That’s selective racism. I am paying attention.

While news comes in from those I know who ARE speaking up, I will experience another night as a chronic insomniac. Worrying about family and friends in so many different countries, all at once, is shattering. I’ll be close to my phone, hoping and praying for news that doesn’t kill more of my soul. Perhaps I’ll even get some work done, and yes, it might be the “too personal” kind, but certain things need to be said and I’ll be damned if I don’t speak up.

Setting my personal health issues aside, of which I’ll have to face some of them next week; I am a writer. I will always be a writer. It just so happens that this time around, the writer is pissed off. Never piss off a writer. We’ve got a way with words. Well, some of us, any way.

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

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.

Fight Like Zel

When the President of a democracy says, “I don’t need a ride, I need ammo.”, it speaks to his character. Essentially, he doesn’t have to stay behind, but he has. The bravery and commitment is admirable.

Historically, Kings would go into battle. Sometimes they’d die in battle, but they still fought for their beliefs and for their position. Of course, this was centuries ago. They did what they did to protect their wives, children, and extended family from certain death. Much of it was about protecting a country and the family coat of arms. Don’t believe me? Crack a book.

Ukraine has the 5th largest Jewish population in Europe. The President is meant to stay safe, not take up arms. Yet, I have more respect for someone who fights alongside his people, and encourages and inspires tribe members globally to fight for freedom, justice, and human rights. Russia, ordered under the leadership of Vladimir Putin, invaded Ukraine with zero provocation. It’s easy to choose which side of history I’ll stand on.

Many Russians and Ukrainians share ancestry; the languages are similar, but not exact. Belarus was ordered to assist Russia in this war. I am Russian on both sides of my family, Ukrainian through my Great-Grandfather, and Belarusian through my paternal Grandfather. The men would immigrate to the United States from different places; London and Warsaw were two key points. Each one ended up with their surname changed at Ellis Island. People thought my mother was Irish, that’s how white-washed her name sounded, but it’s actually a distinctive Ukrainian surname. It’s high time to bring it back.

No side in this asked for war, for death, for their way of life to be destroyed, or for mothers to be in tears as their sons are returned home in coffins. There’s so much blood on Putin’s hands, and his behavior is beyond tyrannical. If you aren’t picking up Nazi Germany vibes, then you are not paying attention!

For those who’ve stayed silent, I am here to say what few have…

YOUR SILENCE IS VIOLENCE.

I’ve seen the comments on the Internet which go a little like this, “It’s white people versus more white people. Let’s stay out of it. It’s none of our business if they want to kill each other.” No, let’s talk about your blatant racism, first. They change their tune when they see families being destroyed on the news, and suddenly they’re all about prayers. 🙄 Sorry, I have seen you and your truth. Go fuck yourself! I said what I said.

This war will cause problems on a global scale. It’s more than death, which is the ultimate sadness and grief in this situation. Families torn apart. People trapped and starving. This is happening in 2022 and millions are saying nothing about it. I suspect that will change once your gas prices go over $4 a gallon, which many states have already seen. When it’s $8+, I want you to remember your silence. America is one of the leaders of oil production, and it is very easy to find out where every major gas station get their gas from. The prices will still be outrageous, and people will travel less as a result. I suspect the cost of public transportation will increase, as well.

What’s next? When the cost of food is so out of control, seeing as how Russia is a leader in whole wheat growth, then I’ll be curious to hear what you have to say. Not all your fancy, healthy bread, pasta, and cereal is sourced with American ingredients. I bet most of you can’t find Ukraine on a damn map with your eyes closed! Yeah, I’m angry.

For the states which decided, in their infinite wisdom, that taking Russian Standard vodka off the shelves of liquor stores to protest, well, that is laughable. Why? Because it’s already paid for. It’s better to say, as a store, that you won’t re-stock once it’s gone. That’s common sense, and a reasonable decision. Moreover, how many people in the U.S. can tell the difference between Russian vodka and American vodka? I’ll tell you who; those of us who grew up drinking vodka. If you’re going to buy anything of that nature, I recommend Stolichnaya Elit or any of their flavored vodkas (Stoli Blueberi is my go-to.). It’s historically Russian, but is made in Latvia. Mamont Siberian is very separate from Russia, proper, if you can find it. Husky is from the Arctic Circle and is extremely pure. Ocean Organic is from Hawaii. Woody Creek Distillers is from Colorado. Mildly unnecessary information, so please: Drink responsibly.

The world is forever changed by this act of aggression. We can’t be silent; none of us. These are war crimes, genocide, and real ethnic cleansing. I guess we don’t talk about any of that because Israel isn’t involved, huh? Selective racism is alive and well. 😡

I am proud of Ukraine’s President. He’s one of my people. I won’t be silent, but I’ll fight like Zel for what matters most in this world.

As you were…

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

Poison In Lethal Doses®™ is a registered trademark. Written work by author may not be shared or posted anywhere without express written consent from the author. Excerpts and quotes from author material also requires consent.

Grieving… It’s A Process

“Do not stand at my grave and weep, I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow, I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain, I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush, I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight, I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom, I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing, I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave bereft
I am not there. I have not left.”
―Mary Elizabeth Frye

Three times a year, I pause to honor my mother. Had she lived, she would be seventy-five this year. It’s hard to believe she isn’t here, because of late, her presence has been evident.

Explaining that you’re an orphan to people, especially as an adult, is tough. Not everyone can relate. Far too many people expect you to, “get over it”, and move on as soon as the funeral is behind you, as though someone like a mother is easily forgotten or replaced. This is not the case. Not for me. The grief is real, and it is present in everything I do. Not in a negative way, but in a questioning way.

Unlike a lot of mother/daughter relationships, I do not sit and question if my mother was proud of me. I know she was. She trusted me to handle tough situations, to take care of others, to do the right thing, even when I wanted to scream, and to forge a path no one could ever doubt, not even me. Whenever I had doubts about what I could or couldn’t achieve, she would marvel at my brilliance, not at any potential lack of confidence. Ultimately, I don’t lack confidence, but I do plan things out in a very clear fashion. It’s borderline obsessive, but it’s part of who I am. I would not be able to do these things, or be the person I am, if I hadn’t been gifted with an honest parent from day one.

Parenting today is quite different from my own upbringing. When people tell me how they grew up, I am generally appalled at the lack of diversity, culture, joyful moments, simple moments, the lack of music, theater, and film. Often, the lack of books or regular use of a library also galls me. The lack of any kind of bond between parents and children. Even more so when Grandparents are involved, but cannot or do not choose to be present in their lives. My maternal Grandparents lived across the street from us. I saw them every single day, practically. I never had babysitters; only relatives. My brother grew up differently in many ways, and does not have the same memories. I can mention something from when he was two or three and he has zero recollection of it, whereas I have vivid recollection.

Maybe it’s a cultural thing? Perhaps it is also a location issue. City kids grow up differently than those who grew up in the suburbs, in rural areas, or in tiny places where everyone knows everyone. I definitely wasn’t cut out for anything else, except city life. I’ve been thinking about it a lot, lately. My mother trusted me to let the city be my playground in many respects, but she also said no to many things, and I’m glad she did. I’m almost embarrassed over the things I pushed her on at a young age. To the point where a friend’s mother called her to complain that I was, “too sophisticated” for my age. 🙄 I laugh when I think about it now. I was deemed, “too sophisticated” at thirteen. This other woman said I should, “Still be playing with Barbie dolls and stuffed animals” at that age. 🤣 I remember my mother hanging up from that call and saying, “Thank GOD you’re a teenager and not an infant! What healthy, normal thirteen year old is still playing with dolls?!” She rolled her eyes and assured me I was okay.

I can’t say anything really stood out for me at thirteen, aside from being different and not fitting in. Though, I didn’t care about fitting in, and I still don’t think about it on such terms. Why should I? It was the year I added additional piercings, which officially stopped at twenty-one. It was also a hard time in my life because writing and singing were my only escapes from an abusive home life. Not many people understand that now, either, but I did and I do. We didn’t discuss it outside the family. Family friends knew and certainly saw things weren’t right, but no one ever stood up to my father. No one ever corrected his behavior or told him off. I do not recall anyone EVER standing up for my mother and brother, except me. People, especially family, simply chose to avoid us, as though we all suffered from the plague. Out of sight, out of mind. A few pretended to care once my mother had enough and left, but their support was temporary and disingenuous. To this day, I do not speak to anyone who ever disrespected my parents or Grandparents.

When I think about my mother’s childhood and how she spoke of it with a lot of fondness, I realize I was robbed of mine. Maybe this explains my “sophistication”. 🙄 I was functioning in chaos with an adult mindset, and I remember having these thoughts at about age four. Don’t misunderstand me though; I do not feel sorry for myself about this in any way, shape, or form. I am not angry with my mother for believing she had no other choice, but to stay. I am not angry for being the person who protected her and my brother. To this day, I still protect my brother in many ways.

Yesterday, a family member made the gross misjudgment of trying to tell me how to live my life, how to think and behave, and she took a shot at my parents. Let me be clear; this is one hundred percent NOT ALLOWED. I read this message multiple times and did not respond. Why? Because I was a step away from going from zero to epic bitch. I will not respond at all moving forward. I don’t need anyone to dictate to me, or attempt to use me as a replacement relationship for something lacking in their own life.

If it was her intention to be permanently iced out, she came to the right person. I am my mother’s daughter; you’ll die of frostbite before I give you the time of day ever again. No one gets to criticize my parents, except for my brother and I. We lived it. We get to say how we feel, but outsiders DO NOT. Unless you are living in the world’s most perfect relationship, glass houses shouldn’t throw stones and think it’s acceptable behavior. I will throw back bricks and concrete slabs, and I don’t throw like a girl.

What’s worse is, this person likely has no idea how disrespectful they were being to me, but I won’t sit here and take it. That’s the difference between mother and daughter: I don’t feel obligated to anyone regarding politeness and there’s no one overseeing my behavior. The niceness gene clearly skipped a generation or two. Even my brother would have responded with, “Oh, fuck you.” My response would be far worse, which is why I said nothing. I am kind and fair, but I’ve got boundaries and rules.

I have a short list of untouchable people in my life. My brother, parents, and Grandparents are extremely high on said list. If you were not a constant presence in my life, and did not deal with any of them regularly, then I strongly suggest you keep your mouth shut. If you’re going to persist in disrespecting any of them, I want you to do it to my face so that other people hear you do it and understand why I broke your face. No, I’m not kidding. Don’t let your mouth write a check your ass can’t cash. It’s simple and easy enough for most people with a brain to grasp.

My father used to affectionately refer to me as, “the family pitbull”. No, he wasn’t saying I reminded him of a dog. What he was saying is that once my temper comes loose, he almost felt sorry for the poor bastard on the other side of my wrath. Almost, but not really. It’s a good analogy for being a protector archetype, which matches me to a T.

Mom, thank you for seeing me. Thank you for letting me be my true self. Thank you for showing me that honesty and authenticity would get me further in life than anything else. Thank you for reminding me to be persistent in my goals. But most of all, thank you for having my back and teaching me to have my own back. Those are important tools to have in life. I am grateful to you for preparing me for things I never thought I’d survive.

Today, we plant a tree in your memory, because the memory of you will stay strong and live forever.

Fully credited to Zach Vaughan Photography

copyright © 2022 by Lisa Marino & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Poison In Lethal Doses®™ is a registered trademark. Photo and poem are fully credited, and no profit is being made from either.