Statement from the Families of Rudy Rochman, Andrew (Noam) Liebman, and Edouard David Benaym

This is so jolting for me and the community at large. I pray they are safely released soon.

“We Were Never Lost” is NOT a political documentary. Nigeria needs to cut them loose, and the respective countries representing these three men need to work harder to free them from any kind of investigation. Maybe now, people will understand how unsafe it is for Jews to simply exist and be free; it is because of hate and suspicion, and potential ugly intent, that we are not 100% safe in this world. The every day, average person would not have been detained.

I encourage Nigeria’s DSS to release them immediately.

This Changes Everything

Authors’ Note: POTENTIAL TRIGGER WARNING

If you cannot handle an honest take on life and discussions of depression and mental health, please do not read below this image. Thank you. 

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It didn’t set in until this month.

The majority of my days are Groundhog Day-esque. Lather, rinse, repeat. Dull. Uninteresting. Zero challenge involved. Over time, this method of “living” has worn me down. I’ve kept silent, but today I feel the need to say “I HATE IT. I hate everything about it.”

A little over a year ago I sat in full blown tears when I realized there was never going to be something in this world to cure me. With multiple diagnoses which are highly comorbid, I remember trying to hold back the tears by saying, “I can’t cry. I’m wearing $30 mascara.” I tried blowing it off. I tried using humor. I failed miserably, and no one noticed.

As someone who unintentionally fell into advocacy, fueled by my rage post the ER visit from hell that I still can’t fully talk about without going into the “red rage zone”, I spend a lot of time fielding questions and phone calls, dumbing down information for people so they sort of understand what I’m saying, and doing my best to help others. All while I’m dying inside more and more each day.

This past Spring, a nurse got in my face and asked if I was suicidal. I replied multiple times with, “I have a therapist. I’m fine. Thank you.” and ignored the question because, quite frankly, it didn’t pertain to why I was there. If I come into an office with pneumonia or go to Urgent Care or the emergency room with a broken bone, do NOT ask me if I’m suicidal. It doesn’t pertain to the injury or illness at hand, and medical professionals should NEVER scream and/or get into the face of someone who has a trauma history and a clear-cut diagnosis of any form of PTSD. If I had reacted by physically harming her (I romanced the idea for a good twenty minutes or so.), I would be in the wrong. I would have looked like “the mental patient”, or worse. By pulling myself together and reminding myself of who I am, that bitch still has a face. For now.

“Mental illness” is a phrase I loathe using. It’s a phrase that is incredibly hurtful to me, and always has been. Perhaps because it is so often said in fear, in blame, with malice, or with false empathy, I’m not entirely sure. I prefer to say “Everyone’s brain chemistry is different.”, which is accurate. I could probably get at least one doctor to agree with me on this.

I have openly and honestly discussed my battle with a difficult form of depression. For me, it is virtually un-treatable, so they refer to it as “Treatment Resistant”. I’ve failed more than twenty-five medications, and this year, I failed another. I just started taking something new (to me), but it’ll be a while before I know if it helps or hinders. My first dose definitely affected me and the side effects after the medicine left my system were not high on my list of “Let’s do this everyday”. On one hand, I am lucky because my doctor is trying new things and he has challenged us both with his commitment.

I also suffer terribly from anxiety, Complex-PTSD, and chronic migraines. Two of these diagnoses are hereditary. My headache specialist happily informed me that since my father got occasional headaches (I inherited my pain threshold from him. My father wouldn’t take so much as an aspirin unless something was bordering on emergency.) and my mother had a few migraines in her life, that I most assuredly inherited my migraines from one side of my family or perhaps both. This was nothing I didn’t already know.

Everything that makes me unique, smart, sharp, tough, witty, snarky, and a bad ass stems from at least one or two of my collective diagnoses. It does not make me better or worse; though people would love for you to believe anyone with different brain chemistry is going to either cause you harm or harm themselves. We are treated as lesser. We are labeled and ostracized. Within my own family, I’ve constantly been told I have nothing to be depressed about. I’ve experienced both exclusion, ridicule, and have seen everyone’s true selves. And yet, I see signs of various mental illness in a great many of the very same people who sit in judgment of me, feeling superior because they would never cop to their diagnoses, if asked. They are in denial, and I used the words “mental illness” for them because I have never seen anything special or unique about any of these individuals. I have never thought, “Wow. This person is something special.” When people describe me, it is usually in a positive light and the word “incredible” is often used. It is interesting phraseology, but I’ve also been told I “just want attention”. What crazy, delusional person would say such a thing? Fifty percent of my genetic make-up. 😦 I can’t take this person too seriously. If I did, they’d never walk, talk, or breathe again.

People often underestimate me, and they absolutely underestimate my ability to come back when challenged. If I counted how often a person has said I’m “so nice”, “so sweet”, “the kindest soul”, and/or “so caring”, I would be richer than Bill Gates. These are not words I’d ever use to describe myself. The inability to read non-verbal cues is apparently something many people either choose to suffer from or simply don’t realize they’re doing. If you spend two minutes looking me in the eye, you might catch a glimpse of the real me. “She may be small, but she is mighty.”

My mother once told me I’ve had the most interesting facial expressions since the day I was born; that she knew I was not only looking at someone, but I was also looking through them. She told me, “You see people exactly as they are. Not as they pretend to be. Sometimes, that scares people away, but it’s only scaring the wrong people away. The right people will always stick by you because you’re incredibly loyal.” When I think about those words, I can almost hear her voice again.

I have my moments. I can certainly be nice, sweet, kind, and caring, just not all on the same day, lest I ruin my reputation. 😉 I have limitations on how much niceness I spread around.

My physical and emotional pain is completely invisible. Unless I mention it, no one would ever know, and thus far, only one person seems interested in understanding the complexities of it all. I don’t have a lot of facial expressions. I’m predominantly quiet, unless I have something to say. And you’ll often hear the word “formidable” used in the same sentence as my name, providing the person is smart enough to grasp the fact that I’m not passive.

When other people talk about various forms of mental illness; OCD, anxiety and/or panic attacks, bipolar disorder, trauma, or personality disorders, they tend to be shocked by my openness and honesty. I suffer silently and I suffer alone. I have ceased to discuss it with family because I question their concern for me. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt someone’s concern was genuine. No one has EVER taken a call from me when I was in a crisis situation. People don’t call to check in on me, either, but they’re very quick to dial my number over the slightest thing bothering them, and I find myself exceedingly annoyed by the ridiculous questions I get via text almost daily. Loyalty, compassion, and the ability to be emotionally present are the things I provide, but they’re also the things I am not provided with.

So, it took me all this time to realize I am passively suicidal. And despite knowing this; people have consistently said or done something this year to hurt and upset me. My thoughts, feelings, and overall health has never been taken into consideration. No one has ever said, “Man, she’s going through so much right now. She’s fighting for her life. I’ll wait to talk to her about this until I see she’s feeling stronger.” My suffering is almost completely ignored. I wish people could see how horrible this all is for me and not attack me. I wish they could take my suffering into deep consideration; not as an excuse to avoid a discussion, no, but as a solid reason to know how close I am to the edge.

I can’t remember the last time someone asked how I was doing and it wasn’t someone in customer service. I can’t remember the last time someone genuinely cheered me up. I wish someone would understand how much pain I keep contained. I’ve never used my health as an excuse and I’ve never hidden behind it, but I often think people forget I’m human. The fact that I openly declared being passively suicidal should be enough to get friends and family to sit at attention. I can’t tell you how many times this year I truly believed my life was just moments from ending.

Because it was something I felt I needed to do, I went back into therapy last year. I was seeing someone once a month, and that particular situation worked well, until the therapist left the hospital she was affiliated with. She let me know well in advance, and even when she told me, it wasn’t a shock or a surprise, but it then took me time to find someone new. I saw two people, initially. One I automatically deemed “too young”, and I don’t mean chronologically. I mean in the sense that I didn’t feel she was prepared to genuinely assist me. She immediately got under my skin in a way that let me know she was not a good fit, and I also felt incredibly uncomfortable in the building her office was in, and the surrounding neighborhood felt unsafe and emotionally charged. I shouldn’t be going anywhere if I have to second-guess my personal safety. The second person was okay, but when she pissed me off in two separate sessions, completely twisting my words and practically stabbing me in the hand with a few of her questions, I was hesitant to go back. I mentioned it to my doctor, sort of in passing, and I appreciate the fact that he looked at me and said “Why are you trying to force it?” Beforehand, I felt bad. I never want to waste someone’s time, but he said the perfect thing to me in the moment, and there was nothing about his tone that bothered me. If anything, I was relieved that he knew me well enough to say something. He helped me get set up with someone in the same office, and thus far, things are going well. I feel like she’s got a good head on her shoulders and, because I laid all the dos and don’ts down in the first appointment, she has been good about letting me take point on how I want to proceed. She feels she’ll be able to help me, but she has no idea how hopeless I truly feel.

In the past when I’d read about how people were pushed by friends and family, or maybe one more than the other, into suicide attempts, it appalled me. I would think to myself, “No, not my family. They love me.” But the truth is, people like the idea of me, especially in passing, but love is rarely found in my life. I have friends who likely have more combined love for me than twenty family members, but my family would all deny this. It took me a long time to understand that love means different things to different people. Anyone who ever loved me unconditionally is long gone, and the pain of that sits deep within me.

I often hear people say “I love you.” in passing. It’s the end of many phone calls, but it means more to me than it does to other people. To me, it is a truth, or I won’t say it. There are many ways to say you love someone. It can be by helping them through difficult shit, or telling them to drive safely. It can be so many small and large things, and yet, I feel so devoid of it from people. My cats display more love when they look at me than most people ever could, yet I know many people are quite fond of me. It’s a short list, but I don’t doubt any of the people on it.

Inevitably, once this is published, I will get texts, e-mails, and a few phone calls. This will happen either all within a few hours or over the course of a week. People will ask me questions, pretend to be interested in what’s going on in my life, etc. I will also be accused of writing about each person in my life specifically, be accused of placing targets on their backs, as if I’ve got the time to psychoanalyze all of them and as if my readers are going to attack them physically in the streets! It is ridiculous behavior, but at least they’re all consistent. 😦 I’m supremely honest, so I MUST be targeting them. I mean really, the world seemingly revolves around a LOT of fucking people whenever I speak the truth. It’s baffling, to say the least.

All I want are some good days. Good moments. No pain. I’m desperately trying to survive this life. I’m tired of crying, something I almost never do. I’m tired of the emotional abuse. It is a horrendous burden to bear, especially when someone tells you you’re not being abused, or that you deserve every last ounce of hatred and vitriol a person can spit in your direction. I understand being upset or angry, but I’m tired of it being taken out on me as personal blame. Every time it happens, I reassess my life. No one should have to fight this hard just to stay alive.

It’s important to talk about feelings. It’s important to work things out of your system. Unfortunately, writing this was not a purge of emotion. This is an explanation of my daily life. It is slowly killing me, and those who know me refuse to see it.

I didn’t know until this month. I didn’t know how completely unimportant I am to people who should always have my back. I’ll stop here, though, because the emotional wounds are deep. I’m not sure there are enough sutures on the planet big enough to fix all the emotional harm that has come my way. But I’ll be damned if people don’t start backing off.

When you can’t see past the tears, and can’t breathe without feeling spikes in your chest, passive turns to aggressive, and absolutely no one is more determined than I am once I’ve made a decision. I need love and support right now, and if the people in my life can’t provide safety and a calm, quiet place for me to exist, then I need to stop being the dutiful family member and friend and prioritize nothing else except my own desires.

I know now, and this changes everything.

copyright © 2018 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. Further protected under the Digital Millennium copyright act. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Know Your Rights

Author’s Note: You can agree to disagree with me, but I feel that what I am saying is completely valid and I make no apologies for it. These are MY feelings. You don’t have to share in them and I did not write this to argue, I wrote it because it’s my perspective. 

Rights in America change a little too frequently, so much so that it’s hard to keep up. The Founding Fathers are probably rolling over in their graves as they watch what has become of this nation.

Under normal circumstances I keep a lot of my personal beliefs to myself, but someone started an ignorant fight with me and it sparked the desire to write about it.

The very benign disagreement was deleted by the person who started it with her comment, so not only did I cease further communications with her, something I never do when I’ve known someone for 20+ years, but ultimately, I lost respect for her because she clearly knew what she was doing with her comments and I felt that was low. Don’t say something stupid and expect every single person to agree with you. This is not GroupThink.

Here’s what happened verbatim:

The first person (who, as I said, deleted the three comment disagreement) stated that she really wanted to go to the movies, but that she didn’t feel it was okay for the movie theater to “search through her purse”. She lives in the same state as I do, and I agree with her. It’s NOT okay. Her acquiescence in the same statement was “I guess that’s the world we live in now.” Um, NO, it’s not, and it’s irresponsible for you to say something so stupid.

People immediately chimed in with a plethora of anti-gun sentiments, so this quickly escalated into something it didn’t need to be.

I don’t think of guns and movie theaters in the same sentence. I truly don’t. I’m not ignorant, I know what happens and what has happened in this country, but to give that thought credence and act as though it will continue to happen because of responsible gun owners is not rational, intelligent thinking. Unfortunately, this was like like reading comments from a Million Mom March, as opposed to people with differing opinions sharing their views. I was the only person saying anything pro-gun, and believe me, I barely got started.

In regard to the statement that “this is the world we live in now”: It’s incidents of unlawfulness with malicious intent. However, it is not the entire globe. Anyone stating shit like that is utterly ignorant. I have NEVER, not once, gone to the movies and thought about harming someone. Neither has anyone else I know.

While many movie theaters are posting signs asking law abiding gun owners not to carry openly or concealed into their establishments, regardless of the fact that their state’s laws allow them to do so, others are simply going through women’s purses to confiscate candy, snacks, and bottled water, which isn’t about anyone’s safely, but ultimately about how much money you spend after purchasing a ticket. That has NOTHING to do with your personal safety or the safety of those with you. If they want you to be “safe”, if they are truly concerned about a potential shooting occurring in one of their theaters, then maybe they should have someone armed in every single theater as opposed to acting like going to the movies requires a TSA-type pat down.

Going to the movies is supposed to be fun, not stressful. If they want to prevent something from happening, they can’t make their audiences targets. After all, they weren’t searching any of the men, just women’s purses. Does that seem a little ass-backward? I don’t recall any females shooting up a movie theater, do you?

My response to this was “I would walk right out if they demanded to search through my purse without a warrant or probable cause. Know your rights.” And that’s precisely when some stupid bitch decided to turn that into more than it really is by saying “I guess your “rights” are more important to you than your safety.” I answered the lunatic by stating that she is ignorant, that a lawful citizen not only knows their rights but can protect themselves, their loves ones, and absolute strangers because they have passed a background check, have been fingerprinted to be able to carry concealed, taken a 40 hour class in firearms safety, among other things based on the individual state one resides in. Within an hour of my response, the entire interaction was deleted by the originator of said discussion, and I find that utterly cowardly. I do not abide by cowards.

For starters, I am not a criminal and therefore if you do not have a warrant or a legitimate reason to search me, I do not have to submit to being searched, be it my person or personal property, without reasonable cause. Certainly NOT at a movie theater where I am paying hard-earned money to watch something I want to see. I don’t carry a gun in my purse. I don’t know anyone who does, so if that is how a movie theater is going to conduct themselves, they do not need my business. If they think they’re going to confiscate a gun from a law abiding woman by such means, they’re wrong. However, I’m also not a mental moron. Unless I am going to an airport to board a plane (in my state, you can be armed and be standing at baggage claim waiting for someone. If you’re approached by security or a police officer because, for some reason, you’re imprinting, all you have to do is show them your concealed carry permit and ID. They might be a little dramatic, but if you’re not aggressive, they won’t be either.), walking into the post office, walking into a government agency (I’ll use Social Security as an example since I had to replace my card a few years ago), or going into a courthouse, then searching through my bag is completely unacceptable. Would you let a restaurant do that before they seated you? No, you wouldn’t, because that’s not acceptable behavior, nor is it acceptable for anyone to do that at a fucking movie theater. Moreover, you have to check a weapon at the front door of any courthouse or lock the firearm in the trunk of your car, the choice is yours. Otherwise, you’re going through a metal detector, so it’s not like you can hide anything. How many women have had a wand used on them because they were wearing an underwire bra that had real wire in it? I have. It takes two seconds for them to say “I don’t mean to be nosey, but I have to ask. Are you wearing a push-up bra or any type of underwire bra? Oh, okay. It’s the bra. You can go, miss.” I have yet to cause anyone harm with a bra, though there are days those fuckers hurt and should be abolished.

I was once asked to leave a Kubaton attached to my keys behind with an armed guard. He held it for me until I left, no harm, no foul. He didn’t treat me like a fucking criminal for having a self-defense weapon in my possession because I have the legal right to do so. After all, this is still America, not Nazi Germany.

A TSA agent once checked my hair because the screening showed a piece of metal. She immediately saw it was my hairclip and that I did not have a bomb strapped to my head. That was the end of that. I very clearly didn’t require a cavity search.

Second, it is important to know your rights. When you don’t, you’ll allow stupid shit to be done to you and you’ll accept things you wouldn’t allow if you’d had the proper knowledge.

Many people turned the original comment into a war against guns. “Oh, everyone is so violent.” or they outright stated that “People who are mentally ill need to have guns taken away from them.” Categorically speaking, that would mean someone who suffers from OCD, has bouts of depression, PTSD, or anxiety could potentially have a concealed carry permit revoked because a bunch of assholes think that somehow impairs your judgment. Unless a person is paranoid and thinks the entire world is out to get them, the chances of that gun being used outside of a range are slim.

Would I tell an anxious rape victim that she had no right to a concealed carry permit to protect herself from future harm? No, I would NOT. Would I tell a single mother that she didn’t have the right to own a shotgun to protect herself and her children? No. Would I tell someone who has an order of protection that she needs to wait weeks, or months, to purchase a firearm for protection? NO. However, all these people cared about was causing an issue where there wasn’t one.

People will argue that guns can escalate a situation, and that may be true in the hands of the wrong person, but it’s not the truth in every situation known to man. Would I prefer to shoot someone or be raped? The former, always. Would I prefer to shoot to protect myself or be shot? The former, always. Every woman in this country has the right to defend herself however she sees fit, and for anyone to say she does not have the right and that she be allowed to be a victim in any situation disgusts me.

This country was built on the back of a horse and guns have always been used to defend and protect. We have the right to bear arms. We have freedom of speech and freedom of religion. And yet, Americans think we need to take rights away from ourselves every single day and they are 100% WRONG.

Two Americans disarmed a gunman on train and protected people a few months ago. http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/08/22/433742051/3-americans-hailed-as-heroes-for-subduing-train-gunman That is heroism.

Many Americans immigrate to Israel to join various factions of the IDF, to protect land that is, from North to South, slightly larger than the state of New Jersey.

Our military is taught to use force in combat if necessary, yet they are not allowed to defend themselves on U.S. soil, which is absolutely deplorable. You’re telling them to be victims when they could diffuse a situation with their experience.

I grew up with NYPD officers as next door neighbors. When one cop moved out, another would move in. You couldn’t have been safer. My Mom once had a roommate whose brother was a cop. Whenever he wanted to go out drinking, he needed to leave his service weapon someplace safe, as it wasn’t allowed to go off-duty with him at the time. Everyone else was afraid of guns, except for my Mom. He’d tell her where it was and she’d babysit the gun until he came back. I grew up with a healthy respect for firearms.

I had a friend call to tell me about a date she’d been on. She freaked because the guy she was seeing was a cop and she had no idea that the entire time they were out together, he was carrying concealed. She went to hug him goodnight and jerked away the second she realized he was armed. I explained that he was off-duty, but her personal experience with guns was so negative that she never saw him again. She didn’t want to be around guns or have them in her life. I explained his side of things gently, and then I let it go because her feelings were based on trauma. That I understand. They were not coming from a place of ignorance or hatred, they were coming from a place of trauma and fear. She was never going to be able to get past that, and I told her that was okay.

No matter where you live in this world, guns can and will continue to get into the wrong hands. It’s a given, and it’s sad. However, those I know are pretty unexpected. I don’t expect a 65+ year old Grandmother to be walking around packing heat, but a great many do. To each their own. I have found that every male gun owner expects me to be dainty, dumb, and a Republican. I’m not dainty, I’m far from stupid, and I’m not a Republican, so I just let them talk themselves into a wall. All I hear is “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”

All that being said: School shootings are unacceptable. If you’re paying to send your child to a community college or a university, you’re sending your children off to public school, you have a very reasonable expectation for them to be safe and remain safe. If you’re going to ban guns from campus and not allow guards and security to be armed, then you’re 100% asking for trouble. There is always going to be some lunatic looking to martyr themselves onto the news. Healthy people don’t talk about Satan and they don’t shoot people based on their religion. But does that mean guns should be taken away from everyone? No.

The current President of the United States is using all of these tragedies as a way to further destroy this country. Our relations with some of our closest allies have been tarnished and/or strategically broken by this sorry excuse for a President. It is absolutely shameful.

Guns themselves do not kill people. It’s the person holding the gun who is responsible for any good or bad they commit. I could say that some writers should have all pens and all forms of technology taken from them due to horrible writing, but that would be dismissed because people don’t see words as ‘weapons’.

We’re not arguing for “knife control” when people are stabbed. We’re not arguing for a lot of things that involve our daily safety, but every other person has an opinion about “gun control”. Many of whom do not own guns and never have.

If you are an actor or actress with armed bodyguards, either for yourself or your family, then you have absolutely NO right to say that this country needs “gun control”. Especially when you make your money on television or in films that A) have violence in them and B) Use guns. If you’re from a country where guns are banned, take a good look at your military personnel. They are not going into battle unarmed. How do you think your freedoms are being protected? With stickers, candy, and handshakes?

Overall, this world is violent. I do not place blame on individuals, governments, or weapons for that. I place blame on how people think. It’s not normal to stampede over someone on Black Friday to save money on Christmas presents, yet it happens, people get hurt and some die, and yet, NO ONE says we need to better control those sales because there will always be a Black Friday. We care less and less about the human condition, but we’re all too ready to point fingers and spew uneducated words, or hate.

If you know nothing about firearms, educate yourself before you say something stupid. It’s crucial to know your rights, no matter where you live in this world. You don’t have to like what I’ve said, you don’t have to agree with it, but I think we can all safely agree that our rights shouldn’t be violated.

If you’re doing things lawfully, good for you, you’re responsible and educating yourself. Unfortunately, there will always be people who will illegally purchase a weapon of any kind, or make bombs in their homes, with the intent of harming others. Do you think terrorists care about your safety? Do you think they care about legally acquiring a weapon of any kind? They don’t. So before anyone tries lecturing me about my rights, they should do their fucking homework and know what they’re talking about first.

In all situations; know your rights.  

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.