The boring life of Jerod Poore, Crazymeds' Chief Citizen Medical Expert.

Forum's back up.

We're back on the air.  Yay.

Forum down for emergency software upgrade.

We're off the air until I upgrade the software.  Sorry.

Crazy Meds: The Blog

In a desperate attempt to SEO the fuck out of Crazy Meds

Because I can’t deal with my life and need to do something that appears to be productive

Crazy Meds has needed an actual blog for some time.  A place for announcements, news items, and some short-attention-span tidbits from here or elsewhere.  So now it has one.

This blog will continue to exist, but it will now be more narcissistic personal and procrastination bait. I’ll still post notices of impending software upgrades or anything else that will cause a significant interruption of service there, and anything where an off-site location for posting is required because the entire domain is down.  As well as the occasional site update of note.  All the links to research, medical, and assorted pharma-related blogs and sites have been moved to the new blog.

Posts to the G+ page and Facebook page will continue as they always have.  While anyone can, in theory, read public posts to the G+ page without having a G+ account, who does?  Not that anyone reads the blogspot blog all that much either.

Rxmas Consumerist Orgy of New Products at Straitjacket T-Shirts

I've been putting up a shitload of new products at Straitjacket T-Shirts.  Just the thing for anyone who responds well to retail therapy, with or without Havidol (avafynetime); including those who respond to online window-shopping.  

Most of the new merchandise is in the Pile of Pills motif, featuring buttons and cheap jewelry, and some ridiculous, and ridiculously expensive, household items, such as curtains and a tablecloth.  Those last two are among several items that, while actually for sale, are mainly for entertainment purposes. 

There are also more clocks, with both the pill design and the Medication Time design, some of which are reasonably priced.

By popular demand there are now buttons and magnets.  Currently only the most popular designs are available in those media.  I'll see how well these do before even thinking about adding any more designs, as buttons are a pain in the ass to do in the Pill Font.  As I was adding the buttons to the store I saw the designs fit three magnets, so I threw those in for the hell of it.

I hope to add some new designs in time for Rxmas.

Begging for Attention

The beg button is back on the wiki.  There will soon be an obnoxious expansion of links to the CafePress store.  As I'm one of the lucky people who actually responds well to BuSpar I'll be looking into some form of advertising that isn't subject to ad-blocking software.  Such as those supremely annoying keyword links.

Lots & Lots of New Merchandise at Straitjacket T-Shirts

I've put up a shitload of new designs on shirts, mugs, stickers, and assorted other media at the expanded Straitjacket T-Shirts.  I had to make some slight changes to the mug designs to get them to look nearly as good as what they can do at Zazzle.  When I compare mugs from each of them side-by-side the difference is probably something that maybe 5% of people would notice.

When it comes to media the only thing Zazzle does that is massively superior to Cafe Press is jigsaw puzzles.  Cafe Press' puzzles are a miserable 30 pieces, while Zazzle's puzzles are a respectable 252 pieces.  I'm not even bothering to add puzzles to the Cafe Press product line.  I don't know if it will be worth keeping the Zazzle store open just for puzzles, so check them out while they're still there.

I still have more to come, but as always I doubt if I'll finish when I need to.  What's up now is barely in time for RXmas. 

Straitjacket T-Shirts Consolidating at Cafe Press

Zazzle now officially sucks more than Cafe Press.  Which means I'll be shutting down the Zazzle store.  And since I have to recreate what I want to sell on Cafe Press, I'm getting rid of designs that aren't selling.  Including shirts.  So if you want any of the really crappy designs, get them soon.

I've been updating existing designs of shirts and mugs with new versions of the Pill font, as well as creating new designs.  I suggest you don't buy any of the shirts that haven't been updated (Brain Cooties Aren't Contagious e.g.), unless you like the original Pill Font more than the new ones.

By popular request I've finally created more bumperstickers and other items like mouse pads.  I plan on converting some discontinued shirt designs into one or more of bumperstickers, mouse pads, mugs and maybe some of whatever other cheap crap Cafe Press offers that looks interesting.

New designs include things like:

United States of Pharmaceuticals sticker Medication Time Mug
United States of Pharmaceuticals sticker Medication Time Mug

So stop by the latest version of Straitjacket T-Shirts

The way traffic to and revenue from Crazy Meds is plummeting who knows how long I'll be around with this garbage.

New Feature on Crazy Meds: Rating Meds

You can now rate medications on #crazymeds. Most of them anyway, as I roll this out. A single, overall zero-to-five rating on a scale of #sucksdonkeydong to live-saving is far more cathartic than useful. It's really an experiment. If it works I'll try to get multiple 0-to-10 scales for efficacy, side effects, etc. So rate away on:

... and probably some that I've missed.

One Weird Trick to Banish Annoying Facebook Ads

Let me be clear: I have nothing against advertising, even the ultra-targeted ads on Facebook.  I make my living from the ads on Crazy Meds.  Crazy Meds wouldn't exist without AdSense and, face it, Facebook wouldn't be free without ads.  The increased use of things like AdBlocker is having a noticeable effect on how much money I make.

What bothers the shit out of me are ads featuring people with the bizarrely exaggerated chests and hips that are usually found only in hentai (Japanese erotic anime) who are selling "weird," "strange," "soon-to-be-banned," or similar secrets for weight loss, muscle growth, financial success, and other popular spam-subject-line miracles.  Although the most common thing they're selling is dating services.  Why they think those women with freakishly huge tits are attractive is beyond me.

In order to provide a higher quality infotainment experience for their customers (i.e. better ad targeting), FB lets you hide specific ads and asks why you don't like it.  So I hid anything featuring excessively top-heavy people and gave rotating reasons as to why I hid them.  I found all such ads to be one of:
  • Obscene
  • Uninteresting
  • Misleading 

Just like some old episode of Star Trek, the conflicting reasons caused the ad serving software to have an aneurism.  I'm now into day three of no ads on my timeline and far fewer ads on my newsfeed.  The first dating service ads have returned after a 72-hour hiatus, but no bizarre models.  Yet.

I doubt this will last much longer.  I've been disappointed by teh Internets too often.  If they are promising weird hentai I expect to see demi-human schoolgirls in skimpy uniforms toting  MAC-10s in charge of hermaphrodites undergoing forced lactation.  I do have some standards.

Try it for yourself.  If there is one group of excessively annoying ads that are essentially variations on the same theme, give FB contradictory reasons why you don't want to see them.

Pop Quiz! Forum Software Upgrade

We're back up.  Annoying bug still there.


I'll be doing a forum software upgrade today.  Sorry about the utter lack of notice, but, given my current spate of depression, I have no idea what I'll be up for on a day-to-day basis.

The usual parameters: starting noon Mountain time, 1800 GMT, and lasting as long as it takes. How much of the fix for the most annoying bug is IPB software and how much is system maintenance makes it difficult to tell how long this will take.

Roadblocks. Everywhere Roadblocks.

I've been trying to buy groceries for almost two weeks.  I dropped off a prescription a week ago.  Today I finally have it together to drive to Superior, pick up my meds and buy some food.

My truck has a flat tire.

The tube may be punctured, or the problem in the valve stem has become worse.  It doesn't matter.  I can't deal with AAA or anyone else besides the people at the pharmacy and the grocery store, as they were the ones I was prepped for.  I tried pumping it up, but even after jacking up the truck, inflating the tire to the point I could drive a mile and a half without fucking up anything is beyond the capacity of the bellows pump I have.  Although I've used it before, for some reason the can of fix-a-flat was too complicated for me to operate.  

I gave up after about half an hour.  An unusually short time.  Either I immediately collapse into despair or I worry at something until it's solved, I've tried every possible solution - no matter how ridiculous or unlikely they are to work - numerous times, or I finally give in to exhaustion.  Whatever it is that is causing me to be wiped out after something like vacuuming or just 20 minutes of Yoga, plus the depression and depression-induced absence of appetite, reduced my usual never surrender attitude from hours (days, weeks, months, years - it all depends on what the problem is) to thirty minutes.

Lately it seems like there is nothing but obstacles in my attempts to do anything.  It's hard enough for me to just get motivated to deal with my life, I'd rather completely ignore it, but when I try to accomplish the least little things some random event has to happen to make it all the more difficult.  If life is a journey, why does it have to be filled with so many fucking roadblocks and detours over shitty roads through bad neighborhoods?  I used to like getting lost, but that was when I had it together.  More or less.  Now that I'm barely functional, getting lost really, really fucks things up.

The agoraphobia and social anxiety are getting so much worse, and depression exacerbates them.  My latest theory on why they suck so much more these days: it's become much more difficult for me to pass as an NT.  Which is ironic, because autism, especially being in the Asperger's part of the spectrum, is socially acceptable.  So I shouldn't have a problem with people knowing I'm autistic, but I must be really fucking crazy to not give a rat's ass about people knowing I'm bipolar and have been in a psych hospital.  From an intellectual perspective I don't care, but in the real world I can't deal with people as I really am.  I've spent so much time passing as an NT it's automatic; it would be more work to not do so in public.  Either way I don't have the emotional energy to deal with people.  

Looks like another day, or two, to be spent watching DVDs and dwelling on my mistakes.  While I like the isolation I have, and would feel vastly more lonely were I surrounded by people in an urban area, or anywhere with a population density greater than...something more than the 5 per square mile I now enjoy, I miss a lot of things.  The two I really need are food that is delivered and being able to shop at 3:00 a.m.  I could theoretically drive to Missoula to shop at 3:00 a.m., and if this depression shows no sign of letting up I might just start doing that.  Make that 4:30, as I don't want to be on I-90 soon after the bars close. 

Assuming I ever get that fucking flat taken care of. 

"The dead do not have problems." - Kai, Last of the Brunnen G. Lexx episode 4.5 "Xevivor"     

Countdown to the solstice

I'm looking at a good six weeks of severe depression, and nothing I can do will be able to fix it.  It's a struggle to comprehend e-mail, or much of anything.  Posting this much has taken me two hours.  

I'm trying to switch to a nocturnal schedule, just so it's not as bad when I am awake.  Damage control is about all I can do.

It's one of those times.  I need something completely out of my control to fix it.  Some random event.  Big, small, I've never been able to tell if there's a correlation between how fucked up I'm feeling and to what extent the universe's unexpected gift has to rock in order to drag me out of this pit.  

Another thing that makes me feel better is running away.  For someone who doesn't deal with change very well, the crisis of moving can really cheer me up.  But it's not a vacation.  The thought of a vacation depresses me further.  I want to just run away.  From everything.  Just keep going north.  More latitude, more altitude, and more solitude.  Whenever I get profoundly lonely increasing my isolation is faster and safer.  I feel like a psychic contagion.  I don't want to spread the misery.

The house is falling apart.  Lack of maintenance will do that.  Lichens and rust are covering more and more of the trees and shrubs.  The landscape of my despair is spreading outward like some miasma.  All the more reason to go off the grid.  Find some remote place and retreat into a the comfortable crazy of conspiracy theories.  There are so many new ones to keep me entertained, and old favorites like cattle mutilations are still around. 

There's not much point in continuing.

All I Want is a Burrito

All I wanted to do was mow the fucking yard.  Was that really too much to ask?  Two of the three local gas stations had signs up stating they carried ethanol-free premium.  Apparently not any longer.  Fine, I'll fill the gas can with ethanol-tainted premium and get some of the good stuff from Plains when I get bait for the wasp traps.  Then the fucking gas pump has an issue with my credit card.  That's all I needed.  I've been dealing with enough depression as it was, that one roadblock sent me spiraling down into territory.  I couldn't deal with trying another pump, or driving a hundred feet to the other gas station.  I drove home and spent the rest of the day watching Farscape.

I feel worse today.

I fed the cats.  Maybe I'll eat something.  It's a good thing I did a little more retail therapy a few weeks back so I have plenty of DVDs.  And lots of atlases and other reference books to browse.

A cross-quarter day is approaching.  Unless something miraculously cheers me up today or tomorrow, I'm looking at a minimum of six more weeks of severe depression.  Perfect timing, as it's worse during daylight hours.  I should just give up on the delusion that I'll start exercising, or even do yoga again and sleep as long as possible in the morning so I can be awake as long as I can at night.  If I can not beat myself up on yet another failure I can have more time each day when I'm somewhat less depressed.

I'm tired of all the pills. I'm tired of the permanent gluten-free, corn-free, legume-free, alcohol-free Lent.  Right now I'm even tired of the isolation.  I want a Mission burrito, I want some beer, I want to do something fun, I want my life to have meaning again, and I want someone to share it with.

The way things are now, I feel guilty about subjecting the cats to my misery.

I Think It's Funny, Even if It is Happening to Me

Medicare terminated me, so I guess there are death panels after all.  I knew my coverage was going to end eventually, as I'm not getting SSDI any more.  At least I shouldn't be getting SSDI, but they can't seem to make up their minds about that, as I still get money from them every now and then.  I've sent them another shitload of documentation to try to straighten it all out, along with an offer to write them a check.  Our tax dollars at work. Did Medicare bother to inform me that my coverage was going to end in March?  Nope.

As for the drug coverage, AARP MedicareRx/United Health Care did tell me.  Unfortunately they did so the same way they give my monthly statement, any minor update to the plan, change to their website, or similar "news" - a long e-mail with the subject "Jerod, a plan document is ready for you online" and absolutely no information in the e-mail itself about what that plan document is about.  I'd have to log in, navigate the site, and read a .pdf document.  They're as bad as the credit card companies with "important account information" letters containing balance transfer checks that I keep telling them not to send me.  

It gets better.  What to they do a week after they terminate my account?  They still deduct my monthly premium.  Now I have to decide if the $42 is worth dealing with their customer "service" department over the phone.  It's going to be bad enough trying to find some insurance racket to pay protection money to in order to get coverage for the remainder of this year.  I've been able to find all of two companies available in Montana who sell to individuals, and not a single plan that covers any of the drugs I take.  So I'll be paying full retail for my meds for the rest of this year no matter what.

The best part?  After taxes and everything else I'd have more money on disability than I do with Crazy Meds.  Before you suggest just going ad-free, non-profit, etc. I looked into that in 2004.  Aside from official non-profit status being a huge pain in the ass to do, with all the traffic Crazy Meds now gets, I can't afford to pay for a domain host to handle that load without ads or lots of grant money.

The reason I couldn't keep up on all the crap AARP MedicareRx/United Health Care was sending me is due to the amount of e-mail I get.  Excluding all the stuff relating to Crazy Meds I still get more e-mail than I want no matter how many times I click on "Don't send me a fucking thing not explicitly related to a specific transaction that requires an e-mail."  No wonder people are getting only five hours of sleep a night and don't get any work done, how the hell are they able to keep up with all the e-mail?  

Ted Kaczynski was right.  Technology makes everything worse.  Says the guy who makes his living off of a website.  Events like this rekindle the dream I've had for close to 40 years: to live off the grid.

I think it was Kevin Kelly who wrote an essay on the impossibility of self-sufficiency/reliance titled something along the lines of "Where Did That Hammer Come From?"  An essay the Internet desperately needs.  Complete self-sufficiency/reliance is next to impossible, unless you want to live at the technological level of 40,000 years ago. It's that time of year in the northern hemisphere when each day has significantly more sunlight, especially in latitudes above 40°.  The bipolar objectivists should be coming out of the woodwork with their plans for John Galt's utopia, often planned for in Alaska.  But who will make their fancy espresso drinks?  Who will grow their food?  Fix their 15-year-old cars?  Where will they find temp work?  It's easy for me to make fun of them, as I live in a house that's falling apart on two acres of land being reclaimed by local plants and taken over by opportunistic invaders. As much as I want to get further away from everyone and everything, I can't.  In fact I need to get closer to civilization, as driving and caring for myself in general are becoming more difficult.

Maybe I'll get lucky.  The icecaps could suddenly melt and civilization could come to me.

If You Can't Cure Them, Give Up

Should the Crazy Meds forum include more support group-like qualities?  Should we discuss 3rd parties?  Mentally interesting children?  To what, if any, extent should Axis II disorders be involved?

In other words, do we go back to what the place was like in 2004, more or less, but with better software?

You don't need to be a forum member to read, but you do if you want to join the discussion:

And we're back.

The Crazy Meds forum and blogs are back on the air after our planned software update.  Nothing seems broken so far.

New Content, more or less, and Software Update.

New content, of sorts.  I've finally put up the long-overdue page of: Definitions of Neurological, Psychiatric, Medical, and Miscellaneous Terms, Abbreviations, Acronyms & Initialisms used on Crazy Meds.  It is not a medical dictionary.  That is still in procrastination mode.

I'm also planning on doing a forum & blog software update this Sunday, 5 April 2013.  It should be business as usual - starting around noon Mountain time (18:00 GMT) and lasting as long as it takes.  An hour?  Two?  Less?  Hell if I know.  The rest of the site should not be affected.

What Fresh Fucking Hell Is This?

In addition to doing some real work, or at least procrastinating from real work, I had planned to write about more great atlas acquisitions.  Instead I'm complaining about yet another problem with this fucked-up house.  The most fucked-up problem to date.

How the holy fuck is there fucking carbon monoxide in here when every fucking thing is electric?  The fucking water heater, the fucking clothes dryer, the fucking stove, all of that fucking shit.  My fucking lawnmower is in one of the fucking outbuildings and my fucking truck is parked next to that fucking outbuilding.  I don't burn anything in the fucking fireplace because that fucking thing is only useful for those fake fucking wax firelogs. The only standard fucking source of fucking carbon monoxide would be the fucking boiler, which I fucking broke two fucking years ago!  The only reason I know I have a fucking problem with fucking carbon monoxide is I finally installed a real fucking smoke alarm with a carbon fucking monoxide detector the other day and the fucker started screaming at me for no obvious fucking reason.  So I look up the fucking symptoms for carbon fucking monoxide poisoning and I've had all of those fucking things for a couple of fucking months, except for the fucking nausea, but I rarely feel nauseated from the fucking flu, or fucking meds, or most fucking things that make people fucking spench all over the fucking place.

So now I'm fucking freezing because I'm leaving the fucking windows open and I'm not turning on the fucking space heaters.  Those fuckers are filled with oil, so that's one potential fucking source.  I've been more fucking tired and have had more fucking problems thinking clearly in my fucking office, so the fucking cheap-ass flooring I put down to replace the fucking carpeting could be part of the fucking problem.  I've been waking up with fucking headaches, so something in the fucking basement could be the fucking problem.  As the only thing in there is the fucking pump for the fucking well, a bunch of fucking shit I need to take to the fucking dump, and one more possible fucking source that's doing the exact fucking opposite thing of what it's fucking supposed to do: instead of trapping the fucking carbon monoxide and other fucking vapors, carbon fucking monoxide from the fucking septic tank is making its way into the fucking vapor sink (or whatever those fucking things are called), filling up the fucking basement, and moving upstairs.  All contrary to how that fucking shit is fucking supposed to act.  I should get the fucking tank pumped anyway.  And take all that fucking shit to the fucking dump.

Then Again, Maybe You Can...

OK, so maybe the retail therapy helped after all.  It required the stuff I bought to start showing up.  So far:
German atlas from 1933
I love German maps. The colors are the best. I really like the ones from the Nazi era, as the maps show the delusion that all German overseas territories lost after WWI, such as German South West Africa, now called Nambia, are still German possessions.  Other than those I've yet to find any unintentional errors.


Rand McNally Atlas from 1889
This is full of unintentional errors.  Facts known at the time, such as thinking the Nile was longer than the Amazon are one thing, but Sweden and Norway were still one country in 1889. It's full of diverse charts to help illustrate the facts that heavy atlases like this one are chock full of.  Mostly forgotten stuff, like how Britain was once the world's largest producer of coal and steel.  This one, on illiteracy in states and territories, is especially telling:

Some things never change.

As the first picture shows, there are pressed flowers and other plants saved throughout the book.  I have no idea how old they are.

From the same seller I also acquired this equally heavy volume:
People's Popular Atlas from 1907

It's a lot like the Rand McNally Atlas, just published 20 years later, with fewer errors, and full of surprising things for a book published over 100 years ago.  Such as classifying "Hindoos" and Arabs as Caucasians, and two essays on why you'd never want to go to war against the Russians or Japanese.  As the Russo-Japanese war had just ended, including those essays isn't a non sequitur, the surprising thing was the admiration the writer has for the Japanese soldier.  This book lacks the casual racism so prevalent in most of the American reference books and material I have from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Getting those books, great procrastination material, gave me enough of an emotional boost to finish getting my tax stuff together and take it to my accountant, go grocery shopping, start cleaning up around here, and hang some more maps I've had in storage for close to ten years.  Now I have all sorts of stuff to look at, trying to find unintentional errors on maps that are at least 70 years old - which has to be the world's geekiest hobby.

Can't Even Buy Happiness

I've been cycling through various stages of depression, each day, for several weeks.  At least it's not the hell of tripolar ultradian cycling where I'll swing between manic, mixed and depressed several times an hour.  This is the gentle wash flavor.  Although a mood state can still last no more than 20 minutes, I'm rarely doing anything extreme like plummeting from sub-baseline to in bed, fetal position, shivering, crying and scaring the cats.  It takes at least half an hour to get from one extreme, if mildly depressed can be called extreme, to the other, and six hours or longer to get back.  I'm not hitting bottom, not even close, and I don't even reach my current low point on a daily basis, so this isn't a particularly bad episode.

I can't decide if I should try the 25 mg of Topamax every hour.  Not being able to decide is a key symptom of depression.  When I cycle through mania and mixed along with depressed I know I'm fucked up enough to make the cycling stop no matter where I land.  When I'm like this, I'm not sure.  I could stop cycling, but where?  With tripolar ultradian cycling the decision is easy, euphoric mania, dysphoric mania or is better than going through those and mixed states - I guess that really makes it quadrapolar cycling - every five to ten minutes, and I figure I stand at least a 75% chance of landing on something better.  Since I figure all that extra Topamax is going to knock the mania dead as well, the odds of ending up mixed or either flavor of manic are pretty long, so it's going to be baseline or depressed, and depressed is vastly better than ultradian cycling.  But now?  I have no idea how I'd end up.

The extra 10mg of protriptyline is helping, but only in keeping things from getting worse.

The local Equinox is Monday.  Looks like six more weeks of feeling like this.  Unless I manage to decide tomorrow to try the Topamax cure for ultradian cycling.  And it works.

I need to get my tax shit together.  I have most of it.  I'm stuck.  Dealing with my life is painful.

I tried some retail therapy.  I found some atlases from 1930s Germany and the USSR in the 1940s, as well as late 19th and early 20th century America.  I have my eye on similar items.  I picked up, all via teh interwebs of course, a CD of stuff from The Birthday Party that I didn't have and other music.  I looked around for records I used to own and miss.  The downside of having a bunch of vinyl worth over $100 the each means replacing a few lost items costs hundreds of dollars.  More reasons to buy current music I guess.

The Missoulian had an article about the Montana Valley Bookstore - a local portal to L-space - trying to reduce its inventory so they are closer to the advertised 100,000 books.  The article mentioned how the owners donated boxes of encyclopedia sets to the Missoula Library book sale.  Had I known they were giving away reference books I would have been there with my own boxes in the bed of my truck.  I have two full sets of the Encyclopedia Britannica, with books of the year, and various other encyclopedia, dictionaries, atlases, and other reference books going back to the 1870s.  I have four bookcases, two custom-made, dedicated to non-medical reference works, and two more for medical texts.  When do they publish this stellar news?  Right before my birthday.

Timing is everything.

I'm slowly moving the blogrolls back from my short-lived, personal crap-only blog.  The Panoply of Stupidity, Humiliation, Pain and Absurdity is up, although some of the defunct entries need to be added to the defunct list, and new sites need to be found to replace them.  The medical blogrolls need editing as well.

Too Little, Too Late, Too Typical

I'm depressed enough as it is, so I shouldn't be too hard on myself. No one listens to the crazy when we speak for ourselves on issues that concern us. I expected it to happen. On the plus side the odds are nothing will change. Then again, maybe not. It wouldn't surprise me if things were set up in such a way that any random asshole could, under the guise of selling a gun, could run a background check to find out if you're crazy. Here is the entire text of SB 374 from the Library of Congress site:
S 374 IS


1st Session

S. 374
To ensure that all individuals who should be prohibited from buying a firearm are listed in the national instant criminal background check system and require a background check for every firearm sale.


February 25, 2013

Mr. SCHUMER introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

To ensure that all individuals who should be prohibited from buying a firearm are listed in the national instant criminal background check system and require a background check for every firearm sale.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the `Protecting Responsible Gun Sellers Act of 2013'.


    Congress makes the following findings:

      (1) Congress supports and respects the right to bear arms found in the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

      (2) Congress supports the existing prohibition on a national firearms registry.

      (3) There are deficits in the background check system in effect before the date of enactment of this Act and the Department of Justice should make it a top priority to work with States to swiftly input missing records, including mental health records.

      (4) If the citizens of the United States agree that in order to promote safe and responsible gun ownership criminals and the mentally ill should be prohibited from possessing firearms, it should be incumbent upon all citizens to ensure weapons are not being transferred to such people.
That's it. Score one for the proponents of simple legislation. 

There is nothing to clarify how crazy you need to be before they raid your home for your spouse's guns. I actually care more about how crazy you need to be to have your mental health records in the NICS database at all.   Guns aren't in the equation where I'm concerned.

There is nothing protect our privacy. Nothing to prevent a credit agency, or prospective employer or landlord from looking us up. Or any random person looking up anyone else, if you're in there or not. 

Fun fact for the one or two people reading this who aren't mentally interesting: the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), AKA the Big Book of Crazy, is essentially nothing more than a bunch of billing codes for insurance purposes. Everything billed to your insurance with a code between 290 and 319 means you're nuts to a certain extent. All it takes is a transposition of a couple of numbers, a common typo, and you've gone from having secondary diabetes mellitus (ICD 249) to persistent mental disorders due to conditions classified elsewhere - generally, and permanently, crazy - (ICD 294). Could that get you in the FBI's database of potentially dangerous nutjobs? Damned if I know. The mechanism isn't spelled out. 

Hey, gun show firearms dealers: stop selling guns. Sell overpriced targets, scopes, and other non-ammunition, gun-related accessories and give a coupon for a free gun, to be redeemed by a third party if necessary, as a gift with purchase. You can still sell ammo, but linking ammunition and free guns would probably get a little too close to the edge with the ATF or someobody.  That may or may not work, but it's worth a try, right?  I know you guys understand privacy rights.

Anyway, lobbying Congress and protecting our civil rights, such as they are, is supposed to be NAMBLA's job, right? After all, they are the ones the alphabet soup of mainstream news organizations turn to whenever something is happening that affects the lives of the mentally interesting.  We crazies being incapable of speaking for ourselves when it comes to the actual issues, and not just our sob stories.  So where have they been on the issue of putting our medical records on display for anyone to see? Apparently in favor of it. Take a look at this screen capture (click to enlarge) from the front page of their site (after it begs for your money):


Lax gun laws = more suicide. And what did Executive Director Fitzpatrick have to say on Face the Nation? See for yourself. He wasted most of his short period of time talking about how difficult life is for the families of us nutjobs.

I guess this is all in line with the NAMBLA mission statement:  

Because mental illness devastates the lives of so many Americans, NAMI works every day to save every life.

"Every life" now meaning the lives of schoolchildren who would never be shot by the roving bands of heavily-armed schizophrenics who exist only in the minds of hack scriptwriters and similar fearmongers.  

And people give me shit for the Crazy Meds forum being only for the mentally interesting and not their families / caregivers.  This is one of the reasons why I have it like that.

I know life can be hell for the families of the mentally ill.  I know keeping guns away from some of us is a good idea.  But if you keep treating all of us like dangerous children, we're just going to live down to your expectations.

Stop the REAL Criminalization of Mental Illness

I've finally put my essay about guns and mental illness into a letter that I was going to mail to the people involved in reworking the legislation on background checks for firearms.  Did I do that?  Of course not.  After printing 11 copies of it, stuffing envelopes, and addressing them it was too late to go to the post office.  I copied it here, reviewed it, and saw several mistakes.  Time for a rewrite!  Of course I don't have any more envelopes large enough to contain this novel.  Then I'm hit with intense apathetic depression.  Now it's too late to send it by mail.  It's probably too late to do any good at all.  All I can do is post an abbreviated version on the websites of the Senators involved, the Senators from my state, and Vice President Biden.

So much for trying to spread the word, get a petition up on the White House website, etc.

I suck so much.

The full text of the letter I meant to send follows, mainly as source material backing up my claims, on the off chance whoever actually reads the comments posted on one or more of the websites bothers to look at it.  Especially since nobody listens to crazy people on the issues that affect us, and it's so late in the process to do any good.

Mr. Vice President, Senators,

I’m writing to ask you not to further criminalize mental illness.  Doing so will have unintended consequences that will make things worse, not better.

To register most, if not all of us in the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database when we have never harmed or threatened to harm another person is the same as convicting us, without the benefit of a trial, of being violent felons when our only crime is being born with a mental illness.  Including us and our medical records in the NICS means we would not be able to get a job, rent an apartment, or do anything else where a criminal background check is now, or quickly becoming, a standard part of the procedure.  I know the NICS is supposed to be confidential and not part of the routine background checks that have become part of our daily lives, but consider this: our Social Security numbers were never supposed to be used by anyone other than the SSA, especially as a means of identification.

This is not about guns.  I don’t have much need for one and I don’t care what kind of arsenal my neighbors have for hunting, self-defense, or preparation for various doomsday scenarios.  If privacy rights guaranteed by HIPAA no longer apply to us, and our names, addresses, phone numbers, Social Security numbers - basically everything needed to steal our identities – along with medical records for conditions that carry a greater stigma than any other are to be entered into a database that is going to become much easier to look at, how many people do you think are going to seek treatment for their mental illness?  Worse yet, how many people with a mental illness who are currently being treated are going to stop seeing their doctors?

In the wake of tragedies like those at Sandy Hook Elementary School and Aurora Colorado the American people cry out for a way to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.  Sometimes there is a call to improve the access to, and quality of mental health care.  It doesn’t seem to matter that those of us who are mentally ill aren't that much more violent than the general population.  Or that on any given day more people are murdered by assailants who are not mentally ill, and who used anything as a weapon, than Seung-Hui Cho killed at Virginia Tech.

Has anyone bothered to look into the research already done on violent crime not related to other criminal activity?  I have.  Would you like to know who is really more likely to kill someone with a gun, knife, crowbar, etc. than anyone else?   
Improving the inclusion of people with multiple DUIs and other substance-related offenses in the NICS would probably reduce the number of individual people killed by guns significantly.  As for mass murder, improving the collection of domestic violence data would certainly help prevent would-be family annihilators from obtaining guns and turning office parks into shooting galleries.

Yes, the mentally ill sometimes do commit acts of violence, but the motives behind these acts are not as random, and thus crazy, as people think.  Things like physical abuse, substance abuse, actual threats, recent divorce, unemployment, and real or perceived victimization, the same things that motivate normal people to go forth and commit mass murder.  Normal people like:

  • Major Nidal Hasan is a fratricidal traitor, but not mentally ill.  In spite of NPR’s best efforts to prove otherwise.
  • Wade Page, who was a violent bigot, with a worldview reasonable people may have a hard time understanding, but was not mentally ill.
  • Anders Breivik’s worldview is even more difficult to understand, but he is not mentally ill.
  • Ali Sayed may have played far too many violent video games, but he was not mentally ill.
  • Former LAPD officer Chris Dorner may have felt he had no other option in resolving the workplace problems he had, but he was not mentally ill.
  • Bruce Pardo, who dressed up like Santa and, on Christmas Eve 2008, killed his ex-wife and almost all of her family, nine people in all, with a homemade flamethrower, was acting upon the overwhelming rage many people feel when you combine a messy divorce with severe financial problems.  He had a plan to get to Canada, and he would have made it if he didn’t end up burning himself with his homemade napalm.  He was a horrible person, but he was not mentally ill. 
  • The same can said for every family annihilator who kills a bunch of people he feels were responsible for getting him fired, his family, and himself.

Even though mental illness was not involved in the above incidents, or countless others, it is the only acceptable explanation because most people are afraid to confront the fact that humans are inherently violent creatures; that our hands evolved to use fists as weapons as well as to hold other tools. People are afraid to confront how easy it is for the veneer of civilization to slip away; that anger and alcohol disinhibit more effectively than an abnormal psyche or neurological architecture.  People are scared enough when one of the good guys, like ex-LAPD officer Chris Dorner just snaps; they are utterly terrified to consider that a neighbor, coworker, family member, spouse, partner, or they themselves could be just a couple of drinks and one more bad performance review away from being the next person to go on a killing spree.   For most people it is far better for the mentally ill to be the sin eaters than to face such a possibility.

Has anyone considered how counterproductive the constant equating of mass murder with mental illness is?   How many people who are already skittish about seeking help for a mental health problem because of the social stigma will want to seek help if there is a chance, real or perceived, that their name, address, phone number, and social security number, along with the indication that they are crazy enough to kill their family and coworkers, are all going into an FBI databaseOne recent survey of the mentally ill found that 38% of us who didn’t bother to seek treatment cited structural reasons: lack of money, availability, or the inability to get to where the services are; while 21% said it was due to the stigma and 26% because they thought the available services weren’t good enough.  Of those who started treatment and then quit within a year, 30% dropped out within a year due to structural reasons, 36% dropped out due to stigma, and 35% quit because the available services were not worth going to.  So, yes, improving the mental health system will benefit a lot of people, a very small percentage of whom are occasionally more violent than everyone else, and all of whom are also ten times more likely to be the victims of violent crime than normal people!  But loudly using the prevention of gun-related violence as the reason to expand access to improved mental health services will probably scare off more people who would have otherwise sought treatment!

I run a website for the mentally interesting - people with mental illnesses and/or neurological conditions such as epilepsy or migraines that receives over15,000 daily visitors.  It has a forum with over 4,000 active members.  Many are talking about how they will stop getting treatment if being treated means being in the NICS database for no reason other than seeking help for a mental illness.

Here is a comment on my letter published by the Missoulian on this subject:
Everything, these days, seems to be an illness. Lets boil it down. You're either worth a hoot or you're not. The cost factor of mental 'problem' treatment is a bottomless pit, and taxes are already way too high. There is no cure. Cull the herd. Historically, the T-4 program was very effective, reliable, and cost effective.

It takes a special kind of person to admit, albeit as an anonymous coward, that they admire Hitler and want to systematically round up people with epilepsy, like David Axelrod’s daughter, autism, epilepsy and autism like my daughter, Down syndrome, and assorted other physical and mental disabilities, systematically kill us, and throw us in the ovens.  He is not the only person spewing such frightening rhetoric.  Look at the comments section on the websites of any publication or news organization that has written something on the issue of guns and mental illness, regardless of their political leanings, and you’ll find similar comments.  Those who advocate something along the lines of Action T4 are in a not-small-enough minority; far more popular is the suggestion of warehousing all of us in psychiatric hospitals, whether we need it or not.  Wayne LaPierre, president of the NRA, advocates getting the ball rolling with “an active national database of the mentally ill.

Since the mentally interesting are lower than undocumented terrorists who illegally enter this country in order to steal the jobs of domestic terrorists, those of us who never have and never will commit an act of violence will probably wind up being made the scapegoats no matter what. If so, there is a way to disqualify the mentally ill with a propensity for violence without violating the privacy rights of those of us who never have and never will harm anyone.  Figuring out who will be a mass murderer is difficult. Doctors have a better chance of determining if someone is not going to be violent than if they are; although, as stated in that study, doing that first could make it easier to determine if someone might become violent using subsequent tests.  The existing tests confirm what I've written, substance abusers and people with a history of violence are more likely to commit homicide.  Just like people who are not mentally ill.  Has anyone considered a return to Prohibition?  One strike and you're out for domestic violence?

No matter what is done to determine if someone cannot own a firearm due to mental impairment, we need to remove the Category of Prohibited Persons (PCA) code, and other codes that would be deprecated by its removal (reporting agency, relationship to victim, and any I’ve overlooked), from the part of the NICS database that can be accessed by licensed firearms dealers and whoever else you decide can look at it regarding firearms transactions.  Our medical records, even a summary like our diagnosis, cannot be included.  The only people who should have access to the PCA and reporting agency are individuals requesting their own records.  I assume someone with a domestic violence disqualification can’t see things like reporting person and their relationship, otherwise that’s a huge problem along completely different lines.  Law enforcement officials are the only people who have anything close to a legitimate reason to know the entire reason why someone is not allowed to own a gun.  While I don’t particularly like that either, I can learn to live with it. 

If HIPAA no longer applies to us and the already vague definition of “mental defective” is expanded to be based upon nothing more than our diagnoses, then we will be identified to the world as criminals for no crime other than being born mentally ill.  If that happens, thousands of us will stop being treated, and tens of thousands more will never seek treatment in the first place.  Some of us might take heed of something attributed to Mr. LaPierre, among others, when they spoke of the Jews in Nazi Germany arming themselves to prevent the Holocaust.  As we were the first victims of the Holocaust under Action T4, well, that’s no crazier than registering all those who seek treatment as violent criminals, thus forcing us to live in the ghettos of run-down motels and trailer park meth factories, and survive for as long as possible on whatever sort of job we can get, but more likely living on SSI or SSDI and relying on Medicaid or Medicare and relying on frequently inadequate workplace insurance, medications imported from Canada, overworked medical professionals, and understaffed volunteer organizations for our mental health needs; instead of holding down real jobs with decent health insurance and living in a nice apartment or even owning a home.  If it becomes a crime to be mentally ill, far more people will die than do today, the overwhelming majority from the usual causes when the mentally ill don’t seek treatment: suicide, being the victims of violent crime, exposure and other hazards of being homeless, and miscellaneous crazy behavior, such as whatever it was that killed my brother-in-law.  And, yes, there will be more mass murders that would have otherwise been prevented.

Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.