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

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.

Crazy Meds Content Updates

Nothing spectacular, but more than the unannounced tweaks to pages I do all the time.

Tri-Ring Antidepressant Circus

There's a topic on the forum about the efficacy of different manufacturer's protriptyline.  The original poster wrote about how Sigma Pharmaceutical's protriptyline was only about 50% as effective as that made by Barr.  I'm now into month two of Sigma's - distributed by Rising pharm.  I wrote in an earlier post that it was acceptable. It is not.  My doctor raised my dosage to 60 mg a day, the maximum amount an inpatient can take.  It hasn't helped so far, but I've been taking the extra 10 mg for all of three days now.

Worsening secondary symptoms / side effects / WTF aren't helping.  Food continues to taste weird or just lose flavor.  The tremor is happening more often and is worse.  My memory is crap.  I shouldn't need ten hours of sleep this time of year, but that could be due to depression.

I'm trying to get all the shit together for my taxes and I froze.  I thought I had been putting everything that could possibly be tax-related in a folder in my desk, but as I dug through it I couldn't find most of the statements from the insurance company that covers prescription drugs.  It took me over an hour of searching before I realized I had that e-mailed to me.  Which is suboptimal, as the only way to get the total for a year is navigating their crappy website and looking up all claims for a year.  The only physical documentation I now have is all the receipts from the drug store.  Something like that is still enough to mess with me.

Of course Google is still fucking with me.  The site is all over the map, usually off it, when it comes to search results.  Anything not in the top ten doesn't exist, and if it's not in the top five it's fighting for crumbs.  Traffic is down, revenue is down, and that isn't helping things either.  If I had a real antidepressant I'd probably be dealing with this better.  Maybe.

Two more weeks until the equinox.