Whether at work, out for a walk, or dinner at your favourite restaurant – when the weather cools off, cardigans can be worn as outerwear or layered. As the weather changes, it often goes from chilly to hot within a matter of hours.
When going out on boats or hiking in the wilderness, layers can be a life saver. In my opinion, nothing beats wool (or a wool blend) when it comes to cool wet weather. The advantage of wearing layers is that you can easily remove them as the weather warms up.
Urban or city attire carries the same principles as any other outdoor adventure. It’s not much fun being out and about if you are freezing cold, or not dressed for the weather conditions.
How many times have you walked into a restaurant wearing a sleeveless dress, drawn in by the ambience and a mouth watering menu – only to discover they have the air conditioning set on “freeze”. No lingering allowed for the scantily clad summer tourist. Yet, all you need is a cardigan!
Aside from the fishing and boating layers of wool that are primarily for function and practicality – a few casual and dressy cardigans will add comfort to your life, when it comes to the more cosmopolitan escapades.
Though we have an unspoken adage surrounding this topic with “never the twain shall meet” between the two – in actual fact, mental and physical well-being are wholly and inextricably linked. For example, the proverbial hard driven Type A personality, with high blood pressure, is prone to having a heart attack or stroke. Yet for some reason, he is not considered mentally ill, even though he may have been told what the outcome would be, ten or twenty years ago, when he walked into a doctor’s office with a blood pressure of 220/110 – or got diagnosed with atrial fib or Type 2 diabetes while in his fifties.
In addition to medication, this Type A person would be told that if they don’t change their lifestyle – they are high risk when it comes to being a statistic for a leading cause of death. Almost every illness created or worsened by lifestyle factors – should also be called a mental illness, because thinking is what leads to behaviours. Repressing emotions can be just as sickening – as oppressing, regressing, or expressing them.
Every single human being gets physically ill from time to time. When you add accidents, sports injuries, falls, pulled tendons and ligaments, burns, iatrogenic, idiopathic, and chronic illnesses – the range of physical ailments we and our loved ones are faced with, is a cringing fact of life. Yet, from bumps and bruises, to life altering disabilities – the resilience of the body and mind, will dust off what we can, and get back in the saddle.
When a person develops a physical ailment – they are not automatically labeled for life as being “physically ill”. Why wouldn’t we apply the same transient logic to the many facets of mental illness as well? Certain diseases, injuries or events – cause life altering disabilities, but in most cases, people get over their colds and broken bones – and carry on. The same goes for most of the psychological hurdles and hardships we face.
Considering the credibility of the DSM manual is steadily decreasing, as it increases in volume, it is time for the industry (and general public) to pause and take stock. Inventing and adding new mental health disorders by the dozens is highly questionable, and is finally being challenged by many altruistic and educated professionals in the field.
The DSM has been designed so that any person who goes in for an evaluation or screening, would be considered to have at least one of those burgeoning 347 mental health disorders. Truthfully, a somewhat scatter-brained manual is growing like a stage four glioblastoma. If they continue to invent and add more illnesses to the book at the same rate, by 2030, there should be around 500 mental health disorders for society to contend with.
What the average person might not know, is that they are coming up with these diseases without any diagnostic criteria whatsoever. No wonder the entire field is frequently being called junk pseudoscience by a growing number of educated people and organizations. How do they come up with all these disorders? They simply get together, make them up, give them a name; and then vote to add these new disorders to the book (in their own best interests of course). Who can escape being mentally ill at that rate?
Anxiety and depression are considered to be mental illnesses. Who – in their right mind, has not experienced anxiety and depression at some point in their lives?? Are we all nuts? Or is the DSM a true extension, and example of what is bat shit crazy? Yes the human mind is very complex. In fact, the brain and the mind are not exactly the same either. Who are they to be judge and jury over how another person processes their experiences, thoughts and emotion? Most professionals in the mental health field are more nuts than the general population. That much HAS been proven!
Why are they being so sickening around the subject of mental health? Pure profit motive underlies the growing fiasco. Worse yet, like they did with Oxycontin, it is a way to get innocent people struggling with what could be little more than temporary sniffles, into a lifelong battle with drugs, side effects, and increasing marginalization around being “mentally ill”. But ironically, mental illness is still not compared to physical illness. The industry itself is more than happy to label and stigmatize people for life.
How does a psychiatrist, having never before met a person, and using zero diagnostic criteria – have a ten or fifteen minute conversation, and then pull some diagnosis out of his hat? Ten different psychiatrists would probably have ten different opinions. Every single one of them would be inclined to sling prescription meds at the poor person to top it off, whether they need them or not. It becomes alarming, when they start making these assumptions without any criteria, or even manifestations or documentation of overt maladaptive behaviours. Who can honestly say they are not motivated by profit, ego, politics, or their own distorted values – when they make their rash judgements?
The reason people are supposed to be referred to a psychiatrist by a GP or family doctor, is because many mental health disorders have an underlying physical cause. Also, a family doctor who knows the person, is more likely to recognize atypical behaviours or symptoms. It is up to the GP to rule out physical causes first and foremost. Therefore no psychiatric diagnosis can be made, without first doing some physical diagnostics and baseline tests.
For example, hypothyroidism causes depression. Idiopathic dystonic movement disorders might start with anxiety or panic attacks. Parkinson’s disease, MS, diabetes, and hormonal imbalances are often signalled by depression, withdrawal, and a loss of motivation. The list goes on an on, especially as people age. Even a urinary tract infection in an elderly person can lead to delirium.
During the years I worked in community mental health, the correlation between physical and mental health was very obvious. In the mental health system, when people would get physically sick, they would quickly decompensate mentally as well. If we are honest with ourselves, we know that when we are physically ill, we soon battle depression.
There is an entire spectrum surrounding drugs of choice, when it comes to substance abuse. But when you consider that a very high percentage of opiate users started out with prescription pain pills, in order to medicate a physical injury – what does that tell us? Substance abuse is one of the most debilitating and life threatening mental health disorders, yet the person often started out with physical pain and symptoms.
In the case of drugging children who are diagnosed with ADHD, with Ritalin and Adderall, because these are stimulants – the corresponding street drugs are Meth and Ecstasy. How many kids diagnosed with ADHD started crushing and snorting those meds as early as grade six? How many of them were misdiagnosed to begin with?
Heavy cocaine use will cause cardiac arrhythmias and stroke. Alcohol eventually causes liver disease, GI bleeds, and a host of other co-morbidity factors. So why do we continually separate physical illness and mental illness?
When people are ill, it is usually temporary. If they are permanently ill, they are terminal, or unable to overcome whatever it is that has struck them down. People with a mental health diagnosis do not need to be permanently ill. In the case of any diagnostics, a physical exam, to rule out a physical cause, is the first step taken by a prudent GP. The importance of evaluating physical health, diet, exercise, substance abuse, side effects of medications, and external circumstances – cannot be underestimated, before making a mental health referral.
If there is a debilitating and disorganized thought disorder, threats of violence to self or others, abnormal and disruptive behaviours, and the inability to self-care – those are the real parameters of mental illness. We need to stop permitting the labelling of every human struggle as a permanent disease condition. Every time we hear that someone is mentally ill, we thing of a deranged and dishevelled person staggering around and babbling incoherently.
Why is mental illness stigmatized as such? Are you still labeled as being physically ill, from a bout of bronchitis two years ago? The medical and pharmaceutical industry is responsible for stigmatizing mental illness. Someone needs to oversee how and why they are creating all these new illnesses to add to the DSM manual. It’s all for profit – and in most cases, they are also exploiting the vulnerabilities that led the person to their doors in the first place.
We are either all mentally ill due to past experiences with depression, anxiety, grief, substance abuse, insomnia, hyperactivity, etc.etc. Or in truth, very few people are permanently mentally ill. For those who are permanently disabled for mental health reasons, they will most certainly have some sort of movement disorder due to the medications they must take, which signals a direct effect on the basal ganglia of the brain ( a physical problem). Therefore the long term treatment must also include what the treatment itself is doing to the body, brain, and central nervous system. Do they care? Or do they just keep adding more?
Mental health professionals frequently overlook physical causes of mental health disorders because they themselves are uneducated and lack experience medically, when it comes to physical health. How many psychiatrists take a person’s blood pressure, or will pull out a lab req, before they make their diagnosis and order heavy duty psychoactive drugs?
The law denies insanity pleas, because the law defines the knowledge of right and wrong, as being a key parameter in determining culpability. Therefore, insanity pleas are usually no excuse when it comes to thieving and violent crime. Otherwise all property crime related to getting enough money for the next fix, would be deemed a mental health issue. If they do decriminalize drugs, surely they won’t decriminalize violent crime or property crime, claiming the person was compelled to be aggressive due to substance abuse. Yet the crime rate is a direct result of the substance abuse disorder.
If drugs are decriminalized, there has to be a way to prevent the crime that is secondary to those addictions. In the bigger picture, we cannot overlook the fact that physical and mental health represents an integrated set of systems within the body – one that has a rippling effect on families, the workplace, and the communities. In a similar way, illness and toxicity is spread to encompass a wider legal and social challenge.
Therefore an orientation to a more holistic approach is warranted, not just in the three spheres that are charted on mental health records – but on a half a dozen other spheres, extending to families and communities. Various societal influences, indirectly deceive us into creating our own “egosystems” and “ergosystems” out of their skewed drug-induced sales pitch. It’s both an excuse and a blame game – to fully and completely crush the vulnerable, since that is how those who exalt themselves stay “high” on the totem pole in the hierarchy of life. They readily judge others, without considering their own fragile state.
It’s all so complicated – few know where to even begin to bring it all together for the common good. One of the first questions we might ask ourselves; is what is the polarized opposite of vulnerability and shame? Arrogance and blame. Arrogance itself is a common delusion, and known as one of the dark traits of human nature. In truth, it is an attempt to cover insecurity and deception.
If we must blame, it really should be backed with some empirical evidence and accountability. But who is capable of taking on big egos or Big Pharma? Who can deny the need for medication, when it is initially prescribed by a doctor? By the sounds of it, the average middle aged person cannot go anywhere for a week without taking along his or her plethora of medications. Once prescribed – there is a duty to take the medicine. When a person is diagnosed with cancer, to include false mammogram readings, there is an immediate duty to treat and follow doctor’s orders. Pre-screening carries more hazards than benefits.
The only solution is to start teaching people to take responsibility for their own health and well-being. Autonomy does not equate to blind trust – by allowing ourselves to become human market potential. Yes we all need help from time to time, if we can afford or even find a qualified, and sincere professional. But the DSM model of inventing diseases and making people sick, instead of concentrating on wellness, is a profit driven model, prone to exploiting those who are struggling with a temporary problem.
The growing trend around volunteer peer counselling and education to equip people to do peer counselling, is a very positive trend. It is geared toward empathy and compassion, as opposed to the crumbling DSM criteria. It is more equality based, much cheaper, probably deeper – and every bit as effective as expensive counselling sessions, if not more so. Talk therapy does not have to cost the system $150.00 an hour. After all – most of us know how to talk! It takes a big whack on the head – before they can take that much away from us!
The 10,000 steps a day became a popular marketing platform a few years ago when it was the rage to use pedometers. Now there are watches and a variety of wrist trackers that record all activity, resting pulse rate, increase in pulse rate with each activity, hours of sleep, calendar alerts, fitness goals, calories consumed, etc. You can download all of this information onto your computer or phone each day, in order to set up a sophisticated training program.
So the pedometers have been surpassed by more comprehensive fitness trackers. But the 10,000 steps a day should not be left in the dust, or in the drawer, with all the other dusty old-fashioned gadgets. They can still help you track your steps, and increase them incrementally as per your goals. According to most fitness recommendations, one should aim to increase the number of steps by 500 per week. There is so much to see!
There are benefits to setting goals and for most people, it is motivating to track those goals – whether it is for fitness, counting calories, or both. Some websites claim that for many people 10,000 steps a day is not realistic. But considering most people walk 2000-3000 steps a day anyway, it is not the least bit unrealistic to increase it to 5,000 and then over a period of time, to 10,000.
Depending on a person’s stride, 10,000 steps is four to five miles. A shorter walking stride measures out to 4.4 miles. A ten kilometre run or walk, is six miles, which most people can manage, especially if the terrain is flat. The objective is to not only do those 10K walks for fund raising events, but to make it a habit at least five days of the week.
The other factor is time. It takes time to walk five or six miles a day. If you are a brisk walker, you will need to spend about ninety minutes out walking, and for slower walkers, a couple of hours. Considering it is healthy to get at least two hours of fresh air each day, setting the 10,000 steps as a goal, includes a daily dose of sunshine and fresh air.
Recently I have been walking the Rotary and Vedder River trails in Chilliwack, after living and walking on Haida Gwaii, and then in Vancouver for many years. After living on West Broadway and walking the Broadway corridor in Vancouver for several years, it is a breath of fresh air to be walking the river and dyke trails, with the river on one side, mountain views, and lush farmland with horses, goats, cattle, ducks, herons, on a well kept trail network. It is a walkers dream paradise!
Until I got out of the city, I did not realize how many things you have to watch out for when walking in the city. Right turning cars will often approach the intersections without stopping, while simultaneously looking to the left. Many of them ignore the fact it is a green light for the pedestrians, so you have to pay attention and wait until you know if they are paying attention.
A similar situation occurs when vehicles stop or pull forward to get a better view of traffic, and block the crosswalk on a pedestrian green light. Often, your only choice is to walk behind the vehicle. However, left turning traffic may not see you coming out from behind a truck or SUV when they take that twenty second window when there is a break in the traffic, to make a left turn.
The worst and most hazardous in my opinion, though – are the cyclists on the sidewalks. It’s not so bad if they are considerate and go slow while illegally riding on the sidewalk. But many of them do the opposite. They barrel down the centre of the sidewalk expecting people to get out of their way. And worse yet, will cycle down the Broadway corridor like a bat out of hell, weaving between pedestrians, dogs, strollers, people with walkers – and you or I – who might just be side-stepping or veering away from something on the sidewalk at that moment.
Each time a cyclist narrowly misses running into you from behind, you cannot help but think how crazy and unsafe it is for an adult to ride a bike very fast, down the middle of a sidewalk. There have been countless pedestrian injuries as a result. For those cyclists who think it is safer, hitting a pedestrian, a plate glass window, a bus stop, a dog on a leash, or getting thrown into oncoming traffic – defies logic.
As a matter of fact, many city cyclists will go from the sidewalk to the road or the road to the sidewalk without warning. They will cycle on the pedestrian crosswalks even if they are crowded. At the Kits beach crossings, they often will not even stop when they are cycling on the road and there is a red light, once again, narrowly missing or intimidating pedestrians who are trying to cross the road on a walk light.
If you walk a fair bit in Vancouver, you will soon realize that some cyclists are considerate and obey rules, while many do not. Therefore, you have to keep a wary eye to anticipate what they might do next, since there is no rhyme or reason to the way they operate. Some of them have attitude, like everyone but them are lard asses, and burning fossil fuels. They got their lard asses, ass backwards somehow!
A far-out country trail network, happens to be ideal for cyclists, horse back riders and pedestrians. I would have expected way more cyclists to be riding the trails out here. But so far, not one of them has dominated the trails, or come up fast behind me without warning. Trail blazers of all types, are much more polite, even though, in this case – they have every right to be on the trails. Oddly enough, I guess it makes some “less wobbly” sense – and might tie into stories describing the differences between the city mouse and the country mouse.
The same goes for horses. I have not had to condition myself for being startled by a horse either. And when I see them coming – I don’t want to startle them either! It works both ways!
It just goes to show you – we can’t take those 10,000 steps for granted. Every worthwhile goal has its hurdles. I suppose when it is salmon season, there will be bears along the riverbanks too. I actually think they are safer than city cyclists on the sidewalk – since being in the country tends to make us both shy away from close encounters! After all, common sense dictates we must avoid hazards, if we are going to stick to the goal of reaching 10,000 steps a day!
Since human beings have been prone to cooking up deceptive deals since the beginning of time – what then, is a conspiracy theorist? The term seems to revolve around enmity and paranoia, but at the same time, wouldn’t it be naive and stupid to believe there are no conspiracies at all? Probably the root of most conspiracies is greed and profit motive, with a disregard for truth, to the detriment of individuals, families, communities, and the environment.
One common conspiracy theory revolves around vaccines. On one extreme, there are people who believe all vaccines are harmful, and therefore they refuse all vaccines. On the other hand, we have gone from four vaccines at birth to more than a dozen, in just a few decades. Since vaccines (and all drugs) carry some risks, it makes sense to weigh out and reduce the risks.
If a baby is pre-term or sick, it makes sense to delay or spread the vaccines out over a longer period of time. It also seems prudent to have concerns about mercury and other adjuncts contained in vaccines. One of the best immune boosters for newborns is colostrum and breast milk. Although I think some of the newer vaccines might be questionable, it is probably not a good idea to reject all vaccines.
The one world order is another popular conspiracy theory, which seemed quite plausible to me for a period of time – but I now believe it is bogus fear mongering. The chances of a group of leaders becoming unified enough to take over the world is pretty far-fetched. Nations will always have conflicts, wars, and religious and cultural differences. What are the chances those differences would be reconciled enough to create a one world government?
The 911 terrorist attacks in New York sparked more questions than answers. However, terrorist attacks happen all over the world. Regardless of who initiated the terrorist attack – it is still a terrorist attack. Certain countries are targeted more frequently than others, but there is no doubt that such attacks are based on the conspiracies of certain deranged individuals working together. Five minutes of listening to Alex Jones, and we need to be deprogrammed.
Do I believe in a unified conspiracy theory? Not at all. Mostly because it is next to impossible to get people unified on any topic, let alone things that are next to impossible to prove. But as far as conspiracies in general – we are a society prone to deception. What is conspiracy, but an inclination for some people to create plots to deceive others?
Conspiracies are sort of like weeds in the garden. Truth and goodness will not be choked out by an overgrowth of deception in any realm. In the meantime, wisdom dictates that we don’t foolishly allow ourselves to be deceived. Discernment is valuable. Blind trust is not. Those who refuse to be duped are not conspiracy theorists. Sometimes our definitions become a little skewed and all encompassing, when we are simply navigating our own best interests in a complex world.
In the end, I think we will all be surprised at the amount of deception in this world. In all likelihood, the greatest deception and conspiracies will be in areas we did not see or even contemplate. Such is the nature of deception!
Recently I was chatting with a neighbour who was telling me about some of the changes her 93 year old mother was going through. She was still living independently, and spent most of the year in Vancouver, and the summers in the Okanagan. The big change was that she was selling one of her properties and starting to plan for assisted living.
A few years ago, this dynamic lady began to have problems with her balance, so she started using a walker. Her habit has been to get out there with her walker and walk the seawall three times a week. She also makes a point of getting up, dressed, and getting out every day to run errands. It is an inspiration to hear the testimonies of people who manage to stay balanced into their nineties!
Another neighbour who is in his eighties now, is finally ready to retire he said, but he still kept some of his tools, because he will always have work to do. In spite of getting injured in a fall, he made a full recovery, has an excellent memory, and is looking forward to the future. I joke with him about going swimming to stay in shape, and he laughs and says he is going to start swimming in the afterlife! Although he is fairly active, apparently swimming is not for him.
Physical balance and athleticism is something many of us take for granted when we are young, because we have good innate balance. However, many things can affect our balance. Aging, obesity, drugs, certain medical conditions, and alcohol are the top culprits that can have an adverse effect on our balance.
Every one of life’s struggles today is viewed as a mental illness. Those who are too fat or too thin – are considered to have a psychiatric disorder (eating disorder). Substance abuse – addictions to nicotine, alcohol and other drugs sickens 30% of the population. Grief is now considered a mental health disorder, along with all symptoms of depression. Insomnia, anxiety, and social withdrawal are also on the disease list.
Internet use, gambling, phobias, active children, and hundreds of other thoughts and behaviours are now added to the rap-sheet of mental health disorders. They even go so far as to say there are unknown and “hidden” mental health disorders that do not even have to be demonstrated in any way. Greed and pharmaceutical profit motive has caused the system to go off the rails. There is no balance when it comes to making people sick, who were not sick to begin with.
There are now a walloping 347 mental health disorders, when not that long ago, there was less than 50. The field is literally inventing and adding new diseases all the time. Since there is no real diagnostic criteria for these diseases, there is no curtailing this madness. It used to be that the practitioner had to list abnormal and disruptive behaviours, in order to make a diagnosis.
But now they simply pull a diagnosis out of their hat, which would not be so alarming if it was not immediately accompanied with coercing a person into taking toxic medications. It’s based on pure profit motive – and has nothing to do with compassion, therapy, healing, recovery or a treatment plan. They are blowing it, when it comes to the Hippocratic Oath – “first do no harm”. What a sick joke! Their very first inclination is to do harm, and they do so knowing it will become a crippling and debilitating downhill slide for the person. After all – making people sick and drug dependant is what keeps them coming back (and keeling over). How many lives have been destroyed by an ever increasing chemical soup, fatal adverse reactions, life altering, and often permanent movement disorders – and a myriad of other side effects! For what?
In fact, every human condition related to emotions, conflicts, victimization, aggression, selfishness, difference of opinion, setting boundaries, etc. are subjected to the disease (and motivation to medicate for profit) model. In actual fact, healthy boundaries are a central requirement in maintaining balance. So what does a person do when an aggressive and self-centred person will not accept a boundary? It is not the victim of such behaviours who is sick. Power imbalances, scapegoating and victim blaming is rampant, and very difficult to overcome.
How do we overcome this imbalance of turning every struggle into a disease? One of the methods to increase dopamine in our brains, as well as to reduce anxiety, is to create to do lists. This makes sense because those daily lists equate to actions and habits. Like physical well-being, mental wellness includes daily to do lists in order to keep balanced. It is relatively easy to get unbalanced, or develop bad habits that affect our health.
The value of a healthy whole food diet and daily exercise cannot be underestimated. Nutrition and exercise probably have the greatest influence on increasing dopamine and serotonin levels. Whole foods are loaded with micro nutrients and do not have the mood altering additives that are in many packaged foods. Exercise and whole foods help keep our weight in a normal range, and also keeps us fit, so we can manage whatever heavy lifting we are faced with in every day living. The discovery of the second brain in the gut reinforces the importance of keeping the gut bacteria healthy. I once read a quote that went something like this; “If you want to know if your brain is getting flabby – feel your legs”.
For some people maintaining balance is not too difficult, because a percentage of people came from loving supportive families. Many people have been cared for their entire lives, and have not had to struggle financially, or with childhood trauma. It doesn’t mean they will never get depressed or have to deal with grief – but if the system is balanced, it is easier to return to that balance and stability, as opposed to spiralling out of control. It is interesting to note that at least half the people with serious addictions describe having come from loving, supportive families. Clearly there is more to it than meets the eye.
On the flip side, experiencing trauma, poverty, grief, trials, and tribulations make us better equipped to deal with difficulties when they do occur. If we are able to get through them intact – we know we can deal with difficulties again. The experiences can increase our resilience. It is similar to those who stay in good physical shape, and then have an injury, big surgery, or gain weight in later life. Even our muscles have memory, and all that prior exercise benefits us throughout the process of recovery and/or weight loss.
The individual is the one most responsible for maintaining health and well-being. This is not to say illness or accidents are the fault of the individual, but the autonomy of the individual is paramount to any recovery. Although many people do need help from time to time – there is no one else who can make the adjustments that lead to a balanced lifestyle. For all changes and adaptations we must make throughout the course of our lives to remain healthy – the locus of control must come from within. This fact does not undermine the spiritual aspects of prayer and surrender. It means that personalities, decisions and choices are highly individual, and change starts from within.
For example, you can put a person on suicide watch, which may avert a crisis temporarily – but it will not alleviate the person’s suffering. People cannot be constantly watched or monitored anyway. Even those who face involuntary admissions, cannot be detained longer than 48-72 hours. You can force a person into drug and alcohol treatment, but in those cases, relapse is around 90% However, if you listen to those who overcome addiction and severe depression, they will attribute it to a spiritual awakening, combined with a conscious decision to change. Self control means exactly that. No one else can be responsible for another person’s self-control.
From my own perspective and experiences, I have concluded that all psychoactive substances can interfere with balance (in more ways than one). Years ago, while working in long term care, it was clear to me that those who were on the most psychoactive drugs, were also the most out of control, with loss of dignity and outrageous behaviours the daily norm for them.
But incoherent, antisocial, and aggressive behaviours – such as public defecation, physically attacking others, screaming uncontrollably, and repeatedly falling down, are not normal for anyone. I would often wonder, “How on earth did they get like this? How rapid was the decline? What were they like before?” In going through the charts, I learned one of the common denominators for most of the people in locked units, involved prior and often long term use of harmful substances – such as antidepressants, neuroleptics, benzodiazepines, opiates, barbiturates, sleeping pills, and/or alcohol. Often these drugs were started when the person was in their forties or fifties.
What is the difference between a 93 year old woman walking the seawall three times a week, and an 78 year old in long term care, who is completely out of control, even though he or she is chemically restrained with multiple psychoactive medications? Surely those medications are not helping them. In fact, the one most notable thing in long term care is that the most stable and cognitively intact, are also the ones who do not take psychotropic medications. However, few can escape them once admitted to a facility, because the pattern is to over medicate.
There is a very sad program on Youtube called “Seattle is Dying”. The program honestly and candidly places drugs as being the primary cause of the homeless epidemic. In fact, many of the behaviours and loss of balance seen in locked psychogeriatric units is now evident on the streets. The average age of the street populations is tragically between 30 and 40, a time when people are supposed to be in the prime of life. They are subjected to the same drugs, and in fact often behave the same way, as those who are in locked psychogeriatric units.
Who but journalists, advocates, and sincere (honest) health care professionals are going to help with this drug crisis, once the people completely lose cognitive function? This chaotic loss of human potential is affecting families, communities, businesses, health care, policing and politics.
When are they going to make greed the number one collective mental health disorder – a profit driven addiction with the greatest potential for harm, societal breakdown, and human suffering? Oxycontin is the opiate of choice, even on the streets. Where do they get it? From prescriptions. Almost all people addicted to opiates start with, and prefer prescription opiates. They turn to fentanyl laced heroin in later stages, when they can no longer obtain a prescription for, or afford the pills. Many young people in the large US cities who give interviews about their addictions – claim they could get hundreds of pills by offering cash to a doctor. Some of those doctors have been arrested, but who knows how many continue to trade cash for prescriptions?
The correlation is clear to me. Drugs cause a loss of balance physically and mentally. Drugs and alcohol also decrease motivation, with the only to do list entering a person’s mind, is how to get more drugs in order to chase the high, and after awhile, just to feel “normal”. Another eye-opener is when we look at the conditions on some of the First Nations reserves. Anytime we see squalor and chaos, we know people are being adversely affected by drugs and/or alcohol. 50% of First Nations people are on ten or more pharmaceutical drug classes. Who can sincerely say these drugs are helping them and their communities?
But what is normal? It is not normal to feel nothing. Nor is it normal to be sick and in pain all the time. Opiates start out being prescribed for pain. What is overlooked by doctors prescribing opiates, is the fact that many people suffer from emotional pain too, and will readily start self-medicating emotional pain, and will quickly become addicted. This brings on a whole new set of problems as it totally throws the entire system off balance.
There is no magic pill or answer when it comes to achieving balance or normalcy in life. In the mental health field, psychiatrists have more than double the rates of suicide and in the US, the stats are that 25% will sexually assault patients, and more than 75% will diagnose simply for profit motive. Even the field of psychiatry itself is calling it fraud, pseudoscience, and drug induced harm inflicted upon innocent people.
Regardless of what our struggles are in life, central to maintaining balance is self-control and motivation. We can move past difficult situations, since most in-depth healing is rooted in love and forgiveness. Our bodies and lives include our spiritual beliefs. Emotional and mental health healing and cleansing involves freeing ourselves, not only of toxic memories and relationships – but also of toxic drugs, and habits.
I watched a young woman give a talk on the inspirations she gained in being a hospice volunteer. She herself had a massive stroke as a child due to a congenital anomaly in her brain and then another life threatening stroke as a young adult. She went on to obtain a Master’s degree in the field of death and dying, and obviously had more than a theoretical basis for the development of her beliefs.
This amazing young woman described the tasks of dying. They are found in forgiveness – first to seek forgiveness for ourselves and also to forgive others. Love and the power of love is also one of the central tasks. The other is in letting go and saying goodbye. In so many ways, these same principles apply to living as well. Love and forgiveness is crucial to overcoming our demons of the past. And if we are to have hope in accomplishing that – we often have to let go of and say goodbye to certain habits and relationships as well.
Maintaining balance is about stability, self-control and motivations. If we can manage those – we have hope for the future regardless of what happens to us. We can achieve the intrinsic balance and self control by taking care of our physical and emotional balance, mostly through diet, exercise, motivation, meditation, fresh air, and music – and avoiding toxic substances. Following that – we will soon find that serving others in an honest and humble way – is the best way to get joy and purpose out of life.
The yoke of slavery, whether it is to a substance or life’s circumstances can be lifted and removed once and for all. The ensuing freedom is what enables us to serve without feeling trapped. Sickness does not need to be a life sentence. Yet human suffering is real – and those of us who overcome, can be compassionate and supportive when others are going through trials and tribulations. It is delusional to think all people who face trials are sick forever. If that were the case – not one of us would escape the disease and sickness trap.
As long as we remain functional, we all have the capacity to heal and overcome difficulties, at every stage of life. Not one person achieves balance, or anything for that matter, without some form of help and support. It has already been poignantly pointed out many times – there is a fine line, with more similarities than differences, involved in the tasks surrounding both living and dying.
To keep things in perspective – death, or a serious illness or accident with a complete loss of cognitive function – will immediately change a person’s reality. Whether we want to admit it or not – every single one of us is “hanging in the balance”.
Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet
West Vintage (2019). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material
without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is
strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and
clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with
appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
Cholesterol is a lipid with global functions in the body and brain. The misinformation around good and bad cholesterol has caused many people to accept statins as a preventative measure for heart disease. Statins were first discovered in the late eighties. Between 1996 and 2012 the drug company Pfizer made 125 billion dollars on the sale of Lipitor over a fourteen year period. Are there fewer heart attacks a result? Hardly, but the drug company is much richer, so that’s all that matters.
Statins top the list of drugs given to seniors, with 50% of all seniors prescribed the drug. Suggestions and arguments were advanced at one time to add this poison to the water supplies. People as young as forty are being prescribed statins, and there is no end in sight. Next they will be targeting children, with some articles suggesting they be given to children as young as seven years old. Yet statins are the culprit in a high percentage of children who are victims of accidental poisonings. 30% of teens who took statins thinking they might get high, ended up in the hospital in more serious trouble than when they take opiates. Even a single adult pill can poison a young child.
Since statins have been prescribed so much, one would think the death rate from cardiac disease would have dropped by now. But heart disease continues to be in the top ten causes of death worldwide. Statins are now directly linked to an increase in cognitive decline, but they won’t tell you that when it is prescribed. Why do people get suckered into taking these drugs? Fear and misinformation, is what drives people to take statins. Plus, there has been long term indoctrination to blindly trust, and turn our autonomy over to doctors to make decisions about our health. How do they know what a person’s daily diet and habits are? Like the general population, there are doctors who are competent and trustworthy, and those who are not. Doctors can and do save lives – but over prescribing medications is a huge and steadily increasing problem, that does just the opposite.
The brain, nerves and all muscles need cholesterol. Cholesterol is a lipid. The misinformation surrounding the good and bad cholesterol is based on an over simplified and faulty sales pitch. LDL and HDL are actually cholesterol carriers, not two different types of cholesterol as we are led to believe. They serve many different functions, not only in the brain, but in digestive processes and the production of bile. LDL means low density and HDL means high density carriers of lipoproteins. The body needs both to function. In fact the higher levels of cholesterol occur naturally and serve to protect the brain as we age. At different stages of life, the body makes adaptations to feed and protect different functions.
The brain is 60% fat for good reasons. Human breast milk is very high in cholesterol, because the brains of babies are growing and developing at a rapid rate. Cholesterol is an antioxidant and protects the brain from free radicals. It provides insulation and protection of the myelin sheath and nerve cells. It provides a cell membrane barrier to further protect brain cells and enhance the function of neurotransmitters.
To narrow scope and function of statins to the chemical prevention of arteriosclerosis is a non holistic and faulty description surrounding a very complex subject. Probably the most comprehensive information that does not oversimplify their use and how they work, is a book written by James & Hannah Yoseph entitled How statin drugs really lower cholesterol: and kill you one cell at a time.
What are the main side effects and complaints when people start taking statins? Although the side effects are numerous and often debilitating, the main complaints revolve around muscle weakness and brain fog. The most common side effects are headache, sleep disturbances, muscle tenderness, drowsiness, dizziness, impaired cognitive function, nausea and vomiting, and in some cases liver damage and kidney failure. Recent information is linking it to an increase in dementia (another leading cause of death).
Almost every research institute continues to make broad and generalized claims that statins are a wonder drug, however since heart disease has not decreased even though 50% of seniors take statins, that should tell the average lay person the claims are bogus.
People who are developing arteriosclerosis do not need statins. They need to change their diet and get more exercise. There are good and bad fats, good and bad foods, good and bad daily habits – but cholesterol is cholesterol and is very important to our health. In my opinion, if we listen to our bodies and get a side effect from a drug, it means there is something haywire happening as a result of it. When we get a severe headache from MSG laced food, doesn’t that tell us our brain and bodies are sensitive to that chemical and we are best to avoid it?
If LDL is “bad” cholesterol, why does every single human being have it? It is because we need it. It should not even be defined as bad cholesterol because cholesterol is cholesterol. If anything it might be described as a bad carrier – yet that makes no sense, so this very complex subject gets overly simplified and people accept the statement as fact, when what they should do is research the causes of higher than normal LDL levels and then make lifestyle and diet changes to lower them. The claims of good or bad tends to make people immediately think – “Oh no, I don’t want bad cholesterol” so they are quickly convinced a pill is the answer.
But the very thing it is supposed to help with is completely derailed. When people have side effects such as muscle weakness, drowsiness, poor appetite, abdominal pain, etc. they are less likely to exercise. If a drug causes generalized weakness and muscle pain – what is it doing to the heart muscle?
The interesting thing about drug companies and the reporting of side effects is that they downplay them. They want us to believe the side effects are minor, or a necessary evil so to speak. Of course once you start taking them, you must take them for life. Now that’s profitable (not for the patient though)! One cardiologist on YouTube went on and on about a genetic condition that prevents people from breaking down cholesterol. The particular genetic condition he was referring to is very rare, with fewer than 1 in 500 people who are afflicted with it – so how does that translate into prescribing the drug for half the population? How can they seriously claim they are not trying to dupe people?
We need cholesterol and healthy fats. We also need functional carriers for cholesterol. When we experience adverse reactions or side effects to anything we are exposed to, we need to stop and evaluate what is happening to us. Only the individual knows how he or she felt before taking the drug and what symptoms or side effects develop. In many cases people were being told the side effects were not real, but rather imaginary somatic complaints (delusions). How handy! What a bizarre and arrogant way to invalidate what people are experiencing. The second very valid question is to ask yourself, “Is there a conflict of interest or profit motive that supersedes my well being in prescribing this drug?” It’s a no-brainer!
Over the years working as a Registered Nurse in British Columbia, I must have given out a million pills. Now they are administered in blister packs and do not have to be pre-poured, but during the years prior to blister packs, it could take hours to pour medications in a large facility. Since we had a responsibility to know what we were administering to people, I also learned a fair bit about the drugs, and listened to people describe side effects and adverse reactions.
In long term care, there was a great deal of coaxing required to get people to take their medications. Often they would spat them out, no matter what they were mixed with. It was about the only reaction that warranted a notation of Ref. (for refusal) on the medication sheet. Nurses were expected to give them – and patients were expected to take them. End of story.
Since we are all aging and either looking toward retirement, or else have parents or grandparents who are seniors, it is a topic worth learning something about. The other thing for middle aged people to be aware of, is how to approach those coveted retirement years without the need for a dozen classes of prescription drugs to hamper your lifestyle. An ounce of prevention during middle age is worth a pound of cure down the road!
First of all, why so many drugs for seniors? We are told it is because seniors are prone to chronic disease. This is due to lifestyle factors and cumulative stressors on all systems of the body. I tend to think more than half the problem is due to prescription drugs. They cause more problems than they cure. If they cured anything, the prescription rates would be trending downward, not upward.
To give a few Canadian 2016 stats on the prevalence of over-prescribing; 65.7% of seniors were prescribed five or more different drug classes per year. 26.5% were prescribed ten or more drug classes, and 8.4% took a walloping fifteen drug classes.
It leaves me scratching my head, because although I took those percentages from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) – it actually adds up to more than 100% (100.6%), which must be due to rounding the numbers. How is it that no one escapes being prescribed drugs after a certain age? How is it that (according to the stats) no one is prescribed less than five drug classes after the age of 65? If the Canadian health care system does collapse under all this pressure, maybe it would be the best solution for seniors after all. But, how would Big Pharma let such a thing happen anyway?
No wonder seniors are using up 40% of the health care resources. But there is a much bigger picture to look at. As soon as one prescription drug is the norm, the very next step is to add another. Why? Because all drugs cause side effects, and in many cases side effects are interpreted as a new condition. So instead of removing the offending initial drug, new drugs are added.
In looking at the distribution of the excess medications people take, it is kind of disturbing too. Women are prescribed more drugs than men. Lower income seniors, and those who live in rural areas are also prescribed more medications than those in urban areas. People who have higher incomes are prescribed fewer drugs overall, but they too, take way more than required. Among First Nations populations, more than 50% are prescribed more than ten drug classes. All of these prescriptions increase with age, with the highest numbers doled out in long term care facilities.
The top drug class prescribed to seniors, is statins for high cholesterol. They are also one of the few drugs that are prescribed regardless of income or location. A staggering 50% of all seniors take statins. Next to statins are the proton pump inhibitors, to treat GERD (gastrointestinal reflux disease), and ulcers. Following that are the beta blockers and calcium channel blockers to treat hypertension. Then there are the thyroid hormones to treat hypothyroidism, and a variety of drugs to treat insulin resistance leading to high blood glucose levels. Opioids are prescribed on a regular basis to 20% of seniors as well. Add to the list of frequently prescribed drugs, are sleeping pills, benzodiazepines, and antibiotics.
What drugs are considered most hazardous, enough to make the list of drugs that should definitely NOT be prescribed to seniors? Psychotropic drugs such as benzodiazepines, antidepressants, and antipsychotics are on the list of hazardous substances, and are to be avoided (at all costs). They have been proven to cause falls, increased fractures, and cognitive impairment, as well as an increased risk of adverse drug reactions. It makes me wonder why more doctors are not getting sued. In spite of the known hazards, these drugs are still commonly prescribed. Who is educating the doctors I wonder?
Apparently several interventions have been implemented to educate doctors and patients (if they still have enough cognitive and decision making functions after being immersed in a chemical soup for a period of time). Obviously the time to start thinking about these things is before you start taking the drugs, not after. Once the body adapts to certain drugs, especially those that interfere with functions of dopamine and the central nervous system, it requires carefully monitored detox to remove them from the system. If there are ten different drug classes to deal with, the complexity of making changes later on, makes it more like a game of Russian roulette than anything else.
How on earth is it possible that 100% of seniors need prescription drugs? Does half the population need statins? I find that hard to believe. But even if a person does have high cholesterol or high blood pressure, can’t he or she make changes in diet and lifestyle before being medicated? Our minds are doctored.
Personally, I do not intend to take any prescription drugs at all. To me – it’s like dodging a bullet. Such an attitude and decision can only be monitored over a long period of time, so it’s too early to tell! But surely the general public should be educated too, for their own sakes, as well as for their loved ones who are seniors. When an adult child of a senior sees a prescription for psychotropic drugs such as antipsychotics, benzodiazepines and antidepressants – they should be warning the senior and someone should be calling the doctor to find out what the heck is going on.
The trouble with the interventions they have implemented to educate doctors and patients on the hazards of all these drugs, the interventions have had little effect on clinical outcomes such as mortality, hospitalizations, ER visits, adverse reactions or health status. Sick eh?
One of the menial things I used to ponder when administering so many toxic medications, was to mindlessly ask myself – “why are so many of them brightly coloured?” They come in every colour of the rainbow, which means they also have an extra dose of something equivalent to acrylic paint thrown in, for some unknown reason. I guess the reasoning is along the same lines as why they make candy and popsicles so colourful. They must brighten someone’s day!
After statins, the next most prescribed drug class is the proton pump inhibitors. It kind of sounds like something a mechanic would do to fix a car, but nope – these are to inhibit the acid in your gut. These drugs are prescribed for GERD and stomach ulcers. 30% of seniors are prescribed this class of drugs. However prolonged use, (more than eight weeks) leads to a high risk of Clostridium difficile infection, bone loss and fractures. But how does a person who needs such a medication suddenly stop taking it after eight weeks? After a period of time, the body relies on the drug to mask symptoms, and the symptoms return with a vengeance once the drug is stopped.
The inappropriate and excessive drugging of seniors has been of increasing concern to practitioners, researchers, and organizations throughout Canada. These organizations include the Canadian Deprescribing Network, the Canadian Foundation For Healthcare Improvement, The Institute For Safe Medication Practices, the Canadian Safety Institute, and Choosing Wisely Canada. What have all these combined organizations accomplished? All the organizations, abstracts, meetings, interventions, analysis, and professional babble on the topic has decreased the overall prescribing by about 2% – which can be taken with a grain of salt!
Clearly the autonomy of the patient, and decision making by the patient while still cognitively intact, must be the first line of defence when it comes to putting a myriad of toxic substances into our systems. Why are people taking so many drugs? Do they specifically ask for them? Or do doctors suggest or push them on people?
The problem is much more complex than we realize. We have been sold a pill of hogwash we are expected to swallow without questioning, along with an unsavoury bill of goods. We are being drugged and merchandised to death. We have been indoctrinated to trust doctors instead of our own better judgement. The other factor is fear. What if I don’t take the prescribed drug? The other motivator or objective is to get relief from unpleasant symptoms. But, we have to start to “listen” to our bodies. Those symptoms are telling us to change something, not to cover it up.
Any symptom we get is a signal for us to pause and evaluate what is going on with our bodies. Many symptoms can be relieved through exercise and diet. We can treat infections with things like oregano oil and garlic. Blood sugar and blood pressure levels can be reduced through diet and exercise. Raw ginger can reduce inflammation. Olives interfere with and reduce histamine reactions, and so on.
All people should be encouraged to do their own research and take responsibility for their own health as much as possible. It is very difficult to challenge the judgement of doctors – yet why shouldn’t we? After all, we are the ones who are supposed to ingest the toxic mix and live with the consequences. Every single drug has adverse effects on the system. Sometimes those adverse effects are not immediately apparent, such as bone loss and early cognitive impairment. Almost all cause dry mouth and changes in digestive enzymes, which in turn alters the biome of the bacteria in the gut. All of them must be detoxified by the liver and kidneys. So the cascading chain of events secondary to these drug classes is beyond comprehension.
Avoiding prescription drugs might be achieved by avoiding going to doctors. Such advice leaves many people aghast. What about your yearly physical? What about mammograms and other screening tests? What about your cholesterol and blood pressure? Learn about it. Research all of it before you turn the rest of your life over to someone who is prone to over prescribing medications.
Keep in mind that this list and description of drug usage does not include over the counter medications. How many people add NSAIDs (such as Ibuprofen) or other OTC meds like Tylenol, Gravol, cough medication, and antihistamines as part of habitual usage? They might be available without a prescription, but they too, pack quite a punch when it comes to drug interactions and toxicity. Add to the mix, an over zealous attempt to include multiple supplements as some kind of method to improve health, when in fact, supplements can be as toxic as the rest of the pills and tinctures we are inclined to self-medicate with.
One of the aspects of opiate usage is in how much they are relied upon in end of life situations. They are sometimes needed for pain. But from experience, I know that nurses are expected to keep dying patients sedated whether they have pain or not. Often this is because of family members wanting to see their loved ones comfortable, and sometimes it is because health care practitioners have not come to terms with death and dying themselves, and therefore are prone to over sedating patients.
I have come to believe that dying patients should not be automatically sedated with opiates, and personally it would not be my choice, unless I was in agony. Many people who are dying sleep a lot anyway. When they do have wakeful periods, if there is no pain, those wakeful periods can be valuable time spent with loved ones.
For those who believe death is a transition, where the soul leaves the body and goes to another location (like the Bosom of Abraham) – who really wants to be drugged unconscious when going through that final adventure, and take the chance of missing the brilliant and beckoning white light at the end of a love filled tunnel? I hope to be wide awake when I die! Some people want to die in their sleep, but I think sudden death (without being overly drugged) – probably wakes people up. Otherwise they would need to send a chariot for us. Swing low – sweet chariot!
Nothing can compete with the natural processes of the body. We have incredible capacity to handle both living and dying without drugs. We have become reliant on drugs, as opposed to trusting our intuition, healing naturally, maintaining our own autonomy – and finding ways to avoid being a statistic on ten or more classes of drugs, before we make our final exit.
Quite frankly – the pharmaceutical companies don’t give a shit what happens to any of us. We have to stop allowing ourselves to be manipulated and used as human market potential to improve profit margins. They are truly making a killing. It’s the new black (force)!
Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet
West Vintage (2019). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material
without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is
strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and
clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with
appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
London in the sixties and seventies brought us some of the most incredible fashion pieces – outfits that matched the arts and culture of the time. Alice Pollock was a London fashion designer and retailer who opened a boutique called Quorum. She teamed up with fellow designer Ossie Clark and featured other up and coming designers. They brought together an eccentric and creative group of designers and flourished. Their fashion shows were known for visual extravagance and theatrics.
The boutique was opened in 1964 and went strong until the 1970’s. Celia Birtwell was part of the partnership as a textile and fashion designer, known for her bold styling and attention to detail. In the late sixties they adapted to another look when the designs became more subtle, and mini skirts were replaced with maxi skirts. Tragically, many years later in 1996, Ossie Clark was stabbed to death by a former lover.
The Alice Pollock blouse featured in this post is part of the Quiet West collection. It is made of a rich creamy sunglow coloured synthetic fabric with a deep crinkling throughout. The style and attention to detail is quite remarkable. It has covered buttons down the front and on both sleeves. The most distinguishing feature of this blouse is the collar.
Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2016). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
This Inside Passage Legendary Map poem was written as a “rhyming riddle” to enhance the lyric voice on the map. It is placed in two line segments in the cameos around the border of the Inside Passage Legendary Map. One of the extra detailed features of the map – is to be able to figure out the order of the verse in the border of the map.
Words like petals – Form a poem; Flower blooms – Then bows her head.
Sheds thoughts upon the ground ~ Moss – Prepared – Has made a bed
Poetic petals flutter down. Depart from proud, stately stems
‘Til Nature has them land Bathed in dew – Just humble gems.
Nature inspires deep respect, Sweet pot-pourri recants…
Woods are made fresher yet ~ For the poet-pourri – Enchants.
Valerie J. Hayes
Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2014). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.