Cannabis: A Safe Exit From Addiction

OPINION:

Cannabis: A Safe Exit From AddictionIf you are experiencing side effects with your pharmaceuticals you might give cannabis a try

OPINION:

Cannabis: A Safe Exit From Addiction

Editor: Cannabis and its usage by humans dates back at least 8,000 years. For millennia, the plant has been valued as fiber and rope, as food and medicine, and also for its psychoactive properties for religious and recreational use. Some have gone so far to declare it a ‘miracle’ plant.

 

By D. S. Mitchell

 

The Controlled Substance Act

In 1969, Richard Nixon, announced that Attorney General, John Mitchell was  preparing a comprehensive new measure to more effectively meet the narcotic and dangerous drug problems challenging the country. At the federal level, Mitchell devised the Controlled Substance Act. The Act combined all existing federal laws and expanded their scope into a single new statute. More importantly, the CSA changed the nature of federal drug law policies and expanded federal law enforcement authority over controlled substances.

Fear Of Success

The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, established the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse. Raymond Shafer, one of the bill’s sponsor’s fearing it’s restrictive nature, made this statement to Congress, “The criminal law is too harsh a tool to apply to personal possession even in the effort to discourage use. It implies an overwhelming indictment of the behavior which we believe is not appropriate. The actual and potential harm of use of the drug is not great enough to justify intrusion by the criminal law into private behavior.”

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5 Finger Death Punch “Wrong Side of Heaven”

5 Finger Death Punch

“Wrong Side of Heaven”

5 Finger Death Punch

“Wrong Side of Heaven”

As we end 2021, we are for the first time in decades not in a declared war, anywhere in the world.  In 2013, while we were still embedded in Afghanistan, Five Finger Death Punch released this incredible single, off of their fourth album. Veterans then as now, are facing homelessness, drug addiction, alcoholism, divorce, and mental illness. Awareness leads to solutions. With that thought in mind, here is the Calamity Politics Jukebox Choice of the Day. Sing along, lyrics below:

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Clutching My Teddy Bear

Clutching  My Teddy Bear

Teddy Bears can help you make it through tough times.

Clutching My Teddy Bear

By Dani Davis

2021 has been a tough year for me. Thankfully, it is almost over. 

Let There Be Light

My 2021 experience probably isn’t any worse than anyone else out there, but I have a place to talk about it; so I’m talking to you. First, let me tell you up front, the time between Thanksgiving and New Years is traditionally a bad time for me. I can’t really call it Seasonal Depression *(SAD) although it does occur at the same time every year. I do use light therapy and journaling, to help me get through. Maybe . . . it is undiagnosed Seasonal Affective Disorder. Denial is not new to me. For about a decade I would drink my way through that 35 day period. Thankfully, I put a stop to all that nonsense many years ago; totally unproductive behavior, and certainly hard on relationships.

Online Shopping

I was on the internet shopping for a couple of winter solstice gifts when an ad for GUND teddy bears popped up. For some inexplicable reason I knew I needed to buy one. As it turned out, I bought four! One for a friend in an Alzheimer’s Memory Care unit, one for a friend with chronic depression, one for another friend suffering from severe anxiety, and one for myself. Each of the bears were significantly different. I didn’t want to worry about us mixing up our teddies.

Anxiously Awaiting Delivery

Just the thought of holding a teddy bear was reassuring. I wondered why I couldn’t remember when I had last seen my childhood teddy, with his missing eye and torn ear. We had shared so much, I wonder when I abandoned him, for other friends? Mostly, I remember how soft and crushable he was. The ad described the GUND bears as ‘plush’ ‘cuddly’ and ‘huggable’. Perfect. I could hardly wait for the box to show up at my doorstep. In fact, I went back several times to the Amazon site to look at the pictures, trying to decide which bear would go to which recipient.

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Suicide Is Permanent, Please Stay

Suicide Is Permanent, Please Stay

Suicide Is Permanent, Please Stay

D. S. Mitchell

Just The Facts

If you are between 15-35, suicide is the second leading cause of death for your age group.  For all age groups, suicide is responsible for more deaths than murder and natural disasters, combined.  Men take their own lives four times as often as women. Many men sadly would rather be dead than seem ‘weak.’

Those Left Behind

As you can see, suicide is not a rare, or isolated event. It is very real and definitely permanent, and it leaves those who are left behind, in utter despair. For them the suicide event is plagued by stigma, guilt and self-recrimination. The most common question from those left behind is, “what could I have done differently?”

A Societal Contract

Suicide is like the tentacles of an octopus wrapping itself around all of us, casting doubt on hope, and future.  It tears at our social fabric and brings into question society’s compact with the individual.  Whether spoken or unspoken, we as people, are part of a greater society.  As a society, we have agreed to a collective future, a means to provide for our children, to continue our culture, to sustain our existence at all cost. Jennifer Michael Hecht wrote,  Stay: A History of Suicide and the Arguments Against it. And in her words,  “Either the universe is a cold dead place with solitary sentient beings, or we are all alive together, committed to persevere.”

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10 Plus Tips To Cope With Anxiety

Got Holiday Anxiety?

With Thanksgiving comes tension for some. . .

10 Plus Tips To Cope


Don’t Let Anxiety Ruin Your Holidays

By D. S. Mitchell 

Turkey and Pumpkin Pie 

The holidays are right around the corner. Some are excited about turkey and gravy, and fancy wrapped presents, but others see only stress and anxiety on the horizon. If you are hosting parties, the stress level is on steroids; fancy china, excited young ones, guests, surprise and otherwise. It can seem overwhelming. Read on if you are looking for some tips on how to get you through the holidays as anxiety free as possible.

Be Ready

Stay rested and recharged, ahead of the holidays. Take time for yourself.  Get enough sleep, engage in activities that you enjoy and make you feel good. Don’t skip self care routines under the pressure of the approaching holidays. Don’t do it-skipping health care routines will cost in the long run. You need that 30 minutes of cardio and any other health activities you are engaged in. These activities will keep you balanced and ready to face the upcoming holiday challenges. It just might be yoga, biking, stretching, Tai Chi, or  aqua aerobics, that  saves your sanity.

Everyone has different triggers, and identifying them is one of the most important steps to coping and managing anxiety attacks. Common ones, your first day at a new job, heading an important meeting, meeting your SO’s parents. Time and reflection will be required to identify your triggers. In the meantime, there are things you can do to try to help calm or quiet your anxious mind.

4.) Use aromatherapy

Whether they’re in oil form, incense, or a candle, scents like lavender, chamomile, and sandalwood are soothing. Certain receptors in your brain are activated by aromatherapy.

5.) Walking or Yoga

Just walk away if the situation is causing anxiety. It might be time to focus on  your body and not your mind to relieve your anxiety. Just move. Whether it’s the pool or the yoga mat, move your butt, it helps reduce stress. Try stretching, it can be incredibly beneficial.

6.) Write down your thoughts

Many mental health therapists suggest a client write down what’s causing their anxiety. Writing it down, gets it out of your head and can make it less daunting. My mother used this one, on a regular basis. She would write letters to the offenders and put them in envelopes addressed to whoever was causing her frustration and then stick it in a file, never sending it.

Not All Anxiety Is The Same
The previous suggestions are helpful if your symptoms are situational or sporadic. If anxiety is an on-going, persistent part of you life you may need more serious interventions and coping strategies.
Five Strategies For Coping With Long-Term Illness 

If anxiety is a regular part of your life, not just around the holidays, it’s important to find treatment strategies to help you manage it. There might be a combination of things, like talk therapy and meditation, or perhaps cutting out or resolving your anxiety trigger. Confused, as to where to start? It is always helpful to discuss options with a mental health professional who might suggest something you hadn’t thought of before moving ahead with your plan.

Some Well-Known Triggers:
  • debt
  • a stressful work environment
  • traveling
  • driving
  • DNA-genetics — anxiety, depression, alcoholism can run in families
  • drug withdrawal
  • medication side effects
  • trauma
  • phobias, such as agoraphobia (fear of crowded or open spaces) and claustrophobia (fear of small spaces)
  • some chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, or asthma
  • chronic pain
  • multiple mental illness diagnoses (such as depression, OCDC, anxiety)
  • caffeine
  • alcohol
Managing Those Triggers

Sometimes triggers can be obvious, such as caffeine, alcohol consumption, and drug use. Other times triggers are less obvious and we may need a therapist to help us isolate those triggers. Long-term stress, such as financial or work-related situations, can be more difficult— is it a due date, a person, or the situation? At this point you may need some extra support, through therapy or with some trusted friends.

Then What?

Once you do figure out your trigger(s), you should try to limit your exposure to them if you can. If you can’t limit it — say because it is due to a stressful work environment that you can’t currently change — using other coping techniques may help.

1.) Try Meditation

A successful meditation regime will take time and practice.  When done regularly, you can train your brain to dismiss anxious thoughts when they arise. If sitting still and concentrating is difficult, try starting your exercise routine with more active physical exertion and then start your yoga routine.

2.) Adopt Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT helps people learn different ways of thinking about and reacting to anxiety-causing situations. A therapist can help you develop ways to change negative thought patterns and behaviors before they spiral into a panic attack.

3.) Healthy Diet, Regular Exercise, Embrace Life 

Exercise regularly. Eat balanced meals. Get enough sleep. Stay connected to people who care about you. You may want to talk to your psychiatrist about adding supplements or nutrients to your long-term strategy.

4.) Consider Adding Supplements

Research shows certain supplements or nutrients help reduce anxiety symptoms. Some of these include:

  • lemon balm
  • omega-3 fatty acids
  • green tea
  • valerian root
  • dark chocolate (in moderation)

It can take up to three months before your body is actually using the nutrition these herbs and foods provide. If you’re taking other medications, make sure to discuss herbal remedies with your doctor. I’ve said that twice. I cannot say it enough. Different medications interact with one another whether OTC  or prescription. Talk to your doc.

5.) Prescription Medications

If your anxiety is severe enough that your mental health practitioner believes you’d benefit from psychotropic medication, there are a number of directions to go, depending on your symptoms. Discuss your concerns with your doctor.

Is My Anxiety Harmful?

Identifying what variety of anxiety you’re dealing with can be challenging-mainly because everyone’s body reacts to danger in entirely different ways. I’m sure you have heard “anxiety” used as a general term for feeling worry, uneasiness, or nervousness. It is often situational, a big dance, a speech, a tryout; it is often a feeling grown in response to an upcoming event that has an uncertain outcome. Every human being deals with such emotions-at some time in their life. It is part of how we are wired, our brains respond to perceived danger, even if there is no real danger.

Things Can Get Dark

There are times anxiety can get serious and turn into anxiety attacks that may begin slowly and initially feel manageable, but build up over a few hours. (Panic attacks are different. A panic attack comes out of the blue and then subsides.)

Signs and Symptoms of an anxiety attack

These are some of the more common mental and physical symptoms of anxiety:

  • feelings of danger, panic, or dread
  • nervousness/restlessness
  • rapid heart rate
  • sweating
  • trembling/chills
  • tiredness/weakness
  • gastric problems
  • difficulty focusing
  • rapid breathing, hyperventilating

It is possible to have both an anxiety and panic attack simultaneously. The quick coping strategies mentioned above may also help with a panic attack.

Try focusing on an object, repeating a mantra, closing your eyes, and going to your happy place.

Signs and Symptoms of a Panic Attack
Causes of Anxiety

If you notice that quick tips haven’t been working, you may want to consider seeing a professional for help. Especially if you believe you have GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) and the symptoms are interfering with your daily routine and physical symptoms. A mental health professional can help with identifying your triggers, maintaining long-term strategies through behavioral therapy, medications, and more.

Living With Anxiety 

If your anxiety stems from a past trauma, it can be helpful to work through those issues with a licensed therapist. On the other hand, if your brain chemistry predisposes you to persistent, chronic anxiety, you may need to go on medication to manage it. Anxiety is likely to continue to be part of your life, but it doesn’t need to take over your life.  Treatment is available to help control those painful symptoms and make those holidays at least tolerable.

Editorial: Teen Suicide Streaming

EDITORIAL:

Teen Suicide Streaming

By Trevor K. McNeil

Thirteen Reasons

There is often a debate about whether art is imitating life or life is imitating art. Then there are cases when the situation is clear. The thoroughly depressing Netflix series, “13 Reasons Why” is based on the Young Adult novel of the same name. The book, and now the series is a direct response to instances of teenagers, and even younger kids, posting social media videos that either directly detail their plans to commit suicide, or are released just before these  young people tragically take their own lives.

A Playlist on YouTube

So-called “suicide videos” have become so common they almost constitute a genre unto themselves. There are even playlists of them on YouTube. Let’s all just take a minute and reflect on that. Everybody thoroughly disgusted and disturbed? Good, then we’ll continue. While they came as something of a shock at first, suicide videos are really more of a natural side-effect of social media itself. Give people the ability to record and release anything and they will. For better or worse.

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Please Stay, Suicide Is Permanent

Please Stay, Suicide Is Permanent

Please Stay, Suicide Is Permanent

D. S. Mitchell

Just The Facts

If you are between 15-35, suicide is the second leading cause of death for your age group.  For all age groups, suicide is responsible for more deaths than murder and natural disasters, combined.  Men take their own lives four times as often as women. Many men sadly would rather be dead than seem ‘weak.’

Those Left Behind

As you can see, suicide is not a rare, or isolated event. It is very real and definitely permanent, and it leaves those who are left behind, in utter despair. For them the suicide event is plagued by stigma, guilt and self-recrimination. The most common question from those left behind is, “what could I have done differently?”

A Societal Contract

Suicide is like the tentacles of an octopus wrapping itself around all of us, casting doubt on hope, and future.  It tears at our social fabric and brings into question society’s compact with the individual.  Whether spoken or unspoken, we as people, are part of a greater society.  As a society, we have agreed to a collective future, a means to provide for our children, to continue our culture, to sustain our existence at all cost. Jennifer Michael Hecht wrote,  Stay: A History of Suicide and the Arguments Against it. And in her words,  “Either the universe is a cold dead place with solitary sentient beings, or we are all alive together, committed to persevere.”

Continue reading