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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The Pain Of Veteran’s Day

Often soldiers don't come home. Some come home with PTSD

The Pain Of Veteran’s Day

By Anna Hessel

Is It Enough?

We often see flags waving on porches across our country and special social media posts of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall, or the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, or one of the National Cemeteries, with prayers or poems on Veterans and Memorial Day in honor of those who have served our nation. There are many restaurants that offer free meals, movie theaters offering complimentary admissions, and other giveaways to vets on November 11th, and a national hair care chain offers free haircuts as a thank you for veterans; often our former and current servicemen and women are asked to stand for a round of applause at sporting and concert events, but are these accolades enough?

The Tragedy of PTSD

How are we really taking care of those service women and men who suffer from PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)? Many of our veterans return home to find they have no home. More than 40,000 of those who have served our country are homeless. And PTSD is a major factor in causing homelessness.  It is estimated that as many as 33% of veterans, suffer from this debilitating illness. Mental illness is a significant factor in homelessness among veterans.

Recognizing Symptoms

There are 3 main symptoms of this disorder. First, “arousal”: anger, difficulties with sleeping, or concentrating. Second, “reliving”: nightmares and flashbacks which can impede daily activities, and can lead to loss of employment income. Third, “avoidance”: a feeling of utter detachment from life and those around them, often leading to depression so severe it is not possible for the sufferer to function well enough to keep, a job or take care of a home.

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10 Ideas To Help Relieve Depression

10 Ideas To Help Relieve Depression

By David L. Jones

Depression Has Taken Over My Life

It’s Dave, here. I have for the last month been living at the bottom of a black hole. I have spent all day in bed with the comforter pulled tight over my head.  I won’t lie to you, depression has taken over my life.  Feelings of immeasurable sadness, hopelessness and utter emptiness are consuming me. This time of year is always a struggle for me, but this winter has been excruciatingly painful.

A Dark and Windowless Room

The only reason I have found the strength to pull the comforter off my head and pull up a chair to my computer and start writing, is that hopefully sharing my story, can help someone else that has found themselves trapped in a dark, door-less, window-less room.

Four Generations of Suffering

A friend of mine who also suffers from depression offered me some advice recently. She reports at least four generations of depression, alcoholism and suicide in her family. She told me that when she begins to experience depression she refuses to give herself permission to suffer.

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5 Ways To De-Stress The Holidays

5 Ways To De-Stress The Holidays

By Anna Hessel

It’s That Time of Year

With the holiday season upon us, thoughts of festive decorations, holiday baking, twinkling lights, caroling, sleigh rides through the snow, mistletoe, hot chocolate with mini-marshmallows, Menorahs, Nativities, “The Nutcracker”, Hallmark movies, and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” are at the forefront of our minds.

Holiday Stress

However, holiday stress is often a painful, and very real issue at this time of year. Religious and cultural celebrations, such as Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and the ushering in of the New Year, can quickly become more hectic than joyful. Don’t get trapped into thinking that parties and gifts are the only way to celebrate the holidays. Keeping perspective is helpful. There are ways to alleviate the stress, strain and cost.

A Christmas of Another Color

Statistics show that suicides are at an all-time high during the holiday season, as well as familial tensions; the idea of “Blue Christmas” is the truth for many.

Blue Christmas Services

Faking joviality makes no sense. If you are at a painful point in your life, you are not alone. At this time of year there are millions experiencing loss, loneliness, illness, or depression. The sadness is recognized by many churches and some have opted to hold “Blue Christmas Services” where they offer comfort, hope, and healing to those who are struggling with these, or similar issues.

Winter Solstice

These devotions, with peaceful music in a calming atmosphere help soothe folks who are frazzled during the Yuletide. Many times “Blue Christmas” is an evening of reflection for the longest night of the year (winter solstice), around the 21st of December. The shorter days and lack of sunlight can even lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a category of major depression that emerges in the winter months.

5 Things We Can Do To Relieve Stress

There are many easy ways to avoid the trap of seasonal stress, strain, and ensuing depression:

1. Avoid visiting your family if it causes fights or jeopardizes your mental or emotional well-being, avoid spending time with them.
2. Go for it. Enjoy the cup of eggnog, eat that Christmas cookie, and ignore snarky comments about your weight or calories. That’s what New Year’s resolutions are for.
3. Stop creating debt. It is not necessary to overspend or create debt to let your loved ones know how much you care. Hand-made presents, or a gift of your time, will be cherished more than an expensive, store-bought item by those who truly care about you. Don’t forget to give yourself a small gift that you can afford.
4. Take care of your health: stay hydrated, eat fresh fruits and veggies in addition to the
party fare. Drink alcohol and caffeine in moderation, add a cup of a seasonal herbal tea to help relax. Enjoy the out-of-doors, if weather permits. Get a massage; take a hot bath by candlelight.
5. Relax. Stop striving for perfection. None of us are perfect – simply enjoy what you are able to do.

Give Peace A Chance

Holidays were not created to cause stress. They evolved to celebrate faith, friendship, family, fun, and hope for an often tired and seemingly hopeless world. They are not meant to be aggravating or tension filled.

Relax

Please relax. Hopefully the tips I have suggested will help you enjoy the holidays. I wish you a bless holiday season.

 

THE VETERAN AND PTSD

THE VETERAN AND PTSD

By Anna Hessel

Is It Enough?

We often see flags waving on porches across our country and special social media posts of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall, or the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, or one of the National Cemeteries, with prayers or poems on Veterans and Memorial Day in honor of those who have served our nation. There are many restaurants that offer free meals, movie theaters offering complimentary admissions, and other giveaways to vets on November 11th, and a national hair care chain offers free haircuts as a thank you for veterans; often our former and current servicemen and women are asked to stand for a round of applause at sporting and concert events, but are these accolades enough?

The Tragedy of PTSD

How are we really taking care of those service women and men who suffer from PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)? Many of our veterans return home to find they have no home. More than 40,000 of those who have served our country are homeless. And PTSD is a major factor in causing homelessness.  It is estimated that as many as 33% of veterans, suffer from this debilitating illness. Mental illness is a significant factor in homelessness among veterans.

Recognizing Symptoms

There are 3 main symptoms of this disorder. First, “arousal”: anger, difficulties with sleeping, or concentrating. Second, “reliving”: nightmares and flashbacks which can impede daily activities, and can lead to loss of employment income. Third, “avoidance”: a feeling of utter detachment from life and those around them, often leading to depression so severe it is not possible for the sufferer to function well enough to keep, a job or take care of a home.

What We Can Do

There are multiple ways that PTSD can cause homelessness; but this does not have to be the sad reality for countless veterans suffering with this illness. The actual events leading up to becoming homeless, and the realization that you no longer have a roof over your head, can add further stress and worsen the already debilitating condition. A traumatic event such as homeless can exacerbate mental illness symptoms significantly.

Reduce Triggers

We as friends, neighbors, relatives and community members must recognize that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a very real condition.  Our veterans served us. They need us now. We must help them.  Now, is never too soon to help our veterans afflicted with PTSD. To do that we must offer non-judgmental support – simply listening and allowing a person to verbalize what they are remembering. Talking is not always easy. Understanding and accepting that a veteran may not be able to talk ‘about it’ and not press them to do so.

Mental Health

Avoiding loud noises such as fireworks, or high action violent films can help reduce triggers. An emotional support animal can be very helpful for those that are coping with PTSD. Making sure our veterans have strong support systems against this illness will lessen the number who are homeless or suicidal. Providing strong mental health care is key in assisting those living with this ailment. There is hope – for more information please visit the following websites:

http://nchv.org/
https://www.va.gov/homeless/

Veteran Homelessness

SUICIDE PREVENTION MONTH

D. S. Mitchell

Please Call 1-800-273-8255 for help. 

Dangerous To Your Health

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. 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.’

Not Rare, Or Isolated

As you can see, suicide is not a rare, or an isolated event. Twenty-two vets a day kill themselves. An alarming increase in suicide among law enforcement officers should be of national concern. Approximately 170 officers killed themselves last year. Suicide is permanent. No one comes back. It is very real and definitely a permanent end.

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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