World Mental Health Day

(Just got done writing this one. Heh… sorry, it turned out way longer than I anticipated, but here we go…)

Any time you get on Twitter and scroll through your feed, you see any number of people posting something because it’s a “National (whatever) Day” of some sort. Usually it’s not… but it gives folks a good excuse to post cute pictures of their cat, dog, kid, or whatever – but after seeing several posts and doing a quick google, it turns out today really is World Mental Health Day.

It’s meant to raise awareness, show support for folks getting or needing mental health care, and to also reduce the stigma that’s sometimes involved. Often involved, actually. πŸ˜’ For example, a while back at one of my primary care doctor appointments I was discussing some of the things in my life that were causing me anxiety. My disability, pain, the (then) newly discovered cancer, Mom being sick and now having passed, other close friends dying from cancer, dealing with workers comp, etc… 😟 like I told her – stuff that would probably cause anyone to feel stressed. I was just telling her so she’d have the full story, but she said she could refer me to a counselor if I wanted to talk to someone about it. πŸ‘©πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Seemed like a good idea to me. Sometimes just being able to let out your stress or anxiety to someone that’s not involved in your life in any way… it can just take a little bit of the weight off. I saw her like once a month for a few months, and she said she could refer me to their in-house doctor to see if there was any medication that might be able to help. I wasn’t really interested, since I was feeling an appropriate amount of “bleh” in regards to the stuff that was causing it… but I went ahead and took her suggestion.

I now see that doctor about once every six or eight weeks, and I’ve actually got an appointment with him tomorrow where I’ll need to make a decision. πŸ€” Because, despite this feeling like a normal series of doctor visits – just as if I was dealing with a physical health condition – the fact that this doctor gives me medication to help with my anxiety is now being used against me. 😠 And being used against me by the last person that I would expect to further the stigma surrounding mental health care… another doctor. ☹️

And when I say “mental health care” … I don’t even take any type of super serious medication, and I haven’t been diagnosed with any extreme disorders. Until this hiccup happened, I looked at this doctor and my treatment there as “Yeah, I guess it makes me feel a little better maybe… or at least I know it’s not making me feel worse… so I guess I’ll continue going.” Like, in my mind, it was barely a thing, but I continued going since it was now part of my current medical routine.

But when I had to go to the independent medical evaluation for the workers comp system (a week or so before getting that second radioactive iodine dose and scan for my cancer followup) one of the things discussed with that doctor was what medical treatment I was currently getting, and from who. (Regardless if it was related to my WC injury or not, to get a complete picture…) So of course I talked about the cancer doctor and treatment, my WC doctor and treatment, and then my PCP doctor and referral regarding the mental health care.

Now, these exams, they’re initiated by my former employer’s insurer, so of course they’re rarely going to be helpful to my cause. So I expected him to say certain things, but I never expected that being treated by a doctor for occasional anxiety would essentially be “weaponized” and used against me the way that it is. 😟😞 Because this doctor took the names of the two meds I’m prescribed, and picked some of the absolute worst possible reasons that I may be taking them. You know how almost every medication has one “thing” it is known for treating, but then it can also be used for treating a half dozen or more other things?

You could even do this test on yourself. Just grab whatever meds you take, get on WebMD, pick out the most extreme, “worst case scenario” possible uses for each medication, and see how close that sounds – compared to what you’re actually taking them for. 🧐 That’s what this doctor did to me. Taking what is run-of-the-mill, minor anxiety treatment to me, and twisting it into all sorts of implied, speculative, “concerning” mental conditions that could be so severe that they even affect how I interpret / talk about my pain and disability. πŸ˜§πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜  Reading those things in his report was honestly shocking. πŸ₯Ί

The funny thing is, for most people… just the pain that I deal with each day, and the sheer amount of things that I can no longer do due to the disability in my left shoulder and arm… just those things alone are enough reason that a person might want to include anxiety treatment in their normal medical routine. And I was doing it mostly because another doctor suggested it, and it sounded like a “might as well” thing, rather than me desperately needingΒ it or seeking it out. And now it has bitten me in the ass. πŸ™„πŸ˜’

Well, maybe it has bitten me in the ass. (Maybe the commission will see right through it, as they should.) I won’t know how his report will affect my worker comp case until the hearing is scheduled and all of the doctors’ information (from both sides) is reviewed. But now I’m stuck, wondering if tomorrow I should let this doctor know that I no longer need his services. πŸ˜ŸπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ He probably helps me a little bit, but it’s certainly something that I could do away with if it’s going to damage the treatment that I get for my work injury. It’s obviously more important (and logical) for me to want to keep the treatment that keeps my pain to a minimum, which also helps keep my stress and anxiety to a minimum.

Yeah, so anyway, it’s a bit of a clusterfuck… and, unfortunately, anyone that reads my story here… anyone that may have been considering seeing a counselor or psychiatrist for the first time… they’ve now got something to add to their mental “nope” list when it comes to the pros and cons of seeking any type of mental health treatment. πŸ˜’ I don’t take it personally, what the “independent” doctor wrote. I understand that his job is to come up with all of the “worst case scenario” stuff that he can, since my doctors will obviously be talking positively about all of the ways that my current treatment is as effective as the WC situation will allow.

I guess I look at those types of doctors the same way that you might look at public attorneys who are appointed to defend obvious criminals in court. They still have to give that defense their maximum effort, even if it goes against what many people would consider to be “right.” That doctor has chosen that job for reasons only he would know… so I can only hope that sometimes he stops to think about the effect that his actions have on us folks who rely on our WC treatment to keep our pain and lives at least tolerable. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜Ÿ

Happy World Mental Health Day 2019. πŸ˜’πŸŽ‰

Advertisements

Don’t Try To Distract Me With Facts

For someone who likes observing the humans and the way they act and treat each other, Twitter has been quite the place to be recently. And like I mentioned to a couple other people I know… I realize that Twitter isn’t an accurate representation of the entire population of humans, but even with that understanding it’s still difficult for me to see so many people who operate so differently than I think people should.

Mainly what I’m talking about is people’s tendency to find a controversy, pick a side, jump to a conclusion that isn’t based in fact, logic, or critical thinking – and then scream and shout at other people who don’t share the exact same position as they do. Granted, I’m not exactly silent on a lot of issues – but I try to only speak from a position where I’ve educated myself on the topic, and saying things which (I believe) have facts and logic to back it all up. My problem: expecting the humans to function the same way, hoping that they can understand the difference between a fact and opinion or allegation.

Two “situations” where I’ve found myself trying to bring reason to conversations:

  • The allegations against Chris Hardwick by his former girlfriend Chloe Dykstra. She has accused him of psychological and sexual abuse during their relationship, and within days his various television shows have been shelved by AMC, his name was scrubbed from the Nerdist site that he founded, and he has lost future gigs hosting various things at different comic conventions.
  • Atari has started a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGogo to develop and create a new console called the Atari VCS… and there is a small but extremely vocal group of angry “game nerd” YouTube channels who are absolutely certain that the whole thing is a scam, and keep producing angry videos with all sorts of allegations – all in what seems to be an attempt to sabotage Atari’s console launch.

With Hardwick and Dykstra, I’m of the opinion that nobody knows what happened except for the two parties involved, so the public can’t come to a determination that’s anything more than just opinion or assumption. But on Twitter, there are thousands of posts from people who are loudly cheering that he’s lost his jobs and his reputation, despite the only “proof” being that an ex-girlfriend said some things.

These aren’t people who think that he did what she said. These are people that know, with absoluteΒ certainty, and aren’t hesitant to call him a monster and say that he’s getting exactly what he deserved. There’s a smaller group who are outright calling Dykstra a liar, and then there’s an even smaller group of folks like me who simply say that we hope that someone gets to the bottom of the situation based on the facts, and that it’s unfortunate that a man’s life is being destroyed based simply on an allegation.

For the people who are #MeToo activists, people who advocate that people “wait and see what the facts reveal” are the enemy. A majority of them make a comment supporting Dkystra, and then follow it up with “And I should know, because I’ve been through the same thing or something similar – showing that their view might be a little biased. Evidence is already popping up which conflicts with parts of her allegations, but hell… if he’s guilty, get him. But damn… the man has lost almost everything and has been declared a trash human by half of the internet – all because she said it was so.

With Atari, they put their crowdfunding campaign on IndieGogo, which doesn’t require a working prototype before funding can be solicited. But angry YouTubers are screaming “THEY DON’T EVEN HAVE A PRODUCT!” as if that’s something that should surprise anyone. Why would anyone expect them to have a nearly complete product, when that’s the point of raising the money? And Atari, for whatever reason, delayed the launch of their campaign once last year – which is another thing that the video creators say indicates a scam. As if no other successful products have ever had delays in their design or production.

What the problem actually is, is that these YouTube creators feel slighted by Atari. They feel that Atari owes it to them, to contact them and provide them more information, or answer the questions that they have about the project. Atari eventually got tired of being badmouthed by this small group of angry people and pushed back against what they were saying, which obviously hurt the feelings of these “reviewers” and caused them to make even more outlandish claims. Most of these angry folks haven’t even backed the project, nor do they intend to, but boy are they mad anyway – because how dare Atari not contact them directly and answer every damn question that they have.

Atari’s project already has nearly $3M in backing, so apparently there were plenty of people who felt like the information on the campaign page was enough. As with any hardware, it will obviously go through all sorts of slight changes before finalized, and people understand this. The angry YouTube mob is furious that Atari won’t give them more information, but why should they have to? If they’re already getting plenty of backers, and it’s obvious that speaking with the angry people won’t make a difference, why would they? Are these folks also screaming at Sony and Microsoft, demanding that they be given more about their next consoles in development?

But the more that these people shout “SCAM! DUMPSTER FIRE! FAKE! LIES!” in their videos, the more that their followers start to get nervous, and end up drinking the kool-aid and repeating the same claims that are being made in the angry videos. If the creator has 100k followers on YouTube, and is spouting whatever… there’s a good chance that their followers will start spouting the same thing in the comments and elsewhere, even if just to look like they “think just like a video creator who has 100k followers.” It’s toxic and sad.

So yeah… whether I’m trying to convince people that they should hold their venom for Hardwick until the claims against him have been proven, or if I’m pointing out that all of the “signs” that angry video creators are using against Atari are just normal things that happen in almost every crowdfunding campaign… people just continue to rage. You’re expected to either hate Dykstra or hate Hardwick. No middle ground. You’re supposed to accept that Atari is scamming $3M from people, and shouldn’t dare suggest that it might not be the case. Hardwick might be guilty, Atari’s console might be a flop or a scam… but people’s eagerness to convict others of this or that, with only assumptions or “feelings about it” to back it up… it’s just bizarre, and the amount of people getting caught up in it only seems to be growing.

I know, I shouldn’t bother… but I wanna believe that under the surface, people really are capable of unbiased, critical thinking – and I wanna say or do things that encourage that, or try to bring it out of them. Every now and then I might get one or two of ’em… heh… but not surprisingly, the irate people who claim their passion-filled opinions as fact just don’t seem interested in considering alternate views of a situation. 😏 It’s still my method of escapism though, for when I don’t feel like thinking about anything in my own life, in those moments that I’m sticking my nose into other people’s thoughts… so at least I’m getting a small benefit from it all, eh?

RfD – Reality For Dummies

There is an epidemic in America these days. It’s a damaging combination of ignorance, anger, stubbornness, apathy, gullibility, reluctance, spite, denial, and straight up stupidity. (Among at least a dozen other harmful ways of thinking.) Since this post will revolve mostly around political opinions or beliefs, let me say that I don’t even care what “side” you’re on when it comes to any particular issue… I just want you to be able to recognize and accept things that are false, just as I want you to be able to recognize and accept things that are truthful. Operating within the bounds of reality, to put it simply. Apparently, though, that’s something that can prove to be incredibly difficult for an obscene amount of humans on this planet.

  • Robert Mueller and his team announce 13 new indictments resulting from their investigation. Most of the people are Russian, not linked to Donald Trump in any specific way, and it says the people that the Russians did work with were unwitting participants… unaware that their strings were being pulled by Russians.

Donald Trump and his supporters immediately seized on this news, and either through ignorance or deception – spun it as some sort of huge vindication for Trump. Going on about how the actions of those Russians had no impact on the election, and that it proves that Donald Trump and his campaign “did nothing wrong” and that there was no collusion. All of that, and more, based on these specific indictments on thatΒ specific day.

RfD Explanation: 1) Nobody can say with certainty that the actions of the Russians had zero impact on the election results. You can only say that if you know for certain what would have happened without Russian interference, which is impossible. 2) As for the “did nothing wrong” and “no collusion” claims… those claims can both be true for this incident, with these indictments, while still allowing for those claims to be false when it comes to anything else in the investigation. If the FBI is investigating the mob and they arrest some low level shmuck – just because it was “the shmuck” that was picked up, it obviously doesn’t guarantee that the mob leaders are innocent and will never be caught and charged in the future. That shouldn’t even need explanation.

  • President Obama created DACA protections through an executive order, which Donald Trump has since nullified once he came into office.

In the time since then, Donald Trump has been endlessly tweeting about how Democrats don’t want to help DACA, they don’t really want DACA, they only want it as a campaign issue, and how badly DACA recipients have been treated by the Democrats. He also claims that Republicans are the ones who are working hard to save it, that they want to make a deal to save DACA, and that he’s offering DACA as a great deal to Democrats.

RfD Explanation: Donald Trump single-handedly ended DACA. There shouldn’t be a need for elaboration after that, but… not only is Trump responsible for DACA being in the dire position that it’s in, but he and the Republicans will not vote on a clean DACA bill. He wants to use it as a bargaining chip – the exact thing that he has accused the Democrats of wanting to do. Democrats were even willing to deal, to offer requested funding for “The Wall” in a bipartisan deal that would save DACA – but Trump went back on his word and rejected the deal, feeling he wasn’t getting enough from the Democrats to save DACA. Simply put, the GOP controls the senate and the house, so if Trump wanted to save DACA as he claims, the Republicans could do it themselves – with just a few (happily given) votes from Democrats. Every argument he makes on this is nonsense.

  • Rob Goldman, Vice President of Advertising at Facebook, made several tweets about their part in the Mueller investigation – since they’re being looked at due to Russians buying blocks of advertising on the site before and after the election. He wrote today that “I have seen all of the Russian ads and I can say very definitively that swaying the election was *NOT* the main goal.”

RfD Explanation: The problem with this statement is that Donald Trump and loads of his followers started retweeting this information as fact. That the Russians were “definitively” not trying to sway the election. However, unless the ad buyers directly told Goldman the goal of their plan – his use of the word “definitively” is a huge issue. He can look at all the ads, he can look at other information, but his conclusion is simply an opinion or impressionΒ – not something that should be presented as a fact, and then retweeted by Trump as a fact. It would be like me saying “I read this help wanted ad, and can say definitively that they wouldn’t hire my friend Jim.” It’s not something that can be claimed as fact.


Those are just the three most recent incidents in my mind, where people are being sold a load of horse shit – and they either don’t care or they don’t know any better, so they run with it and repeat it to others as gospel as well. As long as something fits the preferred narrative that someone already has in their head, they’re not going to apply critical thought. Some others… they might actually suspect (or even know) that a piece of information may be partially or completely false, but for some reason they’d rather feel right (with others that think like them) than actually be right.

I’m sure there are some Trump supporters who started out legitimately putting their hope into the guy. Wanting to give him a chance, and believing his words when he’d say how much he was gonna fight for “the little guy” or whatever it was that sold himself to them. Over time though, I’m sure that many of those folks started questioning, and then realizing… that in so many instances, Trump is ridiculously full of shit. But by that point they’re already fully invested – and even just acknowledging the lies and deceptions to themselves is something they aren’t willing to do. Realizing and admitting that you’ve been suckered, even just to yourself, is a difficult thing to do. Nobody likes feeling duped… and many Trump supporters, to me at least, seem like they’d rather angrily defend everything about him and their support for him, rather than allowing anyone else to see that they’ve realized how much they’ve been conned. Their feet are dug in at that point, and nothing will change their mind about how they’re gonna play the rest of the game.

I’m not sure which people are more scary/frustrating to me. The ones who know that Trump (or whoever) is full of shit most of the time, or the folks who really do believe everything that Trump (or whoever) says. I can understand people in the first group, but the second group… how can anyone be so oblivious when they’re being lied to over and over? But hell, in both instances – I can’t help but feel a little bit sorry for them. It would suck to put your faith into someone that turned out to be a snake oil salesman, just as it would suck to be so blinded by hope that you can no longer recognize fact from fiction.

The divide between folks like me and folks like them… it’s getting bigger and bigger with each day that passes. On top of that, while I thought that when it comes to politics, that people would start to consider themselves more as independents, as issue based thinkers and voters – but the opposite seems to be true. Democrats/liberals are moving farther to the left just as quickly as Republicans/conservatives are moving farther to the right. Things feel broken and somewhat irreparable, and I don’t see how it’s going to get any better any time soon. That’s what brings me back to the topic of this post. If people could just make more of an effort to find/recognize/admit truths and resist lies and bullshit, and act on those truths and lies accordingly, things would have to get a little better, right?