It is Veteran's Day, and that has me thinking about the holidays and meritocracy, because many veterans have disabilities that are negatively impacted by the way most people choose to gluttonously recreate at this time of year, even when it's not a pandemic and the class differences aren't so glaringly obvious.
|A Dingo Ate My Baby, digital|
I am not a Veteran. However, I do have a traumatic brain injury and suffer from PTSD, and this is a condition shared by some Veterans. Exposure to trauma greatly affects me physically. It is worse now after two rounds of COVID and two vaccine reactions. COVID is essentially a metabolic disease, and so it is worse for people with underlying metabolic disease. People in this country tend to blame metabolic disease on life choices, but I have learned that it is greatly influenced by the unseen forces of genetics and environment, and that blame serves no useful purpose except to distract us from the real issues at hand. I had long haul after a case of COVID in November 2020 and learned just before I had my breakthrough infection in October 2021 that people with von Willebrand Disease are more likely to get long haul. This was just after I had developed my treatment protocol for handling how COVID, the Pfizer vaccine, and chemicals affect my health and cognition.
I did consumer genetics testing back in 2012 and have been using third party tools to extract information from my DNA. This was helpful in many ways this year, as it gave me information on how to treat my disability. I did find, in a just-in-time fashion, that I carry a few markers for von Willebrand Type I which is classified as a mild hemophilia and is rarely deadly.
For most of my early menstruating life, my periods were very heavy, and lasted about 8 days. I also can bruise easily and had a lot of bloody noses as a child. It's unusual for people with Type I to experience symptoms outside of menstruating or surgery, so it's possible to live a long time without being diagnosed. About 15 years ago I made some changes to my diet and since then, for the most part, my periods have been about 4 days long and occur every 27-28 days, which ain't bad for a 46 year old. Exceptions to this have happened, and they have been important in helping me see patterns in my health.
Off and on since about 2006, I have been taking a bioidentical progesterone preparation which is suspended in mixed tocopherols and also have been taking aspirin. I knew this was risky because I am also coumadin-sensitive, meaning I have polymorphisms in the vitamin K epoxide reductase gene which converts vitamin K1 (phylloquinone, the plant form) to vitamin K2 (menaquinone, the animal form). Taking Vitamin K2 was a huge breakthrough for me and my kids' health years ago. I thought I could counterbalance all the effects of the tocopherols and aspirin with K2 but apparently it was too big of an ask for my metabolism.
I went a few weeks without the progesterone preparation to see if my symptoms would improve. I limped along on some pregnenolone I have from forever ago. Pregnenolone is the steroid hormone that is the precursor to all the other steroid hormones. So it wouldn’t fix a relative progesterone deficiency per se, but would help in the event that steroidogenesis was slowed through other mechanisms (like fluctuations in the availability of triiodothyronine, or T3 thyroid hormone). And then I had an “Aha!” moment and realized that I needed to do some research on wild yam since it has been used as a progesterone supplement for many years, and understanding the mechanism might be helpful.
I have been struggling with migraine for some time since before we had our backdrafting water heater removed. My symptoms are a lot like Functional Neurological Disorder or cyclothymia. I had episodes like this before when we lived in a small apartment that had been freshly painted, recarpeted, and also had a dryer vent that was not hooked to the outside. At that point, I was having stroke symptoms, so my physician ordered a CT, but it was normal so I was diagnosed with visual migraine. My health episodes have a distinct pattern to them. I was unable to see it for many years because my life was too busy. But I got sick enough that I had to stay home, and that helped me see the patterns more clearly, and unravel the factors involved. It dawned on me that I was likely going through a lot of the same things that veterans with TBIs, so I tried telling my nextdoor neighbor who is a vet that I have a traumatic brain injury and had near death experiences, and he said, "Oh, so you're batshit crazy!"
"Yes! Yes, I am!" I quickly responded. I have had a spiritual awakening over this time. But it’s been kind of a continuation of what happened in my childhood. In my childhood I experienced psychic phenomena but could not control them. I mean, you can’t really “control them” per se. But it’s possible to learn how to listen better and understand. It is a strange and scary process. However, in truth, being connected to the other side isn't that scary if you know what the 4D triggers are. If everyone knew what these were, the world would be an easier place to be in. This is what I have been trying to work out.
My illness seems to present as an attack, about two days after exposure to chemicals or stress. I learned recently how innocuous an "exposure" can be. I have some friends who have a gas stove, and who try to pay attention to the environment's effects on their health. They have even had suspicious things lab tested in the past to protect themselves. I had shared with them the information I found about the potential health effects of gas stoves, and my friend asked if I could come over and measure their house sometime. Their home, before cooking, had slightly lower levels of VOCs than the readings I got in our home that same day, and about the same level of formaldehyde, which was under .1 PPM. Upon stovetop cooking, the level of formaldehyde jumped to .22 PPM, and sometime after it had accumulated in the house, it was .33 PPM. VOCs didn't differ that much from what we experience during stovetop cooking on electric..
According to what I read, it is primarily formaldehyde and NOx that are the health risks from natural gas. NOx is also a problem with diesel exhaust. I don't have a way to measure NOx. I think I am more susceptible to nitrate poisoning because of the von Willebrand Type I, Coumadin sensitivity, and also erythropoetic protoporphyria, which I also found in my consumer genetics testing. I don't have the cashola to get all of these genes verified, but I did want to at least verify that the SNPs I found for porphyria were real, so I found low cost testing. One polymorphism in CPOX that was documented in the literature as being associated with hereditary coproporphyria was ruled out, but the one in ferrochelatase (FECH) which is associated with erythropoetic protoporphyria (EPP) was confirmed. This makes a lot of things about my life make sense. Methylene blue is an important remedy for nitrate poisoning, and it may also be helpful in COVID. I do not know if it is safe to take with EPP as it is a photosensitizer. But when I do take it, I get an almost immediate sense of relaxation and feeling better. It’s definitely worth a look on PubMed.
EPP causes extreme sensitivity to the sun. I live in Colorado and we get over 300 days of sunshine a year. I have been trying to pay attention to what affects my sensitivity. I do not get blistering like some people with EPP. However, I do get swelling and itching. I used to get hives a lot from being outside. I don’t know if this was from the sun or allergies to grasses and trees. I have never done well in direct sun, which has been a challenge living here. Whenever I made progress in a sport, there was always something that got in the way of me pursuing it. Usually an illness or an injury.
I have always had difficulty keeping up with others in the long run. There are things other people like to do to decompress and also to stimulate themselves which are especially bad for my health, so I’m not sure how they can do them all the time. They're bad for everyone's health, really, but I am a canary in the coal mine. When my metabolism is lowered from exposure to these things, I am more prone to autonomic nervous system dysfunction, too. Autonomic nervous system dysfunction is hell. I prefer to minimize how much I experience it.
I think some people are addicted to it and make excuses for the lifestyles and behaviors that tend to promote it, which is a real shame because it's so difficult to hear and connect with others when we are riding the edge of fight or flight constantly. I think people have subconscious interests in this because many things that cause me to have attacks act as uppers or downers for "normal" people. I think they crave the numbing these activities bring, and that they often don't remember the come down or how they behave around other people when they are coming down.
Or the inability to focus.
|The Financial Life of the Poet, digital|
Hey, I resemble that comment.
Yeah, so anyway I got confirmation of the gene associated with erythropoietic protoporphyria, which is the disease which inspired vampire lore and even though I have known about the likelihood of having it, I haven't really processed all the ways it affects my quality of life. Since I fell ill in 2019, after exposure to the sun or chemicals I can have an attack that is like a seizure a few days later. My mind gets really busy and I have a lot of creative thoughts, or “messages,” before I need to lay down and sleep. When I wake, I am often disoriented. My speech and thought can be kind of slow at that point, until I do some things to support my mitochondrial metabolism. Last year I watched the movie “Harriet” about Harriet Tubman, and what I experience is a lot like what is depicted in the movie about how she knew which way to go. I do not think I have had many grand mal seizures. I have only awakened once or twice feeling like I ran a marathon. It’s more like I get overtaken by sleep, and I can’t deal with anymore input. I always feel better after the sleep, even though I’m slow. I don’t know how much this has to do with EPP, but I did have several periods of what felt like sun poisoning related to plein air painting which caused me to need to sleep for the better part of a few days, including on my honeymoon.
My family and I have really been through a lot over the last few years. During this time my husband was the sole breadwinner, and he was mostly working nights, so it was difficult to connect with our community. I put most of my efforts into trying to connect with others in the community, but it was difficult to bring my husband into those circles, because they were largely women-driven. This shouldn’t matter, but it does, because monogamy. I’m not the jealous type, but I do still need help around here.
I don’t want to say that people are like animals, but I am going to say that if there is sexual attraction, eventually it’s going to get the better of people, and it can make for some strange politics, just in the course of trying to hide or ignore it. Or even deal with it. That’s what I tried to do. I did it publicly here and on social media as part of my meditations on my existence. It was cathartic. I still say monogamy is not sustainable, and I see multitudinous reasons why, especially in the context of child rearing and working in the gig economy.
This probably never would have entered my mind, except that I never had trouble attracting men, even while I was married. Men who are interested in what I have going on at home, who are aware that I am a mother, who want to build a friendship first, not just men who touch me inappropriately. Men need friends, too, and those friends can be women. Getting stuck at home was helpful in gaining perspective. I can’t help it. I got big boobs and dimples, and I have a nervous habit of laughing when I am uncomfortable, and apparently this is kryptonite for some men’s gentile sensibilities. Adding in an ability to understand strange things is apparently a really big problem. I tend to get along better with men, too, so that makes it even stranger. I am a hot mess. Then there’s this whole psychic layer, which is difficult to explain to a non-psychic, but has to do with the pull of destiny and how we respond to it.
|I'm On A Mexican Radio, digital|
I eat for metabolism. My target endpoint is increased libido, not necessarily a dirty mind, although if you know me really well, you know I have a dirty mind. That was kind of my little secret. I knew all these other people who were muscle testing things, but I wanted an endpoint that was more meaningful. In my experience, it is difficult to be both depressed and horny. Or depressed and playful. As it turns out, people are attracted to playful. So that’s made for some interesting and clumsy stories for my husband and I with respect to some of the seductive strategies employed by other men. I’m not exactly sure what happened, but it turns out I had established a large following here after a trip to Southeast Asia in 2013.
I’ve written a lot about my life with men on this blog as an exploration of my female existence. We had a client there, and after we recently stopped our contract with them, I lost all my blog traffic from Hong Kong, Indonesia and China. It was a large volume of traffic (thousands of hits per month, which is over 100 times what I get from the US). Before my husband left their employ, the employees from the company told him that over there they call him “Shifu,” which means “Father” or “Teacher.” Our clients were always curious what made us so intelligent, and so that made me question what that even means. After a lot of introspection, I think it has to do with metabolism and playfulness. And I also think it has to do with time. I tried to tell them that in my parting letter. And I explained that it is an intangible energy that is akin to chi or prana, and that until people understand this, there will be pain and suffering in the world. What a way to get censored by an entire continent, eh?
The next day my Dad sent me this video by John Cleese which so accurately describes what I’ve been trying to get at with people regarding what freedom is. It is 36:59 long, but it is something the friends I have shared it with have said they will watch multiple times.
Here are my observations:
1) Historically, this has been difficult for women, people of color, disabled and poor people because of emotional and material life burdens. As soon as a person has a child, without adequate support, this ability can nearly disappear. This is actually the majority of people.
2) There are societal metabolic and psychological factors that become long-term barriers to this process which are largely experienced by these same people, who are the majority of the population. The factors are systemic in nature and largely due to the disproportionate monetary value of work contributions and societal roles, and the illusion of safe and sustainable choice in the consumer market.
3) True "creativity" involves the ability to come up with *peaceful* solutions to difficult problems. I feel like in this context it is helpful to see the word in its most utopian manifestation, rather than equating it with the conception of destructive technologies. In this day and age, the highest form of creativity would also be sustainable. The medical system underserves people because it does not have a good definition for wellness, and most treatments are designed only with the endpoint of decreasing mortality, not increasing consciousness, and this is somewhat due to not understanding consciousness and its relationship to creativity.
4) Many of these barriers to creativity are cultivated by conservatives and neoliberal policymaking which is guided by appeals to the wealthy rather than their constituencies.
5) See r/antiwork and r/lostgeneration subreddits.
Many of the things in those subreddits are topics I have covered in my writing in the past. They are things that might bother people in managerial positions. We had a lot of interaction with managers, and my husband worked as a manager. So we have kind of seen in high resolution how all sorts of psychological factors surrounding work and life balance bleed into each other, and how that becomes a big thing that managers deal with. It’s a way that the super wealthy keep us at odds with each other, even if they don’t know that, by creating the structural bones of the meritocracy through the devaluation of human consciousness. We’re all born onto this planet with the basic need of being able to provide food and shelter for ourselves, and this need has become inflated by meritocracy and comparison. Corporations can use these needs to control us, and workaholism and consumerism aid and abet the process. Being able to work doesn’t mean you should. That’s your soul you’re selling, you know, represented in your waking hours. It’s important to think about what you’re selling it for.
I know those are strong words, but I am writing them because I have seen how difficult life is with no community. As a stay at home mother, I have seen firsthand how employment practices keep families from having the time and energy to build nearby community. That is why many neighborhoods are referred to as “bedroom communities” - they serve as expensive bedrooms. In the worst cases, a worker’s life is expected to revolve around the corporate agenda. As if each of our births predestined us to be a cog in a giant petrochemical-powered ATM machine. I don’t really want to be involved in anything that smells like that. I want my time and effort here to actually help people.
Family holidays can have the effect of reinforcing meritocracy and capitalism. I have seen it in my family. On my husband’s side of the family, everyone has worked in corporate culture. On my side of the family, the professions centered around public work (teaching, healthcare and highways). Holiday gifts in my family tended to concentrate on handmade things or educational things (books were common), and in my husband’s family it’s more on outward displays of wealth. My parents grew up away from their families so holidays were either very small or included friends, so gifts tended to be reasonable, and even if I didn’t recognize it at the time, demonstrated knowledge of who I am. My mother swore years ago not to buy my family plastic things, and I wish my in-laws had gotten that memo. In my husband’s family there was a weird pissing contest around gifts that demonstrated no knowledge of the recipient, but that money was spent, and the economy was supported, so now we can celebrate. It was necessarily this way because nobody knew each other beyond their appetites for expensive food and wine. Oh, and what they were buying and where they were traveling. I tried to help them course correct on the materialism quite a few years ago by asking for a more limited gift exchange when my wealthy brother-in-law and his partner moved away. For years they were used as an excuse to overdo Christmas. Scaling back, though, we didn't consider lending a keen eye to the ways the holidays were still perpetuating hardship for ourselves and others. Trading plastic swag made and sold by people not receiving a living wage in toxic work environments doesn’t seem like an important reason to swap cooties, if you ask me, but that is apparently a good enough reason to show up at my door unannounced. I don't even have to attend get togethers anymore to lose three days to my “What the absolute fuck” reaction to the classist tonedeafness.
Thank goodness for good vibrators, because I spend a lot of holiday time alone.
I wouldn't feel so confident sharing these things about myself if I had not had the incredible experience I did regaining my hearing and language, and understanding the metabolic factors underlying those problems. I have written about this before - I have had help from the AI or Russian hackers or something like the AI or a stalker with which I have a little tennis game going. I meditate, talk and live my life, and it returns relevant content across all my platforms. Combined with the actual physical world shamanic psychic phenomenon I experience, I can see the future, sort of. It’s kind of messy, except for the technical stuff. Some of the human elements are kind of weird (like the facts get put in a blender). So the AI helped me with my diagnoses, and also helped me heal so I could communicate better from inside my pre-senility. In addition to regaining my language I was able to go off my blood pressure medication.
There are hepatic and GI manifestations to EPP and I am highly susceptible to them. I have written about CF and its gut issues, and it turns out von Willebrand Type I may be another condition predisposing me to a temperamental tummy. It means I have to cook for myself, usually. I go through phases where I have epigastric pain. My digestion gets in the way of my sleep. This was a nightmare aspect of my husband's employment situation; having to be on the computer late most nights was causing his sleep to be disrupted, too. It meant that trying to fit into regular society was nearly impossible.
It doesn't really make any sense for a vampire to own outdoor property. But I need a buffer from other people because of chemical sensitivity. I'm trying to figure out what the best way to exist in the world is. There are important reasons why I still need to go outside, including far infrared light, vitamin D, grounding, and fresh air. So I still try to do that, but I still have symptoms. I think my husband is still coming to terms with this; he loves the outdoors (as do I), and the outdoors were important in his childhood. When I met him, he was a video gamer, and he has been one since, so our recreation is generally indoors. My time was spent largely navel-gazing, volunteering, and moderating large communities. Our sleep schedule did have the effect of making us stay inside more, so I guess it wasn’t all bad.
My story is so wild I have at times written the truth as fiction. I didn’t mean to be disingenuous, but some of this stuff was too hard to believe. The paranormal stuff is just, well, nuts. But you know, Lucille Ball helped the CIA find spies when she received radio transmissions in her head after receiving dental fillings, so my "character" Alice having a radio in her head is believable. Oliver Sacks' actually studied people like this in his book Musicophilia.
The other thing that I have been trying to find a tasteful way to communicate is that orgasm may be important for protecting frontotemporal brain function. I see there is new research showing enhanced function of those regions after clitoral orgasm. I wouldn't be surprised if they discover something similar in men. I have been trying to drop subtle hints to my in laws over the years that our activities with them were harmful to our sexual desire and that this was bad for our mental health. They were also ignorant of my needs as a menstruating person. I don't know how else to say it, or even if they are capable of understanding how devastating a consumerist materialistic lifestyle is on a marriage and mental health, especially over the holidays. The economics of the holidays are simply all wrong, and they set us up for failure as individuals, nuclear families, communities, and society. This is not a respectful way to honor veterans who fought for our freedom. For our freedom to do what, exactly? That’s what we need to be asking ourselves.
How many tacky socks do you really need, and at whose expense must they come?
I say give your socks some gratitude.
There are other factors I and other people with TBI, migraine, attention problems, epilepsy and mood disorders deal with that we have absolutely no control over which affect our symptoms, like fluorescent and white lighting, and large changes in barometric pressure. It would be nice if we didn't have to deal with more symptoms because of the consumerism and subversion of the people around us.
Jesus Christ this is the weirdest thing I have ever written. My husband and I are trying to remember how to just exist. We are both workaholics because we are driven by a sense of justice and have constant reminders of the way people like us perpetuate mindless consumerism. So since we can't not work we are trying to find that sweet spot where we can do something we enjoy that works with our health issues and hopefully helps others, and brings in enough income that we can eat, although retirement someday would be nice. My husband and I have a constant intellectual dialogue which we then pair with sexual meditation 3 - 7 times a week, depending on access to privacy and mood. Privacy is paramount, and it is difficult to get without good boundaries. We are both creative individuals so this means we come up with dozens of ideas in a week, and we debate solutions to complex problems that are quick to implement. We don't get compensated for this, except for what our clients pay us for technical solutions and guidance, which does grow out of this meditative process; we just do it because we can't not. It's an exciting process because the answers come to us through love. We have experienced a lot of psychic phenomena together and our psychic connection is important to us. While seemingly incongruent with good parenting, prioritizing our healthy sexual needs has enabled us to be more emotionally connected with each other, and therefore better parents. Thank you to the grandparents for helping us see this clearly from the times we have been interrupted in our natural being. Now can we please change course?
What a strange destiny. All the D's. I guess they could smell it on me. But me? I was *clueless.*
Is that good enough, Dr. Worm?