Monthly Archive: July 2009

I’ve been working very hard to keep up with my email, my two Ning pages, and my Facebook.  Even though I have more friends on Facebook, with all the piddly little games and stuff it’s just not worth my time… but I’d hate to delete that account… as much as I’m using (not) MySpace, might as well kill that one too…

I made a small killing on eBay this week.  I had two items which were shipped to me by mistake, and received the correct items, so these were literally FREE to me.  I posted them on eBay, and after paying postage costs I made over $60 on them.  The one item I got around $57 plus shipping for, and even if I *had* ordered it from the place that sent it to me, it would have only cost about $15 ($23 with shipping).  And I posted ON THE eBay POST, that these were essentially free items to me.  I swear, I’m going to buy a lot more stuff from them and sell it on eBay…  there IS a way to make a killing on eBay after all…

Ariadne didn’t eat the food I bought her on Sunday.  Didn’t eat it Monday.  It was unusable after that.  On Tuesday I bought her some live food, and she didn’t touch that either.  I took it back for store credit today, she’ll get hungry later.  It is as I thought, the previous owner was overfeeding her.  I’ve confirmed that idea with others of my friends who have experience with this breed of critter.


More updates

Lots of stuff happening, and even more almost happening… but as we said in high school, “almost” only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and drive-in movies…

I have a new pet.  Her name is Ariadne, and she is a 2-3 year old ball python.  As sweet and gentle as they come, except she hates her cage.  I’m working at getting her a larger one.

I went to see the acupuncturist today, but the bus service was so abysmal that I got there 2 hours after she left… which turned out to be a good thing.  The other acupuncturist encouraged me to wait a moment and he would see me… and  he turned out to be much better than the person I had been seeing. I made an appointment with the chiropractor for Monday (just across the hall from the acupuncture clinic) and have one next Friday with the new acupuncturist.

Afterward, I walked to City Hall for a meeting with Amy Sawyer, the City’s coordinator of the Homeless Initiative.  It was a really good meeting… no new sources of money though.  The only way AHN qualifies for the federal incentive money would be if we could get certified by HUD.

I then walked to Ingles to get breakfast and do some pricing for Marc… then took the bus to PetSmart to price a larger cage for my baby… only to find they were overpriced.  I have a call into the Southern Appalachian Herpegtological Society, and the guy thinks he might have a tank I could get cheaply enough.

Whew.  Worn out again.  Talk to ya later.


Senator Grassley Wants You!

Brian Downey, of Senator Grassley’s office, would like to hear from
people who have personal non-psychopharmaceutical perspective about
recovery & wellness. They are doing an inquiry into pharmaceuticals, and the funding of “consumer” organizations. See link below.

If you would like to share your story, the senator’s phone # in DC 202-224-3744, ask for Brian Downey.


Lauren Spiro
National Coalition of Mental Health Consumer/Survivor Organizations
1101 15th Street NW, Suite 1212
Washington, DC 20005
V: 877-246-9058
www.ncmhcso. org – CD stories of hope & recovery are on sale now!

Med Free Or Working On It

In case you didn’t already know, the #1 mental health blog on the Internet (judged by # of visitors) is Beyond Meds ( ).  There has been a website associated with this, with blogs, forums, pictures, videos, etc., also called Beyond Meds ( ).

Well, Gianna Kali, the owner of both Beyond Meds sites, has gotten too sick to keep the Ning page going… and didn’t want to just turn it over to someone else… but encouraged me to start a replacement page.

Here it is. – Med Free Or Working On It.  We’ve been open less than 4 days, and have 30 members… not quite the 344 over at Beyond Meds, but you always gotta wonder how many of those were lurkers.  And Beyond Meds is closed… temporarily? long-term? short-term?  who knows besides Gianna Kali.  Who, by the way, is a fairly close friend, both emotionally and geographically.

If you have been taking psychiatric drugs and just keep feeling worse, or just not yourself, or just want your mind/life/job/friends back, come check out Med Free.  Many of us were the guinea pigs for (a) weaning off psych drugs; (b) finding supplements and other means to support your brain without drugs; (c) exposing the pharmaceutical industry as the fraud it truly is (just ask Senator Grassley).  (Did you know that the “chemical imbalance” theory of “brain diseases” has not only never been proven, but has never been tested?)  We can help you come off drugs safely and completely, and can give you lots of PROVEN ideas to deal with the problems which caused your diagnosis in the first place.


Busy day.

I sent an email, with a proposed press release and proposed letter to companies, to the executive director of MANNA Food Bank, about the project Marc and I are working on to feed children (especially homeless children).  As of right now, I have not heard back from Kitty yet, but there will be a meeting Thursday at Noon (OMG too early) with her, myself, and someone from Anything Brands Online, the company that will be providing the produce delivery.

I got recertified for another year (decision not made, but fairly automatic) in Shelter + Care, the housing program I’m in.  Among upcoming changes, they will no longer pay the utility companies directly, but will give me that allowance off my rent and expect me to make the payment.  The way I have reduced my electricity usage, that could be a benefit to me.

Then I went to my acupuncture appointment.  Related the issues brought up by the last (first) session.  Did a few different things.  Bartered for service with a rudraksha-and-crystal bracelet.  Not as relaxing as last time, but I’m still going to wait.  I *should* be going 3 times a week, and can barely afford to go once.  Even so, it could take a couple months before benefits show themselves.

Afterwards, I went across the hall to a new chiropractor’s office.  He agreed to treat me on about the same basis as the acupuncture clinic.  His first treatment was very non-invasive, and he seems to know a lot of things older chiropractors would not have been taught, specifically around energy work.  He had SOME training in acupuncture and massage therapy prior to becoming a chiropractor.  This could really work well for me.

Afterwards, I located my acupuncturist in the hair studio down the hall, having a late lunch.  She mentioned that she saw me on TV Saturday.  Wish someone had a recording of it…  that also got me in a conversation with the hair salon owner, an older lady named Angel who seemed sweet as all get-out.  We mostly talked about making a website for a group she is involved in.

Following all this, I had missed the last bus on Charlotte Street, so I called Pam to see if she’d like to barter free dinner for a ride home.  Unfortunately, she was already scheduled to pick up other friends and go to the ARMHC meeting.  I could have changed my mind about going home then and gone to the meeting, but it felt like a full enough day alread.

I came home to find I had received a radio I had purchased on eBay (from a distributor in China).  It is really neat, smaller than expected, has lots of good features, and I found out that I paid 57% of the retail price (most of what I paid was for shipping, too…)  The instruction sheet is absolutely the worst (and funniest) ChinEnglish I’ve ever seen.  I called Beth and James and talked to them about it.  James looked up the specs on a European website, and forwarded the PDF file to me.  Apparently, while it may not be the best radio ever, it is exceptional for the price.  I get AM (slightly wider than normal), FM (WAY wider than normal — 63.4 MHz to 109.1 MHz), and 8 shortwave bands.  I paid $5.95 plus $9.99 shipping… the unit costs 20 Euros in Europe (US$27.95).

An old online friend of Beth’s, and not quite as old a friend as mine, accepted my Friend request on Facebook.  First time I’ve seen his picture.  I wrote Beth, and she said she hadn’t seen it either, so I sent it to her.

Read to Frankie as usual.  I’ve long since lost count of all the books I’ve read to her, mostly over the phone.  We’re on the second book in the Myth series by Robert Lynn Asprin.  It’s really hard to remember this is the same person who co-authored Illuminatus! and was a mainstay in Discordianism until his death a year ago.

That’s about it for one day.


I took a hit yesterday.  Yet another person — and one who was supposed to be working with me and Asheville Homeless Network — hit me with his impression that nobody thinks AHN does anything.  Then why am I working so bloody hard on it?  Gotta be doing something.  This really got under my self-esteem yesterday, and while I’ve mostly recovered, I still felt the need to make a response.  I posted the following to the AHN blog and to the Yahoogroup…

What Does AHN DO?????

I am sorry that I have to be answering this question again.  After all the work I’ve done and some of you have done, this question should not still be the first thing I hear on the street.

Asheville Homeless Network is a NETWORK.  It’s not Moss Bliss.  It is not about giving things away.  It is about working together.  I can, myself, only do so much… and have other things I’m doing.  I never felt I was the perfect person to be running AHN, but that person has yet to come along.

What the Network does is fill in a few of the gaps in the local system.  Maybe only small gaps, but nobody else is doing it.  Socks.  Bus passes.  Knit caps.  Helping with damage and utility deposits (when funds exist).  Helping with car repairs and impound fees (when funds exist).

What the Network CAN do is unlimited.  Our nonprofit status allows us pretty free rein in working with the homeless.  Some things need money — some things don’t.  Meeting with people on the street and at A-HOPE has never been my best thing — but others of you do that, and you need to let people know you’re doing it as part of the Network.  We’re being judged only by what *I* can or can’t, will or won’t do, and that’s not fair to all of us.

We’re a far cry from being everything we can be.  We need people to think of things to do and take charge of doing them — and do them publicly as AHN functions.

What I can do that most of our members are not so good at is attend meetings.  The well-meaning (and sometimes wrong-headed) people who are working to reduce the impact of homelessness in Asheville see me as someone they can talk with.  I have had meetings with the City Manager, the Police Chief, and the Sheriff, as well as meetings with the Asheville-Buncombe Coalition for the Homeless.  In fact, I’ve missed the last two ABCH meetings, and one member called to offer me a ride next time because I was missed.  This is something important and helps make AHN as effective as it is (and can be), but is not the only thing that needs being done.

I’m spending 20-30 hours a week on this.  I spend another 10-15 hours per week on mental health peer support, and perhaps another 40 hours per week on Internet and telephone support of people with various needs.  I do not get paid for any of this, except for my Disability check.  (I am also Administrative Editor for Eternal Press, a Canada-based ePublisher, which takes 5-10 hours per week, but I do get paid a teeny bit for that.) Which also brings up the point that I’m also disabled; I’m dealing with my own issues on top of everything else.  I would ask that you cut me some slack when discussing whether I “do anything” or not.

OK, that’s enough for now.  I hope to see lots of people at the next meeting.  Let’s get this ball rolling.  My job is to make sure the ball is there to roll, maybe quarterback a bit, but I can’t do all the other roles too.

In service,

Helping the Homeless Help Themselves

The Truth

I don’t know who posted this to my ALT-therapies4bipolar Yahoogroup, but there is an article by Dr. Peter Breggin, one of the few psychiatrists who never sold out, in The Huffington Post today. It’s a great article, and you can read the whole thing here:

Here is the part-paragraph that summed it up for me:

“Psychiatric drugs — like all psychoactive substances — work by impairing brain function, and when we’re under stress and have problems to solve we need a fully functioning brain and mind. We need to be able to take complete responsibility for ourselves and to think through our problems with rational clarity. All psychiatric drugs impair those higher mental functions.”

Wow. Thanks, Dr. Breggin

Still going…

I’ve been out on my bicycle every day this week.  I haven’t done much riding uphill yet, but a lot more than I did last year.  And going downhill on my bike is a LOT faster than on foot, whereas uphill is about the same speed walking with the bike as without.  The downside is I have to cram everything into my backpack, and it’s starting to show wear at the seams.  But who knows, I just might get in biking shape this summer!


You and Me

by Debbie Susula

If you’re overly excited
You’re happy
If I’m overly excited
I’m manic.

If you imagine the phone ringing
You’re stressed out
If I imagine the phone ringing
I’m psychotic.

If you’re crying and sleeping all day
You’re sad and need time out
If I’m crying and sleeping all day
I’m depressed and need to get up.

If you’re afraid to leave your house at night
You’re cautious
If I’m afraid to leave my house at night
I’m paranoid.

If you speak your mind and express your opinions
You’re assertive
If I speak my mind and express my opinions
I’m aggressive.

If you don’t like something and mention it
You’re being honest
If I don’t like something and mention it
I’m being difficult.

If you get angry
You’re considered upset
If I get angry
I’m considered dangerous.

If you over-react to something
You’re sensitive
If I over-react to something
I’m out of control.

If you don’t want to be around others
You’re taking care of yourself and relaxing
If I don’t want to be around others
I’m isolating myself and avoiding.

If you talk to strangers
You’re being friendly
If I talk to strangers
I’m being inappropriate.

For all of the above you’re not told to take a pill or are hospitalized, but I am!