No Means No!

Reblogged from the excellent Suszie81’s blog.

Note the disgusting excerpt from Twitter she included. 😦

Suzie Speaks

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When I was at University I worked at a local bar that was about ten minutes walk away from the apartment that I lived in. One Saturday afternoon I was on my way to a shift that started at 4.00pm. I was wearing a baggy blue checked shirt with the logo of the bar on it, long black trousers and a sturdy pair of black boots. I wasn’t wearing any make-up, my hair was tied up and I was minding my own business. Suddenly, I heard a man shout:

“Oi! Sexy! Where are you going?”

I turned around, thinking it was one of my friends. I didn’t recognise this man or his friend and so I turned around and carried on walking.

“Aww, don’t walk away! Where are you going? Give me your number!”

I ignored him, but the sound of his voice didn’t get any quieter. They were obviously…

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Why I Blog…

Or more accurately, why I blog the way I do.

What with all the various reblogs on a wide range of topics that I’ve been checkering my blog with since I started a few months ago, some might wonder if I have an actual purpose in mind.  A voice, so to speak.

To be honest, the only real goal I had when starting this blog, was to have a place that was mine.

A place that where I could speak my mind and not have to worry about what other people are going to say. That’s the beauty of being able to write anonymously, and to also having the power to approve or deny comments.

You see, I am fully aware the very people I don’t want to ever find out about this blog, may eventually do so.

And despite the fact that I have not yet, nor have intentions of ever doing so, slamming them in any way – or returning the “favour” of saying about them all the nasty things they have said, and in some cases, continue to say, about me – I cannot bring myself to stoop to their level.  Though it is, make no mistake, bloody tempting at times!

I wanted a place where I could tell my story, and be heard, but not judged.  In the short time I’ve been here, I’ve been welcomed and encouraged by so many wonderful people.

I hope I can be as supportive of them, as they have been to me.  And I hope to support and encourage other new bloggers.  Eventually, I hope I can gain the courage to tell my story.  I’m not seeking sympathy, just compassion. And connection to other people.

I do have some wonderful “offline” friends. They don’t judge me or my multitude of health problems, and their unwavering support – especially in the last few years as my life has been more or less imploding around me, has meant the world to me – but they all have busy lives.

It’s hard to stay positive when your own family betrays you, cuts you out the minute you are no longer useful.  It’s hard to stay positive when others – who you are powerless to completely cut out of your life – spend so much time calling you filthy names, gossiping about you and in general, do their level best to break up your marriage.

It’s hard to stay positive when you are in pain 24/7, year after year.  Especially when despite have excellent medical coverage, you still can’t get the medical profession to care enough to help you.

As to the question of why I’ve been reblogging so many posts from other blogs, the answer is simple.  I reblog posts that I feel need to be shared as widely as possibly.

Oh shit.  Please pardon my French, but I’m having yet another on of “those” moments right bloody now.  I’m going to do something I don’t normally do and actually hit the Publish button, rather that leave this the Drafts pile with all the others I’ve written, but never actually posted.

 

Looks Can Be Deceiving

A very touching and insightful post by one smart young lady!

What a fabulous way to end this beautiful, sunny weekend!

Please take the time to read it. I promise you won’t regret it. 🙂

Loud Thoughts Voiced Out

I want to start this blog with a little activity / homework / experiment, whatever you want to call it, for you. When you’re out on the street, somewhere, I want you to look at a person and I want you to judge them by how they look. Think of the nastiest, bitchiest and rudest comments you possibly can, all because of how that person looks. Like “Oh. Look at her face. So snooty. I bet she’s an effing.. something.” Any name calling, any amount of judgement you can possibly pass about that person.

Now I want you to walk up to them and I want you to shove all that judgement away and put on a sweet voice and as genuine a smile as you can and tell them, “Hey. I’m sorry if I’m intruding. I was just standing there and I constantly kept feeling like you’re going through…

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Mental Health Awareness Week: Why is awareness so important?

I came across this blog post earlier today. It struck a chord in me. Perhaps I’m too sensitive, or cynical, or both. It’s been my personal experience that those who really and truly need to “get it,” are the ones least likely to ever open their minds.

I struggle with depression. I don’t know – or care – what came first, my physical or mental health issues. What I do know, is that despite living in the Information Age, people are often willfully ignorant. Look, I don’t want or expect people to know the minutiae of the challenges I face each and every moment of every day. What I do want – and wish I could expect – is for others to stop expecting that it’s okay to dump their beliefs and expectations on me.

If I do share with you that I’m having issues when outside my home, it’s generally just a courtesy on my part. It means I’m sharing in the hope of less judgement than I normally face. I don’t want people to think I’m intoxicated when my balance goes or my words start to slur, so if I’m out with folks I don’t know that well and I notice something is about to go wonky, I state then and there that I have MS. It is not – let me be very clear – an invitation or cue, for anyone to proceed peppering me with questions, sharing the so-called medical wisdom, or to pass judgement. It is not a case of my pulling the sympathy card. I just want the people around me to know that I’m not plastered or high.

If my depression gets the better of me while out in public and you don’t live the expression on my face – or in my case, lack thereof – it does not give you, family, friend or stranger, the right to go off on me. Period. You don’t like the look in my face?  Here’s a tip, don’t look!

p.s.  And please, stop comparing me or my case to other people.  Believe it or not, I am fully aware that literally billions of people have a much, much harder life than I do.  And I know that many of them still manage to put on a happy face and be an inspiration.  Guess what?  I am doing the best I can.  If that’s not good enough for you, then it’s your problem. Not mine.

#BlackDogRunner

I’m not sure if you’re aware, but this week is Mental Health Awareness Week. For those who spend much time around me, this must sound rather exhausting. Barely a week goes by where I don’t moan about my symptoms, complain about stigma, or behave in a generally ‘mental’ way. Rather than another week of raising awareness, I suspect many of my friends would prefer a Mental Health Ignorance Week. Where I’d be induced into a state of quiet normalness, and the rest of the world could continue… Well… pretty much as normal.

"Ignorance is bliss" “Ignorance is bliss” (This is one of my favourite pictures on the internet – I don’t know the original source)

And – if I’m fair – I’d have sympathy. For a start, I know how boring I can get when I feel motivated to speak. It’s like a terrible episode of Question Time, where the most annoying…

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This is what you call “not helping your case”

This is UNACCEPTABLE! A garbage diagnosis? Gee, where have I heard that before? Oh, wait I know… When my doctor said the same thing about my MS diagnosis. I have heard variations of the same kind of misogynistic bullshit from more than a few “doctors” before. F**k you, Dr. Drew. How DARE you immediately jump to such absurd conclusions based on a three minute phone call with the patient’s fiance? That’s ethically and morally wrong.

Some interesting screengrabs of Tweets from Drew Pinsky, his wife Susan, and the ditch they are digging themselves into more and more today with terrible handling of Pinsky’s misguided (at best) comments about endometriosis and IC during the Loveline show on Thursday night.

Apparently the situation at hand may be discussed on his show on Monday, April 28. We shall see. Even if it is, Susan Pinsky makes it sound like we’re in for another shit sandwich.

To follow what’s going on, you don’t even need to have a Twitter account. Mine is twitter.com/endosucks (or @endosucks if you do have an account). Drew Pinsky is @drdrew, @loveline and @drdrewHLN (yes, he’s on CNN too), though he does also have others (like for the podcast). Susan Pinsky is @firstladyoflove.

If you want to respond, tweet at these accounts, and/or use the trending term #educatedrdrew.

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And then this treasure happened. Why…

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Spam Followers

Spam Followers, they are truly a major pet peeve of mine.  In a word, I HATE them.

As of a couple days ago, I have two.  Neither has commented on anything I’ve posted or re-blogged.

Side Note: To be clear, I re-blog only posts that I personally think deserve to be as widely shared as possible.  They can be about causes I feel strongly about, or just find interesting and/or funny.  (Though there are also many other posts I would love to re-blog, but if I’m don’t restrain myself this would soon cease to even be my blog!) Also, I always do my best to obtain permission from the original poster, as well as add my own comments to ensure it is very clear that every piece I re-blog is NOT my work.

Now, back to my pet peeve about Spam Followers.  After the first one “joined” my list of Followers just a few weeks after I started this blog, I followed his link back to the source and discover he is part of a Pyramid scheme selling a “miracle health drink.”  Now in my country, Canada, this is illegal, so imagine my surprise after searching the  Support Pages for WordPress to find out that I can do NOTHING to get rid of this modern day snake oil salesman.

As he hasn’t even bothered to post a single word on my blog, or respond to my personal request that he stop following me, I can’t even find a way to mark him as Spam.  The truly sad part with this young fellow – IF what his lengthy bio states is true – is that he’s managed to rake in a good number of followers actually thanking him for following their blogs.  I actually read a few dozen of the replies, which made me both angry and sad.

Angry because he obviously used some kind of keywords spamming software to seek out and target bloggers like me.  Bloggers with serious, debilitating and life long diseases and other medical conditions, so he could prey on them.  I researched his so-called miracle product and in minutes was able to find plenty of medical articles proving the claims his site makes are sheer bogus.

Spammers like this don’t even bother to make the effort of seeking their prey and potential victims themselves.  No, they use spam bot software that targets the vulnerable.  When you are always sick and there is no known cure for whatever ails you, there are low times when you are feeling so low, desperate and discouraged, that it is all too easy to latch onto to anyone or anything, that promises to help.

And that’s what makes me sad.  Sad for those that in a moment of naiveté or vulnerability, they actually believe the people behind such spam actually cared enough to make a human connection.  Sad that said people are so focussed on making money, they don’t stop to think of those they might be hurting.

It’s offensive, hurtful and in a very real sense, abusive, to target people who are sick and vulnerable with false hopes all so you can make some money.  And here’s a newsflash, being chronically ill is bloody expensive!  Yet these types of spammers don’t give a damn if they manage to take money from one the already poorest demographics there is.  (Generally speaking.)

My most recent Spam Follower seems to have use the same route as the first did – Spam Bot Seeking Keywords software.  In his case, it appears he’s pushing his fitness routine.  I haven’t made any attempt to contact this one, but will say that on his site he actually appears to talk to people.  Whether that’s his customers only or not, I couldn’t say.

So, if they can Follow my blog with impunity, I see no reason I can’t can’t name them in my post and expose them for the cowards they truly are!

The first one, whom I call the Modern Day Snake Oil Salesman, is qkuafman and his blog is a WordPress one.  I find his to be the more offensive of the two simply because of all the posts on his “About” page from so many people thanking him for following their blog and not a single reply from him.

The second one is called fitnesfreak.  I had to Google this one as if he does have a WordPress blog, I can’t find it.  I will say his business appears to be legit.  To be honest, I didn’t look too deeply into his.

And that, folks, is one of my personal Pet Peeves!

Opinions. Everyone has One.

You know what they say about opinions right?

For the most part, I’m a huge believer in free speech and will defend anyone’s right to have their own opinions.

But you know what’s not alright?  Cramming YOUR opinion down other people’s throat.  Especially when you have no actual facts whatsoever to back up the ill-formed opinion you’re busy cramming down your target’s throat and regaling your loyal entourage with.

Lemme ‘splain,

From one standpoint, I am relieved to finally have a diagnosis.  But here’s the thing, I naively (apparently) thought that once I received it and let folks know, it would finally shut them up.  After all, how do you argue with scan results that show your brain closely resembles a slab of Swiss cheese?

And with not just one, but two neurologists who specialize in diagnosing and treating Multiple Sclerosis?

Well, apparently you can!

As it turns, I AM a lazy, whining, anti-social cow.  Or at least that’s what I’ve been told, repeatedly, by both portions of my family and that of my husband’s, acquaintances and even strangers.

Yes, leaving the workforce at the ripe old age of 32, was a well thought out career move.  Who needs a pension plan?  Eating cat food sounds in my golden years sounds like a great idea. Yummy!

I’ve had ever so much fun having my once busy work and personal life slowly shrink to almost nothing.  I love being in constant pain. I eat a bucket full of pills every day because I want to.  It’s a choice, really it is.

It’s been an absolute blast to watch my once spotless house transform into something you might see on an episode of Hoarders. I simply adore having to walk very slowly like a little old lady (at 44), eyes to ground, carefully scanning for stray pebbles or cracks in the concrete that might trip me up, resulting in yet another face plant or a cracked tail bone.  After all, who needs speed?  Don’t we all moan and whine about needing to slow down and smell the roses, so to speak?

Descending stairs without firm railings to hang onto?  No problem, sliding down them on my ass or back makes me feel like an Olympic athlete! Wheee…

And my absolute favourite thing of all?Having total strangers walk right up to me share their opinions with me!  And doing it loudly enough that the CSIS, the NSA or Paranoid Putin need not waste their resources trying to get intelligence on my latest nefarious plans.

Like I said, everyone has an opinion.

But if you’ve got any (more) opinions about me, my MS, or anything at all to do with my personal life – which includes my husband, our two daughters, and our pets – and it isn’t complimentary, then do me and the world, one small favour…KEEP THEM TO YOURSELF!

Go find yourself a life and stay out of everyone else’s business.