Shortages in Zoloft?

I am an advocate for people to address their mental health issues however they determine is best. My personal opinion is medication should be one of the final options you take but that doesn’t mean its not a good option for you. 2020 has been a rough year all around on a macro level. Anxiety has spiked and its beginning to manifest itself in the supply chain.

I found an article here about the shortages in the supply of Zoloft.

From the article: “Increased need for the drug, which is commonly prescribed to treat depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety disorders, combined with disruptions to the global supply chain amid the pandemic have reportedly made it difficult for companies to keep up with the demand.

Suppliers of Zoloft’s generic version, sertraline, have reportedly been unable to amass enough of the drug’s active pharmaceutical ingredient, with pharmaceutical companies Lupin Limited and Accord Healthcare saying sertraline is expected to remain on back order for at least two months.”

Of course this is troubling to say the least. If this is a drug that you need, you have my sympathy. I know how hard it is to get through bouts of anxiety. My personal problem is with intrusive thoughts that really drag me down. If you are taking Zoloft its likely become a part of how you function and a shortage might affect you directly.

The best advice I have for you is to be in touch with your doctor and be your best advocate. In a supply and demand situation, it is often the person who asks the most frequently who gets the good or service first. As the old saying goes, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”. Make sure you full your prescriptions as early as you can as I suspect given the pending U.S. election, we will transition this summer into ANOTHER time of high stress due to outside forces.

If you would like to read more about how to relieve stress fast, check out my post here it might help.

Looting, Violence, Racism

I’m not going to go on some profound rant here. Everyone who disagrees with you is not an idiot. Everyone who agrees with you is not necessarily a good person. Just because you think something is right, doesnt mean its right. This applies to all of us, if you chose to draw a line in the sand and deal in absolutes nothing changes.

I wont take the easy way out which many do and blame the president. Im not going to take the easy way out and say everyone out there participating in the title are terrorist. I am going to say very simply, you know whats right and wrong. When you sit back and chose a side and then pile on to the other side you destroy nearly any chance of reconciliation. Opportunists will take this and run with it, sowing discord divides and conquers.

Normal well intended people with a platform will use it to push simplistic idea’s and solutions. Repeating talking points they saw or read somewhere else. Rarely do you see substance in their prose. They dont know what to do either. Shouting loudly to people who nod and agree and shout back their agreement just creates more noise. Soon, no one will be able to hear.

It’s easy to blame others, to latch on to a popular notion and run with it. You are empowered, you have other people who feel the same way you do, you are emboldened. Its sad to see what is happening out there, and I have seen it before in 1992 when Rodney King was beaten, 60+ people died. Oh sure there have been others, Furgeson, on and on. Cops killing Americans in the street is an atrocity that should be dealt with severely. A 3rd degree murder charge is ridiculous.

Racism is real, it is not exclusively owned by one race. There are people, in the U.S. who want to harm this country. Who want us to be at each others throats tearing ourselves apart from within. Will you allow it? Will you be, yet another voice that points the finger and says “IT’S THEM NOT ME!!!”

You are smarter than that, you know the problems that plaque us as humans are complex. You know this isnt simple, you know there isnt a quick fix. Be kind to people, and step outside of your comfort zone and engage someone who has a different point of view.

Otherwise this will keep happening, year after year, decade after decade, century after century. Maybe in 100 years the U.S. has dissolved. Someone else will come along, will the cycle continue? I dont know, but I do know we are better than this, all of us.

A brief indulgence on politics

I don’t normally wade into politics on this blog, for a good reason. Many people get very ugly very fast when you don’t agree with their point of view. Otherwise reasonable people lose their poop over politics, they become very unkind and have citations of “well they do this” or “he says that” as if the rest of us are supposed to believe that two wrongs make a right. Mini rant over…

AS some of you may or may not know I am a libertarian. I have voted libertarian nearly exclusively since the late 90’s. In the U.S. we have two dominate political parties and it is my belief that a 3rd viable party will help reign in some of the partisanship and angst we see year after year.

It just so happens that I do identify pretty closely with libertarian ideals as well. You can read about those here if you are interested. Last week the Libertarian Party nominated its candidate for president, her name is Dr. Jo Jorgensen. You can read more about her here

I think its great news that she has gotten the nomination. She has been in the front lines of the libertarian party for a long time and has definitely earned it. Much will be made by the fact she is a woman and while that is absolutely noteworthy, more should be made of the fact she is qualified to hold the office. Many Libertarians like myself are very realistic about the prospects of our party.

We understand the two dominate parties have built massive entertainment and news industries around the political process to support their agenda. Places like CNN and FOX news are mouth pieces for politicians. While that might be cynical to say, it’s imperative to look at politics with a critical eye. Politics is a road to power and power corrupts.

I understand the likelihood of Jo winning the presidency is nearly zero. That doesn’t mean that she can’t garner enough support to impact the U.S. political scene. 5-10% of the vote would do that. You would have a lot of news outlets cover this, and they would all be asking why. Voters in the U.S. are tired of “Democrat vs Republican” it’s been this way for decades and decades.

We just want politicians who will do a good job and get things done. Is Jo Jorgensen the answer? I don’t know, I do know that if we keep doing the same thing over and over again (voting democrat or republican) and expect a different result we are fools. In the end the most important thing we have to do as Americans is vote. November will be here before you know it, no one vote is inconsequential, your vote matters. Consider an alternative approach, maybe we will get a different outcome other than the tired status quo.

How to recover from a mistake

We all make them and to various degree’s. I recently made what I would call a “moderate” mistake. It was a lapse in commonsense, nothing horrific, no one got hurt but it made me look stupid as hell. What was it? I was burning some branches wood etc. In the fire pit in my back yard, no big deal right? I let the flames die off and the next day I dumped the ash in the woods.

My mistake was I didn’t check to make sure the coals were cold, they weren’t they were still warm and in some cases hot.

So later in the day I was back outside and I saw in the distance some smoke coming out of the woods near my house. My house abuts a park/forest, it’s a great place to live but fire is one of the things that could destroy it. Of course I got the hose out and flooded the area with water, no damage no fire.

What a completely stupid thing to do, and after my adrenaline rush subsided I crashed pretty hard. I still feel completely stupid, my neighbor my wife etc. were all very understanding. Mistakes happen but when you have anxiety? You feel ten times worse than normal, particularly when it’s a mistake void of common sense. So I dealt with it, fixed the problem and then retreated into my mind and proceeded to beat myself up for the next few days.

I have recovered from this stupidity, how? I employed, to various degrees the concepts below. If you use them, you can recover from a mistake as well.

  1. Take responsibility: Apologize to those affected and make sure they know you will work to fix the issue.
  2. Fix what you can: Mistakes have various degrees. The one I gave you was a big one but I was able to fix it by dousing the area with water.  
  3. Make it a learning moment: Cliché? Maybe but you made this mistake for a reason. Learn what you did wrong, and make sure you implement the requisite changes so that it doesn’t happen again.
  4. Forgive yourself: Everyone makes mistakes, but at this moment you’re up. You must make sure you forgive yourself for making a mistake, everyone makes them.

These are all basic steps you’ll find all over the web if you are looking for advice on making a mistake. What you don’t normally get in those narratives is how long each step takes, and in what order they occur. Some mistakes take years to fix, some mistakes you learn immediately…

The point is we all make mistakes and some of them are extremely stupid. We look back at them and wonder “OMG what was I thinking” I’ve had them, you’ve had them, the person who is affected by your mistake has had them to. Do your best to move forward when you make one of these mistakes. If you don’t it can really drag you down spiritually for an extended period of time.  

Navigating Anxiety Spikes amid “reopening”

Depending on where you are the world around you is re-opening. For better or worse, here we go and as individuals with anxiety this will be a challenging period. We all have our own feelings on the pandemic, I have restricted my personal opinions (mostly) as I don’t seem to have a mainstream point of view. Needless to say as a libertarian this has been a very curious time. Without being cavalier though I concede fully, just because I feel a certain way doesn’t mean its right way.

We all have to navigate this stage of the game in our own way. I found a good article here that discusses how we might manage our anxiety as we all venture back out.

From the article: “The days and weeks ahead are sure to bring a good deal of anxiety, as so much uncertainty remains about COVID-19. While staying home all the time might not have been fun, it also removed many sources of stress, especially concerns about catching the virus. With our reemergence comes many questions about whether we’re doing the right thing and if we’re being careful enough—and of course concerns about the actions of others. Are our leaders making the right decisions? Will others thrown caution to the wind and get you sick?”

We can haggle over timing and specifics but I think we can all agree at some point we have to open back up. We cannot sustain the current model long term, it’s going to devastate our economy and residually negatively impact Millions more, if not Tens of Millions.

All that aside what about you and your anxiety? What do you do if you still are uncomfortable or are struggling with how to proceed? Your mental and physical health are paramount and just because everything is opening back up it doesn’t mean you have to be compliant.

Let’s be blunt, you are the best gauge of how you feel and how you think you can best move forward in this new reality. All the blog posts, all the comments, all the news outlets, all the government are not experts in you.

If you are uncomfortable, that’s okay. You make gradual small steps back to where you were before. As an example, a trip to the post office might be your weekly excursion back out there for now. That’s okay, you do not need to rush. As long as you have a secure income source, take your time and take care of your mental health.

There are many people out there now who are sick and tired of all this. That’s their right, it’s also your right to take things at your own pace. Stay safe, and take care of yourself.

What is the U.S. holiday “Memorial Day?”

Like many blogs I get traffic from all over the world. Russia, China, India, UK, Australia, Italy, Brazil and everywhere in between. I’ve learned a lot in my travels around WordPress. The diversity of cultures is great and it interests me a great deal. I often wonder about holidays in other countries, what event inspired it etc. Today in the U.S. is Memorial Day and its one of our most revered national holidays.

What is it? :  

Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season.

Source:

To understand Memorial Day today and what Decoration Day in the past was it’s important to illustrate how profoundly the civil war changed American culture. It wasn’t just resolving the issue of slavery, it was in effect how we became one country instead of a group of states acting as one country. The social and economic ramifications of a strong central government are still reverberating today, prior most states enjoyed near complete autonomy from the federal government.

Moreover the death toll from the Civil War was staggering and it impacted nearly every American in some way at the time. It isn’t some event that is held in the abstract, most Americans have someone in their family tree who fought in this conflict. Even new Americans who have recently migrated to the U.S. see the statues in their towns, see the culture references still present today. I was in Alabama 3 years ago on business, one of the people I met with introduced me as “his Yankee friend from New England”.

Like most holidays its meaning and application have changed over time. As an example, this year there will not be many parades due to covid. Most Americans have this day off from work paid. Most of us will have a party or attend one. Many more of us will go to the cemetery and visit the graves of those we lost.

And of course there is the national wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington national cemetery. This is to honor those who fought and died for the U.S. whom we could not identify or who never came home.

Memorial Day in the U.S. is important to us on so many levels. Kids can begin to plan their summer vacations, warm weather begins to take hold across the country, and we get a day to reflect on why we are proud to be American.

I know the later sentiment isn’t a popular one these days. Any hint of nationalism is often met with a skeptical eye. For me, I’m glad I live in the U.S. and I am proud of my heritage and my country, as I am sure you are as proud of yours.

Wisdom from the Havamal

Yes another foray into the Norse world with your pagan friend Karac.

First, what is the Havamal?

The Havamal (Hávamál) is “The Sayings of the High One” telling stories about Odin the All father and his journey of acquiring knowledge and wisdom. The Havamal is neither heroic or mythological. Rather, it is somewhat didactic. Simply put, these are similar to Christian commandments in the sense it is meant to instruct ones morals. Unlike our Christian friends these are not laws to build society on, but rather sayings one internalize that allows you to evaluate the character of others.

The saying that has served me well as I age:

The cautious guest

who comes to the table speaks sparingly.

Listen with ears,

Learn with eyes.

Such is the seeker of knowledge.

Of course you have seen some iteration of this saying in your travels. Listen more, speak less etc. This is ancient wisdom, and every culture from antiquity has some reference to it in some form. This still holds true to today and as individuals with anxiety it is a prudent course to take.

When you are an expert, or very experienced on a subject it is important to speak on it. When you are not, you listen to what others say but the most important part of this saying is how you learn, with your eyes.

When someone is speaking, how are the other people reacting? What do you see? Are their arms folded? Are they leaning in? Are the using a lot of hand gestures? It’s vital for all of us to be very careful who we listen to, and understand who is speaking. This of course is applicable anywhere. As we garner more and more information in life from more and more sources we have to be diligent not to leap too quickly to a conclusion.

Do you want to read more about the Havamal? Check it out on the Wiki

Be mindful of what you hear, listen, watch and learn.

You are doing awesome, one day at a time….

Is this all a bad dream?

Do you remember your dreams? Parts of them? I do I have good dreams, I am thankful as I do know someone who has told me in the past they have vivid bad dreams. She claims they are the kind that wake her up at night. Now I have had those kinds of dreams before, you know your leg jumps, you fall and you wake up? I don’t have them regularly though. Apparently many people right now are having very vivid dreams tied to anxiety.

I found an interesting article here that discusses the issue

From the article: “In essence, our bodies are in a flight or fight response, which, as we know from watching any horror movie, is incompatible with sleep,” said Jason Ellis, a professor of sleep science at England’s Northumbria University and the director of Northumbria Sleep Research Laboratory. He and his colleagues recently published an article in the Journal of Sleep Research about practical tips for dealing with sleep problems during home confinement. He calls our unprecedented circumstances “the perfect sleep storm.” 

That maelstrom, he said, is unlikely to increase the amount of dreams we actually have, but it’s likely to increase the amount of dreams we remember. “The question,” he said, “is, why is the content so weird?”

The point here is people are remember more of their dreams, not actually having more. The article does a good job of giving examples and correlating the dreams to increased anxiety levels due to Covid 19 concerns. On this blog I have given out dozens of posts on how to fight anxiety, one of the key weapons we use is a good night’s sleep. So where does that leave us now?

We have to create the conditions of relief BEFORE we go to bed at night. If you are having bad dreams and they are becoming more and more vivid below are three things you can do before bed to help you first, get a better night’s sleep, second reduce the vivid bad dreams.

  1. 2 minutes of deep breathing: in through the nose out through the mouth. The deepest breaths you can take, in the dark in your bed sitting up. Do this BEFORE you lay down.
  2. Screens off 30-60 minutes before you retire: I’m not going to go on and on about how much screen time you should have. If its 15 min or 15 hours, you need to shut off the screen an hour (ideally) before you lay down to sleep not shut down and then go to bed.
  3. Prior to logging off the screens, laugh: Watch a funny video, read a joke, read a positive story. Whatever you have to do to actually laugh and smile do it. This will be the last “imprint” on your brain before you retire.

These steps are of course in reverse order. However they are listed in order of importance. Do step 3, then 2 then 1 and you will have the best result. Minimally you do step 1 every night. IF you are having more and more bad dreams due to the heightened anxiety world we are currently in, try these steps they will help you.

You are doing awesome, one day at a time.

8 weeks later In the U.S.

85,000 people (rounded) have died and 36 million (rounded) have lost their jobs. We can get into a debate on is one death to many? Is 36 million jobs loss worth the shut down? I’d rather not to be honest. Opinions are like yesterday’s everyone has them. If you are a “keep it locked down” or a “open the country now” person I respect your point of view. The point of this post is to illustrate how fast things go in the crapper.

This doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface globally, the numbers above are U.S. only. The kicker here is many people want and expect the government to keep people afloat through the crisis. The problem with that is we have been running a deficit for decades and decades. So it’s literally going to come down to printing more money. When that happens money becomes worth less and less and we get into the horrible situation of where it costs more to buy less. History is full of situations like this, government bail outs, on the short term are effective but we are now looking at a 3 trillion “round two” stimulus…

That money will have to be printed, with 36 million out of work taxes will be way down. This is all taking a huge toll on people. Depression is up, mental illness is up its getting worse and worse. I found an article here that talks about the current working environment and how its impacting people.

From the article: “The staggering high unemployment and coronavirus recession are factors, but they aren’t the only factors contributing to the heightened mental health struggles and depression—feelings of hopelessness, emptiness, loss of energy, trouble sleeping, etc. Even those who remain employed are struggling. The unemployed are stressed and anxious about their future employment prospects and current and future financial circumstances. While the employed aren’t so sure they stand on solid ground either.”

Everyone is feeling this, there is no escape. If you are fortunate to still be able to work, or your job is coming back soon this is an extremely tenuous time. Everyone is on edge and companies are hemorrhaging money. Income is the most important factor in your financial health, and thus is important to your mental health.

Hang in there! Things are not great right now but they will improve. You should plan for an extended down turn in the job market. While things will likely improve mid-June – July it’s not likely we will get back to the prior economic highs we saw before corona. Holding on to your job is very important right now, the government will help you in the short term but long term federal and state aid will dry up.

It’s been a tough couple of months. I suspect we will still be on a rollercoaster ride through May. By July 4th we should see our new normal, most of us will be back to work in a semi normal state. Remember that your income is paramount, save what you can and take care of your needs first, help others second.

You are doing great, one day at a time.

Thank you for supporting my blog

Sometimes it’s prudent to just give a thank you. 2020 has been a good year for my blog, more people have checked it out than ever before. I am growing, and while that was never my intent when I started its definitely nice to see and motivating. I started this blog mainly as a sounding board/place to put thoughts. I think that’s how a lot of people start, I mean there are professional bloggers who do it for money and that’s cool. I haven’t monetized this blog and I don’t have plans to in the near future. I think it would be super cool to be able to be a content creator even part time but thankfully I have a good job already.

I am happy with how the blog sits now, I am enjoying the content although currently it’s been hard to get away from Corona coverage. That said I have been diligent in trying to stay away from politics overall I think we will all be getting an ear full of that sooner rather than later. I’m finding more and more articles revolving around covid and anxiety and while that’s fine, Anxiety as an issue will be here long after Covid is gone.

I am still committed to doing anxiety pieces on the blog. You will see from time to time, posts on time, finance and other items that interest me but for now the main purpose of the blog is to put more information out there on anxiety related issues. The more we talk about it and get it out there the better for everyone IMHO.

I would likely be doing this if I had no support at all. I am getting support though, from people like you. Just you showing up and liking is great, it helps a lot. I am not as big as other blogs but I appreciate everyone who comes by so much, I can’t express enough how grateful I am that you are choosing to consume my content. I would be honored if you think my content is good enough, that you shared it with your networks and considered following my blog.

Thanks again for your support, I really appreciate it.

Karac