Dear Amanda Lauren, It still disgusts me that you were so cruel in your @xojanedotcom piece about someone you once considered your friend. Not just to her, but to her family, to her true friends, to people with schizoaffective disorder, to the mental health community in general, and to the people who have friends or family with mental health issues. To claim that you were doing it to boost awareness is frightening. You didn’t boost awareness of anyone or anything except yourself or your hunger for fame. You clearly crave drama. Your other pieces seem to indicate this, as did, let’s not mince words, cyberstalking your former friend. You didn’t need to see what was being said about you. You chose to either because something in you felt more alive with this young woman as your adversary or you felt like her hate justified some level of hatred you have for yourself. The Internet allows people to give into self-destructive urges like that. You should work on that because it will not only be potentially harmful to your career, but it will push away people who make up your support system. You should apologize to everyone harmed by your words, especially the family of your friend. I hope they didn’t read your piece, but if they did, then I can only imagine how that impacted them. Did you even think about them? Did you bother to ask permission to memorialize their loved one as a lost cause? Or were you too busy concentrating on the fame and drama this kind of story might get you? Whatever your reason, it was the wrong thing to do. You should be ashamed not of sharing your name but of hurting people so viciously. You shouldn’t try advocating on behalf of people who have chronic illnesses who you see as being undeserving of life because they’re sick. Your words were not wanted and your advocacy is unneeded. Apologize. Learn from your mistakes and don’t do this again. The attention you got was not worth it. from Destigmatize Me via IFTTT

Dear Amanda Lauren

Once upon a time, we were friends. We would email each other, talk on Twitter, comment on each other’s blogs, etc. It was nice. You and I were both diagnosed as Bipolar and it was nice to have someone around my age to talk to about that. You weren’t my only friend with that issue, but for a while there you were one of the closest. When you got your lap-band surgery done, I remember worrying because you couldn’t keep down food, but you didn’t want to tell your doctor because you were finally losing weight. I worried you would have nutritional deficiencies before I realized I had them.  And you told me you worried about my health issues as well.   That’s why you felt the need when you were diagnosed with “Chronic Lyme Disease” to suggest I might have it as well.1 You told me that it fit my symptoms. You told me I might be able to go off my meds, lose weight, and live a life off without chronic pain if I’d just go to a Lyme specialist.2 And for a split second, I considered it.3 But then I researched it, something that you should have known I would do. When I told you that I didn’t think an infection was causing my hereditary condition,4 you huffed off like a toddler for a while before you came roaring back into my life.  Our friendship never recovered from that, did it? Or maybe our friendship was nonexistent from the beginning. That’s what I started thinking tonight as your tirade came in. Well, I did after I described your past behaviors, including that close friendship with a certain blogger that used to write fat-shaming posts pretty regularly, and some people started pointing out that friends don’t really act like you’ve acted. I tried to defend you. You’re bipolar and off your meds…you are just on a Lyme disease kick…you’re just having a bad day or week or month or year.  But that doesn’t explain it.  Because the reality is that you’ve always had a shady edge to your behavior.  Like how you harassed one mutual friend over her past drug issues and how that compared to your Lyme disease. Or the time you harassed another person I know and you know of over her exercising routine and her teeth. Or maybe the time you went after another mutual friend calling her a bad parent for having an autistic child and eating gluten. Or maybe how you treated total strangers should have clued me in. You trolled groups for disabled people on Twitter to promote your “everything is Lyme” mindset. You said people who didn’t buy marijuana5 off the street, not from reputable/regulated dealers, for their epileptic children were bad parents. You would even buy marijuana, in a state where it’s illegal, to make homemade CBD oil & you’d brag about it on social media. You didn’t care who you hurt, whether it was a friend, a family member, a stranger, or yourself.   So your nonsensical transphobic tirade fits with the rest of your utter disregard and lack of even basic compassion for other people. And I am so happy my eyes are open to your cruelty. I’m glad that I am no longer having to hope that one day you’ll go back on your medicine and into therapy and be all better. Clearly, this is what the real you is like. I don’t know why you think the transgender community wants to strip you of your rights any more than I know why you fixated on Lyme. I don’t understand why you think I’m brainwashed when you’re the person actually buying into speculation and denying facts. I don’t know why you think that it’s okay to compare the LGBTQ community to Nazis or why you think there’s a vast conspiracy to brainwash children into being trans. Do you think that I’m going to molest children because of my past? Would you not trust me to be around children if I didn’t identify as 100% heterosexual? I mean before you determined that I was brainwashed by my trans friends. Was I a threat then? Am I one now? Have you always thought of me as a dangerous person? Did you really think I was threatening you? These are things I wanted to ask you. I don’t usually give people who pick fights with me multiple chances to walk away. I don’t warn them like I did you. You’ve seen me argue and you know this. You have to at least know I would never beat you up. I’ve slapped one person in my whole life and I still feel bad about that. I mean, come on, this is me. I rant online, but I’m practically a pacifist.  Identifying as transgender is not a result of child molestation. Being a  non-heterosexual is not the result of child molestation. This is a bullshit belief that even total homophobes and transphobes don’t express that much anymore. And being gay or trans doesn’t mean someone will molest children. Don’t believe what fear- and hate-mongers want you to believe. Don’t put your faith in people who won’t be honest with you. Did you even bother to look for a legitimate source on any of those articles? Ooh. Tabloids. So trust-worthy, especially ones with links to UKIP, BNP, & Tories. But I guess that fits with your fear-mongering and with your love of Trump.6 I always knew you were a Republican, but I never realized how much hatred you carry in your heart.7 You want me to be educated on this issue, but you’re forgetting that I actually am educated. Remember early in our friendship when I was being booted from my college major with one semester left? Or that what that major was in? I know a Social Work degree and a GRE score high enough to get my Master’s is not as impressive as being able to make your own CBD oil, but it’s close, right? I […]

Dearest Marie

Well, I scheduled the appointment with a family doctor. Not mine. Mine isn’t on the schedule for the rest of February and they don’t have her schedule available for March either.1 I don’t know the doctor that I will be seeing. I’m not anticipating anything good coming from the appointment, but I knew I had to make it anyway. New doctors and me don’t really mesh well. Actually, doctors in general don’t mesh well with me.2 My doctor has had some cringe-worthy moments, but she does listen to me. She understands that I am trying to take care of myself and I’m not trying to do something that my body cannot handle.3 And she’s encouraged me to exercise in the past.4 I’m hoping that she can talk to the doctor who will be seeing me or leave a note in my chart explaining that I’m not a complete masochist who wants to die from falling off a stair-stepping machine. I sent her an email explaining that I needed her help. I need a medical clearance for the Wellness Center to continue my physical therapy exercises on my own. A form was sent one to you, but I was called this morning & told someone else denied clearance because of the Ehlers-Danlos. Specifically, they mentioned skin involvement, which is mild for me. I know what exercises I can and can’t do without hurting my joints. The only things I was thinking of adding in were Pilates and pool exercise, which are both considered safe for people with Ehlers-Danlos because they’re low resistence, high repetition. I’ve never met the doctor that I’m supposed to see, which is hard for me because I tend to be intimidated by new doctors & feel like new doctors don’t always listen to me. I’m scared if Dr. ******** refuses that the strength I’ve built up since last summer and especially since the surgery will disappear. I’m worried that without continuing to do the exercises I will end up having more surgeries. Can you help? Hopefully, she’ll be able to do something. I also sent her one letting her know that I did try to get an appointment for the mini-pill prescription. I tried to schedule an appointment for the Norethindrone prescription, since it is a high-risk medicine for me, but the prescription was called in without an appointment. I thought you might want to know that I haven’t had any signs of clots while I’ve been on it. I also haven’t had any excessive bleeding while on it. Dr. ******, my hematologist, said that being on birth control is going to give me another year without infusions, but that I will probably need one this coming December or next year sometime based on my ferritin levels. I want her to know that I am trying to do things that I’m supposed to do to prevent future health problems. I’ve been by past doctors accused of not trying to take care of myself. I refuse to be blamed for these things. I refuse to let doctors, nurses, and random office workers5 who don’t know me and who don’t care about my overall well-being sabotage the progress that I’ve made and risk my life in the process. UAB Huntsville is prone to this sort of “well they aren’t on the schedule” and “oh, we don’t have a schedule for next week or next month available yet” thing. They do it to every patient, no matter what is wrong with them. No matter how dire the situation. And I’m not saying my situation is dire, but they’ve done it with my mom when she’s tried to schedule appointments for diabetes and blood pressure. ↩When you have a soft voice and you cry easily, doctors walk all over you. When you have a soft voice, cry easily, and chronic illnesses, they walk all over you while wearing heels that have Lego blocks on the bottom of them, bumpy side down. ↩Or she has acted like she understand this. ↩If she doesn’t support my use of the Wellness Center, then she’s being hypocritical. ↩The person who decided that I didn’t need the appointment for the norethindrone prescription was a receptionist with no medical training. ↩

Blood, Sweat, and Tears

Well, I just sent this to Amazon.com about the cancellation/refund/over-draft situation.1 To Whom It May Concern: On January 3, 2016, I attempted to cancel multiple unwanted orders from your company, including an order I didn’t make that contained a duplication of an entirely different order. Some of the cancellations worked. Some did not. I even tried getting customer service to cancel these items, but was told that they couldn’t be canceled. I tried to explain that the lack of cancellations was going to lead to overdrafts on my bank account. They said that they would try to get someone to do a back-end cancellation and would let me know the status of this cancellation. I was then told to simply refuse shipping on the items and that I would receive refunds. There was no cancellation. There was no follow up. I refused shipment and mailed back the unopened packages on January 25, 2016 and February 4, 2016, but no refund has been processed. I wasn’t told that I needed to go ahead and request refunds, again, before sending the package back. I’ve over-drafted multiple times (fees of over $600) as a result of the orders that I stated I didn’t even want in the first place and won’t be able to pay most of my bills for this month. I may not even be able to pay them next month. What is going on, guys? This kind of experience is ridiculous. Most companies have a billing and return system that works properly. Most companies process cancellations and returns a lot more quickly. I’m sending a copy of this letter to the Better Business Bureau. Maybe you can work with them and figure out what’s wrong with your system because obviously something is. And maybe, in the mean time, you can figure out where my refunds are and why I haven’t received them yet. I messed up on the fees for the over-drafts section, which I fixed in the BBB complaint. I sent this to the BBB: On January 3, 2016, I attempted to cancel multiple unwanted orders (things I either didn’t realize I put in my cart & not my wishlist or items that I decided that I didn’t want) from Amazon.com. One of the orders I cancelled contained a duplication of an another item. Some of the cancellations worked, but some didn’t. I contacted customer service and each person that I talked to claimed that they couldn’t cancel the orders. I tried to explain that I didn’t want the others and that I couldn’t afford to pay for them because I’m on a fixed income, so money is always tight. They told me that they would try to get a tech person to try cancelling my orders on the back-end because they said the order kept timing out on them. Then I was told that I would hear from them within a week and that I should simply refuse the shipments when they arrived. They said that if I refused them, I would receive the refunds. Well, the cancellation of my order didn’t happen and they didn’t follow up. No refunds were issued when I refused the shipments and sent the unopened packages back through USPS on January 25, 2016 and February 4, 2016, nor was there any acknowledgment that the packages had even arrived. I only found out today, when I was trying to find out where I could check on the status of the returns, that I was expected to onto their website, tell them that I was refunding the orders, and print a new shipping label, possibly even pay for the shipment. (This was slightly different from the refusal of shipment.) As a result of the unwanted packages, my bank account incurred $432 in over-draft fees for $149.55 of products that I didn’t want. In my dispute, I requested that my refund be processed ASAP. I said that it would be nice if they helped cover the over-drafts, but that I knew that wasn’t going to happen. I realized today that I needed to send the complaint to the BBB since Amazon obviously wasn’t going to fix the situation without someone intervening. So now I wait and hope that they finally start processing things properly.2 If you’d like to help in the meantime, I have a GoFundMe set up. ↩I didn’t even tell BBB that the issues with the cancellations and the return center have been going on for months. Almost any time that I want to cancel anything, I have an error pop up. One day I could cancel one item at a time to prevent an error–two items at a time would cause one–and could only do 3 single item cancellations before an error would happen. Either there’s something wrong with my account or something wrong with their system. ↩

Dear Amazon

My letter to an attending at the family medicine: I am very disappointed in my appointment from today. I requested Vitamin B6, Vitamin D, & Parathyroid tests. I have a history of B6 def. and an ongoing issue with Vitamin D def.; as for the parathyroid test, I understand that vitamin D and hyperparathyroidism are related. While the B6 & D test requests were accepted, the PTH test wasn’t. Instead, I’m getting my TSH level checked, which gets checked every year and is always normal. The PTH request was to make sure that that isn’t playing a part in the D deficiency. My mom has a D deficiency that has caused many fractures. I want to prevent that from happening to me. I also requested a referral to pool therapy. My knee has continued to buckle when I’m exercising. I also feel like the muscle in my leg has gotten weaker. I would appreciate being able to do pool therapy so I can exercise more often. The therapy could also prevent injuries that the D def. & my EDS could cause. A nurse said I had high blood pressure again. It’s funny how I have geographical hypertension. If I’m in the family medicine clinic, I have it. If I’m across the hall at the gynecologist or down the street seeing the rheumatologist or the hematologist or the ER staff, it’s on the low end of normal. The “hypertension” I get there is related to the machines and a lack of competency on the part of some staff members.1 I was also a bit annoyed that the doctor looked at my chart and declared me to be a prediabetic. My chart doesn’t indicate this. My A1C is normal. My random blood sugar levels are low to normal. My fasting sugars are normal. My glucose tolerance test is always normal. The only “prediabetic” thing about me is the insulin resistance and my weight. My sugar is normal. I’m a bit disgusted that I’m always given the fat girl treatment. I went in, said what I needed, and why I needed it. I was then told on the PTH that I was wrong about what I needed. I want my parathyroid checked because hyperparathyroidism is linked to vitamin D deficiencies, especially ones that are long-term, which mine is. She thought I wanted my thyroid stimulating hormone checked. Considering that most of the tests they do for hypothyroidism don’t even work with people who’ve had it confirmed via antibody tests, I really don’t want unnecessary thyroid tests done.2 She also ordered tests for cholesterol, which is typical. I get it done every year, even though it is recommended once every five years for someone at my age & risk level. Doing it so often is wrong, especially if you factor in that every unnecessary test puts unwarranted stress on my fragile veins. The test is done multiple times on the same arm within minutes and seconds of the last test with the wrong size cuffs. None of the nurses know how to do a manual check. In addition to the faux hypertension, always leave with redness, petechia, and bruises. I’ve also been given blood pressure medicine before for it. Taking that medicine caused me to become hypotensive. ↩To be honest, my TSH levels are closer to what you’d expect for someone with hyperthyroidism, not hypothyroidism. Always have been, except the time that I actually had medicine-induced hyperthyroidism. ↩

The Fat Girl Treatment

In two emails1 through my personal health record, I expressed my frustration over the poor care and the lack of orders/referral at the office this afternoon. I was in yesterday (April 7, 2015) with a sore throat. A rapid strep test was ordered and was positive. I was prescribed the antibiotic Zithromax, which I’m allergic to, and I didn’t learn which drug it was until I got to the pharmacy. It was after 5 by then. At almost 7 last night, I received a call from a different doctor at the clinic saying that I needed to come in this morning for orders for a throat culture that I would have done at the Lab downstairs, and for a referral to an infectious disease specialist. When I got to the clinic this morning, the referral hadn’t been done and order that was done was for a test that LabCorp apparently doesn’t perform. They told me that a doctor or nurse would have to perform it. When I went back up to the clinic, the power glitch had knocked out the server so the receptionists took my name, date of birth, and phone number and said that I would be called. No call has happened. I would like to know when my orders and my referral will be ready. I’ve had 2 positive strep tests and one negative one since March 13, continuous symptoms of strep, and one round of clindamycin, which is the only medicine for strep that I can take. I have seen four doctors and three have said that it wasn’t strep, including Dr. Shaw yesterday. I think I’ve been patient, but my patience is really running thin. I feel horrible. I feel like I’m on fire most of the time. My skin has broken out in a rash. I am so exhausted that just making my breakfast is enough to make me go back to bed for two or three hours. I can’t exercise. I can’t go out. I just get to sit around and hope that the ice and tylenol will do something while I wait for orders and a referral that probably should have been ordered weeks ago. Please help me out. I really wish that someone there would take this more seriously. I know that they have a lot of other patients, but, like I told the attending, I think I’ve been patient enough. I know that the power going out and the server going down today wasn’t their fault, but the information wasn’t there before the power and server issues. And the receptionists were like, “Oh well. It’s not here.”2 I wanted to scream, but that would hurt too much. I wanted to offer to stay until they figured it out, but they indicated that that wasn’t an option. But I knew that if I left, I would be ignored or forgotten or put on the bottom of the pile, whatever you want to call the dismissive behavior they typically have. They only allow messages to be 1000 characters long. I tend to be wordy. ↩Really awesome level of compassion guys. ↩

Positively Yours

Lay off: the slut-shaming the suggestions that women who date or befriend womanizers need protecting the kisses and other acts (including anal, oral, or vaginal sex) that female characters say they don’t want from aggressive male characters the continuing complaints of the male BFF that he wants more than a friendship that same BFF actively trying to sabotage the relationship of his BFF and her boyfriend labeling male characters who participate in these activities as “nice guys” This kind of stuff perpetuates a culture where women are disrespected, are afraid, and believe that their feelings/boundaries do not matter. That they do not matter. It harms anyone who sees the normalization of this crap. And crap is putting it very nicely. via Tumblr

secret-agent-sam: fatgirlopinions: sazziscooler: angelicasylum: thisisthinprivilege: Don’t know if you guys have seen this. If you go to the fb page this is from, you’ll have to scroll down to find the OP. Pretty sure this shit doesn’t happen to thin people. Oh holy hell. I would take that note and knock on every fucking neighbors door and ask DID YOU WRITE THIS? =D Can we also mention the fact that this person is in their own fucking backyard? How about you don’t fucking look out your window into THEIR YARD? Creepy as fuck. Fat people can’t win. You don’t work out, you’re a lazy fatty who isn’t concerned about their health. You do work out, you’re a public eyesore that no body wants to be forced to look at. Sigh. If I were the receiver of this note, I would remain my backyard work out, only naked. People are such shitheads. Some of the comments on FB suggested doing that. Others recommended telling the Postmaster General about it, since it’s illegal. via Tumblr http://ift.tt/VH9dzl

Anonymous Letters from Neighbors

Dear Santa, I’ve been a really good girl this year. I know that it would give the GOP $20.16, but I really want sessariehtpuskcitso.gop for Christmas this year. Actually, I’d like it by the time Bastille Day happens, so if you could get it for me by then, I’d be a happy liberal. I’ll make you cookies, if you’d like. I’ll even put extra butter in them. via Tumblr

Letter to Santa: sessariehtpuskcitso.gop

We need to talk about a little thing called rape culture. I know you’re probably thinking that it isn’t really a thing because RAINN told the White House that rape culture doesn’t actually cause rapes. Yeah, well, even if it doesn’t cause them, it normalizes them. And rape isn’t exactly something that we should desensitize ourselves to. After reading books, seeing movies, listening to songs, and experiencing television episodes where there are gratuitous rape scenes and descriptions, I think it’s actually past time for talking. I know what some of you are thinking: There is no such thing as a gratuitous rape scene. Sadly, that is untrue. Anytime that a writer or a director or an anyone decides to take something like rape and throw it into a story because they need it to fill time or because they can’t get away with an explicit sex scene or because they don’t think that torture scenes are appropriate. Let’s take some time and think about what that means, shall we? If rape is being used to fill time, then that means that we don’t take it seriously. We trivialize it. We are taking one of the most degrading things that can ever happen in someone’s life and we’re using it to kill time. What does that say about us? If we can do that, then what does that say about our entire culture? If rape is being used to fill in for an explicit sex scene, then we are equating rape with sex and that isn’t the case. Rape is not a sexual act. Rape is an abusive act. If it is so horrible to see a consensual sex scene, then shouldn’t be even worse to see a non-consensual act? Shouldn’t it appall us? Again, what does it say about us and about our culture if it doesn’t make us feel sickened or uncomfortable? And, finally, if it is being used to fill in for “more horrific” idea, i.e. torture. This also trivializes rape. Rape is a method of torture. It is an abusive act. It is something that changes a person. Just. Like. Torture. Basically, we’re showing how fucked up we are if we’re using rape in stories where it doesn’t belong. We need to stop doing that because it’s not just bad from a creative standpoint, it is disgusting from a human one. It is making our species disgusting. I’m not going to advocate completely removing rape from creative works because, sometimes, it is necessary for a plot. When it isn’t gratuitous and is therefore necessary for the plot to move forward, then putting rape in the story is acceptable. It is not normalizing it. It is not trivializing it. It is not desensitizing the public to the idea of what rape is and what it does to a person. It is, instead, showing us the realities of rape and the trauma that it can cause. It is enlightening us and allowing us to experience a level of empathy with a character that we might not otherwise get. When it is doing that, then a rape scene is acceptable. But when rape serves no purpose in a story? Well, let’s shut that down.

Dear Authors, Writers, and other Creative People