Help, I’m being tortured by the U.S. Federal Government- my perspective on how the war on chronic pain patients violates the U.S. Constitution

I’m being tortured by the U.S. Federal Government. I’ve been convicted of a crime without trial and with zero evidence presented. I’m being held in isolation against my will for the rest of my natural life.

What could I’ve done that was so horrible to garner the wrath of the most powerful government on the planet? What could possibly have been my crime that caused them to torture me and condemn me to a lifetime of isolation? I must have done something horrible for them to violate the 4th, 8th, 9th and 10th amendments of the document that The United States Federal Government was founded upon. I must be one of the worst most dangerous terrorists to ever live, right?

What was my crime that I’ve been treated so criminally by the government?

My crime simply that I am in chronic pain and I’ve sought relief for it.

Yep that’s it. Because I was on chronic pain narcotics I’ve been branded as a criminal, sentenced to a lifetime of torture and isolation for the rest of my life.

For those who aren’t in chronic pain or have never experienced severe physical pain this might appear to be overly dramatic. Trust me it’s not. I’ve been ill and in chronic pain for over thirty years. I’ve taken pain medicine up until five months ago for it. Nothing has changed as far as my pain goes, only my conviction by the FDA and DEA has.

Now, no one from the Federal Government has come out directly and said that I shouldn’t have pain medicine. Bureaucracies are too clever for that. They have later after layer of people that filter down their directives so that when I’m finally face with my doctor (for about 5 minutes) and he says he doesn’t care about my pain, I have absolutely no recourse.

No one in the enormous Federal Government who make the rules ever have to deal face to face with the people whose lives they affect.

Doctors no longer work for the patient. They are effectively government employees who view insurance companies as their main customers.

In all fairness my doctor did refer me to a pain clinic. He followed the sentencing (I mean prescribing) guidelines. But that pain clinic couldn’t help me because they don’t take self pay patients or patients with GI related pain. I called nine others and only two would say they’d see me.

But they couldn’t guarantee me that they could help me even after I paid the exorbitant initial assessment fee. I don’t believe I should be coerced into this system of chronic pain contracts and mandatory drug testing and pill counting, which in reality is just a disturbing hybrid of the prison and the medical industrial complex.

I don’t need cortisol shots or more surgery. Nearly all pain clinics deal with back pain and bone related issues. My issues are caused by scar tissue and a gallstone that no surgeon wants to remove. The pain clinics aren’t set up to help someone like me.

By forcing me into a system designed to make sure parolees aren’t using illegal drugs violates, the government is violating at least four of the Constitutional amendments as well as the very fundamental principles it was based upon.

It’s ironic that I’m being treated like a criminal by those who are illegally violated the Constitution.

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. Eighth Amendment

I think that forcing me to pay for a service I don’t want that is based upon the prison system parolee model, clearly violates the 8th amendment of excessive fines. Even if it’s called a “fee” I’m being fined for being in chronic pain and being punished for trying to find relief from the state mandated supplier of the remedy.

I’ve been convicted of being a chronic pain patient and in order to receive the $40 pain medicine I need each month, I now have to go see a pain clinic doctor who charges $400-$600 for his initial visit, plus if he does deem me worthy of pain medicine, (which if he doesn’t I have zero recourse and I’ll be labeled as a drug seeker in the state database) then I’ll have to go back ever 28 days and pay another $125 for urine testing and blood testing. Only then can I pay for my $40 medication.

This is crony Capitalism at its worst. This is a perfect example of an industry (the pain clinic folks, addiction specialists, drug makers who are pushing their expensive alternatives to cheap and effective pain medicine along with the drug testing companies), using state power to enrich the few at the expense of the many who are suffering and without any power in Washington.

Denying me pain medicine which my doctors have done and forcing me into an arbitrary and expensive system which I don’t need is tantamount to cruel and unusual punishment. Since I’ve not had pain medicine I’ve been in excruciating pain. If you deny someone the ability to buy a proven and safe medicine which they’ve taken in the past, and which helps relieve or at least take the edge of their pain, it’s the same as inflicting the pain they are suffering yourself.

This is an example of why individual rights are so vital. Once economically interested parties can have regulations written that violate your rights this is what can occur. You can be stuck in horrible pain with no one to help you.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. Fourth Amendment

The Fourth Amendment is meant to keep the government out of your business. Just because I’m in pain and seek relief from it , I don’t forfeit my Right to Privacy.

As a Chronic Pain Patient I’m not secure in my own body because by law pain doctors are required to see me every 28 days (if I’m forced into their parolee pain clinic racket) and forced to give up my blood and urninr which they will analyze to see if I’m taking the medicine as prescribed and not taking anything else. Since the doctor is acting as an extension of government by doing this I believe that warrant should be necessary for this violation of privacy.

The information being gathered is being taken by a government licensed person acting according to law (mostly to regulations – this is a way for governments to steal your rights without anyone ever voting on them) and being recorded in a government database. A warrant should needed to do this and it should only be issued if there is probable cause.

If I don’t sign the contract I’ll be denied what I argue is life saving medication. What is the probable cause? Just because I have chronic pain I am a criminal? Am I not innocent before proven guilty? And what am I being accused of being anyway? I’ve done nothing wrong except be in excruciating pain and asking to purchase $40 worth of medicine so I don’t hurt so much. That’s it.

I’m not an addict or have I ever overdosed and I never would. There’s no reason a doctor should be piss testing me every 28 days because I’m taking a medication that is extremely safe and effective, and which I’ve been taking in one form or another for 30 years.

If I don’t sign the pain contract and submit to the monthly testing and give up my right to privacy I’ll be denied pain medicine. And if you are signing a contract under duress it’s not legally binding. A pain contract is a form of blackmail. If you don’t sign it you’ll suffer. The government is complicit along with doctors effectively torturing those who refuse to submit to their violations of the Constitution and basic human compassion.

Let’s say I do go to a pain clinic and by some miracle they do accept me as a chronic pain patient, and I submit to the monthly testing, what happens if my pain doesn’t stay on schedule? I’ll have to just suffer. That again is a form of torture. If you can cheaply and easily relieve someone’s pain and they are willing to pay for the product and you deny them, you are discriminating in the worst possibly way

It’s not the government’s fault if you suffer more pain than what they allotted to relieve. The whole system epitomizes what’s wrong with centralized bureaucracies that don’t respect individuals rights. When the government gets involved out goes compassion and common sense and they are replaced by rigid regimentation and diffused responsibility.

I’ve committed no crimes yet I’m treated like a criminal. My rights have been violated and they just don’t cause me to suffer more physical pain then I should but they also caused massive emotional pain as well. Do to my inability to get relief for my physical pain I’ve become more and more isolated – those who engineered and benefit from this criminal system have basically sentenced me to solitary confinement.

They’ve sentenced me to be alone. When you are sick and in pain you don’t want to be around other people and people don’t want to be around you. After a while people stop inviting you out for things because you cancel so much, they stop calling you because you have nothing to say, except how much you hurt and how miserable you are and then the texting stops, because they know your life has become your pain and you are effectively in solitary confinement.

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. Ninth Amendment

This is an amendment to be honest I had totally forgotten about. It doesn’t get brought up a lot but it does apply here. The entire spirit of the Bill of Rights is that the individual is sovereign over their own mind and body. This is demonstrated by the first and second amendment. The first amendment guarantees freedom of speech and religion – this is sovereignty over one’s mind. The second amendment guarantees the right to defend one’s person and property by guaranteeing that no laws are passed that restrict the ownership of firearms.

Just because the Constitution doesn’t say explicitly that I have the right to take what medicines I choose and to bear the responsibility for that choice doesn’t mean the government can brand me a chronic pain criminal and deny me the right to purchase a safe and effective medication. If you are sovereign over your thoughts and your body then you have the understood right to ingest what substances you choose.

The revolutionary idea that sparked the greatest increase of human flourishing that ever occurred in the history of mankind, the idea that the Constitution of The United States of America was founded upon is this:

Every individual’s rights comes from their humanity and not from the state. So it’s assumed individuals have a right to do what they want to with their body and mind without interference from the state, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the right of others to do the same.

If they real

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. Tenth Amendment

The tenth amendment has also been violated by the FDA’s guidelines and the entire DEA, prescription racket system. This further erosion of my rights is symptomatic of corrupt system that artificially raises the cost of healthcare while denying individuals the right to make their own choices about what do to live a better life.

Anything not specified by the Constitution should be handled at the state level which also has to be inline with the Bill of Rights. The Federal Government has no right according to the Constitution to regulate drugs of any kind. And the states do not either if the original intent of the Constitution is respected and the ninth amendment is adhered to.

I have zero faith that anyone in power cares about the Constitution. The same type of people who allow millions of pain patients to suffer, like me, are the same ones who allow wars to be fought around the world without Congressional approval. They are the same ones who keep cannabis illegal, who want to ban Kratom and who make it almost impossible to bring back psychedelics as an adjunct to psychotherapy. The same people in the FDA are in the pockets of big pharma and the DEA is in bed the prison industrial system.

I’ve done absolutely nothing wrong except that I had an autoimmune disease when I was 12, that was so bad that it required a major surgery and that surgery didn’t go right. Since them I’ve been stuck with chronic unending pain. And now the very medical establishment who failed me in the past now doesn’t want to help me in the present with the one thing it can do to help me.

I’ve been effectively branded by the FDA and DEA as a chronic pain criminal. I have no advocate in the healthcare system, the doctors are so scared of these government agencies they’ve abandoned their oath to help the sick and suffering. The ones who might be able to help me charge an insane amount of money and require me to submit to be treated like a criminal.

I’m thankful that my jailers haven’t banned Kratom yet. I know they are working on that. If it wasn’t for Kratom I’d been forced into their pain parolee clinic system. To be honest if things don’t improve I’ll have to find a pain clinic, pay their exorbitant fines and be treated like a parolee, whose only crime is that I am in pain, and I live in a country that has lost its way and now views suffering patients as criminals, politicians and bureaucrats as doctors and doctors as law enforcement agents.

I can’t end my sentence of chronic pain. My pain will be with me until the day I die. The only question is how much unnecessary torture will I have to endure because I’ve been branded a chronic pain criminal by the suits in Washington – my only crime: Having chronic pain.

I you too have suffered because of the hysteria over the opioid crisis please leave a comment. The politicians and economically interested parties are exploited the most vulnerable members of society for money. Let’s join together and tell Washington DC we’ve had enough. Seeking to relieve your Pain isn’t a crime and just because someone is suffering doesn’t mean the Constitution no longer applies.

Brad Miller

Kratom saves lives – you don’t have to make hell your home

I am truly free for the first time in over thirty years. For the last three decades I’ve suffered from chronic pain due to GI issues and the surgeries meant to correct it. I had a big surgery last August that has helped but didn’t totally eliminate the chronic pain.

During this time I’ve been beholden to the medical community for the relief of my chronic pain. Now due to Kratom I no longer have to try and convince others how I feel or be treated like a parolee for desiring to hurt less.

My seven year old niece said something profound the other day. She said that other people cant feel your feelings. That is so true.

When you are in chronic pain and reliant on pain killers to live, you have to try and get doctors, pharmacists and insurance stooges to “feel” what you’re feeling. But with the hysteria surrounding opioid pain meds, no one seems to care or to be listening any more.

I was cut off by my GP recently and told to go see a pain clinic for my chronic pain meds – which his office had been prescribing me for the last three years. The pain clinic he referred me to wouldn’t treat me due to my pain being GI related and that they didn’t take my insurance.

As my stock of pain pills began to dwindle I called about ten pain clinics and only two said they would consider treating my GI related pain but couldn’t make any promises about writing a prescription for pain meds. They said I’d first have to get an assessment which would cost between $375-$600 – because they don’t accept my insurance. If the doctor deemed me worthy of a pain med script I’d have to come back every month and shell out about $200 per month forever, because I’d need to be tested monthly, like some kind of criminal.Instead of being a pawn in the larger Opioid hysteria money grab, I no longer have to fear running out of opioid pain meds – because for the first time in 30 years I’m not taking them. And I haven’t gone through the soul crushing hell inducing withdrawal symptoms I normally would have been sentenced to because of Kratom.

Kratom is a plant from Southeast Asia that has been used for thousands of years to alleviate pain and fatigue. It has truly saved my life. I thought I’d be beholden to the medical establishment forever because of pain med scripts. Now I’m free.

When you are in pain it feels like hell. When you are in pain and going through withdrawal symptoms it feels like you’ll never escape this hell. With Kratom I no longer have to fear making hell my home for any length of time.

I have had great success recently with using Maenga Da, Red vein Thai and Bali strains for pain, to overcome fatigue, alleviate anxiety and to virtually eliminate all withdrawal symptoms. It has been miraculous.

In the mornings I take .75 grams of Maenga Da with .5 to 1 gram of Red Vein Thai or Bali for additional pain relief. Before lunch or in the Afternoon I’ll take another Maenga Da. I’ve found Maenga Da excellent for physical and mental energy as well as pain relief. The Thai and Bali are better for relaxation and I tend to take larger doses of those up to 5-6grams before bedtime.Urban Ice Organics – Sampler Pack

The Kratom source I trust now is Urban Ice Organics. They do a five panel test on all the batches of Kratom they order which screens for heavy metals, pesticides and salmonella. I heard about their company from Chris Bell, the director of Bigger Faster Stronger and an upcoming Kratom documentary, on the Joe Rogan Experience. He shared his experience with using Kratom for pain relief and getting off pain pills with Joe Rogan.

JRE #876 Chris Bell discusses Kratom with Joe Rogan

He recommended the Urban Ice Organics company and gave Joe some to take during the podcast. That was enough of a recommendation for me to give them a try. I ordered their sampler pack and after some trial and error found a stack that has changed my life in tremendously positive ways.

I now can now live a fuller life because of Kratom. Pain is still with me but I now have a natural plant product I can buy without needing to convince a doctor to prescribe me it and I can change up the amount I take depending on my pain levels.

Kratom not only helps to ease my pain but it also has helped to just about eliminate the terrible fatigue I’ve suffered with all my life. I find that I am less anxious, don’t suffer from mental fog like I used to and I don’t have the huge emotional swings I had while I was on opioid pain meds. The effects of Kratom come on very subtly and taper off the same way.

It has been a truly life changing experience taking Kratom instead of opioid pain meds. I’m free from the tyranny of the prescription pad, I’m free from the hell of withdrawal symptoms and I’m free from suffering needlessly. Instead of being unproductive I’m now working, I started a T-shirt Company ( @Libertee4u on Instagram), I walk 3 plus miles per day, I’ve joined the Mushroom Club of GA, I went to Easter Dinner at someone else’s house (that’s huge for me), I cook three times a week and I washed my car for the first time in about ten years last weekend.

Kratom has saved my life or more precisely it has granted me the ability to live a life worth living. I now can make plans in the short term as well as long term without fear of pain or fatigue. I can socialize after work, I can keep my room and my car clean, I can think about dating, I can make music playlists, and most importantly, I’m able to look forward to a tomorrow in which I’m not miserable. That is truly miraculous.

I feel like I’m Lazarus and have been raised from the dead by Kratom.

Brad Miller

Medicinal Freedom

I believe that every individual has he right to consume what they choose to and to also bear the consequences of those choices.

Medicinal Freedom is simply the ability to exercise this natural innate right without restriction from the government.In the near future I believe that we will have true Medicinal Freedom. This means that every individual can buy any and every type of synthetic or natural medicine they choose.

Not only will adults be able to buy any type of medicines they choose, they will also be able to grow our own. This freedom will allow individuals to treat their symptoms and to ease their suffering for a fraction of the cost they can now with even more effective options.Anyone will be able to create their own medicinal garden or backyard pharmacy.

Think of a backyard pharmacy in which you have different strains of Cannabis that have the mix of cannabinoids specific to treat your symptoms. Cannabinoids such as CBD, CBN, and of course THC have been proven to help treat the symptoms of diseases ranging from Migraines to Epilepsy and even in helping to treat cancer.

Along with Cannabis you could grow a medicinal mushroom patch which would include species that can lower cholesterol, help treat cancer, boost your immune system and help to enhance your mental wellbeing. In addition to mushrooms and cannabis many people would choose to grow poppy plants as well.

For thousands of years humans have used the milk of the poppy to ease physical suffering. With a garden full of poppy plants those with pain will no longer have to suffer and be without adequate relief. And that adequate relief will be defined bythe individual not by some suit at the DEA, CDC or FDA or by an ignorant authoritarian grandstanding politician.

In addition to being able to grow our own backyard pharmacy, in an atmosphere of Medicinal Freedom, pharmaceutical companies will no longer be able to hide behind the power of government. They will have to produce much more affordable safer and effective drugs because they will be selling directly to the consumer. Currently they enjoy a diffusion of responsibility because of the FDA, DEA, and the prescription restriction racket.In this new atmosphere of freedom and responsibility Drug companies will have to compete with safe and effective medicines that individuals can grow at home. Further competition will come from new startups that focus on harnessing the power of nature to cure, treat and prevent diseases. These new market forces will cause drug companies to change what products they produce as well as how they sell them.

I can envision a future in which Pfizer and Merk will open their own retail locations. They could even have doctors in their stores to offer free health consultations and even free blood tests. This would be an effort to keep you in their product ecosystem. Other drug companies who don’t have a direct retail presence will choose to sell their offerings at places like Walmart or even through Amazon. Drug safety in this environment would actually increase. Right now the FDA protects drug companies by allowing them to sell products that kill and maim millions of people. The corrupt prescription and patent system allow them to rake in Billions in profits which they are then able to settle the lawsuits for their dangerous products.Without the shield of the FDA drug companies will be no different than any other company in America. They will have to produce a safe product or be held responsible. Third party testing companies will emerge as well to increase safety. Drug companies or natural medicine companies could charge a premium for having their product’s purity and safety verified. Online reviews would also help people make the decision whether to buy a medicine or not. This collective type of wisdom is how humanity determined what was safe to eat or what was effective as medicines for millennia.When we have true Medicinal Freedom drug safety will be increased, healthcare costs will plummet, new more effective natural medicines will be brought to market, and individuals will be able to grow their own backyard pharmacy.Brad Miller Fellow Human

My take not the Opioid Crisis as a chronic pain sufferer

 

The current hysteria over the so called Opioid Crisis is not meant to help anyone except politicians, rehab centers and pharmaceutical companies.

I’ve been suffering from chronic pain for over thirty years now. In the last three decades the only way for me to function was and still is by taking pain killers. My main relationship since I have been 11 has been with pain. Believe me that’s not a great way to live.

Government is always looking to grow. Politicians are always looking for ways to use the righteous idigination and ignorance of the masses to further their career while at the same time gaining brownie points with big business. This is exactly what is going on with the Opioid Crisis.

The 55,000 number of deaths linked to opioids is extremely misleading. The majority of those deaths have been the result of a combination of substances ingested which include alcohol and barbiturates along with the demonized opioids. Other deaths are linked to adulterated black market drugs, many pain patients are driven to this horrible alternative because they have been denied treatment. The opioid crisis is not caused by doctors prescribing pain pills to people who are in chronic pain.

This type of misinformation is always used to take away our rights and to enrich the few at our expense. A new wave of opioids that targets the Kappa opioid receptors will hit the market soon. I think that is another reason why the media attention on this is being ginned up as well.

There is no one speaking for the people who are in chronic pain. I’ve lost days, weeks months and years to pain. I’ve missed out on most of life because of pain. The more my access to pain killers is reduced the more pain I suffer and the less life I live. I believe that every individual has a god given, natural or innate right if you will to ingest whatever substance they see fit to consume.

That is why I advocate for government to get out of my healthcare all together. I don’t need a politician or my neighbor determining what I should or shouldn’t ingest. I propose what I hope will become the 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution that would simply read:

Every individual has the innate and natural right to ingest, grow, consume, trade, sale or gift whatever substance they see fit. 

Just because someone consumes a substance doesn’t mean they are not responsible for their actions. It doesn’t matter if I kill someone whether I’ve just smoked a joint, taken a shot of Jack Daniels or drank a strong cup of coffee, I’m still responsible for what I’ve done.

When all substances can be bought “over the counter” Pfizer and Merk and other drug companies will be just like Apple or Microsoft. I can envision them opening their own stores and even having doctors on staff that will provide medical consultations and blood work for free. That way they will attempt to keep you in their ecosystem just like Apple and Google do.

Other businesses will open up and will be the Best Buy or the Walmart of medicines. Amazon could be, if they are forward looking enough, to become the number one seller of medicine in the world. Health care costs will plummet and the first time in a long time individuals will not only be able to buy what they want to treat their specific health issues but will also be able to grow their own pharmacies in their back yard. That is real freedom.

Think about growing just about all the medicine you need in your backyard for pennies per dose? A medicinal garden could include poppies, cannabis, and medicinal mushroom. It is a miracle that our bodies have the architecture to be positively and powerfully influenced by compounds made by plants and fungi. By combining the best of synthetic and natural medicines we can all live a happier, healthier and longer life.

The behavior of Pharmaceutical companies  will have to adapt to this new era of medical freedom by providing a better product at a much lower price. Without the FDA and government sanction the drug companies will have to start dealing directly with consumers. They will be on the hunt for lower side effect drugs and price them competitively due to the huge explosion of natural medicines that would be available. Research money would more and more go into natural solutions because of their safety profile and lack of side effects. Overall medicine will become cheaper, more effective and cause less deaths and injuries.

Having ready access to pain medicine would change my life for the better. I’m tired of going to the doctor with hat in hand hoping that I’ll get a prescription, which is merely a government sanctioned permission slip. I’m tired of going to the pharmacy and getting hassled because they aren’t able to read a calendar correctly. I’m tired of having to go to multiple pharmacies to get a prescription filled because their out of the pain medicine and their pharmacist is the only one who can order narcotics and he’s on vacation for the week. When you are sick and in pain these type of hassles add to your already mounting misery.

Those harping on the Opioid Crisis may care about those that are dying. But if they really wanted to use their time to the best effect they should be talking about Cigarettes which kill around 400,000 people a year, or alcohol which causes the death of  around 90,000 people  or so per year, or sugar and grain which can cause cardio vascular disease which kills millions per year. It’s clearly not about the numbers of dead that the opioid crisis do gooders are concerned about or they would be going after the big killers in this country.

Sick people are easy targets. Doctors are easy to manipulate because of the state licensing they are subject to. With the new era of Medical Freedom I’m proposing doctors could become health consultants and no longer be beholden to the current state monopoly on certifying health professionals. If doctors want to continue with the current model they could. They could be paid directly by the pharmaceutical companies and become doctors at the Pfizer store. Once doctors and patients are no longer tethered to the prescription pad or state licensing boards, politicians will lose the power to interfere with our health choices and people in pain will not have to suffer needlessly.

Its time we get government out of health care. Its time for adults to take control over their health, to exercise our innate right of self-ownership and buy whatever medicine or substance we choose to. Individuals suffer. And individuals pay the consequence of their actions. We all have the right to ingest what we choose. If the First Amendment of the Constitution protects our right to eject words out of our mouths, shouldn’t  the Constitution protect our right to put into our mouth whatever we choose?

Suffering is part of the human condition. We all suffer emotionally and physically. On this space ship Earth we have synthetic and natural compounds that can help ease the suffering. Psilocybin has proven to help with anxiety and can help end addiction, MDMA can help with PTSD, LSD can help end alcoholism, Ketamine can in less than twenty minutes end suicidal thoughts, Cannabis that miracle plant, is full of beneficial compounds that work together to help lower inflammation, reduce anxiety, increase well being, end seizures, reduce tumor size and help with sleep, and new and old opioids can help end the physical suffering of millions. Why can’t I go buy these chemicals off the shelf or order them off of Amazon? It’s not because they are expensive. Why can’t I grow medicinal mushrooms, poppy plants and Cannabis in my backyard? It’s not because they are difficult to grow.

The real reason we don’t have Medical Freedom is because we’ve forgotten that every individual owns themselves and that we have a natural right to treat our pain or our diseases as we see fit and so we must demand our innate right to ingest what we choose and bear the consequences of those choices.

 

Brad Miller

Fellow Human

 

Taking a short walk today is better than no walk at all 

I’ve learned over the last 30 years of dealing with multiple complicated chronic health issues is that – 

A small effort taken to improve my health today is infinitely better than taking no action at all. 

One of the small ways I seek to improve my health is by taking a walk at least 5x per week. Walking is something that helps the body in a lot of positive ways and it’s a great inexpensive, zero side, effect way to improve mood as well.

Today I only took a ten minute walk. That’s a lot shorter than I like to go but it’s better than not walking at all. I didn’t go as far as usual because of the time of day I went and because of how I was feeling. 

Before I went on the walk I thought for a moment that I shouldn’t go because it’s too hot and that I was too tired.  And that I won’t be able to go as far as I normally do and if I do go I’ll feel terrible and I’ll only be able to go for a short walk. I asked myself “What would be the use of that?”.

I’m glad I answered that a short walk is better than no walk at all.  I overcame that resistance and went. 

Too often it can be overwhelming dealing with chronic health issues to justify doing the small things that seem trivial in light of the amount of pain or the fatigue that one feels. 

But it’s these small choices each day that I make over time have a big positive impact on improving the quality of my life. Today I only walked ten minutes but that is still a small win in the pursuit of healthier me. 

Don’t discount the small wins. They can add up over time to produce amazing results. 

Brad 

Yerba Mate, Inflammation Brain and Flow State     

  
I’ve taken a ton of supplements, vitamins and nootropics in my life to help me develop a cleaer, more calm, and focused mind. Almost all of the stuff I’ve taken hasn’t had any discernible effects. One of the substances that has bucked the trend and has actually helped my mental state greatly is Yerba Mate tea. This powerful elixir from South America has positive noticeable effects on my brain and body almost as soon as the warm earthy green liquid crosses my lips. 

What is Yerba Mate?
The first time I drank Yerba Mate I couldn’t believe how it effected me. It provided mental and physical energy without the jitteriness of just caffeine, plus a level of focus and mental clarity which most of the time escapes me. For the last 30 years I’ve been dealing with autoimmune conditions, chronic pain and chronic inflammation. And these issues create what I call inflammation brain and when I’m under its spell entering into a flow state or simply getting through the day is extremely difficult. 

I’m obsessed currently with getting into, maintaining and living within a flow state as much as I can. Along with helping with forgetting oneself, time dialation and just feeling good, the flow-state produces positive physiological changes which are thought to help with autoimmune conditions and chronic pain. 

Yerba Mate’s unique composition of chemicals produces a similar feeling in me comparable to a low level or micro-flow state. And it also produces the mental jumping off point in which I can enter into a deeper flow state more easily.  When I’m tired and don’t feel well my brain is filled with a sludge or a fog . My mental processes are slowed, motivation evaporates, solution and novelty seeking are dramatically reduced and I just feel stuck.  I chalk this up to my autoimmune and inflammatory issues. This inflamed brain state  makes thinking difficult and making decisions even harder. When I drink Yerba Mate all of these symptoms are greatly reduced or even totally eliminated for up to four hours. 

After downing a cup of the Yerba Mate tea my mind clears and my thoughts are light and move without much effort, instead of being stuck in the mental sludge as usual.  The powerful chemical mix contained within the Mate include caffeine, theophylline, and theobromine along with tons of vitamins and minerals.

Caffeine is familiar to us all and most are familiar with its effects. Theophylline and theobromine are not as well known. Theophylline has anti-inflammatory effects and it is a vasodiallator which helps lower blood pressure and can help improve breathing. Theobromine effects the vagus nerve, the heart  and also is a vasodiallator. These compounds work synergistically to create positive changes to the body and brain. 

This means that when I drink Yerba Mate my fatigue is less noticeable, I can focus on one thing at a time, I can switch to another task or idea seemlessly, my body and mind are more relaxed and energized, and the perceived resistance to starting a task, which I am normally paralyzed by,  is greatly reduced. Also I’m less bothered by interruptions or issues that crop up during the day which, without the Mate, would easily trigger disappointment or feelings of anxiety. 

I’ve wasted hundreds of dollars on supplements, vitamins and nootropics in order to relieve my inflammatory induced brain state. Now for less than two cents a day I can banish the brain fog, gain mental clarity, ignore distractions, more easily, and clear away mental and physical fatigue. By reducing or eliminating these symptoms of inflamed brain I’m able to to enter into, achieve, and  maintain  mental flow states more easily throughout the day. And this makes living a hell of a lot more enjoyable. 

One of my favorite sayings is “Enjoy what you can and endure what you must”. I’m on a perpetual quest for ideas, substances and practices that help me to be able to do this more in life.  A warm mug of Yerba Mate in the morning is a good way for me to ensure that I’m able to enjoy and endure a little more each day. 

Brad 

FYI:

Even though Yerba Mate is stimulating ai don’t just drink it in the morning , I also drink in the evening if I’m finding it hard to relax my inflamed mind and body. It calms and clears my mind and relaxes my body. Instead of keeping me up it actually and helps me to fall asleep. 

Using Belief and Breathing to Change Reality

When I read a book I look for at least one thing to take away and incorporate into my life. If I can find that one thing then it makes purchasing and reading the book worth it. In “Liminal Thinking” by David Gray I did get the one thing and it has greatly influenced how I think about what I think. The big take away for me is not to conflate belief with reality and that I have the power to interrogate and change the “I believe” ideas that govern my behavior.

Liminal Thinking is the art of creating change by understanding, shaping and reframing beliefs according to the author. Nothing in the book is ground breaking or has not been said before. Even the author admits to borrowing heavily from other people’s work. And some of the stories he uses are one’s I’ve heard before and the rest are corporate “turn around” stories about the rebel who helped changed a company’s culture. Not really what I’m interested in reading about.

But the book does have some useful exercises that helped me identify, challenge and begin to change how I look at the “governing beliefs” which I have. Here is one the first exercises: “think about something in your life that is problematic, but you don’t think will ever change. Consider the connection between how you see the problem and how you see yourself. What if you saw yourself differently? If you were the kind of person who should change this situation, what you be like? How would you act?”.

This is a powerful tool just by itself especially for someone who is dealing with chronic pain and chronic illness. In the past I saw myself as chronically ill or suffering from an autoimmune disorder or was cursed with severe unpredictable chronic pain that would always torment me. This is a very limiting belief and it’s kept me from living life. It’s prevented me from making real connections with others, because I believed that my illness prevented me from entering into the dating pool because of my flawed DNA and my current inconsistent behavior and I always felt never good enough to be loved. And I also held onto the belief that I would never be able to contribute anything of importance to the world. Needless to say I was living in misery.

After reading the book I thought its not real useful. How could these simple exercises help me? Then the idea began to soak in, my thoughts about myself aren’t concrete. There are merely a belief. The first step I took to distance and begin to change this view of myself was to say “I believe that I am chronically ill and limited physically, emotionally and socially because of it.” That does reframe the whole issue for me. It was if I took a crowbar to this huge megalithic structures that had become my internal world and the huge almost immovable doors labeled “You are sick and never will be better”, “You’re not good enough to be loved” and “You will never contribute anything useful to others” were now easily unlocked and effortless opened. With these megalithic beliefs I had constructed an almost impenetrable wall with massive heavy doors locked from the inside, that separated me from the outside world. This fortress of belief had become my dungeon and if I didn’t change things soon it was going to be my tomb.

Once I placed the simple term belief in front of these thoughts that I’ve thought a million times it took away their concreteness, they became weightless. They no longer were concrete, immovable, megalithic stones and horrendously heavy locked doors. Reality is a funny thing. We limit ourselves greatly by what we believe. I now believe that I am mostly well, most of the trillions of my cells have no defects and are working just as they should. I believe now that I have now and will in the future have more and more control over my pain and my inflammatory response and that I can live a life with a calm, enthusiastic, curious, loving, open mental state. Once the heavy negative stones of thought became weightless with merely the words “I believe”, I can now consciously shape new “I believe statements” that create my inner and outer world.

I’m done spending any more time in the dungeon. My inner world is no longer dark and protected like a medieval keep, or a dungeon and especially no longer a tomb. It is open and airy. The internal thoughts are full of hope, love and curiosity about the future. My new beliefs are now based on scientific and anecdotal evidence that I can have control over my nervous system and my immune system a This may sound ludicrous but it has been scientifically proven that through mental and physical training this can be done. Wim Hof is an amazing man and has been studied extensively for his ability to control his autonomic nervous system, pain response and immune response. He has done this with many other people as well and his claims have been proven time and time again. I’m starting up again the Wim Hof program along with studying the effects of Flow on Chronic Illness.

http://www.wimhofmethod.com

Flow is the state in which all thoughts flow from one to another without anxiety or the perception of passage of time and your body and brain are working harmoniously at peak performance. It is mostly associated by those in the sports world and its often referred to as being in the “zone”. I recently listened to a Joe Rogan Podcast with Author and Science Reporter Steven Kotler. He suffered from Lyme disease for three years and was so sick he almost killed himself. He has since dedicated his life to studying “flow”. He became fascinated with the concept of flow and credits this state of mind for helping him to heal his Lyme disease and saving his life. He achieved the flow state by surfing. His theory is that the flow state releases positive neurochemicals that reduce stress and help the body to heal.This further strengthens my belief that another proof that my belief that I’ll be able to control and heal my body more and more.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNobzrnSRMc
Along with Wim Hof and Steven Kotler I listened to Alan Watkins TEdx talk recently about using breathing to be brilliant everyday. This guy seems to want to be a corporate guru and even bragged about spending time with top CEO’s blah blah blah. I shut off when I hear that. But later on in his talk he got to the good stuff. In simple terms our prefrontal or advanced cognitive skills are shut down under stress. The brain receives signals from the heart and if it becomes elevated due to stress there are only two options as the brain sees it, Fight or Flight or play dead. This made perfect sense to me. When I feel my worst I don’t feel like myself at all. I can feel these higher levels of thought being stripped away – and since my source of stress is my own body causing me pain and torment Fighting it or Fleeing from it are useless. That is why I play dead. I disconnect form the world into my dungeon with and seal the heavy doors and hope by playing dead long enough my body and brain will get tired of tormenting me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q06YIWCR2Js
But there is hope and I believe now the tormenting has ended. Through changing my beliefs about who I am and the outside world I no longer see myself and social situations as threats. Yes no matter where I go I carry with me a possible threat (my adhesion filled abdomen, my three major kinks in my small intensive and a gall bladder that likes to lodge stones in my billiard tract plus an immune system that likes to attack my skin and other organs of my body) but this threat is manageable and I believe I soon will be able to completely eliminate it. Yes to completely eliminate what I’ve been told all my life is incurable or that there is nothing anyone can do for me. I reject that thinking. In Alan Watkin’s talk he stresses about the importance of controlling your heart rate with simple breathing techniques to quiet this flight, fight or feign death response.

In fact there have been amazing new imaging studies on people who have practiced meditation and breathing exercises that have created structural changes in their brains simply by breathing and thinking differently. It was done by scientists and doctors at Harvard. This is not woo-woo hippie dippie stuff this is real science, measurable and repeatable. I believe that if Wim Hof and these folks in this study, and Steven Kotler can achieve real measurable positive results in their physiology so can I.

Now I believe that I have more control over my mental state and that I believe life is worth living. I’ve been filled for so many years of self-loafing and self-hatred because I had stuck myself inside this dungeon and all I could do was wait to die. Through first prefacing my thoughts with “I believe” I was able to change some fundamental beliefs I had about myself and see the world and myself no longer as threats. I believe now that I can live a life full of love, adventure, peace, excitement, and accomplishment. I am done being miserable. I do have the power to change myself for the better.

Having a lot of abdominal scarring and pain causes me to take a lot of shallow breathes throughout the day and have to force myself to take deep breathes. But this is critical for me to relax and reduce the amount of stress chemicals throughout my body and brain. I believe now that I have an amazing future ahead of me, that social interactions are not threats, my body is not the enemy, and that I can create a sense of calm, sereneness free from anxiety any time I choose and that one day I will be able to have total control over my nervous system through breath work, exercise and mediation. This is my new reality.
In the past my problem was that my flight or fight mechanism was constantly being triggered by my body. Constant pain, fear of the pain worsening, and the ever present fear that the pain I felt everyday could at any time lead to a hospital stay kept my body in a perpetual state of fight or flight. The issue being I was the source of the threat, I couldn’t fight or flee from myself so I would spiral into depression and cut off all social ties and be absolutely miserable. I hated vacations and traveling because no matter where I went there I would be. I carried around the greatest threat to my emotional wellbeing inside my body.

This constant level of stress takes a toll on a person. I’ve lost 40 pounds, I’m currently not working, and I’ve almost cut out all social ties to the outside world. But I’m done living this way. In the past I believed this would be my fate for the remainder of my life, but that has changed. This is not delusional thinking. I am aware that pain will return, I’ll probably end up in the hospital again in the future, but I will not be held captive by the pain any longer.

My mental state and not the state of my body is what I’m focused on for the rest of my life. Creating a flourishing mind unperturbed by fortune or by pain. That is the goal. I’m reading Seneca’s Letters on the Shortness of life and he wrote to a friend “What is greater than a man who is above fortune?” Stoicism and Buddhism both seek to reduce or eliminate suffering for individuals. My mental state is something I now believe that I can have a greater and greater command over. I believe that through different breathing techniques, different natural medicines, continually challenging and updating the way I perceive myself and the outside world, I can become an ocean of calm in the midst of the storm of life.

That is my task and that is my journey. To create calmness, clarity and peace where there was once hate, fear and pain. I used to believe that I could never love myself or that I would never be good enough to be loved because of my health and my financial and social status. That belief is no more. I now believe that the past is gone, there is only now, and I can take steps to increase the flow experiences in my life, change what I believe and in the process change my reality and love others and want them to be happy and at peace as well.

I am a big fan of Wim Hof and I’m also staring up his program again. He has been able to take conscious control over his immune response and pain response. That is what I believe I can do as well. I want to end the tyranny of pain and be at peace with being me no matter where I am or what I’m doing. I’ve struggled most of my life with trying to avoid conflict and maintain an emotional equilibrium but that is a false hope for happiness because it relies on others. The Stoic and the Buddhist relies on his or her own mind to create calmness despite the chaos of the physical and emotional world around them. Though I will never fully eliminate pain or emotional distress I can greatly reduce its influence over my wellbeing.

I believe now that my chronic pain, autoimmune conditions are not a life sentence. I believe that fundamental amazing change is possible and is happening now. I believe there are ways to create positive mental states in the midst of the storms of illness and all I need to do is to breathe to make that happen. I’m on that journey now and I believe that my trillions of healthy cells are ready to assist me in this endeavor and to aide the few cells that are having some malfunctions so that I can create more flow states in my life and a produce a calmer and more peaceful mind and a body that is strong, vibrant, capable and able to rest. My mental state is all that I have. I am not my scars. I’m not my ileostomy. I’m not my psoriasis. I’m not my adhesions or my pain. I’m excited to see who I will become with the dungeon walls now destroyed and the doors between me and the world are like the automatic glass doors that open merely with me walking up to them. And all this has occurred because of believing and breathing.