Archive for November, 2012


Posted by Jessica Jewett 2 Comments »

Chronic pain is one of those conditions that affects every part of life but remains invisible to those who aren’t going through it. I have been living with bouts of chronic pain for my entire life, but I notice now that I’m into my 30s, the situation is getting worse. That’s just the natural progression of age, although people with chronic pain tend to feel like their bodies age faster than other people. I take enough pills for a woman beginning the elderly phase of life. The thing of it getting to me is that I had a pattern of normalcy and I could live with the level of pain in my body, but beginning this premature aging process means I’m uncomfortable much more often and I don’t know how to establish a new sense of normalcy.

The main source of my particular pain is osteoarthritis, which pretty much comes with the territory where my disability is concerned. It began when I was about 6-years-old in my feet and hips. Those are the parts of my body most affected by my disability. Over the years, the osteoarthritis pain spread into my hands, my knees, my shin bones, and became much worse in my feet and hips. Most recently, I’ve found new bouts of pain in my spinal column. I’m not sure how much further it can spread before my whole body is a big arthritic mess. Treatment has varied from a lot of different pills to joint injections with combinations of steroids and pain blockers. I’ve also had various surgeries meant to stabilize my body enough to relieve things. Some treatments have helped. Some have not.

One thing that doesn’t get talked about is the way physical pain affects the mental condition of a person. Chronic pain and depression go hand-in-hand. Not only that but being in pain also increases anxiety, irritability and makes it difficult to maintain personal relationships, jobs and self-worth. These are all factors written about in studies about pain. I have experienced all of these issues and I notice that everything weak in my mental condition becomes weakened even more when my pain level goes up. Every single one of my personal relationships has been affected one way or another. Pain causes me to feel sick to my stomach, so I get clammy and often disoriented if it’s particularly severe. Trying to hold down an intelligent conversation when you’re in pain, sick and disoriented is exceedingly difficult. Then I get mad at myself and that becomes a short-tempered issue. So when you know someone who has chronic pain and their behavior becomes short-tempered, it’s not about anything you did. It’s usually frustration from within about the situation. Knowing that no matter where you go or how you try to make it better, you’ll never get away from the pain, and it does things to your mind. Sometimes people understand but there are some who don’t and they can’t be blamed for it. It’s so difficult to understand a condition that can’t be seen. There is a lot of guilt that comes with chronic pain as well because your body simply won’t allow you to do all the things you want to do, which can disappoint other people.

A benefit, or perhaps a curse, with aging is the new ability to recognize that perhaps doctors don’t actually know everything that is best for you. I’ve had a previous doctor throw narcotics at me rather than get to the cause of my pain, which created a severe addiction to Fentanyl patches and Oxycodone. Long story short and battles with a subsequent alcohol addiction later, all of my medications are now supervised. The injections of steroids and pain blockers in my hip joints helped a lot, but there were strange side effects. I have become concerned in recent years that, while pills, injections and surgeries provide some relief, I don’t really know what the side effects are doing to the rest of my body. I never really thought to ask. You go to doctors for help and you trust them to steer you in the right direction, often on blind faith. This is not to say they’re giving you things to intentionally hurt you though. I’m just beginning to wonder if I’ve been presented with all of the options, including natural options.

So as I’ve begun looking at natural options like turmeric and fish oil, I see that I’m in over my head. An expert would be helpful to explain such options to me, yet there seems to be this position in Western medicine that natural remedies do no good. Those of us who are concerned about the damage injections and narcotic medications are doing to our organs don’t have much in the way of guidance toward alternate treatments. It is my belief, after venturing into being more proactive in my care, that Western medicine should be more willing to embrace treatments that don’t necessarily come from big pharmaceutical companies. I’m not against Western medicine at all. I just feel that there should be more of an effort to incorporate natural treatments into more traditional treatments. Doctors have the ability to help people understand which natural treatments might have adverse reactions with their current medical plans. I’ve heard there are doctors out there who welcome more individualized care plans but I personally have never been a patient of any such doctors.

One of my biggest goals in the upcoming new year is to get a better grip on my pain issues. This is a world where nothing is going to change if you don’t take the action to change it yourself, so I need to be more proactive in working with doctors on my care plan instead of passively accepting whatever treatment they offer. A few friends in similar situations have recommended pain management specialists in my part of Georgia who are willing to look at different ideas like anti-inflammatory diets and supplements like turmeric and omega-3 fish oil. For the time being, I will agree to another round of injections in my joints if only to give my body a break and my mind time to strengthen again. Another form of traditional treatment that I can’t avoid is surgery. I talked about having surgery a couple of years ago but it became evident that my mother’s need for a hip replacement was more important to get through first. Now that she’s healed, we’re back to my feet. I was born with clubfeet and I had surgery when I was a baby, but in the 28 or 29 years since then, my feet have reverted back to the painful contorted position. I’ll spare you the gory details but needless to say, correcting clubfeet is messy, painful and highly invasive. It will improve my quality of life in the long run, so it must be done. In the mean time, I can start the anti-inflammatory diet and research supplements that might provide some long-term relief without jacking up my organs.

The moral of the story?

Don’t sit passively by when your gut is telling you that your doctors are going down the wrong road. You have a right to speak up and suggest ways to individualize your care plan if you feel better about going in a different direction. I also urge you to research the long-term side effects of the medications you’re taking and weigh the pros and cons with a more educated opinion. If you feel your care plan is great as it stands, go on with it! If you have lingering questions, don’t be afraid to seek answers!

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The great Ouija board debate

The great Ouija board debate
Posted by Jessica Jewett 7 Comments »

Recently, I saw a discussion involving a woman who burned her Ouija board in an effort to put a stop to paranormal activity happening in her home. Some people said burning the Ouija board was the wrong thing to do. Some people said burning it was the right thing to do. Others said getting rid of it wasn’t going to solve the problem.

I have seen the Ouija board debate rage on for my entire life. Some say they’re just toys. Some say they’re inherently evil. Based on my experiences, I would say they’re neither a simple toy, nor are they tools of the devil, but they are certainly not meant for the inexperienced. As a 16 or 17-year-old girl, people brought an Ouija board to a party at my house and, being the impetuous teenager that I was, I decided it would be fun. About a year later, I had to move across town because the activity unleashed in that home was out of control. I made the fatal mistake that everyone new to the paranormal makes – I let my ego decide that I could control things even though I had nowhere enough education to even think about touching an Ouija board. When you play with any divination tool without proper training, you’re opening doors to allow any kind of entity in your life no matter if you asked for it or not. Without that proper training, you’re not going to know how to establish proper energy boundaries and you’re not going to know how to close those doors and banish whatever came through. That kind of thing happens a lot.

But are Ouija boards themselves inherently evil? I say not necessarily. Here’s why.

I don’t feel that any divination tools are problems on their own, just like a gun or a knife isn’t a problem by itself. It’s only when people use the objects for misguided or bad purposes do they become dangerous. Ouija boards, tarot cards, dowsing rods, digital recorders, cameras, etc., are simply objects until people put energy and intent behind them. Using any object as a focus point in opening/closing spiritual doors can either be dangerous or not depending on the level of experience the user has, as well as their intent in doing it. I could go grab a straw out of the jar in my kitchen right now and focus intent and energy on it, declaring that spirits can pass through the straw to communicate with me here. Then a simple piece of plastic becomes a divination tool. So in my experience, no object is more dangerous alone than any other. It’s the people who focus that energy of inexperience and lack of education that will unintentionally facilitate things getting out of control.

So what should you do when you accidentally get in over your head?

Ridding homes of divination tools is a start. It doesn’t really matter how you get rid of it. However, it doesn’t completely correct the problem. The doorways are still open and the energy walls (also known as boundaries) are still down. How do you fix a levee once it bursts open? You can never completely stop the water from coming through but you can slow it down and get better control over it. My suggestion is to give unwanted divination tools to people like who collect Ouija boards and know how to handle them. Then begin the slow process of trying to repair energy walls around the property and closing all open spiritual doors. Like I said though, once a levee bursts open, it’s almost impossible to completely close it again. Once you start dabbling in the paranormal, you become more susceptible to it and you may never completely escape activity. Think very carefully about looking into the unknown because the unknown is never going to forget your face.

I don’t really know if there is a situation in which using an Ouija board is necessary. I haven’t used one since that party. Very few investigators that I know have used them on a regular basis as there are better ways to establish contact. I’m not going to be one of those people wagging my finger and saying don’t ever touch one but I encourage all of you to seek a good mentor and proper education before doing anything with the paranormal. Education is the key.

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Sticks and stones

Sticks and stones
Posted by Jessica Jewett 4 Comments »

This person pictured at left is Ann Coulter.

Now you know why I’m here writing a blog called Sticks and Stones.

The truth is, I dream of a world where words like retard, cripple, cunt, nigger, kyke, homo, queer, gook, dyke, etc., no longer exist for people like Ann Coulter to use as bullying weapons.

There is an argument to be made that those words don’t really mean anything unless people feel hurt or anger about them. In other words, the words are just words and have no power until people attach negative connotations. I do agree with that but only to a certain extent. If you have ever been on the receiving end of those words repeatedly hitting you like bullets, one of two things will happen. You will either become tough to the point of not feeling anything anymore, or you will become so debilitated by the abuse that you never recover. That’s where suicides due to abuse and bullying happen. You cannot deny that it’s a real problem in the world, especially among young people.

In order to correct the problem of verbal bullying, it has to start with the adults setting the examples for the children. Like it or not, children are exposed to the media every day and it is evryone’s responsibility to teach them compassion. Children learn faster by watching the example of their elders than they do being told rules and ordered to follow them. A child growing up in an abusive environment is much more likely to grow up to be abusive and follow that example. These are facts.

When I was a child, I was bullied in school for multiple reasons. I was in a wheelchair, I wore glasses, I was shy and I was a bookworm. Added to that, the fact that I was a child medium got around as well. To suggest that I was bullied is an understatement. I didn’t really know any other way to live, so being bullied meant that I became a bully for a short time as well. There was a boy who was even less popular than I was named Omar. He was from a very conservative family and I think they were either Indian or some type if Middle Eastern. He was a classic geek and a momma’s boy as well. These were things he was raised to be and had no conception that he wasn’t cool until we started teasing him. Every day for a few years, we called him names and made fun of him in countless ways. Now, as a grown woman, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about that boy a little bit and wish I could take back my part in it. I was called crippled and lots of other things, so I took it out on him. Of course I didn’t know I was taking my own bullying out on him at the time. I was too young to understand.

That is exactly why children need to be taught by example. The cycle isn’t going to break unless we change the way we speak to each other and show our children how to be compassionate.

So while we do have freedom of speech in this country and people have the right to express themselves in any manner that they choose, is it really okay? Is it okay to spew out words that have caused scores of people to hate themselves to the point of wanting to kill themselves? No. There are more intelligent ways to express disagreements than spewing hatful words at each other that accomplish nothing more than proving who can hurt who the most. Really think about it – what does name calling accomplish? If we expect our children to grow up to be intelligent and compassionate, then why are we not living up to our own expectations? Articulation and language has continued to devolve over the years in America to the point where we sound uneducated more than we have in prior generations. Only conscious decisions to favor compassion and articulate discussion over verbal bashing and insults will provide good examples for the children we don’t want growing up to be bullies.

Someone like Ann Coulter is very smart in the way that she knows exactly what she’s doing with her bullying language. It gets her headlines. It puts her on Fox News. However, she’s a perfect example of how furthering yourself sets a terrible example for those in generations beneath her. Just posting this blog gives people like her attention but I had to do it in order to make my point.

The next time you feel the urge to call someone a bullying name, thing about two things. One, think about the times you were called names and hurt by abusive language. Do you really want to perpetuate the cycle? Two, ask yourself if you’re really furthering your argument by using abusive language. I’m willing to bet that it doesn’t do a thing to help your argument but just makes you look tougher. We all need to work every day to become better people and compassion is one of the most important traits to develop. Not conditional compassion. Real compassion.

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