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DISTORTED PERCEPTIONS OF ILLNESS & ADDICTION IN A FEARFUL WORLD

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Obviously, there is a stigma when it comes to narcotic addiction. So when a drug addict gets sick or overdoses, it’s easy for some to distance themselves or conclude that it happens to specific groups comprised of losers. I’ve often heard the line that it’s a lifestyle choice, or God punishes the “bad” people. Those who believe that tell an entirely different story when they are the victims of some tragic fate.

What a holier-than-thou world it’s become.

As far as I’m concerned, the only bad people are those who deliberately and repeatedly harm and destroy others.

Seriously, I wish people without any addictions and those who claim “other” addictions would stop acting so smug and being so callous. How about gratitude when we’re not afflicted with something or another?

Everyone has weaknesses.

Some who readily toss others in the “loser” category tend to forget the long list of known addictions. They may be familiar with the most obvious ones—alcohol, over the counter medications, gambling, work, food, smoking, caffeine, internet, etc. I remember the sanctimonious politicians who never thought much about their sex, fetishes, and porn addictions until caught with their pants down. Many people readily accept codependency and its’ related addictions to ego, attention, approval, people pleasing, perfection, and drama. Then there are the adrenaline junkies, the exercise fanatics. People become obsessed with plastic surgery, crime, sugar, television, video games, greed, lying, even isolation. The list goes on and on, which means most of us are addicted to something or another at some point in time. It is all about the obsessions that cause dysfunction in our lives because obsessions impair judgment and distort perception.

One might say, well I don’t hurt anyone doing what I do, and drug addicts hurt “innocent” people. First, you may not even realize that your addiction has hurt others. And yes, there are drug addicts who endanger lives. There are also non-drug addicts who do that, and there are drug addicts who don’t intentionally seek to harm anyone.

For the most part, people with addictions are innocent, too.

Why look down on anyone who is suffering?

And, yes, they are suffering. Those of us who have fought to save a loved one or have lost a loved one know this heartrending struggle too well. Whether it is physical or emotional, they are in pain—quite often agonizing pain.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines addiction as a “primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry.” Many people still reject this theory while others see it as more of a personality disease. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction is not only a complex disease but also a mental illness.

I believe it is all of these things.

But even if someone can dismiss the facts and theories, there is one thing that’s difficult to dispute if you’ve had any involvement with addicts or addiction. They have a common denominator. They’re often trauma survivors.

I’m sure the whole mental illness aspect makes some people uncomfortable, too, even though it is a broad spectrum with different degrees of functioning levels. It’s easy to shun and deny, and that only creates more problems.

The Kim Foundation cites that “an estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older or about one in four adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. When applied to the 2004 U.S. Census residential population estimate for ages 18 and older, this figure translates to 57.7 million people.”

I’ve heard someone say, God’s perfect love casts out fear and almost in the next breath go on to condemn another person out of fear.

Well, I say this. Whatever is behind addiction, people die intentionally, accidentally, and from related diseases, and they are often denied in death the acceptance, understanding, and unconditional love they may have also been denied in life.

Among that group of individuals, we’ve lost some of the kindest people who ever lived. I know I have.

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Links:

DrugFacts: Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction

The Disease Model of Addiction

Is Drug Abuse a Mental Illness?

Psychology Today: A Brain’s Eye View of Addiction as a Disease

Featured image by Roya Ann Miller

© Copyright May 9, 2016 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

LIL’ KIM BACKLASH—THE CRITICISM, BEING WORTHY & LOVE

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With all the social media fuss about Lil’ Kim’s newest look, my first reaction was sadness for her and wanting to send love, tons of love. Then, as is so often the case with social media, there were many different reactions to the reactions, all of which required deeper reflection.

I guess whatever response we had depended on who we were while reading this story. Did we read it as a white person, a black person, a woman, a man, a feminist, an activist or someone who knows what it’s like to be broken, feel shame, and believe you are unworthy?

Some people saw the backlash as a double standard. White women go to the beach or use a fake tanning product to make their skin darker, and it’s normal. A black woman makes her skin lighter, and everyone goes nuts. Okay, I’m not big on the tanning thing myself (though I never mind it), but maybe a lot of us don’t expect that anyone would genuinely want to be paler.

So we get the impression that a black woman making her skin lighter is a result of this perception that being lighter is somehow better. We see it as a sad outcome of racism that amounts to people feeling not good enough, and we hate that people are made to feel this way.

And this, on top of everything else, is very much a woman thing.

People have argued that all women strive to look more beautiful, and Lil’ Kim is no different. But using cosmetics or dying your hair to enhance your beauty is not quite the same as having plastic surgery that makes you suddenly unrecognizable. We see it a lot, especially with the Hollywood crowd, and we sometimes blame and shame the wrong people. We ridicule the women who keep turning themselves inside out trying to achieve a perfection that doesn’t exist or trying to impress a society with impossible and often ridiculous standards. And that questionable society continues to profit from women feeling unworthy.

I suppose there is a difference, too, between changing something because you want to, and changing everything because you think it’s the only way to gain acceptance or the only way you’ll be loved.

What I read about Lil’ Kim is that people often told her she wasn’t pretty, and that her father played a part in her feeling unworthy. I can see from her old photos that she was beautiful from the start. That gave me the impression that this was yet another person feeling broken, another person who couldn’t love herself and maybe, just maybe, she developed a disorder and had a completely distorted perception of her self-image.

So, here it is. I’ve got nothing but love for Lil’ Kim and all the people out there who feel they need to fight for acceptance. Once upon a time, I felt that way, too. I hope, above all, that one day they will be able to love themselves because that’s when the game changes. And we need to change that game.

© Copyright April 9, 2016 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

Featured Photo by Jordan Sanchez

SOCIAL MEDIA INSANITY, ISN’T IT WONDERFUL?

Facebook is a double-edged sword, though, and my least favorite of the networking sites. For one thing, the people I am closest to either don’t have a Facebook account or don’t spend much time on Facebook. I don’t blame them.

Yes, I know, it’s free. No one’s forcing you to sign up or to have it as part of your platform. Although marketing experts and literary agents seem to agree, it is an essential part of a writer’s social media platform. The thing is, Facebook provides a great service. It’s just that it can be so much better with a few tweaks.

This one’s a minor issue. Facebook wants you to be real about your identity. I couldn’t create a friend page for my company, Moonlit Dawn Publications. It won’t accept that and yet will accept Tales Teller, a name I put in as a joke. Whatever you pick, though, you better like it since you are stuck with it for six months.

The most distressing issue is Facebook wanting everyone to see everything their friends like, making them have to take an extra step to avoid that rather than make avoiding it the default. It’s like a sample of what it would be like to have telepathy. I would hate having to read people’s thoughts. Then I have to ask, is it better to remain blissfully ignorant that I have bigots on my friend list? I guess not, but it’s awkward.

I have seen people with seemingly gentle natures hurt others with not so gentle comments, but this is what Facebook encourages. Let’s put this mass collection of egos in a fishbowl and see what happens. Relationships that had seemed unconditional are not really. Many want you to share their core beliefs, never challenge, or oppose. That’s the condition. It’s not even about having a one-on-one conversation. It’s about what you like or comment on someone else’s post, which Facebook reported.

I have gotten argumentative, even angry messages from people with an opposing view about something I liked or commented on someone else’s post. (This is one reason I am more inclined to like posts that are not public.) Here is the thing though. If anyone has a problem with the fact that I want equal rights, justice and humane treatment for all, he or she can feel free to delete me. They would be doing me a favor.

It seems only on social media would I come across a comment that laws do not resolve racism because prejudice is a feeling, and you can’t stop it, so people need to shut it. Laws are not created to stop feelings but to end discrimination. You wouldn’t expect to have to explain that to anyone, and yet the comments I see consistently reflect the ugly side of humanity.

People balked when users turned their profile pictures into rainbows of support after the SCOTUS ruling that gay marriage was the law of the land. Of course, they had to point out that Facebook was testing and manipulating users. Well, I have done testing, too. If you have a photo of yourself as a profile pic or any photos of yourself accessible to the public, you will get messages from hordes of strangers. It doesn’t matter if you are male or female, and you don’t have to look like Shakira. Many people will respond more to your posts if they can have a reminder of what you look like, by way of profile picture. So big deal with the testing—I can do that, too, and I have news for you. If you are on Facebook, they can test you all they want.

Some people apparently do not know what rights they surrender when they create a Facebook page and think they can get around all the invasion of privacy by posting disclaimers. Disclaimers do not override Terms of Service, but I know, having created networks in the past; people do not read Terms of Service. Some don’t know there are terms.

What you do on Facebook is never secret. If I don’t go on and post in a while, I get notifications I didn’t ask for about conversations I missed. I once got a message telling me I had missed a conversation between two friends. Knowing what an instigator Facebook is, I would not be surprised if they added, and they were talking about you. I’m not lying. Go see.

Soon they will be saying, “Hey, Tales Teller, your friend, Joan, started a GoFundMe effort. Click here to go fuck it up. They are instigators, making sure people have seen that you saw their message, so you have to respond immediately or let them think you hate them. At the same time, they will make sure you get several reminders that it’s someone’s birthday, even after you have said Happy Birthday.

For those who are concerned about privacy violation and Facebook duping you for testing, consider the like/dislike system. Getting a like produces a dopamine effect, and that can certainly become an addiction. I can see that it does because some people don’t expect you to miss anything, or that they have to tell you about a major thing happening in their life because they posted it on Facebook. I will admit, about a month ago, it surprised me that a friend had no idea that I fractured my foot. I posted it on Facebook! I had a good laugh about it, realizing how silly that was. But there are people who don’t realize that. Then rather than communicate their feelings and needs to you, they become passive aggressive.

Considering all of this, it’s no wonder why Facebook can be so depressing. That’s why you have to laugh, especially at yourself. If you can’t do that, try this awesome meditation. If this doesn’t make you laugh, it may at least make you smile.

 

Awesome Guided Meditation for Weary Facebook Users

Facebook is Altering Your Mind
Facebook Addiction
Facebook Privacy PC World Article
Facebook Privacy Snopes

© Copyright July 7, 2015 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

WHY AUTHENCITY MATTERS

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The freedom that comes with authenticity is something we can all relate to on some level, unless, of course, we never had to feel different or less than.

If we have, authenticity is a bondage broken. It is a proud and happy triumph for those who understand how important it is for everyone to feel acceptance in their skin, not the skin that meets the approval of the masses without question.

No matter what belief system people subscribe to, they would not want a diseased or disabled child to suffer because their God might have intended it. They would not think to say this happened for a reason, so let’s leave it alone, and do nothing to remedy the situation.  No one would want them to suffer or die. And when a person is born into this world with a dilemma of identity that puts him or her at odds with the world, they do suffer. The only part of them that is real is either dead or dying, and the only thing that saves them is acceptance.

Instead, they are stigmatized, rejected, harassed, and deprived of essential human rights. There is character assassination by cultivated perception. These things destroy a person in such a way that it may as well be murder.

As a society, we have come a long way. Generally speaking, we have evolved to see that not all battles are physical. There is much bravery in terms of mental and emotional struggle. Countless individuals embark on a painful, almost unbearable journey from shame to authenticity and acceptance. Let’s revel in the notion that a big chunk of the world gets it, that everyone deserves to feel worthy and enough.

Many will never survive this type of journey. We need the survivors, as they become warriors who fight every obstacle in their paths and advocate for those who have not been able to advocate for themselves. They pave the way. Yes, that is brave. Freedom from shame and bondage is a gift that gives endless light while creating genuine love. That’s how you create a better world.

 

 

© Copyright June 3, 2015 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

THE ADDICTED AND AFFLICTED

It’s easy to judge the impaired, to walk away, make fun. It’s easy to take advantage of their vulnerabilities. What’s not easy is acceptance, and that’s unfortunate because acceptance paves the way to learning and understanding. Without it, there can be no solution or resolution. What’s not easy either is helping to heal those wounds.

Unfortunately, the afflicted/addicted are often in a cycle of narcissistic abuse. Caught up in that dynamic since childhood, they remain surrounded by narcissists who lack the healthy self-esteem and empathy to love them through their imperfections. Narcissists are too busy burying their shame and inadequacy, so instead of accepting, they punish and reject. They never put themselves in another’s place. Instead, they feel short-changed, embarrassed and inconvenienced.

I’ve heard arguments like, well we all have anxiety now and then, or nobody likes to do that, but we saddle up. I understand this logic. Maybe some refuse to test their limits. I don’t know. What I do know is we don’t have any idea how hard something is for someone else, or how hard he or she tries.

That doesn’t mean you don’t set boundaries or that you should tolerate anyone crossing the line.

At a time when I couldn’t understand an irrational source of anxiety, a therapist told me, “Think of anxiety as a hat. You can hang it anywhere, put it on anyone’s head, and wear it for anything.” It’s transference of deeper fears, and you can find a number of ways to throw them out into the universe.

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I adopted the mantra, “Life is an adventure” to help me through the toughest moments. I’d picture myself as this tiny being inside a vast, fascinating universe… a being no better than any other, given opportunity after opportunity for experience and adventure. I knew I wanted to hang in for the ride rather than give up. For whatever reason, that grounded me.

So acceptance has been the key to learning and understanding for me, too, and essential to managing the afflictions on a day-to-day basis. Everyone I have met who struggles along these lines is fighting every day to manage, to test their limits, and to survive. My feeling is, if it doesn’t require as much effort for you, then whatever is going on with them is not going on with you, so this comparison is pointless. Sorry for your inconvenience, your expectations, your disappointments, and that you can’t get what you want when you want it, but I guarantee a little acceptance will go a long way.

I saw a quote once, something to the effect that, people who don’t have their stuff together are judging us all. Yes they are.

Stevie Nicks once spoke about her addiction and use of benzodiazepines to treat her anxiety. She said, in an interview, “People don’t forgive you.” It’s true. Some people will never forgive or forget the past transgressions of the afflicted or the addicted no matter the circumstances, and no matter how far you’ve come. It’s another hindrance, but we go on.

Someone I love dearly has almost all the symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome. Aside from having some of these symptoms myself, I care about this person more than I do anyone who would judge. I can see the world of difference it makes when you accept, love unconditionally, and play even a small part in helping a person in these circumstances to not only survive but to thrive.

If everyone could resolve their personal bias and issues, they would see individuals who are just as lovable and beautiful as they are, every bit as worthy, and strong enough to have survived the most oppressive and unrelenting pain.

Here is another thing I learned. Everybody is trying to feel good about himself or herself, from those with afflictions and disorders to the people who love and cherish them—and yes even the people who seem to have it all together. I just don’t want to make that harder for anyone.

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Interesting reads –

Fears and Phobias

Famous Anxiety Sufferers

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© Copyright May 15, 2015 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

BURNING BRIDGES, LETTING GO

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Parting is rarely peaceful or the sweet sorrow of Shakespearean poetry. It can be an ugly and torturous process. It’s not unusual either to be called selfish for walking away from toxic relationships and environments.

We get involved in something or with someone having the best of intentions. Often, we don’t realize what issues we bring to the table. There may be parts of us still in need of healing. When we look back, we may see we could have handled it all better—not simply because hindsight is 20/20 but because we can’t be objective. We’re busy drowning. Everything is clouded, including our judgment. Being oblivious to what motivates us and how others can manipulate us, we fall into traps. We may even trust the wrong people, people who take advantage of vulnerabilities and unresolved needs. They push buttons we didn’t know we had and, after a time, we don’t recognize ourselves.

We walk away, because we don’t know what will happen to us if we don’t. We choose sanity and serenity over endless battles. The exit becomes the way of saving our lives, reclaiming it along with our dreams, putting our needs first after years of trying to please people who cannot be pleased. We are no longer in a place where we can be or do our best. The kinder thing is to go on and heal what needs healing. Who says we can’t bring our best efforts somewhere else? We can take our kindness. We know, too, it’s never going to be enough to walk away. We need to burn that bridge, so we don’t get sucked in again.

The place we escaped from may haunt us from time to time, what we left behind. We can leave those dead things wailing in the dark and shut the door. That part of our past taught us many things we needed to learn, and it’s over, done, dead. As long as we didn’t lose the lesson, we’ll be fine. We needed to be there and experience what we experienced, but we’re free now. It’s time to celebrate our freedom.

I’m leaving you with a couple of awesome links and parting thoughts.

Nine Things We Don’t Owe Anybody

Selfishness: 10 Myths You May Be Relieved To Debunk

“Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live; it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.” Oscar Wilde

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© Copyright March 17, 2015 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

NO HALO

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I hate labels that create delusions of superiority—even something as altruistic as “light worker.” I’ve met light workers who believe they are angels while engaging in smear campaigns and sabotage of others with a high school “mean girl” mentality. They would show no empathy for those they attempted to break and destroy. They managed all of this, too, while claiming to be humble and holy, making sanctimonious judgments and patting themselves on the back for being somehow better at this human being stuff than the rest of us.

We are not “angels.”

We can go around and around in circles on the issue of judgment, just as we can on the issue of tolerance. (Yes, throughout most of my life, I have been completely intolerant of the intolerant!) As far as judgment, I have done many of the things that frustrate me to no end these days when others do it—even the light-working angel bit—halo, wings, the whole enchilada. I believed I was the shining example of everything everyone else should be. I often believed, when I didn’t have a particular character defect, or what I perceived to be a character defect; I could take the moral high ground and condemn the offender. I didn’t try to understand it because I hated to coexist with it and didn’t want to understand.

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In my “angelic” pursuits, I was on board with the “one love” and fighting for humanity. I still am, but I had to fight to keep my ego out of it. That’s what being human is. It’s not fairy wings.

When I think about how much I have grown and changed in my life (and with such a long way to go), it seems unfair to be impatient and judgmental of others. I don’t know the circumstances that led them to where they are. I don’t know their struggle to get better.

I’m not advocating that we excuse or accept bad behavior. I am simply trying to understand.

Sometimes people are so committed to a perception about something or someone; they won’t give anyone a chance to help shed a little light or truth on the matter. There is some payoff in the denial. I have done this, too, in my life. So I keep putting myself in other people’s shoes, trying to look at situations from a place of compassion. I know I have needed that in my life, for others to do this for me. We all need this.

It’s difficult not to judge. We need to be able to judge in order to make wise choices. It is hard, too, not to hold a grudge. We develop expectations of people, and people will often fall short of these expectations. For me, releasing expectations must be an ongoing daily effort. Just like letting go of resentments. It takes work. In the meantime, I have to remain in check about my motives. We are humans dealing with humans and often, in punishing others, we also punish ourselves.

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© Copyright October 9, 2014 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.