Smoke and Mirrors: My Vacation on Social Media

I posted 3 weeks ago about the proposed surveillance of social media by the Social Security Administration.   This may be preaching to the choir, but I took a bike trip last weekend and my experience highlighted the problem with this idea.

It was too soon after a major pain episode for me to take a bike overnight, but I had just sold my condo at a profit after years with an underwater mortgage, and I wanted...


Toxic Positivity: It’s a Thing

Every once in a while, the popular culture calls BS on a phenomenon in a refreshing backlash. I’ve been hearing “toxic positivity” mentioned a lot lately, and I love it!

I remember the positive-thinking bandwagon as a product of the 1970s—possibly as an offshoot of the hippie movement, but it’s probably always been around. I just got old enough to observe it during that time. It really took off during the early days of the internet, when The Celestine Prophecy was a bestseller and the self-help book section at Border’s expanded into the surrounding aisles.


Disability Fraud: Why the Hysteria?

Last week I commented on an article in the New York Times that reported on the Trump administration’s proposal to monitor the social media accounts of people who collect Social Security Disability Income.

This week’s post is inspired by commenter Trap Rivers, whose eloquent comment to that post included the words, “we are the villains who are in the crosshairs of the angry mob.”  Trap’s comment got me thinking about the many ways society demonizes its most vulnerable people, from the urban-legendary “Welfare Queen” to people with disabilities—especially ones you can’t see.


Social Media Surveillance for Disability Fraud

The New York Times ran an article on March 10 that’s been getting a lot of attention on Facebook. I just saw it yesterday or I’d have written this sooner.

The article reported that some members of Congress support a plan in which the Facebook accounts of Social Security Disability Income recipients are monitored for photos showing them engaged in activities that they allegedly should not be able to do if they are indeed disabled. For me, that would mean my bike trip photos would be used against me. That is, if I qualified for SSDI, and that’s another matter altogether


Déjà Vu: The Setback-Comeback Cycle

There are plenty of fresh new topics to write about this week, but my head is in the insight place. It wants to talk about what’s going on with me, and maybe see if this sort of thing goes on with you too. Last year I wrote this column about my knee injury and being sent back to square one:

A year later, I’m still repeating old patterns, but I’m much further along, so I’m more willing to entertain the insights that come with the journey.


Freedom From the Clock

“The white man’s clock” is a phrase that is probably not so popular anymore, but I read it many times in my exploration of Native American literature from the 1970s through the present. It resonates with me, even though I am white, because when you read the literature of many cultures, you begin to critically evaluate your own from the point of view of an outsider. Many people from Native cultures were perplexed by the extent to which European-American culture relied on precise scheduling.

I remembered the phrase “tyranny of the white man’s clock” and couldn’t remember from where, so I Googled it and discovered this wonderful essay about timekeeping in modern culture by George Woodock, first published in 1944, titled The Tyranny of the Clock It has only grown more relevant with age.


Spring Brings Relief from Chronic Pain

This is a follow-up to my autumn rant—it’s our turn, spring and summer lovers!

For many of us, the fall doesn’t mean bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, it means the Down Season is coming, when our pain is worse, attacks of our conditions more frequent, and our participation in the world greatly curtailed. Spring means just the opposite. With the warmth and light come energy, better strength and health, and our return to participating in the world.


Acupuncture: A Game Changer for Me

As a chronic pain patient, my pain management specialist suggested I try acupuncture. I resisted for years, mostly because my insurance doesn’t cover any part of it. That objection broke down when I realized my insurance doesn’t cover much of anything anymore. With a $2,000 deductible, and all kinds of convenient loopholes to avoid applying the full amount of any appointment toward it, all I really have insurance for is the possibility of a catastrophic event involving the ICU.

I also heard mixed reviews from people who have tried acupuncture. For some, they felt it did nothing. For others, it helped, but was not a primary tool in their pain management regimen. A few said it made a dramatic difference.

I’ve been going to acupuncture for 10 months now, and I want to give you more information to help you decide if it’s for you.


What Stories Will You Tell?

This is a follow-up to a post I did a year ago, . If you didn’t catch it then, it might warm you up for today. It’s about the extent to which our disabilities shape our sense of self.

I’m a big fan of Shawn Colvin’s music. One of her songs, The Story, has the lines,

I was born to be telling this story
I could only be telling this story
I will always be telling this story

When I...


Collagen: Don’t Ignore It

Today’s post is a PSA (public service announcement) about collagen. Collagen is the main structural protein found in skin and other tissues (cartilage, for one). It’s what gives your skin its elasticity. We tend to lose collagen as we age, which is why we get wrinkles. Collagen isn’t just a cosmetic nutrient, though—it’s vital for healing injured joints and connective tissues. There are many health issues suffered by this blog’s audience that are made worse by a lack of collagen—especially arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.