Politics

THE AMERICAN HEALTH CARE ACT GOES TO VOTE TODAY, FRIDAY MARCH 24

Update 3/25: the American Health Care Act was pulled from the floor and did not go through the voting process. Speaker Ryan has stated that the Affordable Care Act will be the law for the “foreseeable future.” President Trump has since stated that he will wait for the ACA to “explode” and then create a “greater healthcare plan.”

Today, Friday, March 24, 2017, the House of Representatives will vote on the Affordable Care Act replacement bill—the American Health Care Act—with significant changes having been made last night and without the Congressional Budget Office analyzing those changes. Previously the CBO offered projections of, despite a decrease of ~$337 billion in the deficit, roughly 24 million people without coverage by 2026. Even by just repealing the ACA leaves 18 million people uninsured.

The bill underwent multiple changes after receiving severe blowback from all Democrats and several factions of Republicans. GOP moderates felt that the plan was too ill-thought and would leave too many people uninsured. GOP conservatives felt the bill did not go far enough, and dubbed it “Obamacare-Lite.” Those divides postponed the vote, which was supposed to take place yesterday. Ryan and other proponents of the bill did not want to go forward without the votes.

 

The new bill would defund Planned Parenthood. The rationale for this is restriction of abortions. However, Planned Parenthood puts no federal funding towards abortions. They do put federal funding towards reimbursement for services like birth control, contraception, and cancer screenings. Patients use public health programs, like Medicaid and Title X, go to places like Planned Parenthood that take that coverage. They use the programs, Planned Parenthood sends the claim to Medicaid (for example), which reimburses them, and then Medicaid sends the bill to the federal government. Abortions, which account for roughly 3 percent of all PP services, do not get reimbursed.

So when the GOP says that they will defund Planned Parenthood, they are doing it out of spite, because what they’re actually doing is stopping people from being able to use Medicaid for non-abortion services.

Vice President Mike Pence, formerly the Governor of Indiana, recently posted a photo of himself and the President meeting with the Freedom Caucus. The Freedom Caucus is made up of the GOP conservatives who are dragging their feet about the bill.

To get them on the side of voting yes, those in charge of the bill—House Speaker Paul Ryan, VP Pence, and even Trump—have struck a deal with the Freedom Caucus. If the Caucus agrees to the bill, the Essential Health Benefits list will be removed from the bill.

What’s the Essential Health Benefits?

It’s a holdover from the Affordable Care Act. It requires insurances to cover—at the bare minimum—the following 10 items:

  • Emergency Services
  • Hospitalization
  • Ambulatory patient services
  • Maternity and newborn care
  • Mental health and substance use disorder services
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services
  • Laboratory services
  • Preventive and wellness services
  • Pediatric services

There has been no analysis on the future consequences on striking off the Essential Health Benefits because the CBO has not been given enough time to conduct research.

Trump has put pressure on the GOP to push this bill through. It would solidify his stance as a deal-maker—something he ran on during the campaign—and would show his control over the rapidly dividing Republican party. He has also threatened that the Republicans will lose their majority if the bill does not pass. That pressure has forced massive overhauls to the bill. House Republicans and Democrats are set to vote on a bill that they haven’t read in full, or had sufficient or significant research on.

But perhaps the scariest part of this whole thing is that photo that VP Pence Tweeted out. Him and the President meeting with the Freedom Caucus. With the strength of the Freedom Caucus, the American Health Care Act is that much closer to being passed.

A circle of wealthy, privileged, heterosexual cisgender white men, deciding the fate of women, minorities, cancer patients, those with mental illness, and the vulnerable. We might not have seen the finished bill, but we have seen enough of the consequences. The AHCA would mostly affect the elderly and sick—premiums would rise due to declining assistance—while the young, healthy and wealthy would see tax benefits. In addition, according to Forbes, over the next decade, the plan outlines an $880 billion tax cut, with $274 billion going directly to the richest 2%.

If the AHCA, the new healthcare plan, only benefits the young, healthy and wealthy, while leaving premiums rising, care decreasing, targeting the elderly and the sick, and ~24 million uninsured—then it’s possible that this isn’t the best plan.

But this is the world we live in—the decision of this small cluster of white men, for whom this healthcare plan will only benefit, will impact the rest of us.

Advertisements
Standard
Mental Health, Rambles, Things Happening RN

STRESSED, UNSTRESSED

I’m stressed, and I need that to be okay.

I didn’t realize I was stressed until I was sitting in my psychiatrist’s office today. Emotion after emotion, thought after thought, rose up and spilled out of me like I was a cup in the sink overflowing from a tap that was left on accidentally. I was stressed, I was under stress, I was stress. My entire body was made up of the coiling gray wires that I envision stress to be.

I feel like it’s not okay to be stressed. We’re allowed to be “stressed” but not Stressed. We’re not allowed to be Stressed because we’re conditioned to believe it’s a symptom of not working hard enough. If you’re doing poorly in a class, it’s because you’re not applying yourself enough. If something fails in the romantic sense, it’s you. If you can’t find a job or an internship, it’s because you’re not striving towards it with enough vigor.

We’re allowed to be stressed but it must pass. It must be something that can be neatly dealt with. We’re not allowed to be weak with it, weak from it. And I’m weak from it. It’s breaking into my sleeping, my waking, my head.

I’m stressed about a lot of things. Some are personal and I’m not discussing. Some are classes that I just finished up, some are familial, some are the overarching overhangs of life after graduation. I’m stressed but I’m not allowed to be Stressed. Particularly about jobs. Millennials are classed as lazy. We’re not getting jobs because we expect things to be handed to us. We’re too addicted to our phones. We’re self-obsessed and expectant of praise.

We’re told that we need to be the best to get jobs, and even if we’re the best, that might not be enough. You need to get an internship. Already have one? You need one more. Then one more. It’s never ending. We’re also told that there are no jobs; that we’re fucked. So we’re fucked either way: if we work hard and don’t get anything, it’s because the job market can’t sustain us. If we work hard and don’t get anything, it’s because we’re too idealistic. We expect too much too soon.

So that’s making me stressed. I’m stressed that I just finished a class where I was told, over and over, that my career choices were not valid. That what I wanted to do was not realistic. That “real journalists” didn’t do what I did. What I do.

I’m stressed and Stressed and I’m hoping it’ll pass and I know that it will.

Standard
Life, Mental Health

CALLING IN SICK WITH DEPRESSION

Sometimes it’s really, really unfair to have depression. Like, duh—obviously, but bear with me.

Sometimes it’s really unfair that I can’t just call out of a meeting “sick with depression.” It makes me really, really mad. And I’m using “really” a lot because…because that’s the only way I can describe it. It sucks. It’s annoying. And it doesn’t stop sucking.

It’s hard explaining it to people; it’s hard saying to someone, “I have depression and it’s bad right now but it’s not like ‘bad bad’ so stop looking at me like I’m a puppy.” With other things, you can explain them in a few words.

“I have a stomachache.” “I have the flu.” “I’m hungover.”

But I can’t just say something like that and have it explained away easily. Most people don’t process things like that—they don’t have the experience to understand. Everyone’s had a cold; everyone’s had a stomachache. But not everyone’s had depression. So you can’t just explain it away.

“Sorry, I would totally come to the meeting but I keep getting sad at unrelated things and then I want to smash a window.”

“Sorry, I want to hang out but I’m going to burrow under a pile of blankets and not move for multiple hours.”

“Sorry, I can’t meet up today—I’m feeling tumultuous.”

I have good days and I have bad days. Being on medication means that my bad days are fewer now—they almost become like bad dreams. Half-remembered and explained away. And I don’t realize a bad day until I’m knee-deep in it. And it’s not that I want sympathy or a pass or anything like that. I just wish we had the vocabulary for us to express ourselves. I wish I could make it clear without couching it as a blanket “mental health day” or lie and say that I’m sick with something else.

I’ve got a touch of depression. Sorry, can’t come to your meeting.

I can still function; I’m not incapacitated. But I’m weak; and I’m sad. It’s not forever, but it’s now. This now sucks completely. This now is me wanting to kind of cry and watch covers of songs from Hamilton and just not have to worry about work or school or romance or jobs. But I can’t say that.

Standard
Humor, Mental Health

SELF-CARE: SOME TIPS, TRICKS, AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT

Written after eating Talenti coffee gelato and trying not to hate myself. 

See that right there, that “trying not to hate myself” was a great act of self-care. I’m already off to a fantastic start. Go you, me!

Monday I wrote about my anxiety-ridden weekend, so I thought it would be nice to write something medium-positive to take the sting out of pouring my emotions out for the homies. It was either this or go in the complete opposite creative direction to make you forget completely that I can ever be a sensitive human/sentient robot.

So I was doing my daily ritual of light incense, meditation and cleaning out my “YouTube Watch Later” playlist, which at some points is longer than my list of friends (short list of friends or long list of to-be-watched videos? You be the judge), and I watched a video of Tyler Oakley’s called “Five Easy Ways To Self-Care” or something like that—idk I’ll put it below, don’t make me look it up rn—and that triggered/inspired/thinspired me to do something similar, but a little more…me.


A lot of times when I see self-care things, they’re by “nice” people and all of the suggestions are helpful but not very appropriate for someone who spends as much time praying that “vibing” people with negative thoughts will make their lives worse.

See I also just watched the season two premiere of Difficult People, which if you’re not watching, you should be, and if you are watching, stop taking my thing, and that’s much more me—a couple of 7/10s running around, being mean/funny to people. For a lot of people like me—hot but mean—we can’t really identify with traditionally “nice” people. So here is the self-care guide you need if you’re a little bit of a dick and a lot of a mess.

Obviously there are the obvious things—obvi duh—like exercise (because exercise releases endorphins, endorphins make people happy, and happy people don’t kill their husbands, duh!), drinking lots of water and eating healthily, and getting plenty of sleep. But you didn’t come here for a regular self-care guide—you came here for the Naomi Campbell of self-care guides (dangerous, beautiful, unpredictable).

1). Scream so loud: This is actually (semi)therapist approved. I once had a therapist who suggested that, as a way to get out my deep-seated anger, I get into my car and scream. Loudly. For as long as I could. When I, repressed as I am, finally did it, I was amazed at how good I felt. The primal and visceral reaction of screaming out loud, or into a pillow, or silent-screaming, is shockingly effective. It releases tension, it untwists the anger coils in your chest, and it’s so flagrantly weird that you have to laugh. At least, that’s what it makes me do. Alternatively, you could fake-laugh-scream at something, which always makes me actual laugh. Because I can find nothing real-funny until I find it ironic-funny. I’m a millennial.

2). Throw out your scale (or if it’s expensive just don’t use it): Seriously, if it’s money, just put it out of sight. I’m on a budget too. When I was at school, I didn’t have a scale and it actually really improved my mood. I know this because when I got home for the summer and discovered our fancy digital scale, I became obsessed with weighing myself. A lot of the anxiety-driven part of my depression manifests in body obsession and that translates to needing to know how much I weigh at any point. So I decided to stop weighing myself again and just let myself live. And it really helps. Numerical weight is such a scam anyway; a number can’t tell me how I feel about myself, or how the weight carries itself. I can be at my heaviest, but if I feel good, then that number is irrelevant.

A lot of self-care is cutting out unnecessary stress and stressors in your life, and trying not to give a shit about your weight—within reason—just seems like a no-brainer.

3). Pep talk: I don’t know how most people think, but I don’t think in words as much as I do in images and visceral emotions. Like, I don’t think, “Oh I’m nervous about work.” I feel it much more deeply and see it play out before me. And because of that, I don’t really have any sort of internal dialogue with myself. So when I’m feeling like I need to self-care, I’ll have a pep talk for myself, out loud in the mirror. In his video, Tyler actually said to treat yourself like your best friend, and that means to be nice to yourself and to lift yourself up. Alternately, I constantly sing out loud to myself. I’m not a good singer, but I do it when I walk, or do dishes, or fold laundry. Singing is a good, very healing thing to do. Emote, bitches.

4). Unfollow unhealthy social media accounts: I talked about this a little in my last post, but I can’t stress enough what a difference it has made. I’m not just talking about unfollowing boyz who you think are out of your league but are actually too emotionally withdrawn to like you; this totally works for cleaning out your social media followings. Unfriend that person you haven’t seen in forever; don’t force yourself to click through the Snap story of a colleague from four years ago who you only follow in the faint hopes of a shirtless moment. A lot of self-care is surrounding yourself with positivity and people you love; ditch the acquaintances.

 5). Watch videos of people falling: Funny as shit.

There are other, simpler things—good music, time spent outdoors, snuggling with cute animals. Then are other, more extensive things—a good therapist, self-reflection, journaling. It all depends on what you need. Also always remember to try to look on the positive…is the most annoying thing that anyone can ever say to anyone, but it’s honestly true. Even if you don’t have depression, it’s so easy to be stuck in the rut of negativity; taking active steps to appreciate things around you—nice eyebrows, the sunlight effusing a green leaf, old people holding hands—can change the roadways of your brain and rewire you for a happier outlook. Idk if that’s true; I read that somewhere.

If all else fails, start small. Smile. Take deep breaths. Close your eyes and just sit. And then read through all of my blog and tell me how smart, but how humble, and how funny, but how unintimidating, I am. Also someone sponsor me!!! Give me that $$$ so I don’t have to write “60 Ways To Get Your Sexy Back” listicles for the rest of my life!

Also I’ve been frequently changing up my header image to convince myself that I have some semblance of control over my life. What do you think??

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 10.41.30 PM.png

Source: Danny McCarthy via The Wunderkindof

Standard
Life, Mental Health, Rambles

RUNNING AND SPILLING THAT ANXIE-TEA

Written on a Sunday evening, laptop on chest. 

I’ve had one of those weekends where I realize everything that’s ever been wrong/will be wrong/is wrong with my life. And I think it’s something only a rising college senior could experience, the compounded emotions of living life in your childhood home while simultaneously expected to grapple with the upcoming reality of post-graduate world. So that’s fun.

But actually that’s just me being hyperbolic because I realized that this weekend, and possibly the last week, I’ve been in the middle of a depressive slump. Being medicated while depressed is a weird thing because mentally you assume that the little blue pills you swallow every morning—I can swallow dry, tell your friends—will cure you. But really, they just help you manage the depression. I, and probably a lot of other depressed people, then operate under the assumption that we’re “better” or “normal.” This is confusing because when you go into depressive slumps, which is natural for anyone and extremely natural for someone with depression, you almost don’t realize what’s happening until you’re already chest-deep in emotion.

And the “you” in this situation is “me.” Or “I”?

I used to have these wild mood swings where for two weeks, I would be deeply depressed, then I wouldn’t be, and that joy would elevate into this kind of superior fervor because I wasn’t depressed at the moment, and then it would gradually swing back. Medication restricted that vast pendulum swing, and so my moods travel back into the regular range. And on one hand, that’s awesome because blah blah blah we get why that’s awesome. But on the other hand, I A) became addicted to the feelings of high and almost reveled in the lows, and B) was able to realize when I was in a slump because it was so obvious.

When you have a regular human range of emotions, mixed with the (wrong) belief that you’re cured of depression, those slumps can really sneak up on you, and BOI did they sneak up on me.

One way to realize that you’re in a slump is that things begin to resonate harder with you. Before I was on medication, I described it as if I were a well. Anything could happen and it would ping down into my well and reverberate deeply inside. When you’re on medication, the well seems shallower, so the things don’t vibrate as deeply or for as long. But in this slump, a lot of little things—the usual bunch of body image, boy weirdness, friend weirdness and job anxiety—compounded and suddenly became so overwhelming that I did something I never do anymore.

I ran outside.

Basically from ages fourteen to eighteen, I was constantly running. After I got into college, I dropped that like a hot stone and recently I’ve picked it up slightly in the form of highly regulated, 12-minute sprints on the treadmill. I hate going on runs. But I was so amped up and anxious and I had no car to go to the gym to burn away my emotions that I just started running in my neighborhood. I only ran three miles—okay ran/walked/stood and tweeted three miles—and it really helped to cleanse me.

I power-sprinted to Meghan Trainor, I walked to Matt Nathanson, and I boiled down some concrete things I could do. A lot of what’s been stressing me out has its claws in social media, and I took some action to alleviate some of that anxiety. One of it was unfollowing someone because following them only confuses me romantically and indulges my tendency to fixate and obsess. And even though I still meander over to them in my mind, I don’t have that digital bee-sting when I scroll past their stuff. And so that’s something that I could do to make myself feel better and did.

I think a lot of dealing with your emotions, whether or not you suffer from depression, is about taking distance. When I was in the full flush of all these emotions, I had to step back, recognize the slump for what it was, and realize that that was enhancing my anxiety. Not that these things wouldn’t have stressed me out on a good day, but they wouldn’t have made me as emotional. And having space from the things that are causing you to be stressed also allows you to evaluate them. Like, I’m an obsessive person sometimes, so I’ve been fixating on this one person and thinking that I like them when really maybe I do like them but I’m also looking for someone to fixate on and someone to rationalize current other emotions. Sounds complicated, right?

giphy

Source: Pajiba/Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the show I’m currently watching. V good, v good.

I’m rambling, but I wanted to write it out and idk get this thought out there? I reached out to people when I was feeling really spiral-y—Marco, Nina—and having their friendship and listening ears really helped me out. So I think putting stuff like this out there, that being medicated doesn’t mean cured and that’s not a bad thing, and it’s okay to get overemotional and stressed and anxious, validates a lot of feelings I think we all have. And that’s important—the validation of our feelings.

Anyway, anyway, anyway. I wrote an article responding to the Dallas shooting on The Odyssey Online, so if it’s up by the time this gets published, I’ll link it HERE (DON’T FORGET DANNY). I don’t want it to look like I’m ignoring last week’s events.

I LOVE YOU GUYS. Even you. Yes, you! I like that top. Most people would’ve be that brave to pull off something like that. No that’s not shade. OMG IT’S NOT SHA—

Byeee!

Standard