Friday, June 26, 2020

The World's On Fire--Isn't Life Hard Enough?


We just went through three months of pure anxiety-ridden hell of a pandemic, and people are just at each other's throats. For me, I'm used to anxiety, and I'm learning how to accept it, feel it, and let it pass... But those who have never experienced panic attacks or anxiety, are now feeling it for the first time due to the virus. Many of us have hidden "health anxiety" -- aka, hypochondria. Those who have it don't feel comfortable admitting they have it, only because they're seen as "germaphobes" and get mocked due to their excessive cleanliness or avoidance of catching germs by shaking hands or sipping out of the same cup. Now? It's become the norm to not shake hands or sip out of anybody's cup. This is good for us hypochondriacs. For some people like myself, this world is going to be a much pleasant place to live in, 'germ-wise'---because it's now acceptable to pass up a handshake or hug or kiss from somebody we don't want touching us. I'm not saying that to be rude---I'm only saying that because that's how I always was. I'm not much of a hugger, nor do I want to shake anyone's hands. I remember my better half took me to one of her Christmas parties, and a hundred people shook my hand as we were introduced. I cannot tell you how long I scrubbed my hands with rubbing alcohol before my skin practically slid off. But that's just me, and now, I'm learning, it's not just me. It's almost everyone.

Getting back to people being at each other's throats---people are fighting over whether or not to wear a mask. Listen, I get it. You don't believe in science, or you do believe in science, and you wanna tackle mask-less shoppers as they walk around seemingly free around the aisles. Stop attacking people for not wearing masks! Start shuffling away from them instead if you're that concerned. For me--I wear my mask at all times inside a store. I can't breathe because my anxiety 'tells me' I can't breathe, but my oxygen levels are perfect...yes I have an oximeter that I check all the time. Regardless, it can make you feel almost claustrophobic in a way. If you have COPD or asthma---then don't wear one. My thoughts on this are very liberal. We have our 6 ft distance rule and we also have the ability to take ourselves away from a threatening situation. Stop attacking people! It's not worth it.  If you're that freaked out (as I am) then stay home and get your groceries delivered. Pretty simple.

All sorts of arguments have been going on besides the pandemic, like these protests for George Floyd. The racism is off the charts---but for every race. Yes, I said every race. White people against black people, and black people against white people. I recently read a post where this one black woman was asked to wear a mask before she put her items up on the counter inside a grocery store. The cashier was nervous and didn't want to help her without having a mask on. I totally understand this. Just put your mask on and let the lady check you out so you can be on your way. But the black lady insisted that the "white cashier" didn't want to check her out just because she was black.

Stop.

People are using the race card in order to justify whatever it is someone else is complaining about. Yes, there is racism---no doubt, but this incident has zero to do with skin color! I don't engage in any debate online, and I certainly don't like to chitchat about this kind of ordeal with friends, because it's such a slippery slope. We're all so fearful of this recent pandemic that we are still going through, and we're also extra combative due to what happened to George Floyd. And no doubt, everyone is outraged about what happened to that poor man. But there are many opinions about the protest---more opinions about destroying property and hurting other people's businesses who actually have the same opinion as the people attacking them. It just doesn't make sense to me.

Regardless of all that has happened, how do you feel? When sitting at home and entertaining the thoughts inside your mind---what plays out? Does it feel angry? Scared? Happy? Comforted? It's like everyone has an axe to grind with somebody. Everyone needs to be 'outraged' over something---anything. I've seen it in my own community. Situations and conflicts that have nothing to do with race, color or creed, are now being included in the mix. This has divided us as a nation. Statues, monuments and business brands are being removed due to the nature of that time period. Listen, I don't care if you call Aunt Jemima, "Becky Smith"----it's not worth fighting with other people about it. If they want to tear down statues and monuments, how about we let our government remove them and ship them off to appropriate museums so that we don't lose the history of it? Let the Dixie Chicks call themselves, "The Chicks," ---nobody is going to be happy regardless. Feminists will complain about the word "chicks" and then they'll be reduced to "The Female Band." Fine.

I don't care. I really don't. This life is so temporary and I don't want to waste time arguing with people---especially friends about things that are just not important, as human relations are. How about we start treating one another with love and respect, no matter what your views are? What about people who threaten to delete you off from their social media accounts just because you voted for Trump? What about those who will "unfriend" you if you have an entirely different opinion than they do?

What a shame!

What a time to live in---I mean, you have quite the characters running for office, civil unrest, murder hornets, a plague that swept through and now we have a huge dust storm -- oh -- and let's not forget the UFOs the Navy caught on camera. It's like, what else can 2020 throw at us? Some say Jesus will be appearing on a cloud. Let's hope so! This world has seen its worst---or has it? I mean think back years and years ago... We had many plagues, including the Spanish Flu that killed many people. We've had dust storms, UFOs, wars, terrorism, earthquakes and tsunamis. Even during those times, people claimed that Jesus was coming back. "Oh, He's gonna be returning soon!" Let's be reminded that nobody knows the day nor hour. Last week, I had a dream about angels with trumpets blowing from each corner of the sky, and they were also screaming, "WAKE UP! WAKE UP!" Didn't people in Biblical times have these sort of dreams? So who knows. Do you think it's the end times? Or is it another cycle in our earthly existence?

Regardless of what it is---stop fighting!

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com
or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog at DebsCucina.com
for some of her famous recipes!

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Social Media Wars and Your Mental Health

In most cases, people who are unsure of themselves usually possess one or two traits: being introverted and quiet, or on the flip side, they're angry, combative and will argue with you until you say that they're right. This ego-driven behavior is usually a deep-seated ax to grind. You usually see this on Facebook debates over politics or on a news' thread. I see people who don't even know the full story or those who weren't even at the scene of what happened argue as if they knew everything. To be right is part of the ego's mission. It can't be wrong, or the ego simply dies. Nobody wants to look vulnerable and throw in the towel on a good debate, especially when there are quite a few onlookers. To them, it's like losing the 'schoolyard fight' at 3pm. Let's not forget the internet name calling trolls. They'll blurt out some of the most ridiculous things, between insults or using the straw man argument. For me, I've been down that road and occasionally I'll find myself in some sort of debate, not entertaining it to the degree that they want.  Usually, when I see thread going downhill, I turn on my notifications for that thread and watch the ship sink like the Titanic. It usually does.

Panic Mode

Do you know how much unneeded stress goes into arguing with someone, especially with strangers? It actually raises your heart rate, your blood pressure and puts in a much more stronger argument for the next poor soul who disagrees with you. I've learned that with politics, religion or something that happened on the news---we all have our views and opinions, none which could be proven 100%. So why are we fighting with one another over it? Can't we just speculate and question it all? I do believe that the mainstream media is meant to put a division between all of us. It's meant to conjure up the worst emotions, and inevitably cause us to be at odds with each other. On top of that, the misinformation on everything we see is ridiculous. Back and forth with "facts" from the CDC (who to me is a crock of sh*t) --- wear a mask, don't wear a mask, the virus lives on counters, the virus doesn't live on counters---which is it? Aren't they a bunch of scientists and virologists? Why can't they figure any of this out? "Oh it still is unknown at the time."

Don't Take The Bait

You also have those "button pushers"---you know the type---they'll plop a very proactive post onto Facebook and then wait for the hungry fish to attack the bait. Again, just turn on your notifications and watch the shitshow, if that's what you want to do. Don't engage. It's not worth it. It affects every single cell in your body. When you get angry, your physiology completely changes. Anger tenses up your muscles, and inside your brain, the neurotransmitter chemicals known as, "catecholamines" are released, causing you to experience a burst of energy lasting up to several minutes or more. It urges you to take action, and at the same time, your heart rate and blood pressure sky rockets. The adrenaline rush can cause someone with anxiety disorder to feel panicked for more than a day or so. You go into "fight or flight" mode, which is actually a primitive response. I've noticed for myself, I stopped the "fight" mode and now I go into flight mode. I either block the person off, don't respond, or completely go silent, because my system can no longer take the anxiety that goes into the fight mode. It seriously affects my nervous system and health in so many ways.

Why It's Not Worth The Fight 


Personally speaking, after you have been through the ringer, one trauma after another, you're going to find yourself needing the drama to fulfill whatever it is that's lacking. For instance, after losing both my parents, as well as my childhood home, I no longer entertained anyone who wanted to argue with me. And if an argument was inevitable, I would sometimes mouth off, then go into hiding, sometimes with my own loved ones. The worst thing you can do when you are emotionally wounded, is to fight with a loved one, because deep inside, you truly don't want to. It's external chaos that acts like the initial bait between you and who you are arguing with. Let them take the bait and be happy with it. Let it go. Through my own experience, the bitter arguments after the trauma left me with sleepless nights, with my heart racing out of control. I thought, this couldn't be from a simple argument! And of course, the hypochondriac that I am had to check it out. I'm pretty well acquainted with my cardiologist, and he's pretty well acquainted with my healthy heart right now. It's my mind that needed fixing---still does. When you suffer with anxiety disorder, one incident can leave your emotions feeling the same way for weeks, because your adrenaline is still percolating. The brain of someone with anxiety disorder doesn't know how to turn it off, this is why people who suffer from panic attacks should NOT argue, or engage in unnecessary bickering online.

How Do You Fix It? 

I can only give you my personal experience, and that's solely relying on God, and asking the Holy Spirit to live within you, so that you will find yourself hesitating to engage in something that's unhealthy for you. And it's not by your own doing---it's the Spirit convicting you, changing you, taking out the old stony heart and replacing it with a new heart with new and right desires.  (That's part of a scripture actually.) Like anything, if you don't practice it daily, it will lose its "muscle." You need to be consistent and acknowledging that the Spirit is there to help you make better decisions. Sometimes, if I lose my awareness, I lose the Spirit. It's not too long until I find myself in a combative argument, or having a severe panic attack from pent up anger from God only knows. I'm not telling you to sit in a room for five hours and pray, I'm saying to pray when you can, (even if it's in your head) -- anywhere you can, and then acknowledge that the Spirit is living within you. Ask the Spirit to reside inside your heart. But remember, the Spirit cannot live in a vessel that's too 'messy'---not saying that you have to be perfect, but get rid of the negativity, anger, bitterness and make room for more forgiveness, understanding and love. So clean some stuff out, and make room for the Spirit. Then, watch what happens.

"And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart." --Ezekiel 36:26

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com
or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog at DebsCucina.com
for some of her famous recipes!

Monday, June 15, 2020

Agree to Disagree

Lola loving her beef marrow bone.
Whether you like it or not, your fight is not my fight. You can't force people to be on "your side" or have the same opinion or beliefs as you. For instance, a vegan friend of mine claimed that I must not really love my dog that much since I eat meat. Listen, I totally respect your stance on not eating meat, whether it's for your health or for saving animals, but since the beginning of time, we were put on earth to eat vegetables and meat. The same friend put her dog on a vegan diet, which I disagree with---but I never told her I disagreed with it because it's none of my business. Dogs are omnivores. These kinds of different point of views can bring a strain on the friendship if one is trying to convert you over to the other side. Even little 'digs' here and there are uncalled for. It's like me saying that if you don't pray to the same God I do, then I refuse to be friends with you, or I'm constantly gonna bring it up so you'll finally give in, or give up on our friendship.

Even politically speaking, friendships are being torn every single day now. This entire pandemic has taken a toll on all of us to some degree, mentally and physically. We've worked so hard on flattening the curve here in New York, and we finally did it---or so we think we did. We social distanced for three whole months, many 'sheltered in place' and all of us, are ready to go out and live our lives again. Sadly, after businesses have shut down for good, and some people even lost their homes, I couldn't imagine another plague wreaking havoc on us....and that plague is: rage. Everyone agrees that the tragic death of George Floyd needed justice--no doubt. So, the protests began, some peacefully, some not. During the height of the pandemic, thousands upon thousands gathered together in every city and in every state to show their outrage. They also made sure to destroy businesses, some to which belonged to black store owners. Not only did they destroy businesses, but they also went into residential neighborhoods and burglarized what they thought were "privileged white folks." Both cops and civilians were killed, because of rage---because of flat out racism.

Julie Powell wrote a powerful piece on her thoughts regarding dismantling monuments to remove historical events.

"These solutions are clearly absurd because history cannot be re-written. It’s fact. Subject to interpretation? Certainly. But it’s fact nonetheless. And it is for this reason that destruction of confederate monuments are futile. Regardless of our own personal sympathies, the Confederacy, the Civil War, and slavery are just as much a part of our cultural heritage as the American Revolution, the good as well as the bad, and these are facts we must confront. 

This requires redefining what a monument is. Some argue the only purpose of a monument is to commemorate the dead. But in my view, monuments have manifold purposes, from highlighting the nauseating evils humans are capable of, to sparking a conversation about important political events. Nazi concentration camps do not still stand in Germany because Germans want to promote Nazi virtues. They stand as reminders of the evils that occurred because of Nazi ideas. 

The most common objections to the preservation of Confederate monuments is that the alleged “purpose” of many of these monuments was to promote white supremacy. But by that logic, perhaps we should seriously reconsider the Lincoln Memorial, since it was erected, not to celebrate the eradication of slavery (something Lincoln himself never fully achieved), but to promote nationalism. 

And the notion that Confederate Monuments celebrate white supremacy hardly aligns with modern day sentiments. Having lived in Georgia for 18 years, neither I nor anyone I know — whether they be black or white — has ever considered confederate monuments to promote white supremacy. Rather, these monuments are part of a cultural heritage honoring ancestors who died for a cause they believed was right. And while we may not agree with their decision — I readily admit that southern states were wrong to secede — this only adds to the gravity and importance of preserving these monuments: so that we do not make a similar mistake. 

Perhaps the best place for Confederate monuments is not in the middle of the public square; perhaps they ought to be placed inside the Met or a newly-constructed American equivalent to Momento Park (a Hungarian park containing statues of Communist leaders). But in any case, Confederate statues certainly do not belong inside a dumpster outside the UNC campus while Americans applaud themselves for somehow “paying the debt” for their ancestral sins."----read more here

Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it. So by removing these monuments, flags and other artifacts of our history, is removing what truly happened, so that it will never happen again. The good and the evil.  As I was reading the news, they had also stated that they were removing the movie, Gone With the Wind. This classic movie has been taken off HBO Max following calls for it to be removed from the US streaming service. HBO Max said the 1939 film was "a product of its time" and depicted "ethnic and racial prejudices" that "were wrong then and are wrong today." What next---The Color Purple? Rosewood? When you erase history, you are erasing the minds of our future generation who may need to be reminded of what's wrong and right.

Another question in regards to this topic: for every black person who is Christian, Baptist or other, should we remove the scriptures in the Bible about slavery? Or maybe we should leave them there to learn from it?

So, let's talk about my vegan friend again---the one who told me I must not love my dog enough, since I like to eat meat. She believes that it's okay to destroy businesses and riot, while protesting. "It will have a greater impact so that it won't happen again," she said. See, I believe in a protest, but here's where my dilemma lies:

  • I don't believe in the possible deaths of thousands by giving justice for those who have died in the hands of officers. Innocent people who also agree with you are dying due to the spread of COVID. 
  • I don't believe in destroying businesses and the livelihoods of others, just because you want to go out and protest. 
  • I believe in peaceful protests that can generate positive solutions. 
  • Just because there are a few bad cops does not mean that all cops are bad. The same goes for those who riot and destroy property--they do not represent all who are peacefully protesting. 
  • If you are protesting in a crowd, you may be infecting others with COVID. How does this make sense at all? 

There are a lot of conspiracy theorists who truly believe that what we're seeing in the media and in our own world is a product of population control. Some explain that the officer who knelt on George Floyd was a "crisis actor." So basically it's all about "stirring up the world" and making them go out by the THOUSANDS so they can kill off more people. That's what you're doing whether it's a conspiracy theory or not. You're participating in killing off thousands if you're a part of the huge crowds protesting in the middle of a pandemic. And whether or not you think COVID is real or some kind of "hoax" --- well then that's up to you. Nobody knows anything at this point, but common sense goes a long way.

And lastly, some comforting words from the Bible to help you sleep at night. If you have anxiety over  what's been going on in our world, trust in God and know that prayer can move mountains!

1. Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV) The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

2. Joshua 1:9 (NIV) Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

3. Psalm 46 (NIV) God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!

4. John 14:27 (NLT) I am leaving you with a gift - peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

I heard the crowds chanting, "I can't breathe! I can't breathe!" I'm afraid that many protesters are going to be chanting that up in the ICUs if this pandemic is in fact, not a hoax.

Whether you agree with me or not, that's OKAY. It's okay to agree to disagree sometimes.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com
or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog at DebsCucina.com
for some of her famous recipes!

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

COVID Mania: Party Like It's 2019

We've all had it. We're done. We're sick and tired of being cooped up and told to stay home because the virus will make us sick or possibly kill us. We're missing family, friends, work, shopping, dining, haircuts, manicures, pedicures---everything we used to do before March of this year.  I remember this one night back in late February on a Wednesday eating dinner at the bar of my favorite restaurant. Madelene works late on Wednesdays, so instead of eating by myself, or waiting to eat at 10pm with her, I would occasionally take myself out, sit at the bar and have some sort of seafood with a glass of wine. I knew the owners and workers, so there were people I could chat with, as well as whoever strolled in. We were all watching the news on their big screen TV. They were talking about Wuhan, and how this new virus called, "corona" was killing so many people. It hadn't come to our area as of yet, so we were all like, "Wow, I feel bad for them," in between spaghetti bites. Little did we know, that it would be the last time we all would see one another. Two weeks later, my favorite place closed up (hopefully temporarily.) I never thought this sort of thing would happen here. We also said that back on 9-11 too.

Three months into this fiasco, I realized my own workflow had slowed down. The only reason why I haven't written as much is because I'm the one needing help with my own mental health. As much as I love helping other people, this new "anxiety" is something I've never dealt with before. Between insomnia, myoclonic seizures (which subsided for a good while) as well as a racing heart with palpitations have sky rocketed, to where it can leave me absolutely exasperated. The recovery time for my panic attacks take a couple of days, sometimes more. I've used every resource available, from Telehealth therapy, meditation, vitamins, homeopathic remedies and even exercise---all of those are great, no doubt, but nothing works better than pushing through the fear. For instance, this morning I woke up with a fast heart rate that usually makes my heart skip beats. That means I'm in for the day. No outings---not even to venture to sit outside on my own porch. Nothing. It leaves me debilitated until it goes away. But here's the thing: don't wait for it to go away. I'm learning this now. Don't wait till your heart rate is back to "what you expect it to be." Sometimes, we need to do things in fear, and not when it's "okay" in our minds.

I'm learning that it's important to stop the dialogue in our minds. I was reading a book called, "Untethered Soul" by Michael Singer. He explains that the process of getting rid of the anxiety is to stop listening to your "roommate in your mind"---the one that tells you, "Eh, maybe I shouldn't go out because I'll have a panic attack." Stop listening to that voice. Eckhart Tolle also wrote a book called, "The Power of Now," where he explains that you are the "Being" and your mind is its own entity. When your mind chatters, let your "Being" look at it, and once it's being observed, the 'chatter' stops instantly. It works, but you have to keep practicing it. As soon as your mind says, "Oh you better not call Stacy, she may be upset with you," or "Don't drive down that road, you may get caught in traffic," -- look at your mind (in your mind) -- and it stops. Acknowledge the chatter and then turn it around and intentionally say something of gratitude to replace the negative thought.

Another thing you have to do is limit your dose of watching the news. The news media are all fear mongers. They want to instill fear and divide our country. They need ratings, which brings in the big bucks. Half the things they have threatened us with, like looters and rioters rampaging our businesses and homes, did not come to pass thank God. They show you only the negative things, without showing you the beautiful highlights of this fiasco, like the black man hugging the white cop, or how people were helping one another, by bringing the elderly a supply of food and toiletries during this pandemic. I also had to remove myself from any political talk. I found myself in a debate with a friend who disagreed with my opinion. I don't believe you have to destroy other people's property while protesting, while she had another view. And well, a friendship was broken. The division was made.

For the first time, we have seen the lowest cases of COVID-19, which is wonderful! We managed to put it at bay by staying at home and practicing good hygiene and wearing our masks. But some people disagree with that. I understand you want to go out and see people and live your life---but we did well with pushing this virus aside. But now, what I don't understand is---why can't we congregate at a church, but protesters are allowed to congregate by the thousands in every street and in every city? It doesn't make sense to me. Why can't I attend a friend's funeral, but I can join the hundreds that protested in my own town? If the cases don't go up in two weeks, I'm calling it out for what it is: government control. Maybe everyone was right. Maybe it was all about control---or a "beta test" to see how well we listen and "behave?" I'm not much for conspiracy theories, but things just don't make sense to me. When I look on my Facebook feed, I see family and friends back together, swimming in the same pools and having big barbecues. It warms my heart to see this. But is it safe? There are businesses that have closed down for good due to the three months of not being in business and today, out of all days is opening day for New York. For who? Who's opening up? Those lucky enough to have had enough of a savings to maintain their existence? What about our mom and pop stores who had to shut their doors for good? But I guess congregating in a huge protest that consists of thousands of people are okay. That's not risky.

Between my frustration of not knowing the truth, or being confused over what's ok and what's not ok, to where a mask or to not wear a mask, I'm sick of it. And so are you...you have to be. Some people have completely given up on the "shelter in place--where your mask" --- and they have gone rogue and are living like it's the summer of 2019. I think I'm gonna throw caution to the wind, throw away this fear, and say, "I'm done!" Throw in the towel and mask, and be with my family and friends. But for now, I'll wait out the  two weeks. After that, I'm living my life as I always did. I will respect other people's space and wear a mask in a store, but I'm done declining invites from my family and friends, in fear that I'll get sick. I'm getting sick in the head by staying in. I don't know what's worse---to have COVID or to be suicidal. Maybe that's another tactic of "process of elimination" and population control. God help us.

Pray! Pray! Pray!

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com
or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog at DebsCucina.com
for some of her famous recipes!



A Very Dark Winter Ahead of Us

 "Do you need a hug?" Madelene asked, before she was heading off to work. I was crying into my coffee, reading a scripture that sa...