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#blacklivesmatter

We have been very quiet over here, for many reasons. We are watching the news unfold, watching communities around the country, the globe, unite against racism. We want to speak, scream, rage with you about the injustice, the hatred. How not okay this all is and has been. How the whole system is wrong. We want to discuss steps we can take to make things better and how we help get justice, if justice can be achieved.

We want to give you stories from black voices about black trauma and what it means to be black. But we don’t have any. Not one. And that is both okay and not. It is okay because no one owes us their story, no one owes us their pain.

It’s not okay because while we accept everyone and welcome everyone, the vast majority of people that interact with our site are not of color, at least that we know of (because we don’t ask, should we? <- actual question). Or they don’t come here for intersectionality* of mental health, physical health, and how that interacts with race (or gender). The reality is that we talk a lot about depression but we don’t talk about being depressed and black. We talk about domestic violence but don’t address racial aspects. There is so much to learn in regard to trauma, intersectionality, and mental health. So, we will continue to sit back and learn more. We have so so much to learn. If you are reading this, and you have a story to tell, we would love to hear it. We would love to share it. But mostly, we would love to support you and give another platform to your voice. There are so many good things already posted to the internet, we won’t link them. There are lists of media to be consumed, things white people can do to help, places to donate to various funds to help causes close to this. You don’t need our help finding them. <3

We see you. We hear you. We stand with you. #blacklivesmatter #sayhisname #sayhername

 

*intersectionality: the overlap of identities and how they work together to shape our life and world view. Example: a black transgendered woman.

Ask the Band : Alcoholism & The Family

Dear The Band,

I have a couple of questions about alcohol and the family.

ask band

My spouse recently divulged that they drink much more frequently than I was aware of. They’re drinking including drinking regularly at work, in a parked vehicle.

I’ve been concerned with their drinking for a couple years, but it seems they have also become concerned with their drinking now – they said they don’t feel they can just “cut back” on their alcohol intake.

They’ve never lost a job or been arrested, but they spend most of their waking hours at home drinking beer; I’m concerned about the effects it has on their health, our budget, and our family.

They are drinking or asleep or grumpy most of the time and they don’t seem to be enjoying any of it.

They aren’t interested in doing anything aside from drinking, working, or sleeping.

I know I have zero control over if they actually quit or get help.

We’ve been together for well over a decade and we have young kids.

My spouse is a wonderful fucking person – that’s why I married them, and I know they can recover from their addiction if they commit to it and get help, I’m just not sure if/when quitting is going to happen.

To be fair I drank a lot too, when we first met, but I quit binge drinking after college and only drink rarely or at social events.

Here are my questions:

Is it possible to have a healthy family life with a functional alcoholic?

How do I help my spouse and not become codependent?

 

You are here.

Technically, we all are here, but that’s not the point. You are here, you are on the struggle bus, you are in good company. Today’s post is literally just links to a bunch of our glorious resource pages. Feel free, encouraged even, to share this post far and wide. We’ll start with mental health:

Depression

Anxiety

Stress

PTSD

Self-harm

Next up, Feelings:

Stress

Anger

Loneliness

Fear

Guilt

Maybe you or someone you love is struggling:

Domestic violence

Addiction

Rape

Child neglect

Child abuse

Maybe you or someone you love is losing, or has lost, their battle:

Hospice

Grief

Suicide– If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide please call! 

Parent loss

Partner loss

Child loss

Pet loss

We love you. We are here for you. If what you need isn’t listed above, please let me know at stacey@bandbacktogether.com and I will do my level best to fix it! Stay safe, wash your hands, stop licking hand rails.

 

Life In The Time Of The Great Pandemic: Dispatches From Sweden

This post comes courtesy of an OG friend who lives in Sweden; it’s a good taste about how life is around the world, plus she promised to eat any mayo I send her way (I LOATHE mayo)

As for now, me? I’m not coughing, and I’m not REALLY sick.

Just a slight fever (37.9 in real money (degrees Celsius), which is what, 150 in your weird measures? or is that for baking muffins?), and a higher resting heart rate than usual – and way high as soon as I do something. Like go upstairs.

Takes me 10 minutes to catch my breath after such strenuous exercise.

I’m not all alone though. My daughter moved home a couple of months ago – bipolar and a masters in biology with remote studies didn’t really work out, despite how much she loves biology.

She’s got a slight cough, now and then, but again, not very bad.

We sent my partner to his flat in the next town over on the 12th of March and it seems like he got out before we got infected, thank BoB.

He’s 25 years older than I am (and I’m 52 soon), so he’s more at risk.

I’ve been working from home since the 14th, had some minor niggles last week, but the fever hit on Saturday.

So now I’m going to work a little less, I suppose, and nap more.

I’m so glad I brought my work set up home – big screen, keyboard, “mouse” which is a big stick in a holder that you spin and slide along… I think it’s called a Bar Mouse, which frankly is awesome.

Cheers, Mouse!

So that’s comfortable.

Only nuisance is that being 160 cm tall (5’3”? maybe?) and having a desk that doesn’t lower, means that the chair is at it’s absolute top level (at least I have that, right?) and a foot stool that’s the hight of my sofa to keep my legs from dangling.

And nobody there to watch how funny that looks…

And work… we’re in the medical device industry, but since no planned surgery goes ahead ANYWHERE, sales have tanked.

And for emergency/trauma, people can survive without our products, even if they’d benefit… So.

Management are cutting their salaries by 20%, and ask staff to voluntarily cut ours by 10%, for 3 months. You don’t have to, and you won’t be punished if you don’t. I like that they lead by example, and that they do all they can to not have to let anyone go, even if it’s going to hurt a little.

Nothing compared with the company going under though, and having a job to get back to when things return to normal is quite motivating.

I agreed to it.

I hope it helps.

Spring is arriving, with a surprise overnight snow, the other morning. So there’s that. Isa power-cleaned the patio during the weekend, it’s a whole new colour!

But today, she’s tired.

We don’t have complete lock down, our leaders trust that most of us are sensible, and follow the recommendations (stay the fuck home!), and so far, it’s not too bad. Anyone who can work at home does. No more than 50 people allowed in one place, which seems to work.

I see people about, but then I don’t really go anywhere. The shop is pretty normal. We have toilet paper.

I mean, if people ignore it, they will of course put stronger measures in, but so far, not terrible.

Well, except Stockholm. Those people seem to think they are above the rules, which shows in the infection rates… (3.5 x the second worst region).

But maybe they learn. They are also learning that no, you are indeed NOT WELCOME at your summer house, because a) you come from an infected region and x) DON’T TRAVEL and 19) it’s a sparsley (sparesly? s’Parsley??? few people.) populated region where they go, and the hospital has NO capacity for extras, let alone the locals.

And as in the rest of the world, low stocks of face masks, disinfectant, protective clothing. Someone figured out that you can use overhead projector film to make visors, but then some bureaucrat said, hey that’s not been tested and approved, so you can’t use them.

I say screw that, it’s better than a naked face.

Hum. This turned out long. Sorry for the ramblings. If i were a blogger, I might have posted it. If you want to use it for the Band, feel free. Or not. You know.

anyway.

Love, hugs, and I’ll be happy to rescue you from any mayo that comes your way!

Maria, way over in Sweden and all.

In The Time Of The Great Pandemic: The Heartbreak & Hope

This is their story of life and love, heartbreak and hope during the great pandemic.
Please share your own here or email becky.harks@gmail.com or stacey@bandbacktogether.com

It’s 3AM right now.

Of course I can’t sleep, which isn’t really new for me, but it seems new right now. Now, the things that keep me up all night are the unknown, the terrifying, and the huge.

These are the scattered thoughts, flitting around my brain – I’ve got to get them out of I’ll explode. Well, maybe I won’t, but I know I need to talk with someone other than my wife. She’s so patient and loves me so much but she needs a break.

Maybe we all need a break, but here goes what I’m thinking about.

There are so many things.

Just. So. Much. Pandemic.

I have friends that I love dearly. DEARLY. They are in Manhattan right now (currently a hotbed for CoVID-19) & I’m so scared that I might lose them.

I have family that are immunocompromised and/or are in a higher risk age bracket. I’m terrified that I’ll lose them too.

I, myself, am immune compromised! OMG! CRAP!

People are talking about comparable periods in recent history so we have some sort of frame of reference for how to act. Some are talking about 9/11, others are talking about the Great Depression (which my parent’s lived through), but it’s really not like that. I briefly considered the Cuban Missile Crisis based on the major fear we’re all trying to live through.

But it dawns on me: the early 80’s and HIV/AIDS crisis – originally called GRID (gay-related immune deficiency) – we’ve been through this – the fear, the isolation of sick people in hospitals, not understanding what was going on, what to expect, who would be sick, and how they would become ill. The lack of available medical treatments. And the fear; all the fucking fear.

Maybe one way to get through all this is ask one of your gays who lived through this what it was like back then: we’ll tell you to stay fabulous, keep on loving, and protect you and your loved ones at all costs.

My son’s school wants us to do internet learning with him. Are they stinking crazy? I’m not going to do that with him! He’s scared too – if I’m up at 3AM with all these thoughts, I cannot imagine trying to teach my kid but I will help him to do is best and help him if he needs it. I cannot imagine doing any of this homeschooling stuff people are doing – my son’s got enough on his little plate. He’s 13 – I can’t even IMAGINE being his age and going through this. If you think for even one minute that these kids think this is some type of extended vacation, you’re wrong: these kids are as scared as we are.

Every night now, around 7PM, people around the world are going outside, clapping and shouting and making noise for all these healthcare – and other essential – workers right now. These brave people put each other in actual danger every single day that they go to work. They’re exhausted. They’re overworked. They don’t even have the proper equipment to do their jobs safely. I mean, people around the world are SEWING masks for them.

This is insane. Absolutely insane.

We don’t have enough toilet paper and we can’t find any. All of the stores are out they don’t know when they are getting more. I guess we are going to have to start sewing toilet paper too.

What are people without homes going to do?

How do they stay safe?

What about people in prisons?

\How do we keep them safe?

CoVID-19 sucks.

This is the most bizarre experience of my life. I alternate between denial and absolute terror 23 times a day.

I went grocery shopping earlier today & it’s clear that people are on their last nerve.

It took all of my mental energy to get through that.

I wore a mask and gloves when I went out, and as a woman passed me and saw my mask she said me, “You know, if you’re healthy, those masks aren’t going to do anything for you anyway.” I acted like I didn’t hear her. Maybe the mask isn’t going to help. But it isn’t hurting her.

People are scared. Let it go. Have some compassion for each other.

That’s what I say to her in my head.

Then, I realized she is under unimaginable stress too. I gave her compassion and I changed my mental response to her – I reminded myself that she’s scared too.

There’s world-wide uncertainty right now & we’re all grasping for a feeling of control. She is too; she’s scared like the rest of us.

Maybe the way she is navigating her fear is wanting to know more than other people; she needs that right now. And so I mentally forgave her because I totally understand where she is coming from.

There is a beautiful sense of solidarity happening too. I think that it’s appropriate for me to be positive and hopeful here now. People all over are jumping in and helping. Delivering food and meds to people who can’t get out. Delivering food to hospital workers who are not able to get breaks to go out and get food for themselves. People are giving out free lunches for families who depend on the schools for those meals.

It’s quite beautiful.

I am so fortunate too.

I have a roof over my head, and no threat of losing that (at least right now). I have an amazing wife that is on this journey with me, and who is solid when I need her to be.

I get to be solid when she needs me to be, and that helps me just as much. I have an amazing son who is challenging and fun and healthy. I have food in my belly and no threat of losing that.

I’m fortunate. I’m privileged. I am also grateful. I don’t take this for granted.

I do have hope. And I do believe that everyone around the world is doing their very best to take care of each other.

What an amazingly strange time to be alive.