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  1. Hello fellow veterans. I had an experience over years- each Spring, feel a lot better after the much worse Winter. A chronic, physical, neurological, pain condition means the normal forces of life get multiplied or muted. This year, worst Winter, but Spring brought a good day- so I went out, Motrin augmented, and used tractor to fix dirt road that was like a moonscape of potholes. People came out along the stretch. Some angered, some wondering, some wanting to talk, and one person offered 600 for gravel in front of their place. While placing the gravel (showing where to dump it) someone else wanted gravel next door on the road- I saw to it. Soon, 10,000 dollars of gravel spread over a mile- and all I had to do was show people the gravel was appropriate for their investment, the results were obvious. So, eventually, over a month passed, 60 truckloads (30 trips) and the road was done. Some complained, others angry, others reassuring, others with critical useful information (how to make the road). I went home when someone took a tractor and dug up the gravel in a sort of angry move. When I went home, wondered how I worked for a month plus past the much worse pain, pain from Motrin harming kidneys, yet when I got home, was unwilling to do laundry, clean house, vacuum, Spring cleaning... I thought hard. The answer? The Placebo Effect. No, I took no sugar pills- but when one goes to be tested with a sugar pill it is always a PERSON saying the pill helped. A PERSON that one meets up with to see the results.. It is the PERSON not the PILL that makes a significant percentage feel their symptoms improve temporarily. So, I realized, this year the Spring improvement was augmented by leaving the home- Nature always guides with discomfort if doing the wrong thing, pleasure if doing the right thing- moving back towards being near others- mean, angry, helpful, reassuring, no matter- just be near the (if you will) herd. Disability isolates, insulates, makes one away from others, more so with time. I avoid getting help from family- over decades it just hurts em to see it. I avoid the VA because they very, very, often do more harm than good if not extremely vigilant. Disability alters sleep-wake time. It makes people get introverted. It makes ordinary pleasures- eating at a restaurant- unpleasant. Makes having a mate problematic (in a few senses). But aside from all this, merely being NEAR OTHERS in a physical, not just online way (I am pretty much a spider on the web, dispensing solutions wherever inspired, since the days of Compuserve, Netscape, and Prodigy). I can explain how this probably works. In each persons gut (mouth to tail) there are microbes, bacteria like, much or most of your body weight is not you. This means much of what makes a human operate or inoperable is the microbes NOT suffering from your disability- but from isolation from OTHER HUMANS and their microbiome. Just being near a person (not necessarily that close!) means your microbiome matches up with other peoples- and a silent equalizing happens. This explains why pain is so depressing, why depression is so isolating, and why isolating is so pandemic to the disabled. This explains how the Placebo Effect works. This explains why young people join terrorist groups- and how to fix it- get a non terror group for them to join. This explains in part why people laugh more, louder, at jokes if in a room of people This explains how people suspend disbelief much more in a theater than alone watching a show Altogether, a solution offered for those in misery and won't even let that word (and others) pop to the surface of their awareness is to just get near other people. Try this... Go to a grocery store or similar venue. Walk slow, be fairly dressed, not unkempt. Shop. When you see someone with another person, just walk up real discreet and comment on their purchase. See how they light up? Do it again. And again. Maybe crack a joke. Now, go to the checkstand. Pay for what you bought. When the checker (forced) says ...would you like to donate your money or change to ... you say ...Nah, I am trying to quit... or tell them another joke (Do these GMO free eggs come with free HBO?) When you leave, look how you feel- do you feel better mentally despite the possible pain from ambulating about? Seems plain we vets should try to meet up with other, very near, vets for a bite to eat, a pizza party, a regularly recurring thing. Something like a 12 step group without the ...stuff that has creeped into that movement over decades... Maybe call it a Half Step movement? At Ease? Ah. Not good at naming things. Let me know if this resonates with you. Try to please Nature by getting near others even if you usually wait to feel better to get out- instead, feel better by meeting up, even hold a meet at your place if practical. Hot dogs and a loaf of bread and ketchup probably is enough. Consider the reward from being selfless. If you want a smile, see this video and if you identify with its meme about pain and being trapped. Notice the hero is not alone. Spidey
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