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Wellness Wednesday for April 26, 2023

The Wednesday Wellness threads are meant to encourage users to ask for and provide advice and motivation to improve their lives. It isn't intended as a 'containment thread' and any content which could go here could instead be posted in its own thread. You could post:

  • Requests for advice and / or encouragement. On basically any topic and for any scale of problem.

  • Updates to let us know how you are doing. This provides valuable feedback on past advice / encouragement and will hopefully make people feel a little more motivated to follow through. If you want to be reminded to post your update, see the post titled 'update reminders', below.

  • Advice. This can be in response to a request for advice or just something that you think could be generally useful for many people here.

  • Encouragement. Probably best directed at specific users, but if you feel like just encouraging people in general I don't think anyone is going to object. I don't think I really need to say this, but just to be clear; encouragement should have a generally positive tone and not shame people (if people feel that shame might be an effective tool for motivating people, please discuss this so we can form a group consensus on how to use it rather than just trying it).

Jump in the discussion.

No email address required.

I have been medicated for ADHD more or less continuously for the last six years. Due to a move I started seeing a new psychiatrist who I want to fire because they require a monthly tele health medication management appointment along with random drug screens, both of which are an enormous waste of my time (previously I used to see someone every three months which as I understand it is the legal requirement and in the last six years I have never been asked to do a drug screen).

I’m wondering if any of the much discussed telehealth pill mills (I.e circlemedical etc.) are actually a convenient option or if the new dea rules have essentially ruined them. Essentially, I want to continue my current medication (vyvanse 40 Mg) while minimizing the amount of time I need to spend dealing with bullshit. A related question is does anyone have advice on how to doctor shop more effectively? In the past I always either saw a university provided psychiatrist or just picked someone off of my health plans directory. This approach has worked (sample size 3 providers) until now. I have excellent health insurance through work which I would obviously prefer to use, but don’t mind paying out of my pocket if it actually simplifies my life.

My experience of last month is that most of the big ones have totally stopped prescribing any sort of controlled substance.

Diet update: 38 days in, and my weight has been stuck around 75kg for the last ten days or so despite me hitting my deficit goals according to my tracker.

I've reached 7-6-6 pull-ups and 75kg bench press 1RM, though, so I'm still happy with my continued noob progress. Gonna keep dieting for the rest of my 10-week plan.

So we've decided that we're going to vacate our lease. There are no penalties to be incurred because we already outstayed our original commitment and have been payining month to month since. Two leading options are a place that's much bigger and ostensibly nicer but in a worse neighborhood and a place that's either equivalent to what we have now or slightly worse than what we have now but in a nicer neighborhood and more expensive. I'm leaning towards the latter but better-half is arguing the former by appealing to my reflexive frugality and she might be winning.

My wife and I made a similar decision to move further away from my job to escape the yucky area we were in. Moved to a town half an hour away from work; nice community, a little pricier for a lower-quality abode, best decision ever.

Seriously, peace of mind is worth its weight in gold. The better half has some anxiety problems and just having a quiet, nice neighborhood has improved our QOL immensely. Cost is more than money, it's every little thing that you have to account for; I pay more in gas now, and time spent driving, but have to deal with fewer panic attacks and I'm not worried about broken glass on the sidewalk or other bullshit. Everything has a price, but mental clarity and peace of mind are often overlooked. This is my anecdotal experience, hope it helps.

The interesting thing to me is noticing how my own preferences have changed. 10 or even 5 years ago this would not have even been worth discussing. Moving from a duplex to a stand-alone 1 story house with garage for roughly the same monthly cost? Sign me up. But now I am not so certain.

The alternative is a condo in a complex which I see as a step down because we wont have a yard anymore, but it's also a nice complex in the nicer middle-class part of town with a playground and a community pool in easy walking distance.

Both options are within a 15-minute drive of our current place so in theory social upheaval should be minimal

Age changes your priorities.

I remember my twenties and early thirties. I thought nothing of staying in the worst inner-city suburb to live closer to work in a bigger place. I'd spend my holidays traveling to shithole countries and had some amazing (but in hindsight incredibly dangerous, risky and ultimately stupid) adventures.

Now I just want comfort and predictability. I hate dealing with the 'lowest common denominator' out in public and actively minimise my time engaging with new people that aren't pre-screened.

Broken glass, dodgy characters on the street; I just don't have time for that any more.

Since last night, there's been a meth-head in the park across the street from me, behaving erratically, dancing like a zombie, and occasionally wondering around in a stupor. The police have shown up a couple times, but there is apparently nothing illegal about being a deranged meth-head. Medics and fire department staff showed up as well, but she is apparently capable of continuing to shamble around looking insane.

While my neighborhood is ostensibly a "good neighborhood", this sort of thing definitely leads me to favor the sorts of neighborhoods that don't really tolerate meth-heads at all. Personally, I would be willing to pay a fair bit to not have people like this around. I suppose this is also a reminder that "good neighborhood" sometimes has as much to do with what the residents are willing to tolerate as it does with the quality of the residents themselves, at least in cities.

"Nothing illegal about being a deranged meth-head?" To my understanding the associated activity is in fact illegal. Is acting like a druggy not enough to infer the use of illegal drugs?

My impression is that the crime is possession rather than use. IANAL and live in a city that probably isn't enforcing possession all that tightly though, so grains of salt.

Big question: What makes it a "worse neighborhood"?

I'd personally pay a lot of money to avoid running into petty crime, petty theft, etc.

If its things like 'people are rednecks and a little trashy' by leaving beater cars on blocks, trailers on the street having crappy lawn decorations, no HOA etc. I'd say sign me up.

I'd personally pay a lot of money to avoid running into petty crime, petty theft, etc.

as would I and the thing that set off my "spidey sense" was the bars on neighbors' windows and the prevalence of padlocks and chains on fences and anything left in the driveway. She says I'm being paranoid but I'm not so sure.

Yeah I would in no way consider living in that neighborhood. Granted you seem like you could defend yourself pretty well if it came to it, but I feel like it's better to not be in that neighborhood to begin with.

It's funny how bars on windows are such a red flag in Western countries, that's the default in India, pretty much every house has them regardless of locale. And we don't have all that much burglary or petty crime to warrant it either.

It's funny how bars on windows are such a red flag in Western countries, that's the default in India

Do you guys also have the spikes on the top of walls (e.g. often made cheap with broken bottles like so)? In my (African) country it felt like every house had them.

And we don't have all that much burglary or petty crime to warrant it either.

I was thinking the same thing - and we're poorer than India. I can't recall it being a big problem.

Though the consequences that befall thieves explains it. The one time I saw someone accused of being a smash-and-grab thief everything almost immediately collapsed into mob justice (the woman of the house screaming about a strange man coming in certainly didn't help)

You really don't want to try to explain yourself trespassing in a strange neighborhood.

Yup, the wall spikes are pretty common, and if not broken glass, then iron spikes.

I agree that a willingness to engage in mob justice has some perks, especially when the police usually turn a blind eye as that means their work has been mostly done for them. It's quite similar in India, thieves get regularly lynched depending on the circumstances.

That does seem worrying, you can check crime maps for the area. The calls that police get to a location are usually publicly available.

Are there crime maps you can look at? A lot of counties (or big enough cities) will have GIS sites with all sorts of information. Plus I think there are apps, etc.

She says I'm being paranoid but I'm not so sure

Have you lived in rough neighborhoods? Has your SO? How tuned to real life is either of your guts? Bias can work both ways...

I've lived in both poor neighborhoods and rough neighborhoods. The difference between the two being largely what @cjet79 implied above in his question of what sort of "bad" are we talking about? Trailers on the street and trashy lawn decorations don't bother me, but bars on the windows and having to deal with junkies and petty crime do. The truly bad neighborhoods are both poor and rough.

In this specific case the place itself and the houses around it are pretty nice, but it's also going for what (to me at least) seems like a lot less than what the owners could theoretically ask for and thus the little voice in the back of my head is telling me that there has to be a catch. The county's 911 call heatmap doesn't show this neighborhood as being particularly good or bad, but that voice coupled with the afore mentioned visual indicators are what has me on edge.

In other cases I might ask what city you're in, as someone else might have some insight, but I understand if you don't want to reveal that here. Instead, some other things that might or might not be relevant-

-Is it a part of town with high population turnover? (ie. a college town near-ish the college hangouts/living areas, a military town where the off-post people live, a seasonal-work town, etc.) In those cases, sometimes residential private areas are inclined to higher-than-needed issues.

-Was there a crime way / concern in the last several years that made people fortify up? Rather than a current issue, there may have been a past issue, where the bars are legacy. Check photos from, say, 2015 to see if it's new, or old.

-Is there a Home Owner Association (HOA)? They have a dubious reputation, but some may be helpful for understanding certain neighborhoods.

-Have you asked the neighbors or any prior owners?

These may / may not help you, but would at least give a bit more information that might help.

If an American is afraid that the USA (or really anywhere) is becoming a low-trust society, and want to immigrate somewhere that will maintain/be a high trust society in the future (for future kids etc), where should they go?

Assume they have a bachelors degree, enough money to live in most places for a few years without income, and willing to learn languages/assimilate into local culture. Ideally there is a path to naturalization and that it doesn't take >10 years (i.e. rules out UAE), and ideally path to citizenship is reliable (probably rules out Singapore as hearing it's hard to acquire citizenship there now).

Where would you suggest?

Just move out of California, there are plenty of other places in the us where the law is enforced and you don’t have to deal with all of the stupid low trust bullshit. I’m saying this as someone who left the Bay Area around a year before the pandemic and has since lived in various places in Colorado and now Summerlin Las Vegas.

Denmark was the first one I thought of, and to a lesser extent Norway and Finland (Sweden has too much immigration imo)

But yes between language, the normal stand-off-ness from Scandinavians, it does seem like you gotta have an "in" to make friends/have a community

The language should be really rather easy to learn because it only split off maybe 1200 years ago.

Except that Scandinavians, like other Northern Europeans, have a reputation for refusing to speak their native tongues with English speakers because they speak perfectly good English.

Easy solution: pretend you're Swiss and only speak their mongrel German?

Will anyone believe there’s a Swiss person who doesn’t speak English?

You could pretend to be québécois or French and have a chip on your shoulder about English, I guess.

Quebecois definitely would cover a multitude of sins of you happen to speak horrible gutter Frenglish...

I'd move to a small to mid-size, Midwest town that is doing tolerably well, but isn't that appealing to outsiders. I visited Decorah, Iowa recently and it would be a good example of the kind of place I'm thinking.

Why not join a religious community? If what you want is high trust, you’re not going to find more trust than that.

Interesting angle!

It’s very very difficult to assimilate into a tight knit society as an adult without marrying a local and putting in a tremendous effort with language and local culture. The novelty of immersing into a new language and culture wears off very fast and after a while it turns into a slump. Even if you succeed somewhat, you need to live with the fact that 1) some things will never feel quite right 2) your children will be very different people than you.

Move to America -- there are plenty of areas that aren't afflicted with either of urbanites or crystal meth, just pick one, move there, and get to know your neighbours.


How do you describe banning and confiscating guns from civilians over a weekend or over a couple week period embarking on a zero-covid strategy which required strict lockdowns for the majority of multiple years applying to most of the population as "without major swings in policy"? Or sending government thugs to harass and threaten anyone speaking against the policy? Or sending government thugs to harass and threaten any person who didn't want the covid injection? Or any number of other totalitarian/authoritarian measures NZ took over hysteria of the last few years?

If what New Zealand did during the covid hysteria can be accurately described as not a quick, major swing in policy, I honestly shudder to think of what more awaits the people there. Even if one were to accept a government which accepts next to zero deviation from strict, overnight concocted mandates could still be described as "high trust," high-trust societies and distrust in government are not mutually exclusive. And in those cases, a fair amount more distrust in government dictate and authoritarianism would go a long way.

In the late 00s and early 10s, I was considering taking NZ up on their "tech" grant/visa program by moving my small company (since sold) there and thank God I decided against it. In any case, the dogooder authoritarian hysteria which has overtaken New Zealand which could be seen in firearm bans and confiscation, tobacco use bans and comically high taxation, and the covid lockdowns/covid injection lunacy should be a big red flag to any person thinking about moving there. The same is true if to a slightly lesser extent for the behavior of Canadians and Canadian government as well.

The last few years have really been an eye-opening experience for any person looking for a new country to live.

What does that have to do with the claim about not having major policy changes? NZ has had multiple, quick major policy changes in the last few years which had a huge effect on people there.

And while many countries had big policy responses, very few were in the same ballpark of authoritarian as measures NZ took.

Countries were not flying blind. There was plenty of evidence lockdowns and other authoritarian measures were extremely costly and not effective for respiratory viruses. They ignored relevant evidence and guidelines crafted over generations in order to embark on extremely costly, authoritarian experiments which had never shown to be effective at the alleged goal let alone good policy given their extreme costs. Policymakers claimed they were based on comically bad models early in 2020. Previous tools (early treatment, etc.) which were far cheaper were not only discouraged but banned in places like New Zealand and Canada.

No amount of attempting to rewrite history will change reality. Countries around the world discarded experience earned in death for a thousand years to embark on experimental and horrendously authoritarian NPIs with little or no support to justify them beyond "scary new virus! panic!" And the critics of this leap into the unknown have proved to be correct.

overwhelming public support at the time, including the later lockdowns.

Did you bother to read this before linking it? First off, "Respondents were self-selecting participants, recruited via Facebook and Instagram. A total of n=629 sample was achieved of adults in New Zealand." Secondly, an example which characterizes the sorts of questions asked is "How strongly do you support or oppose the decision to move NZ to alert level four?" Do you know what "alert level 4" means without looking it up? How many respondents do you think had a clue? This methodology is garbage and bad evidence of public opinion.

Frankly, it's very tiring how so many people use polling spams they likely didn't even read let alone analyze which they found with a basic google search to prove some comment about public opinion

Polling is notoriously nonsense and it's revealed to be nonsense every time they're expected to predict objective outcomes. If you cannot predict "X will win political race," why in the world would anyone expect you to "measure" vague opinions which are so easily manipulated with different word choices or adding in the cost of policies being asked about, i.e., the difference between "would you support welfare program y?" vs "would you support welfare program y if it mean raising taxes by 10%?" With the thing you linked being a good example of "polling" used to manipulate public opinion, not measure it.

But yes if you strongly value a relatively libertarian government policy

a max security prison is a "relatively" libertarian situation compared to super max or solitary confinement, but then again so what and what an odd way to characterize this

I'm actually pretty skeptical that this is accurate

government wasn't always "the largest and most important institution they interact with"

I have a hard time imagining a society where generally people trust each other and institutions around them to be fair dealers, but don't trust the largest and most important institution they interact with.

The key bit here is "interact with." It's possible for a high-trust community to dislike or distrust some distant authority figures who rarely meddle in their affairs, but if it's the actual day-to-day representatives of government within the community who aren't trusted, then your community is by definition low-trust. What has happened in America over the past several generations is that what were once two separate domains of "trusted figures of local government" and "suspicious characters far away in Washington who need to be watched" have become merged in practice and in people's minds into a single thing called "the government" and rather than spreading trust upwards to the federal level it has spread distrust downwards to the local level.

New Zealand is probably the highest trust society overall that fits the bill, and the quality of life is quite nice there.

The deranged response to Covid would unnerve me too much. Perhaps a bit less trust in the government is actually to my liking.

Well, part of what keeps a high-trust society the way it is is distrust of outsiders, so you may be starting off on the wrong foot here. I would suggest first taking a look at your own roots or those of your significant other if you have one. Are you from an immigrant family or do you have relatives in or recent ancestors from a small town or rural area? Those are places where you already have a connection, where the locals are less likely to immediately reject you because your being there makes some sense in their eyes, and where you yourself may be less likely to bail out early. There are plenty of places still left in America where you can tune out the culture war just by turning off your computer or phone, and if you choose to get involved in things like town meetings and local government you can do your own part to build the kind of community you want to live in.

If that isn't an option or if you insist that you still want the lifestyle of a first world urbanite without the downsides of violent crime or social dysfunction, then the places I would suggest are Taiwan (more accepting of foreigners than Japan with a similar standard of living, but may only be a short-term solution for geopolitical reasons) or New Zealand (politics there might offend you if you are hardcore anti-woke, but it's probably the safest place to be during the apocalypse), in addition to Singapore which you mentioned.

I imagine it's pretty hard for a society to be all three of high trust, wealthy/developed, and open to immigration/naturalization. If you're high trust and wealthy (e.g. Japan, Singapore), you need to have a somewhat strict stance toward immigration, or at least naturalization, to prevent economic migrants from breaking that high-trust equilibrium. Conversely, if you're wealthy and liberal about immigration (e.g. US, Canada), it's unlikely you'll manage to build a high-trust society. And finally, If you're open to immigration and manage to remain high trust, that's probably a sign that nobody wants to immigrate (I can't think of any obvious examples here but plausibly some poor but peaceful country could fit the bill).

I think your best bets would be one of (1) compromising on citizenship for yourself by picking one of the high-trust + developed but xenophobic countries and securing citizenship for your kids via jus sanguinis if you don't have a partner yet, or (2) finding a smaller-scale, high-trust community within one of the wealthy + immigratorily liberal countries.

I've started taking a psyllium fiber powder several times a day, and a lot of my GI issues went away, I think I'm going to stick with it for the long term. From my reading, it's weakly beneficial in a lot of different ways.

What kind of issues went away? If I may ask.

I've been doing the same for a few years and it really has been a panacea for any and all GI issues. I haven't read the data on it, but I know human diets used to contain a lot more fiber than they typically contain today, so it seems like a no brainer.

Almost a decade ago I decided to try to get the recommended daily amount of fiber, which resulted in a significant change to my diet. It's a lot of fiber! Like two heads of broccoli a day. I ended up adding a lot of beans to the meals I eat.

I cleared up a ton of issues. No more constipation, no more hemmeroids. Lot gassier though, I don't have the genetics to process beans quite right.