A Broken Man Novel: Next in Series Sneak Peek



Chapter 1

6 November 2042, Boston Settlement, Former U.S. Territory

Madison opened her eyes to nothing. Wherever she was, it was too dark to see. Her head was pounding, her mouth dry. She wasn’t sure how much time had passed since she and Sully were taken to… where? She kept still and concentrated on the sounds around her. Hers was the only breathing. No ambient noises other than the rain. She listened as it sloshed against the roof. It wasn’t a crisp noise, not the sound of water beating down on a solid surface. It was sluggish—the sound of water treading ash and sludge trying to find its way ever downward. Madison squeezed her eyes shut and swallowed hard.

      The Spent, she thought. We’re in the fucking Spent.

      Madison was nine, maybe ten years old the last time she’d been in the Spent, following in silence close behind her father. My father…

      Madison pushed her feelings down—that hurt and anger—flexing her back, legs, and arms so hard her whole body shook with violent tremors. She curled up, pushing those feelings deep enough not to matter.

      They’d killed him. In front of her. Put a bullet right in his head.

      Madison’s body shook harder, a high-pitched keening emanating from her. The fuckers. They could have left him. The keening grew lower, more vocalized. The fuckers. Memories brushed her thoughts—walking the streets of their colony at night under the bright, twinkling repurposed Christmas lights strung up between buildings, Madison clutching her dad’s hand for security—and the deep keening grew into something loud and painful, assaulting her own ears. The noise culminated in one long, hate-filled word:


      Madison rose to her knees, folding forward at the waist as her forearms beat against the floor in percussive, bone-jarring unison. She cried out in pain which only served to feed the anger, and she slammed her arms down on the ground again—elbow to fist—every part of her skin stinging as it hit the surface. She raked herself back in until she was slumped, kneeling, exhausted.

      “Hey, kid, maybe keep quiet, huh?”

      Madison whipped her head around. The dark was disorienting. But she knew the voice.


      “Glad to see you’re finally awake. Well, hear it, anyway.”

      Madison moved around the room on her hands and knees, following Sully’s voice. When her fingertips hit resistance in front of her, she held her hands out, feeling the cool concrete block under her palm. It was rough, pocked, cracked in places.

      “How long have we been here?” she asked.

      “Little over a day,” Sully said. He made a choked sound. “I wish I could tell you everything is going to be okay, kid, but… I don’t even know where we are.”

      “The Spent,” Madison said.

      “You say it like you know it.”

      “I do. I mean… I’ve been here before.” Madison let her eyes grow unfocused as she gazed into the middle distance of the dark. “A while back. Before my dad got sick. This is a shit place to be.”

      Sully laughed.

      “I imagine anywhere probably seems like shit when you’ve been kidnapped, drugged, and beat,” he said. He’d barely finished the sentence when his voice changed, frantic. “Kid, are you okay? Are you hurt? Did they—”

      “Relax, Sully, I’m fine,” she said, rubbing at the scratches on her arms. At least that damage had come from her. She looked around; the dark was still too much. But she could hear Sully well enough.

      “Oh, thank God,” Sully said. His voice droned on, but Madison wasn’t listening.

      She ran her fingers along the ground where it butted against the concrete block wall. The dirt was loose. She dug a little hole with her fingertip, scratching at the dirt, loosening it more. There was something… She scratched more frantically. Something close. She’d made about an inch of headway when she felt it. A divot in the dirt under the concrete block.

      She widened the hole she’d made, enough to fit both hands under the block. She scraped at the dirt, pulling it to her, then pushing it to the right.

      “Hey, kid, are you even listening?”

      She jumped. Sully must have been silent for some time without her even noticing.

      “Would ya just shut it for a minute,” she said. A little more. Just a little… “Ha!”

      Light filled the tiny fissure she’d made. She pushed at the dirt on the other side of the concrete block, fingers digging. Her upper body was pressed against the floor, up to the elbow of her arm under the block, her fingers worrying at the dirt, almost desperate now.

      “The fuck is tha—,” Sully’s voice was a little too high, a little too loud.

      “It’s me, Sully, it’s my hand! See?” Madison whispered. Sully went silent, but Madison could hear his weight shift before his clammy fingers enclosed hers.

      “What are you doin’, anyway?” Sully muttered.

      Madison pulled her hand away from Sully and sat up. There was just enough light to show her how dark the rest of the room really was. She clenched her jaw and turned back to the light. It was small. It was weak.

      But it was there.

      “I don’t know. Something. Anything that might help us get out.”

      Madison leaned forward, prepared to start digging again, but stopped short when she heard something heavy drag against the ground. She jerked around, scanning the dark behind her, but no… That wasn’t right. The sound had come from…

      “Get your fuckin’ hands off me.”

      Sully. It came from Sully’s room.

      Now what, Maddie? She squeezed her eyes shut, listening as they dragged him off, a cacophony of new and colorful words that couldn’t possibly mean anything good coming interspersed from Sully between echoing blows.

      Now what, Maddie?


Chapter 2

7 November 2042, Boston Settlement, Former U.S. Territory

The edges of the crushed note in my hand bit at the flesh of my fingers. Empty threats. I’d make sure of it. Whoever had kidnapped Sully’s daughter might have him and Madison now, but we’d get them back. We’d get them all back.

      How do you plan to do that?

      “Felix?” My head snapped up, eyes finding Kaitlyn’s. Worry etched the lines around her eyes. I felt betrayed. No. Not my feelings. His.

      Brinly placed a hand on Kaitlyn’s arm and guided her back a step. Away from me, from us. I took a deep breath. I needed to get control of whatever was happening here. I put a hand up, hoping Brinly and Kaitlyn understood to just stay put. I didn’t think I could speak without laughing. This was too much too soon. I retreated to Bill’s room, the man’s body still as cold and lifeless as when I’d left it. Had they killed him in front of Madison? Had Sully been able to protect her from at least that?

       The way you hadn’t, you mean?

       “How are you here?” I asked.

      Felix and I had always had a very specific relationship. This was my body, and I had to give Felix permission to use it. For most of our lives though, our adoptive father, Rian, helped Felix suppress me with medication. While Felix is in control, I’m still conscious and aware, but whenever I’m in control Felix is dormant. Until now, apparently.

      “What’s changed, Felix?”

      You used me.

      “Are we on that again? You fucked us over, so.”

      It was Felix’s fault the former head of GDI—Government Directive International, the last real militarized global governing agency—got away without giving up who was involved with Kazic.

      You made me take a bullet for you.

       “That’s not what happened. This is useless.”

      Kazic… it had to be related. Kazic was the reason we existed. An experiment starting back in the 1960s to enhance brain function, Kazic eventually morphed into an assassination project with biological warfare as the method of murder and a chimera as the mode of delivery.

      Currently, the bioweapon lived in Felix’s DNA while the vaccine was in mine. Our genome was different enough that while I was running the show, we weren’t contagious. If Felix was up top, though, he could kill anyone with a touch. I don’t pretend to understand more than that. If Felix could talk to me now though, when he shouldn’t be able to…

      I reached out and grabbed Bill’s hand. Nothing.

      Looks like you’re safe for another day.

      “Shut up,” I said.

      Sure, nothing happened. This time. But Felix was talking to me while I wasn’t allowing it. That was wrong. Very wrong. I found that spot where Felix was and wrestled him down. I pushed until he was quiet and nothing was left but emptiness.

Rise and Run: Issue One


Hallo, you dastardly darlings. It took a bit longer than expected, but I’ve finally finished the first page of… what could arguably be the graphic novel for Rise and Run. We’ll see how it goes. It’s an experiment. I’ve definitely learned how much I don’t know. And how much I’ve forgotten from art classes. My goodness.

Hopefully, all aspects from story adaptation to actual artwork will get better throughout this process, but in the meantime, enjoy!


Update: You guys, I’ve gotten way more mediocre, you gotta believe me! More to come soon!

Brought to You by Accident


Hallo, beautiful people. Sometime between announcing the decision to start doodling episodic comics and… I don’t know… the very next day, maybe… something happened.

What should I draw next? I asked myself.

“Do The Shill and the Purblind!” says Dave.

“That’s a great idea,” I say, and I do indeed start that one. And then I can do one for Commonality Sanctum and Rise and Run. Along this journey, clearly the word “episodic” has just fallen away.

“Or just skip to Rise and Run because that’s actually finished,” Dave says. And so here we are, and I’ve started Rise and Run.

Since panel one is not yet finished, I thought I’d give you a teaser of test subject LS061514.

More to come! Hopefully soon.


Issue 1: The Cure


Hallo beautiful people. I’ve decided I’ll try releasing a weekly, six-panel episodic comic. The first one is a bit dark, but I hope you find a little humor in it. I’m trying to reconnect with that kid who used to draw for hours. If in the process I can entertain some folks, well then, why not? Enjoy!


COVID-19 Prompts more Mental Health Talk


Well, hallo and welcome back, you beautiful convergence of minds on a mission to mostly just miss the next five minutes of dead space. Empty space? Dead air. Radio silence! The state of things these days…what a shitshow. Ammiright? For the past couple of weeks, I’ve thought about writing on a few different “COVID and” topics but one stands out more than the rest. Surprise! It’s mental health.

In the past month alone, how many times have you heard someone bring up the importance of mental health? Obviously, there are many reasons why:

  • Mental instability/unrest does not a successful quarantine make
  • Isolation—it’s lonely!
  • Pandemics stir up fear and uncertainty, taking away any sense of control

According to Psychiatrists Beware! The Impact of COVID-19 and Pandemics on Mental Health, published on March 15, “Although the effects of the coronavirus on mental health have not been systematically studied, it is anticipated that COVID-19 will have rippling effects, especially based on current public reactions. On an individual level, it may differentially exacerbate anxiety and psychosis-like symptoms as well as lead to non-specific mental issues (e.g., mood problems, sleep issues, phobia-like behaviors, panic-like symptoms).” You know, all the fun ones!



The Affected

So, what does COVID-19 mean for those of us dealing with our own mental illness(es)? Means you’ve got to put some work in, friend. I think it’s fairly safe to say that a majority of people are not in an ideal situation. You’re either out of work or overworked, living in isolation or stuck in a house with too many people, maybe you don’t have enough supplies or money, your neighbors are playing “Eye of the Tiger” way too loud on repeat and you cannot rise to the challenge again or so help you God… What? Oh, right, yes.

Regardless of what your situation might be, you’re likely going to have to put in more effort than normal (that’s more effort than you normally would, as well as more effort than “normal” people) to stay balanced. According to Managing and Understanding Mental Health Concerns During the COVID-19 Pandemic, “For some, it is or will be critical to seek out professional mental health care, especially for those who are already experiencing mental health issues like substance use disorder, depression, and anxiety. Many therapists are now offering telehealth services, so individuals do not have to leave their homes to receive care.” There are numerous telehealth/teletherapy offerings, so that’s definitely worth looking into.


The Workforce

For those of you still working, you may be hearing twice the amount of “take care of your mental health” talk, because employers are harping on it. Some of this talk is out of genuine concern. I don’t mind saying that. I’m even confident in saying that. But also, this is business. According to Jason Wingard’s article, Mental Health In The Workplace: Leading In The COVID-19 Context, “Today’s leaders no longer have a choice about whether or not to advocate for mental health. They need to vocally address the issue, describing their own challenges and urging team members to seek help if they, for example, feel hyper-lonely from self-isolation or debilitatingly anxious about the spread of COVID-19.”

Our mental health—and that includes our employers, who are also people who put their pants on one leg at a time (they’re just like us!)—our capacity to use logic, reason, and common sense uninhibited by paranoia, anxiety, self-doubt, compulsive behavior, suspicion, etc., is kind of what helps to keep a business running smoothly. “In fact, the WHO estimates that every $1 invested into ‘treatment for common mental disorders’ will return $4 in improved health and productivity,” explains Wingard.

So, if you’re still working, you might be at one of those jobs where you are a touch overworked just at the moment. Maybe it seems like you can’t take a mental health day. But why does it seem like that? The CDC, the WHO, your employer (probably) are all telling you to take care of your mental health! So why does it feel like you can’t take a mental health day? According to Wingard, “In 2019, a Mental Health America survey of 10,000 workers found that 55% were afraid to take a mental health day because they thought they would be punished.”



It kind of still feels like that, right? You’re being urged to protect your mental health but maybe the company you work for is understaffed, people are sick. Maybe layoffs are happening and if you take off, you may look expendable. It may seem like you look less than invaluable. We’re in this very uncomfortable position where we’re being told to take care of ourselves, but we’re scared that we’ll lose our livelihood if we try. That’s why I’m going to leave you all with one piece of advice:



No, Dave, it’s not any of the song lyrics that would normally follow (although, if I had to choose, it would be to collaborate and listen). Sure, I could make false predictions all day long and whisper sweet nothings into your ear until you got a restraining order, but let’s not go there. I’m trying to earn your trust after all.

My advice is: Just stop. Take a moment to just sit down and regroup. Try letting your thoughts go on autopilot and see what comes to the forefront. If something jumps out, then maybe that’s a problem/desire/tangible thing you can focus on to start getting your thoughts in order, achieving a sense of mental balance. If nothing really pops out more than anything else, that’s okay. Sometimes just taking a moment to stop helps settle the mind. Ultimately, you need to figure out what is best for you. If taking a day off work is going to be more stressful than not, then don’t do it. But if you need a mental health day, don’t be afraid to take it. You are worth taking care of! And, please, if you or anyone you know is or may be contemplating harm to themselves or others, get help immediately.


Revisiting Depression: Part II (Self-worth)


Hallo, darlings. We’re back at it today with this depression topic re-visitation. On last week’s exciting episode, we covered the relationship between depression, anxiety, and anger, and how they work together in a positive feedback loop to amplify depression. Afterword, not even Dave’s corner cowering could keep us from diving into the somatic symptoms of depression and how pain and depression work together in a… well, a positive feedback loop that can amplify depression. I’m sensing a pattern here. Anyway, on this week’s emotionally unsettling conclusion, we’re finally going to address the social implications of depression and its role in self-worth. *Spoiler alert* We’re looking at another feedback loop.

The reason I wanted to look at anger and pain in relation to depression is to highlight some of the moving pieces working against the depressed. Anger and pain are both negative experiences that one needs to develop proper coping mechanisms for in order to respond appropriately. Let’s look at two different reactions to a scenario:

Scenario: Dave walks into his living room while texting a friend. Attention divided, he stubs his toe.

Reaction one (RO): In the 15 seconds after stubbing his toe:

  • Dave experiences a burst of pain
  • On the heels of that burst of pain, Dave experiences anger
  • Dave’s anger increases as he realizes his toe stubbing was a result of him not paying attention
  • Because Dave has no one to blame, he feels a bit stupid and embarrassed (regardless of the fact no one is around)
  • Dave doesn’t like to feel stupid or be embarrassed—it makes him angry
  • In the midst of the pain and anger, Dave comes to the conclusion that it’s the phone’s fault he wasn’t paying attention
  • Dave throws his phone
  • Dave begins to feel embarrassment about his behavior (still no one around)
  • Dave experiences a decrease in his sense of self-worth

Reaction two (RT): In the 15 seconds after stubbing his toe:

  • Dave experiences a burst of pain
  • On the heels of that burst of pain, Dave experiences anger
  • Having stubbed his toe many times before, Dave realizes the pain will subside quickly, so he should just breathe and ride it out
  • Dave sits on his couch and continues texting his friend, experiencing no significant changes in mood or sense of self-worth

Obviously, RT is the ideal reaction—the reasonable reaction. If you read RO and thought, “Well, that’s pretty childish,” you’re right! Spot on! Bravo, you! Individuals unable to learn and incorporate proper coping skills when it comes to negative emotions tend to react childishly to things. I think it’s important to point out here that it’s perfectly normal for anyone to have the occasional outburst. Shit happens, you might overreact, but you regroup and move on and that’s that. For someone with depression, it’s not as easy. There’s too much of a cascade effect. One stubbed toe could lead to a multiple-week-long depressive episode. Thankfully, this is an issue that can be eased with behavioral therapy and/or counseling.



Seeking Value from Without

Before we get down to it, I just want to say that you, whoever you are reading this… You have value.

Our sense of self-worth is based on several things but can (for ease and brevity) be narrowed down to two categories: The value we place on ourselves (inside value) and the value others place on us (outside value). Ideally, there would be a balance between the two. For someone with depression, though, more stock is put into outside value. This is why some individuals with depression seek out the company of friends and family during darker times, which can be immensely helpful if the individual is in happy, healthy relationships. On the other hand, self-worth based on outside value can be crippling without those solid, uplifting relationships.

Some individuals relying on outside value, but who lack healthy relationships, tend to exhibit attention-seeking behavior. This is by no means a negative thing—although it can be. Attention seeking behavior can include: positive emotional outbursts, negative emotional outbursts, withdrawing from social situations, acting helpless, being overly helpful, being the center of conversations, and if I list any more we’re going to fall into a larger mental health topic. So, I’ll stop there. Again, these are all pretty normal behaviors when done sparingly, but it becomes problematic when someone exhibits multiple attention-seeking behaviors on a consistent basis. What’s worse is that these attention-seeking behaviors can lead to socially awkward situations, which lead to embarrassment, and… Hey! We’re back to anger! And after anger comes guilt, depression, and a lowered sense of self-worth. And, of course, how you cope (both inwardly and outwardly) with these negative emotions and situations can further devalue that sense of self-worth.



On a Bigger Scope

**Please keep in mind that the following is a very generalized breakdown of some social implications of depression and a low sense of self-worth. While the below statements may apply to some (and in varying degrees), they won’t to others. To get more specific, we’d need to look at the different types of depression and how they affect different personality types and what’s chemical vs behavioral and on and on. You get the idea.

Building and maintaining relationships is integral to being a reasonably well-adjusted adult. How you relate to and with others helps dictate the type and quality of people who want to be around you. It also plays a major role in your career. The problem is that your sense of self-worth tends to be evident to others, whether overtly or on a more subconscious level. It’s a bit harder to like and want to be around a person who doesn’t particularly like his/herself. Because it takes more energy to be in any kind of relationship with that type of person, they’ll have fewer relationships and, likely, more contentious ones. Additionally, people with a lower sense of self-worth are more vulnerable to manipulative personalities and have a higher likelihood of ending up in long-term abusive relationships. A person relying on outside value has to be real fuckin’ careful about the company they keep, but they also have to balance how much they rely on others.

One of the biggest relationships in most people’s lives is their job. We spend a lot of time and energy there, and it’s one of the most logical places to find outside value, whether it’s from work friends, acquaintances, bosses, clients, customers, vendors, whomever. Again, it’s totally normal to desire or seek out praise and/or notice at work. But it becomes a problem when you rely too heavily on your place of work for outside value because it becomes exhausting for others. Furthermore, exhibiting attention seeking behaviors could hurt your credibility as a professional and disrupt those around you. This need for notice, the need for outside value, could end up lowering the outside value you receive, and then? Well, then you have a lowered sense of self-worth.



It’s a Lot

Over the course of this series, we’ve barely scratched the surface of depression in all its un-glory. If you know someone with depression or are just looking to understand more, I hope this helps. For those of you dealing with depression, reach out for help when you need to. Discover ways to increase inside value. Work with a behavioral health specialist. And, please, if you or anyone you know is or may be contemplating harm to themselves or others, get help immediately.

Revisiting Depression: Part One (the Science)


Hallo, you fantastic beauties. I haven’t written for myself—or for you—in a long while. But here we are! Together again! Now, ahead of National Condom Month, I want to talk about depression. I’ll wait while you investigate whether that’s an actual thing. The condom part, I mean, not depression.

All joking aside, I’ve been wanting to talk about depression again for a while. The problem lies in how to address something so large and weighted with so many layers. I want to talk about depression in terms of self-worth and social implications, but to get there I feel like we need to walk through the various psychosomatic effects of depression, and to get there we need to touch on the relationship between depression, anxiety, and anger …

Well, fuck, let’s give it a try! What say you, Dave? Dave? Dave, why are you cowering in the corner?! Sorry, guys, I think Dave is going to sit this one out. Let’s dive in, shall we? And, don’t worry, darlings, this will be a two-parter.



The Fanning of the Flame
(or if you’re southern: Adding a Little Lighter Fluid)

If you pop back over to my series on Mood and Anxiety Disorders, you’ll notice that depression and anxiety often go together … But anger? I’ve only recently thought about the relationship between anger and depression, but according to Fredric N. Busch’s article, Anger and Depression, “The oversimplified concept of depression as ‘anger directed inwards’ was a commonly held belief over many years in psychiatry.” Though today anger is more often considered a symptom of depression, there is little denying some type of correlation. Busch goes on to discuss defense mechanisms as applied to the anger-depression relationship. These mechanisms include denial, projection, passive aggression, reaction formation, and identification. Since denial, projection, and (everyone’s favorite) passive aggression are pretty familiar terms, I want to cover the other two in more detail:

  • Reaction formation (as presented by Busch citing Freud): The individual denies their anger and instead increases their efforts to help others. Since the underlying issues causing anger aren’t addressed, feelings of rage intensify and can become directed inward, exacerbating depression.
  • Identification: The individual links their self-image with someone who is aggressive and has made that person or others feel disempowered, frequently triggering guilty feelings which can exacerbate depression. This mechanism can help the individual with assertiveness, coping with anger, and creating boundaries but also has a lot to do with the idea of perceived power and can lead to abusive and controlling behavior.

While these psychoanalytic mechanisms are dated, more recent studies have also shown a correlation between depression and anger, whether that anger is outwardly expressed or not. According to Depression is More Than Just Sadness: A Case of Excessive Anger and Its Management in Depression: “Previous studies have revealed that patients with anger attacks are significantly more depressed, anxious, and have ideas of hopelessness compared to patients without anger attacks, and they were more likely to meet criteria for [histrionic, narcissistic, borderline, and antisocial] personality disorders in comparison to depressed patients without anger attacks.” The relationship between depression and anger causes a sort of feedback loop wherein anger can lead to depression and depression to anger. And, ultimately—obviously—the Dark Side.



Depression: It’s a Pain in the Ass

Fun fact: not only can depression itself be debilitating, it can also lead to major chronic health issues and be a hindrance to rehabilitation and healing. Okay, okay, so it was a not-so-fun fact. According to Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders: Global Health Estimates released by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2017: “The consequences of [depression and anxiety] disorders in terms of lost health are huge. Depression is ranked by WHO as the single largest contributor to global disability (7.5% of all years lived with disability in 2015); anxiety disorders are ranked 6th (3.4%). Depression is also the major contributor to suicide deaths, which number close to 800,000 per year.” Spoiler alert, the situation hasn’t gotten any better.

Depression can play a role in immune, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal health—among others. According to Depression as a Risk Factor of Organic Diseases: An International Integrative Review, “Depression often predisposes individuals to physical illness and disease.” The review assesses findings from 23 studies that consider depression in relation to various physical illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, anxiety, and asthma. While the review “offers evidence that depression can be a risk factor for physical illness and disease,” even more intriguing is the study of depression-related pain.

Some studies on depression and somatic pain have shown a correlation between the two, although causation proves difficult to identify. In some cases, individuals suffering from depression may experience such issues as low back pain, jaw pain, and acid reflux. While causation is unclear (it’s kind of a “chicken or egg” situation), the Depression as a Risk Factor review states that there is “a strong association […] shown between severe depression and somatization, and the somatic effects of depression were unrelated to organic disease (Aguilar‐Navarro & Avila‐Funes, 2007; Drayer et al. 2005).” If I’m citing something citing something, is that reverse inception? Anyway, the review goes on to say that “depression and pain are independent processes that share a common mechanism that can lead to the onset of each other.” Furthermore, individuals suffering from depression tend to experience a decrease in pain tolerance and increase in origin-less pains.



Next Week’s Titillating Adventure

Now that we’ve covered the relationship between anger and depression and the psychosomatic effects caused by the unholy trinity (just assume anxiety is a habitual lurker), we can dive into the self-worth and social implication side next week.

The Use of CBD for Public Speaking


This article by Madeleine Taylor was originally published on SundayScaries.


The extreme fear of public speaking is called glossophobia. Yes, it’s actually a phobia. It is a form of social anxiety disorder (SAD). The onset of this phobia often occurs when one is on stage or even when they are simply talking to their own family members or friends (in the most extreme of cases). Many people resort to dealing with this phobia by either avoiding talking completely or being utterly miserable while speaking.


How CBD Can Help with the Fear of Public Speaking

CBD oil is rich in cannabinoids, which bind to certain receptors in the brain. According to a 2011 study, published in Neuropsychopharmacology, the cannabinoid receptors are CB1 and CB2, which play a significant role in the body and are present in our:

  • Liver
  • Kidneys
  • Lungs and other organs

These receptors are tasked with affecting the immune system and blood cell formation. All these make the endocannabinoid system that influences moods, appetite, pain, reproduction, memory, etc.

CB1 receptors are located in the brain, whereas the CB2 is found in the immune system. These locations help the receptors to fulfill their primary function of stress reduction, balanced immunity, neuroprotection, and homeostatic regulation.

CBD rapidly interacts with your body’s cells since it has a similar chemical composition and generates therapeutic effects that return your body to a state of balance.


Cannabidiol in Anti-anxiety Studies

Studies show that the relationship between adenosine and cannabidiol help treat anxiety. Adenosine receptors play the major role in the cardiovascular system and affect the regulation of myocardial consumption of oxygen as well as blood flow.

So, when CBD stimulates the production of adenosine, there exists a rise of dopamine and glutamate neurotransmitters. Dopamine is tasked with motor control, motivation, perception, and reward, while glutamate affects memory, learning, cognition, and excitatory signals. Because of this, some benefits of CBD include helping with anxiety (with no THC side effects) and lowering resistance to anxious responses, which helps in a social setting—and with public speaking.

This 2012 study outlines CBD’s anxiolytic properties, which help with acute anxiety in humans. The study shows that a person with no stress or anxiety administered with CBD does not experience feelings of relaxation; however, administering when there was acute anxiety showed a significant anxiety-reducing effect. Though being efficient in the management of anxiety, there is no commonly accepted dose of CBD meant for treatment. When administered in animals, the result was a bell-shaped dose-response curve with moderate doses of anxiolytic that is lost at high doses.


CBD vs THC for Anxiety

When looking for the most ideal anxiety management system between the two compounds, CBD is considered legal and non-psychoactive despite both compounds being of benefit to the patient. A number of people with anxiety cannot use THC because it encourages anxiety and an irrational state of mind.

Some findings suggest that THC also has the potential of reducing the onset of neuropathy and can serve as a treatment for insomnia, depression, nausea and appetite loss just as CBD does.


Management of Anxiety Using CBD

There is overwhelming evidence that shows CBD can effectively manage stress and anxiety—including the stress and anxiety that come with the fear of public speaking:

  • Acute Stress-Induced Anxiety: A 2017 study of public speaking related anxiety confirmed the bell-shaped CBD dose-response in humans. The study indicated that a 300mg dose of CBD effectively reduces anxiety but a 100mg or 900mg dose cannot.
  • THC-Induced Anxiety: It’s worth noting that anxiety caused by THC can be counteracted by CBD at lower doses than the doses needed when managing anxiety from acute stress. For instance, a dose of 15-60mg and 70mg were able to manage anxiety caused by THC, a dose lower than what is required to manage acute stress-induced anxiety.
  • Chronic Anxiety: In cases of chronic anxiety, the doses administered are generally lower. This is attributed to the changes in the endocannabinoid system in people with chronic anxiety. No clinical studies have been undertaken to establish a regular dosing regimen for chronic anxiety.

When using CBD oil yourself, doses and effects may differ.

It is recommended that you try low doses of CBD and see how it works first. You can begin with a dose of 10mg to experiment, unlike the huge doses used in studies, 400mg and 600mg, which are high. It’s better to start with a lower dose to learn its effects rather than diving into the unchartered waters of the unknown high doses or potentially wasting your CBD oil altogether.

From the findings, CBD is highly recommended to be administered to persons with social anxiety. CBD showed a significant reduction of anxiety that seen in speech performance discomforts and cognitive impairment. When administered, all these signs decrease and alertness in anticipatory speech decrease is seen.

How to Keep Your Dog Calm During a Storm


This article by Jennifer was originally published on FOMO Bones.


Batten down the hatches, draw the curtains—there’s a storm about to hit and the forecast isn’t looking good (especially for Fido). Hiding, whining, scratching, peeing—these are just some of the symptoms of a dog suffering from “Thunder Phobia,” a condition that typically begins between the ages of two and four, and which gets worse over time. But no matter how long your pup’s panic has been in full swing, the following top tips should soon soothe his jangling nerves.


Why are Dogs Scared of Thunder Storms?

Vets and animal behaviorists have studied this topic to the -nth degree, yet there’s still no concrete answer. The consensus is that the noise of the thunder and the flashes of lightning are unpredictable and, to a dog, seemingly come out of nowhere. However, there’s also the complexities of how dogs are hardwired to pick up on changes in air pressure and to hear the super low-frequency rumbles of a storm before it arrives. Another hypothesis is that dogs may even suffer from shocks, as static electric builds up as a thunderstorm approaches. Herding breeds (such as Border Collies) are especially affected, as well as naturally nervy dogs who are anxious in everyday life. Whatever the facts of the matter and actual root cause of their fear, there are tactics that can help. And here they are…


Always be Prepared

First thing’s first—you should always be aware of the forecast if it seems that bad weather is swirling overhead. Getting caught outside in a storm can be incredibly stressful for your dog (and you can multiply that by ten if they also hate getting wet). All in all, it can serve to worsen their already serious fear. Launch into some positive association training with the help of a downloadable thunder storm app or soundtrack. Over the next two weeks, play the storm audio at increasingly louder levels, and while doing so play with your pup and feed him treats. Once you switch off or pause the audio, stop all play and all treats—the point here is to link the sounds of thunder with tail-wagging happy times.


Reward Calmness

You may have trained your dog to sit, lay, and maybe even shake hands. But what about training them to settle down? This isn’t nearly as impossible as it sounds. Simply put on a special “inside” leash and direct your pup to lie at your feet, rewarding him when he follows your instruction. Practicing this routine all year through can ensure that your pup has a reassuringly regular cue to follow, even as the thunderous rumbles begin.


Classic Distraction Techniques

Do as much as possible to lessen the effects of a storm by getting the basics covered—that includes drawing the curtains, having a TV or music on medium-to-loud, and creating a cozy hideaway complete with overhead blankets and plenty of pillows. You should also observe your dog during a storm—is there a place he tries to gain access to, such as a bathroom, office, or basement? If possible, try and prepare this area with his blankets. Over the course of the storm try to keep your pup engaged with treats, training, and toys where possible.


Swaddle that Pup up like a Real Human Baby (kind of)

Not so long ago a product hit the shop shelves that claimed to calm the nerves of our canine mates. It was called the Thundershirt—a type of tight dog jacket that provides an experience of pressure and closeness. It works in the same way as swaddling a baby—reminding them, on a subconscious level, of being in the womb. You can create your own DIY version of this jacket by purchasing a suitably sized human t-shirt and placing your dog’s front legs in the arm holes. If you get the sizing right, this should provide at least a partial sensation of pressure.


Give the Dog a Bone (but not just any old bone)

Nope, we’re talking CBD dog treats (CBD standing for cannabinoids). Contrary to common misconceptions, CBD is nothing to do with recreational cannabis. It’s simply derived from the same family of plants—namely hemp (the plant material that’s used in everything from clothing to cosmetics). CBD dog treats are proven to relax, ease anxiety, and calm even the cagiest of canines by interacting with the endocannabinoid system, which is in charge of physiological reactions including appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory.

So effective is CBD, that it’s even been shown to help with a multitude of other dog conditions, including skin allergies and dry, itchy skin (you can thank the high content of Omega 3 fatty acids for that); as well as easing seizures and epilepsy, and even overcoming low energy.

If Eddie the English Springer was in the eye of the storm with a FOMO Bone in his mouth, he’d be a whole lot less stressed.


Author bio: Jennifer is the voice behind the FOMO Bones blog. She’s pretty sure she was a Great Dane in her past life, but her team at FOMO pegs her as more of a Labrador. Regardless of her breed, she’s a dog enthusiast with 15 years’ experience training dogs and owner.

How Long Does It Take for CBD Oil to Work?


This article by Madeleine Taylor was originally published on SundayScaries.


CBD products from the cannabis plant, such as CBD oil and hemp oil, have been proven to work as a symptom treatment for a wide variety of ailments, including post-traumatic stress disorder, which is exactly why it has become so popular over recent years. And, after more states and countries have taken steps to legalize cannabis, medical professionals are now advocating the use of CBD oil to alleviate the symptoms of many conditions. From serious physical conditions like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and chronic pain to emotional issues like anxiety, depression, and insomnia, CBD oil has proven to be effective as a possible symptom treatment for pretty much any illness that you can think of.

And as more media attention is drawn to marijuana and particularly CBD oil, those who are considering taking CBD to improve their health are left wondering exactly how long it will be before they can experience the benefits of taking it.


What is CBD Oil?

Cannabidiol is the primary substance that contributes to the efficacy of CBD oil. It differs from its counterpart, THC, in that it does not produce psychoactive effects. Therefore, CBD-based products do not give you the same mind-altering effects, which has allowed it to become completely legal in the US and is quickly becoming widely available nationwide.


How Long does CBD take to Work?

There are a few different factors that will determine how quickly CBD oil will begin working in the body after it is consumed. First, the precise symptom or condition that you hope to alleviate will be a key influencer on how quickly you can expect to experience the effects of CBD. For example, if you suffer from chronic, debilitating pain, you may find that you start noticing a difference only after you have been taking the CBD oil for a while. You will also need to consider the concentration and dosage of the product you are taking. Not all CBD oils are created equal, which is why it is important only to purchase high-quality products from a reputable supplier. The largest and possibly most important determining factor that comes into play when considering how long it takes CBD to work, is the method you use to take it.


Vaping CBD Oil

The benefits of CBD are impressive. Moreover, vaping a high-grade, high-concentration CBD oil is going to offer you one of the fastest ways of experiencing its beneficial effects. This is because all the rich healing compounds will be delivered pretty much directly into your bloodstream via your lungs. The majority of users who vape CBD oil report that they can experience positive effects in as little as 10 minutes after vaping. It is important to remember that vaping CBD is not the same as smoking a joint. You won’t feel high or woozy, but you will notice a sense of calm and relief.


Sublingual CBD Tinctures

Sometimes, a medication will be placed under the patient’s tongue if it needs to take effect quickly. A CBD tincture is essentially an oil that is dropped under the tongue and absorbed directly by the mucous membranes in the mouth. This allows it to go straight into the bloodstream, bypassing the liver and the digestive system. Many users of CBD oil prefer to take a sublingual tincture, as it tends to taste better—or at least you can largely avoid it flowing through your taste buds.


CBD Gummies or Edibles

As cannabis-derived products become increasingly popular to treat everyday issues like migraines and insomnia, manufacturers are always looking for alternative ways to ingest it that actually taste good. While CBD oil is one of the most effective ways of experiencing the benefits quickly, many people don’t like the taste or texture. A good alternative is to invest in flavored CBD edibles. It is also worth noting that you can add CBD oil to any food or drink, but it will take longer to kick in. This is because it needs to be digested and then your liver needs to metabolize it before you feel the effects.

If you prefer to consume a CBD-based edible, then you should take it on an empty stomach, otherwise, it will take quite a while to take effect.


Topical Creams

If you are interested in taking CBD for skin conditions or for anti-inflammatory purposes, then a cream or ointment could work well. You simply rub the product directly onto your skin and the underlying cells will absorb it over time. This will cause the beneficial effects to last longer, especially if you are regularly applying a topical CBD cream.


How Much CBD Oil Do I Need to Take?

Everyone is different, so it is important to remember that what might be an ideal dose for one person may not be enough for another. You can find the perfect dosage of CBD by taking the following into account:

  • Your bodyweight
  • Your tolerance
  • The severity of your issue
  • Your chosen method of ingestion

With this in mind, we suggest that you start with a dose of around 2 mg. This will not only let your body become accustomed to the CBD oil and its effects, but the majority of people easily tolerate this dose and still experience its benefits. If you feel that isn’t quite cutting it, then from this point you can gradually increase the dosage you take until you hit the sweet spot.

As a rule of thumb, once you notice that your symptoms are starting to ease away you don’t need to increase the dose. Generally speaking, the dosage should no longer be increased once your medical symptoms are alleviated. It should be noted, however, that very high doses of CBD oil can induce feelings of sedation and fatigue.


How Long Will the Effects Last?

You will be pleased to hear that the effects of CBD oil will last for a few hours or more. So, unless you suffer from severe anxiety or insomnia, you won’t have to worry about taking a huge amount to stop it wearing off too quickly. Slow and steady wins the race every time! It can also be useful to think about the timings of your doses and plan accordingly depending on what you need the CBD oil for and how you will consume it. For example, if taking it for anxiety and you know you have a big meeting at 3pm, then factor this into your schedule.