Friday Feedback: Like Me, it’s a Mixed Bag!


Dear Readers:

Welcome to Friday Feedback, our weekly nervous glance backward at the toilet bowl of reader responses to our droppings of advice and random contemplations.  This week we have pent-up demand because there was no Friday Feedback last week, so I’ll hop right in!

Dear Robin:

I cried when I read your blog about the woman who was stealing prescriptions from her friend.  My family has been struggling with this problem for 5 years since my brother came back from Iraq (he served 4 years in combat).  He was wounded and sent home but even though he has recovered from his injury he still gets pain meds from the doctor plus a host of other pills including Xanax, Welbutrin, Ambien, Seroquil, and others.

His wife is on the verge of leaving him and he is a mess but he won’t go to rehab, which we have all agreed to pay for if he will go.  Thank you for writing about this important issue.

-MW in Virginia

Dear MW:

Thank you for your feedback on I Think my Friend Stole Painkillers from Me.  While prescription drug abuse is reaching chronic levels in the US, this is especially true when it comes to our veterans.

The way our government in general and the VA in particular have treated returning soldiers from the “My Dick is Bigger than Yours” contest waged by Cheney and his walking, talking puppet George (and George’s poodle Tony Blair) is an American atrocity.  Soldiers have come home with catastrophic injuries at a rate never before seen because advances in battlefield medical care have made it possible to live through getting your legs blown off and other various and sundry horrific events.

Back in the day, most severe injuries would have rendered the warrior very much dead.  Now our veterans have the pleasure of living through that horror only to come home to a system that doesn’t care about them and compliant doctors who throw prescriptions at the veterans rather than treat the underlying and complicated problems of severe depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.


I could go on and on but instead I’ll advise you click here for a story that sums up just how broken our VA system is: Scandal at the Veterans’ Administration.  Because it is so hard for these men and women to get time with a doctor, they languish without real care and the medications that once helped heal them are now killing them.

And they are killing themselves, too.  Veterans are Committing Suicide at Never Before Seen Rates.

I am very sorry for your family and I hope you can convince your brother to seek help in a private facility.  Your dedication to his wellbeing as shown by your offer to fund his rehabilitation program is heartening and if there is anything I can do to help convince him to go, please message me again and let’s talk.


…and speaking of suicide…


…I received this in response to Suicidal Cousin.


The single most compelling argument I’ve ever heard against suicide is this: Other people need us here. Jennifer Michael Hecht spoke with Krista Tippett about this several months ago, and I found their conversation compelling. Hope for our Future Selves.


Dear MD:

What is your position on physician-assisted suicide? -Robin


I think it’s humane and reasonable. (Name redacted) was my doctor (he was my Mom and Dad’s doctor, too) and he was a kind, gentle, compassionate guy. I think much of my attitude toward this issue is shaped by my contact with him.


Dear MD:


I appreciate your letter and your response to my question.  I believe certain severe and pervasive mental illnesses are so agonizing that the anguish, despair, confusion and living of a life in a never-ending black hole of hopelessness equates with the suffering of any other medical condition.

In other words: those medical conditions which you agree should have the option of physician assisted suicide.  Whether cancer of the spirit or of the pancreas, if the rot has set in and no amount of medical intervention can help the patient, I believe they should be free to exercise their last option for a release from the pain.

For the same reasons, I find the idea of sticking around for others unhelpful to the conversation.  If your sister were dying of lymphoma and every day was a pain-wracked nightmare for her, would you implore she not end her pain with physician-assisted suicide because you need her around? 

I don’t know, it just seems really selfish.  When those we love need to escape from the bonds of agonizing pain, who are we to guilt them into continued suffering?


Thanks for your letter.



I had to show your blog to my best friend because I am totally that person: I’m jealous that she lost weight!  Honestly I’ve been struggling with it for so long so I sent it to her and we had a really great talk.  She’s offered to help share her methods with me and I am really excited to join her in her new hotness!

Thanks for pinpointing this issue for me because it’s been driving me nuts!  It was really hard for me to admit that my envy over her weight loss was impacting our friendship and making it difficult for me to be happy for her, even though I know how hard she worked to get there.  Awesome!  I assume this has happened to you?  Dish, sister!


Dear Andrea:

It pleases me greatly that you took the opportunity to face an uncomfortable fact and communicate with your friend after reading Lost 60 Pounds and a Friend.  I hope you will follow up with me and keep me posted on your fitness journey!  As for my own personal experience regarding envy, I hesitate to get too deep into the weeds on this one because it’s very painful to me.

I’ll just give you the short version: I was informed that a woman I though was one of my closest friends (“Amy”) was trash-talking me at a Christmas party to another woman (“Bitch”) whom I hold in the deepest of disrespect: a high school drop out and drunk-driving gold-digger grifter with the morals of an alley cat and a fat ass that rivals the caboose of any Kardashian sister.

Apparently one of the topics of discussion was my “ridiculous” writing project and my hopes to parlay it into a radio show.  They may have also spent some time discussing my hair – I don’t know and don’t give a damn.  But after years upon years of being a true, trustworthy and faithful friend to Amy, she suddenly felt the need to disparage my dreams in a public way with someone she knew would love every morsel of the conversation.


Maybe this wasn’t a sudden thing – maybe she always harbored resentment towards me and just never told me why.  But I find it interesting that people can become so nasty when they see others chasing a dream and having some success.

Maybe I’ll hit this thing out of the park.  Maybe I won’t.  But envy is usually based on seeing someone fight for something, not just seeing them succeed.  Fighting for something and daring to hope for something beyond the mundane is a rare thing in this day and age, especially amongst women who are totally dependent upon men to support them.


Readers: I NEED MORE LETTERS!  I have to write three extra columns a week for the magazine and until it launches next month I have to use those that you send for the blog for the magazine too.  They are creating a bank of columns for publication rather than depending on me to be timely each week.  That’s smart.

Keep them coming, please!

Have a great weekend!






This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. MD

    Robin, you make a good point re: assisted suicide. However, I think the reason we would NOT ask our sister (or whomever) to stick around if she were in the late stages of a killer disease and yet WOULD ask that of our suicidal sister/friend/whomever is that many of us hold out the hope that mental illness can be, if not recovered from, at least treated competently enough that the person can have a good life. Having been in that suicidal place, I can report that I’m glad I didn’t take the step.

  2. Lolo

    Your comments about the pain suicidal people can be in (it’s probably quite a spectrum) resonated with me, Robin. I know fairly directly (second hand, from her daughter) of a woman who tried to commit suicide multiple times and was treated in many ways until her husband basically kept her on a suicide watch for *15 years*. She eventually became accustomed enough to it that they began to feel that maybe she could be left alone. Her husband decided to run to the store for 15 minutes one day, and she tried again right then, the moment she was given an opportunity. I think her husband came home quickly enough that she was saved (again)…

    My heart just bled for her when i heard the story because it seems so likely that she felt forcibly imprisoned in this life for all those years. I can only imagine how completely awful that might feel, moment after moment… (I believe I heard she was eventually successful… it just seems like drawing out the pain for all involved, doesn’t it?)

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