“What do you do when things go from bad to worse?”
It’s not at all inspiring in the vein of Ram Dass quotes and vision boards and self-help mantras. You might even argue it’s the opposite, more often than not. Not that it’s nihilistic ‘slash and burn’ either, but more like, ‘tastefully deconstruct and reconsider.’
These guys have heard it all, I’m sure. Nut jobs, shills, conspiracy theorists would be on the mild side.
I see something quite different, typical. They’ve recently filmed a documentary called “Shoot the Moon” — about the lunar wave — quite à propos, no?
I see determination, resilience, fortitude, creativity—all qualities I consider to be deliciously rare. Others see ‘crazy’ where I see ‘courageous.’
Most of all, I see care. Authentic care.
“What a good question,” I replied at the time.
I really had not a clue at that moment and was still in a state of mental and emotional chaos, which had my conscious thoughts and unconscious feelings ALL over the place.
Of course, when I’m all over the place I drag Hubby all over the place with me, which surely isn’t the reason why he’s been working so much overtime, right?? 🙂
“Let’s sell it all and move to Mexico!” was at the top of my list at the time of that astute question. Folks don’t ask a lot of good questions, even the well-meaning ones. Mostly I hear useless platitudes, like these Ram Dass quotes, and even actual arguments about how they think I should be feeling.
To be absolutely frank in a ‘too much information’ sort of way I’m sure to regret at some point, I think what happened to my psyche right after the latest weather disaster was what the shrinks would call ‘complex PTSD’.
Yes, I’m self-diagnosing from the Internet. But, the symptoms fit, and the worst of it came out in flooding of somatic memories that were totally overpowering and illogical and unwelcome, along with intense anxiety, nightmares and terrors, paranoia, depression, loss of sense of stability and control, and so on.
These weren’t overpowering memories just from the previous two disasters, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, they went much further back. They wen’t so far back sometimes that I couldn’t really tell if they were ‘all mine’ alone, but that doesn’t matter one bit, because they were terrifying and I was feeling them as if they were currently happening to me, alone.
I mostly isolate in such times, because I feel if nothing else, I don’t want to take others down with me. But also because I know from experience how badly the average person handles disaster, or grief, or anything remotely unpleasant or unsavory, so I feel I have little other choice.
I want to say now what I think really helped, now that I feel on the upswing once again. It’s not because I think what helps me will help others necessarily, but you never know how adding to the reservoir of our individual coping and healing techniques could work for someone, somewhere, and I’ve got a great big hunch more folks are going to need more such resources for the coming decades.
What’s working for me, what have been my buoys in the darkness?
Not those typically espoused by those who think they know, like ‘get out and socialize’ or ‘join a club’ or ‘try these meds’ or even meditate or try a new hobby.
Jason’s simple question—spontaneous, honest, rhetorical—gave me a point of focus I expect he never intended, but was able to offer to a virtual stranger, out of . . . I don’t really know . . . empathy, curiosity, tact?
A few other things helped too. I consulted an astrologer for the first time in my life. https://readingsbyyerevan.com/
I decided (again) my first responsibility is to my own well-being, which should be obvious, but I often forget it.
This blog helped, the folks who support me in this blog helped. I got to send my chaotic feelings into the ether, to be read or ignored as the reader saw fit, no obligation, but no expectations from me either. That’s truly cathartic for me.
I’m taking herbal hormones and eating an even healthier diet than I typically do, just loading up more on the veggies and herbs and lightening up on the chips and fries. That part has been pretty painless.
Isolating for me dramatically reduces stress, yet this is what all the experts say to never do. I think that’s because they want the vulnerable to join cults and be in an even greater position of weakness to group-think and consensus trance and taking bad popular advice, like anti-depressants, for starters.
I’m not saying I’ve figured it all out or it’s all downhill from here, but I’ve added a few more tools to the box.
So, to answer your question, Jason, “What do you do when things go from bad to worse?”
I re-balance and re-tune, and if that goes well, I re-commit.
I might still be down, but I’m not yet out. And there’s no power, be it technocratic, dogmatic, omnipotent or otherwise, who’s going to force me from our land in this lifetime. If it comes to push and shove, I go down with the ship. Period.