I recently moved to a new house, and as is often the case when big life changes arrive, my mental health collapsed. It doesn’t matter that it’s a good change – my deep reptile brain doesn’t understand the difference between positive and negative change, it just feels the disruption and responds with panic.Continue reading “Terrible Things Evangelicals Say About Mental Illness”
I hear it all the time: this protective need for some of my fellow Christians to “speak the truth in love” to their gay friends and family. In other words, while they say that they should “love and accept” those who are gay, they still feel a need to state that they think homosexuality is inherently sinful, and that gay people must commit themselves to chastity, denying homosexual sin.Continue reading “Speaking the Truth In Love Can Break LGBT People”
Back in 2016, when I was (to my shame – I’m not proud of this fact) covertly flirting with alt-light ideas, I wrote an article called, “A Curmudgeon’s manifesto,” in which I established my personal rules for engagement and code of conduct. I still stand by much of what I wrote in that article, but you can hear my savagely wounded pride as an undercurrent in the piece. I’d recently been the victim of twitter hate from people I thought were my friends, and I’d never experienced such a thing before. I was wounded and disoriented, and the experience almost pushed me away from my fellow queer progressives and into the sweet, deadly embrace of the alt-right.
When people ask me how I am, I usual say, “I’m alright,” or simply, “ok,” and some people respond with concern or condescension: “/just/ alright?” As if being manically exultant is not living a full life. I hate that response: “just ok?” To me, just ok is heaven. For me, just ok is hard earned fulfillment.
Several months ago, I went to a family gathering. I’d worked all week, and I was exhausted. The event was miserable, and I felt incapable – truly, utterly incapable – of talking to anyone. I felt like I’d been drugged, the paralysis of exhaustion and family and socializing was so great. On the drive home, all I could think about was suicide. Fantasies of death filled my being.
Yesterday morning, I woke up feeling sick to my stomach. I instantly knew what it was: I had ingested so much news, so much anxiety about the world, that I was making myself sick.
I felt trapped in my illness: I felt obligated to stay engaged with the news, to stay glued to the screen of my computer, to witness each horrifying executive order, each breakdown of democracy. Yesterday, I realized that I was killing myself, quite literally: my cortisol levels were in overdrive, flooding my blood stream. If I allowed that to continue, it would cripple every system in my body. I was allowing myself to get lost in anxiety, losing the anchor of my soul.
Like many, I watched in horror as America elected a narcissistic bully as our next president. Like many, I was overwhelmed by despair, panic, and grief, and astonished by the intensity of my feelings. A serene voice in my head repeated, over and over, “There, there, things might not be that bad. We don’t know the future. Maybe he won’t be a complete unmitigated monster.” And yet I couldn’t curtail the horror, disgust, and panic that was rising within me. I couldn’t sleep, I drank too much, I was a morose basket case. I couldn’t get out of my head the circus of obscenities that we had all been exposed to: the abuses, the lies, the disregard for the beams of democracy, the Caligula-like grandiosity of Donald Trump. Now we are to live with such disgust – and whatever other follies may come – for the next four years.
A reader of mine recently tweeted at me asking how, especially when in the midst of deppression, one can do little things to reach larger goals. I thought his question was a good one, particularly because I’ve spent the past 4 years trying to discover an answer. I’ve already written a post about my tools to stave off depression, and this post can be read as a sequel to that one.