I began to read. I took in ideas the way a thirsty person takes in fresh water. I was hungry for ideas beyond my immediate reach, for things that would link me somehow to this odd world which I perceived as being so unreachable. Where were others like me, others who had a non-aggressive, non-competitive approach to life? Where were those for whom western culture was little more than soul-sucking? Where could I go that wasn't reduced to a glorified marketplace? The religions I investigated wanted to either pick my pocket or force me into a box that wouldn't fit. Inevitably, parts of me would begin falling out the sides and I would lose my new community.
I'm still working at the ranch store. I moved from being a cashier in the main store to the clothing department. I don't get as many hours but the job is doable without creating the intense anxiety that leads to panic attacks, emotional meltdowns and generally feeling like total shit. It was hard for me to ride the whole thing out; it was questionable whether I would continue working there and I was humiliated and embarrased by the panic attacks. But now that I've moved departments, I'm glad I hung in there and stayed humble and willing. I don't believe this mental state will last forever. I'm working my way out of it since I went to treatment, but it's slow.
After much consideration and discussion with my mental health doc, I decided to discontinue the anti-d I had been taking since Feb/09 when I was hospitalized. I have decided to use St. John's Wort for depression and valerian for anxiety while working on a cleaner, healthier lifestyle in general. Healthy food, exercise and sunshine are hard to beat. I became allergic to wheat this past winter and have notched up what was already a pretty healthy diet. I've begun making my own body care and home-cleaning products in moving towards a goal of getting off petroleum-based living. Peggy and I are harvesting mixed greens and herbs while we await the carrots, tomatoes, squash, strawberries, peas, beets and spuds. I'm eating pansies, nastursiums and dandelion greens. I've come to think of the way Brent and I eat as "rustic." Whole foods, good ingredients, lots of garlic, onion and pepper, herbs and spices, olive oil. It occurs to me I've developed a lot of skills learning to live well on much, much less. It occurs to me we're all going to have to learn those skills. It isn't easy, but it can be done.
Yeah, I still believe civilization is collapsing and I believe things are going to go from bad to worse. But I've stopped bargaining and raging and started accepting. Of course I know I will bargain and rage again. The good thing is I no longer think that response is pathological. I think it's pathological to refuse to see and accept reality, but that's what addiction is all about really. We're all addicted to oil-based living and we're all going to get to go cold-turkey, detox and hopefully come out the other side a bit better for it. Two books helped me a lot with moving into acceptance: Sacred Demise: Walking the Spiritual Path of Industrial Civilization's Collapse by Carolyn Baker, Ph.D. and The Little Book of Letting Go by Hugh Prather.
I promise you and myself one thing as I resume blogging: no censorship. It may be hard for some people to believe that I've censored myself in my writing here, but I have. I won't anymore.
It's good to be back.