Saturday, December 19, 2020

Locked Down Life

Covid is not doing good things to me. I haven't caught it as far as I know, but it's not doing me any mental health favors. I didn't leave the apartment for a week, but then went out thinking, I need to walk somewhere, maybe take a few pictures.  I tried this one sidewalk that parallels a park in my town, thinking it's 35 degrees [just warm enough for me] who's going to be out there?

Every time I find an empty spot to walk, other humans pop up out of nowhere and it's always me running away while they always walk too close.  The edges of a panic attack lapped at the edges of me and it was Aspie meltdown time, and I started saying out loud like Doc Martin on crack against that dog who annoys him, "Go away!" I don't know if anyone heard me, hopefully the passing by cop didn't. There was one point I thought "Maybe if they think I am crazy, they will stay farther away then the prescribed 6 feet". I had to race away from so many people, I gave up and walked in the street instead of the sidewalk. I had a surgeon's mask on which I can now wear walking but still can't do that with the KN95s.

Of course as I walked back to our car that was parked, down the road, one of those ex-friends "fake Christian mission" friends drove by me in her car. She just stared, no wave or anything. According to her Facebook, she's had no problems visiting people, going to a big city on a trip with her family and held two parties during the early months of Covid. Both were held outside, so she didn't break the law, but the pictures of people all hugging each other while mask-less floored me. Maybe she's the smart one with tons of friends and family members with a strong inability to feel fear that has left her impervious to Covid. I don't know. I have had so many people tell me about taking trips all over the place, seeing family and friends, I wonder if I am insane. Maybe I am jealous they have so many friends and family to see. 

I'm a complainer, not a cool Midwestern stoic. I can go distract myself with art and go down fantasy lane, I have comics and graphic novels to read but this Covid stuff, has lasted too long. I bought 10 Roberta Gregory comics  "Naughty Bits" dating from 1999-2002, and it was like reading a snapshot in time. Bitchy Bitch fought her mean bosses, and narcissistic uncaring rich mother, and worried about breast cancer and split up with a boyfriend but it was interesting reading about 9-11, and you can see how stupid America got 20 years ago and track the descent. In one panel Bitchy is commenting how humanity is going to destroy itself with plague. Ironic.  I laughed a lot at the comics so at least they gave me respite. 

My patience has worn out. If only I was a thin waif who could lay in bed, and sleep the year away. My worries about mobility forced me outdoors today among all the disease carriers. Yes it's bad that in my mind I have words like "disease carriers" for other humans. Maybe that's not a good thing. On the way out, the mailman this time with a mask, and a neighbor with a mask, were in the foyer, I talked to both of them and felt safe enough and stayed 6-7 feet away but any conversations with people outside of my husband are very rare. It's done weird things with my autism, like the vanquishing of all social skills.

 As you all know I've had to dodge the maskless neighbors. One guy approached my husband as I got into the car and took my mask off, as my husband was getting in. At least this guy was 15 feet away on the other side, but I put my mask back on immediately. My husband had to calm me down a few minutes later when I said, "These damn people shouldn't walk up to you not wearing a mask!" My husband said, "He was way over there!".

My struggles with OCD are back. OCD is actually something I thought I had near almost total recovery from. I still checked things like the oven and faucets, and lights but it was a quick glance, now the staring and counting is back. With Covid, if someone unmasked gets too close to me during one of my once to twice a week sojourns out, I think about it, and wonder if I caught Covid. I can't help it. I bordered on germ phobia for years, and had handwashing issues as a teen and in my early 20s. It all went along with the narcissist fueled anxiety disorders I struggled with for years. Some people used to find it extraordinary that someone as disabled as me, showered every single day, and refuse to re-wear even one item of clothing. People on my Facebook can probably see the OCD breaking through as I complain about maskless people and wonder if I should leave the apartment at all.

 I am so scared of losing my mobility. I'm not able to walk around like normal, there's no shopping, there's no exploring, there's no doing stuff. I fucking hate this. In a normal thin person's case, that's not going to destroy their life. So I go outside bad lungs and all, just wanted to walk a short way, to make sure I still can but when you live in apartment, and don't have a yard or health to go to real hiking places or the real woods, there's too many people to dodge. I even fear not being able to get in and out of cars anymore. I exercise at home, marching in place for 15 minutes, every couple days, I probably should do more, nothing ever feels like enough. 

Two weeks ago, I had two dentist appointments, and he had a surgeon level air cleaner in there and he is a dentist that takes precautions, and my 4 cavities were fixed, but there were nightmares for days wondering if I caught it. I have a teeth cleaning soon, and am hoping it will be cold enough to cancel or delay it.  My rheum blood tests and kidney scans are due to January. It used to be a friendlier warmer month prior to Covid but everything got delayed.

Some local people told me that the Outpatient clinic I do all this at has been turned into a mild and moderate Covid treatment center. Now I am too scared to go over there. I am supposed to see the eye doctor too and haven't in a year in a half, but now as Covid is rapidly spreading here, I'm scared. It's a big office with tons of people going through there, The  place is run like an assembly line. I may cancel it too hoping that my diabetes hasn't started to do anything to my eyes. A mammogram is a year and half overdue as well.

I live in a religiously stupid redneck state, now trying to become "Alabama of the North". We have enough urban folks and people of color to just err on the side of blue, in elections, but the rural areas are bad. The state supreme court here removed the Democratic governor's rules, she turned to the health department to force Covid mandates as Covid started to rapidly rise, and now they want to remove those rules. As I showed in the last article, the majority of the people I went to high school with are screaming for everything to be opened up and against mask mandates. 

With the vaccine, because of my health problems, I am willing to take it but am waiting a few months to make sure there's no bad side effects. I am scared of the new mRNA technology doing weird things when it comes to severe autoimmune disease, there's also the problem of allergies and my history of severe allergic reactions. 

 The "no fear" from Covid now ex-friend and other lemmings, keep writing things like God is good on their Facebook walls, I want to throw up. God, if it were to exist should be fired at this rate. I was happier for some time and felt eager about life and looking forward to things. I guess I never learn, that's the time I will be squashed and everything will be broken, it's how things always have worked. Find a group of friends or a place to belong, some outside force always breaks it up. The locked down life. It should be a theme. Locked in my room as a child, locked down from doing stuff from no car or money for too many years. The theme of being thwarted, locked into a box, was it too much to ask to have a few peaceful years to enjoy whatever time I got left with my husband? 

I was enjoying the UU, going to stamp clubs and because we had a better car wanting to take some day trips.  There's no one to talk to. The migraine headaches are raging again and those are back too.  Everyone else's life sucks and no one wants to hear your complaining. There's people I am scared for, I care about. All the single people living in solitary confinement, if a year is putting cracks on my edges with someone daily to talk to who lives with me, what have their lives become? What about the people who have no jobs or no unemployment, who may live in red states where unemployment is 150 a week or less? We were used to living on nothing what about average people who pay in rent or mortgage what I live on for an entire month? Trouble will come for me if Social Security collapses but for now I am better off on some secure income. What about the people who have lost loved ones? Widowed by this crap or who have had children get sick? Watching those without empathy do their thing has been revelatory to many of us. America cried about 3,000 in one day but doesn't give a shit about 300,000 in less than a year.

I live in the ultra Christian Midwest full of the reticent and stoic, where no one talks about problems, they hide them. I have a husband and online and long distance friends I can be real with but around here on various Zooms [my only social contact] there is this constant pressure to be "positive".  There's no opening up around anyone anymore. The word of the day is REPRESSION.  I am positive too, and put the fake smile on my face but the neurotypicals can see my CPTSD thousand yard stare peeking through. I have gone very silent outside the internet and very few friends. In polite company telling people, America is crashing and burning and announcing they have ruined our lives doesn't go over very well. Just like 20 years ago during Bush's bullshit, we are expected to accept Trump's as normal. 20 years ago Republicans were ruining our lives and that has not changed. They grew stupider and meaner. You won't see "across the aisle" kumbuyah crap here. I want nothing to do with the Nazis who have ruined our lives. I protested their wars and now I protest their stupidity. There's a point where kissing evil and stupid butt becomes simple enabling. 

I still have some moments of happiness. A disability group helped me to get a phone to overcome the increasing deafness via a grant, where I can Live Caption people. Yes my hearing got that bad, and that was the backdrop of some of my stress, that I lost more hearing. A lot of people stepped up like fellow UUs to help us too for shopping and other things. My refuge with my husband and in sleep, hobbies, art, television and internet are still there. My husband has stayed strong and been a great support. I think about what is happening and the insanity is beyond the pale. None of this had to happen. Millions of lives ruined, now with 300,000 dead, and 12 million possibly facing homelessness, and the Republicans want as much suffering as possible and a Orange hair man who commits overt sedition and did this to us is still supported by half of a very dumbed down population. Maybe we knew 20 years ago how bad it would get? 

Friday, December 18, 2020

American Breakdown: Extreme Religion and Pressure is Ruining People's Thinking

Americans in general may be cracking up from a society that demands everything and gives nothing. The economic disenfranchisement, social disconnection, inability to make a decent living, constant fear and threats is taking a massive toll on the human psyche and Americans are cracking up. The fist fighting and shootings in the streets is getting out of control. Sadly I bought into the lies of Christian fundamentalism  and conspiracy and am having to clean out my brain. I never became Qanon, but I am still working through layers of repairing my own thinking and testing beliefs. When I speak of conspiracy here, I do not deny that some nefarious plans and plots happen, but there's a lot of nonsense out there, and it's growing.

Yeah read some crap like this and I think "Yeah people are cracking up" My fundie churches and websites taught me "aliens were demons" too and don't get me started on the whacked out Christian Nephilim believers who have overlaps in beliefs with the Ascension/Alien Disclosure people. Last week on a Facebook medical support board, with all the women on there talking about how they were actually aliens not born on this planet because of their health problems, I wrote "Look evolution and our bone structure makes it clear, humans are from this world!"

I may be autistic with multiple health problems and not fit in but it doesn't mean I come from another planet or galaxy.

"I am not your Indigo Child because I have autism!". What is weird, there was this woman on that same board, who advertised her health board for those on the autistic spectrum and I went over there, and it was Qanon city---"Trump lost the election due to fraud, the new world order pedophiles will be locked up..., etc. etc.  Sigh. The same craziness that took over the fundamentalist world has taken over a lot of holistic health world. 

Autistics seem to be a target of the woo peddlers to the extreme. Why is this? Exploiting all the desperate parents who want their autistic child to be normal at any cost? There's weird theories I see popping up in the Lipedema world too, to go with all those extreme diets. The autism lady was talking about Lipedema too and saying our special DNA saved during us during famines. If that's true, they can have it. I'd rather be skinny and starving. 

Manipulating people by telling them they are the few in the know, is a definite technique out there!

One thing I am worried about is Qanon stuff through the New Age wellness and holistic community. I saw a autism page on here that had tons of praise for a certain right wing politician and extreme Qanon beliefs. Some of the stuff seemed racist too like when they wrote white people and smarter autistic people had more Neanderthal blood and were "born hunters".  They presented these beliefs as scientific. I was horrified.

"A new Paradigm and way of thinking, such as, separating humans into genetic types i.e Born Hunters, needs a new way of looking at the research we have already and how to relate it to any new insights.

In the last decade Scientists have extracted and sequenced DNA from bones found in the Neander Valley in Germany, Neanderthal bone DNA can be translated as 'New Man' bone DNA. There is Scientific Peer Reviewed research stating most modern humans outside of Africa have 1-3% Neanderthal or New Man DNA."

There's the ascension and disclosure people [see] who believe autistics are Indigo children and aliens not of this earth. Evolution points to the very earth oriented origins of human beings. Of course anti-vaxx stuff is a given.  I meet a lot of Australians online who seem to believe this way on these boards. It's not just conservative and evangelical Christians going down Qanon, extreme conspiracy highway, but New Agers, holistic medicine participants, and the wellness community.

I don't trust a lot of alternative health advice. Years ago I got into naturopaths, herbs, etc, in my case to stay alive even though this was contrary to the advice with many in that world I stuck by modern medical care too. None of the alternative health stuff worked. I tried acupuncture, colloidal silver, ear candling, [I never believed in homeopathy], herbs, and other alternative health stuff, and it all failed.

ALL of the naturopaths misdiagnosed me including one medical psychic in Chicago. I saw several naturopaths who never got my endocrine problems correct or Lipedema either. Some herbs and foods were good don't get me wrong for nutritional value and some foods will clear water off the body like parsley, but it's not the same as taking Lasix. All this stuff was an expensive path to nowhere.

I am not a Christian anymore but do blame Christianity for bringing me into conspiracy. I consider liberal Christians who support social justice allies, like Barber, so yes I know there are Christians who don't fit in the crazy camp but at least where I live, liberal Christians are rare, everyone from the Catholics, Lutherans, mainline evangelical etc.  are on the Trumpster wagon and against masks.

 Society has reached a point of complexity where belief in religious fairy tales, is destroying belief in science. I am surrounded by anti-maskers, to the point that when I came home yesterday, when I was sitting in the car, there were 4 people in the foyer of my apartment building without masks. None of them believe Covid is real or is overhyped.   

 Anti-maskers and "open up" types are at least 50 percent of the people I live around. Our hospitals are going over the cliff too and the idiots are still crying for everything to "open up".

Some people think it's only the hardcore fundies like the independent fundamentalist baptists I left behind who are anti-mask, and rejecting science, where I live--- I would estimate 50% of the population locally rejects the reality of Covid. On almost every local comment board dealing with Covid, most are clamoring for everything to be "opened up". Our hospitals have gone over the cliff, and now are warning that if you have a heart attack, or other problems, they don't have space for you. ICU beds are at 0 percent in Southern California. 

Religion is breaking people's thinking in America. One major problem with religion is it does promote magical thinking. The base of faith is believing things without "seeing it" and without evidence. This is a damaging proposition in modern times with the challenges we face. Spiritual exploration, is a positive but where humanity gets in trouble is dogma. The problem now too is adherence to dogma not based on reality is directly putting our lives at risk!

 Christopher Hitchens was right when he said "Religion poisons everything". Liberal Christians who believe in science too are a MINORITY now, in many regions of the country. I am old enough to remember when United Methodists, Lutherans and most Catholics accepted the basics of science--this is not true around here anymore[bible belt of the Midwest] The local Catholic church even had an antimasker sign up telling people to go to Mass for months. 

Fear is rife in America the whole country seems embroiled in a PTSD response. It shuts down rationality. This is a part religion preys on especially toxic religions that invoke hell to keep you in control. The manipulation in America is so immense, with propaganda and more, people are shutting down rational thought. With Covid alone, how many inside are in a freeze or flight scenario?

As I have written about before, my own jumping into fundamentalist Christianity was based on trauma. I almost died [more than once] I went deaf, I experienced extreme poverty with no resources and had scary stigmatizing health problems where no help was forthcoming for many years. People can retreat to fantasy when so overwhelmed, they can't think critically anymore. It happened to me. My thinking got broken. 

In desperation I ran to the myths about God helping and caring. Reality bit me on the ass instead. As hospitals implode, reality is going to take a chomp out of many people. What scares me is as the death numbers skyrocket, so many simply don't care even now. 

 I went deep into conspiracy to try and make sense of a world, examining patterns that had gone mad. This is basically is what is happening to people on a societal wide level. Why do you think people are going for Qanon or becoming more hard core Christians? 

Someone asked me on a message board, dealing with ex-Qanon people and those dealing with Qanon relatives, what got you out of conspiracy [and fundie religion]? I gave them this list [edited for conciseness] as for the reasons I got out.......

"1. Leaving and deconverting from fundamentalist Christianity. Prayer was never answered, I got tired of false spiritual answers and given a model of life that didn't exist for a disabled low income person. Christianity wrote checks that reality could not cash. I would shut down my conspiracy blog when I left fundamentalism, I had maybe a three week flirtation with liberal Christianity and decided I didn't believe any of it anymore. I returned to the UU as a non-Christian.

2. The Trumpsters made me disgusted with the conspiracy world. Watching 99% of the conspiracy websites all go for Trump bothered me. I was sickened years before that over the increasing racism and nationalism.

I always thought Alex Jones was a fake. I wrote even against him on my conspiracy blog. Why did all the conspiracy people match from Rense to the rest of them? Why did they push the same stupid Republican politics, or alt-right for those who thought the Republican party was "deep state" or NWO.

3. Library book reading. I am disabled and have more time to read, this includes being in bed a lot from severe rare diseases. Part of the library reading list included  books on Climate Change, that proved the case it is real--saw evidence in my own life, evolution, science, paleontology, biology, psychology, sociology and more. My desire to educate myself was life long. Over the long haul it destroyed a lot of what conspiracy theorists and religionists were telling me.

4. Moving away from a psycho fundie town [it is actually known as a center of the alt right] Being out of that bubble helped. Even all the New Agers there had bought into conspiracy. I knew people who never went to doctors and only naturopaths. One friend who was in the New Age went off, all blood pressure meds because modern medicine was no longer to be trusted and died of a stroke. Where I live now is way too religious and conservative but it is wealthier and there are more educated people here.

5. I always have been progressive, I hated the Republican party. Being on a fixed income, the boot strap crap isn't going to sell. I protested war even as a fundie. I voted for Obama secretly as a fundie, because I thought all the Republicans would cut my Social Security so I had two competing sides. Even as a fundie, I did environmental volunteer work that my church mocked and once told me, "God is going to give us a new earth".

So the conspiracy bullshit about America being the light of the world didn't sell with me. This also put me at odds with a lot of conspiracy people. Capitalism and it's limits directly affected my life. So when conspiracy people whined about socialism, I used to think this place sure as hell needs more of it especially when my husband had job lay offs, and I entered my late 40s and then early 50s, knowing things were never going to get economically better.

Their answers were bullshit and their refusal to see what was happening to Gen X [I am in my early 50s] on down pissed me off. My husband works in gig employment laid off from newsapapers. I did not have proper medical care or health insurance even in my 20s. Ever met a liberal conspiracy theorist? They do not exist. That world in other words pushed me out. 

McGowan kind of bordered on it, but died [but still believed in absurd stuff like moon landings being fake.] The guy who wrote the Rigorous Intuition blog seemed to be on the edge of liberalism, but Trumpsters took over his blog discussion board anyhow.  I was a rare bird in a world I did not belong.

On the conspiracy Christian blog, I was coming to weird conclusions and even wrote on there most conspiracy is propaganda, and most churches are for societal control. Why would I stay in a system I considered abysmal. It was like I was digging myself out too. It is hard to know what to trust especially in this society of lies.

6. Going no contact with my majority Trumpster family that preached religion [uber Catholicism] and extreme bootstrapper politics. Adult children of narcissists recovery. Refusing abuse, and being done with those who abused and put me down for being disabled and lower income. I became educated about narcissists and sociopaths and how they operate. That alone tore the veil off many of the gaslighters. Self empowerment that saved me from the clutches of religion and abusers.

I still struggle with some areas, the programming was strong with. This Covid crap has not helped. I didn't get to enjoy my reintroduction to reality very long.

Its weird for me now to see so many people getting into the conspiracy thinking. One thing about me when I was a conspiracy theorist, I kept my mouth shut about it in the "real world" because I knew it was weird and did not "fit in" with these new conspiracy types, they spout off, having gained mainstream acceptance in their conservative circles.

One guy wrote that  "the pervasiveness of information is overwhelming many people's ability to cope." He is right. There's too much to deal with. The world has reached a level of complexity that many people can't deal with. So many horrible things are happening where the basics of making a living are under a threat, where one worries about everything from school shootings to terrorists threats, people are cracking up. Add to this that since the boomers all left home and Reagan came along, people don't have stable economic lives anymore, they don't have strong social networks and that capitalism has made it so everyone is on edge, always having to "fight to survive". Even the middle and upper middle classes, have to constantly produce or be on the outlook out from not being knocked off their higher place. In other words, don't get sick or have anything bad happen, because it means poverty and destitution awaits.

Chris Hedges is right about the liberal social class, the intelligentsia basically telling the poorer and working classes to go to hell.

One reason I fell into fundamentalist religion, was noticing the NPR listening wealthy even liberal boomers, didn't give a crap about my severe health and economic plights. Part of me was entranced then with the religious messages about a more simple and wholesome life.  I believed their answers would make life better, they did not. Even now I have uncomfortable feelings about wealthy mostly older liberals refusing to face the facts about class and the growing poverty and economic destitution. They advance a world that no longer exists of comfortable secure homes, vacations and progress. Don't they get that progress is over when half the population doesn't believe in basic science?  Wake up, the 1980s are over with.

I vote Democrat, but write all the time how the Democratic party has betrayed me and millions of others and it's true. While many Democrats protest class issues even wealthy ones, many things are papered over, this needs to change. 

Sadly the majority of the conspiracy and conservative set, has internalized their oppression and decry "socialism", unions, and anything that HELPS society. They have internalized the Republican messaging of Social Darwinism, and the "survival of the fittest". This means even if their own suffering is on the line so be it. Just look at poor people who vote Republican, there's plenty of them. There's a weird pride in suffering. It's sick. Now they reject basic pandemic precautions, even death isn't enough of a deterrent. I've had dark thoughts that America has a built in death-wish now. Life has become so miserable, overwhelming and scary, maybe there is a self destruction theme advancing the cause of the anti-maskers. Inside they do all want it all to fall down. Capitalism has ripped them to shreds and they want it all to burn and crash. 

                                         Anti-vaxxers don't trust doctors.

Why are the Covid mandates not being accepted? While narcissism is fueling a lot of the lack of empathy, people don't trust the experts. That's it in a nutshell. The intelligentsia above that abandoned the poorer classes, don't realize as people became more disenfranchised, and got no answers to fix things, they turned against multiple institutions. I faced this myself, where I was told one thing by teachers, academics, scientists, doctors and others, that life would turn out one way, and it did not and that it was "all my fault". Failed expectations was the catalyst to turn away.  My poverty separated me from the "reasonable" as I was cut out of their world of hope, science and technology. Has this happened to others?

I tried to fix things but was unable. Look at millions of people having the bottom fall out and a slow crash, and experts provided answers that did not work on the economic front, people have shut their ears now even to basic scientific information meant to save lives. In a world that no longer makes sense, people look for patterns and whys and wherefores. It makes conspiracy and religion attractive, to provide explanations.  I still struggle trying to figure out how "it all went so bad". I was a conscientious young person. I wanted answers, and I went looking for them.

Religion supposedly can then come into pick up the pieces. It's another trap of control but people don't realize this. The soothing bliss of a gold filled heaven awaits. Jesus will return and fix everything. The planet may burn and the oceans die but God will give us a new planet. Some New Agers await "disclosure" and others believe they are "not of this world" because this world has become so horrible to them. Think about that.

People want to feel some control, they want some help, they want a feeling of safety from the abyss. Much of evangelical Christianity lies to people now, telling them Covid is not real, that it is just a flu, and God will protect you from germs. It's like these Christians are doubling efforts to prove reality is not real, as they hold super-spreader events like Kirk Cameron's latest:

Denial won't protect any of these people from getting sick.

Narcissism, also has people go into denial. For any of us ACONs, did any of our narcissistic parents live in reality? Some of us would beg them to listen to us. A major part of gaslighting was simply lying about what was happening. That's coming from multiple fronts. They ignore reality and tell you to shut up as they craft their own and expect you to adhere to it. Trump's blathering about "fake news" was just a narcissist projecting. They think they are "special" not one of the riff-raff. Kirk Cameron believes he is one of God's "chosen" and not a lost person who will get sick. Narcissists don't deal with actual reality, that takes introspection. The narcissist epidemic is going to cost lives too. The narcissism of Christianity "we are so blessed and the chosen and you are 'lost scum' only deserving of death and hell" has come roaring out of the closet.

Desperation has people running to comforting myths. Christianity gets more radicalized and extreme. Have you noticed all these conservative churches care only about the world that comes after? Along with the self destruction I mention above, it's like people have totally given up on this life and THIS WORLD and are embracing myths instead. I am not sure what the answers are. Things need to get better. People need to return to facing reality. We need a society of cooperation and hope again. That much is sure if we are to survive. I hope others can think about the traps, that are too easily fallen in. This world is not an easy place but fantasy isn't going to fix things either, it's destroying us. If you think the world has gone psycho, it has. You are not alone. 

Update on this: Obviously some of my views about Covid had changed. One mistake in life, never stop listening to people even ones you disagree with. The conservatives warning about problems regarding Covid did have truth to their statements. 

Friday, December 11, 2020

The GOP: The Sedition and Dictatorship Party


I unfriended a lot of Republicans. I found myself wondering if any of them would come back and apologize but I doubt it.  Maybe if the country collapses, and the bodies pile up on the street corners or there's no more government that is actually elected, maybe one or two will think back to what I used to talk about. Why is open sedition and such evils supported by half the population? They don't care about democracy, they want to "own the libs" and want to dominate, and now America is in in big time danger. I don't know if Biden is standing down, hoping to avoid worse troubles from the crazies.  I am giving him the benefit of the doubt for now, but I worry, because you see, I have seen toxic sociopaths get their way far too often. They don't care about lying, cheating, or doing what it takes and they always have lots of brainwashed followers to help them. 

Questioning Forgiveness


Telling People to Forgive is Gaslighting in Disguise.

I don't believe in forgiveness as taught in major religions, from Christianity to the New Age movement  It often is an enabling of evil where the abused and victims are the ones told to stand down while excuses are made for unrepentant evil doers.

 It's another way for people to be told to submit and has a lot to do with status quo and the support of domination in human society where all the onus is on the oppressed to bow and lick the boots of their abusers. 

 When I stopped letting others tell me what to feel more healing came. When I was allowed myself to feel my emotions, life became more balanced. Forgiving sociopaths/malignant narcissists and other toxics, is the soonest way to get re-offended against. Squashing your own emotions does not lead to healing. 

So many people are tired of being told to ignore and repress all my feelings in religion and other places. Time and no contact will heal, but fantasies about forgiving people of no conscience, all you do is open yourself up to nonsense.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

When People Believe Crazy Things: Qanon, Fundie Religion and Conspiracy

Reality itself seems to be cracking up in America. When people no longer know what is true, society itself can crack up. This is happening in America. We can't trust our institutions, social ties have been frayed to barely existing outside of social media, it seems everyone's reality testers have broken. I find myself confused often, going online, to ask the scientists I can find, "Is this true?", "What about this?" So much just doesn't make sense anymore. 

In my case, to avoid new pitfalls in critical thinking, it was okay to say "I don't know." and admit it. I believe when a population is gaslighted to hell, told to believe in the joke known as the American dream and also taught to avoid the reality in front of their face it has a major effect. Add in all the toxic positivity as everything is stripped away and people's economic and other plans crumble to dust. It takes a psychological toll. America could be labeled a cult itself.

 Yesterday I got emails from a friend I care a lot about, I've been friends with her for around 20 years. I feel like she is slipping away being dragged by the ankles by Fox news and Republican websites into scary stances. She writes me stuff all the time about how the protesters are going to burn down her city, and sends me pro-Trump stuff. Sometimes she seems frustrated with both parties and I have shared my frustration with the DNC. However she defaults to the "socialism is bad" and "they are going to take over" racist defaults, illustrating the endless hatefulness of the Republican party. Sometimes I feel like I am getting through telling her, telling her "don't give in to these hateful ideas", and she knows I have struggled, and I have asked things why be against all ideas of societal progress?  I just don't know what to say anymore. 

I am trying to rescue someone from a cult and failing to do so and already have lost others to the cult. One thing I have noticed is how afraid she is, I am too, but her fear is taking her into the arms of the sociopaths who don't give a damn. Our view of reality itself has cracked in half. I am on one side and she is on the other. At least she believes Covid is real. 

 Then there was the time a few weeks ago, when six classmates came out against me for wanting to wear masks and they were against the wearing of any masks and any lock-downs. The majority of my Gen X high school class are all Trumpsters and evangelicals. As my state implodes, and Covid takes over, I feel like folks like this have directly destroyed our lives. Their view of reality doesn't match either. Covid is "just a flu" in their world and they see masks as government oppression. They shouted at me online for being a "socialist" and a "sucker" for thinking Covid was real. I unfriended them all.

Reality testing in American society is breaking. Qanon and conspiracy thinking is spreading like wildfire. While I still examine some things and believe some conspiracies are true, when I was a conspiracy theorist. we were rare. I found this QANON board for people whose relatives and loved ones had their brains taken over by that brain worm. People were writing stories of how their spouses, parents and more had adapted extreme views and conspiracy. Most was related to them all becoming Trumpsters. There are endless stories of ruined relationships and growing cruelty among the conspiracy people.  One thing to remember is if Trump leaves the scene, the conspiracy will continue.

I decided to share with these folks my history as an ex-conspiracy theorist, and there were a few other people on there like me describing how hard it was to dig one's self out of conspiracy thinking. I have found it interesting to read the story of others who broke out of extreme conspiracy. Others like me had deconverted from fundamentalist and evangelical Christianity as well. Interestingly enough, a couple fellow Aspies said they had fallen down the same hole.

 I posted this to them: [quotes edited for grammar and space]

 "I was majorly in the conspiracy world as a Christian fundamentalist. I even had a blog, [not under this name] that explored conspiracies and bible prophecy. I am an ex conspiracy theorist. Google my user name, and then conspiracy.

 People don't seem to get the religion part of Qanon, when the evangelical and Christian fundamentalist world teach people that the world is run by Luciferians or Satanists. This messes up people's minds, did mine and created fantasies about the world and magical thinking. In extreme fundamentalism, [I was in the IFB Independent Fundamentalist Baptist and Calvary Chapel church],this is where people go. 

Ironically as a conspiracy theorist I rejected Qanon, and questioned Pizza gate as distractions and diversions. I also thought Alex Jones was a shill. I also never became a Republican and saw both parties as "evil" though I did a few guilty dem/third party votes based on being disabled, I would not tell my churches about. 

 However there was overlaps with Qanon in my conspiracy beliefs. I did believe the global elite were Satanists, in Agenda 21, in "the new world order", and that celebrities were making Satanic signs and symbols.

I rejected racism and antisemitism and that sort of stuff but used the Bible to create a new reality. I did believe too like the Qanons, that bad things were done with children and human trafficking but rejected Qanon thinking that a certain politician was some kind of rescuer. I did question other conspiracies I thought were nonsense like the Mandela Effect, etc. 

Christian fundamentalism and bible prophecy cooked my brain. I wish I could go get therapy, because now I worry about vestiges of conspiracy. I still believe some bad stuff goes on, after all humans do plot and plan but it's hard to know what is really going on. I believe conspiracy has arose because the world is so complex and often people have found out many institutions and other things are not trustworthy. People are trying to put the patterns together. 

Being Aspie, I often do see things differently. In some ways it may have made me more vulnerable.

I deconverted from Christianity around 4-5 years ago, no longer believe and no longer consider myself a Christian. My husband never converted in and never was a conspiracy theorist, and I believe he is the main reason I didn't sink as deep as some people, he would question things I believed but not in a mean way.

I was smart enough when I was in conspiracy to keep my mouth shut about it except at fundie church with a few people. No one knew I believed this way. I mean I was into conspiracy as early as 2002, ironically even in online conspiracy it was discussed only 3 percent of people "understood" how the world worked. It was extreme FRINGE back then. 

Watching so many of the populace march into extreme conspiracy has been scary.  I was against Dominionism and Christian Nationalism even during my conspiracy time, and one reason I deconverted was endless layers of major cognitive dissonance. I war protested and did not like authoritarianism but I was in this messed up religion. I am so happy to be free.

What is ironic, is the worldview I had during the 2000s, conspiracy theory people were extreme weirdos, I never met anyone who believed in the "new world order" like I did, and now I am freaked out everything took over and conspiracy people became these people I wanted no association with, racist, loving Christian nationalism and more.

 When I was recovering from conspiracy, Covid has been a major set back. Like 9-11 which was kind of the feeder event for me to become a conspiracy theorist in the first place, Covid has not helped. I wanted to believe the world was a more sane, and together place.

I lost almost all the Christian friends. Even recently I got in fights with people about Covid where they did not believe in wearing masks. one of my friends of 11 years was basically Qanon from what I could tell. I've lost many friends from the deconversion. The friendship ended when I told her Covid was real and was directly honest about my deconversion. Evangelicalism and fundamentalism, its like being in a whole other world. I mean I got out. For you people who want to get people out, since I was a conspiracy theorist, maybe I will post about how to do that, and what worked on me. 

One thing too that worked on me, is I am a reader, and I was reading books on science, evolution of birds, the epochs of the earth which was cracking apart the Christian fundamentalism. I also reread "A Candle in the Dark" by Carl Sagan and realized with horror I had been led down a really bad intellectual path. 

I still have vestiges of some conspiracy beliefs, don't trust Bill Gates, and wonder if Covid is about a global economic re-set. I still think some stuff goes down, but Qanon is lies. I will not promote conspiracy here, or tell you to believe in conspiracy. In fact I wish I could find a scientist or other to help me examine some beliefs I want to re-examine and can't make sense of. I talked to a few online that broke me out of other conspiracies.

 I am an Unitarian Universalist and a progressive now and very embarrassed about my conspiracy and ultra fundie past. If anyone knows of recovery places or ideas for EX-Conspiracy Theorists, please tell me too." 

I was a very different sort of conspiracy person, what gets me now, with the Qanons is how ALIKE they are in beliefs. Some seekers and true independent thinkers can find themselves in the conspiracy world wanting to know more about how the world works, but sadly most people are not personalities who are exploring things but who are adopting a world view handed to them by others. Of course religion makes people more vulnerable. 

One thing I discussed on that board was how the people I was around all had broken reality testers. My old small rural town has gone extreme. I have Facebook contact with groups from there. Here I had to end friendships too on Facebook, where one man had obviously joined up with the Proud Boys and their fascist beliefs. I have one libertarian friend left, who doesn't like Trump but he rails about the "socialists" so I have distanced myself from him as well. He is against the minimum wage which is absurd. He is a wealthier sort and owns a business but that is definitely selfishness especially in a rural town where the poverty rate is at 37 percent. My old rural town has had endless rallies against the Lock-downs, and they have had mask-less parades. Reality isn't in vogue there. Extreme religion and politics grew after I left. While these things are are a problem here, this area has more wealth and education, so it is not as severe. 

I have had serious deep thoughts, about how the way my family worked to limit critical and independent thinking, I was taught to trust in "authorities", and to shut down any independent thought. I went to a uber Catholic school educated by nuns who all believed an Invisible Man up in the sky directed all our lives and taught me fairy tales like the apparitions of Fatima were real. One teacher was so obsessed, she talked about nothing but Fatima and we would hear more about the Visions of the Virgin Mary, than we would about math.

One day I was lamenting to my husband, "What would my life have been, if I had been allowed to explore things intellectually, or been introduced to the basics of critical thinking, I had some interest in science, that was stamped out!"

I lived in that fundie rural town, my family was mostly uneducated "new money" sorts, where even my father kept his true beliefs a secret to do my mother's bidding, I went to high school in the land of pitbulls and evangelical Christianity, and I was surrounded by religious nut cases.

Another layer of the onion I am peeling, is that in 2000 after I escaped Chicago and my endless traumas there, I got a therapist in my rural small town, who told me, God would fix my life and my problems. I hadn't thought about this in years. I was questioning what the hell happened to me, that I left the UU church [we moved to a rural place hundreds of miles away from any] and went into religion and all this other crazy stuff. It occurred to me that one reason I went for religion was a therapist I had.

 This therapist was both good and bad. She introduced me to Aspergers, which I had never heard about and believed I had it, and other therapists and a psychologist would back this up later on, but she guided me into religion too and that was a major problem. I wonder what she would say if I told her, "You telling me that God and Jesus would fix my life, led me on a 14 year long rabbit trail to nowhere and more misery". What is sad is I was very close to this therapist and liked her a lot. She honestly told me as a UU, "I had turned my back on God" and this is one reason my life had gone astray with the health problems and poverty. I remember her giving me a book on Christianity and returning to the Lord. I do not remember the exact title of the book as it has been years. I read and discussed this book with her. What is scary is that this was a SECULAR office.

 For years I had been put down, ostracized, shamed by the family and told I was going to hell for being a UU. I moved to this fundie religious town and hear more of the same and even therapists joined in on the socio-religious messages. "You need Christianity to make your life right". Of course they told me to reconcile with all my abusers as well. 

Was I handed critical and rational thinking to recover from my traumas?

Was I handed empowerment to stand up for myself and my rights? This therapist was one of the many who stressed reconciliation with my abusers although she admitted my abuse was "severe".

This is like America on the macro level. 

Are Americans being handed critical and rational thinking to fix their society?

Nope, most are being handed more religion and more lies. 

Are we being handed empowerment to stand up for ourselves and our rights?

Sure, in a few leftist circles, but most of the messaging is to submit. 

I was surrounded by people who had left all vestiges of critical thinking. I posted this on that board too. It's occurred to me, that people with loving families that do not beat them down for independent thought, questioning and critical thought probably have less chance of being taken in by conspiracy or extreme religion. My family since they fell for Tea Party lies, and I knew they were all rabid Trumpsters after I went no contact, probably dabble with a lighter version of Qanon. They definitely were against "socialists", gay people, and others Trump told them to be against. So I described the people who had left reality too, who I was surrounded by:

"See this link: 

I went back to my old spiritually abusive deliverance minister's website. She has gone crazier and every time there is a holiday, writes that there is going to be "human sacrifice".

I noticed too she is now a full blown Trumpster, she downplayed that stuff to me because I hated the Republican party and now has links up against Biden and how Trump should be president. The effect of this person on my life was very bad, thank goodness she lived 1000s of miles away in another state. I always wondered what craziness she has gotten into. Some of her other victims did contact me, one who actually lived with her, and ended up homeless. One of the other victims who contacted me went deeper in conspiracy and believes she is a "targeted person".

 [The deliverance minister would fit full Qanon beliefs today especially with her embracing of Trump] I saw a newspaper article after I cut her off where cops did visit her looking for someone, so they knew of her and her so called "ministry". I do wonder how many people's she's preyed on though. I was invited to visit and live at her "compound". This is where having a husband still living in reality helped me. I refused. She's gone deeper into insanity. I did seriously wonder how did I get involved with this deluded person? I feel sorry for her because she's trapped in the extreme fundie bubble now ruining her life and looks like she will never escape.

Then there is my first IFB minister. I was close enough to him and his wife to be over at their house all the time. His wife seemed to be a friend but I really was a "charity case" something that happens to disabled people in churches. They were homeschoolers, well most of my church members were. He would leave that church and move away after I moved away first. I was friends with him on Facebook. After I deconverted, I unfriended him. 

He told me I probably was never born again when I told him I had doubts and said "you focus too much on the dark side of things and question too much". Anyhow he has a blog, I knew about and I checked it out. He quit his IFB pastor job of a small to medium sized church of around 150 people, bought this sail boat, and decided he was going to have his family live on it full time. He sold their house and got rid of just about all their possessions and decided he was going to preach the gospel from his sailboat. His kids are preteens, and he has 4. His wife seemed like a practical person when I was around them so I could not believe this. 

I didn't say or write anything because I had unfriended him but was looking at his blog in shock and that none of the church people around him questioned him or what he was doing to his children. It is legal for some nut to deny his kids schooling and to make them live on a boat that had about 200 square feet of living space? Anyhow they hit the water and then Covid hits about a month into their new way of life. Guess the Lord screwed up on his planning, he decided to return to the USA.

I don't know if he sold the boat, but they live in a RV camper and are driving around for him to "preach" and for them to grift, and are essentially homeless people. So he forced his family into poverty for his illusions.

 I find myself hoping his kids run away or turn themselves over to social workers. I've had to sit on my hands to write things like "Your kids deserve a home and schooling" on his blog, but didn't do it. This was my first pastor after I was "born again". He and his wife are crazy too and not living in reality. At this IFB church he was not as far openly down the conspiracy path like me, but he told us America was going to collapse soon all the time and we may be looking at total destruction. There was a lot of doom and gloom and we were told we had to depend wholly on the Lord. Church members and I used to talk about "new world order" and conspiracy stuff. About 20-30 percent of the place were full preppers. One guy I befriended was really into Art Bell.

There were these two "friends" in my old rural town who refused Social Security numbers. I wrote them until about 5 years ago. They were homeless and lived behind a farmer's barn, I talked them into being caretakers because they were getting old and I showed them websites were couples could get caretaking jobs--they went on computers at the library. They got one, moved out of town and were no longer homeless. I don't know what has happened to them since. They were major Q people, and believed in the "new world order" like me. We disagreed on social security numbers, I was disabled The self sabotage due to religion was extreme. They could not even get driver's licenses due to their refusal to have social security numbers believing it was the "mark of the beast". They could not get regular jobs because of this. 

I befriended this one guy online where we ran a board to "witness" to Catholics but it was mostly a fundie conspiracy board. I still don't like the Vatican and Catholic religion but of course see all this differently today. Because I was married, I would not talk to him on phone and shared correspondence with my husband. This guy sent me DVD after DVD of Calvary Chapel stuff and this one extreme pastor [Russ Dizdar] who claimed Satanic Super Soldiers were going to take over America. He didn't agree with some of my IFB stuff but I moved and was in a Calvary Chapel for a time before going to a second IFB church. I think about the crazy conspiracies and other BS we discussed online. He was an uber Republican and we argued too much over politics, so the "friendship" ended. As far as I know he is still on the web ranting about the "Whore of Babylon" I am sure he is a Trumpster today if not a full Q person. 

There were these older ladies in my old rural town, in that town everyone was religious and one told me her daughter was a "witch" who could do astral travel and came into her home to spy on her and her husband and cause trouble. I was close to this lady but this was some extreme weirdness when I went to go visit her. She considered her daughter completely evil. [This being a pre-no contact friendship, today I am wary of anyone who focuses on one child as the "bad one".] 

This other lady was very nice in her case her son became a missionary to China. Everything was about religion to her. She was nice and kind but Jesus was definitely the center of her world. She believed all non-Christians would go to hell. I am sure she would stop talking to deconverted me. Our friendship broke up from distance, and my move but she had become very elderly.

This is just tip of the iceberg but I was surrounded by all these uber religious people. I was dancing around with toxic troubled people whose reality testers were all broken. Even my therapist got me into fundie religion in that town. I was still UU and we moved to a rural town--no UU churches for hundreds of miles. She kept telling me Jesus could fix my problems and remarked you turned your back on God in the UU church. I had extreme disabling medical problems. I lost my career due to illness, gone through severe poverty and that career was troubled and faced extreme problems. This was at a secular office. 

She didn't give me reality but more fantasy. She even gave me a book on returning to Christ. She primed the pump for the fundies. I was seeing her around the year 2000-2001, Add 9-11 and stir with my PTSD and I was converted in by 2002. I would deconvert in 2016. Oh I guess that is 14 wasted years in religion not 16. Well, that is still too damn long. Our environments can influence us. America is becoming a very troubled place.

I live in a very conservative area NOW, where outside of my UU congregation, the MAJORITY support Trump, believe homosexuality is wrong and against gay marriage, and believe that global warming is a hoax. I was not around normal people at all."

I've thought about a lot of this stuff. Today I have entered a mode of self protection. I simply walked away from a lot of people. The sheer numbers of them have been disheartening. How does it feel to live in a world where most people stand against your basic values from your own family to the majority of people you know outside very few? It can feel very scary. There is a point where arguing was fruitless. I suppose as time went on, I was shocked by how many were falling for extreme viewpoints from religion to Trumpster inspired conspiracy.

 It definitely has changed my way of being in the world where now I do analyze the quality of the company I keep and if someone doesn't support basic human rights this is a problem. Losing so many friends is not easy. Many were never real "friends". True friendship does not exist in cults where everything is about conformity to absurd beliefs. 

This may sound bad to some, and I respect freedom of religion but I have no qualms with someone purposefully deconverting a close loved one in a cult or a harmful religion [Christian fundamentalism] like I was in. One thing it is not just Christians too buying into these beliefs but many New Agers and "disclosure and ascension" believers [think of David Icke here] believing in things like the "Great Awakening" and Trump and those like him "rescuing the world". I am glad I was broken out. I was deprogrammed, a lot of it was my own efforts but my husband helped too. 

My husband served a key role in breaking me out. I did live somewhat of a compartmentalized life, where in happiness with him, I was reading alternative comics, going to bookstores and libraries, listening to rock music, watching TV shows like Breaking Bad and PBS, going to concerts, doing NORMAL PEOPLE stuff, that actually broke all my IFB church's rules. We had married in the UU for heaven's sakes.

His friends often used to get upset and asked him why he stayed with such a "fundamentalist" and "crazy" wife, but they didn't realize how our day to day life was really like. He took the tactic of respecting me while not accepting the beliefs. This may have taken more time, he even took me to church at times, but instead of triggering me, he would discuss things he did not agree with.

 Because of my former religious abuse with my family, I did not want to shove religion down his throat or anyone else's so I believe I was far more laid back than most fundamentalists though my churches were constantly harping on me for my "unsaved" husband. 

We got into a recent discussion after my deconversion where he told me he knew I was seeking and exploring answers for the many things we had suffered, from the toxic, abusive and unloving family, the extreme trauma and poverty in Chicago, the crazy health problems that made no sense, going deaf and almost dying, and that I was trying to find comfort and solace. He said you were trying to find answers for a lot of things that didn't make sense. 

We consumed media all the time away from the cult. Reading Naomi Klein and Chris Hedges, and books like that I had reasonable explanations instead of crazy supernatural ones for why the world had gone off it's rocker. 

 With Qanons, fundies and conspiracy people, asking this question may help the people who want to get them out. 

Are they traumatized, old and overwhelmed with the world? 

Are they lonely? 

Trying to find comfort and solace in a fundie cult or conspiracy world that supposedly has all the answers? 

I wanted answers when I got sucked in. I was disabled young, and as I desperately tried to join the "real world" with my disabled body via volunteer work and other things, I was left out on the fringes of society. 

My family even when I was in contact rejected and disinvited me from multiple events. I was isolated from being housebound and disabled. I did not fit in anywhere. I was searching for belonging and answers and well it didn't go well. It does not surprise me my thinking went to the extreme fringe too.

Conspiracy and denial of reality with religious fairy tales are ways for people to cope, it does make the really bad stuff seem less big or that you can fight it or know the "secret" of conquering it. I clung to ideas that God was going to rescue me and make things right. I clung to the idea that I knew the real way the world worked. 

Maintaining the religious and conspiracy facade isn't always easy. Every fundie Christian and conspiracy person has doubts, one thing that will help is leading them to confront those doubts. I had issues with the brutality of Christianity from the beginning, I had moral and ethical issues with teachings regarding hell where I even wrote an article on the Christian conspiracy blog saying that hell bothered me. 

One wants to be gentle but break through the fear that is instilled in both the fundamentalist and conspiracy person to have the courage to dare to examine their doubts. I had issues very early on with Christianity where niggling thoughts would bother me, "Why does God need blood?" and "Why is this religion based on brutality and violence?" They told me all doubts were fueled by Satan, a way they teach people to do their own thought control. I was scared to examine these ideas though finding this link helped me alot. I remember the day I read it, I was still a Christian but it cracked the facade. It admitted that Christianity was based on human sacrifice.

 If you want to break some of the conspiracy theorists out, you got to break the biblical world view many are trapped in. The biblical world view they told me was so "holy" made me fall for the conspiracy lies. They walked hand in hand. 

Authoritative religion that claimed to have all the answers made me ready made for conspiracy people who had developed "answers" for why the world worked the way it did. You have to chip away at this. You have to free people's mind from a cage. 

 Some may deconstruct and become liberal Christians, or explore other religions, others may go full agnostic or atheist, you want to break the fundamentalist trap. Some people recommend Street Epistemology but I would suggest watching Theramin Trees and Darkmatter2525 too on Youtube to get some more hard-hitting questions you know will bring a fundamentalist into question. 

You have to get people to examine their beliefs. The same goes for conspiracy. Doubting some popular conspiracy theories, like Pizza Gate or the "Crisis Actor" nonsense I was reading, actually opened the door for me to analyze, doubt others and than stop believing them. This doesn't mean I believe all conspiracy is wrong, people do plot and plan and do bad stuff for profit, but breaking my mind out of fantasy and magical thinking and extreme religion freed my brain to finally examine things the way I should. Sometimes asking hard questions, while being hopefully respectful of the person, will help....

One question that someone asked me that led to my deconversion was, "Why do you think you are so special for God to answer your prayers when there's little kids being bombed in foreign lands"? Now some of this may take someone who still has a vestige of introspection left and isn't in full deep on NPD. It takes conscience and introspection for someone to examine beliefs and change them. 

 Extreme religion and conspiracy work via keeping people isolated. They limit their information to little bubbles and tell them "You can only trust me". The conspiracy world taught me to doubt scientists, and experts. Fundamentalist Christianity also bolstered those messages. 

One hobby broke down my false beliefs. I loved PBS, I watched it all the time. Please donate to Public Television. I swear PBS cracked things down. Put a lot of PBS on around your Qanon or extreme religion addled relative or friend. I think it will help. Be subtle about it, you don't have to put on a full blown Paleontology show even some average wonder for the earth and nature will have it's affect. 

Try and have them read fun books, "The Genius of Birds" is one book that helped to deconvert me.

 There's some conspiracy websites that even expose Trump as NWO and evil. I would be in a strange place with a Qanon person now because I could tell them about Trump's father's connection to Tammany Hall and other weird stuff. You could use conspiracy to fight their flavor of it. I went so deep in conspiracy world it's like I dug a hole to China and popped out on the other side into the fresh air. 

There's a point where I grew tired of all the hands sign and Satan supposedly running everything and the constant fear and the rest where I got tired of it all. Maybe your Q-addled person would too. 

 Another thing that happened was, my husband who was never a conspiracy theorist and always an agnostic turned to me and said, "So what if this is true, what are you going to do about it?" That stumped me. This is the one question that broke me away. There is this desire for control in conspiracy. I realized the time I was wasting trying to find things out. So what was I going to do if I found out? What could be done about it? 

I had deluded people including two of the ex-friends going on about MK Ultra, one of the most extreme conspiracy theories, so perhaps crazy experiments were done, but how does it improve your life today? We should stand against all injustice, but I noticed people complaining about MK Ultra were the ones preaching the most unthinking obedience to the powers that be. 

My husband, also broke me away making jokes about some of the religious extremists I was around. Of my deliverance minister, the one that wanted to move me to the compound he would say, "She sounds like Skipper on Gilligans Island with the Tiki statues!" Humor can be an elixir. He put doubts in my mind that helped me never go too deep with her.

 With your loved one going into extreme religion or conspiracy ask yourself: 

 Is it trauma? 

 Is it loneliness? 

Conspiracy and fundie religion offer a faux community. In fact one reason many people will join cults or fundamentalist churches is because they will preach, "we are your family now, and we love and care about you!" My first IFB church was heavy on the shared meals and preaching we were a church family, that should remain close and take care of each other. That was something that was very appealing to me.

With conspiracy, there was some narcissism in it, where us conspiracy theorists considered ourselves special people who were true seekers wanting to find the answers "beyond the matrix". With the Calvary Chapel friend, who sent me the DVDs, he told me all the time how us conspiracy people were special and we numbered only 3 percent of the population back in the early 2000s. 

I know isolation from my disabilities and Aspergers took me down these paths, outside of my marriage, I never felt like I belonged anywhere. I still struggle with this now. This feeling of never feeling at rest in the world or like I have a place. I am sure it is left over from the toxic family too. I remain very deeply disturbed at the isolation Covid19 is imposing when I was finally succeeding in building somewhat of a life. 

 Is it wanting answers for why the world is such a confusing and dark place now? Let's be frank, there's a lot of weird shit going on. There really are some bad people out there doing harm. Even trying to apply critical thinking to this mess is exhausting. 

 Tell them this..."It's okay not to know everything". One main damage of fundie religion is they tell you in it, you have to be CERTAIN of everything, you better get your beliefs 100 percent or god burns you in hell, this spills onto everything else. It is okay to say "I DO NOT KNOW". 

When I had this realization, I realized it was okay not to know everything and it helped break the chains of religion and conspiracy. It freed me from this exhausting drive in my personality that wanted to know why things happened. 

 Another question to ask, "Is it really working like you thought it would?" Trust me every Christian fundie deep inside is having thoughts like, "why aren't these prayers working" but the peer pressure and thought control where they are taught that to doubt means Satan is messing with them shuts that down. Same for conspiracy, when I was in it, they told me scientists, were all liars and that I was falling for their lies. This is gaslighting that can be broken through too. Just teaching a Q-addled person about the realities of gaslighting will break them out. Studying NPD, manipulation and how abusers operate broke the chains. 

Now in some cases many of you may be dealing with predators and NPD people but if you have some people with consciences and who have some ability for introspection and love left, they may be able to be reached like I was. I look back now and feel some uncomfortable feelings about how I was manipulated. Leaving religion and conspiracy behind was a maturation process. The more people that can be freed from false conspiracy and religion the better. Walking around thinking Satan was running the world was screwed up, bad stuff happens but they had no answers just more fear and destruction and now the whole country is in danger from it.

Update: Qanon stuff was the shill factory at full production, but some conspiracies are true.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Resiliency and Survival

 the word resilient over a mindfulness watercolor I did to relax.

 I wrote this essay for the UUs last March, the theme was resiliency. Now this service was canceled so I never got to do this reading when Covid came along and the early lock downs began. It is ironic what I wrote about now.

Yesterday I went to an "emergency preparedness" seminar held by a local disability group on Zoom. This seminar tells me I have a lot more to get and to do a list. I need more batteries, flashlights, ready made food and other things. Money wise I have to be cautious. I am not counting on another stimulus either. One thing about emigration where our decision was leaning towards "no" is that survival is far easier around people you know. I do wish we had more close local friends, but UU church members have already been there for us and have helped us.  I also have had long distance and online friends be there for me in ways that are amazing.  I wish I could do more for others, on my end.

If I was a charismatic person with normal levels of energy, I would be forming a local co-op for mutual survival. I should sign up for Next Door. With neighbors, there is one friendly couple and others I would ask for help here, but there's lots of anti-maskers to avoid.

 Maybe some of you with normal social functioning and health may want to consider co-ops in the future. I believe society very likely could be falling into collapse. Covid has kind of screwed things up because it's keeping people divided.  The people who survive will be people who band together. The modern American families like my own that only lived in competition as some ascended and many descended to be cast away, are pretty useless when it comes to mutual survival.

Those who enjoyed true kinfolk once upon the time, would be in shock. When it comes to family, if yours wants you to risk your life for visits, parties, Thanksgiving dinner, put yourself and your immediate household first. In the time of Covid, you have to stick with trusted circles now where you know they didn't go to a crowded bar the night before to infect you. Anyone who wants you to go to crowded party during a time of plague is not thinking of your best interests. 

 If I was still in contact, I could not trust mine to keep me safe. Many of us ACONs face that, we were on our own even often as children. Several people within my well off family had the means to help my husband with employment during our more desperate times and simply refused. There was one relative who owned a whole factory, there was one guy so high up in media, he had famous people as friends. Yeah it really was like that. One ex-friend hired people out of high school for middle class government jobs in offices and refused to help us too. Yeah no contact was revelatory on multiple levels. I'm no longer someone's dog to be kicked where they got jollies seeing us scrape and beg.  One part of survival is standing up for one's self. Resiliency takes casting timidity aside. 

 Our society hovers at the edge of collapse now. I do hope for better but the worse could happen. Covid seems to be one never ending cluster fuck. Now people who have read this blog long enough know I am not a Pollyanna type, I'll tell you how I see it. This doesn't mean give up, as the Orange Asshole has destroyed our lives. Hopefully Biden will do a mask mandate or a complete lock-down that will alleviate the nightmare. Perhaps all the death and destruction right in of the face of the right wing deluded types, finally gets their minds to change because Uncle Joey died drowned in his own fluids in the ICU and now it's not just something happening to other people "supposedly" but directly to them and they start wearing masks and taking precautions.  How many lives will be lost needlessly in the meantime?

I always wanted to be a prepper but never had money to pull it off. I own some weird stuff a normal apartment person probably does not own. We have a small hatchet in case I have to chop some wood, a bag of various organic seeds, a back up generator for CPAP that gives one day of power--one of my now ex-friends who is a Trumpster and Christian got me that--I am still thankful for that.  I keep what extra medication I can too. Most medication I use up month to month, but there were extras when dosages changed or I was switched onto another med. Often in Chicago, I was forced to go without medicine due to poverty and remember what it feels like. With medicines, always make sure you inform yourself which meds stay safe and which ones do not or become ineffective with age.

Food wise, I had stockpiled some food, but we had weevils take over the kitchen. One negative aspect of food pantries for the poor is often, they will give you food that is infested and old or has been sitting in a warehouse. I was lax just putting in bags of corn meal the pantries gave us and leaving pasta in boxes it came in but the weevils took over, so I had to throw away a lot. This sucked. Of course I had the thought there's no way I was ever going to be able to eat all these carbs. I don't bake. So I questioned why in the hell did I have all this flour and corn meal? Meat and vegetables always disappear first in here.

 I make corn bread maybe once every three months and add cheese and eggs to it. We always had frustration with the food pantries because everything we got was so carb and sugar rich. The former stimulus allowed me to forgo the food pantries for some time, and I am not sure I want to go back unless our desperation builds to a point we can't help it. It was hard needing food from people you know who voted for people out to destroy our lives economically and who preached God will fix your lives, it got triggering at times. I also need to ask my doctor again for back up antibiotics.

 I am an odd person when it comes to survival, maybe because I have seen so much. Our apartment had this fire last year as a neighbor down the hall had his food in his oven start on fire after he fell asleep. Our apartment complex took this so serious they put kill switches on all our ovens and stoves if they were left on or the fire alarm was triggered.  I always have rehearsed in my mind, what do I need to survive...I grabbed my walker, and threw on it, my unplugged CPAP, nebulizer, medicines I keep in a bag--they are expensive and never could be replaced at retail price, diabetes bag,  the insulin and lung medicine out of the fridge, grabbed underwear, coat and dresses out of the closet, the leather case of important papers including wedding certificate, insurance papers, lease and other papers. My purse was included too of course. I know neighbors probably thought I was nuts, but I've been around this world long enough to be like a Girl Scout and be prepared. 

If I go more than 30 miles from home, I take an old CPAP, that is 10 years old, and an old nebulizer, with emergency lung medicine and my dosages of my regular. This also includes a week's worth of medicine even for a day trip in case I have to be hospitalized or other circumstances happen.  Some people have found this odd, but maybe I want to be able to sleep if the car breaks down and I am stranded somewhere over night.  The Zoom conference did cover the needs of the disabled and how we have to make preparations above and beyond.

 The neighbors walked out with very little from our smoke filled halls and with the blaring alarms. Some may question my delay on getting out, but I made my decision for a reason. I know some fires I would have no choice, maybe I would have gotten the bag of important papers which I keep by my bedroom door and nothing else.  We do have renters insurance. Apartment buildings do burn down. I've saw one large building I thankfully didn't live in reduced to cinders in my old town and know of another one around here that burned down.

It is odd, that once I left Christianity and came away from some conspiracy theory that some of weird stuff I used to warn about seemed to be happening. The Christian conspiracy world told me plagues would come and FEMA would march us all into camps to make us take dangerous vaccines at gunpoint. I pictured something more like "Captain Tripps" in  Stephen King's The Stand then this slower burning "lung destroying" illness. Also a plague kind of destroys the vigilant CPTSD person's plan B which is get the hell out of Dodge when things go bad. Where is there to run when they have ruined everywhere?

Can you imagine now some weird places my brain goes? 

It seems like a wrench thrown in the works. Part of my recovery was feeling like the world was a safe place again. I really needed that.  I was years into my no contact and was enjoying feelings of "being  safer". I've eluded to my past, where several therapists diagnosed me with PTSD [CPTSD] based on the abuse I've written about and other happenings, including violence I have seen. I have had severe anxiety disorders diagnosed too for years. This often happens to ACONs. I am someone who really needed the world TO BE SAFE. 

That said I have had strange thoughts that for a person whose already lost everything before, watching the world go to absolute shit may be easier to deal with on some levels. I mean you've had practice before. If you've had to eat out of a trash can, are you going to cry because some events got cancelled? If the bottom has fallen out and you've been on your near death bed before, then things will look different.  I've had to do stuff like stay up for 48 hours because I cannot sleep without my CPAP and audaciously once plugged my nebulizer into a socket at McDonalds to take my daily lung medicine. I figured if someone wanted to throw me out they'd do it, but before they did, I'd get a good dosage of lung medicine. I was left alone. I have friends who would help now if there was no power for a week and others have rescued me too and I've had friends help with amazing things and help keep me alive. "Look for the helpers" wasn't some Pollyanna stuff I wrote in this to make sure to add something uplifting, but something I had to enact to stay alive. It did work.

I think Americans are going to have a lot of life change. Many will be having their very value systems uprooted. The ones who adapt and who can care about other people will have far better chances of survival. Even though I have complained about the people worsening the problems, and with no empathy, remember the ones with empathy are there too. Those are the people we want to join forces with.  This gives me hope in such a dark world.

This story centered on the blizzard I got stuck in. Looking back at this story, I realize I was definitely with a narcissist. The me of today would have stayed in the hotel in Raleigh, and used a credit card to get home. There are resources for stranded travelers too, I know about at this age, I wish I knew about then. 


The Creativity of Survival

I was in the “Superstorm of 1993”. It was also called "The Storm of the Century" This was a huge cyclone that brought devastating blizzards and tornadoes to almost the entire eastern seaboard and killed 300 people. Back then I was healthier though on my way to disability but traveled to North Carolina with a new friend because I wanted to look for a teaching job. My art teaching job at the juvenile home was going to end because the grant was ending.

So I got in a car with a very new post grad college friend and headed down to North Carolina. Big mistake. Never travel long distance with anyone you haven't known at least for a few years and even then be careful.

The first lesson I learned here, is NEVER TRAVEL with anyone you don't totally trust. Never go on trips with people who want to drill a hole in your boat.
I remember waking up that morning in our hotel in Raleigh, telling her I felt an ominous feeling, the weather forecasts were all scary. She kept repeating, “We are in the South, it won't be much”. I remember getting in argument with her, but it was “her car, her decision”.

I learned a second lesson from this permanently for life. Which is ALWAYS LISTEN TO YOUR INTUITION. Human intuition developed for a reason. It is the alarm bells in our brain meant to wake you up! I should have stayed put and taken a bus home.
That's one thing that will help you in survival. Always LISTENING To your INNER VOICE that says DANGER DANGER! Because I failed to listen to my inner voice that day.

We proceeded on. She found my travel preparations strange and called me a worry wart. I had these rules about travel where I always took matches, at least two-three gallons of water and emergency food on any trip. On this trip, I had my suitcase full of clothes, asthma inhalers, medication, two gallons of drinking water, this giant box of Cheezit crackers, 5 to 6 cans of Vienna sausages, matches, a few paperback novels and two flashlights. She told me I took everything to the extreme and made fun of me.

I pack now like a girl scout on any trip I take. People don't understand this but you will see how this helped me later. "Be Prepared" has been a scouting motto for decades and means according to the founder of the Boy Scouts Robert Baden-Powell, "Be Prepared" means: "“you are always in a state of readiness in mind and body to do your duty.” Grit demands preparedness.
We continued on, snow and sleet and a weird icy rain all fell with hours. She would not pull off, saying she had to get home to Michigan within 2 days for work. I was getting scared her little car was slipping and sliding all over. We were driving deeper into the Appalachian mountains. I was petrified.

The snow was getting so deep at one point I knew we were going to get stuck. By then we could see cars that had slid off the road, and we were the only ones left plugging away. Even the truckers had long ago given up. An exit  came up. She refused to pull off, something was wrong with her, like an insanity had taken over to “keeping going”. I knew then if we did not get off, we were looking at freezing or DYING.

That day, I got loud and in fighting mode to get us off the road and off on that exit. I told her she had no choice but to pull off. I screamed and yelled, “GET OFF HERE!” For you see, Mount Airy was the LAST exit for at least 50-60 miles. Mount Airy by the way is where Andy Griffith was from and the town was exactly like his show portrayed it to be.

The lesson learned in this is sometimes you do have to take the bull by the horns and sometimes standing up for yourself is needed in this life. Grit often means refusing to be a doormat. You can't be weak. Letting people roll over you can come with a heavy price. The weak path could have led to us both losing our lives. I had to put my foot down.  I literally fought to stay alive.

That's one lesson here too, sometimes you do have to express ASSERTIVENESS to stay alive. In this life, you have to show up for yourself. That's an important part of grit, the self care, that draws boundaries and protects yourself.

We drove off the exit. There were some buildings there but we were right on the edge of town. The car GOT STUCK, and would not budge the snow got so deep. The car was now no good to us. We waited for some time. A sheriff's deputy showed up to help us, he had a 4 wheel drive that was not stuck in the snow. He took us to this fire station.

One lesson here is in all trouble LOOK for the helpers. Ask for help.  Mr. Rogers gives that as good advice, always LOOK for the helpers. I've had times in life where if not for helpers I never would have made it. There's times I had people step in where they literally SAVED my life. This sheriff's deputy saved our lives too. The temperature was dropping. The car was already low on gas.

The decision was made to take us to this motel. Now you may think at this point all trouble is over, we are rescued! We get driven to the motel on the edge of town which is basically a one story job, a small country motel with the doors right outside for the cars to pull up to. This motel is on the edge of town too.

All the water and power was off. There was no water or a very tickle coming out of the faucets. The temperature was dropping to below 10 degrees. At this point in life, I already had some lung troubles including severe asthma. We were miles away from any restaurants or houses at that point, with all the snow, even the ones we could see in the distance were too far.

We wrapped ourselves up in sheets and blankets in that motel room shivering. It is good I had all that stuff with me. I remember those cold dark days. Here was a time mental strength was required. One has to deal with things as they ARE not as you wish them to be. Accepting reality goes a long way. One has to stay calm, avoid panic and focus on the outcome. Also holding as much confidence in your ability to survive will serve you as well.

It would turn out that this storm was so bad, it basically crashed society for 5-6 days. The power was out for long time. The roads were so full of mountains of snow, there was going no where. The highway out of town to continue our trip was impassable for DAYS. The only food we had for the days spent waiting in the hotel room was my very large box of Cheezit crackers and Vienna sausages. Under the piles of blankets we got through the worse of the cold, and the temperatures started to go back up. I remember thinking at the time, if we can get through the beginning we will be okay. We never gave up hope.

Oddly the office manager had this giant pile of used magazines in his office. I asked him for some magazines and took a giant pile of them. I got so cold, I went outside to try and build a small fire out in the snow next to the motel using the magazines. I had worked at a Girl Scout Camp where we built fires for the kids to cook on. You can tell I was pretty desperate because my asthma didn't like smoke but I had the vision of standing out of the smoke line. There wasn't any dry wood so it was a problem so I had to go back to shiver in my blankets in the motel room.

The small moment of heat from the burning magazines gave me some solace, at least I felt some heat for a few minutes. The lesson here is being RESOURCEFUL. Don't worry about what people think if it's all hit the fan, follow your ideas. Use your creativity. Let people judge you, it's your life and your job to take care of yourself. So I looked like a nutcase, building a fire outside of a motel, it gave me warmth for that short time.

We stuck it out some more days. I remember following some advice of stoics I had read, like "knowing what is under your control, ignore what is not". Sometimes when it really goes pear shaped in this world, that's all you can do, seek to control and change what you can, but let the rest go, you have no control over. I think that's what got me through.

The time eventually ended in the cold dark hotel room, they got the power back on, her car got dug out, the snow melted and we were able to return to normal life and drive back home. That time we followed the route I wanted to take. We left the mountains and drove up through the Washington DC area instead at my direction.