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.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Stopping the Authoritarian Train in It's Tracks

Americans take the system for granted. Read enough world history, things can default to tyranny. Trump is attempting a coup and is picking his flunkies for the Pentagon.  We are in scary times. It remains to be seen whether justice and goodness will prevail. Watching people turn over time and time again is one reason, countries are lost. Remember Hilter's sycophants made things possible for him to take over.  I figured then I would share this short reading written by me, edited by my husband which we did at the UU.  Let's hope Trump does not succeed. 

I am not an authoritarian. Once I got sent to the principal's office for defending a student from a teacher I thought was wrong. I don't believe we should ever follow authorities blindly.

Yet authoritarianism is on the rise. As reform and renewal give way to command and control: It's not hard to imagine a generation of students raised with metal detectors and cameras in schools, humming along with the sentiments of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall" :

"We don't need no education,

We don't need no thought control......."

Strong men and sociopaths stalk our schools and workplaces promising to solve our problems with 19th century precepts:

"I alone can fix this."

"The winner will not be asked to explain himself."

"We don't let them have guns why would we let them have ideas?"

It's not hard to feel despair. We've seen the largest transfer of wealth in history, along with the largest number of people in prison---2.3 million, as of 2016 and counting the explosive growth of militarized police forces and a surveillance society that never stops tracking it's citizens. This includes surveillance cameras, to endless tracking and monitoring through smart phones and social media websites.

All these trends have created a "might makes right" culture, focused on punishment and compliance; crushing not cooperation. The most relevant example is the religious right and it's Dominionist, Nationalist and Nativist mindset that it seeks to impose, no matter what the majority might actually want.

As we speak, we're look at a SCOTUS nominee who freely acknowledges her vision in bringing about "The kingdom of God". The Handmaid's Tale is no longer some dystopian fantasy, but in danger of becoming reality.

All in all it's a disturbing picture so what do we do? 

1. Free ourselves from fear. The nation is headed for a nervous breakdown. The constant stream of apocalyptic headlines and never ended adrenaline strikes are wearing us all out. We need to feel hope again, no matter how far off it seems.

2, We must welcome our prophetic voices and radical heroes back. I find hope in voices like Bernie Sanders, Dr. Ibraim X. Kendi, AOC, the Rev. William Barber, Chris Hedges, maybe you have your own personal list. We must show a willingness to air their ideas and discuss them, not find new ways to run them off the reservation.

3. Liberal religion must stand up and speak out against authoritarian religion. Our planet has had enough of authoritarian leaders, and authoritarian parents, program and inquisitions and rejection of science and pluralism.

Marjane Satrapi said as much in her graphic novel, "Persepolis", which traces the rise of fundamentalism in Iran: "I wanted to be Justice, Love and the wrath of God all in one."

So did Davidson Loehr one of my favorite UU ministers who in the 1980s, who wrote a book, "American Fascism and God: Sermons from a Heretical Preacher". He talked about how the command and control structures of corporate America worked hand in hand with controlling fundamentalist religion. 

4. Keep our fears in perspective. If history teaches us anything, it's that tyranny seldom stays the course: Hitler's 1,000-year reign lasted just 12 years;  Erich Honecker's East German Police state lasted 40 years; Francis Franco, the Catholic dictator of Spain, 36 years. The average strongman, statistically speaking lasts 12.5 years. The moral? People want freedom. It's as simple as that. 

5. Don't obey. Sometimes civil disobedience is necessary. Despots and dictators only thrive and survive when they can scapegoat people of color and minorities. Stamping on institutions, and silencing a free press by cheating, lying and getting flunkies to do their dirty work.

And that melts away the day that people stand up--as they did in East Germany and Egypt or as they are doing in Belarus and Hong Kong--streaming out onto the streets and saying, "Enough."

George Orwell said in his book 1984: "If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever. 

Show him that boot hasn't stamped down yet--stand up for a better vision. Those who did before expect no less.

Refusing to Wear Masks is a Litmus Test

I  am high risk, but I have to go outside sometimes to walk around and get some air. It's getting harder and harder. Yesterday I left my apartment for the first time in 5 days. I had to walk some outside of my apartment to preserve my mobility. We also had to drive to the pharmacy for me to pick up a medication I got refilled.

I went to the front foyer and two people had no masks on were standing in our small apartment foyer. One is our mailman who never wears a mask.  I was wearing an N-95, I find them hard to breathe in, but am trying to train myself to wear them longer and can usually make it out the front door in one. I wish I had just gone out then. I thought, "Well I will go out this door down a long hall", so I try to leave that way on my walker.

 Sadly the other door was blocked off, they are digging up sewer lines right outside it. By this time after walking down the long hall, I am short of breathe in the N-95 and change to my surgeon's masks in the closed off now blocked vestibule. I turned around and open the door to go back into the hall. Here comes another maskless woman walking fast down the narrow hall way. She is a nurse believe it or not! She also does not believe in social distancing and will get right on top of you.  I turn around before getting too close to her, and wait inside for her to go into her apartment. I am sure she heard me grumbling about people who won't wear masks. 

I feel trapped. I don't want to walk near a maskless nurse even with a surgeon's mask on who has been exposed to God knows what at whatever health facility she works at. Even if she is a house call nurse, that's exposure to a variety of people. I don't know where she works.  With the mailman, he is walking all over a multitude of buildings running into plenty of people. I've already had to shrink away to get packages multiple times and make sure to always answer the door wearing a mask, with this guy. 

Some time has elapsed, and I try and go out the front door. My husband has been outside, he left a few minutes ahead of me, waiting. The maskless mailman is still in the foyer. I decide to hug the wall and stay away from him around 8-9 feet to get out. I am irritated and say "Why won't you wear a mask?" as I walk by. He refuses to answer. I don't push it. Just getting out of this apartment building seems hard at times. Imagine if you were me, knowing if you catch this crap you will die. Of course online they tell me things like I should never leave my apartment for years. Then you will get to watch me crack up. 

I am always having to run away from people who don't wear masks. They always walk towards me. They don't even try to get away from you for their own sake. Some people are polite and keep distance, some neighbors even went down to another corner away from the door to talk to each other maskless. I don't care if people don't wear masks outside, I don't wear them outside, if no one is around but don't walk on top of me. I won't walk on top of you. Some do things like you are walking outside and they will run up right on top of you.

A contact tracer on my Facebook told me just walking by someone the risk is low, but maybe we should at least be attempting to make everyone's risk as low as possible. Should a woman on a walker be having to hustle away constantly from others?  I am breaking "Keep off the grass" rules all the time to avoid people. That night once we escaped, we went to this park. It was 7 or 8 and looked like midnight out. This is a safe area where I knew the chances of being mugged were low enough. I thought since it was dark, there would be less people to deal with. I was wrong. If one can't hike into the woods to a real remote area, finding private areas to go, is very difficult. 

I wonder what is wrong with people that they have no fear of this virus. Do Americans have a death wish?  Have lives grown so crappy, that spinning the roulette wheel is better to them. Problem is this crap is now spreading everywhere. I know people personally being forced to quarantine and who have gotten it. Trump's followers are like the willing Kool-Aid drinkers in every suicide cult. 

Even if you are a hard core conspiracy theorist that thinks it could be a hoax, why not err on the side of caution if you are wrong? Are these people who never had anything bad happen to them so they think they can toddle through life with no ramifications? I wonder about sociopathy and numbed out people who don't care.

This gives me flash backs to my family who wanted me to expose myself to MRSA. The same thoughtlessness applies. I know who I never want to talk to or have nothing to do with ever again. If some neighbor who knows I have health problems won't at least give me space, that's sick. She's already seen me run away from her before. 

Now get this, I live in an area where it's spreading like WILDFIRE and they are warning us that the hospitals are overloaded, so even now if you get an asthma attack or other problem you are going to be turned away. I got a severe migraine the other day with an extreme aura, where my vision dimmed and I had these huge orange spots, and thought, "Well you can't go to the hospital if this gets too bad!" Thankfully the vision problems went away, but I am still even somewhat sensitive to light even a week later. 

I plan to insist to my doctor I need emergency antibiotics. They called me to get my email saying we have to go remote again. My state was doing well until the Republican dominanted state supreme court lifted the mask orders and took all the power away from the governor. It actually as in control. By the way on all the apartment building doors, there's health department signs that directly insist on masks being worn in all apartment common areas. 

Is there any way possible to wake these people up? How much death and illness will it take? Isn't the natural outcome, that nature and reality itself will force a wake-up call?

Update: Since I am considered a "crazy" "anti-vaxxer" now, I was maybe too hard on the non-mask people. I do respect and understand whhere they were coming from now. That's for sure. I still wear masks because I am high risk, but I don't think little kids should be forced to wear them for 7 hours and more.

Monday, November 9, 2020

The Things I Can Not Fix

Covid is not doing wonders for my mental health. I really needed this time to be able to live life and find happiness. I was just getting started trying to "re-find" my life. I loved art class, going to the UU and stamp club.  I had met new wonderful people at my UU. We had gotten another car, and I was eager to do day trips again and explore many places I was interested in.

I feel angry and upset, and feel like I may as well be in county prison. Oh I have tried to make the best of it, doing tons of Zooms, cooking food from scratch, doing some art work, reading a lot of books, and spending time with husband, but it's dragging me down. Covid is exploding like crazy in my local area, and the hospitals are filling up.  That's scary. At least Trump did not win, I would be despondent at this point. Biden is not perfect but is far superior.

I will never accept most Republicans to my dying day, so many seem to be horrible people who just seem out to destroy us all.  Their quest for self destruction should be researched by sociologists everywhere. My state is literally now being destroyed by their actions. I know Biden wants to unify the country to quell violence, but I think too much compromise with these non-empathetic creatures has put us in this place to begin with. I will never understand people who want everyone to do nothing but suffer. I hope the Senate flips to Democratic in the upcoming weeks or we are all in trouble. 

If not for my husband, life would have very little meaning at all at this point. I have begged him to leave to be anywhere but here. He is more practical than I am knowing taking a severely disabled woman overseas would be fraught with problems. If it were up to me, I would sell everything off and get out of Dodge just to be able to talk to someone without a mask in a coffee shop or to walk down a street without feeling like the Grim Reaper is chasing me. I had daydreams about being down at a dock begging to go on a boat to go overseas. I shouted to husband, "Screw this place, lets go to Taiwan, they've kept Covid under control!"

Even our library had Covid affect it, and while we didn't have contact with this library worker who had Covid, we are safely past the two week mark too, even the small pleasure of going to the library is now erased and I know if the place re-opens I can't risk it. Bills are growing huge too, especially the food bill. I told husband, "I don't want to get food this week, let's just scrounge, I'll cook these old pumpkins and use up some of the freezer burnt meat from April", but he is not for that. I know he will insist on getting some groceries.

We have this big internet bill to pay with the money he managed to make this week at gig employment. His work has been decreased massively, there's SOME, but state unemployment is only so much compared to federal. I find myself thinking of all these people not able to pay rent, our is paid with my Social Security, and think unless Biden comes up with a real plan, we are going to see millions in the street. I can tell homelessness is already growing around here, everytime we leave our "well off neighborhood" we can barely afford.

This one man had a neighbor over that we know, and had to quarantine from his work for two weeks because the neighbor informed him he got Covid just a day or so later.  Psychologically it seems people would be unable to cope and would be having nervous break-downs. Are the psych wards even open?

If I get Covid it is a death sentence, which makes the few times I do go out for "mobility" and to eat some hot food in the car in front of a take out restaurant feel like high risk. This has killed all pleasure in life, and I'm worried about cracking up. Severe internet, TV and sleep addiction are my reality. A lot of my life is planned around TV shows, and today's TV watching agenda includes Fargo, Evil Lives Here and some Nova ordered up on Comcast. How are single people surviving their long bout of solitary confinement?  I have dealt with depression most of my life, so know what to do, but winter is when my SAD and what I call "December Depression" gets rolling.  What's going to happen this year. Maybe being numbed out will help. 

 I married someone who has a lot of fortitude, this is probably a good thing. We tell each other jokes. He is a homebody and seems to find the isolation to be like a protective cacoon as long as he has me to talk to. He still goes to the store too much but at least does it late at night to avoid people. Maybe he thinks this is nothing compared to the stories his parents told him of surviving in the woods and stealing food to eat in World War II. He was less enthused to leave America, and is probably relieved that with a Biden win, this takes the issue more off the table. 

Covid has shoved my lack of close social connections into my face.  Before Covid, I was talking to husband saying, we are too isolated, we need to fix this. We have lots of long distant and other friends but here, there's too few. I was so dependent on groups and social activities for my real life social interaction. I know being almost deaf, this disabled, and this autistic affected my social standing, but it makes it more ornerous now. 

There's the odd thought that my isolated life is a protection, because I have no close local friends to offend by not having them over, there's less risks of Covid19. The UUs kept masks on and outside that I saw.  One friend who lives far away but used to visit all the time, for acouple of days, I think understands my high risk, but that feels like another loss with those visits and activities gone.

It made life more family dominant, and made my lack of close local friends even harder to deal with.  I have lots of far away and online friends. I am always behind writing emails.  Maybe some people would envy me now as they have their Trumpster, Covidiot, evangelical and religious families demand they show up to Thanksgiving and Christmas and risk Covid germs where for me, there's no worries. Remember the MRSA saga with my family? They had no problem with telling me to put my health at risk. It's doubful they are following Covid protoccols. It is weird to me about how I had thoughts about "plague" and "germs" back then considering what happened now.

The theme of my life seems to be too often "locked down", I yearned for freedom but it seemed everytime I turned around, it was attacked or I was thwarted or locked in a room or sitting as a kid on Summer vacation wanting to go to camp or do activities with the other kids but stuck at home cleaning house. Covid has brought up uneasy feelings about feeling like I am "grounded" and thinking "What in the hell did I do to deserve house arrest?" Some people I know went on a trips, to remote areas. I watched the friend of the "two parties" after Covid, take her sisters and herself to Chicago. She seemed to have no fear traveling around using a multitude of public bathrooms and restaurants. Another Facebook friend runs around and eats inside restaurants without a worry. She has these close friends constantly visit from out of town. I don't want her to get Covid, but envied her lack of fear in being able to run around and do what she wanted.

I thought multiple times of throwing caution to the wind and "living life too" but my CPTSD and anxiety disorders ruin everything. I went once into a thrift store that was too crowded with a mask, people kept walking too near me, it destroyed all the fun of trying to shop 6 months after this nightmare began, and then I was at home worrying about having "caught it". In the background, memories of not being able to breathe from various asthma attacks in the ER would haunt me. The party friend, always had tons of friends too and never was lonely. 

I am struggling with some post-no contact issues that have brought some things to bear. The family is gone, the toxic friends are gone, but I have been struggling in "rebuilding my life", Covid is a massive problem for this. People don't realize this about my personality but it was important for me even with the health problems and housebound times, to explore life and "do things". Some local people even used to comment that I seemed to have a verve for life they envied which may suprise some here. With everything wiped away I am not sure I can cope.

I realize my confidence with people is still very low. I feel like I have so much to hide. People talk about their happy families and activities, and I sit there smiling. They have close friends who are actually in their everyday local life, and I ask why don't I have that? And then I just feel like something has always been wrong with me, and I have had the thought, I can't fix it. I tried. It's hard to write this because I don't want faraway friends to think I take them for granted, but I needed friends too who live close. I needed people to talk to who really KNOW me.  The feelings of being stifled, repressed and more are always there. There's no local friend to cuss with or to talk about how much Covid sucks. Then there were the Trumpster friends I lost from far away. Most of the people here are religious and conservative outside my UU, who can I really talk to and be open with?

There's always this feeling that I am not enough for people I don't think I can ever fix. I threw away the people pleasing, learned to hide my emotions---I am far less abused now,  narcissists and sociopaths always took advantage of them, shut the empath stuff off that only brought me vulnerability and pain, but now I can't get close to anyone. Maybe a lifetime surrounded by so many narcissists and sociopaths destroyed any trust in people.  I have close friends online and long distance, who I can be open with in talking to them about our feelings and life and more, but in real life, it's like I am shut down. I have an inability to be spontaneous, open up or any of those things. Now that I am at home and all social interaction is run by committee on Zoom, I am frozen even more. 

Then there is the feelings of low status, and knowing what the weight and autism have wrought. It seems I have to draw boundaries more than other people or speak up more to be noticed. I notice some people take it for granted that their words will be listened to. They have a niche, they belong.  I envy those people. How do I become more like them? Is it even possible?

I have faced the losses of what the family did to me, and the full picture took years into coming. I now am in my early 50s, a childless woman who was fortunate enough to marry and be happily married but had so many relationships destroyed.  There's empty places where a niece should be, or a sister that cares. I lost the roulette and than some. I do not regret my no contact. I had to go. They were destroying me. They were crushing any dignity that was left. They had no respect or love for me. I think all scapegoats even years deep into their no contact will ask in their private minds, "Why wasn't I loved?", "Why didn't anyone care?" "Why did they reject me?". I faced facts in my case many of mine were simply terrible people, it wasn't me, but that doesn't fill the hole of who should have been there. 

These feelings of rejection I don't think will ever go away. I have worked hard to shut down, trying to "win people over" and teaching myself to harden up and do away with desperate feelings and neediness in relationships I know makes people understandly run but I can't replace the family I should have had. I have felt feelings of grief over what life could have been if I had the right family, the right medical care, and if my life had not been burdened with severe depression and anxiety as a result. 

One false hope one can have is that some outside people may come around after you go "no contact" realizing your hurt was real and there were things you did could not put up with.  This is a fantasy better left avoided. It didn't happen. Maybe this is why I got so angry at a wealthy high status blogger who was able to reconcile with her family and have a sister treat her right for once. I know this will never happen in my case. I still don't agree with her defense of sociopaths and religious views.

They still hoover me, you know, I just don't write about it anymore. I made the decision not to.  I want them to disappear from my thoughts. Time does heal where people become ghosts of the past. They destroyed my life enough, and I knew part of finding happiness was to erase them from my existence. I stopped talking about them to anyone. I had friends of 3 and 4 years duration--one local one moved away, where they never knew of my family or what happened. It was too hard for people to understand and brought me nothing but pain and judgment. I sometimes fear this blog being found by people I know because of the uniqueness of my health problems.  I am old enough to have a deceased family and to have been an only child and that is what I let people believe. 

The hoovering is lessening as the years pass, but it's the same bragging letters--all the young never rebelled and became "high achiever and conforming types"  who dated homeschooled, Republican, religious and very conservative people, so even there no one was like me.  The same checks were written, the same "get back in line" and "why won't you forgive" with no repentence or reconciliation.  I mean why even bother, it's Ground Hog day over and over. 

Even the negative toxic friendships I wasted years and time and energy in were part of this picture. The ex-millionaire friend never cared about me. She actually wrote me a stupid email, asking for old emails from me so she could file a complaint against someone else. She had complained about a "handsy" massage therapist to me, but I had deleted the emails long ago. She never apologized or asked how I was. She took no responsiblity for what happened. I ignored it. 

The other day in a group I belong to on Zoom, there's another woman with my all too common first name, and they kept saying her name and I didn't know if they were talking to me or not, and it created endless moment of embarrasment, and I got tired of it and said "Look there is another person here of that name, you have to distinguish between me and that person!". I had to speak up. It's some of these inequalities that bother me. I don't know if this was malicious intent, and don't think it was, but I worry there is an invisibility to me among other people. Does this kind of thing happen to other people? I worry my fear and anxiety still show despite my efforts to dampen them down. 

I also realized doing videos for one group where I was doing speeches and lectures, that my autism shows and is severe.  This is an accepting group but this was a revelation that almost bowled me over. I worried when I tried to become a teacher that I had issues that were making jobs harder to get. My speeches were well recieved for content and I was told I was a very good writer. I focused on inflecting emotion into my words to make the speeches more pleasing but the autism was more than apparent. This may sound odd but I avoided watching myself on video for years, it used to give me strange feelings I could not cope with.

I am speaking now like a "deaf" person my hearing is so far gone.  They don't offer much help to adults. I am trying to work with a disability support group in obtaining a phone to caption live speech. Zoom has been no help to the point I consider filing complaints. Outside of the hearing issues,  I am in shock, that my autism was ignored, and never treated or dealt with. It is obvious and shows in my speech inflections, where my eyes go and far more. I have myself in a trap I have to dig myself out of. This desire for a normal life and to be treated normally and to have acceptance and belonging. I don't think this is something I am going to be able to fix. Disability rights and learning about ableism has brought me self protection, but maybe I have to adjust my expectations about life. 

There's some damage of the soul murder of being the family scapegoat, I am not sure I can undo. That would sum some of that up. Some  may call me a "forever victim" from their vantage point of high status in this world, but they didn't live the life I have. I was doing everything I could to bring meaning to my life, and change it for the better and trying to impact the world in a positive way. I protested Trump for 4 years. Covid slowed this down, but I am someone who stood up even before it became popular. 

While among more educated people, like in the UU circles I have found more acceptance and understanding it all remains an issue. I have a lot of regrets over the life I should have had. Often asking "Why did it go this way?" I don't believe in God anymore, if there was a God it hurt me so much and was a sadist that should be begging for my forgiveness, any relationship would be forever over anyhow. It's just not that nice to people even if it did exist.   I was refinding my life post no contact and feeling feelings of happiness, hope and an eagerness I hadn't felt for years, and to have this all shut down was a giant blow.  It's another giant disappointment to me I can't even describe the words for.  I can't spare the time or have lost years, because some idiots ate bat soup or a sociopath wanted to "own the libs". 

I don't know the answers now. I have held severe depression back, reminding myself "I didn't choose this." and I had found some happiness for many months before Covid came. I did stand up for myself. I did try to make my life better and the world better too. My husband and I are happy together, that is something I have that many people don't have. I don't know the future yet, but I want the full expanse back, I want to be able to live whatever life I got left. I want Covid to end. 

Genetic Testing for Severe Obesity

I plan to pursue genetic testing for severe obesity. I have been thinking over the years, that something more is wrong, especially when I have read that the loss of senses, hearing and vision often goes with genetic conditions of severe obesity.

 Some may say why bother? You are still fat. There's some free programs out there being done by researchers. I have been losing more hearing, they have told me my word recognition is down to 12 percent. It has been very hard. It's added to my isolation. I've spent hours doing things like figuring out how to caption Zoom. Zoom doesn't care about accessibility. It's so bad, at this point I've tried 4 captioning online programs and nothing has worked. With the masks, I am functionally and completely deaf at this point even with hearing aids, because the masks block all lip reading.

Some folks told me I can take my Ancestry DNA and have it tested too for genetic problems on various websites. I am hoping to do this, to find out more. Could I have Fragile X or other genetic mutations? There's odd things about my make up, my mouth is extremely small, my ears are extremely large compared to my head and low set. I am not normal looking either. Don't forget the autism. Fragile X and autism walk hand in hand.

I spent years being blamed for not losing weight and being treated like a horrible person for it. Weight loss always failed me and I have extreme hunger problems. I have tried to talk to the doctors for years about the physical effects of dieting and my struggles with hunger. There's other stage 4 Lipedema women in stratosphere weights like me, I know others who even hit the 600s and 700lbs, but something seems to be more wrong in my case. While many of them share severe autoimmune problems, other physical problems I've noticed don't make any sense.

The other day, I got a severe migraine headache just from being late in eating by a few hours with my heart racing. I had overslept. My blood sugar was 87.  Orange spots swam in front of my eyes and my vision even seemed to dim for a time during the aura.  I was hungry for hours last night, but my blood sugar has been too high recently and I couldn't dare eat at night. 99 percent of the time I don't but there's been times I've given in. That's not normal either. 

One thing bothering me is why do my blood sugars go up when I eat less food? Is this related to my anemia and malnutrition? Recent blood tests say both are still a problem. Budget wise, groceries are vaporizing money and this week I did not want to spend much money on food.  This scaled the meals back. I was eating some vegan meals too. This is NOT how it is supposed to work. 

 When I lost down from the 700lb, I put myself on an eating schedule and made endless food rules to maintain the weight in the high 400s to low 500s.  Yes I have to fight not to gain. No one would believe it.  Can you imagine my weight gain fears from Covid and being trapped in here all the time?  I did exercise yesterday for 20 minutes, doing this boxing work out, and arm lifts. Balance is always hard, doing this stuff while next to the walker. At least I can stand up and balance myself enough to "box" though it's not easy.  I kept the weight within the same 5-6lbs but I fear what winter will bring.

Other human beings who have CFS can sleep in bed and give in to the exhaustion, with me, the fear of weight gain pushes me out of bed even if I feel like I can fall asleep while walking around.

Walking around in parks knowing I have to dodge people like germ vectors is scary too. I HAVE to go walking somewhere today. Private space is hard to come by for poor people. I know richer people who escaped to the woods in their RV campers and seemed to find endless parks or national parks to take long walks in. 

While thin and average people can eat food and enjoy it, for me there's always the haunting voice, "will it make you gain weight?".

I get to have the fun of asking my doctor to sign off on the genetic tests with one company. I hope this doctor understands. For years I asked to be put in hospitals and more to be given help to lose weight, kind of like Dr Now does but without the weight loss surgery, or to be put under observation. I know this body is not normal. I know these hunger levels are not normal. I know being in the low 500s, on the food I eat is definitely not normal at all. I want all the answers I can get.  May as well help those on the research train, so no one has to suffer these these things in the future and will have answers.