How the new normal has affected me
After careful consideration and cross-referencing the data, I’ve ruled out that the pandemic has driven me completely insane.
I know I’m not the only one who’s felt a little crazy, in some form or another. I’ll admit I don’t have quite enough data to back up these findings, except maybe the covid related search history filling my computer and the questions wrestling with since I first started to get the hint that something was wrong.
I started to see everyone in daily life as my enemy. I suspected how people at my work or in daily activities might act toward me if they actually knew my differing politics. I wondered what they would do, given the right circumstance. Shun me? Turn me into the Gestapo?
This, combined with other events, has driven me to a point of neglect for my health, fear, anxiety, and suspicion of anyone who doesn’t see things eye to eye with me. I never considered that I might have been alienating myself from people who I could see eye to eye, maybe not about politics but definitely when it comes to valuing life.
Good people sometimes get manipulated into doing bad things because they are fooled into believing it’s the right thing. This is done especially well by manipulating emotions. Well, what I’ve learned here is that maybe, just maybe, I shouldn’t be so quick to assume I’m the good guy in the story, or that I’m not the one being manipulated, or manipulating myself. Maybe a little fresh air and self-reflection is the key, instead of continuously navigating the endless internet rabbit hole of fringe conspiracy theories and one-sided confirmation bias. (If you see reptiles, you’ve gone too far! Make a U-turn and maybe take a pit stop at Cute Cat Videos or Gangnam Style if you need to clear up your head.)
My point is this. They got me! Or maybe I got myself, I’m not really sure.
What’s that they say about living long enough to be the hero? Well, I’m no hero but I did develop a strong sense that I was on higher ground, whether moral or otherwise, to people around me. I also let the fear really get to me, to the point that I was doing their job for them.
This is what ‘they’ want, after all. Whoever they are, they are pretty good at two things: control, and really getting on my nerves.
I’m restoring my faith in people by starting with myself; improving my health, being a more open person, and cutting down the screen time, if even just a little.
Thanks for listening to my rant. Time for some fresh air. Chris and this group have been a beacon of light for me over the last two years and I appreciate you all.
There is a lot of crazy out there. I have always said that I can only do my best. I have tried to understand both sides of the issue but as far as I can tell the other side is “believe science” and “trust me I’m from the government”. So I am on this side. I might be wrong but the other side would have to put together a cogent argument for me to consider instead of a conflicting patchwork of changing rules.
I know I should be fighting for my rights but so far I am just getting ready for the storm.
edit: I got distracted from what I meant to say. I think it is great that you are investing in your mental health. I think this is going to be a marathon and not a sprint. You are right in investing in making yourself strong. I was disconnected from fast internet and it really helped me to balance myself.
For the last 3-4 weeks I’ve had nightmares, every single night. The lack of adequate rest is affecting me physically, emotionally and spiritually. I feel I have digested what is going on with the new normal, but I’m still struggling as to how to live within it. While in the midst of this struggle, I’m also trying to plan for the future. It’s unlike anything else I’ve ever had to process.
Reading the above posts really breaks my heart, it saddens me to hear how this pandemic has created so much fear and turmoil.
All the craziness going on in this world, especially here in Australia lately, can cause even the strongest person to struggle mentally and emotionally. I have to admit there have been times over the past year and a half that I’ve really struggled as well.
For me, my faith is the only thing that keeps me from losing hope, so I just wanted to offer some encouragement from the Bible:
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV.
There are lots of great Bible apps available for free online, they can be a great source of encouragement. Psalm 91 is one of my personal favourites.
Stay strong everyone.
A few weeks ago my laptop crashed. Its my only internet source and I have no cable tv. It was down a couple of days, I didnt know what to do so I brought it to a computer fix’it guy. That was on a fri. He had the laptop for a few days before it was ready to be picked up.
All totaled I think I spent about 4 or 5 days completely cut off from the internet. Just dvd movies, and books [ real ones made out of paper ]. Again, I have no TV so I was literally cut off from it all.
I think, to be honest, it was the most happy and peaceful 5 days Ive had in a decade. The peace of mind I had was so complete that I couldnt remember what it was that disturbed me so much or why I took it so seriously. I did miss PP a little and not being able to get my emails or send messages bugged me a little too.
I told myself that I would cut way down on my laptop use once I got it back, and I did for a couple of days. But then, one rainy day is all it took for me to get pulled down the rabbit hole again. At least I was better able to stay aware of what was happening and I noticed that alot of the articles and videos that I watch will zero in on your fears and pluck those strings….and they’ll do it intentionally in such a way to aggravate you. And the big tell is that they NEVER offer any actionable solution, and they NEVER offer any hope or solace.
So now Im back to finding myself going about my chores on a beautiful day, surrounded by nature and good things, but dwelling on some thorn that’s been placed in my mind.
Im a man of extremes sometimes, and when I make up my mind to do something I go all the way. So I am considering getting rid of my one and only internet link, the laptop. Im a guy without a smartphone or a TV so this is not just an idle thought. I dont think I can minimize or moderate my use. Its like giving an addict a bag of dope and telling him to only take one snort a day.
No, thinking the laptop has to go. I can always stop into the library once a week or so to check emails, order goods and etc.. but the peace of mind that was experienced without the online presence has really brought the problem into focus.
Not much changed for us during the lockdown. We live a pretty solitary life anyhow. I put on a mask to go into stores because storeowners could be held accountable for customers not masking – no need to take out my government frustration on local business owners.
Once we opened back up, we started having more gatherings of friends nearby, and we had the largest ever family gathering here for the longest time ever. It was fabulous! We’ll keep gathering with any nearby friends who are not Covid-afraid. I notice a lot of those who got the vax have that false sense of protection – I figure if they’re thereby letting themselves live more fully, well that’s at least a positive outcome for an unfortunate decision. I’ll support their decision as long as they don’t drive themselves back into fearful lockdown, and enjoy their company. They all know we’re not vaccinated and don’t plan to be.
As covid fears are returning, masking for the unvaxxed is requested in stores; I ignore that. One healthy food store insists on everyone masking, so on the 2 occasions I’ve needed to go in there for good organic kimchi ingredients not available at the Farmers Market I’ve masked, but nowhere else. Nor do I plan to; after Chris’ latest interview video’s encouragement to stand fast on not participating in the obedience demand, I might copy @Brushhog who simply doesn’t mask in any circumstance and either acts passively dumb when challenged or overtly refuses. A lot of local people I know are also done with masking, including business owners. Authorities might have trouble enforcing masks and lockdowns around here next round.
The “new normal” we really ought to worry about, imo, is the changes to the monetary regime slowly sliding into reality. Inflation that’s denied, shortages randomly showing up, growing food instability, increasing talk of replacing cash with a central bank digital currency-cum-social credit system – these things need our attention and preparation.
I share Rob de Paoli’s sentiment about spending a bit of time in spiritual and religious discipline. I’m a (mostly) retired clergyman and personally quite Orthodox; it comes rather natural to me – or, I’m disciplined into it, I guess. But one of my sons, a definite agnostic, said to me while we were at Polyface together that the way he sees sacred literature, it is at a minimum the distillation of the cumulative wisdom of the human species on how to live good lives. Whether God exists or not, he said, that makes spiritual wisdom, practice, and teachings worth pondering.
I hear Jane B on the sleeping issues. I don’t have nightmares but I do struggle to get to sleep and go back to sleep if I wake in the night. I have struggled with this off and on most of my adult life but it has been worse the last couple of weeks. I feel like I am walking around with a pit of fear in my stomach, not from the Covid disease as I know there are steps I can take to manage that, but from the actions of my government (NZ). I guess it is the difference between what I can control and what I can’t.
I have gravitated to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) so I don’t try to get rid of the fear and anxiety, rather acknowledge it is there and then take actions according to my values. It is something I need to practice multiple times a day (and I’m not always very good at that)!
I appreciate the comments from the other folk too. Being in nature and working on our small piece of land is very rewarding. And I appreciate the contribution of a faith or spirituality to a life lived with meaning, though I haven’t figured out how to weave that into my own life yet.
The positives from this unsettling experience is that we are making good connections with our neighbours and meeting people with similar values, whether online or in our small community.
You got me thinking about screen time.
I have a smartphone with a low-budget 3rd party limited (in both quantity and reliability) data plan in addition to a laptop and no TV.
I do spend more time than I like on the computer, especially since my job is 99% on a computer right now. Most of my personal time is reading this site and associated link. Of course the content both from Chris and all of us has increased so much that this keeps me busier and busier.
I want to find a way to let go of the need to follow every post (at least until recently) and now as many as I can (there are too many now).
My main escape from screens are gatherings, festivals and an occasional workshop – usually related to nature in some way and at a remote, mostly off grid location. Second is backpacking trips and day hikes.
My first sacred fire circle three years ago (5 days of ceremony, 3 nights dancing to drums around the fire midnight to sunrise) was life changing so much so that I let go of this site for perhaps 5 months, although, believe it or not, I was on facebook quite a bit to communicate with my new friends – but not nearly so much as PP. It crept back slowly to the point where it was a major focus only a few months later.
I want to stay connected here, but in a balanced way. I hope to find a way to do that.
With that said, other than too much time in front of a screen, I’m not experiencing any significant personal issues related to the outside world these days. It is what it is. I do what I can. I feel my emotions, including anger when it comes and I religiously avoid the mainstream fear porn other than to occasionally get a perspective on what’s happening out there. When I do, I don’t take anything I read at face value. I try my best to stay in a place of understanding and empathy for the majority of people who are just doing what humans tend to do when societies lose their footing. I don’t always succeed at this, but more often I do.
I must say that spending time, both in person and online (here at PP) with people who are more grounded helps me maintain this perspective.
The other support (just as important as community) is my nature connection practice which I have been involved with for 26 years. In a nutshell, I go to one spot in the woods only about 100 yards from my back door nearly every day. I sit and meditate on what I’m experiencing through my senses, and, when they come up, I sit with an emotion or a thought. I have a journaling process to reflect on this, particularly the connection between that outer world and my inner world. At times I have consistently practiced a brief yoga routine there as well. I’ve been quite consistent with the yoga for nearly a year with perhaps a one month break. Occasionally I dance there too either to nature’s music or recorded music. There’s more too it than that – because it gets me into my own wounding and allows me to hold the little wounded child inside me and guide those inner parts who would protect me from that wounding using methods that were well suited to the time, but not so much anymore. Today I often support my inner people pleaser, addict and rebel in finding a more productive approach.
I bet some of you out there have your own supports that look different from mine.
There’s a lot of anger an grief to work through as well these days. All we are losing on this earth from birds to insects to tree species (from exotic insects mostly where I live) to our liberties to friends and family members who have become unreachable to insane, corrupt or just downright evil people in positions of power. For me, my sit spot in the woods is the friend who helps me work through them.
I’ve given myself some time, and I’m feeling better. I might do some writing later.
I subscribe to the idea of faith. It’s an instinct that’s inside us all. Some people just direct it toward other things, like media propaganda and the poionous ideology that has found its way into our culture. It’s a good time to remember what to be thankful for. God is a taboo word where I’ve grown up, but I do pray. Belief is powerful, and what you choose to believe in is your own choice, but belief does matter. I suspect there is a reason why so many of us share belief in a higher power or something akin.
Technology is part of the enemy right now, and it’s been good to taper. I’m going to try and figure more of this out for myself, but most importantly, I’m just going to focus on gratitude. Despite everything we might feel animosity towards, there’s a lot of unmet potential inside us. We’re here and alive now for a reason, and we’ve been given the gift of sight in dark times.
You all really do kick ass.
It’s been a rough year and a 1/2+ for sure and I suspect there are even more challenging times in our future.
Down here in Melbourne we’ve been locked in our homes for something like 260 days now. I’ve not kept track but I can confirm it’s been a tough go. I live alone here so I get the sense that I’m experiencing this in hard mode to top it off.
At the start of the pandemic I have to say my anxiety level was extremely unhealthy – I simply could not stop watching news clips and reading news articles. Sadly, I was part of that “take my rights” crowd for some time. Just couldn’t get enough of it and didn’t realize what had happened to my thinking. It was Chris who pulled me out of that downward spiral when he debunked the HCQ nonsense that was being pushed at the time – I don’t know if he realizes just how much of a difference he is making or not but we owe him a lot (thank you very much btw if you’re reading this). That was the issue (HCQ) that made me go.. wait a minute here.. this isn’t right. It snapped me out of that psychosis like state of fear.
It was one heck of a mental roller coaster after that. Once I got control of my mind and senses again there was a whole heck of a lot of red pill to take in a very short time. It was a bit overwhelming. I learned about the state of the monetary/financial system, the corruption of institutions, the lies of the media, lots and lots of medical and virus related information, lots about financial planning, lots about prepping and resilience and more. Switching off the media made a huge difference in my mental state. After a while I realized that not once did the media provide actionable information. The primary function appeared to be to spread fear and misinformation. There was an agenda. Something wasn’t quite right.
At this point I think I’m finally starting to come to terms with what we know so far and what it means. Our media, governments, courts and police no longer serve the people. There appears to be a depopulation agenda and another to essentially enslave us. The 1% seem to see us as pests. This is a whole other level beyond what I learned last year. Again, a lot more red pill to take in a short time. I think it’s mainly been the pace at which we need to comprehend what is happening that has been problematic for me – also what is at stake. It’s been very difficult to keep up and keep a level mind. Especially with the helicopters they have making passes over the area and the images of the riot police terrorizing peaceful protestors down here. Not to mention the language from the politicians and even military figures now. Building up that mental resilience has been a real challenge.
I understand some folks are atheists and some see spirituality or religious beliefs as a sort of mental illness. I used to have a similar view. My understanding of spirituality has come from decades of what I consider to be really difficult times and searching for answers, meaning. There have been so many books eg. Mans Search for Meaning, The Book of J, The Tao Te Ching, The Power of Now, The Voice of Knowledge, The Secret, The Impersonal Life, The Peaceful Warrior and many many more. These books span thousands of years and many different cultures yet they all (at times) appear to be describing different perspectives of the same phenomenon.
What I’ll say about spirituality is this: find a spot in nature with a lot of greenery. Grass, fields, forest, doesn’t matter as long as it’s teaming with life and quiet, secluded. Take a moment to still your mind and just take it in. Listen to the wind and the sounds of the place. Now think about this: how does that grass know how to grow? to create seed? how about that tree? Atheists may suggest it’s by chance – just a series of random events that turned out this way over billions years. Explained by chemistry, physics and the law of large numbers. I don’t buy it and haven’t for a long time.
It seems to me that there is some kind of intelligence in life in general. I suspect it’s incomprehensible however it does appear to exist. If you start pulling on that thread maybe start wondering about consciousness, the nature of our being and the nature of matter and energy. The concept of god that many religions have could more or less be reworded as a description of energy.
It’s been an idea I’ve been mulling over for decades now and lately I’ve been giving it some more serious thought. What we’re going to face over the coming months and years is almost certainly going to be increasingly challenging. It’s been my experience that meditation and exploring this idea of spirituality is a great source of strength and insight. There does appear to be something to it and call me crazy (I don’t mind, I often wonder myself) but there is an energy that you can feel from it. It takes practice to get to that point and I’ve only reached that state a few times. I can’t describe it.
I’ve learned (and forgotten and relearned) over the years that it’s very important to keep an open mind. I dismissed all of this many years ago as nonsense however I’ve found myself coming back to this idea in times of trouble and it’s served me well.
I’ve been slowly coming around to the idea that all of the answers that we seek are within and that we simply need to figure out how to calm the mind and listen for them. There seems to be in our minds an ego and a consciousness and these are two distinct things. If we get stuck in the ego it causes us a lot of mental strife and can be difficult to break free of it. Figuring out how to quiet the mind and live in consciousness seems to be the key and as far as I can tell that seems to be the practice of spirituality. When you get closer to that consciousness state and the ego/mind is very quiet I swear there is something more there. I can only describe it as a very deep and powerful peace and intelligence. The few times I’ve experienced it makes me strongly suspect that we are in this world but not of it – there is something more. I’m not sure what to think of it.
Sorry, I’m probably a bit shack happy at this point tbh and this was a bit therapeutic. Just some random thoughts on the “pandemic” experience so far and a bit on spirituality. Rant over.