Ok. I decided after some self-reflection that I want to try to get my “Word of the Day” series going again. I will admit up front that it won’t likely actually be daily. A few posts now and then may even be repeats from other blogs or from Facebook posts I made in past.
Some of the words will be political, and some will be social sciences related. I have decided though that some of them will also, from time to time, be related to mental health.
I’m from the US, and I realize that in the English speaking world as a whole, but especially in the US, mental health is not something we talk about. As such, it is not something most people understand, and it is easy to get isolated because of this.
So, this brings us to our current Word of the Day:
Dissociation is a mental health term. In short, it means your mind is separating you from your surroundings.
This is not always clinical. There is an entire range from heavy daydreaming to spacing out and legitimately not knowing where you are.
I chose to bring this up specifically because 1) I have been experiencing it quite a bit myself lately, and 2) I don’t want people to feel like they are alone.
The last week has been an ongoing experience of internal screaming intermixed with sleeping in and constant daydreams. If this describes you, you are not alone.
I have seen posts by cis allies, urging support and promising pain to those that aren’t gentle over the coming days. People promising to fight to their last breath. I am grateful for those posts that I have seen. They understand that we are afraid, but I am not certain they understand just how horrifying this is for us.
I understand the dearth of posts that I am seeing from my trans brothers and sisters. It’s hard to process. It’s hard to think about. I see a lot of prominent trans voices going dark on social media. It’s for their own mental health and safety.
I have a strong degree of anonymity and it’s still scary to me.
So, in summary: If you are going through a hard time and things don’t seem entirely real, don’t feel bad. It’s not just you.
If you find yourself sleeping as many hours a day as you can, and daydreaming the rest of the time, you are not alone.
When the anger, the frustration, the screaming in your head gets to be too much, the brain looks for ways to alleviate or avoid the stress. It’s a normal reaction.
If it becomes excessive, it can also be a sign that you need to seek help, even if that help is just a shoulder to cry on for a while.
We have come so far in the past decade, and it seems like the bastards in charge want to push us back more than a century. It is ok if you are scared, or frustrated, or just want to not deal with the world for a bit. Know that you are not alone.
If you are interested in more real info on the clinical aspects, check out the Wikipedia Article on Dissociation.
I started this post over a week ago. It was short and brief, and before I posted this, I had a few friends look over it and they both had similar comments. They said that I should try to expand a bit on some parts, and perhaps provide more resource links.
I spent a day or so staring at the screen trying to decide how to find the balance between explaining all of my thoughts, and leaving room to protect people’s feelings.
Then the news kept coming in. The shootings kept happening. Brazil. And now Trump is taking yet another not entirely surprising step towards trying to deny citizenship to an unknown number of people.
What I have above, still stands well on it’s own, and I am still uncertain how to improve it, but reality itself has taken steps to explain the thin bits for me.
Why am I afraid, even though I have a strong degree of anonymity? Because I have spiritual brothers and sisters who are no longer in the closet, and are in danger every day now. I have spiritual brothers and sisters who are still in the closet, and suffering more than I am, who now have no way of knowing when it will be safe to come out.
Even if I am somewhat anonymous, I haven’t actually buried my trail. I am not a “spook,” and the administration is already taking aim at communications outlets.
Brazil. Brazil held an election that was won by a landslide. It was won by a landslide because the majority of people who got out and voted were relatively wealthy, and wanted this to happen. Within three days of his victory, the new president had military personnel taking over schools for the sole purpose of deciding which classes were allowed and which were not, based on the whether or not the class was critical of Fascism and whether or not it was teaching the new government’s favored version of western history.
This is horrifying.
The Trump administration has been held in check by nothing more than legitimate American values and the fear that if they go too far, they will trigger a rebellion. The largest nation other than ourselves in this hemisphere has now stood up a Fascist regime and given it absolute power, and the two leaders are already saying good things about each other.
We can’t depend on American societal norms to protect us anymore.
The word Fascism descended from the Latin word fasces, or a bundle of sticks. They use the symbolism of a bundle of sticks being stronger together than apart, and as Fascists pull together so do Fascist nations.
Fascists in the US, where they still pretend to be oppressed, will be emboldened by every action taken by the Brazilian government from this point forward, and Brazil is moving fast already.
So, this is why I am scared. I am scared for myself. I am scared for my trans brothers and sisters. I am scared for those who don’t “look American.”
And, I am scared for my wife and son.
I am scared for my child who was born to an American father and a Japanese mother, who is unlikely to be seen as “American enough,” if things get that far.
I am scared because I don’t know if I have the resources to get them out.
I am scared because I don’t even know how to explain all of the things in my mind to my wife.
I am scared that our country is preparing to go up in flames and that the civil war that people seem scared is coming is the least of our worries.
It won’t be a civil war, at least not entirely.
Most “good citizens,” will stay on the sidelines and do as they are told. They will stand by as the fascists in power begin the cleans the undesirables from their lands. They will claim later that they just never saw the signs.
Guess what, we have been screaming about the signs for over a decade.
That screaming took on a fevered pitch in 2015 and has gotten louder everyday sense.
People like to use the concept of the canary in the coal mine. The canary is already dead. It died years ago, and the miners have started to drop as well.
People ask what they can do. I’m going to say here something similar to what I have said in past.
- If you are a citizen of any western nation, register to vote and vote. Vote for the party that is most likely to protect everyone. Vote for the party that is least likely to burn everything to the ground. Vote for the party that is not accusing others of being the enemy of the state.
- Understand that voting is only a stopgap. It is only a starting point. Think of it as bandages on a broken limb. They will slow the bleeding, and help to stave off infection, but more will still be needed to finish the healing process.
- Organize. Find others who think like you do and gather together to weather the storm. Remember though that you are not simply organizing for organization’s sake.
- Strengthen your communities. Look around you. Find what is broken. Find what is missing. Find what is needed. Start building up your communities so that if everything went to hell tomorrow you would not starve.
- Learn, and educate. Learn new skills. Teach others what you know. Agricultural, architectural, and medical knowledge are vital. Again, what does your community need to survive if everything else were to go away tomorrow?
- If you have skills that can be put to use, do so. Find projects that are working towards liberation and put yourself to work.
- If you are a member of a relatively protected class, use your voice. Speak up for those who are not protected. Speak out against abuses. Stand up against the powers that be and be the roadblock between them and those that they would deem undesirable.
I am running out of steam at the moment, but I want to make sure that this piece does get posted, so I will stop here.
Remember: We have to stand together and work to create the world we want. We have to insulate our local communities so that when it comes down to it we can protect ourselves.
Those of us with the emotional resources to do so need to do the heavy lifting. Those who are not scrambling just to survive need to focus on the long term. Those who are coming under direct fire will be too busy keeping themselves together.
And, coming back to where the post first started: If you are feeling the emotional weight of everything, and you find yourself tuning out more than you would like, you are not alone. It is an entirely normal reaction. This world is fucked up at the moment, and your brain is working to keep you in one piece. Reach out to others if you see that you need help. Reach out to your comrades if you see that they need help. Keep tabs on each other. Be brothers and sisters. Be comrades. In the realm of mental health, especially in what amounts to a battlefield environment, there is no such thing as checking on someone too much.
If we are going to survive this, we must do this together. The pretty words that the Fascists use to make their propaganda palatable are at least partially true. The bundle of twigs is stronger than the twig standing alone. The difference, what separates us from them, is that we understand that this metaphor expands beyond individuals to cultures. In diversity, we are stronger than in isolation.
Fuck racism, fuck sexism, fuck gender and neural normativity. We all have to stand together and take care of each other. The strong among us have to insulate the week. We have to show them that their philosophies will not destroy us. There is more to our evolution as a species than survival of the fittest.
I suppose that once I post this there is not much point in being on the fence or holding too many of my views when discussing things in the world.
Expect more posts in the future on subjects ranging from community building to operational security.
Editor’s Note: I am attempting to set the timestamp on this to match the day that I posted it to steemit.com (November 2018) . I realized that the post still has merit, and that I should share it here. it is now 11 January 2019.