* ISSTD’s annual conference in San Francisco has been replaced by a virtual conference with many of the presenters that were scheduled for San Francisco. Dates are Friday, May 15 through Sunday, May 17.
*For all other conferences, worldwide, check their webpage for updates. And remember, although online presentations lack the immediacy of face-to-face ones, they give you the same information. Sometimes they are better organized, there are more handouts, and the speaker is more relaxed.
* You can find more information on the following holidays at:
Easter: personal (for background, see Spring Equinox): https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/easter-blues/
Walpurgisnacht/May Eve: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2017/04/20/walpurgisnacht/
Mothers’ Day: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/mothers-day/
May all of you stay safe and well and be very gentle to all of your parts right now, for they are all confused and scared. Know that we are all together in this, scared, confused, brave, connected.
I want to feel closer to people these days, so I decided to talk to them on video, not just on the phone. I want to see their faces and feel more connected to them. I also would like to offer video calls to a couple of groups of survivors to help with the isolation we all feel.
BUT I cannot seem to learn how to do it. I practice and practice, and each time I mess up in what feels like a new and imaginative way. Today I was given instructions on how to join a Zoom call. It should have been a piece of cake, as I have a Zoom account and have successfully joined practice calls. But it wasn’t.
At first, I couldn’t get a Zoom screen and so started to try different ways of doing things. I ended up with two screens. One had audio, the other video. I didn’t know which I should be on. I chose the video one. When I was asked to unmute and say something, there was no unmute icon that I could see. About ten minutes later, I found the unmute button on the other screen, and I am afraid blurted out a big old swear word.
By the end of the call, I was on the verge of tears, and I stayed that way for several hours. Supper cheered me up, but the next morning I felt the same way.
Plus, I had an uninformative and upsetting dream. I dreamed that a bear was ready to hibernate, and he found a den in a hole in the earth. But it wasn’t very deep, and he thought it wasn’t private enough. He found a big boulder and positioned it in front of the entrance. He was comfortable and slept through the winter.
When he came out of hibernation, he couldn’t push the boulder away. He tried and tried, but all he did was exhaust himself. So he starved to death.
After feeling very bad for the bear, and bad for myself because I couldn’t help him or make the dream turn out differently (I know what lucid dreaming is but can’t do it), I felt the feelings were honored, and I could now look at what the dream was telling me. And, of course, it was about this social distancing. I had been in the house at that point for 22 days, with only two trips for groceries in the first couple of days. I guess I was feeling trapped and didn’t know it.
I was trying to cry about being under house arrest as well as about my poor dream bear.
There are a lot of good newsletters with solid facts about the coronavirus, and I get about ten of them almost every day. It’s way too much. I need to cut back. Being informed is useful; it has shaped my decisions, which I think are sensible. But too much is too much.
I think most people who are stuck at home feel trapped. And since it isn’t their choice, many feel imprisoned, too.
I get the Harvard Gazette every day, a newsletter with links to short articles. One was about a presentation that Karmel Choi from the Mass. General Hospital gave on the Harvard School of Public Health’s online forum. Quoting from the Gazette, “Using onscreen diagrams, she outlined its (stress’s) four major triggers: novelty, threat, unpredictability, and lack of control. ‘Each one of these on its own is enough to make us feel stressed,’ she said. ‘With the coronavirus outbreak worldwide, we’re seeing all of these come together and all at once.’”
That made me stop and think. It’s far more than just being indoors that is driving me nuts. And then you add a history of ritual abuse and child pornography and mind control experimentation, and the question in my mind is, “How come I am not 100% bat-shit crazy by now?”
Continuing to quote from the article, “How we react to these factors can vary widely, however. Choi identified four basic ‘bins,’ or types of reactions: emotional, physical, cognitive, and behavioral. Although many of us associate stress with feelings of fear or anxiety, it may also manifest as irritability or numbness, she noted. Physically, we may feel less energetic, and may even find ourselves moving more slowly. Eating and sleeping habits may also be disrupted. In terms of cognition, we may find it more difficult to concentrate or think things through, and our memory may become faulty. Behavioral responses range from withdrawal to taking more risks, as we seek ways to exert control in a newly uncontrollable reality.”
I can identify my reactions in all four of her categories. Indeed I am irritable. I react more strongly to everyday events. I can be snappish with my friends, which is not generally like me. I am usually pretty easy-going about small things. I haven’t noticed having less energy, but my energy is dispersed. I float from one thing to another rather than concentrating on the task at hand. (The spontaneity feels nice, though.) Can’t say I am more forgetful than usual; my mind has always looked like Swiss cheese.
I’m sleeping more than I did before. I caught myself eating more and choosing a lot of junk food. It doesn’t feel great to go to bed with a tummy full of potato chips and sugar! In response, I had the healthiest dinner of my life last night: salmon, broccoli, cauliflower with a little feta, a tomato, and lettuce.
I think that the only way I can get through this is to compartmentalize. RA stuff over here, COVID quarantine over here, aging over here, rest of life over here. And float between them, like a leaf drifting in a soft breeze. So far, it is working.
4/1 April Fool’s Day
4/5 Palm Sunday
4/7 Full moon
4/8 Day of the Masters
4/9 Maundy Thursday (commemoration of the Last Super)
4/10 Good Friday
4/11 Holy Saturday
4/12 Easter Sunday
4/26 Grand Climax/De Meur
4/30 Walpurgisnacht/May Eve
5/7 Full moon
5/10 Mothers’ Day
5/12 Armed Forces Day
5/25 Memorial Day
6/5 Full moon
6/5-6 Penumbral lunar eclipse. The moon will turn a shade darker during the maximum phase, visible in Asia, Australia, Europe, and Africa. Most penumbral lunar eclipses cannot be easily distinguished from a usual full moon. See https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/map/2020-june-5
6/19 Summer solstice
6/21 Fathers’ Day
6/21 Annular solar eclipse. Visible from parts of Africa (including the Central African Republic, Congo, and Ethiopia,) south of Pakistan, northern India; and China. Partial eclipse is visible in south/east Europe, much of Asia, the north of Australia, and much of Africa, Pacific, Indian Ocean. See https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/map/2020-june-21
6/23 Midsummer’s Eve
6/24 St John’s Day
Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
4/9 – 4/16 Passover/Pesach (Deliverance of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt)
4/12 Hitler’s alternate birthday (Note: Hitler was born on Easter, so Nazis celebrate his actual birthday, 4/20, and his alternate birthday, on Easter of the current year. This year Easter falls on 4/12.)
4/20 Hitler’s birthday
4/21 Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day)
4/29 Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day)
5/8 V-E Day (Victory in Europe, WW2)
6/6 D-Day: invasion of France in WW2
(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices and the equinoxes.)