Gratitude Lists

Ages ago, I came across the idea of making a gratitude list, and sporadically I actually do it. 

I don’t think the point of listing things I am grateful for is to make me all perky and happy and eager to skip through the day. I think it is to serve as a reminder that, yes, life is awful, but there are also little pockets of wonderful things along the way. This is especially useful when I am depressed.

(I was worried about becoming deeply depressed a couple of months ago, but it didn’t happen. I’m not depressed now, but I can remember what it was like. No need to worry about me.)

It’s my experience that depression devours everything in its path. Everything is a burden. Everything will go wrong. Being with people is frightening and must be avoided, if possible, because people bring me harm and pain. I can still recognize when it is a pretty day but the contrast between the sunshine and the contents of my mind is unbearable. It’s not quite as awful when the sky is overcast and gloomy.

Depression devours my past and future, as well as the present. When I remember things, it is always incidents that are humiliating or hurtful to me or others. The past is full of failures, and the successes don’t count because they were no big deal – any idiot would have succeeded. Since it has been this way for my whole life, there is no reason to expect the future to be different. I cannot remember ever feeling different, so I cannot imagine feeling different in the future.  

Depression really sucks!

I have learned to recognize when I am depressed and to think of it as something foreign that has invaded me. It is not me, and it is not my truth. It is mine to handle in the moment, but I have handled it in the past, and I will damn well do it again. What if I took a short hike in a beautiful forest and happened to brush up against a fungus without knowing it? And what if that fungus invaded my body and made me miserable? That fungus would not make me worthless, pathetic, evil. It would just make me sick. That’s how I like to look at depression these days.

Back to gratitude lists. Depression or fungus, these things would remain true and would be worthy of gratitude.

My cat doesn’t care – he treats me the same as always. He still sits on my lap, and his fur is still warm and incredibly soft.

I have a roof over my head that isn’t leaking because we fixed it last year.

I have enough food, and I can eat what I want. I don’t have to choke down something I hate.

Most people think I am kind and gentle, so I must be kind and gentle, at least at times. I am not rotten through and through.

I’m not hooked on crystal meth. Or heroin. Or coke. Or prescription drugs.

My kids love me. Despite my start in life, I did not abuse them. I did not allow others to abuse them. I broke the generational chain.

The smoke plume that made the sky orange fell to earth, and our air was as bad as places right next to the fires. I stayed indoors for 3 – 4 days. But now there is an ocean breeze, and the air isn’t dangerous anymore, so I have been out gardening.

YES! I AM grateful for these things. None of these things make me feel worse, the way a bright sunny day would. And they all ring true. And I am grateful for that, too! 

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Upcoming Holidays

September
9/22 Fall Equinox
October 
10/1 Full moon
10/12 Columbus Day  
10/13 Backward Halloween 
10/31 Full moon (Blue Moon)
10/31 Halloween/start of Celtic New Year/start of the dark half of the year 
November
11/1 All Saints’ Day
11/2 All Souls’ Day
11/11 Veterans’ Day (?)
11/13 Friday the thirteenth 
11/14 New moon
11/26 Thanksgiving Day (United States)
11/30 St Andrew’s Day 
9/29 Michaelmas/Feast of Archangel Michael and of all Angels
 

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
9/28 Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)
10/3 Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles, harvest festival)
10/19 Death of Goering
10/12 Hitler’s alternate half-birthday (Note: Hitler was born on Easter, so Nazis celebrate his actual half-birthday, 10/20, and his alternate half-birthdate six months after Easter, which fell on 4/12 this year.)
10/20 Hitler’s half-birthday 
(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices and the equinoxes.)

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* You can find more information on the following holidays at: 

 Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 1 https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/the-feast-of-the-beast/
 Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 2 https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/feast-of-the-beast-part-ii/
 Fall Equinox https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/the-fall-equinox/
 Halloween {personal) https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/halloween/ (background) https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/samhainhalloween/
 Thanksgiving https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/thanksgiving/
 Yule/Winter Solstice https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/yulewinter-solstice/ 
 Candlemas https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/01/21/candlemas/
 Valentine’s Day https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/02/10/valentines-day/
 Spring Equinox https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/the-spring-equinox/
 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/
 Beltane: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/04/28/beltane/
 Mothers’ Day: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/mothers-day/
 Fathers’ Day: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2020/06/20/ritual-abuse-and-fathers-day/
 Summer Solstice (corrected text) https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/well-this-is-embarrassing/
Lammas https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/category/lamas/
 and https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/august-ritual-dates/

 

Depression, Coronavirus, and Flashbacks

Easter came real close to Beltane this year. There is hardly time to catch our breath and then, boom!

Beltane is the worst day of the year for me. I think there are several reasons this is so.

First of all, it was a really big deal. It’s the opposite of Halloween, which was also a really big deal. Both are really ancient holidays, and there are layers and layers of symbolism and tradition. And both were multi-day holidays.

Also, they occurred on the same day each year. This means that the anniversary reactions piled up rather than being spread out over a matter of days, as happens with Easter.

On a more personal note, it was the first ritual I attended. What an impact that had!!! Also, almost two decades later, the last, I might add. 

It will be really interesting to see what happens this year, between being depressed and having reacted so minimally to all the other holidays over the last year. 

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I’m feeling marginally better because I have taken steps to add on a supplementary medication. I contacted my primary care physician, and she said she would prescribe for me and chose Lexapro. I checked the side effects and medication interactions, we discussed my findings and decided it was best to check with my cardiologist first. I wrote him but haven’t heard back yet. Waiting is hard.

Nothing has happened yet, but the machinery has been set in motion. That, in itself, makes me feel less helpless. Except that as soon as I felt 1% better I started second-guessing myself. “Am I over-reacting? Maybe I’m not depressed after all. Maybe I’m doing this just to get some attention. I haven’t been getting much attention recently, which is great, because I don’t want attention. Oh wait, that’s a sign of depression – just leave me alone!!!!” Going around in circles can take all day.

I want to point out that all of this (depression, a world-wide virus, social isolation, more depression) involves a constant background chatter of flashbacks. Everything reminds me of something from the past. (I suppose that comes with having a long life!) Usually, it’s a feeling-flashback. I have felt this way before, many times before.

Here’s a dream I had last night that illustrates how the coronavirus and the cult merge together in my mind.

I dreamed that I was in the hospital with a really bad case of the virus and was writhing in pain. In the dream, I had a flashback to being tortured. I was begging for them to stop hurting me and screaming that I would do anything if they only would stop, anything they wanted. While I was pleading for the pain to stop, I was also deeply ashamed of myself and fearful of what they would make me do. It was a pretty awful dream made worse because it was triggered by present-day pain from arthritis, which then kept me awake. The dream kept circling through my mind for a few hours until I fell back into a fitful sleep.

How many times, as a child, did I feel hopeless, with no desire to live? I can’t possibly tell you. It wasn’t a one-time event; it was a constant state of mind. How many times did I feel distant from other people, forbidden to touch them? Constantly. Moment after moment, day after day, year after year. Today, I feel hopeless thanks to the depression. I feel isolated from others, like an alien, thanks to, well, being isolated from others for protection against coronavirus. This is very familiar territory.

Coronavirus, however, is a different experience for the vast majority of us. We have never lived through a pandemic and have no idea what to expect. This tiny little bit of almost-life started infecting humans only a few months ago. There has been nothing like it in my life, except perhaps for polio, which didn’t affect my daily life.

If I had been alive during days of the Spanish flu, I would be having lots of flashbacks to those days. People were terrified. My mother was twelve at the time, my father was ten. I don’t remember either of them talking about it. Looking back, anything to do with their childhood either was not to be mentioned or was presented as misinformation.

For example, I had always believed that my mother’s parents and her sister all died in 1918 during the flu epidemic. My mother was without any immediate relatives and started college alone. I figured she had a good reason to be depressed. Because I was not allowed to doubt what I was told or to ask questions, it didn’t occur to me that she was too young to enter college.

When I started researching, however, I found that my grandfather died in 1927, and my aunt died of the flu in 1920. (At the moment, I cannot find the date of my grandmother’s death.) My mother was born in 1906, which meant that she graduated high school in 1923 and that her father was alive when she graduated from college. The reality is a lot less dramatic than the myth.

Like most people, I wanted to find validation for what I believed. Yet what I learned was that my beliefs about my family were a myth. In a sense, this was a relief because the things I had been told didn’t quite seem to make sense to me, and I felt less crazy with the revised version. I guess you work with what you have at the time and adapt, as needed, to changing perceptions of the truth.

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Upcoming Holidays

April
4/26 Grand Climax/De Meur
4/30 Walpurgisnacht/May Eve

May 
5/1 Beltane
5/7 Full moon
5/10 Mothers’ Day
5/12 Armed Forces Day
5/25 Memorial Day
5/31 Pentecost

June
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

4/20 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.)