Those of you who follow my journal know that, in addition to the massive bouts of clinical depression I've dealt with over the past 23 years, I also am afflicted with occasional paralyzing bouts of existential fear about the state of the world and where we are going
This isn't a new development for me. I can remember at age 12, lying in bed at night, unable to sleep, terrified that a nuclear bomb was going to blow up at any moment. I was sure I wouldn't live to see 30, because the idiots in Washington D.C. and Moscow were going to end it for everyone. This was the early Reagan years, at the height of the Cold War, and I lived near military bases the whole time I was growing up, so this wasn't an entirely
When the Berlin Wall fell, and then the Soviet Union Collapsed, I breathed a great sigh of relief that the end wasn't so likely now, and got about the business of planning my future and making the world a better place.
Now, I'm back in that same place again, thanks to the idiots in Washington and elsewhere. And I don't like it one bit. Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, environmental degradation, economic collapse, and the rise of fundamentalism and imperial fascism have me clutching at my head in fear. Something intrinsic to my nature is like Cassandra, always looking at the future. Something deep inside me starts screaming when we, as a people, ARE ON THE WRONG PATH!
I pay attention to the world around me (unlike so many USAians), and I don't see how anyone who is paying close attention isn't outraged and horrified. And unlike my friend, kcfairy
, I don't go on periodic news fasts, shutting out the media. I can't. I'm an information junkie at heart, and when I have been away from the stream of news, I feel out of touch. I feel irresponsible. And the democratic process requires an informed population -- though most of my countrymen seem to have given up on actually being informed or participating in democracy -- and I can't stand not being informed. For the record, though, I don't get most of my information from the U.S. MSM (mainstream media). I go to the Canadian and British press (CBC & BBC), as well as the alternative press (Democracy Now!, Common Dreams, AntiWar.com and the blogs) for a broader perspective.
Today, my DVR counselor, Catherine, sat down with me to talk about my WorkStrides
experience, and I showed her the fear picture I drew in that class
, which I was in response to the exercise where we had to draw pictures of barriers to our being employed.
Catherine was really interested, and said something that I am still mulling over in my head. She said, "Isn't it kind of like being on an airplane that is going down?" That your probably can't do anything to stop the crash. You, and everyone with you, is probably going to die in the crash. But the oxygen masks come down, and you're instructed to put your mask on first, before helping children or others around you put theirs on. (I won't get in to the Fight Club
rationale for those oxygen masks here.)
"Shouldn't you be doing that?" she asked. "Putting your own oxygen mask on?"
I see her point. I do believe the United States, and even our very way of life, is collapsing. And I may very well not survive. But shouldn't I still be taking care of myself, so I can be of service to others until the end? If I'm right, I'll make their last moments better, and if I'm wrong, I'll still be making the world a better place. Kind of like the musicians on the H.M.S. Titanic.
Something to ponder.