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  • Jennifer Mayes
    Hi. My name s Jenn, and I joined this list a little over two months ago. Here s a question I ve been dealing with for a few weeks now: I ve been dealing with
    Message 1 of 13 , Apr 29, 2006
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      Hi.

      My name's Jenn, and I joined this list a little over two months ago. Here's a question I've been dealing with for a few weeks now:

      I've been dealing with another cycle of depression. Last time, I refused to go to the doctor because I didn't want to medicate. I knew I just needed to pull myself out of it, and eventually, I did. I also lost my job and other important things in the process due to a sheer lack of motivation and desire to do anything, which is a part of depression. Now, I've got a new cycle that started back in February. I've been trying to pull out of it, but have had no progress. So, my husband informed me that I was going to the doctor and that I had no choice in the matter. (Bear in mind, he's not the overbearing sort, he's just really concerned and it was driving him nuts just sitting there and watching.) Long story short, after talking to my family practicioner for about 15-20 min, I left with a perscription for happy pills.
      I don't want to take the damn things, but I am because I promised my husband that I would try whatever the doctor said to try. Here's my problem: When I look at the history of the Norse people, they had things in their daily lives that would cause more psycological trauma than anything we will ever have to deal with now. And they simply dealt with it and moved on, accepting it as a part of their lives. They didn't whine to the Gods about their situations, they simply accepted thier situations or fought to make them better. I feel like, but taking a pill for being 'sad' all the time, I lose honor in the eyes of the Gods. I also know that depression causes all kinds of irrational thoughts, but on this issue I honestly can't tell if this is my intuition telling me to not take the pills or if it's the "depression talking."
      To me, part of being Asatru is having the strength to deal with daily life issues in addition to any religious or spontaneous occurances. Is it weak to take these medications, even for a little while?

      Jenn


      michael cole <michael5160@...> wrote:
      Hey doug! yeah its a little on the inactive side, but start a thread and i'll discuss it. Always want to learn more, and the gate sees a bit overwelming at times.

      Michael

      dfreybur <dfreybur@...> wrote:
      I joined a few weeks ago, posted an intro, and haven't received it.

      Just checking if the list is active.

      Hail Asgard!
      Doug Freyburger





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    • michael cole
      I think that whatever works, do it. It you are convinced you can pull out of it without the happy pills , then take that path. If you think that a pill here
      Message 2 of 13 , Apr 29, 2006
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        I think that whatever works, do it. It you are convinced you can pull out of it without the 'happy pills', then take that path. If you think that a pill here or there is needed, then do it. You must do what you feel is best for you, and best for your kindred. You know yourself better than anyone else, you know what works and what does not.

        As far as how tha ancients handled such things, we simply cannot know. the eddas and sags do not give us a cluse as to how the 'tribe' handled situations as this. But I have always thought that was the good thing about surronding yourself with kindred and folk. They protect you when you are hurt, whether that pain comes from within or from outside.

        I think that our relationship with our gods and goddesses makes our culture unique. They understand that we are not perfect. They themselves had their high points and low points. Odin had to deal with the knowledge of the fate that beheld them at Ragnarok. Tyr had to deal with the loss of his hand. But the bottom line is they did not just shrug it off and go on. They found things that worked for them. They found their special 'zone' to find comfort in.

        That is what I do when I meet my depressions. I can have bad ones. I actually tried suicide several years ago. Since then I have found a zone of comfort, something to try and draw strength from. That is what I believe gets me through the bad bouts. So find the inner strength that you can draw from, the one thing that makes it worth getting up in the morning. And if you must take the pill here and there untill you can find it, so be it. No one will condem you for trying to get through the day.

        I do not think the gods will think any less of you. I think they would look it as just another form of medication. I doubt they think less of a diabetic who must take his insulin as weak. They probably would be more worried if you did harm to your wyrd and orlog by letting your pride get in the way of living deliberately or well

        In frith

        Michael




        Hail to the Æsir!
        Hail to the Asyniur!
        Hail to the bounteous earth!
        Words and wisdom give to us noble twain,
        and healing hands while we live

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Manny Olds
        ... Keeping promises even when it s hard for you is upholding a heathen value. Not taking medicine when you are sick...I don t see anything in the rulebook
        Message 3 of 13 , Apr 29, 2006
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          --- In Asatru-U@yahoogroups.com, Jennifer Mayes <panchilde@...> wrote:

          > I don't want to take the damn things, but I am because
          > I promised my husband that I would try whatever the doctor said
          > to try. [...]
          > To me, part of being Asatru is having the strength to
          > deal with daily life issues in addition to any religious or
          > spontaneous occurances. Is it weak to take these medications,
          > even for a little while?

          Keeping promises even when it's hard for you is upholding a heathen
          value. Not taking medicine when you are sick...I don't see anything
          in the rulebook against that. Would you refuse a splint or
          painkillers for a broken leg? What if you had polio?

          Stepping up a level: we see this kind of question in one form or
          another a lot. "Am I a bad heathen because I do $MODERN_THING?" Am I
          a bad heathen because I use a power mower? Because I don't believe in
          magic? Because I have an office job instead of killing goats with my
          teeth?

          How can we address this with web-based material? Obviously, different
          groups have different takes on the details, but is there anything we
          could say that would be useful and generally true?

          Manny Olds
        • arlie@worldash.org
          Hi Jenn, ... [some details snipped] ... Now this is an interesting question. I m pretty sure you are on a wrong track, as far as past heathen attitudes, but my
          Message 4 of 13 , Apr 29, 2006
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            Hi Jenn,

            On Apr 29 2006, Jennifer Mayes wrote:
            >
            > Hi.
            >
            > My name's Jenn, and I joined this list a little over two
            > months ago. Here's a question I've been dealing with for a
            > few weeks now:

            [some details snipped]

            > I don't want to take the damn things, but I am because I
            > promised my husband that I would try whatever the doctor
            > said to try. Here's my problem: When I look at the history
            > of the Norse people, they had things in their daily lives
            > that would cause more psycological trauma than anything we
            > will ever have to deal with now. And they simply dealt with
            > it and moved on, accepting it as a part of their
            > lives. They didn't whine to the Gods about their
            > situations, they simply accepted thier situations or fought
            > to make them better. I feel like, but taking a pill for
            > being 'sad' all the time, I lose honor in the eyes of the
            > Gods. I also know that depression causes all kinds of
            > irrational thoughts, but on this issue I honestly can't
            > tell if this is my intuition telling me to not take the
            > pills or if it's the "depression talking."


            > To me, part of being Asatru is having the strength to deal
            > with daily life issues in addition to any religious or
            > spontaneous occurances. Is it weak to take these
            > medications, even for a little while?

            Now this is an interesting question. I'm pretty sure you are on a
            wrong track, as far as past heathen attitudes, but my feeling is
            mostly intuitive, not something I'm likely to be able to justify
            clearly.

            First of all, dealing with things includes using whatever tools are
            available. Refusing to use available tools - because one "should be
            strong enough not to need them" _isn't_ dealing with things. To make
            an analogy, some of us are stronger than others, physically. There are
            things I can't carry any distance - so I use a cart, or a wheelbarrow,
            or a helper. I don't leave them sitting there, because I ought to be
            stronger. I also don't (if I have sense) risk injuring myself by
            attempting to lift and carry things too big for me, except perhaps in
            an emergency.

            But that's the smaller part of this. The real question is whether
            heathens are required to be supermen. Is this a way of life for
            everyone, including not just heroes and the potentially great, but
            also their more ordinary families, neighbours, and friends?

            My experience, cynically speaking, is that modern heathenry too often
            attempts to be a religion for supermen, and ends up instead with a
            collection of poseurs, each trying to show themselves worthy, with
            emphasis on "show" - rather than _be_.

            I don't think that's good for anyone. Sometimes people who pretend to
            be better than they think they are manage to grow into it, but far too
            often they just get good at lying and hypocrisy. Moreover - if the
            gods are kin, how can it be appropriate to pretend with them. Putting
            your best foot forward is one thing - and generally a good idea. But
            that doesn't mean risking injury showing off, and it certainly doesn't
            mean lying and hypocrisy.

            I know it's tempting - I like the idea of being a superman. But when
            the rubber meets the road, I'm a middle aged woman who's spent most
            of my life working at a desk.

            So back to your depression - and possible medication for it - I don't
            see what heathenry has against it. In fact, insisting you "don't need
            it" may be the equivalent of me pretending I can lift 60 or 80 or 100
            pounds safely.

            Or maybe it's not that severe, and it's the equivalent of me deciding
            that I don't like waking up stiff and cold and sore, and deciding to
            upgrade my camping gear, repeatedly, to maintain equivalent comfort as
            my body aged. Why be more miserable than you need to be? And why would
            anyone, god or human, expect you to do that, simply to show yourself
            tough, without some useful purpose being served?

            >
            > Jenn
            >

            --
            Arlie

            (Arlie Stephens arlie@...)
          • Lissa
            ... I agree, but, Arlie, I think you could have picked a more efficient analogy in this case. Depression is a chemical imbalance. I have to take thyroid
            Message 5 of 13 , Apr 30, 2006
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              On Sat, 2006-04-29 at 21:18 -0700, arlie@... wrote:

              > First of all, dealing with things includes using whatever tools are
              > available. Refusing to use available tools - because one "should be
              > strong enough not to need them" _isn't_ dealing with things. To make
              > an analogy, some of us are stronger than others, physically. There are
              > things I can't carry any distance - so I use a cart, or a wheelbarrow,
              > or a helper. I don't leave them sitting there, because I ought to be
              > stronger. I also don't (if I have sense) risk injuring myself by
              > attempting to lift and carry things too big for me, except perhaps in
              > an emergency.

              I agree, but, Arlie, I think you could have picked a more efficient
              analogy in this case. Depression is a chemical imbalance. I have to take
              thyroid hormone or I will die (painfully). This is because my thyroid
              doesn't pump out the right chemicals.

              Does this make me a bad heathen? Well, it happened before I got roped
              into this circus, so either the gods wanted a broken heathen, or they
              don't care. It is simply a chemical imbalance that, if I take the pill
              every day, doesn't affect how I live or what I am.

              Now, when I found out I was going to have to take medication or die, I
              was really angry. I also started worrying about things like how I would
              survive if civilization collapsed. But, at the core of I, I felt weak
              and impotent because I had to take medication. This was irrational, but
              it was (and is, on the very occasional bad day) real. Thinking it
              through helped me to realize I was being irrational, and that helped,
              but, basically, I had to just get used to it.

              I think medication for depression is closer to that. Or, perhaps, to
              refusing to wear a coat in the winter to show one is tough, and ending
              up ill or frostbitten. Silly boasting and posturing that makes one
              useless to the community.

              Citations in the lore? I can't really think of any, with the possible
              exception of a few episides in Egil's Saga (which is a veritable DSM IV
              of the Viking Age in modern terms, showing once again why modern terms
              don't apply well to the Viking Age). When his son (IIRC) is killed Egil
              refuses to eat or drink, and hides in his bed closet. This sounds like
              depression to me, although I'm a librarian not a psychologist. After a
              few days of this, his daughter tricks him into eating, and basically
              gets him going again.

              Thordis' actions imply to me that Egil was left to his depression to see
              if he could work it out himself, and, when he couldn't, the family acted
              to help him. I suspect this was both because they cared for him, and
              because he was a needed member of the community.

              My own sense of the way Icelanders worked was that Thordis would have
              gone charging in with a bottle of Prozac or Ativan if she'd had it or
              been able to steal it.

              > But that's the smaller part of this. The real question is whether
              > heathens are required to be supermen. Is this a way of life for
              > everyone, including not just heroes and the potentially great, but
              > also their more ordinary families, neighbours, and friends?
              >
              > My experience, cynically speaking, is that modern heathenry too often
              > attempts to be a religion for supermen, and ends up instead with a
              > collection of poseurs, each trying to show themselves worthy, with
              > emphasis on "show" - rather than _be_.

              Oh, gods, yes. And, if the phrase "religion for supermen" doesn't run
              chills up your spine, you don't know your history.

              Heathenism is about what you are, not about the show you put on for
              others. Unfortunately, there are a lot of folks focuses on the shallow
              splashy stuff.

              Be well,
              Lissa

              --

              Our whole American way of life is a great war of ideas,
              and librarians are the arms dealers selling weapons to both
              sides.

              James Quinn, WESTPAC/NOCALL joint meeting, 1990
            • KDymott@aol.com
              Hi all.. I am sort of in the same boat. i ve suffered from bipolar (manic depression) since i was 11 (7 years ago and 3 months but hey whos counting :P).. and
              Message 6 of 13 , Apr 30, 2006
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                Hi all..

                I am sort of in the same boat. i've suffered from bipolar (manic depression)
                since i was 11 (7 years ago and 3 months but hey whos counting :P).. and i was
                constantly on medication. I found asatru after i was on them, and i looked to
                the gods and goddesses to help me feel confident that the decisions i made
                were the right ones for me, and then protect me if i had made a big boo-boo
                haha.
                I eventually stopped the meds and tried to pull myself together and have done
                a successful job so far.. all you need to do is look at your situation.. do
                what you feel is best and believe that you know what is best for you. The
                decision is a hard one but if you have to have confidence in anything you have to
                have confidence in yourself.

                Hope that helped in some way..
                Disa xx


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • arlie@worldash.org
                Hi Lissa, It s always good to exchange email with you. Like many of the people particularly drawn to this list, you _think_. ... I tried to avoid making any
                Message 7 of 13 , May 1, 2006
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                  Hi Lissa,

                  It's always good to exchange email with you. Like many of the people
                  particularly drawn to this list, you _think_.

                  On Apr 30 2006, Lissa wrote:
                  > On Sat, 2006-04-29 at 21:18 -0700, arlie@... wrote:
                  >
                  > > First of all, dealing with things includes using whatever tools are
                  > > available. Refusing to use available tools - because one "should be
                  > > strong enough not to need them" _isn't_ dealing with things. To make
                  > > an analogy, some of us are stronger than others, physically. There are
                  > > things I can't carry any distance - so I use a cart, or a wheelbarrow,
                  > > or a helper. I don't leave them sitting there, because I ought to be
                  > > stronger. I also don't (if I have sense) risk injuring myself by
                  > > attempting to lift and carry things too big for me, except perhaps in
                  > > an emergency.
                  >
                  > I agree, but, Arlie, I think you could have picked a more efficient
                  > analogy in this case. Depression is a chemical imbalance. I have to take
                  > thyroid hormone or I will die (painfully). This is because my thyroid
                  > doesn't pump out the right chemicals.

                  I tried to avoid making any statement about the correctness of the
                  diagnosis and the potential treatment, partly not to muddy the waters
                  about the religious question, and partly because I am *not* a doctor
                  or therapist, so my misgivings about the effectiveness and general
                  suitability of anti-depressants is merely one lay opinion. I have,
                  personally, refused to take them.

                  When my depression was at its worst, I was incapable of navigating the
                  medical maze to acquire a prescription, except perhaps by presenting
                  myself in such an extreme way that I'd probably have been hospitalized
                  involuntarily. On a good day - which was the only time I could cope
                  with doctors - I appeared too functional to need anything but a pep
                  talk. On a bad day, I couldn't work, couldn't eat, and had trouble
                  getting out of bed - but managed to drag myself to work and fake some
                  amount of efficiency, sometimes pulling myself out of it in the
                  process, at least briefly. And on _no_ day could I communicate my
                  situation as clearly as I just have, being enmeshed in it emotionally
                  - and incapable of doing the research to learn the language, or what
                  part of my experience would be seen as relevant (symptoms).

                  I gave up trying after two or three attempts - I apparently "didn't
                  need" anything but talk therapy, which didn't work. I eventually got
                  sick of paying for it, and dropping the therapy got rid of one more
                  stressor, thereby contributing to my recovery.

                  These days I'm less depressed - and unwilling to have yet another
                  influence on my emotional state. Whatever is wrong with my
                  biochemistry is bad enough, without some drug that I'm pretty sure
                  will neither put things 100% right nor even move backwards on a
                  familiar trajectory. Meanwhile, I recovered to the point of being able
                  to find a decent regular doctor - and get several years of unattended
                  medical problems addressed. She promptly offered me anti-depressants,
                  when I pointed out the problem with mood swings - but I'm afraid that
                  unfamiliar would be _worse_, and I'm no longer desperate. (Also,
                  identifying the migraine problem has made me much less afraid and
                  hopeless...) So no anti-depressants for me, and a very skeptical
                  attitude.

                  > Does this make me a bad heathen? Well, it happened before I got roped
                  > into this circus, so either the gods wanted a broken heathen, or they
                  > don't care. It is simply a chemical imbalance that, if I take the pill
                  > every day, doesn't affect how I live or what I am.
                  >
                  > Now, when I found out I was going to have to take medication or die, I
                  > was really angry. I also started worrying about things like how I would
                  > survive if civilization collapsed. But, at the core of I, I felt weak
                  > and impotent because I had to take medication. This was irrational, but
                  > it was (and is, on the very occasional bad day) real. Thinking it
                  > through helped me to realize I was being irrational, and that helped,
                  > but, basically, I had to just get used to it.

                  Ditto, but I *also* feel that way about not being able to be a mighty
                  teenage hero. Aging hits a lot of people that way. I don't like having
                  to ask for help with things I could once have done alone, and a lot of
                  my identity is/was tied up in being physically strong and fit,
                  probably beyond the level that was ever true. (I fantasized about
                  being a mighty warrior as a child...) Aging has forced me to face up
                  to being what I see, emotionally, as a weakling, and I really don't
                  like it. And that's a _physical_ weakling; the depression doesn't bug
                  me in the same way.

                  > Thordis' actions imply to me that Egil was left to his depression to see
                  > if he could work it out himself, and, when he couldn't, the family acted
                  > to help him. I suspect this was both because they cared for him, and
                  > because he was a needed member of the community.
                  >
                  > My own sense of the way Icelanders worked was that Thordis would have
                  > gone charging in with a bottle of Prozac or Ativan if she'd had it or
                  > been able to steal it.

                  I think you are quire right.

                  > > But that's the smaller part of this. The real question is whether
                  > > heathens are required to be supermen. Is this a way of life for
                  > > everyone, including not just heroes and the potentially great, but
                  > > also their more ordinary families, neighbours, and friends?
                  > >
                  > > My experience, cynically speaking, is that modern heathenry too often
                  > > attempts to be a religion for supermen, and ends up instead with a
                  > > collection of poseurs, each trying to show themselves worthy, with
                  > > emphasis on "show" - rather than _be_.
                  >
                  > Oh, gods, yes. And, if the phrase "religion for supermen" doesn't run
                  > chills up your spine, you don't know your history.

                  *grin* Nietzsche himself seems to have been an example of much of what
                  I was alluding to - not a superman himself in any way but fantasy.

                  Now I really sympathize with those fantasies, and tend to share them
                  myself. I do, however, flatter myself that I can tell the difference
                  between day dreams and reality, and don't usually make decisions based
                  on day dream logic. This superman stuff makes a great story - and much
                  of it leads to seriously dysfunctional behavior in real life. This is
                  partly because most of these superman fantasies ignore actual human
                  nature, abilities, etc. (I'm currently reading a fantasy series by
                  S.M. Stirling which falls into a lot of these problems - but makes a
                  lovely escapist yarn.)

                  --
                  Arlie

                  (Arlie Stephens arlie@...)
                • yngona desmond
                  Jenn shared [[I ve been dealing with another cycle of depression. [snip] I left with a perscription for happy pills. I don t want to take the damn things,
                  Message 8 of 13 , May 2, 2006
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                    Jenn shared [[I've been dealing with another cycle of depression.
                    [snip] I left with a perscription for happy pills. I don't want to
                    take the damn things, [snip] .. history of the Norse people, [snip]
                    They didn't whine .. they simply accepted thier situations or fought
                    to make them better. I feel like, but taking a pill for being 'sad'
                    all the time, I lose honor in the eyes of the Gods. [snip] To me,
                    part of being Asatru is having the strength to deal with daily life
                    issues in addition to any religious or spontaneous occurances. Is it
                    weak to take these medications, even for a little while?]]
                    ** No.

                    Depression leaves one feeling desolate, and this needs be worked out
                    through expression, which frees the body for improvement-progress.

                    Doubt and fear is often naturally cast off by recognizing that they
                    are self-inflicted or self-imposed limitations, so that once realized
                    they are easily let go. However, this does not assure that
                    rearranged doubt and fear will not emerge in their place.

                    The entire body-mind-soul is stimulated to seek growth, development
                    and satisfaction, which is why the mind is able to grasp a seemingly
                    small event that will spontaneously release itself from - even if
                    momentarily - depression or despair.

                    If you are depressed bear in mind that it is natural and probable
                    that every problem will be solved, that every problem has a
                    solution.

                    Many who suffer from depression tend to devote themselves to the
                    miseries of the world, which then creates more depression. But more
                    so, this scenerio creates a highly prejudiced view of reality, one
                    that negates the positive in favor of the negative. Creative,
                    worthwhile and achieving moments exist in abundance, are ever
                    present, and thoughts on them will bring about refreshment and
                    release from tension.

                    If you are depressed about world events then volunteer at a local
                    level. If you are lethargic then resolve to perform a specific task
                    everyday.

                    Nature does not know damnation, and because we are all part of nature
                    we cannot be damned. Instead we should consciously seek to activate
                    those coordinates that promote our own peace of body-mind-soul, to
                    quicken the healing process.

                    No one can advice you to take or not take medication for your
                    depression. However, when the mood is regulated chemically the mind
                    may become confused - which is why your doctor is, I will assume,
                    extremely cautious about giving your medication and hopefully you
                    have related to him your reluctance to accept them.

                    I have suffered from crippling depression, brought on by the death of
                    my son. I never took medication, but then, I never had a history of
                    depression prior to that event. Therefore, my advice to you is:

                    -Refuse to worry about the future or the past or what your ancestors
                    would have done.

                    -Remind yourself that it is NOT inevitable for the most unfortunate
                    of situations to take on the darkest tones.

                    -Concentrate on the present moment, especially upon the pleasantness
                    of what is pleasant. Always bring your mind back to what is
                    delightful and pleasing.

                    -Remember laughter and sunshine, the smell of spring flowers and the
                    feel of cool breezes, the smell of homemade cookies and the sound of
                    crisp snow underfoot - these simply pleasures will alleviate fear and
                    doubt at least momentarily, which is all they need to be alleviated
                    for - in the moment, right here in the Now.

                    And at all times ...

                    Live Deliberately!
                    Yngona

                    Völuspá - Seiðr as Wyrd Consciousness
                    http://tinyurl.com/h75d6

                    Thuleheim – Wanderings of a Wise Woman
                    http://thuleheim.blogspot.com/

                    Vinland's Völva – Daily Mystic Musings
                    http://vinlands-volva.blogspot.com/
                  • Lissa
                    Hey, Arlie, ... Quite a valid point. Everyone reacts to depression in different ways, and needs different treatments, no matter what that mental health HMO I
                    Message 9 of 13 , May 3, 2006
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                      Hey, Arlie,

                      > I tried to avoid making any statement about the correctness of the
                      > diagnosis and the potential treatment, partly not to muddy the waters
                      > about the religious question, and partly because I am *not* a doctor
                      > or therapist, so my misgivings about the effectiveness and general
                      > suitability of anti-depressants is merely one lay opinion. I have,
                      > personally, refused to take them.

                      Quite a valid point. Everyone reacts to depression in different ways,
                      and needs different treatments, no matter what that mental health HMO I
                      used to work for says.

                      Fighting depression is a damned hard fight, with or without medication.
                      But, it isn't a moral issue. It is a health issue. Which also means it
                      isn't a religious issue for heathens, since we are concerned with what
                      people do, not with what they are, what they "believe" or what they do
                      or don't have "faith" in.

                      Yes, I'm oversimplifying grossly. But I fear that some heathens might
                      apply the "suck it up, and get on with it" approach to a health issue. I
                      generally admire that position, but not when it means rejection of
                      necessary tools.

                      (And, I'm very much glad you are doing better, Arlie.)

                      > > Does this make me a bad heathen? Well, it happened before I got roped
                      > > into this circus, so either the gods wanted a broken heathen, or they
                      > > don't care. It is simply a chemical imbalance that, if I take the pill
                      > > every day, doesn't affect how I live or what I am.
                      > >
                      > > Now, when I found out I was going to have to take medication or die, I
                      > > was really angry. I also started worrying about things like how I would
                      > > survive if civilization collapsed. But, at the core of I, I felt weak
                      > > and impotent because I had to take medication. This was irrational, but
                      > > it was (and is, on the very occasional bad day) real. Thinking it
                      > > through helped me to realize I was being irrational, and that helped,
                      > > but, basically, I had to just get used to it.
                      >
                      > Ditto, but I *also* feel that way about not being able to be a mighty
                      > teenage hero. Aging hits a lot of people that way. I don't like having
                      > to ask for help with things I could once have done alone, and a lot of
                      > my identity is/was tied up in being physically strong and fit,
                      > probably beyond the level that was ever true. (I fantasized about
                      > being a mighty warrior as a child...) Aging has forced me to face up
                      > to being what I see, emotionally, as a weakling, and I really don't
                      > like it. And that's a _physical_ weakling; the depression doesn't bug
                      > me in the same way.

                      This can feed my depression. Perhaps that is why I laugh so hard at the
                      mighty warrior heathen types. Someday, they'll be old like me, on
                      medication and walking with a limp, and we'll see how they deal with it
                      (not gracefully, I suspect. I didn't, after all).

                      > > Thordis' actions imply to me that Egil was left to his depression to see
                      > > if he could work it out himself, and, when he couldn't, the family acted
                      > > to help him. I suspect this was both because they cared for him, and
                      > > because he was a needed member of the community.
                      > >
                      > > My own sense of the way Icelanders worked was that Thordis would have
                      > > gone charging in with a bottle of Prozac or Ativan if she'd had it or
                      > > been able to steal it.
                      >
                      > I think you are quire right.

                      Probably mixed it in his skyr.

                      > > > But that's the smaller part of this. The real question is whether
                      > > > heathens are required to be supermen. Is this a way of life for
                      > > > everyone, including not just heroes and the potentially great, but
                      > > > also their more ordinary families, neighbours, and friends?
                      > > >
                      > > > My experience, cynically speaking, is that modern heathenry too often
                      > > > attempts to be a religion for supermen, and ends up instead with a
                      > > > collection of poseurs, each trying to show themselves worthy, with
                      > > > emphasis on "show" - rather than _be_.
                      > >
                      > > Oh, gods, yes. And, if the phrase "religion for supermen" doesn't run
                      > > chills up your spine, you don't know your history.
                      >
                      > *grin* Nietzsche himself seems to have been an example of much of what
                      > I was alluding to - not a superman himself in any way but fantasy.

                      Yep, but he wasn't the only abuser of the superman concept I was
                      referring to.

                      As heathens, our actions are the critically important thing. So, we need
                      to make sure we can act as thoughtfully and strongly as necessary.
                      Depression tends to rob one of the ability to act. Therefore, if we have
                      to make a religious issue out of it (which I'm loth to do, although I
                      certainly understand the temptation), anything that impairs our ability
                      to act in ways useful to those we've consciously built bonds with must
                      be minimized or eliminated.

                      Therefore, taking medication for a chemical imbalance is just like
                      making sure one's horse has the proper shoes, one's sword is sharp (or,
                      in my case, kitchen knives) and that the computer is plugged in.

                      Of course, we should also be leery of the One True Answer, but that is
                      another tendency for another day.

                      Be well,
                      Lissa

                      --

                      Why didn't the world come? Because there was no
                      self-interest....No oil. They didn't come because some
                      humans are [considered] less human than others.

                      Gen. Romeo Dallaire on the Rwandan Genocide
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