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Re: [Asatru-U] Here's a thread...

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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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