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Chronic Overload


My depression and chronic migraine toss my emotions around like they are a toy boat in an Atlantic storm, so I feel overwhelmed by life on a good day. But, in this day and age, it's easy to feel the that we are being run over even if we don't have mental illness issues.

Climate change is real and it's happening all around us. Many months, we hear that we have had the warmest month on record. Wildfires are becoming the norm in California. Cities are flooding. Yet, what can we do as individuals? Yes, we can limit our use of single-use plastics. I'm remembering to use my reusable grocery bags more than half the time now - yay, me! And I keep the temperature down in the house and wear a sweater. Yet, that doesn't keep large corporations from doing their thing with no regard for the climate. And the Trump administration has withdrawn the US from the Paris Climate Treaty and is lifting all kinds of regulations of industry.

It is not a crime to present oneself at the borders of our country to request asylum or refugee status, yet the current administration is acting as if it is. At least, they are at the border with Mexico. And, despite a court order to stop, they continue to separate families and detain them. And, there is nothing that we, as individuals, can do to help. The administration is not giving flu shots. But, we can't just raise money for flu shots and go give them. If there is a flu outbreak in the detention centers, people will die. And we can't do anything about it. Add to that the fact that there is inadequate medical care and that they have already had unneeded deaths in the camps, and the paralysis is painful.

The president is being impeached for real crimes. The impeachment is likely to occur, but because of political expedience, the Senate is unlikely to convict the president. And, this, despite the fact that a civilian would almost surely be convicted of these crimes by a jury. And, yet, we can do nothing. I will certainly let my senators know my thoughts on the situation, but Ron Johnson has already shown that he will go to the mat for President Trump. Senator Baldwin will likely vote to convict, which something, I guess. I feel like contacting my elected representatives is doing little these days.

I am overwhelmed with life, but I have my Christian faith. God calls us as people of faith to take care of the creation he has given us. We are failing miserably! Climate change is real and already affecting us and our planet. We have to deal with it. Our treatment of refugees and immigrants is an affront to a holy God. A country that is made up of as many people who profess to be Christians as ours is has no business separating families and locking up children just because they came to this country to request the chance for a better life. (Heck, all it takes is basic morality to see that family separation and detention is wrong!) Jesus is weeping over this. And the idea that a president can break the law with impunity is certainly not a Christian belief.

So, I turn to my faith to sort out how to manage this constant state of stress. Certainly, Jesus was never stressed - and he had plenty to be stressed about. He says in Matthew 10:28-30, "“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”" Of course, working that out is the difficult thing. It involves a lot of prayer, I'm sure of that. And, I'm pretty sure that God's OK with me taking my antidepressant. I can also do some practical things like not watch the news obsessively.

I don't have any great or wonderful answers of how we deal with this constant moderate stress level of modern life. Having persistently elevated levels of cortisol and catecholamines isn't healthy, so we need to do something. The doctor in me says eat right and exercise. The Christian in me says prayer and scripture. The part of me that listens to my counselor says spend time with good friends. I guess I'll do all of them and recommend them to you, too.

We'll get through this together, folks. Your thoughts?

Catherine

 

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