When the pills stop working

Kaiser Health News: ‘Climate Grief’: Fears About The Planet’s Future Weigh On Americans’ Mental Health

Hopium: The New Deal ‘for generations to come’

I find I have less time or patience with the nonsense (celebrity news) being peddled by mainstream news sources. I am spending more time in climate groups on Facebook (and less time on other parts of Facebook) and Reddit.

My main area of research is the psychological effects of climate change. There’s a lot of nonsense surrounding that subject as well.

I fear that Big Psych is looking at this as a new practice field, or, if you will, a new (short-lived as it may be) revenue stream as if they need one in a nation overtaken by neurosis of all kinds.

This will lead toward a kind of exploitation where therapists will go looking for climate news explanations for symptoms that may have nothing to do with the problem presenting. Suggesting, however, could make it so. That is why I have, as of yet, held back on talking to this with my therapist. I think for now, I will deal with it by myself.

Despite the Gallup poll numbers given in the story above, I do not think that climate psychosis is a major problem in this country yet. There are too many competing neurosis and conditions right now and most people in the US just don’t see it yet. I think in many cases; the poll questions can lead the subject: ‘should I be worried about this? Oh yes, I guess I should; being a good and smart person and all.’

When the realization hits, the sudden 20% spike in grocery prices, the overnight shortages of vegetables and grains, regional power failures lasting days, etc., there will be an anxiety-fueled rush to the shrinks, to the liquor cabinets, the opiate stash, whatever. It’s what Americans do, and I expect nothing less.

It is imperative for those of us who are on the climate sites on FB and Reddit to be there for these people when the time comes. I have made the statement on these groups not to shame these people now or make them feel ignorant – because when they need a shoulder to cry on they won’t come to you.

The second imperative, and perhaps harder when the time comes, is to resist the temptation to wrap one’s arms around these poor folks and say ‘there, there, we’re all doomed together.’ One part of me says ‘what do they expect to be told – take out a 30-year mortgage, happy days are here again?’ Are we supposed to offer some form of ‘hopium?’

Perhaps the best thing is to treat the coming shattered societal walking wounded with hugs and silence. If they have anything to say, let them say it. If they have questions, be honest, but not cruel. The urge will be to say, ‘I told you so,’ but at that point, it will solve little.

And what will psychology say to these people that would help in any way? ‘Here’s a pill?’ ‘Practice mindfulness? Yoga? Dialectical Behavioral Therapy? Make sure you get enough sleep and exercise, etc.’

There will probably be a stage for all of this soul searching to go down. How long the desperate search for a mental ‘fix’ will last, I do not know – probably until the water shortages hit. Then I suppose most people will leave the psychologists to their DSM V’s and head for the gun stores.

To paraphrase Marley’s ghost, when asked by Scrooge to speak comfort to him, I must give his same reply “I have none to give.”

For now, we live in a twilight world; still filled with the modern conveniences and electronic toys. A hologram of fading civility and civilization even now fraying at the edges. The best advice I can give anyone right now is find your community, enjoy every day, and keep looking at the skies.

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