Nothing has felt quite right this year. Everything is slightly off-kilter. People are acting weird. Not weird enough to call the men in the white coats (for the most part), but weird. Everyone is ever-so-slightly less patient and quicker to anger. We all seem tired, irritable, resigned. There’s this universal malaise. Whatever it is, it seems to be bringing out the worst in people. There’s outrage, and then there’s that tipping point when you feel as though you’ve lost the ability to be outraged. That’s when it starts getting scary, when you stop recognizing yourself.
We’ve been hearing things we’ve never, ever heard before, and it’s shocking. At first. But today I realized that I heard someone say, “No one knows what the president wants,” and I didn’t even blink. That, and words like “shithole” and “pussy” and phrases like “Nazis are good people”, and “fake news”, these are becoming normalized. Why are they becoming normalized?
Because if we don’t create a new normal, we’ll all go insane.
And then it occurred to me that we are all suffering from The Bends. Like divers who try to escape the deadly environment of the deep sea too quickly, we are suffering from decompression sickness. As the toxins bubble up within us and settle into our joints and brains and spine and skin, we all suffer slightly different, albeit significantly painful, symptoms.
The Bends can manifest in many ways. A dull ache, a feeling of insects crawling over your skin, itching, increased sensitivity or complete numbness, confusion or memory loss, unexplained mood or behavior changes, weakness, a tightening of the chest, headache, fatigue, loss of balance, nausea, dizziness, and shortness of breath.
Does that sound familiar to you? Because it sure does to me. I’m a changed person, and I don’t like it. Maybe what we all need is a recompression chamber; a place to shut ourselves off from the world and artificially remove these toxins from our bodies. Because rushing away from this deadly environment, while a natural instinct, has only made things much, much worse.
Be gentle with yourself, dear reader. Breathe. Take it slowly.