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Talking to Someone Regarding Environmental Issues (Stress, Depression)

 
pioneer
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Good morning!

I guess this question has two parts and I struggled a bit trying to write this in a coherent way, I hope it makes sense.

This might sound dumb, but I'm wondering if the state of our environment severely bothers anyone here? I assume it bothers many/most of us given the nature of this group.

I'm realizing more and more that many of the topics I discuss in daily life and/or get upset about (loud trucks, ATVs, other non-essential human ridiculousness) are actually psychologically rooted in my concerns for the planet. For instance, listening to the noise from loud mufflers, mud trucks and ATVs is incredibly annoying but I've also become aware that the bigger concern driving these is the fact that we (the entire human race) are destroying the planet, and that is the real concern continually in the back of my mind.

The second part of my question is, has anyone looked for someone to talk to about this? I'm not even sure what I have in mind such as support group or even someone in the psychology field who deals with environmental issues, if that's even a thing.



 
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Well, I have a support network of like-minded friends to talk to about it... But I do know that MANY therapists do deal with grief over ecological destruction and anomie. Therapists deal with all sorts of things. The trick is always finding a good one.
 
pollinator
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Sometimes it is good to just block out what the rest of the world is doing and just focus on what you have control over in your local area. Sure China is a huge polluter, can I do anything about it? No. I've never even been there, so why should what they are doing cause me any stress? Everyone needs to do their own part in their local community to be good stewards to the environment. Solutions don't come from worrying about far off lands but from what you can do in the here and now.

Maybe you just need to get the conversation started with your neighbors about switching to electric ATVs.
 
gardener
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Hi Mark! This totally makes sense to me. I think you articulated that quite well. I often feel frustration and sometimes anger when I hear those kinds of sounds too. It's a very visceral, kind of primal feeling that usually makes me growl and snarl. I find that helps me a little.
I think T Simpson is right on about focusing on what you can do rather than worrying about things outside your sphere of influence. Worrying about things you can't control is a path to burnout, in my experience.

Seeking a good therapist could be helpful, if that's accessible to you. I go to a therapist who practices Somatic Experiencing and she was the first person I've heard talk about how just being a human in a society that destroys our home is itself a traumatic experience and requires support of some kind. Just hearing that made me feel more normal and she has helped me a lot to stay in a place where I can actually help be a steward of the planet rather than get bogged down in anger and frustration at the humans. A lot of the work she does with me is connected to nature. Not sure if that's a theme that carries across therapists who practice that?

The Earth herself is a great ally and support in dealing with these things, I've found. Even something as simple as going outside and standing or sitting on the ground and really feeling into that support and massive energy can help me. Or going and finding a spot to sit for even just a few minutes and observe your surroundings with all your senses. Just taking time to connect with the earth and your body. I find when I do this, I usually feel guided as to what might be most helpful for me to do to help the Earth. At the very least, I feel calmer and more grounded.
I've really enjoyed a book called "To Be Healed by the Earth" by Warren Grossman, Ph.D. It has lots of exercises like that as well as general ways to maintain good emotional and energetic health. Plus lots more. I would highly recommend checking it out.

I've found this song helps me move through these sort of feelings.

It also helps me have some compassion for people who I see acting in destructive ways. I imagine they're really stressed out trying to survive in this society and it's hard to think about how you're affecting others when you're in survival mode. Not that that excuses it, just makes it easier to understand.
I hope you're able to find some support around this. It's not easy to deal with and we're not meant to do it alone!
 
pollinator
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Charles perspective was very useful to me:  


I vividly remember a moment that changed my life some years ago when I saw a family of monkeys burnt to a crisp while putting out a slash and burn induced jungle fire, to later find out that it was done so a neighbor could take a vacation in Paris, and THAT really did it for me. It enraged me beyond what I thought could even be able to feel and fell in deep dispair and grief. It was then my choice to decide what to do with what I felt and thanks to some wise advice from a teacher/monk when I was a rebellious teen and from other people who’ve put their views out there could redirect that energy into creative endevours. He told me that in all his life’s work, which was aimed at improving conditions for empoverished communities, he’d understood that real change can only come from one of two sources: “The first one and most common is to change people by force, to make them act as you wish and see fit, this ultimately results in violence. The second one takes more time, is silent, peaceful, and creates long lasting effects: example.” For example he didn’t tell people to not litter but instead at 80+ years old and with great difficulty walked around picking up their garbage. The mere sight created embarrassment and more people, including me, started to pick up the trash without him even saying one word.

What I think helps the most is to allow that energy to flow and its our choice and in our control where to put it in, that’s why I like so much Shawn and Paul’s book title and puts it in much better words: “ Build a better world in your backyard instead of being angry at bad people”. Or also Molllison’s words: “First feel fear, then get angry. Then go with your life into the fight.” Talking about it is one of the best ways to allow that energy to flow, to understand what’s going on. After living in the jungle for almost a decade it’s obvious to me that we’re intrinsically connected with our environment and what we do to it affects us directly. Society has created an illusion and paradigm of separation and under this perspective what happens to the environment seems disconnected, but that is not reality and it comes creeping in and manifests in a lot of ways including the psychological. We can then, as other Permies here have commented, focus in local solutions and use that energy creatively, fighting back in the best of ways.
 
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