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Helplessness.... a cautionary tale
Do not read this if you are easily offended
I love learning, I love learning about human beings, how they interact with the environment, how they flourish, how they thrive, how they can be the best that they can be.
There is a down side to all of this.
I also know the dark side of humanity.
How they manipulate, how they fight, how they put down, how they limit, how they destroy.
It is only recently, certainly since the start of 2023 that I have come to understand just how much I have been invested in humanity and all of its conutations. I not only see and hear what is happening but I also feel it on an emotional and energetic level too.
This is a double-edged sword.
It means that in terms of being able to fulfil my work brief to the best of my ability I can give a huge tick.
It also means that it is difficult for me to ignore what is all around me.
This is manifesting itself as a burden of sometimes helplessness now. It did not start that way though and I wanted to explain my battle with my brain.
My friends often say to me that if I wrote my memoirs, or if I spoke to a stranger about my life story then I would not be believed. As surely all of what did happen could not have happened to just one person.
However reader, my life is my life and I look upon it as a series of unfortunate events (thank you Lemony Snicket) interspersed with momentary glimpses of joy. It certainly has not been easy.
So what has that got to do with helplessness?
Well I wanted to set the scene that adversity and trauma are not strangers to my brain nor my body.
I have throughout all of my existence had to battle through serious circumstances in order to live in my own radical honesty.
I think though that what has fundamentally changed is that I very often in life, sought refuge and safety in learning, development, and growth predominantly within science and that has been a choppy place to be within the past three years.
‘THE SCIENCE’ has increasingly been dogmatised and reduced to single issue policies with what I can only describe as divisive and polarising rhetoric used by those who communicate with the general public.
If as a scientist you wanted to offer an alternative viewpoint or point out that some of the methods being used were not ethical nor safe for the majority of human beings you were shouted down, discredited and dismissed by individuals who often were myopic at best and dictatorial at worse in their approach.
According to mainstream media I was one of the ‘stupid’, one of the ‘selfish’ and one of those who certainly should not be allowed to work, to socialise or be allowed outside of my home.
To question and maintain autonomy over my body, my brain and my sanity.
Since March 2020 I have spent time supporting many, encouraging individuals and groups to be as kind and gentle with their systems as possible. I pointed out in the most diplomatic and supportive manner how damaging isolation was to human beings and how we needed to understand and take mitigating actions to protect not only our psychological wellbeing but also our neurobiological health.
I questioned myself on subjects that I thought I knew about - I conducted PCR tests before they became ‘gold standard’ for diagnosing covid and was extremely confused as to why they were being amplified as much as they were as knew that this would skew test results.
I wondered where all the developmental experts were as I knew that babies, children and teenagers would suffer the most from mirror neuron systems not being able to see faces and interact with other humans.
I, as a so called expert on neuropsychology and biology knew what the effects of all the policies would have on our systemic health as well as our brain health so was aghast that there did not seem to be any moderative voice allowed on any ‘advice’ committee nor on popular media news programmes. There were either covid zealots or conspiracy theorists, with no middle ground.
Maybe the real truth was just not palatable to anyone.
The battle for common sense during the covid years took its toll.
I could publish a book with the many emails, letters, comments I made to political leaders, governmental departments, public sector organisations. The replies make sobering reading.
They are full of gas lighting, patronisation, victim blaming, back covering, excuse making and down right lies and deluded thinking.
During the time of covid, my own health was not great and in the first lockdown my then youngest child who was six years old was told by ambulance responders that they could not attend to our home when she found me collapsed because of ‘covid’. She was six and was told that.
I also battled with school, university and my own interaction with public services.
I could not believe just how many grown adults were quite willing to not critically think about everything that was going on and to put it into perspective.
I was so upset by how many grown adults were complicit with how children and young people were being treated.
I was so angry by how mainstream media were not providing a balanced approach to what was going on.
I did not stop being me though.
I was determined to be authentic as a scientist, authentic to myself and continue to live in radical honesty.
The pandemic eventually gave way to war in Ukraine, to ‘cost of living crisis’, with the scene now being set on how media reports this kind of thing. It is with a huge limbic crisis fear narrative.
We also heard all about how the rule setters did not keep to their own rules with the excuse that they did not know what the rules were.
We had all the virtue signallers angry about this. I was more shocked at these people than I was about the rules being broken - surely the public were aware of the loopholes, the many ways of bending ‘the rules’, and the fact that we had been led by weak, corrupt, hypocrites?
Apparently there was a new era of human beings who were not able to critically think, to investigate themselves, to look into information not presented in a 7 second TikTok video.
I think this is when I started to feel helplessness.
When my brain started to get too tired.
When it started to put the emergency brakes onto too much energy expenditure in order to survive.
If you think back to my writing about helplessness, this is not a cognitive function, this is a neurobilogical protective factor to prevent us using energy where seems to be no point.
I had kind of burnt out through fighting a good fight, predominantly by myself for the previous three years.
I had been attacked by a public, emboldened by in-group, out-group rhetoric through the media, enabled by a government who had overseen ther largest transfer of wealth ever in the history of human beings.
I had been gas lit.
I had been let down by a health service who refused to see anyone as vulnerable if they did not worship at the seat of covid.
But the thing that really got to me was the era we are now living in.
It is like I am watching a car crash in the slowest of slow motion. I can see the harms and damage done not just by the covid years but also what was set in action in the years before.
It is extremely grim.
I am not totally helpless though.
I have moments and sparks of my old self, when I speak with others and when I think of my children and the world I want them to inherit.
I am deadly serious about wanting to create a better and kinder world, one brain at a time.
I am working on my own brain to stop the old emergency helplessness, but it is not easy.
Optimism is a commodity that is hard to keep in mind when faced with disaster. I was laughing with another brilliant, super-intelligent, amazing woman just last week about this. She, too has developed world changing research but has been sidelined and diminished by dogma. We were discussing where to find optimism and joy. We both came to the conclusion that we were projecting all of our wanted optimism on how our gardens were growing. I shared my joy of calendula that were sprouting up, she shared her experience of peppers that were being a little tricky.
Growth, and availability to grow is essential in the battle with helplessness. I always sought refuge in academia. Learning was my safe place. I was never happier than in a library or a lab conducting research, asking questions, being curious.
The world has changed now though.
Those who question have been turned into pariahs, those who dare to be curious are dismissed as crackpots. Those who challenge are squashed with all the might of the system.
This is a huge problem.
We do not learn anything by all thinking the same way.
I was laughing with my partner only yesterday, I was asking how he deals with the public domain now, he said it was like tiptoeing around, asking tenuous questions to see if the other person responds in a simular fashion to his thinking. It is kind of like the disciples spreading christianity by drawing symbols in the sand to show others who they are.
We should not in the 21st century have to be living like this.
Feeling helpless is a sign that the environment is not safe, it is not ok and it is not healthy.
We should not feel less than because we feel helpless.
It should be a sign to those around us that we need support, we need allies and we need to have the optimism of others in order to gain the strength to keep on going.
So this is my call to action to all who read this.
Never underestimate the power of you to help those who are hepless.
It really could be the difference between an entrenched emergency mechanism and giving someone the strength to keep on going.
I know I rely on those close to me to keep me going in my hour of helplessness. It is not that I am weak, it is just that I am tired.
The good fight is going on for a lot longer, with not much respite, than I have ever had to fight before.
It does not mean it is futile.
It does not mean I should give up.
It just means sometimes I need more likeminded people to support me to do it.
“There is no greater power and support you can give someone than to look them in the eye, and with sincerity/conviction say, 'I believe in you.”
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