Sunday, January 5, 2014

A Crisis of Cynicism

We have about five inches of snow so far.  It has been quietly sifting down with virtually no wind.  Virtually every twig and branch has an inch tall frosting of snow.  Very much a Silent Night feeling this morning.

View out the window this morning.

I plan on missing Mass today.  I would be failing my primary responsibility, to keep my family safe, if we ventured out on the road.  I would also be adding risk to the emergency worker's jobs.  Things look calm here, but that can spin on a heartbeat.  I will print out the daily readings. Mrs ERJ and I will read them.  Then we will talk at the kids and hope that some of it does not bounce off.


One of the people in the ERJ circle (henceforth referred to as ERJC) suffers from Major Depression/Anxiety Disorder.  The two issues are really different sides of the same coin.

We all have our issues.  Issues are like veins of coal in Appalachia.  Sometimes the vein of coal is buried deeply in the earth.  Often those deeply buried seams are compressed into a very thin stripe of glossy, hard blackness...almost like onyx.  Jewelry.

In others, our issues run closer to the surface.  And in some, our seams of coal are the fat, black softness of pencil lead; a 20 foot tall seam of coal jutting out into daylight and exposing itself for God and country to see.  That would be ERJC.

We all have issues.


One of the triggering factors for ERJC's current bout of depression is related to health insurance.  ERJC knows that he will be swimming in the pool of "individual mandate".  He has no job.  The last I knew, his only legal source of income was selling plasma for $70 a week.  He worries.

His anxiety twisted him up.  He went to the emergency room twice for muscle spasm and non-stop puking.  He has no idea how THAT bill will get paid.

In the long run Expedient is rarely Effective.  Picture from here

His slide was a long time coming.  He was very receptive to the allure of Relativism, of doing what was expedient as opposed to what was right.  Cynicism passes for wisdom in a sophomoric (wise-idiot) world.  "Everybody is doing it."  was sufficient reason.

ERJC reads blogs and watches the news.  It is not as if he has a job or family sponging up his time.  Parts of him see where this country is headed.  Parts of him see how his decisions are contributing to where it is going.  Those two parts intersect in his belly and doubled him over in pain.

If you need a refresher regarding where the country is going, please read this post at Coyote Blog Ventura County.

The ironies are endless.  It is like trying to count the curls in a Brillo pad.  In the foreground is that ERJC's current medical crisis was precipitated by anxiety triggered by his inability to afford the changes mandated by the Affordable Care Act.  Positively Orwellian.

Editorializing aside

ERJC's immediate problem is to find a doctor who will see him and issue him a script for a Walmart $4/month antidepressant.  He stiffed the last doctor he saw for $80 because he did not have any money.  Plus, being semi-indigent, he moves around a lot and is transportation impaired.

Given that ERJC has much time on his hands and feels helpless, I loaned him my copies of When Technology Fails by Matthew Stein and Survival + by Charles Hugh Smith.  I bookmarked two chapters in Survival + for him:  The Art of Survival, Taoism  ---and---  The Structure of Happiness.  Both of those chapters give cause for optimism.

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