I’ve been spending a lot of time crawling down long, dark rabbit holes lately. Reading pages upon pages of mind rotting tripe. Watching YouTube videos that have taken me far beyond cringe and left me feeling sad and dirty and hopeless. I’ve been focusing on the negativity that surrounds us in life, and willfully ignoring the positive.
For some reason I’ve decided that I can best spend my time advocating for and encouraging critical thinking. I’ve convinced myself that I can make an impact by writing a few sappy things on my blog and Patreon and Medium, attempting to engage in conversations in online forums, and collecting mounds of information on dysfunctions and delusions for a project I’ll probably never stop putting off. Ideally I’d be spending my time writing engaging fiction and lighthearted pieces all about positivity and happiness, but lately I’ve felt such a compulsive sense of urgency surrounding these issues.
I don’t know what the hell I’m doing right now. I feel like I’ve damaged my brain. I’ve been listening to these podcasts and debates, reading these alternative facts websites, and spending as much free time as I can spare hunting for accurate information on certain controversial issues, all in the hope that I can put together some type of amateur compendium on a few of today’s most insidious conspiracy theories.
I’ve always been amused by conspiracy theories, as far back as I can remember. I don’t know exactly when I went from amused to fascinated, but I can freely admit that it is a full blown obsession of mine now. I have been closely affected by conspiracy theories, seeing the negative effects these compelling delusions can have on a loved one’s life. I also think my own experience with extreme denial has lead me to feel so passionately about the subject.
There was a time in my life when I simply denied reality. I flat out refused to accept that the situation I found myself in was real. I used copious amounts of alcohol to dull myself to the pain I felt. Looking back I can see where that overwhelming pain really came from. It didn’t come from the loss, the hardships and the trials, we all face adversity in our lives. No, the debilitating pain I felt was born of my refusal to live in the real world. I could not accept my circumstances, so I chose to delude myself. The false reality I created for myself was not one involving flat planets or government conspiracies or extra terrestrials or deep state structures, it was simply one in which I no longer had a place. I created a world where everything was fine one minute, where I’d overcome all the obstacles in my path and look back on it all a short while later with a triumphant laugh and sneer at all the doubters. My world would randomly collapse and morph into one in which there was no chance at success, no hope for survival, and no reason even to keep trying. This change came daily, and I refused to find my way out of it. The inconsistencies and incongruities soon became to much and the walls came tumbling down, so to speak.
It hurts me to see other people in such pain. I can empathize with their desperation, and I know just how painful it can be, how isolated they must feel, being convinced that that whole world is out to get them. It was bad enough when I just thought the whole world was apathetic. Can you imagine thinking everyone is actively involved in a scheme to take you down?
Recently I’ve been reading up on Targeted Individuals, the Q Anon phenomenon, Flat Earth, the Mandela Effect and a few other popular conspiracy theories. I feel driven to reach out to all of you, to ask you to look at the loved ones in your life that may be struggling with these delusions, and to be the help that they so desperately need. I know how terrifying it can be to doubt every single thing around you. I know how it feels to know you need help and be too afraid and unsure of anything or anyone to ask for help. I didn’t struggle with vast, contrived narratives that centered around me, but I do know how it feels to deny reality. And I do know that it doesn’t take much to reach out to that friend or family member who may seem like they don’t even want you around.
We all need help, some of us more than others. More and more I see people giving up on the world and withdrawing into some fantasy. Maybe it’s just because I’ve delved into this the last several weeks and I’m paranoid, or maybe my brain is just on the verge of falling out, but I am convinced that if every single one of us took a stand against these insidious narratives we’d all have an impact greater than we can imagine. It doesn’t take much more than a shoulder to lean on, an open ear and, most importantly, open arms. Most of the time when people go over the edge and do something regrettable they exhibit a pattern of isolation. Don’t let yourself be pushed away, don’t give up on them just because they may have given up on theirself, don’t take no for an answer, always let it be known that they’re loved and accepted.
Thanks for reading folks, I apologize for being grim, it’s been an odd day. I hope you all have a good one, and I challenge you to love somebody today!