(Insert Catchy Title) or Screw you, brain

Well. I suppose a bit of a CW;TW is fair here. Mental health/illness/problems, suicidal thoughts/ideations, and other bits of personal whining.

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Ok, should be far enough for most previews.

One of the things that I have accepted as a Lokean is that change is a constant. In my life and in the world around me. Situations arise constantly that are changing how I interact with the world and that isn’t a bad thing. Scary for some sure, but not bad. Except when it is.

You see, for some reason that I do not know I went into a major depressive state yesterday afternoon and can’t figure out the why. While life has been far from sunshine and rainbows it has actually been rather good. My family has a place of our own, plenty of food, financially stable, just in a very good place as of right now. So why my brain shifted gears from “We’re Good! We’re Good! We’re Good!” to “We need to eat a bullet!” kinda took me by surprise.

Before anyone goes there, no I’m not fucking seeking attention. I know that I am Neurodivergent and have made peace with that. Then why am I writing this? To help myself work through it. To help others they may face the same thing and know they aren’t alone or going insane for it just happening.

Honestly I’m pissed at myself for feeling this way. What fucking reason do I have to feel like this? There is no obvious reason or trigger or event that has done anything to cause this so why? Why can’t I get my shit together and just move past it? Why is it every ten minutes has me thinking about horrible things? While the logical side of me know the answers, let me tell you folks; it sure doesn’t help the emotional side that is in charge right now. The side that wants to shuffle off into Oblivion. I won’t mind you, and as of right now I’m not in danger, at least I’m pretty sure. Been down this slide before.

What is getting me is that this time there was no obvious reason. It was sudden, hard, and upside the head. No fucking discernible reason. Let me tell you, that’s something that will fuck with you. And it isn’t just depression, oh no. Brought along it’s buddies fear and anxiety as well. I also have no idea how long those three are going to hang out either. Never do.

So what the Hel am I doing writing about this here in a public forum? What does it have to do with being Lokean or Rokkatru? What the fuck, man? Simple. There are a great many who suffer in silence. Who, like me, the moment they step out of their house slip on that perfected mask and will laugh and help and do. This I have noticed especially amongst Heathens, doubly so for Lokean and the Rokkatru. Perceived weakness and all that, even if those around us see it as a fight, we see it as being weak unable to control our own minds and feelings.

Which brings me to that whole “Ask for Help” movement. FUCK. THAT. The average person has absolutely no CLUE what is takes to ask for help, to admit that we feel the way we do because of so many reasons. Fear of judgement, of being shunned like we are contagious, of losing those we love. Shame that we aren’t strong, aren’t in control, that we feel this way in the first place. Embarrassment that will cause lies about reasons to why we can’t go out, or work, or deal with everyday life. Whether true are not we feel like failures.

Writing this, just writing this, I personally feel physically ill. Nausea, light headed, near panic, racing heart, the whole thing because I am determined to publish this. More of us, especially in the Heathen/Rokkatru community need to know that we are not alone, that there are those out here like us. We need to know that we can find a safe place to take off our masks. To shift into ourselves instead of the being that we are expected to be. And a great many of us aren’t even able to do that at our best times.

I fight this every gods-damned day, and recently have kept it at bay with a LOT of help of various forms, loved ones and community not the least among them. Some of you may be asking about that, about how to find an accepting community. I wish I could tell you how to do this, but I cannot because we are each wonderfully different. For me, I made that community. I used social media and formed a group and made a page (both of which this will be posted on).

All I can say to others out there, other Lokeans, other Rokkatru, my Tribe and people is don’t give up. Asking for help is one of the hardest things any of us will ever do, and some of us may not be able to at all. For those I hope that there are those that will ask you instead. If they do, tell them honestly how you are feeling. Please.

Now if you will excuse me I have a voice to go and argue with about some unsavory things.

Modern Rökkatru Warriors

20 per day. That was the number of military suicides in 2018 (both veteran and active duty). Not friendly fire. Not enemy attack. Suicide. Does the word make you uncomfortable? Suicide. By the modern warrior. That’s 18% of suicides everyday in the US. And yes, I will be making citations at the end of this piece.

Now, what in the name of Hel does that have to do with the Rökkatru? Over the years I’ve been looking into spirituality and the Modern Warrior, for personal reasons at first and growing into more as sad and worrisome numbers came to light. As a ordained minister, a role I do take seriously, I got very curious as to where spirituality fit into this equation for the human state. So I have been looking into that and what did I find? Sadly very very little.

So I question others, talk to people, both BNP’s (Big Nose Pagans) and the solitary practitioners. I have and will still attempt to get my own information, but here and now with the state of the country I feel that something does need to be said on this. Why? Because at least a quarter of the Pagans I know are either directly military (active or veteran) or come from military families. In the Northern Traditions this number is higher by more than a little. So these are people I care about, and they are at risk. I know for a fact that I am. Later for that though.

Add in the LGBTQ+ and Non-binary factors and numbers climb. I was surprised to see the crossover of these factors but they were plain to see. Worrisome is a pale way to describe the sheer chance at suicide among lone and outed Modern Warriors, not just the actual successes but the sheer number of attempts. All the while the modern climate in the US is regressing faster than a Senator with a Diaper and Mommy Fetish (no kink-shaming intended).

What does it all have to do with the Rökkatru? We ARE the outcast, the shunned, the lost, the Other. We alone are at staggering risk of losing the battle in ourselves. Add to that factors mentioned above and others like POC, and the risk becomes staggering. Waves of hopelessness crashing down on a spirit, crushing despair. Even the strongest can only stand for so long. “What can I do to help this?” I asked. What can WE do?

Here is what I have found. Faith and spirituality, belief can be a rather important factor because it makes us feel less outcast. To find a Path for the heart and soul that we feel called to and belong on is a huge thing in and of itself. To walk that path and KNOW it is the right one for you can be a shield certainly against those horrible waves, holding you upright for longer. And you still slip and slide because you are fighting your own mind that is actively tearing you down from within.

So the Modern Warrior of the Pagan paths have a touch more of an advantage because for many, they walk with and/or among their Divine. But the battle can still be lost for many reasons. From family disowning you to your friends and community turning their backs on you

, to just a streak of misfortune. Financial, divorce, mental health, all factors in the battle.

What then is the answer, especially for those who are even different from the “normal” societal outcasts? Oh I wondered that for a very long time myself but the answer was always there, around me. Community, but community of YOUR choosing. Accept absolutely nothing less than acceptance and know it is ok not to immediately trust. Even if it is a virtual community, it can still be YOURS.

And for the Rökkatru, there are no covens or circles or kindreds. There is only Tribe. A Tribe that measures you by deed and soul. A Tribe where you are safe to be your amazingly Wyrd and wondrous self! Where the supposed “monsters” gather, where the laughter of giant and troll and Völva ring together around the fires. When one of the Tribe begins to slide, the Tribe is there. Some to hold them up. Others to stand beside and deflect. And more still to stand in front, ready to help fight any demons lurking in the waves and storm. Is it perfect? Hel no. But it is community, and that alone will keep us going sometimes.

“Who would mourn me, miss me? They would be better without me being a chain around them, holding them back. I have no TRUE worth, it’s all smoke and lies. I deserve to be forgotten and left to rot away. I’m a monster for what I think and feel deep inside, I shouldn’t be allowed to live. That thing in the mirror, it’s so disgusting how could any want it? Love is a lie just being used against me by those that want something. I will never be or amount to being truly anything. I am a joke at best and a failure if I’m lucky, for that’s the kindest words for me. Soon they will scream IMPOSTOR and drag me even further down and I will deserve it. I don’t deserve the gift of life with the things that I have done.” Words, each a cut. A blow to the body. A stab in the heart. Words that haunt and tear each of us who fight. How do I know what it is that goes through the mind of Warriors and Modern Warriors alike? Because these are just a few of the thoughts I face everyday.

You see dear readers I face a multitude of mental issues and I fight them. With my Doctor and medication, with my family, with my Faith, and with my TRIBE. The Rökkatru. For I Believe, I believe my Deities walk with me. My ancestors walk with me. Everyday. I have ideations, and I know they aren’t going to go away. So I fight, and when my Will is strained I have Family and Tribe.

Not everyone is as blessed in their fight. Many are lost and alone. Many, too many lose the fight. The LGBTQ+ teen that comes out to their parents expecting love and is thrown to the street. The Soldier who comes home and just can’t stop seeing what they had to do to survive. The non-binary individual that just can’t be accepted for their choice by their church. What is the commonality between them? They are alone. Feel abandoned. How many of us know that feeling too well? Suicide. It’s inviting to just quit, to lay down arms and let it take you when you are so very tired of the fight. Peace. Why fight? Because those voices? Those thoughts? ARE LIES!

You will fight and MAKE a place! My Tribe, the Rökkatru, we have made a place and found each other! Make YOUR place! Whether it is 3 people or 3000 does NOT matter! Gather your Tribe/Pack/Congregation/Circle/Coven what-the-fuck-ever it is that YOU need! Why? Because just maybe they need it too.

Hail the Rökkr! Hail the Rökkatru! Hail the Tribe!

References:

Jaimie Lusk, Steven K. Dobscha, Marek Kopacz, Mary Frances Ritchie & Sarah Ono (2018) Spirituality, Religion, and Suicidality Among Veterans: A Qualitative Study, Archives of Suicide Research, 22:2, 311-326,DOI: 10.1080/13811118.2017.1340856

Amato, J., Kayman, D., Lombardo, M., & Goldstein, M. (2017). Spirituality and Religion: Neglected Factors in Preventing Veteran Suicide? Pastoral Psychology66(2), 191–199. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11089-016-0747-8

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2018/06/21/va-reveals-its-veteran-suicide-statistic-included-active-duty-troops.html