Good Grief

What stage of grief are you in? Do you feel like you need professional help? If so, just be aware today’s standard of mental health care is “Take these pills and come back in a few months.”

I retired from psychiatry at exactly the wrong time. Had I continued to work, I’d be so busy I wouldn’t have time to write this blog, or do much of anything else. But since you no longer have the option to utilize my professional services, or probably anybody else’s, here’s some free advice. Even if you could find a competent therapist you don’t need one.

There’s nothing to worry about.

I know. You’re thinking, “Shrinks are nuttier than their patients and this guy proves it. Nothing to worry about? Just look at the state of the world. War, climate change, Covid, Monkey Pox and new viruses waiting in line to murder us, MAGA, the decline of democracy, gun violence. Worst of all, high gas prices. And this fool says he doesn’t worry?”

Nope. Not a bit.

All over the land, good folks like you, and even a few Republicans, are in a state of grief. Recent years have brought many losses and it looks like there’s not much to look forward to but more loss. For example, I lost a pair of pliers that I know I didn’t take out of the house and now I can’t get the cork out of my bottle of bourbon. And you thought you had problems?

There are 5 stages of grief.

Stage one-Denial: The masters of denial are the MAGA crowd who believe: The Trump administration had superb policies and achievements. Global warming is a hoax. Trump won by a landslide. The January 6 mob were tourists who were engaging in legitimate political discourse. Guns don’t kill people. Rape doesn’t result in pregnancy unless the the useless tissue surrounding the uterus, otherwise known as a woman, enjoyed it. I’m sure you can find plenty more, but as the facts flow in, denial is starting to lose its effectiveness. Time to get on with the next stage.

Stage two- Anger: Chances are you’re mad as hell about a lot of things. So what? Everybody else is too. It’s fun to rant and rave and belittle the idiots who don’t agree with you, but how much has that helped solve the problems? Anger is not helping one bit. It only makes you drink more. OK, so maybe it is helping. Bottoms up and move on to stage 3.

Stage three- Bargaining: Bargaining with whom? Don’t waste your breath on Republicans. They long ago forgot how to compromise. How about with God? If you’re praying for justice and goodness you have my thoughts and prayers. The Webb telescope has confirmed God is currently doing tequila shots on a tropical exoplanet in a distant galaxy where there is no cell service. The last good thing He did for Mankind was to tell Eve to lay off the apples. You know how that worked out.

Stage Four-Depression: Depression is pathological sadness. Feeling sad because an actual bad thing is happening is not depression. It’s normal. Real depression is as if you caught a sickness. You feel helpless and hopeless when there’s no discernible reason to. In today’s world, there are plenty of bad things happening that you should feel helpless and hopeless about. Welcome to the club. These days, if you aren’t sad you’re probably brain dead, off the grid or just won the billion dollar lottery. So much for depression. Just suck it up and move on.

Stage five- Acceptance: Now there’s the ticket. We have to face the fact we’re powerless. Don’t think just because you vote you have any influence on anything. You’ve heard how Biden is cracking down on Russian oligarchs. Too bad he can’t crack down on the American ones. What most people don’t realize is that the wealthiest guys in the nation along with special interest groups drive 95% of all legislation. No wonder so many people don’t feel as though their votes matter.

Oligarchs are the people who use their big bucks to get ultra-right wing politicians into power. Their personal “public servants” lower taxes on the wealthy and deregulate their businesses. When their guys are in the majority, they do it directly. When in the minority they throw sand in the works and create legislative gridlock. Nothing changes, and that’s just the way the oligarchs like it. They don’t give a hoot about God, guns, climate change and all the culture war noise. They just keep it stirred up to distract and divide us.

Oligarchs got their hand-picked justices appointed to the Supreme Court and now they’ll totally control our future for decades to come. It’s a future you may not care for, but one that they are ecstatic about. Doesn’t matter to them that there may not be a future. Oligarchs are money junkies. Just like all addicts, the only future they care about is when they will get their next fix.

With the Court in their employ, game’s over. You can’t do a thing about it, so accept it. The best you can expect is that you’ll derive some satisfaction from knowing that when the human race is destroyed through the consequences of their greed, they and/or their descendants will join the rest of us in oblivion.

Just accept it. Acceptance isn’t about liking the situation. It’s about being realistic and resigned to your fate. That doesn’t mean you can’t go through the motions of trying to make things better. Who knows? Maybe the Dems will do better than expected on the mid-terms. Sure. And the Nats will win the World Series.

Yeah, I know. Grief’s a bitch. Too bad you wasted all that time on the first 4 stages. Imagine how much happier you’d have been all along if you’d done like me and had the common sense to simply jump right to acceptance. Try it. You’ll be glad you did.

Now if only I could find those pliers…


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