89. The path from disconnection to connection
Air travel, nature, and tuning in.
I’m writing to you today sleepy and jet lagged after a nine day bout of travel for the book. Despite the literal hundreds of flights I’ve taken in the the last six years (sans that pesky pandemic), I’m finding that frequent air travel—the kind where you’re in a new place every few days—wears on me in a way it didn’t used to. It’s not the physical exhaustion that gets to me, but the psychic exhaustion. It’s like the radio transmitter in my head can’t find a steady frequency because there’s too much input and it can’t decide who or what to tune into.
I see this as a side effect of becoming more connected with myself after antidepressant withdrawal. Withdrawal is the extraordinary bridge from disconnection to connection. It calms when in connection to the higher self and rages in its absence. It forces change. And when that change solidifies, it’s difficult to go back. It is against our nature to go back.
I am my most reliable and familiar frequency, the transmitter easily connecting when I’m in the quiet of my own home. In these walls, I am open and clear. Take that openness into a flying bus packed with hundreds of people projecting whatever uncomfortable chatter is going on in their own head and you may as well dress me in an itchy wool onesie and tell me not to scratch.
It reminds me of the words of philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti, “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”
Nothing about air travel supports our nature. We are adaptable animals, so we can certainly survive it, but our nature asks us to travel on foot, with the safety of the tribe, and only when instinct calls. It does not ask us to try to sleep sitting up or pass the time by staring at a postcard-sized screen while someone knees you in the back for six hours, only to do it again a few days later.
Not that I’m complaining about the opportunity to see new places and promote my book. That, I will always be grateful for. But given that half the book takes place during a year long trip around the world, in which I was on no less than fifty flights, the experience does offer me a lens in which to view my own healing. In that way, this exhaustion is a gift, a reflection of how far I’ve come.
In other news…
Happiness Is A Skill is getting a facelift. In addition to my thoughts on whatever is going on in the world of mental health and withdrawal, I’ll share whatever relevant nuggets I’ve found or experienced over the past few weeks.
📰 My article for the Washington Examiner, “What I wish I had known before I stopped taking antidepressants, and before I started”
📺 My feature as part of Newsy’s special on mental health in America. This was my first national news segment and I’m thrilled that the team at Newsy decided to include a pice on withdrawal.
🎙My podcast with Create What You Speak with Sloane Freemont
The Myth of Normal by Gabor Mate. This monster of a book is a groundbreaking investigation into the causes of illness, a bracing critique of how our society breeds disease, and a pathway to health and healing. This should be mandatory reading, especially by parents of young children or soon-to-be-parents.