Saturday, February 15, 2014

Climate Change and Mental Ilness

All this thinking about the crappy weather lately has me thinking about climate change. That, and I finally watched "The Lorax" yesterday (which I highly recommend). I was an environmental activist for years and while I'm not exactly "active" in the cause anymore, I'm still pro-environment. That expression is bizarre though, if you think about it, because how can you NOT be "for" your habitat?

In any case, the weather has been extreme lately.  It's not just about global warming, although the Earth's atmosphere is, in general, warming, it's also about the effect of desertification -the Earth is becoming more desert-like in it's extremes of heat and cold.  We're having much less of the "temperate" in the temperate zones (less spring-like and fall-like conditions).  Not to mention all the unusual natural disasters which have been stressors for so many people.

What concerns me about this is that natural disasters and weather extremes are hard on people psychologically.  I found this great article about "Climate Change and Mental Health, which speaks directly to this condition.  I knew I wasn't alone feeling like this winter was too much, but I'm now thinking about how it's going to be getting so much worse.

What I've noticed though, is that by identifying the problem for me this winter, I'm starting to feel better.  In some of my recent posts I've been talking about hearing command hallucinations that may be related to a kind of "cabin fever."  It's been about 4 days now since I've heard any of these voices.

The bigger picture here may be awareness that changes in climate are effecting all of us and those of us who have lower thresholds for stress need to take care of our emotional health when things get tough.  It may be helpful to do a self-assessment to find out what types of thoughts and activities help you the most with this kind of stress.  And while you're at it, take time to appreciate the good weather when it comes along.

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