Dangerous Compassions



Rest is sacred, one of the pillars of my wellness.  Is rest sacred to you?  Does is help you feel happy and able to continue?  That’s what it is for me.  Rest isn’t optional–being alone, sleep, just doing nothing.

psychoactive substances

I was at a Whole Foods, standing by the checkout.  I saw a display of chocolate.  So many kinds of chocolate!  Wow, it looked great.  I wished I could eat that chocolate.

Right now my health needs don’t have room for chocolate.  But maybe one day, I can have it again.  There was a time I ate it every day, and when I stopped, that was uncomfortable.

Chocolate has been a big part of my coping strategies, years past.  When the annual Sacred Peace Walk event came around, I would hoard chocolate in preparation.  Then I would eat it by myself in the bedroom, hiding out where no one could bother me.  It was a big deal to do this intense self-soothing.  I needed comfort really bad.

I could see how the chocolate eating by myself was sort of like drinking alone–I could see some people might find this not a good idea.  But I was in a situation so stressful, I needed extreme help.  Being social for days straight during Sacred Peace Walk time, I was doing the impossible.

energy drinks

Then I was at a Walmart, using the bathroom on a roadtrip.  I saw a kind of energy drink in a can that I’d never heard of.  Then I saw hundreds of energy drinks, with different can colors, arranged in a decorative formation.

I thought, “Wow–these are psychoactive too.”  Energy drinks are how people try to do more work, doing the impossible.  Rather than resting when they’re tired, some people have energy drinks, to keep going.  Starbucks is like that too–fancy, expensive energy to keep going, in the form of a treat.

I thought of alcohol and weed, which many people use to relax, to help them rest.  It was insightful to see all these substances as ways people regulate their emotions and to look at them through the lens of rest.  I’d like a master’s degree in rest.


A funny part is that I don’t use chocolate, energy drinks, coffee, alcohol, or weed.  It’s funny because I’m crazy, but all these ways of emotionally regulating and rest regulating, I can’t do.  I have to use other methods, like feeling my feelings and letting them pass through my body.  Avoiding them doesn’t work, for me.  And I need to rest a lot–there’s no avoiding it.

I was talking to Ming about regulation.  I’m really bad at moderating, and I think it’s an autism thing.  I don’t know how much to talk in a group, so it’s easier not to talk.  Blogging is something I enjoy, and it’s much easier for me to do it every day than to do it sometimes.  “Always” and “never” are my two main speeds.

Seems like alcohol, energy drinks, and the other psychoactive substances I’m mentioning in this post are tools of regulation and help people moderate their behavior.

“Wow,” I said to Ming.  “Maybe most people aren’t very good at moderating, which is why they need these substances?”

“Yes,” Ming said.  “I don’t think most people are good at moderating.  But they don’t understand that.”

“Oh, ok,” I said.


Suddenly it made sense to me.  I thought of bad behavior by people I’d loved and been hurt by over the years–much of it could be seen as problems with moderating.

The realization is: I thought I was bad at moderating, but so is everyone.  I’m just good at seeing the reality of my differences, my weaknesses.  Most people use substances to moderate, but I don’t want to or can’t.

I’m crazy for sure.  But maybe more people would seem crazy, if they didn’t have psychoactive substances to make them functional.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

2 replies on “rest”

Psych meds are psychoactive too. They are how our current culture denies its own crazy makingness and that it is unsustainable in its nature.

I love you !

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