I may have made a breakthrough. I don't belong here (here, as in this culture) and THAT is why I have such trouble. I am forcing myself to fit into the niche that I have to occupy in order to survive in this world. HOWEVER. I am a writer. I have a very good imagination (don't believe me? let me tell you about my last anxiety attack during which I imagined my son dying horribly in all kinds of ways... yep) and I need to use it to strengthen myself instead of weaken myself.
I feel a little silly talking about this, but I am going to write a story for myself that I can use to escape the mundane. It doesn't have to be something I believe (which is what stops me from any kind of supernatural faith), it has to be something I can rely on. For instance, when we moved into an apartment building and I was dreading all the people and noise, my husband said to just think of it like we were Anasazi cliff dwellers. This shot straight to my anthropologist heart and completely vanquished any anxiety I had. It was that fast and that simple. All I have to do is close my eyes for a minute and see cave dwellings and people living simply around me and I'm totally fine.
So now the task falls upon me to create an alternate life or fantasy which I can use as an escape in the midst of my mundane life. More magic, more sparkle. Someday I'll probably see the hidden truths of what I create, but it doesn't matter now because the belief I have been striving for is NOT HOW I WORK. I tried for years and years and years in a conservative christian church, but every time my rational mind argued with my spiritual beliefs I had horrible dissonance and depression and guilt etc etc etc. So I'm not going to try to force that way of life on myself, even in a pagan context. I don't have to believe ANYTHING. I need that inner support system that I sort of had with my former church, but I can create my own. And it doesn't have to be literal truth.
I'm a little nervous about figuring out how to do this, but I just feel so much better. If my personality doesn't work with this culture, it doesn't have to be ME that's wrong. And I can adapt and survive as I lean on my own strengths instead of trying to make my 'weak' areas work with a life path that requires me to be something that I'm not.