This clip from SNL pretty much sums up where I am at this moment.
Saturday Night Live
I have not been in a good place. When I woke to the news Wednesday morning that Donald Trump was our president elect, I went into shock. I watched about 20 minutes of news and realized I was at the edge of a panic attack. I turned off the news.
I pulled up Facebook, and my panic grew.
Twitter . . . more panic
At this point, I had been awake for maybe an hour. I was shaking and crying and trying not to hyperventilate. I had to take a lorazepam.
See, I was disappointed Hillary Clinton hadn't won. Very, very sad and disappointed. But my extreme emotional reaction didn't come from disappointment, it came from fear. And that fear has had a paralyzing effect on me. This thick, heavy depression that settled on me was surprising. I had not anticipated having a reaction anywhere near this. I could not get out of bed. I left my house once in 3 days, to go to the doctor because I have ANOTHER sinus infection - probably brought on by my immune system, which is also depressed. I have not been able to do more than watch you-tube videos of cats and remember to eat every now and then. (I've lost 3 pounds without trying)
As horrible and real this experience has been, it is also incredibly embarrassing. A person shouldn't fall apart just because their candidate didn't win. Certainly, I should be stronger than that, right?
It's taken several days for me to realize a couple of things . . . One, I had not allowed myself to even consider a Trump win, so I had no plan of how I was going to process those emotions. Second, I did not realize the fear I would feel. It's not personal fear, but fear for all the marginalized groups Trump threatened and degraded during his campaign. What will happen to the marriages of my gay & lesbian friends? What racist words and symbols will be written on buildings and shouted at humans. How many Muslim women will be harassed because they wear a hijab? How many humans who "look" middle-eastern will be targeted with hate crimes? How many Hispanic and Latino humans will be told to go home because they aren't welcome?
As I've spent the past few days hovering between panic and trying to think rationally (while also avoiding social media, because - TRIGGER!) I've been trying to remember anxiety management skills learned through years of therapy. I think I finally have a plan to move through the next weeks. (It may or may not be coincidence that I was able to come up with this plan once my 102 fever broke)Here are the things I CAN do:
1. Be an ally. Be aware when someone is being bullied or harassed and be their ally in that moment.
2. Allow myself to be angry, but don't react with anger. "When they go low, we go high"
3. Choose kindness, every time
I'm still avoiding most of social media, because it really does trigger my anxiety, but I'm getting my "crazy" to a more manageable place. I may actually leave the house today.
Friday, November 4, 2016
Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Today I went to a political rally - Chelsea Clinton was campaigning for her mother Hillary Clinton. I got there early, standing in line for 2 hours in order to be right up front. As more people came in and pushed those of us in the front further forward, we became so squashed in that it was difficult to move. After standing right at the front for about 10 minutes, I started to feel the beginning tingles of a panic attack. I struggle with enochlophobia, and way way way underestimated my ability to handle being stuck in this large crowd. I turned around, and couldn't see the door because there were so many people. I could feel the panic begin. I took about 30 seconds to try and talk myself out of freaking out. At the end of the 30 seconds I turned around and fought my way to the very back. Where I could breathe. And see the door. And move around. As I listened to Senator Tammy Baldwin, and then listened to Chelsea Clinton, I couldn't help but wonder what it would be like to be right up front. When this kind of panic hits, it makes me feel small because it's out of my control. I guess if I need to put a positive spin on it, I didn't pass out or vomit on Chelsea. So, there's that.
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
It's National Blog Posting Month, so if I'm ever going to get back into blogging - here's my chance. I've been thinking about getting back into blog-mode for a while, and have been pondering where my desire to blog comes from. What do I get out of it?
1. I am able to record bits of life I want to remember. Both the good and the bad. I read through old blog posts and can't believe some of the things I forget about - until I'm reminded through my writing.
2. I need the writing practice. I go through "phases" with writing, some inspired, some mechanical. Some of it good, some of it definitely not good, much of it mediocre. All of it with potential that can only be realized with practice.
3. I get satisfaction in entertaining, even if I only entertain myself.
4. I can work through strong emotions more effectively if I write through them. I have lived with varying degrees of depression for many years, with my biggest struggles coming during winter. The short days limit the light in my soul. Writing prevents me from burrowing in, doesn't let me hide from the emotions I need to process and work through.
Committing myself to NaBloPoMo means I will be writing every day in November. I'm intimidated, but also curious to discover the arrangement my words will take.