Wellness Wednesdays #6: Connect, Politics, Ditto.
Shout to my loose Raekwon reference in the title. Wu Tang is forever… Anyhooooo… Today is the sixth installment of a weekly series where I will ask a question related to the themes on my blog (mental health, self-care, community, poetry, etc.). I am trying to get people talking, build a sense of community and increase awareness about mental health. I want to see what’s going on in people’s heads, hear their stories, and gain some perspective and solutions. This week’s question is:
How is the current political climate in the United States affecting you emotionally? What things are you doing to take care of yourself and others?
I generally hate talking politics and all things surrounding it. Mostly I avoid the topic like black licorice, because I don’t know how to express it like a sane human. You want to see someone get riled up and go from Bruce Banner to Hulk in 1.5 seconds, start talking about this current administration. Phrases that start out in my head as , “These policies are irresponsible and will potentially destroy lives.” come out of my mouth as “YO THIS SHIT IS FUCKED, WE ALL GON DIE!” I am pretty sure the latter is not particularly helpful or healthy. Something about probably having no insurance in a year and not being able to manage the mental health that I finally got a handle on makes the blood boil. Y’all, I am stressed. This current political climate and fuckery is seriously messing with me emotionally.
My current coping mechanism has been to unplug from the news when it gets to be too much. I have to close the tab on the thinkpieces, hide the Facebook threads, and opt out of conversations. This is not an exercise of putting my head in the proverbial sand, but just knowing I have to step away. I am also finding more constructive ways to discuss these topics when they are brought up to me and knowing when disconnect when it gets too combative or I get too anxious. Plus, I am finding ways to practice activism so I don’t feel so useless and out of control. There is a way for anyone to get involved in a capacity that they can handle. Everyone’s activism and politics does not look the same and every piece is integral to changing this fucked up world. Ok, so I can’t hide all the anger, nor should I. Yeah, all anger isn’t bad, just needs to be ultimately channeled productively.
Here’s what Loryn Carter had to say:
My anxiety levels are up with this new political climate. It’s not me I’m most worried about per se — it is the people I love, people I work with, people I have fun with that are affected the most. I didn’t have restful sleep for WEEKS after the inauguration – my sleep pattern is finally getting back to normal. Also, sometimes I randomly cry when I think about how #45 is trying his best to take away things that help people.
I do a few things to take care of myself: first, I started taking a boxing class last month and hitting that punching bag as hard as I can has worked immensely. Also, I write in my journal and listen to music. Meditation helps too. I’ve also gone back to taking bubble baths on Monday evenings and then doing my skincare routine, complete with a sheet mask. And when all else fails, a little bit of ratchet reality TV is a great escape.
Shaequan Robinson added this:
Honestly my biggest struggle in the current political climate is trying to avoid places where people are still grieving which often means cutting myself off from places I use to express myself. I barely use facebook, I’ve more or less abandoned Tumblr, and I tweet less than ever before. I try to give people the opportunity to grieve but sometimes I find it frustrating because it seems like folks are determined to open up their own wounds. I think it doesn’t affect me as much because I saw it coming. It’s seeing the reactions of other people that hurts the most because so much of it is emotional and you never want to tell people that their reactions aren’t justified.
Frankly, the biggest struggle is I love talking about politics and in the current climate I can only have calm conversations with one person because anyone else just vents about Trump winning.
I’m not sure I have the ability to take care of others at this point beyond letting them grieve in peace but for me I’m doing my best to avoid the subject completely. When I’m not at work I’m writing, watching my ever growing back catalog of good eats episodes, or playing Xbox. The only really hiccup has been playing Fallout 4, a game in which a war with China ignites nuclear war. In the previous games it’s more of a backdrop but in this version your character witnesses the bombs first hand. It’s a little on the nose for me.
Thanks to my contributors for the answers this week. Please leave your thoughts and answers in the comments! If you’d like to participate in the future, Hit Me Up!