Since January 20th, well actually since November 8, 2016, a new unreality has dawned in America. The pounding of chests in Washington can be felt in my own with each new headline. Almost hourly it seems a new headline breaks or a tweet is hastily released by our so called President. Each tweet contains false boasts, lies, alternate facts, and conspiracy theories. Real and troubling matters in need of thorough investigation are hindered at every turn. When the truth does begin to emerge it throws the so called president and his followers into a frenzy of deflection and denial; resulting in a preemptive framing of new accusations whose main purpose is to distract and confuse by creating a new story or situation. This circle of deceit has taken on a life of it’s own, swirling about like an F-5 tornado. The Deconstruction has begun. Healthcare, immigration, consumer safety regulations, climate and environmental protections all dismantling before our bewildered eyes. Hate prevails, while common decency, civility, respect, and human rights are trampled and rolled back.
You can agree or disagree with my assessment or you may simply feel apathetic because nothing is particularly affecting you. Whatever your affiliation, beliefs, or opinions, I think you’ll find two facts indisputable. We are a nation divided and we are a nation full of fear and anxiety.
As someone with anxiety and panic disorders, post traumatic stress, and depression, my ability to focus my energies on my own healing and self care are compromised by the palatable feelings of a nation and world in a flux of fear, anxiousness, and instability.
How do I reconcile a need to focus on myself while trying to stay abreast of current events? How do I fight my own demons and lend a hand to the growing fight of resistance? The short answer is that presently I can’t. My own demons want to feast on the fear that permeates the atmosphere. I am not yet well enough to handle the stresses such a fight can bring.
What I am doing is trying not to let my personal demons gather strength. I am venting my frustrations so the poison doesn’t fester. Mostly, I am trying to get creative and find ways to use my own fears and anxieties along with those that are manifested by current affairs to push me on a path of greater determination. If I can expedite my own healing, perhaps incrementally I can add the space to lend myself to the greater fight ahead.
My plan is simple; disconnect – reconnect. I am disconnecting from reading too much news with planned black out days. These will be followed by a structured reconnection with trusted sources for facts rather than opinions. I think this strategy of disconnect – reconnect will help limit my exposure to all the negativity, fear, and anxiousness.
I have joined a couple of local online groups to keep abreast of local happenings. If and when I am able, I will try to use an event or a opportunity to volunteer as an exposure therapy, the same as I would any other exposure therapy. A crowd is a crowd. An interaction is an interaction. As long as I think the exposure situation will benefit me then I will incorporate it into my therapy, thereby serving dual purposes.
We must be kind to each other and kind to ourselves during these uncertain times. Most of all, in any guise and in any way….. WE CAN NOT LET FEAR WIN!