Managing My Mental Health During The Trump Administration: An Introduction

I’ve missed a few Tuesday mornings on this blog recently, as that is when I work on the Progressive Newsletter I put together with some local friends which goes out on Wednesdays. We store Progressive-minded events (mostly local) on a Google Calendar and write a newsletter with action items and resources and articles of note so that – ideally – you can follow that calendar or get that newsletter and maybe feel like you’re staying caught up if you can’t follow anything else. We try to also manage Podcasts lists and Organizing resources etc…and we do most of it through the very simple website.

ANYWAY. I tell you all of this because I realized it’s not like me to disappear that regularly. I also wanted to share these two links with you:

I’ve been listening to political podcasts when I walk my dog. When I get up from my desk to go to the bathroom, I take my phone so I can check my news feed while I pee. I check Twitter when I stand in line at the grocery story. I am absorbing myself in the news so that – if anything happens – I can use my voice or my phone or my newly-found marching skills, and let my voice be heard.

But I’m also losing my f*cking mind. There’s definitely a balance and I have MOST DEFINITELY not found it yet.

I see people share out funny meme on Facebook and I have these mixed feelings. Part of me is all: Yay! Distraction! But another part of me is all: DONALD TRUMP JUST NOMINATED A CONSERVATIVE TO SCOTUS…CONSTANT VIGILANCE!

In one moment I’m riding on a cloud of activism, proud of the new me I’ve discovered since November. But then in another moment I think: Okay. It’s time to visit my doctor and get medication for my anxieties as I think they’ve become unmanageable again. Also, where are the donuts? WHO STOLE MY DONUTS?

There’s a lot of these cute questionnaires going around Facebook and a friend of mine shared out an alternative version yesterday. Here it is:

Hey! Let’s all engage in some positivity! Passing this on because we could all use a break from negativity and learn about each other.
1. Who are you named after?
There is a literally fascist administration in office in the United States.
2. Last time you cried?
Resist it, unfailingly, with all your strength.
3. Soda or water?
A woman, scheduled to be deported, attempted suicide in the airport. Two Christian families from Syria, who had already completed their visas, arrived in the US and were then put on a plane back to Damascus.
4. What is your favorite lunch meat?
Donate to the ACLU.
5. Longest relationship?
Law enforcement is illegally enforcing the ban, even though a stay has been issued by the court system.
6. Do you still have your tonsils?
Soon, we won’t have the courts to depend on, either.
7. Would you bungee jump?
Get your news from anywhere but social media and cable talk shows; the BBC and The Guardian do good work, as do the LA Times, the Washington Post, and the New York Times.
8. How many years at current job?
Stand up for minorities and women’s health and freedom of the press.
9. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?
Make sure to take care of your mental health in this tumultuous and stressful time.
10. Roller coasters?
Punching unapologetic actual Nazis is illegal and you definitely should do it every chance you get.
11. Favorite ice cream?
Many of the Democrats are folding. Keep the heat on them, keep writing and calling them.
12. Favorite thing to do?
This is not normal. Don’t act like it is. You can’t ignore this.
13. Football or baseball?
Steve Bannon has said himself he is a Leninist who wants to destroy and remake society, and he is manipulating the POTUS to sow chaos as a pretext for crushing civil liberties and seizing permanent power.
14. Leggings or Jeans?
Install the Signal app to make sure your messages are end-to-end encrypted and stop using FB messenger, Google Voice/Hangouts, and texting, which are easy to spy on. It’s incredibly easy to install and setup, and you won’t even notice it once you’re done. Remember that unless both parties are using it, it won’t be secure.
15. What are you listening to?
Keep up with everything going on, do not let up.
16. Favorite Color?
Prepare for the increased repression of American citizens. It is coming.
17. Tattoos?
Keep in mind that he is constantly lying to us. Do not believe anything he says. If he says the sky is blue, look up and check it yourself, or save time and assume that he’s lying.
18. Married?
They still haven’t fixed the pipes in Flint, Michigan.
19. Hair color?
Stop being complicit.
20. Eye color?
Stop being obedient.
21. Favorite to eat?
Stop fooling yourself that you won’t have to fight somehow.
22. Scary movies or happy endings?
Stop being scared. Stand up for what you believe in.
23. Android or iPhone?
America is a country of immigrants. We are better because of our diversity.
24. Chevy, Ford or Buick?
We will not re-center the white working class at the expense of minorities, women, and LGBTQ+ in the hopes of poaching voters. Elevate people less privileged than you who are being actively repressed.
25. Favorite holiday?
It will get worse. You are stronger than you think, and you can take it.
26. Beer or wine?
You have to. We don’t have any other options.
27. Night owl or morning?
Your children and grandchildren will remember you by what you did during these years.
28. Favorite day of the week?
Dissent is American. *All* enemies, foreign *and domestic.*
Come on….someone do this with me. Let’s have some fun, take a break from negativity and learn about each other.
*Copy and Paste this, stolen without shame or regret. Please do the same.*
Stolen from Sarah Einstein who stole it from James Arnett, who stole it from somebody else.

I mean…it’s kinda hilarious, right? But also kinda makes you want to curl up in the corner and cry with your box of donuts.

I am trying to go back to those links though that I shared above and remind myself I’m a better activist if I take care of myself. I’m already feeling overwhelmed to the point of inaction some days and that does no one ANY good WHATSOEVER. So I need to monitor my mental health to at least avoid that. But otherwise? I just can’t let myself get too distracted. I listen to my McElroy brother’s family of podcasts, I watch my favorite sitcoms and TV shows, but besides those thing? I’m all news, all the time.

Where are you with this? Are you managing your mental health better than I am? Have you already taken yourself to a clinic similar to Georgia Behavioral Health Professionals? I mean, I’m not doing terrible, but I do find myself bouncing some days between anxiety-induced exhaustion and hopeless despair…and you know…that’s not my favorite mental state to be in. I mean, I’ve seen worse, but jeezus, I’ve also seen a whole lot better.

I think my greatest fear is that when history looks back on these year, that someone will forget I was part of the resistance. I don’t want my kids to forget this point in time, when I was using my voice to push for protest and/or change. I want them to having examples to follow if they need to in the future. I want there to be NO DOUBT where I stood.

But none of this matters if I’m institutionalized because I’ve stopped sleeping.




6 thoughts on “Managing My Mental Health During The Trump Administration: An Introduction”

  1. I think that’s the perfect example of where the hashtag #funnynotfunny should be used. I WISH it was funny, and it was, except it’s not, you know? Very coherent of me…I’m walking on eggshells publicly and professionally, and leaning really hard on some like-minded friends and family in my home circle. If it wasn’t ACTUALLY HAPPENING I’d think it was unbelievable. Thanks for keeping up posts through this – your blog is one of the ways I a) connect and b) take a break. Both good things. I hope you get some quality sleep soon. And also, anything new with the house closing? Last I remember it was pushed back a couple weeks, but I don’t remember when that was. I hope everything is still on track there!

  2. I LOVE that alternative questionnaire! Just remember: we can’t do anything to fix society if we don’t keep ourselves going. And sometimes we need to eat a doughnut or look at cute pictures of otters or zone out with a sitcom to keep ourselves going. There’s no shame in self-care and enjoying life (while we still can DUN DUN DUN #sorry). You’ll be better for it, and so will the causes you hold dear.

  3. I am not handling this well. I alternate between anger, fear, and despondency. I also sat on my couch on Saturday and did nothing but watch Netflix. No housework, no homework, no following what was happening online. I just needed… some time to escape. Should I have protested? Should I have made postcards (my plan)? Yes. But I really needed a day and I had the house to myself for the first time in a really long time.

    I was worried about how the future would view me when looking back but I realized it doesn’t matter. As long as I do all I can. Also, I know my kids will remember and like you said, that is the big one. Knowing I fought back will give them the knowledge that they too can do the same. That kindness and compassion is more important than money and fear.

  4. I have Just gotten to the point where my stress levels will be included in what I discuss with my counselor next week.Right now we are in the nomination approval phase, so it all important. We are also having to know on a daily basis what has happened now. Kim, you may need to choose 1 issue or 2 to concentrate on at a time. Then in a few weeks or a month, switch issues. We have a group, maybe spread out the issues for people to keep up with.

  5. I’m finding the Hamilton soundtrack helpful. Inspirational (Rise up!) mixed with opportunity to groove. It reminds me of the fundamental beliefs that keep me going and inspires me with how absolutely incredible and holy @&$ that must have been a huge leap that our country took to even exist. As scary as things seem now, it feels achievable simply because that leap landed. I mean, they could break free, fight a war, and create a country. The country I want is here. Fighting for it seems doable.

  6. My husband cut me off of Twitter for a bit. I’ve gone back but did have to take the news feeds out. I am trying to focus on one cause (hard, sooo many issues) and beat that one down, and try to give money to support groups that are working hard on the causes I can’t get to this week. Only issue with that is- you get fewer wins.

Leave a Reply