Tuesday was wild. All of the last polls said Hillary Clinton would win, and yet Tuesday night Donald Trump won. By about 7pm pacific time, I began to believe that he would win, and I began to get uncomfortable. Physically I began to shut down; I was anxious and nervous and depressed but it was so shocking to my system that I laid down and was asleep by 8pm.
I got back up around midnight. It was all over. Trump will be our next president. That’s when my anxiety really hit. I was lying in bed trying to go back to sleep, but my adrenaline was pumping; I was obsessively rubbing my feet together to try to get the energy out of my body. My mind began to race, and I began to cry. I was having a panic attack.
I immediately got up to change my location–I cannot stay where the anxiety begins or I feel trapped. I moved to the couch, turned on mindless tv, and tried to drown out my thoughts while allowing myself to cry. No ruminating–just thoughtless weeping. And I fell asleep on the couch after another hour.
In the morning–on 11/9–I felt sad and tired. I was angry and disappointed, but I immediately noticed that old depression thoughts were trying to creep in to the internal conversation. I began to feel that there was no hope, no help, no escape. But that is not necessarily true; at least there is no proof that this is the End of All Things. It may be bad or not so bad, but time will pass, and in the meantime we all have the opportunity to get more involved to effect the changes we desire.
I began to see my depression latching on to my very really disappointment like a parasite. It would suck all the life out of my real feelings and use them to take me to a place of hopeless despair. A place where nothing matters, where I am the problem, and where my only agency seems to be in my own death.
Nope. Not today. Not when I can stop it. I cannot let my grief take hold. I must redirect my despair into proactive healing, and I must do it now. I know my brain–I know the signs, and I know that I am not helpless yet.
I want to do more and say more to help people. I want to write more and finish my next book. I want to get more politically involved as well as connecting with people on any side of the aisle. I want you to know that your politics, while an integral part of who are, do not determine your basic value any more than mine do. Politics change, people change, but your unique personhood is valuable simply because it exists. You matter; we are not helpless; we can recover. Heal in the way that is best for you, but have hope for healing. Never give up hope. I’ve said it before, but always remember, “tomorrow is another day,” and another day is another chance for change and hope.