It’s Okay to Feel Terrible for a Little While

Posted on November 10, 2016 in
It's Okay to Feel Terrible for a Little While

I’ve been thinking a lot about what to write about the election, but nothing seems right. I also had a super long post I’ve been working on for over a month about the intensity of my depression over the course of the last year. So, I’m going to combine them now.

The Election

The results of the presidential election were widely disappointing, and I know I am one voice out of many expressing this sentiment.

Let’s be clear about one thing. This is not a game. This is not an issue of “your candidate lost, suck it up.” People are afraid. They are not only afraid of the president-elect. They are afraid of his supporters. They are afraid that their loved ones will be taken from them. They are afraid that people will lose their lives. They are afraid of racism, sexism, and so much more. So, no. I don’t think this is an issue of “sore losers.” How can it be, when people are living in fear for the very reasons that got this man elected in the first place?

I will never fault people for protesting. In fact, I feel that it is our responsibility to express discontent with our system. When letters, votes, and voices don’t work, it’s our duty to find a way to stand up for what we feel is right. It is never right to watch our neighbors be stripped of their human rights. This is how we have achieved shit from day one. Don’t we look back on the Boston Tea Party with pride? While Martin Luther King Jr.’s protests are hailed as peaceful today, you can bet your ass that they were not convenient for everybody else. I highly recommend reading more about the nonviolent resistance supported by King. As a nation, we’ve always been proud of our inability to sit down and shut up when we feel discontent with the system.

People are upset and are protesting because they feel that their lives could be destroyed. Many are grieving hope (though I truly hope they have no reason to). Many are wondering what they are going to do. People have questions about how they will afford health insurance, if their family members will be deported, or if we might be facing World War III. Please don’t be confused and associate this with the myth that millennials are whiny crybabies.

I absolutely hope with all my heart that our next president makes good choices. I don’t want to live in the world I envision when I think about our president-elect. I want our country to be prosperous. I want our country to be on the right side of history. I don’t want our country to be the joke of the world. I do not want him to fail because that means we all fail.

When I look around, I see people who want to help. I see desperate people looking for anything to hold on to. I see hopeless people. I see hopeful people. No matter how you voted, I believe that you did what you thought was best for the country. And I respect that we each have the opportunity to be part of democracy.

That being said, I will never respect anybody who perpetrates sexual assault. I will never respect anybody who speaks about sexual assault cavalierly. I won’t look at this man and see somebody I feel proud of representing me and the country I live in. I will feel disgusted. I will think about my own experiences and the experiences of other women I know and feel sickened that we allowed things to go this far. I will never respect somebody who mocks people with disabilities. I wouldn’t respect a friend, family member, or person on the street who expressed ideas similar to those this man has.

I am not interested in having a political debate with you. I am not interested in trying to change anybody’s mind. I’m not interested in hearing excuses or justifications. I get why you might not have wanted to vote for either candidate. I get it. But we allowed the system to become this.  It never had to become this.

No matter how you voted or how you feel after the election, I think we all agree that we need change. I don’t think anybody is necessarily over the moon with the way things are going. We have a lot of work to do. (Some of us on a more personal level.)

I have a few goals for the next few years. And just maybe taking action is the best remedy to fighting back against this bombardment of hatred, a lot of which I feel from my very own family members.

Goal #1: Take a stand for the causes I believe in by donating my time. Did you know that I knocked on doors for the first time this year to talk to people about a local candidate I was proud to support? Never in a million years did I see myself doing that. My next step is to consider ways in which my time will be best spent with the community I live in. How can I support people who feel especially vulnerable at this time?

Goal #2: Put my money where my mouth is. Donate more often to organizations like Planned Parenthood, RAINN, and charities that focus on domestic violence. Donate to environmentally focused groups that are working to understand climate change. There is a list of similar organizations here. For every awful thing I see somebody post on Facebook, I hope to donate a dollar to a cause that I support in their honor.

Goal #3: Try to be as compassionate as possible. Let’s not mince words. I’m pissed off. But I understand the anger and fear and mistrust all of us have. But some people have more cause to be worried than I do. And I want to show those people the respect and compassion that they deserve.

Goal #4: Stand up when something is wrong. This is not contradictory to my previous goal. I think the two can coincide. I can have compassion for somebody while also telling them that what they said is awful/wrong/hateful/unwarranted/inaccurate. But also, realize when people are just trying to start a debate that will only end in hurt feelings.

As a nation, we have to do better. I have confidence that we will. But right now, I’ve got nothing.

 

Depression

On to personal issues. The last few months, I’ve been doing terribly. I’m tired of beating around the bush and trying to be delicate about how I feel. I don’t feel like a person. Some mornings I wake up and have a split second of wishing that I hadn’t. Some nights I go to bed feeling more alone than ever.

I wish I could say that there is no reason for all of this, but there are many personal ones. The world feels so bleak, and I feel utterly hopeless. This is not election-related, by the way. This is very much related to relationships (romantic, family, friendships), feeling stagnant, not having my own space, and whatever chemical things are going on in my brain.  There are people, places, and especially feelings that I miss so much that they make my chest physically ache. There

There are people, places, and especially feelings that I miss so much that they make my chest physically ache. There are things that make me feel sick. There are people I’m so incredibly angry at, and they have no idea. And recently, all these things are so much more intense. Maybe it’s stress? Maybe it’s the fact that my emotional support network consists of a cat? Maybe it’s the feeling that I’m working so hard and getting nowhere?

I am so, so tired of hiding the fact that I have been depressed for years upon years. It’s exhausting. And a lot of the time, I feel utterly alone in it. The best thing I can say is that I don’t wallow in it anymore. I get out of bed in the morning. I shake off the feelings of self-loathing. I run until I can’t breathe. I come home and work and even shower every day. I’m getting better. It’s something that I can live with. But I also know that it’s something I will always live with.

I don’t say all of this to make anybody feel bad or to invoke worry. I say this because it’s important. Don’t shell up like I so often do and hide away from the world. There are people, like me, who will listen. There are people who will help you to the best of their abilities.

 

Over the course of the next few days, I will be posting videos that provide me with a sense of peace or that just make me feel okay about the way things are going. I think we could all use this time to reflect on how we want to better ourselves and help those much more vulnerable.

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