So, You're Dead Inside
So, as of tomorrow, it’s been a month. And in that month, a shitpile of abject horrors has dropped on our heads like boiling raindrops, drowning us to the point where we can no longer feel, breathe, or even imagine attempting to swim to anything resembling a surface, because the notion of surface doesn’t even exist anymore.
Congratulations! You’re dead inside!
But don’t worry. We’re only mostly dead. I know because I have typed and deleted some absolutely abhorrent things in response to those who continue to call me an example of the “pussification” of America. I’ve still got some real solid rage in me, which is weirdly comforting.
As someone who has taken a turn for the dead inside a number of times over the course of the last few years, I’ve learned some tips along the way to get you back to partly alive.
Use whatever coping mechanisms you can, within reason.
We all have some unhealthy coping mechanisms that may not be ideal but, fuck, in a pinch they help. Drinking, smoking, eating, sending that one petty-ass tweet. Look, these are not good and should be replaced with better ones, but when you’re really far gone, shit man, give yourself the thing.
This does not count if you are addicted to any of the above. Don’t do that. PLEASE. But knowing addicts, you’ve presumably found some new unhealthy coping mechanisms to replace the deadly ones. We all have our vices. Don’t destroy yourself. But do give yourself permission to fall apart a little bit. Attempting to hold it together is what usually causes burnout. Explode into whatever pieces you need to. Then you can pick that shit back up.
You need to step away. Even for a few moments.
Do you know why I’m watching Love Actually every day for almost a fucking month? Because it gives me something else to write about. It gives me a different, totally enjoyable sensation of annoyance and “rage” rather than the actual tangible helplessness and sans-quotes rage that the real world entails. I’ll never be able to shut it off completely, nor should I. But I have to force myself to put energy elsewhere or it will consume me completely.
Do something. Anything.
The world is in trouble. People are in trouble. It is easy to feel helpless because we can’t save them, we can’t fix it. Control the things you can control. Donate to the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, organizations that need help now more than ever. If you don’t have the money, which can make you feel even more helpless, it’s OK to donate your time or services. Offer a local org help with manning phones or with social media, or get on a committee. And sometimes, barring your ability to do anything else, it’s OK in that moment to just post how you feel on Twitter or Facebook. Don’t let the “slacktivism” concept get you down. In a world of a million thinkpieces about how to change hearts and minds, figure out the best way for you to do that. Not necessarily what anyone tells you is the most effective way, but the one that makes you feel better. If it’s yelling at someone, fucking scream. If it’s long diary-like posts about your experiences, do that. Be heard. Be heard in the way that makes sense for you.
Talk to someone.
If things are really bad, if you are low and don’t quite know what to do, talk to someone. I get it. Not only has there been a spike in stress and anxiety across the board, even just among my friends and myself I’ve seen a huge increase in panic attacks, anxiety, and depression. And of course. This is a scary fucking time. It’s OK. You’re OK. It’s OK that you feel the way you feel. And it’s OK to get help for it. Counseling, medication, whatever you need. If your workplace has an Employee Assistance Program, use that shit. And as always, I mean it, if you have no one else, seriously, you can come to me. I might be terrible help (see above where I tell you to drink, smoke, and eat) but I’m here.
And when you feel the little spark again, let it get bigger till you’re at almost-full-strength. Then you’re ready to fight, my friends.
You’ll be dead inside again soon, tbh. PEOTUS and his (micro)peeps have worked tirelessly to make sure that’s the case. So we stick together. We find our people. We do what we need to be OKish again. And we fight.