are you in a deep malaise because you live in a country ruled by, or impacted by, leaders and politics rooted in racism, militarism, capitalism and other systemic forms of hatred, all espoused and encouraged from the highest office in the u.s.?
to be precise, do you live in a country run by a megalomaniac inserted into power by some combination of insecure haters and Russia?
are you finding it hard to disconnect from the 24 hour news/commentary/wild assertion cycle?
are you endlessly frustrated by trying to sort out if the “president” is a bumbling idiot puppet or a nefarious mastermind, then realizing it doesn’t matter because he’s destroying everything good either way?
do you scroll through Twitter and other social media to see how world leaders are relating? and then feel disappointed in yourself and social media and society for giving any attention to leaders who operate this way?
do you have sudden aversion to (or new viscous way of consuming) oranges?
do you find yourself repeatedly pointing out obvious shit, like “no president has ever really been for the people or planet” or “we must remember clinton and obama aren’t radical” as a way of either comforting yourself or another person mid-meltdown, or denying the post-legal fuckery masquerading as politics?
do you have whiplash from trying to return your attention to things you can actually impact in the onslaught of divisive, distraction based headlines and decisions?
are you noticing an increase in smoking, drinking, eating highly processed foods, having irresponsible sex, isolation, and overwhelm? or a decrease in exercise, sleep, joy, hope, relationship functionality, desire to continue organizing, magic, or willingness to procreate?
do you often feel the heavy weight of a species-deep depression, an impending doom based in a rudimentary understanding of cause and effect, a planetary sense of dread and apocalypse?
if you said yes to any of these questions, you are likely suffering from Shrump* Traumatic Stress Disorder (TTSD)
TTSD is nothing to be ashamed of. this administration is unveiling the very worst of our species and giving it/them platforms.
we are concurrently in the midst of global conflicts in which the u.s. government (with our tax dollars) is regularly the most agitating, immature force, egging other nations into their worst behavior, while at home we are at minimum in a civil war, the attacks on black, brown, poor and living people by the state continue, larger than our current capacity to check and balance.
the first step to ‘reclaiming your time***’ from TTSD is noticing it exists and you most likely have it and are surrounded by others who have it.
become aware that you are not alone in being overwhelmed by the pace of negative change and terrifying news that accompanies president 45. acknowledge what is true, what is currently, viscerally true. be with what is, and the reality that it’s impacting you.
the second step is getting clear on how this might also be impacting your health, work, familial, social and emotional life. dissociation, depression, hyperwork, numbing, sex fiendishness, arguing with/about lesser evils, fighting with random trolls on the internet – what are your mechanisms of feeling and coping?
the third step is finding the most effective coping mechanisms for your system. no one should pretend we can survive this without coping mechanisms. our Sister of the Righteous Elevator Intervention, Solange Knowles, has accurately accounted for a multitude of potential strategies for dealing with trauma in her hit song Cranes in the Sky.
do not relinquish those strategies which help you get through the day.
and do not mistake coping for living. your life, your body, is still the most precious resource you have. be as good as you can to yourself.
which brings us to the fourth step. find and invest your energy into the things which you can change, the places where you can experiment with your best ideas for justice, liberation, equality, humanity, right relationship with the planet and each other.
we must grow our capacity to govern. we are learning all the time, from experiences that center our values and challenge our ideas, that include accountability in leadership, emergent strategies for reaching our visions, and moving through conflict without dominance and destruction.
your life’s work is needed more than ever – do not become part of a reactive mass that is easily distracted into powerlessness! create, generate, move as visionaries! move in authentic and deepening solidarity and community**!
name the intersectional impacts.
care about, and work on, something generative.
*even for the sake of this piece, i’m not saying his fatherfucking name.
** but what about stopping the madness, you might ask? there are people for whom targeted, strategic, visionary reaction IS their life’s work. trust them, give 10-25 minutes a day to actions they recommend. i support/follow the leadership of the movement for black lives, color of change, indigenous environmental network, aroc, rebecca solnit and other entities which are paying attention and calling for action where it can make a difference.
*** repeating Maxine Waters mantra “reclaiming my time” 108 times every morning is good medicine.