“I think you may be acting out of your anxiety,” someone gently said to me.
“It will be ok” says my husband on repeat.
Hugging myself, I try to create a semi-circle of grace to combat the feelings of self-loathing because yes, these past few weeks, my anxiety seems to be winning.
Being a sensitive person during a contentious election season is hard. Smack on the truth that 900 people are dying EACH day from a virus the government shushes and I want to scream, “How are the rest of you NOT anxious?”
Perhaps you aren’t. Lucky you.
I am anxious. Those three words make me sad.
We’ve got three weeks to go until Election Day. Another friend reminded me, perhaps, it’s time to tune out.
I wobble between wanting to be informed and being disgusted. I laugh at the memes of flies and dip into a place of disgust for sold out fly swatters and pictures of poop on white bread. The flags waving on my street spout hatred. The very hanging feels like a violent act.
How can I continue to contribute to the discourse when we’ve stooped on both sides? Is calling someone a piece of shit acceptable if it’s true?
In an attempt to self-soothe and whisper again to turn back to hope, I made a list of and the coping mechanisms keeping me grounded.
Here are five ways to survive as a sensitive person during election season in a pandemic world.
- Do Something
Figure out how you want to contribute to the cause. I wrote to a senator for the first time this month. I chose to disregard the canned response I received in my inbox full of reasons why that senator would act differently. Man-splained once again. I signed up to send 400 postcards to voters in areas likely to experience voter suppression. I bought a coffee mug. I’m done arguing on social media. But I’ll keep giving my dollars to campaigns and keeping my fingers crossed.
2. Remember I can’t control much
Even people closest to me think I’m overreacting. My cautiousness at entering hair salons and the short outburts reminding people to use hand sanitizer mask the underlying narrative I’ve got playing in my head. Soap and masks are good and necessary. But the air is tainted too?
I can’t control other people and their perceived ok-ness. I want to stop judging the kids at soccer practice and the parents who put them there. I want to be free of fear knowing people I love are forced to go back to work in rooms with little ventilation.
I can work on improving my own sense of grounding.
3. Schedule time to process
Whether I’m writing in a journal, or talking to a friend on the phone, or watching a video sure to make me cry, I have to find a place to press the pressure valve button. No one is experiencing this too-much-ness like I am. I need a place to own my own story. Blow off the steam. Dance in the living room. Scream. Let the tears fall.
4. Stop scrolling
Perhaps tears are good reminders I’ve been scrolling too much. No one is forcing me to open Instagram or the front page of the virtual New York Times. My wanting to be informed is hurting my spirits. Give my thumbs something else to do. Go on a walk. Pick up the ukulele. Write more postcards. Stop scrolling.
5. Count the beautiful things
The sun is up and the smoke has shifted. New playlists exist on Spotify. Wrap your hair around an iron to create the perfect curl. Milk still swirls in coffee and yellow leaves crunch at my feet. Candle light warms and ink spills onto paper. People are activating, donating, scrubbing, and sanitizing. Prayers are whispered. Grief is becoming a part of the national conversation. Red toe nail polish. Creativity whistles bringing good ideas and hilarity to our homes. Season six of Schitt’s Creek is now available on Netflix …
I don’t know what will happen in November. Maybe today’s death count will drop. Perhaps one more person will pick up a mask. Saying hello to the anxiety deflates its looming presence.
I’m here, as a sensitive person, reminding myself and others that even in the madness, beauty abounds. Help me remember to focus here instead.