As someone who has seen political outrage and national anger hundreds of times, I am struck by how bitter and ugly these times are. And it seems to me that our country is rapidly becoming 300 million people filled with grief and grievances. And right when we need to be leaning on one another, we are pulling further apart every day.
It does not matter what side of the political spectrum on which you fall - you may be grieving civility or a simpler time - the loss of your job or your health insurance - or perhaps all you want is a quiet space, to be with family and feel safe.
A little over two years ago I wrote about how to manage after a mass shooting or other such tragic event. Now in addition to more attacks of that kind, we have been subjected to dozens of attacks on our psyches and sensibilities, I've lost count. So now I feel like what I wrote before applies to everyone - though I would add a few things:
- Step One - turn the news OFF. Take a break from the nastiness, the outrage and the tweets. It's just too bloody much and you don't have to be in the line of fire all the time.
- Step Two - take care of your health - eat, sleep, drink water, take a hot shower and a walk.
- Step Three - spend time with family and friends - that has even deeper meaning these days, I feel. And find ways to be of service, there is SO much need right now - Florida, Puerto Rico, California, Texas, yes, but also in your local communities and charities - they need not just your money, but your time and your love.
- As it happens during a loss in your own lives, many folks feel like time has slowed to a crawl in the whole country. Your memory may be faulty and have hiccups. You are not going crazy, these are a normal grief response! Be gentle with yourself, it may stay like that for a while, till things settle out - we hope that happens soon.
Just in general, be there for the people in your life who matter - build bridges, not walls - stay focused on what is right in front of you, not the fears that might take over your heart and mind. It's tough, I know - I'm right there with you. I had a nightmare about nuclear war the other night - haven't had one of those since I was about 8. But we have to stay in our lives and do the best we can to take care of one another. That's what this country is all about. We rise or fall together - please take excellent care of each other - or we are nothing.