Like many people reading this, the results of the presidential election sucked out almost all of my energy like an orange vampire. I cried. No, more aptly I sobbed off and on for the next two days after. I was devastated and frightened. My anxiety and my depression flared like I hadn’t seen in years. As someone who deals with managing depression and anxiety on a daily basis, I’m tired. So very tired of everything. Tired of being afraid for my well being, my fiance’s well being, my Jewish family’s well being. All of my queer, Muslim, and female friends. How can I stand up for all of them, how can I work to make sure they’re safe and their rights are protected? Today is one of those days where I want to throw in the towel and dive head first into a sea of depression. Giving up is a temptress, always trying to guide me off the edge in times of trouble. How do I fight against the tide, armed at ready to fight the battle that needs to be fought?
Trying to be ‘on’ all of the time isn’t new to me. Neither is getting burnt out. Working with nonprofits, it’s easy to dive in and try to give 200% all of the time. If you aren’t doing something, you feel like you’re wasting time and energy. The guilt of taking a mental day off or not working long hours can be overwhelming. I’ve seen many tweets and posts about how important self-care is in terms of being an activist. The guilt of ‘not doing enough’ 24-7 runs people down. It’s physically impossible to be on for the cause every single moment of every single day.
In my own unproductive Facebook altercation a women lamented how students were getting time off and teachers were bringing in hot cocoa. Like there is something inherently weak about taking a moment to mourn and take care of yourself. That there was something wrong with people like me who voted for Clinton needing a space to mourn, scream, rebel, and wrap themselves up in a blanket.
Sometimes the only thing we can do in a day is remind others that they are important. To post a hotline or give a friend a hug to remind them how important they are. Self care is about rebellion. It’s about survival. In order to rise up against the injustice of the world we need to take care of ourselves. Whether that means a cup of tea before calling a Congressional office or a bath after a rally, it’s vital that we take care of ourselves and each other. That’s why we’re drinking hot cocoa, organizing get-togethers to learn self defense, and to paint our nails. It’s not because we are soft. It’s to repair and upgrade our armor.
It’s okay to take a break from all of the negative noise. It’s okay to gather resources or to ask for help. Taking care of yourself isn’t arbitrary, it’s necessary.
Support / Self Care Resources:
Trans Lifeline: (877) 565-8860
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
The GLBT National Help Center: 1-888-843-4564
The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386 or Text “Trevor” to 1-202-304-1200