The kids and I took turns being sick this week. I was out two days from work between taking care of children and taking care of myself. And I am starting to feel better.
I am still struggling to figure out how to deal with my anxiety over the inexperienced person in the White House and the real damage he is able to do...
I am still obsessively reading the newspaper. I read it before going to bed and I read it before getting out of bed. This is a Bad Plan. It means that I associate disturbing news with bed. And when I know that sleep disregulation and anxiety are a big part of bipolar it makes no sense for me to engage in such irresponsible behavior.
I do still want to read the paper. I feel like it is a small thing that I can do. Supporting the free press. Staying informed. When for years and years I chose not to be informed because I would become sucked down by the Bad News and I did not have the emotional reserves to deal with the Downs that would ensue.
Now it is not so much the Downs that are getting me. It is the Anxiety. Which for me is usually part of the Ups.
But I don't feel confident enough in the state of things to stay away from the news.
I work with refugees and immigrants in a public school. I teach students who arrived the week before the travel ban. Tensions are high.
So one of the small things I can do is go to work. And support my students-- especially the newcomers. Or especially those who have been here long enough to take their citizenship exams. Or especially all of them. I am a rebel. I teach at a public school. I teach people born elsewhere.
Back to basics. Thinking globally and acting locally. I am energized by the actions of so many others. I can hold them in the light. I can take small actions. I can take care of myself.
But then I feel bad that I can take care of myself. I feel guilty that I have the option to step back. And then I feel like I have no right to step back even if being in a constant state of Anxious Outrage will burn through me and have a negative impact on my mental health-- when I have been working so diligently to improve my mental health.
Because I still run across the strident voices decrying my privilege. That I don't have a right to feel threatened because I am not a target of the administration. Or some few people expressing glee that now the white women are finally outraged and they can have a taste of what this has felt like for people who are part of more marginalized, more oppressed groups.
And they are right. Not about glee. Or about knowing how other people feel. Or about telling people how they have a right to feel. Or about lumping together "white women" as if that designation is enough for you to tell anything about a person other than their complexion.
But they are right that I have a privilege to be able to step back.
I don't know that it necessarily means that I should not step back. I think I need to think of Mazlow's Hierarchy of Needs. That if living in a state of constant Anxiety knocks me down a couple of rungs on the pyramid (do pyramids have rungs) I really NEED to distance myself from Current Events Crap so that I will have the long term stamina to engage... whatever that means.
I have never been interested in politics. There are too many people involved. I have never been interested in protests. There are too many people involved. I have never been interested in organizations. There are too many people involved.
I don't even go to parties that my friends have. Because there are too many people involved.
And nobody is going to come down and give me an exemption from outrage. No one can tell me that it is okay for me not to engage. No one can tell me what I should or should not do in response to issues that are too near to my heart.
Remember: this is not a blog where I am trying to whine about current events. This is a blog in which I am speaking publicly about living with a mental illness. And current events have an affect on my mental illness. The stress saps my reserves. Makes my symptoms more excitable.
Since the election I have been getting less and less sleep. Less and less exercise. Eating more and more sugar.
I think that I will need to look at self care as an act of rebellion. One of the small things that I can do. I'm going to go eat some vegetables now. And take a nap to make sure that I kick whatever bug laid waste to me this week.
Grateful Crap: my whiny white woman privilege
stayed home when sick
took meds (200mg lamotrigine)
Quaker, teacher, parent,