I have a confession to make – I’ve barely slept for the past three nights (whatever time I go to bed, I invariably wake at 3am and that’s it til I need to get up around 7am, at which point I could keel over and sleep for a week because clearly my brain hates me). This is partly due to anxiety and also partly because I have had to up my meds as a consequence of said anxiety and they work a bit like speed, keeping my brain whirring even when I’m desperate to doze off. So this might just turn into an incoherent ramble, but then I figure anyone who reads this blog is used to that now, so fuck it, let’s go.
The obvious question at the moment is, how the fuck do we not go COMPLETELY FUCKING INSANE WITH WORRY when the entire world appears to be crumbling around us? Most presidents at least have the decency to pretend to be human for six months or so before taking their batshit crazy ideas out on the rest of the world, but not this one. And it doesn’t matter a rat’s ass to my shredded nerves that I live on a different continent, because I’m already trying to live with the Brexit shittery and that alone is enough to send anyone screaming into a cupboard with a bottle of gin and a determination to avoid looking the world in the eye ever again.
I wrote this piece for Metro; it’s a list of Nice and Good Things to hold onto in the midst of the current horror. But as well as holding on to good thoughts, there are things we can actually DO that will help us get through this shit. And we have to get through, because someone’s going to have to pick up the pieces and get life back on the road again – and in the absence of sane leadership that’s going to have to be us, motherfuckers.
There are a few articles like this doing the rounds already, but they mostly all assume that the reader is otherwise sane and mentally balanced. But what about when you’re already ON THE FUCKING EDGE all the time because of mental health issues? Here are my suggestions for Not Going Completely Mad – take ’em or leave ’em, the choice is yours. But at least I’m giving you a choice, which is more than many governments are doing right now *minor break for muffled cursing and wailing*
Give yourself a break
You know this one already – it’s #1 on the list of any article similar to this. No one can live on adrenalin 24/7 (I seem to be trying to do exactly this at the moment, but I wouldn’t recommend it), you’ll be no good to anyone. Switch off the internet for set periods of time and if you absolutely have to watch the news on TV, make it once a day, max.
Remember to take your meds
If you’re on medication, take it. Put it next to the bed or the kettle, or wherever you’re most likely to see it. Apart from the fact that we need all the fucking help we can get right now, if you start missing doses because you’re too busy thinking about how to build a nuclear shelter in the garden and oh fuck, what happens if the world starts falling apart whilst the kids are at school, is do you go fetch them or stay home and assume they’re safe or OH MY GOD SERIOUSLY WHAT DO WE DO IF THIS HAPPENS – anyway, you get my drift. If you’re going to have a meltdown, make sure it’s not being made worse by withdrawal symptoms.
Do something nice for yourself
I was way too stressed to get any work done yesterday and I already had a hair appointment booked, so I took the rest of the morning off and got a pedicure as well. At least my toenails will look nice on Doomsday. We can’t just drop out of the world though – lovely as that would be right now – so I did get on with work for the afternoon, but from the sofa with the dog. And chocolate. Chocolate always helps.
Treats doesn’t have to be big or expensive – just take an hour out to walk round the park, or watch a crappy old comforting film – but if you’re nicer to yourself you will be nicer to others. It’s needed. Which brings me to:
Do something nice for others
Do something productive for other people, even if it’s a tiny thing. I made a donation to ACLU at the weekend – it was literally just a few quid, but made me feel as though I’d done something concrete to help those in the States who are feeling even more awful than me right now. And I’ve taken to buying an ‘all day’ ticket in the pay and display car park, even if I’m only there for a couple of hours – it doesn’t ask you to input your car reg, so when I’m leaving I pass it on to anyone who’s just arriving. Small things, remember.
Oh, and just in case you were wondering – you are not a snowflake simply because you care. I’m sick to fucking death of all this ‘liberal snowflakes blah blah’ shittery that’s doing the rounds right now. If it’s a failing to care about the rights of others then I’m happy to be a loser. And enough snowflakes brought together make an avalanche – some of these rightwing asshats could do well to remember that right now.
Don’t forget other issues
It’s very easy to focus on the big picture – mostly because right now, the world’s problems are FUCKING big. But with all the attention diverted to an orange ballbag with aspirations causing mayhem on another continent, smaller stuff gets pushed to one side and bad things happen without anyone noticing. Keep an eye on things at home – if our own ‘leaders’ are being quiet, then it’s usually because they’re up to no good and hoping no one will notice. Remember – the way to tell if politicians are lying is if their mouths are moving.
Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater
If you’re anywhere near as old as me you’ll clearly remember the silliness that occurred around the turn of the millennium. Some people were so convinced that the world would blow up at midnight in some computer-driven millenium-bug-infested confusion at the clocks ticking over to zero again that they went all out in the days leading up to it, giving up on work and running up debts. You can recognise those people to this day, by their hollow expressions and tin foil hats.
There’s no good reason for giving up just because everything seems so dreadful sometimes. We’ve been here before. I was a youngster through the 1970s and 80s, therefore I grew up with the pretty much constant threat of armageddon. Protect and Survive leaflets came through the letterbox. Think about that for a minute – UK HOUSEHOLDS WERE ISSUED WITH OFFICIAL INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO SURVIVE A NUCLEAR ATTACK. It was a clear and present danger – enough that the government thought it worthwhile explaining how to hide from the effects of a thermonuclear warhead using only the kitchen table and some curtains (it wasn’t very good advice, looking back on it). It’s no fucking wonder that so many of us have Issues.
Yet we survived. It even led to some pretty fucking brilliant music (sidenote – the voiceover at the beginning of this video was taken directly from the official Protect and Survive film and was quite capable of causing panic attacks if it appeared without warning on television):
The human race is a tenacious fucker – we will survive again one way or another, whatever happens.
Just don’t forget the meds.