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What The Fuck Do You Do To Stay Sane?

We’ve lived through a year of what has to have been the craziest, most nerve-wracking presidential administrations in our lifetimes. If you’re a Millennial, it might not seem that weird, even if you can feel the badness in it. I am 52 years old. I remember the zeitgeist around the time of Jimmy Carter and would literally do anything to be back in the 1970s again. I remember my parents explaining Watergate to me and telling me Nixon resigned because he broke the law and lied about it. Nixon was a saint compared to 45. Hell, Ronald Reagan was a saint compared to 45. Even George W. Bush gave me a bit less daily anxiety compared to 45, though he and his oil-igarch friends were leading up to it. Then came Obama and for eight years, the weltschmerz went away. I genuinely liked the guy. I noticed there were a lot of people who didn’t though and the things they posted on the net unnerved me.

But this past year, I lost it. I can’t believe 45 gets away with so much and still has half the country fawning at his feet. I managed to get myself hooked on tranquilizers and now have to get off them. Obviously, that was a big fucking error. So what have you done to attempt to maintain your sanity as the shit gets weirder, more unstable, and all that? How do you deal with the fact that people in nations that once were solid allies really don’t like us any more? I took the wrong way out, and will have to deal with the circumstances. What have those of you who aren’t as dumb as me done to keep sane in an insane nation?

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I’m so sorry to hear about your struggles. I’m a millennial and nearly everything that’s happened this seems crazy to me too. I work, exercise, take care of my family, spend time with friends, volenteer and rage clean my home while listening to NPR and other podcasts.

Self care is real and it’s more important now than ever.

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I must confess I didn’t pay a lot of attention to Watergate & Nixon…I was mostly focused on school & social things…I was by no means living under a rock but I wasn’t engrossed in the story either, not as I am now. Like you, Bush grated on me quite a bit, but I never expected to see the day when we’d have such a soul-less criminal sociopath pretending to lead this nation while lining his pockets, spewing hate & harming our country by trashing science & environmental regulations while filling positions with incompetent suck-ups. A nightmare come to life.

You aren’t the only one feeling stressed. I have never been into chemical escape of any kind…I enjoy a small glass of wine with dinner now and then, & I don’t enjoy more than that. I have lately found sleep more difficult with so many more things on my mind, & for that, I find taking a good brand of melatonin helps my sleep, without any side effects. (It promotes REM sleep, so if you’re like me, you may have more vivid dreams & remember them better.) But ask your doctor just in case.

Other things that help me are doing things I enjoy: creative hobbies, interacting with my pets (dogs & snakes), reading, music (singing is a great release!), meditation (no, you don’t have to sit like a pretzel for it to be of help), and being “in the moment” with whatever you’re doing…gardening, yard & house work. The list will depend on what YOU enjoy. In the summer, I swim laps for a couple hours a day, most days…exercise will promote your health, help your sleep and give you a better perspective. Oddly enough, I don’t “look away” from what’s going on, but I know some people who just say they have to for health reasons, so we’re all a little different…you have to find what works for you and doesn’t hurt you.

Sharing experiences with like-minded others as we do here is invaluable too. (Thank you for this forum, Matt!) And if you find your voice, you can always call and write your representatives. I live in a state with trump-enabling senators, and periodically, they get an earful from me. Another fun thing is contacting the White House (whitehouse.gov): I have to hope they read it, but it’s cathartic either way, PLUS you get an email thanking you for letting them know what’s on your mind. (-pardon my evil laugh!) I’m probably on their S-H list, but I have a feeling it’s pretty long anyway.

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I used to have snakes when I was 11 or so. See my “I’d give anything to be back in the '70s” line. I recognize your name - its the genus name for corn snakes, rat snakes, and suchlike. I have cats - 2 of them - but I have been wanting to get a king snake again for ages but have misspent what little money I have on pills. Maybe if I can get off them, I will reward myself by getting one. I have always loved them.

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Yes! Lots mindful activities really help. Mindfulness sounds like a made up buzzword but in practice it can really help you feel in feel more in control in a healthy way.

Oh and put down your screens unless you have an real reason for using them, like a chore or interaction. Stop mindless scrolling, surfing, stop reading comments and do not ever feed the trolls!! Use your devices with serious intent when it becomes too overwhelming. Take a weekend off from the digital world every once and a while, everything in moderation, even screentime. :slightly_smiling_face:

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I have to remember that doing even one thing, like going outside for a few minutes or putting away 10 things lying around, is a small but noticeable boost in spirits. Coloring helps me too, I’ve got a book of swears and Jenny Lawson’s drawings. When I can’t stomach the thought of exercise I do 10-20 mins of stretching, even if it’s while binge watching star trek. And video games, I do love me some of those. But the ones where I can play a badass female hero take some shit down with (mostly) well scripted sass.

Take it one day at a time, say no to ppl and things that make you feel bad, watch some Drunk History episodes for a chuckle (bc laughter is necessary for our bodies to be able to handle all this dick fuckery anxiety and rage), go to the local library and sit in the kids section half reading whatever book you choose and half listening to kids having fun.

Bc there are normal things still left that are good and deserve little celebrations, even the crickets singin in your yard or squirrels dashing around trying to find the 80% of the nutz that they have no clue where they hid them, (hahahahaha that seriously cracks me up).

Keep your curiosity alive, one of the podcasts I listen to offers a discount code for The Great Courses Plus, you can learn about a huge collection of subjects from experts of the topic, videos of their lectures (sounds boring but it’s very engaging) you can watch as many as you want whenever you want, no stressful homework just soaking up knowledge and keeping that curiosity fueled and getting those neurons sparking.

Authoritarian regimes do their damndest to crush and destroy our courage and gaslight us into thinking we can’t do anything to go up against them. Read this article, it’s a nice change from the doom and gloom that normally surrounds us.

Anyway, you’ll get there, one day at a time and swearing all the fucking way.

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Thank you! I do love your attitude. I live in a ghettoey area of San Francisco, on SSI for various disabilities, so that limits a lot of the things on your list I could do. But I am living in my favorite city in the world…I just don’t have a yard. I miss gardening a lot. But God hope I will be able to keep my little room and my cats and my health care. I read that article about Ady, the man with ALS…I love him for his spirit but it still did no good. My attitude is going to suck badly until I finish getting off these pills and according to charts my body and mind won’t be back to normal for at least two months in which I will be in bed sick as fuck. So damn stupid of me, though perhaps understandable because I have so much to lose and the anxiety was wrecking me. Also I don’t have a family.

But I really love your suggestions…some of them I can do while I am sick so they will be really helpful. :blue_heart:

  • Mesila
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Haha, that shitlist you speak of is so long even Mister “Reading Genius” 45 couldn’t get through .001% of it :smile:

Thanks for showing them that this country is truly purple and that no “red state” is all the way red. Living in San Francisco does give me a skewed view of things, though I love that we are the source of California’s congress and have been for ages. I don’t like how close we are to North Korea, though… :expressionless:

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Having 5+ girlfriends in a giant consensual lesbian polycule helps me a lot, but I realize that’s not something a lot of people will be into ^^;

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I am regrettably no longer a Californian, but I lived most of my life there so far. Where I live now gets verbal abuse just for happily saying you voted for Obama (twice!), but local ignorant majority be damned, there ARE people with functioning brains here too. I moved here for the natural beauty & before all this other stuff hit the fan…really “great” timing. :roll_eyes: Coming from California, I under-estimated how backwards-thinking part of this country still is. Moving is expensive & a huge challenge (especially when you live with many pets as I do) so for now I’m “stuck” where I am too.

But don’t think that California was always evolved: when I bought my first house there many years ago I was SHOCKED to read the original paperwork that said (essentially) that no one could live on that property that wasn’t white, unless they were just a servant. No shit! Of course, it was now irrelevant, but it was eye-opening. And it really pissed me off! (& I’m “white”, it’s just the idea!)

Don’t worry about North Korea…just get off those dumb pills & get healthy! We all have a lot to lose with “twittler” in charge, & what he’s doing to the environment makes me want to scream…but we must stick together & resist & we’ll get him & the corrupt GOP out. We will, damn it! And btw, I don’t have much family either and all my “kids” have tails! You aren’t alone, and you CAN do this! Don’t make me come there & kick your butt! :smirk: We need you healthy & functioning as part of the resistance, and part of the better world that will come out of this eventually. Don’t forget, we out-number the fools.

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Mesila. I hope you have someone to at least hold your hand. Your writing could be a constructive way to cope. This is my first comment, reply here. I only read one other blog and feel the need to broaden my intake on others’ feelings and ideas.

Spring of 2016 I self therapied my depression by coloring. I’d buy postcard booklets with designs of textiles from all over the world. Ceramic designs. Mostly tiles from the Middle East, Africa, Spain and Asia interested me. I then begin writing friends notes and sending them, to get rid of the clutter they created in a small apartment. I have since gone on to collage work, some of it protest, as developments dictate my flow. That has lead to being a ‘leader’ in an elders’ community organization, two hours once a week, making collage, mostly on flat surface, some branch into decoupage, covering a box, container, I’ve used book ends, and small gift boxes. While not solving the source of my woes, it is relaxing to create, and a sense of accomplishment to view what I’ve made. There are many roads to enlightenment, growth and coping with the things we can not control and wish were not in our life. I’m 72 and the only other time I was this fearful was growing up in Northern California during the Korean Crisis, fearing I’d wake up after my afternoon nap and the North Koreans would be pounding on the door. Now I feel that fear from my fellow citizens, the haters of anything different from their ideas. As a gay man, married to a good man, partners since January 1981 I identify with all people who are included in the sights of those who hate. Women, POC, immigrants, transgender. People who identify as anything not petrified by tradition. I am the son of a Mexican immigrant from that civil war as well as my husband, son of an immigrant from Ireland’s strife. Thank you for being my first reply here. As long as we don’t remain silent. That’s the worse, in my humble opinion_. “Your silence will not protect you.” Audrey Lorde._ If you feel secure and safe in numbers, perhaps this Saturday, January 20, you will find a sense of community in the streets. If you are in NYC, I’ll let you know the signage I’ll be carrying and location. We can only go for a few hours, my endurance isn’t as strong as it used to be. Thank you for your time.

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edit to my comment. I hadn’t seen your comment that you live in San Francisco. But still. If you feel safe at this Saturday’s demonstration. It could help. Getting out of our space always helps, as long as you have the strength to do it.I find myself staying in and only going out for chores. Not good.When I am out it’s most often pleasant in this neighborhood. A very blue, progressive neighborhood of Manhattan. Hope you come off those meds in good shape, and remember, it is not always your fault that you got on them. Be easy on yourself. Virtual hugs. TK

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Believe me, I have been kicking my own ass over this so damn much that I’d be a contortionist if this wasn’t just a metaphor. Today I made arrangements to check into a local detox center the minute they have a free space. That might not be until next month. My other option is to see a particular private pay physician for $200, a lotta fucking money for someone on SSI. I need to know if I would actually be treated by him, or merely lectured to. As for Saturday, we will have to see how I feel. I have already started to detox myself since the start of the year. I blame only myself, but 45 did have a place in it. I have known that Valium was available for years before, but I just didn’t have enough anxiety syndrome, so I just said no thanks. Wasn’t until last summer before I fell…

Now I look at taking the pills as helping 45 by making me inert. During the two months following my last pill, I will be really sick, but once it is over, every time the urge to take a pill comes over me, I’ll picture that hideous face and the number 45 printed on it. Could make a huge difference! Oh, if only I realized that in June!

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Love the word “polycule”, Zilla. I would have actually loved that about 10 years ago, before menopause completely wiped out my sexual desire. I know this does not happen to every woman, but it happened virtually overnight to me. So sad. I once was such an animal! Where did it evaporate to? Thus my becoming a cliché cat lady, except for the fact that I don’t hoard them. 2 is the most I will have, but my SPCA volunteering is a godsend - It lets me be around a lot of “pussy” too, if a different variety, and “seduce” them into coming out of their hide boxes and become ready for bringing some joy to their next Mommy and/or Daddy. I have an usual talent even for the hardest cases and that gives me self esteem.:smiley_cat:

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That’s what I’d do…find an image of 45 (magazine or whatever) & put that on (or next to) your pill bottle. Fight back! He may not be the sole reason you’ve been taking them but he damn sure pushed you over that edge. And maybe you could add something “positive” to this little routine too? Something healthy & fun. Or what the heck, just stick pins in his hideous image! (If that was me, I’d need quite a few replacement images, LOL)

You’re way better than this. Know that in your heart. I’m so glad to know you volunteer with the SPCA also…animals have such a wonderfully-positive influence over us, & helping other creatures survive & thrive gets us out of our self-pity cocoon…it’s a “win-win”.

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Thank you, Tuuxkabin. I only disagree with one thing. I was the one who put myself where I am, so its entirely my fault. I should have asked this question last June, about staying sane in the face of all the evil and blatant stupidity that 45 has wrought upon us…instead of attempting to escape it, which did not work anyway. Your ideas are absolutely wonderful and I definitely plan to try them…as soon as my hand/arm tremors go down and then finally go away. Thanks again for your help. :blue_heart:

Art keeps me sane. Mostly viewing art via Instagram, Facebook (I follow lots of artists and museums) and going to museums. Art is timeless and universal and I find it inspiring and relaxing.

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I, too, feel outraged. I don’t think any of us has been so enraged or absorbed in the day to day news. Since I work at home, I have NPR on all day and have become an MSNBC junkie. Yes, I remember Nixon and Watergate and protested against the Vietnam War, but I’ve gained a new understanding of the political process through the likes of Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell. I also remember the fear I had as a little girl during the Cuban missile crisis and I have flet that now. I have many like-minded friends on Facebook and that helps to let off steam. Twitter is insane, and a sure way to up the anxiety, but I’ve used it to tweet-shame Congress and tRump.
That being said, I do get heart palpitations and I don’t sleep well – the whole thing is a wreck you can’t look away from. I’ve phoned, signed petitions, emails, tweeted, donated and feel like I’m pissing in the wind. I just don’t understand how somehow so sordid, dangerous, and incompetent got elected. And that the Republicans bow and scrape before him for fear of losing their donors.
Destressing is difficult. My deadlines force me to focus. As much as I love wine, I restrict myself to a glass or two a few nights a week. I have my cats to love on and get a lot of enjoyment out of adult coloring (yes, it’s a “thing”).
You’re not alone. Keep that in mind. Hope lies in Mueller. Given the crap that’s been made public, he must know so much more. He’s got to know enough to bring them all down. I can imagine tRump remaining in office till 2020 – we’ll either be dead or certifiable.

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Yeah, I’ve always had a drug thing, until they stopped working, and now we have legal weed in California and it only made me more paranoid. I never liked alcohol. Getting addicted to Valium is a bigger deal than I thought.

Funny thing, I’ve been a big hippie all my life and before Alice Cooper got into all the Halloween stuff, he released his first album in 1968. It was like a really weird imitation of the Beatles. One of the songs on it is called “Today Mueller”. I would listen to this album when I was 10 and enjoy the hell out of it. I thought of it the other day. You can find the song on YouTube -both the Alice Cooper version and a kid who seems to be about 16 (in 2017) singing it! That blew my mind.

My cats are going to be the only thing that gets me through this detox. I have no money for some cushy rehab, the only thing MediCal provides is alcohol detox which doesn’t take as long. I blame this on myself but 45 triggered it. I could have got those things a lot sooner but didn’t actually started till last year.

Just saw “The Post” today…excellent reminder (especially for all those who weren’t around yet) just how much our democracy depends on our free press…and just what stones it takes for them to stand up to corruption in power.

As a woman, I especially liked Meryl Streep’s portrayal of that courage. For those into old movies or old enough to remember, there was a scene in the old movie “Giant” where all the women were ousted from the room so the men could “talk” (about serious matters, while the women got back to their recipes, fashions & such), and this movie had a similar scene: even though she was Katharine Graham, the first female publisher of a major American newspaper, it was still a challenge to be taken as seriously as a man would have been in her place, as she was making this tumultuous decision.

Of course you could watch this movie or any others just for the “escape value” but it helps to know that director Steven Spielberg said “The Post” was made urgently because of the trump administration…and bear in mind that a lot has happened since it was created. In the theater today, the audience was mostly in my age range…I hope that many younger folks will go see it too. We must not take free speech (or freedom of the press) for granted.

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