Holding on: Searching for hope during these dark times

I’m angry and I’m upset. The past few days I’ve sunk into a depression, mixed with bursts of anger. A lot of it has to do with self-isolation. Some of it has to do with bipolar symptoms. However, a lot of it has to do with what’s going on in America right now.

I have a right to feel anger about it. I’ve been writing about DBT therapy a lot lately, and one of the key tenants is about not judging your feelings. I’m feeling this anger and I don’t want to suppress it. What I do with the anger is important, though.

Anger is not necessarily a bad emotion. I’m still learning about emotions and their functions – another thing DBT is teaching me. When I feel anger, it’s sometimes because I want to protect my boundaries. Other times, anger is a secondary emotion – the primary emotions are sadness or fear.

Right now, I can definitely see where my sadness and fear are coming from. I am sad for the world right now. I am sad especially for my country and the people in my country – particularly vulnerable people in our society.

I’m also afraid. There’s so much uncertainty right now. Millions of people are out of work, a city is burning in the Midwest because of more racial injustice, and there’s a theme of chaos in American society.

It feels almost as if we’re reaching a boiling point. I’ll be honest – I’m scared. My therapist told me last night to start thinking about positive things. Other people have told me that, “Everything will be all right.”

In AA, people used to say we can’t control it, so we must accept it. Essentially, we’re powerless over stuff like this.

I’m not so sure about any of these statements.

I am thinking of positives so I don’t catastrophize the situation (which is very important). I’m still doing a gratitude list and trying to be grateful for little things in my life.

I’m also slightly hopeful things will work out – eventually, at least.

Also, I know there’s only so much I can control about something as huge and unwieldy as national politics or, jeez, the virus itself.

Still … I don’t want empty platitudes right now.

I don’t want clichés.

Hope for justice & healing

Personally, not much has affected me – yet. But the “yet” is a big word. Not only that, but I believe we are all interconnected. America is a highly individualized society, so much so that I’m afraid we’ve all become pretty selfish. Even though what’s happening right now may not be affecting me personally, other people are suffering, and shouldn’t that mean something?

For now, I am trying to stay stable myself. A big part of that is avoiding the news. It has become so triggering for me – every time I look, it’s like getting punched in the gut. I’ve been drawn to it, though, like a magnet.

Thankfully, I have some freelance stuff to work on. I’m doing that to occupy myself, and I’m also trying my hardest to be better at self-care. That is one thing my therapist told me that I agree with wholeheartedly. Exercise, rest, not too much caffeine, just basic self-care that I’m bad at.

I’m not sure if this post will help anyone. I hope it does. I hope love will prevail. I hope there will be justice. I hope there will be healing.

In the meantime, I will focus on healing myself. The better I can heal myself, the better I will be able to be there for others.

Love,

-Nick

(Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash)

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