Does anybody else feel like their life has been hijacked by this election cycle?
I’m anxious, I wake up in the middle of the night with my heart racing, I’m snapping at my family more, I feel my blood pressure rise every time I turn on the radio or computer, and I keep baking cookies that I pretend are for my children. I’ve been to the liquor store more in the past month than I’ve ever been, and the owners looked really tired (but happy).
As I write this, I’m stress-eating all of my kids’ Halloween candy while obsessively clicking on FiveThirtyEight. Donald isn’t making America great again. He’s turning us all into chubby alcoholics.
I think that historians will someday have a name for our collective freak-out after this thing is all over. They may even have to add a subcategory to the DSM for the stress and anxiety this election cycle has caused us all, especially those of us already prone to things like anxiety (*raises hand*).
Think about it: It will feel like we are all crawling out of a great huge pit of despair for awhile — a pit made up of racism and fear and misinformation and poorly constructed sentences.
The worst part of all this for me has been the overwhelming sadness. I see people whom I like — good people, kind people, people whom I share blood with — blindly following after a mad man. And it really has me scared for all of humanity. I can’t wait for it to be over.
Here are some examples of how I haven’t been dealing well with any of it:
1. I read articles about another ludicrous thing Trump has said at a rally. I start chewing my nails.
2. I hide another friend on Facebook because I can’t deal with the amount of misinformation they are spewing. I debate whether beer for lunch is a wise choice.
3. I listen to a podcast and hear that one-third of Americans still think that Obama is a Muslim. Really?! I map out routes to Canada.
4. I check in on the FiveThirtyEight polls for the 20th time that day. I eat a donut. Or a box of donuts. Whatever.
5. I see friends dressed up like Hillary in a prison suit for Halloween. I worry about their whole lives and their children’s lives, and how on Earth are we living in the same reality?
6. I see videos of people at Trump rallies. I worry that they are going to get even crazier if Trump loses. I worry that they own guns and that they seem to be fueled by hate. Then I start practicing my deep breathing.
7. I read the newspaper and learn that some people don’t actually believe fact-checkers, whose only purpose is to check facts. I slam that paper down and bake pumpkin bread. And then I eat the whole thing before anybody else comes home.
8. I watch comedy shows and see even the comedians struggling with the joke that is this election. I start hollering at my kids to clean their room, or take a shower, or go outside and play, or do something — anything — but get out of my face because I have no patience left.
9. I see the arguments that inevitably start in the comments section of every political post. I want to urge everyone to step away from their computer, cool off, and think about what they are saying for two seconds before typing. Then I pour a glass of wine. The comments section drives me to drink.
10. My 5-year-old (!) asks me if the bad man is gone yet. Even she can see it and hear it. I think about signing her up for karate so she can always protect herself from men like him. Don’t you dare grab her — she will knock you into next week.
11. I hear that he might not concede if he loses. I’m thankful once again that I don’t live next door to any of his supporters.
So, no, I don’t think I’m dealing well. And I’m positive that I’m not the only one out there.
For the next week, I’m declaring that we all give each other a little slack and some space to be cranky and irritable until this is all over.
And then next week, we can go back to unhiding our friends’ and loved ones’ posts — and we can all start freaking out about the holidays, like normal. I hope!