Warning: Politics Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

I said in one of my early posts I would not write about political topics. I made one exception to that for a June post email to Jeff Sessions. I make another exception now to write about how the current national political climate has affected me personally.

For the past two months I’ve had a problem summoning the motivation and energy to do practically anything, even things I normally enjoyed. My last blog post was September 6. I had lots of others waiting in my queue, but I just couldn’t call up the interest to post. I wasn’t feeling sad; on the contrary, my general attitude was cheerful. I just couldn’t find the motivation and energy to act.

This is a classic sign of depression. I was puzzled. Why would I be in depression if I was feeling cheerful and basically happy with my life? It took me a while to figure it out, but finally it came to me like a thunder clap. It was all about stress.

At some point long ago I came to the conclusion not to get stressed about things I couldn’t control. Traffic jams. Long grocery lines. Home power failures in storms. I followed Erma Bombeck’s advice: “If you can’t make it better, you can laugh at it.” I use humor a lot to get through things I can’t change.

I have been living with things I can’t change since the presidential election of 2016. Humor has been one of my coping tools, faithfully following political comedy on TV and allowing my raucous laughter to carry me through situations that would otherwise enrage or dishearten me.

I thought it was enough. But after almost two years of living in this toxic, dangerous national environment, I have to admit it: I can’t ignore what this stress has been doing to me any longer. I need more coping mechanisms.

I’ve always believed in being an informed citizen. I follow local and national politics. In normal times, that doesn’t mean being subjected to a daily onslaught of negativity. But these are not normal times.

I don’t subscibe to the ostrich theory.  I won’t hide from the bad news. I won’t agree to be uninformed.

Here’s what I will do:

My partner and I enjoy watching some national political commentators in the evening. I won’t stop doing that. But now when I watch I take it in more objectively as information I should have, rather than as the latest political outrage I should worry about. Often I do something else while I’m watching, which helps to soften the impact of what I’m seeing and hearing.

I stay away from politics on social media. I have Facebook and Twitter accounts, but I don’t use them a lot, and I don’t follow political figures.

When friends start talking politics in my presence, I ask them to stop. Although like many–maybe too many–people in this country, my friends and I mostly have similar political views. But I find discussing politics now even with people I agree with still leads to raised voices and shrill opinions, and it stresses me. When my friends and I talk  politics we’re preaching to the converted. So why do it at all?

To better manage my depression in general, I’ve starting using my SAD lamp for 30 minutes when I wake up each morning. I wear an Alpha-Stim cranial electronic stimulator every day for an hour. They are great mood-lifters and energizers.

These are some of the things I’m doing now to keep my depression and stress at bay about things I can’t change.

There is one thing I can do to change things for the better, and that’s VOTE! on November 6. I am a pretty regular voter, but I admit I sometimes have skipped midterm or local elections. No more. Every election counts, no matter how small and local. Every vote counts.

Please join me on November 6 to exercise this most fundamental right of your citizenship.

Thank you for reading my blog. If you like it, follow this post and you’ll receive notice of  my new ones.

Joy and Peace,

Marjorie Beck

 

 

 

 

 

protesters on the street
Photo by Rosemary Ketchum on Pexels.com

4 thoughts on “Warning: Politics Can Be Hazardous to Your Health”

  1. I’m like you, Marjorie … in general, I’m normally a happy, contented person who suffers from depression from time to time. That’s a significant point you’ve made about stress bringing on depression. I’d never thought of that before and, yet looking back, I can see how it can happen. And, like you, I try to avoid getting into heated arguments about topics such as politics, animal rights (I would explode!) and religion. The political climate here in the u.k. is pretty unsettled too, with this Brexit thing going on. I’m off now to google that electronic stimulator thing you mentioned. 🙂

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    1. Gosh, I’m just now seeing your comment on this post. Glad you enjoyed it. I enjoy reading your blog, also. You seem like a person it would be a pleasure to know. We do share some common interests and values. I don’t share your Christian faith, but if all Christians were as sensitive, caring, and loving as you, I might reassess my atheism!
      I sympathize with you in your Brexit mess. Both our countries are going through very hard times now.
      Did you find info about the Alpha-Stim? If not, I can send you a link.
      Again, thanks for the comment.
      Marjorie

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      1. Hi Marjorie. Sometimes I miss comments too when I take a break from anything/everything online.
        I did find links to the Alpha-Stim. It seems to have lots of good reviews … the only thing putting me off at the moment is the expense. It’s quite pricey. What’s your experience of it? I expect it must be helping you or you wouldn’t use it.
        What you said about me and my Christian faith … that’s the loveliest thing you could have said to me … I’m happy. 😀

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      2. Hi, ellem,
        Yes, the Alpha-Stim is very expensive. I’ve had mine for about ten years, so I know there are new models and pricier prices now. I do still use it almost every day for an hour, and it does help me. If you can handle the cost, I expect you’d like it, too.
        I’ve just posted two new posts. One is about my earliest memory of being in a tornado in Oklahoma when I was three years old. You may find it interesting. The other you might not like so much, because it’s on the subject of insensitive things people say to people who are experiencing hard times, and my attitude as an atheist about one of the things people say.
        I do have tons of respect, however, for people of faith who live their faith, not just talk it. So I will never question your Christian beliefs and practice, as I hope you won’t try to question my atheism.
        Be well,
        Marjorie

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