How I’m Doing
Since people have asked, privately and online:
Well, I’ve been stressed and depressed, like a lot of people of my general political inclination. I pretty much didn’t sleep for 36 hours starting Tuesday morning, since basically my brain went into “hyper alert” mode and wouldn’t turn off. I finally got some sleep yesterday by collapsing on my office sofa for a few hours, then waking up back in “hyper alert” mode, and then taking some Excedrin PM to force my brain back to sleep for a full night’s rest. Actually getting a lot of sleep seems to have helped. I’m still irritated and annoyed but my brain doesn’t feel like it has to be on.
Likewise, no appetite at all, which is in fact my body’s “normal” response to stress (when I’m bored or have a lot of work, I snack. I’ve been bored or working more than stressed in the recent past, and my waistline shows it). As I noted on Twitter, on one hand, this is good because I’m trying to lose weight; on the other hand it’s bad because it’s not actually healthy. I think I had 500 calories yesterday because my body just wasn’t telling me to eat. Today I’m still not hungry but made myself eat anyway, and real food, not just Good and Plenty candies, which constituted the bulk of my calories yesterday.
While I was on Twitter during the election results, people commented to me that I seemed calm, and have since praised me on my calmness over the last couple of days. Well, you know. I can’t take too much credit for that; I generally get calm when I’m freaked out. This is usually to my benefit (I’m the one actually able to direct traffic while everyone else is running around with their heads on fire, etc), but the ledgers eventually balance down the line. The good news for you is, you won’t have to see that.
All of this is fine… for a couple of days. It’s okay for me (or anyone) to acknowledge events have stressed and depressed them and do what they do to process those emotions. I do believe that when you have the luxury of being able to just have your emotions, you should have them so that you can more or less get over them and get back to a more normal space. The good news for me is that I have that luxury right now. I don’t have any work that’s pressing, or any other commitments, so I could just have my little freak out. If I were still super stressed and depressed after a week, I would most likely seek help for it. That wouldn’t be normal for me, and I would need to fix it.
But I already know I’m coming out of it. One of the reasons I know I’m coming out of it is that I have this “Oh, okay, this is how it’s going to be? Well, fine, then bring it” attitude that is crawling up from the back of my brain. Some of you longtime readers may recall this particular attitude from the Bush years. I suspect things will be getting a lot more political here (so if this is something you don’t want with your Whatever reading: Fair warning).
But here’s the other thing, which is that I’m coming out of it because I know I am likely to be okay over the next four years. I’m straight and white and male and well off, and unusually for someone in my field, I have contractual stability in the form of multi-year, multi-book contract with a major publishing house. Literally, as long as I write a book a year I’m going to be fine, and my family is going to be fine, and if we’re not, well, we’re probably all screwed in a massive way that impacts even the most insulated. I have the luxury of being pissed off, and pretty much only being pissed off, and I also have the option of not being pissed-off when I want, and doing other things with my brain cycles.
But I know too many people — people that I like, people that I love — who don’t have my ability to ride it out, and won’t have the ability to just turn off the reality of a Trump presidency. People who are minorities, and/or LGTBQ, and/or women, all of whom fully expect rights to be taken away from them and a culture of hate to thrive, making their lives worse. People who have insurance through the ACA who know that the Trump administration has it as a priority to repeal the law, meaning that once again that medical insurance will likely be beyond their reach and they will simply have to hope they don’t get sick. My neighbors, who I expect are going to find out what the limits of Trump’s promises are, and how they will differ in reality from what he promised, and how much more difficult their lives will be because of it.
I believe that things are going to get worse for a lot of people I know, and by extension, for a lot of people I don’t know. I would like to be wrong on this — I would love to be wrong on this, please GOP and Trump, prove me wrong — but I don’t think I will be.
I have the luxury of getting over this election. I worry about the people who don’t. I suspect that worry isn’t going to go away for at least four years.
And that’s how I’m doing at the moment.