Self-care in turbulent times.


The trendy term “self care” irritates me the same way other trendy terms tend to irritate me, but it’s actually a good phrase and good advice.

I had two days off from work this week due to the snow, and I could have spent that time glued to the news, scanning Twitter for the latest Trumpian outrages (I can’t even keep up with them anymore), and making myself angry, depressed, and scared.

For a year I have struggled with retriggered C-PTSD because of this president and his abuse of vulnerable Americans, which includes myself because I am not rich or conservative.

I could have worked myself up into a righteous tizzy and returned to work feeling exhausted instead of refreshed.

But instead, I took a moratorium from the news and from the Internet.   Reading my Kindle copy of “Fire and Fury” (I’m almost done) was about the extent of my politics-related activities.   I cleaned my house (really well for a change) , organized a couple of closets, and actually cooked.   I spent time catching up with friends on Facebook and reading funny or inspiring websites, and watching funny animal videos.  I watched part of a “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern” marathon, and even walked in the snow.    I read one of the novels in the list of books I posted the other day, and was actually able to concentrate on the plot.   I’m almost finished with it now.


I have to admit I felt a twinge of guilt for burying my head in the sand and choosing not to follow the news for a couple of days.    I’ve always believed if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem, but taking mental health breaks from all the chaos coming from the White House doesn’t mean you’re ignoring the dangers and becoming complacent and complicit.  It means you are a human being and need time to take care of yourself.  If you’re active in the resistance, whether as an actual activist, or just protesting online, you’re not going to be any good to anyone if you’re depressed, deflated,  apathetic, terrified, or unhealthily enraged.   All you’ll be able to do is spread negativity instead of inspiration and ideas.

So it’s absolutely imperative, especially if you suffer from PTSD, C-PTSD or a depressive disorder, to give yourself breaks from all the chaos and negative politics and take care of yourself.   It’s still possible to enjoy the simple things in life and even have fun, yes, even in the darkest times.   I can’t help but think of Anne Frank, a young girl confined in a German concentration camp, but she never let that reality break her spirit.  She was still a happy, positive person who spread joy and hope to others, even knowing she and her family were going to die.   Even today, her legacy still inspires others.

After my two days off spent staying away from politics and the news, I actually felt refreshed and ready to fight again.    So don’t feel guilty if you need to take breaks to concentrate on yourself, your friends or family.   Spend time doing things you like or that relax you — listening to music, watching a funny movie, meditating, praying, doing Yoga, reading a novel, cooking or baking, or spending time in nature (nothing is more healing than nature, if that’s your thing).   You are not abandoning your ideals or becoming complacent.   You are just refueling.


Further reading:

12 Ways to Resist Without Losing Your Mind


8 thoughts on “Self-care in turbulent times.

  1. I thought Anne Frank and her family were hiding out in someone’s house. That’s what she wrote about in her diary right? I thought it ended with that pretty much. No trail from there, the diary ended.

    Either way, I agree with the self care thing… or “self-soothe” as they say in DBT. Lol.

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  2. I am in the process of ‘documenting’ what I eat and other matters for a two-week period, and in that (currently) twelve-page document, I mention much the same things:

    Saying ‘f**k it’ when I’m too tired is in truth, ***self-preservation*** – which was something I was (abusively) trained to not do. Namely, ***put the pleasure of my betters/abusers ahead of my own well-being*** – which, if pursued consistently, is at best not sustainable in the long term.

    Ultimately, it is self-destructive- which might well have been the actual goal in some cases.

    Now, a question (for you-all): is it possible to do ‘nastiness’ (e.g. narcissistic behaviors – not the full deal!) in an unconscious fashion? As in one thinks oneself to be, in full candor, to be ‘good’ – and yet act a ***lot*** like a social predator? Especially toward people our unaware-pred ***looks down upon***?

    Granted, the self-aware ‘social predator’ is likely to be worse, and potentially a *lot* worse.

    The reason I ask this is that I often – nearly every day, in fact – ‘sense’ the state of the ‘world’ around me – and this is where that feeling of ‘being in hell’ (literally!) comes from. It’s as if every ***third*** person (in the worst areas) has either clinical/near-clinical ‘NPD’ or something functionally similar – as in “I must watch myself especially well…” That’s not the worst part, though it’s awful enough.

    The worst part is the often-overwhelming sense of just ***how*** I’m ***supposed*** to act in those environments – as in I’m supposed to consciously ***suck up to everyone***, much as if I had a far-above-average notion of social hierarchy rampaging in my mind, and knew I was at the absolute bottom of any such situation. (Think living out the notions of hierarchy found in “the screwtape letters”, or the most extreme version of office politics one might imagine – complete with Nazi-style power-differentials in both cases.)

    It’s a ***lot*** like being a slave, and worse than being a slave. Perhaps ***this*** is what an untouchable feels under the crushing boot of old-style Hinduism.

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