When There’s Actually Something to Worry About

Or, How to Survive an Authoritarian Regime When You Have an Anxiety Disorder

Just getting through it

1. Find a show to bingewatch that has at least 10 seasons. You’ll need something to get in the way of the thoughts (and obviously sleep isn’t an option). Bonus points if you can start over from the series premiere when you’re done. Extra bonus points if it’s still running (thanks Shonda).

2. Retweet. It’ll help you feel like you’re not crazy, and also remove the worry about your own tweets being clever enough.

3. Buy seltzer in bulk. You’ll need something to calm your nervous stomach, since the nausea is never going to go away now. And since you probably have one those stress-related gastrointestinal disorders, you likely won’t be able to handle the sugar in soda.

4. Text a friend who’s asleep. Check ahead of time that they have their phone on Do Not Disturb, so you don’t have to worry about waking them up. This way, you can vocalize your spiral as soon as you need to without bothering anyone.

5. Start bringing lunch to work. Or stop, and start buying it. Whichever allows you to have one thing you control today.

6. Forget hope. You’ve got to get through the day. You’ve got to stay in the moment. And you already live in the theoretical reality of The Worst Possible What-If. Actively inviting your anxious brain to think about the future isn’t going to end well.

7. Start crafting — but only make things that you won’t care how it turns out. You need something to do with your hands while you watch hours of news coverage on the end of democracy, but you don’t need to worry about whether or not it will look good. Like knitting.

8. Set your alarm an hour earlier than you actually need to. This gives you ample time to scroll through your phone and be paralyzed by dread before you actually have to get up. No need to have to choose between your daily morning panic attack and being on time.

9. Carry a phone charger with you at all times. If you need to live-tweet a protest, or scroll through cat gifs when the fall of the empire becomes too much, you don’t need to worry about your phone dying.

10. Find an obscure and soothing YouTube video to play as you fall asleep. For example, a chamber choir rendition of a medieval Icelandic hymn in a German train station. You need to distract your mind from the running tally of civil rights that have been violated by the democratically-elected governments, and the quiet of your dark apartment won’t cut it.

11. Share your expertise on living with existential dread. Just because the world is now actually falling apart doesn’t mean you haven’t always felt that way. You know how to do this!

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