Down in the Trumps

I’ll begin with the necessary disclaimers. I’m not a psychiatrist, licensed therapist, or mental healthcare professional of any kind. I’m not qualified to diagnose or treat mental health issues.

That being said, I’ve endured more bouts of major depression than I’ve got fingers and toes, so I can certainly share some insights. And I’m happy to do so because I think — and hope — it may help some of you.

Given my mental health history, several friends have expressed surprise over my apparent lack of post-election blues. It’s true that I’ve managed to dodge desperation and channel my anxiety into action (so far, anyway).

However, I am grieving, rest assured. As I asserted in my previous post, America should grieve Trump’s election for myriad reasons but that we (White people, specifically) must now get to work. I inspired some friends with that call to action. Other friends lamented, saying Trump’s win shocked and scared them. Fear and despair had them transfixed, unable to act.

Art by Gemma Correll

Fear, despair, depression. I’ve visited that locale so often that I almost forgot — maybe some of you have never been before (if that’s true of you, then good on you for that). Again, I’m no therapist, but I figure I can offer up how I’ve been fighting on in the hopes that it may help you out.

1. I’m ignoring others’ opinions about my feelings.

Sore loser. Libtard. Cry Baby. Just a few of the (non-expletive) terms people have lobbed at me since election night.

As I’ve said before, I’m not salty over losing a game of kickball. I’m afraid for the safety of marginalized Americans. In a lot of ways, I’m less afraid of the Trump administration and more afraid of the bigoted Americans who seem emboldened after Trump’s win.

To me, what’s happening in our country isn’t just a political issue. It’s a fundamental one. On that, I stand steadfast. And frankly, I’m too busy finding ways to help than to fret over ad hominem attacks.

2. I’ve figured out which wars I can win.

Donald Trump is the President-Elect. That is a loss I have to accept. However, the threat to the safety and rights of others is not something I have to accept. I can fight that. So, I’m putting my energy into the burgeoning Renaissance of the American civil rights movement.

3. I’m getting on with it.

I felt overwhelmed at first. So many groups stand to suffer, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, and Muslims just to name a few. It’s an interesting paradox. There are so many ways to take action that it makes it feel impossible to act.

But if you change your perspective, this is an opportunity. You can pretty much start anywhere, with any group, and you’ll likely do some good. It doesn’t matter where you start. It just matters that you begin.

Unfortunately, my advice is probably a paltry balm at best. However, if you’re lacking direction, I hope it helps you align your compass. For in difficult times, inaction is not an option. Well, not a good one, at least.